Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tomato, Spinach, Black Bean Mash-up

This is the weekend I wanted to make the Mushroom and Bean Chile that I used to make “back in the day,” from a recipe in a vegetarian cookbook I used a lot when I was in grad school. I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store to buy the ingredients,  so I decided to see what I could whip up using food I already have.

I’ll just mention that I am too heavy. I need to lose weight, and get healthier. Cooking my own meals is the best way I know of to accomplish these goals. I also enjoy cooking, and have had the urge to blog about cooking for years. So here’s a start.

I call this dish Tomato, Spinach, Black Bean Mash-up, for lack of a better name.

I wanted a vegetable, of course, and I had frozen spinach in the freezer. I needed some kind of sauce to go with it, and found canned diced tomatoes in the pantry.

Chopped spinach and diced  tomatoes

To prepare the tomatoes, I first sautéed some minced garlic (from a jar) in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  I poured in the tomatoes, and added a little basil, crushed bay leaves, a smidgen of ground ginger, a teaspoon or so of  sugar, and a dash of salt.

Ginger, basil, salt, garlic

Then I added the chopped spinach that I had thawed in the microwave for about minute.

Tomatoes and spinach in skillet

I mixed it all up and let it simmer for a few minutes. Then I thought to myself, this needs something else to bulk it up.  I looked in the pantry and found a can of black beans.

Black beans in colander

After rinsing the beans in a colander to get rid of excess sodium, I added them to the skillet, stirred it all up, let it simmer a couple more minutes, and that was that. Because cheese makes everything better, I added shredded cheese as a topping after I put the concoction in my Pyrex lunch containers.

Finished dish

That’s lunch for two days! I might cook up the last two pieces of  fish we have in the freezer to add some meat to the meal.

That’s what I cooked using stuff I already had in the kitchen. Healthier me, here I come!

Crafting, Reading, Cooking and more

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It’s been less of a while since I posted to my other blog, A Learning Experience. I’d certainly be a more active blogger if I didn’t have to work a 9 to 5 job. But then I would be living on the street. It would be difficult to maintain a blog while living on the street.


I made two greeting cards this month. A birthday card for my sister-in-law, and a Valentine’s Day card for my dearest friends.

Front of  Peggy's birthday card

Birthday card for Peggy (front)

Peggy’s birthday card (inside)

Valentin for Karen and Lance (front)

Valentine for Karen and Lance (inside)



I finished reading Jazz, a novel by fellow blogger Christian Mihai. It was an enjoyable read that reminded me a little bit of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and made me think of the movie Casablanca. I’ve just begun to read Finn’s Golem by Gregg Taylor. If you’re an audio theatre fan, check out Gregg’s Decoder Ring Theatre podcast.


I used to cook and bake quite a lot when I was single,  especially when I was in grad school. I was in a  cookbook club. Granted I had many more cookbooks than I could use, but I liked getting them and flipping through them. The books I used the most were The Joy of Cooking and what I think was a Better Homes and Gardens title. So my goal is to start cooking again. This is especially important because I want to lose weight and keep my heart healthy. I’m afraid to have my cholesterol checked, because my eating habits have deteriorated so much since I got married.

So I’m collecting healthy recipes on  Pinterest, and in Evernote Food.  Hopefully, I’ll be making wonderful meals and posting pictures here soon. This weekend I might make the vegetarian eggplant chili that I made a lot of years ago. We shall see.

Taking Care of Me

I’ve made some vague goals about writing and finding a better job, but the goal that takes priority is taking care of myself. I’ve been getting on the treadmill regularly, I’m collecting exercises that you can do at home on a Pinterest board called Fit ‘n Happy, and I’m doing little things like disconnecting from all Internet devices by 8pm, and irrigating my nose nightly with a Neti  pot.  And of course I floss nightly to keep my gums health and stave off heart problems (there may not be enough evidence to connect hearth and gum health after all, but I don’t ever want to need dentures).

Funny, I didn’t think I had anything to write about today.

Daily Prompt: Flangiprop

flangiprop (noun)- a person who uses profanity as a means of bolstering his reputation.

The word flangiprop emerged in the 16th century when groups of Swedish and Danish noblemen would gather near the fjords at a festival called Flangonrompistika. The centerpiece of the festival was a competitive event in which the men would shout insults at each other from sunrise until sunset, or until the men could no longer sustain the shouting. The man who issued the most offensive and loudest insult was awarded a trophy called the flangiprop. The flangiprop, carved from the hoof of a male caribou, was one of the most sought-after treasures of the time.

Flangonrompistika has fallen out of favor over the centuries, but the word flangiprop is now used to describe a man highly skilled at the art of delivering vulgar insults.  Today, Flangonrompistika reenactments are fairly common throughout modern Scandinavia, but the flangiprop trophy is now made from synthetic materials.

caribou illustration