Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh Wait, This is a Food Blog?

TGIF people!!!!! I think I might be the only person in the universe who does not have today off! I do get out early though, so that's a bonus. The boy and I have a hot date tonight for New Year's Eve.

Since I haven't shown you any of my meals this week, I thought it was high time since you know, this is supposed to be a food blog and all. Breakfast yesterday morning was so good I decided to repeat it this morning. Two organic blueberry waffles topped with strawberries and pomegranate. The sweetness of the strawberries paired with the tartness of the pom arils was sublime.

Please pardon my shadow in the picture, I still have yet to get this photography thing down. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph my lunch yesterday, but it was just a side salad with a turkey sandwich. Then for dinner I made my go-to meal...a roasted sweet potato and sauteed brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt, and garlic. So simple, yet I was craving it almost all day yesterday.

I love to slice my sweet potato up into thin wedges, sort of like chips. I think this is the best way to eat a sweet potato and it cooks up so quick this way. The brussels I burn, because I love things burnt, especially brussels. Just looking at that picture makes me want to have it again for dinner tonight.

And just because I can and want to show off my sweet photography skills, here is a bonus picture of Bailey:

This is where she hangs out when either the boy or I are taking a shower. She has always done this and I'm not really sure why. Sometimes she will stand up with her paws against the liner like she's trying to reach out to me. Such a weird little cat.

Anyway, in blog news, if you follow me on twitter you already know that it has been a big week for the blog. Not only did I hit my highest viewership ever on Wednesday, but I also received the most comments on a single post (only eight, but for me it's a lot). It feels good to know that people are actually interested in what I have to say, so thanks for reading my ramblings and for still coming back, you guys are great!

Happy New Years everybody! Anyone have any good plans tonight?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Tis the Season

Oscar season that is!

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love Oscar season. A ton of good movies come out this time of year and I am often overwhelmed trying to see them all. But I always manage because well, that's who I am. I am a pop culture enthusiast in addition to being a cookie officianado.

So far I have already told you about 127 Hours and the Social Network.

In the past week I have seen Black Swan, The Fighter, and True Grit (also saw Tron but obviously that's not in the running for any Oscars). Pretty much all of the big ones.

First up we have Black Swan.

I will start out by saying that I did not love it, but I can appreciate the value of it. Natalie Portman's performance was astoundingly good (for her) and the direction was spot on. However, the film dragged in certain areas and I never really was drawn in to Portman's character. I did not feel very much empathy for her, which I don't think is necessarily a product of her acting but rather of the script. I would not be surprised if Portman receives Best Actress, but I sincerely hope that the film does not win Best Picture as it fell just short of that qualification for me.

Next up we have The Fighter.

This one fared much better for me. I actually really loved this film. I highly recommend it. Christian Bale more than deserves to win best supporting actor for his role, even though he is a huge jackass in real life, he is nothing short of amazing as an actor. I was completely blown away by him. I left the theatre with my heart thumping and that's always the sign of a really good movie for me. I would like to see it win Best Picture at the Oscars, but I have a feeling that Black Swan will take that honor. Of all the Oscar hopefuls that I have seen, this was by far the best.

The boy and I took in a double feature and went to see True Grit immediately following The Fighter.

I want to start out by saying I am NOT a Coen Brothers fan. I have hated just about everything they have ever done (with the exception of The Big Lebowski which I love and Burn After Reading which wasn't that bad). While I didn't think this movie deserved any of the Golden Globe nominations it got, it certainly was a good movie. Not great, but good. Much better than I expected. It didn't hurt that I love Jeff Bridges. The one thing I will say is that it had the typical Coen Brothers ending to it...very anticlimatic and disappointing. This film is not necessarily worth seeing in the theatre, but it would be a good rental once it gets to Netflix.

Have you seen any of the Golden Globe nominees? Which ones did you like or not like? Do you watch the Oscars?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My New Years Resolutions

2011 is fast approaching friends, and you know what that's resolution time! I know most people don't actually keep their resolutions, and I probably won't either, but it's still fun to list the things you want to change in the new year. Goals symbolize hope. So here are my ten resolutions for 2011.

1. Save more money. Money burns a hole in my pocket, I can't save money for anything. So my goal by the end of this year is to build up an emergency fund. I will make Suze Orman proud. Probably. If I don't find a really cute pair of shoes on sale or the latest tech gadget doesn't catch my greedy eye that is.

2. I will stop being a time nazi. I am crazy about time. I am always a half hour early for everything and I can't stand it when people are late. I get really stressed out when someone else makes me late or I am running late because of traffic, etc. I'm sure the boy and my friends will appreciate this resolution!

3. Bake less, cook more. Baking has always been my strong suit, but all the sampling and enjoyment of my baking does not help with my weight loss goals. I resolve to get more creative with my cooking and bake less sweets.

4. I resolve to stop resolving to give up coffee. I know I've said I was giving up caffeine many many many times before. But really, I know I need to do it. And I never do. I'm basically just a big old hypocrite for constantly saying I'm going to give it up and then I don't. I love coffee almost as much as I love cookies and I would NEVER give those up so why should I give up coffee? Life is too short not to drink coffee. The next time I say I'm going to give it up, feel free to slap me.

5. Eat a more varied diet. I have a tendency to find something I like and then eat it over and over again until I get sick of it, which is not ideal nutritionally. This is attributable to my laziness. I usually just don't have the energy to put any thought or creativity into my meals. I aim to change that.

6. Be better about strength training consistently. The problem with my workouts is that I am a cardio queen...but really slack off when it comes to strength training. I get into this horrible cycle of strength training and being really sore after because it's been so long since I've done it that I go another week or two before I do it again, thus being sore after again.

7. I will not wait until the "GET GAS NOW!" light comes on in my car. I do this all the time and I know one of these days I'm going to get stuck on the side of the road in a shady neighborhood and the factory rims on my 2001 Honda are going to get stolen.

8. I will try to watch more adult TV programming. That's not to say that I will give up any of my teenager shows (Gossip Girl, Secret Life, Pretty Little Liars, etc.) but I need more balance in my TV watching life if I ever want to actually, you know, mature. I will also stop watching every John Hughes movie when it's on TV. Molly Ringwald is not a proper role model. But she does look damn good on Secret Life.

9. I will stop buying bottles of OPI nail polish. 50 or so bottles is enough, don't you think?

10. I will stop at just one cookie. That's right. No more shoveling a half a dozen cookies into my mouth anymore. Or the equivalent amount of cookie dough. This has to be my worst habit and let's be honest, the amount of cookies I consume (while they make for good blog convo) do not flatter my figure. I should start a cookie eaters anonymous support group. Make that resolution # 11.

Do you set resolutions? What are your New Years resolutions for 2011?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chocolate Chip Toffee Walnut Cookies

These my friends...are the best. cookies. ever. They have everything I could want in a cookie. Chocolate chips, toffee pieces, walnuts, and two sticks of butter. Butter makes everything better!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup toffee pieces
1 cup walnuts

Cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together.

Add eggs one at a time and mix well.

Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet mixture.

Eat some dough. Go ahead, I will wait.

Then add the chocolate chips, toffee pieces, and walnuts.

Spoon onto cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies...or 3.5 dozens if you eat too much cookie dough like me...

I made only a dozen and froze the rest to make at a later date. To be perfectly honest, I can NOT be trusted with that many cookies in the house.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Revisited

Hi friends! Long time no talk! I hope everyone had a great holiday. I know I certainly did. This years Christmas was very low key but truthfully one of the best I've had.

It all started on Friday when my new camera came! Yes, that's right, I got the Canon Rebel! I have literally been following the boy and the cats around the house taking hundreds of pictures of them. They all love this, I can tell. The boy asked me when I was going to get tired of it, I said NEVER! I have to say that of the three of them, Bailey is by far my best subject. I love the quality of pictures from this camera.

Christmas day started out with the boy making breakfast for me. Cinnamon french toast with orange slices on the side. Yum. French toast is my favorite breakfast food.

My plate:

His plate:

The boy and I had agreed not to buy each other gifts since our gift was the trip to Costa Rica, but after breakfast was over, the boy pulled out a cereal box and said he wanted to get me something small...I was extremely confused but was thinking at least he knows what brand of cereal I like...but apparently he forgot to buy wrapping paper, so he put my gift in an empty cereal box. He is nothing if not resourceful.

Waiting for my inside was Inception on Blu Ray and a Starbucks gift card.

What a bad influence he is. At least he knows the way to my heart is through Starbucks. Which is funny considering the conversation we had the other day:

Me: I think it's a Starbucks kind of day
Boy: Baby, remember, that is a bad boyfriend...
Me: It really is, but I love it and I can't help but to I keep going back
Boy: But you have a good boyfriend and that should be enough for you
Me: But you don't make me feel the way Starbucks makes me feel...
Boy: Warm inside and satisfied?
Me: Yes exactly.

Since we had such a big breakfast, we just had a snack in the afternoon of pigs in a blanket. These were always one of my favorite appetizers, and ever since I saw a frozen version at Trader Joe's a few weeks back, I haven't been able to get them out of my mind, so I knew I had to make them for Christmas. They were just as good as I remembered.

Dinner was pot roast (which actually came out really dry, but the potatoes and carrots were good). I set up a romantic table for two for us.

I know this table looks pretty and romantic NOW but I actually bought the table cloth and the candles on Thursday and in the span of two days picked the table cloth and candles off the floor at least a dozen times (one of the candles actually has a dent in it from being dropped if you look close) because the cats love how easy it is to slide across the table with the table cloth on it. I did not find this as amusing as they did.

Dessert was the boy's favorite...strawberry shortcake. The whipped cream was homemade, but the actual cake part was store bought. It was still delicious and we both practically inhaled it.

After dinner we went to go see Black Swan (movie post coming later in the week) and then came back to booze it up. What's Christmas without a little drunken wrestling? No pictures of that unfortunately, but we had a blast. For the boozing, we both started out with wine.

I switched over to beer when my wine ran out (only had two glasses left in the bottle) and the boy just drank straight out of his bottle of wine that he had been drinking. Nothing says Christmas like hitting the bottle straight up!

Now it's time to bring this monstrous post to a close. With the purchase of my new camera, you can expect to see many more photos on my blog because I am OBSESSED with the new camera.

How was your Christmas? What's your favorite party appetizer?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Hi everybody!

So I just wanted to drop in and say Merry Christmas!

I will not be posting tomorrow or over the weekend. I will be back next week with the usual. I hope everyone has a wonderful and happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ten Things NOT To Do At Your Office Christmas Party

What happens at the office Christmas party, does not stay at the office Christmas gets talked about for years. And if you are one of the people who made an ass of themselves at the office party, you will be topic of conversation until at least next year when someone else makes an even bigger ass of themselves. But even then, you will forever be known as that guy/girl.

Not that I am guilty of any of these...but here are ten things NOT to do at your office Christmas party this year.

1. Don't drink too much. Drinking too much usually equates to saying too much, and you don't want to say anything to your coworkers, or even worse, your boss, drunk that you wouldn't say sober. You know, like telling your coworker you have been picturing him or her naked for the last three years or telling your boss that you think the guy in accounting might be gay.

2. Don't molest anyone. Just because it's a party and there's mistletoe hanging, doesn't mean it's appropriate to plant one on your boss's hot wife. It's also not appropriate to get too up close and personal in someone's space just because you're not at work.

3. Don't talk shop. No one wants to talk about work when they are no longer at work, even if you are at a party with work people. Leave the office talk at the office. It's a party, let loose and have fun!

4. Do not fill a grocery bag with items from the buffet to take home. Yes, they are going to throw it away anyway, but that doesn't mean you have to showcase your cheap gluttony for a buffet at an office function.

5. Don't treat it like a meat market. Slutting it up at the office Christmas party is never an option. These are your coworkers, not potential dates. Go on Craigslist if you are looking for potential one night stands.

6. Don't venture out of PG territory. This is not your opportunity to start swearing like a sailor or telling inappropriate jokes. Save that for your Grandma at your family party.

7. Don't dance like you're at the club. Grinding with that cute IT guy will not only be a lasting memory for pretty much everyone at the party, but see rules # 2 and 5. Dancing like a stripper has no place at the office Christmas party. This is also not the time to attempt the dances that were popular when you were a teenager...twenty years ago.

8. Don't sit in the corner. The point of a party is to mingle. This especially holds true if it is your first Christmas party at a job. This presents an opportunity to talk to people you might otherwise not have the occasion to talk to. If you sit in the corner all night, you will be missing out.

9. Don't complain about the party like this girl did. Especially on camera.

10. Don't dress inappropriately. If you wouldn't wear it to the office, don't wear it to the party. Keep it covered boys and girls.

Have you ever done anything inappropriate at an office party?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let It Snow...

...somewhere else.

I hate snow. We had the first substantial snow storm of the year in Boston yesterday and last night.

It completely caught me off guard, I didn't even know it was supposed to snow. Therefore, yesterday morning I put on my usual 4 inch heels and caught the bus to work.

Little did I know that there was going to be someone's last day party at work and everyone was heading out to the bar after work.

Now, I work in the financial district and there is nothing but bars and restaurants all around, but of course we are going to a bar that is about a 10-15 minute walk when there is no of course it took me 20 minutes of short choppy steps and about 50 close calls from falling flat on my ass, but I made it to the bar.

Which meant that I did NOT want to trudge back 20 minutes through the snow in my heels to catch the bus back home, so the boy said he would swing by and pick me up on his way out of Boston. In the ambulance. Yes folks, I got to hitch a ride in the ambulance.

This is not the boy's ambulance, but I had to post it because it says Waltham on the side, which is where I live so I thought that was a funny coincidence. Unfortunately, because the weather and traffic were so bad in Boston, I was only supposed to ride with the boy to do one pickup...but that pickup ended up taking four hours. We didn't get home until after 10:30 last night. Riding in an ambulance (when you don't actually need one) is not as fun as you would imagine it to be.

Waking up this morning, I headed out to run some errands, and CeCe (my car) was covered!

It doesn't look like much, but it wreaked havoc in Boston last night. It's funny how people suddenly forget to drive in the snow.

So since I posted this morning about the holidays, I went to Target today and felt a little guilty about my house being completely devoid of Christmas spirit, so I bought these.

There. Now maybe Santa will visit my house and bring me a new camera.

Holiday Frenzy

Hey there fellow holiday revelers! Four days until Christmas. I haven't recapped any of my holiday happenings as of late so I thought I would do a quick recap today. I do love Christmas, but there are some things about it that just really get to me. Every blog I've read lately has spouted all the joys of Christmas...well sometimes I don't FEEL so joyous.

This year, I didn't have to do hardly any actual Christmas shopping at all since the boy and I are going on a trip instead of buying each other presents.

However, the boy's work Christmas party was this past Saturday. Realizing that I did not have any festive holiday shoes that were not peep toe (it was DAMN COLD so I wanted to be wearing pantyhose and you can't wear pantyhose with peep toe shoes). So I made a colossal mistake. I went to the mall on Friday. I really didn't think it would be that bad...after all, it was the middle of the day and it was a weekday so it couldn't be that bad, right?? WRONG.

After driving around for twenty minutes looking for a spot, I stalked someone coming out of the mall for their spot. I threw on my "emergency" flats that I keep in my backseat (since I wear heels everyday) and ventured to the crosswalk. A very nice person stopped to let me cross. From practically a quarter of a mile down the road I see a car coming the opposite way. "I have plenty of time" I thought to myself. But oh wait, that's when she started to speed up. At this point I hestitated, thinking either she doesn't see me, or she is aiming for me. I am already half way across the street as she comes zooming up to turn into the garage entrance a few feet from me. She narrowly misses me by about two inches. I was so angry, that I did something I have never done before. I slapped the back of her car with my hand to let her know just how pissed I was. She merely glanced back at me and proceeded to zoom off to beat someone into a choice spot. So much for holiday spirit.

After wandering around the mall for about an hour, trying every store they had for a pair of holiday shoes, I left shoeless. All that and I didn't end up with what I came for, all I ended up with was a lovely pair of blisters from my "emergency" flats that have been bothering me ever since.

Flash forward to Saturday night for the boy's holiday party, which actually was quite nice. It was a catered dinner at a nice function hall south of Boston. As is typical at these holiday functions, there were raffles. Each person received a raffle ticket. Since the raffle was done later in the night, a few people at our table had left, leaving us with their raffle tickets. We won one of the smaller prizes, a $50 gas card. Then the grand prize is announced. It's a 5 day 4 night stay anywhere in the continental U.S., but if everyone participates in a dance contest, they will up the prize to anywhere in the U.S. or Europe. Well hot DOG. We danced our butts off. The time for the drawing comes and the boy and I are thinking our chances are really good with our fistful of raffle tickets. But alas, we didn't win. As a matter of fact, a girl who no longer worked with the company and was essentially party crashing won the grand prize. We were both soured on the party after that. Where is the justice I ask you?

Yesterday was my office Christmas party, which was an Italian catered lunch. The food was pretty good, but no prizes :( I'm a prize girl, I like the satisfaction of winning something. But oh well. Times are tough I suppose.

I also have a confession to make. I did not put up a single Christmas decoration this year. The problem with that is that I amassed a collection of Christmas decorations with the fuzz and I don't feel right about putting them up now that the boy lives with me. Something about looking at all those Christmas decorations will make me think of Christmases past and I would rather think of Christmases future. So the boy and I will have to work on a new collection for next year. I also just didn't put any up because I am lazy. Don't judge.

And then there is the constant barrage of Christmas cookies. Everytime I turn around, someone is bringing Christmas cookies into the office. Y'all know I have NO willpower when it comes to cookies. How am I supposed to avoid holiday weight gain when people are constantly wafting cookies under my nose??

Truth be told I will be slightly happy when Christmas is over, I can go back to shopping at the mall without fearing for my life and go back to work without fear of getting fat.

Tell me about your work Christmas party. Any tales of Christmas stress you would like to share?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ginger Cookies

It's Christmas week! I don't know what that means for the rest of you, but for me it means a half day on Thursday and Friday off!

I've decided that since my chocolate peppermint cupcakes seemed to be such a hit that I would try to bring you a new recipe every Monday. Sundays are typically my day to cook for the week, so it only makes sense that I chronicle one of my recipes to share with you guys. This weeks recipe is ginger cookies. You could cook these longer and use gingerbread man cutouts if you wanted to make gingerbread cookies instead, but I was too lazy for that today.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses (use light for a more subtle flavor, dark if you want a heavier flavor)
2 egg whites
splash of vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsps baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
(For garnish) 1 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the butter and brown sugar together.

Add the molasses, egg whites, and vanilla, beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. The mixture will look a little crumbly, but never fear, it's supposed to look like this.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and roll into balls. Please excuse my mound of dirty dishes in the background.

Roll the balls in the granulated sugar.

Place on the baking sheet and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. The flatter they are, the crispier they will be, so don't flatten them too much if you want a cakier cookie.

After you flatten them, sprinkle a little more sugar on top. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes roughly 2.5 dozens.

Be sure to enjoy a few warm right out of the oven! (Or if you are me, enjoy half a dozen right out of the oven).