Monday, March 22, 2010

the fishbowl

Soon after we married, dh and I moved into the super-cheap, cinder block, all-utilities paid on-campus "married housing". (My guess is BYU is the only university with what amounts to married dorms. That's a topic for another day.) The apartment was quite small and the walls dripped condensation in the winter. But it was close to campus and so CHEAP. We were happy to be there.

There were four buildings on our "quad" (hence the name) and they all faced in, with a greenbelt and tiny playground (again, only at BYU) in the middle. I felt this layout would lend itself well to impromptu BBQ dinners and someone pulling out their guitar to play "Edelweiss." Needless to say, we avoided the greenbelt.

I often thought of that quad as a sort of fishbowl for young marrieds. At night the glow of fluorescent light told everyone you were home. A bluish light indicated MOVIE NIGHT! We heard a few loud marital disputes and even some summer lovin'. (I know, gross. We didn't have A/C and everyone left their windows open).

Our first baby lived there with us for 6 weeks before dh graduated. It was then that I really appreciated the fishbowl. At 1:00 am (and 3:00, and 5:00), when Flash was crying his eyes out and I couldn't figure out why I opened the blinds and looked out at the fishbowl. Without fail, there were other lights on. By then I knew the other residents--I knew who had a baby of their own, who was in law school, who was pre-med. I felt a certain kinship and even encouragement as I looked out. This was part of being an adult. Part of being a mom. I could do it.

Recently a friend was (sort of) railing on bloggers. She feels bloggers are probably internet addicts. They have nothing better to do. They are neglectful parents. I tried to explain it, but I probably failed. If I could have that conversation again I would describe it in terms of the fishbowl. No matter what your life is right now, you can look out and find someone who gets it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the source of the fabric

I had a few requests for the name of the (failed) curtain fabric. It's called Mocca Red and it's made by Keepsake Calico. I bought it at Joann Fabric. Here's the link:

I'm so tempted to make a skirt out of it. Would that be too much Mocca Red in my life?

Friday, March 12, 2010

curtain fail.

A person who has had only 2 hours of sleep should not make curtains. A person who is too lazy to find the measuring tape should not measure for curtains. (I'm not even sure the measuring tape made it on the moving truck.). It's unbelievable to me that I managed to mess up 2 separate sets of curtains on the same day. I really thought I had measured correctly.

I'm happy with the eventual result on the brown floral curtains, but not loving the tab-top curtains. Ah, well... lesson learned, route to fabric store thoroughly memorized, tension on sewing machine shot. Time to take a break from sewing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

meat + sugar + caffeine ... in a healthy salad!

My saintly mother gave each of her children a binder full of favorite recipes for Christmas. I've added a few of my own to the binder and find that I'm using it almost every day. What a great gift, right?

One of the recipes in the binder is a copycat of the Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad from a wonderful Tex-Mex restaurant called Cafe Rio. I've tried other copycat recipes and, sister, this is the best one. I'm sure it has everything to do with the 2 cups of Coke, not to mention the brown sugar AND molasses. I'm using my own rice recipe--a favorite for years. This is a great meal for serving a crowd, especially a crowd who wants a meat, sugar, and caffeine rush all at once.

Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad

Sweet Pork

4 lb pork roast
1-2 cans tomato sauce
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/2-2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cumin
2 cups Dr Pepper or Coke
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Spray crock pot with Pam and place pork roast inside. Mix remaining ingredients until sugar has dissolved. Pour over roast and cook on low until pork can be shredded with a fork (8-10 hours). The finished meat/liquid mixture can be frozen for later use.

Cilantro Rice

1 cup fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh jalapeno chilie, stemmed, or ½ can green chiles
2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup grated carrot

In a blender, whirl cilantro, garlic, chilie, and 1 cup broth until smooth. In a 3-4 quart pan over medium heat, stir oil, rice, onion powder and cumin until rice is a pale golden color, 5-8 minutes. Stir in cilantro mixture, remaining broth, and carrot. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. If desired, season to taste with salt.

Creamy Cilantro Dressing

2 cups Ranch dressing
1 cup salsa verde (La Victoria or other store brand is fine)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped or snipped with kitchen scissors
salt to taste

My favorite way to put this meal together is as follows: make a bed of delicious cilantro rice on a plate. Top with a scoop of black beans and a scoop of sweet pork. Cover with romaine lettuce and drizzle with Cilantro Dressing.

Monday, March 08, 2010

hooray for...

The sun. Which has been out, in full force for 7 WHOLE DAYS! Perfect weather for going outside and ignoring the blog!
Loreal Magic Perfecting Base. This stuff is wonderful. Even miraculous. A tiny dab fills in your pores and even (some) wrinkles. I top it off with Clinique Almost Powder Makeup. I'm not sure if I actually look better, but I feel like I do.

The Office. I was sort of bored by it for a bit, but NBC lured me back in with that sweet (and creepy in one spot--nursing a stranger's baby) episode about Jim and Pam's baby. I'm such a sucker for happy family stories, even when they're fake.

This talk by David S. Baxter. I listen to it every day. My favorite part:

Selfless service is a wonderful antidote to the ills that flow from the worldwide epidemic of self-indulgence. Some grow bitter or anxious when it seems that not enough attention is being paid to them, when their lives would be so enriched if only they paid more attention to the needs of others.

The answer lies in helping to solve the problems of those around us rather than worrying about our own, living to lift burdens even when we ourselves feel weighed down, putting our shoulder to the wheel instead of complaining that the wagons of life seem to be passing us by.