Sophie holding a tennis ball

Sophie understands chasing the ball, but letting go of it after she’s found it is still very hard. TBH, Bear is a lot more fun to play ball with. But don’t tell Sophie I said so!

Today’s accomplishment was chili: I made it in the morning, ate two bowls at lunch, and then at dinner, I was sort of “eh, whatever, I might as well have another bowl, since I’ve got plenty,” until I took the first bite and then I remembered, “Oh, right, this is really good chili.” I will not have plenty for long.

I didn’t follow a recipe and I am never going to be able to replicate it perfectly, but the key ingredient was a few leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from a can I opened while making refried beans. I’ve been using it (them?) in dribs and drabs ever since — I threw some in some seafood stew last week and it was delicious, and I’m pretty sure I added some to the shrimp I was using for shrimp tacos, also delicious. For a small can, it was a surprisingly worthwhile investment. I suspect a similar can will be living on my shelves for as long as I keep cooking now. It’s lovely to discover an ingredient that’s easy, packed with flavor, and versatile.

The other delicious thing I made this week was spicy tuna for spicy tuna rolls. First I made sushi with canned crab and cucumber — your basic California rolls — and was vaguely disappointed. It was fine? But not exciting and not particularly interesting. I’m not sure why I thought they would be, I don’t have some deep love for California rolls, but I think I wanted to prove to myself that even a California roll would be better home-made than from the grocery store. It was, because the rice was great, but still, it was a California roll. Eh.

The next day, however, I had leftover rice, so I took it out of the fridge in the morning, so that it would warm up to room temperature. Then I mixed fresh tuna (well, frozen tuna that I’d defrosted), with kewpie mayo, Yellow Bird habanero sauce, and sesame seeds, and made a spicy tuna roll out of it. It was excellent. Not just better than grocery store sushi, but pretty close to good sushi restaurant sushi. Yum. Now I wish I could have another one. Fortunately, I can, as soon as I make some more sushi rice and defrost some more tuna.

I will probably not be doing that anytime soon, though, because I have a lot of chili to eat first. Also a fridge filled with healthy vegetables which go bad much too quickly. The hardest part of cooking for one is trying to finish things. Of course, anything I don’t want I can feed to the chickens/throw into the compost pile, eventually turning my rotting produce into delicious eggs/healthy dirt, but I realized recently that I’m not just feeding the chickens.

See, anything the chickens haven’t eaten by nightfall is still gone in the morning. And some things, such as corn cobs, are no longer in the chicken coop. I was mystified by this for days, because the cobs kept turning up on the patio and the puppies kept getting them and chewing on them — Not Allowed! Digestive blockages! Surgery nightmares! — until I realized that rats were dragging the cobs out of the coop in the night. Anything the chickens don’t eat, the rats do. It’s made me decidedly less enthusiastic about my composting. It’s not very environmentalist of me, but my corn cobs are now headed to the landfill.

Today’s second accomplishment: writing a blog post. Oh, wait, no, that’s my third accomplishment. My second accomplishment was actually opening a writing file (the sequel to Cici) and writing a sentence or two. Along the way I laughed at a line I’d written months ago, and for a brief, flickering moment I was reminded that writing is fun. Writing is fun! Or at least reading what you’ve written is fun. Sometimes. Now I just have to get back into the routine of it.

Hey, probably I should give myself some credit for playing with puppies, washing dishes, working on training puppies (we’ve mastered Down but Paw/Shake is still a little bit of a mystery), cleaning up poop and vomit (Sophie, I think, but I’m hoping it’s just a fluke, nothing serious), walking Sophie, feeding Gina, and finishing up some laundry, too. I mean if I’m really going to count ALL my accomplishments. Shine on, self, shine on.