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Onward

4 Jan

Cosmo facejpg

Why, hello there.

I have lots of random photos and stories from the past months that I’ve been meaning to share here, but I haven’t really been in the mood. Not for any real reason, I just feel so busy all the time. GAME OF THRONES IS NOT GOING TO WATCH ITSELF! But I do have things to post. Presents to gloat about. Cakes to show off. Dog shenanigans to share.

Honestly, most of the silence is because I haven’t been taking pictures. Like, at all. We even went on vacation and I took just three photos. It’s trauma from putting together the “slideshow” of my dad to show at his memorial service. Now whenever I take a picture of someone, I think of death. Cheerful, right? Trying to get over that. Till then, enjoy some photos of non-people! And maybe one of Stephen covered in fake blood. Because that doesn’t imply death at all!

First, of course, a doggie update. Hugo has gone from this:

Hugo little (and Cosmo!)

I love when you can see wagging tails in dog pics

To this:

Hugo eats his wheaties. And his poop.

Hugo eats his wheaties. And his poop.

I can’t believe he was that small when we moved in. Or that he was ever small, period. He is huge. Pretty much everyone who meets him makes the same joke of “Hugo? You mean HUGE-o!”

He’s still super goofy, which is wonderful. This

tongue action

. . . became this

I don't even know what he's doing

I don’t even know what he’s doing

Cosmo is also adorable and smoochable, still, of course. SPEAKING of Cosmo:

Cosmo is fancy!

Cosmo is fancy!

I commissioned my amazingly talented friend Karen to paint Cosmo in a suit, and she only laughed in the nicest way, and she did an AWESOME job (this photo really doesn’t do it justice, the lighting in my house is terrible). I absolutely love it. Shot to the top of my “things to save in a fire” list.* And she’s working on one of Hugo! Yep, I have a commissioned portrait of Cosmo wearing a bow tie. And Hugo is going to be wearing a fedora.

The vacation I mentioned was to Portland, to see Bruce Springsteen. It was fantastic. We stayed in a hotel that had a mural of John Lennon’s face on the wall.

everytime I looked at it I thought "oh, PORTLAND"

everytime I looked at it I thought “oh, PORTLAND.” And that is the face Stephen made when I said “look like John Lennon.”

We hung out with my friend Kristi and her dog Steven. That was really fun. If I was normal I would have pictures of the amazing Ethiopian dinner we went to, and Kristi being cute choosing ice cream flavors from the amazing ice cream parlor she took us to, and then MORE pictures of Kristi being cute with Steven. But I’m not normal, so all I have is one blurry phone picture of Steven mid-prance. But he is enough cute on his own.

getting some rump rubs from Kristi

getting some rump rubs from Kristi

Portland rained a lot, (SHOCKING) but we had some great food and it was very chill and relaxing. Also, it’s a town that has orange dog statues, and yes, I really want to move there.

he's even smiling!

he’s even smiling!

The highlight (and the whole point) of the mini-vacay was Bruce. Or, BBRRUUUCCEEEEEE, as he’s known to his fans (that was my facebook status the day after the concert, which was the day we saw Kristi, and she said a bunch of her Portland FB friends had the exact same status. Ha!).

We were in a killer location on the floor. Which you can’t tell at all from this terrible picture I took with my terrible phone. Bruce is jjuussssttt behind where the guy in front of me’s hand is, you can kind of see Bruce’s back. Just look for the spotlight and the space where every person’s iphone is pointing. Which is way closer than it appears here.

he's RIGHT there! I promise!

he’s RIGHT there! I promise!

I can’t even explain how phenomenal this concert was. One of my all-time favorite musicians/song-writers was encouraging me to sing along with him to some of my all-time favorite songs, while he was standing close enough to make eye contact with me. Not that we DID make eye contact . . . but man, at the time it felt like he made eye contact WITH MY SOUL. It was life-changing. My feelings were probably akin to what normal people feel when their newborn grasps their finger for the first time. The three-hour concert was one of the most completely pure, fully sincere, wholly un-cynical moments of my life.  The energy and love in that room was unbelievable. Seriously. People WORSHIP this man. We stood next to some Italians who had been following him around for the past 50 shows of his tour. Italians! English isn’t even their native tongue! Springsteen: the universal language.**

Since about March(ish?), Emily and I have been having mini-movie parties. We trade turns picking a movie then hosting a theme night. We’ve had some great themes and epic foods, especially when introducing each other to movies we haven’t seen. Emily had never seen Jaws! I know! So August was Jaws movie night at my house.

I'm very proud of my vegan shark cake

I’m very proud of my vegan shark cake

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remains of Jaws’ kill. Why is the hand larger than the torso? Why did Jaws eat all the toes off the foot? These are the mysteries of the deep, my friends. The ocean tells no tales.

da dum. da dum. DADUMDADUMDADUM. Just because the cake is vegan doesn't mean the shark is . . .

da dum. da dum. DADUMDADUMDADUM. Just because the cake is vegan doesn’t mean the shark is . . .

shark attack victims. Some of them are more upset about it than others.

shark attack victims. Some of them are more upset about it than others.

Emily's contribution! a fruitful man-eater

Emily’s contribution! a fruitful man-eater

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everyone got into the sharky spirit!

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and I mean everyone

and I mean everyone.

yeah, the whole point was to show off my cake decorating in those first photos, which don’t really do it justice. I was so proud, because I am SO bad at that, but it actually looked good! We’ve done some other great ones . . . here’s the spread from Halloween (when the move was Trick R Treat):

the jackolantern is a punch bowl!

the jackolantern is a punch bowl!

I need suggestions for January, if anyone knows a good wintery movie. I’m thinking maybe Winter’s Bone, but other than a lot of bone-shaped treats I’m not sure what the food theme would be. Also it seems lazy to choose a move that has “winter” right in the title.

Speaking of shark attacks . . .

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messy!

Stephen and I went to see the musical Evil Dead for the second year in a row. We went with our friends Lonnie and Marie, and we sat in the front row, and we all got drenched in fake blood. Lonnie and Marie LOVED the show. At one point I was worried Lonnie’s head might pop off, he was laughing so hard. It was really fun to share it with them, and a lot of the same actors were back this year, which is always fun to see that they must love the show too, to do it again. Anyway, the blood! THE BLOOD. Ridiculous. It was just chocolate syrup and food coloring, but it got everywhere. I had to throw out my contacts because they were dyed red when I took them out. It was great. Stephen looked especially gory, I think because the shaved head made the blood stand out. When we were walking out the show’s cast was standing in the lobby, kind of doing a meet-and-greet, and Ash (main character) saw Stephen and starting laughing and pointing at him. Which is always nice to have a stranger do, whilst you’re covered in blood (it was great).

gratuitous picture of puppy snuggles (GPOPS)

gratuitous picture of puppy snuggles (GPOPS)

And that’s it for now. I was gonna write some house updates, but I have to leave SOME suspense for the next post. There are walls that have been painted and bookcases installed and holes dug in yards by certain dogs and all kinds of craziness! Edge of your seat now, aren’t you? I’ll try not to let another million months go by before an update. What will happen to the internet if I don’t post dog pictures, after all? I don’t think we want to find out.

*More evidence of how I think in morbid, death-ish terms now: while admiring the amazingness of the painting, a voice in the back of my head was like, “after I die and all my possessions are given to a thrift store I hope some really awesome goofy teen buys this painting and hangs it in their bedroom on Mars.”

**I really wanted him to play “Terry’s Song,” which was my main contribution to my dad’s memorial service: the lyrics were printed on the bulletin and the song played during part of the photo DVD. But it is probably best that he didn’t because I would’ve collapsed in a puddle of emotion on floor, and then contracted a polio-syphilis hybrid disease and died because the floor was super gross.

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Bananas! So many uses!

19 Oct

To take a break from the Halloweening, let’s talk ice cream!

I am probably slow on the internet bandwagon, because I feel like I’ve seen it everywhere (at least everywhere on pinterest), but have you guys tried one-ingredient banana ice cream? I am obsessed.

  1. You cut up bananas.
  2. You freeze them. (my best results were with freezing them overnight, but I did some that were frozen for like, two hours. Still tasty, just more kind of melty)
  3. You put them in a food processor.
  4. You hit the button.
  5. You come out with something that’s the consistency of soft-serve, and (if you’re me) you add a little peanut butter, and you LOVE IT.

Seriously. Here’s more detailed steps. It’s so good. Sometimes, I just want the consistency of something, more than the flavor. Like, I might not know what I want to eat, but I know it must be in a bowl that I can take big mouthfuls of, or I know that I need to eat it with my hands. I don’t know, it’s just a thing. Which is why this is so great! When I want ice creamy goodness, it totally tricks my brain into thinking it’s ice cream, but it’s fruit! Take THAT, dumb brain! HA!

If I had kids, I would totally give this to them and claim it was real ice cream, and the ONLY ice cream. Then when they got to college and found out there was more than just banana flavor of ice cream, oh-ho! Would they be surprised!

I hate my food processor. It’s so hard to clean. I avoid using it at all costs. I used it to make “ice cream” three times last week. Which means I dirtied and cleaned my processor three times. Which means I really like this shit.

Also,  it’s kinda crazy how it goes from sandy grainy to silky smooth in two seconds. Magic! Or, science. (to me they are basically interchangeable). 

Three Ms and s’mmmore

14 Jun

I put the “WEEEE!” in last weekend, let me tell you what.

Friday night Stephen and I went to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s “Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged.” Because I am a huge dork, we took theme picnic dinner with us:  vegan mac and cheez (because we were seeing fake Shakespeare, we were eating fake mac and cheese, get it??), roasted asparagus SPEARS and homemade milkSHAKES (Shakes+spears= Shakespeare! So subtle, but hopefully you can grasp the connection). I would have delish looking photos, except they are very vigilant about no pics at ye olde Shakespeare festival (even pre-show, they don’t want you to steal their fantastic set ideas. Or something). So just picture yumminess in your mind, and trust me that it was pure yumminess.

"wardrobe malfunction" during our show. Stolen from the ISF's facebook page.

The show was really fun, of course, and made for some great flashbacks to the first time I saw it, back at the same Shakespeare Festival when I was a teen. Now I think about 80% of the jokes must have gone over my head back then though, because sheesh. They are all over it with the references. It’s like, Gilmore Girls meets The Simpsons on crack, with the obscure movie quotes and passing asides to pop culture. Jokes about the movie North by Northwest, Stanislavski method acting . . . no way I got those when I was 14. I probably only got 80% of the jokes now, but don’t know enough to know the ones that went over my head. One thing I really love about ShakesFest is that it’s probably the only place in Idaho where it’s guaranteed that you’ll get a cheer if you make an anti-Sarah Palin joke. Oh, also, it was preview night, so tickets were half-price. Holla cheap theater!

Isn't it a nifty theater? We were in the second row in the grass on the right. Stephen even got to catch a prop that was thrown into the audience. Breaking the fourth wall!

So that was Friday. SATURDAY was fully-packed, and just about perfect. Early morning massage, mid-morning farmer’s market, and afternoon movie matinee. Seriously, doesn’t that sound great? And it was! The massage was through a living social deal that I bought for Stephen and myself way back, it was set to expire in a week or so, so we had to get on that. Stephen had never had a massage, and he was NOT looking forward to it. I practically had to drag his knotted muscled self out of bed. But of course, he loved it, as I knew he would, because it’s a frackin’ MASSAGE for pete’s sake. Even when it hurts (oh, man, I think I have a bruise in my shoulder where one of those knots used to be.) it feels good.

Then since we were downtown and it was beeeeautiful out, we went to the farmer’s market. I love the market. It’s so hustle-y and bustle-y and I swear, everyone there is SO TALL. Something about home-grown veggies must do that. It is the thing about Boise that most reminds me of NYC (though it’s not like there’s a lot of competition for that title). And people bring their dogs, even though it’s not allowed, and for that I am very happy. And of course we had a street crepe and of course it was delicious.

so big city! Photo stolen from here: boisedailyphoto.com

And the last M of the day (massage, market, movie!) was Cave of Forgotten Dreams. We were the only ones in the theater, but I was so excited for this movie, I was willing to sacrifice 2 hours of a sunny day. And I am ashamed to say I fell asleep for about ten minutes of it (it was the massage! I was over-relaxed and it was dark!) but what I saw, it was so great. And TOTALLY worth the 3-D ticket. I can’t even imagine how mind-blowing it must be to see that cave in person. Seeing it in the movie detail was amazing in itself. My only qualm is that the narrator mentions in passing that there are two permanent guards to the cave, keeping peoples out since it’s all old and fragile and everything. And I thought that would be a great personal angle: those guards spend their days with the oldest known cave paintings, in one of the most significant historical finds ever. EVER. They stand feet away from the preserved footprints of an 8-year old who walked through that cave a billion years ago (give or take a millenia). What is that like?? Do the guards properly respect the crazy history of the place? Who do they think would win in a fight, a prehistoric cave bear or a prehistoric wolf? And most importantly, what do cavemen ghosts look like? But Werner seemed to disagree with my needs, because the guards were left out. Still and all, great documentary.

The famous horsies from the cave.

Then, after all that excitement, we went over to the Fitches for dinner and pug-cuddling. I was bringing the entree and since I have been dying to make a s’mores pie, I figured this was the perfect opportunity (ie, it would be eaten by more than just me and Stephen). I followed this simple recipe, and everything was going fine till the last step: put the broiler on low and stick pie in for two minutes to toast the top of the marshmallows. It was supposed to look like this:

This was the goal (photo stolen from http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/02/smores-pie/)

But mine came out looking like this:

this was the reality

I noticed something might be wrong when I saw smoke coming out through the burners. Bit of a warning sign, that. And yes, the pie was ON FIRE. Luckily, Stephen has a lot of experience in blowing out burned marshmallows from his days of camping, so it was ok. And once we scraped off the burned parts, it was actually edible! My first dessert a’flambe! I Am So Fancy.

still not pretty, but more edible

And more than edible, it was really good. But OH SO RICH. Like, I could only eat half-a-slice-every-other-day kind of rich. But it really has a great s’moresy taste to it. The melted ‘mallows made it hard to cut, it basically healed itself as soon as you removed the knife. If I make it again I’ll call it a Wolverine Pie for that very reason (s’mores have never been so badass).

The da vinci of da kitchen

10 Feb

I invented a lunch! And it is deliciousness!

Behold: Spinach pesto quinoa cranberry scrumpdiddilyumptious a flambé! Minus the flambé.

lunchy munchy!

It’s super simple and unimpressive to people who aren’t me, but I am proud of myself. I really like cooking/baking, but I didn’t get into it until adulthood, and I’m not so much a good chef as a pretty-good direction follower. I follow directions to a ridiculous minute amount, because it’s all kind of magic to me, that I can put together flour and butter and somehow get a tasty treat. Abracadabra! Poof!

Example: a recent cupcake recipe called for 12 teaspoons of nutella. Now. Even I know that 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon (Thanks, internet!). So, why not just say 4 tablespoons nutella, huh, recipe? But did I rebel? Did I put in 4 tablespoons of nutella instead of 12 teaspoons? Nope! Because I don’t understand how food works. And I daren’t defy the recipe, because maybe the teaspoon format made it more fluffy because there was more air in each teaspoon addition and if you did it via tablespoon your cupcakes would be horrible and poisonous and everyone would hate you.

And that’s why I never try to make anything myself that isn’t from a recipe. I don’t understand concoctions or how flavors work together or why you fold eggs instead of just whippin’ em in to some recipes. I mean, I kind of do, I know it has to do with texture and junk. And there’s very little more annoying than working forever toward a delicious goal, only to have it fall apart on you (I’m looking at you, peanut-butter-jelly-cake). So if I was going to make something, I was going to make it following someone else’s tried and true magic, instead of trying to go all rogue self-recipin’.

UNTIL TODAY. I was inspired by a broccoli pesto recipe, and was going to buy ingredients, but then was like, “I don’t have broccoli, but I have spinach. Spinach pesto!” And I didn’t have cheese, so the pesto is ghetto-ized, with spinach, EVOO, and slivered raw almonds as the only ingredients. But it’s good! And easy! And I just threw in cranberries last minute because I have two tons of Costco cranberries lolling around the kitchen!

Emeril, you better watch your ass, cuz I’m moving up.

Edited to add: Actually, it was really bland and I got sick of it and didn’t finish it. But I am still proud of myself!

Alien abduction is the only logical explanation

1 Feb

I couldn’t sleep last night for like, three hours. Which I take as a personal defeat. I am usually really, really good at sleeping. Champion sleeper. I have slept through fire alarms, and on almost every mode of transportation (except covered wagon. But that’s on the bucket list). I don’t understand insomniacs: just close your eyes, stop thinking, and sleep! Easy! Not last night though.

I woke up about 3:30 am, thinking I heard Stephen talking to his dog, Julius, in the living room. Which wouldn’t be weird, because Julius is trying to train us to allow him to sleep on the bed, and we are trying to train him to stay on the couch (it’s a compromise). So, when Julius comes and cries by the foot of the bed every hour at night, it’s our routine to move him back to the couch, tuck him in (yes, he demands a blanket. He literally will stand on the couch whining until you cover him with a blanket. It’s charming when it’s not the middle of the night), give him a pet and some praise, then go back to bed. Sometimes with Julius jumping off the couch and following two steps behind, looking like a Doberman-jedi with his blanket on top of him. Anyway, the point is, I thought I heard Stephen talking in the other room, but then when I rolled over, he was there in bed with me.

sexxy Julius under his manly blanket

If I had thought I heard voices while I was alone, that would’ve been scary. But since there was a dude and a dog in the apartment with me, I figured any dog-whispering intruder would be taken care of by them, and I didn’t have to worry. Though I did proceed to stay awake for the next three hours. Which is why I heard Stephen when he rolled over 10 minutes later and said to me, “3:45.” ME: “what?” STEPHEN: “3:45.” ME: “Ok. What’s that [thinking he’s sleeptalking]?” STEPHEN:” You asked me what time it was. It’s 3:45″. . . . um, FREAKY! I had definitely not asked him what time it was, but he insists I did, even this morning. This on the tail of me thinking he was talking in the other room, when he was actually snoring next to me. There was clearly a glitch in the matrix, and/or we were abducted by aliens last night. Either way, it was a long night.

But BEFORE that long night, I made an awesome dinner. Vegan mac and cheese! It was delish. It’s the first time I’ve tried such a feat, mostly because I get exhausted by looking at the recipe lists and all the stuff I have to buy that I know I won’t be able to easily find in Boise. But this one was surprisingly easy-cheesy (ha!) and soo so good! It didn’t taste at all like mac and cheese, so if I served it to non-vegans I would call it pasta nut sauce, or something. But that’s ok. In one of my many fantasy parties-I-will-have-when-I-can-fit-more-than-two-people-in-my-apartment is a vegan mac and cheese party, to taste-test and give official approval to the many, many recipes out there. But till then, this one will be my go-to. Bonus points for being quick/easy to make. And pretty (despite the picture below, which looks kind of barfy, because I was impatient and just wanted to eat it. The original recipe page has pretty pictures). I just bought this blogger’s cookbook (veganyumyum.com) based on this one recipe.

mac and nutty creamy broccoli sauce!

Somewhat related, I am so ready to move out of this apartment. I’ve pretty much given up trying to keep it clean, since I’ll only be here four more months or so. I was storing my mom’s bike on my little back patio, hence blocking my access to a useful storage closet out there, and was bugging her to come get her gol’dang bike so I could put my Christmas decorations back in storage, but then I realized . . . eff it. And I just made a big pile of Christmas decorations under the stairs. Thanks to a Costco run, I also have a lifetime’s worth of toilet paper that I have nowhere to store. You currently have to step over it to get to the actual toilet. But I will totally be prepared to TP any house, anywhere, anytime, for the rest of my life. Worth it.