Wednesday, November 3, 2010

22 Days til Christmas

Shame on me I know. Well I can't help it. They've been shoving it down my throat around here since the middle of October. Just a few steps from my office there's a park that puts up lots of adorable decor and christmas trees decorated by kids and one giant one made of lights. Well its been up for weeks and I CANT STAND IT. Every year it just shows up earlier and earlier. Next thing you know it will be up after Labor Day and then 4th of July. Might as well just leave the damn thing up all year! I love Christmas, but this makes me dread it. Please, just let me enjoy my Thanksgiving feast and subsequent food coma before you start bombarding me with tinsel and jingle bells!

However, I suppose it is really not too early to be thinking about Christmas lists. Unfortunately, the list of people I shop for has shrunk considerably the last year and a 1/2 (fortunate for my wallet I suppose). So, taking a wise bit of advice from my friend Gabby, and fellow blogger, I suggested to my family that we pick charities and donate in each others' names this year. A mutual friend just took a trip with her husband to Haiti, and while I may donate to that cause, I thought it best to let everyone pick their own. But with so many people out there in need.. how do you choose? Who's most deserving? What charity is best? Well after lots of Google searches trying to weed out the legitimate sites from the not so much ones, I came across Charity Navigator. This site has tips on how to pick, how to contact local charities in your area, and shows stats on how efficient the charity is. Because no one wants to donate their money to a charity that spends more in overhead than they do on the cause in which you are trying to support.

Still with so many needy people and worthy causes, it is so hard to pick. After looking through and through this site, I thought perhaps it would be best to donate locally. I haven't fully made up my mind yet, but I'm leaning towards the Wisconsin Humane Society. Nothing pulls at my heart strings more than sad and unloved furry animals. And obviously, Haiti and Chile and all those other places in the World. I guess just take pause this year when making that list of yours and think to yourself, do I really need the newest ipod or whatever? Sure there are things we all want, but there are so many out there that don't have the things they need(and that we all take for granted). And if you really can't imagine not unwrapping things on the 25th of December, then how about donating your time to a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter Or donating old coats and mittens.

Ok, there's my pitch! And thanks again to Gabby for planting the idea in my head in the first place.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tomato Romp 2010

The only sounds to be heard were fits of laughter, cheers from the bystanders... and the squishy sound of tomatoes being thrown into the faces, bodies, arms, legs of your peers. It was the EastSides 4th Annual Tomato Romp.

The fun began at 1130 a.m. For my friend, Alyssa and myself. Once our places in the Tomato fight at 4pm were secured we hopped in a 2 block long line on North Ave. to get our slips for the Bloody Mary tasting. Our mission: Sample bloody marys (with chasers) from 11 bars in a 3 block radius by 3pm. Sounds easy right? Especially since they were little bloodies and chasers. I thought to myself, 'there is no WAY I will get drunk from these.' I was wrong. We made the mistake of taking our good sweet time at the 1st three bars. Then I checked my phone and it said 1:30. I turned to Alyssa and told her we had 1.5 hours to hit 8 more bars and turn in our sheets. (not that I cared about the contest..i just wanted the bloody marys). So then we were on a mission. We slammed both bloody and chaser at the next 6 bars, and then saved the best 2 for last (Von Trier & Hooligans).

I hour to go til the fight begins and North Ave was swarming with bloody mary-filled people at 3 in the afternoon. So what to do? Have a beer of course! A giant one. Now we were sufficiently buzzed, changed into our tomato clothes (big thanks to my wonderful Mom for holding our stuff) and ready to get in the cage.

3.....2.....1....... TOMATO FIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alyssa: red on left. Me: In dark blue on right (arms up)

see the pink umbrella?? that's my Mom.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Line Is That Way Boys

Ok ok ok.. I have a confession. I am now among the online dating community. Yes, that is correct, I, Kaylie, joined I swore up down sideways and back that I would never in a million over  my dead body try dating online. I'm a romantic. I love the thought of locking eyes with someone across the room and from there a fabulous love affair ensues. Well... those moments are usually a result of too much vodka and all that ensues is a whole lotta regret.

So it all started with a slow day at work and a personality test from I love these things because its funny to see what the results are. Anyway, chemistry is a new offshoot of match (stay away from chemistry.. its dumb) and so my curiosity took me further. "I'll just look," I told myself. Don't have to subscribe to look. Well, then the next morning I had TEN emails and in order to read those e-mails I had to subscribe (pay $$). And so then it was official. I was online dating. And you know.. its not so bad. The boys have been lining up and I'm just your average girl. Or maybe because I'm not 300 lbs and I have all my teeth or something. Some of the emails I get are really crazy though....

"Hi. I see you like to cook. I have to say you look just like my exgirlfriend... she liked to cook to, but she also had no soul. Want to get to  know eachother...."
"I'm currently separated, I have 5 kids, but they don't live it a home....." 

There have been others, but those two are my favorite. On the other side of things, there are some really great, seemingly normal, good looking gentlemen. I've been on 5 dates so far. 2 of which will not be repeated, one that seemed like he'd make a really awesome friend, and the other two have some potential. There are others, but seriously this whole answering emails, scheduling dates, etc, is time consuming. Not to mention going on dates with strangers is nerve-racking. Everytime I do I want to call and cancel because its stresses me out. By the way, a martini is a good cure for that. Just one though. It's poor form to get wasted on the first date.

Well.. there now I feel better having got that off my shoulders. I'm sure there will be more to tell soon.

Happy Friday the 13th!!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In a Cake Jam? Bake a Jam Cake!

Last night I made a Lemon Semolina Jam Cake (well minus the semolina flour because I could NOT find it). I stumbled upon this recipe through reading blogs that other blogs I read follow. You follow me? Good. And I came upon the Pastry Studio . Everything this woman has on here looks just delicious! It is summer and I though something light a refreshing would be good and this cake appeared to fit the bill.

For the jam, I made a raspberry and fig jam. Super duper easy. First: make a simple syrup and then add the fruit. Recipe below.

Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water

Bring the water and syrup to a boil in a saucepan. Then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes - or until all the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Raspberry Fig Jam
- 1/2 cup simple syrup
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- handful (6 or so) dried black mission figs halved
- 2 T Brandy (optional)

Bring all ingredients to a simmer in a saucepan. Allow to cool slightly and transfer to a food processor & blend!

I let my jam set in the fridge first before I put it on the cake. I suppose it depends on the thickness of your  jam. I really know nothing of making jam.. this was just an adaptation of a similar recipe I have.

As usual when I bake a cake, I don't want it lying around the house so I bring it to work. I judge the worth of a recipe by how much is left by lunchtime. It is currently 10:09 and there is 1/2 left so I guess it is pretty tasty.

Thanks Pastry Studio!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flashback:: 2004

Several years ago, life was simple. Free of iphones, ipads, widely available wifi, Myspace, and Facebook. Let us take a moment to remember what that time was like. What did we do with all of that free time?? Were we bored out of our minds? No, not really. We did this thing called socializing but we did it face to face in social settings not social networks. And stalking was still done the old fashioned way and still considered creepy. Sure we had blogs, email, cell phones, texting, etc, but there was not a link to our Facebook page in our back pocket at all times. It was not part of our daily life.

Well, this past week it has not been a part of my daily life. I did the unthinkable! I forgot my password, and when I tried to reset it the confirmation code never made it to my email. It has been 7 days since my last Facebook login. At first I was dumbfounded! How will I know what everyone did over the weekend? How will I know what's going on???? AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (cue twilight zone music).

Now I remember what it was to have a life. To not know what everyone is doing day in and day out, and actually having a reason to call people to see what's new. I mean how often do you talk to a friend and you're telling them a story, and they go ' oh yeah, I saw that on your Facebook." Don't get me wrong, I am trying to gain access to my account again, but in the meantime I am kind of enjoying the time away. Its like that feeling when you go camping and you have to turn off your cellphone because there isn't a cell tour for miles. After a day or two you don't really care if anyone has tried to call you. Whatever it is... it can wait.

Password loss or not.. I challenge you to take a week vacation from Facebook. Reconnect with you friends and your life in real life.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

note to self

this isnt a real post. more like a reminder to myself to make a recipe I just read about. only there was no recipe so I will have to make some assumptions on how to assemble. the dish is a Scallop BLT, with pancetta, tomato coulis and greens on a baguette. yum! if I make it and it turns out i'll post the recipe i used. stay tuned.. whoever you are :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Patty Cake Patty Cake

I love cake! I mean really, who doesn't? What is even better is that I have an office full of men that like cake too. Why is this good you ask? Well, because if I baked the cake and ate it all myself I'd be as big as a house. Baking for the people at work gives me a good chance to try out recipes and most of the time work foots the bill for ingredients. Bonus!

Last week was a work friends birthday on that silly Irish holiday. I promised her nothing mint, nothing green and nothing irish like. So.. I baked her a chocolate raspberry mousse devils food layer cake. YUM!

Between the layers was a layer of raspberry jam(seedless) covered by a layer of mousse with fresh raspberries pressed into it. Well, the recipe called it mousse, but from what I know about cream and chocolate it was more of a ganache. Then you cover the whole cake in the fluffy mousssey/ganache. Top it off with fresh raspberries and a dusting of cocoa powder. Voila! Heaven. My 2nd layer cake ever - a success. At least in my mind.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dear No One

It has been 5 months since my Dad passed away. I miss him a lot. Every single day. Sometimes it hits me so hard that it takes my breath away. Sunday I was walking home from the grocery store when images of that day started flooding my head and it was like he died all over again. It just feels like another life another person was laying in that bed. Not my Dad. It couldn't be.

More and more I think back to that day and wish I could go back, freeze time and stay there forever. It was almost easier when the pain was right at the surface and the reality was right in front of me. I could deal with it. Believe it. If I could just go back and hang on. But I know that is silly and the reality is that it happened, it is over, and life must go on. My life must go on, because his did not and he's part of me so I do it for both of us.

And rather than pay someone $200 odd bucks an hour to say that outloud.. I blog.