Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Can you guess which one's mine?

Going to bed to sleep off my overdose of pumpkin-shaped Peeps. (Can you believe they were all out of chocolate-covered marshmallow pumpkins earlier?! A girl just can't catch a break sometimes.)

Candy consumed while writing this post: one Kit Kat, one fun-sized bag of Skittles, two Hershey's chocolate nuggets

It's one of those nice, quiet days here in the office. No one's breathing down my neck to get something done. This is both good and bad. Good in the sense that I get to slack off, browse the internet, look for Halloween candy. Bad in the sense that I get to slack off, browse the internet, look for Halloween candy.

I just got off the phone with the Husband after a conversation that went something like this:

Me: I'm bored. Give me something to write about.

Him: Write about eating too many caramel apples and now you don't get any Skittles for a week.

Me: That's rude. And dumb. It was only one and a third caramel apples, anyway. Give me something else.

Him: Why don't you write about how you're so addicted to candy that nothing else matters and that if you were offered a GOLD BAR or a lifetime supply of candy, you'd TAKE THE CANDY?

Me: (pause) Well, what's wrong with that?!

Him: Do you know how much a gold bar IS WORTH?

Me: Maybe I can sell some of the candy.

Him: A GOLD BAR. You'd take CANDY over a GOLD BAR.

Me: Okay, wait. How much is the gold bar worth? Maybe I could take the gold bar and use half to buy candy and half to buy, I don't know, a house or something. Then we both win!

Him: When it comes to you and candy, WE ALL LOSE.

Me: Maybe I should write about how prone to injuries you are.

Him: (pause) That's only when I play sports.

Seriously, Internet? You should see this man's poor knees. He plays softball and he likes to show what a big, tough man he is and how he can slide. I tell him all the time that there are much more productive things he can do while he's on his knees (LIKE SCRUB FLOORS), but if it doesn't cause bleeding, forget it.


Happy Chocolate Eating Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I thought serving it like this would be much more fun.

Popcorn off the floor anyone? Don't mind the bits of cat hair. It's nutritious.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's like Netflix threw up in my mailbox.

Four DVDs is a lot when you were only expecting one and never get more than two.

And I don’t know why I feel the need to share this, except why have a blog if not to share the most boring and mundane parts of my life?

Did I mention I'm working my way through all the Academy Award winners? I know. I'm so ambitious and centered.

You can read all about that here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frey Supreme White Lemon & Lime

Let me introduce you to my new BFF favorite chocolate.

They sell this brand exclusively at Target and I always walk past them, intrigued. But, at two bucks a pop, they're a bit pricey. I can get a pound of Hershey's chocolate for two bucks. And I love me some Hershey's chocolate.

One day, after having spent countless hours minutes staring upon this chocolate, I couldn't resist any longer. I finally decided to give this one a try because I thought it might taste like Key Lime Pie. And I love me some Key Lime Pie. (Okay, I'll stop.)

Well, I was right. This decadent white chocolate had tiny little bursts of lemon and lime flavors and it was an amazing combination.

I um... I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I unintentionally ate the entire chocolate bar right then and there as I watched Hope Floats on A&E.; This was after the bowl of Risotto (more on that later) and I fell asleep, fat full and happy, in front of the TV.

It was just too good to resist. And I didn't.

As a bonus, here's a fantastic and super easy faux Key Lime Pie recipe that I found here.

1 large tub of Cool Whip
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can frozen limeaid mix
2 pre-made graham cracker pie crusts
(I insist they be pre-made so that I don't feel bad about myself for not making them from scratch, but come on, people! This is supposed to be easy!)

I think the original recipe says not to defrost everything, but I'm a terrible reader and let everything defrost before mixing together. And it worked brilliantly. In fact, I don't know why you'd even think about not defrosting. Everything would be much more difficult to mix together if you didn't.

So, go ahead and let everything defrost on the counter.

Then dump everything into a bowl and mix until creamy.

Pour into your two pre-made pie crusts and freeze.

Then eat an entire pie by yourself because that's what I did and, again, I don't want to feel bad about myself.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why I love Sundays, part II


(Chocolate makes everything better.)

Why I love Sundays

The Husband makes coffee.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Cakies

I'd like to start with a public service announcement.

Please, for the sake of all cookies everywhere who DESERVE to be baked just right, buy yourself an oven thermometer! I picked this one up last week for all of A DOLLAR and it was damn worth it. Probably the best thing I've ever purchased for my kitchen.

The photo above shows said beloved oven thermometer at 375, but that's after it had a minute to cool down from the oven door being open long enough for me to grab my camera because when I first opened the oven door to check the temp, it was at 400 degrees and I had set my oven to 350 and now I had to grab my camera so I could blog about the injustice of a malfunctioning oven!

So, please, get yourself an oven thermometer. Do it for the cookies. Do it for the cakes. Do it for the brownies!

Thank you. That's the end of this PSA.

Now I must share with you this amazing recipe which I think just entered into my top three favorite cookies of all time.

Hello, my darlings.

These are Pumpkin Cookies, or, as I like to call them, Pumpkin Cakies, because they're fairly cake-like. But, whatever they are, they're delicious. And I'm a tough judge. It isn't often I make something that I fall in love with. I'm too critical. I always wait to hear what others have to say about it first. But these... these I love. And maybe I'll be the only one, but I'm okay with that because MORE FOR ME.

Or maybe I'm just a sucker for anything with pumpkin.

I started with the usual suspects. Butter, sugar, and brown sugar.

This is your brain.

This is your brain on drugs.

Or is this...

Your brain...

On drugs?

(Don't do drugs.)

After the eggs and vanilla came my BFF.

I love you.

And, of course...

Mmm, cinnamon... another of my favorites.

After baking in a controlled oven temperature of 350 degrees for fifteen minutes, they came out all golden brown and lovely and smelling amazing and tasting even better.

I love my counter all covered in cookies.

Then, I took this cookie right here.

And I...

Drizzled a glaze all over the top.

And then...

Well, it had to be done.

These cakies are fantastic. Please try them immediately. No, like now. Thank you.

Go here for the full recipe.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Football: Week 7 Ah, screw it.

I make terrible picks, the Husband loses money. Why bother?

Besides, he had a friend over to watch the Vikings game this morning and DIDN'T ASK ME and I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and it all went down hill rather quickly.

Did I mention I'm anti-social? I spent the day cleaning and organizing our kitchen, an area which has recently been busting at the seams. We have a fairly large apartment, but our kitchen is totally disproportionate. It's four feet wide by six feet long. There is little cupboard space, less counter space, and it can be really tough for this iron chef total amateur to work any sort of "magic."

Said kitchen was in desperate need of a good organizing and now looks so good I almost took pictures to post here for all to see. It's going to be a lot of fun making these cookies later. I am such a fan of pumpkin and I've been indulging in all the local holiday offerings that feature this delicious flavor. (Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie flavored frozen yogurt... sigh.)

This may have something to do with why I felt it was necessary to begin a workout regimen. But I don't want to talk about what my butt looks like in spandex that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Brothers-All-Natural Fruit Crisps

I was disappointed on my last trip to Costco when I couldn’t find my potato crisps anywhere. I cried a little, right there in between the DVDs and the eight-year supply of chocolate chips. Then I picked myself up off the cold cement floor, wiped away my tears and headed for the exit.

This is when I passed the display of Brother's All Natural FRUIT CRISPS. Okay, they were kinda pricey at just over twelve bucks a box (at least, that's pricey to me), but I had wanted to try these since I had seen them featured of the side of the box of potato crisps.

Well, remember how I hadn't wanted to waste my money??? But I was glad I did??? And I fell into crispy potato love???

Yeah, that so did not happen again.

The Fuji Apple Crisps were good. Tasty. But the texture was soft, like... kind of like firm cotton candy, except less melt-on-your-tongue-y. That is probably the worst description possible, but it's all I can think of right now.

The Peach Crisps... holy crap, YUCK. The flavor was awful and the texture was rough and more chewy than their apple counterpart. I was not thrilled and, in fact, threw them out. I did not enjoy. Got that, Internet? DID NOT ENJOY. Just in case you were thinking of sending me a box.

I was really hoping these fruit crisps would be just that. Crispy. Like their potato kin. I can't help it. I like me a good crunch.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The wind doesn't scare me so much as my expanding rear end. Send help.

We're getting some crazy weather here in Southern California and by "crazy" I mean it's a wonder I'm not picked up and body slammed against the side of the building every time I walk outside.

The Santa Ana winds are different this year. It's cold. Normally, it'd be hot and dry and miserable. Now it's cold, dry, and miserable.

Unfortunately, wind means fire and fire means it's ugly outside. More so than usual.

(My apologies for the reflections.)

The Husband and I kidnapped J and drove down to Old Town Temecula today. I wanted to hit this one candy shop and let's just say I don't think I've ever spent quite so much on candy in one transaction.

Oh, mama.

That there would be a piece of chocolate, chocolate walnut, chocolate marshmallow, strawberry cheesecake, lemon cheesecake, and pumpkin cheesecake fudge.

Now would you say I have a problem? Well, I'll have you know that J took half home with her and the other half (minus one piece that I couldn't resist) has been sealed in an air tight bag and hidden away in the freezer.

However, I also came home with all this.

You can go ahead and judge now.

We also stopped by this antique store where Hubs found two vintage signs that he bought to hang in our den. I wanted to take a picture of them, but forgot and within ten minutes of getting home, he already had them up. I missed my moment.

One of the signs says, "Everybody believes in something. I believe I will have another beer."

The other says, "Notice: the last person to leave must clean the toilets and turn off all the lights. Thank you, the Management."

Both are fitting.

Then it was lunch at Mad Madeline's Grill.

This is J. This was taken before our food arrived. She may or may not have been cranky.

All I can say about lunch is this. If I've ever had a better burger, I can't remember and don't want to remember.

I fell asleep in the car on the way home and have felt groggy ever since. It's a good thing I have these jelly beans to make me feel better.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Football: Week 6

Well, I thought I was cut off from betting on football forever, but the Husband gave me the saddest look when he thought I wouldn't be participating, so... here I am!

And let me just tell you, it ain't easy making coherent decisions after getting to know a bottle of Cazadores until the early morning hours.

Let's get to it, shall we. I put my measly ten bucks on the Cowboys, the Vikings, the Jets, and the Redskins. If I lose this week, well... I guess I'll be back next week if the Husband has anything to say about it.

For now, I'm going to go watch football with my husband because I AM A SUPPORTIVE WIFE. Even though he's in the den and just kicked the AC on despite it being in the sixties outside. And, for us Southern Californians, that's dang cold. And our apartment? It always feels like an ice box. No lie. But his allergies have gone insane (stupid Santa Ana winds) and, for some reason, it helps to shut the windows and turn on the air. And that screwdriver sure don't hurt either.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nutritious and delicious.

I'm embarrassed (or not) to admit I'm eating chocolate-covered Rice Krispie Treats for breakfast on this windy Saturday morning. Last night I somehow talked the Husband into going to Disneyland. Seriously, I'm still not sure how I managed this incredible feat as he loathes doesn't entirely care for the place. I know, who is this monster?!

The Husband and I have had annual passes since we moved back to the OC four years ago. Last year, he used his annual pass twice. Once on the day we purchased them and again on the day it expired and, even then, I had to serve him with divorce papers to convince him it was in his best interest to go.

It's not that he hates Disneyland, it's that he hates the crowds and he only seems to go when the park is busting at the seams. So, this past September, when it came time to renew, I came home with a brand-spankin'-new pass and the Husband... did not. But don't fret. We got J one for her birthday so at least I still have someone to go with. (Except, we had plans to go the past two Fridays and she cancelled on me both times. Typical 14-year-old.)

As soon as we got within a mile of the park last night, we knew it was going to be crowded. Just getting into the parking lot was madness. Walking through Downtown Disney was utter chaos. I'd like to think it was my charming personality that kept the Husband in good spirits as we waded our way to the Haunted Mansion. This was really the only ride we both wanted to go on since it's currently all decked out for the holidays.

The line was an hour long, which is crazy since I've never seen the line for this particular ride longer than thirteen minutes. We waited, knowing that the wait for any other ride would be just as long, if not longer, and had a good time plotting all the ways we could kill the woman behind us who had no control over the kid who kicked me no less than twenty-four times.

An hour later and finally outside again, we realized the fireworks show had started which meant, in about five minutes, the masses would begin crowding the exits and it would take two hours to walk twenty feet.

We made a run for it. In Downtown Disney, I made a quick trip inside my favorite candy shop to buy jelly beans (they have an enormous display of Jelly Bellys) and a Milk Chocolate Krispie (a.k.a. breakfast). I was standing in line (again) when the Husband said, "Look, pumpkin pie fudge."

Why does he do this to me?! Five minutes later, I left with the Jelly Bellys, the Treat, and a square of pumpkin pie fudge. Pumpkin pie... it's my weakness.

Then, because I'm an incredible wife, we went to ESPN Zone, conveniently located within Downtown Disney, where the Husband was able to wash the bad taste of a crowded Disneyland out of his mouth with an enormous Newcastle and a serving of sports highlights on the eight million TV screens we found ourselves surrounded with.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bring the noise.

On Monday, I came into the office to find a big, beautiful bouquet of flowers on my desk. This isn't an unusual occurrence and I'd like to say that's because I'm so delightful and charming that people just can't refrain from sending me flowers and gifts, but I'd be lying.

The truth is, fairly often a hotel guest will check out and leave flowers behind to avoid struggling with them during travel. These forgotten flowers always seem to end up on my desk. Again, this isn't a gesture of kindness, my desk just happens to be the collect-all of forgotten crap. And from there, the trash.

The left-behind-flowers were still in beautiful condition and, even though I'd normally send them to the dump (I need space to work, okay?), there were two vibrant flowers that made me immediately wish for my macro lens.

So at the end of the day, I carried this huge bouquet through the hotel, up five flights of stairs, and over two freeways just so I could take the following pictures. (Everything ends up a photography subject these days.)

This was the first flower that caught my attention. I love those vivid colors.

This rose was the other. Unfortunately, as I was mucking about in Photoshop, I noticed something.

Noise. And lots of it. Take a look for yourself.

This is the same image as above, but zoomed into 100%. Yikes.

Sure enough, I had accidentally left my ISO on a setting of 500. That might not sound too bad, except Nikon would prefer it if I never used an ISO setting higher than 100 and becomes darn prickly if I try.

At this point, I was done taking pictures. The Vikings game was on and the Husband was going a little insane watching and I just wanted to relax. See, I put the movie Oliver! in on Sunday, determined to finally watch it after three weeks of letting it sit on my dining room table (it's one of the Academy Award winners). Well, I fell asleep in the middle of the movie and slept for, oh, three hours. Of course, that meant I could not, for the life of me, fall asleep that night. Sleep finally came sometime around two a.m. thus the reason I've felt sleep deprived the last three days.

I almost decided to just let it go. Who cares if the pictures are a little noisy? No one is going to see them zoomed in that close anyway! Just let it go!

But I'm an anal-retentive perfectionist with a touch of OCD and once an idea gets it's claws in me, there's no loosening it's grasp until I fix it. So, with a heavy sigh of resignation, I took some more pictures.

I think it was worth it. These are a couple of my favorites from the bunch...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Football, week 5

After losing the first three weeks and missing the fourth due to our weekend in hell Palm Springs, I almost lost interest in placing any more bets on football teams that I obviously know nothing about. Except for what information the Husband provides. That actually manages to penetrate my brain, that is. And, let's face it, it's not much. (What the Husband doesn't realize is that while he's talking football stats in my ear, I'm watching old episodes of Lipstick Jungle on my laptop.)

And it certainly didn't help that someone let me sleep in late. Someone who is supposed to be making cookies right now except he woke up with a mysterious stomachache, which I think is his way of saying "I don't know how to work the oven."

Well, let's get down to it. Despite my sleeping in and missing the morning games, the Husband did talk me into placing a bet on those starting in the afternoon. So, I asked him to tell me who was playing and as soon as he said "Cowboys and Bengals," I immediately stood up and shouted "COWBOYS BY A HUNDRED, MOTHERFUCKER!"

I didn't actually say "motherfucker," but I wanted to. I like the F word, but the Husband doesn't think it's "ladylike." Fuck. That.

Let's end this already. I took the Patriots to win and the Cowboys to win by sixteen. And if I don't win this week, the Husband says I'm cut off.

Edited after the games to add: I've been cut off.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I heart marshmallows.

And I love Peeps!

I had to get the awful taste of candy corn out of my mouth so, while the Husband and I were out shopping this morning, I snagged a pack of these yummy little diabetes-inducing treats. (My eyes carefully averted from all displays of candy corn, of course.)

I love Halloween. I do not love candy corn.

I don't know when the hatred for this wax-coated candy started, or why, but all I can say is... the sight of candy corn, the smell of it, even saying "candy corn" makes me want to... well, gag.

But something about this gourmet-flavored candy corn I found on display at Target intrigued me. Or made me want to vomit. Sometimes I just can't tell the difference.

Toasted S'mores, my ass. As soon as the bag was opened, all I could smell was maple syrup. Now, I'm a fan of maple syrup. While the Husband and I spent a couple days in Vermont last year, we stopped at this maple... farm? Anyway, we stocked up on maple everything and I could have happily walked away with the entire selection of maple fudge. Holy shit, that was delicious.

(Note to self: plan return trip to Vermont ASAP.)

And I didn't even finish it. As soon as I swallowed that waxy, grainy tip of concentrated sugar, my throat swelled shut, my eyeballs fell out of their sockets and I perished on the spot.

Okay, that's only a slight exaggeration. Let's just say I should have followed my instincts. My instincts that have told me for years that candy corn is the devil.