Monthly Archives: February 2011

Half Birthday Indulgences

It’s my half birthday today.

And even though the cause and the effect are completely unrelated, I’m using that reason to justify the tube of MAC’s Viva Glam Lipglass V that I grabbed this weekend.

You know, since “Just because,” sounds so…hollow.  And for this drugstore diva, it was a bit of definitely a splurge.

But when I was out visiting Linds in D.C., she turned me on to it.  It’s  a great universal color, it has zero flavor and it doesn’t get sticky.  Hello?  Triple Threat.

I nibbled on a mini-bar of dark chocolate that came in at 85% cacao.  It was fruity, smooth, dark (in a coffee-type of way) and mildly reminiscent of a flourless chocolate tort…or some particularly dense brownie batter.

I didn’t realize it until I was about halfway through, but THIS is precisely the sort of rich chocolate flavor I’ve been looking for over the past year.  I want to eat it every day, chop it into chunks for baked goods and otherwise surround myself with it 24/7.

The best part?  It was a ~$2 “bar” of Moser Roth chocolate from ALDI.  Run, don’t walk kittens.

I didn’t realize I’d be writing a love-letter to Dark Chocolate tonight, but then there that was.  Call it Kat: Unfiltered.

For what it’s worth, if it wasn’t the chocolate that got me all carried-away tonight, it definitely would have been the Chardonnay.  I for one, consider a craving for white wine to be more indicative that spring is near than groundhogs, so let’s hope that for all of our sakes, I’m right.

Another little indulgence?  I finally got around to watching the first episode of The Real Housewives of Miami.  They’re as crazy as the Beverly Hills women but with mojitos, trashier outfits and what seems like an actual plot.

It’s no Rock of Love: Bus, but with every season of mindless backstabbing, we get a little bit closer to filling that hole in my heart.

Do you watch The Real Housewives?  What’s your favorite city?

Even though Michaele Salahi was absolutely crazy, I found the D.C. women to be rather endearing.

Do you have a lip gloss you swear by?

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Accomplishing

Today was a day spent in leg warmers, licking peanut butter off of the spoon, not cleaning the salt stains off of my riding boots and finding mittens on the garage floor that I thought I had lost.

Try fitting that in a horoscope.

Remember back in August when I vowed to address the ever-growing stack of Recipes I Printed Off The Internet that was taking over my kitchen?

Me neither.

It never happened.

I mean, I tried to go pick up the necessary supplies, but Lord help the soul who ventures to Target during Back To School Shopping-season.

And in the meantime, the recipes multiplied.

But like I said yesterday, this weekend I’ve been in the mood to Accomplish.

So this afternoon, while Spot and I had our final bonding-sesh (Mom and Dad were out-of-town this weekend – I had to drop by to look after him), I finally got around to doing the darned thing.

Scrapbookers, what I know now, is that I will never be one of you.

Two hours, 150 page protectors, a set of eight dividers and one 3″ binder later, I found success.

That little patch of counter next to the stove that’s dedicated cookbook territory?  Now feels organized to the point of Catharsis.

And as a little icing on the cake, I finally got around to posting the recipe for Tamale Pie.

What did you manage to accomplish this weekend?

Real World Problems Just Aren’t My Scene

Kittens, I have what can only be described as a Diva Problem.

Y’all know that I am A Fan of the Cook’s four-pack of champagne splits.  And when I’m down to my last bottle, it’s time to re-stock.

So I was more than a little bit miffed yesterday when Marcus and I stopped by not one, but two liquor stores and were informed that they were either totally out of them or had stopped selling them altogether.

Not really an acceptable situation.  The next time I find them I may have to consider stockpiling (so Y2K of me, I know).

But see?  I told you.  Definitely a Diva Problem.

Diva Problems aside, after spending the last two weekends out-of-town, I didn’t realize until this morning what a novelty it would be to actually…be here.  You know?

Its put me in the mood to Accomplish.

But that suggests grandiose visions of Cleaning and Lists of Tasks.

What actually happened is that I finally vanquished the February issues of ELLE and Vogue.  Mostly, Marcus was surprised that I spent my Saturday morning reading Actual Magazines instead of Blogs.

But really, it was a necessity since this is what I have to look forward to for March:

In which the prize for winning the pie eating contest is, more pie.

I know, right?

When you’re measuring a pile of magazines in inches, the word that comes to mind is Beastly.

Can you keep your reading material under control?

I mean, usually, I’m pretty good about reading everything, but lately all of the good books that have come in from the library have been just killing my game.

Do you have Diva Problems?

Friday Food Round-Up

This week started out with the best-laid plans and then…all of them changed.  A change in plans = an opportunity for more feasting.

This week I think we definitely hit our stride when it came to the hot meals-leftovers ratio.   There was exactly enough for him and exactly enough for her.

I’m into it.

Sunday: Homemade Pizza with Goat Cheese, Artichoke Hearts, Green Olives and Red Onions

Since I had an extra night to spend in D.C., Linds and I decided that it would be lovely to have a girls’ night (like the rest of the time we spent wasn’t?) and cook dinner together.

I had been dying to teach her how to make a homemade pizza crust, and after I suggested it, she immediately informed me that she specifically wanted for us to make the pizza with goat cheese and artichoke hearts that Marcus had scorned.

Obviously this was not a think-twice situation.

So we actioned one of those (with a sauce this time instead of tomato slices…recommend) and a side of roasted broccoli, which in my opinion, is another major cooking life-skill.

It was simply amazing.

Monday: Meatless Tamale Pie

Like so many things that come out of our kitchen, it wasn’t pretty.

But served up with a side of guacamole and a dollop of greek yogurt,  it was delicious and it was definitely a leftovers-war horse.

Since we made too many modifications to count, I’ve drafted a recipe of what actually happened that evening.  But, I haven’t had the time to get it all pressed-up, yet.  So expect that in the next week along with a couple of other recipes I’ve been holding-out on you.

Wednesday: Chicken Tikka Masala

Kittens, it is a delicate dance when you need to thaw chicken (preferably in the fridge), and marinate for somewhere between 3-4 hours and overnight.

Because overnight was never going to happen this go-round, I decided to get clever.  You know, since Marcus gets home from work earlier than I do.

So on Tuesday I mixed the entire marinade excluding the yogurt, popped it in the fridge, and left a sticky note for Marcus.  The action items?  Add yogurt, chop chicken, toss in marinade, rest.

Our reality: The chicken got an hour and a half of time in the marinade.  We used 0% Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe’s instead of full-fat.  Instead of engaging in any sort of shenanigans involving skewers and a broiler, after combining spices and the onion/garlic/ginger mix we added the chicken with the marinade to the pan.  Browned it.  Incorporated tomatoes.  Simmered on medium-low for 30 minutes.  Added cream.  Simmered for 10 minutes more.  Squeezed lime juice.  Served.

To Jenna’s credit, this is now one of Marcus’ most-favorite homemade meals…ever.

What were your kitchen-capades this week?

Potpourri!

It’s past 9 PM, the “A” key on my netbook is acting up, my cuticles have decided that Now Is The Time To Declare War and I’m not even able to conjure a fraction of the effort required to think in a straight line.

Potpourri!, how we’ve missed you so.

I realize that I had Monday off.  But am I the only one who feels like this is just the longest week ever?

I’ve been sleeping like a rock, running like I just had four days off (oh wait…I did), and cooking up a storm.

But in all seriousness, today was long to the point where it was painful.

I did not love that.

I did love that The Pink Pelican (purveyors of my Engagement Party/Rehearsal Dinner dress and Wedding Reception dress) sent me a copy of the most recent Lilly Pulitzer catalog.

I mean, if 40 pages of brightly-patterned frocks don’t raise your spirits, I don’t know what can, honestly.

In the meantime, Marcus has kindly informed me that we now have four hours of DVR action to watch.  The downward spiral starts here.

Capturing the spirit of some bandits actioning a hold-up, I ended up forking over $6.90 in fines to the Hennepin County Library.

Some people like to think of it as “charity.”  I like to think of it as I Wasn’t Really Planning On Stealing Them But Thanks Anyway.

I’d like to say that my out-of-control behavior on the reading materials-front ends there.  But I still haven’t even been able to THINK about picking up the February issues of ELLE and Vogue.

Reassuringly or not, I already have the March issues of…Everything.

I take it all back.  The DVR isn’t the downward spiral, my piles of magazines are.

I absolutely can’t get over the arrangement that Kate Middleton wore to the Lifeboat launch today.  I can’t be the only person who feels like The Royal Wedding and a lifetime of public appearances to follow is basically the equivalent of the Sloaney/Preppy fashion gods promising that manna will fall from the sky.

FOREVER.

Give thanks, kittens.

And I’m obsessing a little bit over the New York Times Magazine piece on Heather Armstrong AKA Dooce.  The way I see her, she’s not so much of an idol as that cool aunt who is almost young enough to be your cousin.  But ohmigod, she does it so well.

Speaking of The New York Times, can I just take a moment to say how thankful I am that they kept Mark Bittman on as an opinion columnist?  When he announced that The Minimalist was ending, my heart just about broke.

We are saved.

Longest Week Ever: True or False?

Speaking Up

Confession: I’ve been on a red wine + dark chocolate-fueled jag tonight.

I mean, since I started running last winter, I’ve embraced Dessert and a glass or two of red wine every evening with near-religious fervor.  And yes, that means I’ve crossed a bridge from Occasional Indulgence to Can’t Kick The Habit.

But presently, the only explanation I have for my feelings towards those two food groups (read: Ravenous, Insatiable and In Awe) is that I must be CRAVING antioxidants.

Like, who does that, right?

Antioxidants aside, I’m about to steer the SUV off of the freeway and into the forest.

Y’all know I’m not usually one to talk about Customer Service experiences on The Blog, but the past two weeks have been a bit of an illustrative tale.

And since I’m all about the over-share (no matter how mundane), this is just how we do.

Case 1

Shocker of the century, I’m a bit of a J.Crew fan.

So I was quite a bit pleased when the Grand Avenue store in St. Paul e-mailed me an invite to a  Valentine’s Day-themed party, complete with cupcakes.

Since this is how The Universe works, I couldn’t attend because we were going on our Escape to North Dakota.

I moved on.

All was well.

Until I noticed that instead of blind-copying everyone on their mailing list, they didn’t.

And in the blink of an eye, I realized that the store employees had shared my personal e-mail address (containing my full first and last name) with ~300 total strangers.

No bueno.

So I forwarded the e-mail to J.Crew’s Customer Service department.

Within four hours, I received a phone call from the Midwest Regional Director.  Apparently now that I have her personal cell phone number, I’m invited to call her whenever my heart desires.

I expect we’ll be BFFFFFFs by next week, no?

In all seriousness, within five days, I had a hand-written note, a copy of The Hollywood Issue (their newest issue) and a $50 gift card in my mailbox.

Amazing.

Case 2

Last Friday, Linds and I went out for dinner at Farmers and Fishers.  She had been dying to try it since she moved out to D.C., and I just wanted to give Mother Earth a hug after snarfing two cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake as my best interpretation of an amuse bouche.

It was busy.  We sat down at the bar.  They never cleared off the area we were seated at.

We cleared it ourselves.

We asked for water.

And then we asked for it again.

Fifteen minutes and four requests later, we were able to hydrate.

We placed our orders.  Miraculously, they came out of the kitchen almost immediately.

And just as I bit into my sandwich, I realized that the portion of the tomato the chef had deigned to include in his creation was the part that included the stem.

I wanted to stomp my feet and gnash my teeth.

But as every fairytale is more than ready and willing to teach, haste lands you in some witch’s oven, with the wrong bowl of porridge or doing hellacious cleaning jobs for well below minimum wage.

So instead I nabbed the manager, Aired All of Our Grievances and in return was given a new sandwich (I mean, really it was a marvelous combination of ingredients),  and a comped bill.

Sometimes it pays to speak up.

What’s the best/worst customer service experience you’ve ever had?

An Unplanned Snow Day

My wake-up call this morning came at 3:20 AM.  It would have been nicer to wake up a bit later, but on days where it’s plausible that you could be trapped at the airport for nine hours, showering is always The Best Decision.

And in keeping with Murphy’s Law, since I had showered, I made it in to good old MSP at 11:00 AM.

A half-day at work would have been plausible if I hadn’t snarfed an anxiety pill for my first flight thanks to a ride on the world’s smallest plane and another round of ridiculous turbulence on my second flight.

I was basically walking sideways in the St. Louis airport, which I think we can all agree was NOT the ideal situation.

I mean, sometimes I debate whether or not a pill is really necessary (FYI: I have flight anxiety).

Today, there was no thinking, only inhaling.

So instead, Marcus brought me home and I proceeded to make the most of my unplanned snow day/second shot at Sunday/first-ever Adult Observance of the President’s Day Holiday.

There was running and laundry and lunching and napping.

When I say napping, I mean I tried to be one of THOSE people who can power nap for 20-40 minutes and call it good.  But when I heard the garage door opening, I realized that my original plans alarm had been foiled by a good hour and a half.

Consider it intuitive sleeping.

Or something like that.

And most importantly, in the middle of all this, there was the glorious discovery that Marcus CAN survive for a weekend on his own.

You see, since I wasn’t home yesterday for our regular grocery store-jaunt, I just told Marcus to go.  On his own.  Which had at last count, had happened never.

When I got the chance to examine the kitchen, I was 11/10 excited to see that he had managed to find every grocery that was on The List.

To his credit, nothing says I Love You quite like sourcing a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo.  Fact.

Are you a nervous flyer?

Seriously, if flying makes you anxious, it’s time for pills kittens.  It turns the terrifying into the tolerable.  Consider that your PSA of the day.

Readers with significant others: Would you/do you trust them to navigate the grocery store on their own?