Travels of Zow Zow
Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Recipe Round Up: 9/21/06
Well, it’s wet and grey here, although it is almost fall and I did move to the Northwest, so I’m not sure exactly what I expected!

Since I’m not working full time—hell, I wouldn’t even consider what I’m doing right now part time—I get to spend much of my days in warm, comfy clothes, curled up on the couch. I even nap. I figure I should enjoy this time while I can, as it won’t be too much longer until a nap is worth more to me than platinum jewelry!

The only “bad” thing about fall and cold weather is it makes me want to bake. Who am I kidding; everything makes me want to bake! However, there’s something about fall flavors—apples, pumpkin, cinnamon that calls out for warm baked goodness. So, I share with you a recipe I am world-famous for. Except, of course, I’m not and it’s not even my recipe! I do get requests for these a lot though, and they are a great thing to bring to bake sale or office party. And they meet my number 1 requirement of being easy!

Pumpkin Cranberry Bars with Brown Butter Frosting
I first found this recipe on the Cooking Light Message Board, but I’m not sure of the original author. The frosting is outstanding, but not necessary. Feel free to serve plain or with powdered sugar

1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground ginger
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) solid packed pumpkin
3/4 c. butter, melted (don't substitute)
3/4 c. dried cranberries

In a bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin and butter. Stir into the dry ingredients til combined. Stir in cranberries. Spread onto a greased 13x9 pan. Bake 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Spread with brown-butter frosting.

Brown-Butter Frosting:

1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
4-6 T. milk
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat til golden brown (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and enough milk to make a spreading consistency. Spread over the bars before cutting.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Living Up To The Hype
Wow, how bad do I suck at this whole blogging thing. I just figured out that I can comment on my own, so that I can have a conversation with the nice people who come by!

Moving on....

Don't you LOVE it when something lives up to the hype. I have been waiting for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip for ages--about when they announced West Wing was being canceled and that Studio 60 was coming in the fall.

The pilot episode was last night and OH MY GOD it was better than I could have guessed. I just love the actors-Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry are fantastic, as well as Timothy Bustfield. The dialogue was great and I think the story is going to be great too. I'm still warming up to Amanda Peet. I'm not sure if her smug looks are make me hate her...but so far, meh, she's ok. The dude from Wings plays a bad guy, which is really hard to picture. I kept thinking has was going to pull out a joke or something.

I've also been seeing a lot of ads for the new, 10th anniversary edition of Tickle Me Elmo. I'm not sure what the updates are, but Ebay has one for auction for 2500 bucks. I just can't imagine a furry toy pulling in the kind of dough. When it was released 10 years ago, I didn't know anyone with kids young enough to want one, so I enjoyed the mayhem from afar. I don't even think I've ever seen one in person. But I wonder, did all of those people who got up at the crack of dawn to stand in line for one, get their moneys worth? Can a toy really live up to the hype?

And in closing, we just watched Benchwarmers with David Spade, Rob Schneider and Jon Heder. I had very low expecations for this kind of movie, but while it had it's moments of stupidity, it was a very cute, funy and touching movie. I was totally suprised! Any other good movie recs, oh imaginary readers?

Saturday, September 09, 2006
Secrets, secrets are no fun
Secrets are for everyone!

Seriously, is anyone else REALLY Bothered by the new Secret campaign where "real" women share their secrets on camera?

The one where the little girl tells her mom about her first kiss is kind of sweet, but every time I see the one with the two friends and the one really wants a baby and the other is pregnant...well, that one makes me want to kill myself.

I don't know if it's because it seems SO fake. What woman who's 4 months pregnant hasn't told her best friend? How many women change their minds about being wanting to be mothers? And the whole--it's going to change our relationship...I don't know, it's so lame.

I guess the idea that you may not be "strong enough" to share your secret bothers me. Some secrets aren't meant to be shared. In one commercial, a sister-in-law admits to a woman that she had bribed her brother (now husband to the woman) to go out with her.

Funny many years later, but also hurtful. Perhaps I'm being too sensitive. Perhaps I don't want to be goaded into sharing my secrets--not that I can really think of any right now!

Thursday, September 07, 2006
Thursday Recipe Round Up!
I love, love, love to cook. It's my one creative outlet--and one I'm not half bad at either. I'm one of those, sort of, throw everything in and see if it works kind of people, although I always read a few recipes to get the basic proportion of ingredients. Only once has something been so bad that we threw it away and went out!

On the other hand, I'm really lazy. I hate dishes. I hate things that take too many steps. Unfortunately easy and tasty don't always go together. Too often you end up with an icky conglomeration of pre-made foods that just looks and tastes gross. See: Sandra Lee--The devil of the Food Network

I'd like to share with other people out there meals and recipes that are easy and tasty--and good enough to make for your mother-in-law.

So here's the first of a weekly (maybe even bi-weekly) Recipe Round up post.

This a delicious salad dressing from Cooking Light (Oct. 2005)I do not measure anything in this recipe--so feel free to wing it.
1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

-Boil the apple juice until very reduced, about 10 minutes (it will look like a thin syrup--about 3 tbls.) At this point I sometimes add a dash of maple syrup too
-Let cool
-Put in a tupperware or other container with a lid. Add the rest of the ingredients. Replace top and shake until combined.

I serve this on and lettuce/cheese/fruit combo I can think of. Romaine with cheddar and apples. Spinach with cranberries and blue cheese. It's very versatile.

Original Recipe on Cooking Light

My new favorite side dish, courtesy of Rachel Ray. Feel free to splurge on the cheese or add some white cheddar.

Cheesy Orzo
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (14 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano (or more!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.

Original Recipe on Food Network

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Yes JT, bring SexyBack
Hubs is a certified music freak. Right before we moved, we had a garage sale and he finally sold about 1000 CDs that he had ripped to MP3. He loves concerts and listening to music while he works. He has this weird talent for knowing not only the artist and name of a song on the radio, but what album it was on and sometimes even the track number. His favorite game is "What song is in your head right now?" He is frightened and confused when I admit there isn't one. He just can't imagine not having a running soundtrack.

I like music. It's nice in the background. It's fun to sing along with in the car. I had parents who are very musical as well, so I was well versed in the Beatles and the Grateful Dead at a young age. This background gave me some much needed "cool points" in high school, because, let's face it, I was about an inch away from being an uber-dork. But I knew Led Zeppelin songs before  Stone Temple Pilots covered them.

I've been finding myself lying to Hubs, as of late. I am ashamed about how I've been spending my mornings. My daily exercise includes at least 30 minutes on our exercise bike, which is very convently located in front of the TV downstairs. Every morning, I eagerly hop on, remote in hand, and turn on.....MTV...or MTV2.....or VH1.

Well, you might say, of course you do. Everyone likes music while they work out. But, therein lies the problem. The videos I watch, nay, sing and dance too in the mornings are not considered music in this house. I catch myself humming "Morris Brown" or "Ain't No Other Man" throughout the day. And when Hubs asks his favorite question...I have to lie. I cannot admit to actually knowing, much less liking these heathen songs. And a pox be on my head if I let it slip that the song is really "London Bridge" because Fergie (and the Black Eyed Peas by association) can literally send Hubs into a fit. Try it sometimes--Sing "My Humps" and his head will blow up like a giant balloon until he stabs himself in the ear with a knife and then his whole head explodes.

It's not pretty.

And so, I will continue to jump for joy when "SexyBack" comes on each morning and I will continue to sing it in silence. I'm not a good enough housekeeper to keep cleaning up little bits of Hubs head.

Ok, the deed is done
I left a comment. I don't think it sucks. I'm too afraid to leave another.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Social anxiety can exist in the Blogosphere
First off, is blogosphere still even used? Or is that a tell tale sign that I am the biggest
lame ass on the planet for still using it?

Carrying on...I am an extremely friendly person. I smile a lot, at friends, dogs, babies etc. However, actually talking to people I don't know, or even kind of know is a HUGE struggle. Like, it's bizarre. One of the side effects of moving is suddenly you have to, like, talk to people. For example, we have great neighbors. Super friendly--they even brought us a plant the first week we moved in. About a month after we moved in, our end of the street had a fireworks party. I had made blondies and sangria to bring over, but I physically COULD NOT do it. I actually handed the goodies to my social butterfly Hubs and got him to bring them over.

I've never taken a job where I didn't know any one for fear that I wouldn't be able to
deal with it. I'm sick. And to be honest, most of my friends would never think this about me. It's strange, like me.

Which leads me to the point of this post. I can't comment on other blogs. I've been reading a lot of very funny and interesting blogs for the last few months. I've even thought of a novel idea to share with the blogger in particular. But my social anxiety looms over me and I can't get my self to actually share.

How does one overcome this? How do I get over my feelings of self-doubt? Am I really just fishing for someone to come look at my stupid writing? Do I really have anything worth sharing?

Oh, and House was great tonight. What a great show! I got hooked over the summer on re-runs, and now I get to keep up real time. Yeah! Another thread to follow on TWOP!

(and there is the proof that I truely have nothing interesting to say)

And so it begins
Which I'm sure is a title used by like....10 gazillion other bloggers. What can 
I say, I'm coming a little late to the party and wearing last seasons dress. C'est 
la vie. In the unlikely event anyone actually reads this, well, they can sue me for 

I'm sure that won't be the only thing that sounds similar to some of the great 
blogs out there. I, how shall we say, lack any creative bones in my body.
Yeah, none. So my guess is this little blog will end up with 2 posts, and both of them will be lame.

I've recently moved with the Hubs to Washington State and I imagine posts about this topic will comprise of 1% of the topics...okay maybe more as we get out and explore (As all of the cheezy moving advice books tell you).

I also have a dog, who, IMHO, is always the cutest one at the dog park. See, that leaves room for you to not be offended because your dog won't be at the same dog park.

I do not, however, have a job. I'm working on it....sort of. I really am. I recently found out that a pretty major surgery may be in my near future. It makes it REALY hard to find a job when you can only work for about 3 months, then need December off for vacation, oh, yeah, and by the way I need another 4 months off for a major surgery. So we're making do as a one-income family right now. 

I hope this will not fail like so many other of my creative appempts have (Hello, scrapbooking anyone? Knitting--I couldn't even make the first stitch!)