iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path

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Miso Glazed Eggplant – A fitting end to an experiment

duskSeptember has been a good month.  I’m starting to feel like I can really love September, if the looming threat of snow and cold weather wasn’t apparent in every brown leaf scattered across my doormat.

I’ve been able to get in a lot of great runs so far this month and while I’ve yet to topple the 5 mile mark (I do get really close with 4.5 mile jaunts), I’m not worried about breaking or setting any records.  The random surprise deer spotting, the (sometimes) invigorating music beating away each stride and the crisp air cooling my breath make running one of my favorite ways to unwind.  The spectacular summer evenings are also a good reason why I am an evening runner.  :)

dorayakiThe whole “what can we eat?” question is also starting to become clear.  Here’s what we think we’ll stick by until further notice (or headaches get worse, whichever comes first).

  1. Gluten is “okay” IF (and that’s a huge, Kilimanjaro, IF) we only have it rarely and in small doses.  Pizza one night a month is fine.  Sandwiches and other gluten items from restaurants once a month or so is “okay”.  I know that large doses of gluten sets my tummy aching and even small doses make me crave like I’m going to have twins for days afterward.  I’d rather not crave or ache so we’re keeping the gluten to “special” times (aka restaurant trips where non-gluten items are hard to come by or that piece of cake begging to be eaten). Our house, though, is gluten free.  And you know what?  That’s actually just fine with me. :)
  2. Soy is “fine”.  Neither of us saw any reaction to soy, so it’s back on the menu!
  3. Dairy is “okay”.  My hypothesis about feeling blue once eating dairy didn’t pan out the other times I’ve had it, so I’m bringing it back in.  We’re not chugging it down like we used to (now we get through 1/2 a gallon of almond milk a week vs the gallon of milk), but we’re having things like yogurt or the odd slice of cheese here and there. We don’t really react to it, but I’d like to keep it in moderation.
  4. Chocolate is “OUT”.  We’re going to give it one more test later this month, but the hubby’s had a “test” day twice now and both times have landed him with 3 day migraines.  :'( That seems pretty definitive to me, but chocolate is the hubby’s first love and it’s hard to give up.  Personally, I don’t react at all except to the craving the sugar inspires.  It’s fine with me if we do give it up, but it does make baking non-chocolate goodies a bit harder. I didn’t quite realize how much chocolate based food there is out there.  We tried to go to a local coffee shop to have an iced drink and NONE of the options were without chocolate.  :/ Still, I’m managing to bake yummies for us that fit all of our diet needs.

This little experiment is about to come to a close and I’m so glad we did it.  Our menus are more varied (I made delicious gluten free dorayaki for dessert the other day) and we’re actually eating and buying better balanced food (like the miso glazed eggplant below).  I’m especially happy to see the hubby getting more “normal” headaches from time to time (like stress, dust, etc), than the repeated migraines.  People might think we’re crazy, but at least our lives are happier for it.

misoeggplantWe don’t have a lot planned this month, but that’s okay. I’m soaking up as much cool air as I can before the weather turns and scarves come out.  It’s also pie season soon, so I’ll be brushing up on my gluten free crust making!  :)

Miso Glazed Eggplant

(Note: Recipe is adapted from The Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning.  All of the ingredients I used in this recipe were gluten free and it came out beautifully.)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large eggplant or 4 Japanese eggplants

Directions

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Cut eggplant into 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices.  Quarter each slice.
  3. Turn on oven broiler.  Move rack close to the top of the oven.
  4. Place eggplant cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Brush half of the glaze over eggplant and place in oven.  Broil for about 5-10 minutes until it begins to brown.  Watch closely as it might burn.
  6. Turn eggplant slices over and brush with the remaining glaze.  Broil for about 10 minutes, again, watching carefully so as not to burn.  Once nicely browned, take out the pan and serve eggplant with rice.


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Mediterranean Tabbouleh Hummus Dip – Gluten Free

Blue cupcakes, curely wurleys and jammie dodgers.

Throw in a trivia game, big screens and a lot of people and we’re talking Doctor Who Season 8 Premiere!

What did you think?

I liked Capaldi.  Obviously, I’ll have to see more to get an idea of how he’ll develop, but in all, his performance was what kept me watching.  The rest of it?  Not sure I really cared an awful lot. :/ I really wanted to see more Capaldi and less of everyone else, even though there were some really funny scenes (Strax’s fall and Jenny’s posing scenes got a big laugh out of our group).

This was definitely an episode that was FOR the audience.  It spoke directly to us and it wasn’t ashamed to do so.  We were Clara as she  watched this new (older) man who was “not our boyfriend” anymore dash about and act so much differently and yet familiarly like the “old” Doctor (the phone call scene was well done and sweet).  It told us that we need to accept change, to help and be there for others as they go through change and that relationships aren’t just one dimensional.

It told us to re-evaluate who we are and to question our expectations.

I quite liked that. :) It was refreshing, maybe a bit preachy at times, but very much befitting a first episode.

And the intro sequence.  Can we just say it was fantastic? :D I LOVE the intro and while the original black and white intros are still the best, in my book, this one was right up there as one of my top intros.  SO much better than the time tunnel effect.  Blah!

I took this wonderful recipe from Joanne’s website to the party and it was delicious!  I changed it up a tad by using quinoa instead of the bulgur and I omitted the mint (not keen on mint) and swapped out half the lemon for half a lime. :) It was a fast and really pretty dish to bring to the party and one of the healthiest items at the table!

hummus

Bring on the Doctor!  I think we’re ready to see how he stands up to the Daleks. :)

Mediterranean Tabbouleh Hummus Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water with a dash of salt
  • 12 oz container of regular hummus (Joanne uses Pacific but I used Lilly’s)
  • 12 oz container of roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
  • 2 roma tomatoes, deseeded

Directions

  1. Add water, salt, and quinoa to a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook about 15 mintues (or however long your packet says).  Set aside and let cool (I popped mine in the fridge to speed up the process).
  2. Mix together chopped parsely, juices, tomatoes and quinoa.
  3. In a serving dish (about the size of an 8×8 pan), layer regular hummus, half the tabbouleh, the roasted red pepper hummus and then the rest of the tabbouleh.  Serve with your choice of chip.

 

 


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Ode to Sparkles – Saying goodbye to a beloved car

Ode to Sparkles

Her bright lights lit our travels and our smiles.

We’ll ne’er forget her smooth ride and black wheels.

May your slumber be peaceful and your oil clean.

Goodbye, sweet aveo, our beautiful, wonderful machine!

Review: AutoNation Direct – Sell Your Car

Just before the stop sign that permanently checked our car into extinction, we had just been loving our aqua Aveo.  The bright little car had drawn appreciative looks and smiles as it scooted down to the shops and to work.  The car had never given us grief, even though others seemed determined to crash into us at every opportunity.  What was it about our bright, shiny color that attracted other cars to it like flies?   We remember the horror of the slowly reversing SUV in the grocery parking lot that dented our door, or cringe with phantom pain as the man smashed his door open into ours at a burger joint (they kindly paid for our meal, but it didn’t erase the small dent).  There were the scary icy spiels and the distracted teenagers ignoring stop signs.  Through it all, the trooper kept chugging.

Still, it got us where we needed with nary a squeak and we loved our car.  It was only the second car we had bought and it had a lot of memories.   We went on summer trips to renaissance fairs, attractions and to see family.  We traveled to nearby cities and carted our pets, flowers and groceries.  People would stop us and say “That sure is a nice car!  I love that color!” as we got out.

aveoUntil its timing belt pulley decided to break and suddenly there were no more sunny vacations in its future.  Now, it’s probably destined for the scrap yard.

And I can’t tell you how hard it was to let her go. :(

This happened in April and it wasn’t until a week ago that we finally got up the nerve to sell it. It sat for four months as we struggled with what to do.  Do we keep it and fix it for a cool $5k? Do we trade it in for another car and risk two car loans?  Do we sell it and deal with the hassle of a sale?

AutoNation

So, I looked around online for the answer (as you do) and found that various car sites will buy your car.  AutoTrader will hook you up with a dealer for an estimate and AutoNation Direct will give you an offer upfront.  We tried both, but while we tried to get our car to the dealer for AutoTrader, it didn’t work out.  The sandpaper-y sound from the brakes and the mysterious thumping (along with only running on 2 cylinders) seemed a bit iffy to take up the highway.  We decided to play it safe and take the AutoNation Direct’s offer of…

Are you ready for this?

$300  :|

Wow, right?  To us, the car was worth much more than that.  I had hoped for at least a $1000. :roll: Sure, it had been in a few accidents ( they knocked off $200 for the bad report), but it was in beautiful shape!  Sure, the engine needed replacing (and here’s where they knocked off the rest), but that wasn’t so bad.  Course, we couldn’t afford the cost of a new engine, but that didn’t mean it was worth just $300.  Poor thing. :oops:

While the offer arrived quickly (got it the night we submitted our info), the actual process of getting rid of the car was laborious.

Here’s the basic breakdown of working with AutoNation Direct to sell your car:

  1. Fill out their form with all of your details and the car’s nitty-gritty.
  2. Wait to receive offer, once received, accept or decline it.  They called us the next day and the day after asking us our decision. It was like we couldn’t get them to stop calling us. This did give the impression they were on top of things (especially since the offer expires after 10 days).
  3. Accept their offer by calling their number.  Then, if you happen to live in a large city but unfortunate enough not to live anywhere near their dealers, you wait.  And wait.  We waited for the guy to ask his boss (who was in a meeting) about what to do.  We called back the next day when no call came and then waited to hear from the dealer that was finally assigned to us (they had no clue what we were talking about and called AutoNation Direct who said they had given it to the wrong people).  Then we waited for the call from the correct dealer that we were promised would happen within 24hrs.  No call until 48 hours later to confirm that, yes, we did want to still sell it.  Then we waited again for the call on the day they were to pick up the car and drop off our check.
  4. Finally, you hand over your title, take your check and say a sad goodbye to your wonderful, beautiful car.

And after all that delay, they had the gall to knock off $4!  We were so tired of it by that point that we didn’t argue.  Just took the loss and moved on.

In all, while AutoNation  Direct does take your car and they do give you a check, the actual process was tedious.  Would we do it again? Not sure.  I suppose we might, but I think next time we’ll remember how it all went and we might go a different route.  We wish we had traded it in when we bought the new one, but that’s all over now.  I don’t know if the process is smoother if you happen to live next door to them.  I don’t know if you get more money if your car lacks major repairs.  Maybe our experience was hampered by living in a big city that they didn’t actively support.

I’d give the process a 3/5.  It got the job done, so no complaints there, but if you have other routes, maybe look into them first before you go with AutoNation Direct.  They aren’t bad, but they weren’t something to gush over, either.

aveo2

(All opinions are definitely mine and no, I wasn’t sponsored by any of the sites mentioned.)
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