Thursday, May 28, 2009

So there i was.... minding my own business....

Okay, not to get all iphone on you, but I have been reunited with itunes (we were on a money saving/no additional computer memory hiatus for a few months) and it . is . Glorious.

So last night after watching a PBS documentary on 'In The Heights' the AMAZING Broadway musical, I proceeded to download a bunch of showtunes that I love (we didn't have cable or neighbors growing up, and mom would rent us musicals from the library.. I am a fan) .... and itunes suggested I download a Song from 'A Chorus Line'. Now, itunes knows my musical tastes pretty well by now. However.... How they KNEW I was in a summer theater workshop as a kid and performed this very act (at both a theater and the county fair) I will never know. Well played itunes/stalking, well played.

So there I was... on my way back from lunch and listening to my new sweet musical tunes and I get excited to start pretending to tap dance to 'one singular sensation' when this came on instead....

WHAT??????? I accidentally downloaded the GERMAN VERSION of the song by accident. MWAHAHAH.... It sounded a lot less appealing. Kind of harsh actually. Oh those mean-sounding Germans.

So then... I got to thinking. Where did I see a picture from that very song/performance? And then I looked around. And then....randomly... for no reason whatsoever, I located said picture at my desk. My desk? My bewilderment is the internet's gain. Check out my SWEET cumberbun and bowtie (I'm second from the right... with approximately the same haircut i have now)

But again, for no apparent reason, I have the second photo in this series at my desk also (which is WAY better by the way).

Behold my brother now (or at least what you can find as his FB profile pic)

And Brother then. In front. Yes that one.

Oh what his former Navy shipmates would say. Also, for kicks.... (and because this is supposed to be a food blog for crying out loud) I took a photo of lunch. Note I took a page out of brooke's blog to try to create art via ketchup. Too bad that stuff came out so quickly instead of a margarita glass I made a gametime decision to do a pointy blob.
Ahhh art. Interpret, if you will. Is it a flower? Is it a sun? Is it a self portrait of a grow-your-own-boyfriend doll? (shout out to kostas). Art is love people, art is love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Technology Upgrades and a Staycation

Happy post-Memorial Day! Oh man... as someone who semi-lives out of my car/suitcase, it feels pretty strange to be staying in town the one weekend where everyone and their dog is traveling to a lake or 3-day weekend destination. John and I had a very grown up weekend (nearly everything we did had more old people and families than kids our own age). I always am wanting to experience what my own city has, so John and I decided to have a KC tourist-themed weekend.

But first, let's start with the most exciting thing that happened this week/year/century/A.D.. Perhaps you've seen me cruising around town looking like this: Well... after four years, I thought perhaps it was time to upgrade (yes, it is possible to have a phone that long, and yes, i felt like Oprah would be proud of how 'simple' my life is with my lack of technology). Behold the cell from 2005:

Behold, the cell as of Thursday evening:

TA-DA!!!! I solemnly swear not to be one of those obnoxious i-phone people who insist their device is the answer to everything and bring it up in nearly every conversation *cough* my brother *cough* BUT... it is great. After just 2 days I had four pages of apps. Yowza.

Satuday was all abou the Great American BBQ festival. Too bad it turned out to be the red headed step child of KC's HUGE bbq festival (the american royal) in the fall. Is it bad that it made John and I missed how classy the state fair was?
It had a lot of old-timey root beer. I love things that are old-timey. Do you see where it says deep fried twinkies on the sign? awesome... and gross... but still awesome. I resisted. Does that make me awesome?
We didn't stay long because it was 90+ degrees (creeping up in boy band territory) and on miles of hot asphalt. Also we walked right past the free samples place and it was closed by the time we figured out where it was. Ahhhh nuts. There was a country-esque band playing that was good.... but kind of hilarious in their name/marketing pitch. Miss Major and her Minor Mood Swings (or something to that effect) that stressed how much SASS they had. Awesome. I love these country festivals. (and below for your viewing pleasure, a not so photogenic photo of two heat exhausted people)

Sunday we hit up the World War I Museum. It's the only WWI Museum in the country (there's not even one in DC, isn't that crazy?) and let me tell you, it's awesome. It ranks right up there with Museums/Memorials on the Mall... if not outshining them. We only gave ourselves an hour to go through, but spent the whole time saying we need to come back when we have 10 hours. Good stuff, people.

Then John and I had a picnic in-between Union Station and the Liberty Memorial/WWI Museum. The Kansas City Symphony played as they shot fireworks off from behind the memorial. It was really neat... (minus when the 50,000 people there... no seriously, that's how many they estimated, tried to leave the same parking garages at the same time)

There was a lot of saluting and paying tribute to the troops. I kind of felt like I was cheating on the fourth of July with these moments.

Monday was a Royals Game. BOO they lost. 9 to nothing. And it rained. However the new stadium renovations look AWESOME.

Then we tried to go to the renovated movie theater a few blocks from my apartment. They've got recliners and all you can eat seats and we were STOKED. However, the show was sold out. So... obviously... we went for redbox and a trip to the bakery down the street.

And then John fell in love with Red Velvet Cake.

Hope your holiday weekend was fabulous!! :) I'm getting a facial tonight (woohoo) and then this week will be cooking up a storm. A healthy storm. A Hurricane of vegetables and other good things. Eh?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting my hair did and business as usual

I've probably mentioned how important philanthropy is to me. It's all about the little people... and the children. The sick, the elderly, the list of people not allowed in the hot tub, etc. etc.

So obviously the reason I wasn't around to cook this weekend was for all of my charitable cancer pub crawling.

Last week I did make a baked eggplant parmish dish (minus any breading, frying, etc.. it was mostly just homemade sauce and mozz cheese).

I sliced and rinsed the eggplant, salted and drained for 30 minutes. Like PRO I might add. Then I made a homemade spaghetti sauce using the following:

  • tiny can tomato sauce

  • regular can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 Tablespoons-ish of chopped Kalamato Olives

  • Mushrooms (the rest of the gourmet mix from the martha disaster last week)

  • Zucchini

  • lots of italian seasoning

  • some crushed red pepper

I'm no mathmatician but that = awesome

(HA .. i kill me)

I baked it for an indeterminante amount of time and a few minutes before taking it out I dangerously stuck my hand in the oven (forgetting that I have been accident prone to ovens for about 26 years now) and narrowly missed burning off my had for melting cheese.

It would've been worth it... it was delicous (had it with LOTS of corn on the cob and steamed kale... btw... steamed kale, kind of bleh).

Also I CUT 12 INCHES OFF OF MY HAIR ON THURSDAY. DO YOU WANT ME TO STOP SHOUTING? Whew. Alright i guess there was sort of a spoiler in the CFC pics above. So.. I have no idea what the heck to do with it. Regret is a strong word, because I love short hair... but I am clueless. On the other hand, bobby pins and I have become bery good friends over the last week or so.

Oh yeah, and I'm in CHICAGO all week (YAY).. except I'm just working and not really being cool (boooo). Hope you're week is awesome sauce, or as homegirl brooke would say, BOSSY.

love your faces

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yet Another Installment of 'Lauren Cannot Bake'

Or maybe, lauren has zero cooking intuition and common sense. Oi. So there is this recipe from Martha Stewart that is categorized as easy. Psshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhah, right. For a ROCKET scientist.

I was enthused by my new free time on Monday nights (and i got to watch gossip girl for the first time in forever, i had no idea what was going on but still enjoyed it and was inspired to wear more pearls and headbands), and my new ingredient: the grourmet mushroom mix. Cremini, Shitake, and yellow something or other made the list. They looked so fancy and interesting... I was already proud of myself.

I purchased the phyllo dough and immediately dumped it on my counter (which was a lightly floured surface, direction #1... followed). I then immediately proceeded to unroll it, even as it broke into pieces. I rechecked the directions... it was supposed to be thawed (direction #2 not followed). AH NUTS.

So I decided to toss the most hopelessly broken sheets and try to double/triple/quadruple up the semi broken ones for good measure in holding it together. I put the mushroom/onion mix in the corners and tried to wet/crease the sides to fold. Note to self: not pretty. So not pretty.

On the baking sheet... trying their best to make it work... bless their little hearts.

See Martha's picture:See the burnt flaky mess of mine below. The saving grace for my appetite was the sauteed zucchini and the corn on the cob (with lime juice and sea salt... a little DELICIOUS and tangy tip I picked up from the fatfreevegan.. i'll never go back to butter... seriously)

Two forkfulls into it and I was in a pit of slightly burnt flakes. Newsflash, I used way too many sheets at once (thanks a lot for specifying martha) and apparently my oven was too hot. too hot for the hot tub. too hot for my mushroom hotpockets.

.... and then i gave up.
And then Peyton died or something on One Tree Hill. It was a stressful time in my apartment.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Smartest Post Yet

Helloooooooooooooooooooooo! I'm not even going to apologize for not having food stories/pictures/etc. I'm not going to apologize for the ridiculous amounts of decadent or greasy food that came my way (or cookies, hello). I graduated this weekend. And life is good. And now.... a photo montage.

check the fancy hood in the back of the master's gown. BTW.... master's sleeves make awesome hand puppets. I'm pretty sure that's what they're there for. I'm also pretty sure two degrees doesn't make you any more mature.

The lovely people in my life willing to sit through a ceremony in a stuffy auditorium with random groups of people making jerry springer-esque whoops and cat calls every few minutes.

The next day... PAR..TAY. Best cookie aunt EVA. sent some flair. love love love Aunt Theresa's cookies. Despite the fact that she put cookies for my sister in there too for hilarity. grrrrrr.

The other graduate and myself (except she's actually finished... ahem).

The first good picture John and I have taken since 2004. Family came! Shout out to the FABULOUS relatives from Iowa (and mid-mo) that came all the way for the event... (esp. grandma and aunt anne!!!! :) If I haven't mentioned it before, I have a pretty amazing family!
Friends came too. (one was in town from Alaska!).
And last... but certainly not least... the party came. oh yeah. hello half-robot dance i love.

This is the first Sunday night in two years that I don't have homework (okay, gross exaggeration, but whatever). Which means in addition to being in a general recovery state, I have been using the ivillage haircut finder. I get my haircut Thursday. Any ideas?
Man.... I can't wait to use all of my higher education to whip up something this week ( see what i did there? tying everything in?)
Secrest Out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Green Monster Club Initiation

I know what you're thinking.
But it's not that kind of Monster. The immense relief and freedom I currently feel with being FINISHED with school-- don't get carried away says the voice in the back of my head (which btw sounds a lot like Bea Arthur most days, and I'm pretty sure it dissaproves of blanche and would wear a lot of cardigans and sensible shoes if it could)... you still have a summer class. Well true... but I am looking forward to cooking and reconnecting with physical fitness. Not that we've ever connected. But whatever (p.s. when do the endorphins kick in so that you start loving it?)

Anyway, elsewhere in the blogworld It seems summer fitness, committment to diligently washing face/teeth/hair/self are all the rage. I'm not sure I can get all of that in all of that in at once (shall I give you a moment to be grossed out?) For baby steps, I made a pricey trip to walgreens to replenish toiletries, reminded myself where the treadmill is in my building, and bought flax seed. It felt like a weird health food thing to do, like I was being initiated into a club of healthy people. There in the supermarket check out, feeling SOOOO much healthier than the lady behind me with a bag of cheetos, I pictured Richard simmons cheering me on. And then I wished I had some sequinned shorts, and then I promised myself if I ate enough flax smoothies I could get some. And then I realized I was holding up the line.

Today started with a leafy green smoothies sure to hold all of the answers to my body/skin ailments of late (stress induced, i'm guessing). SO. Here I am, jumping on the bandwagon. Attempting to fill my life and my bod with earthy, greeny goodness.

Ingredients (per Angela at OSG)
Green Monster
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Tbsp milled flax seed
  • 1 cup spinach leaves

the Delta Zeta cup (holla!) was for leftovers in the car for work... in the event that happened. which it didn't.

The verdict? Not as gross as I thought it might be. In fact, despite the fact that the flax made it semi grainy, and my particular measurements seemed to make it thin-ish (as opposed to finnish, which it is not, but what i accidentelly typed twice instead), it could've been a naked Juice in another life. To which I say...hazzah!

I took two pictures and posted both because i couldn't decide whether the monster looked better showing off it's fancy new Derby glass or it's nice view of the KC skyline from the sofa in front of Matt Lauer before it realized it was 6 minutes late for work already.

P.S. Guess who graduates tomorrow?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mint Juleps and our Hat-Tastic Day at the Derby

Greetings! Soooooooo.... here I am again, foodless, cookless, and with only parties to discuss on the blog. Why, you say, am I blogging and not stuyding for tonight's finals? Possibly because I did some fast math and realized that no outcome of tonight's test will change my solid B in the class. The result. Procratination. Again. As usual. Senioritus.. to the tenth power.

But let's get to the good stuff, shall we? Emily wins friend of the year for sitting in my apartment, sewing a black hanger into my hat as I arrived home Thursday evening.
We were so happy with the result. We treated ourselves to happy hour downstairs. Or rather, her boyfriend bought us a few beers. To thank him, I ate the vegetables out of his wings basket.
Friday morning John and I set out on our car trip equipped with audio books from the library:

Hats, jackets, homework, snacks (trail mixes, bananas, almond butter, annie's organic bunnies (yummm) and other healthy treats). The cooler was filled with veggie sandwiches for lunch, bagged strawberries/bananas, water, and of course Kansas City Boulevard beer for our hostess :)

After getting in late on Friday and checking the weather like it was our JOB, Saturday finally came!!! We lucked out on the weather which was neither freezing or raining (both of which seemed inevitable). After parking at the end of the earth and shuttling in to Churchill downs... behold this heavenly sight:

I was surprised that not EVERY female was wearing a hat, I'd still say about 80% (come on people, when in Rome..) There were a lot of fun people in costumes and out-of-control-awesome hats though.. check it:

This was us inside our little area, otherwise known as the infield club. The stadium was way out of our league (high rollers, celebrities, those with connections, etc.) the infield in general seemed a sloppy, muddy, mess (with port-a-pots.... can you even DO that in a hat and sundress??). We settled on the infield 'club' which seemed the happy medium. Hellllooooooooooo no mud and real-ish bathrooms
There was also a dance floor... which we OWNED.

Word on the street is there were 150k plus people there... which i would beleive. We really didn't experience any unpleasant crowd rowdiness except in and out of our area... where the only thing that comes to mind is 'crush of humanity'.

The horse that I smuggled into/onto the hat.

We're so VIP

Despite being SO CLOSE to the track (50 yards maybe?) We watched the races via the large screens.

Who the heck is Mine that Bird???

Our worthless bet tickets got thrown on the ground (sorry al gore... but littering in for the sake of poor gambling choices seemed totally appropriate).

But hey, we sort of saw the track as we were leaving.. right?

All in all, it was fabulous. This week I will be GRADUATING, and maybe, just maybe, will eat between now and then. Stay tuned.