Monday, January 31, 2011

Holy Pozole

One morning a few weeks ago I saw this recipe on the Today Show and knew immediately: I must make that.

It was concocted by Michael Lomonaco, whom Wikipedia tells me is best known for being chef/director of the restaurant Windows on the World, located atop the north tower of the World Trade Center. It was obviously destroyed in 2001, and many of the employees were killed.

Well, that's morbid! But the good news is that Lomonaco is still here, with a very successful restaurant he opened in 2006 called Porter House New York.

And the morning he was on the Today Show, he was showing Matt Lauer how you can make some very tasty, low calorie soups. Matt was oohing and aahing about how great everything smelled, and then when I saw Lomonaco dump a heap of hominy into the Turkey Pozole with Green Chilies, I was like hells yes.

I shall make it, and it shall be mine.

And I did. And it was good.

I've made the pozole twice. It's spicy and savory and simply delicious.

You start out with some turkey, salt & peppered. I found this turkey already cut into strips, but it's easy enough to just buy some turkey breast and chop it up, which is how I made this dish the first time, and how I think I prefer to eat it.

When the meat is browned, you remove it from the pot.

Then you throw an onion, a red pepper and half a jalapeno into the pot. The first time I made this, I used the whole jalapeno, and I honestly liked it better with the whole jalapeno in there. If you're a wimp, then by all means do not use the whole jalapeno.

Once all that junk is browned, you throw the turkey back in the pot, then you throw in some cumin, chili powder, garlic, green chilies and crushed tomatoes.

Then you pour in the chicken broth and a couple cups of water.

It's a pantry essential!!

Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for an hour. I know. AN HOUR. It's like forever when you're starving your ass off. But so worth it.

Here it is with all that junk in it, pre-boil. Sorry for the lousy photo quality.

AND THEN. When it's been simmering for an hour and you've been rolling around on the floor clutching your stomach from the hunger pains, THEN you throw in the hominy.

I couldn't even remember when the last time was that I ate hominy; I only knew that I loved it and needed to have it.

If you don't understand what hominy is, I'm afraid I will be little help to you. I can tell you it's corn -- I am ninety five percent sure of that. How they get it to taste like crack, I don't know. The only other times I've eaten hominy is when trying my grandmother's menudo. I don't eat the tripe -- yeck -- but the hominy with that crack menudo broth is so good.

ANYWAY. You pour your hominy in, and you simmer for another 15 minutes. I know. Hang in there. Soon it will be in your belly.

And then you hire a monkey to take pictures of you ladling the soup into bowls.

 It's so hard to find good help these days.

Also, I could use some hand lotion.

You should sprinkle some cilantro and chopped scallions and dollop a little sour cream on there, especially if you're a wimp. The sour cream will help cut the spiciness.

It's so, so good on a rainy evening, or any evening, really. Reminiscent of chili, but spicier than my chili usually turns out, and the turkey is a really nice element. And let's not forget the hominy. It simply would not be as delicious as it is without the hominy.

So, to make this, you can visit this link to the Today Show page where they have the recipe, but if you make that recipe you should invite eight people over for dinner because it will make a helluva lot of pozole. My halved version makes about six servings, at what I estimate to be 281 calories per serving, which means you can totally have seconds. (That's not counting the sour cream, silly)

Here's my halved recipe, with my suggestions added in. I'm a little bossy.

Michael Lomonaco's Turkey Pozole with Green Chilies

- 1 pound turkey meat cut into 1 inch cubes (optimally get 1.25 lb turkey breast)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped, if you're a wimp. Otherwise use the whole pepper.
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Ancho chili powder (I used regular chili powder, works just fine)
- 1 Tablespoon peeled, chopped garlic
-1 7.5 ounce can chopped green chilies
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 quart (aka 4 cups) chicken broth
- 1 14 ounce can golden or white hominy

For garnish: roughly chopped cilantro & scallions, plus sour cream

Pour the oil into a large, heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium heat.

Season the turkey with salt & pepper. Add to the pot and saute until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the turkey to a bowl and set aside.

Add the onions, red pepper and jalapeno to the pot and brown until golden (I found this takes about 15 min but I imagine results vary). When the onions begin to caramelize, return the turkey to the pot, sprinkle with the cumin & chili powder, stir in the garlic, green chilies & tomatoes.

Add the chicken broth, plus 2 cups water, stir & bring to a boil over high heat. Then lower heat and let simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.

Add the hominy. Continue to cook until the turkey is tender, about 15 min.

Taste and adjust the seasonings and serve with cilantro, scallions and sour cream as a topping.


Friday, January 28, 2011

New things to love about Fridays

1. I finally broke down and bought a box of Claritin yesterday, popped a pill and the relief was immediate. It's been 70 degrees and sunny here for two weeks, wreaking havoc on allergy sufferers. Although it's been lovely to take a walk in the sunshine. Don't worry, east coasters -- the rain is returning Sunday.

2. It's laundry day. I always sleep blissfully on clean sheets.

3. Today's organic produce delivery. I get these every two weeks and it's like a little box of surprises on my doorstep in the morning. I have no idea what time they drop these off -- it must still be dark because I've never seen them come by.

This week's delivery: pink lady apples, minneola oranges, broccolette, lacinato kale, carrots (with their cute fuzzy tops still attached) and Klamath pearl potatoes.

4. Well, it's Friday. We'll sleep in tomorrow and maybe go for a ride on our bikes.

5. Falling off the wagon Thursday night when faced with an enchilada, a taco, a glass of sangria, and about 20 chocolate/caramel candies, but knowing it doesn't mean I've ruined the week. Back on the wagon today.

6. Fringe. I do love Fringe and everything about it. Anna Torv is so stunning and Joshua Jackson is totally on my freebee list.

It's the new X-Files, and I was a complete X-Files nut, with the "I want to believe" poster on my bedroom wall and two goldfish named David and Gillian. I went to an X-Files convention with my friend Sookie in San Francisco many years ago and for some reason we ended up traversing the entire city on foot. We couldn't find a cab or something. Anyway! That's a whole other story. The Fringe story is -- you should watch it, but you should get it on Netflix and start at the beginning.

That is all. Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jungle Drums

I am thinking it's the lack of sufficient progesterone that's been setting me off lately.

Oh, I didn't tell you? That's my latest self-diagnosis.

I read somewhere low progesterone comes with a healthy dose of moodiness. That's a nice way of saying anxiety/depression/PMS.

I'm not anxious or depressed. Volatile might be a good word.

I was cooking dinner last night and tossed a bowl of chopped-up veggies into a pan that had hot olive oil in it, and of course the oil splashed up and burned the shit out of my arm. I jerked, and a bunch of vegetables went flying.

Which is when my universe collapsed. Makes sense, right?


Thankfully I was alone, or the ugly display that resulted could have been very embarrassing.

I am a calm person, truly. Normally a few vegetables on the floor and a burn on my arm would piss me off mildly, but at that moment it was a calamity of unreasonable proportion.

Why, God? Why did the vegetables fall on the floor? Why does my arm have to be burned? Owww it hurrrrrts! Now I have to pick up the vegetables, *sob*. Oh, God, the floor is filthy. Why, God? Why must I suffer so with such dingy linoleum??

Even as I lamented my plight, I realized the ridiculousness of it. You'd better pull yourself together, I said out loud. Fuck you, I responded to myself. *sob* What a world.

We are better today.

Although the cat did leave a poo-poo-dingleberry on the kitchen floor this morning and then, not five minutes later, barfed on the floor about a foot away from where the recently cleaned-up dingleberry had been. And as expected, the linoleum is still disgusting, as evidenced by the filthy paper towels I held up after squirting cleanser on the floor and wiping it up.

And yet, my world did not implode. Fascinating.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Origins

Preface: I'm not sure how you guys are feeling about my book reviews this year, but it's something I've decided to do once a week, which is about how often I finish a book. I figure I enjoy it, so why the heck not? If you do not enjoy it, though, I won't hold it against you if you skip Review Day.

Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives

Book: Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives
Author: Annie Murphy Paul
Genre: Developmental psychology/pregnancy & childbirth/women's health
Publish Date: September 28, 2010
Length: 320 pages hardcover
How long it took me to read: 1 week
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I know what you're thinking --

That I have serious issues when it comes to reading books about pregnancy and childbirth, when in fact I am not pregnant, nor do I have kids. And you would be right, my friend! But I am preparing myself for the possibility of one day becoming pregnant and/or having children. Currently I content myself with being a very well-educated childless woman.

Actually, regardless of whether you have kids, this is an interesting read. The book is about how your experience in the womb can affect your health and your personality for the rest of your life. Some of the scientific results Paul discusses in the book are pretty surprising, and some of them are admittedly not that surprising (you mean I should eat healthy and exercise in order to have a healthy baby? You don't say).

Paul is a science journalist, and writes in a smart, objective, but personable way that appeals to me. And, at the time that she wrote this book, she was pregnant with her second son and gave birth to him. One of the reasons I am giving this book four stars instead of five is that when she discusses her own son's birth, she does not explain her reasons for her birth plan, which I won't give away. But, in this day and age of women taking their births back from the medical establishments, I think it would have served the book well if she'd discussed this.

Anyway, let's talk about some of the meaty, really interesting stuff (If you want to read about ALL of the interesting stuff without a single spoiler, probably skip the rest of the review and just read the book). What I found out is that, obviously, getting proper nutrition is important, but actually so important that eating the right food could potentially protect your child from certain diseases, including cancer and obesity, for the rest of their life. Vegetables and green tea seem to have amazing disease-fighting properties.

Additionally, eating too much and gaining too much weight can contribute to a fetus' obesity later in life, as can eating too little. Lesson: Eat juuuuust enough. Don't starve the fetus, man! 

And can I tell you how happy I was to read that pregnant women who had five or more servings per week of chocolate had a 40% lower risk of preeclampsia and produce happier children. Done and done!

There is also some fascinating information regarding a fetus' ability to inherit post traumatic stress disorder, and a link to schizophrenia. Long story short: stay very Zen when you're pregnant, barring apocalyptic world events. But a little stress at work isn't going to hurt anyone and may even be beneficial.

Also of interest is a study finding that delivery methods may affect a child's response to pain, potentially for the rest of her life. Basically, the more painful the delivery (for the child), the more harshly that child will respond to pain. The same findings apply for male children who are circumcised shortly after being born -- they tend to respond more strongly to pain stimuli, such as when receiving vaccinations. I'm sure the anti-circumcision folks are already well aware of that little study. For the record, I have no opinion on circumcision at the moment and don't plan to ever have one unless I have a boy, in which case I will probably read four books about it and then decide.

There are a lot more very interesting findings in the book, which I think is a valuable read for anyone who is pregnant or wants to be, or even anyone who is simply curious about fetal origins.

Next week: I'll probably review The Genie in Your Genes; Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, which was strongly recommended by a friend. So far I am thinking it should have been titled Heal Thyself, but I may change my mind.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I drank four screwdrivers on a mostly empty stomach at a country western bar Saturday night and at one point forced a stranger wearing a cowboy hat onto the dance floor.

Oh, shame, thy name is Erin.

The older I get, the more embarrassing this kind of thing is. The guy probably told his friends, Some mom-looking chick in an argyle sweater made me dance.

Argyle. It's hip enough for the Pioneer Saloon.

I also vaguely recall shouting at my friend's mother: Ju-Day! Ju-Day!! Her name is Judy, and I doubt she understands the completely obscure reference to Ju-Day! Because I didn't even remember it and just called my husband to ask. He says it's from a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode.

Thankfully, Judy is pretty damn cool.

Vodka is bad for brain cells.

Hi, Mom!

So yeah. That was a good time. I woke up at 6 a.m. Sunday with the worst headache ever and had to psyche myself up for half an hour just to stumble to the bathroom for aspirin. Then I stumbled back to bed and laid verrrrrrrry very still. It's very important to lie very still in these instances.

I am so healthy.

Oh, and there was a run to Taco Bravo in there somewhere, too, for Taco Delites, which are basically tacos wrapped in burritos. They aren't as delightful as I remember them being.

Oh, and I am pretty sure I yelled Sookie! about four thousand times. Because there was a guy who looked like Bill from True Blood, and I thought my friend should go flirt with him. She did not agree.

So that was that. B-Real's birthday at the Pioneer Saloon, just him and 50 of his closest friends and a handful of baffled regulars wearing cowboy hats and an aging cover band that successfully damaged our collective hearing.

It's how we roll.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The body project

Today's paraphrased wisdom from Jillian Michaels is:

When it really hurts, that's when the most change is happening.

I love that so many of Jillian's commandments can be applied to other areas of my life.

Today marks Day 1 of my embarkation upon Jillian's 30 Day Shred, which I have decided to complete in 60 days so as not to die. Following this morning's Level 1 workout, I wanted to barf and then lie down. So I am pretty sure a lot of change is about to happen.

Also, I am terrified about Levels 2 and 3. 

And I'm hoping sharing my adventures in exercise with the Internet will keep me accountable and shame me into completing the whole thing.

My neighbor did the 30 Day Shred in 30 days and he lost 20 pounds and now I see him running around the neighborhood occasionally. I am consumed with jealousy.

So that's it for today. I'll be updating about this occasionally to keep myself accountable and also continue to embarrass myself, which is totally my favorite.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Aunt Anne

"You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on your computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind -- a scene, a locale, a character, whatever -- and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind. The other voices are banshees and drunken monkeys. They are the voices of anxiety, judgment, doom, guilt. Also, severe hypochondria. There may be a Nurse Ratched-like listing of things that must be done right this moment: foods that must come out of the freezer, appointments that must be canceled or made, hairs that must be tweezed. But you hold an imaginary gun to your head and make yourself stay at the desk. There is a vague pain at the base of your neck. It crosses your mind that you have meningitis. Then the phone rings and you look up at the ceiling with fury, summon every ounce of nobless oblige, and answer the call politely, with maybe just the merest hint of irritation. The caller asks if you're working, and you say yeah, because you are."

- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird 

That's probably a lot to have quoted from Lamott, who knows what it's like when the jungle drums are beating. If there is one paragraph that could sum up my existence at the moment, there it is, above. All I hear today are jungle drums and drunken monkeys and banshees. My thoughts are dark.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants: A Novel

Book: Water For Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Genre: Literary/Contemporary
Publish Date: April 9, 2007
Length: 350 pages
How long it took me to read it: 1 week
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Normally, I avoid any book that has animals in it, because chances are at some point an animal is going to get hurt, and my poor heart can't handle it when animals get hurt. Even if it's fiction, which this book is.

But the story in this book is so compelling that within the first couple of pages, I decided that regardless of what happened to any animals in the book, I would be reading it cover to cover. Which I say figuratively, since I read it on my Kindle for $5, which is a steal if you ask me.

Water for Elephants is the fictional, Depression-era account of a young man, who through certain circumstances that I won't ruin for you, finds himself working for a traveling circus. The story is told from the perspective of the young man, Jacob, who is now an old man living in an assisted living facility.

The narration goes back and forth between old Jacob and young Jacob, and while Young Jacob's story of circus life, wonderful animals, strange characters, and torrid romances are riveting, I was also drawn in by Old Jacob. He describes his new life of easily-chewed meals served at tables with a gaggle of widows, and his slowly fading ability to remember firstly how old he is and exactly what it is he's doing there. He's been left there by his grown children, all of whom have their own problems and can't take him in. For anyone who's ever had to move an elderly parent or grandparent into an assisted living facility, this narration is particularly poignant.

I prefer not to ruin any of the rest of the story for you but encourage you to simply read this novel, which I found heartwarming and heartbreaking and just lovely.

My next review will be on Origins; How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, by Annie Murphy Paul. It's fascinating! 

P.S. They are making Water for Elephants into a movie (April 2011), which I have mixed feelings about. Some of the actors sound like the perfect choice, but others ... not so much. I won't ruin it for you but if you want to know more, click here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It was the moon all along

WARNING: This post is about my period. There is a little "x" up there in the corner? Click the "x" and this can all go away. Otherwise, what can I say? It's all about my vagina. Always has been.

Oh, you guys, I've got it all figured out, now.

Because I quit taking my birth control pills over the summer? And, to date, my uterus remains a cobwebby, empty, dark place where no fetus dare roam?

I figured out why all by my lonesome.

Because at first my period was like "I'm gonna show up in 28 days!" And then it was like, "No, 27!" Then, "No, 29!" "27!"

Last month it was like, "I don't care how many days, it's gonna be CHRISTMAS! Happy Jesus' birthday TO YOU!"

And today? It was, like, "NO BITCH. 25."

Well, I figured out what's been going on this whole time. My period has been balancing on a teeter totter. That's right, I said a teeter totter! It's been wavering back and forth, trying to get to the perfect middle, where the teeter totter stays perfectly level and the stars align and the angels sing and the blood, it flows. Oh, it flows.

What I'm trying to say is it was trying to land on the full moon.

Today, can I get a slow clap for my period?




Let us toast the magical magicalness that is my vagina. Congratulations, uterine wall! You are shedding right on time, my friend.




Full moon! You did it. No more teeter tottering needed!

Now, for your next act? Reproduction. Procreation. Sperm meets egg and becomes fetus, and becomes crying screaming pooping baby.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blue Streak

The anniversary of me quitting my job is nigh. About a month from now.

I want to finish my book by then.

Can she do it, folks?! 

Where's my adderall?

You know what's cuckoo? I think I can do it. Honestly, I probably would have finished the thing by now if not for one minor issue: Sheer terror of failing.

I read a book recently that had an interview with the author at the end. She says the first book she wrote took her a year to write and it's awful. She hopes no one ever sees it. It's in a drawer in her office.

When I read that, I think my heart stopped for 30 seconds.

The important thing, my husband says, is to finish the damned thing. I must agree. Finish it. Then I'll worry about the next steps.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ahhh yeahhhh

".... We had the two-forty. We had to have the puddin'."

I've had this skit stuck in my head for about two weeks. It's so ridiculous. At first you will hate it. Then you will love it. I'm sorry. And you're welcome. 

So you know what this means, right? This means it's a very bullet pointy kind of Monday. So here we go.

- We are socked in.

- I made Indian stew for dinner last night. It is the bomb. Here is the link. Make it. Goodbye.

- Hello.

- There was this crazy incident over the weekend I considered blogging about. But it's too morbid. It's about vigilante justice and extreme tragedy. I covered the story initially in 2001 and to see it evolve to where it is now is astounding. But I won't bore you or traumatize you.

- By "socked in," I mean it is foggy.

- Is Ricky Gervais funny, or what?

- Two of our best friends got engaged this weekend. They met at our wedding. 

- I mean, I always think to myself, if someone kills someone I love, I will kill that person. Blam. Done. But our justice system disagrees with that sort of stuff.

- Tilda Swinton is really in for it on "Fashion Police" tonight. I just know it.

- My husband stayed home today. Why isn't MLK day a true national holiday? It should be. Everyone should get it off.

- We went for a two hour walk on the Los Gatos Creek Trail on Saturday because the sun was shining and it was in the 70s.

- Joan Rivers kills me. I die.

- I think my two friends marrying is sort of like our little group's version of a royal wedding. Except they are planning a very small ceremony. But you get what I mean, right? They are well loved. 

- Why don't famous people have a sense of humor about themselves? I mean, everyone else is saying the same stuff about them, but when Ricky has the balls to say it to their faces? Get over yourselves, I say.

- Didja see Jane Fonda's nipple? I did.

- I think in cases of vigilante justice there should be a new rule: If you kill that person and it's obvious that person deserved it, if you go into hiding and no one can find you within three months, they let you off the hook.

- We are sore from our walk. That is sort of pathetic, yeah?

- It is lunch time. Indian stew leftovers! Goodbye. I love you. Toodles.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chicken with mango and ginger

Two things before I dive into this recipe.

1) One of my New Year's resolutions is to learn how to use my fancy-ass new camera. As such, my photos should improve throughout the year. Today, however, is not one of those days. A donkey could probably have taken better pictures. The end.

2) I first tasted this dish at a friend's house about a year ago. She forgot to put the mango in and I asked innocently, Why do they call it Mango Chicken? To which she responded something like, Son of a bitch. But it still tasted good! So I've made it a couple more times and am sharing the recipe with you today.

I realized recently I should probably post the photo of the final product before I get into the "instructional" portion of the post. Slowly, but surely, I am learning how to be a better blogger. It only took five years. I done learned lots in public school.

Thusly, I present you with chicken breast, jalapeno, mango, cilantro and ginger. The picture (I warned you) doesn't do it justice. Also, I forgot to garnish with lime. Don't you go forgettin' like your ol' granny!

That, dear reader, is a mango. A slightly under-ripe mango. Do not ask me what the proper method of slicing up mango is, all I know is I managed to cut this one in half and there was a giant bean inside. Don't be like me -- buy a ripe mango. You'll be happier.

That up there is some sliced mango, ginger, and cilantro in the background, with jalapeno in the foreground. Don't seed it! You'll be sad if you do.

Now ya take a chicken breast. You cut in half, and you pile all of the stuff from the picture above on top/underneath it on a big piece of parchment paper. Do not fear parchment paper. It is your friend. It can be found near the foil in the grocery store. In fact, you can use foil if you want.

Here are all of my neatly wrapped chickens n' stuff. You can wrap them up any old way, as long as they're not leaky. Then ya bake em for about 20 minutes. 

And out comes your meal. It's moist and tender. The ginger gives it a kick. The jalapenos are spicy, but not too spicy, I promise. Unless you're a wuss. And the mango works. I'm not sure how or why, it just does.

It's a really good, fast, easy meal, with easy cleanup, which is a relief. So many nights I find I've dirtied three pots and two cutting boards cooking dinner for two people. What in the hell is going on over here?

Anyway, for the recipe, CLICK HERE. It is, of course, a Martha meal.

That is all, dears. Have a lovely weekend and see you Monday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winnah Winnah

Thanks so much to everyone who entered for the giveaway! I don't get many hits so there were only 21 entrants, several of whom I know personally or whom I feel I know because I read their blogs religiously or they are my verbose mortgage broker.

(Just kidding, Dan. I mean, you are my verbose mortgage broker, but due a certain mutual friend, you're really more of a partner in crime)

The winner has been chosen. Here's how they were picked....

I wrote everyone's name on a square of paper and threw them in a jar. I mixed 'em around.

And I pulled out ...

Congratulations Mrs. Saca! I happen to know Mrs. Saca is a teacher who just bought her first home with her husband. I'm sure they can use every cent available for home improvement costs. I know I personally spent a small fortune at Home Depot in the first few months of home ownership. The bleeding never stops, by the way.

Mrs. Saca, I'll be emailing you your gift certificate code right after I hit "publish" on this post.

This giveaway was fun and I hope to be able to do bigger and better in the future. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An unfamiliar sensation

At this point, my husband is losing weight just to piss me off.

He gets up in the morning, weighs himself, and announces his weight. Lots of times, lately, he'll be down another pound, to the point that he's now lost more than 20 pounds. From quitting gluten.

I have also quit gluten, but my weight hasn't budged an ounce. My husband informs me last night this is because I am a serial snacker (not to be mistaken for cereal snacker). So I graze too much during the day. Which is totally true. And sad.

Tummy not like to be hungry. Tummy get very mad when tummy not have food in it.

I've mentioned I won't be dieting this year, because diets are evil ideas from the devil. Every diet has an equal and opposite KAPOW fat blast to the butt.

But I do need to lose weight, or my husband will end up weighing less than I do, and that is a horror I can't endure. He's not close yet -- I think I've still got a toddler between his weight and mine -- but give him another couple of months and he'll probably have lost the weight.

I was realizing last night that in order for me to lose weight, sometimes I am going to have to be hungry. Between meals, say. Or at bedtime.

Tummy not approve.

And also, some form of movement, aka exercise, will probably be necessary. This is all a bit abrupt. Change is hard. Who moved my cheese?

Cheese sounds good right now. Is it lunch time yet?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: Angelology

Angelology: A Novel 

Author: Danielle Trussoni
Genre: Metaphysical
Publish Date: March 2010
Length: 464 pages hardback
How long it took me to read it: week and a half
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Angelology terrifies me a little bit.

There are things about the book that I liked immensely, such as some of the detail that really puts you in the setting with the characters, or the obvious thought that went into the complex plot. Also, I appreciate the subtle commentary on genocide, whether intentional or not.

But certain things caught me off guard -- little details that made the book less believable, and probably should have been left out. Or, the way the characters spoke. I don't care if you have a PhD, you're not going to speak like you're reading from a law book. Also, this book is obviously the first of at least two novels, which you don't discover until the unfortunate ending of the considerable tome. I felt a bit like I did when I read The Passage, by Justin Cronin -- You mean this isn't over? But I've just put in all this work! 

The reason those aspects of the book terrify me is because I'm not sure if the author created them or an editor did. And if the author did, why didn't the editor edit them out? And lastly, how did this book earn such a glowing review from The New York Times? The thought frightens me.

(By the way, the NY Times review is the sole reason I read this novel.)

And, yes, this book is a bit Da Vinci Code-esque. It's got your good guys running around New York City, searching for a relic while, of course, being pursued by the enemy. That book and subsequent movie did quite well, which is perhaps why I'm reading that Angelology author Danielle Trussoni has been offered a movie deal. Oh, that reminds me -- there's one more thing that terrifies me about this novel: It's Trussoni's first.

What the what?

Dear Lord, why do you hate me so?

All-encompassing jealousy aside, to assist you in deciding whether you'd like to read this book, I shall summarize it in a nutshell:

There's a young nun named Evangeline who lives in New York and is unaware that she hails from a long line of angelologists. She discovers her heritage after she meets a guy she is inexplicably attracted to, who is unwittingly working for her ancestors' mortal enemies: The Nephilim. To explain: Angelologists are a shadow society  that researches the evil hybrid descendants of angels and humans, called Nephilim, currently living on Earth. Both the angelologists and Nephilim are looking for a certain relic. I won't spoil any of it for you, because otherwise you might do like I did and figure out how the book was going to end by the time you're done with Chapter 1.

Which -- can I really blame Trussoni for that? I mean, we are supposed to foreshadow in our novels, right? Otherwise our high school English teachers would never have taught us about foreshadowing?

And to be clear: No, this novel is not based on historical fact. Some religions believe that angels procreated with humans in Biblical times, and for people who believe this, the novel might be more entertaining than it is for the average bear.

Overall I thought it was a decent read. It'd be a good vacation read, something entertaining that's not too intense because ya sort of already suspect you know what's really going on.

Next review will be Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which has already made me laugh and cry, and I just started it Sunday.

P.S. You have until midnight tomorrow to enter my $25 gift certificate giveaway!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oktoberfest in January

The story is that shortly before Christmas, a man came to my door and since I was standing in the kitchen and he could clearly see me, I had to answer it.

(For the record, I am tired of solicitors. They want to clean my carpets for "free." They want me to buy a newspaper prescription. They want me to sign up for pest control services. They want to sell me melting candy bars. The only solicitors I actually welcome whole-heartedly are the girl scouts, and none of them have been by in more than two years.)

Whoo! Tangent.

The man at the door was with Farm Fresh To You, which thankfully I had heard of and knew was a legitimate service that delivers organic, local produce to your doorstep. As far as I know they currently serve only the SF Bay area. You choose the frequency and type of stuff you want and cancel at any time without a penalty fee. Since I'd actually been thinking of signing up for this anyway, I went ahead and did it.

I got some kind of special rate -- $25 for a small box delivered once every two weeks. The first box arrived New Year's Eve and from what I remember it contained:

Brocolli, collard greens, a yellow onion, many clementines and apples, mixed lettuce greens, and a red cabbage. So far I have used almost all of it, but I had this big red cabbage I wasn't sure what to do with. Until I thought of the red cabbage they serve at one of our favorite German restaurants -- Teske's.

Now, at Teske's, the focus is really on the meat. This is not a place you want to go if you are a vegetarian. And yeah, the meat's pretty good, but as I believe I've said before, I could really take or leave meat on most occasions. (That's what she said.)

What I really look forward to at Teske's are the sides. They have amazing red cabbage and hot German potato salad. So I decided to go ahead and make both of those last night with pork chops, and you guys -- SO GOOD. I've decided I won't be posting recipes here unless they are the bomb, and both my husband and I agree, if you are into German food, you will really like this stuff.

Ok, so this is going to be a lengthy photo essay containing numerous photos of freaking delicious German food. You have been warned.

Firstly, I got the red cabbage recipe off of Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site. It was posted by a member called fire wife katie, who said the dish is one of her grandmother's. Now, it takes a lot for me to trust a stranger's recipe, if I've never tried making their stuff. I have trust issues. Pioneer Woman and Martha Stewart are my most tried and true recipe sources.

So I took a leap of faith. 

 So here's my organic cabbage, quartered.

 And here it is, all sliced up in the pot.

Here's a yellow onion, diced. I didn't get fumed out by it! My new method of cutting onions is to hold my nose and whistle and dice it as fast as I can.

Here is an apple, incidentally from Farm Fresh To You. When I saw that the recipe called for an apple, I was skeptical, to say the least. But, dear readers, I stand corrected.

 Here's the apple, peeled and sliced.

I've thrown everything into the pot and am now adding sugar. When I saw that sugar was called for, I was again skeptical. Again, I stand corrected.


 Cider vinegar.

 Pour it in and then boil and stir for 5 minutes until it looks like....

 This. Then simmer for 45 minutes. Delicious food TAKES TIME PEOPLE.

Now it was time to make the potatoes. These are what I was really excited about. At Teske's they are so deliciously vinegary and wonderful. I could only hope to somewhat approximate their dish.

I used a Betty Crocker recipe. Her recipe calls for celery seed, which I didn't have on hand so I just left it out, and it was still the bomb. Proceed informed, dear reader.

 I started out by boiling some red potatoes. And then? Oh, and then comes the good part.

 I chopped up some bacon.

And fried it.

This is half of a red onion, diced. Normally I would have used a yellow onion, but I was fresh out. It still turned out delicious.

By the way, does it irritate anyone else when recipes call for just "an onion"? I mean, hello. There are so many different kinds of onion. Are these recipes saying you could use ANY kind of onion you want? I'm just not sure.

Ok, so you guys, what the recipe said to do next made me very happy.

It said to cook the onion in the bacon fat. If you insist!!

I think this is a little flour, sugar, salt and pepper. Yes, I know we are supposed to be gluten-free over here, but my husband ate a whole hamburger earlier in the day, so this was really the least of his worries. We are back on the wagon today, though. And actually, this recipe would probably turn out just fine without the flour.

And here is what the potato salad "sauce" looked like in the pan. Then you throw in the potatoes, all chopped up, along with the crispy bacon ...

 And here is what the meal looked like.

The potatoes are divine. And what I really love about this recipe? You don't have to peel the potatoes. Hells yes!

 All together, the potato salad, the cabbage and the pork chop were an excellent combination.

And I have lots of leftovers.

Live it. Love it. Learn it. Or is it Learn it, Live it, Love it? Does it matter? I'm not sure. Eat it. Repeat.

For the cabbage recipe, click here.

For the potato recipe, click here.

To make pork chops, salt and pepper some pork chops and fry in a pan. Amen and goodbye.

P.S. You have until midnight Wednesday to enter my $25 gift certificate giveaway!