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Monday, June 26, 2017




Wednesday, October 14, 2009


My life is all upside-down. I hate to drag you through it.

No more baby project--that is soundly over, and in many ways I'm relieved. I can put it behind me at last.

Now, an oh-my-God-I'm-turning-40-in-<2 years meltdown is underway. My focus has shifted from fabulous meals to going to the gym, sweating through cardio and weight-lifting workouts. When control seems impossible in so many areas of life, I grab it where I can. For me, that's getting control of my body shape, core strength and overall health.

I've been hiding under a rock--for that I do apologize. I missed identifying some biggies, too--Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day! Here in Central NY state we're in rapid temperature decline towards winter. Yeah, it's getting COLD! The news reports a frost and possible snow this week! *eek* I'm not ready for that.

For today, I have a giant hubbard squash--18 pounds--to attack. I'm thinking soup, perhaps pumpkin curry . But first I have to cook it.

Hubbard is the king of squash. It's sweet with creamy flesh similar to pumpkin, only better. In fact, most canned solid-pack pumpkin available today is actually hubbard! It's got a verrrrry hard exterior shell. I have learned to simply throw it in the oven whole, at 250*F, until it softens enough to cut into it. Of course that also complicates matters--it cooks, it cools, then you cut, remove the strings and seeds, then cook some more.

So that's on my agenda for today. What have you been doing?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunny Asian Restaurant

In Utica, New York, near the courthouse, there is this little asian restaurant called Sunny. They serve various thai, vietnamese and various pan-asian cuisine.

Now y'all know how much I love Pho, so when the opportunity presented itself to pay a visit to Sunny's, well, was there really any choice?

I wasn't disappointed.

Sunny is in a small, nondescript building on the corner of Albany and Elizabeth Streets. If driving from Genessee Street, you can follow Elizabeth Street all the way to the end; Sunny is on the left. We parked on Albany St, though they do have a small lot (entrance on Elizabeth Street only). Inside, it's clean and tidy--even the bathrooms were impressively clean.

At 11:30am mid-week, we were surprised to be the only customers. Undeterred, we sat down and ordered. The wait staff were attentive to our every wish, and hot tea and water arrived quickly. Our order didn't take long--and wow, just look at this:

Beef pho with sliced brisket.

Here is chicken pho, or Pho Ga.

Our partially-devoured plate of accoutrements. (We already had used all the lime wedges.)

It was good. Really, really good. And shortly after we began our meal, more customers arrived--obviously on their lunch break from work.

Here's a blurry photo of my brother chowing down.

The soup broth was delectable, the portions very generous, and the availability of condiments was fantastic. We like our pho hot, so the waittress brought little bowls of diced chilis in oil. That did the trick! (Though be warned--that stuff is hot!)

So if you love pho as much as I do, enjoy Thai and various pan-asian cuisine, or just want to try something new and you're in the Utica area, visit Sunny. And if you want a lunch partner, just let me know--I'd be glad to meet you there!

Sunny Asian Restaurant

530 Albany Street
Utica, NY 13501

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Different Kind of Recipe: DIY Laundry Detergent

I know that this technically does not belong on a food blog--but this is for home/kitchen use any way, and I felt that this is too valuable to not share with you.

In an effort to remain always frugal, stretching my dollar as far as it will go, I have been making my own laundry detergent.

What a difference.

I start with four ingredients:

- 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap. Zote is another brand that could be used. I've heard about people using an Ivory bar, but I think a laundry bar is better for this purpose.

- 20 Mule Team Borax

- Washing Soda. This is different from baking soda, but also made by Arm & Hammer. I'm sure there are other brands.

- Optional: Baking Soda. This is an additive that I particularly like as a deodorizer.

Simply grate the bar of soap. I use the smallest holes on my box grater by hand. For me, this is a therapeutic process done while watching television. You could, of course, use your food processor for a quicker effect.

One bar of soap yields three cups of grated soap. To this I add 1-1/2 cups each Borax and Washing Soda, and an entire 16-ounce box of baking soda.

Mix it all up, and you have a great laundry detergent. But the best thing is this:


That's right. 1 or 2 tablespoons. You'll have to try it and see for yourself what measure will be right for your family. But it is low-sudsing, which means you'll see no suds (safer for the environment and better for your septic tank), and although the fels naptha bar does have a fragrance, it does not come through in the finished laundry. At all. And I quite like that. I'd rather smell like my lotion or purfume--not the laundry detergent.

Oh, and before I close, I must give credit where credit is due. I first read about this over at Frugal Upstate--thanks, Jenn!

So if this has any interest to you whatsoever, give it a try. It's changed my life!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Time for Chili!

I don't know about you, but it's been downright cold here the last several days. Even today is warmer, but the early autumn drizzle makes it feel colder.

And that makes me want chili.

Mr.W is particularly fond of chili with black beans. I like whatever beans are around--kidney, black, pinto... whatever. Sometimes I like to add hominy to mine, but don't always.

I even occasionally go the cheating route and buy one of those pre-packaged spice blends. They're actually quite good!

So if you're as cold as I am these days, whip you up a big crock pot of chili. It's quick to fix and warms up the whole family.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's Up?

Greetings, my friends!

It's been an interesting week here--a few doctor's appointments have kept me occupied, and we've been eating grab-as-you-go meals.

My Hebrew friends celebrated Rosh Hashana on Friday; a sweet new year to you!

We've been eating a giant bag of NY State ginger gold apples almost non-stop! They are so delicious--but their texture is perfect for only so long; they must be eaten quickly!

But the biggest news of the weekend is that Meathead met up with the business-end of a skunk! Fortunately it was not a direct blast--but the stench was enough to drive us mad. The outside of the house smelled, as did the inside. The dog was crying, and a bath didn't help--it just added wet dog stink. It was too late to do much about it, so we satisfied ourselves with burying our faces in our pillows to avoid the odor as much as possible.

Needless to say it interrupted my sleep habits!

What else? We are rearranging the house again--this time switching the living room with the dining room. I suppose that sounds odd, but the configuration of my home is strange enough. The larger room--what we have been using as the living room--is directly off the kitchen, and the dining room beyond it. But we are moving things around to take better advantage of the flow of rooms. Our new living room will be smaller, but cozier, and adding a pair of french doors to the doorway will help with the heat in the winter.

The nights are getting pretty cold here--40s F / 4 C--and the house gets downright chilly! The crock pot has been a central element for me, with either a big batch of spaghetti sauce or a pot of soup ready for a warming meal. Last night I boiled turkey legs with vegetables and a slice of salt pork for a lovely broth, and mixed in some cooked white beans. It made for a delicious soup, but nothing really recipe-worthy.

So that's been my week... terribly uninteresting, I'm afraid! What have you been doing?

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