Tuesday, January 31, 2012

carrot and cilantro soup recipe

A while ago somebody (my sister Claire) asked for me to put more recipes on here. She is not the boss of me, but we had a very good carrot soup for dinner last night. I have another carrot soup recipe with ginger and peanut butter in it, but the children don't like that one as much, and always complain when I make it, because they are spoiled and should have to work in a salt mine. Also my brothers-in-law hate it. At a New Year's Eve party a few years ago I served the ginger carrot soup and spring rolls, and it was not a successful menu.

Carrot and Cilantro Soup
(from Country Living)
Makes 4 (1 1/2 C) servings

1 large onion, chopped
2 t ground coriander*
2 lbs. carrots, sliced
1 1/2 quarts stock (I used chicken)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy pan. Add the onions and coriander, cover, and cook on low heat until the onion is soft (I also let it get a little brown), about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and a cup of the stock. Cook, covered, until carrots are soft, 15-20 minutes. Add the rest of the stock and bring to a high simmer. Blend with an immersion blender (or put it through a blender or food processor). Serve and garnish with chopped cilantro. I also recommend diced avocado.

*They said to use whole coriander and crush it, which is bull unless you like eating popcorn hulls in your soup. Go for the ground.

Monday, January 30, 2012

what I thought about "the gabriel method"

Hoo boy, what a sack of bobcats this was.

This is a book written by a guy who was enormously, alarmingly fat about ten years ago. He was miserable, he almost went on United 93, he went broke . . . it was a lot of stuff. Then he moved to Australia and the details get a little sketchy here . . . but he lost a bunch of weight doing what he calls "The Gabriel Method," and what one disgruntled Amazon reviewer calls "loving yourself thin."

I got this book from the library because I heard about it recently, and I'm always interested in hearing about people whose nutritional principles are similar to mine. When I saw that it was a weight-loss book with hyperbolic claims on the cover I felt very suspicious. Then when I started reading it I thought the guy was a total dingbat. The first part of the book is full of fruitcakey tell-the-universe stuff, and I just about gave up. Look, I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe that meditation and visualization techniques can be very effective. I think it's highly likely that part of the reason I'm chubbier than I'd like to be is because I am also very mean and negative. I think I, as a Mormon, know a little something about asking people to believe weird stuff, and there's currently no way to cite obscure Eastern medicine and encourage people to "eat the sun" and chant "infinite abundance" without sounding like a nincompoop. It was hard going. But I soldiered on into the nutrition section, which I generally agreed with.

I also agree that we are surrounded by toxins all the time, which is hard on our bodies. But I had to part ways with him when he said he wouldn't consider a vaccine unless the disease is life-threatening, and "even then I would still rather rely on my body's natural defenses." Good luck with that, buddy. Good luck with smallpox and German measles and polio and diptheria. Because people did great fighting those off with their natural defenses, back before these modern times of industrialized food and sedentary desk jobs. Are there gross things in vaccines that are dangerous to us? Should they be cleaner? Almost definitely. But I'm not going to make the perfect the enemy of the good, and vaccines, in my Western-medicine-brainwashed opinion, are a net good.

And this book is also a net good. Did I surprise you? With all its warts (and there are many), with all its cheesy names like FAT Programs and SMART Mode and Jessie's Law and the Gabriel Method, with all its logic holes, there is still some very useful information in it. I will read it with my rolling eyes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I am not sorry to be without one

This is a terribly interesting story that you should read.

the story isn't as good as the costuming

If you mean something you light on fire to make your Coleman (or similar) lantern glow while you're on a camping trip, or if you mean an actual or figurative cloak (say, of responsibility), then you want to type MANTLE.

If you mean that thing above your fireplace you want to type MANTEL.

Friday, January 27, 2012

this one will keep your food cold for seven hundred

I wish my gardening/chickening/goating energy burst would come in the spring, when it would be somewhat useful to me. As it is, I'm full of all these ideas with no way of implementing them.

First, I want to have a better garden. Do you remember how pretty my garden was three years ago? That was cool. But it was a lot of work, and when we had a ton of goat babies in 2010 I lacked sufficient energy to handle both the goats and the garden, and we've never reached those verdant heights since. Goats are so needy! Not really. It's rude of me to blame them for my moral failings.

This year is going to be the year. I want a good garden, and I want to put a chicken moat around it. Here is a not-to-scale drawing: You put a fence around the garden, and the chickens help keep the bugs out of the garden, plus they have a nice big area to graze in without being able to come up on the patio and poop all over it. We'll get more chickens and Emmett can sell the eggs. Cute!

The goats need a better fence, too. Ugh, fencing is the farmer's constant nagging companion. We're slowly accumulating chain link panels, which are too small for the goats to get their heads through and push them over, which they are always doing (mainly Traci). Traci's udder may explode this year. I'm concerned about it. If I could go back in time I would not have bought her, and I think the Drakes, nice as they are, charged me far, far too much for her. No way is she in the same class as Finola. Remember Finola? Oh, the times we had. Sally and Rita and Julia are all shaping up into quite good goats. They have sweet temperaments and aren't too flighty, as I found last week when the gate got left open and they all walked out and were grazing the ditch. Willa and I had to round them up, and it had great potential to become a poop-smeared fiasco, but they were very docile and walked right back in with very little fuss.

I also need to start some grapes. I heard a good idea for bending a sixteen-foot cattle panel into an arch, and letting the grapes grow on that.

This is the year. Remind me later, when I'm complaining about how hot it is.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

what I thought about "this is a book"

Bless Demetri Martin. I am so thankful for him.

This book is exactly like watching a Demetri Martin TV special, only longer. A TV special as long as this book would get old, so the book form works in its favor, since you can stop now and then.

My kids love this book, but don't worry, I only let them read the parts that weren't naughty. For example, there is a really impressive palindrome that's all about a nasty loser at a strip club, and I didn't let them read that.

I loved this book, and if you enjoyed Demetri Martin. Person. or Very Important Things with Demetri Martin, then you will love this book, too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

why I hate crystal light

Okay, here's that commercial:

I think it's rotten to the core, and I'll tell you why. You have two attractive women on a plane, fitted into stereotypes so old they have beards. The brunette is pragmatic, businesslike, and a little caustic, the blonde is doe-eyed, breathy, and vacuous (her delivery of "it's almost bikini season" is note-perfect; a little insecure tremble, a nervous smile, her eyes opened wide with fluttering lashes).

The blonde is drinking plastic to replace the sweetness of the plastic she normally drinks--she knows. She knows that women should always, always be ashamed of their bodies, and should drink low-calorie non-foods to keep the weight off so they can look good for a man. It's the same with her hair--she's not a true blonde, but is smart enough to color her hair because blondes are prettier than brunettes, duh. The viewer is made to feel sympathy for the doe-eyed blonde when the brunette viciously attacks her for her benighted optimism that she might someday wear a swimsuit. Then comes the reveal, in which the sarcastic, ball-busting brunette is smacked down for her refusal to toe the line of body hyper-consciousness/insecurity. See, they ARE on a beach.Who's the stupid one now? The interaction when the bare-chested water guy comes up, and the blonde says in a baby voice, "I can help you with that," and starts unbuttoning her shirt as she turns and nyah-nyahs to the brunette that "I'm gonna get wet" makes me want to vomit on and slap her for being such a disgusting sellout.

It's the innocent-schoolgirl fetish, the blonde fetish, the submissive-woman fetish, the continued commodification of women and the assertion that their value lies solely in their appearance, and probably a few other misogynistic tropes all rolled into one. So if Crystal Light was aiming to reinforce offensive, dinosaurian social constructs, WELL DONE.

What are your feelings?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

about to yell at a drink

Remind me to tell you about Crystal Light and their awful, sexist, lookist, despicable commercial.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

smorgastarta? I think you mean delicious!

I love this idea I love this idea I love this idea!

a little bit of political ruminating

I sometimes wonder how the media manages to cover the nomination process without cracking up. It's weird how people sort of view it as a legitimate thing, instead of a grand piece of elaborate political theater, in which everybody says and does the most idiotic thing they can to prove themselves Right or Left enough.

I think Newt Gingrich might be getting all his current campaign funding from the Democratic party, because they are so pleased with the possibility of President Obama going up against what was once (and may soon be again!) the most hated man in America.

I just want to add, and younger and more delicate readers may want to avert their eyes from this, because it is a quote from my Grandpa Max, a former POW and generally scary dude: "You can't trust those fat sons of bitches. Because if they're greedy in one way, they're greedy in another." (Emphasis his.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

what I thought about "the magicians"

I can't decide how I feel about this book, whether it's original or derivative, wonderful or terrible. I do know that it's engrossing, because I read for five or six hours on Saturday. He samples freely from the mythology of Harry Potter and Narnia, but it's definitely not children's literature. If you are passionately devoted to Narnia, especially if you look upon C.S. Lewis as basically a saint, this might not be a great book for you. It's self-aware, but not in an irritating way. I had a hard time identifying with the protagonist, and he became thoroughly repugnant to me at one point. I think I'm glad I read it, but on a smaller scale it has tainted Narnia for me the way Wicked did the Wizard of Oz. I think I can get over it eventually.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

what I thought about "the forgotten skills of self-sufficiency used by the mormon pioneers"

First of all, that name. Woof! It's too long. But the book was ten bucks at Ye Olde Costco, so I decided to give it a whirl, even though it looked like it might be really cheesy.

There are some cosmetic and organizational problems, and in one of the chicken sections he includes a weird, unnecessary paragraph about a dream he had about the world running out of calcium (which is clearly impossible--we'll be assimilated by the Borg long before the calcium is gone), but it's full of interesting information. He talks about seed saving, perennial/self-perpetuating vegetables, fruits, chicken-keeping, wild yeast, and some other things I can't think of right now. It's a short book with some great practical advice, and if you're at all interested in this sort of thing, Provident Living as some call it, it's a good read and worth your time. Heck, it's worth it just for the bread recipe, which can also be used as pizza dough.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy loafers, and while we're on the subject

Like I said, I'm "remodeling" the basement, and you will not be surprised to learn that the project includes stripping off yet more ancient, vinyl-coated wallpaper. Old people, I swear. I have also found a bunch of horrible little toy nests that my children have created in corners and under beds and dressers, covered in cobwebs and dust. But every time I vow to just throw everything away I find something that tests my resolve. Like the Fisher-Price barn I bought from the D.I. when Grant was a baby. Not a one of my kids has played with it, or the castle, or the house (the one with the doorbell), or the circus train (of which I even have two sets, in case the kids broke one). I even bought them a ton of the old-style, dangerous, choking hazard Little People, and they're like, "Meh." Boy, I'm glad I didn't spend a bunch of money on eBay trying to get the Sesame Street buildings. Do you remember how cute that pink dragon was? And the blue elephant? What is wrong with kids today?

Gentlemen, you might want to check out for a minute and join us in the next para
graph. Ladies, you remember that I have had bra problems, and I'm kind of picky about my bras, because I have not a lot going on in that area, so what's there needs to be properly managed. I don't need underwires digging into my sides or giving me boobfurters, and I don't need the cups flaring out at the top and making lines in my t-shirts. So it was with low expectations that I bought a two-pack of those Maidenform bras they have at Costco. Costco is great and I love it, but who buys lingerie/foundation garments at a warehouse store? Me, evidently, because I love, love, love these bras. The straps sit just right on my shoulders, the underwire is the right size to cup and not smash, and they are very comfortable. I am so pleased. Take a chance; they're cheap, and you might like them as much as I do.

We took Grant and Ike to the orthodontist on Wednesday. I guess our orthodontist is a year older than me and graduated from the same high school, but I do not remember him. He seems competent and nice, though. It was a real picnic having all four kids in the exam
room, I'll tell you, jumping and climbing and fighting and playing with the teeth models and picking out what color their elastics will be, because they are all going to need braces. I blame John. But I forgive him, because his DMBA dental insurance is going to make the four sets of braces a slightly less impoverishing endeavor. My parents paid for four sets of braces for my sisters out of pocket. Can you believe that? That's like sixteen thousand dollars! Grant gets his in a couple of weeks, and he has picked out BYU colors for his elastics, the horror. Even though navy blue isn't even BYU's real blue, their blue is that stupid smurfy royal blue, they just stole navy blue from Utah State because they're jerks. Is there anything BYU doesn't ruin? I read a comment on BCC the other day that said God allows sports at BYU to give people a real-life example of the pride cycle. Man, I laughed so hard. For the uninitiated, here's the pride cycle: I like to try to go straight from pride and sin over to humility and repentance, skipping the chastening step. Eventually I hope to cut out all the steps but blessing and prosperity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

rock for people who don't like rock

Okay, I'm ready to talk about it now. John sent me a link the other day to an article about Crio Bru (there is an umlaut in their name, but I don't know how to make my computer type those). They have a very fruity website with silly health claims on it that may or may not be true, but here's the thing: it is roasted, ground cocoa beans (probably cacao nibs, technically). You brew it like coffee. Which means, and this is why I bought it (from the Harmons in Roy), that it will satisfy your craving for both coffee AND hot chocolate. Not that you have one, I'm just saying that some of us had multiple family members who drank coffee and filled the air with its sweet perfume, so coffee is conflated with happiness and security in our brains.

So much better than Postum or Pero. I can get cacao nibs in bulk from my hippie co-op, as well.

Coffee drinkers, help me out here: does a French press keep the coffee warm? Or are you left with a lukewarm drink that you then have to heat back up after it's finished brewing?

So, if I get to a point where I can't function if I don't start my day with a searingly hot cup of brewed cocoa, then we'll know that I'm in violation of the Word of Wisdom as I interpret it (ask me about my permissiveness!). At that point you are permitted to stage an intervention or something.

The goats all hate me right now. It might be because they don't have any straw in their hutches and they've eaten all the hay we used as bedding instead of straw. Who knows? Maybe they just don't like celery.

My Mormon Pioneer book has me all full of ideas for the spring, and I'm chomping at the bit to build a bigger chicken coop and get some more chicks. Maybe even a rooster again, now that all my kids are big enough to defend themselves. Ooh, I was so mad at that rooster when he attacked Willa. I just about put him into the next dimension I kicked him so hard.

Do you think I should give my parents some button quail for their anniversary? I bet they'd love that, being given a pet they didn't ask for. They're crazy about pets.

Monday, January 9, 2012

we gotta be LEADERS today, we gotta FIGHT to make things happen

Good morning, everyone! I'm sure you've already done your exercises and read something challenging and stimulating, per your New Year's resolutions.

I am going to buy something so exciting today. I will tell you about it later. I'm buying it on the way back from dropping our car off at the shop to find out why it growls like a tiger and drips oil all over the driveway. Prediction: the car is broken. Bonus prediction: it will be expensive to fix.

Maybe I'll buy a VW bus. Those Dharma people seemed to love them.

Boy, it's almost like Lost didn't happen, isn't it? Totally out of sight, out of mind.

In closing, let me share with you this hilarious video. As one commenter put it, "Cocaine is one hell of a drug."

When you think about it, aren't we all in the sales business, really?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

what I thought about "drive"

This is an interesting book. It's certainly going to affect the way I parent, and the way I set goals for myself. I don't want to spoil it for you, but you should know that paying your kids to score goals in soccer is stupid and counterproductive. But you knew that already.

It's not gripping from start to finish, but I'm still glad I read it, and I'm considering buying or making copies of the parenting tool kit at the back. It's not just about parenting, though, in fact it's not even mostly about parenting. I recommend it.

My kids will be excited to learn that they can start getting an allowance.

mixed with zach galifianakis

I told Dr. Doug as I was sitting down in the chair, "I'm sure I have a cavity!" and he had the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to remark to his assistant, who is his daughter Natalie, "She says that every time she comes in," and he totally didn't think I would have a cavity, because my teeth are always so healthy. He is to blame for my overweening tooth conceit. P.S. he was right. You will be gratified to know that I received a clean bill of health, re: the teeth. I just have worn down the enamel (probably with my fervid brushing) and exposed a nerve, is all. Slap some sealant on it, done.

Can we talk about books for a minute? Yes, let's. How long are we going to have to wait before people stop re-imagining the Three Pigs story? Three gators, three javelinas, three naked mole rats, shut up with it already, won't you? I mean, do you not find it infuriating that there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of genuinely talented children's book authors who are going unpublished because some idiot publisher keeps greenlighting another Katie Couric vanity project or "It's like the three pigs, only they're mermaids! In Alaska!" Jeez Louise, you're killing me. It's like someone saying, "Hey, people love the Beatles! So here's what I'll do. I'll sing a Beatles song, only my way!" No.

It's time for my post-Christmas home "improvement" project. This year it's going to be the basement, otherwise known as the dank pit. I don't even know where to start.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

dental rakes

We're going to the dentist today and I'm sure I have a cavity, which is terribly upsetting to me. It bothers me whenever I eat something sweet or cold, and I hear that's a bad sign. I don't think I've ever had a cavity before! I love my dentist, who is my uncle Doug. He is an actual dentist, not just some guy in our family with a drill, by the way. One of the things I looked forward to when we moved back here was having him as a dentist again, because I thought all dentists were good until I moved away. My kids love him too. I think his practice might be accepting new patients again, if you want to give him a buzz. Douglas R. Adams, DDS. It's not fancy with virtual-reality glasses or sleep dentistry or anything, but he will give you Trident and let you watch Spongebob while you're waiting for your turn. Plus your very own toothbrush and mini tube of toothpaste.

While we're there I'm going to ask Doug to put claws behind Willa's teeth to stop her from sucking her fingers. It's a real problem. I already asked my brother-in-law Daniel to cast her arms so she couldn't get her fingers in her mouth, but he's stonewalling. Do they want her to look like Prince Charles? See, the Prince Charles threat worked on Ike, but so far no dice on Willa. I should show her a picture to make it more real.

Monday, January 2, 2012

we are sowing, daily sowing

Hey, everybody! I feel like it's been ages since we talked. How were your Christmasses? Ours was plentiful without being too extravagant, I think. Here's a suggestion for your charitable giving for Christmas 2012: the Heifer Project. There's a link to it on the sidebar. They're one of my favorite charities, and now they have a cute little online activity for kids to help them feel more engaged in the donation process, and now they even send you updates on the animal(s) you buy. It gives you the enjoyment of buying an animal without the poopy and exercise-discipline-affection ramifications.

Have you set any goals for the new year? Make sure they're measurable and obtainable, or you're just setting yourself up for failure. Not to take the wind out of your sails or anything, but: FAILURE. Like, I can't just say, "Be a better mom" or "Don't be lazy." There have to be specifics. I'll let you know once I figure out how to quantify "Manage my time better." I suspect spending less time searching the classifieds and shelter sites for dogs I have no intention of buying is a component.

What are your goals? To learn a new language (Klingon/Welsh), maybe?