Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lemon "Bars"

Will got me the Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor for Chanukkah, and it. is. awesome.  I've wanted a food processor for a while, but figured it was something I'd get "eventually" or "someday," and never bought one for myself.  Mostly, I wanted one so that I could make latkes at Chanukkah time, and while I missed out on that this year (though never fear, we made them for Christmas, a new tradition) I still wanted to break in my new toy!

When I saw this recipe for lemon bars over at The Kitchen Sink Recipes, I knew I had to try it.  I mean, hazelnuts! Lemon! Using the food processor!  I've never made bars, so I was kind of excited to try this out. Besides, they just looked so good.

They turned out...fine.  I think I may not have baked them long enough, because when it got to the whole "add the lemon mixture to the hot crust" thing, I had a slight problem.  The crust didn't stay put when I poured the lemon mixture on top, but rather bubbled up and combined with the lemon, forming this crusty lemon combination. I hoped the crust would sink back down when it baked, but it didn't really, so some of the bars were more like sandwiches. Some of them were bar-like.  Some were just mushy.

Looks a little upside down, right?

This photo makes it look pretty delicious though...

The other issue was that the lemon filling was a bit oozy, like it didn't quite set right, even though I baked it for longer than I was supposed to.  The pieces in the middle were more like custardy goo than a lemon bar, but hey...we ate them all.  They were a little too sweet, so next time I'd probably use less sugar or more regular lemons (I used mostly Meyer lemons).  But overall, it was a nice experiment, and I had fun using my food processor.  I bought way too many hazelnuts, so I'll be sure to try these again!

Squash Explosion

A little while back, I decided to make spaghetti squash. I've made it before, and it's never been a problem, but I guess this time around, I didn't pierce enough holes before putting in the microwave or something, because this happened.

I was just going into the kitchen to see how long was left on the timer, and as soon as I walked into the kitchen and crossed in front of the microwave, BAM! The microwave door burst open with a bang, and squash flew everywhere. If I had been standing just a little bit closer or had leaned in for some reason, I might have been hit by the door as it flew open. Scary. No really, it totally scared me. The noise was so loud and the situation so unexpected that I was shaking as I started to clean up (because of course, my first instinct was to get everything cleaned up). Will came home a few minutes later, as I was shakily scooping squash into a bowl to be eaten - a good portion from the microwave was totally salvageable - and I had to explain to him what had happened.

Yikes. Not only did it explode, it cooked.
So lots of what you see was crusted on.
He calmed me down and helped me clean up, and we had ourselves a lovely dinner of spaghetti squash with bolognese.

The top half of the squash flew out of the microwave and
approximately four feet to the left into the entry. And note
the exploded squash on the cabinets. Fun.
The End.

ed note: when I hit "publish" just now, the Google Ad that displayed said "how to cook squash." Thanks, Google. Way to go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blog Self-Exchange

I recently joined 20 Something Bloggers, and haven't quite figured out how to best utilize the network yet, so when they presented an opportunity for a blog exchange, I jumped on it.  Unfortunately, my blog exchange partner never sent me her piece.  They were due on 12/20, so I've given her just about a month to reciprocate, and I've even warned her that I was going to be posting this myself instead.  So...that didn't quite work out as planned.  And every time I see her post something on Twitter, I get a little bit more irked that she's not responding to me.  It's like that thing where you see a friend posting on Facebook or Twitter or whatever, but they won't return your text messages?  It gets under my skin a bit; even though I don't actually even know this girl, I find myself thinking, "You have time to do make all sorts of comments to other people, but not to respond to me?"  Sigh.  Oh well.  Learning to take things in stride, I am.

Anyway.  She and I had decided to write about our blog goals for 2011, a slight variation on the official theme, but an appropriate topic nonetheless.  I'm not really one for "a year in review" type wrap-ups, but I definitely love anything relating to resolutions.  I think I like looking forward more than looking backward; after all, you can't change the past.  You can learn from it though, and I guess that's where resolutions come into play...but I think the most successful resolutions (for me, anyway) are not ones based on "I didn't do this last year and I want to next year" but rather ones that come from a place of true newness.  Let me explain.

I always used to make my annual new year's resolutions based on things I wished I had done the previous year.  This guilt-based resolve isn't surprising considering the Jewish guilt that runs through my veins, but it's not the most positive or cheery type of resolution if you really think about it.  I would so much rather decide upon goals for myself that have no relation to the past, ones that only speak of hopes for the future.  Besides, whenever I've resolved to "worry less" or "be better at cleaning"...well, it's not like I've been super successful.  I do much better with fresh goals that are free from the pressure and the burden of resolutions past.  (uh oh - in resolving to not make resolutions the same way I have in the past, am I being a hypocrite here? Let's just ignore that for now.)

I'm not going to resolve to blog more frequently (though the self-induced-pressure to make this a resolution is strong), because that's just an invitation to feel bad about myself when I don't.  And let's be honest, when life gets busy, the blog takes a backseat.  That's both the blessing and the curse of writing a little personal blog, isn't it?  Nobody is paying me to write, and really, I just do it for myself and for the amusement of whomever decides to stop by.  And I actually have a job that keeps me busy (as opposed to a job that allows for blog-writing during the day), so while I'd like to promise a post a week or more photos or something, I don't want to put that kind of pressure on myself.  Silly, maybe.  But there that is.  I'll write when I have time, or when I feel inspired, and if I have a backlog of ideas, they might just have to sit for a little while.  And that's ok.

I resolve to let my blog be what it is without pressuring myself to do more?

Really, truly, the one thing I want to do for/with my blog in 2011 is a big ole redesign.  While I like the cheery kitchen theme, I would love to overhaul the design and do something custom instead of just tweaking the pre-existing template from Blogger (lovely though it is).  I recently gave myself a custom URL (so easy! see how I did it here), which was a nice little gift to my blog, but I'd really like to take one more step forward and have a design that really reflects who I am and what I write about.  I feel like it's a little cluttery for my taste right now (though if I'm being honest, I am more cluttery than I like to think I am).

I also plan to create a real "about" page. Blogger has an easy way to add an "about" tab as a separate page, and I'd like to play around with that.

Lastly, I want to figure out why search seems to be messed up.  I first noticed it after the URL migration, but it's buggin me.  Using both the search box in the Blogger header and the custom Google search box I added result in incomplete searches.  For example, searching for "muffins" turns up no results, though I KNOW I've written several posts including the word.  I can't tell if it's all to do with the new URL, as sometimes it pulls up posts from pre-new URL, but whatever it is, it needs fixin'.  Any advice?

So those are three things I want to change, improve, do in the new year.  Specifically related to the blog.  Specifically related to the future.  Specifically related to awesome.

How about you?  Do you have any blog-resolutions?  Do you make resolutions?  Do you make them before the new year or after January 1 - it's January 19th - have you resolved to do anything yet? Do you care? If not, why not? And what kinds of resolutions do you tend to make, if you make them at all?

See how I got all turn-it-around-and-ask-you-some-questions there?  Yeah...encouraging discussion!  Or should I say...Disqussion? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Organization Inspiration: Neat & Beautiful Kitchens

How could I NOT share this?

Organization Inspiration: Neat & Beautiful Kitchens:

Keeping the kitchen tidy enhances its function, appearance, and cleanliness - all important factors in this busy room of the home. However, with heavy use, it can sometimes seem a burden to keep the kitchen in tip-top shape if a good organizational system is not in place. Here are some tidy inspirations to get your wheels turning in your own home kitchen:

Read the full post at Apartment Therapy

Thursday, January 6, 2011


If you read this blog, you probably know about my friend Emily (I re-post pictures from her all. the. time.), whom I met while working at the Goog.  She finds the most beautiful photos and shares them on her Tumblr, Emmaterial, and while we don't connect as much as we used to, or as much as I'd like, I really do enjoy peeking into her Tumblr photos.

All of these photos are from Emmaterial, and I've included the links to the posts below (she cross-links to the source of the photos; I'm too lazy for that).  Enjoy these mostly-wintery-but-cozy-and-cheerful pictures!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good Lord, So Many Kitchens

Coming back from the holidays after a few months in a new job that (gasp) actually keeps me busy during the day means I am backed up on my blog posting.  It also means that I am backed up on my blog reading. And that I have a ton of things that I keep marking as unread because I want to save them and share them here.  I'll start with the kitchens, since I know y'all love them so.

via Emily
Not 100% my style, but for some reason I just love it. Warmth.
via TheKitchn
The brightness, the yellow, the butcher block, the owls...
via TheKitchn
Again, not totally my style, but I'm kinda  digging the bar stools.
via TheKitchn
This just feels so earthy and comfortable. Love the brick.
via TheKitchn
I don't love the color of the cabinet doors, or the rug, but I
can't stop liking this just the same.
via TheKitchn
Love the tall ceilings and the pops of blue, and the glass doors,
and the cabinet hardware...
Hmmm that seems like less than I thought. That's a good thing, right?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Tonight, I experienced my first video game frustration. Not the usual kind, where I am frustrated that someone else is getting frustrated over a video game. No, tonight, I was the one cursing and throwing my controller into my lap in protest. While playing Lego Star Wars. Which happens to be an awesome game. I am not super skilled (ha - understatement of the century), but this game is made for 10 year olds, so I am able to function fairly well most of the time (and fine, this was my 2nd time playing it). But we were on this one level with lots of jumping, and I was not too good at this jumping, and I kept either falling and dying or falling down to the bottom level once I was almost one with the jumping and I was just so sick of jumping and falling that I said, "I suck! I quit! Done! @#$%!!!" I kid you not.

But I took a breath and kept going and eventually we completed the level. I like the team aspect of the game. It's fun not trying to kill each other (as in most 1st person shooter games, at which I am terrible), and instead working as a team to complete missions. I like that. Will, I'm sorry I keep accidentally shooting you. Or punching you. Or destroying you with my light saber. I promise it's just my lack of skill. I sometimes hit the wrong button on the controller, you see. Or my finger cramps up (uh, maybe a sign it's time to stop) or I just slip. Oh well. I would not want to play a "serious" game - I like the cartoony-ness of it that keeps it all in perspective. Remembering that it's just a silly game to play for fun is key, I believe. And it was fun. And I totally want Lego Harry Potter too, even though Will doesn't care about HP (a tragedy, I know).

On another video game case you haven't been reading (or following my tweets) lately, I love the Kinect. Seriously, this thing is awesome. We have played Kinect Adventures (can't find a link to just the game) and Joy Ride, and I'm seriously considering getting Dance Central too. Microsoft, you win this round. It's just fun. No controllers to mess with, just your own body. Will and I have each created avatars, so next time we play, it will be our little computerized mini-me's on the screen. It's really cool though, how it senses your body movements and mimics what you do. It has face-recognition too, so in theory, once you sync your avatar with yourself (by standing in front of the sensor and letting it recognize you), it will know it's you every time. If you're playing a game and want to add a player, he or she just needs to step in front of the screen. It's super neat. I promise. Even though I don't totally get the whole XBox Live + Kinect profiles/avatars thing I'm sure.

I should add that nobody is asking or telling or paying me to say this stuff (though I think I get some sort of kickback if you click those links and buy them from Amazon or something, I have no idea). I was lucky enough to win the Xbox360 and Kinect from Dooce, and honestly, if I hadn't won I A) probably would not have known about it and B) would not have thought it worth spending the money. I didn't grow up with video games, I don't usually like them all that much, and it just wouldn't have been on my radar. However, if you DO like (or want to like) video games, you DO have an extra $300-400 lying around, and you DO have this on your radar, I will tell you that it is totally worth it. It is ridiculous fun, easy for even a video game newbie (noob?) like me, and it's actually a good little workout too.

So yeah. Video games, up and down. I think I'm a little zonked out from an abundance of late nights lately, and the staring at the big ole TV screen (oh hi, new TV in all your 46" LCD glory - I think this is the one we got; if not, it's similar). I've been so tired today and yesterday that I haven't cooked, haven't really cleaned, haven't uploaded pictures, haven't done much of anything. But I suppose that happens sometimes, after a week and a half of travel and the holidays in general. After a last-minute decision to have a New Year's Eve party (more on that later), our bedroom looks like we just moved in, but I've been too tired to do anything about it yet. I'm not even going to go back and re-read and edit this post, even though it's much longer than I thought it would be. Oh well. Just kidding. I went back and re-read it, though I didn't make it shorter. I had kind of forgotten how it started, and then I just decided to leave it all. 2011!

I have many photos to share, and I'm still deciding whether I really want to write the standard "New Year's Resolutions" post, and things are getting busy again starting, oh, tomorrow, but it's all goodness. And busy goodness is a good way to both end and start a year, I'd say.

Happy New Year to all. I hope your holidays were lovely and not too stressful and full of delicious things and goodness of all sorts.