AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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soup is good food

The AntiCraft blog seems to contain a section that is all bacon crafts. Essentially wearable bacon, some made out of yarn or or what have you, some made from actual bacon.

Today I did not make bacon, I made soup instead.  Here is my recipe for Autumn Beef Barley Soup:

1 lb. stew meat, cut to bite-sized pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
2 cups mushrooms chopped
4 large carrots, cut into coins
2 cups kale, finely chopped
3/4 cup barley
8 cups beef broth

In a big soup pot, add a couple table spoons olive oil and set on medium heat.  Add garlic until lightly golden, add onion and let cook until clear and slightly brown on the edges.  Add meat, stirring occasionally until brown.  Add broth, barley and vegetables (I used the ones above, you use most anything, peas, carrots, and celery make a nice traditional soup, leeks and parsnips make a nice unconventional soup). Add seasonsings (your choice, italian seasoning herb mixes work well–I used a combination of Adobo, grill seasoning and a cup of red wine.)  stir.  Let heat until bubbly (but not boiling), lower heat (to roughly med-low) and let simmer for 2-3 hours.

I served mine with a tablespoon of sour cream and sprinkle of grated cheese.  Crusty bread is good with it too. Nom nom nom!!!

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coleslaw

I just went to make my fancy lunch of crackers and cheese and got totally distracted from that task and ended up making coleslaw too.  This is only my second foray into homemade coleslaw dressing.  Although I suspect I am one of like 6 people in the world that actually really likes coleslaw, for some reason I want to perfect this.  I guess so I can grow up to be the little old lady who everyone says makes the best slaw?  Who knows. But this second try is actually quite good.  The first try was tolerably good, but too sweet and no better than what you can buy at the store.  I will keep trying, but if you are interested here is what I did (measurements are guesses as I mostly just throw stuff in a bowl)

4 tbl mayonnaise
1 tbl dill pickle juice
1 tbl vinegar (I used red wine, I suspect apple cider would be better, but I didn’t have any)
2 tbl honey (dark, local wildflower)
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
pinch celery seed

Tastes best if you let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so. Also it’s the celery seed that really makes it taste right.  I don’t know why.  I don’t even know what else you’d use celery seed for.  This is good for about two to three cups of shredded cabbage and carrots.  Don’t put raisins in your slaw, it’s just wrong.


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I’ve got a song in my heart and it is over-caffeinated and not in charge

Today’s songs are:

Bruce Springsteen – Long Walk Home (click to download)

Blue Rodeo – 3 Hours (click to download)

Sometimes I pick a day’s song because I can’t stop listening to it (for instance the recent “Angel of the Morning”).  Other times, like today, I pick them because they came up on my iPod while I was working and something about them struck me.  Today’s specific choices came up back to back and both struck me as particularly meaningful at this day/hour/moment in my life.

When I first started doing this, three or so years ago, I used to post lyrics and try to explain why this particular song.  Now I just post, as I assume any song’s meaning will change with the listener.  So I simply put them out there, because I got something from them emotionally, and maybe you will too.  Also I suspect that only Rhiannonhero is downloading them, and I probably don’t have to explain to her (even though she’d love it if I did). 🙂

I am now sitting here listening to Bruce Springsteen, lamenting that I don’t get to go to the concert tonight.  Boss Daddy and Chef Daddy are going.  I asked Boss Daddy if that meant I was in charge of the restaurant tonight.  In a classic parent move, he told me that both PranavaGirl and I were jointly in charge.  Heh.

This morning I went to the new coffee shop next door where I got a lovely, effusive, friendly greeting from the owners.  They’ve only been open a week or two and I’ve only been in maybe 4 times, but they always thank me and say glad to see me, in a very genuine way.  I mean, yes, new business, so they are glad for my patronage, but seriously, I live 15 yards away, they serve the best coffee ever, so yes, of course I’m gonna be there if means not having to make my own coffee.  Still it’s nice to have people seem so happy to see me first thing in the morning.

Also last night I dreamt I was opening a museum with the cast of Scrubs.  It was going to be an amazing museum which would magically educate everyone in the world to ‘right’ (my way of) thinking.  As you left the museum you’d be routed through a huge book store and after seeing the exhibits everyone would be compelled to buy many books and read.  Hmmm.


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so much time, so much not getting done

This is a post I started on Saturday and got so scattered that I never finished it:

I’m going to go out on a limb and say I have PMS, since this just made me cry (watch the video, don’t skip it).

I am very scattered today. I keep thinking, “Oh I need to do X,” and then I’m go make a cup of coffee and entirely forget what X is. So I ‘ll start to do Y and think of something else in the middle of it, leave it and start thinking about X again, with the intention to write it down, but get distracted by Z and start the whole process over again. UGH. Seriously, it is hard to be me sometimes.

Now it’s Monday and I am still scattered as I was two days ago. Whopperjaw came through town yesterday. I made Thai curry, both green and red, yum yum yum. And then we took Ladybug to See Batman on the Imax screen. YAY BATMAN. I have complaints about it, but they are so minor and bizarre that I expect anyone listening to my complaints would just roll their eyes at me. I did totally love it.

This morning Whopperjaw and I were having breakfast in this little diner in my neighborhood, and the cashier, an older gentleman, was asking me all about my tattoos. Finally, done, he turned to Whopperjaw and said, “You got your hands full with this one.” WJ snickered, and all the way to the car he nattered on about how it so nice to have someone else recognized the trials of his life, having his hands full with me. Hmmm, I am perhaps not relaying this as amusing as it really was.

Okay, off to the craft store. I got things to do today and I have to start somewhere!


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office supplies and candy

I’m not sure how I feel about the advent of 3 Muskateers Mint.  I can’t stop eating them.  Sure I can blame PMS.  But this is even worse than Junior Mints. Or Peppermint Nougats.  I am telling you this is candy crack.  I have been through one bag this week (although in my defense, Ladybug helped), and have just purchased another one.

Besides candy I also have shiny new office supplies.  HURRAH!  Packing tape!  Mailing envelopes!  Thumb tacks!  And a weekly planner.  Do I need a weekly planner?  Probably not.  I mean I have a fancy computer that can do lots of planning things.  I just like the idea of writing things down in a book.  The real question is, will I keep up with it or not?  That remains to be seen.

Does anyone know what nail scissors are for?  I’m pretty sure it’s for cutting split ends out of your hair.  Because I couldn’t figure out how you’d use them on your nails.  I’ll stick with the nail clippers, thanks.  Plus they don’t make split end scissors and I need specialized tools for everything.

Should I fill out the ‘personal information’ page of my new planner?  Or just leave it alone?  Hmm, it’s so tempting, but is it necessary?  Is it just that new school supplies feeling that is making me want to fill it out?

What book should I read next?  Lesbian cop murder mystery?  Cyborg immortals trying to stop the end times coming?  Rogue samurai who fights to become clan leader and must go to war against his own son?  Such a hard decision.


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sun shines even on bad cops

I have recently had cause to be generally unhappy with the way the Nashville police respond to things.  The Seattle police force certainly had it’s problems, but Nashville is quite clearly not serving and protecting all it’s citizens equally and it’s a shame.  I know it’s tied to a lot the other urban problems we have, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get addressed any time soon.  Also I know it’s funny to joke about the rivalry between Memphis and Nashville, but fucking hell, Memphis, really? I’m not saying it wouldn’t have gone down the same in Nashville, but the fact that it didn’t happen here makes me feel at least a little better about our cops.  Even if it would appear that steroid usage is common among them.

It is a another glorious under 80 day in Nashville.  I am going to celebrate by cooking out.  If you are reading this and you want to come by and eat with me and miss Ladybug, call me.

God, I love E.Nash.  The the 35 minute delay between writing this and the paragraph above, my pal, Heartbreaker, came by, brought back some stuff he’d borrowed, invited me out to a show tonight and hung out and generally encouraged me on the work I am supposed to be doing today.  In the PNW people don’t just drop by and hang for a bit.  I love it when they do.


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hippies, squid and crying (no this isn’t about Bonarroo)

For some reason my eyes won’t stop watering today. I hope this doesn’t become an ongoing thing. Not only does it interfere with my vanity (makes my eye make up run and no one wants to look like they are crying all the time), but it is kind of uncomfortable.

It is past noon in Tennessee and I am not hot. Seriously after days of over 90 temps, this high 70s stuff feels AWESOME. Perfect, beautiful weather. Too bad I am inside working. Bleh.

I spent my weekend in Memphis with Whopperjaw the Exceptionalist (such an unwieldy nickname that it suits him perfectly). I ate the real deal calamari (squiggly and without deep fried breading), excellent scallops (not quite the ones at Wild Ginger but great nonetheless), paella that WtE made for me himself. All in all a lovely, fun, relaxing weekend. Sadly I feel even more overwhelmed by how much work I need to get done now. And my schedule at the restaurant is in crazy flux because we are still short a good back-up person. Ugh. It seems no matter what I do the more time I have the more I end up needing to get done.

News from the town where I was born. See? You know I’m not really a hippie, just from the West Coast where we are all hippies to some extent. But man, this is where I am from. I may look like a hippie in Tennessee but that’s only because people don’t have these kind of whackjobs to compare me too.