Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 ways to prepare for a big storm

We rode out Hurricane Irene with only a little water in the basement, so I'm feeling incredibly grateful for my good luck. We were, however, prepared for the worst! Here are my suggestions:

1) Put candles in 2 or 3 central locations and place a full box of matches with each stash of candles.
2) Similarly, put flashlights in obvious locations. We have a lot of handcrank flashlights so I didn't have to stock up on batteries.
3) Catch up on laundry before the storm hits!
4) Cook plenty of food that won't go bad quickly (no mayo or sour cream!) and tastes OK at room temperature. PB&J sandwiches are probably the most obvious choice, but we also had hummus, crackers, cheese, carrot sticks, a pasta salad, a potato fry-up, and leek fritters.
5) If you're worried that the basement might flood, move your valuables to higher ground.
6) Don't put beer in the fridge if you think the power might go out. Instead, focus on drinks that will taste OK without chilling or ice. I personally like my gin-and-tonic (or vodka-and-tonic) without ice, so that was fine.
7) Gas up the cars.
8) Dig out the board games or books that will entertain your children during the long hours.
9) Have a calm, reassuring talk with your children about what is forecast to happen, and what you're doing to prepare for it.
10) If an evacuation seems probable, have favorite toys and a few changes of clothes packed well in advance. Scout out your route. Make sure the pets are welcome at your temporary destination (and if it's a relative's house, do point out that leaving the pets behind is NOT optional. Not everyone understands our devotion to our furry-children.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pre-ordering books

I just spent a very happy hour perusing the "Forthcoming Books" list at Locus and pre-ordering them from B&N. Since I'm a member there, all my shipping is free.

I was good and didn't get EVERYTHING I wanted, since many of them would be just as good on the e-reader.

But, for the record and so that I don't forget, here's what should be coming in the mail:

Mastiff: Beka Cooper #3 by Tamora Pierce
Kingdom of Gods by N K Jemison
Snuff: Discword #39 by Terry Pratchett
The Alloy of Law: a Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson
Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de Bodard

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another pleasant surprise

While staggering around the kitchen, blowing my nose and losing track of my recipe, I managed to produce a good stir-fry. Here's how I did it, since I'm sure I won't remember in another few days.

1 pound firm tofu
about 1/4 cup vegetarian stir-fry sauce
1 red pepper, cleaned and cut into bite-sized strips
1 or 2 heads baby bok choy, cleaned and separated and cut into bite-sizes chunks
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
a scary amount of olive oil... maybe 1/4 cup?

If you're cooking brown rice, start that first because it will probably take longer than the entire stir-fry.

Press and blot tofu for 10-15 minutes. Slice into bite-sized strips (thin and flat works well for this cooking method) and marinate in the stir-fry sauce while cooking the vegetables.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large wok. When hot, saute peppers until nearly soft, then add some of the garlic for the final minute of cooking. Remove to a large serving bowl; do not clean wok.

Heat an additional small amount of oil in the wok. Add the bok choy stems and saute until nearly soft, then add the leaves and garlic and stir constantly while they cook. Remove to same large serving bowl; do not clean wok.

Dump in more oil. Add half of the marinated tofu and spread into a single layer. DO NOT STIR! (I know this seems counter-intuitive but it's the key to browning the tofu.) After several minutes, carefully flip each piece and brown the other side. Using a slotted spoon, remove tofu to same large serving bowl. Do not clean wok.

Repeat cooking procedure with second batch of marinated tofu.

When tofu is nearly done, add dump everything else back in the wok for 30 seconds (until it gets hot again) and stir GENTLY to combine. Serve immediately. It's good over noodles or brown rice.

(You can now clean the wok.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ten on Tuesday (late): 10 random things

Well, it looks like Carole is on vacation this week, so I'll just have to make up my own topic!

Ten random things in my life:

1) The Red Sox have a new batting line-up tonight and it's messing with my head. (For the record: Ellsbury, Scutero, Gonzalez, Pedroia, Ortiz, Lowrie, Crawford, Veritek, and McDonald. I'm used to Scutero batting late, like eighth, and Pedroia batting second.)

2) I went to the Korean store today and got home-cooked Korean side-dishes, which I'm now eating over white rice. I have almost no idea what's in them, and I certainly don't know how to cook them. (Note: one claims to be fish cakes with vegetables in spicy sauce. The other is called "Seaweed in oil" and certainly tastes like it.)

3) I should learn how to cook Korean food.

4) I seem to be coming down with a summer-cold.

5) Being in the middle of both The Stand and Feed, this is unduly alarming to me.

6) I really shouldn't have been playing Pandemic while reading The Stand. My germ-paranoia levels may be at an all-time high.

7) Almost all the Patricia Wentworth mysteries are now available as e-books, which may have lead to a little purchasing binge on my part.

8) Next year, I want to try growing okra again. (I tried two years ago, and my garden-mate weeded them out by mistake.)

9) Apparently the Red Sox are now back in 1st place in the AL East.

10) Recently, my DH checked the standings, and found out that the THIRD PLACE team in the AL East (that would the Rays) had a better record than the first place teams in the AL Central and AL West. Something seems wrong with this system.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 favorite romantic comedies

While RomCom isn't my favorite movie genre, I've certainly watched enough of these to come up with a solid list...

*SPOILER ALERT* Some of what I love involves the endings. I've tried not to give too much away, but be warned.

1) Twelfth Night - I don't know if Shakespeare really qualifies, but this is one of my favorite movies EVER so I'm putting it on the list. Hey, two (three?) couples end up happily married!

2) Moonstruck - my family doesn't understand how I can watch a movie that stars Cher, but I think she's brilliant in this one. (She won an Oscar for the role, so I'm not alone in thinking this.) Plus, young Nicholas Cage... swoon... and the dialogue is terrific.

3) Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version) - once again, I don't know if Jane Austen really qualifies, but I adore this movie and it makes me giggle, and it ends with two - no, three - no, four couples married, at least two of them happily.

4) Four Weddings and a Funeral - I love the slightly off-beat plot. I love the lack-of-wedding ending. I love Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell and Kristen Scott Thomas....

5) You've Got Mail - I love the gentle chemistry between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, and I particularly love the Golden Retriever and the houseboat owned by Tom Hanks's character.

6) Sabrina (the Audrey Hepburn version) - gorgeous, classic, and romantic.

7) Singin' in the Rain - another classic, with some great music and amazing dancing to top it off.

8) Much Ado About Nothing - I adored the team of Kenneth Branaugh and Emma Thompson while they were making movies together. Dead Again is my favorite, but it isn't a comedy, so I'm going with this one. Aside from a badly miscast Keanu Reeves, the movie just sparkles. And hey, it's by Shakespeare!

9) Stranger Than Fiction - I'm usually not a fan of Will Ferrell's star vehicles, but this one is far more than that, and manages to be funny, touching, poignant, and romantic all at once. The terrific cast of women (Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Queen Latifah) really elevates the picture.

10) Heathers - black comedy, and not entirely a romance, but I have to stick this one in. It's hysterical! Watch Shannon Doherty and Winona Ryder before they screwed up their adult lives and professional careers! Enjoy a very young Christian Slater chewing up the scenery as his character slowly goes nuts! Enjoy the not-a-typical-romance ending (I won't say more...)

And the runners-up...

My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Best Friend's Wedding
Shakespeare in Love (again with The Bard)
The Wedding Singer
Groundhog Day
Clueless (again with the Jane Austen)