Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Mecca for Kecap Manis

I've been searching for kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce used in Indonesian and other South East Asian dishes so I could try out a few recipes. H Mart didn't have it on previous visits so I decided to call around to the various Oriental grocery stores here. Nothing from Daily Spices, Lotte Plaza, or the Fiesta Springfield Oriental Market. My only option was to try Great Wall Supermarket in Falls Church because they carried Vietnamese foods.

As soon as we walked in the door, I was transported back to Asia. The smell is so unique. I miss traveling around that part of the world. When I was a newbie Navy nurse, I was so upset that my options for serving in Europe were so limited. Now, I don't think you could get me to go there if I had the option to transfer to Okinawa, Japan, or Guam.

If you are a connoisseur of soy sauces, hang out in the Oriental food marts. (If you're hung up on cleanliness, don't go.) If you're a vegetarian, have no fear---they even make vegetarian soy sauce. We decided we needed to try the Mushroom Soy Sauce, and I did find the Kecap Manis.

My sirloin has been thinly sliced across the grain and is marinating in a combination of kecap manis and soy sauce en route to becoming beef satay. Yum!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's Snowing!

Flea is paying homage on the Altar to the Outdoors. He thinks he could catch the snowflakes if he were given half a chance....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sometimes You Need A Super Hero Cape

Anna was invited to a birthday party and we needed to get a birthday gift. We brainstormed and found some ideas on Etsy. Although it's meant for younger children, the Super Hero Cape appealed to us both.

I needed to create a logo for the cape and we decided to combine the design from the top left option and the letters from option second from the bottom left. Izzy's favorite colors are blue and green and we got blue fleece, green felt for the letters, a metallic novelty lace trim for the "tornado," a gold braid curtain pull for the collar and gold fringe for the bottom of the cape. The slogan, "More awesomeness per square inch," somehow got lost in the rush to complete it. Maybe if I had a fancy-schmancy embroidery-type sewing machine, I could have pulled that one off.
Super Hero Cape - Embryonic Form

Unfortunately, everything always takes longer than I expect or plan for. Anna cut the letters while I figured out what to do with the cape. My lovely Pfaff 1222E got tangled up with thread in the bobbin and quit (I have to make a trip to the repair shop tomorrow).  By this time I was very frustrated and thought this the worst present in the world. I seriously wished we had gone with Anna's original suggestion to buy an iTunes gift card. So I stitched the last three letters by hand and tacked the curtain braid on the collar. Then I discovered the small elastic cording I hoped to loop through the two blue flower buttons we'd gotten was too big. So, I stitched the elastic to the buttons with the thread and put a drop of glue on the thread and elastic for good measure. I didn't have time to make the tornade design on the back of the cape---we were already an hour late to the party.
 
I had Drew try the cape on so Anna could see it. It was awesome. I had made triangular darts at the shoulders and sewed some of the gold fringe under the folded-over fabric so it looked like epaulets. Drew ran up the stairs, the cape flying behind him, and came back down. "I love it!" he said. I did, too, and was glad I had finished the cape anyway.
 
"Please take some pictures," I told Anna.
 
"You don't think this is a lame gift?" she asked.
 
"No," I said firmly. "Every teenage girl needs a Super Hero Cape once in a while."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Apples Versus Oranges in the Parker Household

We only have one pitcher and only enough space in the refrigerator for one pitcher. Anna got to the pitcher before Drew did and made orange juice. Drew prefers apple juice.

Here's the threat:
"Apple juice is the next choice for the pitcher, or I will pour the orange juice out."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Brain Pickings on Love

This, quite frankly, is the best explanation of love I've found, from the book, "Big Questions from Little People: and Simple Answers from Great Minds:"
 

You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump.

Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)

And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.

PS You have to be brave.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Drew's Birthday Present

Drew's birthday is tomorrow. Gregg said, "You see, most fathers get their sons baseball mitts or soccer balls for their birthdays, but I went one better. I ordered a hurricane that got you two days off from school!"

Drew beamed. "That's an awesome birthday present!"

Friday, September 28, 2012

Human Foils Operation Cat Vomit!


 Honestly, I don't know how the cat did it (and I have no idea which cat did it---they all fled the scene and are securely ensconced in their respective feline fortresses).
 
Cat vomit - Note interesting splatter pattern
 If you look at the photo, you can see that there's quite a large splatter pattern. If the cat was at the bottom of the stairs, it shouldn't have reached all the way to the riser of the 5th stair (not pictured). I mean, really, how could the cat have blown puke that high up from the bottom of the stairs? Using a blow gun? Perhaps a hand-held fan?
No cat vomit remains!
 
On the other hand, if the cat vomited from the top of the stairs, how did he or she manage to get the vomit on the risers? And there's no way the cat could have blown chunks from the second set of stairs as there is no access to overlook the first set. All I can say is, Bravo! Bravo, kitties! What massive talents you cats possess!

  Fortunately, all was cleaned up with Woolite with Oxy. I had to breathe through my mouth because of the stench and wear the rubber gloves because it was so juicy. But, no trace remains. 

 I am surprised the cats attempted such a brazen attack during daylight hours. Their previous efforts have yielded much better exclamations of horror and disgust by perpetrating this appalling act at night where the unwitting victim (usually always Gregg) steps in the mess when walking to the bathroom. Gregg has an uncanny 100% detection rate.

Better luck next time, you felines!