28 February 2010

Monday Already?

Why is it that Mondays and Tuesdays never seem to jet by the way that Saturdays and Sundays do?

Hope your weekend was great. Ours was relaxing and delicious. We ate bolognese Friday (and Saturday, and Sunday) and fajitas, both of which I'd highly recommend. And, somehow, neither are all that bad for you, which is nice.

Here are some random musings to take your mind off of actual important things:

1. Pioneer Woman's Dog Photos contest. You can either check out the Flickr page and thumb through 35,o00 pictures, or look at her selections. Here are just a few to wet your nose.



The pictures are gorgeous and capture everything that's wonderful about dogs. (They also make me want to pull out every dime we have in savings and blow it all on a new camera and some photo skills.) I guess it's time for me to implant more puppy embryos into my uterus. Maybe I can just sell my story, "THE WOMAN WHO BIRTHED PUPPIES," to the media, and then use that money to buy a new camera.

2. I love love love the fat rubber bands that come on broccoli. They're the BEST for holding together stacks of index cards. Nothing's more annoying than a crappy rubber band.



3. The Olympics and, more specifically, hockey. I'm not really into sports or the Olympics or anything, but Jordan and I did watch D2: The Mighty Ducks about one thousand times during the 1990's. We basically alternated between that and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. Oh, the good old days before Netflix and the internet and OnDemand. Anyway, all of my hockey-related knowledge comes from D2, so today while Matt watched the USA v. Canada, I lounged on the couch playing solitaire on my phone and yelling at the tv: "DO THE FLYING V! YOU'VE GOTTA DO THE FLYING V!" And then Matt said that the Flying V was stupid, and then I divorced him. Yeah, who knows more about hockey? Matt? Or Emilio Estevez? The Ducks did win the Junior Olympics, after all. Stupid Matt.



4. Matt's Amazing Race cowboy team is growing on me, but it does seem like the game is fixed. Make it a little more obvious that you want Jet and Cord to win, why don't you, Amazing Race Producers? A lasso throwing Road Block? Come on!


5. I've been on a healthy eating/exercising regularly kick lately. I've been using Daily Plate to monitor calorie intake, and ellipting regularly. I love it for many reasons (the sleep, the feeling good, having more energy, remembering that I actually do like healthy food, finding my self control again), but I can't stop fantasizing about baked goods. Last week I was so haunted by the Girl Scout Samoas in the refrigerator that I finally just succumbed, shoving ten cookies in my mouth. And I've spent more time thinking about how to make the perfect Trix cereal cupcake than I've spent thinking about anything else in my life. Pathetic. How much is liposuction?


6. Undercover Celebrity Boss. Thanks, SNL. I especially like Martha Stewart.

27 February 2010

Go Girl Pee Funnel

Ladies, it looks like you won't have to spend so much of your life waiting in line for the bathroom. Enter, the Go Girl, a female urination funnel. No joke. As the ad says, "Don't take life sitting down."
It's true. We really CAN have it all!

Science Rocks!

Awesome scientists explaining why science is awesome. And it's autotuned. What's not to love?


25 February 2010

Boeuf Tartare Letterman!

Thank you, Andrew Sullivan, for making my night.

David Letterman and Julia Child and raw ground beef? Priceless.



If you've got six minutes to spare, watch this. Then, fantasize about what could have been: David & Julia. It would've swept the Oscars!

Also, Matt and I do our impressions of Julia Child every time we cook a meal. It's great fun.

Serial Killer Whale

A phone conversation with my brother, Jordan:

Me: Oh man, did you hear about that whale at Sea World who killed that woman?

Jordan: Yeah man. And that whale has been involved in the deaths of like three other people, too.

Me: Really?

Jordan: Yeah, saw it on the news.

Me: It's a SERIAL KILLER WHALE!

[silence]

Me: Did you hear me? I said, "It's a SERIAL KILLER WHALE!" I feel like you're not acknowledging how funny my joke was just now.

Jordan: Yeah, I heard it.

[more silence]

Even though this was over the phone, I know the face he was making. It was this one.

And that's part of what brothers are for, isn't it? To tell you when your jokes aren't funny--or at the very least to refuse to laugh.

Hopefully, In 55 Years. . .

. . .this will be Matt and I. Except we'll be much fatter.



Guess it's time to schedule some piano lessons!

24 February 2010

The Glass Is Half-full of Cashew Chicken.

I love my life. It needs to be said more often.

I love how I am getting better at my job, and how shitty days at work (like today) are much less shitty than the shitty days of yesteryear.

I love that I have a Target five minutes from my house.

I love that I have a cuddly, amazing dog. If you haven't figured it out, I am obsessed with the dog.

I love that I have a not-as-cuddly, yet just as amazing husband. I don't want to gush too much or become like someone that I would hate and judge, but you should know that I might be even more obsessed with Matt than I am with Mitch.

And I love that, after a shitty day at work, I can go to Target and then come home and take a family snuggle nap with said dog and said husband.

And then I can wake up and talk to an old friend on the phone, discuss our shitty days and how much we hate the public at large.

And then Matt and I can cook dinner while watching crappy television. Hello, American Idol! (Go Brad Pitt looking guy, Andrew Garcia, and Todrick!)

And I love that we have learned to cook.

And I loved our dinner tonight. And I loved that I ate an obscene amount of it and it was only 750 calories.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, cashew chicken.

There's basmatti under there. Mmmmmmmmmm, carbohydrates. . .

Cashew Chicken
from Everyday Food (September 2009)

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or cooking wine, or leave out)
2 tsp. minced, peeled, fresh ginger (we used 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger)
3 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
coarse salt
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup unsalted cashews, toasted
2 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced

Directions

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with sherry, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch; season with salt. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set sauce aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a covered plate. Add 1 teaspoon oil to skillet and cook remaining chicken (reduce heat if chicken is over-browning). Transfer to plate.

To same skillet, add 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, cashews, and green onion whites. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Whisk sauce and add to skillet along with chicken. Cook until sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Top with green onion greens and serve with rice or noodles.

Serves 4.
(Serves three if you're fatties like us.)

To read more about it, check out The Bitten Word's (new favorite food blog) post on it. Their review of the recipe mirrored what Matt and I talked about, eerily so even. But after reading their post I feel like I would be plagiarizing if I went into more detail.

What's in a Name?

Is this really that surprising? I mean, they are called Killer whales.

If I was named Mandy the Murderer, and then I murdered someone, would it really be newsworthy?

Sorry, SeaWorld person. That sucks. Another thing that sucks is that now I can't get that Michael Jackson Free Willy song out of my head.



Oh, and while we're at it: Michael Jackson is still dead. I'm pretty sure a whale did it.

23 February 2010

Your Turn--A Post from Mitch

Hey, guys. It's me, Mitch. Well, I mean, there hasn't been too much going on lately. I turned six, and my mom gave me a Kong. That was pretty cool. Plus, my friend Reilly has been here a lot and that's pretty great. He is so little and funny!

Oh, and a new dog moved in a couple of houses down. He's a black dog, and he has really long hair. I'm feeling him out, doing some sniffing and stuff, trying to decide if he's got friend potential.

I was pretty jealous a few weeks ago every time I'd be reading my dog blogs, because it seemed like it was snowing everywhere. I mean, could I see another picture of a dog running through some snow tunnel or playing fetch with snowballs? I'd never even seen it snow (though Aunt Chloe and I did play fetch with snowballs one Mitchmas). Now, I'm a wild swamp dog--born and raised in Savannah--but even a Southern dog needs some variety every now and again. But it snowed here, and one thing I realized--I mean, snow is a lot like rain, only frozen and cold. So it was cool for a minute, but I'm pretty glad that it went away. I'll stick with the swamps. And by swamps I mean the couch and the bed, and occasionally a trip to my grandparents' lake house.

But you know what other dogs--Fletcher, Phebe, Ein, Skylar, Aunt Doo Doo, Annie--guess what? It's your turn to be jealous. You can be jealous because it's turning to spring here now, and it's been absolutely gorgeous outside. I'm talking sunny and 70 degrees and absolutely perfect. And you know what else? We live by a big awesome park. Boo yah!

When I went outside on Sunday I was so excited, because it was SOOOOOOOOOO pretty. I howled to all of the dog neighbors to tell them to get outside and soak up some of this sunshine!

And then I found a big stick in the yard. I mean, am I the luckiest dog in the world or what?

I tried to give my scariest look when my mom tried to take it from me.

Right after this I escaped from the back yard when Mama wasn't looking and ran to the black dog. I invited him to the park, but he couldn't come because he had to dig a hole. So I went to the park with my mom and dad, and it was just great. I love the park, love the smells, love the scenery, love harassing the bird with the red stuff on his head. Plus, I get to meet lots of other dogs.
And our park even has water fountains for dogs! I mean, is that cool or what? I guess the only bad thing about the walk was that the dog water fountains were broken, so I had to use a human one.

video
Don't be grossed out. I washed my paws afterward.

Young Skanks

A couple of weeks ago, a 13-year old cousin of mine friended me on MySpace. So I accepted, if only out of curiosity to see what little, let's call her Belle, is up to. It seems that little Belle is up to skanking, if I can be so frank. On her page was an album titled "sorry daddy this is my life" in which Belle and three of her equally skanky friends posed for obscene webcam photos. I showed one of the pictures to Matt, who insisted that I close out the window for fear that he'd be arrested for child pornography.

It was horrifying.

I mean, I changed her diapers! I babysat her! She's even younger than Chloe! So now I feel like some old prudish woman who just can't believe "kids these days." And I remember what it's like to be 13--the puberty, the bad decision making, the bitchy friends--and in some ways I feel bad for these kids. I'm thankful that I didn't have a medium to broadcast my crazy to the entire world during those years.

Which brings me to poor little Noah Cyrus, Miley's kid sister.
Although I fancy myself socially liberal, I couldn't help but to be horrified today when I read that Miley Cyrus's 9-year old sister is designing her own line of lingerie. No joke.

Here she is posing with some of her friends and a stripper pole, and here she is with her friend Grace, who will be designing the line with her.
Did you just vomit all over your computer? If not, check these out.

ARE YOU F'ING KIDDING ME? Prude or no prude, I'm standing strong in my beliefs here: nine year-old girls should not be wearing lingerie (ahem, sex clothes), nor should they be designing lingerie. Call me old-fashioned.

Oh, and Miley's kid sister has got to be the creepiest looking thing since Swan in HBO's America Undercover documentary, Living Dolls.

20 February 2010

Laundry > Lesson Plans


It's Saturday night, and I'm writing lesson plans. What's less interesting than writing lesson plans on a Saturday night? I'm going to go with. . .absolutely nothing. Nothing is less interesting. The highlight of my evening has been when I get to switch the laundry.

When did my life take this turn for the worse?

Little of this, little of that. . .

Still not much happening here in the SAV. Here's what I've got:

  • A glimpse of our Friday night.

  • Am I the only person in the world who doesn't care about Tiger Woods and his "addiction"?
  • Am I the only person in the world who doesn't care about the Winter Olympics? I'd much rather have new episdoes of 30 Rock and The Office.
  • I'm ready for spring. I'm also ready for mid-June. Sixteen more weeks of school! Wooo-hooo!
  • Dear Comcast: it'd be really nice if the internet that we pay lots of money for would actually work. Love, Mandy.
  • We ordered Omaha Steaks for Matt's parents for Christmas 2008. Omaha Steaks has called me almost every single day since trying to get me to order more. Guess who's never ordering Omaha Steaks ever (ever!) again?
  • Is it really time to do laundry again? Didn't I just do all the laundry?
  • I hope everyone in the world is watching Modern Family.
  • I've been trying to be back on healthy eating lately, and I've been doing pretty well. (Had doctor appointment, got weighed, realized that I weigh as much as three people put together should weigh. Immediately began to monitor food intake and ellipt like crazy.) So I've been meticulously entering my food into Daily Plate, and exercising. And then what happens? Matt comes home last night with Girl Scout cookies--three boxes. Three boxes! Three boxes that I ordered about a month ago. Dammit! Damn you cookies! Why do you taste so good? Maybe I should just eat cookies while ellipting?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

17 February 2010

16 February 2010

Reincarnation and Meatball Pizza

Part I

I've narrowed it down. In my past life I was either 1.) a cat, or 2.) a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

I say cat because my lifestyle is very similar to a cat's (a housecat, not any kind of jungle running creature, unless, of course, I've been drinking and there's tall grass around. But that's a story for another time.).


Think about it. I hate almost everybody, I sleep all day. I rarely bathe and I meow pretty frequently. Well, maybe that's where it ends. I can't jump high. And I can't get my nails that sharp, either. Hmph.


But, last summer when I attempted to make homemade bread for the first time (an epic failure!), and the recipe said that I needed to knead the dough, I did it exactly how I'd seen my cats do it in the past. I may have even purred. Later, when I was troubleshooting why my bread-baking endeavor had been such a failure, I asked Cassie how she kneads dough. Dummy me, though, first showed her how I did it--movements that mimicked how my old cat Elvis used to seduce my Alf doll. (Also a story for another time.) Apparently, I was way off with my kneading methods. Also, apparently you're not supposed to purr whilst kneading bread dough. Who knew?

If I wasn't a cat, I was likely a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in my past life. I say this because 1.) I can kick really high, 2.) I'm dynamite with nunchakus, and 3.) I could eat pizza all day every day for the rest of my life.

Part II

Yesterday, after doing a brief inventory of the pantry and refrigerator (It's almost grocery shopping time, so we're running low on just about everything), I got a bug up my ass that I was going to make meatball pizza. (Matt scoffed, by the way, and the face he made when I told him said that he was "less than enthusiastic.") He wasn't a skeptic for long; let's just put it that way. With the help of Food Network Magazine, Cassie, and Paul Newman, we had ourselves a tasty, tasty dinner.

Whisk flour and salt in a big bowl.


I just don't understand yeast. The word itself grosses me out. But I had to put a well in my flour mixture and then add warm water and yeast, and then wait for the yeast to foam.







When, after a few minutes, it looked like this, I decided that it was GTG.
And then I added the oil and a bunch of pizza seasoning.

And I took to kneading. It was wet and sticky, and I couldn't get any pictures of the process because my hands were completely covered in dough. But I ended up with this, a ball of dough that then had to sit for an hour and a half to expand. It doubled in size! (Just like me when I stopped waiting tables and started teaching!)

While waiting for the dough to rise, I made up some turkey meatballs. Pretty simple, much more lean than ground beef, and you won't need to grab a handful of Tums after eating them.

While waiting (I mean, it's going to be another hour and a half or so before the pizza's ready), I recommend snacking on some Sour Patch Kids. Just try not to eat so many that the sour sugar eats away your tastebuds. (When I was 16--and let's be honest, several times after that--I ate a pound of Sour Patch Kids, so many that my tongue was bleeding. My tongue was completely raw for the better part of a week. What the hell is wrong with me?)

I can't even look at Sour Patch Kids without salivating. PS--Mitch likes them, too.

But back to meatballs, and pizza. Pioneer Woman suggested putting the tray of meatballs into the freezer before browning them so that they would stay together better, a I'll be damned if she wasn't right. Oh, Pioneer Woman. . .
I browned the meatballs in a dutch oven with Newman's Own Five Cheese tomato sauce. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, meatballs. . .

At this point it's a good idea to invite over your friend Cassie who's the best cook you know in real life, and who makes pizza once a week, to help you.
Roll out the dough. (Or have Cassie do it.)

And put it on giant pizza pan (15" diameter--$4 at Target!). Or have Cassie do it.

Brush with olive oil.

The meatballs will look something like this, by the way.
Cassie tip: put very thinly sliced onions UNDERNEATH the sauce. She says it makes them sweeter and more delicious. I concur.


Add freshly shredded mozzarella. (Cheese tastes better when you shred it yourself.)


Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust starts to brown, and then add sliced meatballs, and maybe a little parmesan if you're feeling frisky.
And then bake for another 5-10 minutes, until it's a beautiful golden brown and you just can't wait any longer.
And then bask in the glory of your success.

Meatball Pizza!


Dough:
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

Meatballs: (all estimates--I think they're different every time I make them)
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 egg
parmesan cheese
cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, whatever
kosher salt
black pepper
crushed red pepper
thyme
basil

You'll also need some pizza sauce--homemade or store-bought or whatever you want--and some cheese. I used a block of mozzarella, but I imagine that you could use fresh mozzarella and it would be pretty awesome.

INSTRUCTIONS:


Dough: (Adapted from Food Network Magazine)
Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well and add the water, sugar, and yeast. When that becomes foamy, mix in three tablespoons olive oil and some tasty seasonings, and knead until smooth, about five minutes. Brush with olive oil and cover in a bowl; let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

Meatballs:
Mash everything together with your hands. Roll into balls. Put in freezer for 5-10 minutes. Heat up pan (I used a dutch oven) and add some oil, brown the meatballs. Add some sauce, cover, and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or so.

The culmination:
Roll out dough to fit pan. (You could actually make two pizzas with this amount of dough, but we went with one giant one.) Brush with olive oil. Add sauce and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes. While that's baking, slice up meatballs. Remove pizza from oven, add meatballs. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Then take lots of pictures and email them to your friends just to make them jealous.

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