Daily Ritual Omelette

omelette with salsa - cheeseandglory

This omelette I just made is delicious. Fresh mushrooms, red bell peppers, fresh spinach, Colby Jack cheese, topped with my favorite salsa.  I’ve been fantasizing lately about starting a food-themed podcast; last night while I was driving home from Book People I caught myself composing a business plan around a pizza-specific theme.  It will likely remain an unfulfilled threat for the foreseeable future, but who knows what will happen once I get this wedding thing out of the way.

Making omelettes in the morning has become something of a zen ritual for me.  I try to dice all the vegetables I’ll use in a week in one setting on Sunday afternoons,  as soon as we get home from the grocery store excursion.  This makes whipping up a veggie omelette pretty fast, as I already have tubs full of diced bell pepper, zucchini, and squash.  I slice the mushrooms fresh every day, which takes less than a minute.  A handful of fresh spinach leaves, and maaaaybe a 1/4 cup of diced vegetables, depending on how stuff an omelette you want.

I sauté all the vegetables in butter with a clove or two of garlic.  Sometimes I add salt and pepper, and if I’m feeling adventurous, either smoked paprika or cayenne pepper.  I whip up one egg if just feeding myself, two on the weekends when we’re both home (I make one omelette and we just cut it in half).  Melt some more butter (I use a 12 inch non-stick pan to do this) and coat the whole pan with the butter before quickly tossing the egg in.  Then I have to pick up the pan and swirl the egg around until there’s a fairly even circle all over the flat bottom.  Then it’s time to scoop the vegetables back in, covering half of the egg.  I throw in a handful or slice of whatever cheese we’e got on hand, fold it the egg over the filling and flip every few minutes until both sides are browned.

Every morning I do this.

Omelette kind of morning. #cooking #breakfast

A photo posted by Jennifer Barnes (@cheeseandglory) on

Home Alone, Just Me and Science

I had to run back to the store Sunday night to grab some things that Instacart couldn’t find (more on that in another post), and happened upon a mountain of blackberry pints on sale for a dollar. I grabbed one impulsively without a plan (bad habit), and it sat on my counter for about 48 hours.

On that same trip I made another impulse buy, a bag of chia seeds, after reading about all the bizarre things they can do that help with vegan substitutes.  On the back of the bag was a recipe for blueberry jam, and it occurred to me that adapting it to my pint of blackberries would be pretty straightforward.

Tonight, finding myself home alone while Reed is at a corporate dinner, I did some science.

Boiling blackberries are fascinating to watch.  They just keep rotating like that, looking like horrible little monster eggs full of some unholy substance, or maybe recently infused with a blood sacrifice. I can’t look away.

The recipe I played with is simple. Throw the berries in a saucepan with some agave nectar on medium heat for about five minutes, then toss in the chia seeds and let that simmer until thick and gooey, about 15 minutes. Take off the heat, stir in some vanilla, and allow it cool.

It’s pretty tasty for a science experiment, though the Ugly Food factor has not been mitigated:

chiajamcloseup

Chia seeds are so weird. All that liquid boiled down into this jammy stuff in about ten minutes after I added the seeds.  No gelatin, just stuff that came from plants. I’ve been reading on how you can grind them up in a coffee grinder, then chill for a bit, and that turns them into the most perfect egg replacer for baking, ever.

I may be trying to bake some quick bread this weekend. If I can turn my chocolate pumpkin bread vegan with no qualitative loss, then there will be stopping me.

Muahaha…

Addendum:

ladyfrankenstein2In the course of looking for silly supplemental photos, I learned about a horrible 1971 Italian horror film called La Figlia di Frankenstein (Lady Frankenstein). Based on what Google Image Search is kicking up, it was porntastic, in the tradition of Italian horror.  The Wikipedia article’s plot summary gives the impression that it’s a combination of the first four films of the original Frankenstein franchise, with a female main character using her sexuality as a power play over the men.

I’m going to have to find this movie, wow.

Day Before Thanksgiving Ramble

pumpkin_chop

This is my first year ever to really cook a Thanksgiving dinner, which we’re taking to my boyfriend’s parents’ house tomorrow. We were originally going to have them over, but as our apartment building nightmare isn’t quite over yet, I’m still not comfortable with guests at our place.

This is the result of one of those awkward “I’m a vegetarian and can’t do that thing you do every year, can we please do something else?” moments with Reed’s parents. They traditionally drive out to Salado to eat at the Stage Coach Inn, which cooks a “traditional” meal that basically consists of meat and chicken stock. Thankfully, they’re very accommodating and sweet. And I get to cook, which is almost always happy making.

Having said that, I’l like to point out that cutting up a pumpkin for roasting is a seriously frustrating experience.

Despite that, Phase I of Thanksgiving cooking was completed last night around 2am, against all sense and reason, and Reed now is home from work guarding a fridge full of pumpkin pot pie filling, roasted sweet potatoes and apples, and the supplies for Phase II;  balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, pie crust, and a second round of pumpkin bread.  He’s home from work with our brand new Wii U, and I am so jealous.

The dark chocolate pumpkin bread I baked last night has been nearly half eaten. Word is quickly spreading around the office, especially among departments I used to belong to, that the time has come and the bread is finally here.

cat eating turkeyI’m looking forward to the long weekend. A day with family, an evening with friends, seeing a movie with a dear friend of ours on Friday, and then we’re going to Celtic Christmas at the Texas Renaissance Festival on Sunday. Of course I’ll try not to feel guilty about not spending the extra two days on our big Rearrange the Whole Damn House project. I’m a little nervous that I may cave in and go on a big trip to Ikea on Saturday, as our grand plan requires buying several new bookcases.

Most importantly, I don’t have to look at a single spreadsheet for four whole days!

Blogging 101 Day One

catblogI’ve been trying to kick this blog into life for months now, so I decided to give the WordPress Blogging 101 challenge a try.  I signed up for November, and then an unexpected life event ate up nearly the entire first half of the month (I’ll tell that horror story another time). Now I’m going to play catch up this week and see where it takes me.

The first assignment is an introduction post. I’ve always been very bad at those. Here goes.

Once upon a time, I was a enthusiastic writer and blogged regularly. I had a small but growing following that appreciated my sense of humor and story telling style. Then life got really weird, and more or less overnight I wasn’t stable enough to maintain basic commitments that would keep me fed and housed, much less stuff that left me exposed to the entirety of the internet.  So my writing, all my writing, fizzled out. There was a spark here and there over the years, even a few flare ups that almost pulled up the momentum to really do it again, but ultimately I just couldn’t get it together enough to keep a commitment to write regularly, publicly or privately.

hamstermechHappily, in the many years that have passed since then, I’ve put together a very nice little life with a decent job, wonderful partner, and residence in an active, interesting city. I have found myself with enough mental, emotional, and financial slack to really ask what I want to do with my time, and even with my life overall. I’ve always felt a calling to write, and when I do it feels like I’ve found a piece that’s been missing.

I’m not sure what this blog will be about. That has a lot to do with why I can’t seem to keep it going.  I don’t generally read “this is my life story” type blogs, but that’s definitely what I was writing in the past. I’ve taken stabs at becoming a movie or comic or book reviewer, and I’ll keep posting my thoughts on those things here.  I also really enjoy extra nerdy articles that are the result of hours of research and dot connecting, so some of those will show up.  I cook a lot, and have thoughts on vegetarianism and some of the other food movements going on. I make stuff, and I love craft/DIY blogs with great tutorials. I’m interested in news that has anything to do with scientific discovery, and I’m also a big online marketing nerd thanks to my job. I love monster movies, science fiction, and cheesy horror. I have really good advice on how to teach yourself anything and make it in today’s world without a college degree. I have an unhealthy love for cat GIFs.

I think I’ll just take a shot gun approach to it, and try to babble daily about anything that catches my interest until the blog develops a real personality. I chose the name Cheese and Glory kind of with that intent, after all.  To create a place where all my interests can live together. If I want to do something more personal, or separate out some of my other stuff, I can always start another blog.

So, yeah, that’s my introduction. I’m Jenn, and this is the blog Cheese and Glory.