Monday, June 30, 2008

solar-powered clothes dryer

So ever since gas prices started skyrocketing, hanging out laundry is all the rage in our neighborhood. I love the fact that it takes about 20 minutes for a load of towels to dry. dh doesn't love the idea of a clothesline (thinks it's "trashy"--we won't mention the Mountain Dew and Twizzlers habit here) so I don't leave it up all the time. I looked in Flash's cubscout book and found a knot that unties easily so I can use my super secret clothesline at will.

overnight shenanigens

Guess what happens when you put palmolive liquid soap in the dishwasher? dh did and at 2:00 am, he and his brother-in-law (pictured above), up late writing code, found themselves mopping up the kitchen with bath towels. I woke up to a positively *sparkling* kitchen floor.

Monday, June 23, 2008

free time.... hmm.....

I guess I've had free time lately, because I'm a posting maniac this week. I just wanted to pass on this recipe from my favorite portly ex-boxer/ grill engineer/ cookbook author, George Foreman. I do love his little grill. I read in Newsweek that red meat cooked at high heats can increase the consumer's cancer risk. Here, then, is a ground turkey burger recipe that everyone in my family really likes:

1 lb lean ground turkey
6 oz lowfat Swiss or Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 egg white
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
4 onion rolls or hamburger buns

Combine all ingredients (except buns, of course) in a medium bowl. Shape into patties. Spray with Pam. Grill.

You can also omit the shredded cheese and form the patties around a little lump of blue cheese. Very tasty.

One more idea for the George Foreman grill:

Split focaccia rolls in half, layer meat, cheese, roasted red peppers, fresh spinach, etc, and use the grill as a panini press. Tasty goods.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

wacky english

Just a random sampling of wacky english. Our anniversary's on Tuesday and we celebrated with a trip to Chinatown (not quite the same as last year's trip to the actual China, but tasty fun nonetheless). Here are some of the sights we saw:

1. This is a bubble tea shop. Bubble tea is a tasty fruit shake kind of thing with huge black tapioca pearls in the bottom (not necessarily made with tea). What, then, is a "dunobaby?"

2. Please, no "pop pop."

3. It may seem to be a package of white pepper, but it's so much more than that.

For more happy english fun, please to visit

what we did on summer vacation

Last weekend we took a trip to the Texas Coast with the author of Round Tuit and her family after a day at the Cockrell Butterfly Center, where the above picture was taken. As always, we really loved it, and as always, I was freaked out by the giant millipedes (live, yes, they're live) that they also have. Ewwwww!

The beach was awesome... so awesome that we stayed much longer than was wise, and despite many applications of sunscreen, we all got BAKED. (Wait, is baked a euphemism for stoned? I can't remember, anyway, we got really sunburned.) Poor dh got no real beach time; by the time he arrived we were scared of the sun and literally going from shady spot to shady spot under an umbrella.

We had a memorable dinner in a theme-y restaurant with many pirate mannequins (one of them danced) and shark stuff all over, etc. Then a trip to a marine research center where we got to pet some dead animals (a tiny shark, some fish, an eel) and some live ones (a sea cucumber -- GROSS! -- and a sea urchin). I think we all had a great time. We picked up some souvenirs, including a huge sand dollar that I suspect came from a different coast, but it's pretty. We also brought home the lacy, delicate designs of peeling sunburns on our backs. Flash's looks like a butterfly. Mine just looks creepy; the other day dh said, "You're MOULTING!" Nice.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

since you asked...

Patty O. requested a favorite meatless recipe, so here ya go!

Four-Veggie Roast (from Martha Stewart, slightly altered)

2 large carrots
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans (6 oz)
5-6 small new potatoes, halved (8 oz) or 8 oz of Yukon gold or red potatoes, cubed*
1 small onion
1 T olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Coarse salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Thoroughly wash vegetables.

Peel and cut carrots into slices almost 1/2 inch thick. Snip

the tiny ends off green beans, and snap them into pieces

about 2 inches long. Peel onion; cut into wedges. In a

square or 9 x 13" metal baking pan, combine olive oil, soy

sauce, garlic, and ginger. Add all the vegetables. Stir

gently to coat with seasonings. Sprinkle with pepper and

salt, if desired. Roast the vegetables, uncovered, for 20-25

minutes or until just tender, stirring vegetables once or

twice with a long-handled wooden spoon. Test vegetables with

a fork to check doneness.

Serves 3-4

*Sweet potatoes can also be used.

something fishy... er, chickeny

When I saw labels on Tyson chicken claiming "no antibiotics," I was skeptical. Turns out I'm not the only one; they've been ordered to remove that claim from their label and advertising. This whole antibiotics/hormones thing freaks me out from time to time. I've been trying to cook with less meat, as the Chinese do. Rarely does a Chinese cook prepare a big slab of meat, unless it's a whole fish. I try to limit the amount of meat I use in a meal to 2 chicken breasts (or equivalent) and then fill the rest out with veggies and grains. No complaints so far, even from my Michigander dh who literally grew up on steak and potatoes every night.