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Frittata Queen

Around here, Matt is the Omelette King.  In fact, he even blogged as such.

My favorite omelette of his involves leftover samosa filling. We make samosas from scratch, and always have leftover filling. The next morning, he’ll make omelets with samosa filling, served with yogurt and chutneys on the side.  Bravo!

After reading about frittata, and their tasty ease, for many years, a few months ago I really got into them.  Eggs, egg beaters, and savory goodness on bottom.  Every one has turned out delicious, as countless cookbook writers, bloggers, and magazine columnists had assured me.  But– I am especially bold and willing.

Here is what was in tonight’s fritatta:

Leftover lima bean chili. I’ve been making veggie chili for years. We always use dried beans, not canned, and think (especially with red beans and chickpeas) it makes an enormous difference. Because of this, we often have stores of various beans in the freezer. We discovered recently that lima beans have a crazy amount of fibre, which makes them more appealing for our weight watchers program.  If I use Pam spray instead of olive oil to saute the veg, there isn’t any fat at all in the chili– only delicious savory veg and beans, and aromatic powerful spices. Wow!

Leftover fancy goat cheese. I don’t remember why we bought this, but I found a bit of it in the fridge, and am trying to clear it out before we go on vacation.

Leftover fat free cream cheese.  From earlier weight watchers endeavors. Only a smidge left. I don’t like to throw food away, so I microwaved the cream cheese for 17 seconds, and then creamed it with the goat cheese, a sprinkle of cumin, and a dash of cayenne.

Five eggs and 1/2 cup of eggbeaters.  Again, we’re trying to clear out the fridge and don’t like to throw away food. We had five eggs left.

One serving of blue tortilla chips.

One tiny serving of the filling for savory cajun stuffed mushrooms, from weight watchers online. The filling was in the freezer, from the last time I made the mushrooms. It’s savory and spicy, and has a similar “flavor profile” to the chili, so I put it in.

I heated the chili and mushroom filling in a pan. I added hot sauce because it was a bit dry, and then a bit of Tabasco butter Matt had made for a recipe earlier this summer. (Another smidge of leftover from the fridge.)

I put that in a pie pan, and mixed together the eggs, eggbeaters, salt and pepper, and poured eggs on top of chili mixture.  This I baked for ten minutes.

(I read a hint from someone that if you add the cheese after the first ten minutes, it doesn’t melt in, and fall into the mixture, and so it feels and looks more cheesy, and you can use less.)

Then, I stuck in the tortilla chips in a haphazard pattern around the border of the frittata.  The blue chips looked pretty against the yellow egg mixture. I put clumps of the goat cheese mixture around in the middle.

It baked for fifteen more minutes.  After pulling it out of the oven, I sprinkled some more hot sauce over the top for color and verve.

Delicious! Thrifty, healthy, and very pretty. I used up four leftovers, and had something much more exciting.

“Ave, Ovo Regina!”

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One of the blogs which has stolen my heart recently is Eat the Damn Cake, written by Kate, a friend of mine and a bright and thoughtful writer.

Honestly, not all of her posts resonate with me. Mainly, I think, because I don’t have any striking, niggling, or even fleeting issues with my body. Or: I like the way I look the majority of the time. And some of the time, a lot of the time, I love the way I look.  I often feel “left out” of feminine friendships and conversations when the topic turns to, “Oh, I wish I didn’t have these arms,” or “I just can’t stand my neck.”

Kate and I share a deep commitment to valuing dialogue, so I e-mailed her, saying, “Sometimes your blog doesn’t resonate with me…”  And she asked me to guest post.

My post, “Stephanie Talks Body Love,” is an attempt, by me, to explain both why I am comfortable with the way I look, and also why I try to resist the negative self-talk that too many women my age (in my opinion) engage in.

The post has gotten a lot of comments– all of them from women who either applaud my statement, or wish they could share my confidence.  It’s slightly odd, given that I can be–in the middle of many a’night–riddled with anxiety, to think, “I am a confident women.” In this arena, however, I surely am.  I mean– I work at it to some degree, inasmuch that A: Men don’t so frequently undergo such self- and societal-scrutiny, and I don’t think that’s fair, and B: I am an educator and an advocate children, and I will be darned if I will allow negative voices (that aren’t true) to work against my girl students.

Well, there are other reasons.  It’s a lot to unpack. Haiti, and malnourished orphans have a little to do with it. My deeply held belief that I am a beloved child of God (and clearly God would think I am beautiful) has something to do with it, the way I have been influenced by Dominican sisters (in Truth, in true beauty and Grace, in What Really Matters), and in the way the most influential “images” of women in my lives come from literature, not from ads.  To begin with.

I want to write more about this. I also want to answer the commenter who asks, “What’s the difference between self-confidence and vanity?” This is actually a question I ask myself in regards to my academic abilities, but I think it’s worth articulating how I feel about personal appearance.  I also want to connect my ideas with those of other women who have influenced the way I think…  Perhaps a short series on this blog will be forthcoming.

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(Not yet, anyway.)

I am not Facebook friends with my Dad, yet.  I tend to be Facebook friends with people I see and hear from in real life frequently. That is, my friends.  I don’t like to have too many, and I want to “hear from” people I already hear from.

Anyway– my Dad recently got on Facebook, and looking at his page delighted me and made me remember some of the reasons I love him.

It’s hard to explain how _my Dad_ this all is.  That “daughters” is listed between “environmental issues” and “great joy” as activities. That his quotes are both spiritual and activist in nature.  That his hometown is instantly recognizable to me, that R.E.M. is my favorite band of all time.  That he is posing in Scotland, wearing a Virgin Mary hoodie.  And: quantum mechanics: what?

Just looking at this screenshot makes me happy. I’m tickled, imagining my Dad clicking, choosing different groups and music options, thinking of the quotes to include, finding “friends.” Does he know I’m on Facebook?  Not too long ago, he didn’t realize that e-mail is instantaneous, so I can’t imagine how he processes Facebook. And yet, this page is so, so him.

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Earlier this month, I included a blog flyer for Fresh Art Photography’s “Shoot for Seamus” promotion.

Wednesday, Jodie e-mailed those of us who had been following her blog long enough to remember the original post about Seamus and his parents. She noted that it has been one year since his birth and death, and asked us to create a small original remembrance featuring a shamrock. Jodie was making a blog remembrance to show Seamus’s parents that the world would not forget, and to help raise awareness for the St. Louis NICU.

I had the idea of asking the best graffiti artist of my students (who designed and executed amazing posters for our production of _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_) to create a stylized shamrock. Around it, I had various students write “remember” in all the languages spoken by students at my school.

The kids did a great job, taking their time to print as well as they could. Jodie included it in a beautiful photo essay about the Johnston’s, including heart-breakingly evocative photos of the family in the two days of Seamus’s life.

I encourage you to go read about the Johnstons, as well as to see Jodie’s own perspective–I really enjoyed hearing her tell the story of her experience alongside the photos she chose to capture those two days.

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Last week, after what I had perceived to be a really interesting, healthy, and good-thought-provoking conversation on a blog about a post, another commenter called me “a bully and a b-word.”

I’ve never been called either before.  This was on one of my long-favorite blogs, written by a woman I really admire.  I was shocked, and really hurt, when the comment thread took that turn, and later when the original blogger posted about it (referring to herself being “challenged” but not to the name-calling turn things had taken).  I’ve been thinking about the incident a lot, but it makes me upset, and also confused, and so I’ve decided not to try to write out what happened, or what was typed. (The blogger deleted the entire post, including comments, so I can’t link to show what points I made, or tried to make.)

Instead, I want to share another really wonderful blog, that really inspired me tonight.  A Thousand Cheering Strangers highlights the stories many of us know, but rarely see trumpeted.  The quiet acts of courage, the astonishing shows of strength that those near us reveal.  Since I’ve started reading the blog, I’ve also started _noticing_ how courageous many of my loved ones, my colleagues, my students, and strangers out in the world can be.  It’s a good feeling to have about the world: how many people, say, on a subway train around me, are giving their best in untenable situations?  Doing the Graceful thing under pressures I couldn’t withstand?  Choosing to be kind, when it would feel good to be self-righteous?

For Lent, I’ve given up “raising my voice” in class.  This means both hollering in general, things like, “Sit. Down. Now.” or “You are now three minutes late for lunch!” or “What are you _thinking_?!” as well as even raising it to convey urgency, or get attention.  (This is another post entirely, the giving up of voice-raising as inspired by seeing _STOMP_ and seeing non-verbal communication at its best.)  But. I’m adding a Lenten focus, this very minute, to be a cheering stranger.

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Picture 1

One of my favorite bloggers painted it, and has used it for her blog header– when I opened her blog today, I gasped, and then _stared_.  I can’t quite describe why I love it so much.  The colors definitely–the darkness (so tactile and touch-able) and the pale pinks and cream.  And the blue somehow– notice the blueish shadows on the underside of the headboard.  I love the curvature of the turned wooden posts, and even the tiny knothole or screw hole.

I look at it a little longer, and I see the blue line between the dark and light, and I start to see that the bedframe maybe has different colors to it–maybe pale pink, light green, yellow?  It’s reserved, in a way– if I were painting something like this, I would go too far with the colors.  This one stays with me.

You can visit her blog at The House of Nana.

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Sickly

I was supposed to be at a Jewish-Christian dialogue conference this week, in Connecticut.  It was to be yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Instead, I am home sick, recovering from some sort of stomach virus or bout with food poisoning.

Awful.  Yesterday, and the night before last, was the worst.  Just wretchedness.  And now I’m mending, but haven’t eaten, and just feel puny and achey.  In the worst of it, I was thinking about people who are chronically ill, or terminally ill, and feel bad, or have to deal with things like vomiting, all the time.  I have a horrible feeling that I wouldn’t be a very brave, or hearty, or upbeat patient if anything really terrible happened to me.

One good blog I read is Aiming For Grace: Chronic Illness Considered.  She’s a great writer, and she articulates really well all of the daily frustrations, and a struggle to be all the other parts of her life that she claims, not just the one part that claims her.

I’m also, of course, feeling guilty for not making the conference (I have new business cards and everything!) and also for missing today’s faculty meeting.  But!  I’m trying not to, and I’m trying to rest and gear up– tomorrow my dad and his wife arrive, and Friday is my Commencement.  And next week, we’re moving.  The school year is definitely finishing, whether I’m ready or not.

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