Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

This will be on TV Thursday at 7:00 Mountain time.  Check your listings (there's no rhyme or reason to how this translates to other time zones).  ABC.  Yay!

The Simpson's Halloween specials will have to wait 'till post-world series, watch for it the Sunday after Halloween.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin carving and raosting pumpkin seeds

A little pre-Halloween fun...

Dave's first face (he did a pirate on side two, but I don't have any pics!)  He looks soooo sad!!!!

Mine.  He won the award for most French.

Brent's.  Creepiest pumpkin EVER.
The back side of Frenchy

Roasting pumpkin seeds

Rinse your pumpkin seeds, let them dry, toss them in just a small amount of olive oil, salt, and throw in the oven at 350 for an hour or more.  Keep dry until you eat them!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


This past weekend I decided to officially give up on my garden and outdoor plants.  I'll move a few of the herbs inside for winter, but went back and forth on the basil plant.  Instead of bringing it in, I thought, why not strip it, see if it lives, and then if it keeps going, bring it in.  I took every green leaf I could get my hands on and made fresh pesto!  Still no frost here, despite the high elevation and the fact that, well, check out the pictures from two posts ago.
Sometimes my food pictures don't look so bad.  Sometimes they look like barf.  You make the call. 
The pesto is really only half of the story in this picture.  Gluten free cheese raviolis?!?!  Sure enough!  For a price, you can get anything your heart desires.  These gluten free raviolis were like $7 for maybe 10 of them.  Seriously.  Dave got enough pasta to last a year with his $7.  Luckily, I have a little pasta squeezer that attaches to my Kitchen Aid.  Unfortunately, I'm not very patient, nor do I have gobs of time on my hands, and trying to get gluten free dough to stay together through a pasta press is not something I'm willing to do on a regular basis.  Dave successfully made me cheese raviolis once using this contraption and it was positively to die for.  I usually use quinoa pasta elbows.  I highly recommend it, it's the only pasta that has the right texture and it is good for you too.  Look for the teal box in your organic section.  Go supergrains!

Before I get to the pesto recipe, speaking of gluten free food, I literally just realized a day ago that there is a P.F. Changs a block from the bus station I've been using for the last 14 months.  P.F. Changs is well known for its fabulous gluten free food, but I've never been to one!  I need to start varying my walking route, who knows what other treasures I'll find!

Pesto Recipe (off the top of my head, but probably ripped off from Bittman, serves 2-3)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 small cloves garlic (less if you're worried about your breath)
2 Tbsp roasted pine nuts (these are expensive, only buy what you need in the bulk section, then roast in a pan)
Pinch salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Throw everything in your food processor except the cheese and have at it!  Once it's all blended (you'll have to whip out your rubber spatula and scrape the sides a few times), throw it in a bowl, add the cheese and stir.  Oh, give it a taste, too, and see if it needs more salt.  Toss your gluten free pasta of choice in the pesto and put some extra grated cheese on the table for topping.  Enjoy, but be sure to serve mints for desert! 

Spiked and Spiced Apple Cider

Give this a try for your next social event!  Break out your crock pot, or just do this on the stove.  Warm up a bunch of apple juice, throw in a few Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice tea bags.  Once it's hot, throw in some spiced rum and serve in mugs!  A little brown sugar also makes a nice addition.  YUM!  http://www.celestialseasonings.com/products/detail.html/herbal-teas/cinnamon-apple-spice 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween Nostalgia and The Moving Story of 2009

Things that make me nostalgic might not do the trick for you, but here's my attempt to give you some warm fuzzies. 

With the "Holiday Season" around the corner, and by that I mean fall, Halloween, Turkey Day, Christmas, and New Years, there are plenty of chances to remember fun holiday times from your childhood, carry on old traditions, and make new ones.

First off, fall is a time to pick apples, make caramel apples, bake pies, and hang out in pumpkin patches.  Having grown up surrounded by these things on an orchard, the cool weather brings back memories of these fun times.  I highly recommend taking a trip to your nearest orchard! 

Halloween always included three very important traditions:
1.  Carving pumpkins and baking the seeds, salting them, and eating them.  Yum!  I have big plans to do this these next two weekends. 

Halloween 2009
2.  Going trick-or-treating.  We lived out in the middle of no where, so my mom, brother, and I used to travel to town to Cousins Cassie, Nici, and Ben's house to go trick-or-treating in the 'burbs.  We had so much fun getting dressed up and collecting bags filled with candy, then sorting it afterwards on the dining room floor.

3.  Watching "Disney's Halloween Treat".  Folks, this is a classic compilation of the scary parts from all of the Disney movies before 1982 strewn together in a cute way and narrated by either a pumpkin in later versions of this, or by the magic mirror in my favorite version.  A good friend got me a copy of this a few years ago, but it can be hard to come by the original!  This goes for $200 on amazon, but luckily for us, we can watch it on youTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyuwSOqcnrk 

The Big Moving Story
And finally, as long as we're taking a trip down memory lane, in recent memory, last year about this time, Dave and I moved in together!  I spent a week or two packing everything I owned into boxes in my living room, and then the big moving day came.  Good friends Matt, Yolanda, and Josh helped with the big move.  We rented a Uhaul, grabbed a load from Dave's place, unloaded it, grabbed a HUGE load from my place, and just as we pulled up to our new place, it started raining... and then the rain turned into snow.  By the next day, we had almost two feet of snow at our new home! I had to clean out the old place because new folks were moving in that very next morning.  I spent the whole day scrubbing and getting rid of the last of the odds and ends at the old apartment. 
Wedge the chinchilla.
The interesting part came when Dave left for a Phish festival in California the day after the snowstorm.  Luckily, he was able to get out, although I believe he was delayed a few hours.  The thing is, before he left, while we were unpacking, we realized that we had a little spider problem in our new place.  Okay, it wasn't little.  We pretty much had aggressive hobo spiders running out in all directions, as well as webs  and sacks just about everywhere.  It was straight out of a horror movie.  Rather than continue to unpack, we agreed that chemicals might need to be involved.  Now, we are both educated people, and we realize that these these chemicals are not only toxic, but may be linked to certain types of cancer.  We took a trip to McGuckins, got some help from the men who know everything, and decided on the least dangerous fogger we could find.  Dave left for his trip and I evacuated our plants, covered our fish, and took the chinchilla in his carrier to my car.  I put a fogger in three rooms, most of which had just furniture and boxes, let them off, and left with nothing but a change of clothes, plants, and the chinchilla, Wedge.

It was late, I didn't really have any plans on where I was going to go, so I went and grabbed a pizza, then realized that I'd be welcome at Dave's place, which still had lingering supplies that hadn't been moved.  I showed up on their doorstep with Wedge and they welcomed me.  I hung out, ate my pizza, and showered.  Oh did that shower feel good!  I blew up Dave's air mattress and slept a good night's sleep with Wedge hanging out in a makeshift cage next to me.  The next day, I was ready to return to the house and get rid of the spiders that should now be dead.  Unfortunately, I had left all of the plants in the car overnight, and most of them froze overnight and died.  Oops!

From there, things got better.  I aired everything out and vacuumed the whole place and was finally ready to start unpacking.  I went out with friends for Halloween and had a good time.  I also saw a VERY scary movie at the theater with friends and was a bit scared to be at home alone in the new place.  Dave returned a few days later from his trip and we finished moving the rest of his stuff in between working.  

The whole move was well worth the trouble.  I went from a very small place downtown to a cozy place near open space and the mountains, with lots of room and a garage, and of course I get to come home every day to my goofball boyfriend who still makes me laugh.
View from the back of our building.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bus woes and my favorite podcasts

Some days you win, some days you loose.  Some days you drive to the park and ride, the bus arrives within seconds, it makes one stop, heads to the city of my workplace, I get off at the first stop, walk onto the light rail, which takes off immediately, then I end up comfortably at the front door of my office building, dry, room temperature, not even breaking a sweat. 

Then there's days like today.  Today was my "late" day (class at 10).  I'm about to walk out the door and realize I'm running three minutes late, which makes all the difference with the bus, so I decide to hold back and take the next bus.  This gives me time to finish drying my hair.  Last night was the first Phish-concertless night since last Friday.  Although I wasn't attending DURING the work week, on Saturday we had a mishap with the bus and didn't get home until 2:30 AM (just in time to make some dinner and go to bed at 3).  Sunday through Wednesday morning I was waiting up for Dave and John, one night having to pick them up, other nights, being in bed, but not quite sleeping when they returned.  This staying up past my bed time, yet still having to work caught up with me and I nearly lost my mind on Wednesday, so I decided to go to bed early and sleep in. 

I drive the two miles to the park and ride, get there exactly on time, wander to the bus stop, and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Was the bus early?  Did I miss it by seconds?  Finally, about 45 minutes after the bus I usually take, my bus pulls up.  It is very full and I grab one of the last remaining seats in the front.  (Sitting in the back occasionally involves my using a barf bag).  We stop at three more stops, each filled with pissed off people who then have to stand for the 40 minute bus ride.  The bus driver never offers us an apology or an explanation as to why he is 20 minutes late.  Finally, a very angry woman asks him why all of us are going to be late to work.  He tells us that the handicap door got stuck open at one of his first stops and they had to send another bus.  Okay, I'll forgive him. 

We get to our destination and I jump off the bus and start wandering towards the light rail, that seemingly wasn't there yet.  Turns out, this late in the day, the light rail is only a few cars long and it was there, hiding behind two buses!  As soon as I spot it, I start sprinting with my rolly bag in tow.  I get to it, push the magic button, the doors open, and seconds later, we're taking off and I'm the only person from my packed bus to make it.  A quick stop at the office, a sprint to class, and I arrive only five minutes late, but severely out of breath and looking somewhat crazy. 

On my commute home, I manage to miss the light rail by about 10 seconds and was left waiting for 15 minutes until the next one.  Let's add this up. 

To work
10 minutes to park and ride
30 minute wait for bus
40 minute bus ride
1 minute sprint
5 minute light rail
5-10 minute jog

Return trip
15 minutes waiting for the light rail
5 minute light rail ride
2 minute walk to bus
40 minute bus ride home
10 minute drive home

That's 2 hours and 48 minutes of commuting.  Of course during the day I also spend 30 minutes walking for each class I teach (15 minutes there from the office, 15 minutes back.  This will change December 8 when I get a new office.)  I've definitely had many more good bus experiences than bad, but when they are bad, they are very noteworthy:  waiting in the snow and below zero weather for an hour waiting for a bus, the bus not showing up on the day of my current-job interview and my having to drive during rush hour, riding a bus who had chains on and decided to keep them on down the interstate, and many more.

Now, my intention here isn't entirely to complain to you.  Clearly, it's my fault that the only job I want is in a city that I don't want to live in, and that I live with someone employed in the city we DO live in, and I'll deal with it. 

While I'm spending a good portion of my life commuting, I get a lot of time to think.  Some people read on the bus, but this makes me nauseated as hell.  I occasionally am able to work on the bus if I'm sitting in front and looking up every few seconds.  This means I spend a significant portion of my day listening to my ipod.  Rather than listening to the same tunes over and over and over again, I listen to podcasts.  Without these, I would have lost my mind long ago. 

Here are my favorites
1.  This American Life-- an hour of pure bliss, usually three stories on one theme, but they only put out one of these a week, and I've already listened to all of the old ones I can get my hands on, so I save these purely for Monday mornings when I need it most.  http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

2.  Radiolab -- this is a sciency podcast that dives into a topic in one of the most entertaining ways I've heard.  It is very professionally done.  http://www.radiolab.org/

3.  Skeptic's Guide to the Universe (your escape to reality)-- this podcast helps you think like a true scientist.  They analyze the latest science news stories and through listening, you learn how to go through life not being duped by stupid stuff with no evidence to back it up.  (Homeopathy is a big scam.)  They are also pretty funny.  http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

4.  NPR Culturetopia-- this is good filler on new books, movies, tv shows, etc.  Recently, they've started doing happy hour podcasts with the most hilariously flamboyant men talking mostly about TV shows.  Now, I don't actually watch TV, but yet I find this commentary positively grin inducing.

5.  NPR On Science-- this is like a voice version of the science daily website.  They summarize the latest science news in a way that makes it accessible to scientists outside of a specific field.  However, I wouldn't recommend this to people who find NPR-type talking boring.

6.  TED talks (ideas worth spreading)-- If you've never listened to these, go back to the very beginning.  The older ones are the most inspiring.  http://www.ted.com/

7.  Get-it-done-guy's quick and dirty tips to work less and do more.  These are short, 5 minute, well-scripted comedic blips on ways to make your life more efficient.

There are a few Celiac/gluten-free podcasts, but thus far, none that I'll listen to on a regular basis.  Keep in mind that all of these are all free and available through an easy search in the iTunes store.  

I've been dying to get a book on tape to listen to, but my one shot at it got me a super boring read and I was uninspired to go back for more.   Plus, if not through the library, then usually not so free. 

What are your favorite podcasts?  Any I should check out to get me through my next commute?  I'm all about learning while commuting!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Phish at Broomfield Art Postcards Made by Dave

Dave has been working on some art for the big series of Phish concerts in Broomfield, CO Sunday-Tuesday.  He has a sweet collection of Phish art that he has accumulated from the shows he's attended in the last year or two.  This time, he was inspired to make his own art.

Dave thought he'd create a small version of the screen prints he collects from concerts by doing block (linoleum) printing.  Now, I remember doing something like this back in third grade.  We got some thick cork board, carved out some stuff, then put paint on what was left and smacked it on a sheet of paper.  Dave did just that, only on a more sophisticated level.  He worked on a sketch, then decided how to do it in three colors.  He then carved three 5X7 linoleum pieces.

Dave carving the black linoleum block.  (Note another hobby-- making his own t-shirts)
The red block.

He practiced a few times, carved some more, then everything was ready to go.  He bought some paper and tons of paint.  He cut the paper, then one night printed all of the yellow.

Please note our sweet Alice in Wonderland Art.  Let me know if you need the artist's name, it escapes me at the moment.

The next night, he printed all of the red ontop of the yellow.

The final night, he printed the black.
Dave's apron reads, "Vance" and "King Soopers."  Get it?  Bagger Vance?  Yeah, this was his costume to a movie theme party.
The final product (sorry for the glare!)

These are the Flatirons that are near our place.  The concert is just southeast of us, so it made sense to use this recognizable image.  You can see that he didn't succumb to the pressure to use a 'ph' for the 'f'' in Broomfield.  He did, however, hide a X, XI, and XII in the foreground to show the dates in October that the concert is taking place.  I'm also a big fan of the CO, OCtober play with the letters.  They are 5X7 because it seemed like a good starting size for someone who's never printed before.  The intention is for them to be a postcard from the show.  (We recently got a Phish DVD set of the Clifford Ball in 1996 and it came with 5X7 postcards from the show that triggered this idea).  Now the prints (about 50 of them) are just hanging out and waiting to be sold at any one of the three Phish shows in Broomfield this weekend!

I think they are sweet!  I LOVE the colors.  It's fall-like, but also Halloweeny in a way.  I think it would make a cool remembrance for a sweet concert.

Speaking of concerts, I'm going to see Phish for the first time on Saturday, which isn't actually a Phish show, but a whole bunch of bands are putting on a show for the Fourmile Canyon Fire at the Broomfield Event Center.  String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band are also playing.  I'm excited!  I may not be your typical Phishead, but I live with one, so I have to take the plunge. 

What do you think?  Do you like them?  How much should he charge?