Friday, July 31, 2009

All Hands on Deck Granger!

First off let me tell you how my week has been.... for an illustration I would like to use a visual tool a la a calendar that Angela from the office might have (or anyone in my accounting department for that matter, hey-oh) :

Staying cool as a cucumber (or Obama) during this week? Failcat.
So it was my last week of Grad School and my stress-o-meter went so far below the orange line that Kramer would've been proud (Geez Lauren, stop watching so much syndicated TV you say.... well.... we'll get to that). After my group presentation on Tuesday I got this bad boy:

And then Wednesday morning as I went to turn on the TV to get ready to the sound of Matt Lauer telling me if the Jackson family had reached a custody arrangement yet (and other such info-tainment.. i want news people!) This happened (please view the following picture with lightening bolts).... a BROKEN TV

Which prompted me to go to Target over my lunchbreak to purchase a clock radio so I wouldn't have to get ready the next morning in silence (I need news, sorry itunes).

Except that exactly 20 minutes after I had gotten back to work I realized I lost my iphone (or rather left it in the radio aisle at target while i debated getting one that was an ihome)
All this stress made me need an emergency organization break. I'm not kidding. I'm such a control freak that when I get overloaded I just need to create a little order in my life. So 3 tiers and 9 compartments later my sewing kit got organized. WHEW that helped.

Except that yesterday afternoon I had a small meltdown as I attempted to run around like CRAZY to pull together my team's enormous proposal (20-70 pages with two pages of bullet pointed instructions on formatting and content), study for my final, and unplug my stupid work phone that was ringing itself of the hook.
Luckily for me (and anyone within stomping/yelling/punching distance) the class is OVER OVER OVER OVER OVER (as is yesterday, the most stressful day of my life) and I am officially an MBA. I can't wait to add those letters to my business card. Okay not really, but I am excited for them to imaginarily exist. *sigh* Even better? Open weeknights. MWAH it's a beautiful thing.
In other exciting news, in addition to NOT getting enough homework done this weekend. My nerdy partner-in-crime and BFF from high school came to KC so we could finally get a little of this in our lives:

In honor of her visit I made a YUMMY blueberry french toast bake that the iphone helped me find.
  • Cream Cheese
  • Blueberries
  • Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Eggs
  • Day old italian bread (technically it was fresh when i bought it so i cut it up and put a fan over it for a few hours... how macguyver is that?)
It was basically pouring sugar down your throat at 8 in the morning.... but like that's a bad thing.
In other news I got my parking ticket repealed, John is giving me an old TV of his (i'm not ready to jump on the $flat screen bandwagon... i kind of wish i didn't have a TV at all), the iphone was recovered just a few short hours after it's dissappearance (amber alert!!)..... I killed that test and now I am liberated of all things school.
Currently I am eating breakfast fruit at my desk and life is figuratively and literally a bowl (gladware) of cherries :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Aunt Anne... you are the greatest

There has been a package for me at the building across the street for an embarassingly long time. Unfortunately you have to be there during business hours to pick up packages (full work and school schedule make that tricky business for me)... so today, FINALLY I was able to be united with my rolling pin sent straight from THE FUTURE (or Iowa, however you want to look at it)

How great is this thing? And I might add... how GREAT is my food Aunt Anne for getting me cooking (and potentially making pizzas NOT in the shape of the continental United States... or perhaps just on purpose this time)
The FUTURE in baking tools. Does that make this like the dipping dots of kitchen gadgets?

Look how happy it is in its new home (although I will chill it prior to use... per it's instructions).

Which meant this bad boy on the counter is at MAXimum capacity.

Coolest food Aunt EVER :) Thanks Anne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Off Roading it

Hello lovelies! I can't tell you how GREAT it was to hang with my old college roomie this weekend. For a trip down memory lane... behold the small selection of scanned photos I have at my desk at the moment. Circa 2003 seemed like a long time ago didn't it? And how about this bad boy? P.S. Steph it's weird to see your hair that short... I feel like that is not how I remember it from yesteryear.Anyway in honor of her visit, I raced home from work to prepare the following snackies before we met up with our other friends.

The fruit/cheese/nut plate. FYI for maximum efficiency I assembled this exactly as is (the triscuits were still in their own bag) then I saran wrapped it several times so I could just pull it out of the fridge and unwrap. However the almonds got STALE. boo boo. lesson learned.

This was pre-made spin/artichoke dip that kelly brought over last weekend. In my processed food snobbery of the moment, I decided to thin it out with NF Plain yogurt.... it was a good move (considerably less gunky)... so yummy and oniony though :)

A SUPER easy bruschetta recipe that had the following:
  • tomatoes (obviously)
  • basil (mcduh)
  • garlic
  • parm
  • balsamic vinegar
  • EVOO
  • ?? eh can't remember (onions? does that sound right?)
And best of all.... SANGRIA! :) It was the same recipe I've used before:
  • merlot
  • ginger ale
  • gin
  • oranges
  • lemons
  • limes
  • strawberries
  • love.... the most important ingredient.
It was fun getting ready and pretending to have a roomie full-time live-in fashion consultant again! We headed over to our friend's house who has the most adorable front porch ever... which is where a group of us sat, chatted, boozed, reminisced, joked, and she smoked while we attempted divine intervention:

Ash-tray art/miracle. She's catholic so maybe that guilty conscience will start creepin' in. Then we went to the bar where a purse set of the alphabet and numbers in post-it notes came in pretty handy as we schemed our way out of paying the cover. FYI.. this lady turned 26 two weeks ago.... NOT 33.

She was having fun though... i think she convinced herself it WAS her birthday. The letters started falling off so we borrowed some scotch tape from the bartender and wrapped it around her torso 5 times. CLASSY. but hilarious... right?

The highlight of my life was when we tried to walk to the next bar a few blocks away. Trying to use a shortcut we found ourselves trapped at the end of a parking lot, and someone's brilliant idea was just to hop down off a wall and cross the street to where we need to be. Brilliant.. right? I don't think ANYONE'S shoes or cat-like-reflexes were ready for ........

Falling into the bushes. MWAHAHA (below is me holding my friend's cigarette and falling down laughing)

We celebrated our hiking/mounting scaling success by romping in some fountains by our destination and wall summit. (please not the masking tape still around miss 33rd birthday)

All that work for a bar that was SUPER packed.

We hung around and played with letters anyway.

And decided that we don't need third party vendors to laugh all night long. Spontaneity makes for the most hilarious of evenings.. no? Anyway all in all it was a FABULOUS weekend. I celebrated it's coming to a close by preparing a vegan take on Chili Mac:
  • WW elbows
  • onion
  • spinach
  • kidney beans
  • tomato sauce
  • chili powder
  • crushed red pepper

John liked it (GASP!)...
Hope errrrrrrybody had a crazy fun weekend.. and a Manic Monday. Later gaters.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Rhythm is Gonna Get Cha..

One of my besties came in town last weekend (and brace yourself, another one's coming this weekend) ... and in honor we decided to catch up over a couple bottles of wine. Snacks.... obviously... were in order. Have I discussed Paula Deen's secret VEGAN recipe? The queen of butter and fried things accidentally made something healthy. It had to have been an accident, and what a delicous and healthy one that it was. She has an amazing black bean salsa recipe that includes the following:
  • tomatoes
  • black beans
  • corn
  • avocado
  • onion
  • cilantro
  • red wine vinegar
  • lime juice

ridiculously easy and heaven on a stick. I make big batches of this and eat it all week long (with fish, with cream cheese as a queso, in quesadillas, tex mex breakfast scramble...the options are endless).

I made a BIG 'ole batch to take to a Hog Roast the next day too. It was hit.. mostly because i was spreading rumors of how good it was. Also I made Zesty Cook's (food blogger extraordinaire) super easy greek dip. It basically included the following:
  • cream cheese (like you could go wrong after that)
  • feta
  • NF plain yogurt
  • dill
  • tomatoes
  • olives
  • green onions

it was also supposed to have cucumbers but i forgot to add them to my grocery list..... so..... you know how that goes. Anyway with warm pita bread it was heaven.

Amy grabbed triscuits, some sort of summer sausagy thing and a delicous new kind of herbed cheese that for the life of me i can't remember it's name. This was the kind of gourmet lunchable that pseudo adults like us just LOVE.

Emily made fried green beans. She used some seasoned flour and fried them. With ranch they were SO good.
After mucho catching up and killing a few bottles of wine we got ready (this all went down just after work on friday, necessitating quick snacks and brief wardrobe changes). While we listened to some serious MJ hits and decided to be 'man in the mirror'

Which lead to this....
Which lead to a suggestion (I think emily gets the credit for this).. for pulling out a pair of white knit gloves from an OLD winter stash of warm things. It made it out with us for dance party madness. In recapping the evening the next morning on the phone with my mother she asked what others thought of us. Truthfully...... not sure. We actually just walked to bar area, proceeded to dance out in the open (where there's a DJ but no cover, etc.) and then go home. We actually had little interaction with others (minus friends of ours that were nearby and met up/hung out/dance partied too)
Lots of moonwalking happened too... I'm just saying.


Monday, July 6, 2009

233 Years of Awesomeness

Happy Birthday America (okay technically that's 2 days belated).... I was celebrating our nation's birth in true americana style... the only thing missing was the gorgeous weather (very present on July 3rd and 5th.. go figure) Friday we spent 6 brief hours in the car to get to fam in Iowa. We went to dinner theater featuring best of Monty Python. How great is that?

They had cake. And Booze. And encouraged people to sing 'always look on the bright side of life' and there was whistling involved, which is not my forte. I end up doing a lot of spitting. Over cake. boo for that.
On the fourth we got to Judge the parade!! The town has 600ish people (is that a good estimate, family?) and the turn-out was undoubtedly hampered by the subzero temperatures. Seriously despite checking my iphone every 5 minutes for weather conditions I failed to adequately pack for the forecasted gloomy weather. What i brought was a sundress and sandals. What i SHOULD have brought was sweatpants tucked into rain boots. And puff paint, obviously, to decorate the sweatpants in all of their 4th of July glory.

It was still really fun though. Minus when Dad did this (he was just kidding though)

My sister, John (in a poncho... pause for laughter..) and I as my uncle gives us instructions on how to judge the float entries.

In a fierce pro and con deliberating session. Judging floats isn't easy, you know.
Discussing the float with the goat on it (there was one with chickens too!) ... I think we gave it 2nd place in its category. John found it hilarious that they were holding he umbrella over the goat..... considering I had requested that he hold the umbrella over me all morning.
The night ended with watching a big fireworks display over the Mississippi River. It was perfect :) !

On to the eats! This week I found a recipe for a california roll salad. It was MUCHO interesting (or should that be reserved for mexican entries?) how about it was most interesting? Anyway it had:
  • torn nori strips
  • sesame seeds
  • imitation crab meat (i know, i know, it's super processed)
  • avocado
  • cucumbers
  • lettuce
  • Jasmine rice (i know, i know, it's white and not the healthier option either)
  • soy sauce/ginger/rice wine vinegar

the recipe had some sort of combo for the salad dressing, but it looked/smelled weird when I attempted it (through no fault of the recipe i'm sure)... but i thought this was creative and yummy. Just like the 'ole california roll and it satisfied my sushi craving for days!

Next up for my interesting eats last week was this little Ellie Krieger gem from her cookbook. The Shrimp/Tomato Bake had:
  • shrimp
  • diced tomatoes
  • feta
  • onion
  • seasonings

Just how I like it, a SHORT ingredient list! Actually this was pretty good, John even liked it (gasp!) We had it served over orzo and had big crusty sourdough bread and corn on the cob with it too.. YUMM.

I hope everyone had a FABULOUS 4th of July!