11 June 2012

Are you there, Molly? It's me, reader.

If you're reading this, I can only assume you forgot that you used to subscribe to my blog (welcome back, or see you later after you swiftly visit the unsubscribe button). Or the lovely Cirque du Sweet has directed you here from a guest post featuring yours truly. I should admit that the latter source is the reason I'm posting. Have I told myself for months on end that I'm going to hop back on the blogging train? Duh. (You're welcome for the Q/A prose, Bop.) But when I agreed to guest post while Allison is gallivanting across the pond, I realized she would link here. And anyone who dared click through would be greeted with a 10-month old post about Bo Jackson figurines.

So I suppose I have Allison to thank for "forcing" me dust off my blogging fingers. You see, I'm a writer by trade. (I never said I was a good one. Also, I'm not self-deprecating at all.) While I love the outlet of writing about what I want to, sometimes it's a lot of pressure. Or I'm lazy. Which I think I've cited multiple (read: tons of) times in various posts.

So uh, I'd tell you to come back. I wish you would. But I don't give you a reason to (a theme), other than my random musings about often-pointless things. Though I've vowed (ha) to start back up with weekly Blogging Molly sessions.

See you next week, yes no maybe so?

17 August 2011

1991 Magic

After three years in his house, J is almost fully unpacked from boxes. The last boxes live in his office, the contents of which have patiently waited for a bookshelf to live on. (Or in many cases, a trash can/recycle bin/thrift shop.)

Little did I know that my boyfriend is a pseudo-hoarder. Items found include a Subway Club Card that has actual stamps (lickable ones), a card with a $20 bill from high school graduation and a Bo Jackson figurine. That's merely just a smattering.

One gem, however, is a collection of poems penned by each member of his fourth grade class. The theme was magic. And this was 4th grade J's contribution:

Let me tell you about
my favorite Magic powers.

Fast: run at the speed of light.
Mind: smarter than anyone.
Strength: to lift 8,000,500 pounds with no problem.

All of these you cannot do
but one special power that is in me and you
and that power is FRIENDSHIP!!!

Now that. Is art. (I mean ... and that is ART!!!)

Smooches, J.

18 April 2011

Go green

So there's a recipe I've been hanging onto for a few years that I got from Domino magazine's website. (RIP Domino. I still miss you after all these years.) I always tear out meal ideas from magazines and such, but most of the time never end up making them. I refused to assign this salad recipe to the same fate! I've been dying to try it.

That's just it, though. A salad recipe sans major protein just doesn't make its way into our typical meal plans. J's also not a big "just salad" eater and I thought the recipe was too delicious looking to just have it on the side. (Plus, I'm not a big fan of salad leftovers. Putting it on the side would definitely have assured excess saladage.)

The one time I finally went to the store to get the stuff to make it for myself, they were out of arugula! (I just can't substitute for those delicious, peppery greens.) And I also couldn't find champagne vinegar for the dressing, so it just wasn't in the cards that day.

I finally had the perfect opportunity to make it for my brother's birthday in April. I even added my own little spin after having an amazing salad at The Mixx with quinoa in it. And wow, this salad was great! And super easy (I'm disappointed in myself for waiting so long to make it.) Do yourself a favor and try it.

The stuff to make it
3 pink grapefruit
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
salt and pepp
3 large handfuls arugula (I just used a whole plastic box of it)
2 ripe avocados, cut into chunks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup-ish prepared quinoa (I boiled mine in chicken broth) ... optional, but delicious.

How to make it
Slice off the tops and bottoms of grapefruit and cut off skin. Section fruit and remove membranes (ew?), working over a bowl to catch the juice. (Seriously though, removing the membranes is importance as that's where grapefruit gets its bitterness! Thanks for that lesson, Mom.) To bowl, add oil, vinegar, salt and pepp to taste; whisk to combine.

Toss arugula with half of the dressing (and quinoa if you decide you want it in there.) The recipe says to arrange arugula on plates, top with grapefruit, 'cado and red onion and then to spoon on remaining dressing. But I pretty much lazed it up and put it all in the salad bowl and mixed. Not as pretty, I'm sure, as the instructed way to do it, but I'll be the first to admit that my plating skills are never rated very high.

What's your favorite salad recipe?

11 April 2011

Guac it up

I typically don't use dinner hosting sessions as an opportunity to try recipes I've never made before. After all, if it sucks, my stellar reputation as an entertainer is in jeopardy. But when I had a Mexican fiesta to host pals, I knew I had to take my Aunt's guacamole recipe for a spin. Not only does she have fantastic culinary taste, but I feel like guacamole is pretty hard to mess up, right?

My "adventure" paid off because it was absolutely delicious. The recipe makes a giant batch, so I thought we were going to have leftovers. This wouldn't have been a bad thing from a taste standpoint. But guac doesn't always maintain it's awesomeness the best. Regardless, I didn't have to worry about it because the six of us definitely polished it off. Impressive. This concoction has the perfect amount of kick to it, but I think I'll use spicy Rotel to dial it up a bit more next time. (There will be many more "next times" with this recipe!)

The stuffs to make it
4 very ripe avocados
1 small, well-drained can Rotel
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. cumin (I used a tad more, but not much)
8 oz. softened cream cheese (the softened part is important, just to make things easy)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced onion

How to make it
Mix the stuff up, dummy. Serve with tortilla chips. Easy peasy, guacomeasy. Huh?

28 March 2011

Killer party

J and I get together at least once a month with two of my dearest childhood friends and their husbands. We rotate houses or activities and host dinner and/or game nights. We seem to inherently mix it up without discussing it, and somehow during our scheduling for February, the idea of a murder mystery party came up. I took no issue with showcasing my glee at this prospect, as the goob in me has always wanted to try one but I've never had the opportunity. Since the get-together was scheduled for two days after my birthday, I pulled brat duty and insisted on the murder mystery party. That was that.

As most of our plans center around food, we snagged a murder mystery kit that did the same. Our scenario was based on a family-owned Italian restaurant in NYC. The owner, in which all of us were related to by blood, marriage or business, was murdered and we had to devise whodunnit. Basically, you read through a script and are fed clues to accuse each other, so it's best to have people who aren't afraid to ad lib, while staying true to the facts, or embellish (read: make a fool of themselves.) Fuddy duds need not apply.

(Caleb in full character in the background of this picture. Someone was clearly accusing him of something ridiculous.)

Kayla and her hubs have extensive experience in murder mystery parties and did a great job of orchestrating the scenes and assigning characters. (My boyfriend J, for example, was my brother in the script. Awkwardly fun.) Michelle and her hubs did a great job of hosting the soiree, complete with chicken lasagna with vodka sauce and cheddar garlic biscuits. J and I did a great job of showing up with booze. (Ok, salad too.)


Kayla and Caleb also had a great spin on the events that made for hilarity to wrap up the evening. Instead of going around the table sharing our suspicions on whodunnit, they brought a video camera and one by one, we went to a separate room, Real World Confessional Style, to reveal our theories. We then watched them and the real killer, Michelle's real-life husband and my character's fiancee, revealed himself.

We didn't take a ton of pictures, as we were busy accusing each other of murder and revealing each others' dark secrets, but we had a lot of fun. (Note: I was supposed to be in mourning, as my father was the murder victim, wearing a short black leather skirt and gaudy gold jewelry. But I did my thrift store shopping before we chose the kit, and I made the executive decision to dress my character 20s/30s-esque. Oops.)

My ridiculous "vivacious" pose, Michelle's general cutery and Kayla in mourning for her husband's murder.

Back to our real-life cuteness.

And my brother, I mean boyfriend, being adorable.

I would definitely recommend a murder mystery party if you're looking to do something different with a group of fun friends. (As opposed to lame friends?)

Have you ever participated in your own live action Clue?

23 March 2011

Will Shovel for Soup

Kansas City's blizzard of 2011 aka Snowmageddon aka SnOMG aka Snowpocalypse aka Snowtorious B.I.G. gave me the unwanted opportunity to do something I've never done before ... shovel the sidewalk. J's back was hurting from shoveling on blizzard day one, so I decided to have a go. Mostly because I felt awful for the mailman, not because we were going anywhere. I didn't do a very good job, but I did a job, darnit.

Pretty clear, though not completely straight. Apparently I was SUI ... shoveling under influence.

Hahahaha, my attempt at clearing a path for the mailman from the neighbor's yard. Not good.

To reward my meh-worthy efforts, I made some delicious soup. Recipe courtesy of Epicurious (passed on by my stepmom), this Wild Rice and Sausage Soup is definitely making its way on a recipe card. It was delish! (I halved the recipe and had 2 or 3 bowls of leftovers. The full would be great to freeze or for company ... or I guess for a family. Cooking for 2 is hard!)

The stuffs to make it
12.5 cups (whoa) of chicken broth, low-salt if you don't want to get puffy
1 1/4 cups (girls gone) wild rice
6 1/4 cups frozen corn kernals, thawed
2 tbs veggie oil
10 oz fully cooked smoked sausage, cubed
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups half and half
Chopped fresh chives or parsley (I used chives)

Make the stuffs into soup
Bring 5 cups broth to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add wild rice and simmer until all liquid evaporates and rice is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. (Note: J did the grocery shopping for this recipe and came back with Rice a Roni wild rice. Don't make this mistake, as a) it's not enough rice 2) it adds some major salt that I didn't account for when seasoning. Oops. I also "skipped" this step and used a rice cooker. Holla!)

Meanwhile, blend 3 3/4 cup corn and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth in processor 'til thick, a smooth puree forms. Heat veggie oil in heavy large Dutch oven (ha) over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute until browning starts, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and onions and stir 3 minutes. Add remaining 6 cups chicken broth and bring soup to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer soup 15 minutes.

Add cooked rice, corn puree and remaining 2 1/2 cups corn kernels to soup. Cook until wild rice is very tender, about 15 minutes more. Mix in half and half. Thin soup with more broth if you wanna. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Garnish with chives/parsley. (This really adds something nice!)

What's your favorite soup recipe? (Please share ... I do love me some soup.)

22 March 2011

Nailed It

Confession: I've been a nail biter my whole life. (Not at all a secret to those who know me.) In the past few years, I've had whopping month-long spurts of sans-nervous nibbling, but something always sets me back to start from the beginning. (Because once I start biting, there's absolutely no stopping me. Ugh, it's even more gross when I see it in writing...) Boredom is typically the demise of my "lengthy" nails. But somehow I got super OCD about them, too. So if one snags and I don't have a file handy, it's, "Ta ta talons!"

So with my stubby nails, I can honestly say that I have never painted my nails. (I might have when I was a kiddo, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that I didn't paint them even then.) Anytime I've tried in my adult life, I've either felt like a kid playing dress up, or a hot tranny mess. (I don't do well with girly things. As a recovering tomboy, ruffles, pink and general primping beyond good hygiene still feels odd.) But since the emergence of the short nail trend, I've acquired a new obsession: nail polish.

I finally realized that most nail polishes look just fine on my short nails. Ok, maybe not when they're gnawed down to the cuticle, but when they're "normal", polish looks good! So the floodgates opened, and I went nuts. J made fun of how many bottles of polish I purchased in such little time. But luckily this new love was also fueled by a fabulous promotion by a fabulous company: Zoya.

Zoya ran a promotion, giving three free bottles of polish if they hit a certain Facebook fan milestone by a certain date. Word spread quickly and they reached their numbers and then some. So I got six bottles (J bought me some, too) and just had to pay for shipping. Not only was this a great chance to try new colors, but a new company, too. (Zoya, I have to add, has great customer service and runs awesome promotions quite frequently. I've also been really happy with the quality of the polish and when you go to the site, you'll see that selection is not lacking. At all. Thanks for tipping me off, Allison!)

So my something new sometime in January was that I not only painted my nails, but I painted my nails pink. (A hue that does not touch me often.)

(Sorry, all the pictures I took are really bad. They don't show the color well. It's Zoya Kate, though, and I do love it!)

I've been dabbling in pretty much every color ... gray, navy, sparkles, red. I feel like a new woman!

What's your favorite polish brand/color?