Showing all entries for bffs
I drive ALL THE WAY to California to bring light and joy into the lives of my loved ones and this is what I get. Try not to estrogen the place up too much, he says to me. What a dick.
(Just kidding, Mark!)
So yes, this past week was NAMGLA, which has nothing at all to do with me - I just hitched a ride to LA to hang out with BFF Kate (and annoy the crap out of her husband). NEWSFLASH! Seriously, you might need to sit down for this one:
We didn't cook anything.
We did, however, shove massive amounts of Indonesian food into our faces, so there's that. Two thumbs up for Gado Gado, thanks for the tip, Glenn.
So, what did we do? We went to Momen+, a fabric store in Torrance whereupon OUR HEDZ SPLODED. See photo above for evidence of cuteness factor infinity. Seriously, I could have done much more damage except that I have, like, rent to pay and stuff. Also, Kate and I almost got into a fist fight over a fat quarter, and we had already almost got into a fist fight over a chocolate donut and a latte earlier that day, so really it was just time to go.
DUDE TIP: Never come home with just one latte when you have two women in the house. ALSO: GET TWO CHOCOLATE DONUTS.
So, bankruptcy, then home, then sewing. I totally remembered BOTH my machine AND my cord this time. Kate got busy making these supercute stuffed stegosauri, and I started on an apron, for a silent auction at The Adorable 4 year old's school.
My machine is nothing super fancy, but it's new and easy to use. You don't even need a pedal, you can operate it with the push of a button. So...The Adorable 4 year old is kind of bored and I get the bright idea to ask if she wants to try sewing. Intrigued, she is.
Four hours later...
Seriously, this kid SCHOOLED me on my own machine. I talked her thru it maybe 4 times, next thing I know she's mastered the decorative stitches, sewn and stuffed a pillow, and made a tote bag for her giraffe.
I give up.
So all in all, a great week-ish in LA despite the fact that it was cold and rainy and everyone was sick-ish and sniffling and coughing and sneezing. Got to eat great food and see good friends and hyperventilate over beautiful fabric. Now back to work!
BFF Annie finished my skirt! And OMG YESH my awesome brother and his awesome girlfriend gave me my belated xmas present, which just so happened to be a STAR TREK ENTERPRISE PIZZA CUTTER.
So in other words, I'm having a great week. And tomorrow I'm off to...you guessed it, LA as it's NAMGLA time again. That special time of year when hordes of menfolk descend upon a convention center in Anaheim to fondle knobs and stuff. It's kinda like porn only less...porny. I was going to say sexy, but I guess if you're into knob fondling you wouldn't agree with that.
ANYWAY, it is NOT on my agenda to fondle any knobs (but you know, never say never), I'm just along for the ride, going to see BFF Kate. Our agenda includes fondling japanese fabric and shoving sushi into our faces. And I'm sure something messy and tasty will take place in her kitchen, I'll be sure to let you know what it is once we make it.
In other news, last night I lost my Ethiopian food virginity. I have no idea what I ate (other than that it was vegetable matter) but it sure was tasty. I also hit my first yoga class of 2012 and holy wow batman, I cannot lift my arms today. Oh 40's, why you gotta be like that?
This past weekend, my BFF Anne and I drove to LA to see our BFF Kate and her BFF Jenna for Estrogenpalooza 2011. Also in attendance were Kate's adorable 4 year old daughter, who provided giggles and endless Christmas music, and her husband Mark, who tried (and thankfully succeeded) to not kill himself.
Anyway, before we begin this story, I would just like to point out that BFF Anne and I are not stupid. Between us we have 3 degrees, 300 IQ points, and can talk in pie charts. ANNE DRIVES STICK. We are not stupid. You will find this very hard to believe as I continue.
So there we were, me and my copilot, rolling down the I-10 on our way to LA when hey, there's a gas station, let's fill up the car and get snacks and stuff! Great idea! I pull up to the pump and Anne jumps out with her credit card to pay for the gas. Insert the card, pull it out...nothing. Insert the card, pull it out...nothing. Insert the card, pull it out...Enter your zip - yes! Er, no wait, nothing. Anne surmises that maybe there is something wrong with this pump. Broken, it must be. Yes, that must be it. I'll just back up to the other pump.
Insert card, pull it out, enter your zip, yes! This one totally works! Select the gas, put the schnozzle in the tank, click the schnozzle thingy so you don't have to stand there and hold it while it pumps, and go off for snacks.
All is well in the Elleverse.
Snacks acquired, we get back to the car, I put the schnozzle back where it belongs, look up at the price and see: $88.52. I turn back to the car to put the gas cap on and then, wait, WTF? $88.52? How much is gas, $9 a gallon? I only needed a quarter tank. And then I see something like 25 gallons and I'm like: I think I maybe have a 15 gallon tank, in what universe is this even possible?
All is not well in the Elleverse.
"Anne, we have a problem."
So out comes Anne in full problem solving mode, reaching possibly for a calculator, or maybe a slide rule, I'm not sure. I point at the pump, I point at the car. "This isn't possible, Anne." Anne goes inside to investigate. Facts are needed.
Like, 5-7 minutes goes by. On Anne's end I think the story went something like: the lady behind the counter looked at her like, WTF ARE YOU SOME KIND OF IDIOT? On my end it totally started to dawn on me: oh you moron you never pumped any gas, this is from the person before you.
WE ARE NOT STUPID. We just, you know, have our moments.
In non stupid moments, Anne whipped up a skirt for me worthy of fashion week and I'd be happy to show it to you if only she'd give it to me.
In exceptionally stupid moments, I went all the way to LA with every single thing I could possibly need to sew EXCEPT the damn cord that powers the damn machine. Or in other words: the one thing that didn't take up the entire trunk of my car.
Ok, so let's end this on a fun note: the adorable 4 year old. TA4YO likes Christmas music so Kate put a radio in her playroom and tuned it to a Christmas station with a playlist that was maybe 20 songs deep. Awesome, it's Bing Crosby. Again. Kate and Anne leave to pick up Mark at work, and leave me to kid sit. I know, seriously, someone trusts me with their kid, your mind is blown. So there I am, kid sitting. Snow White, er, no, I can't remember which princess it was but she was getting married to a unicorn and there were some aliens, and a fireman, and you know, like that. And the Christmas music. The DJ announces the next song which is I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and I say:
Mommy was kissing Santa?
TA4YO, who had her back to me, turns around, waves me off, and says: no, don't worry, it's just a song.
Don't worry. LOL, kids.
I belong in slothville
OMG, seriously, it's been a month. I suck.
November is always a crazy month for me. I have, like, 8 birthdays, one of which is mine, and one of which is my mother's. And hers usually falls on Thanksgiving, which she usually hosts, which means I have to supervise lest she get drunk on $8 wine and spill hot gravy on herself. Or drop the turkey on the floor. (True story. Both, actually.) But this year I got a reprieve because The Cousin From Boston came to town and thus The Uncle hosted Thanksgiving. And I learned something very important about myself.
You know how you get back to life after Thanksgiving and people say, hey, how was your Thanksgiving, and you say: oh I went to my mom/aunt/brother's house and my crazy uncle/sister/cousin was there and s/he got drunk and...hopefully that story ends well but probably not? Well guess what? I'm that person. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I threatened to cut a bitch over cornbread. In a very humorous way, of course.
Also, PROTIP: you know that Godiva Chocolate Liqueur stuff? Yeah, don't drink that like Jager.
So yeah, it took like 3 days to get over that hangover. And then I worked on the new Audio Damage site for like 2 weeks straight. I knew I had suffered some serious tunnel vision when I looked at my RSS feed and saw: you have 3,984,857,492,048 unread items.
AND THEN, amid all this, The Crandall got The Valley Fever. That was fun. Actually, he still has it. And it's still fun. So that I lost half of November makes sense, but that I lost half of December before I realized I'd lost half of December leaves me kinda scratching my head.
And now...I'm off again. To LA for a GIRL'S WEEKEND. And by GIRL'S WEEKEND I don't mean me and the BFF are off for a couple of days, I mean it is A MEETING OF THE BFFS. There will be cooking and sewing and wine and sushi and at least three of us will be wearing stupid high heels and at least one of us (ok two of us) will make inappropriate vibrator jokes. And one of us will blush. Tee-hee.
So yeah, I have to pack. My shoes. And then whatever else I remember to bring. It's just us ladies driving out so I'm guessing there's a high probability that hilarity will ensue - I will try to remember to tweet it as it happens.
So, remember I told you about my BFF Anne, the Ikebana wizard? Well, we finally launched her website, Modern Kado, and this weekend I gave her a hand with some flowers she did for a wedding. And by helped I mean I crinkled the tissue paper, put peppermint in the boxes, and tried not to stick myself with corsage pins. Surprisingly, I was successful.
In any case, Anne is awesome, and if you're in the PHX area you should totally have her do flowers for your next party. And if you're not in PHX you should read her blog because she has good flower tips and really cute dogs.
Maynard & Marshmallow
So, yeah, I'm dog-sitting. I know as much about dogs as I do about kids, which is to say, not much. I know to feed them. I know occasionally they have to pee. I know they like their heads rubbed. Beyond that I'm pretty lost. But friends are friends, and my BFF took her husband for a stress reducing staycation, and thus I'm dog-sitting.
The reason the dogs need a sitter is because between the two of them they only have 6 legs. Also, they're kind of needy. And pampered. And really really cute. Seriously, one night with them and I totally get why people have dogs - they just love your ass no matter what. OMG FOOD! WE LOVE YOU! OMG HEAD RUBZ! WE LOVE YOU! OMG WE GET TO SLEEP IN BED WITH YOU, WE LOVE YOU!
Yeah, so, sleeping. That was interesting. HOW DOES THIS BED WORK? It's full of dogs and there's no blanket. Well, there was a blanket, but I thought it was the dog blanket...and well let's just say that NOW there IS a dog blanket. And at first I was like, how on Earth am I supposed to sleep without a blanket? I mean, I know this is AZ and all, but I'm from the Midwest and dammit, I need a blanket.
Then I slept with 2 dogs. I spent most of the night with Mallow in my butt and I think Maynard and I are now dating. Also, they only gave me like 3 inches of bed to sleep on. But between the two of them they put out more heat than the sun.
All in all it was a good night. But then I woke up at 5:30 this morning and discovered that my BFF's are actually huge dicks. THERE IS NO COFFEE IN THIS HOUSE. WTF? So there I was, at dawn o'clock, driving around Arcadia, covered in dog hair, all sleepy-eyed, trying to find a Starbucks. This is some bullshit!
Latte acquired, dogs fed, did I mention they have cats too? It's been an interesting 24 hours.
Last night I helped my friend Anne celebrate her 39-(for the first time)-th birthday by drinking too much wine, and eating my body weight in cheese and chocolate. So, in other words, it was the perfect evening.
Anne is awesome, I love her to death, and I wanted to make her something for her birthday. The problem is, she's super crafty, and super talented. Like, last week her husband asked for a laptop case and snap! she whips out this custom made awesome space invaders case, with little nooks and crannies for all his laptop jank, and it's totally perfect. So, what, I'm gonna come to her party and be all: Happy Birthday Annie! I made you some napkins! No. She can knit a house, so that's out. She's an Ikebana master, so no flowers. And her husband has a Dick Cheney safe for wine so it's not like I can show up with any old bottle cuz clearly, he takes that shit seriously.
Luckily, I had two things going for me. One, Anne doesn't cook. And two, she loves chocolate.
So off to the RSS reader I go, where, apparently, I've been tagging recipes since the dawn of man. DESSERT. (Loading more items...) Lots of cobblers. Seriously, why do I have so many cobbler recipes? Scroll, scroll, stop. There it is, perfection: everyday chocolate cake. You need to make this cake, if for no other reason than to lick the bowl. I subbed yogurt/milk for buttermilk and, because I was afraid it might not be chocolatey enough (snark), I added a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips that I quickly ran thru the miniprep first. The cake was dense and dark and chocolatey and fabulous, and paired well with espresso and Zin, and I know this because I tested both. (Oh, how I suffer for my art...)
Anyway, while I was perusing my seemingly endless list of cobblers, et al., something else caught my eye: Homemade Oreos. Seriously, how could that be anything but awesome?
Well, they were awesome, but holy wow I had to cut the sugar way down because otherwise I'd have sent us all into a collective hypoglycemic coma. I used 1 cup in the cookie dough and a 1/2 cup in the filling, which made it more like icing, but the taste was spot on. Oh, and a note on the cookies: to make them oreo sized (ish), use a 1 1/2 tsp cookie scoop or (nerd way) roll into balls 10 grams each. At that size I got exactly 5 dozen cookies, and thus 30 oreos (cookie math). Of those, Anne got about half (The Crandall tax).
The birthday was a chocolatey success, I'm not too terribly hungover, and I have a few oreos left (I think?). I call that a win.
Proof of life: me, my Vulcan ears, and Cousin Carl
It's been a busy two weeks! Recap: Polish Mother's Day. Big success. Sorry, no pictures, I had a house full of people, and a mom flipping pierogis, and only two hands. And maybe it's possible I was a little drunk. But in any case, it was a lot of fun, a lot of food, and a lot of leftovers.
Then, I don't know, allergies? The plague? Monday and Tuesday were lost. Wednesday was meh. Thursday, I went to LA for THE BEST WEEKEND EVAR.
Our first stop, lodging, at best foodie friend Kate's (and her husband Mark, too), where we taught their most adorable 3 year old to be even more adorable by saying things like, "You better represent, yo" and "shit."
Friday, off to The Museum of Contemporary Art to see the Art in the Streets exhibit. Just awesome, I highly recommend it should you get a chance to go. And no, I don't have any pictures of that either, because I suck.
But here's something I do have pictures of:
That would be me, and my bff Kate, and the aforementioned adorable 3 year old, making tamales. To be perfectly honest with you, I have no idea if they were right, but there were certainly tasty. Zucchini & spinach, black bean, chicken & roasted red pepper. Some queso fresco. With mexican rice, and corn with feta & cilantro, on the side. And then, I guess because we were bored or something, Kate taught me how to make a lemon-lime curd. And then, because she's awesome, Kate baked up some sugary-cinnamony pastry puffs and served the curd in a bowl with a puff and some frozen raspberries. Show off. (I jest, love).
But wait, there's more:
JPL Open House, yo.
You know who I met? Bubba, Spirit and Opportunity's Earth brother. Seriously, his name is Bubba.
I got to see some giant machines, and some microdevices, and lots and lots of rovers. One of which the aforementioned adorable 3 year old used to demolish a pile of cans (the object of the exercise) which, apparently only 1 in 100 people can do. Her father was very proud. We thought maybe she might be recruited before the end of the day.
Speaking of rovers:
The weekend also included go karts (the boys), wine (the girls), advil (the boys), sushi boats, a sewing machine, and a quadruple latte. Oh right, and Mark tried to steal the milk from the bakery. It's a long story.
I'm sure these cookies have a more formal name, like Awesome Sugar Cut Out Icebox Cookies, but I got the recipe from my best foodie friend Kate, thus they are Kate's Kookies. They are also super simple, not too sweet, and delish.
By super simple I mean:
• Cream 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of sugar
• Mix in 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla
• Gradually beat in 2 1/2 cups flour
From there you just refrigerate the dough (45 min to an hour), roll it out to about 1/8 inch, and cut out adorable little shapes with adorable little cookie cutters. I don't have adorable little cookie cutters, thus I used one from my MOMA collection. This one is blob-ish; I have another one that looks like a happy sperm, but I only use that for special occasions.
Oh right, and bake @ 375 for 8-12 minutes.
As you can see, I embellished mine with chocolate chips, almond slivers (ideas I stole from Kate), and lavender sugar (which I got from Kate). So, in other words, Kate is basically awesome.
The dough is easier to roll when it's cold, ergo the refrigeration. It is NOT easier to roll when it's frozen, so don't do that. Also, if you break it up into 3 or 4 parts (wrap in wax paper or saran) before putting it in the fridge, you can work with one batch at a time.
NOTE: if you're thinking: hey idiot, you forgot the egg! I didn't! There is none!
(PS: I'm such a geek I used my sewing gauge to measure the dough thickness)
This weekend the husband is at NAMGLA (North American Man Gear Love Association - otherwise known as NAMM) which means that I get to spend the weekend with my best foodie friend, Kate. Yay for me, and you too if you'd been invited to dinner. As you've probably already guessed we made pasta, more specifically, ravioli. On one hand, yes, it was plain cheese ravioli. On the other hand, omgwow, it was we made our own ricotta cheese ravioli.
Over the years I have discovered there are certain things you just might never think to make, but once you do, you'll never buy them again. Butter is one of those things. When I tell people I make my own butter they look at me like, seriously? and you can tell they're wondering if this somehow involves a cow. Well, I mean, of course it involves a cow, but that part doesn't involve me. For my part, it's just cream, salt, and a food processor.
As it turns out, ricotta is also one of those things. Milk, salt, lemon juice, heat, a couple minutes of your time, and did I mention, omgwow? We used half to make the ravioli, and the other half we practically inhaled. It was especially good on garlic crackers with a bit of black pepper. We strained ours longer than called for in the recipe just so we'd have nice firm ravioli, but when they cooked up they were amazingly creamy and fantastic. Little pillows of awesome, I think Kate called them.
We took both the filling and pasta recipes from Joy of Cooking and just sort of winged from there. We served the ravioli with a meat sauce Kate had already made, and pesto that we tossed together with walnuts because we forgot to buy pine nuts. Honestly, I couldn't tell the difference, but that's probably because of all the garlic. I suppose the whole process could be considered somewhat time consuming if you don't like to spend time in your kitchen. But then, if you don't like spending time in your kitchen, you probably won't be making your own ravioli.
Tonight, we sample the other half of our experiment: dessert ravioli. We have mascarpone/blueberry, drunken fig, marzipan (hey why not, she had some handy) and banana. Chocolate sauce and powdered sugar for drizzling and sprinkling. Should be good fun.
Oh, and you know what I learned this weekend? All these years I've been pronouncing mascarpone, marscapone. Oops.
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