Cooking with Chickadoodle: Roasted Bell Peppers

So, like any normal, sane, and decent person, I love bell peppers.

Okay, like any person who likes bell peppers, I… like bell peppers.

I love ‘em in salad, on pizza, as an appetizer on a veggie tray, and most other normal ways they can be eaten. They don’t even have to be raw! I love them pickled, stir-fried, barbequed, and oven-roasted.

So, often enough, long about this time of the year, when the weather turns cold, I will get some bell peppers from the store and roast them.

I don’t really do anything special—it’s about a 45-minute process total, but dagnabbit, they turn out so tasty!

So, here’s my prep, complete with pictures.

First, I foil-line my pans, even the non-stick ones. Bell peppers stick. I also coat the foil with a thin layer of olive oil. Then, I cut the bell peppers into chunks and place them skin-down on the foil.

IMG_0152

After that, I pour a little more olive oil on the peppers, as well as some “Italian Street Fair” from the Spice & Tea Exchange. I stir the peppers to coat them.

IMG_0154

IMG_0155

Next, I add some pepper, thyme, basil, and rosemary and stir some more, and put the peppers in at 425 F for 15 minutes.

IMG_0157

IMG_0156

After 15 minutes, I check and stir the peppers, then set the timer for another 20 minutes.

IMG_0158

Tasty!

IMG_0159

IMG_0160

Advertisements

Who Kills the Spiders?

WARNING: This post contains emotions. Sappy emotions, mostly. I am not ashamed.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not an expert at everyone’s relationship. Sometimes, I’m not even an expert at mine. But we’re getting married, so I’m pretty sure we’re doing at least something right… My point is that if you’re looking for advice on how to make your relationship work, it may be that some or all of the below won’t apply. Also, I’m not sure how you happened upon this if you’re looking for advice.

I’ve given a lot of thought to what it means to be ready to spend the rest of my life with someone else. Which is, y’know, kind of a thing, given that the fiancé and I are going to be married next year. If we didn’t think we were ready, we wouldn’t be planning.

But how did I get here, I sometimes find myself wondering. I can’t pin down an exact day. What I do remember is this: It wasn’t a petulant “I don’t wanna live my life without him” or a desperately dramatic “I simply can’t go on without him”; it was something deeper and much more profound than that. But that was more or less when I really solidly knew. It was when a large chunk of the puzzle of life slid very soundly into place.

I mean, I’d had moments of that before, but nothing so sudden and so deep. I’d been pretty sure, but this was pushing me over into “I know I’m sure” territory.

All I mean to say is that while a lot of it came upon me at once, it has been and still is something of an ongoing realization. It’s not just the big things, as they say.

Quite frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

It’s realizing that I can see myself doing things like voting and taxes and the census and getting a mortgage with him. It’s seeing myself doing even the more mundane things—things we already do, like going grocery shopping together or texting “I need x, y, and z… what else do we need from Safeway?”. It’s deciding what to make for dinner together, and then having a bit of an impromptu dance while waiting for the water to boil or the oven to come to the correct temperature. (We both turn up the music when we cook.) It’s knowing that these things are mundane and still managing to find the occasional way to treasure them.

It’s knowing that we can laugh and learn together. It’s poking gentle fun at each other. (“What do you mean, you’ve never ______? What kind of childhood did you have, anyway?”) It’s knowing when to back down and when to stand ground. It’s making the effort to stay calm even when upset, and knowing when to apologize.

It’s seeing the look in his eyes and not being able to put into words how it makes me feel. It’s cuddling on the sofa or the bed at night, and knowing where to find him when I have nightmares.

It’s having completely separate days sometimes, and still being able to come back at night to just be content with each other.

It’s feeling attractive whether in pajamas with floofy sleep-hair, or all dolled up for work or an outing.

It’s reminding about a shirt tuck-in or a hair combing. It’s asking him which scarf would go better with my top because he’s Mr. Visual Aesthetics and I’m… not.

It’s knowing that neither of us is perfect, and sometimes getting annoyed at the other’s quirks, but maintaining that we’d still have each other no other way.

It’s feeling totally safe and totally at ease and just plain at home. It’s trusting in our love.

It’s giving music I didn’t think I’d like a try, and giving my honest opinion when I don’t. It’s reading too much into media sometimes, and the conversations that come from that.

It’s that silent confirmation that yes, sometimes I do sound exactly like this or that relative.

It’s sometimes stepping back and going “What the hell are we doing?” and very swiftly answering that with “Enjoying life together.”

It’s finding out something new about him and going “How did I not know this before?”

It’s so very simple that it’s in everything. Some time ago, the fiancé’s younger brother said he had a relationship question for us.

“Who kills the spiders in your relationship?”

The answer we gave is that neither of us do (well, unless we were to find a poisonous one or something), but that whoever finds it traps it and sets it free. It’s what works for us. But it might not work for everyone. I certainly wouldn’t force the fiancé to trap and release spiders if he had a crippling fear of them. But, all things being equal on the fear front, whoever finds it deals with it.

And I guess that’s the biggest thing: this is an equal partnership. Maybe not an even one—maybe one of us does more of the cooking or cleaning, and maybe the other shops for groceries more or something. But we complement each other. I’d like to think that we’re each whole on our own, and that together, we’re something more than that.

What I do know is at the end of the day, we are two people making our way through this crazy, unpredictable, funny, scary world together (but not just on our own!), and we wouldn’t have it any other way.