Dry Cheerios

I can’t wait until I am living in only one house. Because then I will be able to know what I am going to have for breakfast. I went to buy supplies to make soup for John, because he was sick, and I got him some cereal and milk. And then when I woke up this morning to have breakfast… my fridge has no milk. Because even though I bought some, it didn’t come to my house, just John’s. And so, what is a girl to do? What should she do, already late, rushing out the door to go to work. What is best dry? Raisin Bran? Frosted Mini-Wheats? Cheerios? Yeah, that should work. Dry Cheerios, speedily poured into a Kabab & Curry container and rushed out the door. Standing, waiting for the bus, tiny circles of oats consumed in the weather that is just a little warmer than it should be.

Tornadoes are coming.

And so. I want to be able to shop for only one house. To know when I will be eating where and who will be there. This is one reason I don’t feel called to a community house, I want to know when I am going to need more milk.

Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking for a bunch of people, but the need to go to the grocery store because I never know what is going to be available in the pantry is gonna start wearing on me. I actually don’t know from day to day where or what I am going to eat. And that makes making the decision of what to have for breakfast just a little more difficult than what is the usual standard.

I should eat. Otherwise you can hear my stomach growling from a few seats away. And I should eat, because it helps me be able to focus, and think on the subjects in my studies.

Cereal is pretty cheap. But you have to plan to have it. And the milk that goes with it. Or then you are stuck just having dry Cheerios on the bus. And only a handful at that.

I try to be creative when it comes to meals, I think food should be something that can create and sustain you, not just keep you going on like the gas in a car. And when I do cook, the preparation of my food soothes me as I carefully slice or dice or tear what will be going in my salad. I am blessed that I have so many options, and that I can be able to decide what I want to have for dinner, then go get it for myself. But it is the planning and the deciding that takes so much energy. And coming home from school, I really don’t want to think that hard, anyway. I can make just about anything, but that plethora of options really does not help me when I want to eat in the next hour. I know that anything I make might possibly be better than what I can get quickly from any restaurant, but a restaurant is just so much easier. I don’t even have to get John to do the dishes. (Which he does willingly and expertly, by the way.)

So. Now. What will I have for dinner tonight…?

Will it be a pizza, barbecue, Thai, soup, pasta, Indian, or just another bowl of cereal…

when life gives you oranges: make Cake-in-an-Orange!

This week John and I went camping. I had a great menu planned, but because we fought (and lost) against the pesky buzzing hypodermic needles, our desserts remained uncooked. One of the desserts I wanted, I yearned, to cook was cake-in-an-orange. This delicacy hearkens back to my scouting days of yore, and it is one of the legendary feats of campfire culinary prowess that girls from my troop will still talk about.

Anyway, we didn’t make them. There.

When I got home, however, I still had the oranges, I still had the cake, I still had the yearning. So I made Cake-In-An-Orange!

It is really quite simple.

cleaned and waiting for batter

Take your oranges, cut off the tops. I cut around the inside of the oranges, too, so that spooning out the fruit was easier. A grapefruit spoon wouldn’t have hurt.

Ream out the fruit (and save it).

Joe helped me clean out the oranges
filled and ready to go

Use some of the juice of the oranges to make your cake batter. I used an instant muffin mix, because I knew I wouldn’t need so much batter. I replaced the water with the fresh squeezed orange juice.

Since I was without hot coals, I did not wrap my oranges in aluminum foil, instead I cut off a tiny bit of the heel, so they would sit with a solid base in my cast-iron skillet. (If you are at a campfire, it is crucial that you wrap them in foil. Otherwise they will taste like ash and spill. It doesn’t really work that way… though it was a good night anyway.)

ready for the oven

 

Top your oranges, (wrap them with foil), and toss them in an oven (campfire)!

mmm, tasty batter peeking out

I cooked them for a while. And I could have probably done them at a higher heat. But they still worked quite well.

spooky cauldrons

MMM. Now for some ghost stories…

Slipstream Dreams: Part Two

Do you need a ride home?

I would appreciate it. Yeah. Thanks.

No problem, you live on the way anyway.

Yeah? That’s great.

Did you have a good time tonight?

Sure, I really miss being out in the night like this, when the stars are out, and you can actually see them, I didn’t get this where I lived last.

Yeah, well, we charge a toll on stars for city girls.

Oh really?

Sure.

And what is the toll?

Tell you later. It’s a secret.

Well. That’s interesting. Anything else I should be aware of, as I get used to the countryside again?

Again?

Yeah, I lived out in rural outlying towns the whole time I grew up. Farm country, pine trees, cows and honeysuckle, creeks, rivers, marsh, red clay, sandy dirt, magnolias, Spanish moss, sand gnats that get in your hair and bite you. All of it.

What about turkey shoots? Bluegrass? Pickin’ corn, okra, and ‘maters or shellin’ peas, snappin’ beans, or canning home grown pear preserves like my friend’s momma always did?

Well… kinda, but we never actually lived on a farm, we just lived near them. But I remember moonlit games of ultimate and manhunt. Such fun as kids at church.

So, you were raised going to church?

Yeah. I lived in the country…

Slipstream Dreams: Part One

My name is Tim. I am a fairly simple guy, I don’t need much, and have never really been one for real fancy things. I work as a reporter and editorialist for our local paper, the “River North Gazette.”

My longest companion is Zoe, my black lab. I got her as a puppy nine years ago, and we keep each other company. She is an outside dog, except of the really extreme days, but we don’t have too many of those, living on River North.

The seasons are at that point of the best of both Summer and Fall. It smells of wood-burning stoves and pecans in the crisp cool morning air, but the days have not gotten so short that it seems that the day ends halfway through the afternoon, yet. The leaves are about to turn into their full Autumnal glory, but not yet.

Tonight we are going to have our first cookout, bonfire, and guitar pickin’ get together of the season. My friends and I, we used to live for these shindigs, a chance to gather in the woods, off away from our hard (or boring) lives the rest of the week, a chance to get up next to that girl we’d been thinking about talking to, and a time to relax. Now that we’re older, we still have them, and my friends have been bringing their kids, too.

I’m being set up this time with a new girl in town, although my friends are all pretty much done getting hitched, I have not yet found the right girl. That’s not exactly right, I had the right girl. When we were in college together we had the best life planned. Together, we were going to be the world’s best team, but she died from viral encephalitis that she got from a mosquito bite on a summer mission project in Panama City Beach. Although I have tried looking, I have not had much success in relationships, because she was the one for me. It is coming on ten years since she died, and though the sharpness of her death has worn off, she is still in my mind frequently.

Got to run home now to get Zoe and my boots on. Tonight I’ve got fire duty, and I’ve got to get there early, to set everything up right. There is a real art in building a fire, one that gives off enough heat, but not too much smoke, one that will light the evening, but burn down, to get real good coals for the end of the evening, ready for s’mores.