Monday, December 28, 2009

A Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? I'd never been a "Best Lady" in a wedding, and I have to say, it was a pretty awesome experience. Getting to be a part of a wedding ceremony is cool, and even more awesome when you love and are totally excited for the couple getting married.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't make resolutions, but I do make yearly lists, like this one, and last year's list was a bit of a wash, actually. I'm hoping to do much better this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My friend Lori, in Ohio! The cuteness is killing me!

 4. Did anyone close to you die?  yes, my Nana.

5. What places did you visit?  I visited friends and family in Rhode Island, went to Chincoteague Island in Virginia. I also spent a lot of time driving back and forth to New Jersey.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? A better sense of purpose and direction. Some answers for questions I've been asking myself for a long time.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I am bad with dates. but I've had several snippets stand out- Katie's 30th birthday, Weddings, Watching my little cousin turn one. People coming to visit me in Baltimore,  starting the quest for the best burger in Baltimore.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?  I adopted a cat! and he's awesome. and bitey. I also catered two bridal showers, which was a lot of fun.

9. What was your biggest failure?  Not making very many positive changes in my life that I've wanted to.  On many levels.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  Not really- a few colds, some dental stuff, but mostly I've been good.

11. What was the best thing you bought?  My Macbook, for sure. It rocks.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? All the cousins and friends who got married this year! I can't help it, I'm a romantic sap. I love weddings. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I try to not get too appalled and depressed at other people's behavior. I can't think of anything right now that I was appalled enough to put on this list. I may come back to it.
14. Where did most of your money go? Rent. Food. Cat expenses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?  Porkapalooza, baking contests at work, Chincoteague. Menu planning for the two wedding showers.

16.  What song do you associate with 2009? That's a tough one. I think anything by Sara Barrelles will probably remind me of this year. I've been listening to her a lot.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?  sadder
b) thinner or fatter?  Fatter
c) richer or poorer? poorer
(note to self: fix this for next year. yeesh)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I'd read more. I knocked about eight books out on vacation, but I am not reading as many books as I would like to.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Staying in my apartment when I could be out doing things. there is life outside my apartment!

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2009?  With the family, in New Jersey.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? Nope, not even close, sadly.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I think it's a three way tie between Glee, Modern Family, and How I Met your Mother.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2009? I think I went to see Whip it with Katie and Lisa.

24. What was the best book you read? I really liked Paper Towns by John Green

25. What did you want and get?  A shiny, red Kitchenaid stand mixer! Thanks Santa!

26. What did you want and not get? I want an ipod touch. however, I know that I have a perfectly fine working ipod classic, and do not NEED an ipod touch. Still, though. want.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Julie/Julia was pretty good.

28. Did you make some new friends this year? I did!

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I'm not sure. Someone to share it with, I think.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? heh. I do not have a personal fasion concept.

31. What kept you sane? Talking to Potter and Jack on gchat, mostly.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? The cast of Glee. I love them in my heart.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?  I think the issue of marriage equality- Yays in DC, Iowa, and Vermont- Boos for Maine, New York, and various and sundry other states. Keeping my fingers crossed that good things happen in New Jersey.

34. Who did you miss? I missed my Nana, very, very, very much. I also missed my aunt. We had a lot of joy this year with my family, but a lot of sadness too- and them missing it made me ache sometimes.  This Christmas especially, the first one without my Nana, was especially hard.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.  Sometimes, the only way out is through. And progress doesn't happen overnight.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tom Cruise

I'm going to write about the Snowpocalypse and taking Earl out in the snow tomorrow. Today has been watching a lot of youtube videos, crocheting, and making things that are tasty. 

I've watched this one approximately seventy billion times.

Watch it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


*I'm trying to find the Best Burger in Baltimore want to know more? Click here.

I'm beginning to understand the maxim "you can't judge a book by it's cover" because I freqently make judgements (in a food snobbery way) about some of the places on our list. One of those places was Jimmy's. I had been there before (in fact, Julie and I went there for Baltimore Over Easy) and I had liked it then- solid diner food, decent scrapple, no frills, and inexpensive. Julie and I had made plans to meet in Fell's so we could do some Christmas shopping and get a burger to cross one off the list, so we thought that we might as well do Jimmy's.

It was pretty empty on the Wednesday night we were there, which meant that the service was fast. We ordered the Jim Dandy Burger, which was a 1/2 lb burger with your choice of cheese and toppings. I got mine with American, pickles and mayo.  I ordered the burger medium rare, and it was truly medium rare, which is nice.  Frequently I think that shops are a little gun shy with medium rare, and I end up with more of a medium burger. Julie ordered hers medium, and it was a little on the medium well side. The burger was really really good. The meat was seasoned well, the bun stood up to the meat- soaking up the juices from the burger.

The fries were from frozen, but they were cooked well, and were nice and hot. The price point was excellent- about seven bucks for a burger, fries and a soda. The moral of this story? Don't be a food snob- the best burgers come from unexpected places!

It's a solid #2- Jennings is still holding tight at the first spot- but if I'm in Fell's and I want a burger, this is where I'm going.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


So another one down on my list of cupcakes! These cupcakes (which sidenote, cool picture, right?) are gingerbread with chocolate chips in them and cream cheese frosting. I had the chocolate/gingerbread combo about a year ago, and I really liked it.

So a success! my co-workers certianly enjoyed them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Overheard at Panera

When I have time off and I want to work on writing projects, I come to Panera. Aside from the delicious shortbread cookies, they have free wireless.  So I sit and sip and eat and work, and crazy stuff happens. in the past few months I have seen:

- Multiple Job interviews

- A breakup  (so sad)

- A woman valiantly trying to sell some Amway products to a confused looking blonde woman.  (More than once!)

-A guy pitching what sounded EXACTLY like a pyramid scheme where a guy was talking to two women about it. They were SUPER into it. The way the guy was describing it, it sounded like a cult. When I see these people, I just want to go to them and be like, you know this is a bad idea, right?

- A kid completely work over her mom, alligator tears and all, to get her to pick up dinner from Red Robin, because she did not like where the mom and dad wanted to go for dinner.  (seriously? If I had tried to pull that crap, my mom would have said "fine then, I hope you like being hungry"

- Kids that were very obvoiusly cutting school, and had loosened their prep school ties and tried to generally disguise themselves as not school cutters. Note to them: it might help if you weren't wearing your school uniforms, still.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Contender

For more about Best Burger in Baltimore, click here

Jennings Cafe is a fairly unassuming, local place on frederick road in Catonsville.  I did not have high hopes for this place, because having lived just outside of catonsville for two and a half years, I've never thought to go in this place.  I made a judgement bcaus it looked like a small, local place, a bar that also served food. Which I assumed would be mediocre to bad.

I was wrong.  Well, not about the bar and the food part, that part's true.  The food there is fantastic, and I was really happy with everything that we ordered.  We started with the crab dip (as has become our tradition)  and it was awesome:

The dip was hearty, with a good amount of crab, a little kick from Old Bay seasoning, and was what is best about traditional crab dip. Julie especially wanted me to mention how awesome the bread was, warm, with a crusty outside, and a soft, yielding inside.

After we were mostly finished with the dip, they brought our burgers. both of us had ordered them medium rare, and they came to the table with bun off, ready for adornment. Mine came with a pickle, and mayo on the top bun, Julie's with lettuce, tomato, and onion. I added some kechup (from an actual glass bottle! Extra ten points for real glass bottle)

I took the first bite, and I knew that we had a serious condender for the title of Best Burger in Baltimore. It was by far the best of the three we've had, Julie and I agreed.  The meat was cooked perfectly, seasoned just right, and there were no extraneous spices to compete with the flavor of the beef. It was pure beef,  melting in with the cheese to create a great burger.  The only criticism that I have (and it's a small one) is that the size of the burger could have used a slightly heartier bun. The bun was good, and fresh, but it was a little on the small side. But all in all, a fantastic burger.

The burger comes with chips, or you can upgrade to fries for a dollar, which we both did. The fries are from frozen, they were hot, and salted well.

We finished our meal with dessert- not something we usually do, (because we are usually too full from burgers) but Jennings Cafe makes all their desserts on site- and you can tell. Great, homemade tasting Coconut cake, and chocolate pudding pie.   I would go back just for the coconut cake, which was soft, and moist, and covered in delicious coconut flakes.

I will be back to Jennings Cafe. 

Jennings Cafe
808 Frederick Road
Catonsville, MD 21228-4505
(410) 744-3824

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

List update!

22. Get my camera fixed

Done!  Through the Magic of the Mail, the awesomeness of Canon Repairs, and me finally getting off my butt to get my camera fixed, it's done!

To celebrate, here are some pictures of Earl.*

* I fully know that crocheting a hat for my cat makes me a Crazy Cat Lady.  I crocheted him some booties too, but he wouldn't wear those.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ten things that are making me happy right now

1. Crossing items off my 28/28th list
2.  Homemade Stock.
3. Awesome Welcome Winter party this weekend
4. Iron Crow Theatre Company
5. Pictures of my cute 15 month old cousin seeing santa
6. Day off later this week (what what, thursday!)
7. Camera being fixed
8. Tim is blogging!
9. Chicken corn dogs from Target (surprisingly tasty and awesome!)
10. Creme Brulee Latte from Starbucks- they probably have a million calories, but they are really good

What's making you happy right now?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Randomness and updates

One of my favorite people on earth is now blogging! Tim is awesome, and you should go and check out his blog right now! Do it! He's also doing a 26 in the 26th list, which I think is awesome.

I did facepainting for a work event yesterday, where staff brought their kids in for a holdiay party. And i'm not gonna lie, when the sleigh bells started jingling and Santa came in, I had a moment of  eeeeeeeeeeeee! SANTA! It passed, after a second, but I think it is funny, that even at 28, the draw of Santa is paramount.

It's supposed to snow tonight, which on one hand (eee! snow!) but on the other hand, I don't need it to get crazier at work.

My christmas present crafting is waaaaaaaaaaaay behind schedule.  I'm glad I have a comp day this week so that I can get stuff done. Day O' Crafting, Here I come!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Pizza

When people talk about what their last meal would be, my choice is always thanksgiving dinner. I love all of the traditional stuff, and I especially love the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce combo. This time of year is when lots of sandwich shops have thanksgiving sandwiches, with those three ingredients.

Last year, my cousins Kate and Potter made a Thanksgiving Pizza, with pizza dough, turkey, gravy,  stuffing, cranberry sauce, and goat cheese. I have been thinking about that pizza since they made it.  So tonight was the night- I stopped by at Trader Joe's and got pizza dough, pre made stuffing, a rotisserie chicken, and boxed gravy.

I imagine if you made all the components from scratch, it would be more delicious, but would also take more time than I am willing to commit on a monday night.

This was so good. SO. GOOD. the gravy, chicken and stuffing are savory and rich, and the cranberry sauce and goat cheese set it off with a really nice tang and acidity.

I will definitely be making this again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

youtube + ukelele = awesome

So it has been pointed out to me that I may have a thing for girl ukelele players.  I... may have a bit of a music obsession with a few of them. 

The evidence is clear. They are AWESOME.

Sweetafton23 (aka Molly Lewis)

Kate Miccuci of Garfunkel and Oates

and Julia Nunes

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies of Deliciousness.

Have I talked about the shortbread cookies at Panera before? No? that is a glaring and irresponsible oversight. I love the shortbread cookies at Panera. They are buttery deliciousness.  And apparently, the recipie to which is closely guarded by Panera, due to my diligent fruitless internet searches.

So. I have tried other shortbread recipes, but they have not come close to the awesome of the Panera ones. As a result, I decided to branch out and make Brown Sugar Shortbread cookies. I took a recipe from Ina Garten that I made as regular shortbread, which was good, a solid B+ and substituted the sugar with dark brown sugar, which gave it a nutty, deeper flavor. I think these rival the ones at Panera in terms of tasty-ness.

I used the fall shape cutouts that I borrowed from my cousin Kelly,  the big ones are leaves and the tiny ones are acorns.

Cooling on the racks. 


Acorns just out of the oven (excuse the crappy kitchen lighting)

I am going to try to resist eating all of them before work on monday.

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies 
(adapted from an Ina Garten Recipe)


  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Or cutter of your choice. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday list of petty greviances

1. I have to work tomorrow

2. I burned my tongue on my soup for lunch

3. woke up late, and slept crappliy.

4. work has kind of sucked so far today

5. Solo lunch in the cafeteria today, saaaaaaaaaaaaadly eating my soup and drinking my diet coke and staring off into space

6.  Want more of my friends to be on twitter (get on it, friends!)

7. forgot to make the playlist I wanted for work today.

8. The white knuckle drive going 40mph the entire way home last night in the lashing rain.

9. Nationwide Pumpkin shortage.

10. It not being wednesday at 4:30 already.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best Burger in Baltimore

One of my favorite tv shows of all time is How I Met Your Mother. And in season Four, there was an episode called "Best Burger in New York" where Marshall was on a quest to find a burger that he had tasted in his first week in NY, and then was never able to find again.  In that spirit, my friend Julie and I (the Julie of Baltimore Over Easy fame)  have begun a quest. An epic quest for the best burger in Baltimore.

Cobbled together from a list on UrbanSpoon and the blog, I have come up with the comprehensive list of contestans in our Best burger challenge

Links will take you to the reviews!

Abbey Burger Bistro (Federal Hill)
Hamilton Tavern (Lauraville)
Burger Brothers (Towson)
Kooper's (Fell's)  Done! 10/27 See mini review below
Alonso's  (Roland Park )
The Dizz (Remington)
Duda's Tavern (Fell's)
James Joyce Irish Tavern (Downtown)
McCabe's (hampden)
Turps (Mount Vernon) Done! 11/17/09 See mini review below
Poncabird Cafe (Highlandtown)
Alexander's (Fell's Point)
The Seahorse (Dundalk)
Dougherty's (Mount Vernon)

Kooper's Tavern
Burger- decent burger, good size smashed patty- cooked to order, meat was okay, flavored with something (worsteshire?)   Fries: frozen, had flavor on them, (medium, taste wise)  Pickle: AWESOME  Crab dip: good actual dip, bread accompanying, not great. (bonus: on tuesday nights, burgers are half price)

Burger: good size,  cooked perfectly to order, meat good, some kind of mix to flavor meat  Fries: frozen, but decent, and cooked well. Pickle: good  Crab stuffed pretzel: Not actually a pretzel so much as a breadstick, but good creamy dip, good amount of actual crab. Julie liked the side of cheez whiz that came with, I was... less impressed with that, but it wasn't bad. (half price burger nights: Wednesday)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Zen of Risotto

My friend Lisa makes the most amazing risotto. After many dinners of it at her house, watching her make it, A few years ago I stepped up and made it myself.

It's fantastic.

Risotto is creamy, and salty, and cheesy and wonderful. But, that's not what I really like about it. what I really like is the method to make it. Risotto is not hard, but it does require patience. And stirring. Lots and lots of stirring. When I'm stressed out, one of the things I like to do is cook.  The methodical tap that the knife makes hitting the cutting board to chop the onions, the sizzle of the butter and olive oil in the pan. I can imagine  the scent of the beginnings of every good dinner; onions and garlic sweating away.  And then the rice, toasting a little, to infuse a nutty taste, and the stock, in another pot,  barely simmering away, waiting to be incorporated, ladleful by ladleful.  The worn wooden spoon drawing circles in the cooking rice, as it absorbs the hot stock. waiting, waiting, more stock, stirring stirring stirring.  The rainfall of cheese, melting into the pan, and then, a scoop of the comforting dish steaming, as I blow on it a little, before I take the first bite.

Sometimes I add  roasted sweet potatoes, sometimes sausage, occasionally veggies. But it always begins with the rice and the pot, and the slow, slow stirring.

See also: (the zen of caramel sauce)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How I Met Your Mother

One of the best TV shows on today is How I Met Your Mother. It's Hilarious, it has Neil Patrick Harris, who is awesome (See also: hosting of the Tonys and the Emmys) Jason Radnor, who is funny, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders, and Jason

so i bring you..... some of my favorite quotes from How I Met Your Mother.... If you are not watching it, you should be.

Lily: Don't Ted-out about it.
Ted: Did you just use my name as a verb?
Barney: Oh, yeah, we do that behind your back. "Ted-out": to overthink. See also "Ted-up". "Ted-up": to overthink with disastrous consequences. For example, "Billy Tedded-up when he-"
Ted: All right, I get it!
Ted: No, I meant do you have a cold?
Barney: I'm fine. [blows his nose from a cold]
Barney: I'm fine. My nose is just overflowing with awesome and I had to get some of it out. If you'll excuse me, holiday is the time when people are lonely and desperate. It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Ted: Chinese?
Barney: I don't like Chinese.
Ted: Indian?
Barney: I just said I don't like Chinese.
Ted: Indian isn't Chinese.
Barney: Weird meat, funny music, side of rice. Why are we splitting hairs?

Monday, November 2, 2009

All the single ladies

I love this song.

I especially love different versions of this song.


Baby Version

Football Players

Wah uh oh oh oh oh!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A change in plans

So.... I decided that I am not going to do NaNoWriMo this year. Just with everything that is going on, i don't think i would make the goal, and since this year is about COMPLETING GOALS, I am switching over to NaBloPoMo, where I will be updating here every day this month! (please. try to contain your excitement.)  I'm actually really excited, and I think it'll be a great thing to be posting more often.

Some days i'l do Memes, and other days will be cooking stuff, and yet other days will be working on my 28th list (am going to complete all things this year! I can DO it!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I have two more additions to my goal of creating ten cupcake combinations for my 28 in the 28th list! I'm blowing through these list items with the speed of a gimp turtle! On top are the Mummy cupcakes, which are white cake with raspberry jam centers, and buttercream frosting. (and jelly belly eyes. I don't like red hots, which were recommended)

Some more Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin Butter Centers, and Cream Cheese Frosting on top. 

 I'm actually the most happy with these. They're banana cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting Centers, and chocolate ganache on top. and the theme was "spooky" (see aformentioned mummy cupcakes) and so I wrote scary things on them. Like "The Dark" and "The Dentist" and "Germs" and "Zombies"


The Mummies..... they are coming for you....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ten Things That Are Making Me Happy Right Now

Previously here.

Sometimes on a Monday morning you need to remind yourself what is good.
1. Having a relaxing sunday afternoon

2. Man Vs. Food marathon on Food Network - Sidenote: Baltimore people- he's doing a Baltimore episode on Wednesday!

3.  Best Burger in Baltimore Begins TOMORROW!

4. S'mores bars  (Golden Grahams with marshmallow, with  chocolate chips on top)

5. Thinking up ideas for the Bake Off at work

6. 11 days until RHODE ISLAND

7 . Drinking my water out of a mason jar at my desk.

8. GLEE.

9.  Short week at work this week!  work: Monday & Tuesday, off  Wednesday, Work thurs and friday, off for the weekend!

10. Julie's Halloween  Party!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Google Meme

So I really like the Vlogbrothers , and Hank Green has this video about doing a Google Meme, that I fould amusing.  It is called Google Verb, where you put your name into the beginning of a sentence and let Google complete it.

My responses are bolded.

Val needs to get over whatever her problem is and have fun
Well, not always... I do not think I am the stick in the mud that Google appears to think I am.

Val looks like no one else and behaves like no one else
Is that a compliment? I'm taking it as one.

Valerie says a fond farewell
.... That's vaugely ominous.

Val wants you to check out a photo on MySpace
No, no she does not, because who goes on myspace anymore? no one. that's who.

Val does not cause schizophrenia
Good to know.

VAL hates banking accounts sometimes
Especially when they do not have enough money in them.  Like the millions that a life as a lady of leisure would provide.

Val Asks YOU: What beauty solution do you want?
Really, I want to know!

no. just. no.

Val eats a french fry.
Val rarely eats just one french fry. Val likes to eat multiple french fries.

Val wears a hood before her release.
I'm prefacing this by saying it  came from some sort of falconer website, so it is not quite as creepy as it appears.  on the other hand, without that information? CREEPY. 

Val Loves Jason.
I don't think i know a Jason, but if I did, I'm sure I would love him

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cupcake Mania

I may be a little obsessed with cupcakes. I love their size, the infinite combinations that can create a great and delicious dessert. plus, they do not require a fork. I recently won a pumpkin bake-off at work with my spice cupcakes with pumpkin butter filling and cream cheese frosting on top, dusted with pumpkin spice. (Those were pretty good)

I often start with an idea. A flavor pairing, based on flavors I've been thinking about recently. for our Sunday Night Dinner this past week (friends of mine having awesome sunday night dinners) I had a taste for bananas. Well, I need to go back. I've been having a taste for bananas for the last month, as evidenced by the amount of banana pudding I made. But I made banana pudding for last sunday's dinner, and I had cupcakes on the brain.

Also peanut butter.

So I was thinking about all the things that go well with bananas. Peanut butter, chocolate. How can you go wrong? So I paired banana cupcakes (which were dense and cakey) with a peanut butter frosting in the center, and topped it with a rich, dark chocolate ganache.


(this counts as the first of my 28/28th cupcakes- I made them after my birthday, so it counts!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

28 in the 28th

Ok, It's that time of year again! This year, I have made a conscious effort to mke more manegable goals, and I want to complete EVERY SINGLE ONE of them.

1 Write a Novel.

2. Try one new craft

3. Go to DC for the day by myself and walk around

4. Cater a Non Family Event

5. Make Homemade christmas gifts

6. Learn how to can things (like jam)

7. Take a cooking class

8. Go camping

9. Go to a non House Concert- Show

10. Get a Manicure, Pedicure and Facial

11. Go on 12 dates

12. Visit a city I've never been to before

13. learn how to make a recipe by watching my G make it

14. go to at least one Free Fall Baltimore event

15. Have a Cookie Baking/Decorating Party

16. Make a tradition of my own

17. Go to a museum

18. Have dinner that is multi-course and paired with wines

19. Go to a winery and have a wine tasting

20. Make something beautiful

21. Create ten new cupcake combinations

22. Get my camera fixed.

23. Twelve Random Acts of Kindness for strangers

24. Go for a week without internet (for non work puroposes)

25. Do some acting

26. Go to ten new restaurants in Baltimore

27. Learn a new card game

28. Go see a movie with Subtitiles (or, rent and watch Amelie without falling asleep)

Along with this list is the perrenial "update the blog more" which I also plan to do, at the very least , weekly.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

27 in the 27th wrap up.

Ok, I want to preface this, by saying that yes, I know it was somewhat epic fail this year. But! I am resolving to make it next year, no matter what. I just have to keep track, and you know, not forget about the list for months at a time.

1. Read a book a month that I haven't read before.
Technically, I did not do this. However. I read enough books on vacation, that I definitely fulfilled the 12 books that I was meant to read this year, per the list.

2. Find a new apartment.
Nope. stayed at my current place.

3. Hike the trail at Oregon Ridge.
Sadly, no

4. Go and see a movie with subtitles in a theater.
Well, slumdog millionare had like, 1/4th of the movie in subtitles, so that counts, right?

5. Go on a date.
Yup! I even exceeded expectations by going on multiple dates.

6. Send real mail to someone once a month.
Well, it worked for the first few months, then.... not so much.

7. Listen to one new album a month.
See same answer for #6

8. Cook all the recipes in a cookbook.
Based on the research I have done, this appears to be a somewhat crazy goal. ... That I still did not accomplish.

9. Take a belly dancing class.
heh, was I on crack when I was making this list? Obviously.

10. Get a decent haircut, someplace that is not Supercuts or Hair Cuttery.
Done! Although I like my most recent hair cuttery hair cut better than that one.

12. Take a cooking class.
Nope, sadly.

13. Have a five course dinner party.
Done! Porkapalooza!

14. Learn a new craft.
Crocheting eight million snowflakes Definitely counts.

15. Finish five knitting or crocheting projects.
Done! woo, Christmas!

16. Be more assertive at work.
I am definitely much better than I was last year, but I still have a ways to go.

17. Go to DC by myself for a day and just walk around.
Not done; but something I definitely need to add to next year's list.

18. Finish the blanket (crochet).

19. Learn one new Baltimore/Maryland thing to do a month.
I did a lot of new stuff, but I don't know if it was one every month, I was not really great about keeping track of the new things.

20. Create a new drink (boozy!)
Gin and tonic with a cucumber in it. YUM. (note: someone has probably done this before, but i haven't so, it counts!)

21. Make handmade Christmas gifts
Done! Eight million snowflakes later

22. Go to an RU women's basketball game.
Done! went to an RU game with my dad in New Brunswick, and My dad, mom, aunt and uncle came down to Baltimore when RU played Maryland

23. Be more considerate.
I like to think I succeeded at this. I have certainly been making an effort to do it.

24. Take more pictures; update my flickr page more frequently
see answer for #6

25. Visit one state that is not on the eastern seaboard.
Nope. on next year's list though. this year was spent taking my vacation time in NJ or with the fam in Chincoteague.

26. Buy and read the Washington post one day a week.
Nope. I started out pretty strong, but what they say is true. print media is dying, and I would much rather get my news from my RSS reader

27. Make an entire meal from items procured at the farmer's market
Done! breakfast with Julie, after one of our farmer's market days.

Next year's list will be up on friday. I am currently taking suggestions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The banana pudding of my dreams.

Every year, my family goes to Chincoteague Island in Virgina. Last year, a barbecue place, called Woody's barbecue opened, and it is fantastic. They make pulled pork sandwiches that are amazing, and all of their sides are fantastic too.

Especially their banana pudding. The Banana pudding at Woody's is unbeliveable. smooth, creamy, with just the right amount of banana flavor. It makes me sad that I only get it once a year. A few days ago, I was having a banana pudding craving. Since I've never made it before, I decided to make it myself, to see if I could get it right.

Man, was it right. Layers of vanilla cookie and bananas melded together, infusing the pudding with a banana essence. Delicious. and stupid easy. I will be making this again and again.

Banana Pudding
two boxes of Vanilla Pudding from Trader Joes, Prepared (you just need to add milk. I recommend whole milk)
Half a container of Vanilla Wafers From Trader Joe's
3-4 bananas, depending on size.

Prepare the pudding according to the box. In a bowl (I used a pretty big Pyrex one) layer cookies, banana, and pudding. continue to layer until you just have a layer of pudding on the top. Place in fridge overnight (Trust me. It needs time. Good things come to those who wait.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The American President.

When I was eighteen, I lived in Providence, in my own apartment. I'm not going to lie, it was a hard year. I was on my own for the first time, and working a lot. It was also one of my favorite years, because I made awesome friends (Jamie, Lesley, Lori) and learned that I could stand up and be an independent person.

An independent person who watched one movie way, way, WAY too much.

I was cleaning out my closets this weekend, and I found my dvd, and popped it into the dvd player in my laptop. The comforting patter of the pre-West Wing Aaron Sorkin writing came on, and I was transported back to Providence, still saying the words in my head before they were said on the screen. If I had Jamie laying out on my air mattress, an order of papa john's breadsticks on my dining room table and a game of JT's blocks on the computer, you would have re-created a large majority of saturdays that I spent in providence.

In that spirit, I share with you my favorite The American President quotes (in no particular order)

Lewis Rothschild: Who're we calling, sir?
President Andrew Shepherd: I'm calling the organization of the United Brotherhood of It's None of Your Damn Business, Lewis. I'll be with you in a minute

Lewis Rothschild: Yeah, just vote your conscience, you chicken-shit lame-ass! [hangs up] We lost Jarrett.
Leon Kodak: Well, I hope so, because, you know, if that was an "undecided", then we need to work on our people skills.

Sydney Ellen Wade: Oh, Andy, a C minus in Women's Studies.
President Andrew Shepherd: Yeah, well, that class wasn't about what I thought it was about.

President Shepherd: America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've got to want it bad, because it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the 'land of the free'? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the 'land of the free.'"

Robin: I think the important thing is not to make it look like we're panicking.
Shepherd: See, and I think the important thing is actually not to BE panicking.

Lewis: I tell any girl I'm going out with to assume that all plans are soft until she receives confirmation from me thirty minutes beforehand.
Robin: And they find this romantic?
Lewis: Well, I say it with a great deal of charm

Lucy: My Dad told me to tell you that he's on the phone with his dentist, and that I should behave myself and entertain you until he gets back.
Sydney Ellen Wade: Oh. Your father's on the phone with his dentist?
Lucy: No, he told me to tell you he's on the phone with his dentist. He wants you to think he's a regular guy.
Sydney Ellen Wade: Oh. Well, who's he on the phone with?
Lucy: The prime minister of Israel.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Heavenly Onion dip

I have a pretty close-knit family, and we spent a lot of time when I was young, hanging out and celebrating things together. Birthday parties, fourth of july, memorial day, picnics, and cookouts. Every party that my aunt and uncle had when we were young included a bunch of standard items; shrimp ball, veggies and dip, a big bowl of m&ms, and onion dip, with ruffled potato chips.

It came from a packet, mixed into sour cream, and it's still one of my favorite things. It brings back happy memories from when I was a kid.

When I was in Chincoteage with the family this year, I did a fair amount of cooking- wanting to try out recipes on the guinea pigs that are my family. I was having a craving for onion dip, so I pulled out Ina Garten's Pan Fried onion dip, and gave it a whirl. As i was putting it together though, I realized that we did not have any cayenne in the house, and so subbed a generous teaspoon of horseradish, to give it a little kick, and hat was completely the right call. Creamy, oniony, and just a hint of a kick. I'm going to be making this for lots of parties to come.

Adapted from Ina Garten's Pan Fried Onion dip

2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup good mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.
Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings.

Serve at room temperature.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Caramel sauce part deux

So, armed with my knowledge of the too- buttery caramel sauce from Wednesday night, I came prepared. I looked up lots of different caramel sauce recipies, and created a hybrid of my own. It is as follows:

2 c of sugar
1/3 c water
2 tbs butter
1 c Heavy Cream
Pinch Salt

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, Pour sugar and water. on medium high heat, stir, until starts to boil. Once the mixture starts to boil, do not touch it! watch until it looks like a deep amber brown. once it is in the final stages of browning, do not move, do not go get a soda, do not do anything. it can burn very quickly. Once you have reached the deep amber color, drop in butter, and whisk in until melted. turn off heat, and then remove whisk. pour in the cream. (it may bubble up in a crazy way, that's normal. then whisk the mixture utnil it is all incorporated, and is a smooth sauce. (if there are some crystals in it, you can turn back on the heat to melt them a little)

Pour into mason jar; cool. put in fridge to keep.

lasts about 2 weeks.

Seriously, I want to pour this sauce on everything. ice cream, bread, pasta, a cracker. it has the just- butteryness that makes it creamy, sugary and rich.

One day soon i'm going to make cold press coffee, and use this as the sugar. and i will be very, very happy on that day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Vexing Caramel Sauce

I am a fan of caramel. Melted onto apples, in a coffee drink, dolloped on a scoop of ice cream, there is nothing that the sugary loveliness cannot do. My Auntie Jack used to make these brownies with caramel in them, that were so good it would make you cry. And then eat three of them.

Up until this point though, I was content to let others make my caramels, my caramel sauce, and my chocolate dipped chocolate caramel candies. But that has all changed.

So I'm working on making caramel sauce as a component for another dish. Caramel ventures into Candy Making, which is a very precise- sciencey brand of cooking (which, if you looked at my high school and college transcripts, you will see was not my strong suit.) So I looked at caramel making warily. it involves lava-hot sugar, and lots of the recipies have dire instructions about being careful not to burn yourself. (see also: clumsy)

Last night was my first foray into caramel sauce, and I used this recipe. And it mostly turned out! I had one area of clumped sugar, but I was able to hold that back when i was pouring it into the jar. I chose this recipe because it had butter in it (most caramel sauce recipies do not) and I figured, butter makes everything better! The sauce was delicious, but it also tasted very much of butterscotch (beacuse of the butter, i'm guessing). while it was good, It is not the right flavor profile for the recipie i'm using it in, so it's back to the drawing board, this time for recipes that don't have butter.

I love delicious experiments.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Operation: Be a Grownup, Morning Edition.

I have a problem with mornings.

I set my alarm clock, and then I hit snooze until the exact moment that i need to get up, so that i have to run into the shower, get dressed, and then run out the door, so that I can be to work on time.

It doesn't really foster much, you know, waking up, which I usually do while I'm listening to Morning Edition in the car on the way to work.

So in the spirit of Being More Adult, I've decided that September is Mornings like a grownup.

This morning, I woke up with enough time to hang out with Earl so he could have his cone off a little, and then shower (and blow dry my hair!) get dressed, pack my lunch, and then be on my way.

It was quite excellent. tomorrow, I'm going to make myself a cup of tea in the morning, and possibly eat some breakfast.

(today's coffee and breakfast of granola bar was had at the office, at my desk. Rome wasn't built in a day, people)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


(yelling it in all caps make me happier)

1 YA books, specifically those of John Green and Maureen Johnson

2 Chili Cornbread Pie

3 Earl The Cat being okay (after a scare and a trip to the vet's office, where he still is)

4 Twitter (shut up. it's awesome)

5 Work is going.... alarmingly well.

6 Having time to blowdry my hair this morning

7 One more workday until the WEEKEND OF ORGANIZATION
I am going to go top to bottom in my apartment and do a purging/cleaning of awesome.

8 Menu Planning for... certian events in the future, which I cannot disclose at this time.

9 The Plays of one Christopher Durang. (especially Medea)

10 Nervous Excitement and brainstorming for NaNoWriMo

what are your ten?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Do you want to waste copius amounts of time on the internet?

I sure do!

Other than the main time sucks: Facebook, twitter, google reader.. there are several sites that make my day go faster:

.... speaking as the woman who spent the entire day giggling at her desk innapropriately.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fruit Salsa

My Mom's Fruit Salsa recipe is one of my favorite recipes ever. It reminds me of summer, and has a fresh, clean taste. And paired with homemade cinnamon chips, it's heavenly. You can put lots of different things in it, from peaches, to raspberries, to mango, and it tastes pretty awesome. But my favorite kind is the original.

Pint of strawberries
two cups worth of diced fresh pineapple
small bunch of cilantro
tablespoon of cider vinegar
Half a diced red onion

hull strawberries and dice finely. dice pineapple finely. dice red onion finely. Mix together in bowl. chiffonade the cilantro, and mix into salsa. put in cider vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. Let sit in the fridge for about an hour (the longer it sits, the more the flavors will marry together and get delicious)

Cinnamon chips

two packs of small flour tortillas
half a stick of butter
Cinnamon sugar (I always have it around, and never really measure- it's one part cinnamon to one part sugar)

Hardware: Baking tray, pastry brush, knife

preheat oven to 425. melt butter in a bowl. lay tortilla down, brush with butter, and then sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon sugar. once you've stacked ten of these, take a knife and cut into four, cross wise, so you end up with chips. spread evenly on baking tray, and bake until lightly browned. repeat until all tortillas are baked.

I may be biased, but the best way to enjoy fruit salsa is with a glass of Kate and Potter's Sangria, which I did on memorial day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

for funsies

Yanked from Katie


Outside my window... Trees and a quickly storm darkening sky. Hoping that thunderstorms aren't coming.

I am thinking... about the things I'm going to cook when I'm in Chincoteague. So far: peanut chicken with noodles, appetizery things, cold press coffee, lots of chips and guac, ribs, blue cheese puffs.

I am thankful for... a sister who makes me laugh on the phone when she's raging at traffic; a cat that is not being bitey at this moment; the advil starting to kick in to wallop my headache.

From the kitchen... Trader Joe's Frozen croissants that proofed overnight, that I will be putting some tuna into. (delicious)

I am wearing... sweatpants and a black t-shirt.

I am creating... the plans for an album for Penelope (better late than never, right?!).

I am going... to have a productive evening of cleaning and dancing around my apartment to music. Which reminds me, I have to make an "upbeat" music playlist on itunes.

I'm reading... blogs, mostly, but also Cook's Illustrated, and HP six to prepare for the movie.

I am hoping... it does not rain too long tonight; we've had an insane amount of rain here lately.

I am hearing... the cat play with his new toy, and an old episode of the West Wing playing in the background.

Around the house... Need to throw some laundry into the machine, so I have things to wear to work tomorrow, the rest of my laundry to sort, some dishes do do, make my bed, and general straightening up.

One of my favorite things... taking a nap on sunday afternoon, after I've had an awesome lunch at the mexican place down the road. Definitely adding that place to the Take People Who Visit Here List.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Wednesday off, working friday, making rub, drinks in the city, wearing new clothes, bringing my lunch every day this week (I will do it!) working on my 27 in the 27th list.

A picture to share...

Say hello to the bitey cat. he does not enjoy having his picture taken.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I just saw online a person who mixed up serial killer for cereal killer.

What, do you think he's going to murder that box of fruity pebbles, so you don't get any?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Things I'm a little bit in love with right now:

It takes my favorite things about facebook- the status updates. and puts them all in one place. I wish everyone was on twitter.

Garfunkel and Oates

Fruit salsa


Gin and Tonics with Bombay Sapphire

Southwest Airlines

Counting down to my vacation in august. 53 days, baby!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Strawberry Compote and Weekend Awesomeness

My cousin Kate, and my sister Jackie came down to Baltimore this weekend. I was really excited for them to come down and to hang out. And as with any time I have visitors coming, my mind immediately starts spinning to what I'm going to make for them. This time, I was intrigued by rhubarb. I had never cooked with rhubarb, but the legion of food blogs that I read had been extolling the virtues of this tart stalk for the last two months, ever since they began appearing at farmer's markets across the country.

So I began to plot. I disregarded pie, and cloufoutis, briefly thought about roasting them, but eventually landed on making a compote. Per Wikipedia, Compote is a dessert made of whole or pieces of fruit in sugar syrup Whole fruits are immersed in water and with sugar and spices added to the dish, over gentle heat. I liked the idea of a strawberry rhubarb compote, spooned over thick greek yogurt, for a breakfast on Saturday morning. With a side of trader joe's mini croissants that had baked up fresh that morning, It made for a fine breakfast.

We spent the weekend going to Hon Fest, and Five Guys for some fries, hanging out at my apartment watching movies, (bad, bad, cheesy movies), and going to the Farmer's Market under the JFX, to the store at AVAM (where my friends Katie and Lisa and Jackie bought some awesome art by this guy). We had lunch at my favorite Indian Place,

When I look back at the weekend, I am so happy, not only because I had a great time (I did!) but with how delighted I am with the friendship that Jackie, Kate and I have. As adults, we've developed thisfriendship that has been unexpectedly awesome. Especially with my sister; If you told me ten years ago that I would be eagerly anticipating her coming to visit for weeks, I would have probably looked at you like you had three heads. We haven't always had the smoothest relationship. But over the years, it has evolved into a friendship that I'm so thankful to have.

And when the three of us devolve into helpless giggles, watch out; you'll probably be waiting awhile before we can talk.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
1 lb rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces.
1 cup sugar
zest of one lemon

Toss fruit, zest and sugar together and let sit for a minute. Then, in a medium to large pot, cook on low, stirring occasionally, until you can still see visible chunks of fruit, but is a hybrid between sauce/fruit. with a spoon, taste (after you let it cool! it'll be FRICKA HOT) and adjust if you need more sugar. Let cool and then put in a tupperware/jam jar and refrigerate.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


My sister sent me this link today.

I have been on the planet for ten thousand, one hundred, and nineteen days.

ten thousand.

That number seems so large, in comparison with what I've done with my life so far.

It doesn't help that I am feeling a bit aimless, and directionless in my life right now. and uninspired. I am someone that does very well with teamwork, and looking forward, and working to make positive change, and wants to be inspired to do better every day. To work for the common good.

What am I doing to contribute as a citizen of the world? When I ask this question of myself, I imagine a giant, echoing chamber that reverberates until it's a whisper, without an answer.

I know that I have done things, in past jobs, and activities, that have made me feel like I'm making a positive difference. To take a deep breath and feel that you are really doing the right thing. It seems that I've lost that. I know that it's on me to make these changes to make myself better. For me. for my family, for my community, and for the world. And that is what I begin today.

I am accountable for those ten thousand days. I am accountable for the next ten thousand, and the one after that.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sofi's Crepes

Downtown Baltimore, next to the Charles Theatre, there is a place. A place of delicoiousness, of sweet and savory, of the bbq crepe (with pulled pork and cheddar) and the nutty banana (nutella and banana). Sofi's Crepes is quickly becoming one of my favorite Baltimore places. next to the Charles, it makes it easy to grab a delicous bite before or after a movie.

They have a list of savory crepes, with meat, and vegetarian options, and a list of sweet crepes that I am working my way through. (up next- the crepe suzette, which I hear is boozy and awesome) The crepes I've had have been really good- a balance of flavors, and textures. Plus, it's resonable! a crepe and a drink will set you back less than ten bucks, and for sweet crepes, it's even less than that.

If you're in Baltimore, you should definitely check it out. If you're my family, be warned that this is going to be added to the list of baltimore places I take out of towners to.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chicken Pot Pies

Ever since my Nana passed away last month, I've taken some time when I've been home (I have been home to New Jersey quite a bit in the last month and a half) to make dinners for my Grandad to freeze, and then heat for dinner.

I started with a roast potatoes and chicken, and my sister made her awesome sheperd's pie, and I knew that I was going to be home for bachelorette party awesomeness this weekend, and so began to plan what I would make.

A few weeks ago, I saw a recipe in what chicken thought was Cook's Illustrated for make ahead chicken pot pies that you freeze. I didn't buy it when I saw it in Barnes and Noble, and then, when I went back to buy it, it was gone! I asked co-workers, and friends, and searched online, and my search was fruitless. So I began to look at chicken pot pie recipes online, and was somewhat dissatisfied with what I found, nothing quite hitting me in the right way.

Then my mother called. She had found the Cook's Illustrated! It wasn't in the regular magazine, it was in a special one devoted to make-ahead food. She had picked one up for me, and I did a happy dance.

Then, when I got home, I looked at the recipe, and it wasn't exactly what I had remembered.... so I created my own recipe anyway.

Chicken Pot Pies

Large soup pot
medium pot
tinfoil individual serving containers (or ceramic ones, if you're fancy)
Cutting board

two large or three small to medium chicken breasts
rosemary - one sprig
one garlic clove (smashed)

one yellow onion
one rib of celery
one stick of butter
two boxes of frozen vegetables (I used a corn, peas, green bean mix)
1/2 cup of flour
5 cups of chicken broth

Pie dough- either purchased, or a recipe to make a top and bottom crust.
I used a betty crocker recipe here , doubled

fill a medium saucepan with water, add sprig of rosemary, and garlic, and chicken breasts. bring to a gentle simmer, until chicken is cooked through. drain water, and then chop chicken into small bite-sized pieces

Dice onion and celery into small dice. heat large pot, melting 1tbs butter in pot. put in onion and celery, and salt. when onions are translucent, put in rest of butter, then melt. once butter is melted, add flour, stirring regularly, until flour has been lightly browned, and has lost raw flour taste. add vegetables, chicken, and stock, and bring to a simmer. add pepper, and salt, if needed. take off heat and cool to room temp.

Roll out pastry dough, and cut out lid sized pieces.

fill the foil containers with the chicken stew, and then place on pastry lid, and go around the edge of the pastry with a fork, smushing the edge of the pastry into the side of the container.

cut holes in the top of the pastry for venting, wrap in plastic wrap, then foil. and freeze.

when you are ready to have one, preheat oven to 400 degrees. take of plastic wrap, and foil, and place foil on top of pie, loosely. cook for 35 mintues with foil on, remove foil, and cook 30 more minutes. take out of oven, and let sit 10 mintues (otherwise you risk burning the roof of your mouth right off your body)

makes about 5 pies

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rice Krispie Cake

Photo Credit: Brielle Welzer

My sister is a lover of all things Rice Krispie. She has a very specific way that she likes them, plain rice crispies, with the sprinkles are little, tiny hard balls of multicolored sugar. (no other substitutes or replacements accepted)

A few years ago, she made Rice Krispie treats with fruity pebbles. While they are also awesome, you may need a moment to come out of diabetic shock after you eat one.

So this year for her birthday, I began to hatch a plan. I wanted to make her rice krispie something for her birthday celebration. but what? just a stack of cut up squares would not do.

So I created the Rice Krispie Cake. a three layer cake, made entirely with rice crispies, and decorated with circle dots of fruity pebbles rice krispie circles, and a flower on top.

it was huge. it was awesome. it was giant, and sugary. and I kind of want a slice right now.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Comedy gold

This kind of makes me want to give earl a bath.

... and then i contemplate the kind of biting/scratches that would ensue, and I think better of it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The List: March Update

1. Read a book a month that I haven't read before. I'm working on it! I have been lately doing a lot of comfort reading; i.e. Harry Potter and Roald Dahl.

2. Find a new apartment. Well, if you mean by new apartment, decide to stay in my current apartment, then the answer is yes. I decided to stay, and add an addition to my household. Earl the Cat. I have been refraining from posting about Earl, because I do not want to become Crazy Cat Blogger Lady, but he is awesome. and also, he bites.

3. Hike the trail at Oregon Ridge.
4. Go and see a movie with subtitles in a theater. I saw Slumdog millionare, which has subtitles, but not for the whole movie. So I say, it counts Half.

5. Go on a date. done!

6. Send real mail to someone once a month. Done! if the USPS would GET ON IT ALREADY and deliver the item that I have sent to the intended recipient
7. Listen to one new album a month. March album of the month- Sara Barrielles- she's surprisingly good, and not as pop-y as i thought!
8. Cook all the recipes in a cookbook.
9. Take a belly dancing class.
10. Get a decent haircut, someplace that is not Supercuts or Hair Cuttery.
12. Take a cooking class.

13. Have a five course dinner party. Done! Porkapalooza was five courses!

14. Learn a new craft.

15. Finish five knitting or crocheting projects. I am counting all the 40 snowflakes i crocheted this christmas, plus a cute red hat for my cute little cousin.

16. Be more assertive at work.
17. Go to DC by myself for a day and just walk around.
18. Finish the blanket (crochet). 19. Learn one new Baltimore/Maryland thing to do a month. March's thing: figured out a new, alternate route home if 95 is backed up. Excellent.

20. Create a new drink (boozy!)

21. Make handmade Christmas gifts see #15. counts for both!

22. Go to an RU women's basketball game. DONE. sadly, the RU women lost, but the're in the sweet sixteen. GO RU.

23. Be more considerate.

24. Take more pictures; update my flickr page more frequently Porkapalooza pics and bridal shower pics on flickr!

25. Visit one state that is not on the eastern seaboard.
26. Buy and read the Washington post one day a week.
27. Make an entire meal from items procured at the farmer's market

Thursday, March 26, 2009


So there's this website called Poladroid.... and I am in love with it. Seriously. I can't pretend that I have mad photoshop skills (in fact, I don't even have photoshop) So the first thing I did was get together my favorite pictures and poladroid them first.

Earl, looking deceptively relaxed and chilled out

Evan and G

Kate and Lindy sipping tea at the bridal shower.

Jackie and I at Falcon ridge a few years ago.

I love it because it makes them look old timey and cool. I want to poladroid everything now!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Bridal Shower To End All Bridal Showers

I say that, because it was awesome, but also because it was the first bridal shower that I have ever thrown. My sister, Jackie, and I are bridesmaids (or rather, Best Ladies) for my cousin Kate, who is getting married in April to her most awesome fiance, James.

So once we were nominated as best ladies by Kate, Jackie and I started planning the bridal shower. Jackie, and her mad design and organization skillz, was going to take care of the decorating and invites, and I was going to handle the food.

So I began to plot. and refine, and consider about eight million different options. Soup buffet? picnic style fried chicken? Barbecue? an all sweet bridal shower with three or five different kinds of pie, cookies and cake? fondue party complete with boiling fondue pots of oil? A dips and spreads party? a party of little nibbles, like mini quiche, and pigs in a blanket? Options: endless. (side note to my friends and family: these options are still reserved for future party)

Finally Jackie and I decided on a tea party theme. and so different deliberations began. fillings and bread options loomed large in front of me. also: sweet options, and what kind of teas to serve. Some days, the best part of my day was thinking about the bridal shower menu, it was so fun (also, my job sucks sometimes).

So the tea party menu was

Pumpkin maple scones from Here adapted with maple syrup- I would definitely make these again- the pumpkin mad
Buttermilk scones - from Bittman's How To Cook Everything, which is one of my favorite go-to places for recipes

Tea Sandwiches
Crisp cucumbers with a creamy dill yogurt on white bread

Roast Beef
Roast beef with a spicy horseradish cream on Whole wheat bread

Savory curry chicken salad with peanuts on Seven Grain Whole wheat bread
used the Barefoot Contessa's trick of roasting turkey thighs for the meat for the chicken salad, and it turned out really moist.

Turkey avocado with a smoky chipotle mayo on white bread
This turned out Spicy with a capital S- less chipotle next time- but tasty!

On The Side

Potato Salad
Roasted Herbed Yukon Gold Potato Salad
Green Salad
Mixed greens with fresh vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette
Assorted Crudite
with creamy ranch dip

Vanilla Cupcakes
Sweet vanila cake with a vanilla buttercream icing

Kate's a fan of owls, so i attempted to pipe chocolate owls and then place them on top of a dark blue vanilla buttercream icing. tasty, but my piping skills definitely need work.

and Assorted fruit

So much tea and excellent time was had by all, and there were amazing decorations:

these pink orb-y deals were really festive- I would definitely use them in more party decorations.

I don't want to name names, but someone was really bad at guessing and her name rhymes with Shmauntie Smangela.

Jackie put together these cute favors with rock candy, jordan almonds and three different kinds of tea.

We got to use my mom's awesome teapot collection, and Jackie knocked herself out making amazing decorations and labels for everything. She also coordinated games, and did 95% of the planning for the whole shindig, which was awesome.

The whole purpose of the party, to shower Kate with gifts to start her new place with James- was also very cool. She opened gifts that I may or may not have been completely drooling over. And we played the game where a if Kate was opening your present when the timer went off, you won a prize, which always adds extra excitement.

I had a blast planning it with Jackie, and hanging out with all the awesome ladies that showed up.

Up next: middle school style bachelorette! let's whip out the MASH and cootie catchers!... and vodka. hee!

more pictures on flickr!