Archive for January, 2006

For the love of all things that are Hugh Jackman

I’m back to working out regularly thanks to a slower than average workload and a rekindled desire to be fit. Working out includes use of a fitness club-calibre elliptical machine. And use of that machine usually means I’m going to plug in my portable CD player and/or toss in a DVD to pass the time.

I’ve watched these 3 movies over the past 6 sessions (yes, approximately 1/2 of a movie, per session):
Van Helsing
X Men
X2
And I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I truly lust for Hugh Jackman. I really do. Really. I actually find myself silently squeeing with delight when he appears shirtless. And those legs! Ugh. Those long, lanky legs. I’ve never liked long legs before. I don’t know what’s come over me. I do know I’m longing for more Hugh Jackman movies. I may even be desperate enough to rent that one with the whole time travel bit and Meg Ryan.

Should my husband I and ever end up on a break (yes, that’s a direct Friends reference), Hugh Jackman is on my list of celebs I get to sleep with! Now I wonder how Hugh and his wife would feel about that….*sigh*….

Oh, and if you’re looking for updates on X3 (even without Hugh, I would be eagerly awaiting its release), I Watch Stuff is a good place to go for news.

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Politics, Religion and Child-Rearing

I sincerely believe these 3 things are at the root of most arguments. Today I'll dive right into politics.

This just pisses me off. So much so that upon completion of reading it I immediately logged in here and I'm typing so quickly, in an effort to expel my anger, that this entry is riddled with typos. If you catch one that I've missed, please excuse it.

Suggestion: go read the article before you read this bit below, otherwise things may seem a little disjointed.

Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s all about pasta sauce baby!

We eat a fair amount of pasta in our house. With a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old, it's one thing that is guaranteed to get eaten. For some reason I can't remember, the sauce I make has been named "Super Sauce". I may have done that in a desperate attempt to convince my 2 yr old it was FUN to eat.

This sauce is full of cooking tips so I figured I could sell the whole farm and give away everything right here, right now. Grab your pencils (or just hit the print icon, whatever)!

And beware – this is not a good recipe for a first-time cook. It's more of an intermediate level recipe just because I don't mention quantities.

You need:
– mushrooms
– onion
– carrots (yes, carrots)
– tomatoes (canned, fresh, whole, crushed – your choice – I use canned, crushed)
– ground meat
– whatever else you want
– herbs (think: basil, oregano, thyme)
– sugar
– olive oil

Note: I'm specifically vague on quantities here because I change how much I use. For instance, today I used 1/4 of a Spanish onion. Last time I made the sauce I used 3/4 of an onion. Or maybe it was a whole onion….I eyeball this stuff.

Let's get started with the mushrooms.
Use fresh ones if you can. Cut them up any which way you like. Put them aside.
Cooking Tip: To prevent drying out, store mushrooms in a paper bag, in your refrigerator, preferably in a produce compartment that has moisture control. If you aren't going to use your mushrooms for a few days, try running the paper bag (with the mushrooms already in it) under running water. Now, before you go and try this, let me describe it further. I turn the tap on so the water is only coming out in a dribble. I grab my bag of mushrooms and pass them under the running water. That's it. Don't hold the bag under the stream of water for too long or you'll just end up with a soggy mess.

Carrot.
Yes, carrot. I put carrots in my sauce because a) I was taught to do that by an Italian friend and I figure, if this has been passed along in his family (his Nonna taught him to do it), then it should go in my recipe repertoire too; and b) it's another chance to get my kids to eat vegetables.
Grab your carrot(s). Peel them. Grate them. I use the smallest hole on my grater. Feel free to mix it up a bit and use any size you want. Just keep it consistently sized. Don't get all creative and grate them different sizes. They won't cook evenly and you'll end up with some carrot mush and crunchy pieces. Or maybe you like it that way. Either way, put your carrots aside when you're done with them.

Onion.
Peel it. Cut it up. Put it aside.

Heat approx. 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot.
Add onions. Let them cook until they start to appear translucent.
Add carrot. Let them cook together until they start to get a little soft.
Add mushrooms. Let everything cook until the mushrooms start to lose their liquid and they become soft.
Add ground meat. Let everything cook until there isn't any pink left in any of the meat. If there's liquid in the bottom of your pot, keep the simmer going until that liquid evaporates. If that takes too long, drain the liquid and move on to the next step.
Cooking Tip: If you're a die hard ground beef eater, try substituting ground turkey or chicken. There's very little difference in taste and it's nice to have variety. There are a whole bunch of nutritional reasons why ground turkey/chicken is better than beef but I'm not going to go into that here. Oh yeah, and they're about the same price as extra-lean ground beef (which is more expensive than regular ground beef but it's what you should be eating anyway).
Add tomatoes.
Add herbs. I use oregano, basil and thyme.
Add sugar. Yes, sugar. Approx. 1 teaspoon but after you add it, taste it. I never used to add sugar to my sauce and then I saw Michael Bonacini put sugar in his sauce and he said something along the lines of "no sauce is complete without it". Sure enough, a little sugar smoothes out the sauce.
Let sauce simmer for 20 or 30 mins in a covered pot.
Cook pasta, ladle sauce over cooked pasta (whole wheat pasta, of course) and voila – dinner!

Extra sauce may be frozen in a zip-loc bag indefinitely.
Note: this recipe has not been tested as it is written and so if you try it and it is a complete mess, well…sorry about that.

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Tom Cruise is the new Michael Jackson

I mean, honestly, what’s next?

From Hollywood Rag

Speaking of Tom Cruise, has anyone seen both War of the Worlds and Chicken Little? Is it just me or do the aliens in CL closely resemble the alien ships in WotW? Right, just me. Okay….(note to self: if you don’t have anything intellectual to post, don’t post at all…?)

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Eyewear and Footwear – something in common?

¬†After a fair amount of searching, and learning quite a bit more about eyewear than I ever thought possible, I found eyeglass frames that I liked, and that I thought looked good on me. They are Alain Mikli frames, for those who are already in the know about the who’s who of eyewear. Apparently he makes a fabulous product. Samuel L. Jackson is reputed to have purchased 23 pairs in one store visit. Alas, I digress…Much to my delight, many people have agreed that I made a wise choice. I picked up the frames a few days ago. My eye doctor suggested that I wear them for a few days to get used to them. So I’ve diligently been donning them.

My husband wears glasses and he has been quite empathetic about this experience.
Earlier today I found myself looking down, without moving my head. Go ahead – try it. Using your eyes only, look down. Easy enough, right? Well, apparently I do that quite a bit. There’s a small problem when I do that though. I don’t see through my glasses. I have to actually move my head to look down through my glasses.

I mentioned this to my hubby and he nodded in agreement followed by “That’s the price you pay for fashion, baby.” He has narrow frames similar in size to mine and said he had to get used to it too. It was either move your head or choose big (his words, not mine) “granny glasses” with huge lenses.

The conversation left me struck by the common bond between eyewear and footwear. I would make small sacrifices for both, in the name of fashion, baby.

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Friends – An Ode to You (You Know Who You Are)

I’ve been doing a fair amount of introspective thought lately and one of the areas that I’ve focused on is friends.

I’ve moved around a lot in my life. I think the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place was 6 years. All of this moving around has meant that I’ve made, and lost, a fair number of friends.

I’ve known one of these friends for 11 years now. This friend has drifted in and out of my life during this time. We are in different chapters of our lives and jobs have caused relocations to occur. We never drifted apart due to any animosity or anything like that. Recently, for whatever reason, I feel we’ve grown a little closer than we were. It’s been good. But it brings me to this – this friend is relocating again and may be gone for quite a while. So I will be sad to see this friend go. I am happy (of course!) for the opportunity my friend has, but I’m still a little melancholy about the impending departure.

Good luck my friend! May this experience be all that you wish for and more! You will be missed and you’ll always have a warm meal waiting for you here (probably followed by something chocolatey for dessert!).

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Michael Connelly – The Narrows

I’m a big fan of crime/murder/mystery fiction. Some of my favourite authors include Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman (Jonathan’s wife), and Ridley Pearson. There are a few others but I consider them lesser authors than the 4 listed here. These 4 make me want to race through a book as quickly as possible while simultaneously taking in all the details, to find out who did it.

I think I started reading Connelly’s work from the beginning. I certainly remember having read all of his novels and waiting for new ones to be published so I could devour them. He made me want to name my child Hieronymus. (Harry, for short. And no, I never did. I had a girl instead.) I found his main character that intriguing. For a while, it looked to me as though Connelly had retired his main character – Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch. I’m pleased to be reading The Narrows right now, and enjoying Harry’s work as a semi-retired detective (translation: he’s doing PI work now).

These novels aren’t any ground-breaking material, in my opinion. They’re not what I would consider beach fluff though as they can make your brain work, if you’re trying to figure out twists, turns and who the bad guy is. I normally wouldn’t even mention what I’m reading except for this: In The Narrows, Connelly writes from the first person for 3 different main characters. So far, two of these characters are good guys and one is definitely the bad guy. Every few chapters the first person switches and boom – you’re in the head of someone else. And I like it. If you had told me that this was how the book was written I probably would have passed on it and searched for something else to read. I’m glad I didn’t know what to expect. I find it amazing that this author can write such a complete story. He’s thought out (and written) the perspective of all of these characters! It’s really added depth to the storytelling. I would think that something this detailed would have to be immensely complicated to write. Not as complicated as say, JK Rowling (charts, separate notebooks containing character details and spells). But complicated nonetheless. I for one, appreciate what Connelly has done with this book.

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