Monday, January 28, 2013

Yes, Chef!

You know a book is good when you dream about it.  I finally finished "The Making of a Chef:  Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute."  It was so good!  I want to go and teach the courses on Front of the House.  Since I've worked in restaurants since I was 15, I'm armed with lots of information and funny stories.

However, I did have a few bad dreams of me working the saute station, in the weeds, and being yelled at by a chef sporting a toque.  Not good.  I'm desperate for a nap.

Emil's in line next to read the book.  Of course, I read half of the book out loud to him, but still...

Speaking of cooking...I made a new WW recipe tonight for oven-baked onion rings.  Emil said the coating was somewhere in between sandpaper and broken glass.  Guess I should've used the breadcrumbs instead of subbing panko.  I really enjoyed them!  They were the perfect vehicle for ketchup, one of my major food groups.

Well, I'm ready to turn in and read my new book, "Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan.  It was our book club selection, and I'm a wee bit late in reading it.

Wahooey!  Emil just handed me the uke music to "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz.  I'll spend tomorrow learning it as we have a gig on Thursday in Sisters, and it's on the playlist.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I'm a creature of habit, especially when it comes to food.  Those of you who worked with me in Anchorage know I went to McDonald's every Friday morning for a sausage biscuit with cheese.  Oftentimes, I brought Josh or Annabelle a biscuit too.  It was my way of celebrating Friday and surviving the week. Plus, I married someone who does not eat fast food.  So, I have to squeeze in a trip somehow!

My current habit is to hit Jackson's Corner every Friday afternoon for a small BLB.  Bacon, honey mayo (I try not to eat mayo, but this is an exception), arugula, and roasted yellow beets on a soft sando roll (have to ask for this bread).

Six slim bucks for this!
I've never cooked beets before, so I walked over to Whole Foods on Tuesday and picked one up.  They are so good!  I roasted it last night and served it with crispy zucchini tuna cakes for dinner.  YUM!

Before going in the oven
Several of you have inquired how I'm doing on my dairy free adventure.  The first few days were tough...I dreamed of butter and cheese.  But, it's actually not too bad.  I eat lots of veggies and tofu.  Menu planning is a challenge since we don't eat lots of meat anymore.  What's left to eat?

On a side note, I'm reading a fantastic book, "The Making of a Chef:  Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman.  It makes me long for going to culinary school and be glad I'm not going to culinary school all at the same time!  Making beautifully clear consomme, the mother sauces, veal stock, and more sounds good.  But, dealing with the time constraints, tests, and criticism sounds intimidating.  Don't ever pour alcohol in your skillet while it's on the stove.  EVER.  Read the book to find out why and scold the chefs on tv when you see them do it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Publishing

This whole idea of publishing my novel is surreal.  I think in the back of my mind, I figured I'd never finish it (or truly move forward with it), so it just seems downright crazy.  Emil's more excited than I am, and he's completely supportive and proud.  What a good egg.

The book is now in the hands of two Beta readers.  I wonder if they'll look at me differently after reading it...some of the info in the book is true!  Maybe they'll be appalled at my writing, overuse of commas, or be aghast at my character's judgement.

I'm trying not to be overwhelmed with the prep work.  My dedication, acknowledgement page, and bio are drafted.  On deck, I need to write a book description, contact a graphic designer for the book cover, research book covers (a trip to Barnes and Noble with my handy iPhone to take pics of favorite covers), contact a local photographer to do my author photo, and maybe schedule a haircut!  Oh yeah...and write out a marketing plan.

I've also read several articles, taken notes, and chosen a publisher to self-publish.  This morning, I created a spreadsheet to capture expenses.  Future Best Day Ever:  Creating a spreadsheet to capture the number of books sold to put towards a cute Mini Cooper for me.  I will name it Mini Cooper Fund.

For now, I'm saving money for book expenses and working on a goal.  It's not going to be quantity of books sold or good reviews.  I'm leaning towards something else...more thoughtful and meaningful.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Goodbye Dairy

Okay, I have to face the facts.  I'm lactose sensitive, borderline intolerant.  I've ignored the possibility and just gotten used to an upset stomach and other side effects.  Yes...for a very long time.

So, I'm going dairy free starting today.  It's tough.  I eat the same breakfast every day...english muffin with butter.  It's my splurge since I'm on Weight Watchers.  Guess what I had today?  Sauteed tofu with mushrooms.  A big bowl.  Yum.  Guess I could've gotten a little more creative with my breakfast, but I didn't have the energy.  I don't like oatmeal (we ate oatmeal every day summer of 2011 on our roadtrip across to US), and I can't imagine eating scrambled eggs without cheese.  Egads.

My wonderful chef neighbor offered to help me menu plan, and I might have to take her up on it.  All the WW recipes I like have a bit of milk or cheese in them.  Or the ones without dairy are loaded with meat, and we try not to eat a lot of meat or poultry.  Our weekly meals are probably 80% vegetarian.  What a dilemma.

I think avoiding cheese and milk will be the easy part.  Butter, on the other hand, is my vice.  I love butter.  It's real, good, makes everything better, and so dang delicious.  Yesterday, I felt like I was marching to the butter?  Say it isn't so!  Therefore, I had two english muffins with butter.  Take that! stomach doesn't feel so good.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes.  I'll probably give up by Tuesday night.  

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Cards for Sale

In an effort to make some much needed moolah, I've started selling my handmade cards on etsy.  Most have an ukulele theme of course!  There were no uke stamps to be found, so I had them designed by a wonderful gal here in Bend.  Check out her website:

She also designed the logo for Road Trip Ukuleles, Emil's company.  What a great logo!

So, please check out my cards, spread the word to other uke players, and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Bah!  I looked at last year's resolutions, and I kept two out of four.  Not bad, not all that good.

2012 ended with lots of napping, and 2013 started in the same manner.  I blame it on the recent cold temps, and my goal to finish editing my book.  My brain needs to rest after six hours of editing, eating popcorn, drinking tea, emailing, listening to the Jack Johnson Pandora station, and talking on the phone with my Mother.  How I managed to nod off during the Seahawks game on Sunday and the Capital One Bowl today...who knows?  They were exciting games for sure.

However, I did learn how to use iTunes tonight.  Finally!  I've been putting it off for years, and Emil's the wizard who loads up my iPod once in a blue moon.  Lori sent me several new CDs, so I successfully imported them into my library.  She's has influenced my musical selections for almost 11 years now.  If it weren't for her, I'd still own just one CD, my first - The Cranberries.  Lori keeps me stocked up with the latest music.  THANK YOU, LoMo!

Newest music thanks to a generous iTunes giftcard from my bro:  Eric Hutchinson, Adele, Garrett Wall, Mumford & Sons, Jack Johnson, Donovan Frankenreiter, and Ingrid Michaelson.

Oh yes...resolutions.  I'm not making them this year.  Too much on my plate!