Chemical reactions with beets

With some of the CSA produce I got this week I made some stew from Rachel Ray’s website.  I’m not a huge Rachel Ray fan or anything, but when I asked Mike what he felt like me making for him he suggested beef stew with “some new root vegetables”.  Usually I just put in potatoes, carrots, and onions.  Mike suggested parsnips, but when I looked for them at the grocery store there was not a parsnip to be found.  I’ve seen them at the store before, so I assume that they’re just not in season right now.  Instead, I got a giant turnip.  This is definitely the first time I have ever bought a turnip.  It might be the last too.  That turnip was extremely difficult to cut.  I thought I was going to break my knife.  It’s fortunate to have survived intact.  I basically cut the recipe in half and I didn’t make the topping, even though the orange zest looked intriguing.

On to unanswerable questions.  Like, why have I been so into Maroon 5 music the past few weeks?  I think it’s payback for me because a few years ago I told Mike I couldn’t stand Maroon 5’s music.  To be fair, their music has come a long way since “Moves Like Jagger”.  (I know everyone else likes that song, but I just can’t get into it.)  I am ashamed to admit that at work today I focused hard on writing code and I listened to “Love Somebody”, “One More Night”, and “Payphone” on endless repeat.  What is wrong with me??  Mike has been making fun of me for listening to them since I was so emphatic about not liking their music a few years ago.

Mike and I missed our 7-month anniversary date night last week because he was really tired after work on Friday, so instead we went out for a date night over the weekend.  We went to Eva, a quaint little restaurant in Tangletown, yet another district in Seattle.  It’s only a few miles from our apartment, so I don’t know why we haven’t gone there much, but at least we got there on Friday!  The food was pretty good.  I had the Fava Felafel with Green Beans and it was good, but honestly not as good as the Israeli falafel I get from one of the food trucks downtown.   That truck is known for having amazing falafel though, so I guess I’m not surprised.  Mike had strips of beef sauteed with potatoes, peas, and carrots, and said it was good.  The crowd at Eva was an interesting mix.  It seemed as though half the people were around Mike’s and my age and other half were in their seventies.  It seemed like a very oddly polarized group of people.  Maybe we just caught Eva on a weird night.  The staff was friendly and attentive and the restaurant itself had the feel of a quaint old country kitchen, which was charming and different than the type of restaurant we usually go to, so it was a nice change.

When we came home we found Piper in her 3D mock TV house.  See the previous blog post if you have more questions about 3D mock TV’s and their place in our apartment.

Piper in the TV

Piper in the TV


Mike and I were driving to the store over the weekend and were just passing the hardware store near our house, when I glanced out of the passenger window and saw someone who looked extremely similar to Eddie Vedder (the lead singer of the band Pearl Jam).  He was walking out of the hardware store and towards a pickup truck parked out front only about twenty feet from me.  He lives in Seattle, so it wasn’t unthinkable that that could actually be him.  I quickly turned to Mike.

“Mike!  I think I might have just seen Eddie Vedder!!”

“What?  Where?”

“Coming out of the hardware store!”

“Do you want me to turn around and we can see?”

“No… he was headed towards a truck so he’s leaving.”

“Yeah.  And if it is him, he’s probably going to this hardware store because it’s small and out-of-the-way and he’s not likely to attract attention.  Anyway, there’s no way to ever know if it was him.”

I fell silent.  And then I dug out my iPhone.  “Well, I’m at least going to try to find out whether or not Eddie Vedder drives a truck.”

Mike shrugged and kept driving.  Shockingly, I found an interview on the internet in which Eddie Vedder was asked a question and he began answering it by saying, “Well, today I went to the hardware store, and I put a couple of things in the back of my truck.”  His answer to the question ultimately had nothing to do with either a hardware store or a pickup truck, but I read the transcript aloud to Mike triumphantly.

“Yeah, I guess what more could you have hoped to find?” Mike grinned.  “You now know he drives a pickup truck and goes to hardware stores so seeing him come out of a hardware store and head towards a truck is as plausible as you could hope for.”

Mike had to pick up some pictures for some film he’d had developed at Moon Photo Lab, and since we were passing PCC, our local all-natural grocery store, I asked him if we could stop in there.  I had heard that they had just opened a juice/smoothie bar and I was super interested.  They had indeed opened their juice bar, and Mike got a strawberry banana pineapple smoothie and a got a pineapple green juice smoothie.  Mike and I both agreed that the drinks were excellent.  There wasn’t any filler or added ingredients or “smoothie mix” or anything… just pureed fruits and vegetables.  Yum!  I HAVE to start juicing and blending at home!  Why do I not already do that?  Why is the blender so intimidating to me??

Step 2 of the name-changing process has been completed.  I went to the licensing office and got my driver’s license changed.  I have a temporary one now and I’ll get the new one sometime this week.  On the plus side, my new driver’s license photo is better than the last one.  One the negative side, my passport picture is still terrible.  Why won’t they allow you to smile on those things??  I try to keep a straight face and end up just looking like I’m grimacing or something.  Hence the comments like the one I got from the customs guy when Mike and I were coming back from Vancouver.  “That passport photo doesn’t look like you.”  I guarantee if I were allowed to smile the passport photo would look a lot more like me.  Oh well.  🙂

Last night I heated up some chicken noodle soup for Mike and gave him the last of the beets.  He had some soup and then tried some beets and wrinkled his nose and coughed.

“This isn’t good.”

“What?  The beets?”

“Yeah.  They don’t mix with chicken soup.”


“Yeah.  They taste really weird now that I’ve had some chicken soup.”

After a long history with Mike I saw exactly where he was going with this.

“So you don’t want to finish them?”

“Well, it’s not that I don’t want to.  It’s just that they taste different now.”

“What do you mean ‘now’?”

“Now that I’ve had chicken soup.  I think there’s some kind of chemical reaction.  The beets tasted fine before the chicken soup.”

“And now that you’ve had the chicken soup you don’t like them?”

“It’s not that I don’t like them.  They just make me grimace.  I think it’s a chemical reaction.  If we knew more about chemistry we’d probably know why.  Something in the soup is reacting with something in the beets.”

I probably don’t even have to state that I was highly doubtful of this explanation.  I have seen Mike come up with some pretty interesting reasons to avoid eating vegetables, although I will grant that this was more creative than usual.  Usually he doesn’t try to argue his point using chemistry.  So I am unsure whether there’s actually a chemical reaction that took place that ruined these beets for Mike or not.  Some questions are unanswerable, and I suspect both this and my sudden affinity for Maroon 5 might be among them.

Tuesdays are typically my busiest day of the week.  Work is usually very busy, and then I rush from work to pick up the CSA produce, rush from there home to put away the produce, and then rush to yoga.  I did all those things today and got to yoga with exactly one minute to spare and with sweat dripping down my face from running to the studio in the 85 degree heat.  But yoga was really good… very relaxing, which is exactly what I need on Tuesdays.

When I got home I discovered that I can’t tolerate lilies.  Or at least giant lilies.  The CSA produce this week came with some absolutely gorgeous lilies.

So big and beautiful.  And so strongly scented.

So big and beautiful. And so strongly scented.

To (mis)quote the Wizard of Oz, pay no attention to that blue thermos in the foreground.

Or the bananas on the counter either for that matter.  Only look at those bright and beautiful lilies.  I’m just not good enough at photography to compose my shots such that I crop out extraneous kitchen details.  🙂

I loved the lilies, but every time I entered the kitchen I just smelled pollen overwhelmingly strongly.  It was so distracting that I had to throw them away.  I honestly feel guilty about it.  However, every time I pass the trash can where they reside and my head starts to feel stuffed with pollen, I feel like I made the right choice.

Mike and I put a couch cover over the leather couch.  It’s the same one that I had over my couch before Mike and I moved to our new apartment, so Piper was very familiar with it.  When we put it on the couch she got really happy, jumped around on it, and then made herself a nest in the corner.

I would stop posting pictures of my cat if she weren't so cute

I would stop posting pictures of my cat if only she weren’t so cute.

Mike has been very busy at work because one of his coworkers is out for the week.  I think we’ll both be ready for the weekend.  I hope everyone else is having a good week and staying cool!  From the news I’ve seen, our 85 degree weather is nothing compared to what most of the country is experiencing!



Filed under Beets, Cooking, CSA, Dogs + Cats, Maroon 5, Pearl Jam, Pictures

3 responses to “Chemical reactions with beets

  1. I seriously started reading this thinking that you were going to mention that pee turns pink when you eat too many beets. I’ve never heard about the chicken soup reaction.

  2. Karen Homer

    Karena, I think what you bought was a rutabega, which is a turnip, but not a standard turnip. A regular turnip is smaller and easier to cut.
    Interestingly, mashed rutabega is a Homer family tradition on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they are hard to cut. I cut them into squares and boil them until soft, then mash with a little butter. Yum!

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