Wednesday, May 27, 2009

These Shoes Are Made For Walking

And the walking continues. To the point where I am tired most of the time. And it is likely to get worse. I just purchased (via e-bay) a pair of MBT's. MBT's are weird looking walking shoes that have nearly completely rounded soles. They are supposed to work nearly all your leg muscles AND your core muscles. I tried a couple pair on at a store in town and they feel odd. They're not the most attractive shoes around, but if they work the way they're supposed to, they'll be worth the $170 I paid for them.
Plans are in the works for my step-father's birthday dinner. I'll post the recipe after, assuming it turns out the way we want it to. Gifts have been purchased and wrapped. On top of all this a good friend from St. Louis is coming into town in the middle of next week. AND the concerts will start next week at Millennium Park. At least the ones I want to go to will. This means that picnic season is upon us.
I really don't have much new to report. I get up, I walk, I come home and eat something, I go either walk some more or ride my bike, I come home and relax for a bit, then I go walk some more. I'm averaging about 6 miles a day right now. With those shoes that are due to come in the mail soon, it'll be even MORE effective. I figure by the end of July, I'd better have fabulous legs!

--Little Bird is gonna walk all over town

P.S. I'll post a recipe soon, really I will.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Seventeen Miles to Ravioli

The walking. THE WALKING! Damn, am I tired from all the walking! NINE miles yesterday and eight today. And any benefit from either day ruined by tonight's dinner. We MADE ravioli. It was only a matter of time before we progressed from linguini style noodles to something more advanced. These were stuffed with ricotta and basil. We served them with a cream sauce and added tomatoes orange peppers and chives to the sauce. I am now very full and disinclined to move much.
We haven't started the canning yet, but really, there isn't much available at the farmers markets TO can this early in the season. But I am more than ready to attempt to use that giant pot. It's 21 quarts!! My biggest stock pot is 5 quarts, and looks like an infant next to this behemoth.
The warmer seasons are upon us, and in about two weeks the fireworks start. Literally. Every Wednesday and Saturday over Navy Pier. I'm just waiting for the concerts at Millennium Park to start, I have a bunch of ideas for new dishes to try out. And those dishes are best enjoyed at picnics. One of these dishes will have me venturing into Greektown to find decent pita bread. Another will have me making my own crackers. Yes, the transformation into Martha is nearly complete. I think the transformation will be total sometime after I move to New Mexico, which will be in a few years or so. I refuse to wear pale blue oxford shirts with khakis though.
My bed is looking very comfortable right now, and my stomach is very full, so I think it's time for bed. Or at least time to sit and rot my brain with lots and lots of bad TV.

--Little Bird is too full to leave her nest right now.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wild Wild Weekend

This past weekend was odd. Saturday Mama Bird and I went for our usual 7 1/2 mile walk. We were discussing what we were gonna do for dinner on Sunday. And what she and her husband were gonna do for dinner that night. While we were discussing this we passed a re-sell-it shop and I saw a pasta pot that I wanted. It was orange, and from a distance appeared to be Le Cruset, a brand I covet deeply. It was not the brand I so desperately desire, but we did see (and purchase) a never been used canning pot and rack. The downside to this was I had to carry the dratted thing home. About 2 or 3 miles. The thing is light, but oversized, it holds 21 QUARTS! We also stopped at the regular grocery store to pick up a few things. So there we are, laden with grocery bags and a cook pot nearly large enough to bathe in, walking home. We get within one block of home and the street is taped off with crime scene yellow tape. And the cops made us walk out of our way to get to our place so we wouldn't traipse through their crime scene. It seems some woman had tried to use a stolen credit card at a store, the cops had been called, she tried to get away, couldn't so she tried to grab the cops gun. BAD IDEA. She was shot twice. She must have gotten a gun somehow, because two cops also went to the hospital with injuries. No. I do not live in a crime ridden ghetto. This all happened right out in front of the Drake hotel. And the store where the scam was attempted? Louis Vuitton.
Later the same day, Mama Bird and I were walking home from the overpriced organic grocery store and witnessed a woman fall out of her car. She was not driving and the car was not moving. She looked as if she were just exiting the car. And she fell rather gracefully. She was standing and she just sorta... rolled to the ground.
Sunday we saw the Fire Departments SCUBA team out in the lake. And a couple of helicopters in the area. We never did find out if they were training or looking for something. Or someone.
For Mothers Day dinner we made pasta, and put bolognese sauce over it. This time I put the truffle salt into the pasta dough. I certainly ate too much, but it was worth it.
Canning starts as soon as I can get enough berries and such together.


1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 tiny can tomato paste
1 largish yellow onion chopped fine
1 clove garlic minced
1 entire small container heavy cream

In a large stock pot sweat the onions and the garlic. Add the meat and blend thoroughly, cooking until browned.
Add the tomato paste, and allow to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the cream and turn down the heat, and let sit, stirring occasionally for another 20 minutes or so. Serve over pasta. Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese.

--Little Bird dodges bullets, after the fact

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spicy Spicy Pain

So, now that my guests have left, and the temperature is reasonable, I have started walking again. In the mornings. With Mama Bird, to her office. The idea is to also walk down and meet her in the evenings, but it seems that for the past three days it rains at 5pm. Thunderstorms actually. In a few weeks I'll also add bike riding to the daily schedule. You know, because I apparently like pain. The only thing wrong with all of this is how early morning comes. How much I do not want to get out of my bed. And it's not all that comfy either! I wake up sweaty, and really, I would rather just lie there. It really wouldn't be so bad if I didn't wake up 5-10 times a night.
The warmer weather also means a change in diet. I don't mean GOING on a diet (per se) I just mean my eating habits change in the warmer weather. Less heavy pastas and roasted chickens, and a whole lot more salads and sandwiches. I'm currently on a caesar salad kick. Next up is likely to be caprese. I can't wait for the farmers markets to get into full swing, so I can make STELLAR salads. And picnics. If it ever stops raining.
While I said I wasn't going on a diet (per se) I DO have a weight loss goal. But I expect a lot of that to be through exercise. Summer foods (for me) do tend to be on the lighter side, but it's not a hardship, so it doesn't feel like a diet. I plan to lose around 20 lbs. Again. I gained most of what I lost last summer back over the winter so I'd kind of like to shed a few now.
Sitting in my hall closet are 4 and 1/2 bags of Old Vienna brand Red Hot Ripplets. A potato chip so hot, your lips burn. A potato chip so addictive my friends and I call them "crack chips". I do not understand why I love them so, but I practically begged my friends to bring them up with them when they visited. I cannot find them here reliably. The little convenience store in my neighborhood had the bitty bags for about a week (it's entirely possible I ate their entire stock) but they only have had them twice. Watch, I'll go in tomorrow, they'll have them and then someone ELSE will discover the tasty tasty pain and by the time I'm out of the ones I have, the store will be out of them. And they won't get the in again until September.
I could order them online, and have them shipped (by the case) to my apartment. But if I did that they'd be in my apartment, just begging to be eaten. And then Mama Bird would come over to find me dead of spicy potato chip overdose. With little reddish crumbs everywhere. The bags I have are bad enough! There is sort of a built in punishment. Eating too many of these wonderfully spicy chips can have nasty repercussions in the morning. Especially if you partner them with just a little too much beer. So far I've been good, just a little here, a little there.
I'll end this with a recipe of sorts. There are no real measurements for it though.

Basil Oregano Vinegar
Purple basil (a good sized sprig, about 4 big leaves on it)
Oregano (the top of a sprig, where the flowers are)
White wine vinegar (enough to fill the bottle to the very brim)
A bottle that seals completely.

Fill bottle halfway with vinegar.
Put both herbs (do NOT chop) inside bottle.
Fill the rest of the way up, over flowing just a tiny bit (you want to not have air in the bottle).
Seal tightly and put in a dark dry place for at least a month.
In a month the vinegar should be bright pink and is ready for use. You do not have to remove the herbs.
I use this over caprese, and leafy salads, with olive oil.

--Little Bird feels the burn

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I don't even know where to begin. Ok, I had house guests this past weekend. Girls/women I've known since KINDERGARTEN! Thirty years! One of them had visited me before, the other had not. So I spent some time trying to come up with things to do. Things to do that do not cost much, since we're all of us on budgets. So we went to the Zoo. In the rain. On our way to the Zoo we encountered one of the many slightly off citizens. She yelled at us as if we had been following her for hours, telling us we were "so stupid". Needless to say we cracked up. At the Zoo we didn't stay long and made some sea gulls nervous.
I took them to the conservatory. We wandered around there, our glasses fogged up and we smelled an orchid that smelled like coconuts. We walked home. In the rain.*
We stayed in that night, I cooked. We just sorta hung out. It was nice, we got all caught up with the gossip and whatnot.
Friday started out tame. Really it did. We walked around some more, I pointed out the old Playboy mansion, we went to the Spice House. That evening, we went out. To 3 bars and one of the friends brothers house. I got to bed at about 6 am. At one point, near the end of the night, we took the Red Line. And my friends got to experience another of our strange citizens. The guy tried to sit on one of the girls, was asked to move, then tried to stare down the brother, and when he was told to find another spot, he started whimpering and sniffling like a 5 year old. He moved though and nearly every one near us started to giggle.
Later that night, back at the apartment it was learned that if you can't get in to the container holding more alcohol, you probably don't need it. And you shouldn't ask someone who DOES know how to open to do it, because they will. I opened a bottle of wine that we didn't need to and thankfully a large portion of it was found in the fridge in the morning.
The morning was a highly unpleasant experience. As was the rest of the day. We didn't go out. We didn't drink. We barely ate. We turned in early.
Sunday was spent being lazy. We got out of the apartment this time though. We went to the beach and did nothing but sit there for an hour or two. We walked down to Millennium Park and stopped in souvenir shops.
We went to Chinatown yesterday, and they left last night. We had a few drinks before they left and the folks at that bar ROCK! They knew me, it's right around the corner from my place and they not only bought us a round, they comped all of my drinks!

*It wasn't a pouring rain, more of a drizzle/misting of rain, we weren't completely soaked when we got back, just from the knees down.

--Little Bird feels taxidermied