Thursday, November 29, 2007

cooking with...wha?

Um. That's...great.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Well Shit...RIP Amanda

I can't even begin to describe the multi-level suck-i-tude we're all feeling right now.

Basically my brother got into an icky hit-and-run car accident this morning. In short a red truck in the lane next to my brother's lost control and veered in front of his vehicle. After slamming the breaks to avoid hitting the guy, my brother's car hydroplaned, spun out of control on the freeway (it was raining heavily) and bonked into the truck and ricocheted off into the sunrise. The impact was so bad, car wouldn't start after that incident. Fortunately, two really kind Samaritans helped push my brother's car off the freeway and onto the shoulder.

Meanwhile, the asshole who swerved in front of my brother and caused this accident in the first place decided tear down I-35 and try to get away. WTF? What a moron! First off this is Thanksgiving weekend, so there were tons of people on I-35. Secondly, practically everyone has a cell phone so as this prick was speeding past a whole string of eyewitnesses, a bunch of which who were probably itching to go home as well, there was a lovely chorus of phone calls to 911 in rapid succession. In fact, by the time the police and ambulance reached my brother, a cop car had already caught the idiot in the truck who tried to run away.

As you can see my brother looks okay, but the car certainly doesn't.

He was struck in such a way that he whacked his head into the windshield, but aside from a mild headache, my brother appears to be physically sound. He's pissed off as hell of course. We're guessing the dude ran because had no insurance, which sucks balls, but we've got to thank God in the fullest for seat belts. It's a miracle that no one really got hurt. We're still waiting on more info...

Emotionally this has been taxing for us. I mean, we just lost out dad. To think we almost lost JBro is something too difficult to process at the moment. "Amanda" was my brother's first car and it was a generous gift from my dad. He received it his first year of college with the rationale being that since he commuted a bit he needed a reliable car. As he you can he was a very excited

Fast forward to today and Amanda is now a gnarled heap of twisted metal.

T, my mom, and I joined my brother at the wreckage yard helping him carry off his personal belongings. The freezing cold rain came out relentlessly stinging us repeatedly. That along with the grey over cast skies didn't help anyone's demeanor as we all dealt with this in our own ways. T was of course, was feeling thankful my brother was fine and joining in on cussing whenever we recounted the asshole who took off from the accident scene. My mother resorted to fretting and affectionate nagging wanting to be helpful, but really just getting into my brother's way.

I of course sulked quietly and took photos, my fingers barely able to press the shutter, it was cold out.

I focused on the damage trying to imagine how the impacts happened.

I fixated on the patches of red paint from the truck permanently fused into the surface of my brother's Acura. It had no business being there. Its brash red was adding insult to injury, flaunting itself, commanding attention like blood.

I was struck by how organic Amanda now looked post accident. Her smooth and symmetric lines were now marred by crinkles and blisters and cracks. She could not hold onto all her components. Her entrails were now exposed.

Soggy, wet and dejected we drove home in T and I's modest blue Nissan feeling tired and worn out trying to figure out the best scheme to get my brother back home to Dallas. I sat in the front with my brother's CDs balanced on my lap feeling oddly calm. I asked God to send good karma down to those who helped my brother. I sat back, feeling thankful that T and I were home when my brother called, that we had a functional car, that my brother wasn't hurt and did have insurance, that the accident happened close to could have been so much worse.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Munchie Mondays: T's Birthday Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing

Yes, I know this is another early Munchie Monday post as it is Friday, however, today is my Darlin Hubby's Birthday! He turns 31 today and except for the increased man-fur, looks pretty much the same as when I first met him nearly 9 years ago. He's out with my brother watching Beowulf in 3-d at the moment. Meanwhile, I've been whipping up a batch of his favorite muffins.

I figured after the movie, T and Jbro will probably want something nice to munch on anyway.

I can't take full credit for the recipe as it is derived from a banana muffin recipe in Betty Crocker's Cookbook, which incidentally was a gift T's Mom gave him ages ago right before he was to head off to college. The intention was to give him a simple guide to cooking to encourage him to acquire good eating habits as a bachelor--ya know, to not consider Ramen, potato chips and peanut butter straight from jar as a full meal. I'm not sure how much use the book he received because by the time we got married (which was some 6 years later after he acquired the text) the spiral bound volume was still pristine. ..however, *I* got a lot of use out of it. The recipes in there work as a perfect base to add/change/tweak into your own dishes which is what I've done here.

The muffins from this book are obscenely easy to make.

T's Birthday Banana Muffins with Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing
makes 12

3 mashed ripe bananas
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla or maple extract
1/3 cup of light brown sugar
3 tbs of vegetable oil
2 cups of Bisquick
1/2 cup of pecans (plus extra for garnish)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing
(you will have leftovers)

2 cups of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup of whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line muffin tin with muffin paper or grease lightly with shortening (I suggest muffin cups because these muffins are light and fall apart easily).

Whisk bananas, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and brown sugar in a bowl. Gently fold Bisquick flour and pecans into wet mixture until just moistened. Do not overmix. Otherwise, you'll get a heavy batter. Spoon mixture evenly amongst the 12 muffin compartments.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing.
Place chocolate chips and peanut butter in a sturdy bowl (glass or ceramic is best as it conducts heat). Heat whipping cream over stove while whisking to aerate the cream. When steamy got (but not boiling) pour over chocolate chips and peanut butter. Continue to beat mixture with whisk until chocolate is melted and everything is well incorporated. It'll be the consistency of a thick pudding.

When muffins are done, remove from pan and cool on a wire wrack.

Spoon icing over the tops and garnish with pecans (or sprinkles, or coconut flakes...or nothing at all). Ta da! Done!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Munchie Mondays: Borscht Soup Cindy Style

I swear this is a really yummy soup, especially in colder weather. Unfortunately, it's just a pain in the tush to photograph.

My version is definitely an adulterated version of the traditional eastern European dish, but still is a borscht, I assure you. Be sure to use fresh beets. The canned stuff just doesn't cut it because this soup is all about the beets and cabbage. If you hate sauerkraut, feel free to omit and use more red cabbage instead, however the sauerkraut gives the dish a nice tangy flavor that goes well with the sweetness of the beets. You can also made this vegetarian by completely omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth. I sometimes make a heartier version by adding potato.

Fresh dill is also a must for this to taste right.

Like with most soups, exact measurements are not that important.

Borscht Soup Cindy Style
feeds a lot of people (8-10...maybe more)

1 lb of bacon
1 small red onion finely diced
6-8 small-medium fresh beets peeled and sliced
1 small head of red cabbage shredded and rinsed (about 4 to 6 cups)
2 cups of sauerkraut
4 cups of beef broth
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of sour cream (plus extra for garnish)
1/4 cup of fresh dill (plus extra for garnish)
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels and reserved about 1 tbs of oil. Place oil in the bottom of a huge ass pot and heat. Fry onion until transparent (if you were to use potato too, this would be the time to fry the potatoes). Add liquids, veggies and bacon. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer halfway covered for about 30 minutes or until beets are soft and cabbage is wilted. The soup will take on a gorgeous fuchsia color pretty quickly.

Turn off heat and then mix in the sour cream and dill until dissolved. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, fresh dill and fresh cracked pepper. There you go! A nice hearty soup for the winter months.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Some words I just can't ever say right

With the luxury of a blog, I am shielded from showcasing one of my most embarassing attributes: My lack of eloquence.

Not only do I trip over words as I speak, but I suffer from a mild lisp and momentary lapses of honest-to-goodness anomia. In fact, often the word that comes out of my mouth is either completely opposite to what I intend on saying or it is something that is abstractly related. For instance, just a few moments ago, I asked T if he could hand me the blanket sitting on the couch. Except that I said "Pillow?" He of course handed me the blanket and went "a-noooo-meeeee-ahhhhh!"

Part of it may have to do with the fact that I speak a pidgin language with my mother. She's not a native speaker of English so much of the vocabulary I share with her is simplified or broken down to abstract parts. My favorite example is the word for nipples. "Nipples" in our pidgin language is "booby dots."

As you can imagine my various speech anomalies gives my husband, the linguist, hours and hours of joy as he analyzes what I say. In addition to the above, there are several words that I can't seem to say right no matter how many times I am corrected and they are the following....

Gewustraminer: next to Riesling, it's my favorite wine.

Correct pronunciation: ge-wurst-tra-meee-ner
Cindy pronunciation: ge-wusrt-tra-ga-meee-ner

Phlegm: we all know what that is. The unfortunate things is that I somehow internalized way back when that the written word was something different from what you would normally call a loogie.

Correct pronunciation: flem
Cindy pronunciation: fel-gium

Mausoleum: otherwise known as a big fancy tomb. I was not corrected on how to say this word until I was 25!

Correct pronunciation: mau-so-le-um
Cindy pronunciation: ma-laaaah-zeeee-um

pusillanimous it means cowardly

Correct pronunciation: pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muh-sss
Cindy pronunciation: pyooo-suh-mah-lan-ih-mus

There a few more, but I can't quite remember them off the top of my head. Anyway, I often wonder with how much I butcher my own native language...what calamities do I cause when I speak a foreign language? As I get older I've learned some of the words I use when communicating in Mandarin or Taiwanese are just flat out wrong or don't exist, but because my family knows what I'm talking about and my tone conveys plenty of meaning, so I never get corrected.

I suppose this is how new words are created.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mary and Josh's Gothic Wedding

Can you tell these two have known each other since 10th grade? That's seventeen years.

So, as you can imagine we are all incredibly happy when the two of them finally tied the knot. Some of us flat out forgot that they weren't already married!

T and I took turns with the camera capturing the images of the splendid day. Every wedding is unique and each is beautiful in its own way. I feel like its been ages since I've gone to a gothic one (we are, after all, getting older) so what a splendid surprise it was to see Mary and Josh embrace their younger days with their ceremony at the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens in Austin, TX.

The groom in his glorious guy-liner:

Cassandra was the master of ceremony:

Guests waiting.

That's Kate and her man, Joel on the right:

My dapper hubby and dear friend Lisa:

Lisa bringing Juliet to Lee, her husband. I love how the child stands out as a red spot amongst a sea of black:

Mary walking in with her dad:

Exchange of vows (Josh said at one point "I also promise to buy you a lot of pretty things..."):

Ring Exchange:

The Kiss:

And a big hug...

From many people...

Mary and Josh picked an Indian restaurant to cater the food. That was just divine!

Cake cutting:

Cake eating:

Cake flinging:

More pics...


Milo with his parents "Special Blue" Jennifer and Kevin:

Ross (Juliet's dad) giving me a celebratory kiss:

Troy and me:


Juliet with her mom, Cassandra as Lisa looks on in the background:

Juliet with her dad, Ross:

Lisa with Juliet:

Lee with Juliet:

A very festive Stacy:

Rothko and Matt:

Angie's hair:

Jason and Sarah:

Kitsune and Syd:

Kitsune and me:

Shannon and Xian with their son Devin:

Darlin Hubby:

Ross trying to entertain Juliet:

A bunch of us decorating the car:

Happily ever after...if they've been together for 17 years already, I think they're probably going to stay together for a bit more longer.

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