Let it be released from the mind

Monday, January 29, 2007


I'll be off for a few weeks...I look forward to updating you on our trip. Adios amigos!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Such a big girl!

Sheridan is a very happy little baby. She likes to pull people's hair, and likes when you act like a silly person in front of her. I'm fairly good at making her laugh because I am a silly person and also have no idea whatsoever how it is appropriate to play with children. I try to play with them like I do Laika...they don't really like roughhousing I found out. They just don't get it.

I recently saw Sheridan at the last meeting for our cooking club. It was a great way to finally welcome winter as we ate Cajun and Creole specialties on Monday night at A's apartment. It brought us back to our old digs as well, which was fun and familiar.

Dinner included:

Appetizers: Cajun cheese spread

Main Courses: Okra Gumbo and Shrimp or Tofu Etouffee served over rice and Jambalaya

Sides: Cornbread, Maque Choux (pan-fried corn), Sweet Potatoes and pears in a Bourbon Sauce (buttery good!)

Dessert: Pecan Pie with brown sugar-rum whipped cream, cafe au lait ice cream and bananas foster

The flames were incredibly high on the bananas foster. I thought J was going to light the cabinets right on fire, especially with the grime and schelak (sp?) that exist on those nasty apartment cabinets. No offense to A, but we lived there and can attest to that.

I made the Etouffee, and think I did well with the peanut butter-colored roux and the shrimp stock. Question: what do I do with the leftover shrimp stock? I'm looking forward to the leftovers for dinner tonight! Mardi Gras in my belly!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Value-added features

On days like today I recognize the value added to a home by a garage. That would have given me back 20 minutes of my life. Things to look forward to...

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Cheesy dilemma

If I'm going to make a nice little popper in my mini muffin pan of puff pastry shell, filled with olive tapenade and some kind of cheese...what should that cheese be?

Keep in mind baking issues of various cheeses before you formulate a response. Thanks for your help!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

It's fo' real.

Free 8 week membership to Bally Total Fitness from Discovery Health Challenge. After registration, print out the pass and take it there on the January 13 and you get full unlimited access to the gym.

I signed up for this a few weeks ago, but was apprehensive about advertising it to friends until I was sure it actually worked. I went on Tuesday and there were no issues related to joining for 8-weeks. They tried to sell me on a plan for about 3 minutes, but it was really non-confrontational.

It is a surreal experience going to the gym. As I was working up a sweat on the elliptical machine, it was the strangest thing ever to see an ocean of bobbing heads all facing one direction, working to get nowhere. I tend to despise gyms--breeding ground for germs, too hot usually, nervousness that people are staring at you. But I'm willing to forego these issues to get myself into shape in the next 2 months. It was perfect timing too, since it is now icy and cold outside and I have no interest in making my lungs explode while running before or after work.

Now, if only I could find the perfect workout mix...I've been working on it for a while now, but the testing process can be long and arduous.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Somewhere over the Rainbow

One day, and what a glorious day it will be, every friend and coworker that we have will actually spell our names right. Yep. You say it can't happen, that such talk is mularkey.

Sure, I've only had my first name my whole life, and it hasn't worked up until now. And sure, I threw a monkeywrench into it by changing my last name to one which doesn't make sense based on the common English spelling rules.

But if we work together, we can make this world a more respectful place, filled with attention to detail and actual care for your loved ones.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fashion isn't everything, right?

I've been telling myself that for the last several years--fashion isn't everything. It's amazing how much I've grown since those callow days of high school where every accessory and new piece of clothing made me feel like a more likeable and approachable person. I had so many pairs of tights they needed their own drawer. Patterns in argyle, plaids, solid colors with stitchwork, wicked witch of the west types, etc. A whole new wardrobe every year--I was an only child, so it wasn't like I had to share the clothing budget with anyone else!

Fast forward to me now. I bought my first pair of 'dress' shoes recently in about two years because my brown work shoes were nearly falling apart. Most of my shoes are in serious need of a good polish or a visit to the trash can. I buy no more than one pair of pants and two shirts a season to add to my wardrobe. It seems like I spend ten minutes every morning looking for a matching pair of socks. I have a bag full to the brim of clothes in need of repair--hems falling apart, edges coming unraveled, buttons missing.

Is my current state attributed to not caring about my personal appearance any more? No, because I still strive to be a beautiful person. However, being a beautiful person no longer means being on the cutting edge of fashion. I was never a Milan catwalker, and this is lucky for me as the average Milan woman spends $6,000 a year on clothing. I can't imagine the level of debt I'd have if I lived by those standards.

And yet, as I sat last night watching Anthony Bourdain on "No Reservations: Malaysia" I began to reflect on his attire. Man, is he clueless. He wears shorts that are high and mighty, jeans that are rolled up on the bottom, button-down short sleeved shirts over his point shoulders, and tank tops. Let's not forget earrings and punk-rock t-shirts that seem to have lived on his back for the last 2 decades. I'm sure there are more offenses, but these stuck out the most.

The interesting thing is that although he's known around the world for his writing and travel shows, he doesn't give a damn about his fashion sense. I'm sure producers attempt to encourage a more fashionable look for him before he starts taping his show, and I'm sure he tells them to bug off. He's happy looking like he's had 4 hours of sleep every night for his entire life and smokes 2 packs a day. He doesn't care if his tank top further accentuates his bird arms that have less muscle than a prepubescent boy.

Maybe this is why I love him, I crave his satirical books and shows. There are more important things in his life to think about like fresh food and unique cultures and poking fun at himself and everything around him. He is cool, and it's not fashion or Hollywood-zation that makes him that way. Yes, I know I made that word up.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Silver Spoon

No, I'm not talking about Ricky Schroder here, although he was on the repeat of Scrubs last night. He was a male nurse--a murse.

I received from my in-laws a wonderful gift for Christmas. The "Silver Spoon" is a traditional Italian cookbook, translated for the first time in 50 years to English. It's still sold as one of the most popular cookbooks in Italy, and samples regional and traditional Italian fare from all nooks and crannies of the country.

I have yet to make anything out of it--but I read through it a lot which annoyed hubby. But it usually annoys him that I'm obsessed with cookbooks. He says I have problems; I agree. If I ever crave something with squab or wild boar...I'll know where to look.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The typical grind

Well, all the festivities are finally over. I know this because our Christmas tree left a sea of needles as it was dragged to the back door...and down the steps...and on our patio...

I hate taking down the Christmas tree because then you know the celebration is officially over. I was enjoying the merriment of it all this year. Our house finally feels like it's ours. We spent Christmas morning by ourselves for the first time ever, just enjoying each other's company.

Oh well, now on to the Gift Card spending!

I rang in the New Year with my favorite cuz Kelley at her apartment in Butcher's Hill. It looks much nicer than it sounds, but certainly edges unhappier places. Her friends were quite welcoming and prepared an excellent yet random feast for us including leg of lamb and fingerling potatoes, a spicy tomato and shrimp pasta, and appetizers galore. At every family function it is imperative that the appetizers include crab dip. You don't need to inquire why--you should know why we're obsessed with crabs. We were able to watch the fireworks over the Harbor from her rooftop deck and I attempted to take pictures with the feature on my camera that specializes in firework scenes. I still needed a tripod because the shutter speed was about 6 seconds long. A lot of wiggling can happen in 6 seconds.

Hubby and I had an excellent meal to start the New Year off right--short ribs braised in stout, served with collard greens and black-eyed peas (these two sides bring prosperity for the coming year). Apparently every black-eyed pea you eat equals one dollar of earnings, and every green you eat equals one thousand. I'm good to go I think, or at least to the level I'm currently at :)

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year and Christmas.