Welcome to my F-ing life!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rice Krispie Treats - Little Lawyer's Sweet Tooth

This summer, Little Lawyer wants to perfect her dessert making technique instead of her sleeping until noon technique, or her eating chicken nuggets and pop tarts until she blows up technique. She originally wanted to hone her infamous "I'm SOOOO Bored!!!" summer battle cry, but I quickly suggested the 'make desserts yourself every week over summer break' thing before she could think of something worse.

She picks what she wants to make. She makes 'em. We eat 'em.  Deliciousness ensues.

The only time I ever want a Rice Krispie Treat is (1) when we are in Downtown Disney in Orlando and we inevitably end up in the Earl of Sandwich where you can get one that...I kid you not...is 8 inches by 5 inches and 4 inches high and ama-ZING, or (2) when I see one of those sappy commercials on TV that show the Mom or Dad spending quality time with their preschool age sweetly behaved children. Yeah, then I look at the sticky, gooey mess and the craving passes.

Little Lawyer wanted to have a friend come over and hang out last week. I feel about about situations like this. LL doesn't have a bedroom (she rooms with me and Papa Bear) and doesn't have a lot of toys. She never was much of a "toy" kind of kid; she plays on the computer, reads, watches TV and does magic tricks.  We have a Wii, but all the games are in storage in who-knows-which box. We don't even use it to play games. We use it to watch movies on Netflix. I feel bad because there's nowhere for them to play/hang out and not much for them to do.

Her friend brought her own Wii games (yay!) and Jenga to play, and I thought it might be fun to let them make a snack...Rice Krispie Treats, anyone?

This has got to be, hands down, the easiest recipe in the universe. Only three ingredients, it takes five whole minutes to make and there is zero room for error.

That is, until...I get a hold of it! However, I like to think of it more as an improvement than an error...

Because I can't leave well enough alone, I added two more ingredients and doubled the recipe. It's who I am. Don't fight it...just go with it. Little Lawyer does.

The Original Three:  Rice Krispies, Marshmallows and Butter. We made double, so you're not seeing double...well, wait...yes you are seeing double because we made double. Ugh.

Melt the butter! This is the part that takes the longest...
(The first secret extra ingredient? A pinch of salt.)

Then add those marshmallows! Stir, stir, stir..then I hear "Mooooooom!!! This is too hard to stir!!"

Basically, you're looking for marshmallow fluff consistency here.

(The second secret ingredient? A capfull of vanilla.)

Stir, stir, stir - as if your life depended on it. With two hungry nine year olds drooling in the wings, my life did indeed depend on it.

Pour (okay, scrape and dump is way more like it) the mixture into a 9x13 pan lined with buttered foil. Since I doubled the recipe, I used a rimmed baking sheet instead.

Spread the mixture out as best as you can.

Useful tip:  Use a square (or two) of wax paper to use between your hand and the sticky stuff to help spread it out and pack it in.

Make sure it's spread out as even as possible and let it cool completely, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from pan using foil.  Peel back the foil on all four sides and cut into squares.  You could get creative here and use cookie cutters with different shapes, drizzle chocolate or caramel on top...

Whatever the finished product looks like, trust me...it will be an instant hit.

Rice Krispie Treats

(for a single 9x13 pan)

6 cups of Rice Krispie cereal
1 10 ounce bag of mini marshmallows
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted, add the marshmallows to the pot. Stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and no visible lumps of marshmallows remain.  Remove from heat. Working very quickly, stir the cereal into the marshmallow goo. 

Once combined, dump the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish completely lined with buttered foil. Spread evenly into dish using a buttered spatula. Flatten (without crushing) with wax paper under the weight of your hand.

Let cool and harden for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from pan using the foil edges. Place foil onto flat surface and peel back the sides of the foil. Cut into squares.

Giada De Laurentiis & Fire Marshall Bill: Separated At Birth?

I think so.

Adventures With Vinka's Cat - Day Four

Some of you may be wondering...

Do I provoke Vinka's kitty so that I can get these photos?

Do I antagonize and/or torture Vinka's kitty for the sole purpose of a funny post?

Do I hate this kitty?

My answer to all of these (and any related/similar questions of this nature) is a honest
-to-goodness, cross-my-heart and hope-to-die, pinkie swearing NO.

We go in.
We fill the food bowl.
We fill the water bowl.
We scoop the poop.

We find Vinka's kitty (she's usually in hiding and is never anywhere in plain sight) so we can make sure she is okay and to take one or two pictures. We might say (in a very sweet voice, mind you) "Hi kitty kitty!" just to get her to look in our general direction.

We leave.

Total time elapsed: 8 to 10 minutes tops

It takes longer to drive to Vinka's house than taking care of the kitty cat.

And I love all kitties...even this one.  I simply find it fascinating (and somewhat funny) how she behaves towards everyone but Vinka. There has to be a backstory and a reason that kitty is so terrified of everyone. When Vinka comes home I think I'll ask if her kitty has always been like that. 

Then there's always the dime-sized portion of my brain that thinks I'm Jack Hanna or something and I believe with all my heart that I can tame the kitty!! She will like me!!

And then the bleeding starts.

I still think she's saying in her own way that she loves me.

Days Remaining:  17
Injuries:  0
Near Misses: 2

Monday, June 28, 2010

Adventures With Vinka's Cat - Day Three

                                                     "I grow tired of you following me...
                                                   if you continue to do so, you will leave 
                                                             me no other choice..."

                                                                Days Remaining:  18
                                                                     Souls Eaten:  0

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Adventures With Vinka's Cat - Day Two

                                                                "You? Again? Really?"

                                   "I have altered the litterbox...Pray I do not alter it further."

                                                                  Days Remaining:  19
                                                                          Injuries:   0

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Saturday: Two Hours of Fun

The air conditioner at Mom's is broken. It's flippin' hot.

In an effort to cool off, we decided to go run our errands for today. The car has a kick-ass air conditioner. Decision made.

Step One:
Need our fix...

Yes, smoking is awful. I know it's bad for me. Might even kill me. At least I know it won't stunt my growth (anymore).  But does it make me a bad person? Nope. Just stupid. I can freely admit to being stupid. I plan on being stupid for a little while longer, thank you.

Step Two:
Large coffee, six cream and four sugar

Anyone who loves me knows the quickest way to my heart is this simple concoction. I could replace every other beverage with this one. I despise what McDonalds attempts to call "food" and have refused to eat there. I could literally go on and on about my dislike, nay....hatred of what they serve, but I won't waste the space here.  Yet as much as I detest the food there, I love their coffee. It's a strange love affair that has continued for decades.  I even like it better than Starbucks. Better than anything available at the grocery store. It will probably be the underlying reason of my demise...

But, damn....it's good.

Step Three:
Fuel Up.

Papa Bear had to go inside to pay because of some new-fangled security thing that they do now if you use the same credit card more than once in 48 hours (he put gas in my car yesterday, today was his car's turn). They make you prove you are who you say you are and can use the card you say you can. I understand where this comes from and why, but it's a frustrating pain in the butt.

                                                       And yes, that is a skeleton in the car window. His name is Bob.

In today's case, the Gasoline Gods were smiling upon us! When he went in to pay, he came out with a surprise:

Doritos Mr. Dragon Fire Chips! So new that they aren't even listed as a product on the Doritos web site...
They were pretty good as far as Doritos go. I'm not a big chip eater - but I like spicy anything, but Papa Bear scarfed 'em down pretty quick...

Doritos recently came out with a line of spicy chips:

We have tried and liked:

1st Degree Burn Blazin' Jalapeno   These were tasty! But I couldn't eat more than five or six without hollerin' "Uncle!"  Lucky for us, Little Lawyer finished the bag for us after we couldn't feel our lips....

2nd Degree Burn Fiery Buffalo   These did actually taste like buffalo wings...but mild buffalo wings. Eh.

We have yet to find, much less try the last installment:  3rd Degree Scorchin' Habanero

Step Four:

Having woken our appetites with a nibble of chips, we realized we were kinda hungry. We remembered some coupons Papa Bear had gotten the other day for a free Spicy Chicken Sandwich at Chick-fil-A, so our next destination was determined.

Step Five:

And it was very convenient that our food stop was a mere two minutes away from our next destination.  Our surrogate Mom, Vinka, is taking a well deserved vacation for the next three weeks in Serbia to visit her son (who is our BFF and cohort in crime, Steven, and her husband Sam, who is already in Serbia) and asked us to watch her kitty. I would do just about anything she asks, just because we love her so much. Plus, she's a great cook. I will be chronicling some of the amazing food she makes soon.

We used the opportunity to sit and quickly consume our lunch.

Papa Bear ate the free Spicy Chicken sandwich, which he claimed to be actually spicy!

I, however, opted for the standard original chicken sandwich, but upgraded to deluxe...(i.e., lettuce and tomato), because I like to live dangerously that way.

Here's the funny part:  This cat hates everybody but Vinka.  I couldn't tell you the cat's name (I'll call her Millie, because I think that's what I've heard Vinka call her...) and I've never even tried to pet her.

Because whenever anyone gets within a foot of Millie, all you see is this:

And that frightens me. Millie's never full-on attacked anyone as far as I know, but I don't really want to be the first one to find out either.

So then it occurs to me:  For fun, I should chronicle our adventures taking care of Millie!  Every day, I will take a photo of Millie for her and post it here so Vinka can see (1) that Millie is okay, and (2) that by my taking a picture of her every day, Millie hasn't killed us yet either.  Plus, I can do something fun with all the pictures for her at the end of the three weeks...

Step Six:
More kittehs...
Julius says: "No petting until you show me my food!"

More BFF's are out of town.  Everybody's having fun and we get to feed kitties? Wha...?  But it's all good, because I love Julius, Garth and Helga, who are the proud owners of Renee and Eric, who happen to be the people I want to adopt me if my Mother ever decides to disown me.

I love my kitties, Gizmo and Twinkie, but Renee and Eric's kitties come right after mine in the love department. Julius screams at me every time I see him - it's just hilarious! Garth and Helga, who are recent additions to the family, are slowly warming up to me. They'll have me wrapped around their little paws in no time flat...

Then we went home. Mom had someone come out and fix the a/c!


And then it started to pour...and cool off everything!


Adventures with Vinka's Cat - Day One

                      "Where's my Vinka? Why are you here? Geeeeeeeeet Ouuuuuuuuuuuut!"

                                                                   Days Remaining:  20

Sneakified Fried Rice

I love Chinese takeout.  I just can't afford it very often.  Usually, I am the only one who could eat it four or five nights a week, so....needless to say - we don't get it very often.  I love stir fry, fried rice, potstickers...all of it! It's easy, quick, inexpensive and probably way better for you than most dishes you can come up with on the fly. Well, in our house, anyway....

And, yes...I did just make 'sneaky' into an adjective in the post title. Believe me when I tell you that it will fill a huge void in your vocabulary that you never even knew was there. Trust me.

I can sneak a stir fry or something into the menu every once in awhile and nobody complains too much. Drama Queen and I could eat Chinese, stir fry or sushi every day...but alas, we are the only ones who would. When I can sneak it in, believe me, I will.

This is a quick-and-dirty Fried Rice that I have done a million and five times. It's idiot proof, not to mention the versatility it has! You can add just about anything and I promise it will be fantastic!

Here's what I had on hand:  Shrimp, leftover veggies (like broccoli, carrots, snow peas) leftover basmati rice, soy sauce and sesame oil, green onion, minced garlic, and parsley.  I also pulled two eggs out of the fridge.

 Heat some oil in a frying pan.  When it's hot, dump the rice in and cook until it just starts to brown and get nice and golden.  Make a well in the center of the pan.

Pour the eggs in the center and scramble.

Mix the eggs into the rice.

Stir in the green onions, garlic and parsley.

Add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

Add in any veggies you have on hand, or use a bag of frozen stir fry veggies...whatever you like!

Add in any meat or seafood you like - leftover pork, chicken, steak, mussels, crab, shrimp...I had some shrimp that I diced and threw in. Stir it all together and let it get all toasty and hot.

I pan fried some egg rolls from the deli, which will do in a pinch if you don't have the time or ingredients to make them yourself.  I have never cared for 'baked' egg rolls at all.  You can bake them in the oven, but they don't have the texture or flavor of a real egg roll. I find them slightly gummy and chewy when they are cooked in the oven. You don't have to deep fry them, either; just pan fry them in an inch or two of oil and you get the same taste and texture.

And there you have it. A quick pseudo-takeout that can (and usually will) use up those leftovers in the fridge that you would have probably thrown away this weekend...

The versatility of a dish like this just astounds me.  You could do just about anything here; steak and peppers (Philly Fried Rice!), taco meat, tomatoes and chilis (Mexi-fried anyone?), crumbled bacon slices and more egg (Breakfast Fried Rice), chorizo and queso fresco - I mean, really! I could go on and on and on here...

Let me know what you'd do with it!! I would love to try your ideas...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Retro 80's Movies Reviewed by The Drama Queen: Ghostbusters / Ghostbusters 2

Hi there! Drama Queen here.  In an effort to better understand my 80's obsessed (and forever quoting!) parents, I thought it might be fun to spend a chunk of my summer watching some of their favorite movies from the 80's. Not only do I get to spend some quality fun time with them (and contrary to popular teenage attitudes, I actually do like to spend time with them, because my parents are...what's the 80's phrase? Oh yeah...Totally Awesome!), but I also get to witness some good and bad 80's movies and see first hand where some of the things Mom and Dad constantly say/quote actually come from...

Remember the rating system?

Today I'll review Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters 2 (1989) in one ghost bustin' post.

Let me preface by letting you know something about my family. We love ghost stuff. Paranormal things are a part of daily life around here. Heck, Mom and Dad even have their own paranormal investigation team - S.P.I.R.I.T.  They take ghosts and the paranormal seriously, but that's not to say that they don't thoroughly enjoy the comedic end of it.  If a movie, television show, or book has to do with the paranormal, be it serious or funny, our whole family gets into it.  Ghostbusters is high on Mom and Dad's list of favorite movies. Needless to say, I already had a pretty good idea of what the whole Ghostbusters thing was all about.

Ghostbusters is an fun blend of special effects and comedy, featuring a hilarious deadpan performance from Bill Murray (who I love!). Whoever thought of having evil's final manifestation take the form of a 100-ft. marshmallow deserves eternal gratitude. I had a good giggle watching Ghostbusters, and I recommend checking it out for an evening of turn-your-brain-off entertainment.In this installment, I loved the character of Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) because I just like strong female leads.

Watch my favorite scene here! I loved this tidbit as it is really cheesy acting at it's finest.  I am a theatre student and am surrounded daily by actors and actresses who aren't even half that cheesy.  I am also partial to the scene where Ray (Dan Ackroyd) says, "Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947." To which Peter (Murray) replies, "You're right! No human being would stack books like this."  I loved this scene just because of the obvious factor made it all the more hilarious.  Bill Murray rocks. And I love when Ray says, "Listen...do you smell something?" My family and I say that every now and then when we hear something...classic.

Drama Queen Rating:  5

Ghostbusters 2 is good enough to put most post-millennial comedy to shame. It is almost as witty and sharp as the first film and it only suffers slightly from the oh-so-inevitable repetitions. Young kids will find the oozing slime and ghostly apparitions (Hello, Slimer!) to their liking, while the adults will enjoy the clever dialog, and of course, Mr. Murray.  In this film, my favorite character was Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) because the writers finally gave him his own meaty storyline within the story.  The randomness of the Twinkie scene is hilarious!

After watching Ghostbusters 2, I finally understand the "It is Vigo!" that Mom and Dad say all the time...and now... so do Little Lawyer and I.  I think in the 24 hours following the watching of this scene, the four of us must have said this line at least 30 times, cracking up each and every time because it just kept getting funnier.

Drama Queen Rating:  3

Wicked Chef says:
I love, love, LOVE Bill Murray. If a movie has Bill Murray in it...that's all I need to know to see it and enjoy it. Ghostbusters still holds up today more than any other comedy I can think of. I still find myself laughing out loud every time I see it. It is one of those movies that when you run across it while flipping channels, you simply have to watch it.  Ghostbusters 2... not so much. Although it was funny, sequels are very, very rarely ever as great as the first. I did enjoy it, but not quite so much as the first one.  In some cases, I think sequels should be against the law, but not necessarily for this series.  Peter MacNicol was hilarious as Dr. Janosz Poha. Drama Queen has heard Papa Bear and I say "It is Vigo!!" about a million times in her lifetime. It just never gets old...

I think I will put Vigo's words of wisdom on my tombstone... "Death is but a doorway...time is but a window. I'll be back."  That'll freak the crap out of a lot of people!

Here is a great quick and easy snack to enjoy while watching Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2:

Fried Ravioli with Jalapeno Cheddar Dip

1 package of fresh ravioli (like Butoni*), any variety you like
Oil for frying
Heluva Good Jalapeno Cheddar Dip* (or any dip your prefer)

Pour enough oil into a frying pan to reach a depth of about 1 inch. Heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 325.

When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.

Sprinkle with salt and serve with dip.

Warning: These are highly, highly addictive snacks. Consider yourself warned. Don't blame me.

*I recommend using Butoni Three Cheese Ravioletti. They fry up quick and if you slightly burn them, it's okay! They taste like Ritz Bits when on the burned side.  I love the Heluva Good dips and could drink the jalapeno cheddar with a straw - it's that good.  I recommend these simply because I use and like them, not because I was asked to by anyone or compensated in any way.