Roasted Herb Potatoes

I often make meals that are so crazy simple that I don’t bother sharing or writing down the recipe. But, I realize that the reason most people don’t like to cook is not because it’s hard (it isn’t) but because it’s time consuming. So, for you, one of my simplest and fastest recipes.

– 1-3 potatoes
– a few Tablespoons of olive oil
– salt and pepper
– ground or chopped herbs (I like ground thyme and rosemary, but whatever you have on hand will work)

1) Peel and cut the potato into chunks
2) Toss in a bowl with the other ingredients
3) Spread the potatoes out in a cast iron skillet and cook in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes

It’s always amazing to me how you can turn a single root into a meal with just a bit of olive oil and herbs

Goal Progress Report

1) Sew 3 things. 3 of 3 complete! I have reached my goal of sewing 3 things with the sewing machine this year! I decided to try and think of more things that I could use my scrap fabric for, and ended up making a sort of hanging pouch to keep my books and notepads in when taking a bath. Just because I’ve completed this goal doesn’t mean I’ll close up the sewing machine for good, but I will stop reporting on it unless I do another project.

2) Free thing in LA each month: Yesterday, Josh Noble and I went down to see the Redbull Soapbox Race, which was really fun. It was craaaaaaazy crowded. The entries were judged on speed, creativity, and showmanship, so all the cars were decorated in ridiculous ways. My favorites were a food truck soapbox car and one that was done up to look like a Mexican ice cream cart. There was even an Angry Birds entry, and feathers flew everywhere as it zoomed down the course. There were a few spectacular crashes, too! We didn’t end up seeing all the entries (there were 40!) but it was a fun time and we ended up grabbing lunch in Chinatown and eating at El Pueblo, which is fast becoming one of my favorite spots in LA.

3) Games. Still slacking on this, as I’ve been playing League of Legends pretty much exclusively all month. It’s going to be hard to re-focus until after Gold, but I do still intend to get Outland once the PSN store is back up.

4) Financial: Nothing exciting to report here, just plugging along.

Plan of Attack

When times get busy at work, my apartment tends to fall to pieces. Usually it just takes enough motivation to get started tidying and before too long things are in place and my energy restored. I don’t have a huge place, so it never takes too long to clean, but this weekend I decided a different approach was in order. I went around my apartment and inventoried the places that were messy and what was out of place, to see if I can put in some measures of prevention once things get clean again.

Here are the problem spots and some brainstorms for solutions. Any thoughts are welcome:

Entrance Hallway:
This is the worst offender. I have a nice empty to-do crate on the other side of my apartment, and the idea is that this is where I drop mail and stuff to be processed later. It used to work really well before I got Mr. Davis. Now, as soon as I enter my apartment, I am met by the happiest, most affectionate kitty, and snuggle time begins. This means that mail, grocery bags, and anything I carry in winds up on the floor and stays there for days or weeks.

1) I clearly need something here right at the entrance to throw my stuff down on, and ideally I would just move my to-do crate right here. However, I still need to keep the entrance from feeling cluttered, and it’s a very narrow hallway.
2) I have my bike bags hanging here, and this is where I store flattened CSA boxes, I can move these elsewhere.

I read books while in the tub, and sometimes make notes or lists. This usually means that the bathroom floor is covered in books and notepads. Next is that I tend to leave stuff like floss or tweezers or nail clippers out on the sink, because my medicine cabinet is narrow and they fall out easily. Next is dirty clothes on the floor. This one is baffling to me, because I have a built-in cabinet hamper right there. It’s RIGHT THERE. I do not know what stifles my motivation to lift my discarded clothes a mere 2 feet vertically and put them into the hamper.

1) I really just need a basket or something to stick the books in, maybe with a towel cover to keep them from getting dripped on. Maybe something with pockets that I could hang from the towel rack.
2) I should probably clear out one of my pull-out drawers by the sink to use for the stuff that clutters there, or just put a small open basket out on the sink that I can lay the things in.
3) I really have no idea what to do about the hamper issue, this might just be a behavioral thing that I’ll have to hammer on. IT’S RIGHT THERE.

For some reason I’m always really unmotivated about emptying the dishwasher. Filling the dishwasher and running it is great. Totally on top of those. But when I’m lazy about emptying it and dirty up more dishes, I get the gross sink backlog. Also, I’m terrible about shutting cabinets. It used to drive my mother crazy, and I’ve never been able to shake the habit. Lastly, my garbage can and recycling can are difficult to get to.

1) The dishes thing might just be behavior, but I could also address the issue by culling some of my dishes, which would force me to wash as I go. I don’t have a ton of dishes as it is already, though. I think easier-to-reach dishtowels would help me wash as I go. I hang them on the oven handle right now and they fall off really easily. I should just hang them on the wall.
2) Is there some device you can put on cabinet doors that makes them push closed automatically? Surely this has been invented.
3) The issue with my garbage and recycling is that there’s not enough room under the sink for both of them, and there’s no other room in the kitchen for them. If I went for a small thing that I could keep on the counter, it might encourage me to empty it more often. Or I could try and find something narrow enough to fit in the gap between my fridge and counter

Living Room
Biggest problem here is the laptop with its cables and accessories dragging all over the place. That and cat toys laying all around the place.

1) I think i can solve the laptop issue by running an extension cord from an out-of-the-way socket around to the couch, so that it isn’t crossing walking space. then I can keep most of my power cable tucked away in the laptop bag.
2) One of my neighbors moved out and didn’t want to haul along their cat tree, so I took it on. Mr. Davis has 2 cat trees now! SPOILED! Anyway, this new one has a cubby at the bottom that he doesn’t seem interested in, so I think I’ll pile all his toys in there

Crafty Area
When I’m not actively sewing, this area stays tidy, but the moment I open the machine to mend something, it explodes with mess. I think that’s because right now I just have all my scrap fabric shoved into a cabinet, so it all spills out when I open it to get something.

1) I can solve this by condensing some things in my chest of drawers and organizing the scrap fabric in the drawers. I can use the rolly cabinet for something else.

Goal Progress Update – lost count

This is what happens when the Gold deadline approaches, I fall off the wagon! Here’s an update all the same.

1) Free thing in LA Every Month: Alas, I fell off the wagon and missed an event for April. I had one lined up – a free pass to the Renn Faire, but when the day came Nick and I were so low-energy that we decided it was best to stay in. However, I am determined to make May count. Here are some ideas

Tomorrow – NASA/JPL open house. Science!

Friday, May 20 – Jazz and Steel Drums. I like steel drums.

Memorial Day Weekend – DOG SHOW. I have a secret, guilty pleasure for watching dog shows. The genetic manipulation just utterly fascinates me! I need someone dog-nerdy as me to come, too

2) Sew 3 things. 2 of 3 complete. That’s right, I completed my second sewn thing! It’s a pretty simple project, a sachet I made as an apartment-warming gift for Josh when he moved. It’s filled with dried lavender leaves from last year’s herb garden, and dried thyme buds from this year’s. Simple enough that I need to buy another lavender plant and make more (last year’s plant didn’t make it). I also have an idea for project number 3, but it will actually require me to go buy fabric instead of using stuff from my scrap pile.

3) 20 minutes of games every other day. I’ve really fallen off the wagon with this one. Part of it was that my game plans were disrupted with the PSN outage – no Outland and no Portal 2 (I wanted to get it through steam to get a free PC copy), and no updates on HD Stranger’s Wrath. The other part is that Nick and I have been watching the NASL Starcraft II matches, which just makes us want to play Starcraft II. Oh, and League of Legends. Lots of League of Legends. Fortunately, PSN seems to be stirring with signs of life, so Outland may be soon within my grasp.

4) Financial. Lots of frugality for April. We had an easter egg hunt at work, and amidst all the candy, one of my eggs had a Target gift card (groceries!) and another had a free commissary lunch. I am super excited about paying off the private student loan next month, which I guess makes me a big ole nerd.