Sunday, May 16, 2010

My femaleness is exploding!!!

I've been told several times in my life that I'm "not like other girls". It's not that I'm magical, I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm pretty cool, but my breasts don't shoot lasers and I wasn't chosen to slay the vampires. I'm only human, but when it comes to "typical" female things, I sometimes deviate from the path. I prefer Futurama and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to Sex and the City or Will and Grace. I love pearls and high heels, but I rarely wear them. I live in leggings and t-shirts at home. I would NEVER wear leggings as pants in public (for one thing, they are clearly NOT pants. And for another, I get that they're comfortable, fat girls, but really? You're making it worse). Ugg boots make me want to punch girls in their babymakers. I think all things butt-related are HILARIOUS. I try to avoid drama, especially at work. I am the opposite of a social butterfly. Babies make me uncomfortable (with a few exceptions). Yes, I can be overly emotional, but I tend to reserve those moments for people I really trust and care about. I hate when strangers can see me cry.


The BF and I were walking around downtown Ann Arbor, after an amazing lunch at Grizzly Peak, talking and laughing, having a grand old time. Up ahead we hear music playing and see some college kids filming something down an alley. As we get closer, we see that it's a homeless man dancing to Michael Jackson. I mean he was gettin down with his bad self. It looked like a for real choreographed routine. Everyone was super into it, taking pictures, watching this guy. The BF and I stopped an watched for a minute or two and then as we walked away the BF commented on that guy having a great time. "I thought it was kind of sad" I said AS I BURST INTO TEARS.


Why did I have this reaction? What is going on? HAS THE WORLD SPUN OFF ITS AXIS??

Normal people see a guy dancing his heart out on a beautiful Spring day and think:

But apparently, when I see the same thing, I cry like a baby.

Am I going to start thinking The Real Housewives of Orange County is compelling? Will I demand diamonds from the bf? OH GOD. Will I start buying t-shirts that say things like Princess and You Say I'm a Bitch Like It's a Bad Thing instead of Hit Girl and Planet Express? HAS GLENN BECK SOMEHOW MURDERED MY COMMON SENSE AND DECENCY? My brain cells are turning to mush and I'm going to become a conservative moron who thinks dancing is the work of satan.

Dear gods, this cannot happen. I MUST PRESERVE MY SCATHING WIT.

Off to find a cure...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Shut Your Mouth When You're Talking To Me!

You know what I hate? I hate when it's my day off and I'm trying to run a few errands early in the morning so I can spend the rest of the day in my pjs watching Netflix, but the guy at the post office won't stop going on and on about his recent trip to Connecticut and how his brother hates soup and he has a lot of back problems. What is with that? When did people working in the service industry decide they wanted to talk to customers TOO much? And what part of my relaxed facial expression (which everyone always tells me is "pissed off" looking ) says "Yes, I do want to listen to you. Please, please tell me all about your lame little life"?

I think people need to learn that there is a huge difference between polite small talk and one person just babbling on and on about absolutely nothing while the other just stares at you, completely horrified. And when the horrified person just keeps nodding while glancing to either side, that means that they're looking for an escape! SO STOP TALKING!

I've been working in the service industry for almost a decade now, and I would never, ever assume that the people I'm helping out/waiting on give a rat's ass about me or my thoughts and opinions on this crazy world we live in. They just want friendly, efficient service and they want to go about their day. RIGHT? I mean, is this just me being socially awkward? I can understand if a customer asks you a question, but I've never felt comfortable just striking up conversations with strangers. 98% of the time it's because I don't want to talk to you, but the other 2% of the time, when I want to tell  you I really like your necklace or haircut, I start to panic and feel awkward about it. So maybe this is a combination of me being a weirdo and everyone else being really annoying and much too comfortable with over-sharing.

The BF always tells me about how he enjoys his chats with his tables, maybe there's just something wrong with me that I have no interest in carrying on extended conversations with strangers. Maybe I would make more money if I were comfortable with that, but I mean, what are you supposed to talk about? And what sort of person just starts blabbing about their life to strangers? Doesn't that just make you seem lonely and desperate?

So am I the weirdo here? Or is it everyone else?

I'm pretty sure it's everyone else.

CLARIFICATION: That picture is someone sharing personal life details with me, and I'm barfing. Because that's how I feel when this happens to me. It makes me feel like I want to barf on you and your stupid story.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why Servers LOVE to be CUT

No, servers are not all emo and into self-mutilation....getting "cut" in the restaurant biz means you get to go home! And everybody loves to leave work and go home, right? I mean, sure, everyone else gets excited when the clocks clicks over to that hour when they get to leave work, but that's just it...most people know EXACTLY when they get to go home. Once 3:00 or 5:00 rolls around, their work day ends. But servers have no actual idea of what time they'll get to go back home.

A lot of restaurants do a first in, first out sort of system, or a numbering system, so if there are 8 servers on the floor, they're numbered 1 through 8, 1 being the first person cut, 2 being the second and so on... and 7 & 8 being closers. So, in most places, you have a general idea of when your work days ends...but even then, it depends on the level of business, etc. 

 But not where I work. Our restaurant likes to make it even more of a guessing game. It's like playing the lottery. There's no rhyme or reason behind it, you can't possibly see it coming, but all of a sudden, there is a "C" through someone's name on the floorplan and OH SWEET JESUS, you really, REALLY hope it's yours. 99.9% of your day, this is the most irritating thing in the whole world. BUT once that "C" makes its way through your name, the amount of sheer and unadultered JOY that ripples through you is unlike anything you can even begin to imagine.

To the naked eye, it looks like this:

But friends, it feels like this:

Suddenly, anything seems possible. You can climb any mountain. Run any marathon. YOU WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. In fact, you're fairly certain you could probably just run the world. WHY NOT? There's nothing you can't do! YOU HAVE BEEN CUT!

Yes, it might be a slight overreaction, but I can't be the only one who feels this way, right? I see my co-workers faces when that "C" is through their name. It literally tastes and feels like we've been given our freedom back. Even if I'm starving, even if I have to pee really bad, I don't care. I will do my sidework and polish my section and GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. Free soup? F that. Bathroom? It can wait. I'M GOING HOME!!!!

Ridiculous? Perhaps. But a fact is a fact, and the fact is: 8-9 times a week I get to experience liberation. And it's totally awesome.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Limousines are for peeing.

Friends, sometimes my brain just...breaks. Momentarily, that is. Every once in a while I'll slur several words into one completely incomprehensible outburst of nonsense. Or combine two words into one. Or replace a word with another totally unrelated word. When we first started dating, The BF would respond to these brain breakages with, "oh god, did you just have a stroke?", but now he's used to them. They always make us break into hysterical fits of laughter. It didn't occur to me until just now that maybe it isn't so funny...maybe this is just like in season 4 of Bones when everyone thought it was hilarious  Booth hallucinated Luke Robitaille (I had to google him to spell it correctly) and Stewie from Family Guy, but later Brennan makes him go to the doctor and no one was laughing then because BOOTH HAD A BRAIN TUMOR. And we all felt like jerks for enjoying those hallucinations episodes. We were laughing in the face of death at Sealy Booth's expense. How many hot FBI agents do we think there are? Because Mulder is gone, people! JESUS.

Do you think I have a brain tumor? Please send reassuring comments that I am not dying.

Anyway, despite the fact that I may be dying, these weird little things I do are really funny and I think from time to time I will share one with you guys, even if you end up judging me for it.

Here for your amusement is one that happened just the other day...

First you guys should know that I like to make random comments at the TV and usually The BF is reading the internet and doesn't pay much attention to the crazy gibberish I'm spouting at commercials or the insults I throw down (like a badass) at annoying, overly picky homebuyers on House Hunters. The point is, these comments are almost always stupid and not at all funny. (i.e. "shut your butt" or "so's your face).

So, when this particular brain breakage occurred, I was watching a commercial for some overactive bladder medication. I tried really hard to find it for you guys, but I seriously don't think anyone else on the internet cares about it enough to post it on youtube. Anyway, the announcer was all, "you know how when you want to go to the museum, but you really have to pee and so you miss every exhibit because you're just peeing everywhere? Now you can actually appreciate art because our medication makes you stop pissing yourself!"

First of all, this commercial's ridiculousness speaks for itself, but I apparently decided I was going to say something stupid about it anyway. What I meant to say was something like, "but museums are for peeing" which I realize makes no SENSE, but whatevs. At least it makes some sort of sense in the context of the commercial. I think I was trying to convey that it's possible to spend several hours in a museum so most people will probably pee a few times anyway. I know I would. BUT what I actually said was, "but LIMOUSINES are for peeing". Immediately The BF looks up from reading some article about our recent technological advancements and says, WHAT did you just say?

But I was already laughing hysterically, because wtf. Why was my brain even thinking about limousines enough to pick that word? Because it is totally and completely broken. Every now and then a tiny explosion occurs and I'm suddenly shouting  LIMOUSINE! at the TV.

Now that I've typed all this out, I think this is probably funnier to The BF and I.

Oh well, your problem.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How To NOT Be an Asshole (while eating in a restaurant)

Recently, I left my job in retail to return to waiting tables. I thought I had experienced every form of jackassery during my 4 years of retail, but I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I forgot that while dining out, human beings have the ability to catapult their jackassery to the highest degree. In short, people are assholes.

Let me start off by informing you of a few things you may not be aware of. Servers make $2.65 an hour. This is why we rely on the tips you leave us - that's how we pay our bills. Servers also have to tip out a percentage of their sales to other restaurant employees. It's different from restaurant to restaurant, but I think the typical amount is 3.5% of their sales. This means we are taking a pretty decent amount of our hard earned money and paying the bussers, food runners and bartenders. Every time you don't tip 20% you are royally screwing over that server. That server also has bills to pay and mouths to feed. Know the restaurant you are eating at beforehand. If you don't want to spend $60 on dinner for two, plus a 20% tip (which is pretty typical at my restaurant), GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Go to Red Robin or Applebees. Go to McDonalds. But don't come to my restaurant, spend beyond your budget and make up for it by leaving me a shitty tip.

I'm going to go through a typical experience waiting on a table in order to demonstrate the things that are sure to annoy your server, and therefore are things you should try to avoid doing in the future.

1. Greet

First of all, at my restaurant, we pour water at the table automatically and greet the table as we are doing so. As a greeting, I might say something like "Hi there, how is everybody doing tonight?"  Common responses are:
"fine" <---not very polite
"doing just fine, thank you, how are you?" <---this is acceptable
and my personal favorite, a totally blank expression, kind of like this:

This is so irritating. Why would you not respond to a simple question like, "how are you?" In any other circumstance, it would seem rude to everyone involved. But not in a restaurant,here it's totally acceptable.

2. Drink Order

Me: Can I start you off with a cocktail or a glass of wine tonight?
Most irritating response: No.

Really? Just "no"?. Would you like a beer? A Coke? Iced Tea? Lemonade? You fucking idiot. Clearly, I'm fulfilling a job requirement by offering you a cocktail or a glass of wine first. They are expensive and we want your money.
Here are a few acceptable ways to respond:

"No thanks, I'll just stick with water"
"I'd like a Coke or a Pepsi, whichever you have"
"What kind of beers do you  have on tap?"
"Yes, please. I"ll have a Manhattan"

Yesterday, I was waiting on a young couple, so instead of offering alcohol, I informed them that we had coke products, iced tea and lemonade, to which the boy replied "Uhh, do you have coke?"


3. Appetizers

I always offer appetizers. My main objective as a server is to get your bill higher so that even if you are a cheap bastard and you don't leave me 20%, you're still tipping me more than $5. Appetizers add at least $7-$10 onto your bill. I expect almost everyone to say no. That's totally okay with me. What isn't okay is what usually happens (note: You should probably click on the picture to enlarge it so you can see what these poorly drawn stick people are actually saying):

Either people make ridiculous comments about the choice of appetizers, or they all stare at each other and wait for someone else to make the decision. I'm always willing to give you more time, so if you're not sure, just tell me to come back. Don't make me stand there while you mumble to each other while looking confused and irritated. I have other tables. I have sidework. Essentially, it's like if you were at work, you have a million things to do, and people keep putting you on hold when all you're trying to do is get a couple of quick phone calls out of the way.

4. Entree Check

 Most of the time when I approach a table after they've had a chance to try their entrees, I expect to be annoyed. That's because it usually goes like this:

Me: How is everything tasting over here?:


What is the deal with this? Why do people start looking at each other like I just walked up to their table and said hey look what I can do! and started tap dancing?  Remember me? I'm your waitress. We've met. I'm just here to make sure that you're happy with your food. I'm not here to steal your food. This isn't the wild kingdom. You needn't hunch over your plate protectively and look at me sideways. As always, JUST ANSWER THE FREAKIN' QUESTION.

5. The Tip

As I've said before, unless your server called you a fatty, made fun of your baby and dumped food all over you, you really should be tipping 20%. Nothing is more upsetting than knowing you gave excellent service to a table and opening up the book once they've left to discover this:

Another really annoying thing is tipping ONE DOLLAR less than 20%. What lesson do you think I'm learning from that? That I'm really good, but I should try a tiny bit harder? Because mostly what I'm getting from it is that you're an asshole. A recent example would be $31 on a $162 bill. What? You really needed to save that one dollar? What are you going to do with it? You can afford to spend $193 on dinner, but not $194? What does that mean? My mind is boggled. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love that my restaurant provides the opportunity to make $30 off of on table, but come on.

So there you have it. ANSWER QUESTIONS and TIP WELL and we won't think you're an asshole. Treat us like human beings (because we are).  

Or, if you must be an asshole, for god's sake, stay at home.

UPDATE: I think sick and twisted humor may have found its origins in the restaurant biz. I mean, when servers are having a bad day, a conversation might go like this (this is an actual conversation I've had):

Me: You know what we should do?
Coworker: What?
Me: Go out for drinks and plan the perfect murder
Coworker: Fuck yes.

Then later, I come home and draw this:
and think that I'm the funniest person alive.

Also, the fact that I don't drink to excess several days a week makes me the exception in the restaurant biz. When you are an asshole, you're driving people to drink. You're ruining people's lives!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Boys are crazy. I love sammiches.

Very often I find that I have become what some might refer to as a "video game widow". Especially on days when I work doubles (almost always), when I come home, The BF is very, very focused on whatever game he is into at the moment (Modern Warfare2, Gears of War, StarCraft). I can talk and talk, and he really only absorbs two or three words here and there. I really have no issue with this, since I like to come home from work, babble about my day for a few minutes, take a bubble bath and check my emails and the facebook and such. But man oh man, the game is always SO LOUD that I usually end up taking my laptop in the bedroom so I can watch something awesome and not have to listen to people chainsawing each other's faces off or blowing each other up with nukes. ANYWAY. The other night I noticed that The BF was also logged onto facebook, and rather than talk loudly enough for him to hear me from maybe 15 feet away, I decided to start a facebook chat with him. It went something like this:

Me: make me a sammich!

The BF: oh noooes! I have no sammichs

Me:  yeah, you just have to make one. that's how sammiches work. 
        there aren't any, and then you make one
        and then there is a sammich

Me: lets hang out for one hour, and then I will sleep and you will chainsaw creatures in the chest.

The BF: I'll be done in 10 minutes. Are you hungry?


I found this conversation absolutely hilarious. It was just as effective as trying to talk to communicate verbally while he's very focused on something, except he took the time to read what I wrote, formulate a response, type the response, and then still did not remember a thing that happened. Boys are very silly.

Anyway! Sammiches!! I love them. And I want one of these:
k, thanks!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Green Thumb; Thumbs up

Holy crap, guys. I'm growing stuff!

For Easter, my mom filled my  basket (bag) with lots of cool kitchen-y stuff...a zester, a new tea kettle, an adorable apron, a candy thermometer, etc. Also in this basket o' goodies were three tiny little pots and seed packets. My mom had given me the gift of life! (ha! puns!) I was gonna grow chives, parsley, and basil. IN MY OWN HOME.

I was so excited. And then I got home and realized....I have never successfully kept a plant alive before. I couldn't remember really even trying, but it seemed likely that I had tried, and the plant died and I just blocked it from my memory so I would never have to remember what a huge embarrassing failure I am. I had a total moment of panic. I stared at the tiny, adorable little pots for a while, then I set them down and slowly backed away from them.

I stayed away for an entire week before I decided that the possibility of making pesto whenever I wanted to (for almost free!) was too enticing to let my fear of failure prevent me from even trying. So I planted the little buggers and put them in my bedroom window. I repurposed the "hey cat, stop doing that" spray bottle as a "please, please grow tiny plants" spray bottle and put it on my nightstand so I would remember to use it. AND I DID. And a few days ago when I woke up and went to water them, I saw this:

They're growing!! woot woot! I did it! My guess is that the chives are in the forefront, basil to the right and parsley to the left. Since I know absolutely nothing about plants, I'm just assuming that's what they are based on the shape.

This is way too gratifying of an experience for me. It's a little weird, right? I mean, should I really be this proud of myself? I've kept two cats alive for 2 years now, and no one ever bought me a congratulatory gift. So what's the big deal with plants? Because I totally feel like The BF should be buying me a present with a card attached that says something like, "wow, you did it! Great job! You are so good at stuff you've never been good at before".

I can't explain why I find it so thrilling, but I do. I really, really do.

I used to think gardening was so lame. I couldn't think of anything that sounded like a worse pasttime to me. I wouldn't have even made my Sims do it if you couldn't eventually grow your own food, and also I like my Sims to be experts at every skill possible so they can own/run the entire Sims world. ANYWAY. This has totally turned me around. I get it now. When people tell me they love gardening, I will no longer picture Martha Stewart or some other crazy old lady with her gardening gloves and knee pad-thing. I'll just nod my head knowingly. "Yeah", I'll say. "I totally get that. I grow my own herbs. Suck on that".

Monday, April 19, 2010

Secrets, Secrets Hurt Someone...

When you were growing up, did your mom ever say to you, "there are some things you're better off not knowing"? I can't remember if my mom ever said this to me, or why I'm aware that it's a thing people say to each other fairly often, but it never seemed more relevant than last night.

You see, last night after The BF and I scarfed an entire large deep dish pizza, we were both secretly thinking to ourselves that something sweet and cakey HAD to be in our futures. We didn't say anything about it out loud, but even as he played through Heavy Rain and I watched and had panic attacks here and there, we were still both thinking it. And then.

The BF says to me, will you look up Dunkin Donuts locations? And I say, god dammit. Now we are definitely going to eat something sweety and cakey. Probably 4 to 6 somethings each. And I will continue to slowly morph into a big fat fatty. Now, we had already spent like ELEVEN whole dollars on a pizza and I knew that once we got to the DD The  BF would insist that since we had driven all this way(approximately 7 miles), we may as well get an entire dozen. AND THEN WE WOULD EAT THE ENTIRE THING. And we would have spent almost $20 in one day. Twenty whole dollars on getting fatter.

Now, a normal person may have come up with a solution something like this: You're right, self. No doughnuts for you and The BF tonight. Let's just have some yogurt and call it a night. But no. I am not a normal person. And here is where the relevancy of "there are some things you're better off not knowing" comes into play. For this particular bit of knowledge that I should not possess, I blame the Food Network. Specifically, Giada de Laurentis. She is the one who told me that you can DEEP FRY STORE BOUGHT PIZZA DOUGH, ROLL IT IN CINNAMON SUGAR AND IT BECOMES A DOUGHNUT. Why would she tell me this? WHY?

So, friends. my solution,sadly, was not to forget about sweet cakey somethings. It was, ZOMG, I have pizza dough in the fridge and I can totally deep fry it and roll it in cinnamon sugar and then The BF will love me forever for feeding him delicious treats and saving him $$. So, I announce this plan out loud to which The BF replied, quite skeptically, "you can do that?"

And yes, I can. And I did. And we ate them all, god dammit. And we got all hopped up on sugar and stayed up until 2 a.m. watching To Catch a Predator (what is that show? I'd never seen it before and I was horrified by two things: 1) why do so many men want to have sex with 13 year old girls and 2) why are so many men SO INCREDIBLY STUPID).

Anyway, the moral of this story is, I make bad decision and it's all The Food Network's fault. And my brain's filled to capacity file folder of "things you should not remember (becaus they'll probably ruin your life), but will anyway" is starting to takeover my entire ability to process thoughts and make decisions. 

(I'm not posting the doughnut recipe. Seriously, guys.

I's Fine. Unroll the pizza dough. Cut circles into it. Drop into really hot oil. Let them brown, roll them in cinnamon sugar. Eat and enjoy. Get really mad at me).

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Spring time is here! There's something about the sunshine that just makes things a little better. It's still been a bit chilly the past few days, but I prefer it that way. Once it gets over 70 degrees I'll be much too hot and grumpy to enjoy the sunshine. I tire quickly of the summer for that very reason.

One thing I never get tired of during the summer is key lime pie. You all know I love all things lemony, well, I also happen to adore all things limey. Key Lime Pie just happens to be one of my favorites. I've never attempted to make one before because I figured it would be really difficult and time consuming. But, I had a hankering for some key limey goodness, so I started looking at recipes online, and it turned out I was totally wrong. It took less than 10 minutes to put together and less than 10 minutes to bake. And only 5 ingredients! Basically, what all this great news boils down to is that my ass is about to get a lot bigger.

Also, I'm using someone else's photo because the lighting in my kitchen was garbage today while I was trying to take my own photos of my deliciously perfect pie. Mine wasn't nearly this lovely in its presentation, but we can pretend.

You will need:

1 prepared graham cracker crust
3 cups (about 2 14oz cans) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup key lime juice (I used the bottled stuff)
1 tbsp lime zest
The recipe didn't call for it, but I used the juice of half a lime too

Preheat oven to 350. Mix condensed milk, sour cream, key lime juice and zest together in a bowl until nice and smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust. Bake for about 8 minutes. The recipe I used said to watch for the tiny bursting bubbles as a sign that it was done...I saw tiny bubbles, but no bursting, so I just baked it for about 8-10 minutes and it turned out great. Cool the pie completely before serving. Top with fresh whipped cream, because it's delicious and you know you want to. You could definitely also make your own graham cracker crust, but we all know I'm lazy.

This would be a real crowd pleaser. Throw yourself into the limelight with this sublime little treat. Har har.

Seriously, you have to try this recipe. It will blow your mind. It's a perfect mix of tart and creamy goodness.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kitschy Kitchen!

My storage container decals arrived today, courtesy of A Fanciful Twist by way of Etsy. I LOVE THEM!

Are they perfect or what?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Longest Tour of the Tiniest Kitchen

Hello again, devoted readers. All ten of you.

Don't worry, I'm still alive and cooking. Well, okay, obviously not so much with the cooking lately - I started a new job a few weeks ago and I haven't had much time to enjoy myself in the kitchen as of late. Luckily for all of you, I watched Julie & Julia and, cheesy as it may be, I found the inspiration to find time to get back in the kitchen.

 I want to be adventurous in the kitchen. The cooking I've done lately consists of tacos and, right now, risotto, which to be fair, some people might consider challenging, but I've made it so many times it seems less than exciting. I find cooking it comforting, but stirring pretty constantly for 40 minutes no longer stirs my emotions the way it used to.

So, alas, dear readers, this post will not contain a recipe, but rather an introduction to my kitchen. My tiny, electric, sad little kitchen. I'm hoping that seeing the conditions I cook in will convince those of you in similar situations that you can enjoy the joy and pride that comes out of cooking adventurously (and dare we say, gourmet?) in a crap kitchen. So, without further ado, come with me on a tour of my kitchen.

We found this handy guy next to a dumpster in our apartment complex parking lot. It fits perfectly into the corner, and even though it's sort of an ugly color, I happen to totally and completely love it.
This is a recent addition to the kitchen (the floor mat, not the cat). I tried to get a picture with just the mat, but Fiona was not interested in moving. It's best you see her too, I suppose. She spends most of her time with me in the kitchen, screaming. Just yelling away until she gets a scrap or a little pet. What a weirdo.

Did I mention I'm a sucker for kitschy/retro stuff? Because I totally am. All of these are made of tin and this entire little area makes me very happy.

Okay so the fridge isn't very exciting. Yes, those are Watchmen magnets (thanks again to JK and EO). I think they help make Andrew feel a little bit more at home in the kitchen. However, the real point of this picture is the storage containers, see 'em? The adorable little white ones? I've wanted these FOREVER. I got a set of SEVEN at Target for, are you ready for this? $14.95!! What the what. I ordered label decals for them off of Etsy, I'll be sure to share them with you when they arrive.

errm. So this is facing the wrong way. But this is our umm, sorry excuse for a pantry. Because we have NO pantry, and very little cupboard space. Bah.

Wine rack + spice rack; olive oil bottle, adorable tiny storage canisters, my awesome salt and pepper mills and timer shaped like an egg (not to be confused with an egg timer).

Crap, this is the wrong way too. Well...this is my Toddy Maker. The only way I'll drink coffee at home. The coffee cold brews in the white part for 12 hours and then drains into the cute little canister. It makes a concentrate, so it lasts for quite a while (about 2 weeks). Booya.

And this, ladies and gentleman is the entire size of my kitchen. Behind this is a small eating area, the pantry and the dumpster armoire/cabinet thingy. So, if I can make delicious things here, they can be made anywhere.

So, yes, my kitchen is tiny. Yes, I've been watching far too much HGTV lately and it has me longing for a large kitchen with an island and updated appliances. Sure I want a floor that isn't hideous and a real pantry. But, truthfully, I love my tiny kitchen. It's not big or fancy or all that great in any way at all, but it's mine.

No more excuses! Get to cookin'.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Who likes to rock the party? I like to rock the party...

It's true. I am amazing. Tonight I produced my best dish yet. I'm quite pleased with myself, as you can see. But honestly. You'd be thrilled too if you ate something in a restaurant and were able to duplicate it at home! And my mom and sister said they were the best ever! Next time, I'll have a less biased audience. OR, make them for yourself! Let me know what you think! Sing my praises to all of the interweb. Doooo it.

So what is this magical dish of love and wonderfulness?

Arancini!! A combination of 3 of my favorite things: risotto, cheese and deep fried goodness.

You will need:

olive oil
1 c arborio rice
1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic
4 c chicken broth (or 1 c white wine + 3 c chicken broth)
1 tbsp butter
1/4c parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
panko bread crumbs (or your favorite bread crumbs)
mozarella cheese, cubed

Start by making the risotto. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan on medium heat. Dice the onion on the smallish side, chop the garlic however you wish and add both to the pan. Cook until the onions become slightly translucent - do not let onions or garlic brown very much at all. But really, not at all. Add arborio rice and saute for a few minutes. Add your first cup of chicken broth OR the white wine. Stir until all liquid is absorbed. Continue adding liquid 1 cup (or ladel full) at a time, stirring until all liquid is absorbed before adding another. This will take 30-45 minutes. When all liquid is absorbed, rice should be slightly al dente (especially for this dish). Add butter and parmesan cheese. Let it cool completely (I made mine the night before and stored it in the refrigerator and that worked out really well).

Once risotto is completely cooled, heat a few inches of vegetable (or olive. or canola) oil in a large saucepan (or, heat up your fancy deep fryer, moneybags). Stir the beaten egg into the chilled risotto.  Grab 3 shallow dishes and add flour, other egg(beaten) + milk and bread crumbs in each. For each ball, use 2 tablespoons of risotto, roll into ball, press cube of mozarella into center of ball, making sure it is completely covered. Roll in flour, egg mixture and bread crumbs. Test the oil with by dropping in a few of the bread crumbs stuck to your hand, if they bubble to the top, your oil is probably ready. I mean, I've never fried anything before, but this theory worked out pretty well for me. Place coated rice balls into oil and let brown, flip over and cook until the other side is golden brown. Remove from pan and place onto paper towel to drain.

Serve with your favorite red sauce for dipping. Become a hero to your friends and family. Go on to fame and fortune. Live happily ever after.

Lemons = Love

Alright. I admit it. I'm a sucker for anything lemon. (Save for the lemon-foot bars served at the cafe I work at - for only 2 more days!! *Insert squeal of delight here*. A part of me always feels guilty serving them to unknowing customers. Nobody deserves to pay for foot flavored food. Ahh alliteration...)

I digress. The point is, I LOVE LEMON. One of my favorite lemony concoctions? My grandma's lemon bars. The crust is buttery and slightly cookie like, and the lemon topping is out of this world. The perfect amount of sweet and tart. This was only my second time making them, and while I know they'll never measure to Grandma's, they're pretty damn good. I mean, really, really good. And honestly, not so complicated. Adding a food processor to my list of kitchen appliances meant that making the crust was a breeze.

So, you will need:

For the Crust:

2 c flour
1 c powdered sugar
2 stickers of butter, room temperature
pinch of salt

For the filling:

4 eggs
6 tbsp all purpose flour
2 c granulated sugar
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
(seriously, this makes a huge difference)

Preheat your oven to 350degrees; lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

To make the crust, combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl (or food processor). Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture (you can use your hands or just put the food processor on low for a minute or two). The dough should look crumbly, but stick together when you pinch some between your fingers. Press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice.

Pour over baked crust, bake for 25 minutes. Let cool.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Slice and enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Comfort. On a plate. In a bowl.

We snarky folk tend to be easily annoyed by most things in this world. It's these annoyances that force our wit to be so scathing. Defense mechanism, survival tactic, call it what you will. It works. And, if you're cute like me, people even find it endearing some of the time. But snarkiness can quickly fall over the edge into scrooge-dom.

Luckily, there are a few things in this world that keep me from taking that plunge: my family, my bf, kitties, good books, Netflix and comfort food. Man oh man. I once dated a guy who didn't believe in comfort food. WHAT. Thank the gods that didn't last.

So today's post features a couple of oh so comforting foods (one made by me, one eaten by me in a restaurant)

First up:

Sweet and Savory Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Pork Roast

You will need:

1 boneless pork roast
3-4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small onion
5 cloves garlic
apple juice or cider
1 tbsp. cinnamon
salt & pepper

Chop 3 large cloves of garlic very finely (I used my mini food processor to get it done much faster). rinse meat and trim any excess fat off. With a tiny drizzle of oil, rub all sides of meat with chopped garlic, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Place peeled onion, 2 whole cloves of garlic (slightly crushed) and carrots in 6 qt. slow cooker. Heat a skillet with very small amount of oil. When the pan is good and hot, sear the rubbed meat on all sides. Add seared meat to slow cooker. Pour juice or cider into slow cooker so it almost covers everything. Cook on high for 6-7 hours. Remove onion and garlic, throw away (or eat them if you want. I don't care). Place carrots and meat onto plate. Boil the juice or cider, make into gravy by whisking in a flour and water mixture. Serve over mashed potatoes. Die and go to heaven. Cause it's that damn good.

My mom first made this recipe years ago and it became an instant favorite. Andrew was skeptical of this strange combination, but was quickly converted once he tasted it. This roast just completely falls apart. It's so tender and the flavor will blow your mind. Oh and the carrots! Yums. As a side note, I used light apple juice (aka already diluted for you apple juice), so it was less sugary - and it was just as good as using the more expensive cider or regular juice.


My sister's birthday was a few days ago, and to celebrate the family went to dinner at one of her favorite restauraunts; Dolce Vita in Dearborn   Riveriew, MI. Oh.My.Word. It was my first time there and I can't wait to go back. Perfect arancini as an appetizer ( I forgot to take a picture). And for my meal:

Ricotta and Spinach Rigatoni with Grilled Chicken

I don't know why this picture is kind of blurry, but you get the idea. Holy Flavor Parade. Garlic-y, cheesy and oh so delicious. I think the best part about this dish is that despite the fact that it's a cream sauce, it wasn't really heavy. The sauce was surprisingly light. And who doesn't love ricotta cheese? Unbelievably good.

Hooray for good family and good food.