Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do Rag

On Saturday I let my mom wash my hair. Afterwards we really didn't have the time or energy to blow it out, so we wet-set it. I didn't take a photo of the wet set, but I had to have my mom take a photo of my do rag. She didn't want my curls to get messed up on Saturday night, so she wrapped my head in this old silk scarf. I was really rockin' it!

My hair was very soft after she washed it. I kinda didn't want to wash it this morning for fear I'd lose all the softness.

Mein Noodle AKA Menudo

One of the highlights of my weekend was eating menudo. I had it for breakfast and dinner on Saturday. Mein noodle and tamales are two things that I rarely get to eat (which is probably a good thing since both are loaded with corn). I could make them myself, but they both take a lot of work, and I won't eat either one unless I know the person who made it.

I used to feel a little guilty eating menudo because for some reason I thought that organs weren't kosher. Well, I was wrong. I ate up the posole (hominy) and hoped it wouldn't tear up my tummy. Amazingly, it didn't. The menudo was perfect with just a little added cheese. I didn't even add lime!

Mmmmm. Mein noodle.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I'm not all that observant. I guess I don't pay attention very well. My memory isn't what it used to be either. I think Patrick Jane on the Mentalist is cool. He's just basically super observant and has a good memory. Ross and I were walking to the grocery store the other day and saw the dentist's office. Neither one of us could remember if that had always been there or not. I also just block some things completely out of my mind. The parking lot of the grocery store has a Waffle House and a McDonalds in it. To me, the McDonalds doesn't exist. If someone asked me where the nearest Mickey D's was, I'd have no idea. When I visualize that parking lot, there's nothing where the McDonalds actually exists.

Self-observation is particularly hard. In yoga we are always being told to observe our breath. It is hard to just pay attention and not change the breath. Lately I've been trying to notice how I hold the steering wheel. It is hard to know what I normally do, because I'm thinking so hard about it I know I'm changing things.

Being observant is hard work.

In yoga last week the teacher was talking about the five spiritual elements in Buddhism. Two of them are mindfulness and focus. Those are two things that I really need to work on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ciambella alla Menta (Mint Cake)

One of the only things Ross wanted for his birthday was a cake. We had some mint in the fridge, so I decided to make this cake. I got this recipe from the Italian cooking magazine I bought the last time we were in Italy. I've made it a few times, and it is super-duper tasty. The Italian cakes I've made don't use leavening (they use whipped egg whites instead) and they aren't overly sweet. Also, they are kind of small. So, I'm going to share the recipe with you, and even translate it for you. I'm even going to do the weight calculations.

Ciambella alla Menta

240g sugar (7/8 c. + 3 Tbl.)
150g butter--softened (10 Tbl.)
3 eggs
one lime
one bunch of mint--leaves sliced into thin strips--reserve some leaves for garnish
confectioners sugar
200g flour (1 3/4 c.)
butter and flour for the pan

1. Beat the butter with 200g (7/8 c. = 1 c. - 2 Tbl.) of sugar until well combined and fluffy.
2. Add mint, some grated lime peel, some lime juice, and 3 egg yolks.
3. Mix until well combined.
4. Add flour and mix well.
5. In a separate bowl beat egg whites with 40g (3 Tbl.) sugar and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.
6. Carefully fold egg whites into flour mixture.
7. Transfer batter into buttered and floured bundt pan.
8. Cook at 180 C (355 F) for about 45 minutes.
9. Turn out onto plate and dust with powdered sugar and garnish with mint leaves.

I cooked this yesterday at 325 F for about 55 minutes because I use a heavy, teflon-coated pan. I just noticed that the recipe calls for 3 eggs, but the how to photos show 4 eggs. I think it would turn out a little less dense with 4 eggs.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pumpkin Brownies

I've made pumpkin brownies a couple times already this fall. I developed this recipe a few years ago and it took about three tries to get this recipe the way I wanted it. I like it because you just basically dump everything together and mix it. The longer you cook the brownies, the firmer they become. Then they kind of form a couple of layers. The bottom is really dense and chewy and the top is a little more brownie like.

I don't know if the frosting was originally called Fall Frosting, but that is what we call it. It is also really easy to make and the flavors go together really well.

Pumpkin Brownies

4 eggs
1 c. melted butter
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 large can (30 oz) pumpkin
1 Tbl. vanilla
2 c. flour
Nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, cardamom
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, and pumpkin until fluffy.
3. Add dry ingredients--spices to taste.
4. Mix thoroughly.
5. Spread into 9x13 pan.
6. Bake 35 minutes or up to 50 if you want them firmer.
7. Cool and top with fall frosting.

First set of ingredients.
Dry ingredients.Pumpkin brownies spread into the pan.
Cooked pumpkin brownies.

Fall Frosting

1 c. butter--softened
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
3 Tbl. molasses
1 Tbl. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. orange peel
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese--softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients together until well blended and brown sugar is dissolved.

Whipped frosting.
Frosted Brownies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Irrational Aversion

For some unknown reason rectangular insulated lunch bag/boxes make me cringe. I don't like them. Of course I see people carrying them every day. Half the time they are also carrying 3 other bags and I think to myself "Why can't you put that into one of your other bags?" It is completely inexplicable, but I'd rather see people carrying lunch pails or paper lunch sacks.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Best Crackers Ev-ah!

I have fallen under the curse of the Crunchmaster. Back in March or April I bought a box of these Crunchmaster multi-grain crackers at Costco. I was really happy to discover that they don't have corn or wheat in them. So, I can eat them without worrying about what they will do to my dig tract, and I can eat them during passover. They are certified gluten-free, and they are wonderful. Now, the curse. After we finished the box this Spring Costco didn't have them for months. I became a bit obsessed. When they started carrying them again I bought two boxes to start, then bought another box every time I went to Costco. Ross told me I could ease up on the cracker-buying, and I did. We polished off our last box of crackers during the pumpkin carving party and now Costco doesn't have them again! Ross searched the internet and found out they sell them at Safeway. I went today and bought two bags. The bags aren't as big as the ones that come in the box (4 oz v 10 oz). And they were much more expensive at Safeway. Still, they are so good that I'll be buying them at Safeway until they have them at Costco again. Oh, and FYI, they don't have them at any Costco in the Northeast. I hate that. Costco gets you hooked on something, then they stop carrying it (too-ey, too-ey, too-ey), at least they still have my milk (I panic when they are out).

Sunday, November 7, 2010


My computer was giving me trouble. We backed it up before sending it in. The backup didn't work like we thought it would. The last time I had backed up my music was 13 months ago. Long story short--I lost about 300 songs. Oops. Over the weekend I've tried to get my computer looking the way it was before I sent it in to be fixed. I've manged to recover about half the songs. I've also downloaded a few (only 150) songs and some photos onto my new phone. Maybe next weekend I'll work on ring tones. I'll also work on downloading some of the other songs I lost. I'm missing most of my Magnetic Fields and a lot of Nouvelle Vague. I'll find it all eventually.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I finished watching the first season of Hoarders on Netflix. Hoarders is like a train wreck. Horrible, but you can't look away. I come from a family of hoarders. My parents are hoarders. My mother's parents were both hoarders. I try really hard not to hoard. I can be messy, and there are certain things I find hard to resist. I love paper. I love shoes. I don't love putting things away. I was looking for something in the back room recently and I found two other things back there that I didn't know I had. That's bad. I didn't find what I was originally looking for. I need to clean up back there. The last episode of Hoarders featured a 7 year old hoarder. The psych gave him rules. 1. Don't drop things. 2. Everything has a home. Not dropping things is great advice. That's how things get messy. That is how things get lost. Hoarders makes me feel good because I'm not as sick as the folks on the show. Hoarders makes me sad because those people are so sick that they lose all their relationships. Hoarders makes me feel bad because I know I could be better about keeping the house clean. I can't wait for more episodes.