Monday, April 13, 2009

Signs, Art, and a Recipe

I'm pleased that my library joined the reusable bag game. I do believe we've been selling for 25 cents, the same double thickness plastic bags, and the same cord-handled paper bags, since I've been working there.

On a related note, and as noted here last summer, I have too many of those reusable bags now. So, to share the wealth I suggested we start a bag-share at my work place, for those times when you get to work, and you realize you forgot to bring even one of those dozen bags hanging on the hooks back home. My co-workers thought it a good idea, so now we have probably a half-dozen bags to share there, not including these spiffy new bags. The library is selling them at cost to encourage the use of such bags, and I imagine to keep the cost on a par with the ubiquitous grocery store bags.

I didn't think we were selling many at first. While nicely designed and green, the sign and the bag next to it just weren't very noticeable, I thought, so I got a little creative with sharpie and big pink post-its. We started selling more of them. I have yet to buy one myself...again, I already have too many.

Recent Acquisitions:

To the left of my library book bookshelves, a scroll painting. I bid and won it at Dharma Rain's silent auction. Above the shelves, a print of the painting "Reign of the Dharma." My friend Domyo outbid me, and kindly gave me the framed print. I have to follow up and find out what the scroll painting says. I bid on it not only because it is pretty, but because I like the poem, something about enjoying the fruit in bowl and flower bud. The Zen Center made "something over $21,000" at the auction.

Another piece of art I bought, at Etsy, from Rosie:

It's called 3D Heart Attack and is signed on the back. It all began because she became obsessed with coloring Munnies. People who follow her blog wanted to buy, and had also suggested Etsy. Rosie's first batch of six went in a day. By the time I got there, this and one other art piece were left. I paid $150. (Steve told me he didn't want to know again if I paid that much for something like that.) I like it though, and it goes to a good cause. I think it's a reasonable price coming from a celebrity. I actually was glad I got a painting rather than a Munny, I've always liked her paintings. She's raised her prices a little, because they do sell. My little painting is 6X8, and has two round tinker toy pieces between the two canvasses, glued to each.

I am tickled with this new appliance. I've never had a pressure cooker before, and this is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and steamer combined...I get to send two appliances to their next life for this one, and I got it for free. I used my credit card rewards points. I was urged to do so before another bank goes belly up and I lose them all. I got a bunch of other gift cards too.

This was my first soup I made. The first thing I made in it was beans: from dry to fully cooked, one-half hour. I am converted.

Because I've never used a pressure cooker, I also bought this book right away:

Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

by Lorna J. Sass

rating: 4 of 5 stars

So I have these great recipes, what do I do? I make this one up. The cookbook has grain and bean cooking times "at a glance" in the front cover, and I have the page marked for the charts of vegetable cooking times. It turned out just the way I thought it would, except I put a tad too much chili powder in it. That happened because I'd just bought some new stuff, but I used a quantity based on the stale stuff.

What's that? You want the recipe? OK, I'll try.

A cross between Wisconsin Chile and Minestrone, I guess

all amounts approximate

1 cup dry red kidney beans
enough water to cover a couple inches
pressure cook 18-20 minutes

release pressure, drain and rinse beans
saute 1 onion, about 4 cloves garlic, chopped (oh yeah, the digital pressure cooker has a brown setting)

put beans back in pot. lessee, what did I put in there?:

1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato bisque soup
about 3 cans water
about 2 cups uncooked green beans
3 carrots, sliced
1 bunch red chard, stems removed, chopped
about 1 inch diameter handful of pasta, spaghetti or linguini, broken into about 2 inch pieces
about 1 tablespoon chile powder
about 2 teaspoons cumin

mix it all together, pressure cook for 3-5 minutes
(If I'd had some, I would have put 2-3 stalks of chopped celery in as well.)

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