Monday, March 30, 2009

a day at the beach

ah march, a time of year where (in maine at least) you're thankful for every clear day - even if it's chilly. after a chiropractic appointment in kennebunk today, i decided to take jak to the beach. it's was such a nice day - a shame to waste it riding in the car...

we headed for gooch's beach (it's the largest of the 3 in kennebunk) and there we met lots of other playmates with their bundled-up humans. jak ran with his new friends, dug for clam shells, and scrambled on the rocks. a perfect, clear evening to end the day with.

on the way back to the car we found this guy:

he's strapped into what looks like a lawn chair with an industrial fan and a parachute. unfortunately, i couldn't get my camera phone to work properly so i missed the take off (very loud and impressive.) jak, on the other hand, was not impressed.

Monday, March 23, 2009

how i spent my sunday morning...

comforting my chocolate-stuffed baby! a caveat on the gluten-free chocolate cake: 100% cacao + coco powder = one *really* chocolatey and dense cake! try not to eat more than one helping, especially at bedtime...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

how i spent my saturday night

it started at six, after having successfully introduced jak (the dog) to running beside my bike while leashed to it. my first goal was to try an experimental recipe for chocolate cake, which comes courtesy of karina's kitchen (the gluten-free goddess of whom i am now a devoted follower!) and can be found here. i realized (too late) that i hadn't gotten the right amount of ingredients, but decided to wing it anyway (for instance: the recipe calls for 12 oz. chocolate - i had a 4 oz. bar of 100% cacao to which i added some sugar-free coco powder. also, i didn't have almond flour - that stuff’s, like, $12 a bag! i used 'bob's red mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour,' which has garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour. also - i didn't use the sugar it called for, i used one cup of agave syrup.) john (the hubby-to-be) and i are wheat-, sugar-, and dairy-free, with a few indulgences once a month or so. this was an attempt to prove (to him, to myself) that i could make a yummy dessert that wouldn't undo everything we've been working for (dietarily-speaking.) also – i wanted to be able to serve it to mixed company. (btw - the recipe is not dairy-free. to wit: the stick and a half of butter i used...)

it took me a little longer than i anticipated to make this cake (chalk it up to timidity.) i finally got it into the oven at 7:30 and then proceeded to dinner: chicken thighs with indian-esque seasonings in lentil sauce (from a can) with rice. sounds more impressive than it really is. first, i put waaaaaaay too much cardamom in the rice (we were picking it out like bugs in the barley.) second, i ran out of tinfoil to cover the pan as it simmered, so i spent most of the cook time fretting that i was going to serve underdone chicken and thus wind up spending the night in the emergency room.

despite the mishaps, miscalculations, and complete guesswork, we managed to eat (at 8:30 pm) a pretty satisfying meal. john had three helpings of cake (which turned out dense, fudgy, not too sweet, and perfect with strawberries.) we sat down to watch a few episodes of ‘the duchess of duke street,’ during which john dozed off on the sofa.

at the end of the night, i shut the tv off, escorted my drowsy honey upstairs and into his pj’s, came back down to clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher (a blessing from heaven, you have no idea…) take the dog out one last time, turn down the heat, and turn off the lights. i finally slipped into bed at about 11:30. as i lay awake listening to john’s mini-snores, i had a sudden picture of doing this for the rest of my life. that may sound like drudgery, it may sound old-fashioned and prosaic, but i tell you it’s something i never pictured for myself at any time in my life: to have someone who ate what i cooked (and actually liked it!), to have a home to cook it in, and to have the security of knowing that, if i wanted to, i could get up the next morning and do it all again.

it was a damn good saturday night.

Monday, March 16, 2009

hope 'springs' eternal

you'd think that as a native mainer, i'd have learned my lesson about the following statement:

spring is here!

a few weeks ago we were slapped (pleasantly) with a 50+ degree weekend. then it snowed on monday enough to keep me home from work. after that nature, in a most sadistically gleeful fashion, punished us northerners for our unabashed joy with a slew of sub-freezing temperatures and more snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

but not today! saturday and sunday were beautiful: sunny, warm, and lovely. i spent most of my weekend in downtown portland and saw short sleeves and flip-flops abounding, worn by eager, desperate youth as if dressing for summer would somehow make it appear that much faster. you can’t criticize them, however, for their ardent and blatant impatience; i can certainly empathize. it seems like it’s been a longer, colder, snowier winter than any i can remember (or perhaps i’m just getting old and curmudgeonly…) i’m tired of having to make a 63-point turn to get out of my driveway because the snow banks have blocked 90 percent of it. i’m tired of looking at the plastic that is covering the otherwise uninsulated windows downstairs, and living in a cave-like bedroom whose windows are covered with blankets to trap what little warmth my space heater generates. i’m tired of the fear that one small misstep on the sidewalk can send me ass-over-tea kettle to bruise both my ego and my butt. i’m tired of not being able to wear cute shoes when i go out. i’m tired of shoveling.

but this weekend it seemed as if everyone was out and about, and just for the sake of finally being able to be out and about: parents pushing infants in strollers, or walking with toddlers (who, in turn, were entranced by new puddles,) flocks of teenagers finally glad for space to expand into their gregarious selves, and (to jak’s infinite delight) dog owners strutting their mutts down the cobblestones and meeting like-minded friends. the whole city seemed to be taking a deep and hopeful breath of spring. today, ‘though it dawned a little chilly, is sunny and bright and the snow is quickly disappearing. my car tires make satisfying little splashing noises when i drive down the street. the sun is strong enough to put everyone i meet in a good mood, even the guys with the dump truck and bucket loader, currently removing mountains of snow from the parking lot.

i don’t care what my better judgment tells me, i’m telling you: spring is here!

101 Cookbooks

You should check this out...
Annabella's "slice of cyberspace"

Her awesomely helpful html stuff notwithstanding, this is a really cool site about some really cool stuff. Makes me want to visit Austrailia!