Friday, March 28, 2008

Good Food Friday Recipe Review

I played hooky from work today to get in one last ski day and it was *sigh* really, really great. I wish I could have shared it with you all, but I couldn't; instead I will share with you a review of Pioneer Woman's Asian Noodle Salad.

Lots and lots of chopping - very little cooking + lots and lots of tasty flavors x healthy vegetables = 2 happy diners

Try it, you'll like it. Just make sure you have a really big bowl. I thought I had cut down on the inexact measurements Pioneer Woman uses, but I still ended up with so much food it took me 3 tries to find a pot just right. Goldilocks would have been proud.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Movie: Mr. Hoover & His Dam

I spent a few days in Vegas a couple of weeks ago doing the things you do in Vegas…hanging out with nerdy political scientists (I’m no exception) and visiting Hoover Dam!

I was in Las Vegas presenting a paper, Alternative Voting Systems: the Effect of Voting Systems on Single-Winner Multicandidate Electoral Outcomes (see the nerdiness), at the Southwestern Political Science Association annul conference. The best thing I did, besides not make a fool of myself, was visit Hoover Dam. That thing is huge! Check out our latest production in the sidebar or at the Pocket Litter Productions homepage.

Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Treasures in the Snow

The beautiful warm weather has finally melted all the snow from our yard and revealed a hidden layer of winter refuse. Yesterday afternoon Derek walked out into our yard and along with the 4-month-old, soggy, shredded newspapers and bits of construction garbage, he picked up a pair of black tights! My black tights! The very same black tights I have been looking for all winter long.

It is a very vulnerable feeling to find your tights hanging out in public without you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Movie: A Seattle Minute

We recently had a great time doing and not doing whatever we wanted to in Seattle. You’ll find the music selection is a hat tip to the birthplace of grunge. I felt like I was in Jr. high all over again. All we needed was holes in my jeans and an ill fitting flannel shirt tied around my waste. What a time, what a town!

Check out our latest production in the sidebar or at the Pocket Litter Productions website.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday Food

I know this is another copout, but I'm *cough, cough* sick, and this is what you eat when you are sick (in my house, anyway).

Go ahead, feel sorry for me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Repairman Etiquette (or phantom post)

Our fridge broke in September. And then it fixed itself. And then it broke and fixed itself again in November, December, January, January again, and then February. In February we finally called a repairman. This wasn’t the first time we called a repairman. Back in September we called a guy who came out for 3.5 minutes, said he couldn’t do anything and then charged us $69. But this was my first real-life repairman (Derek met the last one) and let me tell you, it was a little awkward. If there is a proper way to host a repairman in one’s home, I certainly don’t know it.
Do You:

(A) Welcome him to your home, offer him a refreshing beverage, introduce him to the errant appliance and then chitchat with him about his former life as a minor league baseball player while he cheerfully repairs your appliance?
(B) Open the door, ask him what took so long, tell him you’re paying him good money and he better not waste any time diddle dawdling in his fancy toolbox and going out to his truck twelve times. Then do you sit yourself down on a stool two feet away and warn him that he better not try to steal anything because you’ll be watching?
(C) Ask him in, apologize for your kitchen not being spick-and-span, give him a lengthy and detailed account of your appliance’s misbehavior – complete with sound effects, chat about Cache Valley weather (Sure is wintery this winter) and then retreat awkwardly to another part of the house to make yourself busy doing who-knows-what because you’re never home during the day and really have no idea what normal people do at home in the daytime, especially when there is strange man down the hall in your kitchen. Then do you keep contriving reasons to casually walk past or through the kitchen just in case you really should be out there and not hiding in your bedroom with the TV turned down low?

I chose C. And, seriously, I felt like I was at a seventh grade dance, hiding in the girl’s bathroom because I saw that weird kid from Home Room doggedly hunting down every girl in the school and asking her to dance. But just like when the repairman came, I couldn’t stay in there forever; periodically the other gawky, brace faced girls and I would feel compelled to dart out into the danger zone just in case another more acceptable boy wanted to dance. I’m pretty sure the repair guy wouldn’t have asked me to dance, but if he had I probably would have panicked and said yes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just in the Nick of Time

I’ve been a little busy this week and with Derek out of town, I just didn’t feel compelled to cook anything. But, in the spirit of Good Food Friday, I decided I should post a couple of recipes I always have in my back pocket.

This first one is an oldie but goodie and is Harvey sibling original. While I don’t remember the details of its genesis, I imagine it was created one hungry Saturday afternoon while our parents were out running errands. So, without further ado, let me present to you:

Oatmeal Glop
1 blue or red 70s era Texas tumbler
Quick cooking oatmeal

Fill cup with oatmeal. Scoop several spoonfuls of sugar into oatmeal filled cup. Add milk and let sit for just a moment to let the milk soak into the oatmeal, then add more milk and stir – repeat until desired consistency and enjoy! For a more sophisticated palate, try adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg.

The second recipe is a little newer, and in my opinion a little grosser; I quite like it. It was introduced to me a couple of years ago by a close friend we’ll call “Derek”.

Derek’s Toaster Gross

1 toaster
Small flour tortillas
Kraft cheese singles

Peel one cheese single from the wrapper and place in flour tortilla. Fold in half and place in toaster. Cook until toasty and melty. It tastes great (as long as you have pretty low expectations) and it doesn’t dirty any dishes. The perfect “I’m wearing sweats, I’ve given up on life, give me a processed toaster meal” meal. It’s also great for single guys.

And there you have it, another Good Food Friday.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It Is Not Good That Liz Should Be Alone

When Derek is out of town I:
1. Quit making food
2. Don’t clean the house
3. Stay up too late
4. Wake up too late
5. Get sucked into reality TV shows I don’t normally watch
6. Watch way too many crime shows “ripped from the headlines”

Number 6 then causes me to lie awake in bed imagining all the ways the bad guys could break into my house. This, in turn, has led me to conclude that all houses should be equipped with these basic safety features:

1. Peep holes – because I have decided there is no good reason I should ever open my door to a stranger
2. Alarm systems
3. Bars and/or house armor (The family I stayed with in France had house armor that pulled down over all the windows and doors. It was awesome.)
4. Bludgeon/bullet proof doors and windows
5. A door leading outside from my bedroom
6. Panic rooms in every room
7. Some sort of evil intention sensor in the yard
8. And I want my own taser

I don't think this is too extreme; standard home safety features leave us far too vulnerable. If there is any lesson to be learned from watching crime TV, it is that a flimsy lock on a door isn’t going to keep any truly determined bad guy out. I promise, I'm only paranoid when I'm alone in the dark.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Recipe

I have conquered a childhood food prejudice. As of last month, I no longer have to be forced to sit at the table all night long until I finish my lentil soup. In an effort to integrate more meatless dishes into our diet, I took a leap of faith and made this soup. I really must be a grown up now because I didn’t make any gagging noises during dinner, nor was I forced to hold my nose and close my eyes for every bite. It was actually good! Notice this recipe calls for red lentils. My lentil legume-ism is founded upon the regular sickly green colored lentils (Let’s be honest, most lentil soup looks like barf). Red lentils are so much cuter.

Why I decided to give lentils one more try:
1.) Health magazine (I’ve never read it either) recently ranked lentils among the world’s five healthiest foods.
2.) Lentils are one of those “heart healthy” foods; they are a good source of protein, fiber and iron.
3.) The lens of the eye is named after the Latin word for lentil beans - lens. Lens (the bean) became lentil in English from the Latin diminutive – lenticula, which became lentille in French and then lentil when adopted by the English language! This was the clincher for me.

Not at all Gross, Red Lentil Soup
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion and garlic until golden. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper and chili or cayenne powder and sauté for 2 minutes. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils, and carrot and bring to a simmer. Partially cover pot and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Use an immersion blender or food processor to purée half of the soup. Add blended soup back to pot. Stir in lemon juice and cilantro.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Lesson Learned

Never, ever write your blog posts in Blogger. Because you will just be adding the finishing touches to the post you've been working on for the last hour and a half and then *poof* it will disappear! Just like that. Gone. Nothingness. Blank screen. Glowing emptiness. And nothing you do will bring it back. And you will most likely feel a mix of rage and helplessness. And you will wail, and shake your fists, and gnash your teeth, and your husband will look at you like you've lost your mind - because you have! And still, there is nothing you can do. Eventually you will have to accept defeat and go to bed.