Monday, September 26, 2011

Food: Smoothies

This post written by popular demand.*

Today we break down the smoothies I've been making into more of a "recipe" format. Now, as you may or may not know, I don't generally cook with recipes. If it's something new, sure, but even then I will usually have different ideas about it, or not measure things, or forget to buy something at the store. So recipes from me personally are usually more like this: me rambling and you doing your best to figure it out. Got it? Good. Let's go.

1. Choose your hardware. Justin uses his Magic Bullet. I use my blender base + a mason jar because I am the coolest person ever that constantly trolls the interwebs. You might use a regular blender. I'm not here to judge.
2. Choose your frozen things. My standbys are: 4-5 frozen strawberries, and 2 coconut milk ice cubes.
3. Choose your other ingredients. I like: a small-medium banana (sometimes this is in the frozen category), a good-sized handful of kale (stems removed), a scoop of protein shake mix, some cinnamon.
4. Choose your liquid. My go-to has been whole milk, but sometimes I also like orange juice. I prefer thick smoothies, so I err on the side of less liquid. (you can always add more, you can't add less! {thanks mom!})
5. Put all those things in your blending thingy. I don't know if the order matters. Probably not.
6. Blend! Blend like there's no tomorrow! Blend like no one is watching! Blend the night away! Okay, not really, because you'll be late for work or whatever. But that kale does take quite a bit of blending to work in.
7. Adjust if needed. More liquid, another strawberry, etc.
8. Drink! Love! Dance about!

Note to self: Dear Self, This is how most people write recipes:

4-5 frozen strawberries
2 cubes frozen coconut milk
1 smallish banana, broken into pieces (optional: frozen)
1/2 c. kale (stems removed)
Optional: Protein shake mix
Optional: Cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 c.Whole milk, coconut milk or orange juice

Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until kale is very tiny.
Warning: Smoothie will be gross-colored. Drink it anyway.

*Not really, it was just Karla.

Friday, September 23, 2011

WTF: Thrift Store

Confession: I love thrift stores. I actually peruse them rather frequently, because when someone says, "I like your shirt," I like to be all, "Thanks, I paid a nickle for it!" It gives me a pleasant feeling of pride which if it leads to a fall, will probably only also be about a nickles-worth. {Aside: The more you type the word, "nickle" the less it looks like a word.}

Today, however, I'm not here to talk about cute and cheap clothes from thrift stores. I'm here to ask thrift stores the world's most pertinent question: WTF, mate? I would hope all of you allot some of your thrift store time to wander through the housewares and knickknacks {also doesn't look like a word} just to see what kind of random total crap has ended up there. I find weirdest, creepiest, most-random object and send a picture of it to a loved one with a caption that says, "I got you this for [insert up-coming holiday]."

FACT: This game is why camera phones were invented.

So without further ado, the proof. Here are my two most-recent Thrift Store finds.

WTF Dinosaur Mug

A mug with dinosaurs. Not that weird for a kid, right? Wrong. I was carrying littleQ when I saw this, and pointed it out in an oh-look-dinosaurs kind of way, then instantly regretted doing so. How do you explain sitting-in-a-pond-while-smoking-a-cigar dinosaur to your nephew? Furthermore, the other one is listening to a Walkman-- talk about waaay before his time.

WTF Ugly Pioneers

Does this one really need any explanation? Not only are those people hideous enough to make you wonder who owned them before they got to a thrift store, but I found the setup quite entertaining. It wasn't until I went to take the picture that I noticed the Virgin Mary clock/statue (?!) in the background, so I adjusted my framing to accommodate The Rule of Thirds.

I play this game almost constantly, so stay tuned for my next edition-- WTF: Coupon Magazine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Food: Rosemary Almonds

I have a weird love affair with rosemary. And by "weird," I mean "one-sided." I'm sure it would love me back if it could, but it is sadly inanimate. "Sadly" because of this conversation, circa whenever I was about six.
Me: This chair is my friend.
Dad: You can't be friends with inanimate objects.
Obviously that leads to being 26 years old and having secrets like your unmitigated love for an herb. But I digress. Exponentially.

Today I discovered a new paleo food blog called Nom Nom Paleo, and thought this recipe for Rosemary Almonds sounded good. I picked up some almonds on my way home today, and it's a good thing I did, since I forgot the sauce I'm making for dinner needs to simmer for approximately nineteen years and I am a hungry bear! Except for the part about how I am not really a bear.

So I made them mere moments ago. I halved the recipe (except for the butter, since I can't count or read or something) and didn't use all the seasoning because it seemed like a LOT of salt.

Rosemary Almonds FTW!

Verdict: Delicious! I'm not a huge almond fan, but they're good for you, so I eat them. I like those cinnamon and chocolate flavored ones, but I know the flavoring is held on with cornstarch or some crap, and that I am not a fan of. So here's a new conversation.

Me: *eats first almond*
Me: Hmm. It's okay.
Me: *eats another almond*
Me: Actually, they're pretty good. And not too salty!
Me: *eats several more almonds*
Me: I should stop eating and go blog about these almonds.

The moral of the story is, eating these almonds will convince you that you should keep eating these almonds, which will lead to eating more almonds until you distract yourself with something shiny.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Story About How Awesome I Am

If you are at all like me (here "like me" meaning, "picky about smoothies") you will like this. I generally vote no on adding ice to smoothies (smoothies from coffee shops? always disappointing.) But I do like them to be really, really, really cold. Otherwise they kind of gross me out, especially the green ones. (Peanut butter and kale protein shake? Nein danke.) So...

Problem: Smoothies not cold enough

Obviously, frozen fruit is the first solution, but what if someday you wanted one that didn't have fruit in it? Regular (cow) milk, doesn't freeze well in my experience. Plus, you need some kind of liquid to blend it, so that rules out the milk or juice. I like that ice cream that's made from coconut milk (So Delicious!), and smoothies are best when they are the consistency of milkshakes (because, hey! milkshake for breakfast!), so I figured, why not freeze the coconut milk (benefits: good-for-you fats, tasty deliciousness) that I already add to smoothies? 

And it worked! My smoothie this morning was the best green smoothie I've made to date. It was super cold, covered the kale taste, and had the consistency of a milkshake. Oh, and I also took Kerry's advice, and added some cinnamon. Om nom nom. So...

Solution: Make coconut milk ice cubes.

Buy a can of coconut milk. (I like the red one, called Thai-something-or-other. Not the stuff in the box; it's mostly water.) Find an ice cube tray. Fill it with coconut milk. Freeze, probably overnight.
When ready to use, pop some cubes out (I used two), and add to smoothie. (You might have to run some water on the bottom of the tray to get them out.)
Also, my can of coconut milk was about 2/3 gone, so it only made 6 ice cubes. I don't know how much a full can would make. More than 12, I'm guessing. (Or, "math-ing" if you will.)

I am aware that to fully test this theory, I will have to make a smoothie without banana, since that adds to the creamy texture. I might do that for dinner tonight or breakfast tomorrow, since I chickened out about adding an avocado to the one I made yesterday. Strawberry-banana is my go-to smoothie flavor, but I might burn out on it if I don't expand my horizons. And my-boyfriend-the-personal-trainer would say it's still pretty sugary, on account of the banana. Therefore, I'm thinking an avocado/strawberry/lime/coconut/kale smoothie is in my near future.

Green smoothie, now with frozen coconut milk!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Design: Invisible

This was another prompted piece; this time the word was "invisible." I also wanted to experiment with text as a texture, and this is the result.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Primal Challenge 2011 - Day 1

And in this corner, weighing in at 139 pounds and getting pestered by her boyfriend to do it, we have AlwaysGettingLost joining the 2011 Primal Challenge. :) I'm kind of easing into it again, since I've got stuff at home I'm not going to let go to waste just because it isn't primal.

1. Feel better. Eating crap makes me feel like crap, but I keep doing it. No more.
2. Get stronger. My nephews keep getting bigger, and I'm going to want to keep picking them up for hugs, so I'll have to keep lifting heavier things.
3. Look better. I'd like to not feel awkward in a swimsuit for once in my life.
4. Generally eliminate the junk. It doesn't bother me to eat bread or pasta occasionally. Mostly it's my soda/chips/fast food habit that I want to break.

B: Coffee (whole milk, sugar)
     Smoothie (banana, strawberries, orange juice, kale, Greek yogurt, coconut milk)
S: String cheese
L: Salad (romaine, cheese, banana peppers, pepperoni, homemade yogurt/herb salad dressing)
     Hard-boiled egg
     Fruit 2O Water (Peach flavor)
     2 prunes
S: Iced coffee (half&half, simple syrup)
D: Zuppa Toscana (sausage, kale, pasta, chicken broth, heavy cream)
S: Frozen peaches

~4 hours, lots of waking up from street noise

~10 minutes at lunchtime


My first ever green smoothie! (Pre-blending, obviously.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Food: Monstrosity Brownies

I have mentioned before my love of Pinterest. And obviously, I love to cook and bake. And even more obviously, I love chocolate, because only total weirdies don't like chocolate. So when I saw a picture of brownie batter being poured over chocolate chip cookie dough that had been covered with Oreo cookies, you know I had to make that crap ASAP.

Crappy cellphone picture of what I like to call Monstrosity Brownies.

And they were glorious. I had friends over for dinner and BJ, who notoriously doesn't like sweets even said he liked them. So, there you go. I also brought some in for my dad and my co-workers Jonathan and Joseph this morning, just to spread the love... or the calories... or the sickness. Whichever you prefer.

The original recipe/madness is here, but I didn't follow it exactly. I just used the concept, so here's my altered recipe. Since it was just a ridiculous experiment, I bought pre-fab ingredients. No snooty face. Every rule has an exception, right?

Monstrosity Brownies (makes 16)
- 1 tube of pre-made cookie dough (mine: Great Value Chocolate Chip)
- 1 package of chocolate sandwich cookies (mine: Double-Stuf Oreos)
- 1 box of brownie mix (mine: Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge, I think)
- And whatever your brownie mix calls for, i.e. water, oil and eggs.
- Square baking pan (9x9)

Line pan with aluminum foil, with enough over hang to use for handles later.
Mash cookie dough into one layer in the bottom of the pan.
Line Oreos up across cookie dough. My pan held 16. (If they are evenly spaced, you will have nice guidelines to cut by later.)
Make brownie mix according to package instructions, pour over cookie layers. I had to use a spatula to spread it around, then I tapped the pan on the counter a few times to be sure it filled in the spaces between the Oreos.
Bake at 350F (ish) for 40 minutes (ish) until a toothpick inserted near the center (but try to miss the Oreos) comes out clean. Mine were still kind of gooey, but I like them that way.
Let cool, or mostly-cool before cutting (serrated knife, clean after every cut), serving, eating and going into a well-deserved sugar coma.

I might do it again in the future with different flavors of cookie dough and/or brownie mix. And if they ever bring back the peanut butter, or even better coffee-flavored Oreos, I will be all over that.

P.S. Elsewhere on the internet, I've also heard them called "Slutty Brownies" which is hilarious.

Motivational Story: Edwardo Eel

I wrote this story back in April of 2009 for my college friend/arch-nemesis, Kyle, via Instant Messenger (hence the lack of punctuation and capital letters). His reply to it was, "That is a terrible story." As everyone knows, that really means he loved it.

Edwardo Eel
once upon a time there was an eel named edwardo.

edwardo was very smart, but didn't like to apply himself to the task at hand (figuratively speaking, because, of course, everyone knows, eels don't have hands).

so one day, edwardo was watching underwater tv and talking to his friends online (typing with his face, of course, because, everyone knows, eels don't have fingers).

when suddenly, out of the blue came a terrible blood-curdling scream!

although, since they were underwater, it just sounded like blub blub blub.

which is less than terrifying, unless you're an eel and can understand the subtle nuances of those sounds and since you're not, you'll just have to take my word for it.

so, being the heroic eel that he was, edwardo rushed towards the sound, hoping it was not too late to be of service!

but it was.

furthermore, the fish that made the horrible sound that edwardo heard was totally and irrevocably dead, having been attacked by a bear.

little did he know, the bear was actually hungry for eel and the fish attack had been a trap all along.

so the bear scooped edwardo out of the water and bit him in half.
edwardo lived long enough to see his midsection devoured by a bear and to wish he had been at the library, and not shirking his duties.

so the moral of the story is, you should do your homework or a bear will trick you into being its dinner.

the end.

After I wrote this story, I found out that no one is named Edwardo. "Eduardo" is the more common spelling, among humans, at least.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Design: ITKOG

This came from a self-guided practice session on designing with only text. If you know me at all, you know that I love words and text and fonts and quotes. 

This is the name of a band a couple of my friends were in at the time, which I chose because there were a lot of different letters to play with. Their website is here, but it says their ITKOG projects are currently on hold.

ITKOG Design - (08.14.08)

I made a couple different versions of this idea, but that one is my favorite. I wish they would've made t-shirts of my sweet design. Maybe I'll just make one for myself anyway because I am cool like that.

That squiggly lower-case G is one of my favorite letters.
Don't look at me like that. You have favorite letters too.
Admit it.

Sketch: Wander

I drew this one day because there was a was some kind of word-per-day inspiration/challenge thing going on over on Kal's blog. The prompt for the day was "wander" and this drawing actually ended up spawning a series of similar drawings, which was new for me.

WANDER - Faceless1 (02.03.10)
In a way, they're all me (hence the 'self-portrait' label). Obviously the words are mine, and they're all female. (And I was wearing a shirt similar to that when I drew it.) But that doesn't mean the series won't change, since I'm still doing them every once in a while. Maybe I'll stop when I get to seven, you know, like the Harry Potter books.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Food: Lego Cake

I made this cake for Q's second birthday. (Can you tell I love my nephews?) Obviously the frosting could be smoother, but I thought it came out pretty well for a first attempt at anything like that.

It's a 13"x9" cake, cut into thirds vertically, with one third cut in half horizontally. Got it? Good. And what makes them look like blocks are marshmallows cut in half.

Lego Cake (01.29.11)

Have you ever tried to frost 24 half-marshmallows in four different colors? It is more difficult than you might think!

Original inspiration for this cake here. Instead of box mix and canned frosting (::insert snooty face::), I made this cake and cream cheese buttercream. And Quinn was really excited about it, so you know, that's what really counts.

Design: Alphabet Posters

I saw something like this online (Pinterest: the source of a million ideas I might never get around to) and made my own version for my nephews' rooms. They're 24x32 inch posters that we printed in-house at work and my sister-in-law framed and hung up. 

Alphabet posters for Q&E (08.18.11)

Ironically, I'm going to pin that image to Pinterest now, so it shows up on the board my sister-in-law made for the kids' rooms. Ha!

In the spirit of Link With Love, you can find the poster that inspired my design here. Oh Pinterest and Etsy, two of my biggest time-wasting sites in one post

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Design: DinoLove

Rawr. It means, "I love you" in Dinosaur. I made this in about five minutes in MX Freehand.

DinoLove (04.01.09)

When I made this, I was told I should make it into a shirt for my nephew. Now I have two nephews and still haven't gotten around to that. Putting the "pro" in procrastination since 1984!

Sketch: Grammar Rage

This is how I feel about terrible grammar. I make that face and my hair is like Pikachu.

Grammar Rage (02.18.11)

And I've recently discovered that I feel the same way about people who review recipes where they changed nine thousand things about the way it was written. You can ask my coworker. I am frequently trying to kick shins through the computer. Sadly, to no avail.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bad at blogging

I am not a good blogger. It's not self-deprecating if it's the truth, is it? :)

Justin frequently tells me I should do a humor blog or something, because I draw weird pictures that I think are funny, and frankly, I'm pretty much hilarious. But I just don't think I could keep up. I have read a lot of blog posts about the pressure to keep up with previous hilarity once you have a following. And it's always disappointing when something you really like on the internet just stagnates. (I'm looking at you, Homestar Runner!)

My brother says the key to blogging is to store up a bunch of posts in advance, so that you can keep up some regularity on the days where you don't have time to blog. Or don't want to. Or, I don't know, have a regular life. Haha.

Maybe I should try it. Whenever I go through my old sketchbooks, the stupid crap in there still cracks me up, even though it's from years and years ago. It's funny how I don't really remember the girl I was in highschool. I must have done more "finding-myself" in college than I realized at the time. Thanks, college.  But then again, the majority of my closest friends now are the friends I had in high school. So, the real me must have been in there somewhere too.

One of these days, maybe I will drag out my scanner and start going through that stuff.

I will be the first recipes/art/humor/food pictures/graphic design/silly drawings/morbid motivational stories/whatever else-blog on the entire interwebs! Mwahaha!

Wait. No, no, probably not.