October 26th, 2019

Spooky Prep

Another week!

I started a new role at work this week. Coaching new hires as they complete training. It's a little weird because I feel like I was just in training like yesterday! And I'm not sure how much wisdom I've got to impart, ya know? But I'm just trying to emulate the good coaching I received during training. Giving positive feedback, answering questions, etc. Hopefully I can help someone to start this job on the right foot.

Jameson wound up his Week Of Endless Gigs with a performance at Boxi Park, a newish location that isn't all that far from our house. Since it was a family event it was earlier in the evening and I was able to attend! We had some good food, and the band sounded great!

Nothing especially thrilling happened for the rest of the week, except we both took advantage of our new gym membership. It's definitely a step up from Planet Fitness; I didn't think a fancier gym (higher price) would make a difference, but it really does. I can look forward to equipment that actually works, and a space that is clean, and some one-on-one coaching. It's really very nice, and I'm glad Jameson brought me on board :) On top of that we've both tried the Swiig smoothies sold at the gym, and they're pretty darned good!

Lately all I seem to post about is food. Well, I have no gigs to practice for, and I have a while before I start school or take on anything new, so hopefully it's a good use of time to cook. Why am I getting defensive about this, omg.

Thursday Jameson had to work at the office, so I did my usual cook-and-clean. Around lunchtime I went to the gym, then hit Target to finally stock up on some Halloween candy! I tried to get good stuff, assuming we have trick-or-treaters (and if we don't then we'll have awesome candy haha)
The food I cooked for dinner wasn't worth photographing, it was just a preseasoned pork roast from Trader Joe's with some mashed potatoes and peas :P
After dinner we watched a few episodes of The Haunting of Hill House and enjoyed a quiet evening together.

On Friday we made plans to go to a haunted maze and forest area at Lake Catherine Blueberries, a local farm.
But before that, I had cooking to do!

For dinner I made red curry coconut chicken meatballs, recipe from Half-Baked Harvest. It's supposed to be a quick 30-minute meal, but it always takes me forever to prep :/ One of the reasons I used to hate cooking is because I was forever getting yelled at for being so slow. Well, I don't have knife skills, so if I want even cuts I have to go slowly. Thankfully Jameson could care less about my prep skills so I don't have to worry about that any more.

Anyway, I chopped peppers, shallots, garlic, and cilantro, then measured out coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, and red curry.
I made the meatballs by hand and cooked them in the oven while the veggies simmered on the stove, then brought them together over white basmati rice with a mango jalapeno lime chutney. It's a really good recipe and I enjoyed making it :)

But the showstopper this week was dessert! I decided to try an apple crumble (or crisp, if you like.)
Originally I had wanted to make it in the cast iron skillet, but the recipe I wanted wouldn't fit. Maybe next time!
I used Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, peeling about 2/3's of them and leaving the others with their skins on.

I soaked the sliced apples overnight in bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. In the morning they were looking pretty dang good!!

I covered them with the crumble, which was flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar, salt, and butter. After an hour in the oven the house was smelling fantastic indeed.

We decided to put off dessert until after the haunted maze as it was getting close to that time.
We drove out to the farm, which like many farms was in the middle of nowhere. More creepy that way ;)

First we visited the pumpkin patch to find carving pumpkins for Halloween! There were many beautiful pumpkins to choose from.

Jameson found one of the most perfect pumpkins ever, with a smooth face and excellent shape for carving.
I found...well...let's just say I turned a corner, saw it sitting there, and it was love at first sight!!
I knew it was the right pumpkin because as soon as I picked it up the vendor exclaimed, "Wow, that's one ugly pumpkin!" and a random kid walking by said "Eew, look at it!" Yep. This is the one.

We happily loaded our finds into the car, then went to the country shop to look around. We found honey and blueberry jam both made right at the farm, and blueberry lemonade! Awesome!

After loading THOSE in the car, we did our first maze, a scavenger hunt in a hemp field!

It started off pretty easy, but as dusk fell it became harder and harder to see and more and more creepy!
At one point we almost gave up because it started to rain. But determined, we forged onward and found the last two items! Yay!!
We took our completed punchcards back to the country store and received a free blueberry lemonade! Yay!

Around back there was a bar. Jameson got a bloody Mary and I just had them dump a shot into my lemonade. We sipped our drinks and enjoyed the fresh air and some nice live music.

Soon it was time for the haunted maze. We took a hayride out to the maze, where we were accosted by clowns, chainsaw-weilding freaks, and Children of the Corn! This maze was staffed mostly by children...Jameson's friend told us that they start out as scarers, then get to move up to other roles as they grow older. Really cool! We had a few surprises and scares and had a great time!

My favorite part was when one ghoul whispered in my ear, "Will you be my friend? Be my best friend. That means you die first." NICE LINE!!!

After that, we did the haunted forest! That was REALLY cool. It had rained so it was kinda muddy, but tarps had been put down so we could still get through the maze. At one point we almost got separated because two creatures locked us in a cage with a dirty mattress, then one chased Jameson out while the other locked me in! Yeek!

The woods were just naturally creepy at night, and a lot of the effects used were really good. It was a lot of fun! It's been a while since we've gotten to do a good haunted "house" experience!

We drove home through the creepy burbs, and waiting for us on the counter was the apple crumble and some vanilla ice cream. Oh my goodness, after an evening of fall scares, it was SO GOOD.

Now it's Saturday and I'm getting ready to go to work. Halloween is coming...I hope we are ready!