30 September 2010

Baking Classes and New Best Friends

So, I got to meet one of my baking idols--Ms. Cheryl Day, the owner of Back in the Day Bakery--tonight at the baking class I told you about earlier.  And not only did I get to meet her, but she fed me dinner.  And by dinner I mean four desserts.  And they were all amazing.  And she's so nice.  And I got to sit in the very front row because I was an hour early because I was afraid of being late and because last night I was having dreams about the baking class and about how Cheryl and I would begin our life-long friendship (or "rest of our lives friendship") on this night.

It was kind of like how Romeo had that dream that the events on the night of the party would ultimately lead to his death, except that it was the opposite. 

I mean, it was pretty much amazing, and Cheryl and I are pretty much best friends forever now, even if she doesn't know that.

And even though I didn't think I'd probably learn all that much--I mean, I already know how to bake--I learned a whole lot about butter and eggs and temperature and lumps and beating and other things that would probably bore most people, but that I was super excited to learn.

And Cheryl, my new best friend forever. . .well, she's kind of a badass. And so is her husband Griff.

Seriously, though, I just sat there starstruck.  I was so nervous at first and so intimidated by her awesomeness that I found myself sitting there at the table like I did when I went to foot-washing Baptist school--straight up, hands closed as if I was about to pray.

Pray for more of this chocolate cake, perhaps.

Or pray that Cheryl, who recently got herself a cookbook deal (a cookbook I can't wait to buy!), will let me be one of her recipe testers.  Pick me, Cheryl!  Pick me!

And now I need to go ellipt, because I ate four desserts for dinner.

*Even though I had taken my camera with me, I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to be "that girl" with the big obnoxious camera.


So, yesterday I was going to make some roasted red pepper hummus.  I roasted the peppers, and was gearing up to prepare my healthy snack.

Except that I didn't want a healthy snack.  Hummus is good and all, but I just didn't want it.  I wanted dip--delicious, creamy, bad for me dip.  So I googled "red pepper dip" (because I google everything) and this was the first thing I found.

And, by the way, it's my new favorite dip, food, thing to eat at parties, thing to eat after school, thing to eat on a sandwich, thing to spread all over my face--you name it.  It's just that good.  The ingredients are somewhat similar to my favorite spinach dip, and I think that with a few small modifications I could make it  a little healthier. 

Matt really nailed it when he called it redipulous.  Redipulous indeed!

I think you should make this next time you have to make something for a potluck.  Or next time you need to eat.  Or breathe. 

Redipulous (adapted from Mary's Roasted Red Pepper Dip)


2 roasted red peppers, pureed in a blender or food processor
1-1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (I used jalapeno jack and cheddar)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.In a small baking dish, mix the roasted red peppers, Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic.
3.Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm.
Warning:  Only make this dip when you have people to share it with, because it's really good and it would be easy to eat the whole thing in a single sitting.

29 September 2010

Matt and Mandy Discuss Politics

Okay, so, yeah, I'll be voting for Roy Barnes.  I already did once, and--barring emergency surgery or death--I'll be voting for him again.  I'll vote for him in spite of this commercial. 

Good thing the competition's so riciculous.  Otherwise, we could end up with someone even worse.  Ugh.  

Blast from the Past

Okay, so here's the thing.  This video is super weird, and Matt had never seen it until tonight.  And he went to public school!  Hell, I went to foot-washing Baptist school and I'd seen the video, but I didn't remember the part at the end.  Winifred Trooper Feldmann! 

BTW, don't forget to pay attention to your kid while you shop.  Unless, of course, you want some crazy lady who will steal that kid and take him away, causing you to run down the street in your Z' Cavaricci pants in search of your kidnapped child.

27 September 2010

Hello, Biological Clock. It's Interesting Meeting You Here.

I have rabies.

Baby rabies.*

I don't really know what happened, or how it happened, or what.  It started like this.  This summer there was much talk of my sister coming to live with us.  Our willingness and eagerness to have her come live here, though, wasn't to fulfill any inner desire to parent; instead it was to help her escape the throes of living with our psycho bitch of a mother and her asshole husband.  But Chloe didn't end up coming here (long story; it's not ideal, but it's better than where she was), and somehow that fight, that horribly emotionally taxing struggle, unearthed in Matt and me a desire to procreate.

What the hell?

It sure did, and we haven't looked back yet.  (Bud don't worry, there will be no baby Felds for some time.  But last night I talked to Becky about names, and she pointed out that I could give a kid the intials WTF, which made me want to have a baby tomorrow.  Winnie Trudy?  Wynn Thelma?  William Theodore?)  And now I find myself doing and saying things that are completely unrecognizable and out of character.  I'm interested in topics that would have made me want to puke all over myself just a few months ago, and I'll spit stuff out in conversation like "Well, when we have a baby. . ."  It's a lot like being possessed by a demon, I believe (even though, to the best of my knowledge, I've never been possessed by a demon.  Unless you want to count Parrot Bay.). 

One way that I knew that I'd completely lost my mind was that I was giddy about buying baby clothes this week.  (Not for me or any future Felds.  I'm not that crazy.  They are for Iris and Opal's new sister, June, who will be arriving in November.)  I don't even like baby clothes--at least I didn't like baby clothes before.**  But since I'm now possessed by a demon, everything's changed.  So this weekend, while shopping for Baby June, I gave all of my money to the Gap. 

But can you blame me?

(Gap had 40% off of all of the clearance items in the kid sections, so I actually got all of this stuff for $45.  There was also a three-pack of white long-sleeved onesies that I forgot to photograph.)

Well, I should go research cloth diapers or how to make homemade baby food or whatever else this damned demon inside me wants to do.  While I'm doing that I'll look around for the Mandy of years past. 

Happy week to you!

*Thanks again for the term, Carly.

**Now, there is one exception to this particular stance, which is Baby Gap and Gap Kids clothes, which strike a beautiful marriage between adult styles and kid design.  Basically, I want to dress myself in Gap Kids clothes.

26 September 2010

Amazing Race Watermelon Face Smash


If you have a case of the Mondays, just watch this video and be happy that, more than likely, a watermelon won't smash you in the face today.  (If you're at work, watch it on mute.  The volume isn't really necessary.)

 Anyway, there's a dearth of cool teams on this season of the Amazing Race.  Matt and I did what we always do with competitive reality TV shows, and each picked two teams after the introductions.  I have the cool girl doctors.  There's a 75% chance that they'll win.

And the Princeton A Capella boys (a choice I'm already regretting).  Matt says they're the 'Nard Dawgs.  And, no, the one on the right is not Harry Potter.  If he was Harry Potter, perhaps he'd be able to conjure up some navigation skills.

Matt has Chad and Stephanie (a choice he's already regretting), the newly dating couple who just bought a house together.  He's a former football player and a giant tool, and he's planning on proposing during the race.  She's nicknamed "Tinkerbell," which makes me dislike her.

And the beach volleyball players.  There's not really much to dislike about them.  They're nice and smart enough and competitive without being obnoxious.  If my girl doctors don't take the victory, these girls might.

Do you watch Amazing Race?  Who do you want to win?  Do you want to go play with a watermelon slingshot?

I'm Basically an Inca.

Back in, oh, I don't know, May, I planted three hydrangea bushes in the front of our house.  Because I'm so plant saavy (not) and delicate (double not), I found myself with some branches that just "fell off."  I took one of them and threw it in a mason jar with water, and some dead leaf that got in there when a ghost put it in there.

I never imagined that this would happen.

The little stem thing is even getting brown and stick-like.

(Which reminds me of a joke one of my coworkers told me that's so stupid that it's awesome.  Q: "What's brown and sticky?" A: "A stick!")

But here's the thing.  I don't know what to do with it now.  Any suggestions?

24 September 2010

Need or Want?

I think I need these alphabet cookie cutters.

I need them because I need to be able to spell out inspiring, or congratulatory, or just really f'ed up stuff with them. 


Also, I kind of want to learn to make fondant, except that I don't want to make fondant because fondant is gross.  But I'm wondering if homemade fondant is still gross? 

OH!  And I forgot to share with all of you that next Thursday I will be attending a baking class taught by Cheryl, the owner of Back in the Day Bakery.  I'm more than a little excited, especially since she's supposed to be teaching us how to make her favorite chocolate cake, and I'm terrible at making chocolate stuff.  Here's a little video of her with Paula Deen's two sons making some cupcakes to make your Friday a little better.

22 September 2010

Vintage Pyrex Ads

How fun are these ads?  (I have those primary color bowls, bee-tee-dub, and I do cherish them.)

And those prices!  Methinks it's time to build a time machine!

This and That

1.  Went to the Battle of the Bands on Sunday with Cris.  Since there were going to be camera crews there filming for the sequel to Drumline (a movie that I made Matt go with me to see in the theater years ago), and since we share a love for marching bands, we were super pumped to go.  I have to admit, though, that it was only kind of fun.  The bands played to only one side of the stadium the entire time (not our side), and we were sitting in the glaring sun.  At times, I felt like my face would burst into flames.  There were a few awesome moments, though.  Like this kid:

And these guys, who were billed as the "Five Hottest Guys on Earth."  You can be the judge of that.

2.  Matt can't wait to see this movie.  He's bananas for keeping Christ in Christmas.

3.  There's some alpha dog shit happening in our house.

4.  I'm basically a professional fantasy football player.  I'm 2-0 in my league, and I keep telling Matt that he could stand to learn from me.  East Dillion Lions all the way, baby!

5.  Can we start a petition to get Amber from Teen Mom sterilized?

6.  I have this new strategy to keep myself from being such a fatass: eating from smaller bowls.  Sure, sometimes that means that I eat two bowls of delicious food (like tonight's Kung Pao Chicken).  But sometimes I don't, and the plan is that this will lead me to eating smaller portions (i.e., not the amount of food that four humans would eat per day).  Am I still allowed to fill the bowl to be super full?

7.  Matt and I are [tentatively] planning to head north Halloween weekend to visit with family and friends and to attend Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity.  Who wants to join?

8.  So, I wear heels to school almost every day.  And I have to walk around our campus a lot, and I'm always in some kind of hurry because I just want to get back to my classroom and my uber comfortable chair.  Time and again, I'll have someone poke their head around a corner or out a classroom door and tell me that they knew it was me coming because of the sound of the heels.  I don't really know what to make of this.  All I can figure is that I must have the least feminine, least delicate walk of all time.  Basically, I'm girl Shrek on heels.  Either that, or I'm aggressive and determined.  Let's go with the latter.  Or some combination of the two.  I give up.

Happy hump day!

20 September 2010

Fossil Cookies!

Hey, remember that time that Christina sent me this adorable little tin of culinary lavender?  Remember that time that she was going to come visit (ahem, Christina!) and we were going to rub the lavender all over our faces while watching Friday Night Lights and eating ice cream and cupcakes?  Yeah, me too. 

And remember that time that our oven broke, except that it's not broken anymore because we're renters and when something breaks we just call someone and they come fix it?  Yeah, me too.

And remember that time that my good friend Cris got me a subscription to Martha Stewart Living?

And remember that time that I took the lavender, and baked something delicious from Martha Stewart Living using my newly-fixed oven?  Oh, you don't?  Well, I must share, then.

So, I'd been determined to make something delicious with the lavender.  Christina sent me some lavender ice cream recipes, but I wasn't really in the mood for ice cream on Saturday.  Plus, it's hard to share ice cream, and then I just end up eating all of the ice cream and getting fatter and fatter until I can't move.  So, to prevent people from having to tear down walls just to get me out of the house, I decided not to go with ice cream.

But cookies I could do.  (Actually, cookies I can't do.  I find cookies to be the most irresistible of all treats, and could easily eat 150.  I would like to enter a cookie-eating contest.  Then I would like to enter a throwing up contest because I'd eat so many cookies that I'd have to throw up immediately, kind of like that time I won that pie-eating contest in college.)  Lavender cookies. 

I searched around a little on the ol' internets, and stumbled upon this blog, Our Life in the Kitchen.  By the by, Karen the blogger takes the most amazing pictures of her food, and she's a Publix enthusiast, so I kind of love her.  Karen had a recipe for Lavender Shortbreads, and I decided that it would be an easy recipe to adapt to create what I was craving.

So I made the dough.  And while it was chilling for what was supposed to be like two hours, I fell asleep--for ten hours.  Oops.  The next morning I awoke with lavender shortbreads on the brain, and before I even brushed my hair or teeth or changed out of my pajamas, I was rolling out the cookies. 

And while batch #1 (the grown-up batch) was baking, I remembered. . .the October issue of Martha Stewart Living had something pretty cool, Fossil cookies.  Basically, all you do is make an imprint in the cookie dough with a plastic bug.  And of course I have plastic bugs!  Who doesn't? (So fun to put in drawers to scare people!)

Here's my adapted recipe for Lavender Shortbread Cookies. 


3 sticks of butter (these are NOT health cookies)
1 cup of sugar
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dry lavender
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)


Preheat oven to 300.  Cream the butter until it's very light and fluffy.  Slowly beat in sugar, lavender, and vanilla paste.  Slowly add flour and salt.  The dough will be stiff.  Chill for a couple of hours or longer.  Roll into 1" balls.  Place the balls on cookie sheets and butter the bottom of a glass.  Dip bottom of buttered glass into sugar, and use it to smash down the balls.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are browned. 

(For fossil bug cookies, smash the plastic bug into the dough after you've flattened it with the glass.)

Lavender shortbread cookies for grown-ups:

Lavender shortbreads for kids (and dogs who are mad because you put them on diet dog food because they gained five pounds, but who guilt you into sharing shortbread with them, which is probably why they gained five pounds in the first place):

18 September 2010

I Disagree with You, but I'm Pretty Sure You're Not Hitler.

Hey, are any of our Virginia or Maryland friends planning to attend Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity?

I have the following Monday off, and I'm wondering if we here at M Cubed should head north to visit with friends and hold up funny signs. 


I'm Lovin' It.

Not McDonald's.  I'm not really a McDonald's kind of girl.  (Which does not mean that I'm somehow above fast food.  Don't get me wrong: I'll eat the shit out of some Taco Bell or Wendy's or Chick-Fil-A--which I like to call Chicken-Fil-A just to be obnoxious.) 

Anyway, here's what I'm loving around the house lately. 

[Lavender, a surprise gift from Christina that I can't stop huffing.]

[Mitch being weird on the couch while Cassie reads magazines during her weekly visit.]

[Homemade candles, a Christmas gift from Maureen.  She gave me nine.]

[After-school snack of pork nachos.  This is a full-sized plate.  You'll never hear me ask why I'm not thin.]

[Lizards in lanterns never gets old.  Tonight, Matt and I watched a lizard eat a bug.  That might make you think that our life is really boring.  If you think that, then you've never seen a lizard eat a bug.]

[A dog and a rug and a blue floor.]

[And, finally, this crazy spider that I found in our yard.  Have you ever seen one of these crazy little dudes?]


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