Friday, December 17, 2010

I MET BILL CLINTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I was going to blog this week about the epic birthday party I went to, or perhaps the obscene Christmas cookie making, or even the New Orleans trip chalk full of good food content.

No.  This waits for no man.  For yesterday the Universe smiled upon me.  Birds sang.  The sun was shining.  It was beautiful.

First, let's back up.  I have had a framed autographed picture of Bill since I was ten.  I voted for Hillary.  I am unabashedly pro Clinton.  My desire to be among them is second only to my desire to marry into the Kennedy family. 

My brother is back for the holidays and last week suggested that I take a day off work for us to road trip to Little Rock to see the Clinton Presidential Library.  From Kansas city it is approximately 7 hours each way.  That's 14 hours of driving (through some freezing rain no less) and only 2 hours in Little Rock.  It was crazy.  It was fun. 

Hey Arkansas, how You doin'?

Mad camera aiming skills (PS here we're still on the Missouri side and still freezing.. so ready to make it to sunny AR and their 54 degrees!)

At last!! We made it around 1 pm.  Pay no attention to the guy out front on foursquare and facebook telling the world his location.

Hooray for the Presidential Library!!! (steve holt)

In the exact replica of the cabinet meeting room. 

Sitting in the president's chair.  Those cost 20K each, so keep the swiveling to a minimum, will ya?

Signing up our friends and family for the email list.  You're welcome Dad!

In an exact replica of Clinton's oval office. Check out the Remington, just like yours Dad!

And best for last.  We only had 1.5-2 hours to spend there and then we HAD to get back on the road (as it was I got home at midnight).  We walked down the street to the Clinton bookstore to load up on memorabilia. There were secret service everywhere in the store so we wanted to loiter as long as possible to see if anything happened.  Our library tour guide had said Bill was in town for the library's Christmas Party that night  (if you're wondering if we considering applying to work there, you are correct). 

I was in the back of the shop, and the back door opens and BILL CLINTON and his entourage step through.  I was only two feet away and was the first thing that he saw.  I clearly looked as though I was going into cardiac arrest (an alarming sight to pass I would imagine), so he stopped and shook my hand and asked me my name.  I'm not entirely sure what I told him but I did ask to take a picture.  Unfortunately I COULD NOT find my camera or my phone anywhere in my purse.  This may have had something to do with the my speech and motor skills failing me at the time. (dear God Lauren find your camera say something funny/charming/hilarious/memorable).  The secret service told him they needed to keep moving. I yelled at Bret who was ten feet away to grab his camera.  Apparently he had been fumbling for it in his pocket anyway and then proceeded to drop it on the floor.  A secret service guy took the photo.  They walked out of the room.  Then Bret and I died with happiness.  We left the shop and went next door to celebrate with beer and call the family and put this baby on the internet PRONTO.

 Lack of playing-it-cool aside, this was one of the most exciting moments of my life, and the best Christmas present ever.  Hooray!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So... for Thanksgiving I brought home ingredients, recipes, a camera and a little determination for food blogging.  Except that my camera was dead and dad's memory cards were full by lunch time.  Picture Fail.  I also took a break (which might imply that I hard started to cook, which would be misleading) to run a Paul Bunyion-esque errand with dad.  There may or may not have been axes used as photos props. 


We returned home to find Thanksgiving dinner basically cooked.  Sister was not impressed that dad and I skipped out.  But it couldn't have been as bad as the time we were left out in the cold for hours to suffer through a football game.

Yes that was much less pleasant.

However in light of no cooking photos.  I will show the action shot where I won a pizza for the family using only my keen ability to spot a cheezy promotion outside a stadium and pure athletic talent.  Can I throw a toy football towards the hand of a life-sized pizza slice?  Yes.  Yes I can.

A Thanksgiving miracle.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things for which I am grateful.

I am grateful my Dad won't have to correct the grammar in the title of this post.  And while I'm at it...

Thanks for the gift of life. It's a biggie.
I'm grateful that my building is not on fire in this picture, although that is the KCFD peeking inside my apartment.

That one person's trash is another person's treasure.  Check the wood paneled sides. 

For frequent girls nights (give or take some seriously shaky hands)

With wine and goat cheese

For fashionable finds that you daydream about for a week.

For the perfect crime.

For Amy Lou Vik and celebrating the new Harry Potter movie with a party.

For cauldren cakes, pumpkin pasties, butterbeer in mugs and hogwarts colored beer in cans.

For not having facial hair in November.

For siblings.

For good health. 

 For trying new things.

For access to fruits and vegetables

For best friends

 and laughing until you snort

and for not taking life too seriously.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Deep Breaths, Playlists full of Happy Songs

My original artwork via an app for kids, what has two thumbs and is mastering finger painting? this guy.

It’s been a crazy week, but it’s getting better.  My 7-year relationship with John ended, my car got broken into (in my covered gated garage in my building) and my work laptop and beautiful laptop bag were stolen.  Once I got my new car window my car wouldn’t start.  I ran a red light yesterday.  I had an anxiety attack. 

 facing a long future of bonnets and housecats.

For as overwhelmed as I've felt lately, I feel double, triple, a thousand times as much LOVED by everyone in my life.  I know it could always be worse and had it not been for the all-at-once factor I would probably have some better perspective on this.  However as I am notoriously unemotional (half robot, in the hizzouse), my meltdown concerned those around me.  From moving emails/calls/taking me out/sending goodies I am beyond touched and know how very lucky I am. 

Now I'm just channeling my favorite down and out orphan and singing optomistic songs in the shower. 

Fun food stuff coming soon.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Eating Well in Season plus 1.5 bottles of wine

My graduate classes were filled with people who were either entirely uninteresting or just uninterested in being there and chatting with whomever was sitting next to them.  I found this dissapointing.  I knew going back to school wouldn't be like going to the high school of fame, but it didn't stop me from thinking how fun that would be.  Seriously, how fun would that be?

I digress.  Lo and behold, next to me one day sat Jaclyn, a stylish smart girl who laughed at my jokes.  The motherload.  Now that we are much smarter and have all the higher education we could want, I see her much less than I would like to.  However because she enjoys food and is not quite as disaster prone as I am, I love having food nights to catch up and chat about vegetables.  Over wine.  Obviously.

I found a couple of seemingly worthy recipes.  The grand finale was going to be candied apples using a homemade caramel/red wine sauce.  Amazing, no? .. No.  The fact that I went to for the recipe is probably what doomed me.  I don't think they do anything for beginners or those without a natural nack.  (nack? gnack? knack?)

Anyway, cups of burned sugar, burned fingers, smoky kitchen, smokey apartment, smoky hallway to the apartment, I finally ran out of ingredients at midnight and went to bed without even cleaning up the kitchen.  It almost drove me to drink.  Almost.  Technically I waited a day to indulge, so that's a almost, right?

Also because I started this blog to be more adventurous with recipes and vegetables I tried a new one.  One I seriously have spent most of my life hating.  I will never forget the father's day where mom forced us to eat some out of a can and I barfed.  Yes barfed.  I've hated beets forever.  Mushy, awkward flavor, bad teeth.  What is to like.  I mean yes I made a thousand Dwight Schrute jokes but that only goes so far.

I wore rubber gloves.  Those jerks weren't going to leave their mark on me.

Below was as far as I got with the candied apples from this Gourmet recipe.  That was the easy part.  Minus finding the sticks, I had to go to a craft store.  Why would grocery stores not carry these?

Hour 309842329842032984023984 of trying to make the caramel sauce and this is what I had.  Maybe it was supposed to be totally runny and thin and not resembling caramel at all.  Maybe.

Okay so candy apple fail.  The rest of the apps though, were a smashing success. 

My beet crustini was based off of the EatingWell in Season Farmer's Market cookbook.  Basically it's French Bread topped with pureed roasted beet and cream cheese (okay they used goat cheese but I went the cheaper route this one time).  I made two varieties because I thought it would be delicous with green apples.  High five Lauren.  They were even better!  The hot pink color was enough to make me love them.  Seriously, can you even believe that is a color found in nature?  A trapper keeper color?  Also any texture a yucky vegetable flavor can be masked by cheese and fruit, apparently.  This was a non fail.  A pass, if you will.

Jaclyn made these guys from  A dried tomatoish tapenade that she already had on hand, with goat cheese and basil leaves on cucumbers.  Awesome.

My other contribution was a deconstructed spin/artichoke dip.  Basically I took canned artichokes (note to self do not get the large kind next time, they are way way way too large), sauteed a little spinach on them and then topped them with Brie and boiled them until they were melty and delicous.  MMMMMmmmmmm Brie.  Another keeper. 

As in recipe to keep.  Not trapper keeper.  Are you still thinking of the hot pink dip? Me too. 

Jaclyn made a butternut squash pizza.  So good!! It had rosemary and carmelized onions on it too.  She found the recipe here

There was booze too.  Duh.

What a great night!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Coming to a big top near you...

So when the Nashville Opryland resort flooded (bummer) my September work trip suddenly was relocated to Maryland.  Con: no need to pack cowboy boots (after all prospective footwear is an essential part of being excited about any upcoming trip), Pro: crab cakes.  I say it all works out.  Also heading to the DC metro meant that I got to hang out with my second favorite sibling.  I hadn't been out there with just him in over a year, so we were due for a fun filled weekend.  First up was a coffee shop a few blocks from his house.
 I had my favorite breakfast ever (this ties with eggs benedict), lox and bagel.  Smoked Salmon, oh how you are delicious.

Last Saturday was so perfect outside that despite how ridiculously late in the year it was, we ventured to the beach anyway.  90 degrees and sunny, where else would you want to be? This was at a state park over by Annapolis.

Bret drove me through town so I could ooooh and ahhhhh over how lovely old world/ nautical everything is. 

We went out with some childhood friends Saturday who live out there.  Kate Porter, hilarious and beautiful, I want to be her!

She made even made us brunch the next day.  As a big fan of eating healthy, she was using fresh and organic ingredients, so obviously I was a fan.

Quiche, made with this thick yogurty drink instead of heavy cream.  So delicous and you would never know... that clever girl.  Also broccoli slaw and a eggplant pasta/feta/balsalmic mix.  Also mimosas, duh.

Hostess with the mostest

Dessert was baked apples.  No offense mom, but these were pretty amazing.  They might be better than yours (gasp!)

We also hit up a salad chain that I had never heard of, although I instantly became a fan.

A yummy Vegan Salad with spinach, cilantro, tofu, quinoa, apples, cranberry and a sweet chipotle sauce.  Cilantro is a pretty great fresh ingredient to anything if you ask me.

Once at my hotel for work, I slummed it a bit more and walked to get chinese take out to eat while watching 90210.

It's all fun and games until you get soy sauce on your hotel bedspread.  They just bleach those to death right? I don't have to feel guilty about that?

Raw fish.   

The hotel restaurant, Ketchup in National Harbor, had a delicous crab apple walnut salad goat cheese.  What is it about fruit in salads that is so good? 

Bret and I also went out in old town Alexandria one night and ate decadantly.  Some sushi, more yum.

But the best part of the week, hands down, was when we went to trapeze school.  That's right, trapeze school.  Granted there were no elephants, bearded ladies or freaks (unless you count Bret who in some ways qualifies for any of those).  We weren't wearing sequins, which in my opinion would have only enhanced the experience.  However we were flying through the air like maniacs, and it was amazing!

There were about ten people in our class, some who were regulars.

It was terrifying.

The ladder climb was slow and terrifying.

 However the platform was by far the most terrifying. There are not enough exclamation points or synonyms in the world for this, so that is the word I'm sticking to: terrifying.
You had to stand on the edge of the platform with your feet halfway over, stick your hips forward and grab onto this heavy bar that yanks you forward.  The guy you haven't exactly met before says he's got your belt, but it's a little hard to trust.  Then.... on cue... you jump

And the terror is replaced by a free-falling RUSH. 

Once in the air, everything felt very instinctive.  I don't know if I felt that way because I had had tumbling and dance training growing up, or if that's just how it is supposed to feel, but it was great!

Bret, chalking his hands and forearms.