Random Breakfast Burrito

It’s Wednesday! I’m actually posting on a Wednesday!

And I’m cooking. Today is just all kinds of special.

So anyway, I was at the supermarket last night, looking for pre-made meals (as you do), when I thought, “There are probably a lot of things in that breakfast burrito that I don’t like. I could eat around them. Or I could make my own breakfast burrito. I’ve made scrambled eggs before. It can’t be that hard.”

And so it began.

Milling randomly through the supermarket, here are the things I ended up with:

  • Tortillas. Because that’s kind of important.
  • Cheese. I got the Mexican 4-cheese kind, because I wasn’t planning on adding a lot of spices, so I figured I could use the extra kick.
  • Sliced baby bella mushrooms. Because come on, like I was going to slice those things myself.
  • A red potato. After some hasty research on my phone, this seemed to be the right kind.
  • Chives. To be completely honest with you here, I’m not 100% sure what chives are, or what they’re supposed to do. But I’ve heard/read them mentioned in restaurants before, and I’m pretty sure they have to do with omelet-type things (sometimes, at least), and I’m also pretty sure I like them. Also sour cream and chives, right? That’s a thing.

Other ingredients I turned out to have at home, which was probably for the best:

  • Eggs. I already knew I had these, but it was still good that I was right.
  • Olives
  • Rosemary olive oil

And here’s how my cooking procedure went:

  • Take picture for blog. (Ok, that may not be a mandatory cooking step.)
  • Wash things, and then chop everything up. (See, I did end up slicing things!)
  • Lightly oil the skillet (pan?), probably for no reason since it was already non-stick.
  • Put some olive oil in the skillet/pan, and briefly cook the mushrooms in it. But forget about the potatoes until later, because who needs cooked potatoes?
  • Throw two eggs in. Realize you don’t have a spatula.
  • Improvise until you can find a spatula.
  • Throw in the rest of the ingredients, except for the chives. The container says to save those for the end.
  • Realize that you don’t have enough eggs. Add another egg. (I may have done that slightly earlier. I can’t remember.)
  • Realize that the potatoes are going to be undercooked. And also that your egg-to-other-stuff ratio is still off. And also that you probably need a bigger pan.
  • Debate fixing these things. Decide to just fix it next time. Add the chives as a sign that you’re committing to being done.
  • Realize you didn’t add the cheese. Sprinkle that on the tortilla before adding the omelet-type mix.
  • Eat!

All in all, this probably took me about 30-45 minutes. I wash my hands a lot when I cook, so that was part of it. And also, as you may be able to tell, I had no plan, so I just kind of pinwheeled my way through things. That having been said, the burrito wasn’t bad. A little bland, but I was going for something kind of basic, so it worked. The only real problem was that I ate it too fast, and the potatoes were (as noted) rather undercooked (hardly cooked at all, really), so I felt a little unwell right after eating it. But if it makes sense, it wasn’t an unclean, oily kind of unwell. It was a “you probably ate too fast and also undercooked your potatoes” kind of unwell.

I have 9 more tortillas, so I’m probably going to try this again, but I don’t know that I’ll document it. I suspect that all breakfast burritos look very similar, and the cooking process can’t be that different, either. Maybe more streamlined, and hopefully more competent, but not fundamentally different. Mishaps aside, though, I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out–it wasn’t bad for a first attempt. And I definitely learned some things (chives smell wonderful; also I probably need more spices; also, as I may have mentioned, I need to cook those potatoes better).

So anyway, this was my Wednesday morning. Hope yours is going well!

Mini-Trip to Sacramento and Davis

When I was in college, I used to take a lot of day trips. That was less exciting than it sounds; I remember checking out bookstores and libraries, and one bakery in particular stands out. Post-college, it got a little harder to manage that kind of thing. But today, albeit for less-than-fun reasons, I had to be in Sacramento rather early, which left me free around late morning/early lunchtime to have some unscheduled out-of-town fun.

Because I’ve changed a lot since college, the first thing I looked up was a bookstore. Because I really have changed since college, though, I was kind of too tired after the bookstore to mill around Sacramento anymore, so I hopped back onto the freeway. And because maybe I haven’t changed completely since college–or maybe I have, I’m not sure how impulsive I was back then–I decided not long afterwards that I could probably swing one or two more stops in Davis. Maybe. Yes, why not, ok then.

It ended up being very pleasant. Mostly because it felt good to go someplace new–to walk into a store and not know what I was going to find, and to look around at the neighborhood, getting a sense of a different place. And then on the way back, I got to roll my windows down and let the cool air billow into the car, as the clouds ate up more and more of the sky ahead of me. Maybe not what people picture when they think of California, but it was splendid and freeing and peaceful, and it spoke to that part of my mind where the wanderlust still apparently runs, ready for more adventures.

For those of you who really want to know where I went:

I definitely felt safer in Davis than in Sacramento–I’m not saying Sacramento is less safe than Davis, because I have no idea what the statistics are for that, but you know. Take the necessary precautions, so you can enjoy your trip. Also, unrelatedly, crepes are delicious.

And with that, it’s probably time to do some work. I hope your Monday is going well (or whatever day it is, if you’re reading this on another day), and that this last full week of January is treating you kindly.

ETA: Somehow this picture is showing up attached to this post in my reader, so if it’s going to be there, I’m going to explain it. With a caption!

Book (and bookmark!) from Time Tested Books, candy and mini notebook from Newsbeat.

Book (and bookmark!) from Time Tested Books, candy and mini notebook from Newsbeat.

A (Time) Traveler’s Review of Georgette Heyer’s Regency Novels

As it turned out, I enjoyed writing the last one of these, so I’m trying it again. To sum up (modifying my explanation from the last post a little, to make it more general): these reviews are meant to combine my love of travel with my love of reading, and approach books not as books, but as vacations that happen to take place in words.

This post’s “vacation”: the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer. Before we get started, though, a quick disclaimer: I haven’t by any means read all of Georgette Heyer’s novels, Regency or otherwise. That’s because while there’s a very long list of titles to choose from, these books are still a finite resource, so I’m fairly careful about doling them out. That having been said, I have read 9 of her novels now, according to my list, and according to Wikipedia, 7 of those were set in the Regency era, so I’ve started to notice some similarities. For instance…

The World: Generally speaking, this is a genteel place that belongs to another time. Also, as I had reason to notice on my most recent visit: this world can sometimes be rather lush. As an impatient girl, I don’t always want to sit and drink in the scenery (or interior design) as much as my narrator-guide sometimes wants to, but I do like the feeling of immersion, so it’s sort of a trade.

The People: You will often yourself in the very best of company. Or at least in some very engaging company. Although occasionally, you may find yourself face to face with some far less reputable types as well. Overall, if you’re at ease with Jane Austen’s crowd, you’ll very likely be at ease here. One thing I should perhaps warn you of, however, is that this is most certainly a past era, so the views represented by your hosts and acquaintances may not sit well with you, as a modern visitor. That’s just one of the risks of time-travel vacations.

Dining and Activities: These are often very posh. You may be invited to balls, or to go riding/driving–and almost certainly, you will be invited to do some shopping, or to spend some time with a tailor. There are some rowdier options available, as well; on my last visit, for instance, I was compelled to attend a prizefight. Those things aren’t my cup of tea, but they are out there. In general, however, these aren’t very action-oriented vacations, so don’t expect explosions or anything like that. There may be some running around–possibly a duel or two–but most of the activities are of a more social nature. In other words, expect there to be a lot of talking.

Other Assorted Hazards: These can vary rather widely. You may run into people who are in danger of losing their money, their reputations, their lives, or their hearts. Or some combination thereof. So keep your wits about you–try not to stay too long at the gambling table, be aware of the pitfalls if you plan to move in the most fashionable circles, and bring your own first-aid kit, because that’s always a good idea for these things. Speaking of which…

Things to Pack (aside from a first-aid kit):

  • Appropriate attire, or the money with which to purchase it.
  • A book of Regency slang and customs, for the individual who likes to know all the nuances of the world, and wants to be able to confidently use slang expressions. Personally, I don’t find such a book necessary for my enjoyment of the world (certainly not necessary for my understanding of events), but there’s no telling whether it may enhance the experience.
  • Tea. Because always tea. Unless, again, you intend to purchase it once you’re there, but sometimes I just want to curl up in bed with tea, and that’s maybe a tad informal for this time period, so you know. I smuggle it in and hide it from my narrator-guide. As you do.

The occasional grievances of dated worldviews aside, I usually enjoy my visits to Georgette Heyer’s Regency England. They tend to be very quick, lighthearted stays, and they’re quite affordable–I get almost all my “tickets” free, from the library. A nice way to spend my time while I’m working on the kinds of writing projects that make it hard to focus on someone else’s fantasy/sci-fi universe.

Holiday Schedule

In which yours truly notes that she will not be blogging on federal holidays this year. (This doesn’t count. It’s just a quick note.) I am planning to have a proper post up tomorrow, though. Wednesday at the latest.

In the meantime, happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Anything I could say seems small, so I’m just going to say that I hope you’re all safe and dry and warm, and enjoying life and liberty. We may not live in a perfect world, but on days like this, it’s nice to remember the men and women who fought to make it that much better.

My Ideal Subscription Box

Box of StuffI love the idea of subscription boxes. A few years back, I actually did a similar thing–a reading year from Mr. B’s–and really enjoyed it. I don’t remember seeing anything else like it, at the time, but now there are things like OwlCrate and Uppercase and all kinds of ways to get monthly books picked out and delivered to your doorstep.

So I spent last night looking at book subscriptions. And I loved the pictures of all the different boxes. But I also knew, looking at the extra items in each box, that beyond the initial “neat!” factor, I wouldn’t use a lot of it. And then it would sit on my shelf, and collect dust, and I wouldn’t be able to throw it away, because I’m a pack rat.

That’s not a criticism of these boxes; my personal pack-rat tendencies aside, they’re still really tempting, so I may decide to try one of them out in the future. (And by the way, if you’d like to read a review of both Uppercase and OwlCrate, there’s a good one here.) For now, though, I just couldn’t click “subscribe.” So instead, I decided to try designing my own ideal subscription box, with what I consider to be the staples: a book, a bookmark, tea (because always tea), and a snack.

All these things have been road-tested by me, which is how I know I like them. That isn’t to say they’re product recommendations, or anything–they’re more like December MVPs, things that I would put in a book-based survival kit for myself, if I could go back to the beginning of last month and leave a box on the doorstep for Past Me. The contents:

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (a reread, but a fun reread). It was that or a Regency novel by Georgette Heyer, but since I own Cinder and am only borrowing the Heyer book, I went with Cinder. If you’re looking to do a themed collection, though (which I’m not), a Regency novel would probably fit better with the remaining choices.
  • The bookmark I made a little while back. It’s working great so far, but because my book-reading ways are whimsical, I’m not using this bookmark for a library book, as I’d originally intended. Instead, it’s keeping me company as I reread Cinder. Another reason to choose Cinder for this box, I guess.
  • Yorkshire Gold tea, from Taylors of Harrogate. I got this during a big tea sale, and it quickly became my go-to morning tea. Only now it’s almost gone, so again: time travel.
  • Nonni’s Cioccolati Biscotti. It’s kind of a throwback to my childhood, but I still really like the balance of the flavors in this biscotti. Added benefit: it’s also great dipped in milk. So great, in fact, that these are actually all gone now–the box in the picture is empty (sigh), so this would be another time-travel staple.

It’s still not the same, of course–for me, one of the biggest draws of a subscription box is the surprise, which you can’t really replicate if you buy these things yourself. (Also, as I understand it, some of these boxes come with exclusives, so if you’re into those, there’s kind of no substitute.) But–I don’t know, I guess this activity is less about getting new things, and more about appreciating what I have, as clichĂ© as that sounds. I already had all these items, so all I had to do was put them in a box and enjoy the fanciness. No extra money needed. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, that’s definitely appreciated. A great way to remember that while I may not be a millionaire, I have more than I think, and I like a lot of it.

With that, off to the rest of my Monday. Hope yours is going well so far!

ETA: There are apparently a few subscription boxes that do books and tea (links here, here, and here), but I haven’t had a chance to look into any of these in depth, so I can’t make any recommendations. All I have to say is that I think books and tea are a stellar combination, so I already like the idea.

Out of Holiday Mode

I love the holidays, but this year I did find that something happened to my brain during holiday season: work (or at least any meaningful work-type progress) became optional.

Actually, almost everything became optional. Cleaning: optional. Exercise: optional. Finishing a chapter: optional. It’s a much nicer feeling than not doing things because you don’t have the energy, but it ends up in a similar place: it takes a larger-than-usual mental effort to get any of these things done. Because after all, it’s not mandatory, so I might as well relax.

Relaxing is good, of course–in general, I could stand to be a lot less stressed about things. But there has to be some kind of medium between holiday laziness and feverish anxiety.

So that’s something for me to look for this January, as I step out of holiday mode: a way to get things done without being excessively stressed. Some of that, I suspect, has to do with focus. January is a time when a lot of us focus on goals, hopes, and resolutions. And that’s great–not to mention probably necessary, at times. But one thing I’ve found that’s helpful for my mental state is to take note of the things I do accomplish, not just the things I still want to do, or the things I didn’t get to. Otherwise, it’s too easy to feel like I never get anything done. And that makes it kind of hard to relax. (Not to mention hard to get anything done in the future. In the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”)

In the meantime, plans for the blog this year… I don’t know. I didn’t think up anything, because coming up with a 2016 blogging schedule was optional. My only vague thought was that I would keep blogging on Mondays, so I’ll probably try to stick with that. Maybe add a post on Fridays, if I feel like talking about writing. The idea of blogging about certain things on certain days still appeals to me, but considering that the last time I tried to hold myself to that, I freaked out, I’m not making any promises. For now, I’m willing to just see what happens, and enjoy a little of that residual holiday blitheness.

To anyone reading this: I hope 2016 is off to a good start for you! And that you all make some progress toward being healthier, both this month and afterwards.