Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quotations - "Nineteen Minutes"



"Alex, she realized, could fit anywhere. Here, or with Lacy's family at dinner, or in a courtroom, or probably at tea with the queen. She was a chameleon. It struck Lacy that she didn't really know what color a chameleon was before it started changing."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Good Old Days

The other day, Slice of Pink had the "Face Time" campaign posted on her blog, which she borrowed from Good Girl Gone Blog. (And consequently, I've borrowed it from both of them.) I LOVE IT. I remember the good old days...I'm so glad I grew up without text messaging, facebook, myspace, instant messenger, and all the other technological crap that disintegrates real communication and conversation.


If you wanted to talk, you called the house line. If you had to tell your friends something, you passed notes. If you wanted to talk to your friend in the middle of the night, you threw pebbles at her window....it was all so authentic. There is nothing quite like a real phone call, a face to face conversation, or a hand written letter. This nostalgia is making me think maybe I'm getting old....

What a clever campaign.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Homemade Gnocchi

On Saturday, I had the wonderful privilege of homemade gnocchi lessons from my friend Kate and her step-mom. Kate picked me up around 9 a.m. and we traveled to her parent's house where her step-mom was awaiting our arrival for a fun filled day of gnocchi making. I do not have picture of the process (next time), so I apologize. Lots of potatoes were boiled, riced, refrigerated, rolled into dough using maybe four ingredients, refrigerated, rolled into gnocchi with a fork, frozen-during which time her step mom and I managed to drink a bottle (well, half a two liter bottle) of wine over lunch while the three of us were waiting. Lunch was an amazing pasta dish that made me excited to try our gnocchi. I had a wonderful time chatting and playing with pasta. I have to say, it is the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon and I look forward to more of them. Once the gnocchi were frozen, Kate and I said our thanks and departed with our goods.

I do have pictures of the final product. On Monday night, I boiled the gnocchi, which took maybe three minutes, and served it with a hearty red sauce:



It was delicious and I was kind of proud of myself. There were leftovers so I ended up refrigerating them and pan frying them in olive oil the next day for lunch:


I wanted mine super crispy so I cooked them longer, which means they look very brown. Let's just say they were awesome.


I covered them with Parmesan cheese while they were still warm.

Voila! Some red sauce and I ate the entire plate and when I finished, I was a little bit sad there wasn't any more.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"The Live of Others" a.k.a "Leben der Anderen, Das"

If you have a decent amount of time to sit down and watch this German flick, I recommend you do. Make sure you are cozy and have everything you need, then settle in to be slightly captivated by the lives of these East Germans. This movie was intriguing, really well acted, and beautifully concluded. It takes place in 1984 Berlin where the Stasi was controlling lives, especially those of artists. The film is described as a "political thriller and human drama" during which the life of a secret agent becomes indirectly intertwined with that of a writer. "The Lives of Others" is slow at times but the stories are interesting enough for you to stay with it. I truly loved the end and think it's well worth your patience despite the length.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Caramel Candy Apples

This website has some awesome ideas for caramel candy apples covered in all sorts of goodness. I am dying to make some. Don't they look delicious?

Friday, October 24, 2008

"10 Places to See Before You're 10"

Today on MSN, there was an article about 10 Places you should see before you're 10. I've been to Disneyland and the Griffith Observatory. Despite my age, I think I want to go to the rest of the places...

I love travel lists. Ideas often stem from the suggestions they provide. Strict adherence to them is not necessary but I find they make a great building block for my own lists. A little inspiration never hurt anyone...

i am hiding



no really, i am...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

For all you foodies and winos



So, if you like to throw dinner parties, talk about food, drink and discuss wine, and share all things related to such activities, then I think you should check this online community out.

Who doesn't enjoy a dinner party on Friday??? (or Tuesday, Wednesday, really any day that ends in 'y' :))

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

First Love Shiraz & Their Very Clever Marketing

I recently wrote a post about First Love Shiraz wine from Austraila. Here are the very deft labels they use to get you to buy their delicious wine. Careful, you'll need more than one bottle.





Some Ideas for those Halloweeners



So Halloween is right around the corner and you want to do something but aren't exactly sure what. I have some ideas for you.

1) Martha has this lovely slideshow for "25 Eerie Edibles". Pick one or a few and go to town.

2) Are you nostalgic for candy from days of yore? Check out Groovy Candies to order a few blasts from the past that will spice up your candy dish.

3) Pumpkin carving is fun. Grab some tools, a fat pumpkin, and a pan for the seeds and make an orange mess.

4) Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are a fall favorite of my family. I cannot share the secret family recipe with you, but I'm certain there plenty from which to choose on the internet or in a cooky book.

5) Or be creative with Halloween Cookie Cutters and some delightful frosting and candy decorations.

6) You could always decorate your home , watch a scary movie, read ghost stories, or find a favorite treat to make.

Happy Halloweening!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wedding Favors - Vermont's finest

I can't believe it has been a month already.

Where were you Saturday when I needed to cover my first ever batch of bad pancakes with something so I could choke them down...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

habits

I have this habit of picking pennies up when I'm running. I put them in my running sneakers and leave them until there are too many to run with. When I was walking about Portland a few weeks ago, I found this penny. Only I couldn't pick it up because it was cemented into the sidewalk. Probably a good thing though, cause my shoes were holey and I wasn't running.

i miss you



only all of you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sparkling Wine



I rather enjoy sparkly things, as mentioned before, but I'd have to say my favorite sparkling thing after stars is champagne or wine. I cannot get enough of the bubbly stuff. I find it fabulously delicious. I had the pleasure of dining with P's parents the other night because he is out of town. His mom introduced me to this lovely new bottle of Martini & Rossi Asti sparkling wine. The fruity, bubbly liquid just slips down the hatch all too easily. I recommend you give it a swirl.

Flashback Ecuador



My host mom sent me an email two days ago that reminded me of Quito...This was the view from our rooftop. The expansive green space is the airport. I can finally see it all in my mind.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Article on Longevity


I was perusing the Internet this afternoon and came across an interesting article about how certain habits can determine if you'll live to be old. I've always had a hunch I might make it to my 90s because most of the woman (if not all of them) in my family live to be old ladies. This article just confirmed my suspicions. Will you be joining me on the porch?

Monday, October 13, 2008

"On the Road" ~ Jack Kerouac



"Most of the time we were alone and mixing up our souls ever more and ever more till it would be terribly hard to say goodbye."

~ Sal Paradise

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Advice for Those of You Worried about the Stock Market

Stop looking. Stop torturing yourself. Put all your money in some kind of fixed income fund/account and wait it out. Or do as Warren Buffet would and find an opportunity, but whatever you do, just stop checking your portfolio, CNN, WSJ, Moneycentral, Forbes, or whatever your poison is. Just don't do it. What goes down must go up according to Newton and go up it will just not any time soon. You are in it for the long haul not for right now, this year, next year or the year after that. You're in it for the next 5 to 45 years at least, so please, pretty please, do yourself a favor take a bath, drink some whiskey (responsibly), watch a comedy, eat dinner with friends, and relax. Just stop the incessant looking and fretting. This behavior will get you no where. Remember: It won't always be like this.

(You might ponder what the hell my credentials are to even administer this advice. I have a degree in Accountancy. I have a degree in Economics. I worked for Merrill Lynch as an intern in 2001 right through 9/11. The adviser with whom I worked had clients who earned more than 36% that year. I have seen positive come out of negative. I happen to know this woman's father lost MILLIONS in the crash of '87. He survived. Other than that, I have none. I am a normal person like you who reads the paper and watches the news and tries to be responsible with finances. You will survive, too.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My New Dream Job

This morning I received an email from my dearest Megan, who is currently studying for two degrees at Yale. Being that Yale is in New Haven, she came across The Cupcake Truck on the way into the hospital today (for school not because she was hurt) and quickly sent me an email to tell me about it.

Um, baking delicious cupcakes and driving around like an ice cream truck, only a cupcake truck, all day selling them kind of sounds awesome right now. I wonder if there is a market for that here...

I've had a trip to New Heaven on my list of place to go soon, this might bump it just below Fallapalloooza. Can you imagine how awesome that would be???

I might just go start working on a business plan...and a menu of course. I bet brownies would go well with cupcakes, too. Oh dear...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"The Slant"

"...i am a work in progress
dressed in the fabric of a world unfolding
offering me intricate patterns of questions
rhythms that never come clean
and strengths that you still haven't seen..."

~ ani difranco

Some Conversation Pointers

Today, Gretchen of The Happiness Project posted helpful tips on conversation skills. There are only eight so I recommend you take a few minutes to check them out.

I personally strive to be a good listener. It is a top ten in my list of essential skills. Conversing is an art and a quality I admire in other people. More and more, I find myself frequently trying to improve in this arena. I usually do my best to anticipate and understand what is not being said, as I feel it is just as important as the words being spoken. As I discovered today, working on this craft requires perpetual effort, yet not effort in a negative way. I think the effort is worth it in order to be better. I appreciate her tidbits and could not think of a better time they could come in handy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My adventure with pumpkin ravioli

Yesterday, Mr. BS (hehehe) and I were discussing dinner plans. I volunteered to make Pumpkin Ravioli and he offered to make the Stuffed Chicken Caprese. I've worked with wontons before and I've made egg rolls before so I thought it would be comparable.

I made my grocery list, grabbed my canvas bags from Whole Foods (they were only 99 cents and are super cute. I was suckered by more marketing but at least it was good for the environment), and walked up the street to the store to purchase our dinner items.

There was an awkward moment in the Kroger when I had to ask the lady at the customer service desk where the wontons were and she happened to be Asian. Otherwise, all went well. I carried the items home and began my adventure.

In anticipation of the task at hand, I opened a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer and I dove right in. Instead of a real fleshy pumpkin for which the recipe called, I used Libby's canned pumpkin. One can is all you need if you are attempting this. I also used Parmesan and Romano cheese, which were already in the fridge because I couldn't find the Locatelli suggested in the recipe. Nutmeg was replaced with cinnamon because I thought there was nutmeg here. Mistaken kitchen identity is bound to happen when you've spent as much time in other people's homes as I have. Green beans sauteed in garlic and eeoo were the side dish. Thank god.

Every thing started smoothly. I learned the best way to stuff a wonton wrapper with filling is to use a little bit and then start on the longer edges making sure the flour sides are outside and finish closing the ravioli on the sides. I was proud of them until I threw the squares in the pot to cook. I knew it was going to be a challenge so I thought I'd use a little pot of boiling water and cook only five at a time. This did not work. Actually, it was a huge disaster that made me drink more and curse the recipe. Only two of the five survived. I adjusted my game plan by using the largest pasta pot in the kitchen which I could fill with the most water and in which I could let the raviolis float freely. This worked- kind of. I ended up really only blanching the suckers for fear they'd fall apart like the ones before. I was making a huge mess and cursing heavily when Mr. BS walked in talking on the phone. He made the comment into the telephone, "Guess what we're having for dinner?" to which I laughed and said "I am not so sure." I had thought about calling for pizza a 45 minutes before.

I should have asked him when he was coming home so I could have planned it better because they were kind of rubbery due to sitting in a warm stove for half an hour. I had him finish the cream sauce because I'd had enough and I needed another beer. So I left him to his phone call and went into the other room to play my turn at scrabble.

The raviolis were good but not worth the effort. The pumpkin filling was rich and flavorful but almost too much with the butter sauce. I could only eat like five of them, which kind of pissed me off after spending 2 hours in the kitchen. I think I am going to learn to make REAL ravioli and not wonton ravioli. I might not give up just yet...

then again, frying them might have been better...

So things are going really well.... if you don't mind quality entertainment and mediocre dinner.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

First Love 2006 Southeastern Australia Shiraz-Grenache-Barbera

Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of dining with my friends, Whit & Linz. The food was organized by Linz and the wine was assigned to Whit and Me. We headed to the corner market where we both were seduced by the marketing of First Love Shiraz. The label on the bottle and the description:

"Rich, lush and seductive. Seriously tempting!"

plus some notes about berries, convinced us to include it in our dinner plans. I can be a sucker for clever marketing in some instances depending on the product. This was too clever to overlook. Usually, I find Shiraz a bit sour and tart, but I have to say we were all surprised by how delicious this wine was. It wasn't too sweet but the hints of berries were enough to take the edge off. The best part was Whit only paid $10 for the bottle.

Definitely a wine to keep on hand for nights with friends.

(As soon as my box of cds comes, I can show you the pictures of the labels I took.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Friends, who knew?!?! You can recycle your own sneakers with Nike who then uses them to build playgrounds and courts. Just drop them off at a participating store or send them here:

Nike Recycling Center
c/o Reuse-A-Shoe
26755 SW 95th Ave.
Wilsonville, OR 97070


To find out more about their awesome "Let Me Play" Campaign, check out their website.

Also, did you know you can recycle your Sonicare toothbrush's battery at Radio Shack? According to the company, these brushes only last 3 to 5 years depending on the model. When yours kicks the bucket, take it to Radio Shack for recycling.

If you don't have a sonicare toothbrush, I HIGHLY recommend them. Best toothbrush ever. You'll never go back.

For more tips on being green, check out my friend Eden's blog here.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Thoughts on Notebooks

I love notebooks. I love to write in them, receive them as gifts, decorate them, create projects in them... I cannot think of a good reason not to have lots of notebooks in which to express yourself in some creative way (preferably with something crayola). That is until today.

Yesterday, I re-packed two suitcases, a carry-on bag, and a "personal item" all according to the airline's policy. I am bitter I have to pay $40 to take them on the plane but I'll get over it. Luckily, my aunt is sending me two boxes that include some sweaters, college sweatshirts, and my winter coat. (It is nice having a relative who works for a shipping company.) Because of my method of travel (and lack of personal transportation for the moment), this is all I can take with me to my new destination. I've become an expert packer who's learned to discern the necessary from the frivolous. I am taking only what I need for now and will decide on the rest later. In my discrimination of items, I did not bring any notebooks. They are heavy & since I cannot bring my box of creativity, I thought it would make me sadder instead of happier. (Yet I chose to bring the famous ceramic "hugs & kisses" jar because sharing my savings habits seemed important to me. Plus, I really really like the jar.) I woke up this morning trying to figure out the best way to write. I write every day. I have on and off for years. There is a container full of words in my parent's basement. (Actually two, mine & my sister's. She lives on an island. We're quite the duo.) I discovered the emotionally overpowering ways of writing in a hidden document online. I had to stop writing because the words flashing across the screen made me uncomfortable because I would never write them in a notebook. It never occurred to me writing in a document and writing in a notebook would be different. My only reasoning is there is almost zero potential for anyone to "find" your notebook and delve into the closets of your mind. It also never occurred to me I was subconsciously censoring my writing out. Apparently I have been doing just that. Gosh, it is overwhelming to let the words pour out and messily spill all over the page without a care. They are so honest it is blinding. My dad always says some things are better left unsaid. I wonder if that includes unwritten?

I think I might miss the colors, pictures, and glitter too much to give up my notebooks completely. We shall see...