Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Xmas Eve Equals Quiche

For a few years early in our relationship, CPM and I would spend Xmas eve with his side of the family. His aunt always made quiche. Now, we practice a form of "pretend Xmas is not happening" while together, and I give gifts to our nieces and nephews who are still too young to understand our form of Scroogedom. I still miss the Xmas eve quiche.

Thus, this past Xmas eve, I was searching the interwebz for a quiche recipe. I wanted it to be cheesy and mushroomy. I found a couple that looked promising, then decided to just wing it. Did I take a picture of the finished product? Nope. Because we didn't get to eat the darn quiche on Xmas eve. My beloved spouse is frequently called to perform "emergency heating service calls." Which means he got home too late, and I was already gone to celebrate Xmas with my side of the family. The finished quiche sat in the fridge for 3 days until we had a chance to eat it. It was still terrific. Here's what I did.

1 pie crust (I make my own, feel free to use a refrigerated version)
2 8oz packages of mushrooms, sliced (wild, portabella, whatever)
Some oil of some kind to saute stuff in
1 medium onion, diced
1 package of tempeh bacon, chopped
1 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed in microwave
4 oz goat cheese
5 eggs
1/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup greek yogurt
A sprinkle of parmigiano regianno/romano/some other stinky cheese
salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie crust in deep dish pie pan. Crimp edges, then refrigerate crust while you cook up the rest of the ingredients.

Saute mushrooms, onions, and tempeh bacon in a pan until the mushrooms have become soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thaw the spinach in the microwave and squeeze the water out.

In a big bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, and greek yogurt. This mixture will have a thick, custardy texture.

Get the pie crust from the fridge. Dump the mushroom/bacon/onion mixture in the bottom of the pie pan.

Spread the goat cheese over this layer.

Spread the spinach over the goat cheese.

Pour the egg mixture over everything.

Sprinkle the stinky cheese of your choice on the top.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 40 minutes or until the egg has set.

I can attest that this lasted really well in the fridge for several days. To reheat, I put it in a 350 degree oven for an hour. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh the drama.

As much as I appreciate my life suddenly becoming "blog worthy," I could do without all of the personal drama.

Somehow I misplaced my keys yesterday...both car and house. After looking in all of the usual places (various surfaces throughout the house) and the unusual places (refrigerator, trash cans, cupboards, etc.), I can only postulate that I dropped them outside. This means that:

a. Keys are buried underneath a four foot high snow drift in my yard, and will reappear sometime in the spring.

b. Keys were dropped right outside my back door and have been retrieved by the helpful people who have been breaking into cars and garages in the neighborhood lately.

CPM is spending the morning changing all of the locks on the house and I'm taking our car to the dealer to be reprogrammed. Great. This is exactly how I wanted to spend that Amex gift card that I got yesterday.

Edited later: I am an asshole. The whole time we were freaking out, the keys were sitting on a kitchen chair that was pushed under the kitchen table. They must have slid off the table during my morning prep routine of piling shit there as I get ready to leave. Thankfully, CPM was able to return all of the new locks that he purchased, and I canceled my reprogramming appointment. Let this be a lesson to me: I should not combine a full dose of Benadryl with a full dose of cough syrup, no matter how badly I am coughing at night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Snowing. I'm Sewing.

I owe this blog to Jaime. Last night was supposed to be her Mad Men themed holiday cookie exchange. Unfortunately, her little girl came down with a stomach plague earlier in the week, necessitating the postponement of the one holiday party I actually look forward to attending. Boo, stomach germs! Boo, puking. Boo!

As part of the party, invitees were instructed to come dressed in clothing inspired by Mad Men. I decided that this meant I should make something. I found someone's entry on the Sew Retro Blog and admired the dress made with Simplicity 3673. So, I decided to try it.

I used some suiting fabric that I had in my stash (leftover from when my mother in law worked for Jones New York...she had an unending supply of designer fabric remnants). I lined the top with leftover pieces of an Ikea Gaspa sheet (very silky smooth, and easier to work with than normal lining). I really should have lined the whole thing, to cover all the unfinished seams (don't have a serger yet), but the dress has 8 darts. That would have meant sewing all 8 darts twice. No thank you. I'm all about instant gratification and being lazy whenever possible.

Altogether, I spent several evenings working on the dress. I've learned that more complicated patterns are better split up in this way. I make fewer mistakes and am way more careful. There are still a few wonky points, but thanks to the super black fabric, you don't really notice them all that much.

A self portrait would be nice, but thanks to crappy winter lighting and a broken tripod, you get this:

Simplicity 3673

Rest assured, it fits rather well. Well done, me!

I spent this morning in my PJs, alternately sweeping up snow from my front steps (hello to the blizzard of 2009), playing with my dogs in the snowy yard, and working on another version of Simplicity 3835, the Built by Wendy top/tunic that everyone in the world of sewing has made at one time or another. I myself have made two other versions. This time, I decided that I wanted a casual bathing suit cover-up for my upcoming trip to Hawaii, so I went with the tunic length, but used the elastic neck instead of the zip up back. This meant that I was able to omit the center back seam, and just cut the back piece on the fold, which was nice, because I used a striped Kaffe Fasset cotton, and matching lines would have been irritating.

I experimented for the first time with french seams on this project (again, no serger for seam clean up). I used this tutorial. They were super easy, and look very nice.

Still, the neck elastic casing is a little messy, and I think I may have twisted the elastic during insertion, but eh, I'm only wearing this to the beach. It doesn't look too bad. It's very muumuuish, which is appropriate for Hawaii.

Simplicity 3835

I have plans to make another version of this in a different print. Maybe later tonight, between shoveling snow and eating these cookies that I made.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And now for what I did all weekend...

Now that I've ranted about my stolen sunglasses (shaking fist at the world), I can tell you what I did this weekend. I read! Two whole books! And then watched a movie! In other words, there was a whole lot of loafing going on! And lo, it was wonderful.

On Friday night, I sped through The Abortionist's Daughter. It was a pretty entertaining murder mystery, which is surprising, since I don't really enjoy these too regularly. Why, you ask? Well, because I have an uncanny ability to predict (book/movie/tv/etc.) endings, and most mysteries are entirely too predictable for me. For instance, in this one, I knew who the bad guy was right away, but the book remained entertaining because it was interesting to see how the characters were going to figure this information out. That, and I had nothing on television calling me away, and no one to play Facebook Scrabble with.

On Saturday, I read The Heretic's Daughter (apparently, I was on some kind of thematic kick at the library on Friday). This book was really good, if a bit dark. I cried through about 30 pages and just couldn't put it down until the end. I also didn't shower until 4:30pm on Saturday, and only managed to do laundry and clean up leaves before the gloomy rain/snow storm set in, so I was in the mood to sit on my ass and read a book before dinner. Unfortunately, I selected a book that gave me another reason to be ashamed of my Waspy heritage, but there was a semi happy ending, so I'm okay with it.

On Saturday night, the spouse and I happened upon the film Taken. Watch this if you want to watch Liam Neeson kick people's asses for 90 minutes. That's the main plot: kicking bad guys asses, also shooting bad guys and stabbing bad guys. It was fun, and killed time before bed. Enough said.

Stay tuned for next week's blog entitled: Why I Should Sue Showtime for Stress Related Injuries alternately titled Dexter is Giving Me a Heart Attack.

I hate people.

After this weekend, I can now say that all of my vehicles have been broken into right in front of or behind my house. In the course of ten years living at one address, I have owned three different cars. All of them at one time or another have been entered by someone that didn't belong inside them.

The first victim was my 1996 Geo Tracker. It had a soft top. Prior to moving to our "nice" neighborhood, it had been violated at least three times. Of course, this was to be expected in a car that had a zipper on the rear window. I learned to never keep anything of value in the car. Once, while at school, I returned to my car to actually see a thief running away with my rear side panels, containing my stereo speakers, in his arms. That car looked like a big time hooptey. I kept it because it was so cute. I got rid of it because the last thief to enter it decided to cut the plastic window and break a portion of the anchoring system to get in. (He got away with a set of Walmart stereo speakers, a big score!) This enraged me. Why didn't he just unzip the rear window like all of the other thieves? I traded up to my Chevy Malibu the night after discovering this crime. I was tired of being a target.

My Chevy (with it's actual roof and real windows) fared better. She was only violated one time, while parked on the street on the side of my house (easily viewable from the living room windows). Coincidentally, I had just loaded up the ashtray with ten dollars in quarters, for meter parking on weekend excursions to the city. I remember being so proud that I was so well prepared. That same night, I forgot to lock the car doors. The next day, those quarters were gone. I blamed myself for my carelessness, vowing to always remember to lock all of the car doors, especially whenever I wasn't parked in my driveway behind my house.

After nine years and only the one theft, I moved up to my new baby, the Honda CRV. She is spoiled. I feel guilty whenever she isn't parked in the driveway, like I'm putting her at risk of injury. I always remember to click the lock button on the key, only feeling safe when I hear the car beeping back to me that she's armed. Somehow, I must have forgotten to do this last Friday night. I came home from my sister's house and parked in my driveway. I can only think that I was in a rush, because I was hungry, wanted to make myself dinner, and still had to let my dogs out to pee. I think I forgot to lock the car. But it was in my driveway, with the ultra bright motion sensing halogen lights of death! Apparently, car thieves don't care about motion sensing lights. Sometime on Friday night, some asshole went into my car, rooted through my glove compartment and console storage unit. They piled everything on my passenger seat: ATM deposit envelopes, tissues, iPhone chargers, Fossil non prescription sunglasses, work ID badge, etc. It was only when driving in the bright sunlight yesterday that I realized what was missing: my prescription sunglasses. So, to the world's most idiotic car thief, I say this: I hope you are as near sighted as I am. Otherwise, those glasses are useless to you. Asshole. I hope you die of swine flu.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I suppose...

I should be writing about how awesome our Thanksgiving was. It was. We ate with our close friends. The only bad side: their lovely lovely lovely little girl is afraid of CPM and refused to sit at the table with him. Thus, she spent Thanksgiving picnicking in their living room. I admit, he does look a little scary right now, all unshaven and sporting his long hair. Still, I'm hoping she outgrows this by next year, because it bums me out that our friends can't have a special holiday meal with their daughter.

Lovely table setting.

I should also be writing about our post-Thanksgiving trip to Toronto, where we met up with another set of close friends and their 2 year old son. I took maybe 6 pictures the entire weekend, because we spent most of the time walking the city. I walked holes into 3 pair of socks, and practically broke my feet, because I am an old lady, and my orthotics are not as great as they should be. It was cold, and we saw the sun only a few moments on both days that we were there. But we ate incredible food, including some delicious chocolates. We learned about Yo Gabba Gabba from a baby who spoke french, spanish, and very little english. I bought a cool necklace made by this Canadian jewelry person. It was a good weekend.

My recommended food establishments:

Strong Hearts Cafe, Syracuse, NY
Strong Hearts Cafe, Syracuse, NY

The above is the only food related photo that I took on the entire trip, and it doesn't even feature food. Trust me, though, the food was worth the four hour drive. It was exactly what I needed half-way through the 8 hour drive to Toronto (which stretched to 10 hours after a long ass border crossing wait). I actually looked forward to stopping here on the way home.

In Toronto, we enjoyed:

Fressen, Toronto
. Delicious fancy vegan food. Make reservations to ensure you get a table.

Fresh Restaurant (we ate breakfast at the Spadina location). Tasty quick vegan breakfast. The pancakes were a little blah, but the tofu scramble was tasty, as was the vegan sausage.

Harvey's Harvey's gets its own paragraph.

Harvey's is a fast food chain, like McDonald's (except better), and is only found in Canada (that I know of). Harvey's makes the most incredible veggie burger that I have ever tasted. They also custom build the burger to your specifications. Finally, the menu features poutine, perhaps the most delicious junk food item to ever be invented (fries + cheese + brown gravy = awesome). On every trip to Canada, I must have Harvey's. On this trip, we saved up our Harvey's visit for Sunday night dinner (oooh fancy). We walked (a really long way in the cold rain) to where we thought there was a Harvey's, and found no Harvey's. Oops. We then hopped on the closest subway to head to the Union Station Harvey's (which I knew existed because I had mapped it as closest location to my hotel...yes, I am insane). We get off at Union Station, and still couldn't find the place. We wandered around a bit, and finally had to ask a security guard for directions...turns out Harvey's was right above us, in the actual station waiting area. Good lord. When I finally bit into that burger, even though they forgot my cheese, it was still the greatest meal I had ever eaten.
Note to American fast food restaurants: why haven't you sent your spies to Harvey's and stolen their veggie burger recipe? I mean, I'm glad, for my diet's sake, that there isn't a Harvey's within a reasonable driving distance of me, but still, it would be nice to be able to tempt myself with the occasional poutine purchase...