Today: 4.13.10

Here is my Tuesday in Washington, DC. I usually take the hound for a walk every night – and for an extra long walk when Jami is out of town. After all, a tired dog is a happy dog. But today is gray and rainy and neither Charlie nor I are big fans of walks in the rain, so it was time for Plan B – Bribery. He’s happily working on this bone now. I bet he’ll be done in the next hour.

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Today: 4.13.10

Cooking for Hot Weather: Cous Cous Salad

(Please excuse the crappy picture.)

It finally cooled down last night, but it has been hot this week with highs in the upper 80s. Way hotter than it should ever be in April. As you may know, our house doesn’t have air conditioning and we choose not use window units, so we spend our summers practicing heat mitigation. We make sure the blinds are all shut tight when we leave for work – as soon as it gets cooler outside than in, we open up all the windows to let the cool breeze in. And we try to cook in the kitchen as little as possible – we use the grill in the backyard, or make simple meals that don’t require the stove to be on for long. We almost never use the oven in the summer.  This Wednesday, I had planned an oven centric meal, but when I walked into the house after work, I knew it was already too hot in the house for that plan. This is what I threw together, based on what we had in the fridge and pantry. It’s a perfect hot weather meal.

1 Cup Cous Cous

1 Cup Stock (I used vegetable stock, but chicken would also be tasty).

1 Can White Beans

2 Carrots

5 Scallions

1/4 Red Onion

1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan

Bring stock to a boil. Add cous cous and stir once. Cover the pot and remove from heat. After 5 minutes, your cous cous is done. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool. (I stuck my pot in the fridge to speed that process along).

Peel and grate the carrots. Thinly slice the scallions. Dice the red onion (I did a pretty small dice). Whisk together the vinegar and oil in a bowl, then add the veggies and the beans. Allow to marinate while the cous cous cools, then mix together, the cous cous, the veggie/bean mixture, and the parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Makes enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches.

Cooking for Hot Weather: Cous Cous Salad

March Round-up

Updated: Because I totally forgot to include one of the books I read last month!

I read 8 9 books in March: 3 Non-fiction and 5 6 Fiction (heavy on the mystery).

Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn

This was a new mystery series for me, focusing on Daisy Dalrymple, an upper-class British young lady, trying to make it on her own as a magazine reporter. When a guest at the Estate she has come to profile turns up dead, Daisy helps the Scotland Yard detective with his investigation. This was light and entertaining and fun – definitely a cozy mystery.

The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience by Kirstin Downey

Let me just say that Frances Perkins was awesome – and if you don’t know any thing more about her than Baby in Dirty Dancing was named after her, you should read this book. It’s especially relevant in light of the recent passage of health care reform, which was one of the social programs Perkins pushed for (and the only major one she didn’t get).

The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn

The next in the Daisy Dalrymple series – this follows the same premise. Daisy heads off to profile a Country House for her magazine and finds a dead body. I think I liked this one even better than the first.

When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins

In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

My aunt recommended this mystery, and I’m glad she did, I really thought this book was great. Set in the early 1900s in New York (the city and surrounding area) it focuses on the violent murder of a brilliant female Mathematics scholar. This is Pintoff’s first book and it makes me excited for what she might right next.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do It by Anna Lappe

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

This novel follows the goings-on of the inhabitants of an Edinburgh apartment building (at 44 Scotland Street). McCall Smith got the idea for the story after a conversation with Armistead Maupin about stories serialized in the newspaper. (Maupin’s Tales of the City was serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle). The conversation inspired McCall Smith to approach The Scotsman with the idea of a serialized story and that’s where this book was originally published. The two books do remind me of each (probably because with serialized stories it’s important to have really good character development) and if you liked Tales of the City, I think you’ll enjoy 44 Scotland Street.

Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet

This book was one my neighbor and I settled on for our book club of two (our theme: mysteries and junk food), but it was just meh for me. Luckily we read Shadow of Gotham as well.

And that was my March! What did you read?

March Round-up

Today – 4.1.10

Apple Blossoms

Today was the most beautiful day in DC. Highs in the 70s, sunny with the most gorgeous blue sky. Walking home from work, all the neighbor kids were out – riding bikes, pushing scooters, being happy, active kids. It was the kind of day that feels like a gift. DC is famous for cherry blossoms, but the trees I pass on my walk home are apple trees, so for me, a beautiful spring day looks like apple blossoms.

I took this picture for the Communal Global photo contest. Communal Global is a great photo blog that a friend of mine from college contributes to. I recommend it.

Today – 4.1.10