Monday, September 26, 2005


Anthony and I went to see "Lord of War" last week. I was really surprised by it. Not only did I enjoy it a lot, it was more thought-provoking than I expected. Going into it I expected more of a comedy. It had some hilarious moments, but it also brought up some interesting points. I was impressed that they were able to make a movie about gun running that neither glorified it, nor made it out to be a heinous crime. That opinion was left to the audience to decide. The filming was incredibly well done without being over the top artsy. More than worth seeing.

Erin and Anthony and I watched "Corpse Bride" saturday night. It was every bit as wonderful as I expected. The combination of Johnny Depp (swoons) and Tim Burton is always perfect. It was funny and sweet, and a bit ghoulish all at once. Other than the ridiculously loud audio for the first 20 minutes, it was perfect.

Now I am counting the days until "Serenity". It's driving me insane. I am also going to be very cranky if there isn't a midnight showing on thursday night. Otherwise I'd have to wait until sunday to see it. I am going up to Stratford for my annual trip with my parents. I love the trip but it is quite annoying that it had to be the same weekend as the movie release. If anyone has heard about midnight showings, please let me know.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Menu 3

Man, I really need to come up with a more exciting title than 'Menu 3'...

More recipes...
Greek Rotisserie Chicken Salad - I had half of the rotisserie chicken left, so I added it to a Greek salad. I forgot to get tomatoes, but other than that it was great. Greek dressing is pretty easy to make from scratch so the whole meal went together pretty quickly. Nothing wildly new, but perfect for a simple, healthy dinner.

Spaghetti and Meatballs - We made the meatballs from scratch and clearly this is NOT a recipe I have mastered. The recipe was my mom's and hers are usually fantastic. Mine...not so much. They didn't taste bad, although I think I could have made the recipe a little more exciting. The biggest problem was that they completely fell apart. I need to ask my mom how she does it. Plus, I think we made them a bit large. The faster they cook, the less time they have to crumble. A non stick skillet would have helped too. They tasted pretty good with the spaghetti noodles and sauce. The sauce wasn't homeade, but I added a few spices and a bit of wine and it was really good. Yay Kroger!

Squash Soup - The squash soup recipe is originally Kyle's I believe. It is always delicious. I made a retardedly large amount of it, because squash was on sale for 39 cents/pound. I made the basic recipe: sauteed onion, squash, and stock. Only this time it was beef stock, not chicken. Grr on Kroger not having my Better Than bouillon stock base. How rude. Once it was all cooked down Anthony attacked it with his immersion blender until it was smooth. We divided it into two large bowls. One of the bowls I made a sweet soup. I added apple cider, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and a bit of brown sugar. The other was savory with milk, salt, pepper, rosemary and grated Gruyere cheese. They were both amazing. I froze four huge containers of it. Now I can have squash soup whenever my little heart desires. (swoons)

Cherry Glazed Pork with Green Beans and Feta - Another great recipe that is nice and fast. It's a basic sweet and sour sauce made out of cherry jam and red wine vinegar. It took maybe 15 minutes to make and most of that was just letting it simmer. I've been trying to eat a lot of green beans lately because they're really healthy, but there are only so many ways to prepare them. I was excited because I created another one tonight. I sauteed them in a tiny bit of oil with salt and pepper. Just before I took them off of the heat I added a bit of crumbled feta cheese. Mmm, so good. It caramelizes the cheese, and it's a wonderful blend of sweet and salty.

We also went to dinner with Ashley and Kracker, and Erin and Kyle. It's nice to do the dinner party thing again. Ashley made lamb, and mashed potatoes and carrots and Yorkshire puddings. I'd never had them before but they were really good. The lamb was wonderful too. Apparently Al has a slight obsession with gravy, which we teased her unmercifully about. My contribution to dinner was a key lime pie. I've made plenty of them before, but this was a new recipe. It was amazing. Just a few different twists on the standard recipe that made it really outstanding. Since the recipe came from someone online, of course I got harassed. Erin accused me of having secret pie affairs with strange men online. I have to admit, she's right. Luckily my boyfriend doesn't mind if I talk dirty about baking with other people.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Menu 2

More recipe reviews...

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Spinach - This recipe didn't taste how I expected it to, but it was very good. It wasn't too time consuming and made a ton. I was able to put a lot of it in the freezer, and have some for lunch the next day. The only thing I would do differently would be to use chicken stock instead of water, but I was out. I also added rosemary (yeah, I know, I'll put rosemary in anything) to make up for the lack of stock. I think I'll keep rosemary in even if I make it with chicken stock next time. It gives the dish a little more depth. We had the pasta with a really good Chardonnay. It was one I'd had before, and I love it. Kroger has it on sale on a fairly regular basis for around 5 dollars.

Barton et Guestier Chardonnay, France 2002 - A really good chardonnay. Not much of an oak flavor and it's easy to drink. It has a very full flavor, warm and buttery. There's a definitely apple taste. A good white wine for fall.

Rotisserie Chicken and Tuscan Bean and Wilted Arugula Salad - I bought a rotisserie chicken from Kroger because they were having a really good sale. I've been wanting to try this salad for a while. I used spinach instead of arugula, added a tiny bit of vinegar to the dressing (warm olive oil, lemon juice and zest) and cooked the onion instead of leaving it raw. It was phenomenal, and with the pre-cooked chicken it was really quick to make. I haven't enjoyed a salad that much in a long time.

Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Applesauce - I was a bit disappointed in the way this recipe turned out, but I think it had more to do with cooking difficulties than the recipe. I didn't have any aluminum foil, so the edges of the tenderloin got a little crispy. Adding water to the roasting pan helped, but I didn't do it until half way through. The flavor of the honey glaze was wonderful though. I usually prefer to make applesauce with a variety of apples, but this time I only made it with Granny Smith apples. It's definitely better to do the mix, there is a better texture to it. The apples cook at different rates and it makes a much chunkier applesauce. It had cinnamon, ginger, orange zest, apple cider, and honey in it. The flavor was different in a very good way.

Chicken with Pear, Sage and Cheese and French Peas - I am absolutely in love with this! It was so easy to make, and delicious. It was flattened sauteed chicken with Gruyere cheese melted on top and a sauce of pear, sage and cider. I've been so excited about fall arriving, and this was the perfect fall food. The traditional way to make French peas is to steam them in a pan lined with lettuce and seasoned with butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I didn't have the lettuce, but I kept the seasonings the same. Well, less butter, but enough to leave a nice taste. The nutmeg adds the perfect flavor. From start to finish dinner probably was done in less than 15 minutes. Mmm, quickie gourmet. ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I am incredibly disappointed that I haven't sold anything on Etsy yet. It's an awesome site and I know some people have been doing really well on it. I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. There's a limited market for handmade crafts. Plus, I am trying to sell photography and that really isn't a high demand thing. Fairly soon I am going to make up some photo cards. Nice white cardstock with a photo mounted on the front. I am hoping that will be a little more appealing. I did make some changes to the site, and Stav made me a spiffy banner. I'll give it a little more time and see if the changes have any effect. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I can always use feedback. The link to the site is Drifting Visions Etsy and it's also to the right. Any kind of feedback; on the photos, the prices, shipping, my avatar, the descriptions or even suggestions of what kinds of photos you think people would buy. If I don't have something similar already I'll go out and take the pictures. I also am listing two of my photos on Crafters United to donate the profits of any sales to Hurricane Katrina Relief. The money goes directly to the Red Cross. Sooo, if you've been wanting to donate to it, and get a fantastic photograph, check it out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I've been planning on making up a weekly menu for months now. I know it would cheaper, easier and healthier, but this is the first week I've been able to get around to it. It's actually going really well. I even managed to sort of incorporate it into the camping last weekend. It's also a good way to get me to try out new recipes. I have thousands of recipes that I've never tried. Here's a list of what we did this week and a quick review:

Chinese Grilled Pork and Spicy Green Beans- This morphed into grilled chicken because of a small pork disaster. The pork I had bought THE NIGHT BEFORE was green when I pulled it out of the refrigerator. It was from Kroger, and I've never had a problem with them before, so I am just assuming it was a strange fluke. If my food turns weird colors again, they're in trouble though. The Chinese marinade was awesome with chicken and would no doubt be just as good with pork, if not better. I will definitely try to make it again with the proper ingredients. I also broiled it instead of grilling it this time. The Spicy Green Beans were fantastic. Spicy and sweet at the same time and I could probably eat pounds of them in a sitting. Luckily they are quite healthy, so that won't be a problem.

Pesto Chicken Packets - Amazing. We took them camping and everyone loved them. Very simple and healthy too. It was just chicken, tomato, zucchini and a tablespoon or two of pesto. We wrapped it all up in foil and put it on a grill over the fire for 20 minutes or so. Also, halved tomatoes with pesto, salt and pepper in foil on the fire are also incredible.

Cream of Broccoli Soup - Very good. Surprisingly healthy for how good it tasted. It was simple to make, and really inexpensive. The recipe calls for rice to thicken the soup, and then some cream or 2% milk. I usually only buy skim, so instead I added a little bit of cream cheese. No doubt it would have been even nicer with cream, but in the interest of not dying before 25, it seemed like a good compromise. We did add a little too much pepper, but other than that, it was a great recipe. I even have a decent amount of it to put in the freezer.

Curried Chicken with Plums and Ginger and Sweet Potato Wedges - Anthony made the chicken and it was fantastic. It was pretty simple and didn't take long to make. The ginger was supposed to be crystallized ginger, but at $12 a bottle, that wasn't happening. If I can find it in bulk I will probably buy a little bit the next time I make it. Using powdered ginger instead wasn't a problem though. The chicken thighs were insanely tender, and mixed with the sweet plums, spicy curry, and green onions they were to die for. I made baked sweet potato wedges with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a tiny bit of cumin. They went really well with the curry and were really quick to make since I put them in the microwave for 5 minutes before I baked them.

There are a few more recipes for the week that I'll update as we go. If anyone wants any of these recipes, let me know. If you have any fantastic recipes to barter, that would be even better. Also, if anyone wants me to make these recipes for them, they either need to pay me/bribe me with backrubs or a bottle of wine but I will cook for hire.

Camping: Take Two

Last weekend was fantastic. Anthony and I met Erin and Kyle at their house, and followed them north to the Au Sable River Primitive Campground at Sawmill Point . We got a site, set up our tents, started a fire and made dinner. Pruden and Sung got there around 11. We basically spent the weekend relaxing around the fire, cooking and swimming. We hiked down a dune to the river and despite none of us having suits with us, we decided to jump in anyway. The hike back up the dune was nothing short of torture, but probably a sign that I need to hike up hills more often and NEVER do it three days after I give blood. Despite the heart attack, it was more than worth it. The view was gorgeous. I'd like to go back and take a canoe/rowboat out and explore the river. On our way out on sunday we drove east to Tawas. We had lunch near the beach, and went swimming for a couple of hours. Anthony literally had to drag me out of the water. I hadn't had much time to swim this summer and I miss it so much. I always feel better when I'm in the water. It makes my arthritis disappear and I feel so relaxed. It's sort of hard to explain, but I always feel more centered and more myself in the water. Like all of the day to day things that drive me crazy just don't exist. It's just me and the sky and the water. This might have something to do with the fact that I was in the water before I could walk, when I was barely 6 months old. I spent 90 percent of my summers from then until we moved at the age of 10 in the water. If it was daylight, I was in the water, and plenty of times even when it was dark. I doubt I'll be able to make it swimming again this fall, but it's top priority next year. Kyle suggested winter hiking...I don't know how I feel about it, but we'll see. If nothing else I do want to make sure we (Anthony and I, and Erin and KYle) try to go once a year. I always forget how much I enjoy it until I go.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's A Party!

Katie and I finally decided when we are going to have our housewarming (apartmentwarming?) party. To make things easier, we decided to make it a combined housewarming/Halloween party. It will be Saturday, October 29. I suppose that makes it a pre-Halloween party, but the same rules still apply. COSTUMES for everyone. I will be sending out invitations. Probably just by email but we'll see. Everyone I know/have ever met is invited. So, give me a call, send me an email/IM or post a comment to let me know if you can make it. The more the merrier.

...and she's out...

I donated blood tonight. I had a feeling it was going to make me really lightheaded. And apparently I was right. They drew the blood and as she finished up I got really flushed all of a sudden. It's always my first clue that I'm not feeling well. I got flushed, and then cold and clammy and really dizzy. It's never a good sign when you feel like you're going to fall over when you're laying down. They gave me an ice pack to put on the back of my neck, and had me breath into a paper bag. I spent about 15 minutes just lying there. Then they put me into a wheel chair and wheeled me over to a cot. I spent about another half hour relaxing. They kept feeding me peach juice, which for Hi-C was actually fantastic tasting, and a couple of cookies. Anthony of course had no problems. Punk. He was very helpful though. I am sure Erin will be relieved to not have to cart my passed out body around again. I had the same thing happen when I donated blood in high school. Only that time I actually did pass out cold...more than once. Poor Erin. No one should have to deal with me when I go limp as a noodle. I felt much better this time at least.

Catch Up

So I guess I've been slacking about posting. My excuse is that I've still been unpacking. Plus, classes started last week, so I have been trying to get those in order. MSU bites my many testicles and my schedule NEVER WORKS. I always spend a few weeks switching crap around and trying to scramble to get organized. The weekend before they started, Anthony and I went camping. We went to Sleepy Hollow State Park. It was so nice and relaxing. We did go for an 8 mile hike with my parents. I wish I could go hiking every weekend, it's always exercise I actually enjoy. We took the rabbits with us. They actually did really well. They were very calm and didn't seem to get stressed out from any of it. Even with dogs barking and kids shrieking. I wasn't sure if it would bother them or not, so it was kind of a test run. We set up their cage next to our tent and covered it with a tarp. (grins) I have such good critters.

Other than that I don't think I've had anything terribly exciting happen. I did have my mom's car for about a week and a half, so that came in handy. I had a chance to go up and hang out with Erin for an afternoon, and have dinner with Erin and Kyle. I've been shopping like a lunatic lately, I went with Erin, Katie and Anthony, all on separate occasions. In my defense I actually didn't buy anything that was over 20 dollars, and that was for jeans. I needed a few things for the fall. Or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.