Saturday, October 31, 2009

A few random thoughts on Halloween before I completely OD on chocolate.

One. My mom used to buy Halloween candy a month in advance. It didn't take us very long to realize that it wasn't really for Halloween.

Two. My older sister saved her candy for months afterward. I, naturally, ate all mine within the first forty-eight hours. And that's being generous.

Three. The best part of Halloween (besides eating the goods, of course) was quite possibly The Candy Trade at the end of the night. My sister and I would dump our candy onto the floor and wheel and deal for hours. I'm not sure there was ever any point to it.

Four. In five years, The Husband and I have only had two trick-or-treaters.

Five. When The Husband gets optimistic about trick-or-treaters, he is only allowed to buy Candy Corn.

Six. Because the sight of Candy Corn makes me want to gag.

Seven. I think people who hand out fruit and individually wrapped bags of popcorn should be punched in the face.

Eight. The people who leave bowls of candy on their front porch are awesome only if you get there first. Otherwise, they're total assholes.

Nine. I love browsing Halloween decorations. But I never buy them. And I never decorate.

Ten. The only costumes I can remember having dressed as include a spider, a jailbird, and a gang member when I was fourteen. I was a Blood and my best friend Jennie was a Crip. I don't know why we found this so amusing. And most recently, at the office Halloween party, I dressed in normal clothes and called myself a civilian.

Because I'm kind of a scrooge.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A real post coming soon. And by “real” I mean not Twilight-related.

(September 12, 2010 update: So, this video's been removed due to copyright blah blah blah. But you can go here to browse New Moon clips if you're so inclined.)

I fear I may be reaching the threshold of "enough's enough" and will eventually be abandoned, but just pondering the idea of not posting this video seemed like pure sacrilege. So, here it is. Commercial, poor audio, and all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Double Chocolate Mousse

Because you've put up with a lot of pumpkin recently. And it's not called Pumpkin and Whine. I mean, if anything, it should be called Twilight and Whine. That might be more apt. Then we could get really lame and shorten it to something like "Twi-Whine" or even just "Twhine." It'll be the next big thing, just you wait.

Last night as we were in bed, The Husband watching Seinfeld and me reading this very boring book (sometimes trying a new author is a bust), the preview for New Moon came on. I sat up and pressed my hand to my heart as if it was going to burst out of my chest and plop onto the pages I can barely remember because, my God, this book is so very slow.

After it was over, I turned to The Husband and said, "I don't know if I can handle the previews just popping on like this." He ignored me. (You think you're sick of hearing about it, imagine how it must be for him). (And suddenly, it's not quite so awful, is it?)

I'm just not sure I'm going to make it through the next 22 days, 5 hours, 59 minutes, and 42 seconds. Yes, I'm counting.

And, in case you were worried wondering, yes, I'm going to talk about Twilight in every single post up until the premier. You're welcome. Or, I'll see in December. Whatever.

Let's get to the chocolate, shall we? Last week, our department hosted a Halloween party. The party fell a bit flat, but hey, I won a cook book. I know. How incredibly perfect.

Unfortunately, I rarely cook. Fortunately, after 800 pages of beef (did I mention it was a Morton's cookbook?), there were a few desserts. This mousse was one of them.

It is incredibly rich and chocolatey. And fairly simple despite the amount of time involved. But while you're waiting for the chocolate to cool and, later, the mousse to chill, you can go browse YouTube. (Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest what videos you should watch.) (Because you already know.)

{I got those cute little glasses at the dollar store. Fifty cents each. Look at me being all financially responsible. It's okay, it won't last long.}

In the cookbook, the mousse is served topped with whipped cream, a couple of raspberries and a sprig of mint leaves. Very pretty. Except, 'round here, we top our chocolate with more chocolate. Because it's the right thing to do. (And because we don't have raspberries or mint leaves and financially responsible, remember?)

By the way, I used Cool Whip. After whipping the egg whites and then the cream, I didn't have the patience to whip anything else. I love homemade whipped cream, but I like Cool Whip just fine. Whatever you prefer, whipped cream is a lovely complement to all that rich chocolate.

Double Chocolate Mousse

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces semi or bittersweet dark chocolate, preferably Belgian, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup egg whites (from 3-4 large eggs) or 1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
Whipped cream, for topping

In a saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of the cream to a boil over medium-high heat.Put the chocolate and cocoa in a heat-proof glass bowl and pour the hot cream over them. Let the mixture stand for about 1 minute and then whisk until blended. Be sure to break up and clumps of the cocoa. Set aside at room temperature for about 45 minutes, whisking occasionally to keep the mixture smooth. The chocolate needs to cool to 80 degrees.

In a chilled, dried bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed for 10-20 seconds or until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and salt and beat for about 1 minute longer or until soft peaks form.

Sprinkle the sugar over the whites and continue to beat for 1 to 2 minutes longer or until the peaks are stiff but not dry. At this point, the mixer will make a “wop, wop, wop” sound. Fold the whites into the cooled chocolate (make sure it’s no warmer than 80 degrees before adding the whites.)

Pour the remaining heavy cream into the bowl of the mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on high speed for about 2 minutes or until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate. Do not worry if a few flecks of whites remain in the chocolate.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve the mousse spooned on dessert plates or in bowls. Top each serving with a little whipped cream.

Printer-friendly recipe.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eventually this will have to stop. But not tonight.

It came while I was in the kitchen making Double Chocolate Mousse.

It came while I was wondering if the peaks of my egg whites were "stiff, but not dry."

It came while I was totally unprepared.

The commercial. THE. COMMERCIAL.

{Good God, I've waited a long time for you.}

The Husband, while in the den watching (what else?) sports, called to me.

Him: Honey?
Me: Mmmm... (licking spoon)... what?
Him: I think you might want to come see this.
Me: (a pause, frozen mid-lick) What is it?
Him: It's... The Commercial.
Me: (another pause, heart stops) Are you freaking kidding me?!

I didn't wait for a response. I bounded over the kitchen counter, cartwheeled down the stairs and nearly gave the cats heart failure as I sprinted into the den where my saintly husband had rewound (is it technically considered "rewinding" on a DVR?) to the start of The Commercial.

Then I may have squealed, but it was totally sweet and song-like. As was my "Oh, my God. Oh. My. God. OH, MY GOD!" as he pressed play.

I may have jumped up and down once or twice or three hundred times.

I may have pressed my hands to my heart and smacked The Husband in the arm repeatedly while I watched.

When it was over, thirty incredibly short seconds later, I turned to The Husband.

Me: Give me the remote.
Him: Why?
Me: So I can record it!
Him: (holding the remote out of reach) No. That's stupid. You'll see it again.
Me: Honey. I'm not kidding. Give me. The remote. Now.
Him: Steph, seriously--

And that's when I tackled him. Sweating and panting for breath, I came up the victor and hit the button to record. It meant I had to record the entire Angels game, but some things are worth searching for through three hours of sports. Then it occurred to me. YouTube. Thank God for YouTube. Clearly He created it just for me. Just for this moment. Just so I could watch The Commercial over and over and over again.

So, apparently, I'm blessed.

(And clearly psychotic. It's okay. I've accepted it.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It must be the exhibitionist in me.

I hate hate hate being in front of a camera. But there's some things you do for the good of your blog.

On Wednesday (remeber Wednesday? I was late announcing the winner of my very first blog contest?) I sat next to Sarah, a co-worker turned friend, fiddled with the hair I hadn't had cut in almost a year (seriously, it was last November) (I know!), and said, "Maybe I should get bangs."

Bangs. I haven't had bangs in... Have I ever had bangs??? I must have. I clearly remember a photograph of me on my birthday (my twelfth?) and I'm fairly certain I had bangs. Also? I didn't brush my hair then either.

"Oh, my God!" Sarah exclaimed. "Yes! Bangs! How fun! Squeal!"

Suddenly the phone was in my hand and I was making an appointment for that very day, just an hour later. Of course, after I made the appointment, I had to make sure I could leave work early. It's okay. My boss is my BFF. (That doesn't mean he shows me deferential treatment.) (Yes, it does.)

So. This is me. With bangs. Anyone know why they’re called “bangs?”

The pictures are courtesy of J, who (whom?) I thrust the camera at and said, “Here. Get it over with. Quickly.” I don’t think I ever mentioned this, but my sad kid sister fractured her leg a month ago playing volleyball.

This was doubly painful because not only will she miss the entire season of volleyball, but she’s missing quite a bit of soccer as well and soccer? It’s numero uno. I feel bad for her. For J, not being able to play sports is like me not being able to eat chocolate. I’m totally serious.

Wow, a not horrible profile shot. I usually hate my profile. Did I ever mention I love the color pink? Also, I have a blue nevus on my right cheek. Do you know what a blue nevus is? It's a flat, blue mole. BLUE! For crying out loud. I completely admit to photoshopping it out in the above photo. I’m sorry. But... I hate that thing.

I’m the girl who wears her hair in a ponytail every day. No joke. There’s nothing that makes me feel more scattered and messy and disorganized than having hair in my face. At this point, I started to ask myself, “What the hell were you thinking?”

The head belongs to Tristan, the youngest sibling. He was named, I kid you not, after Brad Pitt’s character in Legends of the Fall. He’s… crap… eleven? Twelve? A total pain in the ass. The oldest sibling, my sister T (no, that’s what we call her) is 31. My mom likes to take her time and spread things out. There are five of us in total. I'm somewhere in the middle.

Not sure if you can see it, but in the middle of my hand there’s a faint blue mark where I stabbed myself with a pencil when I was twelve. I went to poke someone in the butt and the freshly sharpened lead tip slid nice and smooth into my palm. I panicked and shook my hand wildly about until the pencil flew out. I won’t ever forget the image of a pencil sticking out from my hand. Ugh.

I consider my eyelashes one of my best features. And I have crooked bottom teeth. And fangs, but you can’t see them in this picture. And I know what you're thinking. Me and Edward are so meant to be.

Goodbye forever.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I probably could have summed myself up in one word: neurotic.

If I hadn't given in to the sudden urge to get my hair cut yesterday, I would have had this done on time. But you're at the mercy of my impulsive nature. (And the baking, STST? Never on my to-do list. Nicely done.)

Twenty of you got it right. And, no, I'm not offended. I'm not an affectionate person. I know this about myself. Although, I love you all so much (and am feeling unusually sentimental today) that I'm this close to suggesting we all hold hands and dance naked around a campfire. Fun, right?

Although, I'd probably feel much more comfortable if we were fully clothed. Then again, I'd probably feel much more comfortable if we could just sit and roast marshmallows. I'm not much of a dancer. In fact, I generally just seizure around the dance floor hoping my powers of invisibility will kick in any second now...

I'm a hugger with those I feel most comfortable. You know, my husband, my parents, my siblings... Most of them anyway. Anyone else and I start to twitch if they get too close. I'm not a total freak. I'll shake hands... although I'm slightly paranoid about germs. (But only when shaking hands.) (And, no, I can't explain why.) And I'll high-five to your heart's content. But holding hands? Hugging? Even standing too close... I don't think so. Please don't take it personally.

Okay, you're right. I may be a total freak after all. I used to be affectionate. Somewhere along the line it went down hill which causes me not just a little concern over what I might be like in the next ten... twenty... thirty years. Eh, I'll just worry about that then.

So, the winner. (There's a reason we're here, remember?) Twenty people got it right. I used to choose the winner...

The sixth person to answer correctly was...

Paul, you wonderful lurker you, please e-mail me at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Updated: One. More. Month. Amen.

Let's take a moment to appreciate the date, friends. It's exactly one more month until New Moon is in theaters. This girl can't wait. Seriously, the anticipation is killing me. And yet, I know as soon as it's over, I'm going to wish I still had the movie to look forward to. I suppose I'll just have to focus on the DVD release date. And, let's not forget, Eclipse in one more year.

iTunes has a free previously unseen clip available, which you can download here.

Update: Found the clip on YouTube. Enjoy.


Pumpkin Apple Muffins

I’m pretty sure Mother Nature is in the middle of a raging case of PMS and since I’ve recently experienced my own bout of the same, I ain’t mad at her.

I’m just going to pretend that the 90-degree weather interspersed with days of heavy, dark clouds and rain is totally normal and completely Fall appropriate.

And I’m going to bake pumpkin recipes to my heart’s content.

And this one is going to the top of my favorites list. Or, at least, to the top of my favorite pumpkin recipes list.

One warning. As Alton would say, muffins aren’t supposed to be sweet. (Blah, blah, blah.) I like sweet and these are. Two cups of sugar. Need I say more?

And, on top of that (pun intended), there’s a sweet streusel topping that bakes into a crispy, sugary crust. Oh, mama. (Everything should have crispy, sugary crust. Everything.)

These are seriously wonderful. And especially delicious right out of the oven. Oh, who am I kidding? These were especially delicious cold the next morning. That’s right, I scarfed one as I was walking out the door to work, crumbs flying every which way.

I find it impossible not to eat the goods. No matter how often I stand in front of a mirror and curse my expanding waistline, I can’t keep my fingers off. It’s a problem. Just one of many.

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled apples

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons cold butter or margarine

In a bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in apples. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (mine only needed 25, so keep an eye on 'em) or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Eat eight by yourself. (To make me feel better.)

(You can go here for a printer-friendly version of the recipe.)

(In case you live under a rock, tomorrow’s the big day.)
(This is very exciting.)
(Okay, I'm done now.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surprisingly few Fabio covers. Thank God.

The question "what are you currently reading" really should have been an easy one. I, naturally, have to go and muck it up a bit. So, I present to you my book shelves (as seen from my dining room table):

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e

(And why I use my dining room table and not my desk, I have no clue. I have no control over where I feel my most productive. I just go with the flow.)

Before we go any further, let's just go ahead and address the giant elephant standing in the center of the room.

There is a shelf missing.

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e 2

Yes, it's been missing for, oh, a good two years. Possibly less. Probably more.

Yes, there are tools still sitting on the shelves from when I last worked on them... which I think was back around Christmas because we had this giant tree that required us to rearrange furniture and I was actually able to access the problem area. Just long enough to spackle.

There in the corner of this photo you can catch a peek of the stacks upon stacks of books that are sitting upon the railing that divides the dining room from the living room. These books include the ones that previously sat upon said missing shelf and those that I've recently read and since added to the pile.

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e 3

In my defense, if I had realized that a few books would have been too heavy for these shelves, I probably wouldn't have bought them. Possibly. But that's neither here nor there.

Look, you don't understand. There is a big, heavy desk in the way of me making repairs. And, really, Ikea should have to come out and take care of it since it's their shelf that can't hold up under the weight of a few measly books.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e 4

My mom was and still is (when she has the time) an avid reader. While I was growing up, I remember she had boxes and boxes of books that took up space in our garage. It drove my dad crazy. He was constantly moving them from one side to the other, trying to make space where there was none to be found.

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e 10

I swore I would never box up my books. I wanted them out in the open, where I could see them and flip through them whenever I wanted. (And believe it or not, I often find myself browsing through them, rereading my favorite scenes, and sometimes just sniffing them. That's right. Sniffing.)

What I didn't realize was that the amount of books I owned would continue to grow as I continued to read and eventually I'd run out of space for them. Which is why they're currently stacking up around our apartment and why my husband constantly threatens to hold a garage sale and sell them. So what if we don't have a garage? He'll find a way.

Or he would if he knew I wouldn't file for divorce the very next day.

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e 7

My books are incredibly important to me. I can't help becoming involved in the stories and characters. Some stick with me for a long time afterward or leave such lasting impressions that I go back and reread them again and again. (Twilight. Need I say more?) It borders on unhealthy, but damn it, I love them.

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e 6

However, there’s a part of me that wonders more and more often if the books I adore don’t cause me to place unfair expectations on my husband and our relationship. This thought keeps me up at night. And when I can’t sleep, I read. It’s a problem.

10 27 2009 - Aquarium and shelves - e 8

So, what am I currently reading? This book by Nora Roberts. I started it a couple months ago, got halfway through, and became sidetracked. I’m finally going back to finish it. After this, I need to finish Three to Get Deadly, another book I got halfway through and set aside. (Reading halfway through books just to finish them months later is not a normal habit of mine. I swear.)

Now you. Currently reading? Favorite book of all time? Do you absolutely love the smell of books like I do???

(By the way, peeps, you've got till Wednesday.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Don't you know me at all?

A long, long time ago (eight days, to be exact) Small Town, Small Times tagged me for a meme. And it couldn't have come sooner, 'cause days of stagnation, indeed. However I've decided to mix it up a bit.

Peeps, I'm holding a contest. Why? Because it's been entirely too quiet slow boring around here during the month of October. And because even though I never win anything doesn't mean you shouldn't have the opportunity. And because I have a rather morbid curiosity about how many people will actually participate. (Don't ask.)

So, of everyone to guess correctly which one of the following personality traits does not belong, I'm going to draw a name and give away one $15 gift certificate.

And... go!

Indecisive. I cannot make a decision to save my life. But I blame this on the fact that there are just too many options. The Husband is indecisive, too. Which means that by the time we decide where to have dinner, I've already eaten.

Impulsive. It might take me forever to make a decision, but once I do, WATCH OUT. It took me six weeks to decide which camera to buy, but once the decision was made, I was handing over my credit card within thirty minutes. Once I've decided I want something, I want it NOW. The Husband hates this about me.

Nervous. About everything. Spending the night alone, speaking in public, getting my eyebrows waxed, holding blog contests. New things are especially nerve-wracking which is why I drag a buddy along whenever I do anything for the first time. After I know what to expect, I'm much better.

Affectionate. I love to hug and hold hands. I often find myself touching an arm or shoulder while having a conversation with someone. Sometimes I randomly hug strangers on the street. Seriously can't get enough PDAs.

Paranoid. Two Saturdays ago, as I began getting ready for bed, I became dizzy. More so than I'd ever been in my life. I got into bed hoping it'd go away, but the room continued to spin as if I'd spent the night out on the town with my friend Patron. Suddenly I couldn't get this one thought out of my head: what if I don't wake up again? I get like this over everything. It's why I sleep with a knife next to the bed when I'm home alone. Which, thankfully, isn't often because what if I accidentally stabbed myself in my sleep?

Impatient. Especially at work. Especially when I'm asked for help by people who SHOULD KNOW THIS ALREADY.

Sarcastic. This gets me into trouble with The Husband who can often be heard snapping, "You just can't keep your mouth shut, can you?" I try, I swear. I'll hear the sarcastic comment in my head and try my hardest to keep my lips sealed, but I just can't help it. I'm really not a very nice person.

Have fun with it. Guess as many times as you want. Contest will end, winner will be announced, and gift certificate will be e-mailed on Wednesday.

I bet there's plenty of Twilight-related merch you could buy with $15. If you were so inclined. (I would be so inclined.)

(Contest has ended and winner has been announced. Thanks for playing. I love you people.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Insert clever post title here.

I am totally jealous of bloggers who find something to write about everyday. Especially those who can write about NOTHING AT ALL and still manage to turn it into not just a coherent post, but an entertaining one. The sad truth is I only feel stimulated to write if something's going on in my life.

Sometimes NOTHING'S HAPPENING and I suppose I should feel grateful 'cause, despite what The Husband thinks, I don't care for the drama, but it sure makes for some ZZZzzzzzz.... Other times, there'll be so much going on that my fingers are positively screaming with the need to write it all down and those are the times I find I'm sworn to secrecy.

I should have kept this blog a secret. Then I'd never have to worry about other people's feelings.

And don't think the thought to write whatever I want and apologize later hasn't crossed my mind. It has. But I have to live with my husband. The one who's causing all the drama that I CAN'T WRITE ABOUT. So, as this blog goes down hill for lack of content, blame him.

If something doesn't give soon, you're going to find yourself reading about my lingering cough and my obsession with Peeps.

If you've ever had a burning question that you were dying for me to answer, now's the time to ask.

Or you could just make something up. Nobody will ever have to know the truth.

Or you could just tell me I suck and never come back. But if you could do it in such a way that gets those creative juices flowing, I'd really appreciate it.

The end.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A few things I've learned while stuck in bed.

1. The worst commercials are played between the hours of ten a.m. and four p.m. And then again between twelve and four a.m.

2. You'll watch three hours of I Love Lucy before finally gathering the energy to lift the remote and turn down the volume... just so you can roll over and go to sleep. Again.

3. I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is nauseatingly sweet when you're sick. But it was either that or another slice of bread.

4. Plain white bread is delicious and requires absolutely no energy whatsoever.

5. Yes, I eat white bread. Oh, the humanity!

6. Being sick and unable to sleep will make you want to punch someone, preferably the person snoring next to you, in the face.

7. Cats don't understand that they're not helping the situation by pressing their overly warm bodies against yours while you're in the midst of an angry fever.

8. I hate NyQuil. "The only thing NyQuil has ever cured is consciousness." (Name that TV show.)

9. Phlegm... the kind that gets stuck in your throat and makes you cough and choke and gag until tears are streaming from your eyes and snot from your nose... is a product of the devil.

10. Crying doesn't help when your sick and frustrated. In fact, it just makes your head ache even worse.

11. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is an amazing romantic author. A fact I had forgotten until I discovered I had enough energy to flip the pages of a book.

12. I love chap stick even more now that my lips are severely dry and chapped from only being able to breath through my mouth.

13. Getting into a fight with your husband right before falling ill is really bad timing.

14. If the chest pain is any indication, I fear I may have pneumonia. Ugh.

But enough about me. How do you handle being ill?

Me? I burrow under the covers and refuse to wash my hair.