Saturday, January 31, 2009

The man I married.

I am continually astounded by Casey's ability to get what he wants from people. Perhaps I fall to the other extreme, hence my surprise, but I think his ability is out of the ordinary.

Generally, I won't ask people for favors, help or make any exceptional requests from anyone in the service industry. It embarrasses me just thinking that I would be turned down or overstep social graces.

Plus, I can do it myself or will make do with what I have...or die trying. I'm an only child, can you tell?

Casey, on the other hand, will ask strangers for anything, and generally, he gets what he asks for. The most recent example of this is our trip to Target last night, looking for a new belt for our vacuum. They were out of stock on the aisle, so I called for a sales person (which I considered rather persistent of myself.) So, two salespeople later, we determine that they are completely out of stock of belts, PLUS, the kind they carry of that brand doesn't fit that vacuum, even though Target sold it to us. The kind gentleman suggests we try a vacuum-specific store nearby. I wave the flag of defeat, and prepare to leave.

Casey nicely informs the gentleman that he wants the belt of the demo. And he's not going to take no for an answer. I have to walk away, overcome with embarrassment. You can't ask for that!

A few minutes later, Casey casually walks up, the belt in his pocket. "You just have to ask for things," he says, shrugging.

Now, he did not ask if he could eat all of leftovers from the lasagna my mom made (read: the best lasagna ever)...and well, asking for mercy isn't going to be enough.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 random facts

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. There's tagging of others involved, but I feel like that's chain-mail. If people want to do the same thing, do so freely without obligation.

In no particular order:
  1. Fantasy is my favorite genre.
  2. I’ve gone off my morning coffee. So far so good.
  3. I put salt in my oatmeal and malt-o-meal, not sugar.
  4. One of my favorite hobbies is reading recipes. But I must have pictures.
  5. I’m looking forward to attending my 10 year high school reunion this fall. I may not have gotten rich, but at least I’ve lost weight. I’ve got to be able to show ‘em up somehow.
  6. My husband likes to hold the dogs like they’re babies. I think they like it too.
  7. I used to read X-men comic books and Mad magazine.
  8. Slow drivers and people that stop for no apparent reason drive me crazy.
  9. My biggest project for this snow day is what I’m going to bake for lifegroup tonight. Plus, Casey made me promise not to leave the house until later.
  10. I don’t like sorting. Socks, silverware, whatever. If possible, I leave it for Casey to do.
  11. I could never choose between Italian and Mexican food. I love them both.
  12. I have picked out the baby name for a girl: Giselle Genève. Gigi for short. Casey gets to pick the boy name.
  13. Pearls are my favorite jewel.
  14. Post-marathon, I’ve been doing a lot more bike riding (stationary and spinning), and I think it’s time to get a real road bike.
  15. I hate spending money. Hence, I haven’t bought a bike yet. They’re pricey.
  16. People that are germ-phobic make me uncomfortable. Germs, or potentially germy things, bother me less.
  17. I love Europe, but don’t ever want to live there.
  18. I still bite my nails, to my mother’s displeasure.
  19. Real Belgium waffles, from Brussels, may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. The first bite was magical. I think I actually heard angels sing.
  20. I’d really like to go to New York, and see the Grand Canyon too.
  21. My grandparents passed away more than a year and three years ago, respectively. I still miss them and get teary sometimes thinking of them. They were wonderful grandparents.
  22. Grape-flavored anything is my least favorite. Cherry, probably my favorite.
  23. Soup is my absolute favorite food. Lentil, split pea, tomato, potato, chili, even ramen...they're all so good.
  24. I’ve typed this with a non-functional ‘n’ key. Cut ‘n Paste is my friend.
  25. I think I’ll make cupcakes. But first, lunch.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Excess can be fabulous

Why bake just once a day, when you can bake twice? Plus, the stash of leftover cookies in the freezer needed replenishing.

These are Cooking Illustrated's Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I don't know if they're all that thick or really chewy, but they're huge and tasty, and neither crispy nor cakey, so I'm not complaining.

A Treatise on Scones

I've had a hankering for scones. Not biscuits (read: light and fluffy), but scones (denser, crunchier, sweeter and more crumbly). I've tried Ina Garten's recipe, and though tasty and praised by family members, they were just sweet biscuits.

So, full of hope, I tried Cook's Illustrated's recipe. Slightly more arduous it was, as I had to grate frozen butter (which, after a spinning and a dance class this morning, had me completely out of breath), plus knead and roll the dough twice...but I persevered.

And they still turned out like biscuits. Dang. Very tasty cherry biscuits...but biscuits. Where, oh where is my dense crumbly scone? I miss you.

PS...I'm all well and recovered from my stomach bug, obviously. Thank goodness because not being interested in food was depressing! Also, this next week coming up is going to be kinda stressful. Lots of stuff to do at school, grading tests, French club, mandatory tutoring for the little lost causes, and we're hosting a Superbowl Party this weekend. That will be fun, but there is much to prepare, including the famous Paula Deen cheese ball. I'll leave you with a photo of the first avatar of the cheese ball, a goblin version for Casey's Halloween birthday party three years ago.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Feeling Pukey

I think it was something I ate. It was a rough night. And the funny thing is, apparently dogs don't like the sound of puking because they would bark like crazy...strange, huh?

Thankfully, I had the day off, and there's been no more unpleasantness since 4am. I had planned to do some baking and watching cooking shows...but food is just unappealing. I must really be sick! Casey was sweet enough to come home early and bring me some ramen and applesauce, the only thing that doesn't sound gross.

I'm hoping that I'll be right as rain tomorrow...or the kids will be doing a reading tomorrow. They won't be able to focus much anyway, I think. The principal changed the schedule so that we can show the Inauguration. It's wild how much hype there is around this. I mean, I am excited to have a new president, and I think he'll do a good job, but I'm more interested in seeing him getting to work...but that won't be televised, I guess. :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back in the swing of things

Hello all. Happy New Year. Things are just peachy around here. School's fine. We're just starting the Petit Prince in French 3, which I love and love teaching. I wish I could do it all day long...but that's okay. Otherwise all is well, other than baby fever. It seems everyone is pregnant, just had a baby or planning to have baby soon. Crazy. I'm starting to feel like the pressure's on...but we'll wait it out...for a while.

So, cooking...among other things, we made Hungarian Stew (aka goulash) and Split Pea soup (I add a ham hock as it simmers, as a proper southerner should) yesterday. But the stars of the show are the muffins I made this morning. Since it's post-holiday, I wanted to do something with whole wheat flour and oatmeal. These were chewy on top like an oatmeal cookie, but tender in the middle...with a little surprise of homemade cranberry sauce for zip...wee! They're whole grain and low it's okay that I ate three, right?
Oatmeal Cranberry Muffins, inspired from Joy.

Makes 12-15 muffins

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cranberry sauce (I had some homemade hanging in the muffins it went!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture and dried cranberries. Stir until just moist. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, adding a tsp of cranberry sauce before completely filling each cup.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.