Sunday, November 30, 2008
And so another November full of posts ends. 3rd year trying, 2nd year successful.
This year, it wasn't really hard at all. Considering I've hardly posted this year, and switching into posting everyday was strangely an easy transition. I think it made it so much easier because I didn't stress about it. It was more just a matter of fact. "Honey, I gotta got write a post, be right back." was heard often.
I don't know if I'll keep it up in December, we'll see. I don't feel compelled to do it nor do I feel burnt out.
Here are some updates on some posts from this month:
Felled Down and Felled Down Update: Oddly enough, my foot still hurts. My big toe joint seems to be the main issue, although all of the toes are not quite right on that foot. I can't go up on my toes (not even downward dog), and I can't jog, and I can only do short walks (1 mile max). I'm gonna try to get to the doctor next week just to make sure something bad isn't going on.
We'll See: The hair color... yea, it's fine. The bright red/burgandy has faded and it's looking pretty good.
Is It Worth It?: NOPE! I totally slept in. If I happen to of woken up I might have gone to hit the sales but I totally had a lazy Friday at home. It was awesome!
Hope all of you who took the challenge had a good time, and those of you who didn't take the challenge but read along, I hope I didn't totally bore you!
On to December!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
- Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
- Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
- Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
- Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
1. Venison - The gamier the better!
2. Nettle tea - Eric picked the stinging nettles and made a lovely tea out of it. Unfortunately he wasn't careful and some brushed against his leg while picking. Ouchy!
3. Huevos rancheros - One of my favorite breakfasts! I still remember my first time having this was at my High School Senior breaksfast. We had it at a Mexican restaurant and hired a commedian. Good fun!
4. Steak tartare - Oh, yummy! While I can usually do without the egg, do enjoy this dish. I had Kobe tartare once on a busines trip with a quail egg. It was rich and delicious.
5. Crocodile - I had this in Texas, breaded and fried. Well maybe it was allegator, but that's close enough right?
6. Black Pudding - Blech. Generally I stay away from the congelled blood items.
7. Cheese fondue - My mom made this a few times growing up and I've made it at home too but I can only eat so much. I've always wanted to go to a REAL fondue place where you get the whole meat in oil or broth fondue and the chocolate fondue too! I still think about it and REALLY want to go. Someday.
8. Carp - Yup. My dad used to cook carp all the time.
9. Borscht - I've had a few kinds of borscht. My favorite is white or green borsct although I do enjoy a good beet borsct. There is a little Russian/Ukranian restaurant a few blocks from my work and I love going up there on a cold day.
10. Baba ghanoush - Although sometimes I find that it has a bit of a stinging taste to it, sometimes Eggplant is like that, I always enjoy it.
11. Calamari - Preferably fried please! Salt and Pepper Squid is a favorite dish of mine.
12. Pho - I have Pho at least once a month, but I usually get BBQ Pork Bun (vermaceli) when I get Vietnamese. Which I have at least once a week. AT LEAST!
13. PB&J sandwich - Most recently made with the plum jam I made over the summer.
14. Aloo gobi - Mmmm!
15. Hot dog from a street cart - Any chance I get!
16. Epoisses - Had to look this one up. I've never had it, but I'd try it. I've never met a cheese I couldn't appreciate. I may not gobble it up, but I'd try it.
17. Black truffle - The last day of culinary school, one of our chefs brought in his personal little stash of black truffles and made us a most esquisite truffle risotto. We were all clammering that in all the while in school we were never given the opportunity to try truffles. We were an awesome class so he personally made sure we got to try it. Since then I've had it at a few birthday dinners and at home I have a black truffle oil but no real truffle in my budget.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - We have a friend that makes blackberry wine. Its yummy!
19. Steamed pork buns - MY ALL TIME FAVORITE! Char Siu Bao was the first dim sum item I knew how to order. My father used to go to Chinatown on Sundays to pick up his weekly Chinese newspapers and would bring home pink boxes tied with string, full of these awesome buns. I would eat 2-3 after school. But he'd always make me steam them to reheat them. Microwaving them was just wrong. Probably the first thing he taught me how to steam.
20. Pistachio ice cream - I've had it a few times, even made it once. Mostly I get it in Spumoni though.
21. Heirloom tomatoes - I love late summer so I can get my hands on ripe heirlooms. My favorite summers were ones where Eric was working at an Organic Farm. Many tomato sandwiches were had those summers.
22. Fresh wild berries - Mostly I've had wild blackberries and huckleberries. We had many up in Canada this summer, and I still remember camping and spending a lot of time picking and eating berries. Hikes along trails with berries always go very slowly.
23. Foie gras - Yum! One of my favorite meals was one where my brother and SIL took me out in celebration of me graduating culinary school. I think every dish had foie gras! They even made us a special foie gras tart as an appitizer. I'd hate to of seen the bill on that meal!
24. Rice and beans - I didn't care for beans and rice as a kid, probably because the only rice I knew was white sticky rice. Now though, love the combo. Very comforting.
25. Brawn or Head Cheese - I've had it. It's not my favorite. I'd rather have a lovely mortedella or salami.
26. Raw Scoth Bonnet pepper - PAINFUL! I'd rather cook with it then eat it raw. I don't need my food to hurt but I do enjoy the heat in a dish. I only tried a tiny little bit and it was enough.
27. Dulce de leche - Adore it! So thick and yummy! I admit I've never made it, only bought it in a can.
28. Oysters - Love them raw or cooked. I used to only like them raw, but then I had an oyster burger at a place in Victoria, BC and now I'm hooked on the fried oyster sandwich.
29. Baklava - This is one of Eric's favorites. I used to find the honey to be too much but now I love it. It has to be light and crunchy though. The really dense varieties don't do it for me.
30. Bagna cauda - Another one I had to look up. I haven't had it but it sounds REALLY good!
31. Wasabi peas - Crunchy, sweet and spicy. Mmm
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl - Yum Yum Yum! I've done this at home and in restaurants but the best is always in San Francisco. Thankfully I live nearby, and used to work there. There was a Boudin's bakery only a few blocks from one of my offices and many a winter day I had this for lunch.
33. Salted Lassi - I know, it sounds odd but I like the Lassi drinks and recently I finally tried the Salted Lassi. It went so well with the spicy food. I've had sweet lassi's that were too sweet, so I much prefer a salted one over a too sweet one. Although I REALLY like the salted Indian lemonade if I can find it.
34. Sauerkraut - Adore it! Preferably with some sausage or pork roast.
35. Root beer float - As long as its scooped ice cream and not soft serve, this is a favorite treat. Coke floats and Orange Soda floats also rock.
36. Cognac - tasted it... don't need to anymore.
37. Clotted Cream Tea - I guess I've had this. I've put clotted cream in tea before if that's what it is.
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O - haha! Jello Shots! I've totally had these... at one point in time maybe a few too many.
39. Gumbo - Ohh! Eric's cousin recently got re-married in New Orleans. I had the BEST GUMBO ever! I also had some not so good Gumbo there. I prefer Jumbalyaya though.
40. Oxtail - Ohh! Oxtail soup! I've had multiple versions of this and have loved them all. Very homey and comforting.
41. Curried goat -I've had goat but never curried goat... that I know of. But I am a fan of curry so I bet I would enjoy this!
42. Whole insects - chocolate covered grasshoppers, ants and grubs. That's about it. Oh... well there was that tequilla worm once.
43. Phaal/span - I haven't had this one, but I would totally try it. But make sure I have a Lassi near by!
44. Goat’s milk - Mmmm yes. Rich! According to a recent Oprah show, apparently it's good for you too!
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more - Oh goodness, I don't remember how much the bottle was but it was A LOT! way more then $120, at least at the bar. Someone else was buying and even though I'm not a huge fan of whiskey, I tried it. It was better then the younger less expensive stuff.
46. Fugu (aka pufferfish) - Maybe someday when I'm off in Japan I'll try this. Living on the edge!
47. Chicken tikka masala - LOVE IT! This was my first favorite Indian dish. Probably because its so um.... American in flavors. :-)
48. Eel - I've had eel a few ways but most often in the form of Unagi. The bowl of tiny eels I could do without again.
49. Kispy Kreme original glazed donut - Eh. I've had many but if they aren't hot off the line then its not worth it. We call them "Hot Nows" in our household and we were very sad the night we went to get some "Hot Nows" and our local Krispy Kreme has closed. SO WRONG!
50. Sea urchin - I've had it. It's ok. There are other sea creature I'd rather eat. Like salmon!
51. Prickly pear - Oh I made prickly pear jelly a few years ago. and my mom brought us prickly pear jelly candies.... sorry mom, we threw them out. Too sweet! Eric has a prickly pear cactus which we are waiting to bloom and fruit.
52. Umeboshi - I had to look it up but YES! I've had it. I do prefer the Chinese variety more though. But that's probably because it's what I grew up with.
53. Abalone - I've had a few friends who would go Abalone diving and we'd have these lovely Abalone dinners. Very lovely.
54. Paneer - My brother makes a mean paneer.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal - And I call myself an American! I've never had a Big Mac! I've had many McDonald's items but never a Big Mac. I'd totally have one, but I tend to order other things.
56. Spaetzle - Anytime I'm at a German restaurant I'll order a side of Spaetzle. I call it "Spattle" though and it drives Eric crazy. Probably because he's German though. It's super easy to make from scratch.
57. Dirty gin martini - Dirty is the only way I like my martini's. Helps to cover up the gin ;-) I'd much rather have a vodka martini if i'm going that route.
58. Beer above 8% ABV - I don't drink much beer anymore but my friends make some pretty good home brews that are easily above 8%! Tasty!
59. Poutine - I've never had poutine but I WANT TO! I love fries and cheese curds and gravy so why not all of it together! I'm hoping someday I'll get to Eastern Canada so I can get the best.
60. Carob chips - Ahh yes, carob. I used to get this in trail mix and the kids that were allergic to milk always had carob. I'd much prefer chocolate anyday.
61. S'mores - For years I found these to be too sweet. But throw on a darker chocolate and I love it. We have few friends who have killer backyards and fire pits and we do smores with wine. It's the best parts of camping out but I still get to sleep in my own bed and take a hot shower!
63. Kaolin - Uhh... never heard of it and even with the internet, I still don't really know what it is. Digestive aid huh? Well, I'm always a fan of helping with the tummy aches.
64. Currywurst - Well I like sausage and I like curry. Why not?
65. Durian - yea, I'm one of the people who like Durian. Sure it smells very strong and tastes of onion, garlic, bananas and other tropical fruits all rolled into one. Oh and the texture is squishy, but I like it!
66. Frogs legs - I've never had it, but I MIGHT try it.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - I LOVE FRIED DOUGH!
68. Haggis - I had it at a Scottish wedding... umm yea.
69. Fried plantain - As long as it is fried up really well, then its really tasty. If its not cooked all the way through, its chaulky and woody.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillett - I've never had chitterlings but I'd try them. I mean, they are fried! And I like "natural casing", so why not.
71. Gazpacho - Perfect summer soup. So flavorful, especially with a splash of really good olive oil.
72. Caviar and blini - Mmmm! I spent a few years catering fancy dinners and I have mad thousands of blini and put together fancy little caviar bites of goodness. If I accidentally made one a little less then round, well I had to get rid of the evidence... with a dollop of creme fraiche and caviar of course.
73. Louche absinthe - I have friends who manage to get their hands on absinthe.. like real absinthe. I'd probably taste it but not DRINK it.
74. Gjetost, or brunost - Again, have never seen a cheese I didn't at least try.
75. Roadkill - Umm... not on purpose unless I was starving... like REALLY starving.
76. Baijiu - I'd sip. You know to try it.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie - Blackberry was my favorite!
78. Snail - Uh, butter and garlic in a shell... with a little chewy bit. SURE! But its a delicacy, not a meal for sure!
79. Lapsang souchong -Many Many cups full!
80. Bellini - Mmmm white peach and champagne. Yum!
81. Tom yum - My first Thai food favorite! Adore this soup! Eric often orders rice so he can stretch this very flavorful soup into a meal.
82. Eggs Benedict - This is my breakfast love. I judge a breakfast joint by its hollandaise but I must try it if they have it.
83. Pocky - There are so many flavors now! This is an office favorite treat. Very easy to share.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant - I've never been to a three-Michelin-star restaurnat but I'd LOVE to! I often get the tasting menu when out for a special meal and I really want to experience the chef's work.
85. Kobe beef - I've had it a few times, and I've also had Wagu Beef, which is the same kind of beef but hasn't been finished in Japan. It really is lovely as long as it isn't cooked beyond medium rare. Kobe tartar was probably the best!
86. Hare - Rabbit is like tender chicken. I've only had little ones, so I don't know if that would be considered "hare".
87. Goulash - I made this once for a report on Hungary. It was tasty.
88. Flowers - Love the edible flowers.
89. Horse - Hmm... I've never had it, but I wouldn't not if I were in a place where that's what they do. My brother said he got pizza in Italy that had horse on it.
90. Criollo chocolate - Oh YEA! I've had lots. Maybe too much.
91. Spam - Fried up with an egg and rice please! Oh, the spicy kind if you got it.
92. Soft shell crab - Spider roll was one of the first sushi rolls I ever tried. I rarely get it now because its a little expensive but its good!
93. Rose harissa - I don't know. know I've had Harissa sauce, but I don't know about rose harissa.
94. Catfish - Plenty of times and I think it tastes like the dirt they eat at the bottom of the crick. Yes I said Crick!
95. Mole poblano - Mmm Hmmm!
96. Bagel and lox - Yes please! I hate to pay for it, but I do love to eat it!
97. Lobster Thermidor - I love lobster, but I'd be afraid that the thermidor part would just loose out on the awesomeness that lobster is. Oh, but don't worry I'm sure I'd eat it and LOVE it!
98. Polenta - I go through stages where I'll make a ton of polenta. Of course I make it with a bunch of cream and cheese. Oh yea!
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - So nice! I'm not a coffee snob, but I will never pass up Jamaican Blue Mountain. It's very good.
100. Snake - Like crocodile, I've only have had it fried so it wasn't very distinctive.
Wow, that was surprising... and took a really long time. I have a lot of bold going on up there and not too many crossed out. I'm a fan of food and eating and trying things so it's not too surprising I guess.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I started out watching TLC mainly for shows like 'What Not to Wear' and 'Trading Spaces' (which I'm so over!), but these family shows bring out the voyeur in me and I guess maybe my love of sociology. 'Little People, Big World' sucked me in really fast. Watching the kids grow up and the whole family dealing with adversity, different challenges and well... differing personalities. I found it fascinating.
And now, I fully admit I am one of the people out there who have fallen completely in love with the Gosselins from 'Jon & Kate Plus 8'. Sure they fight, and they don't always speak kindly to each other, but I love that they are REAL. Their kids are adorable (I want Asian babies!) and all very different. I realize there is a lot of controversy around them making money off of their kids, but I guess it's up to them and well... I am fully guilty of enjoying watching their kids grow up and Jon and Kate figuring out parenting with 8 kids. There is also a fair amount of "is this real" rumors, but whatever . Do what you gotta do!
Recently, TLC started airing a commercial campaign for their "Family Monday Nights" which I feel is so well done that I must share it here. The song is "Beautiful Life" by Fisher, which I was so happy to find and had to buy. The three shows they are promo'ing here are 'Jon & Kate plus 8', 'Little People, Big World', and the new 'Twins, Twins & Sextuplets' (so new, it doesn't even have a web page yet).
Then Jon and Kate had a few episodes showing their Vow Renewal in Hawaii. This commercial actually gets me choked up. I don't know if it's the loving smiles at the beginning, or the lighting, or more of this song which I love. Just a REALLY well produced 30 second spot.
I know, I know. Totally guilty!
BTW - if you look up these commercials on YouTube, many people have posted videos they took of their TV's. I guess we're not the only ones who thought they were well done. Eric and I actually TiVo'd the commercial and watched it multiple times. (CRAZY!)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
And a belated Thanksgiving to my friends up North!
Tonight my parents came over for a fairly simple meal to celebrate Thanksgiving and my father's birthday. I forgot to make the rolls, and then I forgot to put the baked potatoes in to bake, the grill flamed up while I wasn't paying attention and put a little extra "color" and "crust of flavor" on the ribeyes, but in the end it all turned out just fine. We had a lovely meal, and visit.
The only sad part of the night was knowing my brother was up in Canada alone tonight. His wife went home for a surprise party for her mom and my brother had to work. I wish he could have come down to have dinner with us but the 20 hour drive was a bit much. Although I did ask! Multiple times! Maybe next year.
I hope you all had wonderful times with your families tonight.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
While we were there he did find his pants (very happy boy! and one who will now wait for me to do my thing since he's had a successful trip).
I went wandering into the massive piles of denim to see about finding a new pair of jeans. I had gained some weight recently and out of my large stash of jeans, I've only been able to fit into a single pair. Yes, this means I've been doing laundry multiple times a week because this girl pretty much just wears jeans and t-shirts and when she only has one pair to wear.... well, you get the idea.
I had to dig through piles of jeans to find the style and size I like. While in the dressing room with my find, I overheard that all denim would be one sale 50% on Black Friday. Now I knew why there was such a mass of jeans all over the place, piled high on tables instead of in the normally pretty neat stacks. The manager was telling a woman she could bring her receipt back on Friday to get the price match, but she'd have to wait in like with everyone else.
I hemmed and hawed about coming back on Friday to try to dig through the stacks again to find my size/style or to come back with my receipt both while dealing with long lines and crowds (at 5am mind you!). While these jeans aren't designer jeans expensive, I don't sneeze at the $30 price tag. I decided to walk out with my full priced jeans and haven't decided if getting up at 5am and standing in line outside is worth the savings. I did get 2 pairs, so that would be like getting a pair for free. errrr... is my sleep and sanity worth it?
Will I even try to do any shopping on Friday?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I'm finding I'm in this position a whole lot lately. Laying here, with my laptop propped up just so typing away. Usually I have at least one cat squishing on me and keeping me company (my favorite part of working from home on occasion.). I had my handy phone with headset with me for my calls into meetings, and a jug of water by my side. I was set!
Funny how while I don't feel like I exert much more energy while I'm at the office, this whole working from bed thing finally left me sort of energized by the evening, instead of crashing the moment I got home from my commute. Don't worry, I'm still just about to fall asleep which I'm off to do now. Good night!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I CAN HEAR YOUR MUSIC AND I DON'T WANT TO! AND I SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO CONSIDERING YOU ARE 5 ROWS OF SEATS AWAY FROM ME!
Seriously, this guy is a fair distance away from me and has ear buds in, but I can hear his music loud and clear. Now I'm not saying I don't like his music (though its not my taste) but the point of the ear phones is to keep the music to yourself. And if his music is that loud, I'm thinking his ears are not really enjoying being beat down upon.
Thankfully he got off the train only 20 minutes into my ride, as I would not have been able to stand that for the hour and a half. I was kinda trying to catch his eye to ask him to turn it down, but also kind of felt wrong to ask. Isn't that sad that we are all in our own little worlds that even though something someone else is doing is affecting me I didn't feel right to ask him to change his actions.
Oh, and now there is a guy behind me crunching on something really loud. Maybe I'm just sensitive and cranky today. (CLOSE YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU CHEW PLEASE!)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I roasted a bone-in turkey breast which I had brined in a fairly simple brine of brown sugar, kosher salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves. I roasted it over a mound of mirepoix and herbs, which made for a very rich and dark pan gravy (almost beef like!). I prepared bourbon candied yams, sour cream mashed potatoes, celery dressing, green beans tossed with bacon, garlic and shallots and a spicy zinfandel apple and cranberry sauce. I also had 2 pies for her to choose from, dutch apple cheesecake pie made with a pecan shortbread crust, and my usual pumpkin pie.
My mom has a rather small appetite so she had a small sampling of each dish and then we packed her up enough left overs to last her a good few days. My father was working while we were eating, but I figured he doesn't care for turkey anyway, so this was her special meal. He'll get his on Thursday.
As we digested our feasts, I washed up all of the dishes so I wouldn't have to deal with them later. Then we played a few hands of Squeek, her favorite card game, which is what our family calls a card game which I've heard also called Nerts, Pounce, and Squeal. We each won a hand, which I find very exciting because I am super competitive with this gave, I had to be if I were to ever stand a chance against my grandmother, mother, and older brother. Head down and serious all the time is the way I play. But a few years ago I begged and begged Eric to play with us as I really valued playing cards with my family. It was our thing. He's not a fan of the cards, but over the last year he has really given it his all, and even will go over to my parents house and play with my mom (isn't he sweet?!). So the fact that he won the last hand was huge (we hardly even helped him this hand).
We ended my mom's special evening with a slice of pumpkin pie and a luxurious dollop of whipped cream.
My mom has been battling some sort of illness which has had doctors baffled (once she finally went back to see them after suffering and getting worse) and has kept her very down and out of things for a good 6 months, so it's been a while since I spent a good afternoon with my mom. She appears to be on the mend, with her team of specialists and her whole slew of inhalers and medications and treatments. She is finally able to sleep laying down without coughing and for a luxurious 5 hours in a row. Finally her body can rest so she can start to heal. Her energy level is so much better and her general well being is greatly improved.
It was great to spend this afternoon with her and to be able to share a special meal with her that was made just for her. This ended up being a very lovely day.
And now... I'm pooped and going to bed. :-)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
So you know how those highlights are lighter then my base color so of course they are going to take the color differently. Well, apparently there was a lot of red in that there glazing as I now have some serious burgundy going on. The highlights didn't exactly fade away, but I'd say they are much brighter now but now way red.
We're going to see how it looks after a bit of time and then I may be going back under the bottle (which is so not the preference). Granted, she was using a more natural product then usual and the salon doesn't have a ton of experience with this brand so um.... we'll see. It's not bad, it's just not what I had asked for and she was honest and said it was not what she had expected either. Back in the day, I used to actually get burgundy highlights like this, you know back when I was 20.
I'd throw out a picture, but I'm dead tired and I look it and we wouldn't want to document that now would we?
**Update** I just washed it (again) and more color came out so maybe it really will fade. But still, not what I was hoping for.
Friday, November 21, 2008
This is just too cute, and I completely feel that these images used my cats as models in their making. Go here... laugh, and then make sure to watch your back for the feline who is considering world domination.
I took the quiz, and I think I should sleep with lights on tonight.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Today is my mom's birthday, and while I know my mom doesn't read this here blog (that I know of), I still want to wish her a very happy birthday!
While my mom is getting up there in years, she is still a very active young lady. She is a member of a marching handbell choir, plays the organ and directs the handbell choir at her church, directs a singing group who visits Convalescent Hospitals and Assisted Living facilities multiple times a week, and most of her time is spent teaching piano and voice to a number of kids in her home piano studio. Her schedule is exhausting.
I hope when I am her age, that I am still as active and lively as she is.
Happy Birthday Mommy!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Not quite ready for this yet. Not at all!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This hike was at a park I'd never been too, oddly enough it was only about 12 miles from my office. I wasn't too keen on reliving my daily commute on the weekend but I'm glad I did. I hadn't hiked with this group for over 4 years, and many of these ladies I hadn't seen for over 5. It was a great time to get out and meet new people and visit a new park.
It was a beautiful day, at least 75 degrees with blue skies (yes, in November). It was a great day to be in a forest and trekking up what seemed to be a never ending hill. Of course when we keep going up for a few hours, the route back down is so rewarding and quick, abet a little tough on the knees. It really was a lovely day.
Of course today finds me sore and pooped. Good thing nothing more then a few loads of laundry was planned for today. I even got in a little baking since I was having a serious want and desire for blueberry muffins and I knew I had a few bags of organic wild blueberries in the freezer (I love Trader Joe's!). We're trying to eat/cook out of the pantry and freezer as much as possible and only buy what we really need to supplement what we already have. And I very easily was able to make a big batch of muffins. Breakfast for a week!
BTW - Blueberry muffins. With streusel topping or without?
I grew up with my mom making them from a box mix that came with a streusel topping so even though I make mine from scratch, they still must have that sweet and crunchy topping (its only butter, sugar and flour, so simple and makes it so special).
Saturday, November 15, 2008
We finally realized that the cans were so large and full because no one was taking it upon themselves to recycle. While we would still separate and sort and store up our recycling to take to one of the many nearby centers or to my parent's recycling bin which they never filled in a week, everyone else was just throwing everything away.
Now, we didn't ALWAYS recycle everything we could as I'd get sick of the piles and piles of recycling waiting for Eric to load them into the truck. I wouldn't want you to think we were THAT good. But we did give it a really good effort.
Eric talked about going to our HOA meetings for a good 4 years to see what needed to happen to get a recycling program going, but he never did. We just kept doing our part and left it at that.
Last week, I pulled our giant can to the edge of our carport for the last time. When we came home, it had been replaced by 2 brand new smaller cans. One brown for garbage and one blue for recycling. YAY!
Eric immediately cleaned up the patio of all of the recycling which had been waiting to go, and our first home pick up recycling can was full within a few hours. It felt good to pull both of those cans out to be picked up yesterday, and even better to see all of my neighbors doing the same. People will do the right thing.... as long as it's easy.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I brought in two of my favorites, Manchego and Humbolt Fog. The Manchego I find to be rich and almost sweet. A lovely eating cheese. And the Humbolt Fog is a young rind ripened goat milk cheese which was introduced to me in culinary school. It's smooth and creamy, rich with a slight tangy bite. I adore it and it is becoming more and more popular and easier to find.
We had a small turn out but all of the cheeses brought in were quite tasty. I mean, come on now, its CHEESE! And now, I realize I ate too much of it. Not so good times!
Great concept. Need to work on the execution. Balance out the enjoyment with the over indulgence.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I asked my brother if I've always been so protective about food, and he said he doesn't think so. But man, now I am.
I have a co-worker who is working on me to share happily. It's kind of his mission. There are a few restaurants that he knows I like multiple things so he'll suggest sharing. Somedays I'm all into it, and somedays I'm a total grumpy kid about it. Looking at myself from a distance I think its pretty funny. This clip of Joey, from Friends, allows me to get some perspective and a little chuckle too.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I just picked from the list and here goes. Oddly, I think it is pretty right on. I'll give you my answers and below is what the interpretation is about those answers.
- How many slices of pizza do you normally eat? 2
- What kind of crust do you prefer? hand tossed
- What kind of sauce do you prefer? Pesto
- What kind of cheese do you prefer? Extra Mozzarella
- What vegetable topping do you like the best? Mushrooms
- What meat topping do you like the best? Pepperoni
What Your Pizza Reveals
People may tell you that you have a small appetite... but you aren't under eating. You just aren't a pig.
You aren't particularly picky about pizza. It's so good... how could you be? You fit in best in the Western part of the US.
Your taste is rather complex and sophisticated. You consider yourself a gourmet - and a bit of a snob.
You are generous, outgoing, and considerate with your choices.
You are cultured and intellectual. You should consider traveling to Vienna.
The stereotype that best fits you is geek. You're the type most likely to order pizza to avoid leaving your computer.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
One of the items I brought were brownies. Lizzie was making a cheesecake (YUM!), so I thought something really chocolatey would balance it out. I had seen Ina Garten make really big and delicious looking brownies on her Barefoot Contessa show, so I thought I'd try it out. She calls them Outragious Brownies, for their size, and their chocolatey punch.
I loved that she made them on a half sheet pan (13 x 18 x 1 1/2), because I knew this recipe was tested and scaled for a large batch. I like to have recipes that are used in restaurants and catering kitchens because they are scaled to make a lot, and that's how I like to bake for parties and for my co-workers. I'm rarely baking for just a few people.
I found these to have a slightly salty sweet thing going on and very chocolatey. They are on the fudgy side, but as a number of my co-workers said it was the perfect amount of fudgy to cakey for a brownie. Before I made them I asked the ladies who were going to be at the get together for a vote on the nuts or no nuts. We went for the nuts, and I'm so glad I did. I'll tell you how chocolatey these are, I took the left overs from the party to work and had them in a sealed container near my desk and I could STILL SMELL THEM!
I made a few changes to the recipe to adjust to the ingrediants I had in the pantry. Espresso Powder instead of instant coffee, but decreasing the amount because I wanted it to boost the flavor, not overpower it. Added some Cocoa Powder and a few extra ounces of chocolate to make up for not having enough unsweetened chocolate. And who keeps Extra Large Eggs in their fridge? I just subbed Large Eggs, actually I think 2 of them were mediums.
Totally Awesome Brownies, based on Ina Gartner's Outragious Brownies.
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 1 pound 3 ounces plus 12 ounces semisweet chocoalte chips, divided
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (dutch processed)
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups diced walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound 3 oz chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant espresso, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
Whisk together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares. Pizza cutter works perfectly.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I guess I was sitting sort of funny because my foot fell asleep, like really asleep. I knew it was dumb to put weight on it so I massaged it and was tapping it on the floor while I held onto the chair. I swore it was feeling like any other foot so I took a step. Apparently it had hit the snooze button because it was far from awake. It curled under, lots of bad noises were heard and I found myself on my face on the floor.
A far amount of time passed while I lay there assessing the situation. Do I yell for Eric. Did I just break my foot? Why can't I move my toes or my whole foot for that matter? The numbness turning into throbbing which gave way to searing sharp pain working its way up my leg. Ok, time to call Eric out of bed.
So much for a hike.
Almost 12 hours later and its ok, but that was a scare. I clearly pulled some stuff in there and it is swollen and stiff and hurts and there is a weird tingling when I step on it. But its not broken. Phew.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
But even without a picture, I can tell you we had a lovely evening full of food and good friends. We were doing a little house warming for Ben and Liz, as they recently bought their first home. And what a beautiful place it is. It is perfect for their growing family.
The group that got together was J, Ted and Maya, Autumn's Mom and her man, and Eric and I. We all brought appitizery bites to eat and we gorged ourselves. All us ladies used to work together WAY back in the late nineties. We have very luckily remained close and have been through a lot together. I truly feel blessed to have such great friends.
Thanks for the fun evening guys! We MUST not wait so long to do this again.
Friday, November 07, 2008
For a busy company our size, we got a good number of people together to take the morning off to do a little habitat restoration at one of our local parks. This morning we were at Mori Point where we were planting native plants to rebuild the natural habitat for some threatened and endangered species. The little guys we were focusing on today were the San Francisco Garter Snack and the California Red-Legged Frog. While some people don't really think that saving a snake is a good way to spend the morning, I think its pretty cool (although I declined to hold a regular ol'garter snake which our project leader found). Interesting enough the frog is the threatened species and also happens to be the favorite food of the SF Garter Snake. Must save one to save the other.
I failed to bring my camera out, but I had my handy iPhone with me and I snapped a few of the group and of our view. Seriously, this was our view as we were planting. Dig, Dig, Dig, Plant, Plant, Plant, look up and take in a few waves. It was great!
All of those little blue flags are plant markers so people wouldn't step on the tiny baby plants being put in. This picture was taken early on, but by the end of our short work period there were over 200 flags in that little strip.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I do just want to note that I've been really interested in how I've read on more then one blog from a friend from up north who have been interested in our presidential election. I've gotten questions from people I work with who live over in Europe and Asia on my thoughts and how things were looking up to Tuesday. They all knew Tuesday was the big day. Am I really that naive in how much the US and it's president really affects the world?
I guess so.
All thanks to my bubble. Sometimes I really love my bubble. Sometimes I think I should really let it go.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Sure I think this is great thing, but I guess I was looking for more bang for the past 2 years. Not like I wanted a fun replay of the hanging chad, but I wanted a little more suspense I guess. I even went to bed before the West Coast poles closed. At some point I woke up in the middle of the night, nudged Eric and asked him if we have a new president elect yet, and he said 'yea'. I just rolled back over without hearing the answer because duh, I knew. He of course needed to tell me because he did stay up to watch it all play out. He was pretty excited.
Ahh hell, it's exiting no matter what. Change is good. Change is good.
Sadly, my Obama high wasn't high enough to keep me from being brought down by stupid Prop 8. Sure, it's not over yet, but it's way too close for my comfort.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
As it turns out, my re-registration took and I was on the list with my new married name. I still made sure I had both ID's with me as I went to check the list. So handy they have it hanging on the wall.
I usually vote by absentee ballot so I haven't had to talk to people at the polling place for well.... ever, so I watched the girl in front of me to see where to start. They looked up my name and DRAT! Apparently when you vote by absentee, even when the ballot they send you is in your old name and you re-register, they still consider you absentee and brilliant me shredded the ballot thinking it was invalid. So since I didn't have it to surrender, I had to vote by provisional ballot. Hopefully my vote will still count.
Go ahead and blame it on me if things don't go the way you wanted them to... well no, the way I wanted them. I'll be over here in the corner with the dunce cap on.
Monday, November 03, 2008
And when do I realize this? After it's too late to register. I do recall getting a new proposition booklet that said "The lastname's" on it recently, so maybe it did take. GAR! I wish I thought to check before October 20th, which was the cut off for registering in California.
I tried checking canivote.org, which was talked about on Oprah, but alas, my county doesn't have their info online so I couldn't so easily check. I could call, but at this point I couldn't do anything to fix it.
I guess I'll be going to my polling place tomorrow and just hoping my name is on there. Maybe they'll have the list outside again so I can check to see which name is on there and I'll take both of my ID's with me ;-)
Sunday, November 02, 2008
While we enjoy the benefits of a great library system, sometimes we get in these moods where we do a lot of book buying. Sometimes we buy a lot of reference books about some new interest, and sometimes I fall in love with a fiction author and don't want to wait for their books to get to the library. And of course I end up with a collection of books I've bought in airports because I failed to bring along some reading material.
Over the years we have gone through our books to keep them to a minimum. Some of us do this with a heavy hand and some of us get too emotional about them. Surprisingly, I'm not the emotional one about books usually. Usually.
Today finds us doing another book purge and this time I'm having a hard time with my smallish collection of books. By small I mean it's small compared to my husband's multiple book cases.
- I have a number of cook books which I've held onto for years but have never cooked a single thing out of them. Sorry, you're going to the used book store.
- I have a few years worth of cooking magazines which I totally enjoyed when they come to the house and are now embarrassingly about to fill my parent's recycling tote. (our complex doesn't start their recycling program for another few weeks)
- Am I really ever going to read the Harry Potter series again? Probably not. Sorry Harry, but I'm over you.
- I found my well loved copy of Watership Down from many years ago and I imagine my kids (who don't exist yet) falling in love with this classic like I did. But really, they can get it from the library and it'll likely be in better condition.
- I have a stack of books about whales and seals from my days at the Marine Mammal Center and studying to be a Marine Biologist. A dream left behind.
- I have a small stack of fiction which I LOVED but since I rarely re-read, hopefully someone else will love them too, and at a used book price.
Perhaps we'll stay this motivated when we get home and will attack one of the many other dumping grounds in this house. We'll see. I'm not holding my breath.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Starting last year, Eden (the founder of NaBloPoMo), continued the challenge throughout the year and provided themes to write on for that month. However November remains as it was originally, a free for all, write about anything you want challenge.
So hopefully you'll be hearing from me a little more then usual. Happy November everyone and good luck to everyone taking the challenge!