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a proud moment…and probably only a moment

Friday, August 13th, 2010

In the time it took me to navigate from eBay to WordPress, I was probably outbid. But for one brief shining moment, I was the high bidder on this settee from Pete Campbell’s office — the very place where Pete and Peggy did the nasty and subsequently had a series of awesomely acted, unbelievably tense conversations about it.

O.

M.

G.

I also bid on a gorgeous Danish Modern chair from Harry’s office, Roger Sterling’s handsome pale green sofa and a cute little blue cabinet from the Sterling Cooper break room. Oh, and a twirly bent wood hanging lamp! That one, I might have half a chance of being able to actually afford…

The auctions (which benefit City of Hope) continue for another 9 days and no, I’m not giving you the link. If you insist on outbidding me, you’re going to have to work for it.

PS if your measurements happen to be 39-30-39, you might be interested in the green dress Joan wore to her bon voyage — the office party with the tragicomic lawnmower incident. Bloodstains appear to have been removed, and I’m honestly not sure I’m happy about that. LOL

 

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The Macaroni & Cheese that Made Oprah Cry

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Voulez vous coucher avec Mac?

New review of Patti LaBelle’s much-lauded mac and cheese recipe is now posted at my other blog. It’s good, but not that good, Oprah!! Get a grip on yourself, woman!

 

 

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Sterling, Cooper, Draper & Pryce — How may I direct your call?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Where's my scotch and smokes??

 

The new season of Mad Men starts this Sunday night! I am so ready for this.

I’m glad I didn’t actually build a Barbie-sized mock-up of the Sterling Cooper offices, since the gang has new digs this season. I swear, I follow the furniture, clothing and props as much as the storylines on this excellent show.

AMC has been showing selected episodes from past seasons, interspersed with bits of commentary from Matthew Weiner, and I was blown away by how much richer these episodes are upon second, third and fourth viewing. I miss a lot the first time through (that is the highest compliment I can pay a television program) and I find certain characters becoming more compelling (Peggy is one complicated woman) and less so (sorry, Bets!).

So, what will the Mad Men version of 1964 look like? President Johnson’s Great Society social programs, the Gemini missions, escalation in Vietnam,Vatican II… ? I hope we get a glimpse of the New York World’s Fair and a taste of Beatlemania… And I predict Don’s daughter Sally gets a nice juicy storyline. That kid is quite an actress.

 

 

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Things That Make Me Happy (#9)

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

 

Crochet covered Smartcar. O how it makes me grin!

My Miata isn’t a whole lot bigger than that…so if I started now…

 

 

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My Postcrossing habit

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned Postcrossing in these ramblings before.

Postcrossing is the lowest-impact, least-strings-attached version of a penpal for which one could ever hope.

Postcrossing is a website that assigns participants from all over the world to send each other postcards. Pretty simple really. You register your mailing address, and you are given an address to send someone a postcard. On the card you send, you write a unique postcard ID number, which the recipient logs at the website upon receipt of the card. When Postcrossing gets this confirmation that you did indeed send the postcard you were assigned to send, it will assign someone else to send a postcard to you. And so on.

You don’t have to write back (you just have to register received cards at the Postcrossing website so the sender gets credit for having sent it).

As you continue Postcrossing you earn the privilege of having more and more postcards in the mail at one time. I’ve been participating for over two years and right now I have 18 traveling outbound (and theoretically 18 winging their way to me, as well).

It takes minutes a day to address and mail the postcards. Yeah the postage adds up (international postage is .98 at the moment) but I try not to think about it. Anyway, it’s worth it for the amusement factor, and the joy of getting something besides junk and bills in the mailbox.

 I will share some more favorites in future posts. In the meantime, you can click on the Postcrossing badge on the right hand side if you’d like to learn more about it.

 

 

 

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Things That Make Me Happy (#8)

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Baaaaaaaconnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!

 This is a gynormous box of bacon, photographed at Camellia Grill in New Orleans. The box is about the same size and shape as a box of paper reams. That’s a lotta bacon!

The bacon is layered onto some kind of paper, and when the griddle clears, another few pages of salty meaty goodness are slapped on.

Incognito bacon, I would recognize you anywhere.

The expert grill men leave the paper shroud on top of the bacon for a while. I don’t know if affects how the meat cooks or if it just keeps the grease spatter to a minimum. Perhaps it is simply a gesture of respect. I’m also not sure what kind of paper is involved. It looked like damp paper towels but I’m really not sure so do not try this at home, kids. Who am I kidding — I’m trying it pronto.

Our Lady of Bacon, we beseech thee: Please keep our houses from burning down while we experiment with alternative methods of worshipping your abundance. Amen!

 

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One for Me

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Seventeen stripes down. Umpteen to go...

Nope, the rainbow zigzag still isn’t quite finished, but I’ve run out of suitable yarn and the right shade of lavender DK acrylic has not yet materialized so I’ve moved on to another project.

This granny stripe afghan was inspired by the marvelous Attic24 blog, and the Ravelry group that is obsessed with all things Lucy. But instead of following Lucy’s lead and working this up in her signature palette*, I’m going for a “torrid sunset at the Grand Canyon” feel. And to honor the majesty of that wonderful place, I’m going BIG. This one eventually will cover a queen size bed. And I’m keeping it for me me me!

I sense that you are doubtful about (a) the color scheme and (b) my ability to stick with a huge project to completion. Trust me. This one is flying. I was on stripe #17 when I took this photo last week, and over the long weekend I added at least 12 more stripes so it’s almost 1/4 of the way to covering my bed (this one uses worsted weight yarn instead of DK). Since summer heat, afghans and my wonky dimishing hormones do not play nice, I am hoping to finish it halfway with the yarn already in my stash before setting this project aside for something that doesn’t suffocate me while I work on it. At that point I should have an idea of how much more yarn I’ll need, and I’ll restock before this monster settles down for its long summer nap.

*PS just because I am not using Lucy’s recommended yarn on this project does not mean that I expect to be able to resist buying that yarn anyway. Even with postage from the UK, the Stylecraft Special DK is a good value and Lucy’s color choices are lovely. I will gush a lot more about Attic24 another day!

 

 

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Happy Birthday Frida K.

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

“]

The art of Frida Kahlo is a ribbon around a bomb. [Andre Breton about Frida Kahlo

These tacky little gals are xmas ornaments I made a few years ago in a fit of irreverence. I bought the tiny sock monkeys and added yarn braids, floral crowns and crepe paper skirts. I neglected to wield a Sharpie on this batch, to turn two eyebrows into one. Still, I think Frida would appreciate the homage.

 

 

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Soupy Sunday: Mediterranean Meatball Soup

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Every July, I have a big cooking weekend to stock the freezer with lots of yummy scrummy. The goal is to not need to actually cook again until autumn. Well, not entirely, but any supper I can fake by plopping a frozen brick of something into a saucepan and getting out of the kitchen while the stove is hot  is a good supper.

Mmm... A rainbow of good-for-you vegetables and just enough meat to satisy your inner carnivore.

This recipe is my reworking of the Mediterranean Meatball Soup that appears in a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest publication called Our Best Diabetic Recipes. Carbs are not my friend, and these magazines often inspire me to up my vegetable consumption in a fancy and interesting way. (These magazines also include an alarming number of recipes that call for fat-free Cool Whip and other forms of Better Eating Through Chemistry, so be warned.)

Although this soup is chock-full of goodness I was surprised to find that the original version wasn’t all that delish, and the barley sucked up so much liquid it resembled porridge. Ew. My version below gooses the flavors and provides enough liquid to keep it brothy. I also substituted frozen bell pepper strips and frozen spinach for the fresh called for in the magazine recipe. Lazy? No, just realistic. I choose my conveniences carefully.

Off to a colorful start!

Frozen veggies usually work fine in soup — but I will never, ever stoop to using that pre-chopped garlic from a jar, because it doesn’t taste like anything at all. It smells but it doesn’t taste.

My other main tweak is I altered the meatball ingredients in the direction of more moistness and fewer carbs. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs and the meatballs were tough. Reducing the crumbs and adding a grated onion improved the situation dramatically.

Don't forget to rinse canned beans. I don't know what that slime is, but let's not ingest it, okay?

Better Homes and Gardens specified a can of Great Northern beans, but any variety of white bean will work fine. Because they taste so much earthier and beanier I usually prefer to cook big batches of dried beans and store portions in the freezer until needed, but the cupboard was bare so I picked up a can of Trader Joe’s white kidney beans. (The frozen peppers are also from TJ’s. Love that store!)

When reheating this soup throughout the summer, I plan to throw in other Mediterranean flavors such as diced artichoke hearts, black olives or the season’s amazing fresh tomatoes. I think a fresh sprig of rosemary won’t hurt, either.

 

Mediterranean Meatball Soup

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Serves 6
 
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (or RyKrisp crackers of All Bran cereal that’s been run through the Cuisinart)
1 egg
4 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1 small onion, grated
3 teaspoons fresh rosemary or 1-1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (divided)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
2 red, green and/or yellow bell peppers, cut into bite-size strips
1 small onion, chopped
3 cans beef broth (14oz each)
2-4 cups water, as needed
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained (15oz)
¼ cup pearl barley
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves or 5-6oz frozen spinach
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
 
In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, egg, 2 cloves garlic, grated onion, half of the rosemary and black pepper. Add ground beef and mix well. Shape mixture into 1” meatballs and place on lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside.
 
In a biiiig soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute carrots, bell peppers, chopped onion and the remaining garlic until onions are translucent.
 
Add broth, beans, barley and the remaining rosemary. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until barley is tender. Add water if you require more soupiness.
 
Add cooked meatballs and spinach and heat through.
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Ice ice baby

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I recently gushed about enjoying a cocktail featuring a fancy hipster ice cube and someone scoffed that this could not possibly be a “thing.”

Suddenly I'm transported to Superman's Fortress of Solitude...

Oh yes. It’s a thing. It’s a big thing in certain circles. Bartenders are building reputations on their ice cube expertise.  Check it out:

This article explains the principles behind the craze.

Here’s a vendor of specialty ice cubes. Peep their gallery! Order their products! Faint upon learning the FedEx charge!

No, please don’t pass out. Look, here’s some advice for DIY-ing your very own fancy big ice.

Because you know you want to.

 

 

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