Blue in the Sky

A lesbian wife and mother tries her hand at something new. Surely there is a hat that fits out there somewhere!

Connecting with my Inner Chef Sunday January 31, 2010

Filed under: Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 1:14 pm

I don’t know if it’s the snow (we’ve got a little more than 10 inches on the ground) or the fact of my being emotionally unemployed (I coined this phrase during a crying jag this morning – I’m clearly SO over that place), but I’ve been cooking.  Tonight will make three nights in a row.  I’m not sure when I last accomplished such a feat.

Last night we had Beef & Sweet Potato stew which was just the thing for a snowy day.  They say it serves 6, I say we had a healthy serving left over.  ONE healthy serving.  Yum.  Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 pound lean beef boneless chuck or stew beef, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • dash ground allspice
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks, or 12 frozen small white onions, thawed
  • 1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 dried apricots, cut in half
  • chopped fresh parsley


Trim any excess fat from beef; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Brown beef in the hot oil, stirring to brown all sides.

In a 4 to 5-quart crockpot, combine browned beef with sweet potatoes, garlic, allspice, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, onion, and tomatoes. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours, or until beef is tender. Stir in apricots.

Cover and cook on low about 20 minutes or until apricots are softened. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Sprinkle a little fresh parsley over the stew just before serving.

Serves 6.

Tonight we are entering the land of vegan meatloaf.  I’m appropriately frightened, but optimistic.  We found this recipe in the January Vegetarian Times.  I’m hoping it looks something like this:


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.) divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. herbes de provence
  • 1 15-oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 8-oz pkg. tempeh
  • 1/4 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce


Preheat oven to 350^F. Coat large loaf pan with olive oil cooking spray. Bring 1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp. garlic, bay leaf, and 1 cup water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until oatmeal is thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, and set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add herbes de Provence and remaining 1 tsp. garlic, and saute 1 minute more. Add chopped tomatoes and juice. Crumble tempeh into mixture and stir in vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Transfer tempeh mixture to food processor, add cooked oatmeal, and blend until combined. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups oats and baking powder, and pulse until combined.

Spread oat mixture in prepared loaf pan. Spray top with olive oil cooking spray, and pour marinara sauce over top. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until top begins to brown and marinara sauce is hot and bubbly.


Just Do It Friday January 29, 2010

Filed under: Food Glorious Food — The Professor @ 10:22 am

Now that I have decided that I am officially over my job, I have decided to put some energy into becoming a better wife.  A good idea, no?  Part of being a fabulous wife is cooking fabulous things.  Or hey…. cooking at all.  You’ve got to start somewhere, right?!

So last night when Toad got home from work, there was actual homemade food in the works.  I’m surprised she didn’t pass out from  the shock of it all.  The meal was tasty and nutritious and all the chopping and smashing was quite cathartic.  I was pleased.  And maybe ever so slightly satisfied with my efforts.  THAT hasn’t happened in a while.

I’m telling you this bc I think you should make this stuff yourself.  Easy and yum.  Cooking Light calls it one it’s Best Vegetarian Entrees and Toad and I agree.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 1  (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4  cup  finely crushed baked tortilla chips (about 3/4 ounce)
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped green onions
  • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  large egg white
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  canola oil
  • 1/4  cup  mashed peeled avocado
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped tomato
  • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped red onion
  • 2  tablespoons  fat-free sour cream
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lime juice
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
    Remaining ingredients:
  • 2  (6-inch) pitas, each cut in half crosswise
  • 4  thin red onion slices, separated into rings
  • Microgreens

To prepare patties, place pinto beans in a medium bowl; partially mash with a fork. Add cheese and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir until well combined. Shape bean mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) oval patties.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until patties are browned and thoroughly heated.

To prepare spread, combine avocado and next 5 ingredients (through salt), stirring well. Place 1 patty in each pita half. Spread about 2 tablespoons avocado spread over patty in each pita half; top with onions and greens.


Daybook Thursday January 28, 2010

Filed under: Daybook — The Professor @ 7:19 pm

FOR TODAY… January 28, 2010

Outside my window… the world is bright.  The weather people claim that snow is coming.  We’ll see.

I am thinking… that it is a lot harder to actually stop caring than it is to decide that you’re going to stop caring.

I am thankful for… all of  the good people in my life.

I am remembering… thinking that there is no one in the world that I couldn’t deal with.  Ahh….those were the good old days.

I am wearing… soft old blue jeans, a grey t-shirt and a green fleece.  Oh and green and grey striped socks.

I am currently reading… The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.  Toad gave me this book for Christmas and I held out on it as long as I could.  I love Wally Lamb and I’m loving this book.  It’s rough, but it’s worth it.  

I am hoping… that I have the capacity to emotionally disengage from my job.  I know I need to do it, but man is it hard.  Disconnection is not my natural state.

On my mind… entirely too many thoughts about my job.

Noticing that… spring is going to come eventually.  Today we almost got into the 60’s and although tmw temperatures are expected to plummet, I could feel the possibility of spring in the air this afternoon.

Pondering these words… four more months.  Four more months.

On the agenda this week… not so much.  Life is pretty quiet around here.

Around the house… Toad is cleaning up from dinner, Gadget is sprawled on the back of the couch and Baker is napping on the bed.

One of my favorite things… are warm, colorful socks.  Happiness.

From my picture journal…


Today I Got There Wednesday January 27, 2010

Filed under: Career — The Professor @ 3:37 pm

My work environment continues to get worse.  Hard to believe.  This morning I hit a new low and I finally just got angry.  Big, huge, overwhelmingly ugly angry.  It’s not something I’m used to.  As part of a leadership training course a few years ago, I underwent all sorts of personality and conflict management assessments.  At the midpoint of the week-long course, we each had an hour-long session with a psychologist to discuss the results of all the assessments we had done.  I can remember this woman looking right at me and telling me that she had never seen anyone with a fuse as long as mine.  When I asked her what that meant, she explained that it takes a VERY long time for me to get profoundly angry (it might only happen a few times in my life), but that when I finally get there, people die.  It’s a big deal.  Yikes!  Obviously she was being dramatic, but I definitely understood what she meant.  It takes ALOT to really make me mad, but when I’m mad it’s best to stay out of the way.

Today I got there.  It’s taken two and half years, but I made it.  The end of my rope.  I’m done.  They’ve got my body going through the motions for the next four months (you’re SO right T), but they don’t have me.  The Professor has left the building.  I might only be numb, but it feels like it’s over.  All of that anger burned the emotional attachment right out of me.  I spent lunchtime looking around for meaningful things to do with myself and as the universe would have it, the monthly volunteer orientation  for the hospital is tonight.  I’m going.


I HATE My Job Monday January 25, 2010

Filed under: Career — The Professor @ 1:48 pm

My nemesis has been promoted.  In spite of the promises that she would be relieved of her duties stat, she not only continues to be here but she is now a Full Professor.  This is a rank that less than 30% of academics ever achieve.  There are many words to describe this situation, but none of them are remotely professional.


Daybook Tuesday January 19, 2010

Filed under: Daybook — The Professor @ 4:26 pm

FOR TODAY… January 19, 2010

Outside my window… the sun is shining brightly.  It’s in the 60’s today.  Perfect!  Such a wonderful break from the cold.

I am thinking… that I love my family.  Toad and I spent the weekend with my parents and it was such a comfy, fun visit.  We celebrated birthdays and had good talks and ate red fish that my Dad caught and made lemonade from the lemons in my aunts’ backyard.

I am thankful for… the safety and security in my life.

I am remembering… all those years of watching Little Boy King as a kid.  I’m pretty sure I watched that movie every Friday before the MLK holiday for the 12 years I spent in public school.  I can still sing the song in fact: “Little Boy King keep your dream close to your heart”.

I am currently reading…. Slow Man.  Still working on that.  It’s a different kind of book, but I’m enjoying it.

On my mind… family and connections between people.  Thinking alot about the people in Haiti.

Noticing that… Baker has now left his mark on every curbed Christmas tree within a 3 mile radius of our house.  I’m not sure what the appeal is, but the boy canNOT walk by a Christmas tree.

On the agenda this week…Hopefully we will have a Toad birthday dinner night.  Her birthday was more than 10 days ago and we haven’t made time for own celebration yet.  This weekend Toad will be headed to Denver for a visit with her brother.  It didn’t work for me to join, so I’ll be home with the boys.  I’ll miss her, but a little quiet time will be a good thing too.

One of my favorite things… is tea with milk before bed.  A new winter ritual.

From my picture journal… a lovely celebration of color.  I didn’t take the picture by the way ;).


Daybook Tuesday January 12, 2010

Filed under: Daily Life,Daybook — The Professor @ 5:34 pm

FOR TODAY… January 12, 2010

Outside my window… it’s snowing!  Pretty cool really.  On our morning walk, there were tiny flakes all around us.  What a fun surprise.  It’s hard for snow to sneak up on us in the south (seems like we hear about the potential for snow DAYS before it actually happens and often it never does), so it’s extra cool when it does.  A magical morning.

I am thinking… that it feels good to be back in the swing of things.  A break is fabulous, but getting back to real life is its own kind of treat.

I am thankful for… everything.  I try to be anyway.

I am remembering… all sorts of childhood things lately.

I am currently reading…. Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee.  I bought this book a few years back bc it won the Nobel Prize and then I realized that it was about a man who loses his leg in an accident on a bike.  Ummm… thank you.  When Toad is in riding shape she can put a hundred miles on a bike in a good week.  This scares me when I stop and think about it.  Small woman and small bike on big roads with big cars.  Yikes.  So, I don’t exactly seek out opportunities to think alot about bike wrecks.  However, Toad is on a biking break so I’m going to give the book a try.  They say it’s good.

I am hoping… for Thursday.

On my mind… life transitions.  Beginnings, endings, middles.  That is the topic for the Connections group tonight, so I’ve been pondering for the last few days.

Noticing that… although January does not mark the end of winter, it really should.

Pondering these words… My wife is 33.  Can you believe that?!  I guess it was bound to happen.

On the agenda this week…tonight is my Connections group at church.  We’re talking about life transitions tonight.  Looking forward to that.  On Thursday night we’re getting together with the Grabs for dinner.  Looking fwd to hearing about their holiday trip to Germany.  Then on Friday we head to Memphis for a visit with my parents.  It’s been a long time and I can’t wait to see them.  Hoping  for a weekend of good visiting.

Around the house… I’m happy that we’re all back together.  Our little rental house isn’t the greatest, but it’s our spot and I love when we’re all in it.

One of my favorite things… is warmth.

From my picture journal… nothing at the moment.