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To Do – keeping track of a busy weekend

wake up too late to go to pilates; decide to skip yoga, too
buy cream cheese and yogurt
buy cucumbers and fruit
hang up clothing
tidy a bit
1-9 work
6pm – find something to eat! lunch? dinner?
buy fancipants yogurt
buy 2 packages of pita bread
move cat food under sewing table
vacuum some more
put folded clothes in drawers
soak yellow split peas
shake up hard cider and see if it needs more sugar
dinner: spicy tofu & beet greens over rice

breakfast: yogurt & fruit
10-11:30am yoga
11:45-12:45 pilates
drain yogurt
clean stovetop
start split pea, winter squash, and kale soup
sort & pre-treat laundry
vacuum bed?
buy cilantro and more kale
do dishes
get dressed
split pitas, and oil halves – mix spices
chuck minced cucumbers and garlic into yogurt with a pinch of salt
pickle remaining cucumbers
make pita chips
dinner: Aloo gobi? hopefully there’ll be time
6:30pm – make him help load folding chairs into car
7pm – birthday party (not my birthday)

  • folding chairs
  • Metropolis (I have it!)
  • 3 pkgs cream cheese
  • persimmons?
  • presents

breakfast: yogurt and fruit
10am-noon – yoga
wash laundry at laundromat
2nd breakfast: kale & tomato? bacon, egg, and bagel?
retrieve laundry and hang on the line
do dishes?
finish tidying bedroom
stir compost
swipe at the kitchen floor to get the snow crud off
3-4:30pm – African Dance
4:30-5:30pm – go home and grab dinner (leftover aloo gobi? soup?)
6:00-7:30pm – gentle yoga
7:30pm – talk with CityKitties about a menu for cooking for charity

Food List

Food I Have
kale (needs to be used soonish)
3 beets + greens
3 large leeks
1 eggplant
5 winter tomatoes
1 cauliflower
4 pears
3 scallions
16 small persimmons
vegetable stock

generic cheddar cheese
fine eating cheddar cheese
generic pepper jack
cream cheese
sour cream

nothing – need to buy tortillas & bagels

Meals I shall make
Wednesday, January 28
dinner: Kale & tomato with poached egg on top
*make scallion cream cheese

Thursday, January 29
breakfast: muffin & butter
dinner: coffee out with friends

Friday, January 30
*buy tofu and set it to marinating in sambal olek
breakfast: sauteed onion, kale, and tomato w/ egg poached on top
dinner: spicy tofu with beet greens

Saturday, January 31
first breakfast: blueberry yogurt & pear
– buy pita bread from halal grocery
second breakfast: kale & tomatoes (on half a bagel?)
– buy cilantro and cucumbers from produce truck
– buy quart of yogurt from supermarket
*make pita chips
*make tzatziki
dinner: aloo gobi

Sunday, February 1
first breakfast: peach yogurt & persimmons
brunch: bagel & scallion cheese, bacon, fried egg
*roast eggplant & beets
*fry leeks
*make pork & bean chili
-buy more veggies at produce truck?
dinner: grab something quick by yoga studio
supper: pita chips & tzatziki, reheated aloo gobi?, ??

Food all around

Whee! There are so many fun food things coming up.

The Chinese Cultural Center got its act together this year and is having a New Year Banquet (Jan 26 – April 30). They have brought chefs from the Expo Garden Hotel in the Yunnan Province. It’s the standard 9-course meal, but they have raised the prices quite a bit. It’s $48 (before tip) for weekends! I wonder if they have also acquired more comfortable chairs.

Meanwhile, it is almost Center City Restaurant Weekagain – January 25-30, with some continuing on through February 1-6. If I’m going to do Chinese New Year, then I’ll not be able to go out for more than one night. Well, here’s my short list of places I want to try:

  • Alfa – 1709 Walnut Street – Jan only (special menu)
  • Bridget Foy’s – 200 South Street – Jan & Feb (special menu)
  • Cuba Libre – 10 South 2nd Street – Jan & Feb (special menu)
  • Downey’s Restaurant – 526 South Front Street – Jan only (special menu)
  • LaCroix – 210 Rittenhouse Square – Jan only (special menu)
  • Mantra – 122 South 18th Street – Jan only (special menu)
  • Seafood Unlimited – 270 South 20th Street – Jan only (special menu)
  • Time – 1315 Sansom Street – Jan only (special menu)

And I am discussing with a friend cooking up a dinner party for charity.

Flavored cream cheese

I’ve written about flavored cream cheeses before, but my latest attempt was not an unqualified success.

So cream cheese.

Then I cut some dried tomatoes into fairly small pieces.

And shredded the last of my Double Gloucester I bought at Tesco New Years Eve.

Mixed it all up and ate it on a bagel.



Two days later, I came back with another bagel, and the cheese was very dubious, indeed.

It had turned a grey-ish brown and was a bit crackled in texture.

I almost chucked it. Bun instead, I kept thinking that it really was too soon for it to have gone off. So I poked it and sniffed it and decided it was all the fault of the tomatoes.

Apparently, you need to plump your dried tomatoes a bit before trying this, or they’ll dehydrate your cheese to the point where its texture is fine, but it looks sketchy. And the color is just unfortunate. Perhaps you just shouldn’t serve this to company.

But it was still tasty on my bagel.

It was even tastier with some chipotle sprinkled it.

Back home

Just spent the last fortnight in the UK.

Quick overview:
Fly into London (Heathrow) Dec.25 – plan to take rail to Birmingham – find out that the entire national rail service shuts down (and just assumes you know it will be shut down, so no special notice) on Christmas Day – rent a car – drive to Birmingham – return car – train to Llandudno (middle of the coast of northern Wales) – see some sights in northern Wales – train to Cardiff – train to London – see fireworks over the Thames for New Year’s Eve – toodle about London for a few days – fly home

Because I blew my budget on renting a car and buying shoes (they have wider lasts and just more comfortable shoes), I was very conservative on the eating front.

I highly recommend meusli for the traveling diet. All I had to pack was a liquid-tight container. Once abroad, I bought rolled oatmeal, dried dates, and a fruit and nut trail mix – all for about £3.50 (and that lasted through the entire fortnight, as more than half of my dinners). And then the refrigerated ingredients (milk and orange juice) came free with even the simplest breakfasts served in the hostels on my trip.

I did indulge in hot chocolate. But after spending the last year or so figuring out my favorite hot chocolates, I found that Cadbury’s powdered cocoa wasn’t something I enjoyed. No matter how strong I tried to make it, I could never quite get it to taste like chocolate – only leave a lingering chocolate feel on my tongue. Oddly enough, my favorite hot chocolate in the UK was found at a chain restaurant called Pizza Express; I asked the waiter what brand of cocoa they served, and he said it was Abyss (but I did not see any packaging to confirm that I am linking to the right company).

So, yeah, speaking of Pizza Express – it’s a crappy name because it sounds like some sleazy pizza joint on the corner, but it’s a fairly decent restaurant, even if it is a chain that I saw everywhere I traveled. The first time I ate there, I had cannelloni. It was very tasty, with rich sauces, but for some reason it was filled with ricotta and spinach instead of a surprise mixture of meat, but it was very tasty nonetheless. I sopped up the sauce with the dough bits and their sexy garlic butter (ended up being much tastier than the proper garlic bread looked). And they had a special running for your next meal in the new year, so I ate their again later in the trip and got a proper pizza. They do two styles of pizza: Romana and classic – “Our Romana bases are stretched thinner, making your pizza bigger and crispier, so the bold flavours really stand out.” So I tried the thin, crispy kind topped with “goat’s cheese, spinach and red onion with tangy caramelised onion confit and a drizzle of garlic oil” (Padana). The toppings did soak through the crust a bit, but I folded the soft parts over the crispier parts toward the outside and got good bites of tastiness all the way around.

I refused to eat at another chain that was usually near the same locations: Gourmet Burger Kitchen. The cheapest burger on the menu was £6.80, and most were over £8, and that’s just crazy talk.

I did have a good burger in Cardiff Bay at a bar called Salt. I ordered a mozzarella & mushroom burger, topped with sweet tomato chutney & crisp salad. First of all, I was thinking a portabella mushroom cap – but it was minced mushroom and cheese all balled together, breaded, and fried. And the bun and the patty all formed a spherical shape. But once you mushed it down and gave up on the idea of health food, it was very tasty. I did laugh when I had to ask for salt for my chips. Oh, but the best part was the salad. Okay, so it was just a pile of lettuce that you could put on your burger, but it was interesting lettuce – and green – and tasty. And I’d been feeling a little green vegetable deprived. So instead of dessert, I ordered a bowl of that lettuce with a bit of balsamic vinegar. It was awesome.

Speaking of green vegetable deprived… so there I was in northern Wales, and I took a bus (because not only were the trains not running on Christmas Day, but this little line gave up on running the Sunday after Christmas Day, too) down to Dolwyddelan, had a lovely short hike, and went to a pub for Sunday Lunch. I was given a choice of lamb or chicken and then offered a seat on a cozy leather couch by the fire in the pub because the dining room was a bit smoky as they were still building up the fire in that room. I chose the lamb. And when I was presented with the lamb and fresh veg, it was definitely what you think of as stereotypical UK food. The lamb was very tender, and had a lovely salty sauce (with a side of a thin mint sauce). There was a yorkshire pudding on the side. And each seasonal vegetable (diced potatoes, mashed potatoes, mushy peas, parsnips, rutabega, carrots, turnips) had been cooked separately, with love, just to the point of complete mushiness. Very much like the southern way my mother used to cook vegetables, only she started from frozen, instead of fresh. But, hey, it was warm and tasty and very soothing, even if I did get a smile over it not being what we consider gourmet.