Category Archives: in the kitchen . . .

Moment of Truth!


This morning, I transplanted my itty bitty baby basil sprouts (from seed!) into a larger pot:


Those babies had a LOT of roots mashed up together at the bottom of that little pot. More than I expected. Hope they survive.


Fox Point

Briefly, regarding my last post, my trees got damaged pretty well with a bizarre streak of below 20 degree lows out here in the desert. It is not pretty. The leaves are mostly still green but are completely shriveled up and brittle. They fall off the trees if I brush by them. My singular lemon turned to mush but the grapefruits seem to be fine. I did cover each tree according to my neighbors instruction — which was maddening on a cold and windy afternoon — but I think we were too late and underprepared for the temperatures. I am not too concerned about the damage to the lemon tree, at least not yet as I don’t know much about caring for formerly frozen plants. I was already planning on cutting a lot of it off this spring for a fresh start and some definition anyway. It has no trunk and no direction. It’s still wild, even with as much as I’ve chopped off of that poor damn thing. Sounds kind of like me.

As for indoors around here, I have replaced two more cartridges in the faucets to alleviate incessant dripping. I had my sons help me with it a little bit. It was not quite the bonding moment that I expected it to be, but they did what they would. I have also screwed a little tiny box of wires back into the wall in the living room. I have no idea why it is there. I have resolved to replace the wooden threshold of the front door and the weatherstripping around the door as I can see light coming through it during the day. The dial to turn the water on and off in my sons’ shower dramatically snapped in half as my eldest son was turning the water on one morning. Naturally, I bought completely the wrong replacement piece and have yet to return or exchange it. Good thing we have pliers. Lastly, my temper has cost me all the time and materials I spent repairing the first kitchen drawer that broke several posts ago. At least now I have experience.

And to finally address the title of this page, I drove past my old apartment complex today. For some reason, every time I pass it, I look toward my former patio. I am honestly looking for my 20 year old self to be standing there perhaps talking on the telephone. When I look I get a calm feeling, as if I am remembering that those were the days, when I lived there, when I had everything together and I was the best version of myself. It was the first apartment that I paid for by myself every month. I came into my own as I lived there and at first memory I feel serenity. Truthfully though I’m sure I felt more afraid and indecisive than I do now. I panic all the time about bills and food and “making it” and something breaking in this house. It is a much better pot for me in which to grow, though. With my babies. Yesterday I was standing in the kitchen when I realized that this is where my sons will learn to cook. This is where they will surpass me in height. This is where they will learn to drive. Damn this house and I are lucky.

Corn on the 4th of July!

We decided to have tacos for dinner on the 4th. You might be able to see in the photo above that I bought the burrito-sized tortillas so we ended up with burritos instead. Steak burritos with guacamole. And a couple beers for me. I was also the recipient of no less than four ears of corn courtesy of my mother, who bought them on sale. The boys and I could probably easily devour four innocent ears of corn on the cob in one sitting, but if you look at them all together, it looks like a hell of a lot of corn. Like magic, Bon Appetit magazine posted to Twitter:

Which led me to find this amazing recipe: Roasted Corn with Manchego and Lime. Never roasted corn in my oven before. I think I’ve shucked corn once. And I have never cut corn off of a cob before using anything but my teeth. This I sincerely believe I could not have done after three beers, people. But it turned out spicy and delicious and I should probably make it again. It’s sweet and spicy at the same time and the lime lends a nice zip to it. You should try it too.

It has been very rainy here lately. We have had lots of severe thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings. Luckily the power hasn’t gone out for us but the weather has done a lot of damage around town. Up here the worst I’ve seen is the roads around our house closed due to flooding. A wash runs over two main roads that we take to get home. Promises of a bridge in the next couple of years have been made. More importantly though, all this water has brought to my attention the need to rebuild my firepit to allow for more drainage. After it rained for several hours a few days ago, the firepit was reduced to the beginnings of a wishing well. backyard flood
Also, in the foreground of the above image, you will notice the lake that collects on the west side of my backyard. There is a small hole in the wall on that side of the yard for drainage. You can all see how effective it is. This adds another project to the list: leveling the yard and figuring out the lake situation. I don’t always want to have to put a towel down in front of the dog door. This could be particularly bad as the dogs get older and the floor gets tiled.
I will say that my sons had a spectacular time playing in the mud the following day. Also, we have an empty desert lot very near to our house that accepts a lot of the rainfall runoff from the street. My neighbor called to inform me that she was making us drinks — fresh strawberry basil lemonade with vodka, lucky me! — and the boys and I were to put on our shoes and meet her outside, as we were all going to the lot to meet and play with a few of the other neighborhood boys. Which we did and had a great time.
Lastly, I want to tell you all what happened in my living room when all the lights were off. The boys were freshly laid in their beds and I was reading random nonsense on my phone while sitting on the couch. My big [baby of a] dog started sniffing the floor by one of the walls and would repeatedly buck up like the horse that he is. That only ever means one thing: whatever he’s sniffing is alive. If it’s dark in the room and I can see whatever it is moving, it’s probably a tarantula. When my darling sons let the dogs back in, they were way too busy to close the door so the spider felt welcome. This is what he looked like right before I swore at him for being in the house, swore at the dog for continually attacking it (I later looked it up and they aren’t poisonous, just menacing), tried not to swear at the boys for getting out of bed to see why I was swearing, crated the dog, used a broom to sweep it off the back of the tv (those things make a loud thud if they hit the floor) and eventually swore and shooed it out of the house:

This was the first time I’ve ever had a tarantula in my dwelling. I’ve seen several and I think they’re pretty cool but it’s a little different in closed quarters with my precious dependents, furry or not. A couple nights later, I caught my big dog growling at the door, something he never does. I thought someone was walking by or had parked randomly in front of the house. Turns out the tarantula was hanging out on the front porch, possibly laying in wait for my beloved gecko. It eventually walked away. Guess dogs do have hard feelings.
It’s a lovely rainy breezy night tonight. Time to open up the windows and enjoy it while I sleep. Good night, readers. Thanks for stopping by.

Burgers, Beer, and S’mores

Last night was the virgin voyage of our firepit. Finally! I now really want to make the firepit permanent. The boys didn’t get a chance to roast marshmallows on a recent camping trip and we had the bag laying around. The first thing I did when I got home was soak the bamboo skewers. I don’t know why I soaked three as I really don’t like marshmallows.
I made burgers for dinner, which I thought would be perfect for our outside plans for later. I topped them with avocado, peppered bacon, tomato, and pepperjack cheese. Yesterday morning my neighbors donated half of a huge watermelon to us because wouldn’t fit in their cooler for their weekend lake trip. Watermelon goes beautifully with a burger. As well as beer. I bought a Sam Adams Summer Ale and the kids got root beer.
We ate dinner at about 6:30 and at that time the sun’s still pretty high. I finally cut up some of the bigger branches from the bushes from the front yard to keep the fire going. The fire’s been built for about a month, I just didn’t have the chance to light it. I think I was waiting for someone to share it with too but who the hell matters more than my wonderful sons? I also moved the patio chairs over next to the pit and brought over a short table alongside the chairs so the boys could make their treats there.
So around 7:45 I brought out the graham crackers with little chocolate bars on them and the skewers and of course extra marshmallows. And a fourth beer (which is a lot for a toothpick like me). The boys came outside with me and we got ready for the fire! The kids went nuts when I lit the fire and it burned nicely. They got out of their chairs and ran around a little bit. Next time I will add larger firewood toward the beginning as it didn’t catch fire very well after I added it. This time it was okay because the boys needed to go to bed anyway but I am happy with the way it turned out. Only two marshmallows were lost to the flames. They get really soft when heated! The boys enjoyed their treat though. It’s good to have them home and it’s good to be their mother.
I can’t wait till the next time we have a firepit night. It’s too windy now and it has come to my attention that Arizona is under a “no burn order” right now. Soon. I have plenty of things left to burn up in this backyard.