Last night, after a lazy day around the house (the kind of lazy in which I'm blissfully unconscious for several hours while the sunlight wastes away outside), I broke into my new stash of goods from the grocery store. I tried the sweet potatoes first because they have to cook for a loooong time and I can afford to do so on a Saturday. I used the low and slow method: tossed with my new olive oil, then roasted at 350° for 30 minutes and 425° for 20. I had to lower the oven temp to 400° for the last ten because they were charring, though.
Alongside one lettuce-happy burger with ketchup and Miracle Whip on a homemade bun.
Verdict: I was hoping that my first bite of sweet potato would beam me to some nutrient-dense flavor heaven, but something just seemed off. Maybe I burned them too much, or maybe I shouldn't coat them with salt next time. The sweetness and earthiness just didn't seem like they should belong together, but I'm 95% sure that's because it was my first time eating them (well, sort of). The parenting articles say you should make kids taste a vegetable three or four times before you let them declare they don't like it--I think the rule still applies for a 22-year-old.
After dinner I wanted to check the mail to see if my licorice had arrived. Sweetie had been cooped up all day in front of the computer working on brain-draining projects for school, and said he could use a walk too. We stretched our legs by strolling a lap around the park across the street. This is the .9-mile trail I've been running around for the past week, and I'd been meaning to show you all why:
It's no Boston Common, but it's a great little place to soak up the green and whip my cardiovascular system into shape.
Unfortunately, when we checked the mail on the way back, my licorice was still on some truck barreling its way to Bloomington. But we did make a new friend:
This cat caused quite a stir, because we weren't sure if she was an escapee. She was alarmingly friendly and obviously had an owner with a brush, and wore a collar with a phone number that seemed to suggest she shouldn't be out and about. No cat should be out and about around here; just a few weeks ago a local couple found their kitty severely burned, with its tail cut off. Sweetie brought her into the apartment to shelter her from the crazies for a half hour and called the number repeatedly. He eventually found the right home by knocking on the door of another neighbor who keeps two gray cats that love to perch in the window. She mentioned there was someone on the corner who let her cat roam. Then he received a call back from this someone, who said it was okay; Autumn knew her way around and never strayed too far from the unit.
While all this was going down, I callously dug into second half of my sweet potato.
The flavor was already starting to grow on me. I think I liked them better after they had a chance to cool down and mellow out.
Even after that second half of the potato and my nightly Green Monster, I kept sneaking back and forth from the kitchen for half a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a piece of Sweetie's white bread *gasp* with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. I just couldn't tame my hunger! I fretted for a bit about the calories, but quickly found a way to distract myself.
A little romantic ridiculousness in a foreign language does wonders for the hormone-pumped soul.
This morning, those hormones were still in overdrive. Despite that pretty scenery, I simply could not motivate myself to do anything. I chowed down a basic bowl of blueberry oatmeal, then did a whole lot of nothing for hours, before determining to at least try to walk one little mile on the treadmill. Of course, once I got going I could easily finish two--apparently I wasn't nearly as tired as I told myself I was. I could have done three without a fuss, but I'd procrastinated so long that I had to stop to prepare lunch and get ready for today's outing.
But it turned out that it was a very good thing that I did accidentally limit myself, because we faced an unexpected obstacle when we went to the university art museum to sketch some ancient Grecian artifacts for one of Sweetie's classes. There was absolutely NO parking available! We didn't expect so many people to battle for space in the library parking lot on a Sunday afternoon, but with finals coming up, I suppose it must be research season. I ended up dropping Sweetie off and driving to the other side of campus to park in one of the empty garages. Then it was a ten-minute trek back to the museum, an hour and a half of standing and sketching, and a fifteen-minute walk back to the car thanks to a computer lab detour. By the time we came home I was exhausted and cranky as it was--I think would have been a real Gorgon if I had finished that third mile! I only had one thought in my head:
Parsnip fries! I followed Katie's basic procedure of olive oil plus salt & pepper, in the oven at 400° for 30 minutes (okay, she had hers at 425, but remember what happened to those sweet potatoes? My oven is a cantankerous old clunker). As soon as I caught a whiff of the raw parsnips I knew I would love them. Parsnips are in the same botanic family as fennel and anise, and I could definitely smell hints of those, which I'm pretty sure was that "woody" flavor Katie describes in the inspiration post. I ate them alongside a basic tuna melt (half a can of chunk tuna in water, a slice of reduced fat Colby Jack) on white bread. Yes, white bread again, but this time by necessity: that hamburger roll yesterday was the last of the batch.
Yumyumyumyumyum. Sweetie gave them a thumbs down for the same surprising quality that made me squeal: they were sweet! I did not expect that. "Parsnip sweet" wasn't as overpowering as it was in the sweet potato...about a notch down from "carrot sweet". If I hadn't burned them quite so much (next time it will be 375°) I think I would have been in danger of inhaling them and giving myself a root-veggie-induced stomachache.
After dinner I conked out again for a half hour. Now I'm waiting anxiously for the Chinese-speakers to finish putting English subs to the latest episode of Jiu Xiang Lai Zhe Ni.
I may have an unhealthy dependence on that romantic ridiculousness.