for those who are in or around sane

Saturday, May 24

tiny celebration with a mini blog

i have cable and internet at home!! i have cable and internet at home! woooo!!!!!

Wednesday, May 21

garden, pt 4

basil update:

after much deliberation over the advice from my commenters and mom, i decided to remove the now definitely dead basil plant. i'm hoping this was a fluke plant, as i already expressed my concern about overcrowding, and a small weed-out will hopefully only help the remaining herbs flourish.

to solidify my decision, i pruned and came up with my first tiny basil crop of the season. it was very yummy in my pesto orzo w/ chicken & parmesan supper:

1/4 c. fresh or frozen pesto (thank you jane!)
1/2 c. packaged orzo, (cook al dente then drain well)
1/2 lb. chicken, cooked (i use salt & pepper and the george forman)
parmesan cheese to taste (i use the shredded kind - a lot of it)
1 - 2 Tbs of olive oil
small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped well*

toss all together and salt as needed (my fave salt these days is coarse sea salt). I realize that some of my readers are concerned about carbs, and i readily admit that my orzo is regular pasta from trader joe's. i have not been able to find "healthy" orzo. if anyone has, please let me know!! otherwise, you can sub dreamfield's elbow macaroni. oh, and of note - parmesean cheese is one of the "healthier" cheeses out there. rule of thumb is: the harder the cheese, the healthier it is (AND less lactose).

*this is my fresh addition to the meal - it's not necessary, but gives the dish a kick.


Friday, May 16

garden, pt 3

the basil is having issues...

does anyone have any idea what's going on here? i googled "wilting basil" and all i get are references to either the soil being too dry or too wet. i know it's wet enough b/c the other herbs are flourishing. but perhaps the drainage on that side is too much/too little? should i remove the sick plant? does it look like part of it may revive? and of course: did i plant them too close to each other?


Tuesday, May 13

garden, pt 2

the garden is blossoming!

it appears that all of my plants have taken to their new surroundings on the porch. i spent an hour on the front walkway pounding nail holes into the metal pots for drainage (it worked!) and arranging my greens into neat rows.

I have four pots of cosmos in yellow, orange and purple.

one long pot of herbs - (left to right) basil, basil, rosemary, thyme. i'm debating whether or not to hang this baby over the ledge.

one tub containing 2 tomato plants and a cosmos (did i overcrowd?). note the little guy hanging out in front - that's 2 more tomato plants that i dont have pots for. i'm debating putting each one in it's own large pot to see if they grow bigger tomatoes due to more growing room.

and another tub with 2 tomato plants and a cosmos.

a few days after the planting, i put some used coffee grounds around each plant. i heard that it adds nitrogen to the soil and can prevent certain bugs. whether or not those bugs exist in the city and feast on porch plants is unknown to me, but i took the precaution nonetheless. plus, i happen to consume a lot of coffee...


Monday, May 5

the garden, part 1

i planted a tiny "garden" this year. in previous years, i've simply gone without or borrowed/begged/stolen from relatives and friends. the noble pastime of gardening has never appealed to me before. for one, i do not have a green thumb. i'm currently in the process of killing an aloe plant. an ALOE plant. i cannot figure out what to do with this poor little browning, shriveling plant.

i have a typical viney-green-leafy unkillable office plant in my cube. it's got some giant bare spots on it's "arms" and i'm slightly ashamed of how it wilts after long weekends/weeks w/o watering. but i think i'm due for some diligence. i am gung-ho to learn about this dirty biz. i want something green and flourishing in my house. so i started small:

a few tomato plants - beefeaters and some yellow ones (i need to look at the label again)
2 basil plants
1 thyme plant
1 rosemary plant
6 cosmos (purple and yellow)

as soon as i can, i'll take a picture of my newly potted plants and post it here. my plan is to post regularly about the plants health and productivity. i'll then have a record of what works for apartment gardening and what does not.

wish me luck!


april books

a little less late for you this month... happy cinqo de mayo!

in april i tried to catch up on my new yorkers, with little visible accomplishment. i have about 4 back issues to go through, including one with a piece by jeffery eugenides (author of middlesex - a previously reviewed book by moi) that i'm rather excited about. with all of this literature delivered fresh to my door every wednesday, it's hard to keep up with my regular reading.

regardless, i have a few picks for april:

the other boleyn girl by phillipa gregory
book club book! over roasted chicken and corned beef w/ root veggies (and wine and vodka), we discussed, hashed and laughed over the story of anne and mary boleyn's relationship with king henry viii. good book club book because it's got a lot of sex in it, some actual romance, some good plot twists, historical costumes and a story we have all heard at one point or another in our lives that is fun to put a spin on. it's NOT a good book club book if you only have a month to read it: it's over 600 pages long. we gave ourselves almost 2 months to complete this tome.

i realize that this book isnt for history buffs - there are a lot of things that are brushed over or simply not addressed (anne boleyn's 6th finger on her one hand). but it was WAY better than the movie. it was very helpful to have eric bana's face in mind when i thought about henry viii, but scarlett johanson was just not the right role for mary boleyn and natalie portman overacted. oh well.

rilla of ingleside by l.m. montgomery
the LAST of the anne series... and quite possibly, a return to the quality storylines that i enjoyed in anne of green gables and anne of avonlea. rilla is anne's youngest and prettiest daughter - she's vain and carefree and enjoys the company of young folk. our plot thread is the great war, which canada enters a helluva lot earlier than the usa. some boys go, some hem & haw, some stay... some come back and some dont. through the war years rilla grows up - raising a war baby, organizing a war wedding and the junior red cross, gaining a love interest and growing into a fine young woman by war's end.

overall, a good ending to a great set of growing up books.

animal, vegetable, miracle by barbara kingsolver
one year in the life of a family who agrees to eat and live as localvores. kingsolver writes the bulk of the nonfiction, memior-style experiment. her husband includes essays that are chock-full of helpful and informative facts and benefits about eating locally grown food. her daughter contributes short nutritionally oriented essays complete with yummy-sounding recipes. the youngest daughter contributes to the book by being a main character as an active food producer: she starts an egg and chicken business (at the age of 8!).

i have to say, i'm inspired. i did plant a tiny garden of my own (of herbs, tomatoes and flowers (this is my experimental garden of which i'll blog more about later). i looked up the farmer's markets in both the city and near my office. i plan on using fresh organics where i can and buying locally when available. i know i wont be anywhere near as diligent as this family. kingsolver and her husband own a plot of land in fertile virginia and were able to grow and care for an extensive garden - producing about 80% of what they consumed for the year. i certainly will NOT be that person who owns chickens in the city. and i dont have the income to always shop at co-ops and whole foods. but animal, vegetable, miracle gave me a fresh, honest perspective on what one actually CAN do to be a greener person, a healthier person, a more-aware person. every little bit helps, and i highly recommend this book.

the text itself is funny and intriguing. kingsolver is an engaging storyteller and the essays are informative without being dry. i listened to this on audiobook, and the family narrates their corresponding parts, which i felt was a nice touch. check out their website for recipes and details and to just plain old GET INSPIRED.