Late Night Questions for Google

April 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Do you ever lie awake at night and think of lots of questions to Google? Like, can I pour vegetable oil down the drain? Can I watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations online now that I don’t have cable? Can I apply acupuncture to my Rottweiler myself? Pet massage? How to wash your dog outside? Which vegetables can I plant in last year’s tomato plant location? How to kill trumpet vine without destroying surrounding plants and flowers? Can I still twist to crack my back even though I’m pregnant? What teas can I drink while pregnant? How little weight can I gain while pregnant? How hard can I work out while pregnant? Are tabatas safe while pregnant? Why can’t I keep orchids alive? What is the symbolism of the orchid? These are pretty boring ones, but I swear at night I think of the best questions to ask Google to help me find the answers. Similar to having the best writing ideas and strung together words that by morning are a distant memory and when recreation of the idea/words is attempted they sound like crap.

Anyway, at night these questions seem really important. Like, I really must know the answers in order to be a well rounded and happy individual. Many have to do with cooking and substituting ingredients. Sometimes they’re just food ideas that I want to see if someone else thought up, so that I can justify my need to create them. Most everything you think up has been made before. Sometimes not exactly, but close enough that you can easily see where your substituted ingredients will slip in quite fine. Most of what I make at home isn’t by following a recipe. I’m too lazy and usually never have all of the right ingredients. I typically look in the fridge and look in the pantry and see what I can whip up. I NEVER, EVER want to have to run out to the store just to make something.

This has been a bone of contention between me and my husband. I usually try to have chocolate chips on hand for when the mood hits that it’s a good day to bake. He thinks the chips are there for munching on after dinner while watching tv. Often, it goes like this, “Is that the last bag of chocolate chips?” He says, “yep.” I repeat what I’ve repeated a billion times before that “They’re not for eating like that! That’s what a candy bar is for, the chips are here to be MADE into something.” And so on. Pretty boring argument, but it really irks me. For instance, if it’s a rainy day and I feel like baking, I don’t want to run out to get chocolate chips when at one point we had five bags in the pantry (all of which became my husband’s chocolate munchies). I went to the store yesterday and last night he’s looking in the pantry and complains that I went to the store and didn’t get chocolate chips. I thought about getting the chocolate chips, but decided against it because, well, I just ate like 30 cupcakes and the chips won’t be there when I want them. No more chips on hand until I find a good hiding place.

Anyway, shopping yesterday I wanted to find red chilies, to make this Sweet Chili Sauce that I found on Closet Cooking. I’m about to embark on a major spring roll making kick and I’ll need something delicious to dip them in. To bring this post full circle, I was thinking to myself last night to Google: can I use jalapeños in place of red chilies when making an Asian dipping sauce? I think I’m going to wing it and see what happens because I’m too lazy to go to the market that will have red chilies!

Otis love

April 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I write really well in my head when I’m away from paper and pen or computer. I also write really well in my head when I’m tossing and turning. When I used to keep paper and pen by bed, I didn’t use it. It’s always when you don’t have it near you that you need it, never when organized and ready for it.

All of the things (along with crazy pregnancy hormones) that helped create my grumpy mood of yesterday are less an issue today. Worries that I gave my very expensive bridesmaids dress to some seamstress who may very well hack the thing apart leaving nothing left but a rag, worries that I won’t fit in said “altered” dress come May 12th, worried about my future, money, career or lack of career and worried that I’m never going to have fun in life again or that haven’t yet had fun in life. None of these worries are really that worrisome.

I gave Otis a big cuddle which always helps. He told me to chill. Reminded me that I freaked out when I brought him home the first time. He sat at the edge of the rug in our big apartment in Chicago and we stared at each other, like now what? He became a fun little hooligan to train. I was actually unemployed then too. It was 2003 and the pr firm I worked for was having another round of layoffs, this time I was cut. It became their norm after 9/11 to cut people annually. I think they continue to nearly do it quarterly over there to this day. They sucked anyway and wouldn’t let me grow. I need growth to be happy.

Back to Otis. He put me at ease, reminded me that I fell in love with him easily and that I’ll fall in love with the-baby-on-the-way just the same, maybe more. He made a few Rottweiler purring noises and groans and grunts to really get his point across. Then, French kissed me with his powerful lick that opens my mouth up (by accident) when he does it just right with his passionate intensity. Then, the mail came and he helped recycle the junk. It’s his latest cool trick. He’s very helpful.

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Otis as a puppy.

These are scanned photos, so quality doesn’t look as great.

Too many cupcakes!

April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Gluten-free Almost Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes

I think I need to write instead of talking to another human being. I’m severely grumpy today. Most likely due to all of the dairy cheating and poor eating I’ve done lately along with lack of EXERCISE.

I really have zero friends and I’ve done this to myself. By surrounding myself with people who only care about themselves. (I realize I sound pretty self-involved right now, which I am I guess.) I’m not interested in any of my friends. None lift me up, none make me a better person, I have no good conversations with most of them and absolutely nothing in common. I really liked Annie, but due to the awkwardness and my *hatred towards NWP now, I’m just not sure how to move forward with that one. Plus, I’ve owed her a phone call for months now.

Part of me feels like because I’m pregnant that my life is over. I have to give up on my dreams, which maybe I should have given up YEARS ago. I mean, isn’t that what Jeremy’s been trying to get me to do all these years. Give up? Feels like it.

I’m sure I’ll snap out of this once I eat right again, work out and have more energy again. The first tri I guess has taken a bit of a toll hormonally. Supposed to be getting better now. It’s not like you really notice it, you just feel like a loser, failure, lazy-ass and wonder why the hell you can’t or don’t get all the things done you used to get done or used to want to do.

I hope I like this baby. I’m a different breed of woman. I didn’t grow up pining for the opportunity to be a mother. I knew I wanted a family someday, but that’s as far as I got. I never imagined babies or children or anything that will come with this new major life change. What I spent most of my time imagining was traveling and seeing the world and experiencing different cultures. Ultimately, being creative and content in a far away land.

I need to get my head out of my ass and try to accomplish something. Maybe at least brush my teeth for the day, it is after all 4:19pm.

*Hatred is a strong word. I mainly mean strong irritation and dislike as well as extreme disappointment.

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe by me)

Dry Ingredients

1 c. white rice flour
½ c. potato starch or corn starch (I used potato starch because I was out of corn starch)
¼ c. sweet rice flour
½ c. unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hersheys)
½ c. unsweetened regular cocoa powder (again, Hersheys)
1 ½ t. baking powder
1 ½ t. baking soda
2 c. sugar (I used ~ 2 c. white sugar with a little turbinado because I didn’t quite have 2 c. of white sugar in the house)
1 t. salt
1 t. xanthan gum

Whisk dry ingredients together, set aside.

Wet ingredients
2 large eggs
1 c. vanilla almond milk (the 90 calorie almond milk, therefore, sweetened)
½ c. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla extract

Combine above wet ingredients with a fork, then add and mush/stir/combine bananas using a hand mixer:

4 overripe bananas (key ingredient which adds MAJOR moisture)

Next, on hand please have 1 cup of very hot water.

Slowly, using the mixer, blend in the dry ingredients and gradually the hot water until both are gone and incorporated.

Bake 350˚ for 18-30 minutes depending on your oven. My cupcakes took approx. 28 minutes. Makes 30 very moist cupcakes. Cool before frosting.

I frosted mine with chocolate buttercream which can be made dairy free, but we only had butter in the house.

My chocolate buttercream recipe:

1 stick of butter or butter alternative (room temperature or 10-15 seconds in the microwave to soften)
1 c. powdered sugar
¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (would have used dark, but was out, so used regular)
2-3 T. almond milk
A bit of vanilla extract to your liking
A bit of almond extract, start with a very small amount, a little goes a long way.

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Begin with only 2 T. of almond milk, add the 3rd if necessary to thin it out.

Frost your cupcakes and ENJOY! Try not to eat them all in one sitting, share with family, friends and neighbors or co-workers if you have a job.

On my mind

April 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

A few things I’m obsessing about lately:

1) I’m in a wedding in about a month and will be wearing a pretty strapless dress in persimmon. The problem is my girls are HUGE! I was well stacked to begin with, but now with being pregnant and all they’ve exploded to a new level of ENORMOUS. It’s the only thing that’s changed (body-wise) so far and I’m having major issues dressing my top half. I’ve desperately been searching the internet for a good strapless bra or bustier (which it appears they just don’t make the way they used to in the ‘50’s, as in, not as popular for daily wear these days as they were then) and I just don’t think they exist for people like me. I want to be comfortable that day, not look like a porn star and not deal with a bra that won’t support or stay put. Time is running out! I must find something that works soon or I’ll be screwed. I’m going to my seamstress soon to fit the dress and hope she has a back up solution in case I can’t find the one.
2) When I toss and turn at night I rearrange furniture and clean the house in my mind. Sometimes I decorate a farmhouse we almost bought which I fell in love with and is just down the street from us. I’m really good at decorating that farmhouse, but have no clue how to decorate the house we’re in. Probably because it’s not a farmhouse. I wanted a farmhouse to decorate with a clean minimalist, Swedish style. If that makes sense. Instead we’re in a brick and frame… Hmm… Major brain fart. Not sure what we call our house. Will let you know when it comes to me. Ah! Cape Cod. Which is cute and had really no work to be done except for changing some paint colors and keeping up the landscaping. I’m not complaining. It’s just not the style I’m in love with, but it will do for now.
The point of this rant is after tossing and turning all night and doing all of that decorating, moving furniture and cleaning in my mind, I’m too pooped to actually accomplish any of it during the real light of day.
3) Easter! We host Easter this Sunday. It’s now Thursday and I’ve just finalized the menu. I need to get to the store (something I don’t enjoy), clean house (see number 2), plan how I want the dining room table to look, get candles, boil & stain some eggs, and finally, decide which order to prepare and cook everything.

On the menu
hors d’oeuvres – deviled eggs and maybe a relish tray or salami or something easy

dinner – thyme honey glazed ham, scalloped potatoes with leeks, roasted asparagus and a spring salad

dessert – angel food cake with chocolate frosting (I think, my husband said his dad doesn’t like angel food cake, though I remember him enjoying two pieces the last time I made it)

Have I mentioned I’m gluten free and I’m supposed to be dairy free (though I still want proof that I shouldn’t eat dairy)? Gluten free is easy for me. I have no desire to eat it, been off of it for about six or more years now. Dairy, now dairy is difficult. I love it and you just can’t get the same creaminess for certain recipes without it. And, then there’s cheese. Most of which I can’t enjoy while pregnant. Anyway, I was good not having dairy for a year. But now that I’m carrying a little being inside me all I think about is dairy. Cottage cheese, parmesan, gouda and all the other good cheeses that we’re not allowed during this time. Did I mention I’m throwing some gouda into the scallop potatoes & leeks? I’ll try to do better next week and not have dairy.
4) Exercise and yoga. I’ve not been consistent at all due to the lovely side effect of pregnancy called fatigue even though I know it will help me with energy and feel more like myself. One week I have five great workouts, the next just one workout and the next zero workouts. I feel guilty and terrible about this. On the schedule today is a prenatal yoga class down the street from my house. I MUST GO! Even if it’s just to finally meet others in the same state (as in, new moms to be). I need some damn friends that live near me!
5) My sweet baby Otis. He’s going to be nine in June. He has hip dysplasia and I assume some arthritis. It’s getting hard for him to get up from lying down and tough on him getting up the stairs. I love him dearly and I know he’ll absolutely be insane with happiness to have a little baby in our house. He adores babies and small children. I want him to have the chance to share the new experience with us; it will be a joy to witness.

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Honest

April 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s easy to waste your life on a computer, especially when you’re unemployed and pregnant and lost. How am I going to raise a child when I’m this lost and this far away from where I want to be, from where I thought I’d be? How do I muster up the self confidence to be a good role model when I feel like the biggest loser to walk the planet? How did I get here and how do I move forward from here? How do I stop the anxiety and racing mind about being stuck with a child? How do I see with a different perspective from what I’m perpetually wallowing in? Scared, unsure, afraid I’ll never be anything that I am or think I am. Letting people tell me I have to let go of my dreams and live theirs. Makes me want to go puke. Right now. Urp.

P.S. I haven’t been writing on any of the blogs I start because I’m afraid to be honest, but without being honest, I don’t write.

Where Am I?

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