Monthly Archives: February 2009

One of the Reasons I Hate Facebook

Stupid status updates have RUINED the Top Chef finale for me!  Who posts spoilers in their updates?!  WHO?!!

Yarg!  I managed to avoid every entertainment site imaginable today but yet some chatty cathy on Facebook decided to POST A STATUS UPDATE on the finale winner!  WHY?!

Do I even bother watching?  I am NOT happy with the winner.

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Missed the Joke

Someone sent me this joke the other day… and while I got the joke, I ignored the gist of it because I couldn’t get over how cute I found the picture to be.  Without condoning any sort of political viewpoint, I share the joke (only so I can share the picture):

Disturbing photo: U. S. Wildlife

Animals that were formerly self-sufficient are now showing signs of joining the Democratic Party.  They have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance.

bear

I don’t know what it is about the picture that I love so much… but I do.  It’s like, “Hey Mr. Bear, why don’t you join us for a nice picnic?

Things only turn awkward when Mr. Bear eats little Johnny.

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Switching it Up

So I’ve briefly mentioned that I’ve started the p90x “extreme home fitness” system.   Anybody that happens to catch infomercials ridiculously early in the morning may be familiar with this workout system.

Jeremy actually did this last year with good results.  I thought it was a bit ridiculous but I couldn’t deny the change in his soccer game.  He was faster, he had more endurance and he just seemed to have more energy altogether.

Since I’ve decided to make this year about physically punishing myself with a race every month, a couple of 10ks, a potential 10-mile race, a triathlon, a half marathon and maybe even a full marathon (this will all be for another post) – I thought it was time I changed my routine.

Holy hell.

I’m in Day 3 of this workout and I’m already sore, grumpy and may have hurt myself.  WTF?

The grumpiness is due to this diet.  It’s tough to go for a no-junk diet when you’re surrounded by magnificent Valentine’s day treats.  Stupid office with their stupid treats…

My daily diet now consists of:

Breakfast – 8am

  • 8 oz of soy milk
  • 8 oz of V8
  • 8 oz of egg whites (this was super tough on me… I hadn’t eaten eggs in quite some time)
  • 1 banana
  • coffee (okay – this technically isn’t allowed but I will fight someone if I don’t have my morning coffee.  I think for the sake of our marriage, Jeremy said I could have it.)

Snack – 10am

  • 1 scoop of whey protein powder in water.  Yuck.  Yum.

Lunch – 12pm

  • 1 veggie burger patty
  • 1 whole wheat bagel
  • 1 slice of vegan cheese
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange

Snack – 3pm

  • protein bar (I went for a vegan/organic protein bar because I’m a yuppie.)

Dinner – 6pm

  • 6 oz tempeh or tofu.  I’m going with tempeh this week.
  • 2 cups of tightly packed spinach
  • 2 tbsp fat-free/light dressing (a delicious and organic dressing.  Seriously – can I be any more of a yuppie?)
  • 8 oz of plain soy yogurt

Snack – 8pm

  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter with celery
  • or 2 oz of soy nuts

This is a lot of frickin’ food.  Not only that… the between times kill me.  I sit in a cube.  Surrounded by junk.  And I’m eating lots of liquidy fruit and drinking a ton of juice.

You figure it out.

So… I’m a wee bit grumpy.

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I Thought We Weren’t Exchanging Gifts

I think every year Jeremy and I kind of tip toe around what we’re doing for Valentine’s Day.  Sometimes I think he fails to realize that all I really want is a heartfelt card.  However, every year he switches between getting me a really nice gift to nothing at all.  It can be tough to keep up.

This year, I really thought we weren’t exchanging gifts.  I was proven wrong when he had a package sent to my parents’ house.  I went back and forth trying to determine if he had spent a lot or just got something silly.  I figured it was something silly because of the current economic crisis everyone is in… so, I thought I’d just make a cake.  A vegan cake. 

Theresa sent me this recipe awhile ago when she saw an interesting article in the Baltimore Sun about favorite cake recipes.  This one not only appealed to me because it happened to be vegan, but the origin of the cake was pretty interesting as well.

It is commonly believed Wacky Cake may have been created as the result of rationing during World War II, when milk and eggs were scarce.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Mix dry ingredients in 9 x 9-inch pan. Make 3 holes; pour oil, vinegar and vanilla in separate holes. Pour water over all. Mix well with fork or hand mixer. Do not beat. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Now a picture montage:

    Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to use this ridiculously cheesy but super cute cake pan that I had to have.

    Mixing stuff in a strangely shaped and kind of shallow cake pan is not very easy.

    The instructions called for 3 different holes.  Hello, creepy face!  I was afraid that this cake was going to produce Rosemary’s Baby…

    Yum.

    While the cake baked, I looked in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook for a good frosting.  I was going to use the Vegan Fluffy Buttercream frosting that I always use but thought this was a good opportunity to try something new.  I went for the Peanut Butter Frosting because seriously – who doesn’t love Peanut Butter & Chocolate?  If you don’t, you have no soul.

    So frickin’ good.  The downside?  I started the stupid p90x workout/diet so I can’t eat the rest of this cake!

    And if you’re wondering what Jeremy got me.  Let’s just say it was a lot nicer than the frickin’ wacky cake I baked him.

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    The Love Monkey

    I watched an episode of Oprah yesterday about Why Men Cheat.  I didn’t think any real revelations came out of it but one of the things mentioned was that men often cheated because they were feeling underappreciated at home.

    After I finished choking on my dinner, I thought about it.  I think we’re all guilty of this (men and women).  Sometimes Jeremy will do my laundry and I’ll look at it and say, “You folded all my shirts wrong.”  (just for the record – he does!  He folds shirts in a way that the front of the shirt doesn’t sit on top.  It is very strange)

    But I think I’m pretty good about being a thoughtful spouse.  I make cookies, I do the laundry, I make him special meals…

    So anywho – I’ve been mocked for the love monkey.  But you know what?  With Jeremy in school and both of us working all day, I don’t get a chance to really spend physical time with him Monday-Thursday.  That’s the majority of the week for you non-math majors.

    This Love Monkey?  It’s just a sweet gesture that I’ve dorkily come to love and appreciate. 

    This is what I came home to on Tuesday. 

    And this is what I came home to yesterday:

    I don’t know what else this Love Monkey can do… but I have a feeling he was placed in front of the TV because the dogs keep chewing pieces of him off.

    Apparently the dogs think we’re huge nerds for communicating through a stuffed toy too.

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    Oh Nike+, You’re Too Kind

    I’m trying to get into running. I’m not really a runner. I’m a light jogger who can’t seem to jog very far or for very long. I’ve somewhat mastered 5-k races in that I can actually jog them to completion now but that doesn’t mean much else. I’m slow. I want to die when I’m running. I ache.

    But yet – there is something about being a runner that is just so alluring to me.

    With that said, I got the Nike+ thingamabob for my iPod for Christmas. I thought this would be a great tool for me to use to help me train for the Iron Girl triathlon and whatever races that interest me along the way.

    The instructions said that you could calibrate the Nike+ so that it could accurately track your distance/speed. It also mentioned that the default setting is pretty accurate.

    Being a fake-runner, I figured I’d need to calibrate it because according to Jeremy – I take ridiculously short strides when running despite having long legs. Don’t judge me. It’s comfortable.

    I wasn’t really prepared to calibrate the thing when I actually went to do it in December. I didn’t realize that you had to “walk around” to trigger the sensor in the shoe to the thing in the iPod. As I walked around I forgot where I had started the run. After 1/4 mile on the track, I guessed where I had started.

    Apparently I was way off.

    The last 5-k race that I did? According to the Nike+ thing, I only ran 2.89 miles (as compared to 3.1).

    After talking with some people that use the default setting, I thought maybe it wouldn’t be so off for me.

    I went running the other day with the defaulted calibrated setting and while I think I ran far, according to the Nike+ thing I ran almost 4 miles in 34 minutes with an average pace of under a 9 minute mile.

    Um… while I believe I probably ran 3 1/4 miles, I don’t think my legs can move that fast. Under 9 minutes? Ha!

    So my question is – should I just recalibrate the thing (and actually try to do it right) or go ahead and let Nike+ continue to tell me I’m more awesome and much faster than I really am?

    I kind of like the latter. It’s nice to have a gadget tell you you’re great.

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    Sunday Dinner

    I don’t claim to be vegan.  I only claim to dip my toe in the vegan pool.  Going out to eat is what kills my chances of being truly vegan only because I love to do it and there aren’t many vegan restaurants serving up dinner in Baltimore.

     

    However, at home – I cook vegan dinners from one of my fabulous vegan cookbooks.  And just a quick note, I think the authors of the Veganomicon should be paying me some sort of a thank you fee for convincing 3 people (non-vegetarians!) to purchase their cookbook.  Seriously – I’ll accept thank yous in the form of cash, check, gifts, food…

     

    Aaanywho…

     

    Sunday’s dinner was a recipe from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. 

     

    Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto on Pasta

    Traditional pesto takes on new life with this recipe. Cashews provide a buttery, creamy contrast to the tangy lemon juice and intense fresh basil. When basil is abundant, make double or triple batches, since this pesto freezes wonderfully.

     

    MAKES 3–4 SERVINGS.

    3–3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

    1 large clove garlic

    ¾ tsp dry mustard

    ¾ tsp sea salt

    freshly ground black pepper to taste

    2 tbsp olive oil

    1 tbsp water

    1 cup + 1–2 tbsp raw cashews (see note)

    2½–2¾ cups (packed) fresh basil leaves and tender stems

    ½–¾ lb (225–340 g) dry pasta of choice (see note) – I used whole wheat spaghetti

    olive oil (for finishing)

     

     

    In a food processor, combine lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, oil, and water, and purée until fairly smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add cashews and basil and purée until fairly smooth (may leave some texture). Cook pasta according to package directions. When almost done, remove about 1/2 cup of pasta water and reserve. Drain pasta (do not rinse) and toss with pesto, using as much pesto as desired (see note).

    If pasta seems too dry, add some pasta water, 1 tbsp at a time, until moistened to preference.

    Season with additional salt and pepper if desired, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

    Cooking Notes:

    1) Use brown rice, spelt, or quinoa pasta for a wheat-free dish.

    2) Raw almonds may be substituted for cashews, just add extra water or oil to moisten when puréeing.

    3) You can make this pesto in advance and refrigerate in a sealed container until you’re ready to cook the pasta.

    4) This pesto also makes a dynamite sandwich spread or pizza sauce (or dollop on pesto as a pizza topping).

    5) I like a lot of sauce on my pastas, but you may prefer less; use up to1 lb (450 g) pasta and add extra cooking water or oil to help distribute the pesto through the pasta.

    The cookbook suggested pairing this dish with garlic bread and a salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing (both side dish recipes taken from the cookbook).

    I have never made garlic bread before.  I’ve only ever purchased the yucky frozen kind and now am an official convert to doing it this way.  It was so easy and so good.

     

     

    The pesto – so good and so easy to make.  And thank god for food processors.  I wonder how I survived without one for so long.  Seriously – what did other people do?  Chopping is for suckers!

     

    Speaking of loving kitchen gadgets… this is my juicer.  I frickin’ love this thing.  I know there are little hand held juicers that are super cute but I love this because it’s less work for me.  I’m already typing on a keyboard all day, I don’t need to aggravate my hands anymore (hello, carpal tunnel!).  I can squeeze the juice out of lemons, limes and oranges with ease.  And it looks good.

     

    I contemplated putting this on our nice china platter just to make for a nice picture but then I realized that I’d have to handwash the platter and it just didn’t seem worth it.  Plus who am I kidding?  We’re not that fancy… unless we’re having people over for dinner in which case we pretend to dine on fine china and drink wine with every meal.

     

     

    The final plate.  I think the pesto should probably be much thicker but I had doubled the pasta in the recipe so I’d have leftovers for lunch all week.  It was still plentiful though. 

    How was everyone else’s weekend? 

     

    And I have a few “seriously?” things I’d like to quickly mention from pop culture.

     

    Chris Brown beat up Rihanna?  Seriously?  Is he a MORON?  She’s gorgeous and fabulous and he’s lame and lucky she even gave him her time.  Did he think nobody was going to find out that he beat her?

     

    Michael Phelps smoking pot?  Seriously?  While it’s great that he owned up to it (there was no denying that picture) – when you’re famous, you’re held to a completely different standard.  Hello? 

     

    A-Rod did steroids?  Seriously?  I guess it’s not shocking anymore to hear of baseball players using steroids but given the witchhunt for steroid usage in sports you have to wonder if the drugs screw up someone’s brain cells… because hello?  Why would you even risk it?

     

    that’s all for now.

     

     

     

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    Bleeding Heart

    This weekend has been absolutely crazy for me.  I usually take at least one day to relax and “recharge” but life wasn’t having any of that this weekend. 

    It started with a terribly boring law school event for Jeremy (although I really enjoyed meeting his law school pals) Friday night.  Then yesterday I had 3 different parties to attend and all for people I really like so I couldn’t NOT go.   Somewhere in there I was supposed to bake cupcakes but that never happened.

    And today?  Today I was cramming everything I’d normally spread out into one day (grocery shopping, laundry, etc) as well as homework AND work work (don’t you hate taking work home with you?).  But again – life wasn’t cooperating because Jeremy and I opened the door to find this little guy:

    Maybe the universe was bringing me a cat because I had said the other day that one day, I’d really like a cat named Gargamel (yeah yeah I know he wasn’t a cat but it is a super cool name from a super cool show).  While this cat doesn’t look like a Gargamel, I would have been happy with Azrael. 

    This cat was super sweet.  It was clearly NOT an alley cat but it didn’t have any tags and she broke my little heart.  I really wanted to keep her but Petie and Emily were not pleased by my decision.

    We thought that perhaps the owner would show up but after a few hours, she was still near our house.  We even walked around asking folks if they knew whose cat she was.  Nothing.

    We brought her inside when we came home after grocery shopping to some neighborhood kids roughly playing with her.  Oh hell to the no.

     However, our dogs freaked out so we dropped her off at the Baltimore Animal Shelter.  While I know we did the right thing, I can’t help but feel a little sad about losing little Azrael.

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    Why is it…?

    … that short men always seem to be the most hostile, self-entitled and difficult people to work with?  (sorry to all the shorties I know that don’t necessarily fit this profile!)

     

    … that my dentist recommended Zoom whitening to me?  Should I be concerned?  I think my teeth are a lot whiter than some folks.  Do I just look like a sucker or someone who is that concerned with appearance?  Hhmm… don’t answer that.

     

    … that my dentist, a very sweet man, made a very corny and bad asian joke to me?  Was he just trying to get my mind off of the pain of the temporary crown I was having put in and didn’t realize that my eyes aren’t slanted because I have a sensitivity to light?

     

    … that I started bawling within the first 30 minutes of “The Secret Life of Bees”?  It’s a good movie but I don’t think wailing over Jennifer Hudson getting punched in the face was necessary.  I hate that I’m getting so sensitive lately.

     

    … that I signed up for a specific graduate class because I was told there was no group project… only to have the professor change his mind for MY class and assign a group project?

     

    … that I always seem to get teamed up with at least one bad apple in any group project in school.  I’ve nicknamed this bad apple “serial killer”.  If I mysteriously stop blogging, you’ll know why. 

     

    … that when I need my home computer again for school it stops working?

     

    … that it’s Friday and I’m dreading the weekend?

     

    … that I can’t stop thinking about shoes despite being in a budget crunch?

     

    … that my DVR is stressing me out?  I’m behind on watching shows.  Its not a good sign when your TV causes you stress.

     

    … that I told Jeremy that I wanted to do the P90X workout and then agreed to start it next week?  I’m regretting this already.

     

    Okay, enough complaining already!  I hope everyone else is having a better week than I am.  But really – can someone explain the short man thing to me?  Is it because I’m a tall woman?  Is that threatening or something?

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    Baltimore Restaurant Week – 2nd Stop

    To continue on my gluttonous week of dining out, I met up with Theresa, Jamie and Geoff at Ixia in Mount Vernon.  I’ve heard about this place and driven by it a few times.  It looks uber hip so I was pretty stoked when their Restaurant Week menu had vegetarian options.
     
    To keep my little write-up brief, this place is fantastic.  They took my coat, the bar service was amazing and the wait staff in general was great. 

    The ambience is very trendy and it definitely made me want to come back.  This particular Baltimore Restaurant Week menu offered a special “wine pairing” with the meal.  Can you guess if I went for the special?

    For the first course, we all had a salad with a parmesan crisp.  I love those crisps.  I’m a person that not only eats with her eyes, but I love a good crunch.  The salad was paired with a Sauvignon Blanc that went down quite nicely.

    For the second course, I got the “Exotic Mushroom Risotto” paired with a Chardonnay.  Theresa and Geoff got the “Crispy Skin Salmon” paired with a Pinot Noir (my favorite type of wine!) and Jamie got the “Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Schnitzel” (try saying that 3 times quickly) and it looked like enough food for a small family.

    I absolutely loved my risotto.  LOVED IT.  I think everyone else was happy with their meal but I wished I would have switched wines with Theresa or Geoff.  While I can enjoy a good white wine every so often, I really prefer red wine.  I like staining my teeth purple and looking like a fool whilst talking in a nice restaurant. 

    For dessert – we all agreed.  Chocolate wins.  We all got the “Dark & Delicious” chocolate mud cake.  A-frickin-mazing.  The only downfall was the Port that it was paired with.  None of us are big fans of Port so I ended up chugging mine like a shot because I paid for it so I’m going to drink it.  If you’re not aware, we’re in an economic crisis!  I’m being frugal and making sure I get my money’s worth wherever I go.  :-)

    Basically, you can take me to a classy restaurant but that doesn’t guarantee classy behavior.
    Overall – I loved this place.  It made me feel fancy and important.  My only real complaint (aside from that gross Port) was that we were charged a gratuity for a party of 4.  It’s not the end of the world and it won’t keep me from coming back.  Jeremy doesn’t know it – but I have a lot of date nights planned to return to these restaurants. 

    Hopefully we’ll stay longer than an hour to actually enjoy the food and each other’s company.  Ha!

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