Random Saturdays – Best Laid Blogging Plans

So, I had this great idea to do a weekly post on all the planning of all the events (not just marriage related) coming in the first half of this year.  I was going to give funny or useful or dumb synopses of advice I had read or was given.  There were going to be planning sites and photos and comical stories.  I’m lazy and busy, though, so none of that happened.

Work is killing my soul.  It’s killing Ben’s too.  It’s terrible.  Neither of us like working for the company, but it still has certain perks (401K matching, flexible work from home schedule) that we need right now, even if neither of us knows if we’ll be handed a pink slip on any given day.

We were trying to buy a house and our first loan guy at Quicken Loans was great, but the second guy was not.  We got another guy who was great, and then got stuck with the lame duck again.  We requested another person and got a great woman working on our loan again.  We were basically being passed around Quicken from person to person.  We did most of the work.  I’m not quite sure what our realtor or the seller’s realtor did other than send us documents to sign, often the same documents to resign multiple times because they told us to sign in the wrong place or forgot to update things like, oh, the value of the house before having us sign the documents.  I don’t think I’d recommend anyone use any of the people used unless you really want to do most of the work yourself just to get the deal to go through in about a month’s time.

Minecraft’s birthday party was even cancelled because of rain.  All around us, people are getting laid off from work, being diagnosed with cancer, getting divorced, and a slew of other problems.

There are good things still happening, though, and we’re trying to remember that.  I have a great team of people at work.  Ben’s boss fought to save his job so far.  We got to celebrate a couple of good friends getting married.  We got married ourselves.  We were able to plan some last minute fun stuff to celebrate Minecraft’s birthday.  We now own a house that’s perfect for us, and I think we have made a lifelong friend out of the seller of the house.  Most importantly, we have a wonderful group of friends and family who are very loving and supportive of us.

Still, I know that when man plans, god laughs.  So, I’m not too surprised that nothing has gone exactly according to plan.  However, I do believe that life happens the way it needs to happen when it needs to happen.  That, of course, has continued to be true over the past few months.  For that, I’m extremely grateful.  I even found a bakery that has a red velvet cake that I like and a red velvet cake recipe that I like.  This was thanks to Minecraft’s birthday cake stencil not making it here in time, which coincided with him telling me that his favorite cake is red velvet (my least favorite cake).  So, I made an old fashioned red velvet cake, that was only tweaked slightly.  Our current big tasks are planning the reception (which is in the future as of the writing of this, but is in the past as of the posting of this), working on moving out of the old house and into the new house, and trying to keep it all in perspective as a busy but blissful life.

Way to start off Spring 2015!

Sunday Reading List

I wanted to write something for Random Saturdays, but was drawing a blank.  All I could think about was office gossip and my To Do list.  I blame this on a combination of coming back to work after a wonderful Christmas vacation and my brain not quite recovering from back-to-back colds.  Other people have written some very entertaining articles this past week, though.  So, allow me to share a few of them with you so that I’ll feel like I’m only 99% lazy bum.

  1. My Year Was Tragic. Facebook Ambushed Me With a Painful Reminder. (Slate) – Yet another reason to dislike Facebook.  I mean, you know, it has it’s uses, but I did wonder if Facebook had considered the fact that not everyone would want to relive the past year via photos.  I’ve heard that Facebook has addressed the issue since this was published, but I also think that in the world of social media and “My Life is Picture Perfect” posts, it’s good to have a reminder that real life is not always represented accurately in social media.
  2. The Sad Truth Behind Those ‘Perfect’ Facebook & Instagram Photos Summed Up In One Comic (Huffington Post) – I can’t bash Facebook without bashing Instagram too, right?  This one’s funny (and short).
  3. christmas is the pits (bitches gotta eat) – Sam’s at it again, describing how anyone not celebrating the holidays Hallmark-style can still avoid jumping off a bridge.
  4. Most Hilarious Food Network Recipes of All Time (Rantings of an Amateur Chef) – This is a blog post inspired by a BuzzFeed article, but it ends with a serious recipe that is simple and healthy.
  5. If You’re Toasting To Health, Reach For Beer, Not (Sparkling) Wine (NPR) – Lucky for me, I prefer beer over wine because it fills me up faster and doesn’t give me headaches.  Maybe you could pair a good beer with the healthy recipe from the previous post.

I hope you all had a good New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Here’s hoping I have something better to write about in 2015!

Random Saturdays – Recipoods

Normally, I follow instructions pretty well.  Not following instructions makes me nervous.  I don’t want to rock the boat unless I have to because I generally go through life trying not to be noticed.  When it comes to recipes, though, I have a very hard time following instructions.

The first time I use a cooking recipe, I try to follow it to a T.  Usually, I fail at this.  I don’t like onions, so I’ll compromise and use shallots because I like them better than regular onions.  I don’t have peanuts, so I’ll use pistachios.  I don’t have dill, so I leave it out entirely.  I want to try this Mediterranean recipe to go with Asian food, so I adjust all of the spices to make it Asian.  At that point, I don’t know why I even bother with the recipe, but it does make me feel safer using the recipe.  I get frustrated with myself when I screw up, but I don’t  follow the directions in the first place, so why should I care about mistakes?

With baking, everyone says to be very careful about following the directions because it’s a very delicate chemistry experiment.   I’m even worse at following directions with baking than I am with cooking.  I’ve done enough baking that I always think I know what I’m doing.  I usually do, too!  It’s just that I forget that if I do A, then I need to do B.  For example, I’ll try to healthy-up a cupcake recipe by substituting some whole wheat flour.  I’ll remember to increase the liquid to compensate for the extra absorbing whole wheat flour.  I’ll forget, though, that I have to use more liquids when substituting soymilk for wate.  I’ll also forget that I decided to use butter instead of oil, which means that I need to add more liquid for the whole recipe in general.  When my cupcakes come out dry, I immediately know what happened.  The next time I make cupcakes, I make the same durned mistakes all over again!

When I’m cooking or baking for myself, I give myself some leeway, but when I cook for others, these mistakes feel like a completely devastating failure.  I get so upset at myself for disappointing people and letting them down like an idiot just because I couldn’t follow a simple recipe.  For the most part, I’ve tempered my reactions when dealing with the results of a failed recipe.  I’ve learned that only ingrates will berate you for screwing up a recipe.  Most people are grateful that you even considered cooking something for them, much less from scratch.

As for the title of this blog post, there’s a short story.  Ben and I came home from getting groceries one night.  I mentioned something about having a special recipe for something.  I said, “I have a great recipood for that!”  At first, I didn’t think Ben caught it, but I started laughing immediately.  Then, he started asking me to tell him more about this “recipood”.  In my jacked up brain, I somehow combined “recipe” with “food” to come up with a word that sounds like…not…good…Even so, it’s funny.  For some good recipoods, visit Vegetableau, Cathy’s Tumblr!

Random Saturdays – Tortellini Tofu Soup and Nutmeg Tofu

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, but I like to cook.  Kinda.  Not every day, but you know, once or twice a week is okay.  Same goes with baking, even though that’s more like once or twice a month, and even less from May – September when it’s over 80° F on most days.  Boo, heat!  I do know that I have previously discussed what a rebel I am.  I cut my hair shoulder-length when I was a teenager, I’m a vegetarian, and I enforce Street Justice via dollar bin socks and portable dry erase boards.  So when you combine my culinary interests with my strong sense of rebellion, you get, you know, dinner.  It also means that I can’t follow a recipe.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been alternating between trying new recipes that I found on Pinterest with trying new recipes that I found in Real Simple.  One of the recipes from Pinterest was for Tortellini Florentine Soup.  The directions are easy, but I still couldn’t follow them.

Ingredients

  • One 9 ounce package refrigerated three-cheese tortellini whole wheat three-cheese tortellini
  • Two 14 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth Buncha homemade veggie broth from the freezer
  • One 10 ounce container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 2 cups shredded deli-roasted chicken 1 container firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomato strips, drained 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • Half of a 5 ounce package (about 3 cups) 6 oz package fresh baby spinach
  • Shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

The results were delicious and I moved the pin from my To Try board to my Tested and Approved board, even though the recipe that I tried was completely different from the recipe on the board.  Next time I make that soup, I probably won’t make it the same way either.  Like I said, I’m a rebel.

I must be the only person left on the planet who hasn't mastered the Instagram food photo

I must be the only person left on the planet who hasn’t mastered the Instagram food photo

I had another package of tofu that I wanted to use up this week, so I decided to just sauteé some tofu and make vegetable fried rice.  I’ve done this many times before, no big deal.  I cut up the tofu into cubes and tossed them into a bowl.  I added Filipino soy sauce (the kind I grew up with and, subsequently, like better than any other soy sauce), white wine vinegar (because I didn’t have any rice wine vinegar), a splash of sesame oil, a splash of peanut oil, garlic powder, onion powder, ground pepper, and ground ginger.  I also added an ingredient so secret that I didn’t even know I was supposed to add it – ground nutmeg.  Nine times out of ten, if you hear about a savory dish with a secret ingredient, that ingredient turns out to be nutmeg or Worcestershire sauce.  (Yes, I’ve done the math.)  So when I realized that I had thrown in nutmeg instead of ginger, I just shrugged and added ginger to the mix.  I arranged the tofu into a single layer in a sauteé pan, turning it once to get it crispy.  I gotta say, once everything was done, the tofu was really great! *pats self on back*

I don’t always cook with tofu, but these two experiments did involve tofu.  I actually made some sweet potato burgers recently, but other than leaving out the panko, I don’t remember how I changed it.  I doubt that I’ll try that recipe again because I have a recipe for kidney bean burgers that I like better than the sweet potato burgers.  I’m trying remember to write down my recipe alterations though so that I can try to recreate them if I get the urge.  Hence, this blog post 🙂