Friday, December 31, 2010

Ramen Week, Part Three: Sesame Ramen

Don't miss parts One and Two of Ramen Week!

Part Three of Ramen Week brings us a fittingly Asian-inspired recipe. This dish was extremely easy to make, and extremely flavorful, requiring very few ingredients that weren't already in my cupboard.



3 packages of instant noodles, salt packets discarded
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. sesame oil
1 clove of garlic, or equivalent
3/4 t. ground ginger
3 scallions, sliced
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted

Considering this recipe is so quick to make, I would cook the noodles as soon as possible. This dish is best served at room temperature, so you'll need to rinse the noodles in cold water after you drain them, and keep them either in the fridge or on the countertop.

During the cooldown, you can make the sauce. In a food processor, blend the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.

Toast the sesame seeds in an ungreased pan until they brown.

Mix everything together and enjoy!


Recipe adapted from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ramen Week Cop-Out Event!

Apparently, it was a bad idea to start a week-long event right before several crazy days at work, a Christmas trip, and spending 12 hours in a car in a crazy blizzard. Ramen Week Pt 2 is almost a week later than Part One, and for that I am sorry!

This installment of TTF's Ramen Week is brought to you by three awesome ingredients:


Bet you can't even guess to what awesomeness this will lead.

That's right, the next edition of culinary mastery is Ramen & Meatballs! To imitate this work of gastronomical art (if you dare!), you will need:

4 baggies of instant noodles (sans packets)
1 29-oz jar of your preferred pasta sauce
1 20-oz package of frozen meatballs
For razzle dazzle: A 2-oz can of sliced black olives, and grated Parmesan cheese for topping(neither pictured).

1. Prepare noodles and meatballs to package instructions.
2. Heat sauce.
3. Mix everything together.

Voila!

Okay, so I realize this is the cop-out-iest recipe I could come up with, but if someone is substituting ramen for real food, they probably aren't in the interest of making anything terribly expensive and/or complicated.

I am also stalling for time right now because I am hesitant to post the absolutely gross, nonetheless delicious, picture of this faux-spaghetti concoction. It was almost as hideous as my boyfriend:


Handsome. Charming. Handsome and charming.

I could post nonsensical pictures all day, but it won't let me escape from the truth. Here is the ugly snapshot, but rest assured, this is actually both edible and super-delicious, and NOT at all radioactive or poisonous.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

HOLY JEEZ, IT'S FINALLY TWIRLING TOWARDS FREEDOM'S (x3) RAMEN WEEK!!!!!

RAMEN WEEK! RAMEN WEEK! RAMEN WEEK!

THIS. IS. RAMEN WEEK. Ramen week is going to be five to seven days (depending on laziness of author) of recipes involving everyone's favorite cheap garbage food: instant noodles!

Ramen week has finally come to fruition, but it is an idea that was conceived 11 months ago by my pal Justin, first mentioned in this entry back in January, when my job at the time used to temporarily lay me off for weeks around the holidays, Sean was just starting his new job, and we pretty much had negative money. If you didn't click or TL;DR, here is an excerpt:

Secondly, you may have noticed a Paypal donation box on the left of the screen. Due to reasons beyond my control, I am almost totally broke! In an effort to save money, unfortunately this expensive hobby might have to be first to go. THE MAN is threatening to take away my very livelihood! Now, I'm not going to beg, but listen to this 100% true story (swear to God):

My friend Justin donated ten dollars last night through Paypal, to help me out and to hopefully fund an upcoming "Twirling Towards Freedom's Ramen Week" (course, now I have to hold a Ramen Week! See? This is what happens when you sell out - controlled content! :P). Anyway, apparently this nice gesture granted him super super karma, as today he got a super super raise at work. Apparently it pays to help me out! :D


So, essentially, I'm pretty much the worst friend ever because I sure didn't use those ten dollars towards Ramen Week, though I was probably eating ramen every day that week. Coupled with the fact that I've lost several bets over the year in which the payoff was "finally do Ramen Week", and he and the woman took me to Medieval Times for my B-Day, and I feel that the statute of limitations for "not be a shitty friend" is probably a year, HERE IS RAMEN WEEK. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

So, I decided to use ramen in five different ways, and the dishes will range from completely-bogus to total-copout. Considering the main idea was to show things you can do with ramen, I tried to make the stuff relatively cheap and low on ingredients, but still awesome and delicious, WITHOUT the use of the blood-congealing MSG packet!

So without further adieu, I present the first entry: Mushroom Ramen Stroganoff!



Here are the ingredients. In case you can't tell, I like to shop at Giant.

Olive oil
1 pint of sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2 packs of instant noodles
1 T. of flour
1 t. of Dijon mustard
2 bouillon cubes or equivalent (I used beef.)
Water (not pictured!)
1/2 Cup of sour cream
Salt + Pepper

I have to say, one advantage to using ramen in place of noodles is the time saving factor! I started boiling my water for the noodles before anything else, but you could start at any time since the process is so quick!

First, over high, heat enough oil for your mushrooms and onion (I don't measure, so you're on your own!), and add them when the oil is ready. Saute about five minutes.

Add the flour and cook for one minute. Add the mustard and bouillon cubes AND 1.5-2 cups of water. I used 2 cups, and I had a lot of moderately thin sauce, so if you'd rather have thicker sauce, I would say use 1 or 1.5 cups. Basically it's up to you; you can always add more water, you can't really take it away. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Don't forget the noodles, because now would be a good time to make them!

Finally, add the sour cream, salt, and pepper, and simmer for a minute or so until the sauce is proper. Serve over ramen!


Finished product. Serves 2 starving jackals - the portions are as big as you see here.
Recipe adapted from The Healthy Calendar!

Friday, December 10, 2010

With Apologies to George Michael

Last Christmas,
I gave you my cat,
But the very next day,
You gave him right back.

Thiiiiiiiis yeeeeeear,
To save us from tears,
I'm gonna buy him a muzzle.



Merry Fucking Christmas, Love Lucifer Shadowkins!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!!!!!!

Tomorrow, the ultimate battle of good vs. evil will be waged.

I can only pray that JUSTICE PREVAILS!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a video combining two awesome things: Garfield's Thanksgiving and Garfield Minus Garfield, which according to them, "is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cataclysm

This is officially going to be the lamest, geekiest, stupidest post ever. You have been warned. As something I have spent almost a QUARTER of my life doing (I literally just said, "....holy shit" out loud after typing that), it deserves a nostalgic entry.

Tomorrow, a dear friend gets put to rest. Tomorrow is the Shattering. Tomorrow is the beginning of the end for the World of Warcraft, as the world we've all known and loved for six years gets razed for a new expansion that (let's get real here) can only go so far!

Thanks, Azeroth, for all the years of fun, the nerd rage over impossible achievements and bad guild runs, the friends I've made or played with, the adventures to places even the game creators didn't want us to find, and last, but certainly not least, the all-important distraction from real life and responsibility!

Here are some lame pictures I've managed to save!


This was before I realized how to screenshot, and took a picture of the computer screen instead. This is my first arrival to Outland!


Yay! I don't really have a caption for this...this is my Death Knight cheering with a buff on her hands.


This is my recent triumph. I received one of the best mounts in the game, the purple Proto-Drake, for completing "What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been", the longest, most tedious achievement in the game. It takes at least a year to complete.


This is a picture that I hope becomes the next internet meme. This is some terrible raid group gathered under the Orgrimmar bridge, and the leader is yelling, "Y U KILL GUARDS? U JUST RUIND THE WHOLE THING" at whoever alerted the Horde guards to our presence.


My tank is bigger than your tank. You can just make out my priest hovering in front of his left shoulder on her magic carpet.


Mofokiller cheering in front of the gates of Ironforge during Brewfest.


This is the saddest picture, taken a few moments ago in front of the Auberdine docks, which in a few hours will be completely destroyed!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nice Things

For the first time in a while, I'm going to write about nice things that have happened to me.

Today, I received a $25.00 MasterCard Gift Card in the mail from my company, as a way of saying "Thanks" during Thanksgiving. I pretty much work for the best company ever; they are always either doing cool things or improving our benefits. It's nice to work for a company that isn't using "the economy" as a catch-all excuse to be stingy dicks.

Yesterday, a lady customer walked by me while I was working and, after greeting me, said "Thank you so much for all the hard work you do! Wow!"

Okay, so, she might have been a little on the crazy-cat-lady side, but it was a very nice thing to say, especially since I didn't even help her with anything. It certainly brightened my day, and made me realize one thing:

WE HAVE TO START BEING FUCKING NICE TO EACH OTHER, FUCKERS. Now, that's not to say you can't put major assholes in their place with a swift verbal nutkick (or a swift real nutkick, if need be), but as a society we have to stop sucking so much at life. The technological depersonalization of life, coupled with the doom-and-gloom media, has turned us all into paranoid, evil-ass, socially retarded freaks. We'll all feel a lot better if we start being courteous to random people at the store.

Also, from the paranoid, evil-ass side of things, people are less likely to rob you/fuck with you if you personalize yourself to them first! Lawl.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Time Machine: Me in 2003.

I kept an online diary when I was in the last year or so of high school. It mainly was an outlet to just write about the boring events of my day, and talk about everything I did with my friends so I would sound more popular. But a few times, I was really on to something entertaining.

Here's an entry from September 20, 2003, in which I wrote a book review. It scares me that I might have been more funny at age 16 than I am now!


"I found this incredibly weird book yesterday when I actually went in my playroom at my dad's house. I haven't actually been in there in like a year, haha. It's called Please Come Home: A Child's Book About Divorce. Obviously something my mother bought me to 'help me cope'....This book frightens me.

Let's investigate:

This is in NO way biased at all.....2 women put this together, so it's obviously anti-father....and that's not how divorce always is, dumb bitches.

So, it's "a book about divorce...and learning....and growing." Multi-tasking.

I'm not going to type the whole book, just excerpts that struck me.

This is about some little piss-ant named Jenny, and her best friend is a talking Teddy bear, named Teddy. If your Teddy bear is your only social outlet, I don't think divorce is your biggest problem.

"Last night they were yelling at each other again. She was afraid Daddy might hit Mommy."

Whoa Whoa Whoa...how token stereotype is this? Just because people get divorced does not mean the dad is some violent psychopath.

"Mommy said, 'Daddy wouldn't have left if he loved you.'
She thought, 'I'll never speak to my Daddy again!'"

Isn't this just teaching all children that their fathers don't love them? I think this is more a book to teach single mothers how to phase their baby's daddy out of their life.

"On Saturdays she visited Daddy. It was fun at the park, but she always cried when he brought her home.
On her birthday Daddy sent a package, and she told Mommy, 'I don't want it.'
Mommy seemed pleased and sent it back to Daddy."

That doesn't even make sense! I don't even understand the relevance except that Mommy is 3vil.

Later on, after Daddy gets a girlfriend and Mommy works all the time, Jenny has a nervous breakdown after bedtime.

"Jenny cried big wet tears on Teddy's nose and said, 'Daddy doesn't want to be with me and Mommy is too busy to talk to me. NOBODY LOVES ME ANYMORE.'
Teddy looked her right in the eye and said, 'Now listen carefully because this is very important:
YOU ARE LOVEABLE!
YOU ARE PRECIOUS!
YOU ARE SPECIAL!"

And underneath it says: (And Teddy made Jenny repeat it 50 times!)

....

This girl obviously needs psychological help. Staying up chanting to her stuffed animals at all hours of the night. My Teddy bears never talked to me during my parent's divorce....Maybe I just had asshole Teddy bears.

Now, at the end of the book, after the divorce is final, Jenny has a breakthrough.

"Jenny smiled and told Teddy, 'When I was little I used to think that every child whose parents were still married was better off than me. Now I know some are much worse off.'
And Teddy said, 'OH! You are SO smart!'
Jenny said, 'I used to think I'd hurt forever. But I don't'
And Teddy skipped a step and said: 'I'M SO HAPPY I JUST CAN'T STAND IT! LET'S HUG!'"

What the fuck kind of book is this for children to read?! At the end there is a list of ways to help a child with divorce--BORING.

So what have we learned?

1. Daddy is always bad, and will desert you.
2. It's okay if Mommy yells at you, she will buy you ice cream.
3. Underwear is NOT a present!
4. Teddy is likely bipolar.
5. YOU ARE LOVEABLE! YOU ARE PRECIOUS! YOU ARE SPECIAL!

Fuck me gently with a chainsaw."

That last bit is a quote from the black comedy Heathers that my best friend and I used to be obsessed with.



Hurray for nostalgia!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Boo-urns, and not the C. Montgomery variety...

So, let me tell you about my burn story. But first, a preface.

If you were "lucky" enough to catch my limited edition paranoid freakout entry last week or so, now deleted, you'll know I've been kinda losing my mind lately, and everything in my life seems to be spiraling towards some abyss that I can only defend myself against by being a paranoid freak always waiting for the next shoe to drop. And a lot of shoes have been dropping recently - like some sort of Doom Millipede is looming over me.

Well, I thought about it, but I'm not going to bother you guys with the details of the seemingly endless stream of bullshit I've had lately - I feel like I've done nothing but complain this year. Instead, I'm going to tell you a semi-amusing "it's-funny-when-it-happens-to-someone-else" story that's sure to make you cringe!

Anyone who interacts with me in real life on a regular basis will know that I cannot stand heat. I have done nothing but bitch bitch bitch for the last seven months of suffocating heat wave that we have had on the Shore. My wrath was especially revved up last week when it was approaching eighty degrees just a few days before Halloween. We do not have central air conditioning, and clearly we had already removed our window units because it was almost NOVEMBER.

So, here's the scene. It's last Wednesday, I'm cooking dinner, and since it is 83 degrees in my house, I am not exactly bundled up! I had planned to make a nice dinner for us, and purchased groceries to make salad, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and steaks. It was going to be awesome, but apparently the Doom Millipede wasn't having it.

Let's not forget the laziness factor contributing to my misery. Since I only have three pots, I SHOULD plan my meals carefully enough to make sure I don't need one of them twice. This particular night, I planned to mash a metric fuckton of potatoes, because you can never have enough mashed potatoes. My huge pot was in use by some crappy invented soup we made last week. I didn't feel like washing it out and discarding the junk, so I decided I would use my two small pots for the night, and just "make it work".

The potatoes/onion/garlic mixture barely fit into my pot, and I had to pour some of the water out once during the cooking because it was boiling over onto the stove. Surprisingly, this is not the part where I failed at life.

My asparagus was cut, but not short enough to fit into my smallest pot of boiling water on the back burner. At least, not without some force! After I dropped the stalks into the boiling water, my laziness came back to taunt me in the form of uncovered asparagus heads!

Because of the shock to my system, I barely remember what happened next. I know I stuck one of my cooking utensils in the pot to either stir the asparagus or to push the stalks down into the water.

Whatever I did, the asparagus was not happy. Just then, a boiling splash of water leaped across the stove from the back burner, and scalded me directly on the right can. Yes, ladies, you heard that correctly. And I do mean ALL of it.

I remember making three high-pitched squeals that sounded like a dog getting run over by a bicycle, and raced over to the faucet to douse my second-degree burns in cold water. I heard Sean just about fall out of his chair racing in from the office, where I'm sure the sight he met with was pretty interesting. But I have to give him credit, he was a total prince while taking care of the sniveling, hysterical wreck that I had become.

I was totally distraught, and my mind and body were a wreck, but somehow I managed to finish dinner with a frozen pie tin stuck to my chest.

And it was DAMN delicious!




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Damn Snakes



This game continues to piss me off, even after twenty years.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Today's Lesson

Everything falls apart without my Mom there to do everything.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just Dance!



This is a really well done video, so watch it! I also find it amusing that John Travolta is in half of these movies.

EDIT: Sighhhh, apparently my layout is dumb and I'm too stupid and lazy to fix it, therefore half the video is cut off, therefore you must click on the text and watch it on Youtube itself.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Young Dirty Bastard

Today, my own filthy lifestyle sent me over the edge into a psychotic rage. It is times like this that I'm glad my mom hasn't figured out technology enough to know how to leave a comment, because I am going to talk about my complete lack of tidiness, predominantly localized in the landfill that is my car.

My car has spent the last 7 years as a highly advanced mechanized dumpster. Sure, it has carried me all over town and country. Sure, it has survived at least two New England winters and one freak Eastern Shore winter. Sure, it has survived months and months of Boston traffic. But it has always been a trash receptacle.

Obviously, I have cleaned it out from time to time, but the trash always piles up. It's a sea of fast food cups and bags, old Google Maps directions (hey, I might need to take a spontaneous trip to Myrtle Beach or Vermont and not have access to a computer!), and enough old receipts that you could paper mache a Homecoming float for Faber College.



This could be MY car!

Well, this afternoon, it's safe to say the shit has finally hit the fan. As I was pulling into the driveway, a fast food cup that was sitting on my floor fell over and leaked all over the carpeted mat. Why was it sitting on the floor, you ask?

Because, dear readers, I had exhausted all FOUR of my cup holders with old fast food cups!!!

At least I can say in my own defense that I had plenty of random napkins on hand to sop up the mess. Once I parked, I flew into a flustered rage, retrieved a 13-gallon trash bag from the house, and filled it to the brim with garbage.

I felt like Norman Bates, because all I could hear reverberating through my head was my mother's constant lecture about keeping a clean car! Something along the lines of, "You never want to listen to me!", and, "See, Mom is always right!"

I feel a lot better knowing I threw out the mold culture growing on an old napkin in the bottom of a cup holder (yes, seriously). At least when I took the bag to the trash can, I found this cute little guy on the lid.



It's a tiny frog!!!!!!!! Those are Sean's hands for comparison, so don't think that I have man hands. As we all know, he is the ambassador between Meredith and Nature.

I will leave you with a picture of Shadow in a trash-bags-full-of-clothes fort.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Bug Saga, Pt 2: My Boyfriend, The Hero

The last few weeks have been an all-out war with the bugs. I'm beginning to think the bugs own the house, and our "landlords" are just bugmen hybrids who act as the go-between so things don't seem weird. The good news with this war is I think we are winning!

Sean, bless his heart, has been bearing the brunt of this hefty task, which includes all of the outside and foundation spraying. This charge involves tackling the Amazon Spider Fortress, also known as the garage, and leading the fight in the Kitchen Ant Wars. He is truly kicking ass, and he would be taking names, if these bugs had names, or if we gave a shit that they had names.

I'd like to state that I haven't been entirely useless in the battle. I have played the supporting role of the Screaming-From-A-Safe-Distance Damsel-In-Distress. I'm also skilled at taking down lone rogues that pop up in random places in the house by spraying them with an extremely superfluous amount of Hot Shot Naturals.

One afternoon, we set out to run some errands, only to find that the biggest wood spider I've ever seen had built a web spanning between our vehicles. This thing seriously had a body (just the body!) the size of a marble, and if this were Charlotte's Web, the web wouldn't be saying "Terrific"; it would be saying, "Fuck You, and Your Trip to Autozone". God knows it was big enough.

At the sight of this mocking monstrosity, we both sprung into action. I played my part beautifully, diving into the opposite car door from the spider, cowering and shouting my support for Sean, who vanquished the beast by unloading a blitzkreig of Liquid Spider Death on it's ass and everything within a five foot radius.

After the epic battle, I sung my hero's praises. I told him he was at least twice as badass as John Goodman in Arachnophobia, and just as handsome!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Snarkiest Place on Earth, and Anger Ventilation

Right now, it is 7AM, and I can't even go to work because Comcast is supposed to be here between 7 and 10AM, to bring me internet that I already have, and 7 channels of TV that I don't. Which means I probably won't get to work til at least noon, and I'll have gained barely anything! AWESOME.

Today's post was originally going to be a small and humorous(in theory) tack-on to last night's post, but some extra "research"(read: tooling around on the blogs) brought the bile to the back of my throat, and I couldn't even make jokes anymore.

So, as I pretty much get all my news from the best source of morning information, the Bob & Tom Show, that means I am privy to hear about only the most pertinent current events out there. Naturally, the first thing I heard about yesterday was that Universal was adjusting seats at the new Harry Potter World to accommodate larger guests.


And yes, I know it's "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter", but mine is better, and can be shortened to HPW - the Human Papilloma Wizard.

At first, I thought this was hilarious for many reasons. I was planning to write a blog about how while yes, this was at first funny, it is a good topic for the discussion of American obsession of being able to accommodate one group at the risk of others. (And at this point in my blog, the American diet/obesity problem is already implied.) I wanted to open up a discussion of how the safety of smaller people might be at risk now. Though, for the same price, the slimmer people might get to be fully immersed in HPW with an extra ride - learning how to fly like Harry Potter! Hopefully they can learn real quick, or this game of Impromptu Quidditch is going to be over fast as they plummet to the ground.


SHIT, THIS ISN'T AS COOL AS I EXPECTED!!

While reading through a few blogs on this matter, there was a trove of comments from before the seat adjustment about how people even slightly above average size couldn't fit in the seats (a size 16 woman or a woman with Double D's, for example). A lot of people listed their dimensions, and it seemed a lot of tall or stocky men and a lot of top-heavy women would get ushered off the ride at HPW. But these same people had no problem at any other ride before or after, in any other amusement park. At this point, I felt that maybe the seats really WERE too small, if they are less than the standard size for a coaster ride. So that took the wind out of my fun-poking sails.

My search led me to a new blog, where I found a telling post about the level of rudeness at Disney World towards large or disabled people. I would seriously suggest reading it, it will make you embarrassed to even be a part of this thing called humanity, if you aren't already. I should mention that the rudeness is from customers at Disney World, NOT employees. If you felt the link was TL;DR, I will post the most important part:

"I had my VERY fidgety five-year old perched on my shoulders while waiting to board Small World when the line stopped moving for a few minutes.

At Disney you are going to wait in line and you are probably going to be there for a long time so you need to mentally prepare yourself and let it all go.

It became clear that the ride operators had slowed the speed of the arriving boats to accommodate a woman in a scooter and her husband who were entering on the handicapped ramp. The horrific man behind me actually started HECKLING them, screaming out “I’ve been on line for an hour and that fat ass rolls right up and gets on because they are too lazy to walk the park?!”

Even more nightmarish?

He had people agreeing with him."


My mind was blown as I read this post and the following comments. All I could think was a variation on, "How could you bring that attitude to DISNEY?!" and "Why didn't anyone call his ass out?!" I mean, we've all made fat jokes, but I have never made one to someone's FACE, and certainly not HOLLERED IT in front of like a hundred people. I have been the subject of a fat joke, and it does not feel good. (Though, ironically, I wasn't even fat at the time - just a 10-year-old with some "baby fat" - and some little anorexic bitch who is probably a typical drugged-out, herpes-infested Eastern Shore whore by now decided to pick on me for that. Thanks for ruining my self-esteem for the next 10 years, you C%^&!)

EDIT: At this point I have read all the comments, and I am happy to find that at least the people in front of him told their inquisitive child that those people were mean because they are assholes, and said assholes shut up after that. But none of the other bullshit was called out on, it would seem.

What has this world come to where shitheads can act that way without fear of reprisal? Where idiots like that can displace their anger on others because they probably couldn't afford the vacation anyway (because logic would say that if they could, and waiting in line was that much of a BigFuckin'Deal, they'd have sprung for Super Fast Passes) and are feeling anxiety that they aren't getting enough for their money? How could someone actually shout that type of hatred at someone that they don't even know who is trying to enjoy their own vacation, but now can't. That person may have been (as in one example) recovering from surgery, maybe they lost a foot to diabetes (type 1 isn't caused by being fat, assholes), maybe they're freaking PARALYZED.

What astounds me is that this person was PROBABLY with their own children, or at least surrounded by a fuckton of them, and providing this kind of an example??? At the Happiest Place on Earth!? A place where the outside problems are supposed to melt away and we can all pretend for a moment that we are Mickey's best friend and live in freaking Cinderella's castle!? WHAT THE FUCK!? IT TAKES A VILLAGE, YOU PRICKS!!!!!

Maybe it is the way I was raised, because I can't allow myself to just ignore this sort of bullshit. If my mom and stepdad had taken me to Disney with them back in the day((take that, Mom and Stepdad, I'm still mad about not going!! and now it's public!!), and this happened, that shit would have been corrected. That is certainly a situation in which I'd love to have my stepdad there, because that other guy would probably be crying of embarrassment.

Note: This is probably the first time I've mentioned Stepdad on the blog. He exists! We don't have a whole hell of a lot in common to relate to each other with, nor do we see each other a lot, so I haven't brought him up before. Usually Realdad gets most of the screen time, but he's also a blogger, and 1/5th of my fan base!

Though my stepdad has a tendency to be the loudest, most obnoxious person in the room, there is one thing he doesn't stand for, and that is people getting picked on - ESPECIALLY if they are physically disabled. And unlike the rest of the country, he doesn't have some insurmountable fear that everyone else is probably a gun-toting lunatic who will pop a cap at the drop of a hat, so calling someone out for being a shithead is pretty much common practice. And because he has influenced me to be this way, though to a much lesser extent, I simply cannot fathom those situations happening without someone else being like, "WTF STFU" in so many words.

I can't honestly say for sure what I would have done in the same situation, but at least I know that I've inherited the balls to fight the good fight!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LAY OFF ME, I'M STARVING!

So, dear readers, I am officially on Day Two of a diet. I am on a diet because officially I need to lose a couple pounds to keep up with the modern perception of how I must look, and unofficially it is just for fun and hopefully some blog entertainment. I am back on the Supermarket Diet, a diet that, when coupled with an exercise regimen, has given me great results in the past.

Except this time, I'm on the holy-shit, crash-diet, are-you-insane, 1200-calorie boot camp for two weeks. Someone like me should be at around 1800-2100 calories a day, so this sure sucks. It's only a two week program because eating that little food will fuck yo' metabolism in the long run. I've never done this program before, but I'm starting to commiserate with how Shadow must feel when he is howling and pawing my head at 4:30AM in the morning.

Shadow Update: As far as HIS diet progress, he can officially lick his ass, scratch his face, not give me a hernia when I pick him up, and all the things other fat cats can only dream about!

So, what I'm hoping to achieve is that I'm hoping I get all hungry and food-deprived and hallucinaty from this so I can blog MOAR FUNNY. It's already begun - today I couldn't remember that Egg Beaters existed.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

OH, IT'S ON!!!

What is on, you ask? My war is on. My war with:








SPIDERS!!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: By the way, if you have an intense fear of spiders, you shouldn't have viewed those pictures.

So, I like our new rental house. It is pretty private, and quiet, and we have all major appliances. But, our new house is filled with bugs. I don't want to be an alarmist, and say the word infested here, but I AM an alarmist, so INFESTED is RIGHT!

Though we live out in the country now, it stills seems insane for this many bugs to be shacking up inside the house with us. We have found several spiders ranging from almost-not-scary, confidence-boosting small to OMFG-golf-ball-sized-! large, including one nasty customer clinging to Sean's shirt in the closet. I'm unsure about the message this fashion police spider was trying to convey. I'm assuming it was, "please kill me for being so shallow about clothes". REQUEST GRANTED.

We have also found a few other random bugs, and some ants in the kitchen cabinet, resulting in me scrubbing the hell out of every cabinet like it had syphilis on it, and filling the offending cabinet with Raid ant traps. I have officially seen more ants than previous, so Raid can officially suck it.

We decided we were going to hire out for an exterminator, but then decided it was way too much money to pay for what will probably give us cancer. So I have been researching like a mofo on the internet about how people used to solve bug problems before all this carcinogenic spraycan bullshit and before they had the internet to tell them how.

My research has shown that spiders are a lot like vampires, in that one: that they are overpublicized assholes, two: they have fangs and hide in the dark waiting to eat your face, and three: they have their own personal kryptonite/garlic.

A spider's kryptonite includes lemon Pledge (can't cross the lemon Pledge line, bitch!) various essential oils, chestnuts, hedge apples, tobacco, and eucalyptus. Unfortunately, hedge apples are hard to find, and tobacco is also a Meredith repellant, but I can sure as hell fill my house with lemon Pledge, crappy decorative eucalyptus branches and fancy oils!!

I was planning to build a dreamcatcher of eucalyptus to put over my head at night, but my paranoia has led me to find out that king-size eucalyptus SHEETS are in the works for manufacturing. Sure, it might be a pipe dream just like bamboo sheets were, but either way, I know what I want for Christmas! So, I'm not sure if you can donate bedsheets over PayPal or not, but the button is to the left.

Another suggestion the article had was to get a cat, because they are natural hunters. Immediately I thought, I can't get a cat, Shadow will eat it alive. GET REAL, internet! It is amazing how warped my life is sometimes. But seriously, Shadow has no interest in hunting bugs or doing anything a normal cat does. He has transcended the concept of doing anything, much less anything that could be construed as the least bit servile. As I type, he is sitting on my lap right now, trying to lay across the keyboard and interject his own radical opinions on the matter, about how cats were worshipped in ancient Egypt or some shit.

I can also use the spiders in my secret drug lab:

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Pepsi Confession

So, last week, there was a big sale on Pepsi products at the grocery store, so I bought a bunch for us and the gracious family members and friends who helped us move. This included a case of regular Pepsi, {though I am a Coke person, but I'm more of a whatever-brand-is-on-sale person}. But, anyway, here's the problem: no one drank the Pepsi!

We are a diet-drinking household, because Sean's a diabetic and I'm a slight bit chubby, so I can't afford the extra calories. I would be about a million pounds if I drank only regular soda. This is further cemented by the fact that I think I might have diabetes insipidus, which is not a cool name for a Sith lord, but actually a disorder in which one drinks and urinates about as much as a Sith Lord.


When will it stop?

So, since me being chubby is slightly less dangerous than abusing "real" diabetes, I have been charged with pounding through the Pepsi. Since I am not used to this much sugar coursing through my veins, I have been bouncing off the walls, which resulted in my insane and inane blog from last night. I was so hyped up by the time I finished it, that I actually emailed my dad to tell him I was NOT on drugs that weren't Pepsi. In case he was afraid by my diarrhea of the blog that I was cracked out on something stronger than high-fructose corn syrup.

I think I'm cracked out on life; this is the first time I haven't completely hated it in a while! For a while, I was depressed and stopped doing cool things. Now, I DO COOL THINGS AGAIN!



Okay, this is old. But it is supposed to symbolize me being free, and on top of the world, and happy, and DOING COOL THINGS AGAIN! like some froofy Zoloft commercial.

P.S. - You're welcome, Pepsi, for the free advertisement!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Cat and Home Improvement Advice - Deprived on Sleep

My cat doesn't actually give me home improvement advice. To clarify, my cat doesn't give me any kind of advice except that Fancy Feast should be shoveled by the truckload into his gaping mouth, 24 hours a day. The home improvement will come later, but first I want to talk about how my cat is a smug asshole.

I should preface this entire entry by saying that I have been actively obsessed with this cat for 12 years, going on 13, and he is the only thing or being in this world whom I love unconditionally. Just in case you can't understand satire!

Shadow has of course relocated with us to the new place, which he has taken to with a lot more enthusiasm than the last place. In the old place, due to the round-the-clock noise and bustling bustleness of the old 'hood, Shadow barely emerged from under the bed or equivalent hiding spot unless it was one of his two daily feedings.

Now, he's strutting around like he owns the place, like he's fucking Jabba the Hutt and we are to fulfill his every whim or he'll feed us to the Rancor in the secret basement.



Pictured: Shadow the Hutt on his moving platform (aka My Lap), and his slavegirl awaiting orders in awed silence.

I should give some backstory as to why he is like this. If you've been following THEBLOG, you will remember every detail of my life, including Shadow's two brushes with death this year. I didn't go into very much detail over Shadow's new condition, MEGACOLON (OF DOOM!), but it essentially means his colon got stretched out beyond repair, and he has issues with, erm, {{insert classy word for "defecating" here}}.

In the interest of educating you, here is a boring timeline:

2005 - 2008: My grandma, out of the great goodness of her heart, takes care of my cat. He gradually climbs to obesity, despite her insistence that he is not eating anymore than he did before. We chalk it up to old age and declining metabolism.

December 2008 - April 2009: I prepare Shadow to move to Boston with a vet-prescribed diet to help him lose weight (Shadow is at a hefty 23 pounds at this point, and while he is at least Maine Coon-sized, that's still a fat ass!). Shadow loses weight and is on the road to healthy!

April 2009 - August 2010: Due to unforeseen circumstances, I have to move back to Maryland and Shadow has to go back to Grandma's. I provide her with exact instructions on how to feed him, and she maintains for the entire year and a half that this is exactly what he is eating, even though he balloons in weight again.

August 2010: Shadow spends almost a week in the hospital, getting a double digit number of cat enemas and generally hating life, the universe, and everything. I decide to bring him home with me when he leaves the hospital, because I am afraid he might not be long for this world, and I want to be with him no matter how long he has left. At this point, my dear, sweet Grandma, whom I love dearly, divulges that she's been feeding him TWICE THE RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF FOOD!! The jig is up, G-ma! No wonder his freaking colon exploded! I also decide to take Shadow because he is apparently too much of a manipulative sociopath to have a sympathetic old person in charge of his feeding.

Alas, it is in the past, but due to over four years of conditioning, Shadow has learned that loud meowing = food. And has chosen to exercise his will at any time, day or night. So now, the entire house is in a raging war of who is large and in charge, or both. Shadow has also started a war of who is alpha male in the house, and he literally will go up to Sean with a friendly facade and start shit, but that is a story for another day.

His feeding times are at 6AM and 6-7 PM, though Shadow thinks he can bend the rules here like every day is daylight saving time. He stumbles into our bedroom, drunk on his own sense of power, and meows at the top of his lungs anywhere between 4AM and 6AM in the morning, hoping one of us will get up and feed him early in order to shut him up. Sacrificing feline pride is worth an early can of Fancy Feast beef! Sean is more steel-willed than I am at resisting this maneuver, but Sean also doesn't have to deal with the head-pawing that follows loud meowing.

He also tries to trick us into giving him double breakfast. This is the oldest trick in the book, as far as "Shadow's Book of Cheap Chicanery" goes. Sean gets up first, and feeds him breakfast. Whenever I decide to roll out of bed for work, Shadow has cleaned his dish immaculately and tries in a vain attempt to tell me that Sean is a negligent asshole and has FAILED TO PROVIDE BREAKFAST for this obviously near-death wasting-away cat.

As I said, in this war of domination, Shadow is trying to break my spirit by removing all sense of creature comforts or dignity. This includes gnawing on the internet cables and laying on the modem under my desk, which one can only assume is in an attempt that the internet will break and I'll get so bored that I just have to feed a starving cat.

The other is busting in on me when I'm on the can, EVERY SINGLE TIME. I close the door tightly to, but not latched, and inevitably, he will kick the door down, and interrupt me in what should be a quiet moment of contemplation. Shadow is like a post-traumatized Vietnam vet, all punching me in the leg, and, "You think I had privacy in that hospital with tubes up my ass!??!?! Get off the pot and make me some FANCY, DAMMIT!!!!!"




EDIT: The home improvement thing was: what is the most efficient way to oil-heat a house? Budget plan? Pay as you go? Using space heaters and hoping the pipes don't freeze? THANKS!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New News

Well, we officially have a new place, that is private and decent and awesome.

The last (and current, we haven't moved yet) place has sucked the life and soul out of everyone involved; I just hope the damage is not permanent.

In case you haven't noticed, dear readers, I've been only occasionally cooking, and pretty much never blogging. I've been so depressed here I can't even enjoy my own favorite things. I hope to do more once we move, when I have more time for hobbies, and less time for freaking out about my own mortality.

In other news, I am enjoying my new job, and hopefully this place will be another step in the right direction!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired

I am sick of being afraid. I have been afraid of one thing or another my entire life, and I'm SICK AND TIRED OF IT!! I am no longer afraid to speak. I have been pushed to insanity by the other tenants at a hellhole run by the biggest slumlord in this town! I am not naming names (though I'm sure it's obvious), because they still have a chance to redeem themselves, before this is over.

We are trying to leave as soon as possible, and will update this situation as it happens. I am prepared to be taken to court, and in the event I am still stuck paying, every person in this town will know to never rent from them again.

And maybe this blog will make enough money to pay it off! :O

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Craziest Day Ever, written with help from Coors Light (TM)

So, today was the craziest day ever, fraught with strange happenings and existential crisis. Which is much better than actual crisis, which I seem to be having on a regular basis this year!

To recap actual crises in chronological order: I unknowingly moved from one shitty apartment complex with trashy tenants to another, shittier apartment complex with trashier and potentially-lawbreaking tenants. To be fair, I really like the actual unit in which I live, just not the surrounding sketchiness.

My grandmother passed away this year.

My boyfriend almost passed away, and suffered a traumatic brain injury from which he still hasn't fully recovered.

My 12-year-old cat has been in and out of the hospital the past few weeks from a disease more humorously named than should be for the seriousness: "Megacolon". It sounds like a supervillain! Long story short: this is an incurable disorder, but it can be managed. It was just a scary couple of weeks. And then a scary couple of days in which he was leaking out the ass...........but that's over.

So, I can probably say without hyperbole that this has been the worst year of my life, so thankfully we're already into the 8th month of it.


But! Today was insane, but not in any life-altering way. Now, I try not to include too many identifying details about my life, so bear with me.

Today I got to witness a bunch of side-workers (not coworkers, but I work alongside them!) freak out all over the place at each other because someone threw a bunch of cardboard all over the room that contains both the cardboard crusher AND major trash compactor (laziness to the extreme?). No one wanted to clean it up because they have "things to do" and they didn't make the mess, until one of the managers flipped out and, with the help of extreme cursing and yelling at everyone for "whining like fucking babies", emptied the room in less than a minute. So that was entertaining.

Then, my old boss appeared at my new job (and to talk to someone else with his company) to tell me he offered me a part time job back with my old company, but since I didn't respond to his voicemail (which I honestly never received, though he probably thought I was bullshitting), he told me it was now filled. Someone else out there needs the money/job more than I do, so I guess that's good! ...Maybe he called me at my old company voicemail, which I definitely don't check anymore...

Then, a bunch of people who do not even work for my company, but have a similar job, were trying to tell me I was going to somehow get penalized (zero balance or *negative* paychecks, even!) for something the guy who had the job before me had done! Pull the other one, people, cause 'that ain't happenin'. I don't know if they were trying to "haze the new guy" or what, because everything they were telling me seemed insane.

So, in other news, I'm about one crazy catalyst away from pulling up anchor and hiding in Vermont for the rest of my life. Though I would like to have my same job or company in Vermont; I wonder how I can bring that up without sounding sketchy?

The existential crisis is such: what the hell am I doing with my life? I have a good job with good benefits, but I'm still on the Eastern Shore, which makes me feel like a failure. I'm not doing anything related to my degree, though I am now making more money than the average person with this degree, and both my parents. So, while I am very fortunate (or blessed, if you swing that way), something just doesn't feel right.

I don't actually *want* to do anything with my degree. Once I escaped college (which I rushed through for reasons I shouldn't have, and won't go into here), I realized how much my education sucked, and I also realized how shallow and hollow much of the field is. {Example: Let's make this four-dollar bottle of Febreze with these fancy designs made in Adobe Illustrator, so you can feel like a luxurious millionaire while the economy is crumbling and you're eating Dollar Menu every night.} Unrelated, I also realized how virtually talentless I was in the field. :O

Unfortunately, after reading Michael Pollan's life-changingly awesome In Defense of Food, donated to me by a great lady who put me up in B-more when Sean was in the hospital!, I also realized how fucked up the field of nutrition is. It would be great to tell people how to eat for health, but I don't need a degree to do that, and a lot of the medical information is skewed by, say, ...lobbyists... of certain...industries...

The thing I love, evidenced by my bookshelf (and waistband, lawl), is FOOD. I have a million cookbooks, and I love to cook! And it scares me, because I can't sublimate it in nutrition. The last ten years of my life have been a series of experiences and regrets revolving around cooking, and my apparent fear of entering a culinary school or restaurant.

I took a ton of cooking classes in secondary school, and actually entered a career technology program in Culinary Arts, for a short time. The teachers loved me, and I abandoned it because it couldn't fit into my school schedule. Though I don't regret the experiences I had in lieu of it, I wish I had either tried harder to make them both work, or chosen the other path.

In college, during a summer I spent in Boston, I spent six weeks taking a class at RISD (what what), right across the street from Johnson & Wales. I walked to the parking garage by J & W every single day, peering through the gates and wondering what could have been.

I don't know how to wrap this up, and my deteriorating buzz is making me sleepy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wut

So as soon as I come out of the proverbial cave, I am right back in there. Five days after my last post, my boyfriend sustained a serious head injury and went into the Baltimore hospital for an entire week. He is on the mend, thankfully, but it will still be slow going til he is perfect.

On the plus side, I got a new job, and assuming it is awesome, I have a new rudimentary "life plan" as far as working and going to school in the future. This time it is actually semi-feasible. Parents always tell you, "you can do anything you want in life", but with all these stupid being-an-adult experiences I'm having lately, I'm learning that it really isn't the case.

But, if I have time somewhere between my full-time job, my in-home party business, my video game time, and everything else, I will be writing about food!

Friday, June 4, 2010

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Okay, I've come out of the proverbial cave. A lot of things have happened and a lot of food has been eaten. I have moved into a new and larger apartment, which I am slowly decorating. I now own both curtains and a matching comforter and sheet set, which means I am officially an adult.

At the behest of patient (read: ANGRY) fans, I am now back! With a vengeance!

I honestly don't want to do what I did before, which is have a million backlogs, and try to keep up. Instead, I'm going to now show you a sleu of pictures!

My take on Spanish tapas! Note the classy pig-shaped cheese spreader. I have a set of matching cufflinks... (if you get that, please be my new best friend). BTW, I gave up on skipping meat because having beliefs is lame. Though I've held out on not eating chicken, because chicken is gross.
Awesome salad made by Sean!
Homemade Sangria! Alcohol, painkillers, and a computer. The holy trinity?
Mushroom Stroganoff!
Spinach Lasagna!
Cream of Broccoli and Asparagus Soup & Cheesy Breadsticks!
Tofurkey Sub/Grinder/Hoagie/Foot-Long Hero
Pear Salad with Almonds!
Veggie Burger & Cajun French Fries!
Ratatouille with Rotini!

All right, that oughta appease the masses....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fauxsage and Potato Soup


All recipes are adapted from the Healthy Calendar.

This entry is important for two reasons!

First, this dish was the best soup I've ever had!

Second, this entry marks ENTRY 100 in my blog! Woooooo, happy anniversary to me!!

I reiterate, this soup was the best soup I've ever had! It's like a "meat-and-potatoes" kinda meal in a bowl. Also, it's simple and very friendly on the dishes, which I like. It only has a cup of milk in the whole batch, making it the perfect 'half-creamy' soup, where it's not quite a broth soup and it's not quite a cream soup! My favorite kind!

Fauxsage and Potato Soup
cooking spray
4pack of fauxsage (or your preferred sausage) links, sliced
1 1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 T. all purpose flour
3 14.5 oz cans of veggie broth
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 t. dried sage
1/2 t. dried pepper
1 bay leaf
1 C. fat-free milk

1. Coat a large soup pot with cooking spray. Cook fauxsage for 2 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook another 5-7 minutes or until beginning to brown.

2. Add flour, stirring well. Cook for 2 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, sage, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, scraping brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are done (about 20 minutes).

3. Add milk and simmer 2 more minutes; do not boil. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jerk Chik'n & Garlic and Herb-Mashed Parsnips


All recipes are adapted from the Healthy Calendar.


This meal was an interesting experiment. It was my first time trying soy "chik'n" and my first time eating parsnips.

Actually, the chik'n itself wasn't bad, but I hated the sauce. I didn't even like Jamaican cuisine when I was in Jamaica, so I don't know why I went through with my bastardized version. It just was not worth all the ingredients and hassle, though I did have most of the spices.

Parsnips, like any root vegetable, are a healthier alternative to white potatoes; however, they tasted too floral for me.

Well, you'll be happy to know the asparagus I tacked on was awesome!

Jerk Chik'n

2 t. olive oil
2 T. shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
2 T. lime juice
2 T. lite soy sauce
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. dry mustard
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
cooking spray
16 oz. of chik'n or boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent. Add habanero and saute one more minute.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except cooking spray and chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Place mixture in processor/blender (or use immersion blender) and puree until smooth.

3. Coat a medium glass or metal baking dish with spray. Place chicken in dish. Pour sauce over the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. At this point I'd like to note that I did not follow instructions. If you can tell by the picture, my chicken was pre-cut into strips, and you're supposed to keep the chicken breasts intact.

While you're waiting for the jerk chicken, you can make the parsnips!

Garlic and Herb-Mashed Parsnips

8 medium parsnips, peeled and cubed
4 whole(SRSLY) garlic cloves, peeled
3 T. fat-free milk
1 t. parsley
1 t. tarragon
salt + pepper

1. Fill a large saucepan 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. Add parsnips and garlic cloves. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until parsnips are soft. Drain.

2. In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and, with your preferred device, beat until pureed.

So, this recipe taught me a lesson. The lesson being: If you don't like chicken very much to begin with, meatless chicken is not going to be a good idea...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Salsa Meat Loaf & Smashed Potatoes


All recipes are adapted from the Healthy Calendar.

So, my cat is fine, and while I'm thrilled at that, I'm livid with the vet for sending us* all into an (expensive) panic when he could have started out just giving the cat the medicine that ended up helping him.

*To clarify, us = me, my mom, my grandma. He's my cat, but I had him since I was 11 and obviously lived with my mom still. Due to some circumstances throughout my life, including now, he's lived with my grandma and currently does. So basically, he has three mothers, and we all were present at the vet all week.

I'm not going to name the practice, but everyone in my family has always raved about how he's "such a good doctor". Well, he may be knowledgeable and skilled, but he has absolutely no people skills, and he's completely raked us across the coals. At least if he was going to pull the wool over our eyes, do it the right way, and not the sending-me-into-a-crying-fit-convinced-my-cat-is-dying way. Schmoozing goes a long way.

I may have to try other vets. I'm sick of getting lectured and feeling like a shithead for having an obese cat every time I take him in, because my obese cat eats the same or LESS than every other "normal" cat I've seen. One good thing is that at least now that we have had all these expensive tests, I can throw it in everyone's face that my 'morbidly obese' cat is healthy as a Clydesdale, and likely healthier than their skinny cat. It's not like I'm funneling Fancy Feast down his throat to make some sort of cat foie gras. Even the animal specialist (who is extremely awesome, and I wish she was around all the time) admitted to having a cat weighing three pounds more than mine, and even SHE couldn't figure out a healthy solution. Okay, I'm done cat-ranting.

***

There may be a more beautiful way to display meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but I sure haven't found it. This meal was a first of many for me. This was my first time making meatloaf, and it was my first time experimenting with ground TVP (textured vegetable protein). Yes, this meatloaf is really a soyloaf, but you can't tell by looking!

Salsa Meat Loaf

Cooking spray
1 pound lean ground turkey, beef, chicken, pork, or TVP
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 finely diced onion
1 minced garlic clove (or equivalent pre-minced)
3/4 cup salsa, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a small loaf pan (5x9ish). In a large mixing bowl, combine your preferred ground mystery meat, egg, crumbs, onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup salsa. Mix thoroughly! It's probably best to use your hands.

2. Place mixture in loaf pan and spread evenly. Top with the leftover salsa, and bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on your oven.

While you're waiting for the loaf to bake, it's time to make the

Smashed Potatoes

1 pound red new potatoes, washed and quartered, KEEP SKINS ON!
4 garlic cloves, peeled (use real cloves here)
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half, heated
salt + pepper

1. Add potatoes and garlic cloves to a large soup pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Drain and return to pot.

2. Add remaining ingredients, and using a masher or sturdy whisk, smash potatoes and garlic until blended but still lumpy.

The potatoes were completely amazing, especially since I can't make mashed potatoes very often. Skin-on mashed potatoes are the best, and the extra fiber from the skins is the best way to rationalize any redeeming nutritional value. For the record, white potatoes are perfectly fine for a normal person, but in my house, I have to rationalize the extreme glycemic spike of potatoes with fiber!

The meatloaf had an off taste, but I attribute it to the salsa, and not the TVP. The actual TVP tasted almost identical to ground beef. Salsa is a nice idea, but it can't compete with the "ketchup crust" I grew accustomed to in my childhood.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lemon Herb Salmon with Zucchini & Sugar Snap Peas


All recipes are adapted from the Healthy Calendar.

This week has sucked, too. I've spent every day in and out of the vet with my cat, and it looks like the rest of the week may go that way as well. My 12-year old fat cat, Shadow, has stopped eating, but contrary to what you may think, that's bad! He runs at risk of fatty liver disease if he stops eating. He lives with my grandma, so I am not supervising him every minute, but she says he has also been throwing up, and it seems like he's getting a lot of hair in the vomit.

We've had all sorts of tests run, and seen specialists, and by all medical logic, Shadow is the healthiest fat-ass in the world. He has been eating more since Monday, so that's good. I personally think it's a hairball problem, but the vet seems to be concerned still, even though every vitality is perfect, and a sonogram and x-ray revealed perfection in all his organs. Clearly, I'm no vet, so I'll keep my mouth shut and my eyes and ears open for updates.

Think good thoughts for my baby!

This is actually a couple years old (evidenced by the fact that I look 13), but it's the most recent good picture I have of the two of us (I didn't feel the picture of me crushing him with my foot was appropriate), AND it mysteriously obscures my face enough so as to not give away my location to THE MAN.

***

Okay, we're officially back on the Healthy Calendar train, TTF-style! I'll say now that once again, I did not have foil when I needed it, so I'll include that in the instructions. Start off with preparing the fish:

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 4-oz. salmon filets
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
aluminum foil

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the juice, garlic, and herbs in a bowl. Add the fish and marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

2. Spray a 12"X12" sheet of foil with cooking spray, and place 2 filets of fish on the sheet (reserve marinade). Top with half of the zucchini and repeat layering.

3. Sprinkle chunks of butter over the fish and drizzle the marinade over the pile. Top with salt and pepper.

I only had two fish filets and no foil, and this is what my mountain of madness looked like!


4. Bring foil sides up and seal. Bake for 20 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork. Since I didn't have foil, mine took longer.

While the fish is baking, it's time to prepare the sugar snap peas!

olive oil
3 cups whole sugar snap peas, washed and dried (or frozen)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon lite soy sauce

1. Add some oil to a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add peas and stir-fry for two minutes (or a few more if they are frozen). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and stir-fry for two more minutes. I added a handful of slivered almonds at this point, because I had them on hand!

2. Drizzle peas with soy sauce and stir-fry for 1 more minute.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Homemade Sausage Pizza



Wow, it's been a while! Sorry about that, but there have been a LOT of things going on in my life the last few weeks, spanning my family, relationship, finances, health, and more, and I'm not out of the woods yet. I won't go into the details, since almost everyone who reads this is a close friend anyway, and already knows the details. Some of the issues have been resolved, and things are looking up on some of the subjects, so I'm thankful for that. But I don't need to dwell here on the bad things - I need to dwell on the good things. And the best good thing is food!

This is the first meal I can officially say I invented....in theory. Clearly, I didn't invent sausage pizza, but I might have invented soysage pizza! Sadly, I made this so long ago, I hope I can remember what I did!


1 prepackaged pizza crust (or you could make your own, if that's your thing)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of Spice World minced garlic
1 or 2 sliced tomatoes
4 links of soy sausage (or as I call it, 'fauxsage'), turkey sausage, or regular sausage, diced
grated Parmesan cheese
oregano
basil
black pepper

1. If the crust has been in the freezer, take it out first so it may thaw a bit. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or whatever your crust's package suggests).

2. Next, brown the sausage in a skillet for a few minutes on each side. You probably want to slice them BEFORE the skillet, instead of trying to cut them after the fact like I did, which is why mine looks so butchered...

3. Coat the crust all over with the olive oil and garlic. Lay the tomato slices down evenly and top all of that with the sausage. Toss your preferred amount of grated cheese, oregano, basil, and black pepper over everything.

4. Bake for fifteen minutes or until cheese is browning.

I served this with a fresh salad, some grapes, a few slices of Pepper Jack cheese, and some flavored almonds to round out the meal.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vegetarian Chili


Recipe adapted from The Supermarket Diet Cookbook.

I've officially gotten through the treacle of old backposts and can start fresh! In case you haven't been following my blog religiously until now, I've recently made a minor (though you may disagree) change in my diet: I no longer eat farm animals/birds/other mammals. Some people have asked, "Well, what DO you eat?" Seafood and um, everything else of course!

My reasons are my own and I'm not going to preach about it (except perhaps, the nutritional ramifications, as should be expected from this blog!), and I don't care what anyone else does in their kitchen. Oh yeah, and before you all ask, I'm not forcing Sean to eat this way either, even though he is being supportive. BUT, there will clearly be some changes to the blog material from here on out!

Don't panic, dear readers, everything I post will be an already vegetarian dish, a seafood dish, or an easily-adapted-to-include-meat dish. But best of all, I will still use the Healthy Calendar, and since I'm adapting most of the recipes, I am going to be able to post the recipes and instructions without paranoid fear of plagiarism from transcribing an entire book!

Okay, let's get down to business. This chili recipe has been my favorite recipe for years now, so it only makes sense to kick off the new age of Twirling Towards Freedom with it! You'll never even notice that it's meat-free and ::gasp:: insanely healthy and cheap! Here is my version:

Vegetarian Chili

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium butternut squash (2-3 pounds), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced/crushed
2 cans crushed tomatoes, low-sodium
3 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (I use one bell pepper if I forget the chiles)
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
cayenne pepper
black pepper
chips!

1. In large nonstick soup pot, heat half the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer squash to bowl, set aside.

2. In same pot, heat remaining oil. Add carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder and garlic; cook, stirring, one minute longer.

3. Add tomatoes with their juice, peppers, broth, sugar, and salt - I also give it some cayenne and black pepper; stir and heat to boiling. Stir in beans and squash; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Serve with chips or whatever you like with your chili!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Honey-Mustard Pork Chops & Pasta Cabbage Stir-Fry


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Here's a tasty combo to keep you energized for a night of blogging! Even Homer Simpson would like this healthy and easy meal - as long as he could have seconds (or thirds)!

For your pork chop sauce, combine 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of honey, and some salt and pepper. Coat a baking dish and place your pork chops down and cover with the sauce! Bake for half an hour at 400 degrees.

While the chops bake, cook 8 ounces or so of linguine according to package. Drain and set aside.

Pour some olive oil into a large skillet and saute a sliced onion for a few minutes until translucent. Add four cups of shredded cabbage and stir-fry for ten minutes. Throw in some salt and pepper, mix in the linguine, and saute for a few more minutes.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beef Fajitas


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.

Okay, I lied. THIS is the last appearance beef will be making on my blog, so....don't have a cow, man.

These were pretty simple, as beef fajitas tend to be. First, coat your large skillet and cook about 2/3 lb. sliced flank steak for 3 minutes or so. Remove the meat and put some canola oil into your pan with 2 sliced green peppers and one sliced onion. Cook for 7 minutes and add meat and any juices back to the pan! Cook for another two minutes, then add 1/4 cup water, 1/2 T. chili powder, some cayenne, some cumin, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, simmer until the water evaporates, and serve over tortillas!

Serves FOUR starving jackals.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Veggie Pizza


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.


OMG. This pizza was just so great, so simple, so quick, so delicious, so healthy, so AWESOME. You might recall my previous homemade pizza attempt, and while that was wonderful, this was even better! Here's the goods:

While your oven preheats to 450, add some olive oil to a skillet and saute a cup of broccoli, one sliced yellow squash, a cup of sliced mushrooms, and one sliced red bell pepper. After three minutes, add two minced garlic cloves* and saute for another half-minutes.

(*Tip: I use the drum-sized bucket of pre-minced garlic that Spice World sells. You can find it for sure in the produce section at Giant or the bulk spices at Sam's Club. Unless I'm making something that requires whole cloves, in which case I would buy a head of garlic, the Spice World bucket cuts out one prep step for you!)

Evenly spread your veggie mixture on a 12-inch pizza crust, and sprinkle some black pepper, some red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella (reduced-fat!) over everything. Bake for 20 minutes (or until cheese starts to brown), and enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cantonese Chicken


All recipes are part of the Healthy Calendar adventure!.


This was my second attempt at homemade Chinese food, and it was definitely not as good as my first.

This was not BAD, but it was pretty bland. I'm sure if you're more attuned to proper Chinese spicery, you might have a go!

First, spray a large skillet and cook up a pound of cubed chicken for about six minutes or until done. Remove from the pan and add a cup of chopped celery, a cup of sliced, drained water chestnuts, and a can of bean sprouts, drained. I'm sure at this point you're saying to me, "Hey, Stupid, where's the flavor?"...

While you stirfry this mixture for about 3 minutes, whisk together a can of chicken broth, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce and 1.5 tablespoons of cornstarch. Add this to the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for five minutes, then add back the chicken and some salt+pepper.

I served this over rice, to use up the rest of my white (devil) rice. You could also serve this over any type of rice or Chinese noodles.

As always, Sean liked the meal while I thought it was subpar. I ate half my plate, then ended up over cayenne+garlicpowder-ing, and throwing the rest away. If you know a better way to make Cantonese chicken (other than using full-flavor aka full-fat+sodium broth), or what spices would be complementary, let me know with a comment!