Friday, July 19, 2013

That's a beaver up there. He's there because I have been as busy as a beaver today and I'm only half done. Yesterday was a complete waste: I drove to Atlanta on Wednesday night (technically Thursday morning -- I left my house around 12:30 and got back home a little before 6:00) so all I did during the daylight hours was sleep, wish I was sleeping, sleep. I'm totally screwed up, though -- I went to bed last night (this morning) figuring it was around 2:00 (a normal bed time for me) and it was (gulp) 5:30. I got up at 11:30, though, so I am kind of working my way back around to my normal (bizarre) schedule.

ANYWAY, that's not the point. The point is what I've been doing today, and that is: cooking up a storm. Bruce spends most weeks away from home and when he is in his hotel in Georgia he has a fridge and a microwave. To save some money and feed him better than I know he can eat out, I've been cooking and freezing dinners. But what I've been doing has been cooking like crazy when he's home for the weekend, serving us one meal and freezing the rest, and then not cooking at all for me during the week. It's worked, but I'm exhausted on the weekends, we can never go out, and I'm so busy cooking, doing the laundry, and just doing whatever it is we want to do that when Monday comes I collapse.

So I got the bright idea to cook during the week and freeze the results. That way I can cook once on the weekend (we can eat leftovers one night and go out one night). And on Monday morning Bruce can saunter out to the garage fridge and choose from a wider variety of meals than he would have otherwise had. 

So far I've made black beans and rice using this recipe (with NO oil). This one has been a real production. I started soaking the beans on Tuesday night. I'd put them on to cook Wednesday night, late (because one of the reasons I want to do this is because it lets me cook WHENEVER THE MOOD STRIKES), but I had to take them off the stove and shove them into the fridge so I could drive to Atlanta. Yesterday, as mentioned, was a bust. So I cooked them today. And -- as always -- I didn't cook the beans long enough. Here is what I always do: I taste ONE BEAN and it seems done, so I take the pot off the stove and serve them. But they aren't done. As God is my witness, these are the last undercooked beans I will ever serve. (They are perfectly edible, at least. I just like my beans mushy.) They're quite good and I packed three containers filled with brown rice, topped with these beans and some raw onion (blechh). I also bought Bruce a small battle of Tabasco sauce, because these aren't spicy at all and he prefers a little kick.

Next I made the descriptively named Sweet 'n Smoky Tofu Cashew Broccoli Bowl. Again, no oil (and when you make couscous with no oil, be sure to fluff it pretty well as soon as it's finished "cooking"). I did spray the pan pretty heavily with Pam when I cooked the tofu, though. I cannot stand cooked broccoli (long story -- let's just cut to the chase and blame my mother). Bruce loves it, though, so I like to make dishes for him with broccoli every now and then. This fills the bill and I have four containers of this in the freezer.

I'm having lunch (or early supper, whatever) of some of the leftover black beans and when I'm done I'm going to go clean my disaster-of-a-kitchen and then make some pesto pasta -- another of Bruce's favorites that I'm pretty ambivalent about. This doesn't look like it makes all that much, but it's pretty fast and easy. I bend my no-oil rule when I make pesto because it's kind of hard to make it without, but I will only use one tablespoon, not the two-to-three that she uses in the recipe. I'm going to pack two containers and save whatever's left for him to have for supper tonight.

Finally, I'm going to make these Yard House BBQ Beans. As you may know, I almost never make anything twice (I've never made any of the previous three recipes before, for example), but this will be, I think, the fifth time I've made these babies. We LOVE them. Do not be aghast at the amount of sugar in these (okay, you can be aghast, but if you make them follow the recipe). Also, go very easy on the chipotles until you see how spicy this dish is. Once I made it so hot that I couldn't eat it (Bruce did, happily). I use one fresh jalapeno (fairly large because the ones at Publix are always fairly large), one chipotle, and I wave the Tabasco sauce in the general area of the pan. I like things fairly spicy (as far as normal people are concerned), but this is pushing it for me. Oh -- no oil, of course. It makes a fair amount, so I'll probably be able to pack three or four containers of this and still have a little left over for us to eat this weekend.

Anyway, them's the plans. I might feel exhausted after the pesto and save the beans for tomorrow. Or maybe I will run to Publix to pick up a couple of things for Bruce for the weekend. Who knows.

In other exciting news, I finished reading Swann's Way by Marcel Proust again. I read half the book in a free Kindle version, got too annoyed with all the errors, read it in a dead-tree copy (that I already owned) with a new translation by Lydia Davis, read the next book (Within a Budding Grove in a different, but recommended copy of the old Proust-Moncrieff-Kilmartin-Enright edition), started the third volume (The Guermantes Way), got sidetracked, and decided to start all over again. SO -- third-ish time's the charm and I loved the book more than ever. You really have to read Proust mindfully or you read five pages and have no idea what you just read. This time I did just that and appreciated it so much. Even though the Modern Library covers are fairly new, Amazon doesn't have them all, which is why my above links vary between Amazon and Barnes & Noble). The obsessive in me wants to have a complete, matched set. The smarter part of me wants to just buy the fourth, fifth, and sixth books to read on my Kindle. 

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