Monday, September 17, 2012

cooking rice without it boiling over

my life changed yesterday! ok maybe not. but, i cooked rice without it boiling over and creating a mess for maybe the first time ever!

i have a hard time staying focused in the kitchen because frankly, i just don't like cooking. i get easily distracted and end up boiling over or burning things a lot. i saw something at bed, bath and beyond that gave me hope for the boiling over problem, a "pot watcher."

it's a little ceramic disk that i thought you were just supposed to drop in with the rice (or whatever you're boiling) and it would magically keep it from boiling over. wrong. my mom enlightened me by telling me, "it doesn't stop anything, it merely makes noise which alerts you to the possibility of a boil over." well, that's lame.

so, i was back to boiling over every time (yes, every. time.) i cooked rice. i had noticed something on pinterest ( that sounded like a great idea for boiling things that don't need to be covered. it said to put a wooden spoon across the pot and it won't boil over. sounds great! unfortunately, with the way i cook rice, that's just not possible.

because the way i cook rice is:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • bring to a boil
  • cover
  • lower heat
  • simmer for 20 minutes and don't touch it!

so, last night i thought i'd try something that could work with a lid. string! i cut a length of string to go over the pot before i put the lid on and holy shiznit, it worked! here's a video...

you can see it wanting to boil over so badly, but nope! string to the rescue!

here's an after shot...

normally, once i'm done cooking the rice, the inside of the lid and all down the side of the pot are covered with a starchy, white mess. not this time! i was so happy. (and so was my little pelican salt shaker my mom got me. isn't he cute? thanks, mom!) 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

the best kind of day

it's only noon and it's already been a full day of giving back. it started with my husband and i getting up early to go help pick up trash at the wetlands for coastal clean up day. we got there prepared with our gloves, bucket, trash bags and camel-back full of ice water.

we were assigned to pull weeds, but asked if we could wait for a trash crew instead. (we spent a day pulling invasive ivy at the audubon society in portland last year and frankly, care to never do it again. it's back-breaking labor!) so, we got put on a different crew and started picking up trash. really, there wasn't that much where we were looking (and there was a rattle snake sighting which was a little unnerving) so after an hour, they told us we could get our trash sorted and counted and leave. what? leave? we were planning on working for 3 hours and our bucket was only about 1/4 of the way full.

we started walking back towards the parking lot and realized, with people cleaning off of the trails, that left a lot of cigarette butts and things on the trail itself. we cleaned as we walked until we got back to the parking lot and then spent another hour walking the perimeter of the parking lot picking up trash and cigarette butts. it seemed kind of funny that people were walking out to their designated spots to pick up trash, but were walking over so much trash on their way out there. when we finished with the parking lot, our bucket was darn near full! once we were done, the crew asked us what kinds of items we picked up and what the most unusual item we picked up was. thankfully, ours were pretty standard, mostly straws and straw wrappers, gum wrappers, styrofoam and cigarette butts. we felt lucky that we didn't find any needles or condoms!

on the way home, i called my folks to see how their day was going and to tell them about our morning. when my husband and i lost our condo, we took our washer and dryer and decided to give them to my parents with the condition that their older, but still in great shape, washer and dryer go to a local animal shelter. well, my mom found a place in yucaipa that was thrilled to get the news, so my dad was installing the new washer and dryer while my mom was cleaning up the old ones to donate. having worked at 2 wildlife care centers, i know how huge it is to not have reliable washer and dryers, as there is always a mountain of laundry... always. i remember 1 shift at the audubon our washer and dryer stopped working and a volunteer loaded up her van and spent 4 hours in the laundromat. that must have been one stinky car ride!

i'm not writing this post for recognition or to brag, but to hopefully inspire. if you're never gotten out there, gotten your hands dirty, the back of your neck sunburned and dripped sweat like a boxer in the ring, you should try it! you may be surprised how good you feel at the end of it. or the next time you have an old appliance (in working order) that you're getting rid of, think of the local non-profits that may be able to use them. we're all on this big blue ball together and the more we all help each other out, the happier and healthier we and our future generations will be.