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The Misadventures of Mrs. B

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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-01-10

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Friday Night

Sometimes the very best nights happen quietly...



Possibly with a glass of wine as well.

It's so important to remember that we are all blessed to even have the time to spend blogging, to have cooking and craft projects to work on, to be able to connect with each other the way we do.

It's so important to remember that even though things might not be perfect according to your definition of the word, at any given moment as much as you may be wishing you were in someone else's shoes, you can make a sure bet that someone would be willing to trade anything to be in yours.

There are people out there who don't even know that there is such a life as the one we inhabit.

...And those are pretty much all the thoughts I can come up with tonight.  I'm coming up short.  There's nothing I can say about what's going on in the world right now that's not being said by a dozen bloggers at the moment I type this line.  It's unimaginable, it's horrifying, it's tragic.  And it's on my mind as I'm sure it's on the minds of so many others.

In other news...Tomorrow we start cleaning up the attic.  I'll have to remember to take pictures of the before and after.

Attics freak me out.  Especially the kind with rafters instead of a solid floor the whole way around.  I should tell you right now that I am notoriously clumsy.  Painfully.  Epically.  I don't need to be put in a situation where there's a chance of injury.  Like falling through the attic into a bedroom or something.

So don't be surprised if my next post is out of the emergency room.  Just sayin'.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Cars

On April 7, 2006, my knight in shining armor appeared in front of my apartment building at the corner of 3rd & South Streets in Philadelphia. He was driving a shiny silver car which, although unfancy, made me 'oooh' and 'ahhh' to myself. It was fairly new (only a year old) and in good condition, and made me feel pretty confident about my knight's station in life. Decent car that he appears to take care of? Check!

See, this was only our second date. Our first date had taken place a month prior but at the time we were joined by two of his friends. This was our first "real" date, just him and me. The car was a good way to start off. If he had shown up in some dilapidated rustbucket I'm not sure how I would have felt.

Okay, I know how I would have felt but I'm trying to not sound too critical.

Slightly less than 4 years and another 100,000 miles later, we bid adieu to that little Accent last night. And I felt a twinge in my heart as we drove out of the dealership and took one last look at what we were leaving behind. I couldn't believe how sad I felt to leave it there. It looked so small and helpless. Abandoned. After all, that car saw us through a lot. Many thousands of miles in all kinds of weather. From dating to engagement to marriage. And at night when I'd get off the train, that's the car I'd always look for. And I'd smile and know that my Rob was there to take me home.

I just hated leaving it at the dealership by itself, knowing that it would probably be sold for scrap. But it's time had come - though a good and faithful servant, it just couldn't handle its electrical issues anymore. And when you're spending so many hours a day in the car like my husband does...well, you get the idea.

I know we'll have good times in this new car - hopefully, since Rob won't be driving it as hard as he drove the Accent, we'll have it for many years to come (really - 114,000 miles in 5 years? I'd be blowing fuses left and right, too. Not to mention the plethora of other issues that had cropped up). We hope that this Corolla will one day have car seats in the back!

Yeah, that's totally my gate we're pulling through...

Still, regardless of where we go from here, I know I'll fondly remember the little silver two-door in which my knight whisked me off on our first date...

I shared my feelings with a coworker today, and she said she's gone through the same thing - she said it felt like abandonment.  Have you ever had the same feelings about your old car?


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Weight Loss Journal, Day 12: Weigh-In Wednesday

Last week's weight: 258 lbs

Today's weight: 257 lbs

Well, it's not the huge weight loss I'm used to seeing at the beginning of a new diet (when I was on Weight Watchers I lost 7 or 8 lbs the first week). But it's a loss! And a sustainable one. Let's look at the factors here:

1) I didn't deprive myself - I still ate what I wanted, the entire time. Like the pasta I had at the Melrose Diner last week...and the pasta I had on Saturday night as well...and the pasta I had on Monday (okay, so this was a pasta-heavy week). Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Sushi. You get the idea. Could I have lost more if I'd pared down? Of course! But I still lost because I didn't completely overdo it all day long, all week long. In the daytimes I stuck to small meals and made sure I had healthy carbs + protein, which equals more fullness with less food. Plain oatmeal and a glass of milk. A hard boiled egg and carrots. Greek yogurt and fruit. You get the idea.

2) I ate only when I was hungry during the week and on Saturday as well. Saturday was easier because we were busy all day. Not so much on Sunday, though. Sunday was an "off" day, though I hadn't planned it to be so. I need to work on keeping busy because that seems to help a lot. Still, one off day out of 7 is not too shabby.

3) I definitely could and should have moved more. I had planned on getting more presentable workout clothing over the weekend but that didn't happen. Maybe this weekend? (Are you reading this, hon?) I know that once I start incorporating regular exercise into my routine the weight will start coming off even more easily.

I'm really happy that the scale moved in the right direction without me starving myself or feeling resentful in any way. Now I know that it can be done. Which is a good thing to know.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010



The very word brings a delicious shiver to my spine and gets my mouth a-watering.

There are about as many variations on the recipe for bolognese as there are days in the year on which I'd be happy to eat it.  That's a lot.

The variation I most often employ was introduced to me by Anne Burrell on her Food Network show "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef".  I was so intrigued by the recipe that I had no choice but to try it myself.

Seriously.  It was fated.

Since then I've pretty much started eyeballing a few of the ingredients and adjusted here and there to suit my tastes.  If you would like to start from scratch, though, check out the original recipe here.

Let's get started, shall we?

What IS that, you ask? That, my friends, is a poorly-taken picture of around 2 lbs of browned ground beef.  I really should start using my actual fancy shmancy camera for these pictures.

In Anne's recipe she calls for the beef to be browned with the veggies.  As Hall and Oates once stated, I can't go for that.  Why? Because I prefer to get as much fat out of the sauce as I can, wherever possible.  So I brown the beef first and drain it.  Then I rinse it.  This process may lose me some flavor, but it saves me a rumbly tummy later on.  Yeah, I just went there.

While my beef has been browning, I've been dicing three celery stalks and grating two onions and three carrots.  Why grating? Because I prefer this sauce without big bits of veggie in it, and my mini food processor broke.  Please, send me money for a new one...or just a new one entirely.  I'm in dire need.

Once the meat is out of the pot and I heat a coating of olive oil in the bottom, the veggies go in, along with four crushed garlic cloves.  I could easily put more in there because, well, I love garlic.  But Rob's not as devoted to garlic as I.

Now is the time to be patient because the vegetables need to brown.  Literally brown.  And it takes a while.  In my world, on medium high heat, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes.


Once your veggies have browned, dump all that meat back in...


...along with 2 cups of tomato paste.  At least, Anne calls for two cups.  I generally put in about 12 - 16 oz.  To each their own.

The tomato paste should then be incorporated into your mixture and, again, browned.  Anne is very big on this browning thing.  It's where the flavors develop.

In case you couldn't tell yet...this smells good.


Now it's time for some vino.  I have made this bolognese with and without wine, depending on whether or not I have it on hand.  I can honestly say that I love it just as much either way.  But, if it's on hand, I go for it.


I don't really measure the amount of wine I put in - probably around 2 cups.  Enough that when you stir things around you can see the wine.  Then I let it simmer down until the wine is about halfway evaporated.

While the wine is evaporating away, it's time for thyme!


I looooove thyme.  This recipe is the one that introduced me to the joys of thyme.  I take a pretty decent bundle of it and make a bouquet.  Mmmm, it's so fragrant!


Once the wine is around half evaporated, toss in that thyme bouquet.

Sprinkle in a generous amount of parsley.  I like parsley.  It adds color.


Salt the living heck out of it.  Trust me.  I use Salt Sense since it's lower in sodium, but kosher salt of course works well too.  Either way, season the sauce well and check it as you go along.

I normally use 2 dried bay leaves, but since I had fresh on hand, I used 4 this time.

Then, add enough water that you end up with an inch of water above the meat.  For me, that's about 4 cups.




I generally like to then scrape around the bottom of the pot to make sure it's been thoroughly deglazed.  Once that's finished, let the sauce reduce until it is nice and thick, generally about an hour to an hour and a half.  Then, add 3-4 cups of water again! Again, let it reduce, and you're ready to eat as soon as you remove the thyme and bay leaves.  Enjoy!

This is possibly my favorite sauce of all time.  And the smell will linger the rest of the day.  To the point where, when you go to the ER later that night because of a scary looking bug bite and you're getting married in 6 weeks and don't want to take chances, the doctor will ask you if you ate Italian food for dinner.  And you'll realize that you're wearing the shirt you cooked and ate in and that there are practically stink lines radiating from you, that's how strongly you smell of bolognese.  And you'll blush and say "Yes".

But that never happened to me or anything.

Linking to:


"Our" Space

It's funny, I was going to post here yesterday about my concerns regarding decorating our new space. As I said previously, we'll have two bedrooms and use of the den (I don't think we'll actually decorate the den, just try to make it a bit more visitor-friendly as it's currently very cluttered...okay, I can't lie, I'm dreaming about slipcovers for the couches). What stopped me from posting about my concerns, though, was the nagging thought that I was being petty and trivial in my thought process. Sometimes I'm hard on myself like that. So I deleted what I wrote.

Then, last night before going to sleep, Rob and I talked about some of the things that have him lying awake at night. I asked him for some specific examples so we could maybe talk through it. He said, "I spent an hour last night worrying about things like decorating". Immediately my Spidey Sense started tingling, but I figured he could have meant decorating for the holidays. So I prompted him to elaborate. And he said, "You know, like decorating our space. What will be okay? How far can we go?".

And I started laughing out of surprise and relief. First I asked him if he'd what I wrote read my blog, and he said no. Then I remembered that I never posted the things I wrote earlier in the evening. So I told him that I felt the exact same way, and we talked about our ideas and what we think would be 'over the line'. I feel that it would be okay to paint the bedrooms - I mean, I don't think that's asking too much. Right now they're only being used for storage space anyway. I definitely want to paint the closet in our "rec" room - it's kinda messy looking right now. I think we'll make it work. I want us to be able to feel like we're in our own place - I think it will make things easier, even a small bit. And every little bit helps!

Still, though, any ideas on decorating a small space as unobtrusively as possible would be greatly appreciated! :-)

Just another excuse to visit Google and lots of other blogs...let's see what I find...

Yeah, this came up when I Googled "Decorating Small Bedroom".  I wish this was what I meant by  "small"!

That's just a bit much...

That's a strong statement, right there...


Monday, January 11, 2010

Weight Loss Journal, Day 10


I feel like such a sloth right now.

I hurt my back over the weekend and I've been on the couch for two days.  Sometimes I'll feel okay for a little while and forget...and then I'll move a certain way and OWWWW!

On to my latest weight loss-related exercise.

One very important point that I've read in the past is that if you're hungry for a certain food, you should just eat it.  If you don't, you'll feel deprived and only end up eating more and more of all sorts of other things.  In the end it would have been easier and probably fewer calories if you'd just eaten what you wanted in the first place.

Again, this goes against all diet-related thinking.  I have a difficult time accepting this because, well, aren't we all sort of programmed to believe that we have to eat the "right" foods? However, there is something to be said for the wisdom of the body.  The body knows what's best for it.  For example, when Rob's dad first went into the hospital I stress ate like a fiend.  It was a massacre.  But after about a week and a half, maybe more, I found myself craving salad.  Soup.  Light, nutritious food.  Because my body knew what it wanted.  All I had to do was listen.

The same is just as true now.  I have to learn how to listen to my body, not my brain.  My body knows what it needs and how much it needs.  But it's always easier and...well, more fun! listen to my brain and just keep eating.  God, this is so difficult, this fighting that's always going on between my head and my belly. 

Sometimes it just doesn't seem worth it. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

...And Speaking of Gardening...

Funny I was just talking about starting a garden in that last post.  My new friend Jenny Matlock is holding a contest on her blog.  The prize: a $50 gift certificate to Tasteful Garden.  Stop on by her blog if you're interested in trying out your luck.  As for me, my fingers are crossed! :-)


Visiting Home

Yesterday we went to what will soon be our new home - well, MY new home, seeing as how Rob grew up there.  He thought he'd never have to take the trash out there again, or mow the lawn in the back where there's a hill.  Surprise! Life knows better, doesn't it?

It's a three bedroom house.  We'll take the other two bedrooms and probably put some of our things in the den as well, as these are rooms that Rob's dad doesn't use much.  One bedroom will be for our bed, and one for our computer and TV and other such things (such as the sewing machine I have my eye on...).  That way we can hang out upstairs if Rob's dad is in bed and we feel that we want to keep an ear out.  I think it's going to work out pretty well.

There's also a nice, roomy backyard with a patio and little garden plots on either side.  I've always wanted to grow veggies and flowers but have never done so.  Any tips would be appreciated!  :-)

There's also a much roomier kitchen with appliances that make the ones I'm using right now look downright shameful.  Hooray!

But the most surprising and interesting thing I discovered was the number of stores in the immediate vicinity! There is seriously nothing I could ever need that I couldn't find in a matter of 5 minutes.  It's like they knew I was coming.  Just about every major store and restaurant I can think of.  The only thing missing is a bookstore - I guess they don't read in Washington Township? ;-)

And the thing that really made my day was Rob's discovery of a box of pictures and cards from his childhood.  I've never seen any of these things, and I've always wondered what he looked like when he was little.  Now I know! He was completely adorable, such a tiny little thing with blond hair and big glasses.  I wish I could pick up Little Rob and give him a great big hug.

Well, we broke the news to our landlady today so I guess it's for real, we're really going to move.  She took it better than we thought she would.  At least that's over with.  Now...on to the packing!