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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Come right over! Happy 100th Birthday, Girl Scouts!

On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low “Daisy” called a friend and famously said “Come right over! I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!”  And they did.

Today the Girl Scouts of the USA have an uncountable number of Alumnae.  If you’re one of them and want to reconnect go to http://alumnae.girlscouts.org/ and share your story, or reconnect with Scouts geographically or through common interests.  You never really quit being a Girl Scout.

And if you weren’t a Girl Scout, and you’re thinking “Oh yeah, I like their cookies” or “What’s the big deal? It’s just camping!” then man, I’m sorry, but you have no idea.

Girl Scouting is about so much more than cookies.  Cookies are about so much more than fundraising.  It’s about empowering girls, and women, to take responsibility and control of their lives.  Selling cookies teaches girls about fiscal responsibility, it helps them interact with strangers, it teaches marketing skills that are transferrable to a workplace.  Camping doesn’t teach girls that they don’t need a light switch and a toilet that flushes, it teaches them that they really can do ANYTHING they want to do, that they can take care of themselves.  Singing teaches about listening, and working together and how to just plain have fun, even if all you’re doing is walking.  Badgework teaches leadership, and how to have the confidence to try something new.

I do a lot of boating facilitating for scouts, and one of my favorite things to do with a group of young high schoolers is to have them flip their canoe over in the middle of the lake and then teach them to get back in it while they’re out there.  It’s tough, don’t get me wrong, but when those 14 and 15 year olds realize that they can get themselves in a precarious position stuck in the middle of a lake, and then take care of themselves and make it right (and right side up) again, it empowers them! It’s amazing to see the transformation that can happen over the course of a few hours.  That quiet girl in the back of the group becomes the hero, she BEAMS with confidence.  That’s what Girl Scouting is about.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

That’s the current Girl Scout mission statement.  How true it is.  Thank you, Juliette Gordon Low, for believing in us.

Some more links for you:

http://www.girlscouts.org/yearofthegirl/

http://www.togetherthere.org/

Like to sing? Come to the 100th anniversary sing along in Washington DC this June! http://100.gscnc.org/rtm_about.html

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I’m so mad there’s steam coming out of my ears and Andrew is as happy as a pig in mud.

Or, alternate title:  “Hoodlum neighbor kid’s Punk-ass friend broke our gate”.

Kids these days…  Grumble grumble…  When I was their age…  Etc.

The alternate title pretty much sums it up.  Punk-ass kid broke our gate.  The neighborhood kids were playing some kind of chasing and hiding game and one of the neighbor kid’s friends went tearing through our back yard.  BACK yard! He doesn’t even live around here, he’s trucked in from some other area where they clearly don’t learn manners or property laws.  He came in one gate, left it hanging wide open, then ran into a second gate; he attempted to open it the wrong way, bent the hinges, bent the latch, and broke the picket on the fence post it’s attached to (kid had some forward mass & momentum, if you know what I mean).  Then, having only managed to open it about eight inches the wrong way (conveniently about the width of Emma) he proceeded to run through the yard again and go out our third gate, leaving it wide open.  Know how I know all of this?  I saw him.  I was about to let Emma out when he went tearing through the first time.  I heard the pop when the wood broke and then saw him go running back the other way.  Punk-ass kid is quick.

So, I’m mad.  Emma’s mad because she’s not allowed outside without supervision.  She could get out of the fence right now, and that’s not acceptable.  And Andrew, well, he’s happy.  He’s just as pleased as he can be for an excuse to break out the power tools unexpectedly on a Wednesday night.  He’s out there all bundled up with some kind of light system set up, he’s got two different types of saws, his drill, and all sorts of screws and bolts working out there.

I’m honestly glad it was Punk-ass kid and not Hoodlum neighbor kid who broke the gate.  I’d probably stay mad at neighbor kid, but I don’t have to see Punk-ass kid on a daily basis.  Plus, I’m glad Andrew’s handy enough that he can fix it no problem.  Emma’s really glad of that too, she’d really like to get out there and explore in the yard some more.

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And so it begins

The long stretch until football season begins again.  How many days?  Too many.

Spring games will happen soon, right?

The football dynamic in our house is weird.  Andrew doesn’t care for the game at all.  He’d rather watch boxing or Animal Planet and ignore football all together.   I’m not a die hard fan of a particular team (although I am partial to the Carolina Panthers and there are a few teams I really don’t care for) but I love to watch.

Our kitchen “Menu” board became the party announcement board this weekend.

Like I said, there are a few teams I don’t much care for.

This year, some college friends of ours came over to watch this Sunday’s “big” game with us.  It was so much fun.  I really miss these people, and all the time we spent together when we were still all in Greenville in school.  It was great to have everyone together.  The sad part is that most of us live in the greater Wake County area, but still don’t see each other.

Regardless, a good time was had by all.  And most of us were happy with the results of the game.

 

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