A delicious disaster.

I really wish that, when I steam-burned myself and in my reactionary shock of pain dropped the large glass bowl into a pot and sprayed molten chocolate all over the walls, cabinets, our fresh fruit in the banana hammock, and the dog's food bowl, I had thought to take a picture of the damage. But alas, I was too busy swearing and chucking my wooden spoon across the room and into the sink to think about such nonsense. Let me assure you that it was quite an impressive mess, and there was dark, buttery chocolate that ended up in places I'm sure I have yet to discover. How none ended up on me is a mystery. But I did manage to spy a rogue chocolate dot on the cabinet about an hour after cleanup:

Disaster aside, I set out today to make peanut butter swirl brownies a la Martha Stewart, and they are baking in the oven as we speak, and they smell heavenly. Cody is out picking up some Baja Fresh for dinner which will make for an interesting smell combo when he gets back, but I digress. Alls I can tell you is that I can hardly wait to get my paws on one of these peanut-chocolatey squares, and don't you worry, if I were you I'd totally be jealous too.

And here we have zee fineeshed product...


My current obsession with food.

I swear to you, I can't surf around 101 Cookbooks or Smitten Kitchen without uttering the words, "ExCUSE me?!" at least seven times per visit when I look at their recipes. Because who wants to eat Amazing Black Bean Brownies... really? I should be offended by this. And then I totally want to eat them. Why this is appetizing is beyond me. But I am sure that blogs like this inspire me to spend as much time in my kitchen as is humanly possible.

Also, when I walk into stores like Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table I can't help but get a thrill at the thought of a huge kitchen filled with every cooking gadget under the sun, and me inventing culinary delights so ethereal that the heavens open wide and the angels sing upon my creations.

I think the world might actually be coming to an end. I want to do things like sew, cook, and plant a garden. When did I become a vegetarian, chocolate-obsessed, weird brownie-baking, lentil-consuming, Martha Stewart wannabe who actually wants to eat the aforementioned ingredients... all in the same recipe?


On another note, I made Cody eat a whole steamed artichoke the other night, and it was *nearly* disastrous. Not quite cooked all the way through, but not entirely a loss for a first-timer. All in all, a thoroughly weird experience. When he got to the part where he had to slice and dice his way through the furry mess to the heart, he sat there with a very concerned look on his face, staring at what was left of the artichoke, and said, "I think I just ate a wombat."


Excitement and toilets.

Some things I am excited about:

1. Cody's three-day weekends for the summer

2. Going to see Get Smart tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

3. Going up north afterwards. Well, we hope so anyway.

4. Banana Chip Cookies. OH. MY. WORD.

On another note, I would like to know who decided that automatic toilets are a good idea. Automatic soap dispensers? Spectacular. Automatic sinks? Fantabulous. I am a HUGE fan of the automatic towel dispensers- those alleviate the need to go through the whole sanitary process of dispensing the towel by hand first, letting it hang there vulnerable to being stolen while I wash my hands, drying my hands with it if it doesn't get stolen first, THEN turning off the water using the towel and hanging on to the towel so I don't have to touch the door handle on my way out. I hate going through that whole process because I'm trying to get better about my water consumption, but honestly, there is nothing more disgusting than the things you have to touch in a public bathroom. And don't even get me started on the fact that no one can figure out to put the handle on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom door... at least many places have figured out to put a trash can near the door for the anal retentive.

But back to the automatic toilets. They never fail to flush before you are ready, or sometimes before you even start. In fact, the other day when I was at the movie theater, I walked into a stall and the toilet flushed before I even closed the door, in a lovely greeting of bacteria-filled potty mist- which, by the way, is sprayed with such outrageous force that it can reach as far as 20 feet away. You can bet I flush and run when I'm not faced with The Automatic Toilet; if I am and it flushes before my pants are fully pulled up and secured and I can make my escape, I cower in the corner and cover my face as if I were being doused with raw sewage (which, actually, is not too far off). It's no surprise that the toilet managed to flush three times in the span of the two minutes I was in there. It's not like a motion censor is going to be able to distinguish the difference between someone pulling up their pants or doing the Irish Jig. And if you happen to still be sitting on the toilet, you can basically count on an involuntary bidet before you leave your stall.

God forbid, if you did something naughty in the potty, it is inevitable that in an act of outrageous defiance most automatic toilets WILL NOT FLUSH no matter how many strip teases you do.

As far as I am concerned, with the exception of geriatric germophobes who can't lift their leg to the handle to flush, no one likes automatic toilets.

Perhaps if Obama wins the presidency, we can ask him to take action to ban the use of automatic flushers in public arenas. Because he might actually do it.


Honeymoon Video

My super talented and smoking hot husband took it upon himself to make a full-fledged video montage of our time in Kauai in November. Besides the roosters, the best part of our honeymoon was that we actually got there- our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:15 a.m. And when did we wake up? 6:58. I believe the morning went something like this:

(My thought process waking up.) "Gee... THOR sure is rattling around in his cage early. And there are sure a LOT of cars on the road for 5:15 in the morning. Actually, what the crap am I doing awake this early with no alarm?"

(I sit straight up, wide awake, and look at the clock, which is staring defiantly back at me saying, "Nah nah, nah nah NAH, it's SIX FIFTY-EEEEIGHT! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!")

Me: "HOLY %&$*%@$#@$#@$#%&*%$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Cody (startled and ready to kill an intruder): "Whaa??? Who- where? What's going on?" (Looks at the clock) "HOLY %&$*%@$#@$#@$#%&*%$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

At which point I immediately burst into tears.

My poor mom called two minutes later: "Where are you, dear? You were supposed to be here at 6:30."

"WE JUST WOKE UUUUUUPPPP! WE'RE GOING TO MISS OUR HONEYMOON!!! WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME AT 6:30?!?!?!?" Because, clearly, when things like this go wrong, it is automatically Mom's fault. Oh, the joys of motherhood that I will have to look forward to one day- being yelled at by my kids when they are freaking out about something I had nothing to do with. (I love you Mom!)

We grabbed our suitcases and the dog and tossed them in the car, and I commenced to drive like a banshee to my parents house and made it there in a record 12.346 minutes. I was a basket case the whole way there, and Cody was on the phone with Hawaiian Airlines trying to let them know our situation. Apparently they weren't having it, which is such crap because what kind of customer service is that anyway? "You're not gonna make it" seemed to be their catch-phrase of the day.

At 7:30 we pulled up, and I was completely defeated and ready to throw in the towel when my mom opens the door, grabs the dog, throws him in the house- like, literally THROWS him- and shoves us back out the door and into the car. She was like, "We are getting you two on that plane if it's the last thing I do. Now let's go." Holy crap Mom, way to not take no for an answer!

7:45- we pulled up to the terminal and ran, luggage in tow, to the check-in counter. Apparently the same bitch- I mean, airline worker that Cody talked to on the phone was working the counter, because when her trusty sidekick walked up she was like, "These are the ones I was telling you about." (Um... RUDE! We're standing RIGHT HERE!) That was promptly followed by, "You're not gonna make it." Excuse me, but when did that become Hawaiian Airlines new ad campaign? And what the crap did she think we were doing anyway, lounging around at home reading the newspaper and drinking our morning coffee when we happened to notice that, oh, hey, maybe we should get to the airport soon, it's already SIX FIFTY-EIGHT?


"I can't guarantee that your bags will make it onto the plane, nor can I promise that they will make the transfer flight to Kauai once you land in Honolulu..." Just shut your mouth and give us our boarding passes, we still have to wait through security.

Well, I sobbed our way through security, thoroughly convinced that we were never going to make it (I shouldn't have let Hawaiian's merciless negativity get to me!), when we reached the front of the line and the security guy was so kind and encouraging, saying that we were just fine and had plenty of time to make it (ten minutes to take-off, I believe). By nothing less than an act of God, we made it onto that plane with better seats than we originally had reserved, and sat in shock the whole six hours there because HOW ARE WE ON THIS PLANE RIGHT NOW?

Call us paranoid, but we had no doubt that the entire plane knew that we were "those people" who they tried to tell "weren't gonna make it" because we had the crappiest service of all time and got a few dirty looks. But whatever. After a morning like that, we didn't care what anyone thought; after all, they didn't live through the EMOTIONAL TURMOIL OF WAKING UP AT SIX FIFTY-EIGHT or the ironclad determination of my mother to get us on that damn plane. And if our luggage wasn't there to greet us at the Kauai airport, we always had our cute matching Life is Good "Just Married" t-shirts that we hoped would score us lots of free stuff.

But, amazingly, in the five minutes it took to walk from our plane to the baggage area, our luggage had magically appeared, sitting in a nice, neat row, unscathed by the chaotic and traumatizing seven-hour trek from our apartment in Scottsdale to the baggage claim in Kauai. I defy anyone who dares challenge us with, "You're not gonna make it"! Screw you, Hawaiian Airlines nay-sayers! Next time we're flying Aloha!

Someone get me a Mai Tai.


Friday's Find: Wellsphere

The founders of this week's find, Wellsphere, developed this nifty networking site because of the looming American health crisis and a shared passion for helping people become empowered in their health. I have done a lot of reading recently on food production in the U.S., and all I can tell you is this: We are a bunch of walking processed corn cobs (I recommend The Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). Fortunately, people are becoming increasingly aware of the problems surrounding the things we eat, and it is my hope that things will take a turn toward more wholesome and old-fashioned ways of eating and cooking. One of my biggest goals is to have a home garden someday. But enough about that... back to the subject at hand.

Wellsphere is dedicated to connecting its members to local resources that can help them reach their health goals. When you sign up, you choose a goal, and you are automatically added to a group that is relevant to helping you achieve success by offering accountability and providing resources that will help you along the way. Whether it be healty eating, exercise or a competitive milestone, this site has it all covered based on three principles: personalization, social support and community, and incentive. I was pleased to find that they feature a vegetarian group and was sure to join that one right away.

You are not limited to the initial group you were matched with when you sign up- you can join any group that interests you. You are also free to set as many goals as you wish and log your progress, receive reminders via e-mail or text, and work towards a WellPrize as an incentive for making progress. Another great feature is Wellternatives, which shows you the healthiest menu items at the country's most popular restaurants complete with overall health ratings to show you the best and the worst places to eat when you're watching your diet.

I chose running 30 minutes five days a week as my goal- as a former college athlete, you wouldn't think it would be that big of a struggle, but it sure is hard to get up early enough to do so when you're not a morning person. I'll be adding more as time goes on, but many more of my goals will have to do with diet. I've been having a blast learning some great vegetarian recipes (actually, learning to cook, period!) and cooking for my husband has become one of my new favorite things to do. I may even have a convert on my hands one of these days...

If you're interested in joining, feel free to do so directly through Wellsphere or send a comment (with your e-mail if I don't know you personally) and I will e-mail you the link to join- this will help me earn points.

Cheers to good health!

Wellsphere... Indulge in healthier living

Current fave vegetarian recipe.

Even my husband loves this one! Adapted from Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices, anyone who ever convinced themselves that vegetarian cuisine was bland should try this recipe. We used garlic mashed potatoes and substituted fresh Monterey Jack cheese for the Parmesan.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

For the mashed potatoes, either use leftovers, prepare instant mashed potatoes or pick up mashed potatoes from the deli. Looking for an easy way to put the potatoes on top of this dish? A small ice-cream scoop is great for spooning on the warm mashed potatoes.

2 cans (15 or 16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 jar (16 ounces) thick-and-chunky salsa (2 cups)

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn

1 medium carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)

1 1/2 cups warm mashed potatoes

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh chives or parsley, if desired

Heat beans, salsa, corn and carrot to boiling in 10-inch nonstick skillet; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until carrot is tender.

Spoon mashed potatoes onto bean mizture around edge of skillet. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and chives.

Viola! It's easy, delicious AND nutritious and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.


How White am I?

If you haven't checked out the hysterical site Stuff White People Like, I highly recommend that you do. If not for the things listed that call out many white people in this country, do it for the heated comments that people leave who have no sense of humor/wouldn't get it to save their lives.

It blows me away that the author started this site in JANUARY OF THIS YEAR, and already he has a book coming out in July in addition to the nearly 30 million hits to his site to date. If only we could all be so lucky.

I was going through the list and started to wonder how truly white I am. And if I don't fall into the category of "white," what exactly does that make me then? Let's analyze:

Very me:

1. Coffee

5. Farmer's markets

6. Organic food

23. Microbrews

24. Wine

32. Vegan/Vegetarianism

36. Breakfast places

40. Apple products

42. Sushi

48. Whole Foods and grocery co-ops

49. Vintage

53. Dogs

54. Kitchen gadgets

59. Natural medicine

63. Expensive sandwiches

77. Musical comedy

86. Shorts

87. Outdoor performance clothes

90. Dinner parties

92. Book deals (I wish!)

93. Music piracy (in the form of checking out CDs at the library, anyway)

96. New Balance shoes

99. Grammar

On the fence about:

9. Making you feel bad about going outside

19. Traveling

21. Writer's workshops

37. Renovations

44. Public radio (I only like it when they play jazz- any other time it makes me want to gouge my eyes out with hot pitchforks.)

Things white people like that I definitely don't like/irritate the crap out of me:

8. Barack Obama

15. Yoga

18. Awareness

25. David Sedaris

33. Marijuana

35. The Daily Show/Colbert Report

52. Sarah Silverman

55. Apologies (I laughed so hard at this one... I heard a lady in Kohl's the other day say, "I'm sorry, those are mine," to an employee who was trying to organize the area and I wondered why in the world she felt the need to apologize for that fact.)

56. Lawyers (Oops... did I say that out loud?)

62. Knowing what's best for poor people

66. Divorce

67. Standing still at concerts (why bother going?)

75. Threatening to move to Canada (JUST GO ALREADY!)

94. Free healthcare

101. Being offended (Three words: Get. Over. Yourself.)

Everything else I'm indifferent on.

So, if I we average one point for everything I agree with, half a point for everything I'm on the fence about, a quarter of a point for everything I'm indifferent about, and minus one for everything I don't like, my analysis tells me that I am only 25% white.

And 75%... white trash?


Currently I can't get enough of:

These commercials.

And pretty much anything by these guys:

This brilliant campaign throws some serious punches on a monthly-or-so basis, and with that in mind, this guy has his work cut out for him. (Make Microsoft COOL?!! Ummm... OK. No pressure. Really.) Irritating agency name aside (Crispin- ew), I'm sitting on the edge of my seat to see what he has up his sleeve to counter this blatant (and accurate) attack on the Microsoft brand. I was stuck using a brand new Vista PC at my former work place and I hated that thing with a white-hot passion. Now that I'm at home and use our Apple every day, I love it so much that I kind of want to kick the dog out of the bed at night and snuggle up to my trusty, loyal iMac instead.