Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Stealing: Thanksgiving Meme!

1. Are you celebrating Thanksgiving at home or elsewhere this year? With whom will you spend Thanksgiving Day?  Goooood question!  I'm actually doing it all this year!  I'm taking a bus with my boyfriend up to his parents' place for Thanksgiving itself, then we're driving to Binghamton to visit with my family, then driving back to New York City for work on Monday.  Whirlwind?  Yup.  You got it, dude.

 2. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving?  Huh.  I don't really have any established traditions for Thanksgiving anyway, being a gluten-free-mostly-vegetarian.  Coffee, however, is non-negotiable.

 3. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV?  watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is probably the only tradition I ever really try to keep!  I love the balloons and the cheesy dance numbers and yes, especially the marching bands!  I figure it's more fun to WATCH a band on TV than to BE marching through the streets in the freezing cold.  I have a great deal of empathy for those kids in the funny hats out there.

 4. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day?  Back in the day, I would make these crackers for my dad that were...amazing.  I basically stole the idea from my aunt.  They're oyster crackers, doused in basically Ranch dressing mix, with dill and lemon pepper.  They're pretty easy to pull together, but everyone loves them, so they've become a staple of the winter holidays for my family.

 5. What do you wear on Thanksgiving?  It depends where I am!  This year, I'll probably wear a nice-ish dress, and leggings or tights.  If effort is put into the meal, effort should go into the fashion.  I guess.

 6. What's your Thanksgiving table like -- do you use special plates/silver/glasses, etc? Do you have a centerpiece? A color scheme? Candles?  Most Thanksgiving dinners I've attended usually do have some fancy layout, but I'm a big fan of more laid-back approach.  I'd say, if I were to pull together my own T-Gives dinner (and FSM help us because I am a shit cook) the tablescape would be minimal.

 7. Do you serve buffet-style or family-style? What do you have to drink?  Buffet-style?  Family-style?  Who cares as long as there's wine!  I suppose white wine would be the choice for poultry?  I'm all for that.  I'm a huge fan of any kind of bottle or box of wine, I'd be down.  Hey!  It's my vacation!

 8. Once you're at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they're thankful for?  I do like the idea of saying what you're thankful for.  Big fan of giving speeches, right here.  I always like to be sincere AND funny.  "I'm thankful for my new job, for new beginnings, for new challenges, and new friends...and new socks."

 9. Do you have dessert right after the main meal or later on?  When I was a kid, I remember having Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's house...then settling in to watch Home Alone on TV to mark the official beginning of the Christmas season.  "Finished with your turkey?  OKAY, its Christmas now!"  Being wedged into a tiny spot in her den and handed a slice of pie.  I think that's the way to do it.

 10. What do you do with your leftovers?
  Well, eat them, we'd hope!  I must reiterate that being a gluten-free-mostly-vegan means that my Thanksgiving dinner is usually little more than mashed potatoes with no gravy and whatever vegetables don't have bread crumbs on them.  I've never cared for turkey (or stuffing) or much of the foods associated with Thanksgiving, for that matter.  My dad's idea of a small Thanksgiving dinner was pretty close to perfect:  he'd sear himself a huge steak, throw some seafood on for me, and then we'd reconvene at some point later during the James Bond marathon for cheesecake.  No leftovers, minimal fuss, just relaxing.  That's the best Thanksgiving I can imagine.

Check out more Thanksgiving-themed surveys at Sunday Stealing and support our blogging community!

Friday, November 21, 2014

5 Fandom Friday: Fictional Friendsgiving

1.  Hagrid  seems like he knows how to bring the party, huh?  I imagine he wouldn't be the easiest party guest to have (possibly breaking chairs and all) but I don't stand on formality.

2.  Ralph Dibney  might otherwise spend the holiday alone, what with the whole...Identity Crisis incidents and all.  If your heart doesn't break for Ralph and Sue, then you didn't have one to begin with.  I'd sit him close by and make sure he was involved in the conversation, and force him to take the leftovers home.  Poor Ralph.

3.  Jubal Harshaw  I won't come running when he yells "FRONT!" but I'd love to have his wit and humor at my table.  He can bring the secretaries, too, if he wants!

4.  Donna Noble  and I would totally whoop it up.  Even if we couldn't talk about the whole travelling-through-time-and-space-saving-the-world thing.  Take that off the table, I feel like she's still a funny lady and I'd like to have her around.

5.  Peter Merkel, Jr.  is a thief, so I'd hide the valuables first.  But this bendy little castrati is SO CUTE and jovial that as long as he leaves the monkeys at home, he's welcome at my table!

I'm probably more than likely biased, but I think I have a great party assembled here! 

November 21st:  Characters I Would Invite To My Thanksgiving Feast
November 28th:  Black Friday Purchases I Would Sacrifice A Night Of Sleep For

December 5th - My Favorite Holiday Songs To Spread Cheer
December 12th - Presents I Want Santa To Bring Me
December 19th - My Must See List of Christmas Movies
December 26th - New Years Blogging Resolutions

January 2nd - New Years Fandom Resolutions
January 9th - My Favorite Things About Winter
January 16th - Conventions I've Been To Or Wish To Attend
January 23rd - Songs That Changed My Life
January 30th - Favorite Fandom Accessories I Own

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#tbt First Day of School

Oh man such cuteness...the last time I was adorable.  So check me out in this photo looking so fresh and professional back in my early days of schooling.  Well, big surprise - I'm going BACK to school TOMORROW!  Only this time, I'll be on the other side of the desk...sort of.  I'm working my way towards a career in education by playing the long game through an amazing opportunity I managed to stick my foot in the door this is advance notice in case things get quiet around here.  I'm actually looking forward to long days, patience-testing, strong-willed adolescents...and what it could all lead to years down the road.  Good luck, little girl.  You're gonna need it.  Gee, I hope no one picks on The New Kid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Gluten-Free Joe-Joes

Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Joe-Joes

Tastes Like:  Exactly like Oreos!  Exactly like Oreos!  The perfect crumbly texture, the cream, everything!  These cookies NAIL IT and the result is amazing!

Great With:  Coffee in the morning, decaf chai at night, a dish of ice cream (deluxe!) and er, milk, probably.

Perfect For:  Gluten-free DIRT PUDDING!  If you read the words "dirt pudding" and went "huh?" then I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry about that childhood that you never had.  Dirt Pudding is a cup of chocolate pudding with crushed-up Oreo pieces and gummy worms!  There are variations:  dirt cake, for example, is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and worms.  I suppose creative folk could substitute other gummy vermin and have the same result, but the classic is still classic for a reason.

Must Know:  As an Oreo lover, I am thrilled about these cookies being gluten-free and easily available!

Costs:  $3.99 per box, which isn't so unlike the cost of a regular box of Oreos.  It's not the deep discount we have come to expect from Trader Joe's vs. Other Grocery Stores, but finding gluten-free products is not easy and these are a treasure.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Stealing: Taking Stock

This week's Sunday Stealing theme is "Taking Stock."  It's kind of like my currently posts every month, but I like the mid-month check-in...especially because this month has been so hectic and so full of change!

a shawl for myself out of scrap yarn from other projects and it's AWESOME so far!

 Cooking:  I couldn't be bothered to cook today so I bought a store-made salad at the grocery store I know, I know.  But I'm tired and busy.

 Drinking:  "Daily Roots" juice and Peppermint Green Tea.

 Reading:  Batgirl #36 and I have SO MANY FEELINGS about it.

 Wanting:  A nice pair of affordable ankle boots for work which is way too much to ask, apparently.

 Looking:  for all the olives in this salad.  Which is actually really good.

 Wasting: on store-made salads?

 Wishing:  these cramps would subside.  I've taken Ibuprofen and still nothing.

 Enjoying:  this salad A LOT.

 Waiting:  for a call from my new job!  I can't wait to meet and chat with my new bosses!

 Liking:  I'm going to stop raving about this salad and try to think about something new work clothes!  I bought myself a couple new pieces and I feel so fancy!  And also socks with gnomes on them because come on...gnomes.

 Wondering:  if I'll be any good at my new job.  Only time will tell!  Maybe all these nerves are contributing to the cramps, HUH?

 Loving:  Christmas music.  It's so weird.  I usually hate all that, but this year, I'm just excited!

 Listening:  lots of jazzy big band old standards.

 Needing:  a good night's sleep tonight.  My noisy neighbours were at it big time all weekend, all night and early in the morning too!  I reported them to the cops twice in eight hours because the window panes were shaking!

 Smelling:  like red onions, thanks to this salad.

 Wearing:  an oversized Pinkie Pie t-shirt that says "AWESOMENESS!" and a pair of sleep boxers...and socks with cars on them.

 Following:  ...this new meme even though I'm a little late.  Oops.

 Noticing:  that there's a baby upstairs.  I usually can't hear anything but throbbing music this time of night.  I don't really know which is worse.

 Knowing:  that I always accomplish whatever I set my mind to, so I have nothing to worry about with this new job.

 Thinking:  about future posts on this blog!

 Feeling:  nervous about my impending phone call.

 Bookmarking:  frames from Batgirl to help me understand how I feel about it.

 Opening:  the Greyhound bus website

 Giggling:  at Doctor/Donna teamup episodes.  Best pairing!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Enh, What's Up, Diane? Ice Cream

ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION:  it has recently come to my attention that Diane Keaton, aka TheGreatestStarOfAll, likes to dip carrots in peanut butter.
Class, can we think of anyone else who does this?  OH WAIT.  ME.  That's right.

And while I may cringe at the thought of carrots in ice cream, peanut butter on ice cream is just the ticket!

The usual suspects:

can of condensed milk
1 pint heavy cream
Hershey's Special Dark syrup
Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
Peanut Butter M&Ms

I start by blending together the condensed milk and heavy cream, adding Hershey's Special Dark syrup to taste.  I think I ended up putting about 2 to 3 Tbsps in there?  This bottle, bought ON SALE, has lasted me like forever.  It has only just now begun to wheeze and need a spanking, if you know what I mean (ed. note:  you know what I mean).

I folded in the entire bag of peanut butter chips, and then ladled the mixture into a smaller container for freezing, layering the whole bag (okay, the whole bag minus several handfuls) of Peanut Butter M&Ms as I went.

I tried to make a star on top out of the M&Ms but there can be only one star in this blog entry - and that's Diane Keaton, ladies and gentlemen.

Freeze it for a few hours then enjoy in a starched white turtleneck in your Hamptons beach house while pouring out the novel of your soul.  Or dip some carrots into it.  If you're brave.

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Fandom Friday: Get Smart

Five Fandom Friday
has been going on for over a month now thanks to The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick.  This week we're talking about our top five smartphone apps...I expect to see some good recommendations here!

1.  Instagram  I think the first app I downloaded when I got my phone as a Christmas present like three years ago was Instagram!  It was cool then, it's still cool today!  And when there are millions of apps and new ones being made all the time, that kind of staying power means you're a classic.  I love the idea of sharing just a photo - it's like the Twitter bird, only a picture is definitely worth more than 140 characters.

2.  Blogger  and I have a complicated relationship.  This app allowed me to continue to blog even while I didn't have a working computer for over a month!  It's also easy and wonderful to blog on-the-go, when you have ideas on the fly, and to easily insert photos into blog posts without downloading from your phone.  However, it needs A LOT OF BARS to work and sometimes coaxing to upload or save drafts.  Bad internet connections can make you lose a post!  Ack!

3.  Pandora  is the reason I sleep at all.  I love music.  All kinds.  And I love being surprised.  So I love my many radio stations on Pandora!  During the colder months, the "holiday season," I prefer my big band/swing/jazz standards station because it just seems to fit New York City in the wintertime...twinkling lights, chilly breezes and Ella Fitzgerald to welcome you home.

4.  Pinterest  this is one instance where I think the app is better than the mobile site!  It feels so easy to scroll and repin from the app - much easier than IRL (er, on a computer).  DON'T EVEN LIE and act like you don't sometimes pull out your Pinterest when your date goes to the bathroom and start looking at scarves and cupcakes and blankets and shit DON'T EVEN LIE.  Because it's everything we love about Pandora but with pictures.  Ahh.  Gratifying.

5.  DC Comics  I feel bad mentioning this one - a friend of mine downloaded his account onto my phone and now I have access to everything he reads...which includes EVERY BACK ISSUE of Secret Six!!!  My go-to on the train, if I can't grab a seat and knit, is to grab some pole and flip through the comics.  I SWEAR I'M NOT A POD-PERSON, I'm still the same girl who vowed never to get an e-reader, reading BOOKS on a screen is a) sacrilege and b) physically unpleasant.  But reading COMICS is a whole other ball of wax and ALSO, it's so easy to grab screen shots of what you love and post to INSTAGRAM (full circle, this post) to share the comics love!

October  3rd:  Gateway Fandoms That Made Me Who I Am Today

November 14th:  Smart Phone Apps I Cannot Live Without
November 21st:  Characters I Would Invite To My Thanksgiving Feast
November 28th:  Black Friday Purchases I Would Sacrifice A Night Of Sleep For

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#tbt Coney Island Dreamin'

This summer, I was determined to make my way to Coney Island before the end of the summer season and, one perfect day in September, I got my wish.

It was the absolute perfect Coney Island day.  I got off the train and right on the Cyclone.  From there, I had a latte (you can take the girl out of Manhattan...) and slipped out of my shoes to feel the waves rush over my feet and bury my toes in the sand.  The most amazing part was when the waves dragged away the beach right from under your feet, and you sank into the shoreline! 

Fortified by oysters and Nathan's cheese fries, there were more rides, rides and rides (and my first-ever Go-Kart experience!) before the sun set late in the evening signalling time to board the train back from the brink of Brooklyn up to my Harlem home.  But I am so glad for having spent a day at the beach when I had the chance!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Quinoa and Black Bean Tortilla Chips

Trader Joe's Quinoa and Black Bean Tortilla Chips

Tastes Like:  Quite salty, very savory and hearty tortilla chips.  Far more robust than your average corn chip!

Great With:  Hummus, Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole, and a few days' backup of Bloglovin' feed.

Perfect For:  NACHOS, specifically, Settlers of Catan-themed Nachos!  These chips are the same shape as the "land" pieces in the game, so it would be fun to see a spread of these made up like the game:  broccoli florets for Wood, Cheese blend for Wheat, cauliflower Sheep, etc etc etc!

Must Know:  these are gluten-free, as tortilla chips so often are, but these are WAY tastier.

Costs:  $2.99 per bag, not bad for chips but a little on the pricey side for typical TJ fare.  However, they are cheaper than many gourmet-fancy-pants-brand tortilla chips, so it's still a bargain!

Monday, November 10, 2014

We Have To Talk About Batgirl

I know I'm tardy to the party here, but I just - *just* got my hands on Batgirl #35 - the now infamous "new Batgirl" - and am desperate to have discussion about it.  See, I have two friends - both dudes - one who hated it and the other liked it.  I'm inclined to say I'm with the latter camp, even though I have some strong feelings...

Friend who hated it couldn't get over Babs in her undies in this scene.  I can see both sides:  yes, it's gratuitous underwear shots, she could just as easily have been wearing ratty sweatpants when she awoke from her slumber!  On the other hand, this is pretty much the reality of roommates.

This scene totally captured my heart.  The way Babs is drawn, the detail on the barista (plugs and moustache and neck tattoo?  sooooo Brooklyn), even SAILOR MOON on her laptop in the background!  This might be my favourite panel of the issue.

Ugh.  And this was my least favourite.  I know she's going undercover to catch a bad guy, but OUCH.  I'm hoping that's the intention:  to make the reader cringe.  Barbara Gordon, you have sunk so low. 

Overall, I thought the art was charming, the story was interesting, the way the issue was laid out was clever and speedy and fun and I'm excited to read more.  What does everybody else think?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Stealing: Blue Period

The hip new linkup hangout is over at Sunday Stealing!  Feel free to "steal" and link up to join in with everyone else and get better acquainted with everyone!

The Blue Meme

26) Are you happy with the person you've become?  Yes, very!  I love the mantra "I am proud of the person I have become, I fought very hard to become her."

27) What's a sound you hate; sound you love?  Sound I love...a doorbell!  That's my text-tone.  I HATE THE SOUND MY NEIGHBOR MAKES.  He stands out in the street all day long and makes this whistle that sounds like a bird, or bombs falling, or both.  It's ear-shattering, startling, and it annoys THE CRAP OUT OF ME.  I wanna be like, "Sir, ARE YOU AWARE that you are making a noise that can be heard A FULL BLOCK AWAY?  And that MAYBE YOU SHOULD STOP THAT?"

28) What's your biggest "what if"?  Hmmm...I always wished I was less shy when I was young.

29) Do you believe in ghosts?  I can't tell you that - I talk about ghosts for a living!  I have to maintain the mystery...

30) How about aliens?  Yes, in a sense.  I believe that life in some form must certainly exist SOMEWHERE in the "known universe" or even further out!  Space is infinite, thrilling, exciting, unknown!

31) What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?  Well, moving to New York City, obviously.

32) What's the worst place you have ever been to?  Today I used the public bathrooms in Thompkins Square Park.  "Where Dignity Goes To Die." 

33) Can insanity bring on more creativity?  Probably?

34) Most attractive actor of your opposite gender?  I try not to find actors attractive because generally, THEY ARE HORRIBLE PEOPLE.  Not all of them.  Just...don't date them.  Just don't.

35) To you, what is the meaning of life?  Enjoy it!  "Do not take life too will never get out of it alive!"

36) Define "Art".  No, YOU define "art"!

37) Do you believe in luck?  YES SO MUCH.

38) In your opinion, what makes a great relationship?  A great relationship is like a Reese's cup - you have two things, chocolate (which is sexy and fun and cool) and peanut butter (which is sensible and healthy) that are great on their own but come together to make something AMAZING while still retaining strong individuality.

39) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?  "Extraordinary" popped into my head (the Liz Phair song off her famous "selling out" album?) and I was like "oh MAN that song!"

40) Where were you yesterday?  Michael's, Trader Joe's, and Greenwich Village.

41) What's the worst injury you've ever had?  I broke my arm on my fifth birthday!

42) Do you have any obsessions right now?  NOPE.  Unless knitting counts...

43) What's up?  I have really good news about the future but I don't want to say anything until it's all FOR SURE.

44) Ever had a rumor spread about you?  Oh yeah.  People in high school thought all sorts of terrible shit about me.  Because I was so quiet.  If I had been less afraid that everyone hated me, maybe I'd have been able to relax and be as confident around people as I am today.

45) Do you believe in real magic?  NOPE.

46) Do you ever hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?  ...yeah, but to be fair, they done me REAL wrong.

47) What's your favorite (non-pet) animal?  UNICORNZ.

48) What is your secret weapon to get people to like you?  Here's a terrible truth about life:  if you want to endear someone to you, treat them poorly.  It's why I suck at being friends. 

49) Where is your best friend?  Miami and Baltimore.  See?  I suck at friends.

50) What do you think is Satan's last name?  Goood one!  I vote for something goofy like "Farts."

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Chocolate Chippuccino Ice Cream

As I lay awake in bed at night, I think of ice cream recipes to try.  I'm not kidding. This one came to me as I woke from a blissful and restful slumber one Sunday morning.  I thought, "How could I make the ultimate coffee flavored ice cream?"

The lineup:

1 pint of heavy cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 oz of cold brew coffee concentrate
2 Tbsps cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of allspice
1 bag of dark chocolate chips

Dump everything but the chips into a big glass mixing bowl and beat it beat it beat it beat it until it folds, but stop before it peaks.  Gently fold in the bag of however many chocolate chips are left after you've taste-tested them to make sure they aren't poisoned.  I sprinkled a few on top so it would look pretty:

The result?  A lot like a more-solid frappuccino from a popular coffee-beverage chain, actually. As such, I decided it needed a crosshatched-drizzle on top:

It also smacks of eating raw cookie dough, but perhaps that's just the chocolate chips playing with my brain!  It also gave me the idea to add other things to coffee ice cream in the future:  coconut, almond slivers, (smaller chocolate chips), a whole new world!

What would you "spike" your coffee ice cream with?

Friday, November 7, 2014

5 Fandom Friday: Mmmm Comfort

Five down and four to go on Five Fandom Friday.  I'm sad to see this meme on the way out but I am happy that today's prompt is once again about FOOD!  I love food and what's better than COMFORT FOOD?  I can't wait to read everybody's food choices this week.  I hope mine pass the...taste test?  That's a cheesy joke, I'm sorry, I can't help it, I'm corny!!!

1.  Ice Cream  is probably on everybody's list!  Whenever I get sick, I always head right for the grocery store for juice and ice cream's part of the healing process?

2.  Peanut Butter  it has been said that this is "all I eat."  which is not far from the truth.  I eat peanut butter every day and would eat it every meal if I wasn't so EXPENSIVE...but peanut butter is my absolute favourite!

3.  Coffee  that first sip of coffee in the morning is like a hug.  it's the reassurance that everything is right with the world and everything is Gonna Be Just Fine.  wake up with a sore throat?  let coffee soothe you.  cold morning?  coffee warms you from the inside out. stomach not feeling great?  coffee sets you right.

4.  Tomato Soup  from my I Heart N Y  mug.  cold wintry days and sick days both don't stand a chance to this!  I like it very simple, the Trader Joe's Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup is perfect.

5.  French Fries  I never met a French fry I didn't like.  steak fries to shoestring, waffle cut to curly.  they can be seasoned, salted, or cold leftovers straight from the fridge.  French fries are the ultimate in sharing  foods!  They take me back to being a teenager and hanging around the local Denny's for hours, playing cards and gossiping.  A good French fry is always something to write home about.  Given the option between a side of fries and a side of salad?  DUH.

October  3rd:  Gateway Fandoms That Made Me Who I Am Today

November  7th:  Comfort Foods That Always Make Me Feel Better
November 14th:  Smart Phone Apps I Cannot Live Without
November 21st:  Characters I Would Invite To My Thanksgiving Feast
November 28th:  Black Friday Purchases I Would Sacrifice A Night Of Sleep For

Thursday, November 6, 2014 November

FEELING:  Some day, I won't be stressed anymore.  I swear.  The last two weeks in October were a MESS of constant tours and work, and that seems to have carried over.  I'm constantly jumping through hoops and completely going out of my mind but all this is so much fun and so challenging, that it makes me feel alive!

WATCHING:  I'm pleased to announce that I am all caught up with Sailor Moon now, despite suffering a whole week of broken heart before Sailor Moon R debuted on Hulu.  Now the girls are back to fighting evil by moonlight, and I'm waiting for them to start winning love by daylight!  I've also been watching lots of Bob's Burgers and can't wait for some good downtime to catch up on Doctor Who!  I'm making my way through the classics slowly but surely and I love Sarah Jane.  Her outfits, her faces, her temper!  I love it!

LISTENING TO:  When the weather turns chilly in NYC but before it's acceptable for Christmas music (AFTER THANKSGIVING AT THE EARLIEST) I'm all about the Big Band.  Classic standards like Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong, peppered with Sinatra and good instrumentals.  WhenI'm feeling more cynical, I switch it over to my 90's ladies - Fiona Apple, Liz Phair, and Garbage!

READING:  My friend hooked my phone up to his comiXology account and I've been re-reading Secret Six before it comes back next month!  I have a pile of books to catch up on as well - phew!

WORKING ON:  Preparing for an "audition" of sorts (which will be - phew! - over by the time this post publishes!) that could change the course of my life so NO BIG DEAL THERE. I honestly thought (HA!) that after Halloween ("Black Friday weekend" for ghost tour guides, trust me) my life would settle down - this excitement is all good, though!!!

THINKING ABOUT:  Growing my hair's healthier than it's ever been, and up to my collarbone, and I'm not completely hating it.  Maybe I'll see how long it will go.

EATING:  My home-made ice creams (seriously - flavor suggestions here!) and a lot of eggs.  I am attempting to pioneer something called the "Dirty Scramble" which is like an omelet except you accidentally destroy it when you flip it.  So it's basically a whole lotta stuff in the pan (my favourite is 1/4 of a Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo, a heaping handful of broccoli florets diced tiny, and four eggs) all cooking up at the same time.  I'm also working towards perfecting the art of the fried egg, while simultaneously trying to determine how it metaphorically represents my life right now.

LOOKING FORWARD TO:  Big changes, and the holidays.  I don't normally enjoy the holidays but this year feels different.  Nothing has changed, but maybe I've changed.  Granted, it's November, and I'm not quite ready to put on the jingle bells yet, but it's not bothering me as much as years past. 

MAKING ME HAPPY:  Knitting on the subway - it makes me feel so accomplished when something that helps me zone out and relax results in something that makes someone else happy!  Everyone I know is hitting me up to make them hats and scarves now.  Sometimes it's easy to feel lost in the big city, to feel like you have nothing to offer, to feel like you're not special.  Just the small thing I'm able to do (that's really easy, actually) reminds me that I'm valuable and talented when I felt like I was losing myself in the shuffle.  Alllllso, homemade ice cream.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Just Mango Slices

Trader Joe's Dried Fruit Just Mango Slices

Tastes Like:  Very sweet and tough fruit leather. 

Great With:  A spread of other delicious whatnots:  almonds, figs, maybe a dollop of yogurt.

Perfect For:  eating by itself.  The chewy nature makes these seem pretty difficult to combine with anything - just enjoy their simplicity on their own.

Must Know:  this product is pretty insistent that they are JUST mango.  so avoid it if you're allergic to mango.  Kay?

Costs:  $2.99 for plenty to share or NOT SHARE!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

To Cap It Off

When the weather gets colder, it's time for hats!  Looking good in hats is a special talent of mine (don't scoff - it takes a lot of work to pull off a good hat!) and on top of that (heh, hat pun?) hats serve the secondary purpose of disguising the fact that you've been too busy working two jobs six days a week to touch up your roots.  Oops.  Secret's out.  Might as well share this secret with you:

Most Basic Bitch Beanie Ever

Vannah's Choice yarn - pick yo colours - I like "fall jewel tones"
size 11  16" circular needles

Cast on 64 stitches if you have an itty bitty head.  Normal-headed folks might need 70-72 for their oversized noggins.  Weirdos.

Knit 40 rows (changing colour as desired.  I did 10 rows of green, 5 red, 5 green, 5 purple, 5 green, 5 gray, 5 green)

For the next 12 rows, alternate knit & purl stitches to make a ribbed pattern.  This is a great video for help if you need it:

Bind off, add a pompon to the top, and you're done!  This hat took me all of two days to complete, and most of that was either at work, on the subway, or drunkenly watching Sailor Moon (ya break my heart, Endymion!).  I finished it three weeks ago and have been pretty much living in it ever since - only taking it off to sleep of (reluctantly) to bathe.  Go forth and be adorable!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

I call this sundae, "Gluten-Free To Be You And Me."

For my second experiment with homemade ice cream, I wanted to make a coffee ice cream that would taste like the flavoured coffee I loved getting from Tom's.  I used half a batch of ice cream base, plus 1/2oz of cold brew coffee concentrate, roughly 2.5 Tablespoons of cinnamon and a dash each of nutmeg and allspice.

The result?  Tastes a lot like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  If I were to attempt this again, I would add MORE coffee to the mixture!  I might also fold in some raisins and try to add a swirl of peanut butter as well.  Dare we fly that close to the sun?  Not with the ice cream in your hands.  It would melt.

I topped him off with two gingerbread Peeps and a drizzle of Hershey's Special Dark syrup (ON SALE OH YES) and melted down some Brunette spread from Le Pain Quotidien.  That stuff is the bee's knees.  Next time you pass a LPQ, BUY SOME.  It hardened into a shell on the ice cream and was a fantastic nutty addition to the sundae!

I can't wait to experiment with fancier - and weirder! - flavors in the future!  What would YOU try?  Any suggestions?

Friday, October 31, 2014

5 Fandom Friday: I WANT CANDY!

Wow-ee!  It's been a month of linking up with The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick to play 5 Fandom Friday!  This was my favourite prompt so far and the easiest to answer:

1.  Mounds2.  Almond Joy  I was lucky growing up that both of my brothers and my mother despised coconut - as long as I could hide these two (or eat them!) before my dad found them, I was safe!  There is nothing.  I repeat.  NOTHING so delicious in my mind as coconut.  I wear coconut butter EVERY DAY, for frying out loud! 

3.  York Peppermint Pattie  oh yes, Sir, these are one of the best!  Finding one in your stash was highly lucrative - if you could resist it yourself, you could trade it for at least three of...

4.  Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
  THE ULTIMATE.  The smell of these conjures up images of trading candy on the floor, leaving greasy brown crumpled-up circles in their wake.  Is there anything more Halloween-ey than a Reese's?  Its orange and yellow packing LOOKS like a jack o' lantern.  When you take a bite, he becomes a crescent moon shape.  Reese's is the epitome of Halloween candy.

And who can resist this adorableness?

5.  Payday
  while the chocoholics fight over their Snickers and Milky Ways, I quietly relieve them of their Paydays.  Peanuts.  Caramel.  Shut up.  It's perfect.

October 31st:  The Halloween Candy I Always Hope For When Trick-Or-Treating

November  7th:  Comfort Foods That Always Make Me Feel Better
November 14th:  Smart Phone Apps I Cannot Live Without
November 21st:  Characters I Would Invite To My Thanksgiving Feast
November 28th:  Black Friday Purchases I Would Sacrifice A Night Of Sleep For

Thursday, October 30, 2014

#tbt The Closet Costume

Ahhh, the art of the Closet Costume - a Halloween costume pulled together last-minute out of things you already own in your closet.  This photo wasn't taken last week, it was taken twenty (eep!)ish years ago.  I was a hippie for Halloween that year (proof that some things never change?) and my costume was essentially things my mother had owned and a giant skirt made out of tie-dyed fabric which I loved.  That big rainbow skirt would be totally appropriate for daily wear these days, I swear.

Many of my childhood Halloween costumes have turned into outfits I just wear regularly.  Like the time I donned a poodle skirt to match my two best friends at the sixth-grade Halloween dance (mine had a fluffy petticoat) and essentially wear large circle skirts all the time now?  And how about this photo from the year I went as a gypsy (GYPSY?  HIPPIE?  I spent my whole childhood waiting to grow up into Stevie Nicks):

LOOK AT MY EYESHADOW.  Don't even try to tell me that my getup in this photo didn't have a lasting impression on the way I make my face up today.  Let's talk about that HEAD SCARF, okay?  That is SO ON TREND.  Notice the sweatshirts taking prime focus in both photos?  Halloween in upstate New York is so cold that one must always layer their costume over the requisite Hanes basic sweatsuit OR FREEZE TO DEATH.  So it has been foretold by the crystal ball.

Not even candy is worth that fate.

Okay, but only a king-sized Reese's.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Cage Free Fresh Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs

Trader Joe's Cage Free Fresh Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs

Tastes Like:  perfectly - perfectly - hard-boiled eggs. 

Great With:  cheese plates, fresh fruit, cottage cheese, breakfast and snack!

Perfect For:  turning into Devilled Eggs!  Cut in half, (gently!) scoop out the yolks, mash them together with mayonaise, cumin, vinegar or pickle juice, and scoop back into the whites.  Fairly fast, frugally fancy!  Boil a pot of tea, set out some dried apricots and figs, throw some cheese on a platter and you have fancy tea time SET.

Must Know:  these are eggs.  they contain egg.

Costs:  $2.49 for a bag of 6 - which always leaves you wanting more!.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Escargot All Out

When you're dashing to a lunch date with your feller and he texts you this picture: know your lazy Sunday is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

The plan was to meet at The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market (home of The Food Network.  No, really).  We had intended to park at the raw bar for some uni - that's sea urchin, to the UNI-nitiated (pun totally intended but possibly not worth it).  It comes in a spiny, tassley bowl that looks like something Bob Mackie would design to keep Sonny Bono's green M&Ms in backstage of The Sonny and Cher Show, if you can picture that.  A dozen or so oysters later, my guy reminded me about the escargot.

These poor, former garden terrors had been stuffed with butter and parsley and the plan was to heat them in the toaster oven at home.

Look!  That's my very own feet!  See, I totally did this at home - not even wearing shoes.  I eat bugs right out of their own homes without even wearing protective footwear, that's how hardcore I am.

After they cooked in their own juices ("Imagine...being cooked in your own juices."), it was time to pry them out of their shells and drink their buttery graves muah hah hah hah hah!

When all the decadent carnage is done, you're left with a pile of rather pretty shells, if I do say so myself.  I happen to think air plants would be very happy in these!  Or could we possibly donate them to homeless hermit crabs?  I had the idea to make jewelry out of them, and wear it about gardens like cannibals wearing the bones of the men they've devoured but I think my idea of intimidating snails got voted down.  What should I do with the shells instead?

If you've never tried escargot before, this is the way to go, I think.  Ten minutes in the oven, and you can try it - once - at minimal risk!  The only concern here is becoming addicted to them and having to go all the way down to Chelsea Market every week to get a dozen or so to get you through but hey, let's not escar-GO crazy, here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Stealing: Book Talk!!!

While Sunday Social is on hiatus, the hip place to be is at Sunday Stealing!  I love this week's questions because I LOVE BOOKS!!!

1. Favorite childhood book?  Birds Fly, Bears Don't.  I know all the stories by heart.  Special second place to the first book I ever read, Go, Dog, Go!, a frenetic journey through the secret lives of dogs.

2. What are you reading right now?  I've been reading comics off my iPhone!  How tragic!  Sorry, book purists, I just got my hands on comiXology and have been re-reading Secret Six before it returns in December - oops!  Secret's Out!  We'll talk more on this later.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?  I have a confession:  since I moved to NYC, I haven't checked out a single library book.  I think I'm afraid I wont return them in time?  Without the comfort of knowing that my dad is CEO of the local library system (like my entire childhood) and I can't just call to renew a book, it's scary to me to think - OVERDUE FEES!!!

4. Bad book habit?  Much like Bane, I love to crack the spines.  Makes them easier to read!

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?  Yeah...see above.

6. Do you have an e-reader? NOOO!  I hate the idea of reading WORDS off a screen!  Comics on my phone...different.  But the written word should be grokked off a page...something tangible that you can smell.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?  One at a ADD can't cope with conflicting plotlines.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?  Actually, yes, but not because of the blog.  Because of my commute!  I've started reading on the trains because my journeys have become longer and more unpredictable.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?  The Number of the Beast.  Sorry, Heinlein, ol' Buddy ol' Pal.  I say this with love, because he is my favourite author - I gave up on this one entirely.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?  Hard to say because Job: A Comedy of Justice was the book that introduced me to Robert A. Heinlein and his awesomeness.  But I think the one I truly loved the most (and keep wanting to re-read!) was Time Enough for Love.  It made me cry on the subway MULTIPLE times, shocked the pants off me (heh) and set up my second-favourite book, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, which comes close to that in terms of making me weep in public and I want to pull the first half of the book into reality and curl up and live inside of it!!!

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?  shame on me - almost never.  I know what I like and I know what I don't like - chick lit (Shopaholic), the Brontes and Austen, and most YA just doesn't do it for me.  Sorry!  I know!  No judgement if that's what you like, I wouldn't want you to judge me for my sexy robots and time-travelling lechers.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?  Science fiction, speculative fiction, short stories, and coming-of-age graphic novels.

13. Can you read on the bus?  NOOOOO I can't read on the road because I get HELLA CARSICK.  Which is unfortunate but I'll accept that gracefully because it doesn't bother me ONE BIT to read on the subway!

14. Favorite place to read? The subway, definitely!  It makes the commute (ugh) something to look forward to!  Second is the laundromat.  A good book can turn any shitty New York "waiting" scenario into something glorious.

15. What is your policy on book lending?  Never never never!  Okay, once in a while.  I lent my favourite, vintage copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude eleven years ago and NEVER GOT IT BACK.  So never lend a book that can't be replaced.  And as a funny side note, I now have TWO copies of that book...just in case.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?  SO MUCH.  They look destroyed when I'm through with them but I think that's charming.  That means they journeyed with me as much as I did with them.  Like the Velveteen Rabbit, it shows how much they were looooved.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?  Nope, not really.  Unless the book is a gift, then I'll write away on the first page to the receiver.

18. Not even with text books? No, even then I preferred to make note-cards!

19. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? I read  A New Culture of Learning for business, not for pleasure, and found that I really dug it!  Not only was it informative and easy to follow (something I didn't expect), but I learned some cool tidbits that changed the way I viewed blogging as well!  It's really neat and worth a read for anyone who's involved with The Internet which would be...EVERYONE!

20. What makes you love a book? I think it's something I touched on briefly before...if it creates a world that I want to crawl inside and live in, a character whose life I want to's as though the author gets me and knows exactly what I want and presents me a fantasy I can escape to, which is why I LOOVE Heinlein's books...but that's a story for another time...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Balsamic Berry Brownie Bonanza

You guys you guys you guys.  My life has been changed forever.

I have learned how to make my own ice cream.

Now, you know how I hate to cook, but trust me, this is so easy, even I don't hate it.  And I'm barely competent enough to boil water.  And that's only so I can pour it into my eye sockets because I HATE COOKING.
Here's the basic gist:  combine 1 small can of sweetened condensed milk (which was on sale) with 1 pint of heavy cream (also on sale).  Beat it until it folds, but stop before it peaks.  This makes your ice cream base! 

From there you can add flavors.  I recommend very strong, and not too sweet, flavors as the condensed milk is already very sweet.  Delicious, in fact.  You'll want to eat it right off the beaters!  But, uh, unplug before you do that.  Your tongue is a terrible thing to waste.

For my first adventure in ice cream making, I took half the ice cream base and added approximately 3 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar to it.  YES!  BALSAMIC VINEGAR!  SHUT UP! 

After folding in the seasoning, I was worried that my base had gone flat, so I beat it up a little more.  In retrospect, I think I should have added all the things together - cream, condensed milk, and vinegar - all at once, THEN beat it.

To set it, just put it in a bowl and cover it with cling wrap, stick in the freezer for a couple hours and YOU'RE DONE!  I used the glass mixing bowl I made it in and it was fine.

The result was a slightly tangy - as my boyfriend described it - cheesecake flavour.  WHO KNEW?  The culinary wheels started spinning - what to toppings it with?  In the end I decided to go classic:

A warm (gluten-free) brownie and fresh berries.  Balsamic Berry Brownie Bonanza!  It was BRILLIANT! 

What flavours should I try next?  I have a few in mind that I can't wait to road-test and post all about!  And CAN YOU BELIEVE how EASY IT IS to make ice cream at home???  Let me know if you try this!!!

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