Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Great Garbonzo

I tend to get overly excited about things that most people don't. Actually I often get overly excited about things that many people openly hate. I will explain, but first, I must rewind.

I am beginning to think that I am a virtual Bermuda Triangle of medical mystery. Either that or I am actually 80 years old. On the upside, if I am 80, my skin is fantastic. I mean, my knees don't bend, I cannot function on less than 9-10 hours of sleep, I just had a significant section of my breast removed and occasionally I have a teensy bit of a problem with continence. Seriously. I am 80. TMI? Who cares, I am 80 and with that I am going with a wardrobe of purple and gold, getting 17 more cats and disclosing waaaaaay too many details about my health and my cats' eating habits. So just imagine my surprise when two days ago I do make it to the bathroom in time but instead of pale yellow I see an undeniable shade of pink. Rosy, pure pink. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? No, it was not my "monthly". What is this? Blood? Not red, but, pink. Admittedly, it was beautiful shade, but not what I wanted to see where I saw it. Sigh. I tried to push this most recent MMM (Meg medical mystery) aside and head to the fridge for some comfort food. I open the fridge and was instantly cheered. Beets! I loooooooove beets. Love them. I hadn't bought them in a while but saw the most beautiful red, purple and yellow beets on my last shopping trip. There is nothing better than a beet and goat cheese salad. Nothing. Woohoo! Beets! Medical mystery be da. . .wait a second. . .beets. Beets! It was the beets! I am not horse of a different color, I just ate too many beets. Darn anthocyanin, it will get you every time.

See? Way too excited about the beets. Another example would be the great garbonzo. Since my new push to eat less meat I have been experimenting with more beans. I looooooove beans. Really, I love them (see? Here I go again.) Lately I have been loving chickpeas (garbonzo beans) and I have been a little over eager to share some of the recipes I have found and developed. I have told almost everyone I know about my garbonzo bean pasta sauce. It is a little embarrassing to be honest, but I can't help it. I think about it and I just start gushing. It is so so so good and so healthy it is ridiculous! I simply do not have enough friends here in Maui to quench my excitement over this recipe so I had to share it here. I know it sounds weird, but you have to try it. You really must, it is yummy and so good for you! Lily likes it better than macaroni and cheese.

Pasta with chickpeas and tomatoes:

2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can drained)
2 cups broth (veggie or chicken) or 1 can
2 cloves garlic
3 diced tomatoes
yellow squash or zucchini coarsely chopped (I use mini crook neck squash. Yummy!)
1/2-3/4 cup frozen peas or broccoli or whatever is on hand and you or kids (or hubby will eat)
salt, pepper and red pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil
parm. cheese

cook minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant (15 seconds) do not burn.
add chickpeas and broth and simmer for 15 minutes
Add chickpeas, broth, and squash to food processor or blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce on whole wheat pasta, add peas and stir until evenly coated. Top with cheese and diced tomatoes.

I know, I know, it sounds disgusting. It's not. It started as a Cooking Light recipe (there's the cred) and I tweaked it and fine tuned it until it reached it's garbonzo greatness. Interesting tidbit: making a hearty pasta sauce from chickpeas is a traditional, Italian technique. Buon appetito!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weigh Guns, Ho! Bo.

I love living in Hawaii, I really do. I didn't at first, I admit it. It was hard to leave my friends, family and familiarity but I made new friends that are almost like family and everything here now feels familiar. There are times, however, when the homesickness bug sneaks back in. As I prepare to return to Utah in two weeks I am feeling especially nostalgic, so when my sister called me and told me about my family's mini-vacation to Salt Lake City I was downright jealous.

My brother, Richard, is attending college at Southern Utah University. He had planned to move home for the summer so my family set aside last weekend to travel south and help him move out. At the last minute Richard had a job interview and decided to wait and see if he got the job before moving his life's belongings 300 miles. Unfortunately, my mother had already gone to a fair amount of trouble to obtain a substitute for her Relief Society class on Sunday so, of course, she could not attend church at her ward. Instead, the whole fam headed north for a tour of historic Salt Lake City.

Their first stop was at the old ward house of my parents when they were first married. Then, off to the temple visitors center. On the way there, a homeless man approached my family (still dressed in Sunday best) and asked for some money to buy beer. When denied, the man became indignant. He started yelling at my family "What kind of missionaries are you anyway??? I know what you teach!" He whips out a tiny mini-bible out of his back pocket. "I know this thing backward and forward!" My dad then stops, turns and says to him "Hmm, I'd like to hear it backward." The hobo (as all vagrants are referred to in my family) then took a dollar out of his pocket, threw it in Tori's face and said "This isn't about money. THAT is what I think about money little lady!" and turned to walk away. My family crossed the street and when they looked back, the man had picked up the dollar.

At the Beehive house, they had one of the sweet sister missionaries from Canada give them a tour. Throughout the tour of the pioneer home, the missionary told them that some of the original furniture still in the house was made from old boxes or crates that the pioneers had brought with them across the plains. In the dining room the sister turns to my family and asks enthusiastically,

"Can any of you guess which piece in this room was made from a weigh gun?"

My family is confused. Apparently being Mormon our whole lives isn't enough to prepare you for such specific church history questions. Everyone is stumped. Everyone, except David (15), who is pointing out piece after piece, eager to get the answer. Picture frame? Nope. Glass vase? No. Salt and pepper shakers? At this point the missionary is confused as well. Tori, unable to take the shame of David knowing something she does not any longer asks:

"Uh, what is a 'weigh gun?'"

The missionary, with a look similar to that given to pregnant women who insist on wearing their belly rings full term, answers:

"The things with the big wheels?"

Still not getting it, David continues naming things made of glass, ceramic or dried flowers and Tori continues to fume in her confused state of rage. My mom leans forward and whispers "I think she means 'wagon'" and at the same time, my dad says "the table?". My whole family loses it and the missionary, I am sure is now convinced she has met the dumbest family in the entire world.

On the way back on Tracks, my family meets another hobo who asks to move in with them. Really, this is understandable. I am sure he, and the previous hobo, assumed that my family is sympathetic to hobos, as they appeared to have one traveling with them.

Below is a picture of my brother, Richard, taken today. I wonder if he got that job?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Green

One of my later decided on resolutions this year was to be more Green. Go Green! I guess I realized that I while I cared about the environment, my health and sustainable resources I was doing very little that actually helped. In fact, I was doing a lot of things that were hurting! I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to fix every Earth-bashing practice in my life in one day. Or even one week! The frog had it right, it isn't easy being green.
So I started slow. I know bleach and ammonia are bad for us and Mother Earth and her oceans but I simple can't afford to throw out all the Costco sized cleaners and spend five times their cost on Eco-friendly ones. Plus, if I already bought them, isn't the damage already done? Instead, I moved them outside to lessen their leaching directly into my home and to make it more inconvenient for me to use them. I hoped then, I would use my steamer and homemade cleaners more.
I started using cloth diapers again. I did this when Lily was little but then, during the water shortage (laundry was limited) I switched back to disposable. I had pegged this part of my green initiative to be the easiest. I already had all the stuff, I already knew how to do it, and this one SAVES money. Golden. All was golden for the first few weeks until Lily decided the extra bulk in the tooshie was cramping her style. Although she is only starting to put words together in sentences, perhaps the funniest one is "No panties Mama! No panties!". She CRIED when I tried to put them on her. She actually dug the disposables out of the closet and handed it to me. Smartie pants. Now at home she mostly goes diaper-less. This, needless to say, has been a step forward on the potty training front, and two steps backward on the lessening my use of toxic cleaners front.
Although I think organic fruits and veggies are a good idea (and I often buy them if I am already at the health food store so I don't have an extra trip), I am taking SMALL steps here. Finances dictate that I must choose my green battles wisely. So I chose dairy and meat because I think the hormones they pump into these babies cannot be good. I have been buying organic or natural dairy products since I became pregnant, plus I am not a big milk drinker so that was easy. Unfortunately you have to be Paris Hilton to afford natural or organic meat here. Instead I decided that a significant decrease in meat consumption would be our only choice. Anyone who has known me well enough to know my eating habits knows that this is actually not a stretch for me. I spent most of high school meat-less (thank you Upton Sinclair and Aspirin) and it wasn't until I was married that I really started eating meat (besides fish) regularly. Then, I found out that meat production uses a ton more natural resources to produce that farming. VINDICATION! I was back in the game!
My plans to give the planet a hug include:

Driving less
Gas here is closing in on $4.50 a gallon so this one has bonus features. I live only half a mile for the quaint Pukalani Superette ("Your Easy Does-It Store!") so when my knees are cooperative I can bike or walk there.
The down-side to this one is this means less beach days. Boo.

Buying Less
This is a double feature too. Obviously. This one is just to decrease packaging. You know, make things from scratch, weigh wants vs. needs etc. and of course, I got some of those re-usable shopping bags. . .now if I can only remember to take them into the store each time!

Get a Green thumb
I haven't done this one yet (unless you count the fifteen strawberry plants a neighbor dropped by) but I have big plans! BIIIIIG plans. Ironically I am a horrible gardener. I kill everything. Houseplants beware! I had an herb garden for a few weeks. . .dead. But I am determined. All I need is some seeds, some starts and some courage to ask my curmudgeonly landlord for some garden space. Any tips from those of you who grow are welcomed.

My Green Goals will comprise somewhat of a mini-series here on my blog. I am hoping that documenting my efforts will help me stick to it. I am a notorious quitter. Or maybe just a great idea person. Execution gets me every time. Any advice would be great. I am learning as I go and certainly need all the help I can get.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

May Babies

sorry this is sideways. . .I rotated it in iPhoto. I don't know. . .

It seems like a lot of good friends are having babies in May and June. And all of them are girls! Congratulations to Melynda and Tori! Your babes are darling. Beth is due soon, too, I can't believe it. Her little boy is the same age as Lily!
Today some girlfriends and I had a baby shower for a friend that recently moved downtown. This will be her fourth girl! Unfortunately, this was her FIRST baby shower. She always has moved right before the baby is born so she never got a shower! How sad! This time was no different (she moved) but we caught her anyway. We had a great time at the park (the lavender farm, our first choice, was closed) and ate good food. I had so much fun the last two nights staying up late sewing gifts for the new baby, Zoe (or Zoey, it isn't decided yet) so I thought I would share my projects. Congratulations again to all the new mothers of precious baby girls!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Music Monday Moving On

As you all know, or should know, my Music Monday posts were pretty much a farce. Chris is really the musical mastermind behind most of the new music I get introduced to. Although we have different tastes in music, he is always up on who is up and coming. He reads the blogs, listens to the podcasts and gets the mags. He does the research and then passes stuff on to me that he knows I will like.
For awhile he has said that he might want to write an occasional post on this blog. I was thrilled, maybe then there will be something worth reading here! Unfortunately, he has gone and started his own blog! Traitor! The man has a 2-3 hour commute each day so he has a lot of time to listen to music and books. His blog is a journal of his reviews. Plus he is smart and a great writer. So far, I think it is awesome and so I pass the Music Monday torch to him and refer you to his blog:

Any ideas for a new weekly quest? Photo Friday? Tofu Tuesday? Think Tank Thursday? Okay maybe I should just stick to cute videos of Lily and the occasional thought from left field.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Lily and I were reading and singing songs and she just was cracking me up. This is taken on my camera (not my video cam) so it looks a little rough but I wanted to catch it before she stopped performing (which is usually 8 seconds before I press record).

Tea for Two or From Beds to Threads

Last night was the Young Women mother/daughter tea party at our church. I had started this skirt for me a couple of (cough) years ago but never finished it. I decided the bright, vintage fabric was perfect for a tea party so I finished t up yesterday and made a quick, simple one for Lily to match. If you had asked me years ago if I was going to be the kind of mother that dressed to match her daughter I would have said "NO!", but I was actually really excited to be matchy patchy with Lily. I told Chris I could make him a matching vest and bow tie but he was less than enthusiastic.

The fabric used to be some bedsheets of my grandmother's. I don't know why I scrounged them from the DI pile but now I am glad I did. What else would I wear to a tea party?

America's Next Top Model

Last May I took Lily in for her first, and only studio photography shoot. The "photographer" was amateur but what can you expect from a mall chain photography studio? A few months later, an extra large version of the picture we chose showed up in the store front of the studio. I finally remembered to take a picture of it to document Lily's first advertising gig. The picture is still there after almost a year! Although pretty cool, I think I will be okay if this is her last modeling experience!

The picture I took didn't turn out too well, sorry! Lily is on the bottom right of the left vignette.