Monday, December 27, 2010

Music Monday - the "My iPod Car Charger Broke and Now I Have to Burn CD's" edition

It's Monday! I want to talk about music! It counts.

Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with housewifery, other than you could listen to these mixes at home. I fancy myself a decent mix-tape artist. Of course, tapes are now long gone (seriously, there's an entire generation that has no idea what a "tape" is other than the sticky stuff that you use to keep things together - MIND. BLOWN.), so now it's CD's. Around the time my iPod car charger/dock broke, I went through a "here's who you need to listen to" exchange with a friend, so at least I had options OTHER than radio. While my new cd's are awesome, I'm getting a LITTLE tired of them. So since I'd bought a ton of cd's to make the mixes for my friend anyway, why not use them for more options in the car?

Unfortunately, I've been a little melancholy lately (I blame my new addiction to Death Cab for Cutie a la' my friend - dear lord, help me, I've gone hipster/emo), so the mixes are a little melancholy. They're mellow, but one is a little faster and chipper than the other one. They flow into each other nicely, and while I wouldn't recommend cleaning to them, they'd be good for relaxing or a casual dinner party.

First, the slow and low mix:
1. "Once Around the Block",    Badly Drawn Boy    The Hour of Bewilderbeast
2. "Don't Change Your Plans",    Ben Folds Five    The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner
3. "Somedays", Regina Spektor    Soviet Kitsch
4. "Sparks",    Coldplay    Parachutes
5. "Cybele's Reverie", Stereolab    Emperor Tomato Ketchup
6. "All Is Full Of Love (Video Version)", Björk    Björk: Greatest Hits
7. "Midnight In A Perfect World", DJ Shadow    Endtroducing.....
8. "Samson", Regina Spektor    Begin To Hope
9. "Twilight", Elliott Smith    From a Basement on the Hill
10. "Talking Bird",    Death Cab for Cutie    Narrow Stairs
11. "Walking To You",    Everything But The Girl    Amplified Heart
12. "Hello, It's Me", Todd Rundgren    The Virgin Suicides
13. "Such Great Heights", Iron & Wine    Garden State Soundtrack
14. "Sea Of Love", Cat Power    Juno (Music from the Motion Picture)
15. "Ramona", Beck    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
16. "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes", Beck    Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
17. "Maps", Yeah Yeah Yeahs    Fever To Tell
18. "Needle in the Hay",    Elliott Smith    The Royal Tenenbaums

And the slightly more upbeat but still mellow mix! Credit for about half of these songs is actually due to an acquaintance from high school, who burned me two awesome mix cd's of music I'd never heard, and I still listen to at least half of the songs she burned at any given time. Seriously, I'm good at mixes, but she is GREAT!

1. "One Of These Things First", Nick Drake    Garden State Soundtrack
2. "Expectations", Belle & Sebastian    Juno (Music from the Motion Picture)
3. Four Corners", The Sea and Cake    One Bedroom
4. "Best Thing Ever (maybe not)", Viva Voce    Lovers, Lead the Way! & The Heat Can Melt Your Brain
5. "Pass It On", The Coral    Magic and Medicine
6. "Question", Old 97's    Satellite Rides (1 of 2)
7. "I Feel It All", Feist    The Reminder
8. "Strange Apparition", Beck    The Information
9. "All Good Naysayers, Speak Up!", Sufjan Stevens    Michigan
10. "The Coast is Always Changing",    Maximo Park    Live in Tokyo
11. "I Luv the Valley OH!", Xiu Xiu    Fabulous Muscles
12. "No Cars Go", Arcade Fire    Neon Bible
13. "I Will Possess Your Heart", Death Cab For Cutie    Narrow Stairs
14. "Last Goodbye", Jeff Buckley    Grace
15. "I Will Follow You Into the Dark",    Death Cab for Cutie    Plans
16. "The Only Living Boy In New York", Simon & Garfunkel    Garden State

They're good driving around music, which is good, because I commute 2 hours a day. Oy. Anyway, enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kahlua Cheesecake - a Hot Mess Housewife recipe

I thought it'd be a good idea* to give all 2 readers a view into my creative cooking process. So below you will find my step by step instructions on how I made the Kahlua cheesecake, as well as the actual recipe. Luckily for you, I didn't take pictures (although that would've made it infinitely funnier).

Have I mentioned that I kind of love Kahlua? Like, in a "I'm not an alcoholic, alcoholics go to meetings" kind of way.

If you'd rather just have the recipe and be a spoil-sport about it, here's the recipe I used (I used the first one on the page), and instead of the vanilla extract, add a shot of Coffee Liqueur and mix it in well before you fold in the Cool Whip.

All right, making Kahlua Cheesecake the Hot Mess Housewife way:
  1. 3 weeks prior, find a recipe in one of those housewifery magazines for Kahlua Cheesecake, dog-ear the page, and offer to make it for your in-laws' Christmas celebration.
  2. 2 days before, re-check recipe before heading to grocery store for ingredients. Actually read the recipe and see that it requires a springform pan. Realize you don't have a springform pan. Check the gazillion recipes you have saved on your computer for a cheesecake one that you could add Kahlua to. Found one! Go to grocery store. Once home, taste-test the store-brand coffee liqueur you bought to make sure it's close enough to Kahlua. You might need to do this more than once for quality assurance. Preferably mixed in with hot cocoa w/ mini-marshmallows; the mini-marshmallows counteract the liqueur, which means you're not a drunk for adding booze to hot cocoa.
  3. The morning you need to make it, sleep in an hour and realize that you now don't have enough time to make the cheesecake and give it the proper chill time. Frantically Google for easy cheesecake recipes. Find one, run to store to buy graham cracker crust since you now won't have time to make one, and the Cool Whip that the new recipe requires that you don't already have. 
  4. Come home, wash beaters that are still dirty from the mashed potatoes you made Friday night for your Xmas Eve dinner with friends. (BTW, they were awesome. I'll post that recipe some other time.) Wash hands, because you're not a filthy animal and don't want to spread germs onto the delicious dessert you are making to share. Remove cream cheese from package (VERY IMPORTANT, that foil wrapper doesn't taste that good) and place in a mixing bowl. Beat the cream cheese until it moves easily around your beaters; if it's still a big blob of cream cheese, keep beating it (hehehehehehe, "beating it") (yes, I'm a 12 year old boy mentally).  
  5. Once the cream cheese is a smoother consistency, add 1/3 cup sugar. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Get out a spatula (forgot to mention that earlier, sorry), and get all the cream cheese and sugar granules on the sides of the bowl back into the middle, and beat it some more. Dip your recently-washed finger in to taste it.
  6. Once it's all mixed up, measure out 1 cup of sour cream; since your 1-cup measuring cup is dirty, you measure out 2 1/2-cups because that's the only one clean. Whatever, the math still works. Spoon that in the bowl, and mix it all again. Dip your same finger in again to taste, forgetting that you just did that and have now contaminated the damn filling with your disgusting mouth germs.
  7. In lieu of the vanilla extract the original recipe calls for, add 1 shot glass' worth of coffee liqueur that we'll now call Shmahlua, which you will tell people is Kahlua, 'cuz they won't be able to tell. Take a small drink from the bottle for one last quality assurance test. 
  8. Panic when the Shmahlua seems to water down the filling at first pour. Frantically mix the filling and the liqueur until it's mixed in and the filling seems to have the same consistency it had pre-Shmahlua. 
  9. Fold in the Cool Whip (or store-brand whipped topping, as that was cheaper), and hope it has thawed enough from the time you grabbed it out of the freezer section until now. It hasn't, but shrug and fold it in anyway. (For those of you who don't know what "fold" means in cooking, that means to gently mix in.) Look for clumps of still-frozen whipped topping and try to smush them with your spatula. Taste test with the same finger before because you're a scatter-brained moron and forgot to stop doing that. Realize it doesn't taste "Kahlua-y" enough. Add another splash of Shmahlua (seriously, a SPLASH) and frantically stir in again.
  10. Open the graham cracker crust (there's a plastic lid on it, and the pie will not taste good if you leave the plastic on it, I assure you), and pour in the filling. Smooth it out nicely with the spatula. Realize you still have a good amount filling left, even though the crust is filled to the brim. Shrug, cover the pie with that plastic lid, and shove it in the freezer to chill. 
  11. Celebrate completion of the dessert with another shot of Shmahlua. When husband asks if you need any help at this late point, yell at him that he can "do the damn dishes if he wants to be helpful." Sigh as he goes back to watching the damn football game. (You really hate football.) Cry a little as you put the Shmahlua back in the fridge.
  12. Spoon the remainder of the filling into a plastic ziploc baggie, figuring you'll squeeze it out onto those graham crackers you bought when you were being uppity and thinking you were going to be a big shot who would make her own graham cracker crust. Get filling all over the bag and your fingers. Delight in the delicious, sticky mess and lick it off with abandon, 'cuz hey, this portion of the filling isn't going into any shared desserts now. Shove baggie of filling in the fridge, and decide to blog about this because it's pretty damn funny in your own head.
  13. As you wrap up blog post, remember that you didn't take a picture of the final product (not that it's all that impressive); then remember that you meant to buy chocolate chips to melt and pour over the graham cracker crust as a nice little addition to the cheesecake. *facepalm* A little late for THAT step... next time?
Ta-Da! You made Kahlua Cheesecake!

Remarkably unimpressive, isn't it?
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I've earned another Shmahlua hot chocolate. Next time: mashed potatoes!

*good idea sponsored by store-brand Kahlua shots

Saturday, December 18, 2010


So if you haven't caught on yet, my income comes from teaching. While it is a difficult career choice that has as many lows as there are highs, I'm not going to lie: the vacation time is AWESOME. (Well, except for summer vacation when I've been laid off from the last job and I'm desperately trying to find a new job - that sucks).

So I'm on winter break as of yesterday at 3:25 pm! And get this - I'm off for 3 weeks thanks to the high number of students who go to their families' home countries! WHOOOO! Now all I can think about is what do I do with all this free time?

Unfortunately, there's things I NEED to do this break before I can think of what I WANT to do. *sigh* I have doctors appointments to set, xmas gifts to make and buy, xmas cards to send out, dog shots to get, a bedroom to finally get in order and clean, and (of course) final grades to complete and a new semester to prepare for. OY!

However, I know what I need to do, so let's talk about what I WANT to do!
  • See friends that I don't get to see very often
  • go to The City as it's been FAR too long (also goes along with previous statement)
  • cook! I miss cooking for pleasure. Specifically, I want to cook for people (again, see previous statement) because feeding people is how I show love. I will stuff you full of my delicious love. EAT IT AND QUIT COMPLAINING.
  • make crafty stuff for reasons other than xmas gifts
  • Get my "walking program" back in order/ work on hitting 10,000 steps every day
  • Pamper myself with at-home beauty treatments that I'm always too tired to do otherwise
  • read books (some for school, some for pleasure)
Really, of the 3 weeks I have off, I'll only be alone for the first week, and by "alone" I mean I'll actually only have the house to myself for 4 days, then it's Xmas. Then The Hubs has a (hard-earned and much deserved) week off and wants to get a lot of stuff around the apartment done, and the week after that I will be working on preparing my next semester of classes. So I feel like I have a 4 day window of doing any "me" stuff. Eep!

Still, though, it is desired and required. I'm all about me lately, and I kind of like being all about me lately so I'm going to prioritize and get shiz done for myself. =D

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Big girl panties are fitting a little bit snug today...

Today was an interesting day in contrasts for me.

First, I did my hair and make-up this morning, and wore a cute top. Plus my pants are looser than usual. I was feeling pretty cute when I left for work this morning. Putting in that extra effort makes me feel better about myself, and I'm trying to encourage that in myself, because I'm tired of hating myself when I have no real reason to do so.

Maybe I'm just weird/old-fashioned/flaming hypocrite. When there's no guys around to help me, I will make do as best I can and be proud of it. HOWEVER, I'm still a girl and I still don't have that much in the way of strength (despite my relatively large size), and I prefer to be rescued by a knight in shining armor.

I was struggling with a large, heavy ream of butcher paper. I had four male students with me, and two of my male coworkers were also in the room - they also happen to be the two coworkers I've hit it off with the most and spend a fair amount of hang-out time with when class isn't in session.

As I'm struggling with the large, heavy ream of butcher paper, one of my students (who is a tall, skinny kid who weighs all of 100 lbs soaking wet) is trying to help me... while giving me crap that it's not THAT heavy until he has to put it down because it's heavy. The other students leave because they don't feel like waiting for the butcher paper, apparently *eye roll*, and my two coworkers just STOOD THERE. I even sarcastically called them out on it - and they WAVED HI at me.

I was laughing, but inside I was SEETHING. OMG. Ok, seething is a bit of hyperbole. I guess I'm more hurt than anything. I mean, I didn't expect my students to help me that much - the one that did is a Senior, so he's a little more mature than the others, who were freshmen. What got to me was my COWORKERS. For one, I thought we were friends! Then I realized "Oh yeah, they're still boys. Boys like to be buttheads to their friends."

Then I thought, "OH. MY. GOD. They don't think of me as a girl... I'm their BRO."

This has led to a downward spiral of "I'm not pretty enough for them to consider a girl, that's why they didn't help me!" I'm HOPING that this is stupidity on my part, but it's REALLY bugging me! I mean, why didn't they help me? I'm a girl, dammit! I'm frail and delicate and need help! I'M NOT YOUR BRO.

I know, it's stupid. But it really hurt my feelings. I'm trying to take it as they thought they were being funny, but at the same time... am I so ugly and fat that I don't qualify as a girl anymore? Or are they just guys who don't think half the time? I'm really hoping it's the latter, because my heart hurts at the former.

And again, to show how off-the-wall my brain and self-esteem are: As I was laughing and smiling at something right as I walked by a window and saw my reflection, and thought to myself that wow, I look kinda adorable when I'm smiling and laughing.


I'm still working on that whole "love and respect myself all the time" thing. It's my big problem to resolve.


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