Thanks, Santa!

Look what came in the mail, right before Christmas! It was actually a very T-shirty Christmas, as Jeff gave me a baker’s dozen of graphic T-shirts that he had been stealthily acquiring (which explains why he was so secretive when a padded envelope from Woot would arrive in the mail). A few came from the Nike Store, including one of my favorites: “You say elevator, I say stairs.” Yeah! For the upcoming school term, I proclaim every Friday to be Graphic T-shirt Friday. I think I’ll start with my new Eat More Kale T-shirt. Seems appropriate.
And look! I got new knives!
This was a much-appreciated gift from my dad and stepmom, as our knives are hit-and-miss. We have a few good ones, and a lot of dangerously dull ones. These knives are seriously sharp, and made in Oregon, so they’re local. Bonus!
I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. We had a good time with my family in Oregon, and had what may be the most perfect Christmas dinner: Stuffed pork loin, garlicky roasted Yukon Gold potato wedges, coconutty fruit salad (all prepared by my stepmom), a huge green salad with goodies like pears and pecans (courtesy of my figure-competitor stepsister-inlaw) and beautiful crisp-tender green beans and shallots (courtesy of my future marathon runner sister). I made the gingerbread bundt cake from the Full Circle e-book, and it is a keeper of a recipe. It had a bit of a kick to it, which I think is from the cloves. A few people asked if there was black pepper in it, which there isn’t, although I’ve seen some spiced dessert recipes do use pepper for the kick.

Good times, but it’s also good to be back home! We don’t have anywhere to go this week, and although I am working (telecommuting), I’m on vacation from school, giving me time to fit in extra exercise, extra cooking time, and extra time to do a little organizing and cleaning. It’s bliss!
I’m actually keeping dinner simple tonight. Here’s the recipe: Throw one pound pinto beans in a pot. Cover with water to 1″ above the beans. Add ham hock. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer, then cook until tender (adding more water if needed). Add spices of choice (I’ll add cumin and granulated garlic…no salt needed thanks to the ham hock). We’ve done this a few times in the last month or two. It makes a ton of tasty leftovers that are delicious with cooked greens, with eggs, with rice, thinned as soup, and so on. Tonight I’ll serve them with rice, avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro and a little red onion. Bon appetit!