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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Keeping myself in a state of cat-like readiness...'s LiveJournal:

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Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
3:27 pm
top ten (nine) movies of 2008
Since Peter's doing his...here's mine, in alphabetical order, because it would be hard to rank them, and I'm lazy.
the list...Collapse )


</div>That's only 9.  The Fall and Vicky Christina Barcelona would tie for that last spot, but I didn't like them quite as much as the ones above.

Also, this is funny:  http://www.theonion.com/content/news/cgi_team_creates_realistic_oscar

And the lj cut function is very screwy right now.

Current Mood: blah
Saturday, February 21st, 2009
2:01 pm
so far today.... / Oscar Party / Lent / etc.
Went to the Farmer's Market and the grocery store this morning.  I've been on an acorn squash binge lately, so I needed to restock.  Also, we've decided we're giving up meat for Lent, so we needed to pick up some additional veggies and grains and stuff.  As usual with things like this, there are caveats:  we can still eat eggs (these are usually yard eggs from the farmer's market), and if we're eating at some else's house or someone else is cooking for us, we'll eat whatever, because we're not going to be a pain about it.  We just can't purchase or prepare or order meat for ourselves.  Also, next Sunday's dinner gets to be an exception because that night is Iron Chef Bacon, which was supposed to happen tomorrow, but which got postponed due to our Oscar party.  Even with the exceptions, I doubt we'll end up eating meat more than just the once on bacon night.

And speaking of the Oscar party, as soon as the dishwasher finishes running, I'll be assembling the venison vindaloo for tomorrow night.  We're bringing themed food this year for all the Best Picture nominees.  The vindaloo is for Slumdog Millionaire.  I'm also making maple walnut ice cream, just 'cause I promised Lisa I'd make some for her soon. 

Ordered business cards for TubaPeter.com this morning, and accomplished other assorted dishes and laundry type chores.  

As I type this The Wonderful Husband is assembling the carpet steamer to remove the evidence of last night's spectacular cat vomit explosion.  Seriously, I don't know how that much food fit inside him...maybe that was the problem...  Anyway, since he befouled 4, yes FOUR, rooms of the house so much that our standard "Spot Shot" treament wasn't cutting it, we've had to bring out the big guns.

I plan to now relax and read until we go out tonight.  A neighbor is having a Mardi Gras party, and then we have a birthday party after that.  I'm going to try valiantly to not eat horribly tonight and stuff myself with cake. 

Current Mood: busy
Thursday, February 12th, 2009
4:55 pm
if you're in the mood to be angry...

Why the CEO Salary Cap is a Joke

You Try to Live on 500k in This Town

Don't you just hate when you have to give up your summer home in the Hamptons?

Current Mood: infuriated
Saturday, January 31st, 2009
11:51 am
Isn't it a bit early for hummingbirds?
I thought I saw one this morning, so I rushed out and cleaned the feeder, mixed up some sugar and water, and put the feeder back up. 

Am I crazy?  Did I just waste my time?  Anyone know the hummingbird calendar around here?  laurel_tx , I'm looking at you.  ;)

Current Mood: curious
Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
7:19 pm
things to do with beets
This past week our Iron Chef group chose root vegetables as the main ingredient, and I chose beets because I wanted to make an Elizabethan recipe I had come across while researching my thesis - sweet beets in puff pastry with creme fraiche and crystallized ginger. 

In doubling the recipe, and then altering from regular sized puff pastries to the mini size, I somehow ended up with lots of additional beets.  Plus, I had TONS of greens I didn't want to waste.  So here are the things I have done or will be trying to use up beets!

1)  Pickled Beet Salad...or something...consisting of raw grated beets (which the original recipe called for), a little olive oil, some good sherry vinegar, and s&p.  Really quite good.  Crunchy, since the beets are raw, but it works just fine - like coleslaw with different dressing.

2)  Sauteed Beet Green pizza - just like having sauteed spinach on pizza.  Pretty darn good.

3)  Tonight's experiment (also using up other random leftovers) is a one-dish thing with sauteed beet greens, brocooli, and onions stirred into herbed brown rice (rice, turkey stock, herbs, white wine).  This might get some white cheddar on top since we have a giant block of it sitting around.

4)  And if I STILL have more beet greens (and I probably will), there will be veggie stock made with onion, carrot, and beet greens. 

The original recipe turned out quite well, if unusual, so I'll post that if anyone's interested.  :)

Current Mood: tired
Saturday, January 24th, 2009
9:34 am
benjamin gump
Peter showed me this.  It's quite funny.  (links to video)

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
9:13 pm
quote of the day
The Husband:

"Alton Brown is as sexy as Colin Farrell, if none of it had to do with looks."

Current Mood: ambivalent
Monday, January 5th, 2009
5:39 pm
Dr. Who is officially younger than me.


Also, we're mad at Houston PBS right now. We've tried 4 different digital antennae recently, and on every single one, we get all channels except PBS. (These are UHF/VHF antennae.) Apparently, their signal dies out in less than 20 miles.

Current Mood: nerdy
Friday, December 19th, 2008
4:56 pm
December weather
So far this month, we've used the heater quite a few times, and even had snow - enough to make an actual white blanket that stuck for a while (which is highly unusual here).

And today is the 2nd time we've turned on the a/c.

I can take the heat and the cold, but it would nice to wake up and know whether it will be 40 or 80 outside!

Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
6:42 pm
I have a sore throat and a cough this week. Blech.

But I'm currently drinking my favorite homemade cold remedy.

Put in a mug:
1oz spiced rum
1oz lemon juice
1oz honey
big shake of cinnamon

Fill with hot water (or tap water and microwave).

Drink. Repeat.

It actually does make your throat feel better.

Current Mood: sick
Sunday, December 7th, 2008
10:15 pm
the death knell of the weekend
I've grown to hate this opening theme song. It means: it's Sunday night, I should go to bed, I have to go to work tomorrow, and there's nothing even remotely interesting on TV for the rest of the night even if I did stay up later. So depressing.


Current Mood: blah
Thursday, December 4th, 2008
6:20 pm
I am so freaking sick of the Cialis comments.

In other pet peeve news, when I see people in forums (fora?) or blogs using the "word" "wallah" it makes me want to stab my eyes out with the nearest available sharp object. If you are intending to communicate the sentiment "ta da" or, more literally, "there it is" or "see it there," then you no doubt are attempting to recreate the sound of the actual French word "voila." Please know your words before you use them, or think of another word to use. Please, please, please, do not overhear a word that you don't know, and start using it all over the place with some random, crazy spelling that communicates nothing other than your ignorance.

Okay, done griping now. I actually had a perfectly good day, and I'm not even in a bad mood. Those had just been simmering for a while. :)
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
5:56 pm
Your rainbow is intensely shaded indigo, green, and gray.


What is says about you: You are an elegant person. You feel strong ties to nature and your mood changes with its cycles. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

Current Mood: chipper
Sunday, November 30th, 2008
4:51 pm
this year's weird fudge - updated
I like making fudge in unusual flavors.  A few years ago I did batches of green tea, coconut, and pumpkin/white chocolate.  This year I wanted to see if pumpkin and dark chocolate would work, and the following recipe is the result.  My criteria:  not too sweet (I like dark chocolate - my favorite is around 85%) and discernible pumpkin flavor.  The way it turned out, it's actually lower in fat and sugar than most, but this is still fudge we're talking about, so one can't expect miracles.  The recipe is adapted from several other fudge recipes I have, as well as modified based on what was already in the pantry...

Dark Chocolate - Pumpkin - Cinnamon Fudge

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow fluff / cream / whatever
1 cup evaporated milk (I think you could substitute regular milk just fine; I've even used coconut milk in other recipes)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not the sweetened pie filling kind)
1 cup powdered sugar (granulated might be better, but I was out)
pinch salt

8 oz. unsweetened Baker's chocolate (this was going to be 8 oz. but somehow I left one out - probably turned out better as a result)
8 oz. cinnamon chips
8 oz. white chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix first set of ingredients in a large sauce pan on the stove, bring to a boil, and stir continuously for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in second set of ingredients, and pour into well-greased (or foil-lined) square baking pan to set.

Preliminary results are encouraging.  The pot-lickings were extremely tasty, very dark-chocolatey, surprisingly strong on the cinnamon, and subtle on the pumpkin.  It seems to be setting up nicely in the fridge so far.  If there are any problems with that I will edit the entry and explain.  Next time I might substitute 2 ounces of the cinnamon chips for white chocolate, just to balance the dark/bitter/spicy flavors a little bettter.

EDIT:  So, the first try of this didn't set up all that well.  I melted everything down and added more chips (since I had sort of skimped on them originally), and it did much better.  The white chocolate also balanced out the other flavors nicely, and probably made it a lot more palatable for most folks who don't like super bitter chocolate.  I updated the recipe above accordingly.  The thing is, it's still on the soft side, and would be difficult for instance to cut and put on a plate and then pick up and eat - quite messy.  I think using so much pumpkin puree, an inherently not-going-to-get-hard item, keeps the rest of it from firming up as well as it should.  It's very close though, so I think cutting the pumpkin in half would do it.  Of course, then I'm not sure if you could really taste it very well.  I'm confidant that omitting the pumpkin altogether would produce a lovely fudge, although not exactly what I was going for.  Ah well, there is pan of wonderful tasting soft fudgy stuff in the fridge which we are eating one spoonful at a time, and that's pretty good too.  :)

Current Mood: creative
Friday, November 28th, 2008
7:13 pm
food math can be funny
Since I got to take home the Thanksgiving turkey bones (yay!), I spent a good part of today tending to turkey stock on the stove.  Sometimes I do this "right" with the correct proportions of carrot, onion, and celery.  Other times I'm lazy, like today, and just throw in whatever I have on hand (today it was just part of an onion), and simmer the bones in water.  It's still better than store-bought.

And speaking of store-bought, that's where the math comes in.  My turkey carcass produced approximately 128 ounces of well-flavored broth.  It not only tastes better than the store-bought stuff, but I estimate based on taste that it's roughly 50% stronger in flavor, so an equivalent amount of purchased stock would be 192 ounces.

I usually buy the organic, low-sodium variety, which costs between $3 and $4 per 32-oz carton.  At $3.50, 192 ounces would cost me $21.  Here's the funny part:  the whole turkey was purchased on sale and couldn't have cost more than $6.  Even without the large amounts of meat that we ate, the turkey more than paid for itself in stock alone.  (If you assume no difference in broth strength, 128 ounces of store-bought is still $14, and much more than the whole turkey.)  How is this possible?!?!?  Is it really just a question of paying someone else (Swanson, or whomever) for the effort?

Even if you consider a more expensive turkey, it's the same.  For instance, I purchased just this morning an approximately 14-pound organic turkey for $16.99.  I think it's roughly the same size as the Thanksgiving turkey was, so I can assume it will generate about the same amount of broth, or $21 worth, and also pay for itself in broth alone.  (128 ounces still comes awfully close at $14.)

I must say, the mind reels...

(Also, I need to find out for sure if I should be using the words "stock" and "broth" interchangeably, because I probably shouldn't...)

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, November 22nd, 2008
10:21 am
evening of mixed results
We watched WALL-E last night with laurel_tx  and her husband, and some other friends, and it was quite a bit better than I expected.  I thought it would be okay, but it was actually smarter and more interesting than it had to be.  The evening was a complete success, and we had lots of fun.

And then of course, there's nothing better than coming home to a pile of cat barf in the middle of your sofa cushions.  It surprised me because in my 10 years of living with a total of 7 different cats, I've never seen one barf on furniture.  Fortunately, I think our carpet cleaner has an upholstery attachment. 

Current Mood: good
Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
4:42 pm
latest snacking obsession
Mix together roughly = parts of plain yogurt and canned pumpkin.  Add a dab of honey (to taste) and lots of cinnamon.  You now have a very yummy healthy snack or snack component, which can be eaten any number of ways:

with a spoon from the bowl (as I currently am)
with granola or cereal mixed in
as a spread for muffins, toast, crackers, graham crackers, etc.
on fruit
in a blender mixed with milk and a frozen banana (or banana + ice) for a smoothie (as I have been doing for breakfast lately)

I love pumpkin!

Current Mood: cheerful
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
7:42 pm
I had a day full of people giving me things, and I have to say it was fun.  A co-worker took me out to lunch because I had done her a big favor a couple of weeks ago.  Then I found out about the free Starbucks coffee thing, and while I was there, I picked up a giant big of used coffee grounds for my compost.   I've been told there's also Ben & Jerry's ice cream up for grabs, but I don't know the details...

And I don't know about you, but I just voted that everyone would have a good time.

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
5:58 pm
random snipppets
Someone...possibly leanne_opaskar ?...introduced me to pandora.com a while back.  And I have to say, it is MAGNIFICENT!  It is the only thing I listen to at work now, and frequently at home too.  It started out pretty good, but as I've continued to "teach" it what I like, it gets better and better.  I'm hearing so much cool stuff all the time, that I would never have known existed.  I'm totally in love.

Also, I've started stealing used coffee grounds from the breakroom at work, to feed my composter.  It's easy, since I'm in there several times a day to get lunch, fill a water bottle, get a piece of cheese (that's kind of a story in itself), etc.  I keep an opaque tupperware container in the fridge, whip it out when no one's in the room, dump in the coffee grounds, replace the container, and escape back to my desk.  It's totally the perfect crime.  They make at least 4 pots a day in there, so it's a decent haul.  Not to mention the fact that there are at least 7 comparable breakrooms in the building, so if I got crazy, the haul could be much bigger.  I probably won't do that though - too much trouble, and too much people thinking I'm psycho if they find out.  I've told a few people about my current coffee grounds caper, and they seem to think it's totally reasonable (or else they really like me and are sparing my feelings), but the building as a whole might not feel that way.  :)

It seems that plain white vinegar is a good substitute for that Jet Dry rinse aid that most dishwashers suggest one uses.  I started using it yesterday, and the first wash definitely seems sparklier with the vinegar than it was with the nothing we were using before.   And it's stupid cheap.

And finally, have I mentioned how good the most recent couple of seasons of Dr. Who have become?  I've had months to get used to the idea, but I still find it astonishing.  I was highly skeptical when they started making them again, having been a fan of the old ones when I was a kid, but they started out good, and have gotten steadily better over the...4?...seasons that the new ones have been running.  I still can't believe I like them as much as I do. 

Current Mood: cheerful
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
9:48 pm
meme map thingies

visited 12 states (5.33%)
Create your own visited map of The World or determine the next president

visited 21 states (42%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or determine the next president

Current Mood: listless
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