Archive | July, 2010

Betty Crocker is a genius… again.

30 Jul

“They look perfect… absolutely freakin’ perfect.”  Those are the words my husband said as he looked at this tray of chocolate chip cookies from scratch that I baked today.  Boy did those words make me happy because if there’s one thing a Domestic Goddess should be able to do, it’s bake amazing homemade cookies.

The picture is not high quality because it was taken with the camera on my laptop.

I had bought the ingredients last week to make them and I finally got around to it today.  They were so easy to mix up (although my $7 Target hand mixer was struggling a bit) and the dough tasted amazing, so I had high hopes the final product would be amazing.

The verdict: they’re pretty good!  The texture was just right, too.  It’s definitely a cookie I’ll be proud to serve my kid’s friends someday.  Here’s the recipe, modified from Betty Crocker:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 large egg

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1.  Heat oven to 375.

2.  Mix sugars, butter, vanilla, egg.  Stir in flour, baking soda, salt.  Stir in chocolate chips.

3.  Bake 9 minutes, cool 1 to 2 before removing from pan.

Yield: 44 plus the dough I licked off the spatula.

Advertisements

Miami Update

27 Jul

T-minus 10 days until the semester is over and we start our four day trek north.  Total packing completed: 0%.  I was planning on starting yesterday, then today… this seems harder than packing up in the Bahamas for some reason.  I’m looking around and I’m not sure what I can pack or what has to stick around a bit longer, especially when it comes to the kitchen.

In other news, Mittens is being a terror.  During the day she’s sweet as pie and doesn’t get into too much trouble anymore.  The paper towels are no longer severely shredded, she doesn’t lick the dish soap anymore, and she seems to like sitting on the window sill.  But at night, that’s a whole different can of worms.  At night she goes stir crazy.  There’s not enough room here for her kitten energy to be expelled.  We play fetch with her every night, but it doesn’t tire her out much.

The worst comes in the middle of the night.  She fails to understand that we, as humans, need sleep.  We aren’t just awake whenever like herself.  In an attempt to get our attention, she decides everything must belong on the floor.  She sits on the coffee table and off goes the tissue box, papers, Chris’s study materials, a bottle of Advil, the remotes.  Last week she broke a glass that was waiting to be washed, which woke us out of a dead sleep.  Chris ran into the corner of the room and couldn’t figure out where the door was, that’s how out of it he was from sleeping!  She also broke a vase, which was not ours, but the landlord’s.

We’ve discovered it’s actually safer to put the breakables on the floor!  She doesn’t care about them when they’re on the floor, only when they’re on tables/desk.   I’m about at my wit’s end – she can’t keep this up when we’re in Buffalo for three months.  We’re staying with my parents (can’t wait to not be a poor med student family anymore) and they’re going to be very angry to find the counters emptied onto the floor every morning.

Oh, Mittens…. behave!

WIJFR: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

25 Jul

Let me first start by saying that I have never been very good at writing book reports or reviews, but with my recently acquired Nook somehow enabling me to read at record speed, I thought I would share some of the books I read with you all.

The first book I started reading was actually Little Women.  I thought I had read the book before, but as I read it, it seemed mostly unfamiliar.  I might have read some sort of children’s abridged version over a decade ago.  My review in a sentence:  Sweet, charming and still relevant for young ladies today though it had a slow ending that I skimmed through a bit.

Simultaneously my husband and I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (TGWTDT) together.  Most of our free time this week found us sprawled on the couch together reading with the question, “What page are you on?” thrown around a lot.  Our main reason for choosing this book to start with was its popularity.  People have been eating this trilogy up and we wanted to see what the fuss was about.  I probably wouldn’t have picked the book up otherwise and in hindsight, that would have been sad because it turned out to be a very good book and something that I think is going to be on a list of the best books of the century someday.

I felt TGWTDT started off a bit slowly and the story jumped around a lot at the beginning.  It wasn’t until the various characters and different story lines merged together that I found the book really enjoyable to read.  The slow start was balanced out by a fast paced and succinct ending, which I enjoyed.

My bare bones summary:  The main character, Blomkvist, was indicted for libel.  While laying low he is hired by wealthy Vagner to investigate a family murder that has remained unsolved for decades.  Salander joins him when he needs a research assistant and the work together from that point on and solve the mystery together.  A lot of coffee is consumed in this novel.

The only other flaw I find with the book is the sheer number of characters.  It’s a murder mystery with a huge number of possible suspects.  The size of the Vagner family is huge and I had to keeping asking my husband to remind who was who.

What I really enjoyed about the book was the excitement.  Every time Blomkivst or Salander figured something out it was a complete surprise.  I would elaborate, but I don’t want to give anything away!

Anyway, all and all it was a really great book that I’m glad I decided to read.  I have already started reading the second book in the trilogy – The Girl Who Played With Fire.  I’m forty pages in and so far it’s a much smoother, faster start than the previous book.  So I’m off to go read!

Christmas Shopping

24 Jul

What, you say?  It’s only July?  Pish-posh, that’s the best time to shop!  No crowds, no advertising campaigns shoving gift ideas down your throat, no inflated prices that go “on sale” and my favorite… QVC’s Christmas in July marathon.  It’s half over now and I’ve already secured four gifts for my mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and step-grandmother-in-law.  Score!  I won’t tell you what the gifts are though, in case one of them somehow becomes computer literate.

I’ve also decided what to get Mittens and possibly my brother, too.  Gotta start thinking ahead of time!

Anyway, no real point to this post except that there are only FIVE MONTHS* left until Christmas.  Woohoo!

Celebrate Christmas in July by building a snowman on the beach! (via Google Images)

It’s no secret that I love Christmas.  I start getting excited around this time of the year and it only gets worse as the year winds down.  Last year I was working at Hallmark from May through Christmas.  The ornaments came out in July and more Christmas stuff started arriving in October and each week got more and more festive – perfect!  This year I’ll be working again from August until the end of November-ish (depending on how fast the STEP is graded).  This year’s techno-plus is especially adorable!

I got nuts waiting for the local radio stations to start playing Christmas music.  While most of society is moaning and groaning that the holiday’s start earlier and earlier, I’m relishing in it.  The bright colors, the festive moods, the spirit of giving, it’s all good stuff to me.  I don’t see why people need to complain about how early the holidays start every year.  If you focus on the real meaning of Christmas, well, that should be celebrated all year round – not just the month of December.

Happy Christmas in July, everyone!

* Everyone on QVC has been talking about how Christmas in July marks the halfway point until Christmas.  And logically you would think six months to go, but if you count it out, it’s only five.  People make this mistake all the time, but it makes me wonder, why not Christmas in June?  Probably because those crotchety people would really riot if Christmas started that early.

SALT

23 Jul

*No major spoilers, at least…*

Just got home from seeing the movie Salt.  My immediate reactions as the credits began to roll:

1.  *whoosh*  That’s the sound of my mind being blown.  Then: “WTF?!(!?!?!?!?!?!infinity)”

2.  They’d better be filming Salt 2 right now because I don’t want to wait more than a month to find out how the freakin’ story ends.  Yeah, that’s right, they ended the movie right in the middle of the story.  I predict at least two sequels.

I can’t even tell you anything more about this movie without giving it away.  It was slow for the first twenty minutes or so and then it really picked up.  They start the movie and you’re like, “Okay, that’s who Salt is.  Why all the mystery?”  Then you’re like, “No way, she’s not who I thought she was.”  Then repeat about five more times.  Plot twists ensue.  Movie ends with no conclusion.

Most of the reviews I read online were luke warm about it at best.  I don’t normally like actions movies and didn’t expect to like this one (I had a free ticket) but I would highly recommend this one despite the unsatisfying ending.