Monday, January 21, 2013

Texting Non Sequiturs

I was at Wal-Mart the other day, buying some groceries, and Birk had asked me to see if they have rotisserie chickens. If they did, I'd pick one up; if not, he would have to go to Farm Fresh to get one. Wal-Mart, by the way, does have rotisserie chickens (and they're quite yummy) so instead of calling him, I sent him a text. 

I had been texting Birk a few days prior, and the last thing he had texted said "Do you need a ride?" I had called him at that point, effectively ending the text conversation.

Now, a day or two later, I was starting a new text conversation based on information we had shared through a phone conversation, and I said "I got a chicken here."

This, of course, made it look like my answer to "Do you need a ride?" was "I got a chicken here." No thanks, I'm good; I have my chicken. No transportation assistance is necessary. Chicken's got my back.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Drinks with the Girls

I know it's a silly thing to be excited about, or to even think about in such a way, but last night, I went out for post-work drinks with "the girls" for the first time. (I pointed this out to one of them, who thought it was funny and probably a little cute that I would think to mention such a thing. I then went on to tell her that the lunch we had two weeks ago before a meeting was my first "work lunch.")

The only reason I deem this blog-worthy is because I think this is proof of me becoming a professional. Not the drinking... the bonding with like-minded coworkers. It's a good thing. Even if it's sort of a silly thing.

Monday, January 14, 2013

RIP Zaphod

During my sophomore year at CNU, I had three awesome roomies: Kat, Beth, and Audrey. One day, Kat told me that the Horticulture Club was having a plant sale, and we should go support them by buying some plants to spruce up our dorm room.

We selected the peace lily, because we were told that it is ridiculously easy to care for. (This is important; remember this.) We also thought it would be nice for us to have one for each roommate; that way, we could each take ours with us in future moves, and always have our sibling plants. What a cute idea!

On the way back to the dorms, we got a little silly and started naming the plants. I was really into Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the time, so I named mine Zaphod, after Zaphod Beeblebrox. I subsequently named Audrey's plant Arthur (after Arthur Dent), Beth's was Marvin (after the Paranoid Android), and Kat's was Ford (after Ford Prefect).

Fittingly, Beth's plant Marvin died first. He lived perhaps a week or two at the most. I'm not entirely sure he was ever watered. It was unfortunate.

Kat's was, I believe, the next to go, followed by Audrey's.

This all took place during the school year of 2005-2006. It is now 2013, and I have finally laid Zaphod to rest, after a period of several months where his leaves got browner and browner, and I failed to water him more often than not.

I know it's a little silly to mourn a plant, but I thought everyone would want to know that Zaphod is no longer with us, because we're all weirdly attached to him, a little.

R.I.P. Zaphod (2005-2013)
(Not Zaphod)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

That Would Make a Great Blog Name

You know how lots of people hear a succinct and/or witty and/or aurally pleasing word or phrase and say, "That would make a great band name?" I have recently found myself doing that same thing, except I say, "That would make a great blog name."

I might have a blogging addiction.

The example that prompted this post was Unnamed Protagonist (inspired by a post I was writing for Review Me Twice).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Haircut

I don't mean to alarm anyone... but I think I suddenly live in a movie.

See, yesterday, I got a "fancy" haircut. Normally a haircut for me involves going to the nearest Supercuts and paying $15 for my hair to be shorter than it was when I walked in the door. But I was convinced - thanks, Lori! - to get a hairstyle. Something that requires daily maintenance. Products. A freaking hair dryer.

So I went to Gary Allen (and I mention them by name only because they were really wonderful and I'm thoroughly pleased with everything about them) and paid four times what I normally do for hair-related services, and got a fantastic haircut. Don't believe me? Check this out:


(Forgive the color, that's a cell phone photo.) For anyone who doesn't know me... that haircut is a big deal. I've never had such straight hair in my LIFE. This is really exciting. Then again, it took smoothing oil, blow drying, and flat ironing to accomplish this.

But back to why I suddenly live in a movie... I woke up this morning, and my hair looked exactly like this. (Okay, not exactly. The one difference was that the side part had shifted a little toward center, because I've always had a middle part and it wanted to return to normal.) You know you how see a female character get out of bed in a movie and you're like, "Nobody's hair ever looks that good when they first get out of bed." Yeah, it's true. So I must be in a movie today.

Unfortunately, I'm sick, so I don't think this movie will be very interesting...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

More Fondue Recipes

For one pot of fondue:
one box of vegetable broth
add water until full (add as you boil to keep it full)
add one full onion (cut into quarters)
add green onion, chive, salt, pepper (leftover beer from the cheese) to taste
(optional: mushrooms, peppers, etc. as desired)
simmer until vegetables are mostly soft
remove onion (unless you don't want to)
add potatoes to start cooking when you put the pots on the table

I have received more requests for recipes from New Year's Eve! Amy wanted the recipe for the broth (that we cook the meat in - we feel like oil is too dangerous for a table of fourteen people who have been drinking, plus Birk prefers broth anyway because it adds more flavor) and also one of the marinades we used for the beef. And of course, I am happy to oblige.

Broth (for your meat) Fondue
Like with the cheese, you'll be making this in a large pot on the stove, then transferring it to the fondue pot to put on the table.

Add one box of vegetable broth* to the pot. (Use one box per fondue pot that you'll be using, so approximately one box per 4-5 people.) Add water until full. Peel an onion (yellow or white) and cut it into quarters; add it to the pot. Birk added the leftover beer from making the cheese (but it was minimal and is not required). He also added green onions and chives. Other recommendations (that we don't use) are mushrooms, peppers, carrots, leeks, or whatever vegetables you like. We fish out the onion before transferring the broth to the fondue pots but it isn't strictly necessary.

If you're having potatoes with your meat, I suggest putting them into the pot when you put the fondue pots out on the table. (This way, they can cook while you cook your first several pieces of meat, because they take longer than most other things.)

*This year we used an organic one because that's what was on sale, but use whatever you like. We use vegetable broth because we always have chicken, beef, and shrimp, and using vegetable broth - instead of beef or chicken broth - makes more sense flavor-wise.

Steak Marinade
This one came from Pinterest.

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp dried basil
1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp minced garlic

(All you have to do is mix it together.)
We marinated the steak for about 4 hours. The recipe didn't have a recommended time, but if you liked the flavor at NYE, 4 hours should do it.

(And if anyone wants the recipe for the other steak marinade - the second one we put out on the table - you'll have to ask McCormick, because it was store-bought.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Fondue!

It's our New Year's Eve tradition to make three-course fondue for as many friends as can make it to the house and squeeze in around the table. (We have established that 16 is the official maximum capacity for the table - without bending the laws of physics - and we have fourteen people this year.)

I get requests for our recipes (shoutout to Soaper who asked for it first this year!) so here is the cheese fondue recipe we use. (I can't guarantee that Birk follows it exactly, because he tends to adjust as he goes, but he says he doesn't do much to this one.)

Swiss-and-Cheddar Cheese Fondue
2 cups Swiss, shredded*
1 cup Cheddar, shredded*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 cup beer** (slightly less than one bottle)

(Use a large pot on medium to medium-high heat to avoid burning.)

You'll be making the cheese in a regular cooking pot on the stove, and once it's ready, you transfer it to the fondue pots to put on the table.

In a large bowl, toss the shredded cheese with the cornstarch. (This helps prevent sticking and helps give it the right consistency when melted.)

Add beer to pot. Add garlic clove (crushed but whole). Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat slightly. Add cheese a small handful at a time, stirring and allowing to melt mostly before adding the next handful. Once cheese is all added and melted, add salt and/or pepper to taste. (You can experiment with hot sauce, etc. if you like.)

Protip: You can start with slightly less beer if you want to adjust the amount of beer or cheese to "fix" the consistency at the end.

*We highly recommend shredding your own cheese. Packaged shredded cheese has a powder added to it to prevent sticking, and it can prevent easy melting.
**We like to use Yuengling, but use whatever you like best. It will have an effect on the flavor, so choose wisely. Medium beers are best; avoid dark beers unless you really want a strong beer taste.