Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Week in Frustration and Food

So first off, I am losing my mind over this whole finish your thesis and find a job in the next few months thing.  It makes me physically ill every second of every day. I also could cry on command; any minute, I am that close to big, sloppy, ugly tears.  Really not cool of me.  I know.  Surprisingly, I also know that everything is going to be fine.   Seriously.  I know that I will get a job and probably an awesome one, and I know that I will finish my thesis in time, and it will probably be great, but that does not help my constant nausea.  Thank God I exercise a bunch (to relieve loads of stress) or I might actually puke.   Life is just so uncertain right now for me and Devin and the girls and it just drives me crazy.  November 1st caused this.  November 1st rolled around and it all hit me like a ton of bricks.  I miss October.  Please come back. 

So in terms of jobs, I have to apply for academic positions now.  Right Now. Yesterday.  For jobs that begin next fall.  I finally have all of my documents completed (CV, Cover Letters, Teaching Statement, Research Statement).  I am working on submitting everything over the next couple days.  Hopefully my references will be in too.  There are a few really great jobs.  Really really great.  Dream jobs.  I am hoping (praying) that I get interviews.  People generally like me once they meet me, so hopefully with an interview, I can persuade them into realizing how awesome I am and that I would make a great addition to their department.  I will let you know if/when I get any interviews.  Then by the way, I have to start going on job talks and traveling while trying to write my thesis.  Should be a super few months.

Oh and by the way. The holidays are killing me this year.  I have mentioned that I LOVE CHRISTMAS!  I mean, I am obsessed.  The colors, the smells, the gift giving, the family, the traditions, I could go on for days.  And so, I love Thanksgiving (though it means the end of my pumpkin extravaganza) because it means one month until Christmas, but Oh.My.Goodness not this year!  I wish that Christmas would never come, because that means that I am that much closer to needing to finish.  I hate all of this for making me not want Christmas.  What is my life coming to?  So depressing.  If I try really hard not to think of anything else, I am super excited for Thanksgiving.  I haven’t been home in over 4 months so it is well overdue.  I miss my family and Buffalo.

Go Bills!

Go Sabres!

Please do not worry about me though.  Like I said, I know that everything will be fine. I just thought I would share with you what is going on with that side of my life right now.   It is therapeutic to write it all down.   Like Devin says, “the worst that could happen is we live happily ever after.”

And now onto the food.  I have a few new recipes to share that I tried out this week.  Some really good, some kind of good, some not so good, and some that really pissed me off.  You can ask Devin.  He came home and thought I was really mad at him when in all actuality I was super pissed at the sweet potato crisps (continue reading to find out why).

Burritos – The first of the new recipes were the Spicy Bean and Rice Burritos.  We love Mexican food (see BBQ Seitan Tacos) and so I wanted to try something new.  I probably will not make this again.  It just wasn’t exciting.  The mixture (rice, black beans, garlic, spices, chipotle in adobo) looked kind of gross and surprisingly did not have that much flavor.  There was a little heat, but not anything fun.  The recipe called for 4 dashes of cayenne pepper.  I think they forgot to put “sauce” on the end.  I used my trusty Franks.  And put in some actual cayenne pepper for good measure.  I forgot to buy flour tortillas.  I swear I had them in my hand at Whole Foods.  I do not know how they did not make it into the cart.  So we ended up using a few corn tortillas that I had.  It didn’t work.  I probably would have enjoyed this much more if we had the correct tortillas.  I had one taco and then loaded all the toppings onto some whole grain Scoops.  I liked that better.  So I really shouldn’t put down the burritos all together.  Maybe it was just the shell.  If you try it, let me know.

Soup – Next on the list was not actually a new recipe for me.  I made it once before but a long time ago.  It is honest to god one of the quickest/easiest/tastiest soups to make.  It is Tortellini and Spinach Soup from fresh365.  Veggie broth, garlic, spinach, basil, parmesan, tortellini.  That is it.  Well and some salt and pepper and olive oil.  But it is delicious.  Devin is not a huge fan of tortellini, but I loved it!  It was even better for lunch the next day.  Just a heads up: the tortellini soak up a lot of the broth when they cook in the soup.  You probably want to have more broth than you think you need.  I added some extra veggie broth the next day when I reheated it.

The next meal contained 3.5 recipes that I will share with you.

First, the green beans.  I got this recipe from my mother-in-law.  It is so super easy and it is so much tastier than just steamed green beans. Start by steaming your green beans until they are to your liking.  Then put them into the pan and back on the warm burner (turned off).  This gets all the moisture off the beans.  Add in some red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Done.  Yum.

Next, the reason why I got so pissed.  The Cheesy Sweet Potato Crisps.  I was going to make regular old sweet potato fries but I saw this recipe and decided that it would be fun to do instead.

You start by shredding up a couple sweet potatoes.  Once again I used white sweet potatoes because I couldn’t find orange ones.  I grated them up using my box grater.  Good arm work out.  No wonder my right arm is stronger than the left.  Next I squeezed the bejesus out of the potatoes to get all the starchy liquid out.  They got mixed with some egg whites, some parmesan and some salt and pepper.  I left out the rosemary because I am not a huge fan.  It normally overpowers a dish and I wasn’t in the mood.  I used my cookie scooper to get the potatoes onto the rack that was FULLY AND COMPLETELY SPRAYED WITH NONSTICK COOKING SPRAY. Then I “pressed them as thin as possible” as stated in the recipe directions and put them in the oven.

They looked nice when they came out didn’t they?  Well that was until I tried to get the damn things off of the rack.  They wouldn’t come off.  Over half of each potato crisp stuck to my one good cooling rack.  I was sooooo pissed.  Not only did I spend all this time making these crisps, but I couldn’t even eat most of them because they were stuck to the rack.  I should have taken a picture of it.  AHHH!  I am pissed now just thinking about it.

From the potatoes that I could eat, I am not sure I was crazy about them.  We both questioned the parmesan/sweet potato flavor combo.  I will just stick to making potato pancakes next time (I make amazing potato pancakes thanks to my Gramma.  I will share that recipe next time I make them).

Last but not least, the show stopper.  Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken!  Yum!  I was all about this chicken.  It was so easy to make in the crockpot, it made the house smell great and it tasted delicious.

I put the chicken in around 11:30 a.m. 

I spiced it up.

Then I added in half of a Magic Hat.  It was all we had.  Probably expired.  I figured citrus would go fine with BBQ.

Next I put in the BBQ sauce.  I used Bone Suckin’ Sauce as recommended because it is thinner.  Sorry no picture.

I flipped the chicken a few times until 7:30 p.m. when I shredded it.

I shredded it right in the crockpot which was a good idea because I didn’t dirty a dish and was a bad idea because it was very hot standing over the pot.

I decided to combine this chicken with the presentation of another dish: BBQ Ranch Shredded Chicken Sliders.  I got potato slider buns.  Very cute.  Toasted them up and melted on some monterey jack. 

Then I piled on the chicken and topped it off with some romaine and some (too much) ranch.  It was sooo tasty!!  We both really really loved them!  I think I should come up with a rating scale.  Something like 0 - 5 spatulas, or ice cold glasses of milk, or chewy pumpkin cookies.  Any requests?  These sammies definitely get 5 pickles!

Speaking of pickles...I decided early in the day that I needed pickles to go with my BBQ.  Not sure pickles even go with BBQ.  I went to the store for the sole purpose of buying this:

If you ask my Gramma about me, she will inevitably tell you the pickle story.  I do in fact have a mild obsession with Dill pickles that started when I was younger.  Here is the story for any of you that have not met my Gram.  When I was little (I don’t know maybe 5), I was allowed to eat anything that was on the bottom shelf of the fridge.  This included a monster jar of pickles that my dad would leave the lid loose on (so I could get into it).  Apparently one morning I woke up extremely early (maybe 5 or 6 a.m.) got myself a pickle and called up my Gram to see what she was up to.  She says that all she could hear was me chomping away on my pickle and not understanding why she wasn't up and eating pickles if I was.  (Note: Gram tells the story way better.  She makes me seem cute and not like a pickle eating brat.)

I think it is a vinegar thing.  I love stuff with vinegar in/on it.

Well that is it for now.  I have a couple more new recipes in store for next week.

P.S. I wish I could throw down a chapter of my thesis like I can a blog entry.

So Long!

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