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!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Tuesday March 29, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 1:47 pm

BAKE THESE COOKIES.  I.mean.it.  You NEED these cookies.

This is a recipe that comes courtesy of one of Toad’s new running friends.  I don’t know what is up with the baking/foodie runners, but there seem to be lots of them.  Who knew?  In the last two weeks, I have made these cookies twice.  They are delicious and very close to nutritious (for a cookie).  They are also Vegan if you’re into that kind of thing.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose or half whole-wheat/half all-purpose – all whole-wheat is too grainy)
  • 1 1/3 cups oats (quick-cooking or rolled)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbl honey
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbl ground flaxseeds
  • 1 11.5oz  pkg milk or dark chocolate chips

PREPARATION

  1. Mix dry ingredients (flour through sugar)  in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix wet ingredients (oil through flax) in a large bowl.
  3. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 3 batches.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper **Cookies will not spread, so feel free to put them an inch apart**
  6. Bake at 350 for 16 minutes
 

I Love You Dad! Saturday March 26, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Family — The Professor @ 5:09 pm

Life hasn’t been easy for my folks lately.  In spite of all of the twists and turns they remain their optimistic, solid selves.  Earlier this week, after MONTHS of Dad undergoing test after test after test, the doc came back with the C word.  NOT what we wanted to hear.  DEFINITELY not what my cancer-phobic borderline crazy self wanted to hear.  Actually the word was “lymphoma”, but I know what that means.  B cell lymphoma to be somewhat precise.  (I didn’t even know that we HAD B cells) There is still work to be done in the way of being completely precise, but the doctors are honing in.

I have been particularly grateful this week for my own little family.  I’m sure I would have been much more of a disaster without a son who keeps me running all day long and a wife who is there for me to collapse into when all that running is over.  Those two are perfect for me.

In the center of this whirlwind of doctor visits and anxiety and general overwhelm, there’s my Dad.  My calm, quiet, supporting cast kind of a Dad.  This news has thrust him right into the attention spotlight and I know that (in addition to all the rest of it) that can’t feel too comfortable.  I’m adding to the situation by blogging about the guy, but there it is.  It’s a lot to handle, but if anybody can do it, he can.  He is already helping us begin the process of coping with this news by continuing to approach the world with his own brand of quiet confidence.  He is taking it all in and moving forward.  As for me, I’m doing what I can to follow his example just as I always have.

 

Kale & Quinoa Pilaf Wednesday March 16, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 2:48 pm

In case you’re not watching Modern Family (and really, you should be) and missed it, kale is the new spinach.  Or in my life, kale is the new black.  It’s crazy good for you and not bad for something as green as it is and this dish is DELICIOUS.  We had this a few nights back and Toad already wants it on next weeks’ menu.  I think the flavors might have been a welcome respite to my southwestern heavy leanings,  but this was one yummy dinner!  Also, I found this recipe on my new favorite foodie site Food 52.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups salted water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and chopped into 1″ lengths
  • 1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced (I used a regular old lemon)
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil (I used olive)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used feta)
  • salt and pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, walnut oil, pine nuts, and goat cheese.
  3. Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed — the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.
 

The Second Week of March Monday March 14, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,The Wife & Mother — The Professor @ 6:29 pm

I spent the week reveling in the joy of BEING somewhere.  I much prefer settling in to closing up the old or even starting the new.  It’s just so nice to snuggle in, especially somewhere you love.  In case you didn’t get the memo, I love this house.  What you see above are some of my favorite spots.

There was of course more to the week than just the new house high.  On Wednesday afternoon our friendly social worker came to the house for our adoption home visit.  Although Toad and I have (too much) time with her both in person and on the phone, this was her first introduction to Bean.  Smitten.  She was definitely smitten.  That has to be a good thing, no?  We were so relieved to have jumped through the final hoop of this adoption process that the three of us went out for a celebratory dinner that night.  Bean and I met Toad at the restaurant after work so as to maximize happy Bean time and it was a good idea.  The little guy had a blast with a fork and a menu and I was of course thrilled to be eating dinner at 5:30.  Really.

Another highlight came on Friday with Bean’s 6 month check-up  in which he charmed everyone in the office and got a great report from the doctor.  Well done little Bean!  Toad was on call for the weekend and spent both Saturday and Sunday at the hospital, but we met her for lunch both days and even managed to wrangle time for the purchase of both a lawnmower and blinds for Bean’s room.  Ah the joys of home ownership.

 

This is Where I Leave You (Jonathan Tropper) Sunday March 13, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,The Reader — The Professor @ 4:34 pm

This wasn’t the book I thought it was.  I thought I had picked up another book by this guy (likely a matter of similar tastes in cover art) and I was five chapters in before I realized that I was wrong.  Happily I was wrong in a good way.

I went for the Joshua Ferris/Jonathan Tropper because I was in the mood for dark and funny.  Dark and funny is exactly what I got with This is Where I Leave You.  The story is told by Judd Foxman, a man who is helping fulfill the dying wish of his father (who was by all reports an atheist) by sitting shiva with his wacky family.  The novel unfolds over the seven days of mourning and manages to get into everything from infertility and infidelity to sibling rivalry and traumatic brain injury.  The perfect balance of serious/thought-provoking and hysterical.  I was thrilled to find out that this is his fifth book.  I will definitely be reading the first four!

 

Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan Wednesday March 9, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 9:22 am

I have been wanting to cook with farro for the last few months and this recipe might just inspire a trip to the grocery to pick some up.  I found this one at a beautiful (love the foodie photography) website called Food 52.  This goes on the menu for next week.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound wild mushrooms (use a mix of your favorites)
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped or crumbled parmesan (not grated – you want a slightly coarser texture here)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley

PREPARATION

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the farro and enough cold water to cover it by about an inch. Soak for 20 minutes. Drain well and return the farro to the pan, again covering it with cold water. Add a few generous pinches of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the farro is tender but still has some bite.
  2. While the farro is cooking, wipe and trim the mushrooms and then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently to distribute everything; spread the mushrooms out evenly on the baking sheet and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crisp around the edges and cooked through.
  3. When the farro is cooked, drain it well and spread it on a clean baking sheet to cool. Do the same with the mushrooms once they are cooked. When the farro and mushrooms are close to room temperature, or just barely warm, combine them in a serving bowl. Add the lemon juice and 6 tablespoons of olive oil, tossing gently to combine. Then add the parmesan, parsley and a generous grinding of pepper and fold gently. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve at room temperature.