Archive for November, 2009

28
Nov

Sookie Stackhouse and Bella Swan

blood dripI tried to fight it.  I told myself I was too old for it.  I told myself that I had too much pride as a woman to get pulled in to the universe of Bella Swan whose entire identity seemed to be about a vampire and not about herself.  Then my sister-in-law bought the Twilight series for me for Christmas, so I had to read them.  I was hooked.  My rational side decided the writing wasn’t very good, but my irrational side said, “this is fun and entertaining and I can’t stop reading until I finish all of the books!”  Clearly I was being too hard on Bella. It wasn’t weakness, it was love (right?).

Then during one of my moments of justifying the cost of subscribing to HBO by getting hooked on yet another one of their series, I started watching True Blood.  It was the adult version of Twilight. Even better! Bella Swan was replaced with Sookie Stackhouse who was much more independent and also has the ability to read people’s minds (an interesting twist). I couldn’t stop watching.  Then I realized the show was based on a series of books.  Once again with the aid of my sister-in-law, I started obtaining copies of the books.

The change from vampires being threatening, dangerous, and lethal to complex beings able to co-exist with and love humans is an interesting shift.  I’m not sure if this is a completely new idea, but I really like the idea.  First, I am always for everyone getting along, and second, it makes for some really interesting and passionate love stories.

Category : Entertainment | Blog
27
Nov

These are my favorite when I want chewy, chocolatey, buttery goodness fresh out of the oven with a glass of milk.  Yum!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup butter

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

6 oz. chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix both sugars, butter, and egg in mixer. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix to combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until light brown.  About 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly and remove with spatula.

Category : Recipes | Blog
21
Nov

What is the meaning of a closing date?

I have learned that just because you have chosen a closing date, doesn’t mean it will happen.  Friday the 13th was not our lucky day.  The new lucky day is December 7th.  We have extended our loan rate lock and our apartment lease.  We have gone from closing on October 4th to October 16th to November 4th to November 13th and now December 7th!  I have gone from planning to decorate the house for Halloween to Thanksgiving and now I am hopeful for Christmas.  We will continue to keep our fingers crossed that we will experience the true meaning of a closing date on December 7th.

fingers-crossed

Category : House Hunting | Blog
16
Nov

Pop Culture Classics

Recently I was discussing The Princess Bride with one of my coworkers from Germany and realized she had never seen this movie!  Thus began the quest to educate her in must-see American pop culture classics.  She needed to know about “as you wish”, “wax on, wax off”, and Red Ryder BB Guns!  Another one of my coworkers and I immediately began compiling a list.  Here is what we have so far:

1. The Princess Bride (we watched that one with her that night, so we can cross it off the list)

2. The Karate Kid (watched during the pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving event)

3. The Goonies

4. Sixteen Candles

5. Dirty Dancing

6. The Breakfast Club

7. Pretty Woman

8. Big

9. Sound of Music

10. Back to the Future

11. Beverly Hills Cop

12. Indiana Jones

Holiday List:

1. A Christmas Story

2. It’s a Wonderful Life

3. Miracle on 34th Street

Category : Entertainment | Blog
15
Nov

Bring on the Turkey

Thursday

My coworker from Germany (Anja) and I were having lunch the other day and she mentioned that she was thinking about signing up for a cooking class for Thanksgiving.  I immediately thought, “Wouldn’t it be way more fun to not pay for a class, drink wine, and cook together.”  I told her that she could come over and cook with me to learn about making Thanksgiving dinner (never mind that I haven’t made a turkey before).  Then our other partner in crime (Sonja) who is always game for anything joined in.  Our unstoppable cooking team was formed!

Saturday 12:00 P.M.

Anja and Sonja arrived for our day of cooking and eating.  We went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients we needed.  After reading the recipe, I realized that the gravy called for 20 turkey necks!  No turkey necks – okay we’ll just improvise with the gravy.  The turkey called for lots of fresh herbs.  The store is out of everything but Tarragon – okay we’ll improvise.  We need a turkey baster.  You guessed it.  The store is out of turkey basters – we’ll improvise.  Last thing on the list – vanilla ice cream.  Here we received a very nice lecture from an older gentleman about the best ice cream to buy, but the store was out of it.  I know – you’re shocked.  We assured the nice man that we would definitely try that ice cream next time.

Saturday 1:00 P.M.

Cooking begins… We are a powerhouse of efficiency and accuracy.  Cranberry bread – check.  Pumpkin Pie – check.  Apple Pie – check.  Sonja is a measuring queen and Anja is a powerhouse of whisking!

Check out Anja’s first pie.  That’s some fancy crust-work!

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Let’s tackle the turkey!  Step 1: rinse the turkey and pat dry.  Step 2: Using your hand, loosen the skin from the breast starting at the neck.  This is where things start looking more like a horror movie.

Turkey Horror

Step 3: rub the turkey in herb butter.  Place turkey in oven.  Step 4: Baste, add butter, and add broth every 30 minutes.

Saturday 3:30 P.M.

OK, the kitchen has been cleaned up, the turkey is in the oven, the bread and pies are done, it must be time for sangria (best sangria ever – recipe coming soon) and a movie.

Saturday 4:00 P.M.

Baste, Butter, Broth.  Return to movie and sangria.

Saturday 4:30 P.M.

Baste, Butter, Broth.  Maybe drinking this much sangria without eating anything all day wasn’t such a good idea.  Oh well, let’s go look at pictures of Anja dressed as Princess Leia on the German version of Facebook.

Saturday 9:00 P.M.

After many more hours of basting, buttering, and brothing the turkey is done.

Turkey

That is one fine lookin’ bird!

Saturday 9:15 P.M.

Dinner is served and Anja carves the turkey (with scissors). Go Anja Go!

Anja Carves the Turkey

Saturday 10:00 P.M.

The food was delicious and we are stuffed.  But what about pie?

Saturday 11:30 P.M.

One movie later we are ready for pies and they are so good!

Sunday 1:00 A.M.

Food is away, kitchen is clean, Anja and Sonja depart (with goodie bags full of turkey, stuffing, and pie) and I fall into bed!  Whew!

Our pre-thanksgiving was a success.

What I am thankful for:

I am thankful for coworkers who are also such good friends and are willing to cook, eat, and drink with me for 13 hours in one day!

The Dream Team

The Dream Team


Category : Entertaining | Holidays | Blog
11
Nov

A Wednesday Off

Avatar Baker

There wasn’t any work today.  It’s not often that a holiday falls in the middle of the week.  At first I thought it was much worse having work closed on a Wednesday instead of a Friday or a Monday, but I am rethinking that.  Today I accomplished so many things that I have been wanting to do for a long time.  I got organized, did laundry, cooked dinner, worked on making an album from my wedding (yes, I am a year and half behind on this task).  It made me think about whether being a stay at home mom would be appealing to me.  This isn’t the first time I have thought about this.  I used to think that when I have kids I want to stay home.  Over the years, I have been rethinking that idea for many reasons.  First, having been a preschool teacher for a couple years I know how much I miss adult conversations when I am around children all day.  Second, being a stay at home mom can be lonely.  Third, living off of one income in the Washington, D.C. area is not very realistic for most people.  As these thoughts and realities sunk in, I gradually became accustomed to the idea of working after I have children. However, today’s taste of having time to take care of all those other things in life besides work was nice, and I wouldn’t mind having a few more moments like this (say every Wednesday :-) ).

Category : Miscellaneous | Blog
8
Nov

Cheddar Potato Soup

2 tbsp. butter or oil

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 med. potatoes, peeled and diced

1 1/2 c. chicken stock

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1 1/2 c. milk

1 1/2 c. grated Cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Ham or bacon

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and garlic. Cook until tender but do not brown. Add potatoes and combine well. Stir in chicken stock and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook gently, covered, 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, cook the ham or bacon in a separate pan.

Puree half the soup. Return to saucepan. Stir in milk and heat just until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in cheese. Cook gently, stirring, until cheese melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with ham or bacon.

Category : Recipes | Blog