Life With Mice and Cooking Kale: The True Story of a Girl, Her Fat, Lazy Dog, and the Mice Who Keep Her Up At Night

Last night I had my neighbors and Andrew over for dinner. I made Gypsy Soup, this fantastic recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook where the flavor is mostly in the broth’s spices and you can pretty much dump whatever vegetables you need to be using up in it. Since I’m leaving my cabin in 15 days, I’ve been trying to eat down all my food, so this soup was perfect. Plus, it’s called Gypsy Soup. I mean, how can you go wrong, right?

The last day on the Ocoee was Sunday!
The last day on the Ocoee was Sunday!

Anne and her family are the absolute most fun to have over. The kids run around the house, playing with pillows, blankets, hot pads while Anne maintains a conversation with us amid the chaos. At one point the youngest boy is bound to end up on my couch wailing, while the dogs devour bones and the oldest son helps himself to the contents of my fridge. I absolutely love it. It’s like having a big family for an hour or so.

Anyhow, the dinner was great. We ate thick slices of country bread dipped in the broth and discussed winter plans, kayaking, and growing older. They left and I cleaned up and tucked myself into bed with my new book and some popcorn. The house was quiet, peaceful and I curled up with Pigeon. All is well.

My Fat, Useless, Lazy but oh so Loveable Dog
My Fat, Useless, Lazy but oh so Loveable Dog

I turned out my light, rolled over and curled up. A few minutes later I heard it, the unquestionable sound of a mouse helping himself to the wood in my dresser. I turned on my light just in time to see it scurry across the floor. GRR! I thought I had gotten rid of them!

I hate mice. They keep me up at night, destroy my food, and poop everywhere. Sure enough, all night I woke up. Was that a leaf falling on the roof or a mouse?! This morning I crawled out of bed sleepily, went to make coffee and sure enough, as I reached for a spoon I saw fresh poop littering the silverware tray.

So now I’m scouring the Internet for live catch boxes. Such is life in a cabin on top of a mountain.

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I thought I’d write out how I like to cook kale. Everyone has a different way of cooking it, but here’s a basic way I like to make it. Then I store it in a Tupperware and either eat it straight, or in sandwiches.

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First: I smash a few cloves of garlic (like 2-3). I heat up some olive oil (maybe a tablespoon) on medium heat in a skillet. While the garlic is cooking, I start chopping an entire bunch of kale. Usually I slice it off the stalk, roll it up and just slice little ribbons. Once the garlic is about cooked, I add the kale, making sure I stir it to get it covered in the olive oil. Once it’s about cooked, I squeeze half a lemon over it. Here’s why: The acid in the lemon cuts down on the bitterness of the kale, and also plant based iron is more easily absorbed in the presence of Vitamin C. Now, you can cook the S*** out of the kale, like collards, if you want. But I prefer to cook it until it’s just barely started to wilt. Then it’s still kind of crunchy, and will soften as you leave it to cool in the pan.

Like I said, there are a million ways to eat kale. This is just an easy one I like. And sometimes I pour soy sauce over it as it cooks too, that’s also delicious.

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