Friday, January 31, 2014

Ceasefire PA

I had the opportunity to attend a house party the other night given by a friend of mine. The topic of conversation was about HB 1010 and the SB 1010 corresponding bill, which is all about background checks. They are looking for additional cosponsors so that it can get out of committee. It currently has 50 and they are looking for 63. Very close.

At the meeting were two gun owners who spke about their feelings on the bill as well as the changes to the NRA since they have been owners. It was very interesting to hear their input as I have always been hearing most gun  owners are so against any bill aimed toward gun violence prevention. According to one owner, the agency has changed from one that was very concerned about gun safety to basically a lobbying organization that pushes against any legislation that even mentions the word gun at all.

This bill is so important toward prevention especially to make sure background checks are done for the purchase of long guns, which is the weapon of choice in domestic abuse situations, according to CeasefirePA. Now anyone can purchase a long gun without a check which seems to be a bad thing. Please check with your legislator to make sure they are supporting this important bill.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Garden Started!

Started my garden today.  I am using my little greenhouse that I purchased a few years back (this picture is from back then).  The gardening app told me that it was time to start the celery.  I also started some lettuce, parsley, basil, kale, and spinach so that I could have those on hand for salads growing inside.  I really should have started them earlier, so that I would have the stuff to eat, but I didn't think of it.

Gardening is such a great way to help with gratification, sustainability, and satisfaction. It is also a way to help get rid of the winter blues when the weather is so horrible so much of the time.  By growing things inside, you have something that takes a little of your attention and know that spring is coming soon and there will be a time for you to get the outside gardening started.

I am really psyched this year for some reason.  I have my garden fence up, the beds are waiting there for me, and I have big plans for the outside.  Starting these little seedlings inside means that those plans are just a little closer to becoming a reality. As one of the people I follow on YouTube says: keep on growing!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Keep Jobs Here

It is a pleasure to deal with a company that is true to their advertising.  Yesterday I had to rent a car because my car is in the shop. We don't know how long it will be there and I have a lot of appointments this week, so I had to rent a car.  I called Enterprise because they pick you up and I didn't have a ride to get to a rental place.  It was the most pain free experience I have had.  First they were polite on the phone, second they were reliable and did what they said they would.

So often any more, I have issues with dealing with companies, especially those who outsource their phone services.  I really hate talking to some of their representatives as many times I just can't understand what they are saying.  And it's not just technical call centers, which you would expect.  Yesterday my husband had to call someplace and the call was routed to India.  The rep was pretty understandable, but they took away an American job and I just don't want to deal with companies that do that.  I try to boycott them as much as possible.

I think if we all did that, we could do a little fighting with our dollars.  Don't buy from a company that outsources to a foreign country. If we withheld money here and there, maybe big business would get the word and starting thinking that they should hire Americans.  It may reduce our unemployment a little and strengthen our economy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Adventures in Cooking

So today I experimented in making my own sushi.  There are a ton of videos on the web on how to do it and all the materials are at the grocery store, it is just a matter of getting everything and trying it.

Technically, it is really easy, but as most things you see on YouTube, it is harder than it seems.  My biggest issue was the rolling and every one I did came out a little lopsided with the fillings pushing themselves toward the side rather than staying in the middle.  But I guess with anything, with practice it should get better.

My first attempt at a filling was avocado, roasted red pepper, and cucumber.  With the sushi rice and the wasabi sauce and ginger it tasted quite good.   I made the mistake of getting the sauce rather than the paste, but the taste is still there, albeit a little subdued.  The other thing I found is that the sticky rice is really sticky and sticks to the pot.  I do not have a rice cooker and I wasn't going to buy one just for this, so I did it on the stove top.  It really makes quite a mess and is hard to clean up.  I might try experimenting with this a little as I saw it can be steamed.  Anyway, it was tasty and I will definitely add this to my repertoire.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Making Progress

My husband, after weeks of nagging, has finally gotten moving again on the bathroom.  This is what was under the rug that the previous owners had put down in the bathroom.  We ripped up the rug yesterday and tomorrow a contractor friend of his is coming in to give him suggestions on laying the tile floor.  I just hope he doesn't stop again for two years like the last time he started.  He has no excuse really as we already have the tile and the grout, which was purchased two years ago when we started the project.

I love my husband, but he can be very slow on projects around the house. He is perfectionist and if he doesn't know quite how to finish something he won't do anything on the project until he has figured it out. It took him about 5 years to finish the master bedroom because he got stuck on the closet door.  I try not to nag, but sometimes I get very angry that things are in various stages of repair all over the house.  I am quite the opposite.  Even if I don't know how to do something, I jump right in and try it.  I would rather finish the project than have it hanging over my head.  But the quality on my jobs suffers I am afraid.

Owning a home is an adventure every day.  If it is not a major project then there are small little things like cleaning that have to be done.  But just like work, it gets in the way of what we would rather be doing.  But I guess that is why work is a four letter word! Seriously, I am very glad that things seem to be getting underway again and we are moving forward.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Breakfast Tostado

The other day I received my copy of Vegetarian Times and on the cover was a yummy looking dish called Black Bean with Kiwi Salsa Tostado.  

When I looked at the recipe there were no instructions on making one's own shell.  The recipe called for a pre-made one.  So I went in search of instructions on how to make them.  The last time I had attempted making tostados from scratch, the shell came out either burnt or limp.

I found one blog entry which suggested baking them after coating the surfaces with oil at 400 degrees.  They came out very nicely and offered the inspiration for this recipe. My husband, my greatest fan when it comes to eating my food, raved so much and basically pestered me to post this recipe. So I did them over today so that I could record the steps as I made them.  Yesterday I had leftover beans, which I didn't have today so that's why I made them optional.  If you use a very thin layer, there is a slightly different, richer taste.  I think I prefer using them, but either way, they are quite tasty.

Serves two.

2 corn tortillas
Olive oil
1 tsp butter
2 eggs, scrambled
Re-fried beans (optional)
1 tbs salsa
2 tbs chopped parsley or cilantro
2 tsp finely diced red onion
2 tsp sour cream
2 tsp grated Manchego cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the tortillas on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil on one side, and then using a brush cover the surface with the oil. Turn the tortillas over and do the same on the other side. Bake.

Mix the eggs in a small dish and melt the butter in the skillet. Cook the eggs, scramble style, and then cover and keep warm. When the tortillas have bubbles on the surface, check the underside. If they are golden brown, flip them over and bake a little while longer until both sides are brown and slightly crispy.

Assemble the tostadas: If using, put a thin layer of the beans on the tortilla. Divide the eggs between the tortillas and top with parsley or cilantro, diced onions, salsa, and sour cream. Sprinkle the cheese on the top and serve.