Thursday, June 28, 2007


Six months ago today FavoriteBoy and I got married in a hospital courtyard. We're glad we did!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Broccoli and Carrots

I have mysterious health problems. For at least four years now I've had the suspicion that things weren't quite right, that life wasn't quite this uncomfortable for everyone else, that I actually wasn't sure I knew what it felt like to feel good. Doctors have not been any help - they're happy to write me a migraine prescription for the headaches or tell me to exercise more for the fatigue (more than 4-5 days a week?!) or suggest a remedy for the nausea or even pontificate as to why I might get sick so frequently, but they're generally unwilling to look for a larger cause behind the symptoms.

I've decided to try a new regime based on research and information I've found that seems very likely to address my condition. (It's also something my Dad has found helpful for himself, and I do seem to be the lucky one in the family to take after my Dad's health... Thanks, Dad!)

So for the next month (I started this Wednesday), no sugar (including fruit), no caffeine, and ideally no dairy products shall pass my lips. Also, I'm limiting carbs as much as possible to complex carbs like brown rice, oatmeal, high-fiber breakfast cereals (with no milk) and that sort of thing. In other words, my life in the kitchen just got really boring.

Fruit smoothies, I miss you already. KitchenAid ice cream maker, good-bye for a month. Only Nathan shall taste the creamy goodness of your silver womb.

For now, I'm currently bombarding my body with vegetables and carrot juice the sheer volume of which would put a vegetarian to shame!

So next time you see me, you may not recognize me...

I think I'm turning orange.

What's Been Cookin'

You know that bright menu idea I had a while ago? Well, I did indeed make pan-fried polenta with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, roasted asparagus, and chicken Italian sausage. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the result until it was already partially enjoyed. Oh well. The results on this dish were 50-50: I loved it, Nathan liked the egg and sausage parts. I guess polenta isn't for everyone.

I also mentioned my first attempt at buffalo chicken tenders. Lookie lookie, here's a picture!

I've also catered to FavoriteBoy's finicky tastebuds with a few fine pizzas in the past few months:

My crock pot makes a tasty roast with only a little help from me...

I discovered the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe at Desert Candy. The ground oats give these cookies a deliciously chewy texture, and if that's not enough to tempt you, I stirred in shaved bittersweet chocolate (the recipe calls for milk chocolate) along with the chocolate chips. All I can say is YUM - and I'm not generally a cookie-lover.

I tried David Lebovitz's Black-Bottom Cupcakes thanks to Deb at Smitten Kitchen. These were delicious. The bottom is a chocolate cupcake and the top is a tangy cheesecake filling with bittersweet chocolate pieces mixed in. The combination is amazing. These are grown-up cupcakes. These cupcakes could change your life.

I made some golden, crunchy granola - the perfect mate for a bowl of yogurt.

And finally, arguably my favorite thing I've made recently: Indian Chicken Curry. I used this recipe and could hardly have been more pleased with the results. I loved this curry so much that it occupied at least 50% of my waking thoughts over the next 48 hours as I anticipated eating the leftovers for two glorious lunches in a row.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Sisterly Email

Dear Jonny,

How do you have such rich friends? All this expensive stuff like Calphalon and Krups and KitchenAid has already been purchased off your wedding registry. You and Jenn are totally making a killing off this marriage thing! Tell me how you do it. Nathan and I had to buy our own KitchenAid, whine whine whine.

The reason I'm writing is, can you hook me up with some wealthy friends of yours to help fund our plane fares to NV? We've been selling our blood for medical studies every day to save up on cash, but we still don't have enough - and we're getting weaker by the day. We'll step it up to kidneys if we have to, but I've heard those things are kind of important.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Purposeful Potatoes

FavoriteBoy and I recently discovered the TV show NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service). The nice thing about discovering a great show in its fourth season is that there's lots to catch up on, and you can watch it all on DVD without commercials. Tonight as we started our third episode in a row, FavoriteBoy quipped: "I'm so glad we have such purpose in our lives."

(In defense of two temporary couch potatoes with a recently-developed obsession, it really is a great show!)

Recently Seen

"The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" sign...

On the corner of Main St. and Gay St.

Because I have a juvenile sense of humor, I thought that was funny.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Are You Ruder Than a 5th Grader?

Tonight I watched Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader while I sat on the couch writing wedding thank you notes. (Yes... still working on those. Sigh.) I have seen the show two or three times before, and I generally enjoy it. (Although I find it disheartening to see how many people are woefully ignorant - and sometimes I'm afraid I find myself falling into that category as well!)

Tonight's show featured a young waitress as a competitor. The first question was quite basic: "Alanna always ate anchovies" (or something like that) is an example of A) alliteration B) past tense C) compound sentence. The woman was able to answer this question correctly only through repeatedly attempting a process of elimination. The second question asked: if two boys on one anothers' shoulders measured 2 1/2 yards high, how many feet high were they? The answer, of course, is 7.5 feet. This young woman, however, was unable to solve the problem because she was completely unable to determine how many feet are in a yard. One guess she gave, was, in fact, "352 feet in a yard."

At this point, the host of the show asked where she had attended school, and then said, "Sounds like you were homeschooled!"

As a former homeschooler myself (K-12, all the way), I naturally find this comment extremely rude. Can someone really get away with saying something so offensive and and un-informed on network television? I hope he gets in trouble with his producers - and I hope a former homeschooler goes on that show and wins the big bucks sometime soon!

Quite a Ride

Thanks to Mr. C. at Schola, I came across this amusing article. I suppose it's only amusing because the story has a happy ending and the man in the wheelchair was not injured, but that being the case, I got a good laugh out of the whole thing - and particularly this line:

"The man spilled his soda pop, but he wasn't upset," Sgt. Kathy Morton of the Michigan State Police said.

Airborne and Crêpes

Today is a nearly-perfect day. I say "nearly" because last night I began to feel a bit congested and, since I haven't had a cold in oh, about two weeks, I realized I was about due to get sick again because that's the way my body likes to work. So I ran for the Airborne. I love Airborne and I swear by it even though, as I said, I do tend to get sick every few weeks like clockwork. I still think Airborne is great, theoretically, for normal people with functioning immune systems, and also, who knows how sick I might get if I weren't taking the Airborne? But I digress. The point is, we were out of Airborne. And that was a testament to how much I love Airborne, I suppose, but it was also pretty inconvenient since I wanted it right then. I settled for a squirt of Zicam up each nostril (too much information, I know) and two echinacea capsules and headed for bed. Of course, this morning I woke up with congestion and a hint of a sore throat. But aside from that, today is a perfect day.

As I mentioned recently, nearly every Thursday since September I've been teaching in an after-school program in the public schools in G__. However, since we had our final concert last Thursday, today was a blissfully empty and free day. As a beautiful coincidence, FavoriteBoy's boss only needed him for a grand total of about 2 hours today, so happy! happy! we both had the day blissfully empty and free. I re-organized the pantry shelves, six kitchen cabinets, and three kitchen drawers. Then I indulged in a favorite pastime: browsing recipes on the internet. As I looked through some archived posts from The Amateur Gourmet, I noticed his post on crêpes. All this time I thought that putting lemon juice and powdered sugar on my crêpes was my own original idea, and now I learn that apparently everyone eats their crêpes that way. Oh well. I have been making crêpes for years because they are yummy and absolutely easy to make. I don't have a standby recipe for crêpes; whenever I want to make them I just look up a recipe online. I've found that most recipes are largely the same, give or take a quarter teaspoon or something or other.

I just had the sudden realization that this post is nothing but a couple of pointless rabbit trails. Nice, Sarah Marie. Posts like this one aren't exactly going to rocket you to the heights of blogging popularity or bring in dozens of comments! This post is essentially pointless. Nevertheless, here it is. Hope you enjoyed the rabbit trails.

Population 436

Last night Nathan and I watched a very unique film: Population 436. Think a cross between The Stepford Wives and The Village (even the soundtrack is reminescent of The Village at times) with a little numerology thrown in, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this film is like. It's a strange Mystery/Drama/Thriller with most of the horrifying bits more implied than anything else. Nathan and I enjoyed the film, which was overall curious and intriguing, but we were rather disappointed by the ending - oh, and by the alternate ending too, which wasn't much better.

Maybe I've just grown accustomed to watching action movies with Nathan, and now I want all movies to end with cops catching the bad guys and righting one more wrong in the universe.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Happy Birthday to, well, me! 24 years old. FavoriteBoy made it a fun and wonderful day. We attended church, went to our all-church picnic following, headed home for our usual Sunday afternoon nap, then went out - dinner at Outback Steakhouse and to the theater to watch Ocean's 13! (Which was a wonderful movie, by the way.)

Guess what FavoriteBoy gave me?

An iPod. :-) To make my workouts at the gym more enjoyable. And also just because he loves me. He gave me that a few days ago as an early birthday present/just because present. Today, he gave me kitchen gadgets and a new cookbook I'd been wanting and lots of birthday hugs.

I have a wonderful husband.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Teaching Twinklers

This year I've been teaching group violin lessons in an after-school program in the G__ elementary schools. It's the first year they've offered strings in that district, and my name got around and... I was asked to teach. I must admit that I initially accepted the job with a bit of trepidation - I had experience teaching private lessons, but I had never worked with five or six kids at a time. And so I've been a bit surprised to find that I absolutely love teaching the group lessons. I always find myself looking forward to seeing those kids on Thursday afternoons.

This Thursday evening we had our end-of-the-year recital. The program was a brief one, but as I told our little audience, hopefully next year's program will be twice as long - this year's students will continue into their second year, and I'll get a new group of beginners.

Our program consisted of:

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (main theme followed by "pepperoni pizza" rhythmic variation)
Merrily We Roll Along
Lightly Row (with harmony!)
Buckeye Salute
Michael, Row the Boat Ashore
Frere Jacques (a round)
Can-Can (with harmony)
Ode to Joy
Bile 'Em Cabbage Down

As FavoriteBoy can attest, I was really nervous about this program. After all, when I've prepared for my own recitals and performances, at least I can count on myself to practice and prepare. Of course, I had no ultimate control over whether these kids would even take their violins out of their cases the week of the concert. Thursday evening rolled around, and my kids showed up smartly dressed in black and white...for the most part. (Why is it that the few kids who don't own black pants will wait until the day of the concert to tell me... and even to tell their parents?)

They all arrived 45 minutes prior to concert time as scheduled, and I tuned violins while the kids warmed up. While I was tuning one violin, my attention was drawn to J_, J_, and I_ standing in a circle and playing Frere Jacques together, just for fun. I think that melted my music teacher heart.

We headed into the library (where the recital was held) and spent a few minutes running through pieces so the kids could get used to the wonderful piano accompaniment FavoriteBoy was so graciously providing for the evening. And when these kids lifted their violins under their chins and we began the first notes of Twinkle, I didn't see the stiff bowhold thumbs or the collapsed left hand wrists anymore. I just saw these wonderful, wonderful kids who have been such a joy to get to know all year, and to me the notes they were playing were quite possibly the most beautiful sounds in the world. My eyes filled with tears and all I could think was, I'm so proud. Sure, half of them barely ever practiced. And every week at least three kids forgot or lost their music books or shoulder rests, and I heard millions of excuses and even more wrong notes all year, but look at what they can do! They can play the violin. I taught them that. And there they were, looking at me with smiles because you know what? I didn't just teach them to play the violin -- I taught them to love to play the violin. And in light of that, those crooked bows didn't matter very much anymore.

So on Thursday night I realized that there are few sounds in the world more beautiful to me than the sound of lots of beginning violinists playing Twinkle together, and that was when I decided that I must be doing just the right thing for me to be doing right now. Because most people in the world find the squeaky sound of young violinists decidedly objectionable, and I find it brings tears to my eyes.

I think I love teaching.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bright Menu Idea

So I just had this wonderful meal idea for tomorrow night.

I want to make pan-fried polenta, roasted asparagus, and poached eggs with hollandaise sauce for dinner.

Any bets on what FavoriteBoy will think of such a meal?

Maybe I'll add sausages to the menu, too.


Monday, June 4, 2007

Gadgets and Appliances

FavoriteBoy and I spent Saturday afternoon at the mall hanging out with Cara and Gregg. We all lusted our way through Williams-Sonoma one item at a time. Notable desirable items included the Vegetable Chop and Measure (useful), a cute beehive-shaped honey drizzle stick (cute), and an egg poacher (clever). Mmm. The world is full of kitchen gadgets I never knew I needed. Like a citrus zester, which would save me from messy-ing my whole four-sided grater each time I need a bit of lemon zest. Or like a mandoline, which I never knew existed until I became obsessed with SmittenKitchen.

And then there are the things I've long known I need, like a non-stick skillet to go with my set of KitchenAid 5-ply stainless pots and pans. I have a beautiful shiny 10" skillet, but it is becoming harder and harder to maintain the shiny-ness with the passing of each grilled-cheese sandwich and fried egg I prepare for FavoriteBoy. Sigh. I guess there might be something to this non-stick thing after all?

Remarkably, FavoriteBoy and I made it in and out of Williams-Sonoma without buying a single thing. After a stop at the Apple store to look at iPod nanos, we made our way to Sears. Oh, Sears, I love you. You make me want to buy a house and get all new appliances immediately! Like a refrigerator with five shelves and multiple drawers, oh my! A freezer with space for ice cube trays! And just as we were getting ready to go, FavoriteBoy saw it: a chest freezer on an amazing sale. We're both so sick of trying to cram things into our tiny, tiny freezer that we decided to buy it. It can help us save money in the end, because with freezer space we'll be better able to buy meats and things on sale and freeze them for later instead of buying them just when we need them.

I'm pretending that FavoriteBoy bought it for me because he loves me, but deep inside I know the truth: he bought it for himself because he loves frozen pizzas and buffalo chicken tenders.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Three Quotes

"Germs are good for kids! They help build antibodies. When I was a kid, I never missed a day of school, because I ate a lot of dirty things." - Nate W.

"There are no special difficulties involved in playing a string instrument." - D___, a public school music teacher with whom I work, in a letter sent to all the 3rd graders in the school district.

"The thing I like the best about you is that you somehow always manage to keep the Brita [water filter] full." - FavoriteBoy


To blog or to write more wedding thank you notes? That is the question.

(I think the answer should be thank you notes. I'll blog later.)