Wednesday, February 27, 2008

you never call anymore

I have been MIA from blogging lately. I think I found something more important to do during the day.
What! More Important!? How could this be?
Well, it is the new job at UT. It has become apparent to me that I will be required to work (pfffft!) during the day and accomplishing things regularly.
I know. I know. It pains me too.
But I have not left you all high and dry! I just have to get my blogging gears back in motion!

Friday, February 22, 2008

after all, they are America's Favorite

I speak to you of none other than....marshmallows! They are a baffling food in every way. But there is no arguing the delicious taste of a marshmallow.
They are exquisite over a campfire when eaten off of a stick you found in the woods (and you pray that you found a stick long enough so you don't singe your eyebrows off and that you found one that a nearby woodland creature didn't recently use to relieve himself upon) and also equally exquisite when placed on chocolate and a graham cracker to create s'mores. They are tasty in the microwave when making a microwave s' it doesn't provide you with a blackened marshmallow the way the campfire does but it is delicious in the middle of winter when all you want to do is go outside without 4 layers of clothing on. There are a number of delicious recipes using marshmallows (a few will even appear at the end of this rave) try a few, you'll be surprised at what a marshmallow can do for your spirits! There are also alternate uses for marshmallows. Besides being an acceptable food group while camping, hiking, and snacking you can also have no fear while throwing them at your friend or even family member.

There is one disclaimer that the Jet Puffed company (a Kraft family member) wants you to know: Only eat one at a time, there is a choking hazard! This means that some foolio tried to jam numerous marshmallows in their mouth and (surprise!) had trouble breathing. So don't be a fucking moron, eat them on at a time. Hell, even cut them in half so that the kind Jet Puffed people can feel safe about you enjoying their product.

I will say that a marshmallow is divine. But stopping at the average marshmallow is not enough (they get all the glory anyways), there are flavor, size and consistency differences that need to be in the lime-light!

We have a popular hot cocoa and rocky road ice cream partner, the mini marshmallow. While there is no difference between the mini marshmallow and the average marshmallow besides their size, there is something delightfully child-like about eating a mini! Even if they are floating in your warmed winter cocoa or if you eat them by the handful as a snack they make you giddy while popping a few in your mouth. I did mention ice cream as a dandy of a partner for the mini's...this is a combination that should go down in the record books. My favorite? Cotton Candy ice cream with mini marshmallows mixed in (thank you cold stone). But marshmallows are great and incredibly easy as an ice cream topping, remember this next time you want a topping change! And contrary to what my good friend M thinks, adults can order cotton candy ice cream with mini marshmallows in it and still be proud of her order! hehe...

The elusive flavored marshmallow. The flavors are hit or miss at most grocery stores. The flavors are as follows: toasted coconut, chocoMallow, strawberryMallow and funMallow. I understand the coconut, chocolate and strawberry but what is a funMallow? And what does it taste like? What do you do with it? Until I can find a grocer that carries a funMallow I am left to amusing myself by thinking of a flavor. Perhaps orange? Or maybe Lemon-Lime. Who knows. But I will be losing sleep over this until I find the answer.

I have just recently found out that the Jet-Puffed brand has put out seasonal marshmallows. Did you know that? I live under a rock I suppose. They tag them as 'holiday shaped marshmallows, perfect for snacking and decorating'. Holiday Mallows (holiday season of course) and Bunny Mallows (spring/Easter). I have never seen them (once again it is apparent that this grocer doesn't care about our needs. Yes I said needs. Marshmallows are a need in my house.) They are actually quite delightful looking and I would not hesitate to pick up a bag or 3 to mindlessly eat in front of the tv.

Speaking of eating in front of the favorite variety of marshmallow is not in the shape of a marshmallow at all. It is marshmallow creme. It comes in a jar and normal people use it for baking I guess. I never have. For over 10 years I have eaten the marshmallow creme out of the jar by the spoonful. It is the best snack ever. Whatever. Don't judge me. Have you tried it? No? Well, it rocks. But a jar for only $1.99 and discover how fantastic a shapeless blob of marshmallow is to snack on. Certain people (you know who you are) have been sworn to secrecy about how many jars of marshmallow creme I actually eat in a month, week or even a day.

Onto homemade marshmallows. And by this I do not mean 'what you can make with marshmallows'. I mean making marshmallows from scratch. Hey, if Ina Garten can do it you can, right? RIGHT! It is easy! And they taste better than anything you can buy at the store.
Here is my favorite Ina recipe for Marshmallows:

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows (thank you Ina Garten and food network)
7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 recipe Homemade Marshmallow batter, recipe follows
Confectioners' sugar

Sprinkle half the toasted coconut in an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal pan. Pour in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.
Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. Roll the sides of each piece carefully in confectioners' sugar. Store uncovered at room temperature.

Homemade Marshmallows:
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

And how great would strawberry or chocolate rice krispies treats be? Fantastic in my world! I also think that marshmallows are a staple in the dessert and fondue world. I cannot imagine a chocolate fountain or fondue pot that is complete without the addition of a funMallow. Unless they actually taste like spaghetti, earthworms or ear wax. But I guess those wouldn't be very fun would they?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

they don't count as real fruit

It is a hard fact to face but fruit roll ups do not count as a serving of fruit. It fucking sucks because I can eat an entire box in a day. If they were actually fruit then I would be the healthiest person ever.

Fruit roll ups (fru) are absolutly delicious and come in a multitude of flavors...Berry, Blue Raspberry, Sunberry (what the fuck is a sunberry?) and my favorite, Strawberry.
I enjoy a fruit roll up each night after dinner. These are really the perfect snack...even for dieters! They are only 50 calories and 1 gram of fat. But there is so much (haha) real...okay maybe artificial, fruit flavor packed into this flat plastic looking sheet of yum. I have a method for eating my after dinner treat as well. Tear the fru in half along the perferated crease. Then commense to fold the fru in half until it is flat and compact. The only other acceptable method to eat a fru is by jamming the entire thing in your mouth. Simply delish.

OH! And I will admit that I was incorrect, if you note the first is pears from concentrate. Maybe I am the healthiest person around. Thank you fru.

Here is the best webpage ever for fru lovers. I am in love with this website. You can have your own images and words put right onto a fruit roll up. I can just see it now...I reach for my nightly fru fix a few years into the future...I open it and tear it from its plastic backing...then I notice the following phrase: amanda, will you marry me? Then I cry and say yes, yes I will! But soon after the sobbing commenses I will fold my fru into a perfectly flat and compact vessel and proceed to eat.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

food marathon: blog-style

I have decided to do a marathon of my favorite foods. Blog-style. I will be touching on my favorite foods, healthy or the alternative. I will be adding a new one each day...I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

quite possibly, the worlds most perfect food

No, not bananas. CEREAL! It could be the worlds most perfect food.
For 3 very solid reasons:
1. There are a million different varaties of cereal. You could have a different kind of cereal everyday for at least 2 months with no repeats. I love every kind of cereal that is out there. I love raisin bran, cinnamon toast crunch, trix (poor rabbit), kix, chex (especially the chocolate chex), frosted flakes, corn flakes, cheerios, lucky charms, total, special k, smart start, apple jacks, fruit loops, crispix, cracklin oat bran (which was much better with the old recipe), and the numerous granola type cereals.
2. You can add all sorts of things to cereal and even add cereal to other things. Adding bananas (which was previously the worlds most perfect food before I bumped it) or any other kind of fruit is a small joy of mine. Certain cereals such as rice krispies and special k share my joy as they have added strawberries to their cereals, heavenly. Whenever I indulge in some yogurt I always like to top it off with a scrumptious cereal. I have been known to run the gammot on this one and use fruit loops or cracklin oat bran, of course I love granola, a staple to many.
3. Mini cereal marshmallows. Does life get any better than this? No. No, it doesnt.

There are a few cereals that I am particularly fond of...and in no particular order here they are:
Post Grape Nuts. This cereal baffles me. The name itself reminds me of an episode of SNL's Coffee Talk with Linda Richman (Mike Myers)...I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: Grape Nuts, neither a grape nor a nut. Discuss. But their flavor and buttah. Like a big bowl of buttah.
I like to top my Grape Nuts with an adequate amount of sugar. I tend to be one spoonful away from my body entering a state of sugar shock and having to press my panic alert button so that the appropriate authories can be contacted to resusitate me. My only problem with Grape Nuts is that I always get them stuck between my teeth. It is obvious that they have been mixed with some sort of cement-like substance that makes them one of the hardest materials known to mankind. Chew with caution.
Frosted Mini Wheats. These are deceptively good. Something about the 8 layers of stringy wheat that makes me giddy. I like to eat them straight from the box. They MUST be frosted or else I would be eating something healthy and that alone could kill me.
Rice Krispies. Of course these top the list! Who can resist that SNAP! CRACKLE! POP!?? They are best enjoyed in a fashion that we all know as Rice Krispies Treats. These combine two of my favorite things: cereal and marshmallows. My ultra glamorous friends know of my love for marshmallows. Ah, but that will have to be tackled another time.

This concept of cereal as any 'any meal' food has really taken off. Please check out the following website as it will delight and thrill so many of you: In the words of my fallen friend...cereal is so wonderful, so marvelous. (you will be missed)

Monday, February 18, 2008

stop it

Friday, February 15, 2008

12 step program

Hello, my name is Schwartz and I am addicted to subscribing to magazines. I have no shame in this and I will subscribe to almost any decent looking magazine. I like to pretend that magazines are books, just in picture form. I love going to the mailbox, peeking inside to see if any ugly bills are going to jump out and snap at me. Once I know the coast is clear I then open it further to discover the USPS man has brought me 3 magazines in one day! The magaines makeany number of bills obselete at this point. This is the jackpot here folks! I love the feel of a magazine that has never been cracked open. I love the glossy pages. I love the reccomendations of items to purchase. I love reading about women helping other women. I love looking at the ads in magazines. I love pretending that I know what is fashionable. I love it all.

Now, I have not counted up the number that I receive in the mail each month but I am fairly certain that it is over 15. Lets pretend that they are all $12 per year (of course a few of them are much more than this, but in order to maintain sanity on a Friday we are pretending they are all a flat rate) to have the USPS drop them off in my mailbox saving me from purchasing them with my groceries (and thereby saving me the embarassment of wanting to know 'Which celebrities have had plastic surgery' and 'What celebrities look like with cellulite' or the ever popular 'How celebrities lose weight') then I am spending approximatly $180 per year on magazines.

I would much rather be addicted to magazines than to say....cocaine, pot or even alcohol. I think that $180 per year is actually quite reasonable for an addiction! In fact I think that if I divide the $180 per year by 12 months in a year to make sense of it then I am only spending $15 per month! Well, I think that I can easily afford more entertainment with this kind of value!
Here are a few of my 'can't life without' magazines. They all come with a Schwartz stamp of approval, so pick one up at your local bookseller, grocery or drug store and join in the fun. Plus then you can gossip with me about celebrity diet methods.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

break out of my shell

I have been looking for just the right recipes to break me out of my food rut I am currently in. I think I have found them too (thank you epicurious!). How delicious do these look?

Three Cheese Fondue with Champagne (epicurious)
I seriously need to dig my electric fondue pot out of the box it for the first time. Yes, I received it as a wedding present (I registered for it and I was damn sure I was going to use it!) but I have yet to use it. I did take it out of the box actually, now it has a home on a shelf in the pantry. He has made great friends with the Kitchenaid mixer and the Cuisinart food processer. I did hear a rumor that they were blackballing the cotton candy machine though. Bullies.
Anyway....who doesnt like fondue? Show me someone and Ill bet you that they are a communist. Only commies dont like fondue. It is extremely easy and fun to eat! Who doesnt like an interactive meal (besides the commies)? I think this is what makes Benihana so famous, entertainment value. Well, that and the fact that you know the cooks didnt spit in your food b/c you asked for no msg and light oil.

4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups dry (brut) Champagne
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 7 ounces)
1 1/3 cups coarsely grated Emmenthal cheese (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup diced rindless Brie or Camembert cheese (about 3 ounces)
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 French-bread baguette, crust left on, bread cut into 1-inch cubes

Stir cornstarch and lemon juice in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; set aside. Combine Champagne and shallot in fondue pot or heavy medium saucepan; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add all cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return fondue pot to medium heat and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth and fondue thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Season fondue with nutmeg and white pepper. Place over candle or canned heat burner to keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.

Creme Brulee French Toast (epicurious)
This recipe really makes me want to be in a New England B&B. How amazing would it be to come downstairs after the most peaceful night of sleep and to find this beauty on your breakfast plate? Truly amazing. Now, who wants breakfast?

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
an 8- to 9-inch round loaf country-style bread (or you can use a baguette) challah would be perfect
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring, until smooth and pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Cut six 1-inch thick slices from center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use, and trim crusts. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 350° F. and bring bread to room temperature.
Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve hot French toast immediately.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

velveeta is a food group, right?

What do you make for dinner when you do not feel like cooking? Frozen Pizza? Didnt have one. Spaghetti? Nah, too much work for me. Leftovers in the fridge? Aha! Last night for dinner Jeff and I decided to finish the block of velveeta left over from the super bowl. So I cut it up and covered it with salsa and nuked it until bubbly and melted. We had some fantastic frozen soft pretzels to dip in it so my night was more than complete. Is there a better dinner than velveeta and salsa? I think not.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Movie time

As the Oscars are approaching, and appear to be a go with the writers strike ending, I always like to look at the Best Picture list and watch all of the nominated movies so that I can root for my favorite to win and actually know what I am rooting for.

And the nominees are:
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Sadly enough, I have no ambition to see Michael Clayton. So if you have seen it and can sway me let me know. And I dont know if I will have the time to watch all of the movies before the Oscars this year for two main reasons. 1. I am getting a hellishly late start on this and 2. Do they know how expensive it is to go to the movies these days? I am still paying off the loan I had to take out to see the LOTR trilogy in theatres.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

the sick midget and other happenings

This is what a woman in my office lovingly refers to me as. I don't mind it though. I have had bronchitis for over a week now and I see no end in sight because J had it full force for about a month and he is still coughing, though not as much. Will it ever end?

I turned in my background check to UT yesterday so they should know by Friday that I am a wanted criminal in 3 states under the alias of 'Petunia Picklebottom' and unfit to hire at a state institution. Either way I have to wait until I am confirmed as okay to hire before I can give notice here. So I must wait until Monday.

I did learn that our official work day is 8:15 am to 5:00 pm. Is that weird to anyone but me? Why 8:15 am? And this is 15 minutes earlier than I must be at work now so this throws off my morning schedule, how will I ever adjust?

After looking at my work wardrobe over the past few days I noticed that I do not have a UT worthy wardrobe, I have an ES worthy wardrobe. I need to make it my goal to build a more substantial work wardrobe with smart pieces and low prices.

Also I am going to have a celebratory dinner at Trotter's tavern in BG, thank you mom and thank you Trotter's for making the best fucking steak I have ever eaten. The Brown Jug. Althought I have digressed to ordering the smaller of the two steaks it is still the best meal I have ever been served while dining out. If you have not been you really must go and partake of this wonder. For a mere $17.95ish you receive a wonderful salad of your choice (the ceaser is divine) followed by a spread of: a filet cut steak cooked to your liking swimming on a piping hot skillet of worcestershire sauce, old bay seasoning and a myriad of other delectable ingredients to flavor it. Also on the skillet is perfection...a parmesan roll that you can use to soak up the liquid bounty in your skillet. They also pair this with hand cut french fries, that you can drench in ketchup or vinegar. Ah.....this meal is perfection to me. Even better is that when you get home and ready to relax you realize you still smell like this wonderful meal and get to enjoy it all over again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Arrested Development Movie in the works

This. Fucking. Rocks. My. World.
Once again it is proven that 2008 is the best damn year ever.
I believe tonight I will curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch the Hot Ham Water epi or perhaps the Afternoon Delight epi, maybe Ill even go for the every popular epi where the entire Bluth family does their own rendition of the 'chicken'. Yes, this will make quite an enjoyable evening for myself. I may even have to blue myself.
Whichever epi's I choose to watch, one thing is for certain. I will be in the theater on opening night ready to laugh my ass off.

Okay, UT is not full of bitches afterall

Because they hired me! Oh yeah! Hopefully I will be starting near the end of the month with more information to follow!

Friday, February 1, 2008

UT is full of bitches

Lets just say that if I happen to get this job next week then I will seriously think long and hard on whether I even want it at this point. My parting words are as follows: Aye Ziggy Zoomba, B-G-S-U!