Tag Archive | food

Fried Zucchini

It’s been one of those days when I’ve been busy, but unless you want to hear the details about cleaning bathrooms, I don’t have anything to post about.

However, Dad’s garden is continuing to produce bountifully, and for dinner tonight we had fried zucchini.  And fry sauce.  With watermelon for dessert.

So, I know there’s as many recipes for fried zucchini as there are people who fry zucchini, but I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with myself.  I don’t really know how to fry food–I don’t know what temperature the oil should be at, I don’t know what the consistency of the batter should be like, and I don’t know the best methods for putting the food into and taking it out of the oil.    This is probably a good thing.

Today’s fried zucchini is my very first attempt ever at deep fat frying something without someone looking over my shoulder.  And I’m happy with how it turned out:

Okay, the picture’s not that great, but you get the idea.

To make this, I took one large (and I mean ginormous) zucchini, and cut it into wedges.  The batter is 1 c plus a bit of flour, 1 c milk, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 c milk.  I also put some Mrs. Dash in the batter, and used a wire whisk to mix it all up.

I heated the oil until dropping water in it made it spit and sputter, then I coated the zucchini in the batter.  I found the easiest way to do that was to put the wedges in the batter and stir them around.  I the fried them until they were golden and crispy.

I probably should have cut the zucchini a bit smaller, because some of the larger pieces weren’t done, but live and learn, right?

As for the fry sauce…if you don’t live in Mormon-dom (Utah, and parts of Idaho and Nevada) or have never visited a Mom-and-Pop fast food joint in that area, there’s a good chance you don’t know what you’re missing out on.  Fry sauce is simply a mixture of one part ketchup and two parts mayonnaise, and is quite frankly, delicious with all things fried.

I love to see the temple, I’m going there today…

Finally!

Today was the day.

Sis, the Bro-in-Law, and G took E to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity.   It was a beautiful ceremony, even it would have been better if the sealer had talked to my sister’s family before hand–he was honestly confused as to why E needed to be sealed, when Sis and the Bro-in-Law were married in the covenant.  That is, until G and E came into the room, and he could see how little they look like Sis and the Bro-in-Law.

Okay, I tried to take the easy route, and find a page that would explain sealing.  I couldn’t–at least, I couldn’t find a page that explained it in the way I wanted to.

We believe that temples are quite literally the House of the Lord.  They are the holiest places on earth.  We go to the temple to make sacred covenants and ordinances with the Lord. (Covenant: A two way promise between man and God.  Ordnance: A ceremony with a sacred purpose–like baptism) When a man and a woman are married in the temple, if they both live worthy, they will be married for time and all eternity.  Any children born to them are considered “Born in the Covenant” and will also be a part of their family for eternity.  If a couple is married outside the temple they can later go to the temple to be sealed together.  If they have children, or, in the case of my sister’s family, if their children were adopted, then those children can be sealed to their parents as well.

When G was a baby, he was sealed to Sis and the Bro-in-Law, so he wasn’t part of the ceremony, but was still able to observe.  This surprised me a little–the age of 12 is usually the first time a child is allowed to enter the temple, unless, of course, they are being sealed to their parents.

E’s biological grandmother was in the temple with us this morning, and his birth mother was waiting outside.  This surprised me–both women have a lot more guts than I do.   I’m afraid that in their situation, I’d be sitting alone in my room crying. G was glad to see them, though, E has a biological half-brother who’s only a week older than G, and they are best friends.

It didn’t take long for them to start running around–including literally running circles around random people.  Which of course happened all the way back to Sis’s house.

Which was a trick, because they were both strapped in car-seats in different cars.

The party was a success, but we learned a few important lessons:

  1. A corgi, or a mostly corgi mutt may look like a small dog, but when she stands up on her back legs, she’s tall enough to steal food of the table.
  2. White plastic table covers and bright sunny days aren’t a good combination.  At least for those who like to see.
  3. If the recipe for your cookies tells you to store them in the freezer, there’s a reason for it.   And they shouldn’t be left out on the buffet line on the bright sunny day with the blinding tablecloths.

Five of my dad’s eleven siblings were there–including an aunt who lives in Western Nevada, and an uncle from Wisconsin. (If I missed anybody when I was counting, I’m sorry.)  It was good to see the family we don’t get to see all that often, even if after I ate and had a few minutes of conversation, I went to check on Max and Lulu and “forgot” to go back.

I have an uncle who’s in the hospital, he had a bad car accident a few weeks back, and while his injuries were being examined, the doctors found kidney cancer that had spread through his body.  Most of the family had lunch here, then went up to the hospital in Ogden to see him.  Dad says he’s in better shape than he was expecting, but still in rough shape.

Um, what else?  I know I skipped yesterday, and it feels like a ton of stuff has happened since I last wrote, but I suppose I’ve covered all the important stuff.  I don’t even really have anything on my mind–except the fact that I don’t want to do any baking for a very, very long time.

The lemon bars were a hit.  I’d share the recipe, but that would require getting up and finding the cookbook.

I haven’t gotten forgetful in my old age. Really.

Saturday, I crashed.

When I say that, I don’t mean I wrecked my car, or my depression got the better of me (at least not until the evening) I mean a physical crash–I spent almost all day lying around my sister’s house, recovering from the whirlwind that was my birthday.

Speaking of my birthday, it was one of the best I’ve had as an adult.  Good job, Sis!

Sis and the Bro-in-Law first took me to lunch at Red Iguana, which is very probably my favorite restaurant in SLC, but one I don’t get to eat at enough.  I was very brave there, and tried something new–I’m not an adventurous eater.  I’d like to be, but that’s how I find out about food allergies.  Guess how I know I’m allergic to lychee?

Anyway, I ordered a dish called chilaquiles.  It was tortilla chips with chorizo, egg, salsa espanolia, and mole pobliano.  I’d had an investigator make mole for me on my mission, but I didn’t like it then, so I was a bit hesitant to try it here–despite Guy Fieri raving about it on his show.  My verdict?  The first bite was amazing.  The second bite was good.  The third bite was okay.  By the fourth bite, I was wondering if I had to finish it.   If anybody at Red Iguana is reading this, chilaquiles would work better as an appetizer.  It’s too…flavorful for a main course, and there really isn’t anything to cleanse the palate between the bites of amazingness, so it gets to be too much too soon.

We then went to the zoo.  G is a funny kid.  He’s the only kid I know who will get more excited about seeing a firetruck driving on the road outside the zoo than the actual animals at the zoo itself.  I had fun though–the weather was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded, and the animals were lookin’ for love, which meant that they were rather demonstrative.   G even noticed that the penguins were giving each other ‘piggy back rides’.   Yeah…

After the zoo, we headed back to Sis’s house, where I watched Sis and the Bro-in-Law work in the garden.  Technically, I was watching E while Sis and the Bro-in-Law worked in the garden, but we were outside so we could keep talking to each other.  My parents then showed up, and we went to dinner at my other favorite restaurant in SLC, Sampan.

I was still feeling adventurous, and wanted to order something I’d never have before.  The Bro-in-Law suggested ordering something I didn’t even know what it was, like “Baawwk Chow and abe-alon-ee mushrooms”.  When I told him that I knew a) the correct pronunciation of bok choy and b) that it was cabbage, he changed his mind.  I ended up ordering Empress Duck and miso soup.  I’d never had duck before, or miso for that matter.

So, miso is made with tofu.  I learned that if you are allergic to soymilk, you are also allergic to tofu.  Fortunately, Dad had a benadryl in his pocket for his hay fever, that I was able to take as soon as I felt my throat starting to close up. The soup was good, though.

The duck was AMAZING.  It was greasy, and I don’t know how much of that was the meat itself or how it was cooked.  Either way, I now have a favorite dish at Sampan.

While we’re on the topic of food, I didn’t even get a cake.  It just didn’t turn out.  We were going to make cake balls, but by the time we got back from the restaurant, we were all too tired for one more project, and we just didn’t get around to it the next day.

Saturday, I helped Sis get ready for HER birthday party.  I was born exactly one week before my sister’s first birthday, so for one week out of the year, we’re the same age.  I turned 29 on Friday, so Sis will turn 30 this next Friday.  She’s celebrating by going into hiding for the whole week.  We started to plan a menu, then decided we should go to NPS to see if there was a good deal on meat.

What is NPS?  Well…in the Bro-in-Law’s words, it’s a store that sells whatever fell off the back of a truck.  It sells food that is slightly past it’s expiration date, or that the containers have been damaged, that grocery stores can’t sell.  It also sells a variety of other stuff.  Going there is a bit like a treasure hunt.  You can find good stuff and good deals, but mostly…well…

Mom and Dad had never been there before, and had a lot of fun looking around.  I did too, for that matter.  I think I won, though.  In a shelf full of books that mostly had titles like The Virgin’s Wedding Night, I found a copy of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. For 50¢ each. That’s less than I could have gotten them for at a thrift store, for new books!  Never mind that I’ve read them both before.

I do have to give credit to Dad for that find.  I glanced at the dirty-sounding titles of the books, and decided I wasn’t interested.  He spotted Fahrenheit 451, but because he already has a copy of it, he wasn’t interested.  It made me look closer though, and I found the Steinbeck.  And those were the only two books on the whole shelf that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen reading in public.

I came home on Saturday evening, to find that a) my lily of the valley had doubled in size while I was away for two days, and b) my internet wasn’t working, and my back-up plan, aka, piggybacking off my downstairs neighbors, was no longer an option.  They went and set up a password, the little stinkers.  Hence the late update on the weekend’s activities.  Still, a little time away from the internet never hurt anyone, right?

I carefully prepared my Sunday School lesson (but not as carefully as I should have, I realized when I was sitting in Sacrament that I had neglected to do two or three things that I meant to), only to have no one show up to my class.  EVEN THOUGH I saw every single one of my class members in Sacrament meeting.  It was okay, though.  I wasn’t really in the right mind-frame to teach anyway.  I did have a good conversation with my Temple Committee Co-chair.  He just got back from a mission to England, and has a cute little accent.  It’s not fair.  When I came back from a mission to Canada, I only brought with me a penchant to say “eh”.

This morning’s adventure has consisted mostly of Lulu’s digestive tract, so I’ll spare the details.  The other adventure was being on the phone for 45 minutes, at least 30 of which were spent on hold, and talking to five different people to get my internet working again.  So frustrating.  But, here I am, and all is well.

I wish I could stop learning life lessons. This is getting embarrassing.

I finally got off my lazy butt and got my taxes done.  It only took five hours longer than I thought it would.  Still, I got enough money back that if I watch my budget I’ll be okay for another couple of months without unemployment.  So…yay.

Anyway, by the time I got everything taken care of, I was tired and hungry, and didn’t want to eat anything that I had at my house, so I ordered a pizza.  I ordered online, and, not paying attention, I told Papa John’s to send my dinner to the last address I sent a pizza to, forgetting that the last time I ordered pizza I was babysitting.  At my sister’s house.  50 miles away.

G was really excited about it.  He called to tell me thank you for the pizza.

I realize that I’ve been really depressed lately, and I don’t want this blog to descend into a pity party–I’m working on it, really.

I watched Julia & Julie yesterday, and I’m surprised at how much it’s stuck with me.  I was expecting a light dramady,  but it got me thinking.   Specifically,  I’ve been thinking about Julia Child.

Julia Child didn’t get married until she was 35, and, at that time, she didn’t know how to cook.  She enrolled in cooking school at 36, She published her first cookbook at 49, and appeared on TV for the first time at 50.

This woman single handedly changed the way that Americans think about food, and how we cook.  She was not beautiful, and her voice was… distinctive.   I doubt that she would have even gotten as far as making a pilot today.

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because my birthday is Friday, and I’m feeling old, alone and unaccomplished.  I needed to be reminded that I still have a lot of life left ahead of me–a lot of time to still accomplish my dreams.

So today, I learned: Don’t wait until the last minute to take care of stuff (although I’m patting myself on the back for not waiting until the VERY last minute, as tomorrow is going to be much busier than today was) and pay attention to what you’re doing.

Otherwise, you provide lunch for your brother-in-law for the next few days.

Food For Thought

In my first or second post, I talked about how I have two issues in my life that I’d really like to change.  The first is my depression, the second is my weight.  I also mentioned how I’m comfortable discussing, or even joking about either one.  Well, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about depression, I guess now it’s time to go after the weight.

In the Salt Lake City area, there is a group for multi-racial LDS families called Genesis Group.  My sister and her husband started going to it when G was first born, but stopped as he got a little older–mostly because meetings start at the same time they are trying to get G wound down for the day–and it take HOURS to get G wound down.  Sis went for the first time in a long time on Sunday, and she said that the speaker was a health expert/fitness guru type guy (we had this conversation online, at like 12:30 am, so my recollection might be a little fuzzy.)  The speaker talked about how we use food as a spiritual and emotional bandage, and we won’t be able to change our bodies until we ask our Heavenly Father to heal those spiritual wounds.

I thought this idea was very apropos to my situation. I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 10–right before puberty, a spiritually and emotionally difficult time for everyone, even those not dealing with the extra stress and emotional crap of The Experiment. I hurt emotionally and spiritually, and food made me feel, if not better, then less bad. In a time of my life when everything felt out of control, food was something I could control. I was always kind of a weird kid, and didn’t (and still don’t) really care about what other people thought of me, so I went with the overabundance, rather than the anorexic approach, though in retrospect, I could have gone either way.  Plus, I really liked eating.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to loose weight over the years, but the thing is, it’s never really been my idea.  It’s always been my mom, or my sister, or something else that’s put the idea into my head.  I’ve never been that committed to it.  I’ve done Weight Watchers, I’m a member of Curves, I’ve done hypnosis, I did Phen-Fen, I’ve done pretty much every diet imaginable short of gastric bypass–often times with my mom or my sister.  And nothing has really worked, mostly because I wasn’t committed to the idea.

The most dedicated I’ve ever been to a weight loss plan was between the period of time when I was called on a mission and left.  When I received my call, I also received instruction to loose weight.  An exercise and diet regime were part of my mission preparations.  I remember walking on the treadmill in my parent’s basement, imagining that I was walking to Canada.  Of course, since I don’t really know the geography and landmarks between Salt Lake City and Winnipeg, I made it to SLC (in my mind, while walking on the treadmill) and kind of gave up–on the walking to Canada bit, not the treadmill bit.  I don’t know how much weight I lost before I went on my mission, but I know between my pre-mission physical and the time I came home, I lost 35 lbs.  Which of course, I’ve gained all back, and then some.

When I returned from my mission, and started seeing my current therapist, when I started talking about my weight, she stopped me.  She said she never encouraged her patients to loose weight as part of their therapy.  While she does recommend exercise and a healthy diet it’s more for emotional health–any weight loss would be an additional benefit.

This was a revelation to me.  Consciously or unconsciously, I’ve always linked being fat with being depressed–maybe because these are the two things about myself that I would change. (Well, that and the crippling shyness, but that’s part of the depression) I’ve changed the way I look at what I eat and how I exercise from trying to loose weight and trying to be healthy.

After switching my anti-depressants from one that has weight gain as a side effect to one that suppresses my appetite, I’ve lost between 15 and 20 lbs without really trying (I’m not sure what my weight was when I started the Lexapro).  I’m now 5 lbs less than my pre-mission weight, but I’m in a lot better shape than I was then.  I remember receiving my mission call, and trying to run across a parking lot back to my apartment–maybe 500 feet.  Now, I can run and walk much farther, miles even–as long as there isn’t much of a slope.

I have a long way to go before I reach a healthy weight or fitness level, but I’m working on it, slowly but surely.  I think I’ve come to grips with my relationship with food–to the point where I can keep chocolate and cake and cookies in the house without devouring them all in one sitting.

I firmly believe that you have to embrace the part of you that you want to change before any change can happen–as well as having a sincere reason to want to change.  And for me, looking good just isn’t a good enough reason.

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