Friday, October 10, 2008

A Day of One's Own

I took yesterday off. Mental health day, calling in well, whatever you want to call it: that's what I did.

It was awesome. I slept in late; I walked around the neighborhood taking pictures of fall; I knitted and watched movies and napped and cleaned the kitchen and made a delicious dinner. It was the bestest day evar.

Here are some of the photos I took.

Leaves in Colorado do funny things. Sometimes, a tree will gradually change. Other times, one branch will change before the rest of the tree. Sometimes it'll change from the outside in, or the inside out.

This is a city aspen (not to be confused with an aspen in the mountains) which is why it isn't bright gold yet, but when it turns completely I'll take another photo.

These vines grow all over my neighborhood and the colors are so amazingly striking sometimes.

Playing around with the settings on my camera, I managed a closeup that wasn't blurry eventually. I love the bright yellow pollen pockets on the bee's legs (you can see if you click on the photo).

This bush will eventually be bright scarlet red, but so far just the tips of the leaves have begun to turn pink.

This tree was unusual just because random leaves had browned amongst the summery bright green.

One of my favorite trees in Denver is a silver maple. They are all over the place, and this time of year can be a range of colors from bright green to yellow to red to dark purple - and sometimes you can get 8 colors on one tree. I didn't have much luck getting a good photo, but you can see a variety of color on this one.

These vines were just hanging out.

Someone planted six or seven giant sunflowers in the little plot between the street and sidewalk. As you can see, they're no longer sunny.

Our garden's last hurrah before this weekend's predicted freeze. You can see our pepper, our tomatoes, our pizza thyme, basil, thai basil, and about 10 volunteer marigolds (we only planted half the ones you can see here).

And two things I made since last Friday are blog-worthy: Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and Thai Pumpkin Curry with noodles. So here you go.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Healthier and tastier than you might think

1/2 stick unsalted butter (that's 1/4 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin (a little over 1/2 the can)
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 bag chocolate chips (one cup?)

Cream together butter and sugar until mixture lightens and is fully blended. Add egg, vanilla, pumpkin, mix until blended. Add dry ingredients; mix. Add chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfulls onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until they look done. These cookies won't spread so each one will be the size that you make it on the pan. Makes about 50-60 cookies.

Thai Pumpkin Curry with noodles

1/2 can coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2-2/3 tsp green curry paste
2/3 cup canned pumpkin (approx.)(this was leftover from the cookies)

Chopped veggies of choice. I used:
1/2 medium onion
1/2 medium bell pepper
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
20ish green beans, ends trimmed, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 cup zucchini, one inch slices and then quartered lengthwise
3 really large white mushrooms, sliced thickly

16 thawed frozen raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail off
juice of 1 lime
handfull of thai basil, chopped

Rice noodles to serve 2

Pour coconut milk and water in medium saucepan and heat. Marinate shrimp in 1/2 lime juice. Add green curry paste and canned pumpkin. Stir and continue to heat, allowing sauce to thicken. Meanwhile, heat water for noodles and heat a wok, adding oil. Quickly sautee onions, carrots, bell peppers and green beans in wok with other 1/2 lime juice and a little rice vinegar. Add zucchini. Add mushrooms. Add thai basil. Add shrimp. Turn down heat and add coconut/pumpkin curry sauce. Let simmer while noodles finish cooking. When noodles are done, drain and rinse. Serve curry over noodles; it will be thicker than soup but not pasty.

Substitue chicken or tofu for the shrimp, but if you sub chicken cook it separately from the veggies and add it when you add the curry.


Sara said...

Lovely photos, missy!

Anonymous said...

oooh, pictures! Your day sounds wonderful indeed, the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies recipe looks very similar to a recipe I used recently for winter squash chocolate chip bars (basically bars instead of cookies and butternut squash instead of pumpkin).

Anonymous said...

Mental health days are are days when you get to leave at noon. It's amazing how much you can get out of a day when you're appreciating every second of NOT being at work.