Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Denver Made Me Sick, I Think

Sick sick sick.

I caught the flu!  This hasn't happened I think since I was 8th grade?  I was sick once for a week in college, but I didn't have a thermometer and I still made it to my classes. So I don't know.  I was probably stronger and more determined to go to class back then.  It wasn't like this though.  My face hurt, my skin hurt, my lower back hurt, my bad ankle hurt, and I was hot and cold and sweaty.  My highest fever was at 102.2 deg F.  My anxiety kicked in, and I thought I might die.  It sure felt like it. :)  But I think I'm getting better.

When you think all is horrible tell yourself "This too, shall pass."  It might help.  Even if you don't believe it, it's better to say positive things than say negative things that you do believe.  Belief is not scientific evidence of right or wrong.

Last week I was in Denver for work, to learn about the Farm Bill and come up with suggestions on how to tailor it to make it better for American Indians.  It's the most political thing I've ever done, and it was soooooooooooo boring.  Boring but important. 

The good parts were when I visited my cousin Will.  I was able to stay in his cabin in the woods one night, and it was silent and dark and peaceful.  I slept well that night.  We played Scrabble and I won!  I never win at Scrabble, so I think it was beginners luck.  Then the next night I went to the Denver Art Museum and watched Will's band play for one of the exhibits.  It was On The Road by Jack Karouac themed, so Will's band, Trout Steak Revival,  moved around the museum playing.    I was also able to make a Night At The Museum joke that was not understood by any but me.  I dont' mind though, I amused myself, and that's all that counts.

Okay that's all I have in me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Best Idea I've Ever Had

This week Josh and I made meatloaf for the first time.  I don't think I have eaten meatloaf since I moved away from home.  Sometimes the congealed blood and juices on the side of it really gross me out.  We gave it a try and it turned out amazing!  And then this happened:

Josh:  Yeah you did a really job even though you just mashed the meat into the pan and didn't roll it into a log first.
Me:  Ummm...this is how everyone always does this

That when I realized that I learned meatloaf from my mom and he learned meatloaf from his mom, and both moms are excellent cooks and don't cook wrong, therefore both mom's are right.  It meant that Josh's idea of meatloaf and my idea of meatloaf were completely different.  It was like for one second everything in my world got up, did a little dance, puked, and then got back into place clean and better looking than before.  I began to wonder how other people made their meatloaf.  The answer is that no one makes their meatloaf the same way!  Meatloaf is not meatloaf is not meatloaf.

Here are my findings:
Meatloaf basic ingredients:
1. Ground meat
2. Grain based substance
3. Vegetable
4.  Eggs
5. Tomato based sauce
6. Spices
7.  Pan to cook with

1.  Ground meat - most use hamburger.  Some mix hamburger with italian sausage.  The amount of hamburger varies depending on size of eaters.  I'm thinking ground buffalo would be SOOO tasty.

2.  Grain based substance - I thought it was just breadcrumbs.  Turns out you can use crumbled ritz crackers, oatmeal (whole or ground up into a powder), flax meal.  I added a few non-gluten bread crumbs and tapioca starch to hold it together.  I think anything that seems like bread/grain/cracker would work.

3.  Vegetable:  Most common is chopped onion.  I don't know if my mom did this or not, but if she did, they were chopped too small to see.  One friends mom would process up carrots and broccoli to mix in so it couldn't be seen.  Another friend adds olives and garlic.  I bet pickles might be good, or celery bits, or mashed potatoes.  Holy Smokers! You could totally grind up leftovers and put them in meat, cook it and call it meatloaf.  I need to have kids to try it on!

4.  Eggs.  Standard.  I have no idea how many you are suppose to add per pound of meat.  I used one.  Most people just say "eggs" as if that implies all there needs to be implied.

5.  Tomato based sauce - this goes on top.  Most say ketchup or BBQ sauce.  I dont' like store BBQ sauce much, so I made my own sauce from tomato paste, using salt, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, etc.  My basic pizza sauce only I altered the ratios for my preference.  Depending on the spices you choose, I think any sauce would work.

6.  Spices:  I think most people stick to the basics, salt, pepper, parsely, etc.  I used salt, pepper, cumin, savory, and maybe garlic salt.  You could go mexican and put mexican spices in it and top it with salsa.  You could go indian and fill it with delicious curry and maybe a cucumber yogurt sauce?? or just ketchup again.  You could add any range of spices to it to make it amazing.  Italian and pizza-y, top the sauce with Cheese.

7.  Arrangement and Cooking:  Some people roll it into a log first.  Some people smash it into a pan.  Some people put it in a flat dish and make meat brownies.  Some people skip the pan and sit it on a drip catching roasting style pan (do not remember real name).  I had it suggested that I put tin foil logs on the bottom of my glass bread pan that will hold the meat up so the liquid drips off! 

For Valentine's day make a heart shaped meatcake and cover it in ketchup and use the BBQ sauce to write a nice love note on the top of the cake.

That is the best idea I have ever had.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rocks and Bugs

My drive to work, visually, is not too bad.  There is a lot of exposed rock to look at and in the spring time the trees bloom purple and white and it's very beautiful.

I noticed about a week ago that a giant rock separated from the rock wall cliff and fell into the grass next to the road.  It's pretty awesome looking. It's brown with smooth sides and rounded corners.  It looks like the perfect pocket rock to carry around with you in your pocket to rub or hold onto, only it's too big to fit into the bed of my truck!  I've been staring at it every time I drive past, and yesterday a lot more rocks fell in the same spot!  It happened between when I drove to work and when I drove home.

There are two things I know:
1.  It's a very mild and warm winter bringing more mosquitoes and ticks
2.  The groundhog saw his shadow bringing 6 more weeks of winter

My theory is that there will be a bunch of ticks and mosquitoes hatching and making home very soon.  Then the groundhog power will set in and it will get VERY VERY cold and frozen at the end of the 6 weeks. This will kill all of the bugs and it will be too late for them to re-spawn.

It's a good theory.