Sunday, February 21, 2010

Delicious End to the Weekend

What better way to end a nice weekend than with a tasty dinner? Okay, maybe "nice" is a bit of an overstatement, but it ended on a high note, which is what counts, right? My "recession day" off Friday and Saturday were fairly uneventful: some personal care with waxing and a manicure and pedicure; some apartment care with cleaning; some working out; and some time out at a Thai restaurant with Erin W.

Today was a much more positive day. Nothing special, but relaxing. I left the car at home and walked to church and decided to follow with a visit to the National Building Museum. It was a toddler-filled day. Apparently, there was some "Kids in Engineering" day, which you'd think would attract the 4-10 set, but I'd say the average age of the children there was 2 or 3. When I left, I noticed the commotion by Chinatown: the belated Chinese New Year celebration. I couldn't see much, but caught part of a dance with a big tiger head. I then went to the gym for another work out and some sauna time--my favorite!

But, to the main point here: dinner! I made a kale and sausage creation. Here is a photo of me about to dig into it:


It was based on this recipefrom Shape Magazine that I found online. To cut to the chase, I steamed a pound of kale (the prewashed and precut type in a bag...easier) in a few cups of water for about 20 min. In the meantime, I sauteed some chopped onion and chicken sausage in a few teaspoons of olive oil until the sausage was mostly cooked and brown. I then removed the sausage and added 2 crushed garlic cloves, 3 chopped carrots, a chopped red bell pepper, a can of diced tomatoes, about a half a can of chicken broth, and the steamed kale in a skillet with about a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of dried oregano. I cooked this on medium high heat about 10 min. I then added the sausage back in and cooked a few more minutes. After removing from the heat, I added the zest of 1 lemon, and about a quarter of the juice (this is estimated!).

I boiled up some angel hair pasta and mixed this creation into it. To make it even more delectable, I added a dollop of part skim ricotta. YUM!

Now, to answer something my mom asked me: "Isn't kale bitter?" Not really, if it's cooked properly. I have added kale to soup at the last minute, thinking it would shrink up and cook quickly like spinach, but kale requires more cooking time. When I did that, it was a tad bitter. Though, worse than bitter, it was just weirdly chewy. Also, adding in acidic ingredients like the lemon juice and tomatoes helps. Also, the tomatoes, carrots, and peppers added a bit of sweetness. This was nothing short of delectable! Maybe I'll save some for mom for when she visits this week to prove how good kale can be...or maybe I'll eat it all myself!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Crotchety Christine on Parking Meters


DC recently (and by recently, I mean months ago, but that's recent enough news for this blog) upped the hours you need to feed the meter for. Until 10 on weeknights, and on Saturdays (previously, most Saturdays were free). I'm not complaining about paying for parking, but it doesn't really make sense. They also increased the rates. For a dime, you get something like 3 minutes. For a quarter, you get something like 14 min.  I can see charging this downtown during working hours, but in the evenings and weekends, it's stupid. If they just enforced the limits, that would be fine. I forgot that the hours had been extended and on one of my days off (my UNPAID days off, by the way), I came over for my VOLUNTEER position. I stopped at a meter and pumped in quarters, getting 2 hours (i.e. $4). Then, for some reason, I thought "Is this for handicapped people only?" because there was a sign on the meter about something to do with handicapped people. Let me remind everyone, I'm a DC resident and yet, I did not understand the meter or signs. So, I moved. Not all meters looked like the other one, but I found out later that that one was NOT for handicapped people only. By this point, I had no change left. And, the next meter was broken. It was a stupid stupid night.  And it's a stupid change. Instead of making money for the City, I wouldn't be surprised if it's having unintended negative consequences.

Case in point, fast forward to today. I leave my house and see the bus zoom past my street. So, I ventured forth from the snow for the first time in my car to go to the gym. I neglected to remember this whole meter thing. I have no change. I tried parking in the lot across from the gym, but the guy was there taking money (previously, it would be unattended on nights and weekends). I parked on the street-but to do this,I put a dime in and went into my gym to get change, came back out, and put the money in the meter. I only had enough for 1 hour (a little over $2). When I was going to the gym, I had originally considered running a few errands nearby. But, instead, I drove home. I would have spent money and supported local businesses who in turn pay sales and property taxes, but instead, because I didn't have any friggin' quarters, I drove home.  As an urban economist of sorts, I'd be really interested to know what the impacts of this move have been. By having night and weekend charges at that rate, the government is really punishing the people who are frequenting businesses and paying taxes as residents rather than just capitalizing on people who have to be there (workers...there are impacts with that too, but I'd argue it's not as big of a deal). So, anyway, that is my annoyance today!

I love the photo above by volcanojw! Incidentally, this is one of the meters that confused me into thinking it was only for handicapped.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Why I Don't Work From Home: Snowpocalypse Edition

Hi, blog readers. It is 5:30 and I came home around 3 to avoid the impending doom of the 12-20 inches of snow. (or is it 20-30? It seems to change by the minute). I picked up the "Snowpocalypse" term from another blog somewhere and it seems to be apt. I chose that term over other ones with equal appeal such as "Snowgasm" and "Snowmageddon." Don't believe me? Check out the yuppies/hipsters at the DC Whole Foods last night, waiting in line outside the store, as reported by local blog 14th & You. DC is so crazy. The December snow storm didn't seem to cause as much craziness.


Yes, they are insane. Anyway, I came home even though the snow hadn't really started to stick. I came armed with a few hours worth of work. Have I done it? No. I have:

  • Researched aforementioned line at Whole Foods

  • Updated my "inventory" of food I have in the house, including counting cans of tomatoes I have, and tried to do some meal planning

  • Looked for a good lentil burger recipe online

  • Browsed condos for sale (even though I've detemined I can't buy now numerous times)

  • Checked Facebook

  • Watched a program about Lee Harvey Oswald's murder on the History Channel

  • Watched 2 programs in a row of "Losing It" on Discovery Health

All whilst being super annoyed by my neighbor downstairs who keeps yawning loudly. [Aside on that topic, I don't think this guy works. I mean, ostensibly, he's a trainer. But, he's never working. Yesterday, I was home on my recession day, and he was there. All. day. Watching TV, banging around, doing God only knows what else. He's there at night, in the's really annoying. My old wood floors have a certain charm, but there's something to be said for thick concrete floors pasted with padding and carpeting.  At times like this, I also begin to feel there's something to be said for single family homes on 10 acres.]

Needless to say, I know from past experience that it's about this time of the evening that I tell myself that "I'll get to that work later this weekend" and then never do. Oh well. Hmm, let me check that inventory again and see what's for dinner!