Little lady.

We met our new roommate this weekend.

The interview was a little one-sided, as she is the quiet type.

She smiled a lot.
She panted.
She carried a tennis ball in her mouth and even took a memorable dump in our backyard.

We were able to overlook these tendencies due to her soft coat and extreme cuddleocity.

We’ll be welcoming our new roommate at the end of the week.


What a tiny little husky! Clocking in at 39 pounds she works just fine in our little house.


James avoids her breath, no offense, new roommate, but you’re going to need some dental care lessons.


Nope, we have no treats
(she kept asking)


We weren’t previously prone to them but now are affected by “The Cute Attack.”

Also, she’s currently without a name.

And she asked us, as her new roommates, what her name should be.

As we had lots of boy names picked out (we were expecting a boy roommate) and no girl names, we’re asking you, the internet, what should we call our new roommate?

Naturally, it doesn’t have to be a girl name.
(I had offered Sue, Judy and Janet but James was oddly unreceptive)

As we were patient to find the right pooch, and believe we have, we’re patient to find the right name.

And here I thought Judy had such a ring to it…

explodes in my mouth.

I found this photo doing a google search for Yum, you try it yourself!

So the Iron Chef competition was great on many counts.

I didn’t have to eat all that meat and bread, just some, thereby maintaining diet protocol.

The main point was to feature the wine pairings, so I was seriously commanded to sneak a little hooch during the workday.

Those regional managers were so eager to please that they kept telling me how nice my hair looked–I don’t care how cheaply I can be bribed–flattery always works.

Although I was nervous my tasting skills weren’t as sophisticated as the other wine country born folk, I found I agreed with the other judges. It’s always nice to have confirmation that one is not a freak.

The burger that won the competition was a cabernet burger with cheese and fried onion strips over a portabello mushroom.

The burger that lost had chili powder mixed with the meat and bacon and avocado on the top. Although it wasn’t part of the competition, I can see I wrote on my score card, “No Cheese?!”

The winning team made the burger with the wine mushed into the meat. If I ever have a burger + wine tasting party, I definitely know tactic I’ll employ.

(Also, we meet another dog this weekend. She and her foster mom are coming to our house and James and I are a little nervous and a little nervous.)

As January was getting-things-done-month around here, we are thrilled to now have new car insurance, originally written songs, gym memberships, cardio-induced lung health, savings accounts, credit card progress, thank you cards, yoga-induced flexibility, wine country friends, Cakebread discounts and have perfected our own Whitish Chili.

The recipe follows:

Whitish Chili

1 lb Northern beans
1 large or two medium chopped up onions
4 minced garlic cloves
1 lb ground turkey
4 cans of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 thick tablespoon cumin
1 thick tablespoon coriander
2 thick tablespoons oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 can chopped jalepeno peppers (I prefer to buy ‘em whole and chop my own but I’m sure you can buy the diced kind and it’s just as good)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
salt and pepper

Garnishments:
sour cream
hot sauce
chopped cilantro
chopped green onions
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese.

The night before:
Dump the beans into a big bowl and cover with water–maybe two or three inches over the top of the beans.
Take out your crock pot and put on the counter.
Chop the onions.
Mince the garlic.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium high and add the onions and dried oregano. Stir and saute for about 4 minutes.

Add the turkey. Brown turkey for about oh, 6 or 7 minutes–you know–until it’s brown. Add garlic and saute for a minute more.

Place mixture into a bowl, bring to room temperature and put into fridge for the night.

Cuddle up with your bad self and some trashy movie and think lewd thoughts about Mark Ruffalo and Jude Law.

Before you leave for work:
Plug in the crockpot and push the 8-10 hour button
(whichever one you have, my crockpot runs hot so I always choose the 10 hour button)

Drain the beans and put into the crockpot. Open the chicken stock and pour in.

Add cumin, coriander, cayenne and bay leaves.
Add the jalepeno peppers.
Add the bowl of turkey/onion/garlic/oregano mixture from last night.

Cover the crockpot and let it do its thing while you’re at work.

When you come home, stir up the chili, taste and add any extra hot sauce, salt or flavorings you might think it needs. Remove the bay leaves while you’re at it.

Now chop up all your Garnishments and put those on the table.

Stir 1 cup of the shredded Monterey Jack cheese into the chili just before serving and voila! Whitish chili!

It’s good, it’s good for you (also, with reduced fat cheese, okay for South Beach Diet Phase 1), it cooks while I’m at work, James likes it and did I mention it’s an excellent cheese vehicle?

Also, good to package up and freeze for many lunches to come.

Faux Faux Faux

hj_kaga.jpg

I don’t want you to be jealous*.
I hope that this doesn’t constitute “writing about work” but today I’m throwing common sense to the wind.

I was selected to be a faux celebrity judge for the [insert-name-of-largest-American-family-restaurant-chain-here] regional manager’s faux Iron Chef competition at our culinary training facility here at the winery.

I already know the secret ingredient, and it is kind of gross, but dude, part of my job is to be a faux celebrity.

Faux Celebrity Judge for Faux Iron Chef competition.
Rock.

I’m toasting Providence today.
(with ginger ale-natch)

*Who am I kidding? I totally want you to be jealous.

if you got an email from me re: sms messaging

please ignore it.

oh my god, i’m so embarassed, it is spam, don’t follow the link, please.
there’s an internet email faux pas for you.
what is it, 1997?

thanks,
hj

Weekend perfection.

Boy, weekends like these make me never want children or dogs or even fish. Weekends with time for exercising and reading and knitting and making delicious meals.

Hiking through spanish moss covered woods, stretching out next to a stream, a suntan across the bridge of my nose. All parts of our lazy, relaxation-filled weekend.

I can’t say enough how much I love living closer to nature.
Slowly, drip by drip, some cynical angry part of me I once protected is melting.
Off with her, she probably needed Botox or something anyway.

I even went to church(!) and it was enjoyable, in that lapsed Episcopalian sort of way.
(How scarily appropriate that the sermon/homily was read directly from the first chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous book, the biography of one Dr. Bob, a sermon about grace and giving up control.
It’s just funny is all I’m saying.)

A trip to my favorite Sunshine foods bought us some perfect groceries and my favorite kind of grocery bags.

We had a Calistoga adventure with a new restaurant, good conversation and strolling hand in hand. It’s horribly romantic up here. Nuzzling is practically de rigueur.

The only flies in this weekend’s ointment were two movies we attempted to watch as a cuddly closure:
Along came Polly
Van Helsing

Yuck, two of the the most horrible movies ever.
Both were turned off before they were done.
Both were too horrible for me to even fall asleep when they were playing.
Now I know both were a stretch of the imagination, and I like to believe I have a good imagination, but they stretched it too far.

(And now my imagination’s all loose and floppy.)

Bonus HJ fact:
If you every want to know one of the many reasons I moved out of Washington DC, this is one of them.

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