FishDreamer scribbles: Seeking Serenity Online

Sunday, 26 September 2004

Weekends are for relaxing

I baked bread today, for the first time this year. It's amazing to me how much difference half a cup of whole wheat flour makes to the results of two loaves using a total of 7 or so cups of flour. It's delicious, and I had the happy notion to incorporate some roasted garlic I'd done into one of the loaves. This was a test, and it worked out quite well. Pleased, I am.

After the helluva week I've had, I had a mostly very good, relaxing weekend. I didn't manage to play Diablo II at all, but there will always be time for that later. I slept in, I read a book, I spent some time catching up at Chicklit, and I cooked a whole bunch. We're heading back to Iowa soon to get meat, so I've been trying to use up what we already have. Today's experiment involved cross-cut beef ribs. I don't know that I've cooked these before, but I came up with a barbecue sauce in which I braised the ribs for oh, six hours or so in a crockpot. And we're both pretty pleased with the result.

I consulted one of my grilling cookbooks for ideas on barbecue sauces. In case anyone wants to try this sometime, here's what I did. I thawed out the ribs (there were four total in the packet) overnight. For the sauce I combined approximately half a cup of bourbon, half a cup catsup, quarter cup of apple cider vinegar, quarter cup of dark molasses, maybe half a cup of minced onion, two minced cloves of garlic, and salt, pepper, ground red pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste (I didn't measure any of that except the bourbon, so it's all very approximate). Put that on heat and stir it up while it bubbles. Arrange the meat in the slow cooker, pour the sauce over, and put it on high for about four hours. I turned the meat halfway through because the sauce didn't cover it, and I wanted all of it to benefit from direct contact with the sauce. When the meat was done, I took it out and removed as much fat as I could from the sauce. Cooked it down for a while, put the meat back in to reheat, and served it with corn on the cob and green beans.

I baked bread while this was all cooking, which came out of the oven right at the same time. I had bread for dessert, with the leftover sauce. Oh, delicious! I would probably use less vinegar next time, and I understand now why the recipe said to flame the bourbon before you make the sauce, but since I cooked the sauce down afterwards, the overly strong alcohol taste went away. Damn, that was good.

I went to a birthday party yesterday which was sort of fun, but the people I was hoping to see pulled up as I drove off so I missed them. And my friends who were there are in even worse headspace than I've been lately, so it was difficult. Mr D stayed home and slept. Once I got home I relaxed and had a good evening of quiet and reading, so it was good.

And today was just all cooking. I've been wanting to make bread for ages now, since it's no longer too hot to bake. I just haven't had the time and inclination together until today. I woke up this morning determined to clean the house, cook and bake and garden and organize and decorate and declutter and everything. That didn't entirely happen, but I got all the dishes done and I made some fabulous food. Got the recycling out, shredded some papers, Mr D has done all the laundry, and I went running while the bread rose. Went to the gym and ran on the treadmill, and I was pleased to realize that even with at least three walk breaks, I still did 3.1 miles (a 5K) in under 35 minutes. My stamina is down, but the speed is still there. I wonder sometimes, because I have a hard time pushing myself on the treadmill. I find it easier to keep going when I'm outside. Need to remember that. I like the treadmill for the information it provides (I burned 425 calories! or so), but it's not the same as running outdoors.

I haven't been wanting to run much, with the weather all wonky and the trails too muddy and slippery. I miss my trails. But I am planning to do a 5K next Sunday, and I want to keep my fitness going through the winter. I'm still searching for a half marathon. I'll find one. Maybe Mercer Island in March. It's good timing to keep me running through winter, the only problem is that it's hilly. I did the 8K fun run/walk associated with it once, and the support is pretty good. They also do pictures. I love the pictures. And I need to remember to sign up for the trail series next year, because I'm all excited to do that.

This is not the entry on anxiety and my unhappiness that I was planning to write yesterday morning, because I am not currently anxious and unhappy like I was then. And I've been sharing all of that part of what's going on with one of my friends over email this weekend, so I let it go. That was good. Thank you, friend (you know who you are) for that. It really helped. I'm sure I'll be anxious again this week so I'll likely write about it, but for right now I have a glass of red wine and a full belly and things look pretty good.

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