Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bread Pudding, guerrilla style

Better stated as "how to make bread pudding when you've got a loaf of french bread that's going stale and you don't have a recipe."

So here's what I did.

I poured a can of evaporated milk into a saucepan. I added raw sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom. Oh, and some butter. I stirred this around for a while until it was warm.

Then in a separate bowl I scrambled two eggs. I tempered the eggs with small amounts of the milk-stuff. then I poured the eggs into the milk-stuff (the heat was on low) and whisked for a while.

Then I cut up some french bread into cubes and soaked them in the milk-stuff.

Then I baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Oh, I added some whiskey into the milk-stuff too. Y'know, just for kicks. Rum would have been fine. I don't recommend vodka or gin, for obvious reasons.

It would be really good with some nuts or raisins, but I didn't have those. Also ice cream on top. Serve warm. Read More......

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Good News

Samedi is pleased to tell all of you that he arrived home safely a short time ago! He also says that he is sorry for all of the trouble he caused, and notes that he will be going to the vet tomorrow to make sure he is all right. Read More......

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! Here are some dead, moldy flowers

**UPDATE** has offered us a full refund (plus a gift certificate-- not like we're using them ever again). They said 4 days for the refund. I'll be patient. If we get it, then I will be at least slightly more satisfied than before.

Also, still no Samedi. I did, however, find a black cat in our live trap this morning. He was big (bigger than Samedi), fluffy (fluffier than Samedi), and ANGRY (angrier than I've ever seen Samedi.) He also did not have any white on him. So I let him go.

To the owner (if there is one) of that cat, and to the cat itself, I'm sorry. You were clearly freaked out. Although at least you got some food out of it.


Okay, I'm definitely not trying to take your attention away from helping us find poor lost Samedi, who is likely wandering University Terrace with a spring in his step, chasing birds and generally having the time of his life.

However, there is something else I want to gripe about.
My husband, in an effort to be thoughtful and brighten my day, ordered Valentine's Day flowers for me from He placed the order at least five days in advance, and paid an extra 50% to have the flowers delivered-- "guaranteed" -- on Monday, February 14th.

Today, Thursday, February 17th, the flowers arrived. I opened the box. And I found a bundle of dead and moldy tulips and Irises.

Here you can see the mold adorning the stem of one Tulip. The mold had eaten through nearly the entire stem, and was beginning to move onto the surrounding flowers.

As you can imagine, I was less than pleased that the flowers were late to begin with. And then there's this fiasco. The moldy, dead, brown, wrinkled flower fiasco.

In this one, you can see that the irises and tulips are wilting-- they were not packed with any kind of wet towel around them, so they have been shipped from California to Louisiana with no water whatsoever.

Here, you can see the brown, dried stems of the flowers from where they were packed with no water or moisture.

Thanks, ! You have helped to make this one of the worst weeks ever! Congrats! We will be getting a refund, or I will offer to represent the thousands of other angry clients who have complained Here, Here, Here, Here and Here.

It will be a class action suit you can never win. Sobbing women on the stand who received mold in a gift box? Children who sent flowers that never arrived to their elderly parents in nursing homes? Deployed men in uniform who ordered flowers that their sweethearts never received? Juries eat that stuff up. What they don't like is a flower company that doesn't deliver.
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A Domestic Lawyer's Plea

As most of you probably know, our cat Samedi ran away on Tuesday afternoon. So we're asking for your help-- yes, you!-- to find him.

This is Samedi. He's six months old. He's a domestic shorthair with black fur, except for a white patch on his chest-- you can see a bit of that white patch here. He's about 9 points, and looks nearly the size of an average cat. Although you can't see it, he has a thin tail-- he's not fluffy. He is not declawed, and he is not yet neutered.

He was last seen at the Sommerset Apartment Complex near Millicent Way and Bert Kouns on February 15, 2011.

What we're asking is three things. First, that you keep an eye out for Samedi. Second, that you share this information. Put it on your facebook page, text it to your friends, mention it on your blog-- anything! More people knowing about Samedi means more people who are likely to find him and help us bring him home safely. Third, if you see Samedi, contact us. Your can email to or call or text to 318-286-2450. Let us know where and when you last saw him.

Here are links to various pages about Samedi for your to share with your friends:

Thank you in advance for you help. With your assistance, we have a much better chance of bringing Samedi home safely.
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Monday, January 31, 2011

New Year, Week 5

So the low-carb thing didn’t work. The only weight I lost was when I got sick and couldn’t eat at all. So that’s out. What’s in is a new moderate carb diet focusing on foods low in the glycemic index in conjunction with weight watchers online.

Have a competition of sorts going on with a friend. It starts tomorrow and will continue until April 1. The goal is to lose (at least) ten pounds in two months. Tomorrow we will each put aside $100 in an envelope. At the end of the two months, if we have met our goal, we can spent the $100 on something for ourselves. If we have not met our goal, we will be spending that money on more mundane things, like bills. To keep ourselves honest we will be taking pictures of the scale. I will NOT be posting those pictures here, but I will be keeping everyone updated on my progress.

Incidentally, this new diet means I can eat pumpkin mousse again. Oh, glory!

Let the games begin!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Julia Child dinner, week 2

Dinner Saturday night was delicious!

On the menu:

Potato Cheese sticks
A Crepe Casserole with spinach and mushrooms
Roast Leg of Lamb with a Dijon rub
garlic mashed potatoes
Grean beans with a creamy cheese sauce, baked in the oven

Butter Sponge cake with Orange icing.

There won't be a Julia Child night for the next two weeks, but rest assured that it will be back! Read More......

Monday, January 17, 2011

Julia Child Dinner Results

First Julia Child dinner was, overall, a success. Let me remind you again of the menu

Cheese Wafers topped with a cheese filling (that was supposed to be Swiss or Gruyere, but I used cheddar)

Potato and Leek Soup

Chicken Supremes (Chicken Breasts) with a paprika and onion cream sauce

Asiago cheese bread (that I did not make myself but instead purchased)

Potato casserole with a cream and cheese sauce

Chocolate Mousse topped with homemade whipped cream

I ended up not making the asparagus with orange hollandaise sauce because I was frankly too lazy.

A few things I would do differently: Bake a test batch of the cheese wafers to see if they need flour. They sort of spread all over the pan and basically made this gigantic greasy cheese cracker. Which was good, but way too rich. With the judicious application of extra flour, I think they would have been more wafer-like and less…grease pile like.

Everything else was absolutely delicious. I can’t even say “particularly the…” because there is no particularly. Everything was yummy. Thanks, Julia! Your recipes are delicious.

In other news, it is hard to tell what progress I am making on the diet. On the one hand, my weight seems to be about the same. On the other, it appears that I have lost a few inches (altogether, not in one particular area.) We are going to give it another week and see where we are at that point.

I feel like we are doing quite well and sort of getting into the swing of things. A shopping trip involving the purchase of copious amounts of turkey lunchmeat helped. It’s easy to just grab a hunk and gnaw on it whenever I’m feeling hungry.

We also found and stocked up on a multitude of sugar free, low carb candies, which I think goes against the purpose of this diet, as it’s supposed to be more natural, etc…but sometimes a girl just wants some chocolate, you know?

Also out the window is the attempt to limit artificially sweetened beverages. If it’s a choice between me drinking enough liquids but having them artificially sweetened, and my drive to drink water cut short before noon because the flavor of water is…well… boring…then I choose to drink crystal lite, crystal lite, and more crystal lite. With some diet coke thrown in there for flavor.

We are trying to exercise more—because no matter what diet you’re on, exercise is important. At the moment, I am concentrating on doing light exercises every hour for five minutes while at work. This involves walking in place, lunges, squats, and stretches. I hope eventually to get some light weights and maybe a resistance band.

I could call them “Flash” exercises, make a workout dvd of my flabby self, and make millions! That… would probably not work as well as one would hope.

Next Week is Julia Child Dinner Number 2. At the moment I am planning the following (And this is clearly not a complete menu)

Roast Lamb (I am hoping rack of lamb, but it would depend upon what the store has)

Garlic mashed potatoes

Yum! Sounds good so far, Julia!

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Julia Child Dinner, Number one-- January 15, 2011

Next Weekend will be Julia Child dinner number one. We would have done it this weekend, but frankly we were broke.

On the menu:

Appetizers: Cheese Wafers with a Gruyere "fondue" on top
Soup: Leek and Potato
Main Course: Chicken Supremes (Chicken Breasts) in a cream and paprika sauce
Vegetable: Asparagus with Orange Hollandaise
Dessert: Chocolate Mousse

I'm super excited! Particularly about the Chocolate Mousse.

The diet is off to a slow start, partly because of a fundamental misunderstanding about what we are allowed to eat in endless quantities and what we are not. However, after having bought the book (Called The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss), and actually reading a bit of it, I think we're back on track. Cutting out most of the cheese, and reducing nuts to 1-2 servings a day. I think that should help.

First cheat day was yesterday, and at nearly noon today I am still in my night clothes nursing a monster headache and drinking large quantities of water. I think the headache may be a result of the total lack of caffeine yesterday (due mostly to not having any cokes in the house and not having enough money to go buy any), but I am going to blame it on the bad diet. Motivates me to not cheat the rest of the week.

I'll need that motivation. Tomorrow is "Birthday celebration" at work, which means everyone brings treats to eat to celebrate the month's worth of birthdays. This is my first really big test. We'll have to see how it goes.

We also finally got the last big of exercise equipment we ordered in-- two kettlebells. I'm excited about starting to use those in addition to the Wii fit.
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Obligatory 1-1-11 Post

This is the obligatory new years’ post. However, I should qualify this by stating that one of my new year’s resolutions, thanks to my friend Kimmie, is to post more often. Namely, once a week. This should be easy, considering there will be a lot of updating to do over this next year.

First, starting on January 3, hubby and I are starting a new diet. My goal: to lose weight. His goal: to build muscle. How do we both accomplish this with one diet, you ask? I’ll tell you. At least in theory, the answer is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. This isn’t Atkins. This is different. And slightly less stupid.

Here’s the basics, beginning with the “No’s:”

No grains of any kind
No sugar
No starchy “vegetables” such as peas, corn, or potatoes (which really have more in common with grains than vegetables in terms of their composition anyway)
No fruit
No milk, yogurt, or ice cream (Yes, J, ice cream does have carbohydrates in it.)

The Yes foods:

Lean chicken, turkey, beef, pork, etc.. (The more natural the better: Grass fed beef, organic, etc…)
Low-fat cheeses
Beans and legumes
Tomatoes and (limited) avocados
Calorie free (or very low calorie) drinks (try to limit artificially sweetened drinks to less than 3 a day)
Dry red wine, one glass a day maximum

The potential problems with this diet are threefold: first, the prolonged consumption of very low amounts of carbohydrates can send your body into a state of ketosis, which can put a stress on your kidneys. Just…look it up. I don’t feel like cutting and pasting the science of it from Wikipedia at the moment.

Second, cutting out dairy products could equal a decrease in calcium intake. However, we’re probably getting enough calcium from the vegetables we eat, but we’ll keep it listed as a concern.

Third, cutting something – anything—completely out of your diet could result in an unbalanced level of nutrients in your body.

To combat these three things, we’re doing the following:

One, increasing the amount of water consumed, by a lot. At least twelve eight-ounce glasses of water a day, minimum, more if we exercise strenuously. This should dilute the level of proteins in our bodies and make it easier for our kidneys function properly.

Two, we’re taking calcium supplements to make sure we have the right amount of calcium in our bodies.

Finally, we’re taking multivitamins to make up for anything lacking in our diets.
The best part of this diet: one day a week (our day is Saturdays), you can eat whatever you want. Whatever. Anything. As much as. You get the idea. It’s brilliant. In addition, the possibility is clearly there to make yourself so sick off of junk food that you won’t even want to think about it the rest of the week.

In my weekly updates, I’ll let you know how this is going.

Second! This year I’m going to be starting Julia Child Saturdays. Basically, this stems from the fact that my parents bought me Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my birthday (waaaay back in July) and I have yet to cook a single thing from the book. Which is a real shame considering (1) I really wanted the cookbook, (2) I was very excited and pleasantly surprised to get it, and (3) many of the dishes look very, very, very good.

So, essentially, each Saturday I will be attempting to make, for dinner, and hopefully for various friends and family, a soup and/or appetizer, an entrée, a starch, a veggie, and a dessert.

Unlike Julie Powell in Julie and Julia, I won’t worry about repeating recipes that work well, and I definitely, definitely won’t make it a goal to cook through everything; for example, I simply don’t like duck, and Aspics make my stomach roll. But other than that I’ll be making an attempt to make everything that looks good. No time limit, just an endeavor to do it on Saturday nights when I don’t otherwise have plans.

Other resolutions (other than diet and blogging) include using my new Wii fit as often as possible, spending more time on spiritual pursuits, billing a certain number of hours at work and in pro-bono projects, saving a certain amount of money, etc--- the pretty normal resolutions that most of America is currently making.

Of course, I intend to keep them. So does everyone. We’ll see what happens.

What are your resolutions? Anything interesting or unusual? If any of my real-life friends comments, they get a Julia Child dinner at our place! (Although…you most likely would have gotten it anyway.) Read More......