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life without cable

30 Aug

We haven’t had cable for about six months now.

I know, totally insane, right? That’s so un-American!

But truth be told, I would have been completely ok without it from the first day we moved into our apartment. We did have it for several months and at least for me, there was so much time that was eaten up by HGTV or sitcom marathons. When deciding to rid ourselves, it was more of a monetary issue rather than a moral issue (they raised our monthly bill out the wazoo) but it turns out that this has been quite beneficial in so many ways. I used to think, “I wish I could read more but I have no time!” The real fact of the matter is that I’ve always had plenty of time but instead of using that time to read, I chose to drift away into the sweet sounds of Kevin James yelling at Jerry Stiller on King Of Queens. I love to read and now I feel like I have the freedom to delve into a book.

We’ve also taken advantage of the stock pile of movies we’ve accumulated over the years. With cable, we never watched them and they were just gathering dust in the corner. Now, if we get an itch to watch something, we pull out a dvd or are enlightened by Dr. Gregory House or chuckling at Kramer.

It has also given us a chance for Kyle and I to connect even more so. We take the dogs for walks, make dinner, go out to dinner, chat more than usual…that is when we actually have an evening together!

Finally, not being all “wired up” has freed my mind to be creative again, rather than staring at the boob tube. I’ve had the desire to start making crafty things again and coming up with exciting new recipes. Finally there’s space in there to conjure up bravery and foresight to make wonderful gems such as these…

Fudgy Brownies (gluten free, sugar free)

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 6 T butter, or Earth Balance
  • 4 T cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 c agave nectar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 c gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill baking mix)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay parchment or foil down into a 8X8 baking dish. It’s best to cut a large piece in half (hot dog style) and then make a cross while laying it in the pan. This will create handles which will make it nice and easy to pull the brownies out of the pan.

Pour about a cup of water into a small to medium saucepan to start a double-boiler to melt the chocolate. Add chocolate and butter to a mixing bowl (preferably pyrex or glass, no plastic!). Place mixing bowl on top of the saucepan and bring the water to a gentle boil. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in flour until combined. Pour into prepared baking dish and wiggle around to get the batter even.

Bake for 36 minutes or until when pierced with a toothpick, small sticky crumbs stick to the toothpick. Cool on a wire rack… but it seems that the best textures coming on these bad boys are actually right out of the oven, or when they have set in a tupperware for about a day. They are nice and warm right out of the oven and if you wait, they get even more silky and delicious after a day or so.

It took Kyle a lot of convincing to purge the cable and if you ask him today how he feels about it, especially with the recent Tour, he probably would still have a twinge of bitterness about it. We may not have seen who scored the touch down or the wacky grandmas that perform on America’s Got Talent, but at least I have an extra $80 a month to make this chocolatey goodness to keep Kyle’s bitterness to a minimum.

Kaleigh

the go-to’s

24 Feb

I wish that we had oodles of money.

I would love more money so that we could travel to awesome places we’ve never been (Italy, Hawaii, Greece, anywhere).

I would love to be able to make awesome donations and buy random people anonymous tuition to college or groceries (super philanthropists).

I would love it so that we could move in to a bigger place so the doggies could have more a yard to play in (a 10’x10′ patch would be an improvement).

But one of the biggest reasons I would love to have a little extra income would be so I could buy more food (INGREDIENTS!!).

I want to be a mad scientist in the kitchen, brewing up amazing concoctions and trying crazy new recipes. I want to have an endless supply of ingredients to do with whatever I wish.

Most of my time is spent dreaming about food. I could spend all day in a natural food store or a well-stocked grocery just looking around. Reading labels, discovering new food items, imagining what could be done with it all.

Unfortunately the Mr. and I don’t have extremely high paying jobs. We get by alright, but there’s definitely no way that every time I go to the grocery that I can pick up some truffles and jars upon jars of coconut butter. Instead, we have to get a little creative with our meals.

So what do we eat?

Well to start off, we usually are not home together for lunch or dinner. Most days we have opposite schedules so we fend for ourselves.

When I’m home alone I tend to make it really simple. My go-to meals include:

  • “Fried Rice”- I use up leftover rice by sauteing a bunch of veggies, adding the rice, soy sauce, asian flavored seasonings, and scrambling an egg all in one skillet. At the end I drizzle with sesame oil.
  • Pasta and veggie mix
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies
  • Baked potatoes topped with beans,  sauerkraut, or eggs
  • Hummus in tortillas or with crackers and veggies
  • Mix n’ match- basically I grab any random things that are hanging around and try to get a protein, veggie and some sort of carbohydrate

Kyle’s go-to meals are:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Pasta with red sauce or pesto
  • Turkey sandwiches
  • Tuna melts
  • Hummus wraps
  • He also usually eats up all the leftovers too, if there are any

On rare occasions when we get to be together, I try to make our meals a little more special. Things like:

  • Fish with some sort of vegetable side dish
  • Casseroles with vegetables like my cheesy broccoli and rice
  • Homemade burgers
  • Soups like chili and butternut squash along with sandwiches
  • New creations like salmon salad or trying new recipes I’ve found

I try to base our meals off of relatively cheap protein sources. Beans, lentils, canned tuna, etc are all really low priced for the amount of nutrition that they provide. But one or two times a week I will try to make more hearty and special things like with fish or something with chicken breasts.

So, what are your favorite go-to meals? Do you make a lot of quick meals or do you take time in the kitchen?

Ours are not super-impressive, but they are certainly easy, healthy and almost always delicious.

Kaleigh