Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some serious bitching

Ravings: Let me just warn you before you read on that I. AM. PISSED!!! If you want to just skip to the food part, feel free. I’m not sure how bitter and angry this post will turn out.

Jason and I met with the realtor on Friday. We went in prepared. We are well aware of the current housing crisis and that our neighborhood is crumbling around us. We had also met with a realtor a few months ago who had given us a number that was slightly below what we owe, but we wanted to be prepared for when spring came to get out and prepared for what we thought that would cost us.

So when I say we were prepared, I mean I truly believed we knew what we were dealing with and had prepared for the worse case scenario. We’ve payed down the mortgage as much as we could and saved enough to cover what we thought we be the difference, including closing costs. We knew we were going to lose money. We had NO IDEA it would be this much!!

Here’s the down and dirty. Everything in our immediate neighborhood that has sold within the last year has been repossession or short sale. And the highest sale price is less than half of what we still owe! Now we were prepared to take a hit, but that’s a knockout bunch. We just don’t have the cash to do that.

Jason left shortly after the realtor for the weekend, so I was left to my own bitterness for the weekend, and I took full advantage! I have worked myself up into full blown rage. I am angry with everyone! I am pissed at the idiots who bought houses they couldn’t afford. I am pissed at the banks that preyed on people by offering unpayable mortgages. I am pissed at the government that allowed it all to happen and then bailed out the idiots and the banks, while leaving those of us who did it right with the check.

I did not buy a house I couldn’t afford, even though the bank said they would loan me the money for one. I got a good loan with a good rate by doing my homework and knowing my reality. I have faithfully paid my mortgage payment in full or more on time every month. So why am I the one getting screwed? Why am I then one who has to try to sleep in a neighborhood that feels like a war zone while the bank execs still have vacation homes? Why do I still feel horrible at the thought of even being late on a payment when no one cares that I’m still faithfully throwing money away every month paying for a house that is currently worth less than my car? Why do I feel like I still owe the system something when they have done everything to bail out all the irresponsible people involved in this while turning their backs on us responsible citizens?

Where is my bail out? I don’t even want that much. I just want out of this neighborhood so that I can sleep without fear of death!

Cravings: Given my above rant, I deserve some huge kudos for sticking to my sugar fast. Saturday, sitting at home alone, feeling sorry for myself was torture. I just wanted to sit on the couch eating ice cream and chocolate and watching bad tv, but I didn’t! Well, I didn't eat the ice cream and chocolate, but I did sit on the couch for a while and read magazines and watch 5 episodes of Chopped: All Stars. It made me feel a little bit better. Not as much as ice cream and chocolate, but I made a commitment and I have been faithful to the no sugar for 2 weeks plan.

I was able to get somewhat ambitious and tried a practice recipe of chocolate cherry protein bars for a girlfriend of mine and made Shadow some new dog treats. I really liked the bars, but CJ tried them and said they were just ok. I think he was expecting a brownie because they kinda looked like that. And yes, I totally forgot to take a picture of them. I haven't gotten a review back from Michelle (she's who I made them for) because I had to give them to her through her sister. Shadow loves his new treats however, which sort of surprised me because I forgot to add the egg to the recipe and they ended up being softer treats, but he's asking to go outside every 20 minutes so he must like them!

I also have a Seafood Stew (Cioppino type) recipe to share. I thought it was yummy, but Jason the reluctant fish eater put it in the "it's ok if you don't make this again" category.

Chocolate Cherry Protein Bars

1/2 cup cherry juice
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup walnuts
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup ground oats or oat flour
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds or flax meal
1 scoop protein powder (I used vanilla because it's what I had)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (use the good stuff!)

Put the cherry juice in a small saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Then add the juice, dates, walnuts and vanilla to a blender or food processor and process until mushed up and well blended. I used a blender and had to push the mixture back down the side several times. It won't get runny. Then put the date mixture in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until well blended. Mush the mixture into a rectangle shape on a sheet pan (I used a small stone baking pan with sides) about 1/2 inch thick. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool a bit then cut into desired size bars. I also coated half of them with more of the oat flour to make them a bit less sticky.

Shadow's Meaty Dog Treats

1 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsps flax seeds
1 cup meat (I used the giblets from the roast chicken I did and some of the leftover chicken)
1 cup cooked butternut squash
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dried mint
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Put the oats and the flax seeds in the spice grinder or just use oat flour and flax meal. Put the meat and the butternut squash into a food processor and process until ground up and well combined. Put the oat mixture and the meat mixture into a bowl and add the salt, mint and parsley. Stir until well combined and dough like. My dog biscuit cutter suffered a tragic garbage disposal accident, so I just rolled the dough into small balls and smashed them to make tiny little circle biscuits. You can make these with a cookie cutter though to whatever size is desired. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes. Allow to cook completely.

Seafood Stew

1 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 fillet wild alaska halibut, cut into chunks
1 lb raw shrimp
1 lb mussels
Chopped Fresh Parsley to garnish

Saute onion in a bit of olive oil until soft. Add garlic and saute a minute more. Add tomatoes, wine, stock, oregano and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, covered. Add the halibut and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and mussels, recover and cook another few minutes until shrimp is done and mussels have opened. Garnish with parsley to serve. I served this with some sourdough bread spread with olive oil and roasted garlic and a glass of the dry riesling I used in cooking it.

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