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July 28, 2013

It's like having a stuffed animal that's real

Remember way back five months ago when I desperately didn't want a dog and resorted to bargain witchery before I would consent to getting one?

Who could have guessed way back when that I would fall alarmingly in love with our canine, to the point where I would compose the following song about him:


I used to get annoyed with all the pet photos on my Instagram feed, and now I'm one of the worst offenders. Who can blame me when Freddy looks so darn good in every hat and/or scarf I put him in?

Exhibits A, B and C:


Having a pup isn't all anthropomorphizing and games. Following is a cold, hard look at the pros and cons of pet ownership that I've experienced in the past five months.

PROWLING THE NEIGHBORHOOD

PRO: We never would have met many of our neighbors if we didn't have to walk our beast past their abodes on a thrice-daily basis. The neighbor children love him, and when they see him coming an adorable chorus of, "Hi Freddy! Hi Freddy!" commences.

CON: Some of our older neighbors aren't quite as charmed by him. One woman banged on the inside of her living room window and yelled, "Seriously?!?!" when I let him pee at the edge of her yard.

FEELING FEELINGS

PRO: I cannot believe how much I love him. He is my princess monkey man dog face kitty.

CON: I'm constantly thinking about him when we're not together. I wonder who he's barking at and where he's taking a snooze and whether he's thinking about me, too.

SOCIAL LIFE

PRO: I'm never truly home alone anymore. Fred protects me from all the vicious bicycle-riding children and garbage trucks who dare pass by our property. Also, snuggling him is just the best. Especially when it's cold and you're watching a movie and all you want is a living, breathing fur coat on your lap.

CON: Fred is a very cute but very needy tether to the house. If I want to go out to happy hour, I can't just go; I need to make sure Matt can get home at a reasonable hour to take him out. No more spur-of-the-moment jaunts to Ibiza or Marrakesh, either. Plus, it turns out that he has a pretty bad case of the pukes every time we drive somewhere, meaning we have to be really committed before bringing him along.

DOG TALK

CON: Despite copious coaxing, Freddy refuses to speak English. I just want to know what he's thinking, and why he loves the taste of Noxema so much. I also would really love to teach him how to read so he could improve his mind while we're at work.


June 10, 2013

Progress Report: Bathroom, Office, Guest Room

There's nothing like the prospect of a few dozen people coming over to goose the home improvements back into action. We'd stalled for the past few months on juicing up the joint, but last week, in between a bridal shower and a housewarming party, my mother-in-law offered to paint our guest bathroom and office while we were at work. All we had to do was buy the paint and do the prep work. It was a heckuva deal.

Our guest bathroom had been the color of a canoe pack I'd gotten for Matt for his birf. That color was called "olive drab." It wasn't really going with my pretty blue shower curtain, so we picked out a lovely dark teal.

Bathroom before:


Bathroom after:






I was very happy to find a permanent home for this pastel drawing I'd picked up circa '95 when I went to see the Chinese Opera in Beijing. This room is seldom used for showering purposes, so I wasn't too concerned about moisture damaging it.


I think this room is pretty well set. The only thing I would add would be a colorful valance above the window.

*****

The Office:

We first took a whack at the office back in February, when we added the evil Ikea furniture that left me with many wounds. Dude was feeling like he wanted a manlier color than the pale pink that had graced this former nursery, so we picked out a nice, calming dark blue instead. The new color was a perfect backdrop for the Van Gogh print his dad had given to us, as well as a photo of the Weisman Art Museum on the U of M campus (where we both went to school).

As a reminder, this is what we started with:


And here's what we have now:





Office To-Dos:

  • Paint
  • Buy a chair for the desk
  • Buy an area rug
  • Buy a lamp for the desk
  • Get some binders full of women so it looks real profesh
  • NEW: create frame collage above the bookcases... perhaps with family photos?

*****

Guest Bedroom

The last time we checked in on this room in February,  Dude and I were living in the guest room as we waited for our new gigantic bed from Slumberland to arrive so we could inhabit the master suite. I feel like this room has come a long way and is nearing completion.

Again, here is the before:


And here's what we have now:


I had been thinking about painting this a different color, but I think the purple will stay for awhile. The pink chandelier will stay forever, obviously.

Our lovely realtor Lisa gifted us with a Pier1 gift card (thanks Lisa!) and with it I purchased this collage frame. I filled it with postcards I collected from around Europe and put a print that says "What a Wonderful World" in the middle. (When did I get this cheesy? Who can say?) I also added the heart made from book pages that Matt's cousin Kali made for our wedding. Say it with me now: OH FER CUTE.


Dude hadn't been a big fan of the frilly outlet covers that had been in the office (former nursery), so we did a switcheroo and put them in here instead.


Aunt Wendy sent us a lovely Grand Canyon painting that is now living in the opposite corner of the froufrou, and Ma gave me the nightstand (hand-me-down from our former rabbi's study) and lamp (Tar-zhay Boutique).


The MIL and I had a craft night this winter to mod-podge these maps onto canvases. The robot was a gift from my sweet friend Danielle for my robot-themed 25th birthday.



 Guest Room To-Dos:

  • Re-paint (I don't wanna anymore!)
  • Get new bedding
  • Get lamp for night table
  • Hang map canvases so guests can pin where they're from
  • Make curtains
  • Refinish/paint furniture (No! I don't wanna! OK maybe later.)
*****

Next up is trying to figure out what color to paint the kitchen, which is the same olive drab that the guest bathroom used to be, and the hallway, which is a very pale purple. Onward!

June 2, 2013

Tea Party Dream Team


I feel like tea parties are one of my core competencies, so when my girl Amanda asked me to be her Main Lady for her upcoming nups and requested a fancy tea party shower I said, "Yes. Yes, I can do that." Ma P-P volunteered her ample baking services and bam: Tea Party Dream Team.

I spent many an hour on Pinterest gathering conceptuals for the decor and grub and curated a fête fit for a princess bride (which Amanda is, natch). Wanna hear all about it? Read on, dear reader!

THE NOSH:

Here is our menu in full:
-Marie Antoinette tea from Ladurée (thanks for sending it, Nick and Kelly!)
-Honey-lavender lemonade
-Roast beef and horseradish sandwiches
-Smoked salmon and herb butter sandwiches
-Cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches
-Deviled eggs with caviar
-Dates stuffed with goat cheese and hazelnuts
-Pistachio macarons with salted caramel sauce
-Thumbprint cookies with raspberry jalapeno jelly (a Ma P-P specialty)
-Raspberry rose meringues
-Lemon lavender shortbread
-Mexican piggy cookies
-Lemon curd in phyllo cups with candied violets (Ma P-P said it was the best curd she's ever made. I will cosign.)

The spread.
Raspberry rose meringues

Lemon curd in phyllo shells with candied violets and raspberries
THE PRETTIES:

I don't dabble much in the floral arts due to ye olde pollen-averse sniffer, but I went to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market yesterday with a wish and a prayer and left with 48 roses and some mums. I follow a professional florist on Instagram so I felt like I kind of knew what I was doing. Sort of. This was the end result:


I made colorful tissue poufs and a construction paper garland to add more pops of princess color. To make the former, I aligned eight sheets of tissue paper and accordion folded them into one-inch segments. I wrapped wire around the middle, and then snipped designs on the end. I then carefully separated each layer to fill out the pouf. (Here's a toot from The Martha if you want more explanation.) For the garland, I used my 2-inch circle punch to cut out various colors of construction paper, and then lay them out in a straight line. I ran a glue stick down the center of each, and then pressed a length of string atop the glue. After adding additional glue to the tops and bottoms of the circles, I added a second batch of circles to the first so that the string was between two circle layers.

Tissue poufs



Construction paper garland

THE FAVOR FAVES

I was noodling around on Crate and Barrel's website, and found pretty little tins of Wedding Tea! Could you imagine a more perfect favor? I got the favor bags and adorable pink polka dot ribbon at JoAnn Fabrics and added little bits of leftover tissue paper from the poufs. Boom.



THE GAMES:

I was most nervous about the entertainment portion of the afternoon, as shower games are notoriously awful. Even a Google search of "Bridal shower games that don't suck" returns a truly pitiful selection of blah. I did three games/activities, one of which was fun, one of which was meh, and one of which hit it out of the park.

Fun: Celebrity Couples Guessing Game. I wrote the names of famous historical, political and fictional lovers on notecards and taped them to the guests' backs. (Some examples: Santa and Mrs. Claus, Sampson and Delilah, Barack and Michelle Obama, Madame Butterfly and Pinkerton.) Each person had to ask yes or no questions to try to figure out who they were. The kicker: Amanda's card said, "Whatever I ask, say no." Ha! Hijinks. Hilarity. The ice was broken and a grand time was had by all.

Meh: I tried to create a version of Catchphrase using true-life Amanda facts. It was clunky. After three questions I somewhat smoothly transitioned to gift-opening by saying that Amanda won and her prize was to open presents.

Out of the Park: I sent Amanda's intended a questionnaire about their relationship for him to fill out. The goal was to ask her the same questions before hearing his version. We decided to up the ante a bit by having him film his responses, which were funny, sweet and touching. He even made the Scandanavian bride leak a little emotion out of her eyes. Impressive.

SUCCESS

Aside from a brief Freddy Freedom Run at the tail end of festivities (pun), everything went off without a hitch. Most importantly, Amanda wore a truly gigantic hat.


April 23, 2013

Opera: A Think Piece

Opera is one of those things you have to like if you're going to be fancy. It's like mink underwear. Quail egg omelets. Exclusive athletic clubs that provide bathrobes. Golf and/or tennis. Ostrich-bound books. All things you have to get used to when you decide to enjoy The Good Life.

If I have the choice between non-fancy and fancy, like if someone is presenting me a silver platter and removes the lid with a flourish and I have to choose between a lil' smokie and a mini escargot-oyster smoothie, you know I'm going to go for the delicate blend of balloon and snot.

Thus it was my destiny to dabble in the operatic arts, and when the opportunity arose to view final dress rehearsals of the Minnesota Opera's productions as an Official Blogger for the low, low price of free, I knew my time had come.

Turandot | Photo by Michael Daniel for the Minnesota Opera

My first production was the world premiere of Silent Night, which would go on to win a 2012 Pulitzer Prize (read my review here). I was enraptured. Enthralled. Gobsmacked. It was possibly the best performance I've witnessed of anything ever in the world. I cannot stress enough how much I loved the music and the costumes and the everything.

I was like, "Opera. Yes."

I enthusiastically requested tickets to the next performance, Werther, about an emo young man who falls in love with a woman promised to another and he just. can't. deal. so he shoots himself and sings himself sweetly to death (spoiler alert!).

I was like, "Opera. Wut??"

I had a hard time feeling any of the feelings I was supposed to be feeling for the characters. I was not one penny invested in them. There was zero chemistry between Werther and his supposed ladylove, and he just seemed to spend most of the time flailing around the set feeling sorry for himself. It was just so... dramatic.

Unable to reconcile my wildly disparate feelings for these two productions, I signed up for Lucia de Lammermoor. Reader, I can't even tell you what it was about. Because I have no idea. I was so not into it that I left at halftime. There was a lot of singing and moaning and being sad and unrequited-ness, I'm sure.

I still wasn't ready to give up, so I went to Madame Butterfly. This at least had a plot I could get into: It's the early 1900s, and an American named Pinkerton gets stationed in Japan, where he marries the beautiful Cio-Cio San (Butterfly). He's pretty cavalier about the whole thing, and despite declaring his love for her he takes off shortly after the wedding and bedding. She sticks around for three whole years for him to come back, all the while taking care of their love child. When he finally does show up, it's with his new wife. Burn. Adding major insult to major injury, they want to take her son back with them to 'Murica. Unsurprisingly (this is opera, after all), she kills herself. But just to be extra dramatic (again, opera), she does it in front of her blindfolded son, who is blithely waving an American flag for his father, the shocked and devastated Pinkerton, to see.

I found this one much more visually and musically appealing. I especially loved all the vibrato-heavy wails of "But-ter-flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" and "Pink-er-toneeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

I was like, "Opera. OK."

Next up was Doubt, another world premiere, this one adapted from a play (which had already been adapted to a movie). We bloggers were invited to a pre-performance Q-and-A with playwright/screenwriter/librettist John Patrick Shanley. Triple-threat! I was especially excited to see this one because it starred Christine Brewer, a soprano I'd seen perform with the SPCO, as Sister Aloysius.

At this point in my opera-going career I was having an opera-stential crisis. What is opera, anyway? Like, is it a play with really pretty singing or is it pretty singing with a narrative structure and crazy production value? WHAT IS THE POINT OF OPERA?

Doubt did me no favors in that regard. Unlike a Puccini or Vivaldi classic, there was no show-stopping aria, no soul-shaking chorus singing about Truth. It was basically a play with people singing their lines. Things got especially weird when a character sang slang like "ain't" in full operatic glory. I mean, the singing was all very good singing. And the costumes and staging were as great as everything else the MN Opera lays its hands on. I'm just not sure what was added with the operafication.

I was like, "Opera, adieu."

One of my coworkers is an opera buff, and she convinced me to give the art form one last try with the season-ending Turandot. Turandot is a Persian princess who has no interest in marriage, and has declared that the only way she'd do the deed is if a prince can correctly answer three impossible riddles. If the prince fails, she will chop his head off. (This is not an empty threat; the stage is literally covered in blood from all the decapitating she's ordered.) Despite the carnage, princes from near and far are eager to take on this challenge. All fail until one day, a prince is like, "I got this." Everyone is like, "You're totally going to die. Just don't. Stop." And he's like, "I don't even care. She's so hot. Riddle me." Lo and behold, he gets all three right and Turandot flips out. The prince tells her that if she can find out his name by sunrise he'll let her kill him because that's just how much he loves her. After a long, futile night, dawn approaches. The prince approaches Turandot and is like, "I love you. Let's smooch." She's like, "Ugh! I hate you! I hate you! I... love you? OK I guess I love you now!" All the townsfolk come over and they're like, "What's his name? Did you figure out his name?" And she goes, "His name is LOVE."

*Mic drop*

I was like, "Opera, I will begrudgingly let you back into my life on a case-by-case basis."

April 9, 2013

Everything delicious in my life comes from pinterest: Part II

Quinoa Breafast Bowl:


It's quinoa! Everyone's favorite hippie whole protein ancient grain! I made a cup's worth of quinoa yesterday morning before work, and have been putting a few spoonfuls of that in a tupperware along with some yogurt, a smattering of sunflower seeds, a half-dozen blackberries, a sprinkling of sliced almonds, a schmiglit of torn mint leaves and four drizzles of honey. It's delicious, filling, and happy. Change your face.

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala:


CTM is my go-to order when I go to Indian restaurants. This recipe was super easy, and I already had most of the ingredients in my fridge or pantry. It only needs fourish hours in the crockpot, which makes it perfect for those Sunday afternoons when you finally get around to thinking about dinner at about 3:00 and want the ease of a crockpot but don't have 8-10 dang hours. It's a tad on the spicy side for my delicate Minnesotan palate, so I think if I made it again I'd cut down on the cayenne. I would also not forget to pick up some garlic naan from Trader Joe's because #nom.

Sesame Salmon with Green Onions and Lemon:


I'm afraid of cooking fish. There was this one time when I was a pauper in Portland and I decided to splurge on some salmon. I had no idea how to tell if it was done, and I took it out of the oven far before its time. It was very undercooked, but I kept on eating it because I'd spent so much money on it and I was so, so poor. Then I didn't feel so well. This recipe, my friends, is way more fool-proof. And easier. And yummy and healthy and all that. Salmon continues to be expensive.

Italian Garlic Rosemary Spiced Nuts:


I made these little guys for our housewarming party a few weeks ago. I got all the nuts from the bulk section at Lunds. This recipe makes quite a bit, so I think you could safely cut it in half and save yourself some pennies. Several people deemed the nuts "addictive," but the only thing I'm addicted to is chapstick so I don't worry about it.

Black Raspberry Brie Bites:


One of my coworkers shared this recipe and then I went and found it on Pinterest so I'm slightly cheating. I also made this for the housewarming and I can guarantee that it will impress all your friends and shame your enemies. A fair number of my puff pastry packets exploded in the oven, but no one even cared. They look cool, they taste great and that's all I have to say about that.

March 17, 2013

Wanderlusting

We're in that icky stage of winter where it just drags on and on and you feel like you'll never see green grass again. Each new forecast of snow and bitter cold feels like a personal insult. I'm sick of my bulky winter cloak. I'm done with the cardboard-tasting tomatoes. All I want is to get on a plane and see new things and hear new sounds and smell new smells and eat the most delicious fresh produce ever.

I've been torturing myself with staring at these Frenchy photos from my trip last August, which provide a double-whammy of longing for both gallivanting and summer-ing. Only three months and two weeks until my next day off...










March 14, 2013

Ma P-P's Jewish Penicillin

Passover's coming up. This is the holiday where everything delicious (i.e. carby) is banned for a week. I have a history of fainting and/or becoming unbearable to be around during these eight sundowns, to the point where my coworker made note of the dates in her calendar so she knows not to get up in my grill.

Much of my crabbiness stems from feeling like there's nothing I can eat, and thus I don't eat and thus my blood sugar drops and thus the fainting and the biting off of people's heads.

This isn't true though; unlike people on the Paleo diet I don't have to eat like a dinosaur. I could snack on a sugar packet. Or a butter sandwich without the bread. SO MANY OPTIONS.

One of my favorites is my mom's matzo ball soup. In addition to being K for P (Kosher for Passover), it has mysterious healing powers. In my experience, this magic potion has the ability to cure at least 97.3% of what ails you. (The remaining 2.7% can be cured with a few Freddy snuggles.)

Ma P-P happened to be in town this weekend, and when we got the news that a very dear girl in our lives had been admitted to the hospital, our natural inclination was to set to work making matzo ball soup and other goodies to get her back up to snuff.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for Ma P-P's Jewish Penicillin:

1 cut-up chicken, plus an extra thigh and leg
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 leeks, cleaned, root side sliced off.  Be careful--these guys can be seriously muddy. Use the whole leek--white and green parts.
2 carrots, scraped and chunked.  Remember, you will use these for the soup later on--cut into one- or two-inch chunks.
1 whole onion, paper skin removed, scored. 
1 small turnip, peeled and chunked.
2 parsnips, peeled and chunked.
fresh dill (enough for the preparation of the broth and then later as garnish)
fresh parsley for broth
salt, pepper to taste
Matzo ball soup mix

Wash and dry chicken parts, place in stock pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Skim off scum.  Add the broth powder from the chicken soup mix.  Stir well.  Add veggies and herbs.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few hours.

Make matzo balls and keep in fridge until ready to cook.

After soup is finished, strain off all the meat and veggies, reserving carrots. Following the instructions on the package, drop the matzah balls into the broth, cover, and boil.

Slice carrots into coin shaped pieces and add to broth.  Add dill for garnish.

 A bonus is that you can eat the mushy glop you used to make the broth for days afterwards. It's especially great if you have no teeth.

March 10, 2013

Progress report: Living Room, Bedroom and Bookcases

Our week has closely mirrored that of Justin Bieber's, except that instead of dealing with Lil' Twist crashing an expensive car, the ire of Britain's parents after starting concerts many hours late, and paparazzi picking fights with us, we dealt with ice dams, a sick dog, and a gas leak. Unlike the Biebs, however, we do not make an estimated $6,500/hr. Mint is having a cow.

Havoc aside, we've been quite busy making the hizzy not quite so bare. The couch, chair, and and bed we ordered from Slumberland arrived last week. allowing us to retire the all-purpose air mattress. The living room now actually looks like a place where people live, and not a site where vagrants have decided to set up camp. Please enjoy the following pics in which Dude is studiously ignoring me and Freddy is photo-bombing like a boss.



Living Room To-Dos:
  • Buy a couch
  • Buy armchairs
  • Buy an area rug
  • Mount the TV above the fireplace
  • Make a painting/picture mural above the couch
  • Make curtains
*****

We got our new Posturpedic mattress along with the couch and a chair, but the foundation didn't fit around the tight corners going up the stairway to the master suite. We floor-slept for another week while we waited for them to deliver a lower-profile model. This mattress is a dream. A life-changer.  As long as you don't have a snuggly puppy hacking up a lung in the middle of the night, you will sleep through the night like a baby. 




Bedroom to-dos:
  • Paint an accent wall
  • Get new lampshades/ spray paint bases
  • Get a desk and/or chair for the half-wall by the stairs
  • Get an area rug
*****

Last night I was seized by the need to ROY-G-BIV our bookcases. This was right around the time I called the gas company to check out the odor I'd smelled near the dryer. If we're going to get all psychological, I was clearly desperate to assert some control over our living space. Hence: RAINBOWS!



Here is your lesson of the day: if you think you smell gas, call the gas company right away. The benefits are many:
  • The visit is free. There's no reason not to put safety first, friends.
  • If you call at 8 on a Saturday night, you get to hear the night shift guy's many, many war stories. He might be incredibly racist. He might give you lots of tips on what all the pipes in your basement are for. The morning after he leaves you might discover a mysterious liquid spilled on your washer. These are just a few of the examples of things that can happen.
  • The stress of imagining the death by explosion you narrowly avoided can be funneled into some really valuable home projects.
Now that the living room, kitchen, guest room and master are more or less acceptable, I will be focusing my energies on our pretty pink office and the basement, where we've been stashing all the stuff I don't know where to put yet.

You can come visit now. We have at least four places for you to sit. 

March 8, 2013

Shakshuka

I've had Israel on the brain for awhile now. Brother Bear went there for a conference in December, and I used the occasion to regale him of all the delectable breakfasts I had scarfed up when I went on a trip for college journalists circa 2007. Everything else I stuffed down my gullet was also quite excellent, but the breakfasts at our hotel in Jerusalem were just insanely fresh and good. Fish. Cheeses. Fruit. Toubouleh. Oy!

I've been seeing Kat's instagrammed pics from her Birthright trip to the motherland last month, and my girl Lo returned just days ago from the Land of Milk and Honey. The subsequent social media blitz of camels and deserts and holies of holy set my heart a-achin'.


Then I happened upon Kat's blog entry on her shakshuka foray, and came across David Lebovitz's version but days later. The universe was clearly telling me I needed to make this spicy tomato-and-eggs dish, stat.

Here's the recipe from David's blog, which he adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts. Smitten Kitchen also has a version on her site. You should probably make different versions of this every day. Because if you can't get yourself to the other side of the world, you have to bring the other side of the world to you.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 – 1 chile pepper (or to taste), stemmed, sliced in half and deseeded, finely diced/minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 pounds (1kg) ripe tomatoes, cored and diced, or two 14-ounce cans of diced or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine or cider vinegar
1 cup (20g) loosely packed greens, such as radish greens, watercress, kale, Swiss chard, or spinach, coarsely chopped
4 ounces (about 1 cup, 115g) feta cheese, cut in generous, bite-sized cubes
4 to 6 eggs


1. In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until soft and wilted. Add the chile pepper, the salt, pepper, and spices. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly, to release their fragrance.
2. Add the fresh or canned tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and vinegar, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened somewhat but is still loose enough so that when you shake the pan it sloshes around. (Fresh tomatoes may take a little longer to cook than canned.) Stir in the chopped greens.
3. If you want to finish the Shakshuka on the stovetop, turn off the heat and press the cubes of feta into the tomato sauce. With the back of a spoon, make 6 indentations in the sauce. Crack an egg into each indentation, then drag a spatula gently through the egg whites so it mingles a bit with the tomato sauce, being careful not to disturb the yolks.
Turn the heat back on so the sauce is at a gentle simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, taking some of the tomato sauce and basting the egg whites from time-to-time. Cover, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
4. To finish them individually, preheat the oven to 375ºF (180ºC.) Divide the sauce into 6 baking dishes and press the feta cubes into the sauce. Set the baking dishes on a baking sheet, make an indentation in each, and crack and egg into the center. Bake until the eggs are cooked to your liking, basting the whites with some of the sauce midway during baking, which will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes – but begin checking them sooner to get them just right. If the yolks begin to get a little firm on top before the whites are cooked, drape a sheet of foil over them, but avoid having it touch the yolks.
Serve with lots of crusty bread for scraping up the sauce.

March 2, 2013

February: The Month Mint Wouldn't Stop Yelling at Me

Do you guys use Mint? It's a website and app that let you budget and track your spending. If Mint doesn't think you're making very good decisions, like incurring an ATM fee or spending $12 at  coffee shops for the month when you specifically told it you were only going to spend $10, you'll receive an email alert to guilt you into being more responsible.

Sometimes Mint nags you so much that you have to ignore it or risk constantly feeling like a failure of a human.

Mint totally hated me in February. I would get emails that were like, "You just spent tens of thousands of dollars on housing! You usually spend $600. What's wrong with you?!?! Don't go buying any furniture now. Don't do it. I'm serious. Don-- DAG NABIT!"

"Why on earth are you spending money on pets??? Have I taught you nothing???"

"Do you FREAKING REALIZE that you just spent $4 more on groceries than you said you would?! You are going to end up a homeless pauper, with nothing to your name, no one to love and nowhere to live. IDIOT."

You know what, Master Mint? #Hidontevencurr. These groceries are delicious. This house is a palace. And this dog, now officially named Ellis Alfred Swearengen, is the coolest sentient being on the planet. I can save money when I'm dead.


February 27, 2013

This Damn Dog Stole My Heart

Internet, meet Dino.


Dino is a 4.5-year-old Pomeranian mix. He has little wormies in his heart. But if I was a worm I'd want to be in his heart too.


We met him at the Golden Valley Humane Society. One of the volunteers hooked a leash to his collar and led him to a friendship room so we could get to know him. The whole walk over he kept trying to paw off his snout restraint. It was adorable.


After thoroughly investigating all the alien smells, he felt like maybe it was OK for  us to pet him. He had a hard time looking us in the eye but slumped to the floor and nearly fell asleep while Matt pet his very soft silky puppy fur. Sometimes he looked up at us like this and we died a little bit inside:


Matt scooted back toward the door and Dino was all like, "No no no! More!" and he crawled right into Matt's lap and begged us to be his best friends for ever and always.


We said OK.

Dino (which is apparently pronounced /DEE-no/ and not /DY-no/ as I had assumed) is coming home with us tomorrow and needs a new name. Here are some of our ideas:

Pawlie
Cat
Francois
Barry
Silly
Pickle
Photocopier
Porcelain Cup
Kleenex
Pawnee
Ron Swanson
Mr. Neil Young
The Distinguished Senator from Mississippi
Willenium
Sinkhole
Lamb Chop
Snerf
America
Pamplemousse
Theodore/Teddy (Graham)
Rinkarooroobooboobear
Crinkle
Cruckle

Thoughts?