July 30, 2006

No news is good news?

Current Netflix rental:
The Office: Season 1

Today for lunch we had pork loin with a sun-dried tomato marinade, roasted red potatoes, and rolls. The best part may have been the Rocky Road ice cream we had for an appetizer. I made a batch of Rocky Road ice cream late Friday night, and I'm not sure what I did differently this time, but the ice cream was more fabulous than usual. It's Emeril's Chocolate Ice Cream recipe plus 1 ½ cups of mini-marshmallows and 1 cup of broken toasted almonds. Also, you must use Promised Land™ milk! We polished it off with no trouble today! Today during church all I could think about were the yummy chocolate chip cookies I've been making lately. I don't think I'm supposed to admit that. I should make some to send to Wendy at college, and keep half the batch here.

It rained here this past week on Wednesday and Thursday. City officials asked that Lubbockites pray to the god of their choice for rain today, Sunday, but someone must have jumped the gun and prayed before they were supposed to. I'm certainly glad for the moisture. My lawn looks much better since Scott fertilized it last week, too. Tomorrow the water rationing mandate starts, and we're asked not to water lawns more than twice a week. Heck! My lawn is lucky to get watered weekly.

Last night Carmen and I went to see My Super Ex-Girlfriend. I went with low expectations, but it wasn't the worst movie I've seen this summer. This summer movie season hasn't been good. Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson were cute, or I was in a mood to laugh at corny jokes, and Rainn Wilson, of The Office, cracks me up.

This week I have been shopping Smith+Noble for a living room window (that's right: one window) treatment. I requested swatches of a lot of different fabrics I liked. I love to say swatches. I really wanted to go with a mostly green fabric, so I could have something green to transition between my yellow living room and green bedroom. I had pretty much decided on this gorgeous Metro Topaz - 3576green and yellow striped fabric, but I got the swatches in the mail, and the green fabric just clashed with my brown and grey fireplace. I decided on something with the fabric pattern to the left, because the background color matches my carpet, and the browns, yellows, and oranges seem to go well with my living room colors and décor. Anyway, I hopped online and started customizing this Roman shade the way I wanted it. For once, I was decisive Metropolis Topaz - 3575enough to commit to a purchase, but unfortunately, the bugged Smith+Noble website wouldn't let me log in and buy the items in my shopping cart. Maybe it was for the best, because later I surfed a bit and thought I might like the sister pattern better. It has bigger circles and more pronounced colors. I requested a swatch, so here we go again. Is it funny to shop online as much as I do? My co-worker thinks it's hilarious that I shop online for clothes and particularly now for this shade. For any shopping, I always browse online before I go shop in person. I probably don't even shop online as much as I used to either. Is that completely abnormal? Keep in mind that I live in Lubbock, which seems to be off the major trade routes.

Post your opinions, please. Yes or no on the fabric choices? Quit shopping online and get out of the house? My blog audience has surely decreased by a third since Katie left the free world, but maybe someone's still reading the clichéd titles and inane entries I come up with. Next entry: Why Alton Brown is my dream guy...

July 23, 2006

Have a cookie. Take a lookie.

(that title is for Emily)

Currently listening:
The Swingle Singers - Bach Hits Back ~ A Capella Amadeus

Sundays are really long when you don't take a serious afternoon nap. I didn't feel sleepy today, so I actually went for a walk in the neighborhood instead of my usual nap. Today for lunch we had beef fajitas and Spanish rice. It was okay. I have lots of rice left! It feels pretty different cooking for four people instead of six. You're talking about some serious leftovers for me to polish off.

Yesterday, I bribed Scott to fertilize my lawn by making him some more Big and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made two batches of those cookies this week. I sent most of one batch to Katie at boot camp. She should be able to trade those things for whatever a missionary needs. Chocolate chip cookies are to Mormon missionaries what cigarettes are to prisoners. Especially my cookies - they are the best!

I'm glad it's wonderful stone fruit season. Mom is a doll and brought me some apricots and peaches from a local orchard and some grapes from her garden. After I got back from my walk I got some farmers' market peaches out of the freezer and made a peach smoothie. I used my crazy- powerful- so loud it sounds like something is wrong- chrome Beehive- Osterizer 4094 blender. I still have some Rainier Cherries to eat, too.

Yesterday, Daddy, Mom, Uncle Randy, Scott, & I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I already saw it once, and it is better the second time, but still not recommendable. I'm not sure what people will think of my opinion that Nacho Libre is the best movie I've seen this summer. I love Batman Begins and Christian Bale. Although, I'm annoyed I rented that movie from Netflix when my folks have it. Hopefully the next Bat-movie will be good. I think that Spider-Man 3 will be good. I liked the internal conflict plot from the last one.

Well, there's obviously not much going on around my house today. Somebody tell me what to talk about!

Big and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¼ packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Beat the butter and sugars in in a large bowl using an electric mikxer on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chocolate chips until incorporated.

4. Working with ¼ cup of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 ½ inches apart. Bake until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft and puffy, 17 to 20 minutes, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through baking.

5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

July 20, 2006

Home Alone

Current Netflix rental:
Batman Begins

Another addition to my random blog... I'm living for the weekend. Although, Thursdays are pretty good, too. One still has the anticipation that a particularly good weekend is coming. Plus, I really like watching The Office. Gosh, now that Grey's Anatomy airs on Thursdays, too, who needs to leave the house? Luckily I have the original TiVo: my VCR.

weirdfortunecookies.comMore randomness: I came across an online collection of "odd, unusual, or just plain bizarre" fortune cookies. The premise is funnier than the actual collection, but here's a funny from the main page.

Speaking of Americanized Chinese, the new Pei Wei opened in Lubbock. I heard from a very reliable source that it's awful. I'm not surprised. Lubbock restaurants have a way of ruining food. I'm not exaggerating. I don't know if Lubbock is too far off the trade routes or what, but we certainly don't have any fabulous restaurants here, and the great ones can be counted on one hand. Maybe the restaurateurs have no impetus spurring them to quality service, because there is just no competition, and there always seem to be plenty of cars frequenting these spots. My reliable source said that a signature dish, mind you, the Pei Wei Spicy, was completely botched. We both vowed to avoid Pei Wei until the dust has settled from all the little rent-a-chefs running to apply for the job.

Also speaking of Americanized Chinese, we got a letter from Katie yesterday. Sounds like she's having fun at boot camp. I am not sure how exactly they converted our last name into Chinese, but I'll be interested to hear that one! I will provide her address on request.

Signing off, "Goodbye" in Mandarin is 再见 zài·jyèn. Check out the site for a pronunciation sound bite, and hopefully I didn't just post some Mandarin profanity.

July 18, 2006

Tell Me Something Good

Currently listening:
Rock On 1974

I am listening to "Tell Me Something Good" right now - sung by Rufus with Chaka Kahn. How can you not like musicians named Rufus and Chaka? 1970s music is the best; although, this album is kind of weak. I need a little cheering. I was pretty grouchy today, and I'm not sure why. Actually, I really missed Katie today. I got to read the letter she wrote to the family, and she sounds like she's doing fabulously. I'm so glad for her. I know she's where she wants to be.

Tonight I got home from piano lessons, and I had some company at my house for a bit. As soon as they left, I headed out to United for some comfort shopping. I guess it's good that I didn't eat comfort food, since it's better for my waistline, but shopping to relieve tension is just as bad on my bank account. I went up and down every aisle - even the pet supply aisle, and I don't even have a pet! I bought some more of those Rainier Cherries. No good-looking guys at the United in my neighborhood. I have to venture to the sexier Market Street United.

Ooh! One good thing that happened today: someone bought my CD I listed on half.com. Last week I ordered a CD especially for a jazz song I wanted, and someone was doing a voiceover during the whole song. How annoying! I listed it on half.com last night after receiving it in the mail yesterday. I think I should just about break even on the transaction. I want to write "Sucker!" on the packing invoice when I ship it to her. I'm such a weirdo that I pulled all the labels off the envelope, so that I could mail the CD in the same bubble envelope in which it was mailed to me. Actually, I'm using the label that had my address on it for the return address.

I think I'm going to go make some cookies to send to Katie. These cookies are the best cookies you've ever eaten. Big, chewy, chocolatey! Her little missionary friends will be so jealous!

My cookies are better than your cookies.

July 16, 2006

Rainier shine

Rainier Cherries

Has anyone else ever tasted Rainier Cherries? They're absolutely yummy. I could eat them by the passel. I tried to restrain myself from eating the entire bag I bought last night at United, because they're not cheap. Keep them in the fridge - better cold. Today, I made Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Almond Biscotti--getting in touch with my Italian side. I even had some of my Xocolatl Hot Chocolate. I always take a long Sunday nap, and usually, as a result, I can't sleep on Sunday nights. However, tonight I still feel really exhausted, so I'm calling it a night. Go get some of those Rainier Cherries! They're only going to be in season for a few weeks longer. You won't regret it.

July 15, 2006

Close your eyes, and it will all be over soon...

Currently listening:
Cake: Fashion Nugget

Not much to report today. I ran a few errands and watched my Netflix rentals and sent them back. I made sure to put the DVDs in the return envelope today. Did I mention I'm back in good Karma again? (See Bad Karma.) Either my guardian angel or a postal service employee got my non-enveloped Netflix rental back to its rightful owner. So I got a nice little credit for the DVD I had to buy a few weeks ago. "It always evens out for me."--Jerry Seinfeld

My typical Saturday night ritual is going to United to shop for food for Sunday dinner. I am still not sure what to cook for tomorrow. I have some tofu taking up space in the fridge. I have pork chops in the freezer. I have some rye bread. Mmmm...Reubens. That sounds pretty good. All that cheese and beef and Thousand Island? I think it's diet time. I decided it's only cute to be a foodie if you're a size 4 or smaller. But food is so much fun! I guess that's why my Saturday night ritual is going to the grocery store. I'm just sure that this time I'll see my dream guy with his plastic-frame glasses and canvas grocery bags. Ha ha! The drama queen in me is showing...

Office Space - Wikipedia   Isn't Wikipedia great?Pauline let me borrow Office Space this weekend. Anyone who works in an office must see that. I'm getting to be a real cubicle-dweller. My new favorite TV show is The Office, and my little cubicle tackboard is covered with Dilbert calendar pages that I think are cute. Hope you can read this. It's one of my favs.

Dilbert - July 7, 2006

Okay, well, Carmen is here, and we are going for a walk. I've gotta burn all the calories I'm going to eat tomorrow!

July 13, 2006

Peace and quiet

Current Netflix rental:
The Cosby Show: Season 2, Disc 3

It is soooo quiet around my house. I worked late yesterday and today just to avoid it. I am blaring jazz songs, too. I downloaded In a Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington & John Coltrane) even though I'm not usually much for sax.

By request, here's another picture of the American Gothic picnic table. It was hard for me to get high enough to take a good picture. Like any great work of art, photography just doesn't do it justice - it has to be seen and admired in person. :)

Now for a little fun: The TomKat/Suri Conspiracy Timeline. Does Suri exist? This site and the pictures cracked me up. Call me a weirdo!

I think this weekend I may try my hand at making some spicy chocolate ice cream. I've had the like at Whole Foods' gelato bar, and then Häagen-Dazs came up with their Mayan Chocolate flavor. I doubt I've tried anything to equal Sunni Sky's Cold Sweat ice cream. This little North Carolina ice cream parlor created a flavor that includes three kinds of peppers and two kinds of hot sauce: Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce, Blair's Megadeath Hot Sauce, chile peppers, habaneros and Thai chiles. My kind of people!

July 9, 2006

Sob story

Current Netflix rental:
Monk: Season 4, Disc 4

Well, I can't really think of anything to blog about. I guess I'll write about what I cooked today, since Sunday is my big cooking day around here. We had stuffed chicken breasts, broiled asparagus, scalloped potatoes, white rolls, and Rocky Road ice cream. I'm going to make Orange-Cranberry Scones to take to work tomorrow...maybe.

On July 3, we had a party for Scott's 16th birthday. We had an outdoorsy/picnic/camping theme. It was fun. We had foil dinners that we grilled. Katie made a yummy cake.

I indulged my Superman fantasy by seeing Superman Returns on opening day. It was okay. I also saw Cars, but I fell asleep during part of it. It was cute. I saw Dead Man's Chest on Friday night. I was disappointed.

Katie leaves Wednesday morning. This might be a long week. I'm going to be more upbeat next time.