Monday, September 30, 2013

Safe sex and meal planning. Not at the same time.

Since the start of the new semester, I've noticed that a pregnant woman gets A LOT of attention on a college campus. I mean, my baby belly gets a lot of attention everywhere, but particularly here on campus where it's relatively rare to see. Add in the fact that I look like I could be a student and I get a lot of odd looks. There are smiles from older people, some smiles from young women and some sideways stares as if they're wondering if I'm pregnant because I'm trampy and slept around. Almost uniformly, however, young men give me a stare more like this: O_o I sincerely hope it's accompanied by the thought, "Oh, crap. Maybe I should go get some condoms, just in case...."
Speaking of which, I got to be the condom fairy a few weeks ago. Strange thing, but it made me happy. When cleaning our apartment I found a few condoms from, well, before, and (after checking the expiration date) decided that we really don't need them. So how to get rid of them? Easy. When we went to the Pub one night I stuffed them in my purse. Carried my purse into the bathroom and left them in one of the stalls so that someone who might need them could anonymously take them. And take them someone did, since they were gone by the end of the evening. So here's to promoting safe sex, even in subtle ways.

We're finally getting some of the major reorganization projects done around the house. Well, one. It was a busy weekend, with one friend coming into town and another friend having a birthday party. So when Sunday rolled around we were both pretty tired and just wanted to have a lazy day. That didn't happen. Shane had a meeting for a project, I met with people for a "going away" lunch for the friend who was in town (and since I'd had breakfast only about an hour before, I didn't even order anything), and then there were myriad things around the house to take care of. Of course there were. If I'd known when I was a kid how many house chores were involved in being a grownup, I might not have considered the trade-off of "autonomy" vs. "chores" to be quite so one-sided.
All this to say, we got the garage cleaned out! We have an interior place to park for the winter, which means no plugging in our car. Woo! This makes me so very happy, as it also means no running the car for a half hour before going anywhere to warm up the engine.
We still haven't organized the closet, and I still haven't done anything about making curtains to block off Baby's area. But I'm really feeling the push to get things done and I know those will happen in the next week or two.

With the change in my schedule, and with Shane's crazy semester schedule, cooking is something which could fall through the cracks. However, we can't afford to get takeout every night, or even every week (or every month....) so I'm making a serious effort to really plan out our week's meals in advance and to be highly organized so that we have both dinners and lunches (leftovers!). The CrockPot is my savior, once again. And I'm trying some new recipes, just so we've got plenty of variety. Today's is this beef stew, and later this week this apple-parsnip soup. (Shane's not a fan of parsnips so he's wary. Also, he doesn't like the texture of pureed soups so to add a bit of texture I'm going to throw some chicken-apple sausages in there.) A friend sent me a recipe for Mexican chicken soup, so that will be going on our menu soon too, along with this tomato soup and this cream of potato soup with bacon. Because bacon.
If I need a quick bread pairing with any of these soups (other than the tomato soup, which will of course have the traditional grilled cheese with it), I've got these freezer biscuits which will be super easy to make. And of course, I'll let you know which of these recipes are winners. Because everyone could do with a few extra easy meals in their repertoire.
I did try making these pumpkin cinnamon rolls, which were deemed half successful. I thought they were ok, Shane didn't. I'll make them again sometime, but I'll try baking them like regular cinnamon rolls, rather than in the Crockpot, and see if that helps. Also, since they're from a vegan blog and we are most assuredly not vegan, I changed the recipe to this:

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
3 1/2 cups flour, plus enough extra to make it properly doughy/roll out
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp yeast
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 egg

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to taste (a bit heavier on cinnamon and nutmeg, lighter on the cloves)

I suggest baking them (probably at 350^ until done) and then smothering them with cream cheese frosting. For health.
I don't want to give the impression that we're only eating from the CrockPot. Whenever we've got time, or can make time, we actually cook. Last Thursday, Shane decided that since he hadn't cooked in nearly two weeks, and missed it, he wanted to make dinner. This meant starting dinner at 9:00. So I snacked in the afternoon (but was still plenty hungry by dinnertime) and got everything chopped, prepped and ready for him. It could have sucked, eating so late, but it didn't. And it was not only nice for him to do something he enjoyed toward the end of a crazy, busy week but also for me to have a bit of a break from the kitchen. (Yes, at this point *only* chopping vegetables constitutes a break from the kitchen.)

After the first snowfall I had Shane bring my small carrot boxes inside, but the large planter boxes were far too large to carry into the garage so I left them out there figuring that the next time I needed carrots I'd go pull them from there. I finally did that. Only six of my large carrots actually germinated, so it wasn't the greatest haul. However, I did get a good laugh since all but one of them was mutated in some way!

I love the small round one which looks kind of like a bear claw. Even better, Shane came home and when he saw them lying on the counter asked, "Where the heck did you buy these carrots from?" :)

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