Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summing Up

Depression: Obviously, still there.  I mean, if you don't really do anything about depression, it will settle in and get comfy, and I haven't really done much to address it. I am forcing myself to be active, to go outside a bit more, and to get at least one thing (laundry, change bed sheets, wipe down sink, etc.) done every day, and that has been surprisingly effective. The sense of satisfaction derived from doing something, anything, versus wallowing has been helpful. Now, if I can get my eating behaviors under better control, I may be able to fix one of the main contributors to my sense of worthlessness: my weight. Baby steps, right?

Rats: Mostly eradicated. The rat guy came out, rolled his eyes at my landlord's griping, and did a rock-solid job of closing off all the openings that the rodents were exploiting. He also set several traps in the attic. After ten days, he came back, double-checked that no one had gnawed through his work, and cleared several dead rats from the attic. He warned me that since we hadn't signed up for the maintenance plan (landlord unwilling) we would need to be conscientious about walking around the house every few days to make sure that there were no new incursions. He also added, almost as an afterthought, that we may occasionally hear sounds from the rats trying to get back in. Sure enough, last night, we hear the weirdest noise. I can't even describe it. Almost a grinding. It was in the same place where the original rat hole was, so we realized it was a rat trying to chew through the metal grates that now adorn our soffitts. Since we are survivalist nutjobs, we happen to have some very powerful pepper spray on hand, so we crept out to the backyard and doused the area the rat had been chewing with the spray, then scurried back into the house. Back in bed, we smugly congratulated ourselves on outsmarting Mr. Rattus rattus, and settled down to sleep. I can now attest to the fact that rats are not deterred by pepper spray. I shall have to do some more research to figure out something that will repel them.

Job: Still don't have one, but I've updated my resume pretty much all over the internet, and I continue to apply to several jobs a day. I've dropped my minimum salary requirement a little bit, and am hoping that will help. Ideally, I would find a way to be paid to troll Facebook, write tweets, and play Candy Crush, but that job does not seem to be hiring.

Food: We signed up for a CSA share, and I've been enjoying the challenge of using all the veggies every week. So far, I haven't been super creative; a lot of veggies end up in a broiler pan underneath a bunch of chicken thighs, or sauteed in some olive oil and served over pasta, but hey...gotta start somewhere. We keep getting these tiny, tiny beets with greens attached, and let me tell you, you roast those under some chicken for 45 minutes at 475, and they are UH-mazing.

I also tried a recipe I had never heard of, but which is apparently quite common: Beans and Greens.  I found this while searching for uses for Escarole, which I had never cooked with before. This recipe allows a lot of customization, so I'll share my version:

1 lb Bacon
1 head Escarole
2 cups of fresh Spinach you still have from last week's CSA, and really need to use up
2 cans White Beans with liquid
ALL the garlic
3-4 bulbs spring onions, finely chopped (also in my CSA share this week, you could probably sub shallots or white onions)
Dash or two (or more if you like) Dried Red Pepper Flakes
Splash of Half and Half (totally optional)

Chop bacon into bite size pieces. Fry over medium heat in large skillet til crispy. Set bacon aside on paper towels. Move one or two tablespoons of bacon fat to another skillet, and set over medium heat. Remove bacon fat from original skillet, leaving one to two tablespoons. Add beans to bacon fat in original skillet, along with garlic, onions, and pepper flakes. Stir to combine, and allow to come to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to simmer. While this is happening, chop escarole and spinach into bite size pieces, and add to second skillet. Toss leaves to coat, and allow to wilt for seven to ten minutes, tossing frequently. When escarole is done, add it to bean mixture, along with reserved bacon pieces.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper, and add a splash of half and half, if desired. Allow to simmer another five minutes for flavors to combine. This is a good time to slice up a loaf of crusty bread. Serve beans and greens with bread. You can probably skip the spoons, the bread is fabulous for scooping. Inform husband that he will have to find his own food, as you do not wish to share this.  

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