i cant seem to stop cooking. last week i got myself all riled up wanting to make rice. so i dug through four cookbooks until i finally settled on a recipe for rice pilaf in a vegetarian cookbook that the mister and i got as a wedding present. the hubby, who is typically blase about the process of choosing what's for dinner, saw the picture and requested that i double the recipe. the ingredient list should have been fair warning that i was in over my head, but the mister's enthusiasm was contagious. so we went to the grocery store and circled the aisles like hawks, on the look-out for cumin seeds and green cardamon pods. no luck. so we stopped by a wee produce store that often has some of the more exotic spices available in the unground format. we found a little baggy only about 1/4 full of cumin seeds and suitably inexpensive. perfecto. and then we found the cardamon pods. a bursting full bag of cardamon seeds. did i mention that the recipe only called for eight pods? this baggy had somewhere upwards of five hundred! and it cost a small fortune. the mister and i looked at each other thinking the same thought...is it really stealing if we just take eight little pods? umm...YES! we are NOT going to jail for eight cardamon pods. just when i was gathering up my gumption to ask the clerk if we could buy eight pods, the mister dropped the baggy. cardamon pods scattered in every direction. the desire to scoop up eight and disappear was overwhelming, but once again my conscience inserted itself into the chaos and said "no, no, and NO." okay fine. so now instead of merely asking the clerk if we can buy eight pods, i have to inform her that my darling husband dumped a bag of the blasted beasties on the floor. interestingly, by this point my shame had flown the coop, and i gamely asked her if we could buy the pods singly. she looked at me as if i had just asked her to lick the floor and replied simply, "no." do i need to tell you that our rice pilaf was free of cardamon pods? we finally headed home, cooked up the rice with only a few major hiccups, and enjoyed the lovely delicacy. and let me tell you, it was lovely.

of course, hunting through my cookbooks embedded the cooking bug in my brain and exposed me to a whole host of recipes i wanted to try. so last sunday i continued my rice obsession and cooked up some stir fry. found an absolutely scrumptious stir fry sauce recipe. the food turned out delectable...this mister is not a huge fan. so sad. but not to worry...i also made noodle kugel. absolutely no relation between the two dishes. in fact the thought of eating both in the same sitting makes me want to vomit. sadly, the noodle kugel did not turn out as well as i had hoped and not surprisingly, the hubster requested that i not make this again. so essentially, we have a refrigerator full of not-so-yummy delicacies. great.

despite last weekend's kitchen failures, i was not daunted. yesterday i came to the conclusion that i absolutely HAD to make cinnamon rolls. so i did. we now have about five pounds of sugary, buttery, gooey wonderfulness hanging out in our fridge. as if that wasnt enough for one evening, i also decided that i wanted to make bread. sure sure. no problem. so i searched for "easy bread recipe" and found this recipe. turns out it is the brainchild of a new york baker, who's "minimalist bread" was featured in this ny times article. took 24 hours, but i officially made the most amazing loaf of bread i have ever produced (see the picture...yes, yes, that is the one that i made!!!). clearly, i have joined the masses who think that this recipe is miraculous. and as if creating cinnamon rolls and a beautiful boule were not enough, i also made red pepper risotto and fried chicken. somebody stop me. i need a twelve step program, because i am addicted to cooking.


nitrocellulose cotton.

nail polish is somewhere on my list of the top ten products available in the consumer world. i love nail polish. and when i say love, i mean L-O-V-E, love. i am not sure how many bottles i have purchased in my lifetime, but the number certainly reaches into the hundreds. this obsession started when i was a child. for most of my life i avoided makeup, but nail polish always held me in a trance. throughout my adolescence i painted my nails regularly. by regularly, i mean three or four times a week. if i was wearing a red shirt, there was a good chance i was compelled to have red nails. right. between all of my daily activities and responsibilities, finding time for this kind of fingertip upkeep was a challenge. but then i discovered that i could paint my nails in bed and let them dry as i slept. perfect-O!!

but one thing impeded this process. the female parental unit. apparently when my mums said 10 o'clock was my bedtime, she meant that i should go to sleep at that time, rather than get in bed and paint my nails at that time. she was like a hound dog on a trail the way she could smell the nail polish all the way from the kitchen, but when she would come to check on me i would be laying on my stomach with my arms under my pillow - surely i had not just painted my nails? a few years ago i finally confessed and told my mums all about how i circumnavigated her bedtime rules. i put my arms under my pillow with my hands sticking out the other end. then i painted my nails and went to sleep. when mums came to check on me, i appeared to be sleeping on top of my hands, which from her view would mean that there was no way i had just applied polish. right. as you can see, my desire to decorate my nails far has always hovered in the realm of ridiculous.

i am sure you will not be shocked to know that despite yearly attempts to jettison the excess, my hoard of bottles had grown rather large. about three years ago, in order to avoid spending my entire salary on little glass bottles of goodness, i resolved to forcibly subdue the alarming growth of the collection. i instituted a few restrictions. i could only purchase a single brand. the winner? maybelline express finish. the rules? i had to throw away every bottle that did not fit the single criteria. whilst shopping i can buy as many bottles as i want, as long as it is this one brand. gifted bottles are not subject to the criteria (i just invented this glorious rule, because one of my lovely friends gave me a bedazzling assortment of juicy colors for christmas!!). so far so good.
the restrictions have certainly curtailed my purchasing, especially since maybelline hardly ever introduces new colors. grrr. if i had known of this in advance, i likely would not have selected this brand, although this fact has certainly alleviated my inclinations to constantly hunt for new hues. the current stockpile consists of only thirty five different colors. an adequate assortment to keep me amused and a small enough quantity that it all fits in a single drawer. but now rather than spend all of my time choosing which bottle to buy, i spend all my time determining which color to wear. since i am almost never without my painted nails, this is a weekly debate. seriously time consuming, especially as i am hampered by my own indecision. i put a different color on each finger and then make a selection. i color my nails with that selection and almost without fail i change my mind. it is a painful process. luckily i have a color consultant, miss pumpky. she does not seem to tire of issuing color decrees and never fails to provide these judgments instantly and decisively. thank goodness!! tonight's verdict? hot pink. apparently its going to be an exciting week.



i want my money back. i bought the miami dream complete with warm and fuzzy winters and now i am stuck in the neverending clutches of arctic cold fronts. thats right kids. as if the freezing temperatures all week were not enough, there is now a wind chill and frost advisory in effect AND the temperatures are supposed to exhibit a "drastic drop" on saturday. uhh...how much lower can we go? and how many more days do i have to go to work in my goofy striped hat? i mean, please...i don't have a lot of "grown up" stock to begin with..forcing me to wear my stripey beanie hat to work is NOT helping.

i dont know pete, but for his sake, we need our weather back. our electric bill is going to go through the roof, because we discovered that our a/c is also a heater. thank goodness for this, but really?!?! i am one of the odd ducks who actually relishes the ghastly humidity of miami summers (there is something divine about being blissfully warm even in the wee hours of the night), but seriously, putting up with the psycho humidity of miami summers should earn me bragging rights in the dead of winter. instead, all day i've been haunted by angelenos raving about their 74 degree afternoon as i sit shivering in my nineteen layers.

there is only one saving grace here. my future nephew is due to arrive in the city of angels any day now. perhaps the higher powers have decided to clear the air so he can come into this world under a ray of golden sun. in that case, i suppose i can suffer through a few more days of frostbite. let's be honest...i look kinda adorable in my snow hat.


eggnog heaven.

many of you are probably aware that starbucks features a few special drinks during the holiday season. although you might not realize that in december i have virtually no ability to resist the impulse to steer my way towards the nearest starbucks location to procure a delectable eggnog latte. this year i avoided the beverage for a significantly longer time than i ever have in the past, not succumbing to the temptation until the second week of december. however, despite my late entry into drinking the holiday concoctions, i nonetheless outdid any of my previous performances. in the short amount of time i had to gulp my way through these ridiculously expensive renditions of coffee, i put a shameful dent in my bank account. as if i am the queen of sheba, in a mere 2.5 weeks of drinking these delights, i spent $68.18. gasp! me thinks that a libation made of gold would not cost more. the mister and i are thankful that these delights are only on offer a few months out of the year. if this was a year-round beverage, i am quite certain i would slurp us out of house and home.