Monthly Archives: March 2011

In Which We Don’t Go Through My Purse

Consider yourselves lucky.

Today I briefly considered doing one of those WTF is in Kat’s Purse-type posts.

Until I realized that I would have to show y’all a half-eaten roll of TUMS, the five lip balms/glosses I always have on my person at all times, my dinosaur of a Flash Drive (ironically, that’s been the most handy item I’ve ever carried), that one key ring that only has the mailbox key on it, a Wiener Whistle (I do not kid) and the odd paperclip.

What a vision of effortless style and grace.

So then, I thought maybe I’d share the contents of my makeup bag.

Which was fine except for the fact that I would be forced to admit how many absolutely ANCIENT eyeshadows I keep around and explain why I think it’s acceptable to have three of the same black eyeliner sticks open and ready-to-go at any given time.  Nervermind the fact that I haven’t used anything other than brown for the last, probably, three months?

Did I mention that incredibly annoying, extremely fine layer of bronzer-powder-blush that seems to settle on EVERYTHING?

Because there’s that, too.

Oh, and there’s the fact that no one ever formally taught me how to apply make-up.  Everything I learned, I picked up from ballet, on the cheerleading squad, in the sorority the school of hard-knocks.

So far, so good.

This morning, I did a mini-education session via Google and learned that Sweet Potatoes, in addition to being a rockin’ source of fiber that help to keep your Glycemic Index steady, are a monster-source of Vitamin A/Beta Carotene.

Whatever that means.  All I know is that I’m all in.

Even though I know I had promised y’all to limit my food-related chatter to Fridays, since these have been a focal point, nay, The Theme of my life this week, voila.

Sweet Potato Fries with Sea Salt, Fresh Cracked Pepper and Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.

If you’re ready to dive down the slippery slope to making them, be warned that Sweet Potato Oven Fries definitely turn out “moister” than the regular thing.  My first attempt was solid, but I had to turn to an expert (and the accompanying reviews!) for guidance.  Paula Deen was there for me in a pinch with her recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

I don’t even want to whisper this next part because she goes against my entire cooking philosophy, but the most useful tip I found was from…Sandra Lee.  If you put the pan in the oven while it’s pre-heating and then pull it out and place the potatoes on it when you’re ready to bake them, it results in a MUCH crispier exterior.

Your point, Sandra.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you have in your purse?

Who is your least-favorite Food Network personality?

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Wedding Wednesday

The most important order of business: I’m craving sweet potatoes in a way that makes squirrels burying nuts in the Fall look like child’s play.

I’m not sure what nutrient those babies have in them that is obviously NOT PRESENT in every other food I’m eating right now (or my daily vitamin), but OHMIGOD they are good!

Actually, I’m willing to go so far as to say that they’re life-changing.  The best there ever was.  The finest there is.

Please send help.

Anyway.  Group pre-marital counseling is over.  Done.  Finito.  Past.  Our Wednesday nights are our own again.

Or something like that.

The one thing we were meant to accomplish before the class was over was an Interview.  With a married couple.  So we could share our findings with the group.

Compare and contrast.  That sort of thing.

When the assignment was announced, I thought of one couple immediately, but I let it simmer, because I was kind of curious to see who Marcus would suggest or pick.

When they were the first couple he suggested too, I knew we were on the right path.

So with The Universe’s blessing we picked Liz and Lee, my little brother’s godparents.  They’ve been married for 34 years and they’ve been a part of my life since I was hatched.

Legit.

We really did try to set-up an interview time, but because the four of us have lives involving copious amounts of travel and play, we couldn’t actually sit-down to talk until class was over.  No big deal.

In the interim, we e-mailed the questions to them, they sent us a CliffsNotes-version back and we shared their marital revelations with the class.  While almost every other couple squirmed, explaining that they had called parents or older married siblings the day-of.

The fact that we hadn’t even met yet?  Was our little secret.  I’m not entirely sure as to where that places us on the karmic loop, but hopefully it’s closer to Cosmic Synergy than farther.

Shenanigans aside, it was far more fun (and relaxing!) to meet over a glass of wine and dinner to discuss the questions we were meant to be asking, as well as the questions we had.

The questions (1-4 were for the class, 5 and 6 were our own):

  1. What are the keys to success in your marriage?
  2. How do you settle disagreements?
  3. Looking back over the years, would you have done anything differently?
  4. Looking back over the years, what have you learned about relationships that you can pass on to us?
  5. What do you wish you would have known about marriage that no one told you ahead of time?
  6. If you had friends who ended up getting divorced, what was the cause of that?

Their most important answer?  That at the end of the day, “Life has chapters and changes are inevitable.  It’s very fulfilling to have spent our lives together and have common history.”

Chapters.  Inevitable change.  Fulfillment.  Common history.

Such a wonderful contrast to Fireworks.  Breathlessness.  Perfection.

I’m into it.

If you had to choose a go-to couple to discuss marriage with, who would you choose?

Married readers, what do you wish you would have known about your partner before you walked down the aisle?

Is anyone else craving sweet potatoes (or anything else that specific) like crazy right now?

Honestly, I  can’t remember the last time I had such a random, specific craving.  I wish I could say that I’m kidding when I tell you that on our way home from dinner tonight, I made Marcus stop by the grocery store so that I could pick up another one for tomorrow night’s dinner.

Mania.

You Can’t Be Right Every Time

After this latest reading jag, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be slowing my roll for a while.  Despite the prolific number of cookbooks I’ve managed to cart away from the library in the last week or so (HIGHLY recommend this technique), there’s a ton of stuff on my reserves list that will probably continue to be there for the next month or so.

Without further adieu…

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

And the Pursuit of Happiness, Maira Kalman

William & Kate: A Royal Love Story, Christopher Anderson

Elements of Style, Wendy Wasserstein

And as always, our collective reading-list 🙂

The Millenium Trilogy, by Stieg Larsson
The Glass Castle
Anything by Jodi Picoult
Anything by Chelsea Handler (I’ve read My Horizontal Life – it’s good, but if you loved I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, you’ll find it tame)
The Joy Luck Club (Tawny, I somehow managed to escape reading this one in H.S.!)
Anything by David Sedaris
Water for Elephants (Back in my book-club days I read this one – highly recommend)
Life of Pi
All Creatures Great and Small
The Gun Seller
Room
Unbearable Lightness
Immortal Life
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Sherlock Holmes (collection)
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (series)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I love this book SO hard.)
Other People’s Love Letters
Bitter is the New Black
Slave
Not Ready for Mom Jeans
Madras on Rainy Days
Good Girls Don’t Get Fat
Here on Earth
A Thread of Grace
Outlander (series)
Under the Banner of Heaven
Lolita in Tehran
The Pact
A People’s History of the United States
Stori Telling
Cleaving
LA Candy
Julie and Julia
The Three Musketeers
The Lady and The Unicorn (along with anything else by Tracy Chevalier)

What’s the most disappointing book you’ve read lately?

Not a Cat Lady…Yet.

Kittens, there’s a secret I’ve been keeping from you all.

And while this is neither the time nor the place for full-blown confessions, this is pretty much The Peak Of My Truthiness.

Prepare yourselves, because it don’t get more real than this.

You see, I have this thing.

For terrible coffee mugs.

Like, the tackier they are, the more I love them.

Par Example…

Appendix A: Grandma of the Year

Yes, when I was with the girls on Saturday night, I managed to find a coffee mug that read “Grandma of the Year.”

My heart was doing little leaps of joy while I tried to assess where that mug fit in relative to the Teddy Bears and Music Notes-mug we have at home.

You and me...sweet harmony. I JUST DIE.

It was a hard call.  But it was The Teddies for the win.

You just can’t compete with a treasure like that.

On a scale of one to cat lady, I’m not sure where this places me.  But I just have this feeling that it’s not so close to one.

Le jardin continues to grow at an astonishing rate.

It really has turned into a microcosm of Spring in the midst of all of this snow and cold.

Between the leg warmers and the hot tea and the Ralph Lauren pullovers, I just need to see something…Alive.  Green.  Flourishing.

The Basil and Tomatoes (I NEVER thought I would be attempting tomatoes at this house) are 100% committed at this point.  I’m not sure what to say about their other counterparts.

At least we’ve managed to ensure ourselves a steady supply of Margherita Pizza, Caprese Salad, Bruschetta and Pesto.

Amen.

What’s your tacky little secret?

At what point does one stake tomato plants to make sure they’re growing straight up?

A Day in the Life of Kat

So, today we were driving and Marcus joked about doing a guest blog about a day observing my life.  And then, after sequestering himself in the basement for a couple of hours, he thrust his laptop at me and presented me with this recap of Our Day.  The following is what ensued.

We started the day like any other day; she woke up and went running while I slept.

Actually, just kidding.  It’s Sunday, which according to her new “training plan” means yoga.  Either way, not a bad way to start the day.

Post running, she gets ready for grocery shopping by picking out a proper outfit.  This takes 15 minutes as she changes outfits five times.

Really…five outfit changes to go grocery shopping.  Four cardigans, three shirts.  That’s a little insane.  I realize that you have to look good for the crowds at ALDI, but really?

The grocery shopping experience for her has peaked when she realizes that she has found the reddest tomatoes in the world.  She is so excited that she tweets about it.  Since she can’t multi-task when she’s typing, she freezes in the middle of the produce aisle while other shoppers are forced to navigate around her.  This further extends my grocery shopping experience.

For what it’s worth, they looked like any other tomato to me.

We return home, we debate having sushi for lunch.

We don’t have sushi for lunch.

An hour later, she informs me that there is time in the daily schedule to go pick out our wedding bands.  I’m not entirely sure where this “time” came from.  This is something that I have wanted to do for months, but she has been putting off.

She makes me change shirts before we go.  I ask her why she can’t just accept me the way I am.

After a short debate I change shirts.  She has “woman-ed” me.

The whole shopping experience takes 15 minutes and bam, we have wedding bands.  I’m excited because it is something I can cross off the to-do list.  She’s excited because it sparkles.

On the way home we are talking about life when she cuts me off mid-conversation, cranks the music and starts dancing to Jennifer Lopez’s On The Floor.  She declares it “her anthem.”

  • Dance Move #1 – Put hands behind head and wave your elbows
  • Dance Move #2 – Make a ponytail with your hand and whip your hair
  • Dance Move #3 – Shimmy

Is your fiance this nuts?

P.S.  At this point I have given the above portion of this post to Kat to proofread.  Kat, not me, is the one who added words like “cardigans” and “shirts.”  As a guy, I would never use the word “cardigans” in a conversation (or blog post).

At the end of the day, I really don’t care what she was trying on that took 15 minutes to perfect, I only care that it took 15 minutes to get a proper outfit for grocery shopping.

Mixed Signals

Happy Saturday, Kittens!

The Universe has been sending me mixed signals today.  I woke up with a mini-breakout (WTH?  Change of seasons?  Stress?) and found out that Macy’s is no longer stocking the sterling we registered for.

Given that this is the THIRD pattern we’ve been through in as many months (it is seriously emotionally wrenching to try and identify with so many different patterns), I’m just done with it all.  I know this is totally a first-world problem, but is it so much to ask for some nice, formal flatware?

Apparently yes.  It is.

But we move forward.

Leah is in from out-of-town for a few days, so naturally I had to do a little bit of lunching today with her and Jillian at 3 Squares.  And because we had previously decided that we specifically wanted to go somewhere for lunch, we all ordered breakfast.

Just try to put me in the same room as a plate of Chilaquiles.  Only one of us wins, and it isn’t the food.

I dedicated the rest of the day to running some errands, looking after my mitts and paws (always a good choice when seeking Zen and Order) and actioning some baking.  Naturally because I’ve been craving cookies, I made a couple of loaves of bread, but that’s a story for next Friday.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get in-touch with my sweet-tooth.  Or maybe I’ll just defrost a cupcake from the freezer.  Only time will tell.

What is paralysis: Trying to make meal planning happen when you’re pawing through 5 spices, 50 dishes, The Pleasures of Cooking for One, Nigella Kitchen, Forever Summer, and How to Cook Everything.

Thank you, Public Library system for making books so available to the masses.  It was really better for both of us when I didn’t know where in the non-fiction section the cookbooks were located.

Talk about a slippery slope.

Have you and The Universe been in-touch this weekend?

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

During the week, I’m all about the oats.  But give me a plate of Chilaquiles or Huevos Rancheros on the weekend and I am absolutely a goner.

Friday Food Round-Up!

So, that How to Cook Everythinginspired grilling rampage we were going to action this week?  Went out the window.  The temperatures have been hovering in the 30s and we got another pile of snow from Mother Nature.  I had to draw the line somewhere.

Another week, kittens.  Another week.

Rest assured that a lack of grilling didn’t translate into a lack of busy-ness.

Treats for MeganGranola and Cake Batter Bark

When Megan offered to send me a jar of her lovely jam, I felt it was only fair to hit a sister back.

So, I did a brief bout of brainstorming (let’s be serious, it was five seconds) and decided to send her a couple of things that would not go “off” over the course of a week (thank you, Pony Express).  More selfishly, I tried to choose things that I would be more than happy to have appear in my mailbox – granola and chocolate.

And, since it was in the New York Times (You Cooked What?  I’ll Trade You Granola!), swapping-it-out is obviously the vogue thing to do.

Saturday Brunch – Melissa D’Arabian’s Huevos Rancheros

I COMPLETELY forgot to snap pictures of this dish, but holy easy, batman!  Marcus and I both love Huevos Rancheros but we have never, ever made them because they just look time-intensive and breakfast is meant to be a relaxing moment in my world.

Mind you, since Marcus was in Las Vegas last weekend, Eli was the lucky girl who got to feast-it-out with me.  Because I had no need and/or desire to consume four tortillas between the two of us over the breakfast hour, I used a smaller casserole dish, lined it with two (smaller) tortillas, layered the ingredients egg bake-style and then baked it up for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Success.

Saturday Night – Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

Tina’s post was definitely the inspiration for this ladies’ night dinner.

I don’t want to say that homemade pizza is practically routine, but when I’m having a girlfriend over to catch-up, nothing is more soothing.

Our modifications: I made a homemade crust.  We dumped some mozzarella on top to seal the deal, which definitely helped.

If I made this again, I might even consider mixing in a tablespoonful or two of mayo, just to give it that extra savory flavor, you know?  On the bright side, you could always add even more spinach to up the nutrient-factor without killing the taste 🙂

Sunday – Shepherd’s Pie from the Joy of Cooking

About a year or so into Marcus and my relationship, Mom Thrifted a copy of this tome and passed it on to me.

It looked really nice on my shelf.  For two years.

I was trying to think of a nice Welcome Home from Sin City meal and I remembered Sue saying that she had actioned a Shepherd’s Pie out of there.  Having sampled said meal by her hand, I decided it was definitely a go.

Our modifications: No celery, a handful of frozen peas, no butter, and instead of mashing the potatoes with 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, we made up for that and the lack of butter with some extra beef stock.  Amen.

Wednesday – Jenna’s Channa Masala

Kittens, if you ever have any interest in making a foray into cooking Indian food (though I can’t attest to what level of authenticity we’ve managed to attain here), THIS is the recipe to start with.

It’s easy to the point where you can make it while talking to a girlfriend on the phone.  THE ENTIRE TIME.

Plus, if you go the two cans of chickpeas route (which I did this time), it makes enough for a dinner for two, lunch leftovers for the next day, and depending on your preference, enough for another round of leftovers OR a little freezer “emergency” container.

Win.  Win.  Win.

What did you do to feast-it-out this week?  What’s your go-to meal when you’re having a girls’ night?