Sweet potato hash

One of my favorite local restaurants had this dish on special one weekend brunch last fall, and it was so delicious that I wanted more.  But since it was a special it was no longer available.  So, I attempted making it – and then my friend James asked me to show him how it was done.  So this is for James.

sweet potato & chorizo hash:

Ingredients:
-Sweet Potatoes (about 1 small/mediumish sized per person)
-Chorizo (I used chicken this time, but I think it’s better with the real pork stuff that crumbles)
-Onions or shallots – diced small
-Eggs
-Salt

Method:
- Wash sweet potatoes and chop into 1/2 inch cubes – as even as possible – spread these in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt

sweet potato cubes

- Put them in the oven at 400 degrees until they are soft, it’s okay if they’re starting to stick.

- Meanwhile, cut Chorizo out of casing, and brown on the stovetop crumbling into small bits, if you’re using onions or shallots saute those with the sausage

- Once the sausage is browned, add it to the baking sheet with the potatoes. (this pic shows the chicken chorizo, which I don’t think was as good as pork, and which didn’t crumble so I had to cut it into pieces before browning)

chorizo and sweet potatoes

See how the potatoes had turned darker? They were getting soft at this point.  Stir ‘em up and bake until the potatoes are soft, and the bits are sticking.

- I think this is best served with a still-runny fried egg, but you can obviously cook your egg any way you’d like

I’m no chef, nor food blogger (let’s face it, I’m barely a blogger at all)- but this seemed like the easiest way to share a “recipe” with a friend.

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Yeah, about that phone I have…

Remember just the other day when I was talking about deciding on a new phone?

Well…

I dropped my Android in a puddle.  It was an indoor puddle, the kind that is contained by porcelain in the smallest room of my home.  Whoops.

Why is it when that happens the first instinct is to grab the phone and then to RINSE IT OFF? Because running a phone under water because it just fell into water makes so much sense.

But anyway, the phone is sitting in a bag of rice for 24 hours, fingers crossed it comes out okay.

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Showing off your smart phone.

Let’s just get this out of the way right now…I don’t have an iPhone.

Whew, okay. Still with me?

This isn’t to say that I don’t have a cell phone, or that I’m anti-smart phone.  I have an Android phone, I’ve had it for almost two years…and I hate it.  It’s not Android that I hate, or Google (I L-O-V-E Google), it’s my particular device.  It’s a model that was known to be annoying as hell…except that wasn’t widely known until after I owned mine.  I have the first generation of a phone whose third generation (out now) is a really popular model.

So, it’s no secret among my friends and co-workers that I’m not smitten with my current phone.  When our contract renewal comes up next month, I’m getting a new phone.  Here’s where things get tricky.

Some of you may know that Apple recently released a new version of their celular device.  It seems like everyone these days either just got the iPhone 5, or wants to get the iPhone 5.  Andrew’s one of these people, he’s certain that’s his next phone (just one more month!).  I’m not so certain.

So why is it, when iPhone users find out that I ::gasp:: might get another Android next month when my renewal is up, they feel the need to hand me their phone?  It’s as if they’re saying “Oh, you must not have seen this…here, hold this iPhone 5, let the magic wash over you”.

What am I supposed to do with their phone?  It’s awkward.

I don’t know what they expect of me, and this is becoming a problem.  It happend to me the other day at the Apple store, in a room full of demo phones, some random guy handed me his personal phone when he heard I didn’t have an iPhone.  It happened to me twice this week at work, people pulled their iPhone 5 out of their pocket and handed it to me.  What do they expect me to do?  It’s as if they think I’ve never seen how one works.  I have.  I own an iPod.  Andrew has an iPad.  I’m typing this on a MacBook, you don’t need to teach me about Apple, you don’t need to show me how the phone looks (it looks exactly like the iPod and iPad).  I am always tempted to say “oh, thanks!” and just walk away with it, because that’s the only logical response I can think of.  But I’m not into theft.

So, have you been handed random people’s iPhones or other smart phones?  What do you do when it happens?

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October Already?

Where has the summer gone? Heck, where has this year gone?

I’m amazed, but not really complaining.  October is my favorite month.  I always think that I could fill fifteen beautiful October weekends with all of the things I want to cram into this month.  I want to go to the NC Seafood Festival, I want to go to the State Fair at least half a dozen times, I want to go camping, I want to go to Howl-O-Scream, I want to carve pumpkins, and decorate the house, and have friends over to watch football.  I want to go off for a weekend, just Andrew and me, to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  So, so many things to fill October.  We never get to them all.  I’ve actually never been to the Seafood festival, and a weekend away probably isn’t happening this year.  Making it up to Williamsburg is questionable, since we no longer have a friend who lives/works there and a sweet 30% discount at the park.

But, that’s all okay.  It’s fall here in NC, and you can’t make me sad about that.

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My Garden

Planting a vegetable garden was another Day Zero goal of mine.

My poor garden.  It was doing SO well.  The squash was amazing, the zucchini was great.  The cucumbers and tomatoes were doing wonderfully.  The fennel and carrots and herbs were green and beautiful.

Then the grass started growing, and it didn’t rain for over a week, and it was a dry mess out there.  Things have died, things have stopped producing.  Things have bolted.  It’s bad.

I’m sad to say, that I’ve lost all but one of my zucchini plants (I had four), and I’m down to two of one kind of squash plant (of four).  I did find a zucchini blossom this morning, so I’m hopeful that the one plant will survive.  My squash hasn’t bloomed in a while, but we’ve set up a new watering system for it, so I haven’t lost hope yet.

We’ve weeded and mulched the bed in the foreground of this pic.  And now it’s 100+ degrees and too hot to be out there with much to do the bed in the background (where the yellow squash and bell peppers are).  I’m still hopeful that it can be saved.  I know now that I need to do more upfront, even when the garden is doing so well, to protect from the dry days to come.

But for a first garden on my own, I think I’m doing okay.  We’ve eaten many meals out of it so far, and supplemented with produce from the local farmers’ market.

One thing that does love the heat and sun, are the zinnias.  I plant flowers in the garden because they attract bees, and remind me of my mother’s garden.  And because they’re so pretty.  I love to cut these and bring them in the house.

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Day Zero item: Go to a musical

Way back what seems like years ago I posted my Day Zero list and explained what Day Zero is all about.

One of the things on my list was “Go to a musical” and last week, we crossed that one off.

WICKED came to DPAC again this month (it showed here two years ago as well) and Andrew and I went to see it.  I really love the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), they do a great job making the place clean and comfortable and fun to visit.  And, any place that allows (encourages, even) me to take a glass of wine into the show with me has my vote for a fun evening out.

I’d gone with a friend two years ago to see WICKED, and this time Andrew came along.  The show was just as incredible as I’d remembered.  Andrew wasn’t too thrilled about going in the first place, but he really enjoyed it.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It’s funny (really!), it makes me cry, it makes me happy in that feel-good-movie sort of way.

I’ve had the songs playing through my head since last week (FIERO!!!!) so it’s been fun to extend the experience a little that way.

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Hello, Strangers

I’m not going to apologize for my long absence from this blog.  I’ve said it before, this is for me, so I’m not going to feel any sort of guilt about my life getting busy and not spending as much time here.

There’s also not a real point to this post, I figured I’d just brain dump some of what’s gone on in my life since March when I last posted.

So, we made it through tax season.  Andrew survived another busy season, and our home and lives didn’t fall apart in the process.  We owed lots of taxes this year due to some poor planning, but we’re planning better for next year.

NC voted at the beginning of May for a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage.  I’m disappointed in our state.  We need to do more to educate people on legislation that they’re voting on.  There were a lot of people who said after the vote that they didn’t fully understand the amendment.

Emma was sick last week.  She’s way better now, but last week she was a pitiful mess.  She spent Wednesday at the Vet’s office (we LOVE our vet) and has a collection of medications now.  She’s almost back to herself.

This weekend Andrew and Emma and I went up to Richmond for our friend’s birthday.  Another friend also came up, and we had a great time hanging out with them.  On Saturday, we went to the River Rock festival on the James River in Richmond and we got to see the Sylvan GO camper trailer that I’ve wanted to see in person.  And y’all, this thing is as cool in person as it looks in pictures.  I figured that they probably used a really wide angle lens to take their stock photos, and that it wouldn’t be that big.  But I was wrong, it’s really that big.  Very cool, I want one, but I also want the time and energy to use it.

Image

Andrew also survived spring semester of Grad school, and summer classes are well underway.  He’s only taking one class this summer, and I think we’re both ready for the break that begins at the end of June.

This coming weekend includes the 2 year anniversary of my mom’s death.  That day is also Andrew’s birthday.  I don’t know yet what our weekend plan is, it’s a hard one to plan.  We want to do something with my dad, but I also don’t want to totally monopolize Andrew’s birthday weekend.

My garden is growing, except my bell peppers aren’t doing well.  I can’t really figure out why they’re not growing.  The plants are still about 8″ tall, but they’re flowering.  Hopefully they’ll shoot up soon.  My squash and tomatoes and herbs are doing really well.  Even our lettuce and spinach is still doing well.

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