Salad Days

Back to the heat wave here but what and how do I cook since there is no way I want to turn anything on in the kitchen.  I've been searching for crockpot recipes as well as recipes that use what I currently have so I don't have to out into the heat (even though we don't have central air and it's probably 100 degrees INSIDE).

Today while shopping at Grocery Outlet (my new favourite shop) I realized I could make macaroni salad.  To offset the soft, chewiness of the pasta, I like a crunch.  So, I found a bag of colourful peppers and I had celery in the fridge from when I made bone broth.  I usually add onions to give a bit of a kick, but there were none, so I went without.  I cooked some pasta while it was still dark and cool out.  

I avoid making anything pasta related because I will just eat it all up (I have a problem, I know).  My partner is not a big fan of mayonnaise so I try to keep it to a minimum.  

2 cups of dry pasta (I used bowties)
1/2 cup Celery
1/2 cup Matchstick carrots
1 cup Red bell pepper
1/4 cup Red onion

2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup best foods mayonnaise
1 Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Cook macaroni in salted water according to directions on package.  Rinse in cold water. Let drain well until completely cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard.  
  • Add cooked pasta and veggies with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss mixture to evenly coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • I like to let the salad sit in the refridgerator for an hour before serving.
  • Set aside some of the veggies to add as decoration topper to before you place it on your table.
Grab a fork and enjoy.
Stay hungry my friend!

Crockpot Shredded chicken

After a long hiatus of cooking, I am slowly trying to enjoy it again.  It's been a minute since I've wanted to cook, or actually enjoy it.  I've been dealing with how to cook meals quickly or have them ready to go when I'm hungry (so I don't spend time thinking about it and decide to go out for fastfood).  So after shopping for kombucha (don't even talk to me about making my own - that's another story) I bought some skinless chicken thighs thinking I could make something with it.

A quick search on Pinterest and I found a crockpot recipe for shredded chicken.  I have also been looking for recipes to make in the crockpot because it is too darn hot to cook.  Our new place has a tiny kitchen with poor ventilation and it's like a sauna in there right now.   The plus of this recipe is, that you make some tortilla soup too.  A favourite in our house.  

So let's get cooking!

4 skinless chicken thighs
15oz can of tomatoes or 2 cups of salsa
Packet of taco seasoning

How to:
Place tomatoes/salsa in the crockpot.
Empty the seasoning and stir.
No water is needed because the seasoning with blend nicely with the tomatoes/salsa.
Place chicken over the mix.
Cook on high 3-5 hours or low for 4-6 hours.

In case you a lover of Sriracha like we are, you should definately try finding the Huy Fong Sriracha Diced Tomatoes.  We are Sriracha purists here, so there is only one, Huy Fong.  It was a bit hot (my partner has a delicate stomach) so added a bit of lemon juice to mellow it out.  


Stay hungry my friend!

Bubble bubble toil.... get the picture.  I have just returned from a whirlwinded week.  My head is percolating with ideas and things to do.  For a moment (sidebar: I will now always think of Minnesota and Pangea whenever I say this statement or even hear the song, thank you Muriel) this morning I was sad.   Arriving home in the dark of night concealed and wrapped me in the still warm and fuzzy feelings I left Minneapolis with.  I can do anything.  I can write anything.  I can perform everything.  But as the early morning sunshine broke through the blinds and weaved its way between the fibers of the curtains, reality set in.  I am home.  My own bed, not quite as cozy as the Sheraton's was.  Ok, ok, let's continue the morning practise I developed over the week. Hup-2-3-4. Let's do some Suzuki style plies. 10 count. 20 count.  I can hear Izumi voice.  Why-o, why-o.  There is Linda.  I can feel Dora's energy as she runs around during the warm-ups...the rest of class making oddly shaped circles.

Wait? What?  Who am I kidding?  I have to unpack.  I have to clean and bring order to the house and its various states of cleanliness it is in (sidebar: I'm kind of a neat freak, so it was probably fine, but I needed to scrub something).  Gotta wake up and drop my husband off at the Metro station. I get into my car, which is covered in a light layer of dust that shows the remnants of an light rain from earlier this week.  The early morning ride. I return home, grab my computer and return to my routine from before the workshop.  I start over-researching ideas and themes, I am lost down a deep deep Pinterest hole of oblivion.  My computer crashes.  It's noon already.  I am still in my pajamas, the house is no cleaner, but thankfully after calls from family with happy wishes for me and tales of their recent adventures, I have found a renewed hope for where to go now.

Now a week later, it seems like Minneapolis was a lifetime ago  What did I do?  What did I learn? What was I excited to go and create?  Darnit.  Momentum lost again.  Pinterest hole of despair here I come.  Here, at home, I have a list of things I want to do, but fear has crept in again.  Ideas for scripts and stories bounce around in my head.  A zillion tabs are opened on my computer, each pointing to an idea or thought I'd like to try, a grant I'd like to write.  Wait, how do you write a grant?  Multi-tasking trying to be everything.  What to do when you've discovered your life is hopeless.  Mid-life crisis.  I think that's what they call it. Figuring things out one tab at a time.

Creamy Salad Dressing

In an attempt to eat more salad, I have to eat what I like.  Forget tangy vinaigrette, don't get me wrong I love that tangy taste, but I then still feel like I'm eating healthy.  The thick creamy dressing in moderation works, especially if it tricks me into eating more salad, I'll give it a try.

I don't really keep salad dressing in the house, because I don't want to keep that temptation close by, and I know I'm way to lazy to head out to the grocery store just so I can eat salad.  I threw this recipe together, with items I already had.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup labne (can use sour cream)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Garlic salt

Whisk together all ingredients.

To change the consistency, add 1 tbsp of milk at a time, until you reach the desired thickness.

Stay Healthy my friend!

Not a fan of bugs

Aloha peanuts! (sorry, testing out words).

I have been in Hawaii for 11 days now and I am slowly getting used to the island.  The thing I cannot get used to are the bugs.  After living sans bugs in Los Angeles, it's expected to find creepy crawlies in a tropical climate.  But my house is filled with ants.  I don't like bugs (the snail incident of 2014 was a doozy).  Yes I know they are helpful and have a purpose in the whole food chain process and all, but not crawling all over my counter tops and now I am a clean freak!  Constantly wiping and scrubbing I have become neurotic and annoying.

Although disgusted at the tiny creatures, I am at the same time fascinated.  I sit and watch as they collect in a lump and then move on their merry way.  But how do they know where they are going?

Aside from the chemical route, hello RAID!, I've tried ant traps, which seems a bit more humane, and after having an unexpected reaction to the ant poisoning left by the previous owners, I decide to search out a natural alternatives.

After doing an online search, I found that the number one option that came up most often was Borax.
It's 100% natural, so it must work.  Directions were simple, mix 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons of Borax.  Soak some cotton balls, then leave them where the ants hang out.  I really wasn't a fan of this.  It just felt messy to me and if I left the windows and doors open, the breeze would push those cotton balls around.

Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap
Next up was Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap.  Since I had some on hand, this one was worth a try.  I bought a spray bottle and added 1/4 cup of soap and added water.  I would spray downs the walls and kitchen counters leaving the apartment smelling delicious.  After spraying the baseboards and windows at least twice a day, ants were gone within a week.  After that, I would spray the walls down at least once a week so the little buggers wouldn't come back.

Other options that I didn't try

Essential Oils
When ants are out looking for food, they
leave behind them a pheromone trail, so other ants can follow their path.  This works because it masks the scent trails the ants leave and they can't find their way back home.
1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup vodka and 15 drops peppermint essential oil, 15 drops tea tree essential oil. Pour all into a spray bottle.  Shake, then spray around baseboards and anywhere ants can be found. Use caution when spraying on food surfaces if you're using tea tree oil.  Spray until ants are gone.

Fill a spray bottle with 1/4 cup of vinegar (white or apple cider) and some essential oil (30 drops of one oil) and water.  Shake the spray bottle and spray around baseboards and really anywhere you've seen ants.

Stay Healthy my Friend!

Early mornings

It is 4 am.  Again and I am awake.  Again.  Normally, I try to write stories in my head.  Compose my next great opus and then once I fall asleep I vow to remember it when I wake in a few hours.  Then, 6 am rolls around and every line is gone.  I can't remember a thing.
This morning I recited the same sentence over and over.  Not in an attempt to remember it, but trying to move past it, create more of a story.  "Rooster!  Get the gun!"  That's it.  I try to imagine the rest of the story and can't see it.
This morning I finally decided to actually sit down and write what was going on in my head.  I chose to use my computer thinking it would be quicker.  Of course, this morning my computer chose to not work, so all the brilliance I wanted to write got lost in frustration of waiting for the internet to work and Chrome to begin responding.  Yes, I could've just written in my notebook, but my mind and ideas move much too quickly for my pen, I am much more nimble on the keys.  When I write on paper, I feel stifled by the ink, but on the computer my fingers have a mind of their own and it doesn't even feel like I am really writing.  My hands know what to type and all I have to do is read it.  I've never thought about it before, but as I read it, it seems like an absurd thing to say.
I am  still trying to figure out a writing routine.  I found a fabulous online program that helps you get writing.  I posted it in my Google calendar for a Monday start.   That was weeks, oh my, months ago. I can't recall what my original start date was, as by the time I reach Friday I realize I haven't written, so I move the start date to the following Monday.  This wouldn't be so bad if it was only a couple week class, but this is a 12-week program, had I started, I'd be done by now.
So consider this a writing exercise.  Gibberish.  Almost of stream of consciousness, but that would imply free flowing words, which this is not.  I edit as I go. Making correction and choosing the right words so the sentences will make sense.  The only thing that probably doesn't make sense is the whole objective of this post.
What was I saying?  I do go on sometimes, but eventually remember the question that I began with and then answer the query in a simple sentences instead of blathering this has become.
"Rooster! Get the gun!"  Who is this Rooster character and who is yelling?  Why is a gun needed?   After considering this as the first sentence for the play, I consider myself brilliant, but then come to the realization that it's all I've got.  I know who these characters are, but I don't yet know how they move in the world.  I know the overall story I would like to tell and for what purpose.  I know the venue that it is being written for, so of course my producer and director's hat are subconsciously guiding where and how these characters can move and when they can move.  But what I need now is the complete story.  A beginning, middle and end.  A conflict along with an epic lesson that must be learned.
Victory!  The mister has finally experienced my pain of missing items from move.  I can now go on with life.

Aloha bitches!

And now we're back

It's time to move again.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  I have emptied out our L.A. home.  Nine truckloads of stuff to Goodwill.  Countless posts on Craigslist to get rid of large household items.  A full load of craft supplies to a non-profit in Venice.  Towards the end, after months of trying to move-on, you get fed up.  You start saying "F*ck it" and just start throwing things away and giving them away for free.

After coming to terms with having to live in paradise (yes, I know, boohoo for me) and emptying out the last remnants of my mainland life.  We're moving back to the mainland.

Getting rid of stuff here in L.A. was much simpler.  Although we hadn't amassed that much stuff in Hawaii, there were things that just weren't going to make the trip back.   What made it more difficult was that I was here and the man was in HI, responsible for the move.

Salvation Army in Hawaii, was not as accepting, so we had to pay to get rid of our stuff.  Any money we had made selling our stuff on Craigslist went to pay for some guy to take our perfectly good stuff.  What a racket.  I guess there's only so much space on an island.

If you have food left, you can either give it to the trash haulers, or drop it off at the food bank.

Another great moving item are these wonderful 27 gallon totes. I found my first lot on Craigslist from some guy in Malibu and bough 13 of them them.  Which made moving so much easier.  Being a bit type A and a need for things to match,  these boxes all being uniform the move a bit more bearable.  

But now as the boxes are emptied, I have found myself missing stuff.  Not in the longing sense, but stuff that had not made the return journey to the mainland.  I had culled a lifetime of stuff and kept what was most precious to me (or at least the things I could not part with) and now they are gone and I'm pissed.  I should be grateful and happy, but I can't be.  Every time I go into a store with the need to buy something for our new home, I can't bring myself to do it.  Why bother spending time and money with this ridiculous ritual of consumerism when it will just be given away or left behind. Gone are things that I have been toting around with me since college. They were household items that, over the years, I found indispensable and now they were gone.  I don't even want to unpack.  I have been living from boxes and suitcases since August 2015.  I can't bring myself to just settle in, even though it took me 3 months to finally find a matching set of dressers and drove all the way to Palos Verdes from the Valley in the rain to get them.

I am writing this post to try and get over my anger and frustration at moving.  I have listened to countless podcast and audio books on how to let go, and I can't.  I express my frustration out loud constantly in the hopes of releasing these feelings, but yet they stay.  Usually once I say my peace I can on, but now I can't.  I kicked and screamed and made a fuss about moving yet I was in the final stages of acceptance when life changed again. 

The audio books tell me that change is good and I don't want to believe that.  One of them even went to depths to tell me how change is essential and it is like science.  And still I can't accept it.  (SIDEBAR: I pride myself on being a person of science, so when "hokey" spiritual things that are good for you are explained to me in terms of science, I'm much more accepting of them.  So now I am writing this, for all the world to see, in the hopes of my mind will be free again so I can shop without having a meltdown in the middle of the store.   My only solace currently is that I am not spending money and coping with my living situation.  My new home now needs to be perfect.  Bulletproof.  Ready to move in an instant.  Every item I buy must be able to move at a moments notice with minimum effort.  

I now long for Hawaii and its beaches and hiking.  It was going to be a fresh start for me.  I guess I'll just have to figure out how to do that from Hollywood.  What will I be now?

Safe travels!