Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

I know I haven't written in a while.  There hasn't been much happening.  Or much to say.  Not much cooking either - not enough money to do anything fun.  In fact I didn't make a birthday cake this year.  It hurt a little bit. But I guess it's time to realize that my birthday doesn't really matter.  I mean it does.  But not in the way that it used to.  Or that I wished it did.  I mean 364 days of the year I do everything for everyone else.  This one day of the year I just want to be the center of attention.  I want to be treated like a queen.  I want presents and fabulous food and bottles of wine and cake.  I want to be pampered.  I want to be spoiled.  I want to feel like I matter more than anyone else.  I want to feel loved.
And I guess I did feel like that.  Just not in the way that I had idealized it.

Anyway, moving on from that.
I had a little talk with Boyfriend the other day.  Things have been really really good between us lately.  Like blissful good.  Like we get each other on another level good.  We have been out on a couple dates lately, which is important to me and I think helps us stay connected with each other.  And the other weekend we went to a wedding of a good friend of mine (groom - also complete aside Boyfriend consumed raw baby spinach at said wedding!  Shock!  Although he did put butter on it - ew, I know).  And I'm not sure if it was that or it's just that time.  But there was lots of talk about "our" wedding (all Boyfriend's doing).  And then there was joking about things on "our" wedding etc.  And that just brought back a wave of a bunch of old feelings.  And I mulled it over and decided I needed to express my feelings on this seemingly meaningless chatter.  Initially I was afraid I was making too big a deal about this, but it was bothering me.  And as invalid as certain other nameless persons tried to make my feelings, I know that I have a right to them, so I spoke up.  Initially the way I put it to him was that I don't want to talk about weddings or marriage.  But I knew I needed to flesh that thought out because it made it seem like I don't want to get married at all.  And I do.  To Boyfriend anyway.  I'm older and more mature and I don't want to get married just to say I'm married.  I want to marry HIM.  Big difference.  But really I don't want to talk about it until HE is really ready to discuss it with some amount of seriousness.  This is a touchy subject for me.  Mostly because I've been down this road before, and I don't want to get my hopes up.  If something were to happen between us, the thought that we were considering marriage would make it that much harder to get over.  I'm a tough little lady, but I'm pretty sure it would be that much harder to recover from that sort of thing a second time.  I tried to explain all of this as best I could.  I hope he understood.  I mean I don't bring it up to him because I don't want him to feel pressured.  So I hope that he can understand that I don't want him to bring it up because it will just give me expectations.  I don't want him to bring it up unless he can meet any expectations he gives me.  He knows that my big thing is people not following through when they say they will.

Well this was all kind of heavy, and there are other heavy things on my mind that I would like to consider, but I'm pretty sure I've exhausted everyone's attention span for the time being.  So I'll leave you with your moment of levity: A bottle of wine makes me worse at mah jong, not better.  For some reason this surprised me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Your body is a wonderland? Well my body is a bitch.

I feel like I should be writing more about cooking things.  But I haven't been.  Cooking things that is.
At least I don't think so.  I mean I made dinner last night (whole wheat fettuccine, sausage, tomato sauce) and it wasn't anything exciting.  But I haven't been cooking because I haven't been eating.  Something decided to wreak havoc on my body on Monday afternoon and I haven't a clue as to what happened.  I went to grocery shop for the week and pulled into the lot then I got all shaky and light headed.  My heart was racing and then I thought I was going to toss my cookies.  I grocery shopped anyway because, what the hell, I was already there. Then went home and cried in bed because I thought I was dying.  Boyfriend came home later and gave me a strict bed rest order that lasted through Tuesday.  So I've been out of commission for a couple days and my stomach is still pretty much being a bitch, but it feels the same whether I eat anything or not.

Oh.  But, I did make something!  Carrot cake mix cookies with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Except the cookies were really fluffy and spongy and light so instead of frosting the tops of them I flipped them over and made them into whoopie pies!  Genius!  I know, I know.  And I think I have finally solved my white chocolate tempering problem.  I have attempted several times to make white chocolate cream cheese frosting and every time with out fail, the white chocolate burns or turns back into white chocolate flakes upon hitting the cream cheese and butter in the mixing bowl.  I seriously feel like I cannot win with this.  But!  BUT! The geniuses (genii?) at Philadelphia have fought my battle for me.  They now make dessert cream cheese!  Holy hell, yes!  White chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate cream cheese.  Amaaaaaazing.  I cannot wait to experiment with the dark chocolate variety.  And normally I am anti chocolate.  But.  I do love dark chocolate above all others.  And I am thinking birthday cake thoughts here.  Normally I go the fruity, sometimes frosting-less route, but I am envisioning amazing things with the dark chocolate cream cheese.  Although I think there will have to be some sort of raspberry filling.  Originally I was dreaming of a fluffy white cake with citrus curd in the middle and fluffy whip cream frosting and apricot preserve glazed fruit arranged all pretty on top.  Now I am having second thoughts.  Hmm...I am also still on the look out for a faboosh recipe to one up either of these birthday cake ideas.  Thoughts?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

So.  I have taken it upon myself to start DVR-ing Jeopardy!  (That was not supposed to sound excited that is simply the correct title for that show).  However, because I actually have no idea how to properly DVR things (I get rreeeaaalll excited when it works out properly) I seem to not have DVRed any of the latest or "new" episodes of Jeopardy!  You know, the ones that air at 7:30 each night on one of the main channels?  Instead I seem to have DVRed old Jeopardy! episodes that re-air on the Game Show Network at like 2am or 9am.  Now that is fine, because A)I usually haven't seen these episodes so B)I am still honing my Jeopardy! skills and learning.  (NB: I have always held a very fond place for Jeopardy! and it is a life goal to be on it.  Mostly because I know so many pointless non-money making things.  And I want these things to finally make me some money.  Although I want to bring back Trebek's mustache.)  But the issue with this is because these have aired at such odd hours they are interspersed with some seriously awesome infomercials.

Now maybe I have failed to mention this here, but I have a serious love affair with infomercials.  I LOVE them.  Especially infomercials that involve kitchen appliances or cookware of any stripe.  I'm pretty sure I NEED all of these things.  Rotisserie oven?  Want.  New knives that can cut shoes?  Desire.  Slicer thing?  Must have.  Cake pop pan? Cannot live without.  I suppose the upside of being unbelievably broke is that I cannot call and order these things.  Well that and my crippling anxiety about talking on the phone and asking people for things.  True story: I have been known to leave stores where employees offer to help me too much or when I can't find things instead of asking for help.
So that makes this post food relevant.  That and I decided I was not making dinner last night because I had defrosted turkey cutlets and I REALLY did not want that.  I wanted a big fancy salad.  Instead I had a bowl of romaine lettuce with dressing.  The downside: I really have to make that turkey tonight.  Wah-wah.  Otherwise I will have to throw it away.  And that will mean wasting my money.  And nothing makes me angrier than wasting my money.  Except people that don't do what they say they will.  Or people that feel the need to update you every 27 seconds on their wedding and/or pregnancy.  Or factory farms.  Or the fact that celebrity Jeopardy! is way easier than regular Jeopardy!  Or when my ice cream gets drippy down the cone onto my hand.  That just makes me throw my ice cream out the car window (also true).  So maybe many other things make me angrier than wasting money.  But wasting money ranks way up there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It was better than you having a dream about me in a threesome...

I need some food inspiration.  I feel empty of cooking ideas.  Or at the very least stymied.  It is getting unseasonably warm around here and so I am craving fresh and refreshing foods.  I want more veggies and fruits. I want barbecue.  I want salad.  And I really want fish.  I guess I'm just trying to wrap my head around how to package and present these things to Boyfriend (who I decided should get a capital letter at least, though even though we haven't discussed it, I kind of figured he would appreciate the anonymity).

My usual process is to think of all the things I want to try or things we haven't had in a while and kind of plan out what I need because Monday is usually grocery day.

Ok.  So far, things that have piqued my interest.
-some sort of fish
-lemon curd (though I am not real sure what I will do with it - maybe with fresh berries? but I really want to make it)
-home made bread
-beer.  last week Boyfriend asked me to get some in honor of St. P's Day (all I wanted was corned beef, but apparently his family thinks that is the epitome of disgusting.  My family is authentically Irish and drunk and knows that nothing tastes better with a sweet buzz than salty, fatty meat).  BUT corned beef aside, it made me think we should drink more beer.  Well, no.  Maybe not like that.  We should try more beer, or beer styles, or beer brands.  Something like that.  The sweet buzz we acquire will be a happy accident from our quest for knowledge.  And therefore completely excusable.  I mean people have done way worse things in the name of "knowledge" (coughTuskegeecough).

I don't know.  My brain is too cloudy to think clearly and plan appropriately for the week.  It is probably because I've been having WAY more excessively strange dreams than most people have in their entire lifetimes.
I was shaving Boyfriend's head last night (because the back of your head is WAY easier to let someone else do, as long as you trust them with a razor near your most prized possession.)  But, I only agreed to do this if he would listen to my latest dream I had (Friday night).  He acquiesced.  So we're in the bathroom together and he is seated while I shave his head (because as you may or may not know, I am almost legally a "little person") and I set the stage for him.
Me: "So this dream I had the other night it was SO weird, but I told my mother about it and she said, no, you REALLY need to tell Boyfriend that dream because it is weird AND funny.  So..."
Boyfriend: "Just get this over with".
Me: "Ok, so I dreamed that I was bitten by a weasel.  But it was a rabid weasel.  And I got bit on the hand as I was trying to pick it up and move it.  Its teeth only just barely pricked my skin.  So then I knew I had rabies and I needed to go to the doctor"
Boyfriend: "Seriously?  Why?"
Me: "Because when you have rabies you need to seek medical attention"
Boyfriend: "No, I mean weasels and rabies?  What is happening in your subconscious?"
Me: "Neither of us probably really wants to know.  Anyway, it gets better."
Boyfriend: "Better than weasels and rabies?"
Me: "Oh yes.  This is the funny part.  I was African-American.  But you were still you, and still very pasty.  And you kept telling me that I didn't need to go to the doctor's because I had only dreamed that I had been bitten by a rabid weasel.  And also, I had a baby.  And the baby was African-American.  A little boy.  And I had given him corn rows."
Boyfriend: "People could not make these things up if they tried.  Even Dr. Seuss couldn't.  Also, are you trying to tell me something with this African-American baby business?"
Me: "What?! No!  Anyway, do you think this is better or worse than the dream where we had a dog that always ate the top four buttons off my shirt causing my boobs to fall out?"
Boyfriend: "More creative.  Although only the top four buttons is kind of highly specific.  But overall I like the dog dream better."
Me: "Why because my boobs were always on display?"
Boyfriend:  "Yeah, that and the fact that you DIDN'T HAVE A BABY"

He's just not ready to deal with a miniature version of me; although the thought of someone else with the same kind of irrational logic is kind of exciting.
Also, I think that he is incorrect about one thing- Dr. Seuss could totally make this shit up.  Except then it would rhyme.  And be packaged in a neat way for six year olds.  And be slightly moralistic.
And if  you haven't noticed I want this blog to be not just about food and cooking.  But also about my life.  Because sometimes it is really weird and funny.  And, like my rabid weasel dream, is not to be missed.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

At least there is dessert

In which I eat soup because I am far too tired to care and impatient to wait for a real dinner to be cooked and boyfriend ate the left over pizza and I just smiled and poured beer for people for nine hours.  On St. P's Day.

Oh well, at least there is cookie pie for dessert.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Does not always share well with others.

So the brownies happened.  I feel ambivalent about them.  Probably because they are low-fat.  Also possibly because I put a little too much salt on them.  But I am thinking they might be salvageable if I drop a dollop of peanut butter on top of them.  I will test this theory out and let you know and then decide if the brownies are worth telling you about.  The best thing about them, thus far anyway, is that boyfriend totally ate one yesterday while I was at work.  I told him they were low-fat, but what I apparently neglected to tell him was that they were salty.  Teehee.  Boyfriend does NOT appreciate snacks that incorporate the salty-sweet dichotomy, like chocolate covered pretzels.  To me those are perfect and encompass everything I want in a snack food; satisfying all cravings in one shot.  So when I got home this is the exchange that happened:

Me: "Oh, so did you go and have dinner without me already tonight, or do you want me to cook?"
Boyfriend: "No, I just had one of those brownies you made the other day..." (frowns slightly)
Me: "Well, I told you they were low-fat, right?"
Boyfriend: "Yeeeeah..." (continues frowning)
Me: "Oh!  Did I tell you I made them salty?"
Boyfriend: " wonder I thought they were gross"
Me: "And you ate it?  Bwhahahahahaha!"

Needless to say I have to make up for 'tricking' him into eating salted low-fat brownies with some cookie pie. This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  Now I, like most people, detest making pie crust, so I cheat and use store bought.  Why not?  It's perfectly good.  Unlike most people though, I can, if called up, make pie crust.  Because I conquered that beast years ago, I have given myself permission to cheat.  Plus store bought pie crust is fine and not totally disgusting, like buying frosting in a can at the store vs. making your own.

Also, I made a little mini apple crisp I wanted to share with you.  It was so mini that I pretty much ate the whole thing after my weekly long walk last week (I take several short hour long walks, and one almost three hour walk - at least that is the weekly goal these days).  It all started because I was asking boyfriend about fruit desserts (which are usually my fav) and he told me he had never had apple pie or crisp or anything.  I told him that was un-American.  More so, it is un-New England.  At least to the girl that grew up living within 15 minutes of 5 different apple orchards in the heart of Johnny Appleseed Country.  So seeing as how I avoid pie crust like the devil I was convinced I was going to get him to eat an apple crisp.  Except he won't eat anything with oats.  So then I was convinced I could make apple crisp sans oats.  It took a while and some serious thought.  But I settled on graham crackers.  And judging by the fact that I opted not to entice him to try any of it, and instead gorge myself and not share you could say it was pretty successful.

Mini Apple Crisp For Two (or one if you are me)
2 Apples (I used Granny Smith) peeled and thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons of water
4 grahams (from the Fresh Stacks packs) crushed
3 TBS sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS cold butter

Place apples in greased 1/2 quart baking dish.  Place water over apples.  In a separate bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon and cut in butter.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake roughly 30 minutes @ 350.  I think I let mine go another 5 minutes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Back to Basics vewy vewy quiet, I am being sneaky in the kitchen.  So I know I promised you something fun and exciting and sweet.  But, boyfriend, ever the traditionalist decided he had a cookie craving that only I could satisfy.  (That is probably not true, but we were out of E.L Fudge cookies and Oreos, so what could I do?)
So no cookie pie, no apple crisp (at least for the time being) because I can only deal with dirtying and then washing so many dishes per day.  The downside of not owning a dishwasher.  So I contended with good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies.  I, like most experienced home cooks, have a go to recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  In fact, it's my go to cookie base in general.  I have tried others every so often, but I ALWAYS go back to the one I'm going to give you.  Now, when baking I don't normally mess around with the recipe because baking is like science you have to have things in the correct ratios otherwise things don't turn out; savory recipes I can't leave alone, but to me, they're like art - I always have to put my own touches on things and ultimately I can usually correct something like too much acid or salt, etc.  But I messed around with my go to cookie recipe today because it seems like boyfriend is having some inner turmoil.  Eating healthy vs. eating tasty.  So I wanted to help that out a little bit.  And I did that by subbing in whole wheat flour for half the flour - next time I'm betting I can get away with all whole wheat.

Basic Cookie Recipe
3 Cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter melted and cooled
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Sift (I know, I know, honestly I pretty much NEVER do this) flour, baking soda and set aside.  Beat together both sugars and butter until smooth.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Beat.  Beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips.  I don't measure my chips - I use a bag and a half.  This time it was 1 bag of semi-sweet and half a bag of white chocolate chips.  Also, I didn't have large eggs; I had teeny little medium eggs, so I used four of them instead of three.  I won't say it was a mistake, everything turned out ok in the end, but I ended up adding a little extra flour and setting the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes because it was looser and stickier than I usually work with.  This particular recipe makes ALOT of cookies.  Here is my downfall, I get tired of putting out sheet after sheet of cookies so the cookies gradually get larger so I have to make fewer of them.  Ultimately I ended up with roughly 40 large-ish cookies.  Had I made them "normal" size I would probably have around 60.  That rarely happens.  I know boyfriend likes it better because he has "lots" of cookies, but in my opinion, 40 is still lots of cookies, they're just freakishly huge now.

I promise.  To both you and myself that there will be something more exciting happening tomorrow.
Oh, and the steak - it was totally bad assly awesome.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

oral fixation

Oh.  No.  Kate Spade sample sale.  Trouble beckons.  Well, it would if I had more money.  If I had another couple hundred bucks I could totally almost justify it to myself.  Especially because there is a bag named after my alma mater.  And in our school color!  Sigh.  I am coveting hardcore.  And I only just got over the Coach Factory sale.  (Which, in Coach's defense, is a way better deal - sorry KS!)

So two quick things.  Something dessert-y to come tomorrow.
First - I don't know about you guys, but I go through food fixation phases (score for alliteration!).  I went through a serious pickle phase while in college, and a (shut up, yes I know the next one will make some of you - boyfriend included - go ew) A1 steak sauce phase when I was around 11 or 12.  I've had bread and dip fixations, caper fixations (after many many years of caper hatred), buffalo sauce fixations, jam fixations (I'm pretty sure having five or six jars of different jams qualifies as having a problem), cilantro fixations, lemon (both sweet and savory uses) fixations, and Biscoff spread fixations (and before you think I'm jumping on the Biscoff bandwagon, I was eating that stuff well before it blew up across the food blogging world).  I still like (love even) all of these flavors, I just don't need everything I eat to be slathered in A1 or topped with pickles (including pickle flavored chips and cashews).  For the most part I'm more about variety and the spice of life and whatnot, although occasionally I need something spicy or tangy to accompany everything I eat in a week and will plow my way through a bottle of Frank's buffalo wing sauce.  It's true.  Some weeks I DO "put that shit on everything".  And sometimes all I can think about are capers, and build entire meals around them.
I love foods that are tasty by themselves but are also blank canvases in a way.  Like mac and cheese.  I have been having a love affair with mac and cheese since I was knee high to a grasshopper.  I eat significantly less of it these days because A) it is not so forgiving to my thighs and B) boyfriend thinks it is gross.  Don't ask.  I don't get it either.  Now some days all I want is plain mac and cheese (the ULTIMATE in comfort food, it's like eating a hug, if I'm eating mac and cheese I probably just want a snuggle buddy, and hugs and kisses) - either homemade or Velveeta reduced fat if I'm feeling lazy and guilty about my calorie intake.  But other days (like today) I want to gussy it up a bit.  Sometimes I stir in some canned tomatoes, some days turkey dogs, some days capers (by far the most winning combo in the list), some days buffalo sauce and a sprinkling of blue cheese.  But I was a little limited in ingredients today - that is on the whole I'm trying to buy fewer processed foods (and yes I know, Velveeta is a ridiculously processed food, I'm not dumb, but I AM willing to give in to a craving) so all I really had on hand was some fresh herbs.  Cilantro.  CilAAANNNtro.  I would rub it all over the house if I thought boyfriend wouldn't put the kaibosh on that.  It smells completely fantastical.  The smell alone reminds me of hundreds of tasty meals I've had.  Thai.  Mexican.  Things boyfriend turns up his nose at.  Yum.  And the taste...oooh baby.  I know cilantro is kind of a controversial herb.  Let's just say I have NEVER met anyone with blinding hatred and disgust for basil or rosemary or dill; cilantro on the other hand...I have met individuals (plural) that won't touch anything they even think has touched cilantro.  It boggles my mind how someone could refuse that earthy, pungent goodness.  Oh well.  More cilantro for me.  So that's what went into the mac and cheese today, and ooohhh it was sooo complimentary.  I get shivers just thinking about it again.
So there's that.  I think I was going to tell you about something else too.  Maybe the steak teriyaki?  Hmmm... well I could, but I haven't actually eaten it yet.  It's still marinading away in my fridge with some more cilantro. And Soy Vey Teriyaki sauce (only the best there is!), a little soy sauce, worcestershire, fresh lime juice and zest, brown sugar, and a splash of rice wine vinegar.  I have high hopes for this.  Although I haven't decided if it's going on the GF (George Foreman) or just in a pan.  Probably GF, although let me tell you, that thing is a bigger pain in the behind to clean than I ever anticipated.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?

I will let you in on a secret.  I am not all sunshine and roses and unicorns and cupcakes all the time.  I have my faults.  Sometimes I am annoying.  Sometimes I am unnecessarily petulant when my annoying behavior is rebuffed.  After I am done feeling sorry for myself and being petulant I do apologize.  For what it is worth I can usually recognize unsavory behavior in myself.  And 99.5% of the time I will apologize.  (I'm not 100% perfect, so I probably don't always apologize).  But I do have my positives.  Like waffles.  Yeasty, crusty, fluffy, waffles with just a hint of sweetness.

Every week I ask boyfriend if there is anything special he wants for the week (aside from cookies, either store bought or scratch made those are a given to the point that they are not considered "special" any more), or if there is anything I haven't made in a while that he wants.  Some weeks it is chicken soup.  Others it is something involving bacon.  Pizza is always welcome, though not necessarily requested.  Because he gets up for work super early he doesn't usually have breakfast, but he loves breakfast foods.  Needless to say brinner (breakfast for dinner) is a given almost once a week around here.  Brinner offers me the variation I crave in my diet and offers boyfriend all the breakfast foods he is missing out on.  Usually it is pancakes.  He can eat pancakes like he's getting paid.  Last time it was some killer french toast (my secrets - use ridiculous bread, most people usually recommend challah or brioche.  I used a loaf of Portuguese sweet bread.  Other secret: I use french vanilla coffee creamer instead of milk in my custard mixture).  This time boyfriend asked for waffles.  It just so happens that I own a waffle iron, so I was game.  I was poking around for a waffle recipe that was different  enough to keep me interested and familiar enough to convince boyfriend to eat them.  I definitely succeeded.  If you're looking for a dessert waffle recipe, this is definitely not for you.  The only thing to lend any sweetness to it is maple syrup.  It is a yeasted waffle so it requires a little patience and pre-planning, though nothing crazy.

2 cups AP flour
2 eggs
1 1/12 cups warm milk
1 1/2 ts active yeast
1 ts vanilla
3/4 ts salt
6 tb melted butter
2 tb maple syrup

Mix all ingredients together and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Leave at room temp at least one hour so the yeast can do its thing.  NB: the longer you leave the batter hanging out, the more of a nutty, yeasty almost umami flavor will develop.  And after sitting out for an hour, if not using straight away, stick it in the fridge.  After the hour the batter will be kind of bubbly and slightly thicker.  It reminded me of looser, runnier pizza dough.  My particular waffle iron took slightly less than 3/4 of a cup per waffle and produced 7 waffles from this recipe.  I enjoyed mine with butter and raspberry jam and boyfriend drown his in maple syrup.  And when you're topping your waffles like that do you really need more sweetness in the waffle itself?

Monday, February 27, 2012

a muffin is just a bald cupcake. that's okay, I like bald things.

I am having reasonably good karma at the moment.  This is concerning.  Also I'm pretty sure boyfriend has made sure there is a spirit of sorts haunting me while he is at work.

So first - the karma thing.  I worked on Saturday and in a flurry to get out the door and on the road I didn't grab anything to eat except an apple.  I knew that would not be enough for a 9 hour shift while I am in full on musteatmorefoodnowbottomlesspit mode (aka, taking care of lady business).  So I made my way to work, and after I got off the highway stopped at a little convenience store that I frequent and hooked myself up with an AP (Arnold Palmer) and Nutrigrain bar.  I completed my transaction, went back outside into the howling wind and into my car.  I was preparing to pull out of the parking lot when I was sneak-attack-accosted by a gentleman knocking on my window.  He claimed he needed to get back to NH from MA and was out of gas and needed money.  I had only put my window down a hair, but the whole situation felt warning.warning.wrong.wrong.WRONG.  So I apologized and said I had no cash and continued on my way to work.  I immediately felt guilty.  Now don't get me wrong, I've been hit up for money before - it happens pretty much whenever I go to Boston or NYC or Philly.  And I employ my tried and true method of "Do Not Engage.  Do Not Make Eye Contact."  And it has served me and countless millions well.  This however, was decidedly NOT Boston.  More like the middle of nowhere, plus apple trees, and a few people.  
Maybe you think my methods are cruel, and maybe they are.  But maybe I'm lucky to work 12 hours a week and still have to be responsible for phone bill, electric bill, gas bill, and grocery bill for two people as well as putting gas in my car to get to the 12hr/wk job that is 35 minutes away.  Let's just say yes, I did have $10 in my wallet, but I am not necessarily in a position to just give it up considering there is a looming unpaid credit card bill, that has and will continue to loom until I get a real job (which is looking optimistic these days).  So despite my refusal, I did pretty much immediately feel guilty and certain that bad things would befall me.  They haven't.  (knock on wood)  

Second - and this is just kind of a funny aside - boyfriend loves to harass me and interrupt my internet surfing. I normally enjoy this activity on the sofa next to him with my laptop perched on my lap.  He takes this as an invitation to reach over and press as many buttons on my keyboard as possible.  Especially the calculator button.  Yes, there is a button on my keyboard whose sole function is to open up the calculator.  I know, it seems superfluous.  But I didn't choose this computer because of its keyboard attributes.  I chose it because it was cheap.  And I had spilled a glass of iced tea on my last one.  So this morning I am checking email, perusing recipes and meal planning for the week, and I get up to procure some breakfast (more about that in a minute) and return with breakfast to the sofa and laptop only to find about five calculator windows open, something boyfriend is immensely fond of doing, but clearly incapable of because he has a real job and is working hard at the moment.  Curious.

Anyway, breakfast.  Breakfast!  Chocolate!  You too can have it all in one neat package.  Yay!  Three cheers for me!

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Born from boyfriend's infinite capacity to consume chocolate chip cookies, and my indifference to making chocolate chip cookies.  Again.  (I tend to to lose interest after the first sheet of them go in the oven, so the cookies get progressively larger because of my laziness.)

3 cups AP flour (I'm interested to use cake flour next time, we shall see)
1/2 white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter softened
1/4 ts baking soda
2 3/4 ts baking powder
2 1/2 ts vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups choc. chips (I had chunks on hand and they worked fine)

Oven @ 375

For future reference I would add more sugar next time.  Or change the sugar ratio to 3/4 cup white and 1/4 brown.  I understand the brown is there to give it that cookie like taste, but had the muffin base had anything other than chocolate (like fruit) it would not have been sweet enough.
Get the dry together - flour, baking soda, baking powder.  The original recipe also called for salt, but I never add salt, because I never use unsalted butter.  I figure the salted butter compensates for the salt in the recipe.  Unsalted butter is for buttercream only.
Cream together sugars and butter.  Then add eggs and vanilla.  Cream.  Alternate adding dry ingredient mix and milk.  Stir in chips.  Et Voila!
Bake 20 minutes.  No way does this need 30 minutes.  Also, the muffins will rise.  Alot.  That's what you get with almost 3 teaspoons of baking soda.

Things to look forward to this week, yeasted waffles, brined pork chops, chicken soup, homemade naan, probably some sort of mexican food, and hopefully a margarita the size of my face.  YES!

Monday, February 20, 2012

i'm back in the saddle again

Gosh, I haven't written in months and months and months and months.  Ooops.  Badbad.  And SO much has happened.  SO.  MUCH.

Here is a last season recap - main things only: I moved in with the man, work was crazy busy and good, and then crazy and bad, things were rocky with the man, things are better, might be getting a new job, and there is so much food happening.

So basically, I am relocated and master of my own kitchen, because the boy can rarely be bothered to be in there unless eating, and my current job has decided to treat me like crap and I have basically decided to smile and take it.  Because that is how I roll.  Doormat style.  Not really.  I just don't really have millions of employment opportunities and can't afford to leave.

So I should probably start talking about the food.  There were definitely hits and misses and you will get to know about ALLLL of them.

Let's start on an easy and positive note.  I like those kinds of notes.

Crock-pot Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 oz blocks cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup buffalo wing/hot sauce
1 cup ranch dressing
2 10oz cans of chicken***

***NB: I totally think this might be kind of grody.  I obtained a whole cold rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and stripped about half of it for the dip.  Basically one breast, thigh, drum stick.  Meat from a can just seems so wrong to me.

Dump everything in crock pot.  Turn crock pot on to your desired heat level depending on how quickly you need the dip to be ready.  It will get sufficiently melty asap if you crank that baby up.  I kept mine on warm for about two hours and then upped it to low about a half hour before I had to leave the house with it for a party.  It was a HUGE hit.  Along with the strawberry cupcakes with champagne buttercream I brought.