Sunday, November 25, 2007

poor kitty

this is the kitty, in his natural state. he surveys the neighborhood, making sure every person, cat and chihuahua stay in line.

some evil cat thwarted kitty in his pursuit of neighborhood order and did this to him:

so for the past 10 days, our lives have revolved around him and this, which altogether need to be administered 6 times daily:

but kitty is on his way to recovery, thanks in part, no doubt to the prayers and thoughts of his supporters all over the state! i'll post some pictures of his repaired eye soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

little thanksgiving

the guests:
the meal:

getting ready to eat:
kitchen carnage:

brophy watching jealously:
happy thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2007

i love carbs

two excellent easy pasta sauces...
balsamic sauce:

3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls

heat a skillet over medium low to medium heat, add butter to the pan and let it begin to brown. When the butter has browned, add cooked pasta to the pan and turn in butter to heat through. Add balsamic vinegar to the pasta and cook a minute or 2 longer to reduce the vinegar and glaze the pasta. The vinegar will become thick and syrup like. Add cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the pasta and remove the pan from the heat.

goat cheese sauce:

3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

5 ounces (small log) of soft goat cheese (chevre), crumbled (note, this cheese cost half as much at trader joes as at vons--same brand and everything. this cheese is very versatile, so i've started keeping it in supply.)
whatever herbs you have, optional
in a medium bowl, combine butter and cheese and half a cup of reserved pasta water. add salt and pepper, whisk until smooth, toss with pasta and whatever meat, veggies or herbs you wish/have on hand...

skinny jeans

i think one new pair of jeans a year is a must, at minimum. i bought three last year (all from marshalls and all three worth $100 each and totalled to less than that--i've got to get back there soon) and ended up only really liking one, and not loving it, because i had them hemmed a hair too short, so i can't wear them with heels, which is just as well, because i prefer flats. when i bought them, i attempted to try on some skinny jeans, but just wasn't ready to take the plunge. i work with teenagers, and though you can take fashion cues from them, i really don't want to copy them. but this year, this year i'm ready. it's ironic, because i distinctly remember the day i dared UN-pegging my pants and wearing straight legs (8th grade), then the first time i bought flares (sophomore year in college). they were acts of bravery i tell you. and the fashion has come full circle.
i haven't been able to find the camera for the past few days, so this picture from the website will have to do. anyhoo, i love them. they're comfortable, and what saves them from the horridness of previous narrow legged jeans and keeps them flattering is the low waist, (which isn't uncomfortable because of the fashion gods' gift of long shirts) and they are a wee bunchy in the ankle and not completely skin tight.
also the first pair of jeans i've ever ordered online (i don't have much time to shop these days--if it's not at the old navy or target by my house, i probably won't buy it...) and for the record, they're AE Skinny 77 Stretch Jean Dark Rinsed WashStyle: 0431-798899% Cotton, 1% Spandex from American Eagle. which, if i had to get a pair of jeans from there, it would by necessity be online, because i can't stand how loud they play the music in that store, which along with the moral victory of buying and wearing skinny jeans, is another sign that i am old.

Monday, October 22, 2007

on second thought...

upon very careful consideration, and after consulting many experts and spiritual guides, i've decided to remove desperate housewives from a list of shows that i love. i really only like it and regularly watch it becuase i'm sure to be home sunday nights, and jake enjoys it, too. if it suddenly got cancelled, i wouldn't really mind....i hope this news does not damage anyone's understanding of the world as we know it....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

what in the--?

so either they do things special in ojai, or taco bell changed its curriculum at burrito making school, because instead of this:

i got this:
. i turned it over, thinking i opened the wrong end, but i was WRONG (rare, but it happens). it was folded over on both ends. i mean really--does tradition mean nothing these days??

(which reminds me of when my friend worked at taco bell in high school and during her first week was super excited because she had "learned" how to make a burrito. my other friend and i just looked at her and were like, "you mean fold over one side, fold up the bottom and fold over the other side?" she looked very deflated as she answered, "yeah.")

Monday, October 15, 2007

what gets me through the work week...

so, ok, not the ONLY thing, but it definitely helps, especially around 2:30 each afternoon. (the bell rings at 2:45, at which time i start cleaning off my desk, checking lists of things i should have completed that day, making a list for the next day, etc. unless i'm in the middle of something unexpected, which is like 80% of the time, so you can see that it really only acts as my savior when there is an afternoon lull.)

ANYHOO...i love: a fancy picture, yes; they clean up good.
and:affectionately known as "HIMYM"

as well as:
but since i only have basic cable, i must resort to DVD or to see:
and i can't wait for these seasons to start:

on which is the cutest little boy ever:
(this is a newer picture, not as cute--and the killer is when he giggles.)


FX is a pretty good network, too. i enjoy:and (the riches)
i do understand that some people don't love tv, and some people have a lot of hobbies, and tv can be a major waste of time, but there are some really good shows on (better than any movies that have come out in the past 5 years), and it's always bothered me when people have this condescending attitude towards those of us that do enjoy the tube...TV is awesome!
my word! i forgot:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

1 year

our first anniversary...we hope to take a weekend away sometime soon, but our lives are a bit too hectic now. we went out to a lovely dinner, though not the dinner we planned. unbeknownst to us, it was oktoberfest in camarillo, and the restaurant, california grill, which i have been longing to eat at for a year, was only serving german food. damn germans!!!
i got:

from jake,

and he got:
(note: not jake's actual truck, but the same model/color) from both of us!

anyway, i can't believe it's been a whole year! we had a lot of changes--2 new jobs, a new car, a new puppy, a trip to europe, a garage makeover, our first joint family holiday celebration, 2 new eyes (for me)...we've learned a lot and look forward to more travels and new hobbies--biking, which the truck will help us to do--and even more home makeovers!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

bloomin' halitosis

i had more than a few petals of a bloomin' onion at outback last night. we went with jake's old coworker and his girlfriend. everytime i woke up to take the doggy outside, all i could think of was, "what did i EAT to make my mouth taste so horrendous??"

Sunday, September 30, 2007

sunday night...

i've made this recipe so many times and adjusted it, i feel it's ok to call it my own:
kelly's corn chowder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cups baby carrots, sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 medium red potatoes (give or take), diced
3 cups white corn kernels, fresh or frozen (the safeway brand is the best)
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups mixture of milk and half-and-half --the ratio depends on how healthy i want to be and if there will be enough half-and-half left for my coffee in the morning.
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove puppy from your feet and leave on the couch, sleeping after an hour of manic hyperactivity.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a smal saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook until the roux is lightly browned, 3 or 4 mintues; set aside to cool to room temperature.
Check on puppy--he might have woken up and he doesn't seem to understand the concept of heights--find him moved up to your spot on the couch:
Meanwhile, combine the potatoes and chicken stock in a large stockpot, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, add the corn and simmer for 10 more. Spoon the roux into the boiling stock, whisking briskly so it doesn't lump. Bringto a boil. The mixture should become very thick.
check on puppy again-- he may be chewing on anything from a power cord to the iron leg of a table--find that he has walked across the couch to jake's spot:

In a pyrex measuring cup microwave the half-and-half/milk mixture for two minutes; stir it into the thick corn mixture. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.
try to enjoy the chowder with puppy now completely awake and rarin' to go:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

fresh baked puppy

this little guy is feisty.

he likes to shake up his toys.

he pulled out my earring, unbeknownst to me until i found it in his mouth.

he barks and growls while jumping at his reflection in the mirror. the propsect of seeing himself, or that other puppy he thinks it must be, in the mirror motivated him to go inside through the doggie door on his own for the first time.

he likes to snooze on the floor by the couch. we're pretty sure it's because the name of the fabric on our couch is actually named "puppy velvet." smart dog.

what i like best about him, besides his cuteness, is that he sleeps all night long :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

morning dog

he's here! it's 7 in the morning, and we've been up since 5! he's been soooo good; he slept the whole six hour drive home, slept in his crate all night, only one pee in the house, and only one tiny whine this morning. yay, brophy!

Friday, September 21, 2007

save the turtles

i hate plastic bags. i don't have enough uses for them and every trip to the store results in what seems like dozens of bags. why must they put only 2 or 3 items in each bag? the worst place is target. they'll put a bar of soap in one bag and a candy bar in another. i ALWAYS ask them to put it all in one bag (they protest because they're "trained" not to put food with cleaning products. are they trained to not do what customers ask? clearly, the answer is yes) or not put stuff in bags at all. my car is 300 yards away. i can carry a rubbermaid container just as easily in my hands as in a bag. one time, a checker tried to convince me to put a measuring cup in a bag instead of a basket i was also purchasing. a basket that is designed to HOLD THINGS AND BE PORTABLE. "really? are you sure you don't want a bag?" is asked with the same level of doubt as, "really? are you sure you want to operate that forklift after those sake bombs and benadryl?" the worst thing is, you're pushing so many buttons on the atm machine (yes 25.45 is ok. yes, i authorized 25.45. no i don't want cash back. yes, 25.45 is still ok. i don't have a problem with 25.45. i'm sure.) that they've already practically removed each cheezit from the box and put them in separate bags before you even realize it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

jake's handiwork. subtitled: isn't domestic life thrilling?

in an effort to broaden (but not really) the topics explored thus far, i turn it over to jake. last week before he left for atlanta, the sink clogged up. while jake was checking it out, the faucet broke. now, the faucet sucked and was ugly and had a non-essential piece that kept coming off, but i delayed buying a new one as it was "unnecessary". so i believe the delayed gratification gods blessed me with this event. a new faucet, guilt-free! unfortunately, the homeowner gods frowned upon jake, as he spent almost the whole day taking out the old faucet (welded in?) and placing this one in, and repairing the part of the sink that got damaged by his gargantuan efforts to remove the former. but all's well that ends well, and i have a pretty new faucet that really improves the kitchen (in that it's all i see when i walk in, instead of the the not-so-awesome tile and old dingy dishwasher!) plus, the nozzle detaches and has a shower mode! lots of fun!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

chicka whata?

that's what jake asked when i told him the name of the food simmering on the stove. it smelled delicious, looked, eh, and tasted somewhere in between.
it's called chicken tikka masala, and the story goes like this: the 1970s, a plateful of overcooked chicken tikka--boneless, skinless chicken chunks, skewered and cooked in a tandoor oven--was sent back to the kitchen of a London curry house by a disappointed patron. The Bangladeshi chef acted quickly, heating canned tomato soup with cream, sprinkling Indian spices, and pouring it over the chicken before sending it back....diners worldwide (including India) fell in love with the...chicken. It went on to overtake... fish and chips as the "true national dish" of Great Britain. (from cook's illustrated magazine).
so i made this tonight, and it was a lot more time intensive than the recipes i usually follow (my repetiore consists of mainly rachael ray 30 minute meals, supplemented by martha stewart everyday food.) so much so that i completely forgot you're supposed to serve it over rice! i did have some naan (indian flat bread) from trader's, so that took the place of the starch. turns out, i like the chicken--the tikka, if you will--pre-dunking it in the sauce a LOT. more than the dish as a whole...i think i will use that part of the recipe for other chicken dishes, or just eat it plain. yum!
Chicken Tikka Masala
This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon
ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon
table salt
2 pounds
boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon
tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon
table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup
chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.
pictured with sauteed spinach with garlic and toated, buttered naan, but sans rice! duh!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

my dream is coming true

to the right of this post is a short list of my dreams. one of them, owning a boston terrier has/will come true. that is, i've paid (a lot) for my new puppy, but i won't possess him until i pick him up in coulterville (near modesto) on sept. 22. so if possession is nine tenths of the law...

anyhoo, he is the most adorable guy ever. i had settled on a name, brophy, but then remembered how cute i think the name henry is, and now i have a dilemma. i may wait until i meet him and see how i feel, how he responds. i'm sure i can research what phonemes dogs respond better too, and as i don't make many decisions with out researching them, i may in fact search for this information.

pictures of my gorgeous puppy can be viewed at
his kennel name is "adonis"

books can now be located...


be my friend, if you wish :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

sex, drugs and cocoa puffs

ok, another re-read. that way you know it's good. what better endorsement could i give? i will probably read this once a year until circumstances prevent me, such as having children or developing cataracts.

the amazing thing about this author is that he expresses, in these essays about "low culture", what you think or know on some vague level, but expresses it in the most witty, intelligent manner, rendering random, seemingly meaningless parts of my, and people my age's, life into philosophy. i often agreed, outloud, with things expressed in this book. like why i don't like it when people say, "i like everything" when asked what kind of music they like. and how the real world started changing how people conceive of themselves. and how tv doesn't have to be good, it just has to be watchable, as espoused in a chapter about "saved by the bell." i appreciate the honesty in his admission that at a point in his life, he watched all 4 re-runs of saved by the bell that were aired every day. reading this book makes you think (or me think, anyway) for a little while, that i could write a book like that, but in reality, i'm in no way as astute as the author in his observations and theories.

somethings, i was just a little too young for, but was still enjoyed reading about. references to music i wasn't allowed to listen to as a child, for instance. and i never liked star wars, but the connection he makes between the empire strikes back and the concept of generation x is still pretty mind-blowing.

basically, i wish i was friends with chuck klosterman. he "likes everything" (music, sports, bad tv) but he knows why he likes it, and it's not just because it's what's there, or if it is, he has a very entertaining rationalization for it.

Little Children

This was a re-read (the day before i read prep), as i wasn't feeling to drawn to any of the unread books i have sitting on my shelf. sometimes you just want a sure thing...

i passed by this DVD in blockbuster yesterday and saw that kate winslet is in it. i think kate winslet is amazing, and very pretty, so i couldn't really see her as the barely attractive frizzy haired stay-at-home mom, sarah, i was assuming she portrayed. it made me sure that they had taken liberties with other parts of the story about two suburban marriages, well three, actually, and the bizarre circumstances that break them down.

this book was actually really disturbing in some parts, but overall hilarious and engrossing. the characters were super stereotypical (the "perfect" mom who never forgets snacks, has a to-the-minute schedule, including sex, and talks to her 4 year old about getting into harvard, the meathead cop) but they still seemed like very real people, in the cliche way that stereotypes are based on truth. somehow, it worked. he was making fun of the people in the book, but like the way you make fun of yourself as part of a group.

some of the plotlines were just surreal, too, how matter of factly some characters who would normally be marginalized were portrayed. you would think a child molester placing a personal ad would be a horror story, but when you're reading it, you're like, "of course, what else would he do?" (how would the movie deal with that?)

i enjoyed it just as much the second time i read it, and it's definitely staying in the permanent collection. i don't think i'll see the movie. movies based on books i like are never worth the time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

i got nothing done today

i was reading prep by curtis sittenfeld. a book about a girl's four years at a private boarding school near boston, i picked it up at a thrift store, where i find most of the books i love (maybe there's less pressure on them to impress me, as i only spent 99 cents on them, as opposed to the $13.95 cover price, so they perform better). i initially saw it on the shelf of a friend whose apartment i recently visited, and discovered she and i are identical book-taste twins (there's gotta be money in that). i think something about its cover led me to believe it was a non-fiction book about the history of "prepiness", which i still probably would have enjoyed, but it fact, it was a wonderful novel, and not just because i saw myself so much in the character, and the similarities between her experience in boarding school and my first years at college (which not contrary to popular belief, was a lot like high school.)
i pretty much took this book to be a fictionalized account of the author's true experience (it seems to be a book trend these days, a la the nanny diaries and the devil wears prada) because of the detail and extreme honesty, and because of the frequent "looking back on it now" realizations that i suppose someone could just invent, but seem to truly grow from acutally having experienced this life, and the events shaping her life and beliefs. however, i have not verified it to be true.
"lee" the main character, verbalized sentiments i've felt since i was pretty young, which are rather awkward to admit, but probably aren't as singular to me as i've always believed. they're ridiculous and self-defeating, but feelings nonetheless, that inform decisions in a stupid way. she talks about always declining invitations because she assumes if the person isn't wildly entheusiastic about her coming, isn't literally pulling on her arm, then they're asking out of obligation, and in truth, her presence would be a nuisance. but then, as she wonders why she wasted her years purposely not having fun, what is so bad about being a nuisance? at least she wouldn't be alone, where she spends time making up fantasies about when people will realize how cool she really is and how much they want to hang out with her. she reassures us that years later, she sheds her insecurity. (thank god for college. i spend a lot of time grateful that i'm not in high school anymore.)
so, i was so into this book that i kept telling myself to save it for italy, so i would be sure to have a book i like to read (the flight is so long, and i plan to spend so much time at the beach in cinque terre, i'm starting to worry about how many books i should bring), but it was futile.