Friday, February 26, 2010

happy friday!

At least, that's what I sound like. Anytime I get the slightest cold, I mean just the light sniffles, no big deal, nothing requiring a doctor's visit - my entire fills up with crud and then I can barely speak. And what I do manage to croak out sounds like I am doing a Darth Vader imitation. Which in turn leads people to have reactions like "OMG where did you leave your iron lung?!" or "What do you have, snout-rot? The plague? GET AWAYYY."

So that's what's been going on with me. Oh, also I cough awkwardly all the time, and sneeze like my head is actually going to unattach from my body, another thing that attracts a lot of attention to myself. Awesomeeee.

Something that has been keeping me happy, however, is the hot tub I recently adopted from my parents. They have a giant, 650-gallon, nice hot tub, that they never kept up. I can't blame them, because it's like playing junior chemist all the time, and the slightest little thing being off can cause it to turn into a giant cesspool, make the water look like milk, or make it foam up 12 feet in the air like you poured six containers of Mr. Bubble in it. (I know this, because all of those things have happened at some point or another.)

If you get a hot tub, I highly recommend getting a pool boy. In my case, that would be PB. He busies himself with all kind of little projects I dream up, which is fantastical. He puts in chlorine tablets, other magical things which make the hot tub not a bacteria pit, and basically it means I can park myself in the hot tub after a quick run through the cold and drink wine until my heart's content with minimal work. I LOVE IT. Also, if you're looking to be a cheap drunk, the hot tub will so get you there. Two glasses of wine and you are going to have to hoist me out because my legs have turned to Jello.

I'm planning on a lot of that this weekend. Should be amazing times. Hope you're having a glorious Friday!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another Day of Choices

By no means is this a cooking blog, nor am I a big chef. I just make things that I get weird cravings for, and it usually works out, and sometimes it fails in an epic fashion. Tonight we're supposed to go to a cookout with some of our good friends, and I have been asked to bring dessert. Well of course, I do not like to bring things that are not impressive. If it's just me and pb, fine, we're lucky if dessert is something besides me eating ice cream straight out of the carton. But if we are going somewhere, dangit, I must look TALENTED. Like we should be putting me on Iron Chef sometime in the near future.

My grandmother makes the best cakes; they always turn out so pretty and delicious, and she makes them seemingly without effort. Me, I prefer to cook rather than bake most of the time. Once I decided to make a plethora of different kinds of cookies for our Christmas parade party and I swore over those stupid things more than I have sworn about anything, possibly ever. I had dough stuck to the rolling pin, dough on the counter, dough on the pan, dough and flour in my hair, and likely cookie ingredients on the ceiling. All I have to say is, that's why those Keebler elves live in that tree, and GOD FORBID I should put them out of a job trying to make my own cookies.

I don't mind pies - pies are easy, and I have some killer pie recipes (talk to me about my pecan pie recipe from my great-grandmother one day, it works miracles.) But often I feel like pie is not so impressive, and also that it's more of a spring/fall dish. Pumpkin and pecan in the fall, cherry and peach in the spring and summer.

So I have decided to make a cake later. I was going to make my grandmother's delicious coconut cake, with whipped cream icing, which you serve cold and is magically delicious. However, I always forget how much time it takes to get crap that has just been in the oven to be at a refrigerated temperature. It takes a long effing time, if you were not sure about such.

I was about to make a pound cake, but then pb (who is inexplicably not really a dessert person in the first place, so when he has an opinion, I listen) said he doesn't really like pound cake. It's "not sweet enough." Which I tried to tell him is due to the overwhelming nature of the 6 eggs, 2 sticks of butter, and cup of Crisco I put in a pound cake versus the measly 3 cups of sugar. Also I tried to explain that such a ratio is a good thing - as I believe fat > sugar. But alas, that combined with the fact that pound cake requires me to flour and grease a pan dissuaded me. Have you ever smeared a pound cake pan with Crisco? There is nothing to make you feel nastier, as Crisco does NOT WASH OFF. It's like a second skin (though probably excellent for moisturization purposes.)

So finally, I have decided on Paula Deen's gooey butter cake. Not sure if I shall make peanut butter or double chocolate, but I'm leaning toward peanut butter. Everything is better with peanut butter. I've had the pumpkin variety of this before, but as it's February, I'm a little over pumpkin at the moment. The general concept turns out to be something AMAZING, however. It's like a delicious dense cake on the bottom, with a warm gooey topping/center.

Here's the recipe for anyone who feels like clogging their arteries this evening. There's a reason she calls it "butter cake" and I mean, we all know that Paula Deen doesn't have a recipe without 400 oz. of butter in it. But who doesn't love butter? As Paula says - "I am your cook, not your doctor."

Peanut Butter Gooey Cake


  • 1 (18.25 oz) box chocolate cake mix (I think Duncan Hines is the best)
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16 0z) box powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.
  2. To make the cake: combine all the ingredients in the "cake" section and mix well with an electric stand or hand mixer; pat the mixture into the bottom of the lightly greased baking pan.
  3. Prepare filling: in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth, add eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together, add powdered sugar and mix well.
  4. Spread peanut butter mixture over cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes; make sure not to overbake, the center is supposed to be gooey.
  5. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ash, Ash, Wednesday (because I have "Ice, Ice Baby" inexplicably in my head)

I bet most of you would just be as surprised as a groundhog seeing its shadow if I told you I always give something up for Lent, as I'm sure I don't come off as much the religious type. But I do like church, and I do like Lent, as it's an excellent opportunity to get me out of the February funk and get my junk together.

Problem is, I always agonize over what to give up for Lent. For one thing, I have a myriad of bad habits that need reigning in. For another thing, I LOVE MY BAD HABITS. I considered several options.

First I was thinking about giving up meat for Lent, not because I'm a crazypants vegetarian, but just because I'd probably be healthier if I did - I eat a lot of terrible fatty stuff. And a lot of times I eat meat or plan meals with that as a main ingredient just because it's automatic, which is silly. I mean I like chicken and all, but it's never like, "OMG, I really really need some chicken right now." It's more a function of loving delicious fried fattiness like chicken nuggets, or boneless buffalo wings, or all the deliciousness that comes in a Taco Bell burrito. So, due to needing all of the preceding fatty things, that was out.

Then I considered giving up Facebook. Well then how will I know about anything that is going on in the world?! I will turn into a sad recluse, at home with my cats, knitting and wearing pajamas at all times. Okay maybe that's what I do now, a lot of the time. And maybe I like it. But if I didn't have Facebook, well, I'm sure that some part of the universe would just break loose and fly off, and everything would be permanently terrible.

What about just giving up Cafe World, the world's stupidest Facebook game? You know, the one where you click things to "cook food" and the entire point is to make money and gain experience points so you can decorate your cafe. CLEARLY that is IMPORTANT and I cannot give it up.

Then I thought of giving up swearing, which is a terrible, ugly habit of mine. But then I had already failed at that before I even left the house on Wednesday, so I was feeling like my chances of success with that were pretty low. Though it's still a bad habit that I need to cut back on, so I'm trying to make it sort of a secondary-Lent promise, to at least reduce my propensity to cuss like a sailor. Not sure if that's even permissible, or how anything works at all, but I'm trying.

The winner turned out to be soda. I know you are scoffing at me, especially if you are one of those people I don't understand who only ever drinks water and healthyface herbal tea. You and me, we're not the same. I drink so much diet soda, there's a good chance it is going to cause me to grow a tumor the size of Montana one of these days. I can drink about 64 oz. of that crap every day, and I am addicted to it. My drug of choice is Diet Sun Drop, and I pity you if you've never had it. It is delicious, like a sweeter Diet Mountain Dew without the aftertaste (which my cultured diet soda palate can always discern).

I am still letting myself have a cup of coffee in the morning (but no artificial sweetener) because otherwise I would have already been locked up for committing a homicide. Let's hope this makes me a better person and breaks the addiction. If I make it through, I'm not planning on quitting entirely forever, but I am definitely going to cut back. So far, we're two days in, and no one has died, but statistics on that are liable to change at any moment. I'll keep you updated.

Do you give things up for Lent? What do you give up? Have you ever been entirely successful for the whole 40 days?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

how not to do your laundry

Um, so did something real sketch this morning. I have to speak on a panel later about working in public interest law (and was told I should "try to dress up a little," probs due to the fact that I generally look like a homeless person when I'm at the law school) and then I'm going to court. I worked at the DA's office last summer and am going back this summer, so I am headed to court this afternoon to watch some cases get tried that I worked on! Gets me all excited.

One of my main flaws, however, is that I am poor at keeping up with laundry. I don't know why, but I absolutely hate doing laundry. If I can muster up the will to actually get it in the washing machine and turn that junk on, it is a REAL BIG step for me to then switch it from the washer to the dryer within a reasonable amount of time. PS, I have that down to a science. It depends somewhat on the size and type of load you are washing and the weather outside, but generally about the most I have ever gotten out of a wet load of laundry is about 9 hours before it starts to really smell like a moldy cheese wheel. Well, this week was a big week, because I managed to get past that step. However, this was a giant load of laundry that basically involved me stuffing it in the washer and standing on it to make it fit. So of course, that took forever to dry. And could I manage to restart the dryer? Oh nooooo of course I could not. And could I bother to at least check that load of laundry the night before I need something? Of course I could not.

So this morning, at 7:15, I am running around the house in all manner of nekkidness, hair wet, looking all afluster, tearing crap out of the damp mass of clothes in the dryer like a rabid squirrel looking for my winter stash. Finally at last, I found my black leggings and my little black snow leopard print dress. Okay after I typed that, it sounds like a hooker outfit, but for reals, it is so not a hooker outfit, seriously it's cute. I threw the rest of the crap back in the washer (since it was soooo at the point of smelling like a moldy cheese wheel) and then proceeded to do The Awful Sketchy Deed. I located my bottle of lavender Febreze, SOAKED the entire outfit in it, threw it in the dryer and turned that thing on the Hotter than the Nailed Down Hinges of Hades setting.

And that's the story of why I'm nervously sniffing myself every few minutes to make sure I don't smell the bottom of a sweaty 13 year old boys' gym bag. Let's keep our hopes up!