Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chayote & Sausage Stew

We've been trying to cook healthier in the Wayward household lately and this recipe started as an experiment using chayote>. Chayote is a gourd and is a low GI food with only 25 calories, 3mg of sodium, 2g of dietary fiber, and 1g of protein per serving in it's raw state. (Nutritional info)

I first had chayote in 2000 while traveling in rural Chiapas, Mexico. We cooked it in a pot over a campfire with some type of meat (I didn't want to know what it was) and ate it with fresh corn tortillas.

When I made this dish last weekend, it received unexpected raves at the table and will now be in regular rotation at our house. It keeps well in the refrigerator for leftovers; I don't think it would freeze well.

We like this served over rice.

Chayote & Sausage Stew

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

    2 links of Italian sausage, cut into ½ inch pieces
    1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion chopped
    3 cloves of garlic, minced
    3 chayotes, seeded and chopped
    2 jalapeƱo peppers, seeded and diced
    1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
    1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
    ½ teaspoon ground thyme
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    salt and pepper to taste

  1. Over medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned, and remove from heat.
  2. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic to pan and cook until the onions are translucent, 3 -5 minutes.
  3. Return sausage to the pot and add chayotes and jalapeƱos, saute until chayotes begin to turn tender, 10 - 15 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, thyme, chili powder, salt, and pepper, cover and reduce heat.
  5. Cook until heated through or ready to serve.

From the Kitchen

So, this may surprise more than a few people, but dudes, I can cook. More than that, I like to experiment. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I surprise myself. So, from time to time I'll be dropping some recipes on these pages.

Back in high school, my friends all knew that I majorly sucked at anything even slightly resembling the domestic arts, and cooking was probably tops on that list. My mother has a picture of my first attempt at cooking oatmeal. Apparently I thought that in addition to rehydrating the oatmeal you also had to cook it down until it was re-dehydrated. It was a disaster, and a standard joke in our house.

My best friend even went so far as to buy me a copy of The I Hate to Cook Book, by Peg Bracken. Seriously. I think I cracked it open a few times, I may have even been feeling ambitious and tried a recipe or two. But I didn't take to cooking until much, much later in life.

Come to find out, The I Hate to Cook Book was quite the feminist's guide to the kitchen when it was first published back in 1960. I guess it was simply unheard of then that a woman might not enjoy cooking. Peg Bracken lived in Portland, OR and passed away October 23, 2007.

I think I still have that copy knocking around somewhere; maybe I should revisit it with new eyes. It's currently out-of-print.

Friday, September 26, 2008


So I got the iTunes working again and downloaded some new music. I can tell I was starting to wake up as I went along as the songs became louder, faster, funkier.

Here's what I chose:

Les Freres Guisse--Fabala
Donavon Frankenreiter--Life, Love & Laughter
G. Love & Special Sauce--Peace, Love & Happiness
Robert Plant & Alison Krause--Gone, Gone, Gone
(then I started to wake up)
Vampire Weekend--Oxford Comma
Shooter Jennings--Gone to Carolina
The Raconteurs--Salute Your Solution
Ryan Bingham--Bread & Water

I've been trying to think about what to do this weekend and did you know that Saturday is Museum Day 2008? Follow the link and check out which museums nationwide are participating, download and print your FREE pass.

Locally, the Friends of the San Francisco Library is having their annual book sale this weekend. Dude, massive stacks of books at massive discounts. Like I need more books in the house, but really, can you ever have enough books?

Seeing as how about half my office is on Facebook and my high school graduating class is beginning to coalesce there in preparation for our *gulp* 20-year reunion, it may be time to review the dos and don'ts (mostly the don'ts) of using Facebook.

So the whole economic bailout thing seems like it's going well, not. Watch for the garbage to pile up on Wall Street, literally, as part of a protest. I don't agree with dumping your trash on Wall Street, but the guy has some valid points.

And, lastly, an intergalactic take on our situation.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Morning Stuff

So this morning I woke up at 5, called my workout pal, and promptly went back to sleep until 6. Then I got up, did my yoga, cooked breakfast, and read some of the day's goings on online. I gotta say, 6 is a much more civilized hour. There's even just a hint of dawn in the sky, at least for a couple more weeks. Then we have to wait until November to turn the clocks back this year. November! Whose bright idea was that anyhow? Oh yeah.

So anyhow, ran into a snag with my iTunes so I didn't get to download any mellow, happy morning music, but I'm also not being subjected to machine gun fire this morning. So all in all, it's good. (We game in the Wayward household, just in case you couldn't tell.) Now if only the landscapers for the townhouse complex would stop already with the leaf blowers.

A couple of things caught my attention this morning. In lieu of mellow morning music, the images in this Forbes Travel article on The World's Quietest Places did just the trick. I don't think I've actually been to any of these places, but Muir woods is definitely nearby and a few of the others are doable.

Another little tidbit was the news that McCain wants to call a time out on the Presidential campaign while they all head to Washington to sort out the economy. And if you're President, what then? I don't think the rest of the world's leaders are going to let you call dibs on anything or take a time out.

Interestingly, but not the least bit surprising, while McCain is calling for an investigation into what caused the current economic mess, many of the folks closest to the situation, according to the WSJ can be counted among McCain's friends and colleagues.

Lastly, I saw this Ninja Cat video over on Will Femia's blog at MSNBC and just thought it was cute.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 2

So Day 2 of this exercise in the morning experiment is off to a good start. We both got up this morning, and can we just pause for a moment and reaffirm that 5 a.m. is freakin' early. And dark. I don't normally see the darkside of dawn. I think the last time was way back when I was pulling all-nighters to cram for finals.

Okay, yeah, so it's early and we're both up tottering around our respective homes and after convincing each other we're actually awake at that hour and alive, we went on to do our thing. I did my yoga again and she took a walk.

The taking a walk thing sounds tempting, especially since Fall is just an awesome time to be out. I walk with my mom and enjoy it when I visit her in Oregon. But walking here is a different story. First there's the whole population density thing and then there's the fact that about 75% of our neighborhood is made up of immigrants...who drive. I use the term loosely.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not implying all immigrants are lousy drivers, some are quite good, it's just the others. You know, the ones that think a left turn should be made from the far left lane...the one with the oncoming traffic.

Getting from my house to the freeway in the mornings is like running a gauntlet; it's even worse when it's drop-off time at the elementary school around the corner. Once I hit the freeway the stress of driving changes, at least now we're all going in the same direction.

I tried calling mom this morning. It's her birthday. Happy birthday, mom. Her line was busy so she's either online or on the phone. So instead I cooked breakfast. I think Sweetie (we haven't figured out what to call him online yet) could get used to that in a hurry. The cats are still confused by the whole new routine thing but they'll get over it soon enough.

Okay, speaking of Sweetie, can we agree that machine gun fire and 6 a.m. do not go together? Sweetie tends to play PC games while he's waiting for files to upload for work and he got a new game yesterday. So I jammed my iPod in my ears and discovered that I don't really have any mellow morning kinda music, so I spent the better part of my time this morning listening to the samples from the Austin City Limits playlist at the iTunes store.

I'll let you know what I end up downloading, but for now it's time for me to get ready for work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Aftermath

So, while I was writing my earlier post I noticed that I was having difficulty seeing and typing, and within minutes of publishing that post I was slammed with a full blown migraine.

That difficulty seeing and typing is characteristic of my auras preceding a migraine--I develop blind spots in the center of my field of vision and begin to lose sensation in my fingertips. The really bad ones can even rob me of some speech and cognitive ability (though I'm sure some would argue I lose that well enough without the migraine as an excuse).

So after my yoga and blog post I proceeded to call in sick, take my migraine meds, and crawl back into bed. I surfaced, oh, around 2 in the afternoon and the med-fog began to clear around 6.

If this is what working out in the morning does to me, I can't say I'm looking forward to it. But, we're going to try again tomorrow.

How It All Started

I've been kicking around the idea of starting a blog for some time now. I enjoy reading other people's blogs and have recommended that friends and family start some, but today, I decided I'd start one myself. Although this is my first post, the story of it really started yesterday.

Yesterday I was reading my BFF's blog (I'd link to it, but it's password protected) and she was talking about trying to get up earlier in the morning to exercise, something I've also been struggling with. So I volunteered to be her morning workout buddy.

Now, we actually live about 600 miles apart, so we're not really going to workout together, it's more like motivating each other to drag our butts our of bed--what happens after that is anyone's guess. "I'll call you if you'll call me." I believe those were my exact words. And let me tell you, 5 a.m. doesn't sound so unforgivable at 3 p.m. the day before.

My plan to be in bed by 10 p.m. was shot to bits the moment we got home after work and dinner. We have two cats, Tank and Dozer, and Dozer has a penchant for puking. But of course I didn't find her mess the normal way. No. I found it after I flopped onto the bed. In my hair. Even better than that, Sweetie was already in the shower so I had to wait until he was done before I could begin to clean up.

Aside from that, it was a good night. We spent some time troubleshooting my laptop (it's nearly as slow as warm molasses now) and we made it to bed around midnight. Yeah, so 5 a.m. came darn early. But I called my friend. Twice. I didn't manage to get her on the phone, but I did manage to do about 40 minutes of yoga. Nothing too strenuous. You gotta ease into these things you know. Gotta sneak up on it.

So I'm up way too dang early. I figured if this is going to be a habit, I might as well make some use of the extra time in the mornings, hence this blog.