Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's gonna snow! Quick, let's get to Wal-Mart for 9 loaves of bread and some ground beef!

Last night, Ross and I went to Wal-Mart. I feel compelled to point out that this was a previously scheduled Wal-Mart trip. We did not rush out to Wal-Mart after reading the week's forecast:

Apparently, though, every other citizen of Fayetteville saw the forecast and thought, "I must get to Wal-Mart IMMEDIATELY!"

I can understand the desire for preparedness in the face of inclement weather, especially after last year's ridiculous ice storm. Being without power for days is no fun. But I want to know, paranoid winter weather shoppers: what is going through your minds? I can understand why Wal-Mart had no flashlights. I can understand why Wal-Mart only had one Coleman lantern left in stock. I can even partly understand why there were zero loaves of bread on the shelves.

Some things, though, leave me completely baffled. Why was Wal-Mart completely out of ground beef, onions and green peppers? Why were there only three sweet potatoes left? What are you going to do when the power goes out? Eat a spoiled ground beef and raw onion sandwich? With a side of green pepper and raw sweet potato? YUM! I can't imagine anything more tasty!

Good luck everyone in Arkansas/Oklahoma/Missouri braving the winter weather. I'll be resting easy with my sole emergency purchase: two camping-sized cans of propane. One's for the propane lantern; the other is for the camp stove. If we can boil water, I think we'll be able to make it. See you when the ice melts!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A "Subtle" Hint

Oh, yay! I just got an email!

Oh, it's from my mother-in-law!

It looks like she's done some kind of survey...

Neat! What a cool idea. Let's read her responses.

Oh, that's subtle.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

kids these days!


WHAT ARE KIDS LISTENING TO THESE DAYS? (By kids, of course, I mean people my own age; I am old before my time. At least I know it.)

In an effort to become more "cool" and "in touch" with the popular culture, Ross and I have made the effort to listen to the radio more often. Know what we heard today? Lady Gaga. The song is called "Love Game."

I'll just let you Google the lyrics.

After hearing this song tonight and some song a few weeks ago called "Birthday Sex" (which really needs no explanation), I now declare, before God and the Internet, that no child of mine will ever be allowed to listen to the radio before the age of 37.

That is all!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

homemade potato chips: you can do it!

A few months ago, I thought to myself, "Self, how hard could it really be to make potato chips?" With a little help from Paula Deen, I decided to give it a go. I've made a few batches since then, and I think I've finally got it down to a science! And you know what? IT'S EASY. You should try it! Here's my step-by-step process with visuals!

Step 1: Put on the new Vera Bradley apron your mom got you on her recent trip to Chicago, then take a crappy picture of yourself in the mirror!  (Optional)

Look at the pattern -- what a rockin' apron!

Step 2: Drag out your equipment. Here's what you'll need:
  • your trusty dutch oven or other heavy pan (which I did not take a picture of -- sorry!)
  • a candy/frying thermometer
  • a jelly roll pan; a few sheets of paper towel; and an upside-down cooling rack, fitted like so:
  • a fryer dipper utensil thingy (that's the technical term), which looks like this:
  • the largest bowl you have, lined with a sheet of paper towel to soak up the extra frying oil:
  • and your friendly neighborhood mandoline slicer. Pictured is my Cuisinart mandoline, which I absolutely do not recommend at all!  I hear the Oxo handheld version is much better, and cheaper, too.
Step 3: Gather your ingredients. We'll be using peanut oil, two Russet potatoes, and good old table salt.

Step 4: Pour 2 quarts of peanut oil into your dutch oven fitted with a frying thermometer and turn heat to medium-high. Look! I can pour!

Step 5: Wash the potatoes. Scrub with a vegetable brush. Don't peel! There's no picture of this step -- YOU try taking a photo while scrubbing potatoes! I dare you!

Step 6: Slice the potatoes very thinly. I mean it! We're talking really thin:

Step 7: When the oil reaches somewhere between 325 and 350 (Fahrenheit, of course), drop in 10-12 potato slices. Take them out when they're done. You'll know they're done when the oil stops bubbling.
Here are the potatoes when they first went in:

See all the bubbles? they are when they're ready to come out of the oil:

No bubbles!

Step 8:  Transfer each batch of potato chips to your draining rack (the paper towel/cooling rack thingy), and salt immediately -- just get out your regular table salt shaker and give the whole batch about five good shakes.  Allow to cool on the draining rack, and periodically move the cooled chips to your bowl when finished.

Step 9:  Store in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Try to make them last longer than one day.

YUM. I think I need to go eat some of these. Immediately.



    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    extreme makeover: blog edition

    Check out our new template! And come back soon for a post about my homemade potato chips.

    Let us know if you're a fan of our new look!

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Representing the late '80s/early '90s

    Last weekend, Ross and I had the pleasure of attending a "Decade Dance." Our instructions were to come dressed as your favorite decade ready to dance the night away.

    Since we don't actually have a favorite decade (at least, I don't), we went to Cheap Thrills, our local overpriced vintage/thrift store, where I walked directly to the racks labeled "1930s", "1940s", "1950s", and so on.

    We decided to go with the '80s because, really, how hard can it be to look tacky?

    Here's what we came up with.

    How'd we do?

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    The Vacation Conundrum

    Today, just a few minutes ago, I decided I was going to post some hilarious pictures of Ross and me dressed up in our '80s clothes for a dance we went to last weekend. But then I realized that the pictures are still on my camera, and my camera is all packed away neatly in its case. This is a problem because I am already in bed, and to reach my camera case, I would be required to, um...sit up. And reach kind of far. (Like 9 inches.)

    But like I said, I'm already in bed.

    So instead, I'll talk to you about what I just dubbed "the vacation conundrum." Today was my first day back to school after a three-week hiatus. Those three weeks, with the exception of our six Christmases (which I should post about soon!), were SO relaxing. We slept until mid-morning every day. We did what we wanted. Some days, I didn't even leave the house. I generally performed not more than one actual task per day, and that task was usually something pretty innocuous. For example, one day I did a load of laundry. One day I made a batch of cookies. One day I watched Law & Order. One day I put on pants that most people would consider acceptable for wearing outside one's home. I digress. My point is that we took it really easy over the holiday break.

    I should be relaxed and well-rested. Why, then, was I overcome by exhaustion at 7 p.m. after only one day of school?

    Hence, the vacation conundrum. Vacations are only relaxing while you're actually on them.

    I guess it's not all bad. Those three weeks were pretty stinking great.

    Less boring random thoughts next time. More hilarious pictures. Promise!

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010


    I started a diet a few days ago. It's awful.

    True, I feel better already. True, I like it when my Wii Fit tells me my BMI is lower than yesterday.

    But you know what? All I can think about is...


    Dear Cookies,

    I miss you dearly. Our swift and painful break-up has left a hole in my heart. And in my belly. It seems that hole cannot be filled with any amount of green beans or lean protein. I hope you'll find a way to forgive me. I need you in my life.



    p.s. That photo up there was taken by yours truly. Name that movie: "Well, I'm votin' fer yours truly, too!"

    Farewell, Canon PowerShot A85

    It was due time. In my last post, I mentioned my old Canon PowerShot. It was a good camera for a long time. But then, it started taking pictures like this:

    No, that's not my mad Photoshop skills you're seeing (ha!). That's just my camera's best effort. (If you can't tell, that's Ross under there.)

    I admit that the sporadic functionality of the PowerShot was, in large part, my own fault. After its spontaneous and accidental plunge into a plastic cup filled with unknown (and unordered!) light beer, I thought the PowerShot had met its certain end. A few months later, I picked up the PowerShot and thought, "What the hay?" So I pushed the power button. I heard months-old dried-on crust go "crunch." And...I saw the screen light up! I have no idea how, but the PowerShot had been revived...sort of. It sometimes took OK pictures. It sometimes took blurry pictures. It sometimes took pictures like the one above. Nonetheless, I stuck with it. It was my trusty old PowerShot. And I'm poor.

    But I really wanted a new camera! So, knowing it was only a dream, I put a shiny new digital camera on my Christmas wish list at Wishpot. And then, to my surprise, I got THIS for Christmas:

    My in-laws are the bestest! Thanks J & B!

    You can expect LOTS of pictures in future posts!

    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Lemon-Thyme Penne, a yummy meal for one

    Back in December, Ross was in Nashville visiting Austin for a week (hi, Austin!), and I was busy studying for finals. Having grown weary of grilled cheese sandwiches and drive-thru dinners, I decided to whip up something delicious for myself. A lemon I bought at the grocery store became my inspiration, and this delicious and super-fast meal was born!

    I decided to take pictures while I was cooking with my trusty old camera, which has been with me through thick and thin. You can read about its near-death experience, if you'd like. Luckily, it decided to behave for me that day so I've got some lovely pictures for you!

    Here's the team:

    • 4 ounces dry penne (or whatever other pasta you've got lying around)
    • a wedge of lemon
    • parmigiano reggiano (i do not authorize any substitutes; buy the real thing!)
    • olive oil (it's way in the back!)
    • pepper
    • kosher salt
    • and thyme.
    Here's how you do it:

    First, bring some water to a boil. When it's rolling, dump in a handful of kosher salt, like so:

    I'm serious about the salt. I mean an actual handful, here.

    Next, throw in your pasta and cook it according to the package directions. If you're organized and efficient, you can grate a few tablespoons of parmigiano while the pasta is cooking. If you're Leah, you twiddle your thumbs.

    When the pasta is finished, drain it and put it into a single-serving size bowl.

    Next, add yourself some pepper...

    And give the lemon wedge a good squeeze over the bowl...

    And add a little drizzle of olive oil (maybe a teaspoon)...

    And a tiny pinch of thyme.

    Then, grate a few tablespoons of parmigiano right on top:

    Mix it all up and scarf it down! And hopefully, you can enjoy your meal for one in a more relaxing and inviting setting than this one:



    This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010


    On our drive back to Fayetteville today, Ross and I talked about the year ahead and made some resolutions. We wanted to share them here so you can (1) keep us accountable, and/or (2) laugh with us when we fail miserably, as people who make resolutions so often do.

    Leah's Resolutions
    • lose weight; fit into skinny (or even fat) jeans
    • post on the blog at least once per week
    • keep the bathroom cleaner (trust me; this one needs to happen)
    • use reusable grocery bags
    • learn how to cook dry beans and use them in more recipes
    Ross's Resolutions
    • read 24 books this year
    • try at least one new food per month (this is a big deal!)
    • find a job (also a big deal!)
    • take a vacation with my pretty wife
    So readers, did you make any resolutions this year? Post them in the comments! anything!

    Your favorite newlyweds