Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lessons I'm Learning From My Cat

My cat Rufus always needs a way out. When we let them outside for a few minutes of time in the "wild" he's always very interested and curious, sniffing the bushes, going beyond the point he's allowed, etc. But if we close the back door, he gets nervous. Really nervous. It's like his adventure mode kicks in as long as his umbilical cord to the safe inside world is not cut off. As long as that door is open, he'll branch out, search, discovery, and even enjoy himself. If the door closes, he recoils to what he knows is safe, what is secure, and what is constant.

The same applies to being held. If you hold him snuggly, he starts to fret. His claws start digging into you as he looks around wildly. He feels trapped because the power of your arms do not allow him a way out. But hold him gently and he's a bit more tolorant--still not thrilled about the whole situation, but at least he knows that he can get away.

Just recently I realized I'm much the same. I always need a way out. If I feel trapped, I panic and try to retreat to my safe zone. I'm not talking about Claustrophobia, though it sure sounds like it. I'm talking about the non-physical. I fear the entrapments of sickness, the stress that comes along with it and threatens to complicate anything and everything I could possible imagine. My current job is a good example. After taking an 8 week leave of abscence for medical reasons, I came back to work as scheduled, nursing what would become a terrible sore throat. I made it back my first day and then missed two. I made it the next 2 days and the sore throat was gone. Finally! I could get back to my life! Monday was good. Tuesday I couldn't get out of bed and was exhausted beyond belief. Wednesday was the same. My boss arranged for me to work at home to make up the time. Thursday and Friday I struggled through. I called my doctor; I got better.

Now I'm fine. I'm back at work full time and living as usual. I don't feel a need for my "out." Yet I can't help but wish that this feeling for a safety backup would cease to be so extreme in the hard times. The fear is so real at the worst of it--and so distant at the best of it. I wish rationality would stay in the worse times.

I wonder if Rufus wishes for a closed-door adventure? But then, he's just a cat.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gluten Free Orange Chicken Recipe

I love orange chicken but I've yet to find a place that serves a gluten free option. So the next best thing is this recipe I found on another blog--we absolutely raved about it and had to pace ourselves so that our stomachs wouldn't explode. mmm...Cafe , your recipe is awesome, THANK YOU!

Gluten Free Orange Chicken
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2" cubes
1/2 cup flour (we used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose GF Baking Flour)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons GF soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons green onion
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 350. In a shallow dish combine the flour, garlic powder and pepper. Dip each piece of chicken in flour mixture and coat evenly.

Melt butter and pour into a shallow baking dish, large enough to accommodate chicken in a single layer. Arrange chicken in pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine water, fresh orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, orange zest and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and green onion and let it come to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and let it dissolve and add it to the sauce until thickened.

After chicken has baked the 30 minutes, turn each piece over and pour 1/2 sauce mixture evenly over chicken. Bake another 30 to 40 minutes basting frequently.

Serve chicken over rice with extra sauce on the side.

Recipe taken from mmm...Cafe

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Picking It Up Again

It's actually been a while since I've done any crocheting. The last thing I crocheted was a handbag for my sister/maid-of-honor to carry in the wedding--which I actually ended up using to carry around a mirror and lipstick for touch-ups that I forgot to apply. So now that it's coming up on our one year anniversary, I thought it was time to pick up the hook and yarn and get back into it.

I tried this pattern and absolutely hated it. The end result wasn't bad--pretty cute in fact--but the wording of the pattern drove me up the wall! To look at it, you'd think the outer border of the butterfly would be crocheted in one set, but instead it had me crocheting tips and then borders--do you know how many ends that leaves to weave in? A lot.

I don't mind a difficult pattern, but it has to justify itself with the finished product. This little guy wasn't worth the hassle for me to do it again. On to the next project! 


So first of all, let me start out by saying that I realize this blog is one in a trillion, and this is more for journaling purposes than a desire to change the world. I just want to post crochet patterns, share favorite gluten free recipes, and chronicle my wonderful married life with the man I love. I don't yet have a "direction" for this blog, other than what I previously stated, and perhaps I never will. Whether this becomes something or not, I'm doing this for me -- for fun :)