Monday, April 27, 2009

A Day for Reading

Oh, how I love to read... Honestly, whenever I'm asked how I'd spend "The Perfect Day", a good book is always involved. I've read most of my favorite books more than once... some of them, literally dozens of times... and The Count is on my list of Top 5 of All Time. I love this book! And yet... I've been struggling to get this puppy read. Frankly, I've been struggling to get anything read lately (sorry, Myra). But book club is tomorrow, and I have 8 women coming to my house to discuss the book I asked them to read. As it wouldn't look good if I was the only one who hadn't read it... I am hereby banning myself from the computer and the tv. That's right - I am declaring this house a Technology Free Zone until I have The Count finished.

But first, I have to share what is, quite possibly, my favorite excerpt so far. This paragraph makes me giddy.

"Now, farewell to kindness, humanity, gratitude," said he. "Farewell to all the sentiments which rejoice the heart. I have played the part of Providence in recompensing the good, may the god of vengeance now permit me to punish the wicked!"

Literally, it makes me giddy. I love how thoroughly kind he is to Morrel... and I love the anticipation of the annihilation of his enemies that is coming.

I read an interesting quote last week to beware those who put The Count of Monte Cristo in their list of favorite books, because it reveals a malevolent streak in their character. Oh, yeah... that would be me. I love Edmond Dantes/The Count of Monte Cristo. The vengeance he wreaks on his enemies makes me weak in the knees. His brilliant mind, his passion for life (and death, and revenge) are DELISH! Seriously, there but for the grace of God go I. (Also, I've never been unjustly imprisoned/left for dead, and there met an old man who told me about an island where there is a secret treasure buried, which I could later use to fund the intricate details of the revenge I spent 20 years planning. Other than that... I'd so be there, with him, planning and carrying out the evil plan.)

Oooh, this is gonna be a great day. I've got my book here on the couch by me. And... I'm off!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A joke...

A kindergarten teacher gave her class a "show and tell" assignment of bringing something to represent their religion.

The first boy got in front of the class and said, "My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish and this is the Star of David."

The second boy got in front of the class and said, "My name is Thomas and I am Catholic and this is the crucifix."

The third boy got in front of the class and said, " My name is Johnny and I am Mormon and this is a casserole."

Hahahaha.... Okay, seriously, isn't that the funniest thing you've heard (read) all day? ... Or have the 12 hour days I've been working turned my brain to mush and now I think casserole jokes are HILARIOUS, and... they.... well, aren't? (Please tell me it isn't so and you thought the joke was funny, too.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

My latest celebrity crush


Hawkeye Pierce. I think I might love him. For real.

He has the trifecta of The Qualities Laurie Loves.


1) He's a wise-cracking smarty pants with a good sense of wordplay (which, as anyone who knows me knows, is in my top five of favorite characteristics in a person).

2) He's a doctor (you know I do love a man with the letters Dr. in front of his name).

3) He has dog tags (and I'm pretty sure that we all know how I feel about a military man... insert girly giggle and/or a deep, throaty "mm-hmmm" here).

He's such a passionate, motivated, freakishly funny, say-it-before-you-think-it-through kind o' guy.

I love him.

(I also love re-runs every night at 10:00, weekends included. This is SO my new favorite bedtime show.)

Reason 873 that I love Cousin Julie

Two Christmases ago, Cousin Julie had Amazon.com send me this little prize.


I promptly opened it (the day it arrived, no waiting for Christmas to come in the world I live in), thought "oooh, cool" and then found a happy little home for it in my pantry. I'd forgotten about it (COMPLETELY) until a Sunday about 3 weeks ago, when I was chopping up 10 lbs of potatoes for dinner at Jo's and thinking "there has got to be a better way". All of a sudden, this gem came to mind... Not 10 minutes later, I had it assembled and attached to the old Kitchen Aid, and I was going to town. It does the "potato chip" thing rather than the "cubed potato" thing, but hey... it cuts the potatoes, and I'm a fan of anyone/anything that can do that so I don't have to.

Here's an action shot of it doing its thing.



And here we have 10 lbs of "potato chipped" potatoes (I'm thinking the correct term may be "scalloped", unless that's just the name of a recipe for this kind of sliced potato - I don't even know). I've found that the full 10 lbs fits nicely into this HUGE pot. I was able to peel/cut the potatoes in less than half an hour after church today. (Seriously, how amazing is that? 10 lbs of potatoes peeled & cut and in the pan on the stove in 30 minutes - I'm in love.)


I've gotten into the habit of cutting the potatoes as soon as I get home from church and then letting them simmer in salt water on the stove for, oh, about 4 hours or so. (Seriously. I put them on at 12:30 today and they simmered on low for a good 3 hours, before I turned the heat up to medium. At 4:30, they were perfectly cooked through and I was able to mash them up and get out the door and over to Jo's with 'em.)

Now, my only problem is that I'm not ... erm ... strong enough to get the blade/plastic contraption apart.

Honestly, I need a man around the house. (If for nothing else than to take things apart that I somehow manage to put together wrong, and then am completely and utterly unable to disassemble.)

But still... it's a sweet set-up, no? I'm in love with how fast it chops (okay, slices) my potatoes. It's awesome!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Breakfast of Champions


As you may recall, I love chocolate cake. As you also may recall, I have a semi-standing tradition of going to the grocery store on Saturday nights after work for the sole purpose of purchasing 10 lbs of potatoes so I can boil & mash them up for Sunday dinner at Jo's. (And in case you're wondering, this week I spent $50 - not the previous $35 - on stuff I didn't really need and/or go there intending to purchase.)

One thing I can't ever stop myself from buying when I go to Safeway in search of potatoes - chocolate cake. I am in love with their chocolate cake. Seriously, they sell it by the slice in the bakery/refrigerator section and... when I see it, I can't say no. (Somehow, it's equally delicious in the sheet cake 3x3 inch pieces, as well as in this 4 inch tall, 3 inch wide layered version.) I think it's the icing. They must put an addictive chemical in it. (Maybe it's sugar? ... I don't know.) At any rate, I love this cake. L-O-V-E it. Can't say no to it. ... I don't even try. I LOVE IT. Especially when it's Sunday morning and my options are cereal, toast or cake for breakfast. Oh, yeah... no contest. I'll take the cake, thanks.

Did you notice that I put my fork next to it (right there in the plastic clam shell case... because there's no sense in transferring the cake - or even a smaller piece of it to a separate plate - before I devour it), to give you an idea of how HUGE this piece of cake is? I'm in love.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yeah, I have an addictive personality...




Your Personality Is Like Alcohol



You're the life of the party, a total flirt, and probably a pretty big jokester.

Sometimes your behavior gets you in trouble, but you still remain socially acceptable.

You're a pretty bad driver, and you're dancing could also use a little work!



At your best: You are uninhibited, funny, and relaxed.



What people like about being around you: You're friendly, welcoming, and easy to talk to.



What people dislike about being around you: You're a little sloppy and careless.



How addicted people get to you: A fair amount, though they tend to deny it.



What slays me? So very much of this is spot on. For a non-drinker, I sure do resemble this result. (Okay, except for the flirty bit. I'm not such a flirt... usually. Every once in a while, it does come out, but a dude has to be sharp/witty enough to play word games with me, and sadly... that doesn't happen very often.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hello, Lover...

Oh, how I do love me some Reese's Snack Barz. It's sick and wrong, how much I love them. And the tragedy of our love affair is how ridiculously hard they are to find. I haven't seen them in... I-don't-even-know-how-long. To tell the truth, the only place I ever saw them regularly was at the convenience store/gas station across from the bank. I used to stop in and get a coke and a snack bar (because if you call it a snack bar, it sounds more like a granola bar (read: healthy snack) and less like a candy bar) on my way to work at least twice a week. (And since I'm confessing, I'll come clean and confess that the snack bar I ate this morning was found in a box of bank stuff. So, it was probably 6 months old. And I didn't even care. I gobbled it right up without even looking for a "best before" date on the packaging.)

Aahhhhhhh, Reese's Snack Barz. I love you so, even with the grammatically incorrect (and stupid looking) z on the end of your name, I love you. (And for me to be able to overlook grammar is saying something about the kind of love I feel.)

Reunited and it feels so good. Mmmmmm...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yet another reason that being a grownup ROCKS!


This is what I had for breakfast this morning.


It was pretty darn fabulous.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!



I'm pretty sure this was my favorite conference talk last week. I do love Elder Holland. The man has a gift with words.

This Easter Sunday, I'm incredibly grateful for the knowledge of the restored gospel, that I know that Christ lived here on Earth - that He lived for us, that He died for us, and that He then lived for us again. The knowledge that He loved us (me) enough to have suffered all that he suffered, so that we (I) may have the gift of eternal life is truly humbling. I'm so incredibly grateful for the peace that knowing this brings into my life, for the love that this brings into my heart.

I love Easter. I love Him. ... And I love all of you who come and check my blog out every now and then. (Even if we haven't ever met in real life.) I do hope you enjoy this little video clip. It's the most life/faith affirming thing I've seen in some time, so I wanted to share it with you on this special day.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wednesday - my new favorite day of the week

I've been hanging out with Christian on Wednesdays lately, and this week we made a little trip to our favorite store (ABC) for cake decorating supplies. Check it.

Like I needed any of this stuff (not so much). I went, knowing that I wanted to get a little thing of red dye and some more marshmallow flavoring - and a big tip for cupcakes.

What I ended up with...
2 candy/Bakerella-style-cupcake-bite forms
1 ginormous thing of red food coloring
1 little guy of burgundy food coloring
1 little guy of blue food coloring
1 bag of pink chocolate (for the afore mentioned cupcake-bites)
3 pkgs of SUPER CUTE cupcake cups
1 cupcake shaped cookie-cutter
1 pkg of Easter Bunny sprinkles
1 container of raspberry cake filling
1 4 inch cake pan

Not quite the $4 I was planning on spending, but it's all good. Because with these goods, I was able to make some pretty cute little Spring/Easter cuppycakes this week.

How cute are these cupcake cups? (Adorable, right?) On a scale of 1-10, I'm pretty sure they're a 12. I'm in love with the polka-dots.

And I got to use two of my new tips. I'm a pretty big fan of this tip. I only had to squeeze once, and a huge rush of icing came out. I'm pretty sure I'll never frost a cupcake with a knife again as long as I live.


And with this super sweet tip, I had to squeeze for a second longer than with the first. It's more than one squeeze, but it was a pretty easy little swirly move that gave me the Hershey kiss-esque look in the center.

Sprinkle the tops of my adorable little cakes with some pink Easter Bunny shaped confections, and... voila!


The cutest little cupcakes of all time. (And they tasted pretty darn good, too.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

I've always been a messy eater...

I'm on the far right (the only child at the party who merited having a parent sit on the couch with her). You'll note that the rest of the kids are eating their ice cream cones peacefully - nary a smeared face amongst the bunch (other than the kid who is, again, being held on to by her parent).

Good grief. Some things never change.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A funny thing happened Thanksgiving weekend, 2008

I ate ham. And... I liked it.




For those of you who haven't known me for 32 years, let me just say... that I even ate the ham right off the bone one time was a pretty big deal. That I eventually ate about a third of a whole ham over Thanksgiving weekend is absolutely mind-blowing. I mean, I'm the girl that grew up telling my folks that I didn't want a Mormon funeral if it meant that they were gonna have to eat ham and scalloped potatoes at the luncheon after the service. I'm not even kidding. For years, I told them that if they ate ham at dinner after they buried me, I'd haunt them and give them ALL the worst case of food poisoning EVER. When I moved away from home, my mom told me that if I was that adamant about the no-ham-at-my-funeral, I would need to let my RS President know - in every ward I ever lived in. And I have. I'll admit, it's a little awkward, telling a woman you just met that if you die while you live in her ward, you (under no circumstances) want to have ham served at your funeral luncheon, but... I've done it. More than once. Why? Because I was that anti-ham.

And then I went home for Thanksgiving last Fall, and... it all changed.

Why? I'm not sure. Maybe it was because I'd just lost my job and food (esp food that I didn't have to pay for) was tasting that much better. Maybe it was the homemade bread that I had in one hand, while I held a chunk o' ham in the other. I don't know what it was, but what I do know is... I fell in love with ham. Mind you, it still has to be a REAL ham. None of that processed "pressed pork" for me, thanks. But real ham, spiral cut and falling right off the bone? Oh, I'm in love.

So in love, actually, that I bought a 7 lb ham at the store on Saturday. (It's Easter, so it was less than $2 a pound, which I thought was pretty awesome.) I just opened the package today and... well, now I'm sick because I ate too much of that stupid pig. But it was worth it. I do love ham even more when it's dripping in the sugary honey glaze.

Oh, how I love to eat little piggies (snort). In all their salty goodness, they are my favorite of all the farm animals. (Except for when I'm sitting in front of a rare steak. Then the cows are my favorite.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

And... we have a contender

For placement in the Five Worst Movies I've Ever Seen, that is. Honestly, Duplicity? DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. (Or your dollars.) Lucky me, Liz is the kind of date that pays when we go to the movies (I know... how did I get so lucky as to have her for my friend/movie buddy?), so I didn't lose anything but 2 hours of my life. But wow, that movie was horrendous. And it's officially in The Top Five. Which, for you curious folk, I'll lay out here in no particular order:

The Brothers Grimm
Batman & Robin
Paycheck
American Sweethearts
Duplicity

And yeah, I know. Julia Roberts is in two (TWO!) of those top five. Which is putting her in the same placement as Ben Affleck (ouch). It's gonna be a while before I'll be able to trust that she's read the script and knew what she was getting herself into before she made a movie. I'm telling you... this movie was B-A-D, bad. Like, talking out loud (not whispering) in the theater to the friend next to you, saying "Really? Is this movie never gonna end?!", bad. Oh, it was painful. So painful that even Clive Owens' smokin hot accent couldn't carry it. (And that, my friends, is saying something. Because his accent? It's... something else.)

Yeah, do not go see this movie. It's 2+ hours of your life that you'll never get back. Blagh...

The best damn waffles this side of the Rio Grand

As requested...

Waffles
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tab baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
cinnamon

Separate the two eggs. Beat the egg whites on high until they form stiff peaks. In a second bowl, beat/stir the egg yolks gently as you add the milk and oil. In a third (larger) bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and a dash of cinnamon.

Into bowl #3 (the dry ingredients bowl), add the yolk/milk/oil mixture. Stir until well blended. By now your egg whites should be where you need them to be (I whip them in the Kitchen Aid while I'm getting the other ingredients together, so they're good to go by the time I'm ready for them). Gently stir the egg whites into the batter - don't worry about breaking down the egg whites and actually mixing them in. (You WANT to have some lumps, because the lumps keep the waffles light and airy while they cook.)

Enjoy!

Yield: 5-6 Belgian waffles

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tradition!

As has been my custom for the past 15 or so years, I made waffles with strawberries & cream for breakfast/lunch today. Every April General Conference Sunday since, oh... I'd say 1995 (my first Spring in Provo), this has been the standard mid-day fare. Cousin Julie and I did it together for years (and Greg, Doug, Rustin and Brad would come over). When she got married and I came back to Arizona, I started a family tradition with my parents and younger sister. It's gotten to be such big thing with my folks that we'll talk about the fact that it's coming weeks ahead of time, and my mom and I will call and tell each other when we've picked up the goods and we're ready for Sunday morning to come. (She went to Bashas' yesterday and they were - get this - out of whipping cream and she had to settle for Cool Whip. How tragic is that?!)

Anyhoo... today was a great day at my house. (How could it not be? I had a quart of whipping cream on hand. I not only whipped it up for the top of the waffles, but I put half cream/half milk into the waffles themselves. Yeah, I know. It's like a heart attack on a plate. ... I heart cream.)

Here's a snapshot into my life for you. (And rest assured, the lumps you see in the batter are supposed to be there. They're the egg whites that I whipped and then gently folded in.)


And... here's a lovely shot of my lunch. Yeah, I know... that's almost a whole carton of strawberries and an unholy amount of whipped cream. And it's exactly the way that I like it. :-)


Seriously, these waffles are divine. As anyone who's ever gone to breakfast with me can attest, I order pancakes or Belgian waffles with strawberries & cream every time. That having been said (and I'm saying this, having eaten a copious amount of restaurant waffles), I'm pretty sure that I make the best damn waffles this side of the Rio Grand. I think it's the combination of the egg whites and the cinnamon. Oh, and my magic touch, of course. They're good. I mean... freakishly good. Which seems just about right for Conference weekend.

I love my life. I really, really do.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It really IS a wonderful life!

So, I had someone send me this little inspirational email at work today,

What you do makes a difference. What you think, what you say, what you take the time to understand makes a difference.

Life changes because you are part of it. And you can always make it change for the better.

Every moment, a new world is being born. You can make the world more beautiful and fulfilling than it has ever been before.

A positive and purposeful intention leads to effective, creative action. And suddenly, you've made the world a better place.



When I read that, my mind immediately went to one of my favorite movies EVER, It's A Wonderful Life. It's funny, I know, how I associate the movies and music of my youth with life. But I do it... Because I love them. I love the truth that can be found in film (and in music), and the tale of George Bailey is one of my favorites. Why? Because he was human. Ridiculously, almost tragically human. The upside of his humanity? He had a heart. A huge heart. And he changed people's lives, a whole town of them, for the better. Oh, how I love the example of George Bailey. This email this morning reminded me of him. So, in turn, I am reminding you of (or telling you about) him. If you've never seen the movie - do. It's one of my top ten favorites, easily. And could (and probably should) be watched any time of the year. There are so many lessons to learn in It's A Wonderful Life, not the least of which is that, often unwittingly and unknowingly, we have an effect on every person that we come in contact with. I love the sentiment "Remember no man is a failure who has friends". Oh, It's A Wonderful Life is a beautiful thing, in large part - I believe - because it helps me remember that life is a beautiful thing.