Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dessert Friday #24

It was kind of a boring Dessert Friday last week. Well, I guess not. Maybe. You can judge.

I overdosed on sweets the entire week last week, and by the time Friday rolled around, I was actually in the mood for something salty (I know, I don't think any of us expected this day to come). So Nick got a bag of caramel and cheese popcorn from Garrett.


And...uh, I only have one picture because we may have destroyed most of that bag on the 12-minute train ride back from work. It happens.

And just because Dessert Friday was kind of not really a dessert (and also because it was about to expire), I had a crème brûlée the next day after lunch.

Lunch dessert.

Did you know Costo sells packs of microwaveable crème brûlées? Now you do. I microwaved mine and it turned out fantastic, but you can also take a blowtorch to it...if that's something you keep around (you chefs out there).

Last Friday night was a quiet one for me. One of Nick's coworkers was having a party, but I had a work holiday party the day before, so going out was just about the last thing I wanted to do on Friday. So instead, I elected to stay home, watch approximately 4 hours of Friends, and sit next to Bailey on the couch.

Okay, you can take one more picture of me.

She got a little camera shy.

Stop, I'm blushing.

Nick also got me a yoga mat for Christmas (!!!) and I broke it in immediately.


It's an Aurorae Northern Lights mat, and it cost approximately three times as much as my old yoga mat (which is on its last legs, I'm sad to say). SADLY, I think I broke this one in so much (read: practiced twice on it) that it already has a small rip in the middle (what!). Thankfully Aurorae has a good defect policy, so as long as I get on returning it soon, I'll be able to get a replacement.

The rest of the weekend was spent at Ikea picking out bookshelves (our old one was literally leaning to one side and I prayed every day that it wouldn't fall over) and then putting them together.

The instructions for the shelves came with a good life tip.

You should have at least one friend.

We ended up getting two bookshelves because I wanted glass doors and Nick was all "But I like seeing the books," and apparently our method of compromise is to just get everything everyone wants, so now we have one bookshelf with glass doors, and another one that's identical except without the doors so Nick can see his books.

We spread out the building over two days, and Bailey supervised both times.

Do it right.

As soon as I opened the box for the bookshelf with glass doors, I regretted buying it because there were approximately six gazillion bits and pieces.

What is this?
Have fun with that. I'll be here.

Bailey got a bit curious at one point.

But there are toys on the ground!

Thankfully she knew she would in big trouble if she so much as sniffed at any of the pieces, so she mostly stood her ground on her tower.

Please. I'm an angel.

Apparently the building process was so enthralling that she ended up passing out.

Just let me know when I can jump on the shelves.

It turned out okay. There was a small hitch with one of the hinges, but we now have a standing bookshelf with glass doors.

It has doors!

I don't know why it looks crooked. I took a torpedo level to it from all possible sides, and it was straight every way, so I'm just going to stop panicking and assume that it's not going to fall over.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dessert Friday #23

It's been so long since Friday I couldn't even remember what I had for dessert until I asked Nick.

Back to Crumbs.

Nick took responsibility of providing Dessert Friday last week since my desserts from Magnolia were such a big failure the week before.


Red velvet

Surprised I ate the red velvet one? You shouldn't be. I bet next time I go to the doctor for a check-up, they're going to come back and say I have abnormal amounts of red food coloring just sitting in my system and it's slowly poisoning me.

Thanks cupcake

To counter the massive amounts of terrible-for-me food I ingest, I've started doing more yoga because it's colder than Siberia outside so I never want to run, and let's be honest, I hate running with a passion whether or not the weather is agreeable. I'm also too cheap to spend $500 on a yearly gym pass (IT'S A LOT OF MONEY OKAY), so that leaves me and my yoga mat in my dining room (on days when I don't go to the studio).

Bailey watches me struggle through every Ashtanga move and judges heavily.

You're doing it wrong.

She's been an absolute terror the past few days, basically running laps and jumping all over the place.


She'll have bouts of sanity, but don't be fooled. She's a nut.

Lies. I'm an angel.

We're doing this "Letters to Santa" charity thing at work where we each buy presents for a child in need in one of the neighboring schools, and last night I spent approximately 45 minutes of my life wrapping this toy cash register that my child requested. She also requested a puppet, but apparently Target and Wal-Mart do not carry puppets, so I gave up the first time I went shopping and got her socks instead. Then of course last weekend when I went to Ikea, there were bins after bins of puppets. Of all places. So now she gets her Christmas wishes, plus two pairs of fuzzy socks.

This was really hard to wrap.

It was a terrible wrapping job. I'm not even going to show you a picture. That child is probably going to open her present and wonder why Santa hates her and mangled her wrapping paper.

Orrr she'll just start playing with her cow puppet and toy cash register and put on those adorable fuzzy socks. I like this scenario more, so I'm sticking with it.

In other news, Nick and I beat Machinarium and now I seriously don't know what to do with my time.

Although...my Blu-Ray set of all (yes ALL) the Harry Potter movies came in the mail today (finally, it's been so long I forgot that I bought them), so I guess that's what I'll be doing for the next week or so.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dessert Friday #22

Don't worry. I'm still alive. Just really terrible at keeping up with posting.

On Friday, my friend Katherine told me about this computer game called Machinarium, so...that's what I've been doing since Friday. It's a point and click puzzle game, you're a robot, you have to go along and solve these puzzles...I'm making myself sound like the most interesting person in the world, right?

Absolutely wrong.

I got Nick and myself cupcakes and a slice of red velvet cake from Magnolia for Dessert Friday last week.


Everything looked great, as you expect it would.


I have to say...big, big letdown. I got a pistachio cupcake:


And a devil's food cupcake:


Let me just say...save your cents and stick with the regular vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting. The pistachio frosting tasted interesting, but it was so fluffy I almost felt like I was eating Cool Whip with crushed pistachios sprinkled on top (disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against Cool Whip, but when I'm paying $3.50 for a cupcake barely the size of my palm, I'm expecting better). The devil's food cupcake had cream cheese frosting, so that obviously won me over. Still though...I think the vanilla + vanilla is better.

And then. Then there was the slice of red velvet cake.


Okay. This thing cost $6.00, and sure, it's slightly bigger than your average slice of cake, but I will absolutely not buy it again. The cake itself was dry and tasted nothing like red velvet cake. My friend at work, Eileen, made red velvet cupcakes for my birthday that tasted 100 times better than this stuff. The frosting? Don't get me started. Oh wait. Too late. I got started. Not cream cheese frosting, which is a crime. It's some weird very whipped up stuff that wasn't even their vanilla buttercream (which is heavenly, I'd just like to say). It tasted like water and powdered sugar whipped together (which it probably was).

So, in summary, I will not be buying red velvet cake from Magnolia again. It's basically just dried-out cake with some red food coloring, and it tastes worse than anything you can make from scratch yourself (not a baker? you could still do better than this), and it's $6.00 out of your wallet.

I'll eat it if you don't want it.

End rant.

Oh, I also got a 2-inch thick memory foam mattress topper last week for my bed.

It's alive.

Don't worry, it didn't stay crumpled like that.


Which isn't really a great thing, because now I'm even less motivated to get out of bed in the mornings, and the only thing I want to do is sit in bed and play Machinarium. Which is what I'm off to do now.

You are lame.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rude Kitten

I'm starting off the week after the holiday nice and strong by being sick. It's great. Couldn't have asked for a better entrance into the arctic zone and depression that Chicago will turn into in the coming months.

I came home from work a bit early today, with the intention of sitting on my couch and spacing out on my iPad. This lasted for a couple of hours, until Bailey noticed that I was paying more attention to the internet than to her.

This is concerning.

I was chatting with Nick online since he was still at work, and apparently she wanted in on the conversation.

Hey Bailey is here.

All she managed to type was gibberish.

This is hard.

Then she decided to just sit on me so I couldn't use the iPad at all.

Were you doing something? You're not anymore.

And thennn...she realized that I was wearing a hoodie with a zipper. Bailey loves zippers, and for the next hour she tried to chew and paw on it while I played defense. She was so obsessed she got a little cross-eyed with focus.


I won in the end, although she put up a good fight. She didn't chew on my zipper anymore, but she still didn't let me use my iPad.



Friday, November 25, 2011

Dessert Friday #21

I was texting happy Thanksgiving thoughts to my friend Katie yesterday, and at one point she asked me, "Are you making a turkey? Or maybe a turkey-shaped pile of cream puffs?" So, naturally, I wanted a cream puff...

And I give you...

Yes. Yes I did.

It happened again.

Katie, you are an inspiration.

And of course I kicked myself for not thinking of a turkey-shaped pile of cream puffs for Thanksgiving instead of an actual turkey. But that's okay, because my turkey did actually turn out okay (again, thanks to Mark and various online sources during my moments of panic)!


In fact it was more than edible. It was actually good. And I didn't poison anyone! Which just goes to show: the more I panic, the better I do. It's a lifestyle. I predict high blood pressure in years to come.

There was a ton of food, which unfortunately I didn't photograph very well because I was too busy panicking. But there was stuffing:


And mashed potatoes, and homemade gravy from the turkey drippings, and a bunch of food (mostly veggies, thank goodness, because I didn't think to make anything green) that my mom brought over, and an APPLE PIE that NICK MADE which you'll just have to take my word for made it to the dinner table.

There was also Pink Lady Finger Junk (so named by the Edds family). This is a dish that Nick (and everyone else in his family) absolutely needs to have on Thanksgiving. Ingredients include (not a complete list):
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapples
  • Marshmallows
  • Strawberry Jell-O
  • Lady fingers
Just from this list, you might think this is dessert. I treat it as dessert. Nick has a heart attack when I refer to it as dessert, but I can't consider something with fruit and sugar and JELL-O in it not dessert (Mark, please back me up on this one). But apparently the Edds eat it with everything else (like STUFFING) during dinner.

Whatever floats your boat. I will eat it for dessert. With apple pie. Double dessert for me.

My local grocery store apparently doesn't know what lady fingers are, and the last time I made this dish, I bought what they considered lady fingers, which was a box of crackers with sugar sprinkled on them. Uh, what? No. This year, I again failed to find them, and instead of using weird crackers, decided to bite the bullet and make my own homemade lady fingers.


I got a bit impatient and started blobbing them way too big, and they got super round.

This lady had too much turkey.

But overall, a big success and it definitely tasted better than the store-bought kind.


See what I did there? Yeah, I put all the good-looking ones on top, so you wouldn't know from the picture that I actually burned a small batch of them, because I got greedy and tried baking two batches at the same time and used the bottom rack, which I will never put anything on again because apparently things just automatically burn on the bottom rack.


You just let it sit in the fridge until it sets. I think the actual name is something along the lines of "Lady Finger Strawberry Torte." Don't ask me why it's known as "junk" now.

Bailey spent almost the entire day yesterday starting at 6:30am being CRAZY.

Who, me? Not me.

Yes, her. I guess it was for the best, because by the time dinner was about ready, she was too tired to be curious about the copious amounts of food we had just sitting out. The most she did was sniff lazily from her throne.

If you could bring me some, that would be great.

Didn't happen. She did get extra wet food in the morning though. So there you go. Kittens get Thanksgiving, too.

Now I'm off to play this game that I just learned is called Gomoku. My dad has had a set for awhile, but I'm not big on strategy games (I don't like having to think so hard while playing games), so it's basically been collecting dust, until Nick heard about it yesterday. It's basically like Connect Four, except instead of four in a row, it's five...and instead of dropping pieces into a vertical board, it's on a grid...so really, not like Connect Four except for the fact that in both games you try to make connections with your pieces. Nick is crazy about this game and forced asked me nicely to play 9404850 games after dinner tonight.

I won a whopping (count 'em)...two games. One of them was pretty epic, though. Almost half the board was covered.

I'm the black pieces.

Nick also wants to learn to play Go now (it uses the same pieces and board as Gomoku), but I think I'm going to have to turn him over to my dad for that one, because that waaay surpasses the level of strategic thinking I like to do for games.

UPDATE: Nick informs me that I actually won a whopping THREE WHOLE GAMES. So there you go. Gomoku master, right here. Bring it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

I am responsible for cooking this thing today:


My first ever Thanksgiving turkey. Shout out here to master chef Mark for emailing me instructions on how he made his turkey, thus reducing my panic level from "dangerously high" to "can maybe think straight."

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Here's to hoping I don't poison anyone with an undercooked turkey.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dessert Friday #20, etc.

That "etc." is for not updating in over a week. This is shameful.

Last Monday and Tuesday I went to Oregon for work. This means I got up at 4:30am Chicago time (2:30am Oregon time, for those of you keeping score), sat on a plane for 4.5 hours, was in meetings the entire afternoon, and then had dinner with work people. Dinner was great, but by that time I'd been awake for approximately 18 hours and was no more than an empty shell (who could still eat a lot). The next morning I got up at the crack of dawn again and flew back to Chicago. And for some reason I thought it was a good idea to not have a drop of coffee or any other form of caffeine during this entire adventure. So that was good.

Apparently this completely wiped me out for the rest of the week, because I a) couldn't ever get up in the morning, and b) would sit on my couch immediately after I got home from work and not move. Thankfully Nick had tacos ready for dinner the Tuesday I got back (what a keeper), because I certainly wasn't going to feed myself.

Thanks Nick.

Bailey was pretty upset with me when I got home last Tuesday. First she wouldn't let me out of her sight.

I will be right here watching you.

And then she got all emo.

You left me for two whole days.

But it wasn't anything a few (five) treats couldn't fix.

We can be friends again.

Did you think I forgot about Dessert Friday? Worry not.

Cream puffs.

Yup. Again. And guess what? They had extra filling this time. So it seemed.


This past weekend, we went down to Illinois (yes, I realize that Chicago is in Illinois, I mean Illinois as in the home of the Fighting Illini) to visit Nick's sister and to watch the Illinois-Wisconsin football game.

Players standing around.

Nick is a Badgers fan (I really have no preference - in fact, I can name maybe three positions in football, and aside from the quarterback, I really have no idea what anyone else does), and although they played a pretty ugly game the first half, thankfully they won so Nick didn't have to mope the rest of the day.

And the rest of the day was spent...cooking and feasting on a pre-Thanksgiving meal! We figured since we were down there visiting, we might as well have an early Thanksgiving. Which was just fine by me, because that meant I could basically have two Thanksgivings.

Don't worry, I've got some large sweatpants stashed in the back of my closet.

Oh. I should mention here that there were also....snakes!


No, we didn't eat them. Nick's sister and her boyfriend, Mark, breed snakes (ball pythons), and they had an impressive setup of bins for their snakes (if you're in the market, let me know and I will let them know). And I held them! Multiple ones (not at the same time)!

This is proof that I held at least one snake.

They felt really interesting. Pure muscle, smooth, and any bigger than they were would have had me running as fast as I could out the door.

So that was exciting. Aside from that, the afternoon consisted mainly of sitting around the fireplace, playing this game called Dominion (I have to say one of the few games involving cards that I actually enjoyed playing), and eating.

I wish we had this in our apartment.

The meal was, in a word, epic. Mark is a fantastic cook, and the turkey he made was definitely hands-down the best turkey I've ever eaten. The rest of us pitched in here and there. Mainly for moral support. Although I did make some potatoes, Chinese-style (recipe from my mom, which was possibly the most aggravating thing in the world to figure out, because it mainly consisted of directions like "put in some corn starch and some soy sauce" with no actual measurements). Maybe if I ever figure out real proportions, I will let you know how to make them. For now, I'm still guessing at how much of everything to use.

Thanks 95% to Mark, 5% to the rest of us.

I had multiple servings.

Round 2.

And then I gained 10 pounds.

I made some turkey hash tonight for dinner, which was basically a mixture of potatoes, turkey, stuffing, any leftover food there was, some garlic, green onions, a tiny bit of butter, and basil (again, thanks to Mark for the idea - and the demonstration during brunch the day after our feast). I didn't take a picture of it because it's not exactly the most attractive looking meal (as the name suggests), but it was delicious and I promptly gained another 10 pounds. So naturally, I'm off now to run around the block 25 times sit on my couch and watch TV.