Monday, January 31, 2011

Shout-out Slash Admonition to Ginger's parents

Last week I was walking from 711 back to my office and spotted a loose dog ahead of me on the sidewalk. At first I thought she was tied to a lamppost or bike rack, but quickly realized she didn't have a leash. She stopped when she saw me walking towards her, then picked up her pace and started walking in my direction rather quickly. That's when I noticed two things: 1) she had a pink collar, and 2) she appeared to be some sort of pit bull mix.... aka the ONLY breed of dog that I am somewhat, even a tiny bit afraid of.

Background: When it comes to dogs, I am THAT girl... the girl that walks up to strange dogs and pets them, the girl who doesn't cross the street when an angry dog barks from behind a fence, the one who's first on her feet to break up a dog fight. I strongly believe that if you don't show a dog fear, he won't be aggressive toward you. I am definitely not afraid of dogs....except for pit bulls. I know it's not fair to blame the breed, and that not all pit bulls are aggressive or mean, etc. It's just that I've seen too many stories about some thug gangster breeding his dog to fight, or how a little kid walking by an open gate got mauled, and all I'm saying is that it's never a Golden Retriever doing the mauling.

So. I was walking down the street and this dog in a pink collar started coming towards me. I didn't stop, I made sure to keep walking so that she would have to follow me if she wanted my attention. We got to the parking lot of an Italian restaurant where I first spotted her, and I asked a delivery man if he'd seen where she came from. He said no, and suggested I look at her collar for a phone number.

At this point, I wasn't afraid of the dog anymore. She was clearly very friendly, and when I bent down to read her collar, she let me without flinching. I saw that her name was Ginger and told her to sit, which she did. Then she started licking my hands and my face, which of course melted my heart. As I started calling the phone number on her tag, a guy sitting at a Starbucks across the street ran over and said he knew who the dog belonged to. He said that she's gotten out before and that this would be the third time he's had to bring her back. He said her owners work out of their home and that they leave their door open. Not a problem, he said, until someone opens the gate to their complex and Ginger gets out.

Ginger's owners, I have two things to say to you: 1) thank you for raising an awesome pit bull mix. Ginger seems like she's an obedient, well-tempered, sweet dog. You did a great job. And 2) CLOSE YOUR DAMN GATE!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I won't be mad if you hate me

Because I'll be too busy walking to lunch from my office in short-sleeves and shopping at the farmer's market in my flip-flops.

(Just so you know I'm not completely cold-hearted, I do feel bad for all of y'all who are suffering through 4 degree weather right now. I remember it well. But I do not miss it.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Taters and tenderloin and cranberry sauce, oh yum

It's no secret that I love to cook. I'm always on the prowl for new and delicious recipes. It helps that my friend E just started a cooking blog, so  stealing ideas from her has become exponentially easier. Not that she minds sharing... in fact she just forwarded me a recipe for some mouthwatering twice-baked potatoes that inspired me to write this post. (Thanks, E!) 

Twice baked potatoes are a new concept to me. My  mom was a health nut when I was younger (and still is) so we rarely ate anything as delicious as potatoes with sour cream and cheese. So as you can imagine, when I started cooking on my own, there was a whole new world of delicious and bad-for-you foods to try. Including this one. Which I think I might have to make this evening. Recipe can be found here. Both E and I suggest putting bacon in said taters. It will only make it more delicious and bad for you.

I recently took an interest in learning how to make pork tenderloin. I remember my mom making it when I was little and how delicious and juicy it was. So one night a few months ago I did it. And Internets, I dare say, it was AMAZING. Hands down the best meal I've ever prepared. I used Ree Drummond's recipe from her fabulous website, The Pioneer Woman and she absolutely nailed it. (If you read my blog regularly, you'll find that I use her recipes quite often.)

The cranberry sauce, however, was a spin on a Cranberry and Caramelized Onion recipe that I found on Oprah's website. I used it mostly as a template for my own creation (below).

As a side dish to that pork tenderloin, I made Pioneer Woman's smashed potatoes. But since I already talked at y'all about taters, I'll save those for another post =)

Happy Cooking!!

Twice Baked Potatoes: click here.
Pork Tenderloin: click here.
Smashed Potatoes: click here.
Oprah's Cranberry and Caramelized Onion Sauce: click here.

Danielle's Cranberry and Caramelized Onion Sauce: 

1 can jellied cranberry sauce 
2 1/2 shallots finely chopped, or 1 white or yellow onion finely chopped
1 cup chicken broth 
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons honey, or as desired 
white wine to taste (optional) 
salt and pepper to taste 

In a medium-sized skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add finely chopped shallots or onions and cook until they just start to get brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 of the chicken broth and a few splashes of wine (optional) for taste. Let simmer on low until liquid reduces by about half. Add cranberry sauce and stir until hot. Add remaining chicken broth and wine as desired. Simmer until desired consistency is reached. (Some people like their cranberry sauce thick, some like it thinner.) Add honey to taste. (Again, some people like it sweet, others like it more on the bitter side.)

Tip: the more chicken broth and/or wine you add, the more flavor it will have. If you want thick, flavorful sauce, use the full amount of broth and let the sauce simmer down until it becomes thick. If you like your sauce thinner, take it off the heat earlier. If you don't want a sauce that's too salty, add the remaining chicken broth to the cranberries in small increments until the desired taste is reached.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Highlights of my week

Considering the graveness of yesterday's post, here's a list of some awesome things that I've seen/eaten/witnessed this week... things that have made me smile  =)

  • "Bob's Burgers" on FOX. Hilarious new animated series about an everyday family running a restaurant. It's on Hulu if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Marisco's German Taco Truck. I tried this place for the first time today, and let me tell you something about food trucks: don't let the fact that they are essentially kitchens on wheels discourage you from trying one. This particular taco truck is parked in an empty dirt lot next to a liquor store in a not-so-great part of town. Everyone on line in front of me ordered in Spanish. I didn't care.... the fish tacos were AMAZING. Someone on Yelp described the Gobernador taco like "hot sex on a Styrofoam meat tray." If you live in San Diego and have not yet tried this place, I implore you to go there the next time you're craving a shrimp taco or some ceviche. And if you're worried about price, don't be: I bought 4 tacos for me and the boyfriend and it came to $7.75. 
  • Speaking of said boyfriend, he is definitely someone I'd like to add to this list. I've been going through a bit of a rough time lately and he has been nothing but supportive and caring and kind. I love you, robot. 
  • KITTENS!!! That is all. 
I'd also like to mention that updating this blog has been a wonderful source of comfort and stress relief for me. It forces me to take a break from my otherwise blah day and focus my energy on something completely fun and frivolous. Yay blogging!! 

What have been the highlights of your week thus far? The bakery staying open just a little later than usual because you called to say that you were on your way to pick up your order? The mechanic calling to say that a part had to unexpectedly be replaced, but they wouldn't charge you for the labor? (This actually happened to me. There's a reason Advantec Auto Repair has such great reviews.) Someone surprising you with lunch or a snack? Do share =) I like good news. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On dealing with stress

I've never been good at it.
I don't eat, and if I do, I eat cheesy poofs and brownies.

I don't sleep well at night when I'm stressed, which makes me tired, which makes me stress over being tired, which makes me take naps in the afternoon when I shouldn't, which means I can't fall asleep at night. It's a vicious cycle.

I know I should take walks and exercise, but instead I sleep and watch TV and troll the internet for pictures of kittens. (Therapists take note: kittens have a calming effect on many people and as such, trolling the internets for pictures of them should be on the approved "stress relievers" list.)

I get cranky and snap at people I shouldn't snap at, and then I feel bad, and then I stress about possibly having hurt someone's feelings. Again, a vicious cycle.

Stress is a cold-hearted witch to whom we all succumb at one point or another. Some handle it better than others, and to those who do, I ask you: what do you do? How do you deal with stress? What makes you feel better, what makes that knot in your tummy go away? TELL ME!!!

And now, a message from the internet kittehs:

Aaah that's better......

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All hail the burrito

For it is wondrous and magical and there is nothing in the world like it. Behold:

Burritos are pretty much my favorite fast food ever. It's everything I love about Mexican food in one convenient, human baby-sized package: beans (refried and/or black), rice (yellow), sour cream, salsa, lettuce, cheese (cheddar), guacamole (which I unfortunately can't eat), and the meat of your choosing all wrapped up in a giant tortilla. I don't even order mine with meat anymore because the veggie burrito from my local taco shop is so delicious on its own. And to top it all off, burritos around my hood are usually so big that I can save half for another meal! (I wasn't kidding about the human baby-size.)

I won't bore you with the origin of the burrito or the different styles, except to tell you about the California burrito. It's a San Diego specialty that includes chunks of carne asada meat, French fries, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. I'll let you think about those ingredients all under one tortilla for a minute. Delicious or disgusting?
 . . . . . . . . .

90% of San Diego would answer the former. I, however, think they're gross.

I shall now be exiled from San Diego and never again be permitted to eat another burrito.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy New Year, Interwebs!

Me: Hi Internet, how are you?! It's been so long! 
Internet: Oh. Hi. Yeah, it has been a long time. 
Awkward pause.
Me: Soo... how've you been? What' new?
Internet: Fine. Nothing. 
Awkward silence. 
Me: Um, well... how was your holiday? 
Internet: Fine. 
Me: Internet, are you mad at me?
Internet: No. 
Me: Are you sure? Because you seem mad.
Internet: Why would I be mad? I mean it's not like you just up and disappeared for six months without telling anyone.
Me: Internet, I'm sorry. I really am. It was a crazy time. 
Internet: Whatever. 
Me: I really am sorry. It's just that work got so crazy and summer kicked my butt with all the gatherings and friends, and then I went away on that business trip, and then work got crazy again... Then it just sort of got too late to get back in touch. I felt funny randomly popping back up again after so long, ya know? You know how that goes, don't you Internet? 
Internet: Ugh. I guess. Whatever. 
Me: Do you forgive me, Internet? 
Internet: Fine. Whatever. I guess. 
Awkward pause. 
Internet: Hey.
Me: Hi. 
Internet: It's good to have you back. I missed you. 
Me: Aaw, thanks, Internet. It's good to be back. I missed you, too.