Bland Malaise

This is what I’ve begun calling the overall feeling I have had forever. Bland malaise. Bland because it’s not defined or even very sharp, it’s like a light blanket. Malaise is an undefined BLEH, again, not defined, just BLEH. A blanket of BLEH that covers my life! Perfect!

This is why my blog posts are few and far between. There is literally nothing exciting happening over here. I cook. I do laundry. I do TEV stuff Mon/Tue. I do prep Wed/Thu. I get drunk on Fridays. (Which I am trying to reel in. It ends up wasting Saturdays and there’s NO POINT in it.)

I do have a new recipe that I’m working on, a shallot tart thing, that will be up soon. It’s easy and pretty, tasty warm or room temp. Perfect for parties and catering, too. Not that I get any catering gigs. But yanno. ::shrug::

Nick has been working a lot. They are short a person in production, so he has to carry the load of two. As usual. Overwork was the issue at Minuteman and it is the issue here. This is the plague of working in America. Management is poor and employee retention is not going to happen when you work your people to burnout. This is not a difficult concept, yet I see it across the board. When did it become the norm to beat employees like rented mules and then wonder why you can’t keep people? This idea that fewer employees is saving money is just not real. IT IS NOT REAL. Fewer employees means that you’ll have turnover, which costs far more than simply hiring enough people to carry the workload without having to work 60 hr weeks. It is not rocket surgery.

We had a conversation about hobbies and art the other night and I had an epiphany. A small one, anyway. The reason I feel so unfulfilled, even with cooking, is that it’s ephemeral. What I do is consumed, so there is nothing left to represent my work when it’s done. Sure, I’ve got recipes and photos, but the actual work is gone. I think this is why I feel that I don’t really accomplish anything. I know I do intellectually, but it doesn’t feel that way. With other forms of expression such as drawing, painting, building, etc., you have an actual thing that exists in the world. It’s just different than what I do.

Hence the bland malaise.

I’ll trundle on, I always do. I’ll do the things I’m supposed to. I’ll cook and write recipes. I’ll hope that we can get a vacay this year, but it’s not looking good, thanks to Nick’s job that is managed poorly. We fucked around and waited too long to get Dragoncon tix, and now they are full priced $175. The only way we’ll do THAT is if we can split them with friends. It’s just so fucking annoying. I can tell you, however, that I WILL NOT be paying fucking $350 for us to carouse Dragoncon for a day. NOPE.

I hope that I can find a way to feel a bit better than I do now. Perhaps another party will help… Whatever, onward we must go. Qaplah’!

Angela’s Red Chili

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Angela's Red Chili

This is my go-to chili recipe. It's fast and easy!
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, beef chili, red chili
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 bowls
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground or minced beef
  • 1 small white onion, diced about 2/3 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 Tbl flour
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika or hot paprika if you like heat
  • 1 Tbl chili powder to taste
  • 1 tsp dry oregano optional
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce I like A La Orden brand
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes I use the Garlic ones
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 Tbl agave optional
  • 2 Tbl ketchup for sweetness and deep tomato flavor
  • S/P to taste

Instructions

  • In a large pot, put EVOO, onions and garlic over med high heat.
  • When onions get soft, add meat and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add flour, cumin, paprika, chili powder and oregano. Add 1 tsp salt. Stir over heat to integrate the spices with the meat and cook out the flour, about 5-6 minutes until meat is about halfway cooked.
  • Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes and beans. Stir. Bring back to simmer over med low heat, partially covered.
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes, add agave and ketchup. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Taste to make sure the ketchup is cooked out and check S/P. Turn off heat.
  • Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, jalapenos or whatever you like!

Notes

This chili will freeze well. 
I like to make a deeply flavourful chili that people can make as spicy as they wish. I like pickled jalapenos in mine!
This is also great over tater tots or even pasta! 

Change is Coming

Last night we were up late. We did a microdose of shrooms and had a very long discussion about how we feel about the games and where we want to go from here.

We made the decision to not do any cons this year.

Yep, you read that right.

We have been feeling obligated to do them – especially Momo, because we know they keep inviting us as a courtesy. They certainly don’t need our small selection of games, but we’ve been with them for a long time and we REALLY appreciate their continued support of us.

We ADORE FWA, and we hate to bail after only one year, but we must.

We may not do cons again, ever. We are old (no joke) and it’s just too physically exhausting to shlep a dozen games back and forth – even with help.

So, Nick will do SFGE, most likely, and that’s it.

We are going to sell off all games that Nick does not want to keep for his personal collection. If you are looking for a game, please to be following POAS on FB.

And the money we get from this sell off will go towards…something. A project that we BOTH can get into and enjoy. We’d love to get a classic car to futz with, but we don’t have a garage. We might get a classic motorcycle. We might start doing autocross with Romeo. We might get back to doing comics. Nick wants to do some gardening. We’ll probably start yoga again. We will DEFINITELY take a real vacation, godsdammit.

We are tired of being OBLIGATED to the games. They have become an anchor and certainly NOT FUN. We’ll keep our main client (MPB) and rotate games in and out of there so they get played. We are wrapping up the last few private clients and cutting them loose, too. Basically we’re shutting down POAS, but not ending it, since we’ll still have a couple of clients. We’ll keep the site up and field enquiries. I’ve got referrals for repairs and monitors.

We are changing our focus and energy. It needs to happen, desperately. We’ve spent almost 10 years on the games and that is enough. Time to move on. We are grateful for all the support we’ve gotten from everyone over the years. THANK YOU.

The MEH Continues

The Pollening™ has begun in earnest. Seems early this year? Is it early? I dunno, time has become so fluid now, it is impossible to tell if something happened one or four years ago. Sigh.

We are doing pretty well here at the Weasel Lair™. Nick’s job is going, he got the small raise and a bonus to make up for not getting the big raise. I’m still slumming over at MRC. Not sure how much longer that will go, the work with my hands has brought forth a trigger finger on my right ring finger and overall stiffness and pain in both hands. Arthritis, no doubt. Thanks Gran and Mom! BUT the result of the effort is good, we are finally AHEAD on bills and the CCs are being paid down. Progress is good and it’s alleviating much of the doldrums we’ve been in, but MEH is still our overall state.

Shasti had a clean bill of health other than the one gum spot that STAYS gross and infected. Tooth is fine, but that spot is always an issue. She got an antibiotic shot and we are to attempt to clean the area with kitty toothpaste. LOL This should be fun! Dr says, “But she’s SO GOOD!” and I reply “She is for YOU.” This is a quote from TNG episode Genesis:

She is for YOU.
“She is for YOU.”

Everything is trundling along. Time flies. We’ll have been here for TEN YEARS in June. Shasti is probably a bit older than we estimated, likely 11-12ish. I don’t want to think about that. So many friends are losing pets I just CAN’T think about losing her right now.

I feel somewhat untethered of late. Just sort of floating along. I think Nick is the same. We are in the same pool, but not on the same float, if that makes sense. It’ll pass.

We wrapped up our long distance client and Nick is working to wrap up several other clients that have been languishing. Time to move on. We’re selling off a bunch of project cabinets, too. We’ve basically shut down POAS as far as new clients and projects. We’ve not received any invitations to cons this year, so we’re not even sure we’ll do THAT. If they ask, we feel obliged to go – if nothing else, to hold our spot. If they don’t ask, I guess we’ll take the year off. ::shrug:: I wish I cared more, but honestly, cons are fun, but VERY, VERY stressful and tiring. And we’re OLD. Might be time to just stop all of it. We shall see. We’ll just continue taking care of our core client and see how it goes.

Guess that’s about it for what’s going on around here. Like I said: MEH. I’d love to hear from y’all, feel free to comment, it’s open. :)

Angela’s Cabbage Pie

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Angela's Cabbage Pie

Just in time for St Patrick's day! I saw a random Irish chef on Chopped make something like this and it sounded deelish, so here's my version! It is rich and very satifying - as well as cheap to make! Éirinn go Brách!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword cabbage, Irish Cheddar, potatoes, potatoes and cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • 1 medium casserole dish
  • 1 Large skillet
  • 1 2 qt saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head Green Cabbage, halved and sliced thinly about 4-5 cups
  • 1/2 Onion, halved and sliced thinly about 3/4 cup
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced used several places
  • 1 small Carrot, julienned about 1/3 cup
  • 1/4 cup small diced pancetta optional, but great in this dish
  • 1 Tbl Apple cider or white wine vinegar red wine is fine too
  • 1/4 cup Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Scallions, thinly sliced on bias
  • 1 pack Instant potatoes, garlic flavour, as directed A small pack (2 cups) and I use half 1/2 1/2 rather than all water. OR make your own: about 2 cups very smoothly creamed potatoes.
  • 1 cup shredded Irish Cheddar cheese Spring for the real thing! Used in 3 places.
  • 5 Tbl butter used in cabbage, bechamel and potatoes
  • 1.5 cups Half and half used in potatoes and bechamel
  • 1.5 Tbl flour for bechamel
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Prep all the veg and assemble in bowls. This will save you time in the cook.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbl butter with pancetta, cook until pancetta gets a little crisp. Add onions, 1/2 the garlic, carrots and cabbage. Gently cook until cabbage is soft. Add S/P to taste. (If this gets too dry, add just a bit of water. Don't use too much heat, the veg should not brown.)
  • When veg is soft, check S/P, and add vinegar. Put them in the casserole and set aside.
  • In a 2 qt saucepan, put the water and half n half mixture for the potatoes over med hi heat - watch to prevent boilover. Add half the remaining garlic. (Idahoan packs call for 2 cups liquid.) SEE NOTES!!
  • In same skillet, over med heat, put another 2 Tbl butter and flour to make a roux. Stir for a couple of minutes then add half the scallions and parsley and the remaining garlic. Add about 2/3 cup of half n half to make a bechamel sauce. This should be fairly tight, but not like glue, use more half and half if needed. When bechamel has cooked for 2-3 minutes, add 1/3 of the Irish cheddar to create a mornay sauce. As soon as the cheese melts, kill the heat and add back in the cabbage and stir to incorporate the sauce. Check S/P. Put this mixture back into the casserole dish.
  • Water for potatoes should be at the boil - turn off and add a Tbl of butter and potato flakes, whisk. Add 1/3 Irish cheddar and remaining parsley and scallions. Adjust liquid to make a fairly stiff creamed potato.
  • If you want to be fancy, you can use a round tip and pipe the potatoes from a pastry bag - make sure they are loose enough! (star tip will clog with the veg). Otherwise, just spread on top of the cabbage mix in the casserole dish.
  • Finally, put the remaining Irish cheddar on top of potatoes and bake in oven for about 15 minutes. Then turn on broiler and broil until you see browned potatoes and cheese.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

YES I use instant potatoes here. I tend to use them for any dish where they are a topping, such as Shepherd's Pie. I use the Idahoan small bag, which makes about 2 cups. I like the lightness of the instant, and they will pipe out a pastry bag nicely. In this particular recipe, since there is parsley and scallions, a star tip will not work, but a round tip will.  You can certainly make your own creamed potatoes here if you wish. 
Do get Irish cheddar. It has a nice sharp taste! 
This recipe makes about 3-4 cups, a small casserole. It will double just fine if you'd like a bigger casserole.  The only thing I'd not double is the butter. It will get super greasy with all the cheddar, so just use enough butter to get the veg cooked, and make the bechamel (1:1 butter to flour for bechamel). The bake time will be 20-25 mins for a large casserole.
The bake time is simply to warm up all the ingredients that have been sitting while you finish the dish. The important part is to broil the top for the browned bits. You can use a torch if you'd rather. 
This is not a pretty dish, but it is SO tasty! Perfect for a rainy night! Have a nice stout with it!