Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All the new that is the new

In case you were wondering, the new job is working out pretty well. The work is interesting enough to keep me from falling asleep, which is always a plus at a desk job. There are only two of us actually in the office, so, aside from the sounds of marines drilling in the distance and the tiny screams emanating from the child development center across the street, it is quite peaceful.

A few years back, the warehouse where my office is located used to be the clothing dispensary for the base. Apparently someone hasn't yet realized this fact, as yesterday we had a fairly steady stream of guys with bad haircuts and funny hats coming to our door wondering if they could get dress blues or P.T. clothes.

On the food front, I made a few things that were good, but that I wouldn't make again without alterations. I thought the mapo tofu was delicious and R agrees, but he thinks next time I should leave out the tofu and put in some broccoli instead. Orange olive chicken had two strikes against it in R's book (namely olives and the whole fruit with meat thing), but he found it edible. I think the general technique would be useful for making other dishes with a creamy sauce, possibly over pasta.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Making something delicious

R loves caramel. If he had to pick one kind of sweet to have for the rest of his life, caramel would be it. Nothing else even comes close.

Ever since we received an ice cream maker, R has been asking me to make caramel ice cream. Apparently he meant 'ice cream with caramel in it,' but when I finally got around to making the requested ice cream, I took the request at face value and started looking for a recipe for caramel-flavored ice cream. When I didn't find one, I decided to get creative.

Inspired by this recipe's transformation of a jar of Nutella into ice cream, I decided to try combining a batch of caramel (I used the recipe from The Perfect Scoop, but any recipe would probably do) and a can of evaporated milk. The results were amazing. Rich, creamy, and so very caramel-y.

R says next time I should include a caramel ripple.

Caramel Ice Cream
(utilizing the recipe for creamy caramel sauce from The Perfect Scoop)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 t coarse salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 can (12 oz or so) evaporated milk

1. In a large, heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven, spread the sugar in an even layer. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring to encourage even cooking. When it starts to stay melted and darken, tilt the pan and continue stirring.

2. When all the sugar is melted and turns caramel-colored, remove from heat and whisk in half the cream. One everything is dissolved, add in salt, vanilla, and the rest of the cream. If any chunks of sugar remain, cook over low heat until they melt.

3. Pour caramel into a bowl. Add evaporated milk, and whisk until incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled, then use your ice cream maker to freeze it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Making the days count

Seeing as I will be returning to the workforce on Monday, the malaise that had overtaken my weeks had dissipated and I've become filled with the desire to get all the things I need to do done while I have the time. Today I cleaned, dropped off a load of stuff for Good Will, and went grocery shopping. With the skin and fat from the chicken thighs I found on sale, I rendered myself a little chicken fat (thanks to this lovely tutorial). Perhaps there will be some kasha varnishkes in my future. I then used some of the thighs to make chipotle chicken tacos (meh). I also made a little ice cream (delicious, but a very tiny recipe).

Tomorrow I go in to fill out paperwork, though I won't see my actual job site until Monday. I'm going to be working at the location of the project, rather than the main office where I interviewed. I have no idea what this job is going to be like. It's a little nerve wracking. I'm not even sure what to wear.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I'm employed!

I had a job interview yesterday. I came back from it feeling like I wasn't really what they were looking for, but I recieved an e-mail last night saying that they wanted me. At the end of the interview, they said that there were also other applicants and that they would get back to me. The pessimist in me thinks that there weren't other applicants, but that they had to decide if I was the best they were going to get (as the job posting had already been up for 20 days).

Whatever the reason, though, I got it. I'll be a AutoCAD drafter for a telecommunications company (a slightly redundant title, as CAD stands for 'computer aided drafting'). Just in time, too, as all this staying home was starting to make me slightly loopy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Trapped in the world (of Warcraft)

You wanna know where I've been since I last posted?

Playing World of Warcraft.

What else, you may ask?

Not a whole lot else, I tell you.

A new patch for the game came out on Tuesday, and ever since the servers came back up, I've been pretty much glued to my computer. I was planning on making bread on Tuesday, but then 2 pm rolled around, the servers came back up, and I was lost to the world. You see, they've put these achievements into the game, giving you credit for doing all sorts of things. I think it is the slightly anal-retentive side of myself, but part of me finds them irresistible. So, for the past several days, I've been exploring zones, acquiring pets, cooking, fishing, learning first-aid, and running through low-level instances. All in order to see little achievements flash up on the screen.

Hopefully this mania wears off soon. I've got other stuff to do!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Link list

I think it is high time I added a few links to this site. I spend so much time enjoying the fruits of the internet.

Now, I've got a single disclaimer here. This is just the contents of my feed reader. There are certainly many other great blogs out there, but, given that I have limited time, I can't read them all. So, if you're not in here, I still love you, but I'm probably not reading about your exploits regularly.

Currently in my feed reader:

A Teacher's Education
Adventures in Teaching English (and other cute-ish stories)
All or Nothing
Anna in Spain
Anne's Food
Baby Toolkit
Basic Beekeeping
Bento Corner (Seems to be inactive at the moment.)
Blue Door
Bright Minds (Also seems to be inactive.)
Cake Wrecks
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Clio's Sketchmajibber!!
Coconut & Lime
Cooking Cute - a bento site
Cynical Dad
DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary
Dubious Quality
Follow That Elephant!
Garfield Minus Garfield
Geninne's Art Blog
Heavy Petal
Ikea Hacker
Kuala Lumpur Daily Photo
Life: The Illustrated Education
Life: The Ongoing Education
Living the Good Life
Lunch in a Box
Mighty Goods
Mighty Haus
Mighty Junior
Minmin's Obento
Old Photos of Japan
One Green Generation
Order of the Stick
So... What Else, What Else, What Else?
Soy and Pepper
Stuff White People Like
Sweet Juniper!
That Night
The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
The Daily Coyote
The Human Marvels
The Pants Press Sketchblog
Tokyo Girl Down Under
Vera's Particular Sketchblog

Things I look through in my spare moments:

Apartment Therapy
Food Gawker

Recommended reading:

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou ("Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip")
A really sweet manga. Downright relaxing to read. It can be found here and here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Entertainment for the unemployed

What is free, cleans the house, might even make you money, and provides hours of entertainment?


Yes, I've discovered the joy that is selling my possessions to other people. I've been (and still will be) dropping off loads at the Good Will stop by my house, but it is nice to get a little money from some of the clutter we've accumulated over the years. It will be nice to only have one fondue pot again.

In cooking news, I made bacon and leek risotto. Nice, but I don't know if it needs to actually go in the cookbook, as, once you get a hang of the basic risotto formula, this is a simple variation.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Alyndabear would be proud

Went to an Australian restaurant for a friend's bachelorette party. Tried beetroot on a hamburger. Thought it was a nice addition (and will probably be something I crave at odd moments from now on).

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pretending it is actually October

Yes, I know the calendar says October, but where is the fall weather? It has been 90 degrees for weeks now! I'm sure that sounds good for some people, but I'm ready to turn my air conditioning off.

In spite of the non-fall temperature, I've been making all sorts of fall foods. Maybe it is to spite the weather, or maybe it is all the delicious fall recipes people have been posting, but I really just want to make warm comfort food right now. I've tried out two different cottage pie recipes (this one was a bit better than that one, but I think I'd add some veggies next time), clam chowder (good, but not rich and creamy like we wanted), and veggie chowder (quite tasty). Now I just need the weather to cool down so that the soup won't make me sweat.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The infamous no-knead bread

Joblessness persists, which means that my culinary adventures also continue full time. R finds it somewhat hilarious that, even though I do not subscribe to retrogressive ideals of feminine duties and propriety, I'm still doing all sorts of newlywed housewife activities (getting up to make him lunch, seeing him off, greeting him when he returns, making dinner). He has decided it is because I'm secure in my place in the world, and he will be more than happy to stay home when I'm supporting us as an orthodontist (should that happen in the future).

In any case, I tried out a quick version of the much lauded no-knead bread recipe. I think R hopes I will make it every week. (I might even, too, as it was very easy.) The accompanying article states a variety of flours can be used in the bread, which I might take advantage of to use up the various nonstandard flours I have acquired. Got to lighten up the load for the future move.

Speaking of lightening the load, I've been working to purge the house of things we don't use. If anyone wants crutches, a yoga mat (slightly cat-nibbled), or a picnic kit, please feel free.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Earlier today I was sitting at my computer, minding my own business, when piercing whine ripped through the air. What the hell? I thought, totally confused, but then I remembered that it is the beginning of October. Time for the air show.

Now, normally living within flyover distance of an air base isn't actually that big a deal. Occasionally helicopters leave one needing to pause the TV, but it isn't a daily event. During the air show, however, they pull out all the stops and let the screaming jets deafen the locals. Yay. Quite the fun weekend ahead.