A Perfect Day, Especially For January

The macaroni and cheese with leeks is wonderful! Very rich, too. I used about twice as much pasta as the recipe calls for and I chose Cabot Vermont extra sharp cheddar. The milk was 2%, not full-fat. The butter was a light version, mixed with Canola oil. I don't make baked macaroni and cheese often. When I do, it's worth taking time on it to make it good.

Leeks are sweeter than most onions. They smell like onions though, as I discovered on the drive home. Even with the window down, I had to stop in a parking lot and move them to the trunk. My apartment smelled of leeks for a day or two. (I'll take that over cigarette smoke from the downstairs apartment.) I regret that I didn't take a photo before I cleaned them. Next time!

It was one of those "perfect" days to me. I got to play in the garden, take something home from it to cook, then relax -- in this case with my guinea pigs and a book. Really, I'm not much of a cook. I am doing it because I should: it's cheaper and usually healthier than eating out, and it's a habit I have to reestablish. I generally keep it simple. A couple of books of healthy recipes I have: slow cooking and one filled with Mexican recipes. I love Mexican because of the ingredients often used: black beans, corn, corn meal rice, tomatoes, chiles; however, it can be very unhealthy without alterations.

I'll have to work on streamlining my favorite cuisine more: Italian. Ciao!


Plants In The Air

I live in an apartment. I've never smoked. I have asthma. The resident below me has ... several annoying habits. One of the worst is smoking. Smoke rises into my apartment. Short of moving into a building that won't allow smokers (do they exist?), I'm stuck -- And so are my guinea pigs -- opening windows in winter to ventilate my apartment. Apparently, this could be an excuse for more houseplants, spider plants being one of the best. It's also easy to grow in soil, water and somewhat in air ("babies" sprout on long stalks that grow from the center of the plant).

This article has some other options: Go To The Nursery

Make sure that if you have pets or little kids, the plants are safe. Here's a video with some information: Houseplants

When it comes to spider plants, buying one is enough. The "babies" transplant easily. It's even easier to start them in water before putting them in soil.

Secondhand Smoke Myths


Indian Fall?

Not much is happening. On Saturday, I visited my garden plot. About an inch of snow covered the paths and the wind was blowing. And it was cold. I wanted to dig some leeks from the ground, but the soil was hard and the tool shed was locked.

Now we're having a very warm spell (60s F). It's not Indian Summer. More like fall or spring -- late spring. So tomorrow I will take advantage of the warmth, and return to the plot with my shovel.

What will I use my leeks for? Maybe some leek and potato soup. Also, here's a baked mac & cheese recipe I intend to try, thanks to P Allen Smith.

He also has a video on providing humidity for houseplants in winter. Check it out!