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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why I'm Still Single

This will pretty much stand alone, with no need for me to add much commentary.  I recently re-joined, and what you are about to see is an excerpt from the profile of someone that showed up on the site as a possible match for me.  Read on, cringe, then understand my spinsterhood. 

*Warning.  What you are about to read has been copied exactly and no grammar, punctuation or spelling has been altered from the original form.*

"Wow this whole dating online has gotten way out of control. People wake up this isn't a fairy tell land where you can pick your perfect image of a person, then close your eyes and bam there they are. I notice how women tend to " Rule the Roost" on this site. Superficial and ridiculous wants and needs. OK women you all have a vocabulary for men " Douche bag, Tool, Meathead etc" well what about you. Im sure you know a few women out there with the same mentality. This is what makes a women super lame on a dating site. If your profile includes the following.......... Live Laugh Love......Seriously did you take that from your grandmas plaque hanging in her kitchen....Lame !! Passionate about life.........Hahahhah.....It's a dating web site who isn't ,your a I love to laugh......Oh this one kills me, your super boring i can tell already. Is that the best you can think of! I am just looking......Is that why you made a extensive profile? Obviously your not to be trusted. Every picture has a shot of your boobs.........Did daddy not love you enough, you got serious issues. lol I just want a honest man...... hahahahahah wait i cant stop laughing hahahahahah.... These are just a few things.....Look stop trying to make a glorified Glamour magazine profile. Be your self tell us men what really makes you tick.... Have some creativity and use your brain.....Life is short don't be such a prude or you will be that single older lady that all us guys look at and say " Ya i remember her she's worthless" for we will not help you when you fall....... Now if you feel the need to vent please do can handle the truth and some sarcasim....I wear boxer briefs not butt huggers.......who wants to play......"

~Back to reality again.  At least it's Leap Day, and I can ignore this match as an aberration that will hopefully only recur once every four years. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kitchen Nightmares

I swear that if anyone decided to film my life for a reality show, I'd end up being portrayed as completely inept, dimwitted, and comically clumsy.  Really, these oddball occurrences only happen once in a while, but it does seem like I've been extra-blessed in the kitchen catastrophe department over the past few weeks.  Here's some of the wacko things that I'm talking about:

1)  I had a can of refried beans fall on my head a few weeks ago while rummaging around in a cabinet.   The can was on the counter over the cabinet where I keep my casserole dishes and tupperware.  My cat had been getting up on the counter and I think she must have nudged the can to the edge during one of her forays, because I can think of no other explanation for how that can could have possibly fallen on my head.  Other than poltergeists, and I really don't want to think about those in my apartment.  I also don't know how the can could have been perched that precariously on the edge of the counter without my noticing it.  Regardless of how it happened, it hurt like nobody's business!  The very bottom edge hit me right above my hairline and I did have a little bump from it.  Luckily, it didn't fall far before impact.

2)  I burned myself pulling a dish of homemade macaroni and cheese out of the oven.  Not the brightest, but also the most normal of my incidents.

3)  Last weekend I managed to burn myself while doing the dishes.  The tap water from the hot side has been scalding hot lately, which I knew when I started the dishes that day.  I must have had a lapse, though. While moving a pan under the stream I wasn't careful enough and ended up burning my wrist right under the thumb.  It hurt bad enough that I felt it through my whole body, stamped my foot on the floor and swore.  (Sorry Mom.  It happens.)  It was hot enough that it was a bit red and warm to the touch for the rest of the day (it looked like a mild sunburn, but didn't last long).  Right after it happened, I was so mad that I tested the water temperature with a meat thermometer held in the stream of running water.  150 degrees (beef, medium rare).  I had been meaning to report the temperature of the water to the apartment complex office for a while, but the burn prompted an actual irate call.  I also reported the broken garbage disposal, since I had to leave a message anyway.  Next day, the hot water is merely hot again, without being hot enough to physically endanger the young, elderly, or simple-minded.  The garbage disposal is still broken, but the drain is clear again.

4)  Yesterday, I had another dish washing incident.  I received a vegetable slicer for Christmas, and was cleaning the components for the first use.  I was planning to make scalloped potatoes with a giant sweet potato that I found at the store.  All necessary parts were washed, and I had taken special care not to come in contact with the extra sharp slicing blade (it ate up my poor sponge).  I was drying everything on my flour sack towel and made one last and nearly fatal (by which I mean not really even close to fatal, but not very bright) swipe with the towel, catching my middle fingertip right in the blade.  Amazingly, there was no blood on the towel.  But that sucker bled like a mother.  The cut wasn't that deep - maybe a millimeter - but it seemed like it bled forever.  And each time I thought it was finished, it started up again.  Then of course I started thinking too hard about it (Do I need stitches?  Should I see a doctor?  How clean is that towel?  What if it gets infected?).  I had to lie down and look away from it for a few minutes, to stop myself from giving in to the irrational panic and because I was feeling a bit faint.  Then, as I was getting myself a bandaid to keep myself from looking at the wound, and to keep from bleeding all over the place, I made the mistake of trying to assess the damage and started to feel faint/queasy again and had to lie down.  Did I mention that I hadn't eaten yet either?  That probably didn't help.  Anyway, I was so irritated at the slicer (and myself for being a dork) that I nixed the potato idea and moved on to something simpler and faster.

5)  Today, less actual physical damage to myself...but it did involve that vegetable slicer.  I decided not to hold a grudge against an inanimate object due to my own carelessness, and was preparing the scalloped potato recipe.  The white sauce was completed on the stove waiting for the potatoes to be layered in the pan.  I had already re-washed the blade component, without touching it, and didn't bother drying it.  I popped it into the top of the slicer and started slicing up the humongous sweet potato. This slicer has a container attached to catch the sliced veggies, and I was holding it in my hand instead of using it on the countertop.  Naturally, the whole slicer somehow catapulted out of my hands, crashing to the floor and distributing an even layer of perfectly sliced potato disks across the tiles.  I managed to keep a nice tight grip on the potato, though, and hadn't sliced more than 1/4 of it before dropping the container.  So, all was not lost.  Of course, it delayed my recipe prep and the white sauce ended up thicker than ideal, since it was sitting on the stove during this time and the aftermath.  I had to spread it over the potatoes instead of simply pouring it, as called for in the recipe.  The sweet potato produced enough liquid during cooking that it didn't seem to make a difference though.

Cut to my reality show after the inevitable editing process, and it goes something like the following scene from Frasier, only without the dating or the ironing:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Culinary Creation

In my quest to both eat healthier and cook more, I have been spending more time in the kitchen.  (This has severely impacted my FaceBook gaming schedule...but has also resulted in a loss of 5 1/2 pounds so far.)

I have found some great healthy recipes and have whipped some things up on my own.  I whipped up the following concoction last week, loosely based on the memory of a recipe for a Mexican meat dish.  Naturally, I cannot remember the name of that dish, nor where I found it.  My version uses ground turkey instead of ground beef, and is very lightly seasoned for versatility. I used it as a filling for soft tacos.

For lack of a better name (or any creative abilities), I have called this:

Turkey Potato Skillet


1 TBS canola oil
1 1/4lbs 99% fat free ground turkey
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 28oz can chopped black olives


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook until it starts to become translucent.  Add potato and cook for about 2 more minutes.

Add ground turkey to pan, breaking up the meat as it cooks.  Add seasonings to pan and stir to distribute.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender and meat is cooked through.  Add olives to the pan and heat through before serving.

Serves 8
Serving size = 4 1/4 oz
WWPP = 4

Friday, February 10, 2012

Birthdays, Ball Games and Bad Baking

What a busy, busy weekend!  And the week has continued in the same busy fashion...  I am going to need this weekend to recover.
Saturday was my nephew's 2nd birthday, and my step-sister threw him a party.  He is very much into tractors right now, so that was the party theme.  My mother and Caroline created this cute cake for him, and he was very happy to see the vehicles on it.  (Every time he see's a tractor, and some other assorted large vehicles, he yells out tractor and gets very excited.  It's incredibly adorable, but I will admit to a bit of a bias, as his doting aunt.)

He got these tractor cookies, too.  I'm told they were a lot of work...  I know from experience that they were quite tasty.
Sunday, of course, was the superbowl.  Given that I'm not a sports fan, you'd think that I wouldn't give a flying fig.  But, I did have a party to go to where I could tune out the game and tune back in for the commercials.  The hostess's birthday was on the 1st, so I wanted to bring her a cake as a surprise.  She consulted me about what to buy or make beforehand, and I had to spoil the surprise to stop her from making the cupcakes she had planned.

I had stumbled upon this photo and recipe for a zebra cake a few weeks ago and had been itching to try it out.  I thought the superbowl party was the perfect opportunity to use my friends as test subjects, um, I mean, beneficiaries of my baking talents... The original recipe I had found called for olive oil and Sprite, and I was not too sure about that combination in a cake, so kept looking.  I settled on this one instead, since the ingredients looked more normal to me.

I ended up having to borrow a round cake pan.  I don't know how I can have at more than 4 different bundt pans and not have a single normal round pan...

I don't know that I've ever actually baked a cake from scratch before, being such a fan of the modified cake mix methods of The Cake Mix Doctor.  I was tempted to just use a white cake mix and a chocolate cake mix*, and pour the batter in the pan per the zebra cake instructions, but that would have resulted in way too much cake.  (Yes, I also realize that I could have used a single box of white cake mix, and added cocoa powder to part of that mix...hindsight and all that...)  I also thought that baking the cake from scratch went hand in hand with my resolve to eat fewer processed foods.

Anyway, after getting home from my nephew's birthday party on Saturday night, I made a quick trip to the grocery store and got to baking.  

Per the recipe, I started out by mixing the eggs and the sugar together until most of the sugar was dissolved.  Then the oil, milk and flavor extracts were stirred in, followed with the dry ingredients (except for the cocoa powder).   Very soon I had 2 bowls of batter ready for pouring.

In order to achieve the stripes on the inside of the cake, you need to pour alternate between pouring small amounts of each batter into the center of the pan.  This will create concentric circles of batter.  It looks pretty snazzy in the pan, if I do say so myself, even though I think I should have poured a bit more batter per circle.

My circles were decidedly off-center, but there wasn't really anything I could do about it.  It still looked sort of impressive, though not quite like the photos in the links to the recipe.  This cake rose a crazy amount over the top of the pan, mounding in the center, and it developed a gaping crack at the top.  I will admit that I improvised with the borrowed pan - it was only an 8" and not a 9" as called for.  I am blaming that for the huge crack and the fact that I had to bake it an additional 20 minutes before it was done.  (I may have also mixed too much air into it trying to get rid of the flour lumps.)

After baking, my apartment smelled wonderful, and I was full of pride about my scratch-baked cake...until we cut into it at the party.  Luckily, we didn't make it a giant deal with candles or singing.  Lucky for me, if not the birthday girl, at least.  This cake tasted terrible.  The texture was fine and it was moist enough, but it had no flavor.  None.  Okay, maybe a little bit, since it actually tasted like cornbread to me.  I might have enjoyed it with a generous smear of butter and a bowl of chili, but cake this was not!  I knew it wasn't going to be an overly sweet cake, based on the description on the recipe site, but that site also stated that it had a good mix of vanilla and chocolate flavor.  People had commented on that site saying how perfect the recipe was and that they even used the plain batter for cupcakes.  Liars!  I don't believe it!

So much for my lofty baking ambitions...  What a let-down.  Next time, I will have to enlist the help of my good friend Betty Crocker.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Early Days

I am so off of my normal schedule today...  I had a conference call to attend this morning at 7:30am.  Way too early!!  I usually start work in the late morning and work into the early evening, so I knew this would be a challenge and I was determined not to be late to the call.

Normally, I would have simply gone to bed a lot earlier, but I had a hair appointment last night that was sorely needed.  As I told my hairdresser, there was so much white at the top of my head that I looked like a really short snow capped mountain.  That may have been the teensiest bit exaggerated...but my roots were grown out over an inch and I can see the white (maybe I wouldn't see so much of it, if I stopped looking for it).  Anyway, the hair appointment was not something to be put off, and I didn't get home until 11:30pm.  By the time I got to bed it was midnight, and naturally I could not fall asleep.  Isn't that always the way?

I must have fallen asleep at some point, since the alarm jarred me awake at 5:30am.  I really had to drag myself out of bed.  It was an effort, but I was successful.  Yes, miracles do happen.  I made it to the office in time to get my coffee (serious meeting necessity) and ended up as the 2nd person to call the conference line.

As tired as I have been all day long due to the lack of sleep, it was kind of nice to leave work while the sun was still shining.  I made a detour to Target on the way home and found a gift for my nephew, who is turning 2 on Saturday.  A few other items somehow found their way into my cart, too, but most of them were things I needed (I made an effort to avoid the clothing/shoes/accessories area of the store since I didn't want to spend all evening there, which is entirely possible).

My victory of the day though (non-work related) is pushing myself to hit the treadmill when I got home.  So far, I have been only following the food portion of WW, and had not started incorporating the exercise part.  I know I can't keep putting it off, or I will plateau.  I'm down 5 pounds over the last 4 weeks, which is a better weekly weight loss average than I've ever experienced in the past.  I am fully convinced that it is related to me tracking 24/7 instead of just the 3 days before weigh-in.  Making the effort to follow the good health guidelines has to be helping, too.

That being said, I did hit the drive-thru yesterday for the first time in weeks.  I needed to grab something quick between work and my hair appointment (which is close to my home, but an hour from my office).  I checked out the nutritional information before I left work and stuck to my pre-determined order when I got there.  And then I kept my hand away from the candy bowl at the hair dresser's...

Previously, I would have let that trip to Burger King derail the rest of the week through the end of the weekend.  I am consciously not doing that this time.  Today I was right back on plan, including the exercise.  I pre-planned/packaged my lunch for tomorrow too.  I'm still hoping that I can maintain this motivation!  Wish me luck!