Hibernating

HibernatingI’m not gonna lie to you, Marge. I almost didn’t write a post tonight.

All I want is to curl up in bed, finish the latest book I’m reading (Amazon affiliate link), maybe eat congee (which I am currently doing), and perhaps, watch last week’s The Vampire Diaries and its crossover episode with The Originals.

I’m a simple woman with simple wants.

But I thought, if I get in the habit of blowing these posts off, especially when I’m starting to pursue my goals of writing, then really, I’m self-sabotaging, right?

I have no idea.

But I do know that I tend to fall off the writing world when I just start to gain a little traction and dammit all if that’s not annoying.

Now, I have good reasons to be tired and lazy. But there are always good reasons to be tired and lazy. But if I want something as badly as I say that I do, then I should also be willing to put in the work. (Something that I have not been good about doing since I was a child.)

So, here I am. Banging out a few words so that I feel better about myself.

Okay. What is my point for tonight?

1) Go to my link on congee. It’s so yum, folks. And there are still a few more cold weather days in store for us and it’s sooo cozy and makes me feel instantly better. Remember: GINGER IS KEY.

2) I’m currently reading The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley and I have to say I am really enjoying it. I’m confused as all get out, but the payoff is starting to come and I am super glad the sequel (of what I presume is a trilogy) has already come out so then I only have to wait for the conclusion.

Plus, Hurley has written another trilogy prior to this so I can blast through those, too.

Why do I love her world so far?

Violence. I mean, it’s not super violent, I guess. But it’s not a safe world. And there are multiple worlds and for awhile, you’re not sure what world you’re on. Also, all the characters kind of are assholes. Or idiots. Let’s just say I don’t particularly like any of them. But you still want to root for them to win and succeed seeing as their real enemy is even more despicable.

Ohohohohoh! And did I mention that there are many different societies and one of them is cannibalistic, polyamorous, magic-wielding pacifists? And that other societies are female dominated and men are ruthlessly culled and only used for breeding and prostitution? And still yet others have vigorously segregated the sexes? Or have multiple genders and intersexed and transexual peoples?

ALSO – people of color?

It’s pretty awesome. It would have been awesome WITHOUT these aspects, but WITH? AWESOME^2.

Now granted, I still have about 1/4 of the book left to go, but it’s building up to end well. I’ve already put the rest of this series and her books on hold.

3) Why do I keep buying produce that just goes to seed? Or sprouts? Sigh. I really should just save everyone the trouble and throw my money directly into the garbage.

4) Three years ago, when I was pregnant with Glow Worm, I got it in my mind to plant vegetables from seeds in my backyard. I planted them all, didn’t cull any seedlings, and then I had Glow Worm and didn’t really harvest or do anything with the veggies and they just died and flowered and seeded and whatever it is that plants do when you utterly ignore them.

Then we had several years of drought.

Well, this year has been less droughty and stuff has been sprouting up all over the place that I finally noticed. I now have tons of random carrots sprouting everywhere. And perhaps kale. And perhaps onions. WHO KNOWS? DO I LOOK LIKE A BOTANIST? OR A FARMER?

Whatever it is, the kids have really enjoyed digging up carrots in the back yard. Also? Those nice carrots you see at the grocery stores? I have no idea how they get them. Mine are ugly and scrawny and are weird looking.

Whatever. They’re going into juice.

Alright. I’m going back to my insane fantasy world where multiple worlds are trying to annihilate the other. See you Friday. (That post, at least, is already written.)

Comfort Food

Now that it’s cold (pity us Northern Californians – it’s been in the 30s at night and the 40s during the day – GAH!!), I find myself craving congee/jook (a Chinese rice porridge) a LOT. When I was younger, I only had the plain rice porridge with condiments such as pickled cucumbers, spicy bamboo slices, mien jing (some glutenous thing), to fu roo (some spicy soy paste), salted duck egg, thousand year old egg, and maybe some pork sung (dried pork bits and pieces).

Then, I discovered flavored congee – the kind you get in the middle of the night at a Hong Kong cafe. Mmmm… delish.

I mean, plain rice porridge is still delicious (especially when I’m feeling sick) and super easy to make. 1 cup rice to 3-4 cups water. Boil. (Or if you have a rice cooker with settings, follow those water levels.) However, now that I know how easy it is to make congee, WELL THEN. Why go back?

Thanks to the internet, I found a great recipe that I followed religiously the first time I made congee. Now, I just wing it and follow the recipe loosely. I’ve been making it once a week lately. It never gets old. Of course, you can also eat this congee with the condiments I mentioned before. It’s not like there are rules. Do whatever makes your stomach happy.

This week, I used turkey bones from Thanksgiving that I froze. But I have used Costco rotisserie chicken bones, too. I use cooking scissors and cut up the carcass and throw it in the pot. The key is ginger! Here are the things I add (that may or may not be in the recipe above). Most everything is to taste.

1) 2 quarts of chicken broth
2) water
3) kosher salt to taste
4) garlic powder
5) white pepper
6) sesame oil
7) ginger (a LOT but really to taste)
8) 2 cups of rice
9) bones (turkey/chicken/pork shortribs/whatever)
10) whatever else you want!

I basically just dump everything into a pot and boil on high for awhile then I lower the heat. (But if you want the fancy directions, the link is good for that.) It takes about an hour to get creamy. I don’t bother with removing the chicken and shredding and then putting it back into the pot as the recipe suggests. I leave it all in. If it gets more congealy because the rice has sucked out all the soup, just add some water and reboil.

Sometimes, if I’m really lazy and I get to the dregs of the congee and then I make a pot of soup with the “leftovers.” That is also delicious.

What are some of your go-to winter comfort foods?