Today’s lunch is good for the body and good for the budget: a simple, hearty black bean burrito. It’s actually full of leftovers from last night, but it’s so yummy and satisfying on a dreary Seattle day, that I thought I’d share the recipe. (Apologies for my food photography; it looks much better in person.)
Black Bean Burritos
- 1 can of black beans, well-rinsed (or 1 cup of dried beans soaked overnight, then boiled until soft)
- dash of cumin, chile powder, and black pepper
- 4 Tbsp pico de gallo (or your favorite salsa)
- whole grain tortillas
Stir the beans, spices, and pico de gallo together. (You could also add salt and/or corn at this point.) Heat the mixture up on the stove, in the microwave, or spoon it right into the tortillas with a handful of spinach and heat the whole shebang in the microwave.
I usually put a handful or two of spinach on my burrito, and if I’m feeling very fancy, I add a slice or two of avocado after I’ve heated it.
What’s your favorite healthy, easy lunch?
A friend of mine is getting ordained in her denomination in a few weeks, and the ceremony will be outside overlooking the ocean. I offered to loan her my cordless microphone that has stayed at the ready since my “Singing Elephant” one-woman show days. Or at least I thought it was ready. Good thing I double checked, because the batteries in the battery pack had leaked and battery acid was all over the inside of the beautiful Sennheiser system. BLECH!!!
So, I went to my local music store to see if it could be restored. The first thing I got was, “You have a Sennheiser?” I got used to that response, a few years ago. It seems they aren’t used to a middle aged woman walking in with a quality system. Next was the declaration, “It’s toast.” I said, “Like blue screen toast, or can you work with it?”
He said, “Let me try to clean off the contacts,” and he walked down the hall with the battery unit. Several minutes later he returned and said, “Yep, it’s toast,” then quickly offered, “I have a much cheaper one I can sell you.”
Right then I was kicking myself for not storing it well or finding it a home where others would use it more often… And I flatly said, “No I won’t be buying a microphone for just a one day use.” Then his tune changed: he thought he could try one more thing. Like change the batteries. (I had already changed the batteries to fresh batteries before I walked in). He walked away and voila, the microphone was working! We plugged it in. I could hear my voice over the system, and I heartily thanked him for coming to my rescue.
When I told Colin the story, he said, “I’m surprised he didn’t offer you a dandy trade in for your microphone.” Then the story changed in my mind. Was he a good guy or. . . ???
I let them know I would be telling the story on my blog. So here it is for better or for worse. The good news is my mic works!
Have you ever had a story where when you walked away you weren’t really sure what just happened there?
Posted by Tegan on May 24, 2012 in behind the scenes
, Tegan's posts
Did you ever play a sport with a coach who would tell you, “Walk it off!” when you got injured?
The first time I got kicked in the shins and a soccer coach told me to walk it off, I thought he was insane. “But I’m HURTING! And you want me to move?!?”
Then I followed the command, and lo and behold, walking it off did work (most of the time).
I find that small physical pains, like a stubbed toe or banged elbow, benefit from a quick walk to let the pain simmer away. Emotional pains also respond to the walking treatment. Frustration, stress, and anger often dissipate after just a brisk walk around the block.
Has walking it off ever helped you?
Posted by Linda on May 21, 2012 in family
, life at home
, Linda's posts
Yes, there is a tornado in my head full of house deals. I like the cute stylized tornado better than the real deal.
We accepted an offer on our house on Wednesday. Our new owners found us on Mother’s Day, 26 hours after our listing went live on the internet. It took a few pushes back and forth to get what we wanted out of the contract. We were very surprised that a buyer came by so quickly. All week I have likened it to two hour labor instead of the eight hour kind; it’s over before you even know it has begun. I’m just now coming out of being disoriented.
Then the obvious question: Where do we move to? Well, we think we found that answer too, on Thursday. Crazy! We drew up an offer on Saturday. Now we wait. Our deal for where we are going might take a bit of time so I will wait on that news, but it is all very crazy and feels unsettling. In my mind there are tunnels of wind which can build to tornado force when I let them. I’m full of whirling what-ifs, like what if the deals fall apart? Or what if only one deal falls apart?
Colin is a grounding agent at these times, saying the calming right words most of the time. But he is up for adventure, and believe me the place we are moving to has some adventure elements attached to it.
Yep, selling and buying houses equal tornadoes in the brain.
What gives you tornado brain?
If you know me, you probably know that I hate to drive.
I especially hate to drive a manual transmission. And, alas, I especially hate driving my household’s sole car, a manual with particularly fussy transmission.
Sorry, that’s a lot of hate for a Thursday morning, but really– driving that car is one of my least favorite everyday things. I would mow 20 lawns and do 50 loads of laundry and scrub 50 toilets if it meant I got out of driving.
On Saturday, my husband wanted to run to a charity run/walk we were doing in town together, so I agreed to drive the car there. As soon as I stalled coming out of our alley and had a four-car back-up behind me, I really regretted my decision.
Through the half-hour drive (which included getting lost and stalling once more at a stop light just off I-5), I fought a sense of panic. But I WON; despite the stalling, I got to the race on time, and I didn’t hurt anyone (or anything) in the process.
When the car stalled and people behind me honked, I turned on my flashers, tamped down the shame, took a deep breath, and remembered something my mom used to say to me when she first taught me to drive 20 years ago:
“They’re honking? That’s their problem. Your only problem is driving this car and driving it safely. You do what you have to do to make that happen, and let them pass you.”
I put on the parking brake, waved the honkers around me, took another deep breath, turned the ignition, and accomplished my brave thing of the day.
Do you have any driving stories to share?
I’ve done a short survey among friends who own homes in Seattle, soggy wet Seattle, where moss grows right alongside your grass and it is green, so you mow it and everyone is happy. For just about everyone, the moss and the grass co-exist together. But it’s different when it is time to sell your house. Because you are sure that the next people who will buy your home would really like a 100% grass lawn, not a mixture.
So we did the moss killing thing and then raked it. We were truly surprised with the results. Yikes!
Then Colin tried a few home remedies…and I was feeling sunk. We will never make our deadline. What if the grass doesn’t grow back evenly, or it takes several weeks that we don’t have before the house hits the market? We finally realized it was “Time to call in the professionals” when we read a lawn flyer from Sky Nursery. The flyer stated in bold letters, “There is NO short cut to a healthy lawn!” And they told us not to do the first home remedies, the ones we’d already tried. We needed help, and fast.
The next morning as we were getting into the car to go to church, we noticed a man at the neighbor’s house bidding on a yard project. Colin took the opportunity to send Heather and me on ahead, and he waited until he could see if this gentleman had time to help yet one more neighbor. Yahoo!! We felt rescued; he had time to get it done the very next weekend.
The plan was to pull out the old grass and roll out new grass that takes root in just a few days to a week.
Thank you Jerry and family for the nice back yard. We are very thankful it is small.
What have you got growing in your back yard?
P.S. Our house has been on the Market for two days now… Stay tuned.
Posted by Tegan on May 10, 2012 in community
, Tegan's posts
This spring, Linda and Heather are learning so much in their garden!
Then yesterday, a friend on the other side of the country posted this:
“When I was filling my wheelbarrow this weekend a fellow parent passed on some wisdom he learned from a farmer: ‘Always face the wheelbarrow in the direction you want to move before you fill it.’ Somehow that idea seems to apply to more than just wheelbarrowing.”
I love that idea that we should decide what direction we’re going before we put everything in. Stay flexible and agile until you know where you’re going and why, because changing direction can make hard work harder.
It’s been years since I had a garden, but here are a few things I remember from planting and harvesting:
- No matter how much time and effort you put into a garden, the important things usually happen when you’re not there.
- A good fence can mean as much to a garden as all the watering and weeding.
- Before you plant zucchinis, think of how you’ll deal with a bumper crop (zucchini bread, zucchini pesto, zucchini hostess gifts, zucchini sculptures) because no matter how many zucchini you think you’ll get, you’ll probably get twice as many.
As with my friend Khadija’s wheelbarrow wisdom, these lessons can be extrapolated to apply to life in the bigger picture.
What about you? Is there anything you learned from gardening that you think everyone should know?
Plans are one thing. The reality of pulling-off that plan is usually quite different.
We made our plan here, at the Ocean on our vacation. We often relax and reflect on the year and wonder what is next. This year we thought about our life now that Heather is finished with High School. We bought our current house for its location so close to her school, but we prefer to do all our living on one level, with no stairs to carry Heather up and down. We decided to put our house on the market. We kept trying on the idea, saying it out loud, and even cleaning out closets. But reality hit that our house would not be our home on the day the painters rolled in.
I took some photos of painting day in the living room and in the kitchen. The good news is they were in and out in just two days and that was a month ago, so the pain is gone.
Now we are in the final stretch of getting everything “staged,” so it can look like a home that no one really lives in (in a moment’s notice when someone wants to tour it). I know… What we all do to sell our houses!
We have hit some snags. And we are behind schedule and over budget like every good project. But we are still very glad we are making this choice. This was a great house for us for 8 years. And we are hope to find the next great house for us.
We are pushing our house onto the market this weekend!!!
I watched my second marathon in two weeks last Sunday, and paying close attention to the clocks has affected me. Anytime I see a countdown, I set myself goals. I started the washing machine, and as soon as that digital “41″ started blinking, I thought, “Can I sweep and vacuum the house AND sort the next round of laundry in 41 minutes? GO!” When I microwaved a cup of tea, I thought, “Can I unload the dishwasher in 1 minute 20 seconds? GO!” When my husband said he would be home in half an hour, I thought, “Can I write two emails and create a spreadsheet in 30 minutes? GO!”
This morning, I gave myself the deadline of getting this post up and announced in 20 minutes. So far, so good… right on pace. I find myself motivated and exhilarated by my time challenges. Even these artificial races to beat the clock are good at eliminating procrastination. I just may keep this system up!
Do you set time challenges for yourself? What can you do in 41 minutes, 1 minute 20 seconds, or 20 minutes today? GO!
Posted by Linda on May 1, 2012 in community
, life at home
, Linda's posts
Heather and I were at her garden plot on Sunday again and who should come to visit and help plant but her friend Dasia. It was a welcome surprise.
We are deciding how much of what to put in and the Giving Garden folks (Nancy) were super generous with us, letting us use any of their plant starts that we wanted. We chose beets, chard, and spinach. The Giving Garden folks are a group of people who have a huge plot at the center of the Community Garden who band together to raise food for Hopelink. Last year this group grew over 1,000 pounds of food.
We have never gardened before. This is a first, and so far we are having fun. I learn so much every time I go. This week I learned about us. Like Toni really loves beets. I truly don’t think we can plant enough beets. Right now we have one row in as seeds and two more in as starts. We will see how they grow. Then we have carrots and spinach and chard. I’m excited to plant cucumbers and tomatoes later. Right now I can’t imagine there being an abundance, but isn’t that the way with gardens? If there is an abundance,we will follow the footsteps of the generous ones, the Giving Garden folks, and donate it to Hopelink.
Things are coming along. I wish I had Dasia’s gloves– need to get gardening gloves. Heather loves outside and is warming up to the watering can and touching the plants and the dirt. Toni took these pictures of us that day.
Week Two: still love trying something very new.