“Cream” of Broccoli Soup (Vegan)

The day started with a shared bagel and leftover veggie smoothie. Computer time then fitness time, followed by veggie tacos. The rest is a pleasant blur.

For dinner? Soup!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 leeks, the white parts, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 qt. vegetable broth
  • 2 heads of broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tbs. Italian herbs (thyme, oregano, etc.)

Directions

  1. Cut up the leeks and saute them on medium heat in a large skillet or pot. Use a bit of water or veggie broth to keep them from sticking to the pan.  Cook ’em for 10 minutes. Add herbs and cook for 1 extra minute.
  2. Add the chopped broccoli, broth. Bring to boil then reduce to medium heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until broccoli is tender.
  3. Blend it.
  4. Add pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with toasted, buttered bread because that’s the best.


Tonight’s about catching up on the blog.

Playing Nurse

I headed to Brooklyn on a sticker mission for work.

You came home early with lymph-nodes exploding.

I made vegetable broth, and nursing maneuvers.

Pleasure reading, letting you sleep, and easing into the Thanksgiving break.

Get-Well Veggie Broth

Water brought to a boil. All the leftover veggies in your fridge and on your bar top: 1 whole (medium) onion, mushroom stems and (3) mushroom caps, carrots, celery greens, herbs (nothing spicy for the sick boy). A dab of butter. Dash of salt? What else?

Bring to boil, then let simmer for 60-90 minutes.

The Joy of Cooking says you can put your whole onion in the broth without peeling or cutting it. This adds to the broth color (allegedly).

Broth seemed to the satisfaction of the sick boy, and after a long sleep, he seemed better.

Broken Stairs and Budgets

How do I break up my day, you ask?

Stairs, my friends. Stairs.

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Alas, unlike TRADITIONAL STAIRS, these machines break. For today’s workout, I moved to the rowing machine.

I’ve been on a stairs kick. I like to see how long I can last before total exhaustion, and I like to read while I step (–got that Anne of Green Gables addiction–).  Then I chase it with an upper body session on the assisted pull-up / dip machine.

David and I are having a great debate about Planet Fitness, and fitness more generally. You see, the PF gym is right across the street from us. I would like David to join PF. David would not like to join because he says the chain is prejudiced. A New York Times article from 2006 summarized the issue:

Planet Fitness bills itself as “The Judgment Free Zone.” But in the weeks since Mr. Argibay was booted, a number of members have accused the gym of judging with extreme prejudice, saying the club humiliates members whose physiques are too chiseled and who take their workouts too seriously. And the incident has raised other imponderable questions.

Where do you stand on gym grunting?

Personally, I am happy to keep my grunts at a minimum for a rate of $10/month, $0.05 down, no commitment. (And a $42/annual fee, but that’s in the fine print and who reads the fine print?)

The New York City winter is beginning and that’s my best angle in the will-David-become-a-PF-member debacle.

To David’s credit, he completes a good number of apartment workouts. He keeps a black Patagonia backpack stuffed with cushions and a 45lb kettle bell. He does a variety of exercises with that (squats, presses, etc).

I tell David in a message that:

Signing you up for Planet Fitness is really about me. I am more motivated to have a kickass workout when you’re there.

And that’s true. Besides, you get over the awful purple and yellow branding after a little while. And the place makes for good people watching.

David says I don’t listen to him when we workout together. I explain that it’s because I always saw him in the friend-partner role, not the trainer role.

Ah, relationship fun. But you know what they say: couples who sweat together, stay together.


On a separate note and not entirely unrelated to buying David a gym membership, I want to:

A) Check-in on my finances and budgeting
and,
B) Get better at giving people gifts

Doing A always helps me feel better about doing B, especially when costs money. Any tips for becoming a better gift-giver?

(We are fast-approaching the season of giving.)



Alert! David is writing a guest post tomorrow! Look for it. Who knows? Maybe there will even be some wife-o-meter data…

Olivia

Quick

Oh, hello there. Me here popping in for a quick entry.

Mom’s first time out of the house today since the surgery. We went to the Smilow Cancer Hospital for her post-op check-up. We managed to forget paperwork and lose a canteen, but otherwise smooth sailing.

We came home with yummy takeouts from Tolland Pizza and Big Y. The postman came by with two boxes of chocolate-covered strawberries from the Fronings! Mom got emotional reading the note. I’m really proud of her strength.

Husbometer is quiet today. Excited to return to David in time for the weekend.

I am sneaking in a few visits with family and friends tonight and tomorrow morning. Eager to visit with Olivia for the first time since the wedding! Mom is relaxing by the fireplace with Chloe.

Dog Food & Finances

Chloe is a 14-year-old bichon poodle mix. Mom has taken to homemaking Chloe’s food in order to help her skin irritations. Mom’s friend recommended the recipe.

My day started with chicken liver retrieval duty. I also picked up peanut butter and honeycrisp apples.

The Recipe:

Ingredients: chicken livers, oil, frozen veggies (peas, carrots, e.g.), instant (brown) rice, water.

Mom heats the oil and dumps in two containers of chicken livers. (Some grocery stores carry them, some do not.) Once in the pot, she cuts the chicken liver into smaller pieces.

At this point, Chloe begins to dance around her in the kitchen.

When the meat is cooked, Mom adds 1 cup of instant rice and 2 cups of water.

When that is cooked (it doesn’t take long), she adds a pleasant ratio of frozen veggies.

Scoop a serving, let it cool, sprinkle with angle eyes medicine, promptly serve to pooch.

Mom stored half of the remaining batch in the fridge, half in the freezer.


Husbometer looks good. David and I continue to touch base by phone.

Husbometer_Oct24

Other highlights of the day included a run, reuniting with our friend Kris and neighbor Ellie, catching up on my budgeting (finally!), and visiting with my brother Zack and his foster dog. Doing minor tasks to keep tabs on EveryLibrary work-life.

Mom did the stairs for the first time today post-surgery!

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I spy a loyal companion who hasn’t left her mama’s side.

Life

I slept well last night.

While I spend time with my mom, David and I are still apart. We’ve returned to our middle distance relationship habit of communicating via Google Chat.

Mom is doing better. Her walking improved and the wound-draining slowed.

I filled my day with mini projects from work, school and life around me.

Today’s work-related Google searches:

“learn to love social media scheduling”

“how to have a regular relationship with social media for your business”

“how to post regularly on social media and enjoy it”

“hate doing social media scheduling?”

My current class is challenging me to think about library planning, marketing and assessment – and how that can be applied to my current political action work for libraries.

Other items on the highlights reel:

  • making marshmallows in the fireplace
  • driving old blue and hiking in the UConn Forest
  • attending online synchronous class session
  • veggies burgers and spaghetti
  • finally starting laundry from the California trip

I liked hearing the sound of UConn marching band rehearsal through the woods during my hike. I messaged with David about career and family planning.

Plugging along with husbometer data from a distance. I guess I should leave categories blank when we’re doing distance?

Sex (Quantity, Quality) 10/23/18 6
Communication 10/23/18 0.6 6
Chores 10/23/18 6
Fitness & Health 10/23/18 6
Cashflow 10/23/18 6
Friendship 10/23/18 0.6 6
Dealing w/ Everybody Else 10/23/18 0.6 6
Food 10/23/18 6
Little things 10/23/18 0.5 6

It causes me to realize that my husbometer categories are flawed. Reality may necessarily cause us to break from reporting in some of these categories. It also challenges me to consider management of my own expectations. What would happen if I ranked these categories in terms of importance to me? Why would I rank them that way?

  1. Communication
  2. Fitness and health
  3. Friendship

The “little things” and “friendship” categories are similar, I’m realizing. In recording data, I’ve also noted a relationship between the friendship and communication categories.

Communication is increasingly important to me. So much revolves around communication: emotions, trust, sense of friendship, support, self, and future direction.

Fitness and health comes next. We lose a lot without some steady investment in that category. Sex is related to this category, and I think I take it for granted that this category consistently skews above-average…

My criteria for rating each category is a little willy-nilly. It’s based on memory and instinct.

Oww-y!

Today, I journeyed home to be with my mom. She is recovering from surgery.

The drive went quickly. I listened to video lectures for my online coursework. Near the end of the drive, I ran an errand in Ellington for mom. After getting medicine from the vet, I stopped off to explore the local library.

Hall Memorial Library

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Impressive board game and cake pan circulating collections!

Mom and I caught up. To convey her pain, she told a story. She was passed out post-surgery. Mitch said she sleep-talked through her deep sleep, saying,

oww-y, oww-y, owww 

After lunch with mom, I settled into computerland. Zack visited with Duke, and I completed my first GoodReads book review! (Something I hope to continue doing to better develop my librarian powers of reading-recommendation).

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. Edition borrowed from my husband’s family.

It felt good to catch up with the husbometer and dig into the blog today. In my reports of daily life, I’ve lost sight of my earlier intention to have a somewhat strategic first 100 days of marriage. A brainstorm:

  • Draft post-nuptial agreement
  • Finish the book given to us by the attorney friend of David’s Aunt Joss
  • Continue tracking husbometer data
  • Review husbometer data with David
  • Create strategies for the lower performing categories
  • Articulate career and finance goals

Emotionally? We’re doing okay. A lot of love, excitement, and little moments. We’re still learning to communicate effectively with each other, and that may be a lifelong project. The commitment part of things is the steel frame in my vision for the future. David uses the word “coalescing”, and I like that.

Related image

Cancer

Dear Mom,

I’m thinking about the moment you walked me down the aisle. I’m thinking about tomorrow. I thinking about the year behind us. A lot happened.

I just got out of the “synchronous” part of my online class. The class is called Library Planning, Marketing and Assessment. David and I squabbled after class. I was telling him about one of my assignments, and before I finished, he was telling me how to do it. I wasn’t listening as well as I could have been when he began talking. I could tell he was fueled by a stubborn passion and the experience of his own work in marketing. It’s possible that he said something to the effect of:

Find out where they’re spending money. Find out who’s seeing what you’re putting out there.

He disappeared back into League of Legends. I stormed into the kitchen and settled back at my computer.

I’m turning my thoughts to tomorrow. You’re going in for surgery to remove the trouble spots. I remember seeing them on the scans when we met that surgeon at Smilow.

I’m flying to California tomorrow night. I want very badly to be with you, and to support you tomorrow – as you have done for me my whole life.

I want to visit during your recovery, when Mitch has gone back to work and things start seeming quiet again for you. To help in any way I can.

Mom, you’re the strongest woman I know.

Love,
Samantha


The trip to California is centered around a Saturday memorial for David’s Aunt Joss. The first time I met Joss was on a CD in David’s car. She was on piano. I met her in-person when she gifted everyone the last-hurrah trip to Paris.

David comes to the kitchen to reconcile. He opens with an apology for being mean and a hug.

You categorize it in terms of paid and earned media.

You measure it in terms of dollars spent and time spent.

Those are the two sections of your report.

And maybe you do a brand guideline.

It’s really that simple.

Here’s the dollars, here’s the time, here’s the output.

You don’t remember school at all? I say. He says no, and makes a comment about higher education. I invite him to see the very detailed 7-page outline of what’s expected for my final report.

He looking at the outline and getting excited again. He talks about spending time and money to earn media. He says,

“Marketing and communications is the study of paid and earned media.”

I ask him questions to get deeper and try to learn more. He perceives it as an attack on his competence and freaks out again.

He expresses feeling a certain way, and I ask him not to take that out on me.

I’m remembering the gist of a book I’m reading for work: It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.

I would add to that: it’s what they feel.

I think this could be an important insight for my marriage.

Speaking of which, husbometer check-in:

Line chart of Husbometer progression. Looks like a mountain range.
Will we ever again reach honeymoon highs?

Past Bedtime

Husbometer data is coming along.

Weeks Average of Score
1 0.62
2 0.57
3 0.54
4 0.55
Grand Total 0.57

David and I are eating stress sandwiches at work. My commute is slowly killing me. We come home and initiate immediate cuddle therapy. David encouraged me to gym when I was low on energy and it helped.

I am not as prepared for my conference as I would like to be… Alas, it begins tomorrow and Friday. I will have to make-do.

Time for sleep.

Summer Squash n' Scalloped Potato Casserole

Summer Squash n’ Scalloped Potato Casserole

The summer squash n’ scalloped potato casserole is the love child of Robin’s Summer Squash Casserole and the Scalloped Potato recipe from Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe.

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Vegan cookbook.
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Scalloped potato recipe from Forks Over Knives.
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Summer squash casserole recipe ingredients according to family friend, Robin.
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Robin’s summer squash casserole recipe process.

Ingredients

  • butter (I used salted)
  • whatever kind of milk you have (in this case, coconut/almond)
  • approx. 6 (yukon) potatoes that need to get eaten (peeled and sliced thin)
  • 2 medium onions (cut into rings)
  • paprika
  • salt
  • peppercorns = freshly ground pepper, cause that’s how we roll
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sleeve ritz crackers
  • cheese (I went for aged cheddar) (sliced)
  • 1-2 summer squash

Supplies

  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • mortar and pestle (had to look that up for spelling; if you don’t have one, a bowl and some determination will do just fine)
  • colander
  • nice, big, clean baking dish

Hints

  • Don’t heat up your oven too soon, you dummy. Or you’ll be in unnecessary sweltering heat. Eventually you will set it to 350 degrees. That’s step number 7… lucky.

Instructions

Accessed your recipe and gathered most of your ingredients? Woo-wee. First step is done. Here are the rest:

  1. Peel those potatoes. Cut out any of the unsavory bits. Think about watching a YouTube video on how to cut potatoes real speedy.
  2. Cut yer onions. Make ’em into rings. Stick them in a large skillet, turn on the heat to medium or so, and add a tablespoon or two of water to keep them from sticking to the pan. Keep ’em cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and again. Add a dash of water as needed.
  3. Parboil your potato slices. That is, boil up some water. Add salt to the water. Add potatoes to that boiling water. Keep them in there for about 3 minutes and then drain into a bowl. You’re going to reuse your boiled water for steaming squash!
  4. Set down a nice, hot layer of parboiled potato slices in your cooking dish.
  5. Quick! Cut your cheese if it’s not already shredded. Already shredded? Skip to the next step. Cheese not shredded? Too lazy to shred? Slices are fine. I went with cheddar, but you can do whatever kind of cheese you want. You can even substitute a vegan cheese concoction (from Forks Over Knives: blend 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 cup nutritional yeast, salt to taste, optional 1 tbs tahini / 3 tbsp cashews).
  6. Cheese ready to go? Layer it on top of those potatoes.
  7. Time to crank up the oven. Set it to 350 degrees.
  8. How’re your onions doing? 10 minutes up? Layer some of those onions on top of the potato layer in your baking dish.
  9. Add a layer of paprika, salt. Crush peppercorns with mortar and pestle, or whatever. Add that.
  10. Repeat the layering process: potatoes, cheese, onions, spices.
  11. Ope. Shoulda cut your squash already. That’s okay. The cutting board was busy. Nice thin slices. Set your collander over the boiling water that you saved from parboiling. Put the squash in there and let them steam until they’re cooked, like, “halfway through”.
  12. Crush ritz crackers with mortar and pestle. Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Mix that into the cracker topping. Set aside.
  13. Ok, now we need: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 cup milk, 3 eggs. Mix it all together. You can do this in a liquid measuring cup. We’ll call this the magic mixture.
  14. Are your squash slices done? Layer ’em in the main baking dish. More cheese! Pour over the magic mixture.
  15. Add the ritz cracker topping in a nice layer.
  16. Now in the oven she goes! Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven (…I always burn myself here). Serve, let cool somewhat, enjoy.

Estimated total time: 2 hours

Number of people it can probably feed: 8 souls / servings

Hubby review, takeaways:

  • Also incorporate third recipe partner, The Joy of Cooking.
  • More butter? Something about a rue? Cream?
  • Ate all that I gave him.

Other thoughts:

  • Try sprinkling skillet-cooked veggie bacon on top.
  • Play some classical music while you cook.