Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We bought a house!

It was meant to be. It was listed on Edina Realty last Wed., but with no pictures. I asked our realtor (the absolutely fabulous Nancy Dalton - call her if you're near the twin cities, this woman knows her stuff and tells it like it is!) to check on it and on Thursday the pics were posted.

It was so cute and well kept, way different than a lot of the foreclosures we've been looking at. We were about to set up a showing for Thursday after work at 7, but then last minute we got to see it at 12:30 ONLY because Nathan was working much closer to home than he usually does and I was able to take a looooooooong lunch because the office was quiet. We immediately put in an offer above the asking price because there were already several other offers - they stopped showing the house that afternoon because there were so many offers.

We found out Friday a.m. & I still can't believe it!! A house that needs no work, only a few miles from where we are now, in a beautiful neighborhood with a community vegetable garden and a park with pool, new tennis courts, and picnic area less than two blocks away…..for $114,000. I feel like we're set for life, financially, with a mortgage payment very close to the current $675 we pay in rent.

In food news….well, there is none, really. No new experiments, I'm very content eating the same foods over and over - fruit for breakfast, big salad for lunch, random stuff for dinner (as in, whatever snacks are easy and available, instead of an actual planned meal). I read a lot of other raw food blogs regularly and am always amazed that they have time to make all this different stuff, plus take good pics and put up long posts about it. I'm lucky if I try something new like, once every two weeks.



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Food Stamps: A Rant

So I was volunteering at the co-op as a cashier and this kid comes through the line. Probably early 20's, sorta hippie looking, able-bodied. He bought a bottle of Kombucha (a trendy fermented health beverage, $4 for 20 oz.) and a fancy large organic dark chocolate bar ($3.50). He paid with his electronic food support card, money from the government, money from taxpayers like me WHO RARELY BUY TREATS LIKE THIS FOR THEMSELVES BECAUSE I'M RESPONSIBLE WITH MY MONEY!!!!

I was pissed, in disbelief. I cannot figure it out. How does this happen? How do people like this get these kinds of benefits? Either this kid didn't really need the benefits, the gov't was giving him too much $$, or all he ate the entire day was kombucha and chocolate. I'm betting on one of the first two - probably, sickeningly, the first.

There are actually 2 issues making me angry here - first, the stupidity of the government, and second the lack of pride and responsibility of people who abuse these services. The second issue especially hit home when I went to see The Greatest Generation exhibit at the Minnesota History Center the next day.

Ok, that's my rant.

Cheers, K

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hello Again

(Has anyone ever seen that movie, with Shelley Long? It's probably pretty lame, but I remember loving it as a pre-teen)

Anyhow, it's been a while since I've posted, apologies to anyone who actually regularly checks this blog! We've been up at the cabin and also suddenly obsessed with buying a house, after discovering the most perfect neighborhood and realizing we want in on the $8,000 tax credit.

I'm a total Minneapolis city nerd, I love my city and read community newspapers like a junkie, can tell you where most restaurants are and what they're known for even though I've never eaten there (because we rarely eat out - just not our thing, I prefer stuff I make myself, and it costs way too much considering we like to drink with a good dinner!). Point is, I'm amazed I'd never heard of this neighborhood. It's called Columbia Park and is just north of a golf course on the very northern border of the city, surrounding by somewhat ghetto neighborhoods, but these 5 square blocks are seemingly out of a different era. The people are sooo friendly and everyone knows everyone, a nice mix of old people and families.

I wasn't too excited about buying before because you can't really find affordable stuff in Mpls that's not part of a shady neighborhood - and I was definitely not excited about checking out the suburbs - but Columbia Park has changed our minds. It's been very frustrating because a lot of the potential houses we thought we could get just sold or are pending, but we're still looking.

A home we JUST missed out on that went for less than 100k:

After a long night of searching and disappointments yesterday, we needed comfort food:

MASHED POTATOES with veggies and fresh herbs

1. Boil a large pot of water, peel and cut potatoes. Wash off the potatoes in order to get rid of starch and end up with a more fluffy product. Boil until soft (30 min?). Mix with olive oil, or milk and butter if you eat dairy, and mash.

2. Meanwhile, sautee mushrooms and onions with some olive oil and white wine until golden.
3. Heat up some frozen peas & carrots.

4. Mix everything together with salt & pepper & fresh herbs - we used rosemary and thyme. The fresh herbs make a HUGE difference!!

5. Make a drink, eat, and try to convince yourself that you didn't just miss out on your dream home because you didn't start looking earlier….



Friday, June 5, 2009

Yesterday's Food Summary & Book Recommendation

New recipes are fun, but I think seeing a list of what a person actually eats in a day is a great help for anyone looking to change their diet. So the following is what I ate yesterday - my stomach does not follow a schedule, except for that I'm never hungry until a few hours after I wake up and tend to eats lots of small things throughout the day.

-Big salad with leftover zucchini alfredo from Wednesday's post
-Lots of carrot sticks dipped in leftover alfredo sauce
-Cauliflower salad (Just cauli and raisins in the food processor with garam masala and olive oil)
-Some pistachos and dried apricots

All of that was before I went to the co-op for cashier training (for my volunteer shifts), and when I got home around 9 I had a very specific craving for oatmeal. I used to eat it all the time, but don't think I've had any since we started the raw food experiment back in February. So I made this:

-1/2 apple, chopped
-1/2 large banana, mashed
-1/2 cup oatmeal
-cinnamon or nutmeg to taste
-squirt of honey

Directions: Combine apple and oatmeal in a bowl, cover with water, and microwave for 2 min, 30 seconds. Mix with rest of ingredients.

Nathan was at his poker night and I was sooo excited to sit down with my food and wine and finish Infected by Scott Sigler. I'm usually more of a magazine & newspaper junkie than a book reader, and I forgot how great it feels to be so absolutely intrigued by a book that you can't wait to get back to it. If you like Stephen King type stuff at all, definitely read this. (Thank you Nathan for convincing me to read it!)

With my 2nd glass of wine I finished my oatmeal and had a piece of sprouted bread smeared with avocado and a bit of olive oil. Yummmm. Now that I'm writing about it, it's sort of disturbing how much I was able to enjoy food while reading the end of this book because it contains really some of the most grotesque imagery ever. But then again, I guess I'm not turned off by gore - here's my adorable hubby:



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

(Optionally) Raw Zucchini Alfredo

I see a lot of recipes on raw sites for "pasta" made with spiralized zucchini. We tried it once early on in our experiment with a tomato sauce and the whole dish turned out to be runny and disappointing.

Tonight I think I got the whole raw pasta thing right. I bought an amazing looking thick organic zucchini from the co-op the other day to use in this recipe. The alfredo sauce is adapted from Choosing Raw.

Alfredo Sauce

-1 cup cashews (optional: soak for a few hours - I think this is supposed to improve how you digest them?)
-3/4 cup water
-1 tsp agave
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-couple big shakes garlic salt
-couple big pinches of nutritional yeast

Blend everything until smooth, add more water depending on how thick you want it.

For anyone new to raw food prep, here is a description of our spiralizer. I think there are definitely cheaper, higher quality models out there, but ours works fine. If you don't have one you can also just use a peeler to create fine zucchini slices, but it's not quite the same...

I made some whole wheat spaghetti to mix in with the raw zucchini noodles, mostly so Nathan would eat some. (He liked it a lot, even after reluctantly adding the zucchini noodles to the 'real' pasta).

I also threw in some blanched asparagus, but lots of veggies would go well with this - sliced carrots, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, etc. For lunch tomorrow I put the leftovers over a bunch of baby spinach.

In other news, here's something unexpectedly lovely that happened to me yesterday: I was shopping at the co-op and after the cashier rang up all the beautiful produce I'd just spent 20 minutes choosing, I realized I didn't have my credit card. I rode my bike there, so didn't have my purse (with extra cards & cash), only the little card holder attached to my keychain. Before I could even get extremely embarrased, she said "oh don't worry, we can just do an IOU, pay it next time you come in". What??! Where does this happen in America anymore? She gave me my receipt and wrote "IOU" on the top and that was it. I love you, Hampden Park Co-op!