1) Participated in birthday weekend happiness for this chick and had an awesome time hanging out and picking crabs for the second time ever. (plus: passionfruit Rita's. The Towson one always has it. the Columbia one? Never. Suck it, Columbia)
2) Crocheted Cupcake!
3) I have a four day week this week, and a four day week next week, and then Vacation!
4) Sending people stuff in the mail is fun.
5) Glee Tuesdays have been replaced with Top Chef Wednesdays, Woo, Top chef wednesday!
6) Wednesday off this week!
7) Grateful that I have A/C, because I have friends and family that don't, ant that sucks for them.
8) Debating making cookies this week. Am kind of in a cookie mood.
9) Creating fun crocheted things. (besides the cupcake above)
10) Official vacation countdown has begun! 13 days! This time two weeks from now I will be contemplating if I want to go to the beach, or for a bike ride, or what to have for lunch.
This tomato sauce. I have been thinking about this tomato sauce a lot. I first made it last week, when I had a dinner guest cancel on me- it was what I was going to make, but when it got to the boiling pasta point, I didn't feel like it, and just made toast and ate it topped on that way. It was so delicious that I was eating it with a spoon from the pot. I am not a huge fan of tomatoes- I don't like them raw at all, and usually prefer them blended into whatever sauce they're in, and masked by basil, and garlic, and made to taste like something entirely else.
This tomato sauce is not like that. It is capital T Tomatoey. It's- grab onto a strand of pasta and coat with the luscious sauce-, silky, chunky, oh my goodness tomato sauce.
I made it again tonight, to see if it was one of those culinary flukes, those "I was so hungry anything would taste delicious" moods, and it wasn't. In fact, it was even better this time, because I had pasta with it, garlic bread on the side, and a nice bottle of merlot, and best of all, my friend Paul came over to eat it with me. The sauce just shimmers in the pan, waiting for you to add the pasta to it. I want to make this sauce over and over. I don't want to make any other tomato sauce, ever. I just want this one.
The beauty of the sauce is in the simplicity. It has four ingredients that I almost always have in my pantry.
It is Marcella Hazan's recipe, but I found it at one of my favorite food blogger's sites- Orangette
2 cups whole, peeled, canned plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juices (about one 28-oz. can)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt, to taste
Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a very slow but steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free from the tomato. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and salt as needed.
Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.
I'm not going to lie, I'm a competitive person. I like to play games, and I like to win. And for the last two years, when I go on vacation with my family at Chincoteague Island, we have a Rib Cookoff competition. The first year, I was victorious. Basking in the glow of my win, I took the tropy home, and reveled in my win for a whole year. Last year brought sadness. I was competing against my uncle, and my cousin Potter, and my uncle pulled out a miraculous win (by a large freaking margin).
Last year's devistating loss meant that I could not rest on my laurels. I could not fly by the seat of my pants and expect to pull out victiory. I need to be more methodical. more calculating.... more awesome.
So I put together my rub, which is based off of Alton Brown's 8 + 3 +1 +1 ratio, and I rubbed up a rack of ribs and let it sit overnight. I made my own tomato-based barbecue sauce, Which is a new tactic that i'm trying this year. (I've never used a tomato based sauce before).
I invited Paul over for dinner, so he could guinea pig the ribs for me, to make sure that they were okay.
I cooked the ribs, low and slow, and in the last half hour, I brushed on the bbq sauce. Then, once they were done, i cut them, and tossed them in a bowl with more sauce.
They were messy, but they were pretty awesome. I need to tweak a little (A little less heat is needed) but they were pretty freaking great.
Watch out, Uncle Dave.... I'm comin' to get ya.
And for dessert, we had oreo cupcakes with cream cheese oreo frosting. MMMMMMMMM
When I was in fourth grade, We got these bright yellow folders, that had in large writing, CLASS OF 2000! Scrawled across the front. all sorts of information was tucked into the folder, probably about our promising futures, and our lives that were to be full of success and joy and happiness, because we had the dubious distinction of being in the class of the new millennium.
Ten years ago today, I graduated from high school. Full of nervous anticipation, I boarded the school bus at my high school, (our graduation ceremonies were located at a local college) I was tapping my feet, and trying to concentrate on not falling on my face in front of a couple hundred people (mission: accomplished!) but the whole time I was distracted. I had gotten a phone call earlier in the day from the Director of Emergency Services for the American Red Cross Chapter that I volunteered for, asking me If i wanted to go to North Dakota for three weeks to help out with flood relief. And oh, by the way, the flight leaves tomorrow. I said yes, and was mentally packing during most of the ceremony. It all kind of passed in a blur, and then it was over, and I was on a plane.
When I graduated high school, I had a plan. I was going to volunteer with the Red Cross in the summer, I was going to work at Great Adventure, and in the fall, I was going to start my Americorps year with City Year in Rhode Island. I had direction, and purpose, and I was going to do good things.
I think a lot of people look on their past selves, and kind of smile, and shake their heads, and think about how confused they were. And in some respects, That girl who was 18 and about to grow up pretty fast didn't know what she was doing. But on the other hand, I think of what that 18 year old would think about where my life is now. And I think it would make her sad.
In order to make my 18 year old self less sad at my life, I have realized I need A Plan. A Plan to make things better, and to work on the things that make me unhappy. Part of my inertia, I think, is not really knowing what I want to do, and kind of letting the status quo stand, until i figure it out. Well, nothing is going to change If I don't make some choices, and take some chances. So that's what I'm going to work on this summer.
And like I told Potter, when he wanted to shave his head like a Cue-ball last night, you only live once.
*And Happy Birthday to Andrea, my friend and High School classmate, who had her birthday on our graduation day, which had to have sucked. Joyeux anniversaire ! (I would link to her blog, but she doesn't have one. She should though!)
1. I am continuing on my smoothie kick. Frozen fruit from trader Joe's, light coconut milk, and yogurt, and you get a little smoothie heaven. I've decided to post my smoothie combos on twitter (because really, what else is twitter for?) so if you are interested in checking that out... there it is.
2. Toy Story 3 comes out this weekend!
3. Baltimore Pride is this weekend! (also, the awesome Iron Crow stickers that we ordered for Pride. Can't wait)
4. Gay Expectations 2: Expect More is Thursday and Friday!
5. The wine tasting I went to at Donna's- So much fun. Both the company, and the wine!
6. New Top Chef starts on Wednesday!
7. The Peanut butter pie at the Desert Cafe in Mount Washinton. I am trying to figure out how to replicate it. OMG awesome.
8. Making iced tea to keep in the fridge. Why have I never done this before? Am I slow? I love unsweetened iced tea! it is so easy to make!
9. Planning for some out of town vistitors that might be coming in the Fall! woo!
10. I don't have to work this weekend and I thought I did! yay!
I love house concerts. The intimacy of the performer, a few feet away, strumming on their guitar, or playing the piano, makes me happy. It really is the best way to hear music. In the last few years, I have been to seldom few non-house concert shows. In order to get out of the box and enjoy the Life Outside My Apartment, I added go to a non-house concert show. Large concerts have their bonuses too- I never would have been introduced to acts like Girlyman, Lucy Kaplansky, and Richard Shindell if not for Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.
I was all set to make The Rescues show at the Ram's Head in Annapolis my concert,When there was a concert on Twitter by Bthesite to win tickets to Corrine Bailey Rae! I entered the contest, and won (WOOOOOO, winning!) and then I had tickets that friday to see her. I invited Tim (he of trip to Japan awesomeness) So I not only exceeded my goal, I doubled it!
Corrine Bailey Rae was really good- (aside from the venue that had no seating, requiring us to stand up for four hours) I had not listen to much of her latest album, that she was touring on, but I really liked it. She sprinkled in her popular songs from the last album. All in all it was an excellent show.
The Rescues I saw the next week. A supergroup of four singer songwriters that came together to make an awesome band, I am a big fan of theirs. Kyler England, Adrianne, Rob Giles and Gabriel Mann make up the group, and they rocked it. It was my first time being at the Ram's head, and I REALLY liked it- it's a great venue to hear music, plus, there are chairs and food! I will be keeping my eye out for other acts that are going to be there, Due to sheer awesomeness.
Opening for The Rescues was Garrison Starr, who I had heard of, and was a little familar with her music (she comes up on my Edie Carey Pandora playlist) and I thought she was great- I went home and downloaded a bunch of her music from itunes. I love when opening acts are good- it sets the tone for an awesome concert-going experience.
Today, I feel like I don't really have ten things that are making me happy RIGHT NOW. I have ten things that make me full of the rage, for certian. Well, if not full of the rage, certianly full of the annoyance. However, that is not the point of TEN THINGS. Ten things is about finding the happy, amidst the crap. Even if the crap is overwhelming. I am going to try to push through and do my ten things.
1 The video that I made, which is the second in the series of videos for the RIB CHALLENGE COOKOFF (I'll do a seperate post with a link to the video, because I can't access Youtube right now
2 Dan and Helena visititng this weekend was fricka awesome!
3 Jack coming down this weekend was fantastic (she gets her own special #, due to awesomeness)
4 GLEE tuesday- it is the Season Finale! Julie is making cheese dinner of epic cheesiness!
5 Fun plans with friends all week long!
6 Is it bad that i'm already looking forward to the weekend on Monday? well if that's wrong, i don't wanna be right.
7 The Scrapple I got at the farmer's market this weekend. I had breakfast for dinner last night.... and maybe tonight.
8 Planning for Chincoteague... drinks category
9 Planning for Chincoteague... Food category
10 Making Rub this week! Various and sundry family members should get ready!
These guys came down from New Jersey this weekend to visit Baltimore, and to go to the Polish festival that was over in Patterson Park. My cousin Dan, his girlfriend Helena and my sister Jackie. Jackie came down for hanging out and a meeting that she had to go to for grad school, and Dan and Helena came to go to the Polish festival.
We had lots of fun taking pictures.....
and looking at pottery....
and taking more pictures...
The festival was on the small side, so once we had taken in the sights, eaten some perogi and potato pancakes, (plus the white borscht soup that Helena got that I need the recipe for. omg, so good) oh, and Polish beer! We still had some time, so we headed down to do my favorite thing in the city:
Going to Pitango Gelato, and sitting and enjoying it in Fell's point. I know my family and friends are probably tired of going there, but I never get tired of it. gelato, looking out a the boats on the water, heading over to do some shopping at 10,000 villages and Su Casa... awesome.
Dan and Helena left to go home on Saturday night, and Jackie and I hung out. Then, this morning, We got up and headed over to the farmer's market, where I got some good stuff.
I love having company, and I can't wait until they come back!
1 The countertops in this place are waaaaaaaaaaay better than the faux marble plastic, ugly ones in the old place
3 The smoke alarm is not hair trigger
4 The bathroom is blue, as opposed to hideous pink.
5 Everything is all organized and in it's place.
6 The fridge is bigger.
7 Earl enjoys the sunlight wayy more! I keep finding him curled up in sunny spots. He didn't have that in the old place.
8 Company coming this weekend!
9 New apartment makes me want to have everyone over to make dinner for them. Friends and family! I will cook dinner for you! Just let me know when you are coming!
10 The new apartment just makes me happy to be there
I know that it's not the 27th in the 27th anymore, but I like crossing things off lists, and this is something I definitely should have done that year. So I'm retroactively crossing it off. I've only been in this new apartment for three days, and I just feel better in it. I think it has a lot to do with the amount of sunlight that the new place gets:
Living room area
I moved to a new apartment in my same complex, and I had an awesome moving team- my mom, dad, sister Jackie and my friend Meda. There aren't many people who will help you move from a third floor apartment to a third floor apartment, and they've got my back. I had a lot of stuff ready when the got there, (and had already moved some things) but it took the five of us just three hours to move all my stuff.
Looking into the kitchen
In retrospect, it makes the panic and stress I was going through seem kind of pointless.
I was able to get everything unpacked on Sunday and Monday morning (SCORE for moving on a three day weekend, that was some great serendipity) and got to relax after I did the remaining cleaning at my old place.
Other Side of the kitchen
Awesome bonus to this kitchen- I heated the oven to 450 to cook my pizza, and the smoke alarm didn't go off! WOOT. That would have never happened in the old apartment. I would have been waving a dishrag in front of the smoke alarm for the duration of the cooking.
Earl enjoying the sunlight
Earl likes the new digs, too, seeing that there is exponentially more sun in the new place. he's already developed his "running around the apartment in a giant circle" loop. Here he sits on the Grandad Chair, soaking in the sun from the sliding glass door.
Another great feature of this apartment is the balcony; my old apartment had one too, but it was not enjoyable to hang out there. This one is- I had my tea on it this morning. (sorry for the no balcony picture)
I'm all ready to have my first houseguests this weekend!