Fall Means Chile

With our freezer full and our on-going pantry challenge in effect we are not buying any 2016 chile. It turns out I may be a local now, because this is emotionally difficult for me. *sigh* Fortunately I have a few bags of frozen green and red still in the deep freeze, so we might survive. I keep telling myself “There’s always Bueno.”

In the meantime I’m trying not to hoard the chile we do have. Honestly I don’t keep many recipes involving green chile. For me, cooking with green is pretty intuitive: chopped green on beans, chopped green on eggs, chopped green on pizza, you get the idea.  Every once in a while, though, I’ll save something just to remind me to try something new the next time I’m stuck for ideas. Recently I found myself wanting to use up bread and eggs. Bread pudding came to mind, but I wanted savory, not sweet.

Enter Green Chile and Tomato Casserole, with a few modifications of course. First, I used roasted instead of fresh. Second, I used reconstituted dried tomatoes because garden fail and also I have lots of dried. Third, I just used regular bread because gluten free isn’t needed in our house. Even with all the modifications this is some yummy stuff. I mean it would be really hard to go wrong with it, but still, one always wonders.

I also think this is a great template for future savory bread pudding experiments. The formula is as follows:
2 cups bread
4 cups veggies or other flavorful bits6 eggs
1 cup milk
2 oz cheese

I’m thinking I’ll use this template to make a blue cheese mushroom version and probably a french onion version. YUM! What combinations can you think of? Let me know in the comments. ^_^

Wow!

Then:

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Now:

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I’m going to go ahead and guess that it has been thirty years between then and now. It was so amazing to see you this evening Katie. I’m so blessed to have had a hand full of friends for most of my life and especially lucky that they are such awesome people.

The Games I Play

I’ve never thought of myself as a gamer. Sitting in a dark room with a headset yelling at a screen (or my friends) just isn’t my jam. Oddly, watching other people play video games has interested me in the past, but I think that might mostly be about people watching. However, recently I’ve found myself spending a lot of time attending to two video games: Habitica and Ingress.

Have I become a stereotypical pasty gamer, living on Mountain Dew and Cheetos? Not by a long shot, both of these games help me meet my life goals which have basically nothing to do with sitting on a couch.

Habitica is an RPG that gives players points for completing tasks that they set up for themselves. With those points, in the form of gold, players can reward themselves with outfits and weapons for your character. Additionally your points can help you defeat monsters in cooperation with a party in the game. The game also gives you eggs and potions that you can put together to make pets, and food that you can feed them so that you can grow them into mounts which your character can ride. Visually, this game is not much to look at. The pictures are pixelated and all the fighting is left up to your imagination. What is exciting about Habitica for me is that I’m really bad at rewarding myself. All the rewards I can think of that I would give myself generally take money, time, or energy, things which I generally want to be spending on working toward meeting goals, completing projects, and forming better habits. Rewards in Habitica come to me automatically when I check things off my list and that doesn’t take me more than a few minutes a day. The game is also free, so getting rewarded doesn’t cost me a thing. (Although I do donate $5 a month because I love what they do.)

Ingress also helps me meet one of my major goals, which is to get more exercise. Game play in Ingress is based on using your cell phone as a scanner to view an alternate reality in which locations with cultural significance are portals that two teams are vying for control over. In order to take control of a portal you have to be at its physical location. While this can be achieved from a vehicle, the game is best played on foot. It helps that one of the medals you can get as an extra incentive is for walking. Officially I’ve been playing ingress since 2012, but in reality I took a bit of a break and just started playing again two months ago. In that time period I have walked 103 km while playing and I just earned my silver “Trekker” badge yesterday. By the time I get my Onyx badge, and I will because rewards motivate me, I will have walked a total of 2500 km while playing. By playing Ingress I have seen new parts of my city as well as parts of places I visited that I might never have seen.

It is clear to me that the developers of these games have hit upon some new formulas for gaming that appeal beyond the regular scope of who is considered a gamer and I’m super glad they did.

*BTW if anyone is interested in playing Ingress, let me send you an invite and encourage you to join the Resistance (blue). I’m not out to recruit you with this post, but I do get points if I do. 😀

Abundance: Use It or Lose It

Usually at this time of year life is filled with a feeling of needing to save the garden’s abundance for later. Endless hours of canning, steam juicing, filling the freezer, grabbing a snack, and doing it again fill my time when I’m not sitting at my desk feeling behind. This year though, I find myself in a different situation. Mostly, my larders are full and the garden just didn’t happen. This poses a different “problem.” I’m feeling like there is too much food in my house. Just like eating too much, I’m feeling slowed down by what is there. It is good food though and I don’t want to just throw it away. Clearly it is time for a pantry challenge.

This time instead of setting a time limit on how long the challenge lasts I’ve set the challenge to not buy foods of Type X until all existing instances of that food are used. For instance, no buying grains or grain products until all the whole grains, pasta, and flour we’ve got around are used up. The exceptions I’m making are: onions, garlic, milk for yogurt making, and we can still eat out on our weekly date night, or if there is an occasion that calls for it involving people who do not live at 4th Base. For the record, That Guy I Like is completely on board and even sat down to help me lay out the rules.

We started on Saturday and here are some of the meals what we’ve had so far:
20160916_220237Cheese toast topped with tomatoes.

20160917_080933Beet hash topped with an egg (not photogenic, but delicious).

20160918_083906Country ham, scrambled eggs with cheese, and homemade English muffins with butter.

Not pictured: Bean Burgers, which were so good we gobbled them up before pictures could be captured. Several ready made snack foods pulled from the pantry, and rice.

I’ll keep posting roundups of what we’re eating. I’m sure things will get weirder as this self-imposed challenge goes on.

Simply Dinner: Tostadas

I’ve been working on a repertoire of quick, reasonably healthy, dinners involving beans. The tostada is definitely one of the winners. Today our tostadas consisted of homemade refried beans, pickled peppers, chopped tomatoes, olives, and shredded cheddar. It all came together in about ten minutes and was delicious and filling. Some other options I thought about were sauteed swiss chard, beans, and a fried egg, or beans, salsa verde, and cotija cheese. If you think you’ve never had a tostada before, but you have had a “Mexican Pizza” from Taco Bell, then think again. You have definitely had a tostada.

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Collage of a Dream

I have not yet figured out the magic of taking pictures of my collages and this one has not even been laminated yet, so I guess sharing this poor quality photo will have to do.

Hey! I dreamed about this amazing place last night, so I made a collage that kinda comes close. Here’s a picture of the collage. I’m curious what you think and I can take the feedback. If you’ve got something to contribute then definitely comment. Also, I’m looking for ideas on how to best photograph collages.

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A Lot of A Lot

Since August 19 I have gone to Colorado Springs, moved into a hotel, moved home, lived here for a few days while work was completed, started to assemble my house again, gone to NJ, and gone to a Harvest Festival. This makes me tired just reading it. No wonder I’m so exhausted.

A real post is coming soon. I promise.