Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Inaugural Recipe Semi-Fail

I'm calling these cookies a semi-fail because while they look terrible and generated an enormous mess that will be an epic pain in the ass to clean up, they still taste good.

Admittedly, the mess is my fault. The recipe did say to properly lubricate the cookie sheet, but as my cookie sheets are all non-stick and I've never had a problem with removing other sticky cookies (oatmeal, in particular) from them, I didn't think it was necessary. How wrong I was. Any toffee that is on the pan side of the cookie is going to melt, then caramelize. This has two results:

  1. The cookie spreads waaaaaaaay out.
  2. The cookie becomes effectively glued to the pan.
These factors lead to cookies that are not only so spread out that they're running into each other, but are very hard to dislodge from the pan. The combination of the two is a spatula-wielder's worst nightmare. Of a three-dozen batch, I can count the number that are intact on one hand.

The looking like crap thing isn't so much my fault, though. Obviously, the spreading thing was beyond my control. Secondly, the first batch was semi-burned (you can see them on the bottom of the picture I posted) because twelve minutes at 350F is much too long. I only left the second batch in for ten minutes and they came out nicely (colorwise, they were still sort of a mess w/r/t the whole spreading and caramelizing thing).


I think the next time I make these (remember, they still tasted really good), I will add a smidgen more flour, spray the pans thoroughly, and put the cookies further apart than the recommended two inches. I'll probably make them smaller as well-- 3/4 tsp instead of a whole one, maybe. I'm also considering adding the toffee chips last, and carefully placing them on top of the cookies before they go into the oven rather than mixing them in with the dough. That should help, too.

Day Off

Things I Am Doing Today

  1. Grocery shopping
  2. Picking up my mail from my dad's house
  3. Finishing Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  4. Working on my sister's Christmas scarf
  5. Watching last night's episode of Castle
  6. Working on my graduate school applications: filling out the basic forms, making a giant list of classes I have taken in the humanities and social sciences, updating my resume, and getting a packet together for the people who are writing me letters of recommendation
  7. Procrastinating writing my admissions essay
  8. Laundry and the dishes (maybe)
I love how I spent all day at work yesterday telling people I was going to spend my day off on the couch with a gallon of orange juice in an effort to fight off whatever not-the-flu (I got vaccinated) illness I am coming down with. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

A very good book.

Currently in my hands: Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde. I was delighted to see it on the shelf of the local library; I'd only ever seen the Thursday Next series along with the Nursery Crimes Division novels previously, and hadn't known that he'd written anything else. I tend to be a bit behind the times where new books are concerned; I'm so far behind in my backlog of Things I Should Have Read When I Was Busy Majoring in English and Recovering From the Same that I'm not good about watching the new releases, even of authors I really enjoy.

Fforde is one of those authors. His books are the silly sort of sci-fi/fantasy, intriguing and well-rendered without being totally unbelievable, trite, or, worse, using the weird and new technology/world/species/wtfever as a driving plot device. Shades of Grey is a dystopian novel set in the possibly-distant future, and his skills are on par with those of Orwell and Huxley. No lie. This book is really, really good. I can't wait to finish it, and tomorrow's my day off.

There are few things better than the anticipation of finishing a good book.

That time of the year again, huh?

Every year, I knit my younger sister a scarf for either Christmas (I don't celebrate it, but she does) or her birthday. It's an important tradition, as she is pretty much the only person other than myself that I regularly knit for. This is largely because she is one of the few people in my life who understands all the time and energy that go into making a scarf yourself (she crochets), and therefore fully appreciates anything I give her. She is also one of those people who is really cold all the time, loves scarves, and must properly accessorize...everything, really, so a new scarf is nearly always welcome.

I haven't written about her much (yet), but it probably bears mentioning that the two of us are polar opposites. It's a good thing that we look (sort of) alike, because if you only knew us for our personalities, you wouldn't think we were related. She came to town for Thanksgiving last weekend and was impeccably dressed, with matching jewelry, shoes, and makeup. Her hair was freshly highlighted (blonde and red) and styled (straight). I'm pretty sure that my clothes didn't match each other, much less my outerwear. I didn't have any jewelry on because I can never remember to wear it. I doubt I was wearing much (if any) makeup and my hair, well... It's in the No Man's Land between straight and curly, which means it either looks really awesome, like I just stepped off the set of a TV show, or like it hasn't seen a brush in a month of Sundays and small critters have taken up residence. I've mostly made my peace with it (though I do occasionally envy my sister's ability to straighten her hair without it frizzing up), wearing it down on a good day and up on a bad, and sadly, that day was a bad one, so I'd knotted it up into a messy bun.

Different, yes? That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Liking scarves and wearing them everywhere is one of the few things I have in common with her, so every Christmas and/or birthday, I find myself frantically (much as I love my sister, I am still the queen of all procrastinators) knitting her another scarf to add to her collection. They're usually blue because it's her favorite color, but I think this year's will be brown. If I recall correctly, she has a few off-white and neutral-brown coats that this one ball of yarn I've been saving matches. I've finally found a pattern, and it's go time.

I hope she likes it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Maybe I'll be crotchety, instead: rambling about Second Wave feminism.

I was going to post this on a forum, but figured that it would be better written here, mainly because I'm over participating in the Mommy Wars and I don't even have kids. I'm going to preface my comments with a heterocentrism warning: as Jong's critique assumes a heterosexual relationship, my comments are going to fall along those lines as well. I imagine that the negative effects of following the Attachment Parenting philosophy would be mitigated in homosexual relationships, for while one partner would be affected, it wouldn't necessarily reinforce the gender roles and women's economic inequality.

A few weeks ago, Erica Jong published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal's blogs section decrying Attachment Parenting as a prison that guilt-trips women into parenting practices whose benefits haven't been entirely proven at the expense of their careers:
You wear your baby, sleep with her and attune yourself totally to her needs. How you do this and also earn the money to keep her is rarely discussed. You are just assumed to be rich enough. At one point, the Searses suggest that you borrow money so that you can bend your life to the baby's needs. If there are other caregivers, they are invisible. Mother and father are presumed to be able to do this alone—without the village it takes to raise any child. Add to this the dictates of "green" parenting—homemade baby food, cloth diapers, a cocoon of clockless, unscheduled time—and you have our new ideal. Anything less is bad for baby. Parents be damned.
 Jong goes on to point out that the hyperemphasis on extended breastfeeding (lasting longer than one year) that Attachnment Parenting is known for virtually demands that women be the primary caregiver, the one to stay home and be attached to the baby:
Attachment parenting, especially when combined with environmental correctness, has encouraged female victimization. Women feel not only that they must be ever-present for their children but also that they must breast-feed, make their own baby food and eschew disposable diapers. It's a prison for mothers, and it represents as much of a backlash against women's freedom as the right-to-life movement.
 Needless to say, I didn't read the comments. Jong's opinions on this subject aren't exactly popular in this day and age, and I've been hesitant to say that I agree with her. When I first heard of Attachment Parenting several years ago when one of my friends was expecting, the ideas it espoused immediately struck me as being not only incredibly classist and elitist, but that it was simply the same old What to Expect prison revamped into a slick, faux-progressive package. I'd find the whole "Raising a self-actualized, progressive child is the best thing that a woman can possibly do!" thing quaintly hilarious if it weren't 1) coming from people who would otherwise be on my side who 2) were actually serious when they said it. I blame my feminist and women's and gender studies background; it's caused me to be immediately suspicious of any parenting scheme that overtly targets mothers and attempts to guilt trip them into making the "right" choice, which nearly always comes at the expense of their social and economic freedom. Doubly so if it involves reinforcing the more that women are intrinsically more nurturing than men and, as such, should be shoehorned into that familial role.

It seems like parenting books are hardly ever evidence-based in any meaningful sense; they cherry pick whichever studies happen to support their agenda and then order you to do it or else you are screwing up your child forever. I find the Attachment Parenting philosophy and the oft-maligned What to Expect series to be two sides of the same coin. Though they have different political agendas, they both seek to guilt-trip women and families into making the "right" choice. What to Expect makes women feel guilty about what they eat while they're pregnant, The Baby Book makes women feel guilty about what they feed the child once it's out. Both involve an ever-present implicit threat: "You don't know what you're doing, and if you don't listen to us, your kid will be permanently damaged and it'll be all your fault." That's a pretty heavy burden to lay on anybody, and it always seems to fall heaviest on mothers.

Where Attachment Parenting is concerned, it is of critical importance that 1) your baby is with you at all times, and 2) you breastfeed until the child self-weans. I don't think that babywearing or extended breastfeeding are intrinsically bad in and of themselves, but I do think that the expectation of such places a huge burden on women (as men can't breastfeed, women become the "logical" choice as to who stays home and attaches themselves to the baby). This simply isn't economically feasible for the majority of families, who require two incomes to stay afloat, which is why my first impression of Attachment Parenting was "classist and elitist, the parenting equivalent of conspicuous consumption." Who other than the wealthy can afford for one member to take two to five years away from the workplace per child, and have the time and financial resources to cloth diaper and prepare one's own organic baby food with locally-sourced produce? Oh, that's right, women whose earnings potentials are so low that the cost of daycare would be higher than their income, so what's worsening her economic potential a little bit more? That's not something I would consider a good thing. I also find the cavalier "just take out a loan!" attitude similarly irresponsible; I'm pretty sure a teenager would be better off with financially stable parents who can pay for his college education than ones who are still neck-deep in debt from the loans they took out in order to stay home with him the first three years of his life.

It also bears mentioning that I'm not a fan of the over-emphasis on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding, whether you do it for six weeks or six years, is not the be-all, end-all of good parenting, and to act as though it is places an enormous and disproportionate amount of parental responsibility on the mother. My stepmother is a lactation consultant, so I am well aware of the health and nutrition benefits that breastfeeding offers to both the baby and the mother (having been on the receiving end of many an informative lecture). However, I am entirely unconvinced that these benefits outweigh the child's need to have clothes on its back and a roof over its head or the mother's need for social and economic freedom and sanity. I feel the same way about whether or not a parent stays home, though I have doubts as to whether the benefits of one-on-one parental interaction outweigh the adaptability and socialization benefits that being in daycare provides. Whether or not it's objectively better in the way that breastfeeding is remains unclear, but even if it is, it's not worth sending a family plunging into poverty or making a woman miserable because she's going stir-crazy cooped up in the house.

Throw in the quasi-racist, culturally ignorant worship of the noble savage, and that sums up the bulk of my objections.

The reaction to sentiments like Jong's (and my own) haven't been pretty. In the forum post I was considering posting this in, the vast majority of the criticism has involved harping on Jong's choices and implying (or saying overtly) that she's a bad mother because her career as an author led her to leave her daughter in the care of nannies, and that she has a personal, vested interest in criticizing a parenting philosophy that is diametrically opposed to the path she took as a parent. I was disappointed that the conversation turned in that direction, but not particularly surprised. It is anathema in our society for a woman to put her career on equal (or greater) footing with her family, especially if it involves leaving her child in the care of others. Women like Jong are castigated as cold, ball-busting bitches who only care about their careers and money, and whose priorities are woefully mislaid. It's funny (and by funny, I mean sexist and infuriating) how this vitriol is virtually never directed at workaholic men who leave the care of their children and homes entirely to their wives, whether they work or not (Second Shift, anyone?).

It also came as no surprise to me that nobody thought to consider the role of Molly's (Jong's daughter) father in all of this. Why wasn't he stepping in when his ex-wife was out on a book tour? Why was he absolved of parental responsibility while Jong was being raked over the coals? Was his career as a minor science-fiction novelist somehow more important than Jong's, whose writings have improved the lives of millions of women? Why? Why should he escape criticism while his ex-wife was being raked over the coals of bad motherhood? As I said: sexist and infuriating.

What I found even more infuriating was the vitriol that was heaped on Jong and other "reactionary Second-Wave feminists." Hating on second-wavers is a longstanding pet peeve of mine. Like the rest of us, they did the best they could in a far-less-than-ideal situation, and managed to do a lot for us young/(post)modern/Third Wave/wtfever feminists that I think we take for granted:

  • The formation of the EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, which investigates incidences of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and pay inequity.
  • Passing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans sex discrimination in the workplace, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination.
  • Passing Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bans sex discrimination in education. If you're a woman and you got to play school sports, you have Title IX to thank.
  • Agitated for affirmative action policies to take sex into account. White women, incidentally, have been the greatest beneficiaries of these policies.
  • Instituted consciousness-raising groups.
  • Successfully demanded access to hormonal contraceptives and abortion rights.
  • Advocating no-fault divorce laws and communal property laws.
  • Founded numerous battered women's shelters.
  • Instituted women's studies programs at universities across the nation.
  • Expanded the right of women to claim child support and alimony.
  • Enacted laws against domestic violence and marital rape.
  • And a whole lot more. Read the wiki entry if you're curious.

They certainly weren't perfect (I could discuss at length the way the movement was afflicted by racism, classism, and transphobia), but at the same time, I don't think they deserve the vitriol that gets heaped on them regularly by younger feminists. They don't deserve to be labeled cold-hearted, baby-neglecting, man-hating reactionaries who never get laid and want to ruin everybody's fun. I'm honestly pretty disappointed in fellow feminists who are so unfamiliar with the movement's history and the important players in it that they fall prey to parroting the same crap that misogynists threw at the Second Wave-rs during the sixties, seventies, and eighties. Those who participated in the Second Wave are still around, and they still, as Jong's article demonstrates, have a lot to offer us if we choose to listen to them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So Southern it Hurts

My favorite breakfast: (parmesan) cheese and pepper grits with fried eggs over medium. I mix them up and it's amazing. 

I'm also known for eating brie on triscuits with cranberry juice, but that's neither here nor there. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mittens: Accomplished

Now all I have to do is block them.

In case you're curious, no, I have not accomplished a thing on the grad school front. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I Should Be Doing vs. What I Am Doing

In progress: Grove mittens using malabrigo worsted. Not in progress: giant list of every course in the humanities and social sciences I've ever taken. Given that I majored in English and minored in women's and gender studies, those are pretty much the only classes I took. It'll take a while.

Happy Hug an Indian Day, Everyone!

I am thankful for the following:
  • eReaders, Project Gutenberg, and Calibre
  • The Discovery Channel
  • Abby, Helena, Anson, Amari, Amelia, Sharon, Camacho, Champagne, Alex, Kelley, and everyone else who works to keep me sane despite great adversity
  • wine, especially European-style roses, acidic, fruity whites and spicy reds
  • Matt, Matt's friends, and the kittens
  • my parents and sister (most of the time, anyway)
  • 5 Walnut Wine Bar, The Vault, and Scully's
  • Sephora's house brand eyeliner and Burt's Bees pomegranate-flavored chapstick
  • really big television sets and Boxee
  • Wasabi, Bouchon, Thai Orchid, The Usual Suspects, Salsa, Mela, Chai Pani, Asheville Brewing Company, and Early Girl Eatery
  • addi circular knitting needles
  • The French Broad Chocolate Company
  • Lady Gaga
  • Asheville <3
  • ravelry
  • malabrigo and Wollmeise
  • flannel sheets and down comforters
  • the Pandora Android app
  • The Bon Appetit Cookbook, pastry blenders, SmittenKitchen, non-stick pans, bechamel sauce, Alton Brown's meatball recipe, my knife set, and the South Park episode about Food Network
Most importantly, I'm thankful that I came into the world at the tail end of the twentieth century, not the eighteenth, because I would be having a very different experience right now. Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear Catastrophe,

If I catch you chewing my yarn into pieces or pulling my needles out of projects so that you can chew on them again, I will agree to let Matt eat you. Do you REALLY want to be a burrito?

Didn't think so.


PS: Does wool/bamboo even taste good? WTF, cat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lemon Bars

In the interest of publicizing the awesomeness of the lemon bars I made the other day (and will be making tomorrow), I'm going to post my adaptation of the recipe, courtesy of The Bon Appetit Cookbook:

Double Lemon Bars

For the Crust:

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • .5 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
For the Filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups granulated white sugar
  • .5 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-grated lemon peel
  • 4 teaspoons all purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 casserole dish with aluminum foil. 
  2. Make crust: whisk flour and confectioner's sugar in medium bowl. Add butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the dough resembles coarse meal. 
  3. Press dough into the foil-lined pan evenly. TBAC suggests using plastic wrap to smooth it out.
  4. Bake 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
  5. Make filling: Whisk all five filling ingredients in another bowl until consistency is even. It helps to beat the eggs first.
  6. Pour the filling over the hot crust and put back into the oven for another 20 minutes, or until the lemon layer is set. 
  7. Dust lemon bars with additional confectioner's sugar.
  8. Make sure that lemon bars are 100% cool before you cut them. The lemon layer is gooey and easily boogered up when warm.
If you want them to be extra sour (how Matt likes them), don't strain the pulp out of the lemon juice and add a few extra tablespoons of lemon curd to the filling mixture.

I'm also planning on trying a variation that involves spooning a thin layer of raspberry syrup in between the crust and the lemon filling. As soon as I get around to doing it, I'll post the results.


It is very difficult to blog with a cat in your lap.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Multitasking Dangerously

Things I am doing right now:
  1. Making risotto (red pepper, onions, goat cheese, and turmeric)
  2. Drinking wine (the sauvignon blanc mentioned in the previous entry)
  3. IM-ing old friends from Vanderbilt
  4. Contemplating my fickle nature
  5. Blogging about the above.
It figures that as soon as I acquire the time to read for fun, I run out of things that I'm really hankering to read. So, in honor of the seventh Harry Potter movie finally coming out, I am re-reading the books. Granted, I went ahead and saw the movie last night because I was anxious to see how true it was to the books after the hot mess that was the sixth installment. I was very pleased; it followed the book more or less exactly and went at a (thankfully) much quicker pace. The only things that gave me pause were the previews: I'm not sure how I feel about Ryan Reynolds playing the Green Lantern. He was awesome as Deadpool in the Wolverine movie (in fact, he was the only thing about that movie that didn't suck ass), but I'm not sure if I can get behind the whole goofy duuuuuuuuuudebroooooo type as Green Lantern. Not every actor/superhero match can be as awesome as Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark, I guess.

I am also looking forward to Tron, though I can't help but wonder what they'll remake next. The Neverending Story, perhaps? It's one of those movies that I loved as a kid, but hasn't really aged well.

I'll end with a pro-tip: the trick to seeing lots of children's movies without losing your mind is to go to the latest possible showing on a school night. Matt and I went to the 9 PM showing of Deathly Hallows yesterday (Sunday) and there was nothing but other twentysomething couples there. Nice, huh?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Performance Anxiety

Hug an Indian Day Thanksgiving is looming, and I'm nervous. I'm having The Big Meal with Matt's family, and the prospect of preparing something to share is more than a little bit daunting. Apparently, back when he first 'fessed up to his family that he had a girlfriend, one of his grandmothers insisted that it was very important that I know how to cook. Matt, dutiful boyfriend that he is, informed her that I am an excellent cook. Now I feel that I must take this opportunity to prove myself, once again demonstrating my unfortunate compulsive need for the approval of grown-ups, and am spending my precious pre-work free time leafing through my copy of The Bon Appetit Cookbook.

I'm not really sure what to make, honestly. My gastronomical sensibilities and dietary habits run in a diametrically opposite direction than those of the typical Appalachian family. While I'm notorious for using Paula Deen-esque amounts of butter in my concoctions, I'd nevertheless much rather bring peppered tuna skewers with wasabi mayonnaise to a gathering than, say, deviled eggs or potato salad. I'm trying to compromise. I found a recipe for baked grits with parmesan and black pepper that looks promising (liking grits but refusing to put sugar on them = major Southern street cred), and there is also a cheese straw recipe that sounds pretty tasty (who doesn't like cheese straws?).

I'm not really feeling it for vegetables, as most of the ones I like aren't in season and Matt has informed me that they've already got the requisite green beans, mashed potatoes, and peas-n-onions covered.

I do plan on bringing a dessert: lemon bars. I made my first batch from scratch ever last week, and they were awesome. I'll take just about anything as an excuse to make more. I want to try some with raspberry, but experimentation should probably wait until after I've wowed his grandparents with my mad cooking skillz.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I would like a drink.

There is a bottle of sauvignon blanc on the kitchen counter. I really want to drink it. All of it. But I know that if I drink it, I will be unable to make risotto for dinner on Monday and I can't quite justify going through three bottles of the stuff in two weeks.

There is a bottle of my favorite cabernet sauvignon on top of the refrigerator. I would also like to drink that, but I would feel weird drinking a nice-ish wine with pizza (which may or may not be dinner tonight, provided I can tear Matt away from the WarCrack).

A possible solution is passive-aggressively drinking all of Matt's beer.

Another involves the giant bottle of raspberry schnapps that lives on top of the refrigerator, but I probably shouldn't go there.

Brrrrrr...or not?

Moving back to Appalachia after six years of living elsewhere (one in southern California, five in Nashville, Tennessee) has thrown me for a loop in a number of ways, but so far, the weather has brought the biggest surprises. Winters in Los Angeles are very mild, and Nashville isn't exactly routinely afflicted by cold weather, either. In both places, all you really need is a good lined raincoat and a pair of rain boots to survive the chilly drizzly season that locals call winter.

Asheville is another matter entirely. Even though it's in the South, it's at a high enough elevation to where it gets really freaking cold. Not as cold as, say, Minnesota, but definitely frosty by Southern standards. It also snows with a fair amount of regularity. I am not good at dealing with cold weather or snow, especially since my winter wardrobe is pretty laughable at this point. Until a month ago, I owned a couple of sweatshirts, a handful of long-sleeved shirts, two or three thin sweaters, and one Columbia jacket with a zip-out fleece (that I pretty much never wore together). These proved insufficient during the first cold snap, and I had to make an emergency Old Navy run to buy sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, new pants (too cold for skirts with kneesocks or tights here), and, of course, heavy jackets.

I suppose it goes without saying that the week after I acquired my shiny new (GREEN! My favorite color) jacket, we had an unexpected warm spell that has continued to...today. Asheville friends: you're welcome. I just checked the weather, and the high is once again supposed to be over sixty. I should be thankful, as I'm scheduled to work outside today, but I know it won't be that warm all day, so I'm going to have to wear a long-sleeved undershirt (which means I'll be hot until five o'clock or so when the sun starts to set) and drag my (also new) heavy black coat and scarf with me to wear after the sun goes down and the temperature drops precipitously. I'm not a fan of cold weather, but it'd be nice to get some consistent temperatures.

Now that I have said that, it will snow tomorrow. Oh, mountain weather...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lazy Cooking

"I'm pretty sure that if it has the word 'casserole' in it, I know how to make it." -My Younger Sister
While I can prepare a variety of dishes, I am often too tired or lazy or busy knitting and watching old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix to make something that requires constant attention. I love risotto as much as the next girl, but standing in front of a stove for as long as an hour and a half stirring and cooking and adding and fretting is for the birds, and I'm too much of a purist to cheat with orzo or rice-a-roni. Tonight is one of those nights, and I have no excuse. All I accomplished today were trips to Target and Old Navy for hair products and new work clothes. The rest of my day has been spent reading books and surfing the 'net. So if there's any day in which I should be making something impressive and complicated, it's today.

But I don't wanna.

So I'm not gonna. On tonight's menu is white chili. It's a pretty simple dish, all told, as most chilis are.

  • olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 pound of ground turkey OR one package of MorningStar Grillers if you're vegetarian
  • 1 large bottle Tiger Sauce (or whatever spicy marinade you prefer)
  • 4 cans Great Northern white beans
  • garlic powder
  • Lawry's Seasoning Salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips
  • Chop onion. Heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a non-stick pan over medium.
  • Saute onion and turkey until onions are soft and turkey is cooked through. If using MorningStar, cook until onions are soft and fake-meat isn't frozen anymore.
  • Add Tiger Sauce and 1-2 tablespoons of garlic powder and Lawry's. Saute for 2-3 more minutes, or until powder and sauce have been absorbed by the meat/fake meat and onions.
  • Add undrained beans to mixture. You may or may not want to add water here, if you prefer your chili to be runny. Bring up to temperature, then reduce heat to simmer.
  • Simmer 1-2 hours, adding black and cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.
Pretty easy, yes? That's why I'm a fan. It helps that it's one of Matt's favorite dishes (figures: he's more impressed by the fifteen-minutes-of-prep chili than the aforementioned complicated risotto). Also, since most of the action happens in one pan, cleanup is minimal.

Props go to my mom, whose recipe this is.

Now that this post is done, I'm off to watch last night's episodes of Bones and Grey's Anatomy. Try not to judge me.

Victory! (a day late)

I took the GRE yesterday as part of my ongoing quest to obtain a job that does not involve wearing a nametag. I did really well: 710 quantitative, 740 verbal. Not bad for an English major who hasn't taken a new math course since her junior year of high school! This is a huge weight off my shoulders. I really need to start graduate school next year if I'm going to have a shot at a real job by the time I turn (gulp) thirty in 2014, and competitive scores like that will be very helpful.

Now all I have to do is motivate myself to fill out the applications, update my resume, write a touching yet professional personal statement, and wish (for the millionth time) that I'd majored in something more practical the first time around.

Introductory post

The main purpose of this post is to act as a placeholder while I tweak the design on this thing. I am hilariously bad at color schemes, so it'll probably take a little while.

In the interest of this entry being longer than a few lines, I'll explain the name/title.

"Underneath a book" is a line from a Liz Phair song from whitchocolatespaceegg, her last good album. It was featured in High Fidelity, which is one of my favorite movies despite the fact that I loathe the ending. Team Charlie all the way, my friends.

As for the rest:

I have a thousand very strong opinions and I have a difficult time keeping them to myself. You'll see.

I also have an abundance of hobbies, but they fall into the following categories: reading/writing, knitting/crochet, drawing/painting, cooking, and shooting my mouth off.

There are two cats who live with me, Cataclysm and Catastrophe. They're pretty cute when they're not eating my yogurt (Cataclysm) or screwing up my knitting projects (Catastrophe).

And this, of course, is the blog. Welcome!