Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Diva is dazzled

Once again, school life has taken over. The fourth and final quarter of the year has truly arrived. The students are getting buggy with Spring fever. The eighth graders are restless, yearning for graduation day (yes, here in the Midwest we do 8th grade graduation.) My dance club is performing in two weeks. The school play is the week after that. The chorus concert another week later. OMG!STRESS!!!

So in the battle against stress, I took off on a small road trip with the girls this past weekend. We were girlie and geeky. We were on the road longer than we were awake at our destination, but that was ok. You see, we had a purpose. This was not some idle trip. We were on a mission. We had a date with destiny. Robbie Williams was in Iowa. Who is Robbie Williams, you ask? Why only the biggest pop star in the world. You have never heard of him? Sure you have, you just don't realize it. See, he never really cracked the American market, despite signing a recording contract in England for 80 million pounds. Not dollars my friends...pounds. That is a hell of alot of money. Damn! Anyhow, I have loved him since his one and only US hit back in '99 called Millennium. I have all his music, both pop music and his swing CD (Swing While You're Winning. Go buy it!!!) He is am amazing musician and is SUPER SEXY!!! He absolutely never performs in the US. He lives in LA because he can be a nobody there. He is part owner of a soccer team over in England and has an LA version of the team that he plays on. So, long story short-ish, the LA Vale were playing an exhibition game in Des Moines. A six hour drive to see a musician I adore who will never perform live in the US? Hell yeah! Not only did I see him, but I got his autograph, talked to him, and HE TOUCHED ME!!! ehem. I was dazzled. I lost my cool. I giggled at him. oh lord. I acted like a little teenager. It was sad. Then again, I have an autograph and lots of pictures. If I was in England, this would never have happened. His concerts draw monstrous crowds of people who pay hundreds of dollars per ticket. You couldn't get within 20 feet of him. On Saturday I stood next to him. If I had been very brave (and wanted to risk the wrath of his security guys) I could have grabbed his ass. Oh yeah. Good times.

So yes. That is why I have been absent. I have been in a post-Robbie haze. It is a good thing. Cooking? Not done much of it. I baked some bread that I will share with you all later. It is tasty, but (typical) has almost zero shelf life. But that is for later.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy tummy = Yummy food

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A cup of probiotic kefir and a Bentyl before meals keeps the bloating away.

Knock on wood, but it seems that those tiny blue pills my doctor gave me are actually working. For the past few days my belly has been feeling better. Not perfect (although that may have something to do with the fact I have been eating foods a bit high in fat) but scads better. Even while my body is reminding me that I am female I have very little bloating. (Hmmm...where is my heating pad?) This gives me hope. This gives me energy. This gives me the urge to cook! It is amazing how, when my belly is being friendly, I want to cook up a storm. I want to bake, broil, grill, saute, and slow cook. The only problem is that I have no one to share these recipes with. No one to help eat up the leftovers. No one to wash all the dishes for me. I love to cook, I hate to clean. Sadly, they go hand in hand. This is the down side to living alone. Never mind needing a boy around for love and comfort, I need one to help eat food and hand wash dishes!

Luckily, I have been out at my parents' house alot lately. Their big, beautiful kitchen inspires me. All those bare granite counter tops just beg to be used for food prep. One of these days I shall post a pic of my sad little kitchen so you can see the challenge I face when it comes to cooking. My next apartment WILL have a better kitchen: more counters, more cupboards, a dish washer, laundry, a/c... Ehem, sorry. Kitchens. That's right. So I was at mom and dad's using their kitchen. The time their was fruitful. So much so, that I have a gift for you: product reviews!

Namaste Pizza Dough Mix: I must say that I was leery about trying this. I have had two GF pizzas in the past 5-6 months. Not good. I am sorry to those of you who like Amy's gf frozen pizza. I just did not like it. Da Lucianos (an incredibly GF friendly restaurant in the Chicago-land area) offers GF pizza on their menu. Four of the owners children have Celiac, so they have developed an extensive GF menu. Their pasta dishes are divine. Their pizza is not. I did not like the texture of the crust. Ew. So I did not have much hope for the mix from Namaste, but figured it was worth a try. Dad has been on a homemade pizza kick lately. Well, semi-homemade (dough purchased from Trader Joes). So I mixed up a batch of Namaste dough. Since Dad was making grilled pizza I shaped my dough and slapped it on the grill (they left an area just for me so there would be no cross-contamination). We topped the pizza with grilled eggplant, onion, zucchini, roasted garlic, cheese....Yum! And you know what? Best GF pizza I have had. No, it was not quite like the pizzas of my past, but it was darn good. Crusty, chewy, not that crumbly, grainy texture so many GF products can get. It may not look like the prettiest pizza around, but it was tasty! I am going to make some more later. A bit of a warning, though. Use your Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, this dough is thick! A hand mixer barely gets the job done and you may burn out the motor on it.

Breads From Anna: While at Fruitful Yield I picked up a package of banana bread mix. I miss bread liek whoa! Sweet, savory, yeasty, you name it. I am a bread girl. There was many a night that Dad and I polished off a loaf of crusty french bread topped with olive oil and parm, a good stinky brie, or smothered with Nutella. I was a breadaholic. Sometimes I could not wait until arriving home from the store before tearing into a warm, fresh loaf. Driving with one hand on the wheel and the other breaking off hunks of french bread is a tricky maneuver. Hmmm...perhaps Chicago drivers are safer now that I am GF. I eagerly mixed up a batch of banana bread. My bananas were not as ripe as I wished, but they were good enough. Super quick and easy to make the batter, much longer to bake. One hour!!! So long to wait. I wasn't sure how well the bread would raise up, but boy howdy! did it look good. The pan was full to the top with a nicely browned, fragrant loaf. Fast forward to the taste test (it was still piping hot from the oven, I could not wait). Lightly sweet, moist, yum! I will definitely get this again. Two days later the bread is still good, but (typical) is better when toasted and buttered. I am at this moment enjoying two slices with a cup of peppermint tea. The perfect Sunday morning nosh.

One last quick review: Mrs Leeper's Tuna Noodle...thing (can't remember the exact name.) This is one of those tuna mac/hamburger helper type deals. I have to say, not bad. With the added tomato and green onion I threw in I was actually quite good. Easy, too. It made enough for me to have dinner (and Dad to try it), lunch and dinner the next day. Basically, it would make enough for a family meal if you had a veggie on the side. If you need a quick, easy, tasty, low fuss meal...this is it.

OK, now that I have gone on and on about food...I want to cook more. Menu planning time, then grocery shopping. I'm on Spring Break, baby! I actually have the time to cook, bake, broil, and slow cook. Oh yeah!