Simple things: Avocado Toast

Yesterday, I was at home unexpectedly, and Cowboy was out at work all day, so I found myself with a bizarre burst of energy that only comes with an impromptu holiday when you weren’t prepared for one. It was like some kind of summer snow day.

I got a few dull but essential tasks done – I finally got my name changed on my Social Security card, now that I have the required pieces of paper, and I stopped in at Bed, Bath & Beyond on the way home and bought a towel hanger, a hook, and a shelf, towel hanger thing that hangs on the back of the bathroom door. I’m not going to admit how long it took me to put these things together and get them put up, because it’s embarrassing, and I don’t want to taint the sense of accomplishment that came with the eventual (slightly wonky) victory over hardware and power tools. Continue reading

Recipe: Spicy cauliflower and carrot soup

Soup soup soup. Yesterday, it was lunchtime and Cowboy had his go-to food of tortillas with melted cheese and some chopped onion (usually he has salsa, but we don’t have any right now). I was hungry, but I’ve been so saturated with American convenience food lately that I just couldn’t face anything that was quick and nutritionally empty.

I raided the fridge. I found: carrots, half an onion that Cowboy had left, a small, radiant, yellow cauliflower that I picked up at the farm shop because it was pretty, and some broccoli with rather more stalk than usual. Soup was the only logical step from there. I’m obsessed with spicy soup.

First, roughly chop the onion and throw in a large saucepan with a good glug of olive oil.

Chunk up the carrots and throw them in too. I didn’t even bother to peel them. Extra fibre!

Chop up the cauliflower and throw the florets in there too. I wanted to save most of the broccoli florets for supper tonight, so I chopped off the stalk, chunked that up and threw it in the pan along with two or three broccoli florets, for a bit of green.Untitled

Fry it all up for a while, and add a good teaspoon or so of curry powder, and about half a teaspoon of turmeric (I wanted to preserve the yellow colour). Cook the spices for a moment.

Add chicken stock – I used just enough to cover the vegetables in the pan – and simmer until the veg is tender.

As a side note, Cowboy and I went to look at some model homes yesterday, as a bit of amusement, and there were several lovely kitchens with roof lights right over the islands, and I thought how lovely it would be to have good light when I’m cooking, rather than squinting under the hood with barely any light at all. One can dream.

When the vegetables are cooked and soft, blend it all up. Mine came out pretty thick when it was blended, and I added a little more water.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then this next part is completely optional – but it will change your life.

OK, life-changing is probably a tiny exaggeration.Untitled

Get out the Sharwood’s Mango Chutney. Fish around in the jar to avoid the chunks of mango, and drop in two good dolloping teaspoons of chutney. Stir it in, it will melt and disappear in moments. What it will leave behind is a hint of tangy, sweet spiciness that goes wonderfully with the cauliflower and curry.

The colour is divine.

It would even make a good curry sauce to pour over chicken and rice instead of a coconut milk based sauce. Not exactly authentic Indian cuisine, but still tasty.

Cowboy had to leave the house at this point, as curry isn’t really his thing.

I snarfed down a bowl of goodness with a crusty white bread roll and butter. It was just the job on a damp and slightly chilly day, and it kept me going until after 9pm. It also satisfied my vague craving for curry without having to leave the house. A win all the way around!

Plenty of leftovers to eat today, which is another classic Pacific Northwest grey and damp day.



Teeny tiny victories

Life has felt vastly out of control for a few days. Since we came back from Montana, I haven’t yet managed to parcel up and squirrel away the mountain of clothing that spewed out of our cases – adding to the mountain that spewed out of the bags that arrived from my shipment from the UK. I also had a mountain of items stacked in the living rom, and the kitchen was something of a biohazard. It was rather shameful.

I also hit a January low, and was close to hiding in a bed-shaped hole for several days. The first of several small victories was getting out of the bed-shaped hole and cracking on with the days at a reasonable hour. Hurrah!

The next eeny weeny victory was going out on the trail with Cowboy and making it through the creek twice, including a moment where Sunshine bunny hopped over a log/puddle combination, without breaking down in tears (although we came close). This might sound absurd, but it is a gigantic accomplishment in my return-to-confidence journey.

Out on the trail today!

Itsy bitsy victory three was making my heartwarming broccoli cheese soup for supper last night and getting Cowboy’s seal of approval. I think this is the first meat free meal I’ve ever made him. I doubt I’ll get away with it on a regular basis, but we are getting closer to having similar dietary habits.

Today, my petite victory was hoovering most of the house and doing four loads of laundry. I’m also working towards using up a few of the things in the freezer, to make space for new things. I’m a terrible hoarder. If I had a bigger freezer, I’d feel far better prepared for the apocalypse.

Order is slowly but surely being restored. One incy wincy victory at a time.