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Thursday, July 28, 2011

French Onion hackers

Apparently some asshole thought it would be a fun idea to hack my email and in doing so, send my life into a spiraling mess that was recovered in a day.
A regrettable calamity and absolutely pathetic attempt at trying to disassemble my business. My apologies though, to anyone who received a suspicious email due to my lack of creativity when it comes to passwords (surprising, no?).

One questions how the time to profits ratio works out for those who hack personal emails. Furthermore, what a fascinating line of work to try explaining to those you meet. I find it hard enough describing my job and have begun settling with “it’s an office job where I sit in a cubicle”...I wonder if they inhabit the same response. I bet hacking personal emails has some real perks. You can probably do your job naked or drunk and get to choose your own hours. I doubt there’s a lot of money in it but I also doubt that there are any taxes taken out of their wages. I could never be an email hacker because I’d spend all my time and money buying shoes online that I’ll never have a reason to wear.

Thinking of it though, the only place I wear irresistibly adorable shoes that I spend hard-earned money on is at work. Damnit, now I’m depressed and it’s all this mysterious hackers fault. If I find him, I’m going to put one of my zebra print, peep toe heels up his ass and find some irrational reason to tell him that it’s his own fault. Because THAT’S what I’m good at.

The other thing I’m good at: making French Onion Soup that tastes better than my Dad’s (even though I haven’t tasted his).

½ C unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 C red wine (about ½ bottle)
3 heaping Tblsp. All-purpose flour
2 Q beef broth

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt & pepper. Cook until onions are soft and caramelized (about 25 minutes).
Add wine, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until wine has evaporated and onions are dry (about 5-10 minutes)
Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust onions with flour and stir. Turn head down to med-low and cook 10 minutes (to get the flour flavor out).
Add beef broth and bring back to a simmer, cook for at least 10 minutes (I tend to let mine simmer for 30-40 minutes to ensure all the flavors are blended). Season with salt and pepper.

Obviously, being French Onion soup, this is traditionally served with Gruyere or Swiss cheese and croutons although, I sort of like mine as it is and don’t bother with the fuss of ladling it into a bowl so I can melt cheese on top. To each his own though.

Now, I'm going back to SLC for a few days over Thanksgiving this year. I suggest a taste-testing of Dad's F.O. vs. mine. We'll need ballots.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Starbucks meets Black Beans

Admittedly, being a grammar Nazi makes me kind of an asshole. I hate seeing things spelled wrong, incorrect punctuation or sentences ending in a preposition. I don’t, however, take photos of such malfeasance and post it to a ridiculous website like this one: This inexplicably popular website answers the question “Could the entitled, douchey, white people at Starbucks get any more entitled, douchey or white?” That answer being “yes”.

Making fun of how people talk or spell is usually arrogant and assholish, but it’s seldom as awful as these “hilarious” pictures of coffee cups where, for example, “Julie” is spelled “Joolee”. Ha! Ha! That’s a good one! These stupid baristas can’t spell! I am a genius for going to Starbucks and having a name.
This goes beyond first world problems or white person problems and takes it to new depths. Starbucks misspelling your name on your coffee cup is an ultimate douche problem. Congratulations are in order to my fellow Caucasian assholes for helping us maintain our firm, pasty claim on being the worst people in the world.

Anyway, wanna’ cook something?

I’ve gotten big on balanced meals and trying to reduce my meat intake (not an easy task). I came up with a super quick and easy recipe that was satisfying, healthy and vegetarian.

½ cup rice
1 can black beans
½ cup chicken stock
1 tomato
½ yellow onion
1 serrano pepper
Bundle of cilantro
1 Tblsp butter
Ground cumin

I started by cooking some rice – in the water, I added a bunch of pepper, paprika, ground cumin and a little salt.
While that was cooking, I chopped up one tomato, ½ of one yellow onion, one serrano pepper and a small bundle of cilantro. Add whatever you want but this is what I chose.
Next, I opened a can of black beans, rinsed them thoroughly tossed them into the mini food-processor along with a splash of chicken stock and a lot of black pepper.

Throw a little butter in your pan and caramelize the onions. Then add the other veggies and cook for a minute before adding the bean mixture. Add the cilantro at the very end to keep that light, refreshing taste. Once that’s warmed up and the rice is ready, just throw the rice in a bowl and top with the bean & veggie mixture. If you want to skip the rice, you can use this mixture as a dip for tortilla chips as well.

Total prep & cook time takes about 20 minutes, but only because you have to wait for the rice. Skip the rice and it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes

Friday, July 15, 2011

Budgeting for Flavor

The funny thing about trying to save your money so you can do things like get married is that that’s when everything goes to hell. A couple months ago, my laptop died so I’ve been without computer other than my smart phone which isn’t really working so well anyway. So, obviously, without a computer, keeping up with a blog is pretty difficult.

Anyway, I’m sure it’s evident that I have been taking my eating habits a little more seriously lately. It seems I’ve hit a point in my life where I can no longer rely solely on my metabolism to stay thin. Everyone told me this would happen and sadly, everyone was right. I enjoyed eating what I wanted without consequence while it lasted but now I have to actually workout and eat right to stay trim. I would like to tell you how terrible it is but honestly, being at the gym on a treadmill before 6am makes me feel like I’m not wasting a moment of my life and eating healthier foods makes me less irritable and tired. I love living a healthier lifestyle and now that I’m doing it, I can’t believe more people aren’t.

I read an article the other day about some states considering removing super obese kids from their homes as a form of child abuse. I realize that when you first hear it, it sounds a little over-the-top but this is a measure I completely support. If a child were under-fed and therefore malnourished, they’d be taken away. I think if you’re putting children in a situation where they’re likely to have type 2 diabetes or a heart attack by 30, they should be taken away as they’re also being malnourished. My favorite part of the article was the reader comments at the bottom – most of which were from people who parent obese children stating that healthy foods are too expensive. This is an excuse that absolutely appalls me. For the cost of two meals at McDonald’s, I can make a pot roast with potatoes, carrots, celery, tomatoes and a side salad to feed four people. It’s NOT more expensive, it just takes more time. It painted a picture to me of just how lazy so many Americans have become.

Immediately after reading the article, I felt incredibly grateful for a mother who made sure we were fed fairly well. My mom was never fond of having to cook dinners every night particularly when she had more than a few picky eaters on her hands and she worked long shift so we could eat. Despite the workload, stress and general dislike of planning and preparing meals, my Mom did it anyway. Not to mention, I can’t remember a time that there weren’t oranges and granny smith apples in the fridge, free for the taking. Had she gone the fast food route every night, she’d have four fat, sick, unhappy adult children setting a bad example for her grandchildren but she doesn’t. In my mind, making sure your kids are healthy and safe is the epitome of being a responsible parent. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t have kids.
Mom, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU for always making me finish the “horrible” and “disgusting” quiches, lasagnas or whatever else you made me as a youngster. Your arguments have finally paid off.

As a “Thank You” to my Mom and in the spirit of health & wellness, I’m taking one of her most popular recipes and revising it. Our entire family was always fond of my Mom’s “Mexican Casserole” (the term “Mexican” is used loosely in this recipe). My Mom’s version is made with a tube of sausage, a bottle of tomatoes (home-canned), some elbow pasta, a bunch of chili powder (that’s the “Mexican” part) and sour cream. It’s incredibly easy, fast and delicious and I still occasionally make it like this. My version goes like this though....

1 lb. ground turkey
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 or 2 jalapeƱos, minced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 or 2 carrots, minced
1 box whole wheat pasta
Black pepper
Olive oil
Ground cloves (if you have it)
Cilantro, chopped

In the largest skillet you have, cover the bottom with olive oil and heat to med-high. Add turkey, some salt, pepper, and ground cloves. Brown turkey, breaking apart with a fork. Meanwhile, get a pot of boiling water going for your pasta.
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, jalapeƱos, celery and carrots.
Add pasta to the boiling water and leave until slightly under-cooked.
Add pasta to turkey/tomato mixture and cover. Stir occasionally until pasta is fully cooked.
Add cilantro about 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is SO easy and SO fast, it’ll quickly become a staple. It’s full of necessary vitamins, antioxidants, healthy carbs and fiber. Feel free to tweak as you want. Don’t be afraid to add different veggies, replace ingredients or throw in all the fresh herbs you can dream of! For a creamy taste, you can add sour cream or cream cheese (preferably fat free). I occasionally add fresh mozzarella and replace the cilantro with fresh basil. Tweak, play, have fun and most of all, enjoy!