Pan Seared Halibut with Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

This was really good and not at all difficult to make.  The sauce could also be used over pasta.  Im sure I'm not the first person to ever make a roasted tomato sauce like this, but I didn't follow a recipe.  Instead I changed one from a tv show... Chucks Day Off on the Cooking Channel.  He made a smoked tomato-tarragon sauce and it looked really good and simple.  Except I don't have a smoker, so I decided to try and roast it instead.  The first time I made it, the tarragon was a little too powerful, so this time around I used basil instead (figuring it was a more classic pairing).  I liked it much better this way.  It's super easy and quick because you dont have to do much careful chopping (like you would when you make a marinara since it all goes in the processor)  So here's how I made it:

4 medium tomatoes, quartered
1/2 a medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 of the biggest basil leaves I've ever seen in my life
Olive oil, salty, pepper

Toss tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a pan, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper.  Roast on 400 for about 30-40 minutes (I didn't really time it).  Transfer to food processor, add basil and puree.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I pan seared 2 halibut fillets (the frozen ones from Wegmans) in some olive oil and salt and pepper.  Then poured a generous spoonful of the sauce over the fish. It was delicious.  I also have enough sauce left over to use on pasta later this week, yay!


Finally Reading an eBook!

Yay!  I finally figured out how to read Library eBooks on my iPad.  Ive been reading a lot lately and some people have asked me if I'm considering getting a Kindle or Nook or something like that.  But I get nearly all of my books from the library for free.  And as convenient as an eBook reader would be, I just can't justify spending all that money for a device, and then even more money for books. Right now my monthly book budget is right around $0.  It's hard to improve on that.  But one thing I have been waiting for, knowing that it eventually has to happen, is a way to borrow library books on my iPad.  I mean you can borrow eBooks on your computer, but I'm not about to sit at my desk and read a whole book.  How much harder could it be to get the book on my iPad?  Apparently it's not as simple as I think it should be, but it is finally possible.  Unfortunately I only have like 300 books to choose from (stupid DRM), but I'll take what I can get for now, because I figure things are moving in the right direction.

Oh, if anyone in Loudoun County is interested, here's a link to instructions.  There are a few steps to het everything into place, and the Overdrive App is a little quirky, it may take a couple days for your books to show up, but it might be worth trying.


My Sisyphean* Task

I cannot begin to describe my frustration with trying to keep the house clean while we are doing showings.  I didn't think it would be that bad because I tend to keep the house fairly clean in general.  But not spotless... because that would drive me insane... and guess what?  It is driving me insane.  Trying to keep a house perfectly spotless and relatively unlived-in looking with a toddler and a husky (in her peak shedding season) is beyond frustrating.  I spent most of today cleaning the house only to have everything I do undone not even 5 minutes later.  Vacuum the living room, Eve walks through and clumps of fur fall onto the carpet.  Put away miscellaneous toys, gadgets, water cups, etc. only to turn around and see that Dylan pulled out his 50 alphabet blocks and spread them evenly throughout the upstairs level, wipe the counters then spill milk all over them.  Ugh.  At least we didn't have any showings today... though I think that's the most frustrating part.  I do all this work and then no one comes to see it.  What a waste of my time.  Of course the day I decide to slack always results in a last minute showing.  I can't wait for this to be over.

* story of Sisyphus


Some thoughts on Moving

As we prepare for a possible move (staying in the same area) I've been thinking about a lot of my previous moves and my take on moving in general.  I moved a lot as a kid... a lot.  Herndon VA was the 11th city I had lived in and at that time I was a sophomore in high school.  My parents still live there, and I still live in the same general area (only about 30 mins away).  It's crazy for me to think that I've lived in this area for nearly 14 years, and that Matt and I have been in the same house for over 7 years.

There have been pluses and minuses to moving so much.  I definitely think it had a big impact on the person I am today, for better and worse.  But now that I've finally been in one area long enough I've finally experienced how a stationary place changes over time.

For instance:
  • Radio stations change their programming.  I didnt know this happened.  Actually I didnt really ever think about it enough to guess that this ever happened.  I still remember getting in my car one day several years ago and tuning the radio to 99.1, at the time an alternative station, and hearing Spanish music.  For a while I thought it was a joke, they I found out that someone had bought that station and changed it's programming.  I still miss the old 99.1, though I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore.
  • You loose friends even when you or they don't move away.  People drift apart, or head in different directions and eventually you lose touch.  It happens, sometimes even when I don't want it to.  I always thought that the only reason I wasn't still friends with the people I knew in kindergarten was because we moved away from Texas.  But who knows what would have happened with us if I'd stayed in Texas my whole life (ooh, there's a scary thought).  I tried really hard to stay in touch with people when we moved away, but eventually the letters stopped being mailed, or someone moved enough that I couldn't keep up with new addresses and we'd lose contact.  It was hard to let go of people, and it still is.  But now I know that it's a fairly normal thing and it doesn't detract from the value of the friendship at that time.  I also know that maintaining friendships take a lot of work, especially as they become less convenient, but hopefully the good ones last because both sides are willing to make the extra effort.
  • Possessions build up quick when you aren't forced to go through them (due to packing and moving) nearly every year.  I think my main reason for being such a purger has to do with packing and moving.  Though I've heard people say the exact opposite, that since they moved so much they held on to all their stuff so they could keep the things around them permanent.  Not quite sure why I went to the opposite extreme, but I did.  Yet it didn't take long to fill our townhouse with stuff.  Thankfully I went through a bunch of it last year and forced myself to get rid of a bunch of stuff that was just sitting here taking up space.

And anyone who has spent any amount of time in Northern Virginia knows how much this area has changed, new shopping centers, schools, bigger roads, overpasses so you can drive on the bigger roads with fewer interruptions, new housing developments... My surroundings are constantly changing.  It was easy for me to assume that once I stopped moving, things would stop changing.  But of course changes don't only occur when you are transplanted; everything changes, things move on, things fall apart, people change, they change their minds, move on to something better, move on to something not so better.  It still happens, but for some reason, I just didn't expect it to happen here so much, not when I've lived in the same house for over 7 years (a lot longer than anywhere else). 

But I will say this, even with the realization that a permanent-fixed-unmoving-unchanging environment doesn't exist (not that I want it to really), I much prefer my fairly stationary lifestyle.  I like that I know the area and people in the area well.  It's nice to have some roots, and finally a hometown.  


FL trip part 2

Lizards are everywhere outside of my hotel!  Fortunately, not inside, though I wouldn't be surprised if one found it's way in.  Whenever I walk anywhere they all scurry into the bushes. I'm sure Dylan would be in heaven.

Harmony's wedding was beautiful :) Of course, I expected no less.  Picture perfect day, the weather wasn't too hot or too cold, there was a nice breeze, it was really perfect.  Followed by a fun and lively reception (thanks in large part to a Latin band).  I'm so glad I was able to make it down here for it.  It also made me think of my own wedding... What a good and perfect day that was as well.  I wish we could get married again, it was fun!  Maybe we'll have to have some kind of vow renewal celebration in the future. 

I've made it a good way into my book.  I'm hoping I'll be able to finish it, but it will be close.  Not much else to comment on since the whole point of this mini-vacation was to take advantage of being able to relax.  It's been really nice.

FL trip 2011 part 1

First time on a trip all by myself.  A truly introverted vacation so far.  I've been gone from home for less than 12 hours and I've made my way through about 200 pages of East of Eden (look at me reading a real book for a change), listened to  about 4 albums on my iPod, did about an hour of yoga, ate dinner by myself (where I knocked out a good 20 pages while waiting for food), successfully navigated through the airport and streets of Orlando.  There's been a minimum of interaction with other people, so i haven't even had many conversations.  It's been nice and peaceful.  Though every time I see someone with a toddler I think "oh Dylan... i wonder what he and Matt are doing." and my hotel has a bunch of outdoor fun areas and I keep thinking that Dylan would low to run around in the soft grass, then I remember that he's a plane ride away.  It's a good thing that I miss them, but I'm still going to enjoy my alone time.

So Matt and I have been to Orlando a couple times.  I kind of recognize the area I'm staying at, but to be honest, I'm having a hard time telling the difference between Orlando and Las Vegas.  I think I wrote about how Disney and Vegas were similar a few years ago.  I still think that.

Oh and no Internet in my hotel (not free anyway), so this will be published when I get home.  I can't remember if I did this on purpose so that I wouldn't spend all my time reading blogs and updating my Facebook page, but it is what it is now.