Archive for October, 2011

Bim Ellen, the world’s angriest (smallest!) pumpkin

October 25, 2011

For whatever reason, I really lagged on getting a pumpkin this year for Halloween. It’s already October 24th and I just bought my festive gourds this afternoon. There’s no excuse, it’s disgusting. Who in their right mind procrastinates on purchasing pumpkins!? It’s like waiting until 5pm to drink on St. Patrick’s Day – it’s unexcusable. Well, I repented today by driving down to my local farmers’ market while waiting for some homemade pizza dough to rise. As a kid, my family would go to the pumpkin patch at Craven Farms. We search through fields and fields of pumpkins for the perfect (or most hideous) gourd to purchase. There was face painting, a petting zoo, a corn maze, silly treats and tons of photos! Well, sadly I don’t live near a pumpkin patch and the free time that I do have isn’t best spent driving to Princeton to find an orange friend. The farmers’ market served me well!

Which one will be mine?

Through wooden shelves of pumpkins, I searched. Not nearly as nostalgic as physically cutting your gourd from the vine, but beggars can’t be choosers. After about a half an hour, I selected three pumpkins. Not because I needed three for anything dire, I just wanted more than one!

Lemme tell ya, waddling with three rolly polly puh-kins over to your car is a joke. I almost dropped my orange friends on the sidewalk! Regardless, we made to the car

The boys!

and the boys rode baller status in the back seat. Things got a little out of control from that point on. As anticipated, one pumpkin ended up having more personality than the others. The littlest puh-kin turned out to be quite a screamer. He was fussy and liked to be the center of attention. When I was trying to gather the boys to get them into the house, I obviously had to give the larger two pumpkins some additional TLC since they weighed the most. However, little baby wasn’t havin’ that at all and he almost rolled out from under my chin onto the cement to a certain death! I had to make two trips up and down my long stairway since he was being such a bitch.

When I got everyone inside and onto the table, the smallest pumpkin demanded to have his face cut first. I was going to do something cutesy and nice, but his attitude was so ridiculous that I made the executive decision to showcase his personality to the fullest. Me, me, me!

Whatever. I put him on the window sill in my living room to display to the neighborhood that I am indeed participating in Halloween this year. I went outside and made the attempt

Are you KIDDING me right now?!

to take a photo of my new decoration but the window was too high and my pumpkin was just too small. After running up and down my neighbors’ porches in a vain attempt to capture my amazing carving job on film, I gave up and came back into the apartment only to find that the little shit was trying to eat Nick’s plant! I couldn’t believe my eyes.

He’d been a part of my life for barely half an hour and he’d made himself at home in the grossest sense of the phrase! I promptly gave him the horrid name of Bim Ellen.

Bim Ellen's delicious insu.

Carving pumpkins comes with the reward of delicious seeds, so I made a rosemary and sea salt medley from Bim Ellen’s insides. Those suckers take about an hour to make, so I tried to busy myself with other tasks like pizza kneading and cleaning. Bim blew out his candle twice before I had to bring him into the kitchen and chaperone him like an infant. I didn’t give two thoughts about eating my finished seeds in front of him until he jumped into the pan and started having a fit. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the little munchies were his guts. It just would have been so uncomfortable.

Cut it out, will ya?

The night was just ruined after that. I couldn’t blog because he was just staring at me and making that damned face. I’m kinda scared to carve the other two, I can’t handle another pumpkin personality!

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Today, we salute you, Mr. Mini Golf Course Yard Decor Man!

October 24, 2011

On my way to pick up some pumpkins for carving, I happened to take a particular notice in the lawn decoration choices around my neighborhood.

Bambi

Although I’ve lived at my apartment for about two years, it hadn’t really occurred to me until this afternoon that most of the people in my ‘hood are ridiculously addicted to lawn garnishes. The typical rose-bush, lawn chair and forlorn shoe just won’t do at all. No, instead these folks have opted to either display their devotion to A. Religious paraphernalia, B. Sports teams, or C. Fuzzy Animals.

 

The religious paraphernalia is my personal favorite. Saints, Mother Mary… Buddah. One yard had their statue of Mary stolen from the hollowed blue shell that the blessed virgin called her home. I thought that was a little busted…. MARY COME HOME! It’s Boston, we’re all very Italian and religious on our high holidays or when the Red Sox are winning (…. wait). The Mary statue is everywhere! I stopped photographing her simply because I didn’t have enough memory space and because

This person's true loves: Mary and Satan

the photos were so monotonous. Also, it’s Halloween and everyone is wicked excited to bring out the cotton stuffing and create the worst spider’s web ever. Charlotte would have a fit and bite every single one of these offenders! Mary typically deputes alongside the decorations for the Devil’s holiday.

A conundrum that I’m yet to understand.

I AM the Page Master!

What really caught my attention was the incredible tribute to Boston sports teams in a yard right near my favorite cafe, The Biscuit. This yard is out of control, filled with homemade wooden signs and carvings that resemble a mini golf course to the tee. I hope this individual rightfully stole these items from a theme park or something because there’s no other excuse for owning, let alone displaying said wooden markers.

I don’t have a yard. Remember, Maria paved everything for safety. However, if I did have a yard, I most certainly wouldn’t stuff it full of Mother Mary,

Duuuuuuh

Buddha, Winnie the Pooh or Bruins signs. Personally, I favor the tradition rose-bush and hammock. But based solely upon all of my neighbors’ preferences, maybe I’m the weird one…

Dear car, STOP. The end.

October 13, 2011

The single worst investment that a body can make: A vehicle. This isn’t a new concept whatsoever but my god, I just can’t stand it. Every month, my car claims insurance, gas, a loan payment, and routine maintenance. Fine, that’s the same for everyone else as well. However, I seem to go to great lengths to punish my car for such wasteful taxes upon my bank account. I hit everything. Obviously, this might not seem like a savory practice considering that I’ll just have to pay once again for the scratch, din, paint residue to be buffed out, but I can’t help it. Something in my subconscious seriously loathes my vehicle. A 2005 chrome Jetta… well, chrome with some yellow from a pillar, red from some bumper (that wasn’t me though!!!) and of course, some white scratches that couldn’t be bothered to accept my buffing efforts. I somehow hate my car so much I even leave it available for theft. Seriously. Yesterday, I lost my keys after getting a wicked amount of groceries. I was so excited because I was going to be on my way into work early and maybe get a minute to chat with an old co-worker from Maryland. Negative. I stepped outside of my door and of course, shut it behind me and started walking down the stairs. F, where are my keys?! People, I had to go back upstairs, out onto my deck, shimmy open a window, crawl over the fence outside my three-story up apartment into my living room, naturally displacing the plants. All these stunts took place while I was wearing heels and a black suit. Nothing is every simple. Then, I couldn’t find my damn keys to save my soul. I checked the usual hide outs: My purse (seriously), my bed, the refrigerator (oh, please! act like you’ve never done it too!) and the bathroom. Fail. Where the hell were these things!?

Exactly how I found them!

Then I looked outside my living room window. Lo, the silver renegades were IN THE DRIVER’S SIDE DOOR. Are you kidding me? They had been chillin’ there for about an hour, waiting for anyone to utilize and take my Jetta. I had a nice oh shit! moment before running down the stairs to save my car. What is wrong with me?

Over last weekend, Nick had to help me buff out a nice yellow bite that a parking garage pillar took out of my passenger side door. This sucker’s gnarly! We used GooGone and some other buffing agent but nothing really helped. The yellow smear is kinda gone but that tell-tale this driver is retarded white scrape still displays my inability to protect my car. I remember feeling the pillar slide softly against my car and thinking, shouldn’t I be hearing something? I suppose it doesn’t matter, the bite is forever a part of my life now. A soft touch from cement sure as hell isn’t anything like a soft touch from that sexy life guard… too much?

I can’t fix my problem. For some reason, I deeply desire to destroy my dastardly car. How to protect once’s car cannot be taught in the same manner that alliteration can. Which is a wicked wonder.

Ode to my Mams

October 4, 2011

Today was my first day off in quite a while and I finally had a moment to celebrate the Fall season appropriately: With baking! I woke up early to attend spin class, which was worse than others, before attempting to find the very best fall dinner recipe ever. However, upon searching and searching online with Pandora playing in the background, I couldn’t find a damn thing that pricked my interest. Then the Interent stopped working altogether. We pay over $100 a month for the World Wide Web and it was giving me the bird.

So I called my Mams. As I suspected, she had the perfect recipe for me. In fact, she had three! A gingersnap cookie recipe, a brown-sugar carrot side dish and of course, the best present of all: Flank Steak stuffed with Almonds, Cranberries and breading. Delicious!  I’m attaching the recipes for everyone else to enjoy. Throughout my childhood, my mother would always make dinner for the family. Every single night. I learned the importance of embracing the change in seasons with festive meals. The scent of cinnamon, butter and cranberries filled my house and coated the walls with seasonal bliss. I love Fall! While outside was about 65 degrees, I still pretended my Fall day was filled with cool air and gray skies. The day of orange and brown crunching leaves. I hope you’ll celebrate with me and enjoy some home grown cookin’. Here are my recipes:

Ginger Snap Cookies

After eating four ginger snaps, I stopped counting.

Combine the following all together in a large bowl: 2 ¼ cups flour, ¾ cup oil, ¼ cup dark molasses (if all you’ve got is light molasses, use it.  The darker will make the cookies a little richer color and flavor, but either totally works.) ¼ cup maple syrup or maple-flavor syrup, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. ground ginger, ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground cardamom, ¼ tsp. salt, 1 large egg. With mixer at low speed, beat ingredients until well bended, occasioanly scraping bwol with rubber spatula.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place 2 Tablespoons sugar on waxed paper (or in pie plate, or something flat.)  Shape dough into small or large balls; roll in sugar to coat evenly.  Repeat with remaining dough.Place balls 3 inches apart, on ungreased cookie sheets.  (Dough is very soft; balls will flatten slightly.) Bake cookies.  For small balls:  8 minutes.  For large balls:  15 minutes.  (Give or take, depending on your oven.)With pancake turner, remove cookies to wire racks to cool.  Store in tightly covered container.

Please believe I cooked this hunk of meat PRIOR to serving it!

Stuffed Flank Steak

Prepare Stuffing Mix from a box as directed; stir in one egg. Also, add nuts, dried fruit, and parsley for additional flavor.  Pound and score flank steak; season with salt and pepper.  Spread steak with Stuffing and roll up, tying with string.  Roll in flour and brown in 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine.  Add 1 can (15 oz.) beef gravy, I can 2 ½ oz. drained sliced mushrooms, 2 Tbsp. white wine.  Simmer, covered, 45 minutes or until tender.  Slice and serve with gravy.  Makes 6 servings. (Somehow, Nick and I managed to eat most of this entree! So, I don’t know how 6 people would split it!)

Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

I am a carrot.... I love you.

1 pound medium carrots, parsnips, turnips, or baby carrots. 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Cut the carrots in half, both crosswise and lengthwise.  (If you’re using baby carrots, just use your judgment on whether or not you need to cut them in order to eat them easily.) In a medium saucepan, cook carrots, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 8 – 10 minutes (I steam mine) until crisp-tender.  Drain; remove from pan. In the same saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and dash salt.  Cook and stir over medium heat until combined.  Add carrots.  Cook, uncovered, about 2 minutes or until glazed, stirring frequently.  Season to taste with pepper. Easy to make ahead and put in frig the same day as serving.  Pop into microwave for a few minutes just before serving.

A finished product!

This is what I enjoyed tonight after my wonderful day off. I also sipped on a 2008 Ex Umbris Syrah from Columbia Valley, WA, as a firm tribute to my Mams. She was after all the one who made this meal posssible!