Procrastination Station

You know when you have 40 billion things to do and you somehow end up putting them all off? Those days when you have so many items on your To Do list that you don’t even know where to start. Today is one of those days for me, and the Lunar Milk train is taking a prolonged stop at Procrastination Station.

I took the day off from work so I could get organized for Wine & Yarn Weekend, a gathering of friends at a coastal cottage up north to drink wine, spin yarns (literally and metaphorically), knit, crochet, and in general have a relaxing weekend. It’s an awesome release and our organizer, Elise, the creator of Nerd Wars, has been graciously hosting this event for a few years now.

Last year was my first time joining the knitters of W&Y, and I was just a few weeks in to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I brought homemade yogurt, almond-butter brownies, hard-boiled eggs, and ingredients for Liz’s Fish Dish, the first meal that Colin ever made for me. (I was overjoyed to find that, with a few tweaks, the Fish Dish could be SCD-legal.) Everything was tasty, but this year I’m determined to step up my game and bring some SCD dishes that are a little more sophisticated: the delicious and reliable banana bread from Comfy Belly as well as a new recipe, pecan pie. I’m still on the fence about bringing deviled eggs, which I’ve made before with great success, but I’m not sure how well they’d survive the hour-and-a-half trip to the cottage. If not that, then I think some other savory treat will be in the works.

So I went to bed last night with grand plans of waking early to start baking. However, this morning I woke at the leisurely hour of 9:00. Once I roused myself and made up the bed, I discovered that Colin was home as well. I had expected to have the whole apartment to myself, and when someone else is around, it’s a lot harder to get to work on the day’s tasks. We cooked up bacon and eggs and sipped steaming mugs of coffee, and reveled in the pleasures of an unhurried morning together. But now the morning has zipped by and I’ve yet to start in on my baking. And I still have ingredients to pick up!

Now I’m off to jot down my ingredients and stop by the grocery store, then bake, bake, bake, and squeeze in a run once these rain clouds burn off. And then tomorrow I’m driving up to the cottage on the coast—next stop: Relaxation Station.

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Mom’s Beet Greens

I was on the phone with my mom recently and she raved about the beet greens she’d cooked up. I couldn’t remember ever having them and she moaned, “Oh, they are so good,” her voice dripping with relish as if she were talking about a decadent slice of cake. She then shared with me her recipe, which sounded so simple I couldn’t believe I hadn’t made it before. A few days later, when I stopped in to the farmer’s market to pick up some local honey (6 lbs of it!), and spied some beet greens for sale, I scooped up a handful. Once the temperatures had cooled enough from the scorching weekend to make cooking bearable, I jumped on the chance try out my mom’s recipe.

Washed beet greens

They are quite pretty! And the beets are so tiny. Apparently the beets are a little sweeter when they are this young, and pulling them from the garden now ensures the rest of the beets grow nice and plump.

A pinch of beet

I washed the beet greens under cold water to remove as much of the dirt as possible. My mom uses a paring knife to scrape off the outer part of each beet to ensure all the dirt is gone, but I omitted this step because I didn’t want to end up with red hands. Later, this led to a few unfortunate bites of gritty beet greens, so I highly recommend you scrape the outsides of the beets if you don’t want the extra crunch.

I trimmed the roots off and put the greens in a pot with some water, butter, salt, and pepper. After about 30 minutes, I had a nice little dish with a flavorful, buttery broth.

Cooked beet greens

(Colin’s poor little table has taken quite a beating over the years!) In spite of a few gravelly bites, the dish turned out wonderfully. I was surprised at how much the greens tasted like spinach, since rainbow chard and kale have such distinct flavors from spinach. I felt like Popeye the Sailor Man getting a super charge of veggies.

Beet greens side dish recipe

Mom’s Beet Greens

Serves 1.

Ingredients

  • Handful of beet greens
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Wash the beet greens under cold running water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Trim the roots off the ends of the beet greens. Scrape the outside of the beets to remove excess dirt.
  3. Fill the bottom of a medium saucepan (2.5 quarts) with 1-2 inches of water.
  4. Add butter, beet greens, salt, and pepper to the saucepan.
  5. Bring to a light boil.
  6. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until beets are fork-tender, then serve.

Adventure Time

Jake and Finn of Adventure Time are this generation’s Calvin and Hobbes, mixed with a less grotesque Ren & Stimpy and a more adult Spongebob Squarepants.

I was skeptical of the show at first, ready to dismiss it as a crass, kiddie-sized version of South Park. But this show has merit. It’s got spunk, creativity, morals, comedy: all good things for today’s kids and adolescents (and adults) to see.

It’s a playground for creativity to run wild, chase dragon-tailed butterflies, and blow stinky green bubbles all over the traditional TV landscape. Sometimes it’s just nice to sink in to 11 minutes of play.

Recipe Review: Comfy Belly’s Salted Pecan Sandies

Sunday afternoon I had a craving for cookies, so I scoured the web for a recipe that sounded simple and tasty. I settled on Comfy Belly’s Salted Pecan Sandies and cooked up a batch.

pecan cookies

After I combined the wet and dry ingredients, the dough looked dry and crumbly, so I added an egg and stirred well to mix it in. This turned the dough into more of a muffin batter, and I briefly toyed with the idea of pouring it into a loaf pan to make pecan-almond bread. Perhaps another time—I wanted cookies. I also used coconut oil instead of butter.

Halfway through balling up the sandies and setting them on the cookie sheets, I ran out of parchment paper. I readjusted the sandies I’d already placed and squeezed a few more onto the parchment I had. Luckily there wasn’t too much leftover dough. I left off the optional sprinkling of coarse sea salt on top, stuck both sheets in the 300° F oven, set the timer for 20 minutes, and then started watching Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. With about 7 minutes left on the timer, I swapped both cookie sheets so the cookies would bake evenly. Then, with just a minute left on the timer, I took both sheets out and quickly transferred the cookies to a plate so they could cool. Unfortunately, all of the bottoms were a little burnt.

black cookie bottom

They still tasted great, and I could barely detect a scorched taste. The insides stayed soft and cake-like, probably on account of the added egg. The directions had warned that they’d spread, but mine stayed relatively plump and round. So I’d say mine turned out more like pecan muffin bites.

Cookie bite

Nevertheless, they are tasty little morsels. And with just a quarter cup of honey, they’re not too sweet. And, the day after, they still have a good consistency. I covered my cookies with plastic wrap and left them on a plate on the kitchen table. It’s been hot and humid since, and though the outside of the cookies became a little tacky like macaroons, I think that may be owing to the coconut oil I used. They are scrumptious!

Food and Fireworks

I hope you all had a safe and happy Fourth of July yesterday. Ours was very low key. Like last year, we watched the fireworks and city lights sparkling off the calm waters of Back Cove.

Fourth of July Fireworks

It’s such a nice, relatively quiet spot (a few people nearby were setting off their own fireworks) and we can walk home without having to fight the nutty traffic. Perfect.

The day before, Colin had worked a 12-hour day, while my company closed early for the holiday. (We had a company barbecue and were told very good news that we would all be restored to our full hours starting next week.) So with this luxury of stolen time on my hands, I cooked up some new recipes from the Breaking the Vicious Cycle book.

First I made the Honey-Garlic Chicken Wings recipe, substituting drumsticks for wings. I also didn’t have any lemons on hand, so I used apple cider vinegar instead. I cooked them at 350° F for the recommended 15 minutes, then another 15 minutes, then I turned them and cooked them for about 15 minutes more.

While the chicken was cooking, I decided to give the Applesassies recipe on page 136 of Breaking the Vicious Cycle a try. It’s basically an apple cake with nuts and raisins. I used pre-made applesauce (no sugar or additives) rather than homemade, and substituted pecans for walnuts. I lined my baking pan with buttered parchment paper since the Wilton Ultragold pan I have tends to scorch the bottoms of my baked goods.

SCD apple cake

Colin was just getting home when the chicken was getting done, so I threw on some broccoli and cauliflower to steam, and then melted some freshly shredded cheddar cheese on top. When I was a kid, my mom would drape a slice of Kraft American cheese on top of the veggies and nuke the dish in the microwave. So my version wasn’t quite the same, but it was a touch healthier and SCD legal, and satisfied the craving I’d been having for that cheesy comfort food.

All the recipes were a hit! I was thinking the chicken recipe might too closely resemble the honey-garlic ribs we love, but the flavors were different. The honey-garlic sauce was so good—tangy and salty-sweet. I think it’d make an awesome marinade for tofu for those following a vegetarian diet. The applesassies were moist and flavorful. Next time I make the recipe, I will likely leave out the raisins; Colin liked them, but I’m not a super huge fan of raisins in my baked goods. They’re great in cookies that need an extra burst of juicy flavor, but this cake was so moist on its own that I think it could do without. I could also see myself adapting this recipe for a coffee cake; it’s versatile enough to use as a dessert or as a breakfast side (which we did yesterday—eggs, coffee, and applesassies: yum).

Aaaand, we have some left over today, so I’m going to go hit that for breakfast. Love having baked goods in the morning!