Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RTT: I also suck at NaNoWriMo


Well, random up, or rant up, I guess...

NaNoWriMo: I got a total of 4,740 words.  I started out okay, then after-work and school activities got away from me.  It is a poor, poor showing.  I also got bogged down in the I have to look something up to make sure it is right.  Hazard of a historian I guess.  So research prone.  That was what I wanted to avoid.

I think I need to start over again.  Maybe in January, when things have died down?  I have a fun story idea, maybe I need to map it out better first and then take another month to monitor the situation.

It does have me worried about my goal to go on RAGBRAI in 2012.  I need to complete something.  I need to attain a goal.  Though, I am getting back on track with the exercise.  I was at the gym again yesterday.  This time, I used the stationary bike to its full advantange and worked up a sweat.  Thirty minutes hardly hurts my bottom any more, so I need to carve out more time sitting on that seat, while I am looking for a good road bike.  I really do intend to next summer to do some biking to work, 22 miles of it.

I have a former work colleague who has a fit and food blog.  She has a giveaway for Stonyfield yogurt coupons.  Go get yourself a chance to win.  I miss having her around, because it was great to talk about the museum field in general and the challenges and triumphs the field faces.  This month, I got to be chaperone mom at her museum with my daughter.  I gave her a report about my thoughts and some other parent thoughts.  Overall, it was a pretty good experience.  I shared some ways I thought it could become outstanding, but also commiserated with the fact that budgets are tight and staff is limited, making our ability to impact the visitors' experience limited at best.  But we keep on, keeping on, knowing that we will touch some people a little bit every once in a while.

My family Thanksgiving was early this year, the weekend before.  My brother and his girlfriend and mom and dad came here.  I made the meal all organic, for my mom, who is trying to cut down on the chemical influences in her life.  Except the turkey, which was all natural.  The guy at Whole Foods said the only difference between the two (besides the jump in price) was that organic means they've built a berm around the farm to guarantee no pesticide run off.  Mom was fine that I didn't bother going that far.  I was just hoping that maybe the farm was located away from others with pesticides.  We were willing to take that chance.  I was really proud with the results and I got it planned and everything came out on time and done.  I made rolls from scratch (I found even organic yeast), pumpkin pie straight from roasted pumpkins, my own pie crust, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole (ok, the French fried onions were not organic either).  It really came out pretty well.  My bro and girlfriend brought a squash casserole that may as well have been dessert.  She cut the sugar to 1/2 cup, but it was still pretty sweet.  I skipped the sweet potato casserole that is very similar to it.  The only thing missing was my sister and her family.  I did so miss them.

In case you're wondering, going all organic for the meal was about twice to three times as much in cost as it would be for all our cheap processed stuff.  Cheapness of food should make you think twice.  I know I have made a personal decision to quit buying non cage free eggs at the least.  On the other hand, we like to save money in our house, so I can't totally ditch the cheap stuff.  I can make better choices, no HFCS, avoid artificial sweetners, no trans-fat, make things from scratch more often.  My kids are learning as well.  It's a slow process and we are not perfect, but perhaps in the future this will lead companies to producing items with better ingredients and healthier lives for farm animals.  I need to keep working on it.

I hosted another Thanksgiving for friends here in town.  I sort of blew it on the turkey this time because I was up late the night before watching America's Test Kitchen.  I love that show, but neither the turkey, nor the tweaks that I did to my grandma's pumpkin pie came out really well.  The pie was fine, but my grandmother's method tasted better than I what I got.  The only thing I did do better was make the pie crust crispier and flakier and not soggy on the bottom.  The key is to keep all your ingredients really cold, whatever pie ingredients you prefer to use, then let the pie dough sit in the frig and get cold for 30 minutes, roll it out with minimal handling and pre-bake it (15 min at 400 covered with foil, 10 min at 400 without foil).  Make sure it and your pie filling are both warm, combine them, then bake again at 400 without foil for 10 minutes, turn down to 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Hope you are recovering from the overabundance of food.  We are eating leftovers for days.  I need to throw some stuff out before it goes bad.  Americans truly have plenty of food and choices.  Enough random, go see Keely.


Aliceson said...

Our Thanksgiving was mostly organic too. The squash was from our garden the chicken from the farm up the road and pretty much everything else was either organic or the closest thing to it. For Thanksgiving of all meals, it pays to go the extra mile and make everything from scratch and make sure you know where your food is coming from. Isn't that the point of the holiday anyway, a harvest feast?

I love America's test kitchen too and watched it Thanksgiving morning starting at 4 when I couldn't sleep. So many great ways to prepare a turkey!

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