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August 9, 2001
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

A Cool Cooking Day

5:05 pm: It was a good thing John got me to go to sleep early. Jet didn't wake up until nearly 4, and I woke up at 2 feeling way too full. Thing is that when I normally wake up feeling that way, Jet is usually up in the next half hour to an hour, but by 3, I just couldn't stand it anymore. So I got up and pumped and got an astonishing 6.5 ounces. It just boggled my brain that I could ever produce that much, especially when there had been so many times when I'd struggled to even pump a tablespoon of milk.

Breakfast was oatmeal, probably for the first time in months because, also for the first time in months, it was raining outside. It was in the low 60's, moving to the high 50's, and it was raining, a slow, steady rain that was soaking everything. It was so cool oatmeal was very welcome and very comforting. It was a very interesting juxtaposition having fresh, ripe, sweet peaches sliced into a bowl of hot oatmeal. The textures melded and the flavors mingled warmly, the rich warmth of the ripe peach with the creamy texture of the oatmeal was an excellent combination.

John took Jet away to Joan's and I had a series of meetings. One at 9, one at 10, and I protested the one that was going to be at 11. I was very glad I did. With the break I was able to have lunch, feed Jet, and get him to take a nap while I made some bread dough. I did the French baguette dough with a bit of whole wheat flour. I am still amazed what just flour, water, a pinch of salt and yeast can do if the technique applied is good. The trick with bread dough is to keep the dough really soft and moist, to not knead it until it's firm, smooth and completely rubbery. Rather, keep adding as little flour as possible so that the dough doesn't stick to everything it touches, but only that much. Ten minutes of kneading with that kind of dough can use a good deal of dusting flour, but the dough should still be sticky when that time is done.

I plopped it into a bowl, covered it with foil and forgot about it as I washed everything up, and settled in for the meeting at 1. That went pretty well. Jet woke up at 1:40 and I had plenty of time to go downstairs, change him and bring him upstairs between items in the meeting that needed my attention. At 2, the meeting was just closing when the maids arrived.

I fed Jet up in the office, as I told them to clean the office last. They followed my desires, and did just fine. When I came down the manager/inspector arrived to check out how the team had done, and things looked pretty good all around. So that was good.

Jet and I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, and played and I read the last of Echos of Honor and enjoyed the end very much. I'll have to reread Ashes of Victory as I now have all the pieces. I keep thinking about starting a reading list like Trip and Kit have done, but I'm too lazy to really do it, I think. It's far more satisfying to just move the books from the downstairs bookcase to the upstairs bookcase when I'm done. This last weekend I moved about two shelf feet of books upstairs, mostly the Honor Harrington books and the first Tamara Pierce series and the first of Mary Gentle's Golden Witchbreed series. Talk about opposites on the spectrum of complexity, Pierce's books are super simple, nearly cardboard, and Gentle is all textural complexity. Oh, yeah, and the magical Italian books went up as well, read twice for the recipes. I will have to try the crostini recipes with the bread I made.


8:19 pm: I definitely have to try the crostini recipe with this bread. It turned out beautifully, with a shatteringly crisp crust and a tender interior with just that hint of nuttiness and extra tenderness that the whole grain flour lent. Yum. My soup turned out pretty good, too. I chopped onion, celery, carrot and sweet pepper, sweated them thoroughly, and then added low-salt and no-fat chicken broth and two finely diced potatoes. When the potatoes were done, I added chopped chicken from Sunday and all the cut sweet corn that was leftover as well.

It became a very thick soup, and a dash of cayenne and half a handful of dried parsley and it had pretty good flavor with all the mildly caramelized vegetables. It was very tasty, especially with bread and the no trans-fatty acid margarine. I think I only really started making soups this last winter, and the trick I hadn't known was the sweating stage for the vegetables, and that seems to make all the difference to the overall flavor.

Yum.

John really loved both the soup and the bread. It was hearty, filling, and the vast majority of it was vegetable or grain. I figure if I substituted something vaguely 'healthy and low fat' for two dinners a week, it'll start us on the way to eating stuff that's better for us in the longer run. I change habits by changing a little of it at a time, regularly, and then letting it gradually take over, and it's worked in the past. We'll see how it does this time. We do have enough soup for at least two more meals, so we've taken care of this week. Okay, sushi is not a terrible health risk, either... but it is 'normal' food for us, so I'm not counting it.

After dinner we went for our walk. Jet actually napped through dinner, but woke up when we changed his diaper before tucking him into the stroller. He's been wearing his Taz sweats today, with the change in temperature, and he propped his bare feet up on the tray in front of him. That was pretty cool looking. It was wonderfully cool for the walk and John loved it. I noticed that the family that is usually out on their porch wasn't tonight, though I would have thought it was the perfect evening for it.

We went back into the house, and I took Jet upstairs with me while John cleaned stuff up. I worked on journal stuff for a little bit, and then Jet and I sat behind the railing and watched John work in the kitchen. Jet kicked back every time I tried to move in any closer to the edge. Smart kid. The other thing that Jet surprised me with was when I let him suck on the end of my straw to my root beer. He sucked the pop up and when it reached his mouth, he wasn't surprised in the least, he just drank, and even with the carbonation, he was perfectly composed. I was mildly amazed.

I moved downstairs to write some more while John went up to work and play with Jet. Eventually they came down. John gave Jet some oatmeal, and then played with him some more. When John brought Jet near his face, Jet reached out and latched onto John's nose! That was really funny to see, and when Jet heard me laughing, he turned and laughed with me with a happy wiggle. That was cool.

John gave me a dozen roses yesterday, long stem, peach roses that are sweet smelling and really beautiful. It's pretty cool that I can enjoy them at home all the time now. I like that particular benefit.

I am soooo ready for Friday.

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Copyright 2001 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.