Friday, November 13, 2009

Tried a new recipe tonight: Honey Baked Lentils

Actually, I've had the recipe for quite a while now. I got it on MDC and I vaguely remember trying it before and not liking it.  But I decided to give it another try and tonight, I had excellent results.  Here's the recipe:

Honey Baked Lentils
1 cup lentils, soaked for a few hours (I used brown)
2 cups water or vegetable stock
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup (I used half turbinado and half maple syrup)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 small onion chopped 
salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish.  Bake for 90 minutes.  (The original recipe says to bake covered but I didn't and it came out just fine.)  I added carrots to mine but I imagine you could add a variety of root vegetables and it would be really good.  I also doubled the recipe which fit in a 9" x 14" Pyrex glass baking dish.  It serves about eight adults.   

To go with the honey baked lentils, I made seasoned brown rice.  I just tossed 2 cups of rice in the rice cooker with 5 cups of vegetable broth, a pat of Earth Balance, about 1/4 tsp. sea salt and half of a large onion that I chopped.  Don't have a rice cooker?  Ever heard about baking rice?  I saw Alton Brown do this on his show years ago and seriously, it revolutionized my brown rice cooking life!  The rice comes out perfectly cooked and wonderful.  If I hadn't jacked If my mother hadn't willingly given me her rice cooker (that she wasn't using anyway), I would still be using this excellent method. 

(Don't mind my chipped plate . . . I don't know why it's my favorite plate. I just love it.) 

It was a delicious and easy dinner and I am definitely adding it to my repertoire.  

It's a drool fest!!

Z2 drools a whole lot.  Next month, he will be 2 years old.  He seems to have cut all the teeth he's supposed to have for his age so teething is not the reason, I don't think.  I mean, he's so wet all the time.  Just a little droolfest.  And he keeps his hands in his mouth a lot.  As well as many other objects that shouldn't be in his mouth like leaves and acorns, to name a few.  At two, he still absolutely needs a bib.  It's so much drooling that I think I'm going to bring up at his next doctor's appointment. With winter fast approaching, wet clothes, hands and face are not a good look at all.  I hope Z2 can get a handle on this drooling thing soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Being Invisible

Doesn't feel good.  At all.

Yesterday at the playground I saw one of the hubby's good friend's brother. Let's call the good friend Victor and Victor's brother Wellington.  Wellington and I have seen each other a few times before.  The hubby took me by Wellington's house to say hi to his parents (he still lives with his parents even though he's 30+ years old--no comment).  We sat next to each other--I mean right next to each other--at the table at the hubby's other friend's wedding reception.  And when the hubby's good friend had a cookout the last few times, I saw Wellington there.  Well, to me it was a pleasant surprise to see him at the playground.  I called the hubby to tell him that Wellington was at the playground and planned to say hi once I got the chance.  Well, when I got the chance, I waved and smiled at Wellington.

Not one wave of recognition passed over this brother's face.  He hadn't the faintest clue that he had ever seen me before much less that he even knew me.

All right, we've all had those times when you wave at someone and he/she doesn't realize you're waving at them and we've all felt that little flash of embarrassment that ensues.  Well, this was much worse because I felt like Wellington should have at least recognized me.  I mean, he shouldn't have been falling all over himself with joy at having seen me but . . . really?

Anyway, it so happens that right after I got off the phone with the hubby, Victor calls the hubby.  The hubby tells Victor that his brother Wellington is at the playground--that I saw him there.  I suppose Victor calls his brother Wellington to rag on him (What are you doing at the playground?  Trying to recapture your childhood?  Har, har, har!) and mentions that I was there.  Most likely, he had to have his memory jump started because honestly and truly, Wellington hadn't the faintest inkling of a clue as to who I was.

So I go to push Z2 on the swings and Wellington happens to be standing there with a woman and her son/childcare charge.  He tries to strike up conversation and I try not to smirk.  He starts, "Hey you (he has no idea what my name is)!  I haven't seen you in like forever (yeah, dude, I saw you last summer at Victor's)!"  I'm like, "Uh-huh . . . yeah, how have you been?  Great! . . . Excuse me, I have to locate my son."  Z2 is ready to get off the swing (I'm so glad he's mastered the word "off") and so off I go to "locate my son."

I told the hubby the whole story and he basically says something to the effect that Wellington is someone who stands out because of his height (he's 6'4") and that's why he's so easily recognizable.  I, on the other hand, "look like a lot of people" and, apparently, I do not stand out and am quite easy to forget.  Well, the hubby didn't go that far.  He stopped just short of putting his whole entire foot in his mouth.

I mean, the incident didn't bother me at the moment as much as it bothers me tonight.  I know Wellington's failure to recognize me is more of a commentary on him than it is on me.  We've seen in each other in rather intimate social settings on a number of occasions.  Even if he didn't know my name, if he had been looking at me instead of above or through me, he would have recognized me.  Now, I know I am horrible with names but I never, ever forget a face.  I take time to look into people's eyes and notice their expressions.  I try to read people's energy.  I look at people.  Especially in intimate social settings.  If I spend some time next to you, talking to you, and I see you more than once, more than twice, I will remember your face.  I know not everyone does this and I'm trying to not to draw conclusions about people who don't.  Although it's hard not to.

This occurrence was compounded by the fact that at Costco on Tuesday I saw a lady who I'll call Ann that worked the front desk of the main school where I used to substitute teach.  Ann would sometimes see my five days a week.  She kept me working.  And so as a small token of appreciation, I wrote Ann a thank you card and gave her a candle.  While walking down the laundry detergent aisle, I saw Ann.  I smiled.  She looked confused.  And then I realized she didn't recognize me.  But I was okay with it.  She probably saw dozens of substitute teachers a week.  We never had any really close contact.  Never sat down to eat a meal next to each other or anything.  Wellington's failure to recognize was much more . . . problematic.

And, you see, I've been very open on this blog about how I struggle with self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence.  Wellington not recognizing me was a bit of a blow to my ego.  I mean, in the grand scheme of things, it's not all that important.  The hubby was quick to point out that Wellington doesn't really go for women of color anyway and really prefers White women as dating partners.  He was with a White woman at the playground.  That's fine--whatever rocks your boat.  I wasn't saying I wanted Wellington to be all into me.  In fact, that would be highly inappropriate.  I guess what I was getting at was that I felt invisible.  And in some ways, I feel invisible.  I don't have that confident sass that gets women recognized.  And I don't feel I have such stunning looks that I would be unforgettable.  I'm a dark-skinned Black woman in a society that really doesn't value what I am.  That constantly says what I am is just so nondescript.  So forgettable.  When was the last time you saw a beauty product being advertised by Black women on a channel other than BET?

And these days, I don't have the energy or the ends or the desire to go about doing the things that I suppose would make me less nondescript--like booty hugging jeans or plunging necklines.   Although if I'm really honest, these things did indeed get me noticed but not in any way that I wanted.  And dudes still never remembered my face.

I remember reading in The Knitting Sutra, how the author felt that once she hit middle age, she started to feel invisible because nobody really checks for older women.  I don't think that's necessarily true especially if an older woman takes good care of herself (although I wondered then when I read it if I had  already become invisible to men or if I just don't notice men checking me out because I'm usually hauling kids around or hauling groceries or just plain busy and not interested).   But one powerful thing I did garner from her sentiment and what she did to handle it (which was to perfect her knitting/become a knitting master) is that you can't let other's unwillingness to see you keep you from being authentically you.  I totally get that.  And I totally understand that.

But the incident still messed with me.  And continues to mess with me.

And I surely didn't want to pick a fight with the hubby about what he meant tonight when he said Wellington was so hard to forget that of course I'd recognize him.

So I thought I'd write about it.  At 1:30 in the morning.    And finally I think I can sleep.

Photo Credit:  "Memorias de un hombre invisible" by J on

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nothing like it . . .

Homemade bread, that is! . . .

I baked bread yesterday after a few weeks of buying it.  The summer was pretty busy and so I stopped making bread because I couldn't find time to fit it in.  But I'm back on my bread-baking game and boy am I glad.  Home made bread tastes so much better than store bought.  However, it seems that recently every time I bake bread, I get large holes.  I know that it's air that getting trapped but I'm pretty good about punching the bread down and rolling it very tightly into a loaf.  That's something I'm going to have to troubleshoot.  Nevertheless, the bread is delicious and I'm almost ready to try some new recipes.  Almost.

FO: A wool diaper cover

I haven't been knitting with any kind of consistency this year. With Z2 being as active as he is, it's almost impossible to get into a groove. But, I'm proud to say, I did manage to turn out something, albeit a small thing. It's a knitted wool diaper cover and I imagine it will be one of the last I ever make for my children, at least.
Yarn: Filatura Lanarota Chaco (worsted weight)--1 1/2 skeins
Pattern: My Soaker Pattern (which is by far my favorite because it's basic, straightforward with no short rows but plenty of space for even the bulkiest of cloth diapers)
Size: Large/Toddler
Needles: #7 16-inch bamboo circulars which I abhor but which I will continue to use in the name of reaching my goal of saving $10K for each family member--I'll see how long I can make it work
Time: About a week and a half. I had a bit of yarn fiasco, had to stop a whole bunch of times, fought with my needles and was often too tired to do anything but look at it. But it got done.

Overall, I'm very pleased with it. It's quite large and is perfect for Z1 who still needs extra protection when sleeping at night. I'm looking forward to making the Sideways Grande Hat and have placed the book where the pattern was published (Boutique Knits) on reserve at the library. I saw the hat in my KnitPicks catalog and I thought it was stunning. It really caught my eye and it's small enough of a project where it won't drag on forever and a day.

Which is more (much more) than I can say for A Sweater for Emma which is still waiting on me to finish the right sleeve. I have vowed to finish this sweater this year, though. And I will. No I must. The funny thing is we don't even see Emma anymore so . . . is there a point? LoL. A Sweater for Emma taught me one valuable lesson--for large projects, a yarn you enjoy is crucial, no essential. I hate the 100% (cheap) cotton yarn I'm using--it makes the sweater feel like a wasted effort because the yarn just doesn't work well and shows up all the mistakes and unevenness. Ah well. I'll finish for the sake of finishing then move on to more appealing projects.

My new knitting philosophy? Small projects working with yarns I enjoy . This will keep yarn costs down but will keep the craft pleasurable and less frustrating.
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