Saturday, September 24, 2011

More Cooking

For several years now, every beginning of each semester and each time I move I say to myself, "this time, I learn to cook. This time I find time to make myself great food for dinner at least a few nights a week" and each time I say this, life has inevitably gotten in the way. Between all the homework a BA requires and all the jobs I decided to take on during undergrad, along with attempting to have a social life, learning to cook was simply not in the cards for me. And God knows how much I love spaghetti every day of the week. Well, finally I've found the time for all of this and have decided to put forth lots of effort and a bit of money into learning to cook myself some good meals that will feed me for several days in a row. Here's some of my recent creations:

Every week we need to share a community dinner as a house. My turn came up first, and we happened to have a huge squash given to us, so I made stuffed squash, which involved onions, parm cheese, pepperoni and such. It looked better than it ended up tasting... I think the squash was not nearly ripe, to be honest. But it was pretty!

Three-cheese grilled cheese with grilled onions, garlic and tomatoes. Along with Chipotle sweet potato fries.

This was a sauce I made with a tomato that grew in my garden, mixed with olive oil, asparagus, onions, peas and garlic.

And last night I made this bake with spinach-stuffed shells. Super good and LOTS of leftovers.

In other news, I'll be going to my DPSS meeting to prove that I qualify for food stamps this week. I'm looking forward to finally cashing on this - which I've probably qualified for for a long time but not been able to receive as a student. It will take a lot of pressure off my paychecks. Also, I feel like having experiences with the department of social services is probably an important life experience for any American who wants to work in the social service sector, as far as building awareness and empathy goes.

I've found a yoga studio that I like, with a slow flow yoga class. People are more friendly than in my classes in Minneapolis, in fact. They say hi, introduce themselves and chat after the class is over. I was at work the other week and stopped into the Women's Room (one of our services which provides safe space for women who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness during the day) during their weekly writing class. I met the teacher and she invited me to some of her other classes, which are pay-what-you-can and at the Ten Thousand Villages shop in Pasadena (a really cool chain of shops that sell jewelry and crafts from all around the world made by local craftsmen and sold at fair prices. There's one in St Paul on Grand. Check it out, locals!). I decided to go last Monday and I'll be going back for sure. It was a lot of little old white ladies, really, but there were a few other younger women (its not a women-only group, that's just who shows up, apparently) and either way, I felt very very good being there. Getting the opportunity to write and share and listen to others. It felt very communal and welcoming. I'm so grateful to have these two things in my life, along with everything else that has been given recently.

Last night I went out with some friends in Hollywood. We went out dancing at several different bars and clubs, and were out till 4AM. This is not something I will do again for a long time. One of those experiences that are good to have when you are young and have stamina, but not something I can keep up again for a while. So tonight I'm at home, reading, folding laundry with the windows and door opened and listening to a Prairie Home Companion and thinking about a cool evening in St Paul Minnesota, sitting outside and having good conversations with friends. Feeling energized in a way you've not felt in the muggy lazy summer days by the cool splash of a fall breeze.

I think I will miss the changing of seasons this year. As Garison Keeler just sang "I'm dreaming of a long winter! One that will made me feel real strong!"

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