Thursday, May 31, 2012

Birthday Shenanigans

And now for some real life exploits.  
I had a birthday!  It was delightful for many reasons.  Since it was on a Sunday this year, the celebrations began on Saturday.  First, I got my hair cut.  My grand plans of picking a place based on glowing Facebook recommendations rapidly devolved into "Hey there's a place" while we were at the mall.  A lady named Genevieve did the deed and while she did not do so gently, she did it in what felt like 10 minutes.  That's worth being stabbed in the head with a pick, right?  (Fortunately I do not have a tender head.)

After that I finished what I started the night before--cake!  Chocolate Quake Cake to be precise.  

I was a little concerned about some cosmetic issues of the individual layers, but if there is one cake in the world that is forgiving of cosmetic issues, it's this one.  Also, it is delicious.  One of the most delicious cakes I have ever had.  And the frosting!  SO good.  I look forward to making this one again, as soon as I have cause... (hint hint).

We left the finished cake at home and went off for dinner at Chef's Table (coupon in hand!).  I got...tilapia...I think...but I spent most of the time envying Drew's pan roasted filet mignon medallions, which was a most excellent steak.  We took no pictures, but instead you can imagine me alternating between enjoying my fish and greedily eying Drew's plate. 

Since it would have been absurd to eat the cake on our own, we had friends and family come help.  However only one of them made it into a picture:
But the house was full, a bag of Sun Chips was rapidly consumed and everyone left full of cake.  

On the official day of, Drewbles gave me a present here, a present there throughout the day.  I was kind of a bum this year and gave him little indication of my wants (not really knowing them myself).  But he got all creative on me and so now I have this little number to do Pilates on:

(Bonus points for being pink.)

And I also have this now, which I very much enjoy climbing on the couch to stare at: 

It is a perfect addition to our London-themed in-progress living room decor scheme.  Isn't it just the most delightful little thing??

We spent the day reading in the park, sleeping and I talked to most of my family.  Then I watched House Hunters International (London!) while Drewbles worked on the first of my two birthday requests: Velveeta with hot dogs.  He even used the Velveeta log and made the cheese sauce himself!  I was very proud and it was so deliciously goopy.  I can pretend to be all high brow with my grilled cheese with brie and pan roasted filet mignon medallions, but, really, there are few foods in this world I love better than Velveeta.

The main activity of the night was my second birthday request: watching the last mind-boggling episode of Sherlock.  It had both of us amazed. 

And that is the long and short of it!  I plan to spend the next year resisting the urge to freak out about my next birthday...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Foods for the Envying

We had these for dinner tonight.   

Roasted strawberry, brie and dark chocolate grilled cheese sandwiches.  Just FYI.  (Recipe here--I used at least twice as much brie because our bread was bigger)

(I think it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: we don't usually have chocolate for dinner.)

And then I made some cake batter! 
In a pot!  What a wacky world we live in.  The finished product will be making its debut when it's, well, finished.   Meaning tomorrow.  À bientôt!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I am pretty easily impressed and awed by nature.  Whale sharks impress me (so big!), Thailand rock...things impress me (so topsy turvy!), the Amazon rainforest has always deeply impressed me (so many creatures!).  Pretty much everything but mountains impresses me on some level.

But at the top of the list is the Northern Lights.  You can tell how impressed I am by the fact that I'm devoting a whole blog post to say how amazingly mysterious they are.  After all, I only blog about the most meaningful things.  But look at them!!!


Aren't they just the most mysterious and lovely things in the world?  I guess they aren't technically mysterious, since science explains them, but they're still mysterious.  A long while ago, LivingSocial offered a trip to Alaska for a Northern Lights expedition trip.  I don't remember the price or the dates, but I still check their website to see if it comes back up again.  There are lot of places/things I'd like to see and of course most of them I probably never will, like the Great Wall of China or (*tear*) the pyramids.  These, on the other hand, feel more possible since I can see them without leaving the continent.  Alaska's just a quick jaunt up the road.

As a random aside, the Northern Lights are one of the very few things I remember from The Golden Compass (those, and the polar bears [ARMORED polar bears]).  "Remember" is probably overstating it--I remember there were Northern Lights and they were terribly mysterious.  Is anyone counting how many times I say "mysterious" in this post?

I should also probably note, for posterity's sake, that I think I can trace my initial fascination back to the hours spent playing as Cammy on Street Fighter 2.  Showing here:

 (Ugh, DeeJay)

Anyway.  Let's look at more pictures of the Lights.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

What I Miss Today

Lovely, dreary, grey rainy London.  *sigh*  

On the upside, while looking for decent rainy London pictures I found a delightful landscape painter, David Atkins.  Here are my favorites of his rainy London paintings. 
Evening Rain.

 Rain. Picadilly Circus.
Regent Street in the Rain.

Spring Rain.

Now if only that whole "jumping into the painting" thing from Mary Poppins worked.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Food for the Eating

It's been a few months since the last recipe post so it must be time for another!  I'm happy to say that beans are not involved in any of them.   

Eggs in Tomato Sauce
I had never heard of such a thing as this before but now I wish I had.  I could have been eating this for years! One thing I will add is that the recipe says to use "tomato puree", which I did and which was not full of chunky tomatoes (like the pictures) or even flavor.  Mine didn't come out of a box so maybe that's my problem.  The second time I used the puree (I had leftovers since I could only find it in a 28 oz. can) but added a can of diced tomatoes.  Much better. Plus it's more saucy and if there's one thing I like, it's sauciness. 

After the deliciousness of the eggs in tomato sauce I had to try this too.  All during dinner we kept talking about how good it was and after dinner we were talking about when we could have it again.  The recipe says to use pitas for dipping but we just piled it onto a pita and ate it with a fork.  So good.  Seriously.  So good.  If you make one thing from this list, make this.

Portobello Fajitas with Fontina Queso
Mushrooms are one of the foods nearest and dearest to my food heart so of course this was perfect for me.  I skipped the cheese on this (me! skipping cheese!) because it seemed to take away from the simplicity of it, not to mention the healthiness.  Still tasty just with salsa. 

Grilled Caprese Sandwich
Basil.  Cheese.  Tomato.  Sold. 

Thai Coconut Soup 
We made this instead of going out for Valentine's and it was definitely the right decision.  It was almost a little *too* heavy on the coconut milk, but it was a nice change of flavor from the Tom Yum we usually make.  Also, mushrooms.  

Grilled Coconut Lime Tilapia Tacos with Kiwi Salsa
Poor Drewbles has often ordered fish tacos only to be disappointed by them (as am I because they involve barfy corn tortillas).  Since we had some cod, I decided to try to satisfy his fish taco dream.  I don't usually like fish tacos because the fish is fried and I really only like fried fish with fish and chips--otherwise you can't taste the fish.  So if you like the taste of fish with your fish, maybe these are the fish tacos for you.  Either way, the salsa was a winner. 

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken 
Tomatoes.  Basil.  Cheese.  Sold. 
Okay, partially sold.  I prefer eating chicken shredded or cut up, and the chicken we happened to get was quite thick and big.  I think I'd like this better with smaller/thinner chickens.

Corn Salsa
I made this before dinner one night.  We had to put it away so we wouldn't eat it all right then.  Nuff said.

Brownie Peanut Butter Cups
You want to eat these.  Don't even wonder--you want to eat these.  It's even easier if you use a brownie mix, but just be sure to let them cool before you take them out of the pan!  Not that we learned from experience or anything... 

Chocolate Pudding Pie 
I had a goal this year to make a dessert pie.  It was my first time making a traditional crust from scratch and I think I made it through unscathed.  I love pudding and I love chocolate pudding so win win.  

Maybe next time I'll blog about, you know, actual life or something. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Back in the day, this blog was filled with a lot of rambling about movies--what was coming out, what did best over the weekend, etc. etc.  Even though it is a lot more sophisticated now, I think it is entirely appropriate to devote a whole post to this news: 

Van Helsing is being rebooted.  With Tom Cruise of all people!

Okay, so, Van Helsing and I have this thing where it is terrible and I love it.  I's really terrible.  So terrible I roll around on the floor laughing at how terrible it is.  I mean, really, everything is terrible.  How can Tom Cruise improve on this??  Even the poster is kind of ridiculous.

Okay, so maybe they'll turn it into, you know, a good movie or something.  And yet I don't know how I could love it anymore.  Too bad, so sad.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

It's May now... I guess it makes sense for this song to be in my head. 

(This video is worth watching just to see the happy conductor.)