Sunday, January 30, 2011

out of sugar


So I had this master plan on Friday night to bake. (I also had other "to-dos" on my list: clean, grocery shop, chill, watch a chick flick, have a fruity drink...etc.)

There was one major bump in my plan -- we were out of sugar. Literally - totally out of sugar. I had already gone out to do the grocery shopping and I was not about to go out again for sugar. There was going to have to be another baking option, sans sugar. Enter quiche. Rather than make the cupcakes and cookies I had originally planned, I decided to make a spinach, mushroom & swiss cheese egg pie. A good catch on my part.

Despite the success, that will be the last time I run out of sugar.

Whatever happened to the days when you could knock on your neighbor's door and ask for a cup of sugar or for an extra egg? As a kid, I used to run over the neighbor's house a lot to pick up random ingredients that we were lacking. Likewise, they did the same thing. Maybe someday when pm and I live in suburbia and know all of our neighbors, I will do that again.

Instead, we've always live in apartments. I have always found apartment living to be so isolating and sheltered. Sometimes it is nice - you don't have to know all of their business (even if you can hear it through the walls). You can maintain your distance and go on with your daily life. After all, apartment living (in most cases) is temporary housing.

I guess for me, I always wanted to get to know the neighbors. Have game nights, dinner parties, a watchful eye when you are out of town ...etc. *sigh* Maybe someday even if we don't live in a house I'll be able to knock on a neighbor's door for missing ingredients. Maybe someday...

Then I can also share my baked goods. There is no way pm and I are going to be able to eat a whole quiche on our own.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Bah. Friday night and we're staying in. Staying in because pm is sick, very sick.

My goal for the evening is not to get too close. Instead I am going to do some girlie things. My plan is to go to the grocery store (stat!), bake (yes, against the diet rules), clean (not a girlie thing, but something I've got to do), watch a chick flick (provided pm goes to bed early!) and have a fruity drink (wish it could be another mai tai like we had last weekend in Milwaukee...).

In some senses it is kind of nice to have an excuse to relax. After a week of running around and keeping busy, it is nice to finally have to sit tight and chill. Something that I just don't feel like I do enough of it. I feel like I come home from work and then until I go to bed cannot turn my brain off. In fact, I can't even turn my brain off when I am asleep. I stopped reading dream analysis books; they can't keep up with me and my crazy dreams.

Anyway... without further ado, I'm getting things done. Hope ya'll have a nice Friday evening as well. And, a nice weekend.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fashion or Famine

pm and I get more magazines in the mail now than we have time in the week to read them. He had a bunch of airline miles (with an airline we never fly with) that we were not going to use, so rather than have them go to waste we subscribed like crazy people to multiple magazines.

Most of the magazines we now receive are highly intellectual. And, interesting. I don't like the days I have to drive to work, because it doesn't give me a guaranteed hour to read up on new trends, current events, investment tips, business-savvy trade secrets, etc.

I allowed myself to splurge on one "fluff" magazine: Vogue. It's not to say that this is a "fluff" magazine, but when comparing the ad-to- content ratio to any of our other subscriptions, it is well... different. I wanted to get Vogue not for the fashion (or the ads), but for the photography. I find fashion photography fascinating. The light, angles, poses....etc.

Basically, I find everything fascinating but the models.

This particular scanned ad was one I just kept turning to. I kept turning to it not because I liked the image or the models, but because I think as a photo it truly captures what I see in the fashion industry -- very petite models who look like they need a meal more than they need the photo shoot. (pm says I am radical. bah)

Anyway. This got me thinking about the recent death of French model-Isabelle Caro- and her fatal battle to be thin... too thin. All in all, I know I could never afford many of the items being sold in "fashion" ads, but based on models I would never want to. (As I mentioned before, the photography is a different thing. That I enjoy.)

Maybe it's just me, but as I woman I do not find curve-less and frail women attractive or good "sales" agents. I know that the majority of men when asked to describe a beautiful woman would under very rare circumstances choose a lass with no ass (or hips or curves).

I digress. Rather than get off on a tangent, I'm taking a poll. When you look at this ad (and not just this ad, but the majority of fashion ads) do you see high fashion or famine?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DIY Dinner: Sausage

We recently said one of our goals this year was to be more aware of what we are eating and where it is coming from. Well, today that goal has been achieved. (This does not mean that we will stop now that we are ahead.)

Tonight we made homemade sausages for the first time. pm recently bought the meat grinder attachment for our kitchen aid. I think that we have used it more for meat in the past couple of months than I ever used it for sweets. This too will change my friends...

We made a basic sausage -- pork, onion, garlic and various spices (italian seasonings, paprika, etc.) They turned out really well. Plus, I think when compared to what you'd spend in the grocery store for good sausages, we saved ourselves some money.

There was no mystery meat in these bad boys. In fact, making these made me realize just how much we probably are not aware are in "store bought" sausages. I'd rather not think about it. And, the plan is not to think about it, because we plan to make a lot more of our own homemade meats from locally grown and farmed meat. We'll be supporting our local butcher (Paulina Meat Market) and eating more healthy. A win-win all around.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beer Review: Goose Island - 2010 Bourbon County Stout

Right before Christmas, while getting some supplies to fight the cold at West Lakeview Liquors, we also decided to get this book. The whole idea of keeping track of the beers we taste is quite appealing and I think it forces us to take some time and look for the different flavors and qualities in a beer. I also liked the way the pages in the book are designed, especially the flavor wheel and the star rating system; everything is very visual.

Anyways here is our first review: Goose Island - 2010 Bourbon County Stout.

First of all, this beer was quite a disappointment for the price. In my book, if you have to drop over $20 for a 4-pack it sucks to get a beer you dislike so much. I actually just discovered today that there is one still sitting in the back of our fridge.

Beer Review: Goose Island - 2010 Bourbon County Stout

Anyways ... regarding the beer, to make a long story short, it is just too sweet and the alcohol content a little too evident. Rather than being a beer aged in bourbon barrels, it tasted more like a caramelized bourbon spiked with stout.


Disclaimer: These are just our personal opinions. We like beer. We like bourbon. We like stouts. We wanted to like the combination of all of these in this beer. Better luck next time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

ideas & time.

My brain is bursting with ideas. Literally bursting. Problem is I need an additional 3-4 hours in every day to make have all of these ideas come to fruition. Isn't that the story of our lives?

Once we start to get older, we start to realize how fast everything passes us by. Hello, it's almost February already! I hardly even remember January beginning or rolling into 2011. Time waits for no one. It just keeps on ticking and tocking.

This is where my "to-do" list comes into play. I am making a conscious effort (albeit hard) to spend more time "doing" and less time vegging. This is a challenge when the weather is cold and you are confined to a small one-bedroom apartment. Also a challenge when you don't want to be sitting another few hours in front of a computer doing the research and homework involved in making ideas turn into a reality. Despite these hurdles, I've found that my list at least keeps me moderately motivated and focused.

I know, I know. I am being very ambiguous about my ideas. I cannot help it, I like to tease. To entice. And, even to (sometimes) annoy. I also don't like to announce anything until it is a sure thing. I am a superstitious person when it comes to over-sharing before something is definite.

That said: One of my ideas--that has been a good 3 months or so in the making--is starting to grow some legs. It's not ready to stand on its own, or take baby steps yet, but I am confident it will get there. Just give me time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

breaking the rules

moscatel (1 of 1)

We've been on a hardcore detox/purge since coming back from Spain. The fun we had became noticeably present around the waist. We knew it would happen and we knew what we'd have to do when we got back.

For the past 10 days we've been doing the scarsdale diet. I admit I haven't been following it religiously--I need my sugars and my dairy. I also didn't enjoy Spain as much as my dear hubs. :)

Essentially this diet does 2 things:
  1. You stop eating fats, sugars and oils. You don't cook with oil. You don't add anything to your toast. You don't indulge in sweets in between meals.
  2. You limit the number of carbs you consume and you up the fresh vegetables & fruits.
All in all, it's not that hard to do . . . the first week. The second week, in my opinion, is hard. You lose energy. Loads of it. I have been craving the craziest things all week and since our cabinets are not fully stocked, I have had to do without. No biggie. I can live without cookies, hummus, tortilla chips, juice etc. We push forward.

Until.... tonight. I needed carbs. We had successfully gone a full 10 days without eating one of our weekly staples: pasta. So, as you may have guessed, we broke the rules. We made pasta. To our defense the sauce was 100% homemade with fresh vegetables and we measured the amount of pasta. I think I actually enjoyed tonight's pasta more than ever before. I enjoyed it because I was starving for it, starving for carbs.

While I admit we cheated (and am proud of it), it made me realize how trivial dinner can become without giving it some thought and effort. We need food to survive, but it is so much more enjoyable if you actually enjoy it. Naturally, I mean in moderation.

This is one thing I really want to strive for this year: to make a much more conscious effort of what I am putting in my body. pm had the idea last week to try to make more things from scratch when you crave them. For example: I want chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate ganache frosting. I could walk down the street to "Fivebucks" and buy one. Easy enough. Although if I really want it, I should force myself to make it. Chances are if I had to make every craving I have, I wouldn't consume so many useless calories.

New Year's Resolution #1: Play an active role in all meals. Give them thought and push the boundaries. Whenever possible, buy locally. Utilize cookbooks, experiment with recipes. Keep track & take notes along the way.

P.S. The other item not allowed with this diet is = no alcohol. Today we made an exception. pm is almost officially done with school forever. To celebrate we had a sherry: Pastora amontillado, medium dry. A solid 8 for breaking another rule.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

courting 2.0

In my post yesterday I mentioned the word courting. I've always liked to word -- it makes dating and "going steady" seem a little more old-fashioned and, well, serious. It all also, don't ask me why, reminds me of the Laura Ingalls Wilder (LIW) series.

I was obsessed with those books when I was a kid. So much so, that I almost wanted to live in the country and wear poplin dresses and eat molasses drops. My life, however led me to other places and to different adventures.

Once I referred to "courting" and meeting at La Giralda, I began to think about dating in general. Today on my way home I read an article Love at first byte in the Economist. This article really got my head spinning about dating. As the title suggests, online dating is easy, popular and diverse. Not to mention, it's successful.

I often wonder what it would be like. I know people who have found it be a great success and met their soul mate / spouse. Others who haven't been so lucky.

Before I continue, it's time for my personal disclaimer: I am so happy that I am no longer in the game. If I was still single I don't even know where I would start my search. Props to those who are out there fighting that battle. I couldn't do it; and, luckily I do not have to.

According to the article (and a survey), the most common places to meet a mate are as follows:
  1. Through mutual friends
  2. Bars & Restaurants
  3. Internet (online dating)
From my own personal experience, #1 & #2 work just fine. In fact, I met pm this way. We were at a bar with mutual colleagues / friends. (It would be so much more romantic if I said we met under La Giralda, right?) When I was growing up, there was no #3. First of all, because the internet and being online wasn't such a huge part of my social fabric growing up. And secondly, if you went online to meet people you did so through AIM. It was not serious...Pervs and geeks were among the few that were online.

Oh my, times have changed. Privacy doesn't have the same sentiment as it once did. You couldn't page through online profiles like a catalog to determine what boyfriend/girlfriend you wanted to have. People actually had to get out there on their own and flirt. Gasp. You couldn't hide behind emails. Couldn't hide behind an amazing photo of yourself taken years ago. Couldn't hide behind an exaggerated list of hobbies and talents. That all said: You could still pretend to be somewhere you weren't; that is something that will never change.

When I really think about how the dating scene has changed over the years, it makes me realize how much everything has changed. We are so much for reliant on the internet, for everything. I'm guilty. So you are. (I know this because you are reading this post and undoubtedly others). Although it all goes beyond just the internet.

It's technology. It drives our interests, our necessity, our jobs, our play, our life. Without it, where would we be? Well for starters, they'd be a lot more singletons out there in bars trying out sappy pickup lines until someone takes the bait. I'm also pretty sure #3 would be library / book store.

Monday, January 17, 2011

La Giralda of my heart

Juan Belmonte

Juan Belmonte (the famous bull fighter born in Sevilla) always had the Giralda in his heart (as noted in the photo), and I know why. La Giralda has a special place in my heart too.

It's not just because it's in the center of the city, surrounded by cobble-stoned streets, cafes and incredible architecture. For me, it's because this was the am & pm meeting place back when we were courting. (Yes, I just said courting. Felt good.) This was our rendezvous point before heading down the street for sweet orange wine at La Peregil, tapas and fun. If we weren't meeting at the Giralda, then we were meeting at the Triana bridge (photos to be posted soon).

I like having a meeting place. A place you can go and know exactly where to find the person you are looking for. This is something that I cannot say I've had here. Why? My guess is that it is because most places I have lived require driving to see people. The glory of Sevilla is that you can literally walk anywhere in the city center.

And boy, did we walk. Many of these walks were right past la Giralda on to other destinations. If I had to choose a destination in Sevilla that was at the "heart" of the city, I'd say it could be nothing other than the Giralda. I think most tourists, locals and gypsies would agree.


We are slowly sifting through the many photos we took on our trip. It's only been a week, but it already feels like it's been months. Strange how quickly you can get back into the daily grind without even trying. Posting photos and short histories about these places will be a nice way for us to be reminded of our recent trip. Hope that you will also enjoy the ride, errr, walk.

Friday, January 14, 2011

chill out.

Oh jet lag, why do you taunt me? On second thought, it might not be the jet lag. I think entering back into reality after nearly three weeks of non-reality has finally caught up to me.

Friday nights seem to be nights where pm & I just like to chill out. This Friday, however, is a little different. Not in the sense that we aren't still relaxing, but in the sense that we need to finishing unpacking and settling in.

It's the thing I loathe most about coming back from a vacation (other than coming back): unpacking the suitcase. It's the act of unpacking and putting everything back to normal that forces you right back into your day-to-day life. The actual unpacking wouldn't be so bad, if it didn't mean there was laundry to do and a closet to reorganize so that the suitcases can be put away.

Enough complaining though.

We've started a few new things already this year since being back and hope to continue:
#1: Detox. The holidays were too good to us this year. So good in fact, that my body couldn't handle it anymore. It was screaming for vegetables, fruits and fresh food once we got back. We've answered that call big time this week. If we continue to eat salad as much as we have been this week, we may start growing a fluffy tail.
#2: Daily cleanups. Rather than do all the cleaning for the week over the weekend, I am vowing to do 1-2 chores a day. This way, when the weekend rolls around I don't have to think about it. Plus taking 15-20 minutes a day to do a little bit sure makes a difference. (Granted, I also wanted to clean more this week since we've both been sick. Bleach has been a good friend this week.)
#3: Not overbuying. No more huge trips to the grocery store. From now on I want to buy like a Spaniard. Buy what you need for the week. This involved menu planning in advance. After our first week, we haven't wasted any food and haven't had to make any additional trips to the store.

What little changes have you started to make this year?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

new look, new year

Happy 2011!

While our blog recently underwent a little face lift and we now have a permanent home at, we have been totally MIA for the last month. We know it, we acknowledge it & now we're moving forward.

We were super excited to launch our own website. It's been sometime in the making, something we've been wanting to do for a long time. Now that's it's up and running, we already have plans for some new items that will be posted in this coming year.

2011 is going to be the year of new beginnings, a new chapter to the life of am & pm.

We started it off with a Holiday in Spain (props to the Counting Crows & this version of the song!). It was my first holiday there, and four years tardy for pm. Needless to say, it was time for us to go. We were able to escape the cold and enjoy family, friends, food and wine. Ah, it was wonderful. I hadn't realized just how wonderful it was until we came back. Why did we come back? ;)

Our holiday in Spain, also was a holiday from all responsibilities. We paid our rent in advance, and since all other expenses are on pre-paid accounts, we could sit back and enjoy. We very rarely checked our email and as you can tell from our social media efforts, we stayed away from most technology. Fact is: pm and I need a break.

Prior to our trip we were running in so many directions I am surprised that we even made it to Spain without forgetting the clothes on our back and gifts for family. Or worse case scenario: our passports. I will admit, that was a close call the day we left.

We will post photos soon-- as soon as we finish the rolls and get everything developed. I think this time we took more film photos than digital. My love for doing things the old-fashioned way doesn't lead to the immediate results. I am hoping the photos will be worth the wait.

Along with posting photos, we'll also be posting some of our goals for this space for the new year. Since we haven't had time to think about new year's resolutions (other than to eat more vegetables and cut back on meat for the time being), we haven't had time to post anything here yet either. It will come. After all, all good things come to those who wait.

Rather than make a long post longer, we'll be back. Soon.

I may take a holiday in Spain / Leave my wings behind me / Drink my worries down the drain / And fly away to somewhere new.