Archive | March, 2014

My Latest Food Endeavors

29 Mar

I don’t want to hear any of that nonsense about not actually using Pinterest. I use it all the time! And my most recent party was no exception. I made 4-ish new recipes and 1 old favorite. Unfortunately, a couple of the recipes didn’t do a very good job at describing how to use the recipe, so I had to wing it. In the end, they came out fine, but I still would’ve liked a little more direction.

That’s where I come in. You know I absolutely love sharing things with my friends and readers, so these are the recipes I tried:

Egg Roll Wrap Mozzarella Sticks

Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Chicken Bites

Bubbly Cheese Garlic Bread

Strawberry-Mango Lemonade

Now, while you are perusing those recipes, here are some helpful tips I found:

Egg Roll Wrap Mozz Sticks

Cut string cheese into thirds, then use wonton wraps instead of egg roll wraps – the cheese sticks will be more bite size

Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Chicken bites

1. Smaller cuts of chicken take less time to cook, and yield better results
2. If you like your bacon crispy, you only need 1/3 of a strip of bacon to wrap around the chicken piece. Wrapping the entire piece of bacon means the bacon on the inside doesn’t get crispy.
3. If you choose to do this on the stove instead of the grill, put a lid on your skillet to keep in the heat for faster cooking (nothing really happened when I didn’t have a lid).
4. The toothpicks make it hard to get the bacon to touch the skillet on all sides (the lid helps), so if you can think of a better method – use it!

Bubbly Cheese Garlic Bread

Not the best garlic bread I’ve had, but be careful about how much creamy Italian dressing you use. If you like creamy things, definitely use the whole cup. If you don’t like that creamy texture, use 1/2 cup, or even less. I would say more butter, less dressing if you don’t like creamy – it adds good taste, but butter crisps up and the dressing didn’t.

Strawberry-Mango Lemonade

This one was delicious, but the recipe doesn’t tell you how to make a whole pitcher, which is just silly! I did the math for you, so here’s the recipe to make a pitchers worth:

1 can lemonade concentrate (yields 64 oz when prepared)
2 cans Mango Nectar Juice
1 container of strawberries (the standard plastic container), tops removed
1 Tbs sugar (optional)
1/2 C. water (optional)

First, prepare the lemonade concentrate per package directions. I always skimp on the water because I like my lemonade more tart, but either way is fine! Next, just pour in both cans of Mango Juice. Finally, you are going to puree the strawberries. I added 1/2 C of water and 1 Tbs sugar to the blender with my whole package of strawberries, but you don’t have to do this. For me, it made my blender happier.

So yes, blend your strawberries into a puree, and then add that to your lemonade (I added 3/4 of what I made and made the rest into ice cubes, but you can add the whole amount, too). It’s really pretty, so you can leave it like that, or stir it how you’d like. And there you go – a whole pitcher!

Tried any new recipes lately? What’s your biggest pet peeve about finding recipes online? 

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That Time I Felt Like a Hipster

26 Mar

Oh, hipsters.

I’ll be honest and say that I’m not terribly sure what qualifies you as a hipster. I kind of get it, but only kind of. If I’m “in the loop” enough, one of the qualifying factors is feeling privileged about knowing bands, fashion, or whatever is cool before it becomes popular with the masses.

So many of us do like things before they become “mainstream” and I’m no exception. Maybe I’m super trendy and am just unaware, or maybe I’m privy to fashion and decor trends before others are. I find that I struggle all the time in trying to find certain decor items or fashion items, and then the next year they are everywhere.

It gets so frustrating, not because I feel like I didn’t get credit, but because I like instant gratification for both fashion and decor.
Okay…so maybe I would like a little credit…

All I want is a white, ceramic glazed octopus for my bathroom. And a turquoise lamp shade.

Last year it was turquoise birds.

And before that, a cloche hat.

And before that, things with mustaches on them.

But no. It’s never that simple.

Does this make me a hipster, or is there another qualifying factor that I’m missing? What do you search everywhere for, but can never find, especially at an affordable price?

That Time I Got a Purity Ring

22 Mar

Okay, so not really.

But, the purity ring thing has came full circle again, and is getting media attention as “sweeping the nation”. Well, news flash, news reporters: it’s been around for quite a while and is not nearly as new or spreading as dramatically as you’d like us to believe.

A friend of mine posted a link to an article about it, which you can find here.

If you don’t want to read the article, and have no idea what a purity ball is, then I’ll break it down for you.

A purity ball is a ceremony through a young girl’s (think 12) church, in which she pledges to abstain from any physical contact (I don’t know about hugging, but kissing, definitely) until after she is married. At least in some ceremonies, the girls wear white wedding-like dresses and they dance with their fathers. In the article, the father becomes the “boyfriend” and pledges to protect the girls virginity/purity until she is married.

Here is what I like about this idea:

1. Young girls are deciding that they are too young to engage in very mature physical relationships
2. Fathers are involved in their daughter’s lives
3. You get an awesome ring and get to wear a pretty dress
4. You get to dance with your dad, and dads are pretty awesome too
5. These families are maintaining innocence in a world that wants children to grow up really, really quickly

Here is what I find completely irrelevant:

1. Fathers are deemed their “boyfriends”
2. The ceremonies resemble marriage ceremonies in any way (including the white dress)

And here is what is wrong with this:

1. Many girls are likely not choosing that they wish to remain “pure” until marriage
2. Male purity ceremonies aren’t receiving as much attention (though they exist)
3. By abstaining from any form of physical contact, girls are missing out on very important social milestones in their lives

Now I’m going to break it down a little further for you, because depending on your views on this, you are probably outraged that I don’t find it creepy that fathers are called boyfriends and they go through marriage-like ceremonies. Actually, you probably find me creepy now. Oh well, read on.

The reason I consider the irrelevant things irrelevant, are because they are. Every little girl wants to marry her dad, because her dad is her world when she is little. And its sweet. We should hold onto that innocence, especially when children seem to be wanting to grow up younger and younger. As for the wedding-like ceremonies, all ceremonies in the church involve girls in pretty white dresses and boys in suits. I was baptized in a white dress. Girls wear white dresses at Quinceaneras. Get over it, it doesn’t matter – but it does go to show that even though we say we aren’t stuck in this rut of social norms that we areOf course…I do feel like most church ceremonies are cult-like, and that really freaks me out, but that’s a thought for another blog.

Maybe I’m a little less creepy now? Anyway, in any circle that has a lot of push and influence, you are often not provided the resources to make your own choices. You are given one decision, that everyone you know makes, and you can only assume that is the only way because you know nothing else. This means that, unfortunately, most of these girls are probably only told that there is one right way, and that this is it, so they aren’t making their own choices.

I also find it immensely entertaining hearing banter about this being yet another way to “control women”. Sure, it probably is, but I want you to consider why male purity ceremonies aren’t receiving as much attention. Is it because we say “good…those boys need to keep it in their pants!” because hello…double standard. We can’t be mad that we are trying to control women, and not be equally as mad that we are trying to control men. We should be mad that they exist, not that they exist for women. We should be mad that male purity ceremonies aren’t getting news coverage. I think that may be the reason that we aren’t giving male purity ceremonies the same attention…but that’s just speculation. I don’t actually know.

And finally, when you can’t kiss until you get married, this is what happens:

And nobody wants to be part of that. God, it’s like a car-wreck. Can’t. Look. Away. AH.

It’s also like saying that once you kiss someone, we are all just too heathen to abstain from having massive orgies…or even just normal, missionary sex with someone you really care about.

Those orgies. Whew.

What do you think of purity ceremonies? Do you find it creepy? Do you think the good outweigh the bad, or vice versa? 

That Time I Knocked on a Strangers Door

20 Mar

On my 40 minute drive home, exciting things rarely happen. That’s usually for the best.

Outside of driving off the side of the road, the most exciting thing to happen as of recent was an encounter with a llama. You can bet I was thrilled.

Okay…so it wasn’t really an encounter…more like…an escaped llama minding its own business on the side of a road. But hey, I work for an animal shelter, and escaped livestock can be a real bother. I also didn’t want him to get hit by a car. Llamas are the handsomest of livestock, after all.

There aren’t many things to do when you happen upon an escaped llama, but I decided to knock on its owners door to let them know. It was awkward, but when they didn’t come to either door, it actually felt more awkward. I don’t know why, but it did. Hopefully their chickens are “free-roaming”, too, because otherwise they have an escaped llama AND escaped chickens.

It also appeared that they farm fresh eggs they advertised on their fence were free and kept in a cooler by the door. I didn’t inspect them, but from the looks of their area, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Have you ever knocked on a strangers door for anything? Ever encountered roaming livestock – did you do anything about it?

That Time I Drove My Car Off the Side of a Cliff

6 Mar

Okay…it wasn’t a cliff.

But I did drive my car off the side of the road into the river onto the river bank.

It was a Wednesday night, and I had invited a coworker over to watch The Little Mermaid. It was snowing, and maybe we should have called it off, but we didn’t. Really, I’ve had much worse drives up the canyon even in the short time I’ve lived here.

We stop at a gas station at the mouth of the canyon, and I tell her to park at the top of my driveway, so she wouldn’t get stuck. I completely forgot about the large hill that serves as my halfway point.

We get to my halfway point, and her poor car barely makes it up the hill. I even parked and got out and pushed her the last little bit so she could park. We decided it would be best if she came in my car so that she didn’t get stuck.

We made it to my house just fine, I made popcorn, and we watched our movie. It is always so nice to have people over. She lives as far from work as I do, but in the opposite direction, so even though it was early, we called it a night. We get in my car, and are glad that while it’s still snowing, is isn’t as heavy.

That was when my car slipped off the side of the road and onto the dirt “shoulder”. The roads were very slick, so when I tried to guide my car back onto the pavement, it slipped back down. The only thing I was concerned about at this point, was what was under the snow on that dirt that I wasn’t able to see. I tried to bring my car back up onto the pavement again with more force.

I lost control.

My car veered hard to the left, and across the lane. I hit the breaks, but they didn’t respond. I was about to nose-dive straight into the river, but I was as cool as a cucumber.

I saw my coworker fumbling out of the corner of my eye – she wasn’t wearing her seat belt and was looking for the best way to brace herself. If we were going to plunge into the river, we either needed to jump out of the car, or open the door before we reached it so we didn’t get trapped in the car (the river is low, but the water is cold, and you never know exactly how deep it will be). With my eye on opening my door, I get ready to tell my friend we need to jump, but as I refocus, I realize there is a tree in front of us.

I’ve never been so happy to hit a tree in my life. It was going to stop us from plunging into the river.

And then all of a sudden, my car came to a sudden halt. I hit the tree, we were done.

We looked at each other and couldn’t do anything but laugh. We pondered what to do – no cell service, it’s snowing, and my car won’t reverse – and ended up deciding to walk. Just as we were making this decision, a car comes up around the corner. I jumped back into my car and hit the brights, put on the flashers, and my coworker waved her phone light in the air. I started honking.

They kept going.

So walking it was. We were halfway between my house and where her car was, and decided to go to her car. Not very long after we set out, a truck approached, and we flagged him down. He told us his name, and agreed to take us to her car – he did just get back from church, after all. When we got there, I asked him to remind me of his name.

Adam. You know…like the first man on Earth.

Got it. Not forgetting that one.

We came back down the mountain side, and I went to my good friends house (the one I was living with and dated for a time), and he was kind enough to drive me back up the canyon. We stopped and looked at my car, and he discovered that it was precariously perched on a large boulder, and that I hadn’t hit the tree at all. One of my back tires wasn’t even touching the ground.

Sweetest guy ever. Didn’t even leave my house until about 12:30 in the morning, and still had a 40 minute drive home.

I was okay. My coworker was okay. And my car got fixed for a little over $250. I was very, very lucky. I won’t, however, get back that hour and a half I lost trying to convey to the insurance woman that I live on a mountain, there isn’t cell phone service, and that there are neither cross roads nor an exact address of where my car is stuck.

And it was a winch I needed, not a tow. 

Ever had a close call like that in which you thank your lucky stars you didn’t die? What fears do you joke about with your friends? 

Things Exist for a Purpose

5 Mar

As I sit here watching shows on alien theory on the Science channel, you know that they are picking my brain.

The question the show is currently posing is if a faith in a godly figure would be universal and would exist with aliens. The researchers are arguing that humans prefer purpose-based reasons for why things exist over their science-based reasons. For example:

Purpose-based: The sun produces light so plants can photosynthesize.
Science-based: Plants photosynthesize because light produced by the sun can be used as an energy source.

They tested children first, and found that they much preferred purpose-based, but they also wanted to test adults. They used a true-false system that required adults to read purpose-based sentences, and as quickly as possible choose true or false. The adults also seemed to prefer purpose-based.

What I wonder is the religious background of each of the participants. Many of us are trying to get rid of this dichotomous categorization that we use so frequently and hope to lead our children to find what they believe to be true on their own. Part of this involves religious faith. We want to expose our children and show them the options, and let them choose which ever seems to be right. I do feel, however, that most children are raised to believe that a god exists, and within that, are raised to believe that everything was created for a purpose. This would explain why purpose-based explanations are preferred.

I would like to see the results of children and adults that were raised outside of this. That is difficult to do, just as it is to raise children outside of gender norms, but I wonder if it is really nature that causes these test groups to prefer purpose-based explanations, or if it is the nurture behind it.

Do you think humans naturally prefer purpose-based explanations, or do you think it’s something that is taught to us? How do you think you’d perform on the adult version of the test?