Sunday, April 1, 2012

Life updates and seasoned fries

Edit: I should clarify that it is a coincidence that I posted this on April Fool's day, when apparently most posts on the Internet are a joke. 

I know that the blog has been rather quiet lately. I mean, a little more than usual. This is largely because of some big decisions/events that happened in the last month. The first, which is fantastic (but not life-altering) is that I have gotten a job. Not only that, but I am thrilled to be doing data entry instead of some kind of cleaning job. I have been grateful for my various housecleaning/janitorial/room attendant jobs in the past, but scrubbing toilets gets a little old. So having this job is great. But between working full time and commuting ~45 minutes each way, I am left with very little time for experimenting with new recipes.

The other big thing from the last four weeks is much more life-altering. I have been accepted into graduate school, which is thrilling and also a little terrifying. Last month, the Man and I visited the school (University of Wyoming), and were impressed by the campus, the research, and the people. It will not be at all like living in the Willamette Valley, but I think we will like it there. Both the trip and making this decision has also contributed to our hectic schedule as of late, though.

The campus is quite pretty.

Being from Oregon, it is weird to see the quad (which they call "the Pasture") covered in snow rather than mud.

Lots of beautiful views around Laramie.

Also: snow. Lots of snow.

So we are eating a lot of simple, quick dinners. That often means a rotisserie chicken from Fred Meyer, salad, and fries.

The Man came up with with method for doing fries, and it is brilliant. Normally I dislike oven fries, but these are fantastic, and we eat them at least once a week.

Begin by purchasing a bag of frozen shoestring fries. Any brand of frozen fries is fine, but I think this works the best with the shoestring cut.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil if you want to have less cleanup work.

Pour out as many fries as you intend to eat onto the baking sheet. This was maybe a quarter of the bag. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil onto the pile of fries. Season to taste; for the amount of fries the two of us eat, I use a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of black pepper, and about a half teaspoon of Italian seasoning (I highly recommend the McCormick Grinder italian seasoning, we use it on everything).

Toss the fries until the oil and spices coat them evenly. Spread the fries out into as even a layer as possible.

Bake for 7 minutes. Remove the fries, and add more seasoning if desired. I usually do up to a teaspoon total of Italian seasoning. Toss the fries again, and bake for 6-8 more minutes, until the fries have some nice golden brown edges. It is very easy to over or undercook the fries, so keep a close eye on them towards the end.

And there you have it! An easy, really tasty, and not too-unhealthy side dish for a quick meal. Also: naturally dairy-free and gluten-free.

Fries right out of the bag.

After tossing them in oil and seasoning.

The baked fries, with my dinner.