We’ve been in Pensacola three years this month, or anyway, I have. AdventureMan retired, but went back twice to help out and to start things up on a major contract. He was retired, but useful.
The longest we’ve ever stayed in any one place was 6 years. The second longest was 4.5 years. There were some 6 month places, 10 month places, and three years was a long posting. I feel the internal clock ticking; I am cleaning out closets and drawers. No, I am not packing. No, I am not moving, but the habits are still there and don’t go away. Go through everything. Weed and cull. Pass along. Give away. Evaluate.
AdventureMan is fully engaged in a very different life from before, and it requires some adjustment – for both of us. You’d think my life wouldn’t be that different, I still do aqua aerobics, I spend time doing volunteer work, serving the church, meeting up with other quilters, etc., same life, different location, right? No No Noooooooooooooooooooo!
Take the spice drawers. AdventureMan still tells the story of when we first got married and I did my first big grocery shopping, setting up household. As he lugged bags and bags into the house, he jokingly asked if I had everything (his bachelor refrigerator kept beer cold; there was nothing else in it!) and I said no, that I had groceries, but I would have to go back for spices.
When I got back with two bags full of herbs and spices and cooking things like baking powder and baking soda, he was wide-eyed. He was thinking “salt . .. pepper . . . what else is there?” He still laughs about it, lo, these forty years later.
Three years in Pensacola has given me time to think about the spice drawers. They frustrated AdventureMan, and he offered to re-arrange them more logically, which almost started a nuclear war in our family dynamics. Logically, he is now doing more cooking and he should have more input, but it is really, really hard for me to give up territory in the kitchen, and, well, AdventureMan can be a little bit aggressive in amassing his territory.
But, after three years, I agree, the spice drawers are not working, and one reason is I got this state-of-the-art rubberized drawer liner, but it crept back and made the spices rise up and then the drawers got stuck open or closed and it really was frustrating.
Yesterday, I had the house to myself and because I hadn’t planned it, it wasn’t something I dreaded, I just started fiddling with the spice drawers, just editing, getting rid of some really old stuff, combining duplicates and . . . well, because I hadn’t put it on the “To Do List” it was fun. So much fun I decided to go all the way, take out the annoying rubberized liner and have some fun.
I’ve always loved great drawer liners. Good thing, huh? I’ve lined a LOT of drawers. There are some wonderful liners out there, but I love to use wrapping paper. Every now and then I’ll see a design I love, or something that thrills my heart. Because I moved so often, I knew it wasn’t a lifetime commitment, so I just had fun with it. And that is what I did yesterday.
I have some great wrapping paper I brought back that I went to a lot of trouble to get, flying down from Kuwait to Doha to go to the American Women’s Bazaar in November, where I knew there would be the vendor from Saudi Arabia who makes and sells these quirky, whimsical Arabic-themed wrapping papers that I loved to use for all the Christmas gifts and house-guest gifts I would take back three or four times a year. I hand carried several rolls of this paper back to Kuwait, then shipped it back to Doha when we moved back there, then shipped it again, carefully protected, to Pensacola when we retired.
Here in Pensacola, however, it seems less and less relevant. I don’t use it to wrap my Christmas gifts like I used to because the gifts are no longer exotic surprises from the Middle East. And I still have a lot of this paper, paper which delights me, but for which I have no real purpose . . .
So I decided I would use it to line my spice drawers. I can see it every day and smile. It is making itself useful, and two or three years down the road when it is worn and needs replacing, I can find something else that delights my heart.
When AdventureMan comes in, I am just finishing up. I warn him, because he, like me, likes to know where things are.
“What’s the logic?” he asks, and I think “this is one of the reasons I married him; he knows to ask the most pertinent question.”
“Here are whole spices, seeds, peppers,” I tell him as I indicate a section, “and here are exotics, spices from the Gulf and Jordan and Tunisia. This section is grill mixtures and all kinds of chili powders and Creole mixes. Over here you have aromatics and baking spices, and here are the Italian and French herbs. The last section is onion and garlic powders and salts, flavored salts of all kinds, and frequently used multi-use herbs.”
He totally got it.
LOL, this is hilarious, and also frightening when you think what might be in the preserved sandwich.
There are four videos showing food non-deterioration, by Melanie Warner, author of Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Foods Took Over the American Meal
“I am so thankful we had such good weather when our house guests were here,” I said to AdventureMan. Not only was it raining steadily as we headed home from the commissary, but we had thunder and lightning early in the morning, and it meant no water-aerobics class – pools are not a safe place to be when there is a thunderstorm outside.
“And I am thankful to have a garage.” he added, and I totally agree. When you have a big load of groceries is not a great time for a rain storm if you are toting them inside, pelted by a pouring rain.
We thought of all the places we have lived. I thought of all the groceries we have toted. Probably, for me, the worst was in Kuwait, where we had underground parking (very nice protection from the heat and merciless sun) and you had to take groceries and other shopping up in an elevator. We’ve lived in many countries, however, with no garage at all, and carried groceries inside through all kinds of weather.
And the rain keeps coming down . . . .
Coming soon: Sephora to Cordova Mall! Interested applicants please call 866-845-5627. If you have your resume or the Sephora application complete, please submit to fax 415-449-6104 or email email@example.com. Management is recruiting now and will host a Job Fair Friday, February 8th – Sunday, February 10th in front of the future store’s location (between Chico’s and Aeropostale).
I don’t wear or buy that much make-up, but when I do, I buy it at Sephora, where I can always find what I am looking for. . . mostly Urban Decay and Philosophy products, but also the odd brush or specialty product – Sephora always has it. I’ve been doing all my Sephora shopping on my trips to Seattle, LOL, but no more! Now . . . where is the Macy’s I’ve been waiting for?
It’s amazing how much more energy I have when the weather cools; yesterday was nearly 80°F and I had to force myself to work through my list of to-do’s, but as the temperatures dropped once again, we slept well, we awoke rested and energetic, and I ended up adding things to my list, for the sheer joy of feeling like doing things.
A new recipe – for me, for us – Chole – is bubbling in our crock pot. It sounded so good! I found the recipe – I think on allrecipes.com – several months ago, but today is the perfect day to put it all together. It has so many things in it which are good for us, but especially chick peas, tomatoes, ginger and turmeric.
I had no idea what it would look like, but it looks like things we used to eat at the vegetarian restaurant Greenland, down in Souk Mubarakiyya, in Kuwait. I think it is missing a few spices, probably things we have a hard time getting here. It wasn’t even easy just finding mustard seeds, if I had needed those dried lemons or other spices exotic to Pensacola, I couldn’t have attempted it. This Chole won’t be the same as the delicious, spicy, complex dishes our Indian quilters would bring to the weekly stitch meetings, but it will be a good tasty dinner on a rainy night. I wish we had the fried Indian breads that Wikipedia says are traditionally served with it.
Chole (Chickpea Stew)
• 2 cups of chickpeas soaked overnight
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 large onion, minced
• 1 red bell pepper, minced
• 2 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
• 1-inch piece ginger, minced
• 1 14 oz can of coconut milk
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
• 1/2 tsp ground cloves
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 tsp garam masala
• 1.5 tsp mustard seeds
• 1/2 tsp salt
Blend all the ingredients but chickpeas in a food processor or a blender until liquid. Wash and drain chickpeas, place them in a slow cooker, pour the blended mixture over and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5.
Make ahead: we usually make double or triple of this recipe, since we love it. Let it cool, and store chole in freezer-safe zip-lock bags in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Just for fun, I am going to share with you the Wikipedia version. I laugh to think how intimidated I would be –
preparation time=45mins cooking time=1hour serves=4
Ingredients For the chole 1 cup kabuli chana (white chick peas), soaked overnight 1 tea bag or tsp tea leaves, tied in a muslin cloth (optional) 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera) 1 onion, finely chopped 12 mm (1/2″) piece of ginger (adrak), grated 2 cloves of garlic (lehsun), grated 2 tsp chole masala 2 tsp chilli powder 2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur) 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi) 1 tbsp coriander (dhania) powder 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera) powder 2 tbsp oil salt to taste
For the bhature 1/2 cup plain flour (maida) 1/2 cup potatoes, boiled and grated 1 1/2 tsp oil salt to taste oil for deep-frying
For serving 1 onion, sliced 4 lemon wedge
Recipe For the chole Pressure cook the Kabuli chana with the tea bag for 3 whistles until they are soft . Drain and keep aside. Discard the tea bag. Heat the oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté till the onion is golden brown. Add the chole masala, chilli powder, amchur, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin seed powder and salt and sauté for another minute. Add the Kabuli chana and 1 cup of water and mix well. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Keep aside
For the bhature Combine the flour, potato, 1½ teaspoons of oil and salt and knead into a firm dough without using any water. Knead the dough very well till it is smooth Cover with a wet muslin cloth and rest the dough for 10 minutes Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll out into circles of 125 mm. (5″) diameter. Deep fry in hot oil till the bhaturas puff up and both sides are golden brown. Serve hot with the chole, sliced onion and lemon wedges. Tips While frying the bhature, press the centre lightly with a frying spoon so as to help it to puff up. Chole masala is a blend of spices which is readily available at most grocery stores. 
LOL, cook with a tea bag for three whistles??? I am already way out of my league! And “Chole masala is a blend of spices which is readily available at most grocery stores” does not apply to Pensacola, Florida!
People have been excited ever since the announcement was made that Fresh Markets was opening a store in Pensacola. Although it is one of the smaller Fresh Markets, if there is anything carried by Fresh Market that is not in Pensacola, and you want it, they can bring it in for you.
It’s a wonderful shopping experience. Think about it – we live like kings, better than the nobility of medieval Europe. We have indoor plumbing (if you’ve ever had to use an outhouse in a cold country like Alaska, you will have a greater appreciation for indoor plumbing all your life), we have hot water, we have heat and air conditioning, we have more than enough clothing for any season. We live so high on the hog as to be wasteful and oblivious to our own wastefulness. Oops, I digress.
We have access to abundant fresh food. Even without Fresh Market, we have markets with clean, fresh vegetables, fresh sanitary meats and poultry, and goods in – and out – of season.
What is the height of luxury? Service. Beautiful displays. People who know their product and talk about it lovingly. It’s kind of like Disney does groceries; it’s a lot of fantasy, and probably a level of goods that goes beyond need into just-a-little-over-the-top, but isn’t it the nature of being a human to be looking for something novel and just a little better than the product you loved last week?
Fresh Market is a little like the Food Market at Herrod’s or Selfridges in London, all these little boutique-y spaces, with people who seem to love what they are doing and are happy to be of service. Publix does it well; Fresh Market takes it to a whole new level.
Fresh Veg Displays (artichokes!)
What catches the eyes:
There is a very large section dedicated to quick foods – sandwiches made to order, prepared soups, salads, pizzas, cheeses, cold cuts, and deli items with lots of salads. We particularly loved the seafood display, and AdventureMan was mesmerized by the dessert selections.
All in all, Fresh Market makes grocery shopping less of a chore and more of a little vacation. For the best experience, get there on a week-day, or at opening – 0900 – on the week-end, so you don’t have to fight for parking in a crowded parking lot shared with the new Marshall’s, Ulta, Stein Mart, etc.
Found this on AOL News/Kitchen Daily.com
FOOD TRENDS FOR 201
KITCHEN DAILY 11/25/12
The Sterling-Rice Group recently announced its predictions for 2013′s top ten food trends. The list was compiled by the group’s culinary council, which is made up of chefs, restaurateurs and foodies, and it included the following:
Sour Foods -Tart and bitter flavors, such as fermented cherry juice and vinegars will take the stage.
Healthy Dining Out – Chefs will work behind the scenes to make your meals healthier by using ingredients like brown rice and vegetable stock.
Asian Comfort Foods – Thai, Vietnamese and Korean flavors will work their way into traditional American menu items.
Vegetables as Main Dishes – Veggies will take over entrées–options such as cauliflower steaks and squash noodles are becoming more common.
Kid-Friendly Versions of Adult Foods – Kids’ menus will focus less on hot dogs and grilled cheese and more on fruits, grains and authentic Asian flavors.
Local Artisans – American artisan shops will become destinations for foodies that used to travel to Europe for exotic flavors.
Individualized Servings – Menus will offer singular servings for perfectly-sized meals.
Savory Fruit – Chefs will be less interested in sugary tastes than in adding savory touches to their recipes.
All-Inclusive Menus – No diner will be left behind as restaurants offer options to accommodate all eaters.
Popcorn – Popcorn will be the snack of 2013–it will pop up in all types of food!
“Have you eaten at Favorite Things yet?” our friend asked us.
“They have a restaurant?” I asked. I knew they had a little coffee shop and gifts, but I hadn’t heard they had a restaurant.
“Just opened,” he replied. “I took folks there for breakfast after church last Sunday. It was GOOD!”
So the next day we had to go, missing entirely the police shooting two burglars in our neighborhood.
I had driven by this place a million times, but I had never been in. It was cute, lots of unique gifts and good ideas, an old fashioned candy store and – a newly opened restaurant. Actually, they had just opened the previous Friday, this was still their soft opening while they work the kinks out of their system.
The dining room is cute, all different tables and chairs, all a country theme.
The menu offers a lot of options, breakfast options, sandwiches, entrees, local specialities. I overheard a manager talking it over with a long time friend; Favorite Things is associated with Jerry’s, next door, but “Jerry’s does all the fried food and we do all the rest!”
We ordered, then roamed through the store, looking at the gift offerings:
Oops! Food arrived while we were ooohing and aaahing over all the goodies.
AdventureMan ordered the soup and sandwich special with their gumbo and a turkey sandwich:
I ordered the Reuben sandwich on whole grain with a cup of the gumbo:
When I put the top on the Reuben, I saw something I really liked – look at all the grains on the top of the roll, and look at the whole grains in the chips:
We went back and tried breakfast, taking little-boy-Q with us, who was good as gold and ate everything with a fork except for the grapes. AdventureMan had a traditional egg special, little-boy-Q had parts of our meal and a fruit bowl, and I had the lachs and bagel breakfast, excellent, and I don’t even usually like bagels. Nice to know there is another good breakfast option near us.