Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What is it about January?

Cleaning out closets.

Normally, I really hate to do that. Closets are for shoving stuff away, shutting the door and hoping no one opens said door so that shoved-in stuff won't fall out and expose you as a closet pack-rat (pun intended). But this morning, I woke up dreaming of cleaning out the closets. And this past weekend, I cleaned out not one, but two closets. Ugh. It's clearly January, because I did this last year, too. The closet cleaning frenzy lasted, oh, about two weeks, and then I got over it. Thank goodness, because my husband was starting to think I was mentally ill. ;-)

I'm even thinking of cleaning my office. Organizing it. Getting all these stacks of papers and books and magazines and the clutter that surrounds me like a blanket into a neat, orderly arrangement. February better hurry up and arrive and take away this New Year mania or before you know it, I'll be labeling my shelves like Martha Stewart. And then how fun will I be to live with?

In writing news, the new novella is going really well. It's a Christmas story, and I have enough Christmas spirit left over (and 10 hours of Christmas songs on my computer to play in the background) to keep me plowing through. Plus, it's finally gotten cold here and might even snow, which actually has me feeling Christmas-y for the first time this year (it's hard to feel Christmas-y when it's 50 degrees out and you're not even wearing a coat. Though it does make shopping a lot easier :-). This one will be out next Christmas in the UK, and I think simultaneously in the U.S., though I don't know for sure. Will keep you all posted.

As promised, I did take pictures of my dinner I cooked last night. I told you -- I am freakishly on the ball right now. It's kinda scary actually. I had Pork Chops with Maple Pecan Sauce. These were so good, my son had seconds and I wished I had more pork chops for leftovers. I made 6 instead of 4 (so I increased the ingredients by 50%), and only had one leftover pork chop (lunch today! :-). I didn't bother with the whole flattening thing. IMHO, life is way too short to be pounding meat into little 1/4-inch-thick portions. I just cooked them longer in the pan and they were just fine.

But my favorite thing was the Squash Rockefeller. This took a tiny bit more time, but it was worth it. Next time, I'll brown up some turkey sausage and add that and make it a one-dish meal. It was REALLY good, IMO and even both kids liked it and DH. You could even add some Parmesan cheese with the meat for the one-dish option, but this was good enough that it didn't need it (though I was temptedbecause IMO, cheese goes with everything (hey, I wrote a whole book about cheese, which comes out in February). I use kosher salt in my cooking, which I think has more flavor, instead of regular, and I also used Chili Garlic Sauce (I didn't have any hot pepper sauce, but I had that leftover from some Thai cooking) and it was a nice little added bite. I think I used just under a teaspoon. I cooked the squash for 10 minutes in the microwave -- that's how long it took to steam them enough to get the centers scoop-able.

Now for a blonde moment ;-) I'm searching all over the store for yellow squash. Lots of squashes are yellow, folks, and where I come from, yellow squash is called SUMMER SQUASH. Then I see the sign at the grocery store that says "yellow squash" never even realizing in all the years I've lived here that they probably have always called it that out here and I've always called it Summer Squash. Ah well. I'm blond. I'm allowed a moment of idiocy here and there ;-)


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