Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tip of The Day - crazy theory addition

Tip of the Day:

When having a serious discussion as to how many guinea pigs it would take to pull a person in a cart, don't tell me '11' and not expect me to laugh and then look at you like you are crazy.

Note: Our current estimation is 40, based on theorizing how many it would take to pull a 5lb cat and then working up from there. Please let me know if you can come up with something more solid.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Paperwork makes my brain go numb

Due to Branden finishing another chapter for his PhD, he's had time off so I have been MIA enjoying time with him and also ripping my hair out as we are messing with nasty paperwork and this year's funding for his studies. We also had a deep clean and thorough re-organization of our room which was much needed when all of our belongings and newly accumulated stuff has to all fit into one living space. It does make it easier to not buy new crap as there is simply no space, so that's a good thing. In between the chaos, the house has filled up again with our housemate from Botswana back from his Christmas trip, and a new housemate moving in who also happens to be a friend of ours and also an American. I cooked a big dinner last week of pork spare ribs (in Branden's own BBQ sauce) and then had sides of green salad, coleslaw, and focaccia bread (I didn't make the bread). It was great and it's nice that we can all get on so well. Another thing we've been up to is the making of another family birthday video!

My wonderful Mom-in-law turned 29 again this year (can't believe we'll be the same age in a couple of months!) and she is an artist so we made a very odd but somewhat artsy video for her. It's not the most flattering video, and it was very uncomfortable to shoot, but we had fun!

Thankfully none of our housemates were home as we shot this on our entryway floor and taped our video camera to the staircase rail. There was more detail at the bottom but with limited space and an unseen post that was in the way, you can't really see it. I did get the idea from that mom who would take photos of her sleeping baby after creating scenes around her with clothes, toys, and other random objects...it is definitely much harder to make it for 2 full grown adults!

Well, I have a load of clean laundry staring at me and smirking as it knows very well that I hate folding laundry...but I've got to leave soon so I better tackle the pile! (Oh goodie, socks! ...my favorite...)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Me So Stupid

Over the past week, Branden has been trying to convince me to consider going to a concert for our wedding anniversary this year. I love a good concert and my favorite so far, besides the one Branden's band played at and proposed to me during the set, was the Mika concert we went to in Edinburgh. There are lots of artists that would be wonderfully romantic to go see on our anniversary but the one Branden has been trying to persuade me to go to is nowhere near my top 1000 list. I had to finally say it out loud to him for him to really let it sink in.

"Spending a romantic evening celebrating 4 years of wedded bliss does not include ZZ Top!"

My husband is the only facial haired man I want to look at on our anniversary, not a whole band worth of furry beasts. One night when we were in bed and Branden was still trying to entice me to spend our day with him and ZZ Top, I finally asked him what I should have asked at the start of this madness.

"Ok, if you are such a ZZ Top fan, what songs do they sing?" I pinned him.

"Well, they do that 'Give me all your lovin' song that you know," he came back quickly.

"...and???" I knew I had him because it was almost 1am and he was sleepy.

"Uh, well I could play some of them on guitar," and then he tried humming something that he realized wasn't right but kept trying to defend his cause, "There are other songs that you would know but I can't think of any right now."

I was laughing, tired, and in the rare moment that my husband's brain was just not able to remember something basic, I just came out with the typical response to this situation, "Oh Mags!"

After realizing that my automatic response to my husband's mindless response was to call him myself, we could not stop laughing in disbelief that I actually did that! I think we both lost our arguments but I got Branden to admit that he probably is just so desperate to go to a concert since it's been so long since the last one.

Now for something completely different. Christmas Eve was our night to be together, just the two of us and to eat whatever we wanted...isn't that what holidays are for?? For Christmas Eve dessert, I got my idea from watching Nigella on BBC a few weeks back. She called it 'homemade gelato' but we called it 'the best thing that has ever hit our tastebuds' and it was one of the easiest things I've ever made!


Double cream (I never remember seeing it in the States but I've heard you can get it...if you can't, it's worth moving countries just to have it!)
Meringue cookies or nests
A chocolate bar (we used dark which I would recommend)
Spiced Rum (or you could use coffee liqueur but the spiced rum was so tasty!)

How to make it:

Whip your double cream until it's firm but soft. I had a small container of double cream, probably the equivalent of 1 cup of the liquid. Grate or slice shavings of a bit of your chocolate bar and fold in to your double cream. Just add however much you want. Take two handfuls of meringue cookies or two meringue nests and crush them like the Hulk into your mixture then fold in. Also fold in 2 tablespoons of Rum which Nigella only said 1 Tbs but you can hardly taste 2 Tbs although it's a nice balance and you could add more if you want the flavor to stand out more. At this point, you will have to use extreme restraint in not just eating this with spoons, but trust me, the frozen version is even better!

We just took a medium square tupperware container, lined it with cling film (leaving extra hanging over the sides to cover the top of the mixture) and then spooned the mix in, spreading it well into the corners and flattening the top. Fold the extra cling film over the top, put the tupperware lid on and pop the whole thing in the freezer overnight! When it's frozen through, just pop the whole thing out onto a plate, unwrap it from the cling film, and slice! The consistency is wonderful and there are no ice crystal bits like typical 'non-icecream icecream'. We loved it so much that we ate it for lunch on Christmas day.

You can see the white meringue bits which added a great texture and the chocolate scattered about for every bit tasting like we had died and gone to blissful creamy heaven! If you want an easy dessert with show stopping flavor, this is the way to go! And I think our 4 mile New Year's Day walk yesterday worked off at least 2 mouthfuls!

*Bonus points to anyone who realized that the title of this post is a ZZ Top song.

Bonus points can be redeemed by yourself at anytime by simply hi-fiving yourself obnoxiously in a public place