New Things I Made Up
July 16, 2009, 4:52 am
Filed under: Food, Ramble | Tags: , ,

So, now that I’ve moved out on my own, I’ve started having some more fun cooking for myself.  In honor of all the episodes that I’ve watched lately of Chopped on the food network, I try hard to come up with inventive combinations.  So the following are my random recipes.  This week the secret ingredient was orange peel.  These recipes aren’t exact, so I’m just spitballing here (probably shouldn’t use the word spit so close to a recipe).

Are you Zesty Enough Salsa?

4 Tomatoes (Standard, run of the mill kind.  You can use smaller ones, but you need more)

1/2-1 Onion (Some people love onion, some people don’t)

3 Sprigs of Cilantro (Can substitue dried Parsely)

1-3 Jalepenos (If you’re really zesty and manly, you’ll use three)

3/4 Cup Lime Juice (This isn’t real exact, but the lime is a good base for the sauce.  Don’t do too much)

1/2 Orange Peel (Used a potato peeler, but if you have a spice/cheese grater, even better)

1 tsp Chile de Arbol Powder (Again, manly enough?)

1 tsp of Pepper

1~tsp of Salt (This is a personal preference)

2 tsp of Garlic Powder (Possibly the reason why I’m not getting married any time soon)

1. Pour the Lime Juice in a large bowl.  Add the spices (Salt, Pepper, Garlic, and Chile de Arbol Powder) and whisk them with a fork or (I don’t know) a whisk. As you add each ingredient, give ’em a good roll in the juice spice mixture to make sure everything is evenly coated.

2. Chop up the onion and to the bowl.  (You’ll blend it all later, you’re cutting them up to make them mix better when they go into your sauce pan.  So don’t worry about cutting them up way to small or too big)

3. Cut the Jalapenos length wise and then cut length wise again.  If you don’t want to sweat having to worry about appendicitis, take the knife and gently cut out the seeds and inner stem. (If you want to keep some heat, leave the stem in.  If you want more heat and all the risks, leave both).  Toss ’em in the bowl.

4. Cilantro, chop it up really fine. Toss it in.

5. Orange peel, if you don’t have a spice grater or a fine cheese grater, a potato peeler actual works.  You want mostly peel and not white rind.  So, you don’t want to go too deep.  If you potato peel it, julienne it on a cutting board (like I know what julienne means, didn’t she go out with Romeo?)  Toss it in.

6. Now you’re ready to get cookin’.  Toss the whole mix in a big sauce pan and put on High to medium high.  You want it to simmer, but not boil.  Let it cook until the tomatoes lose their consistency and take on that stewed tomato look.  Letting the ingredients simmer longer is a good idea, but you don’t want the liquid to cook off.  The orange peel needs to soak into the sauce and release that zesty flavor.

7. Ok, everything’s ready.  Pull out your tortilla chips, not for any reason, but it’s just kind of exciting. Now toss it into the blender or food processor.  You want it to have a nice texture to it, but you don’t want it to be garden salsa.  Traditional mexican salsas like this use a mortar and pistle.  So imagine the final consistency they achieve.  Once you get it all blended, toss it into a bowl.  Grab your cheeps, and take no prisoners.

A-peeling Asian Chicken (2-3 Servings)

3 Chicken Breasts

1/2 Onion ( I love onion)

1 Navel Orange Peel (Don’t Peel it, you’ll use a potato peeler or a knife for that)

1/8 – 1/4 Cup of Mustard (I love it, but it’s your call.  Honey Mustard works really well or Spicy Mustard)

1/2 -3/4 Cup of Lime Juice

1-2 tsp of Garlic Powder (Who needs to get married)

1 tsp of Pepper

1 tsp of Salt or to taste

1 tsp of Chile de Arbol Powder

1 tbs of Sriracha (Chinese hot sauce)

3 Cups of Cooked Rice (Have it ready when the chicken finishes up)

1. Chop up your chicken into 3/4 inch cubes raw.  Toss it into a bowl and add the lime juice.

2. Add the spices, Sriracha, and mustard to the bowl and toss it a bit so everything gets an even coating.

3. Chop up your onions into a fine dice, and toss ’em into the bowl.

4. Take the Orange, and using a knife or a potato peeler cut it into nice half inch strips.  (We’re leaving it big so you can advise your guest or yourself not to eat it.  It adds flavor and presenation, but tastes good for half a second until it goes bitter.)

5. Spray a large sauce pan with PAM and turn up the heat, medium to medium high.  Toss the chicken mix and the orange peels in right away.  Start stirring and flipping with a wooden spoon.  Your goal here is to make sure the chicken cooks through, but the orange peels simmer in the sauce from the chicken and lime juice.  When the chicken starts to turn a nice white without any pink, you’re there.  A good test of whether the chicken is cooked, take your wooden spoon and gently press down.  As you press down, the chicken should split.  If you’re having to force it hard, it ‘s not done yet or it’s way over done.

6. When the chicken is pretty much finished, turn down the heat to a low simmer and plate the rice.  If you’re feeling real fancy, add a couple fresh orange slices or orange peels to the top for presentation’s sake.

7. Divy up the chicken and make sure you add some of the liquid on top of the rice.

8.  Eat and enjoy!

Let me know if you try it and how well it worked.

Quick Chippy Apple Turn

1 Light Apple TurnOver Yogurt

1-2 tsp of cinnamon powder

1 Chopped up Apple (Granny, Fuji, Red, Green)

10 FoodShouldTasteGood Multigrain Chips

1. Finely chop the apple and combine it with the yogurt and cinnamon in the bowl.

2. Crush the chips and add to the mix.

3. Take out a spoon and enjoy!

Ok, I need to go to bed.

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Why I watch West Wing reruns…
September 6, 2008, 7:35 am
Filed under: Life is Wierd, Ramble, Ramblings | Tags:
West Wing

West Wing

At some point during my high school curriculum we covered the medieval era and the subject of folk songs.  I believe there was another name for them, but in all you could label them as folk songs.  Essentially, without NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS people relied on something different than a box of wires.  If they heard a story from Tivo, then it probably came from some peasant or blacksmith that didn’t much care for naming his offspring.  I digress, the point is that the peasantry would share these stories with one another at home or in the drinking houses of their time.  They did this, said my teacher, to forget about the dark times in which they lived and escape their reality.  Many times since that conversation, I think about how TV and movies are our version of these folk songs.  These are our escapes from our personal realities.

In that spirit, I thought I might share why my own reality needs a little escaping.  The West Wing in my opinion is one of the best series ever written for television.  Spawned as a play for the stage, and adapted for the small screen, Aaron Sorkin depicts a bit of unreality in which politically people get things done.  The writing quick and witty.  At this very moment, my DVD is paused in the middle of a West Wing scene.  I like escaping to this unreality because of a love I have for noble causes.  A group of people working for what they think is a true, noble cause.  Also, it seems that these characters find so much more meaning in what they do when I compare it to my marketing of packaged lines of code to the corporate masses.

My unfavored reality aside, another reason for watching this show came to mind as I watched the Sarah Palin speech at the RNC.  Some would say she did a great job of rattling the ol’ saber pointing out faults in the democratic party from stage props to religion(or lack thereof).  She got them with her “I don’t know about these guys” grins and winks.  Her Alaskan charm melted the hearts of the GOP, and they soon were cheering loud enough for the five people in the town over which she was mayor could hear.  I thought of the West Wing how worked hard to point out that on both sides of the aisle people were trying to get things done.

Looking at the Democrats, there really isn’t much to look at over there either.  This is no Bush-Kerry election, but in the end we all end up saying that we’re picking the lesser of two evils.  Plato once said that true leaders are the ones that only lead because they are forced to because there is no one else to lead (paraphrasing).  This contest is sexy, especially with the addition of Mayor of Alaska (or is it Governor).  We’ve got precedent setting on a racial and gender basis occurring on both sides.  We can stand proud in the knowledge that candidates on both sides are running when a short time earlier in the history of this country this wouldn’t happen.  But where are these Platonic (I think that works) leaders.  Where’s my Colin Powell?  He chose not to lead for his own personal reasons, but he declined.  Let’s get him.  Where’s the guys/gals that stand firm on issues that evolved through personal discovery and research.  Not one guy that walks a political tight rope and another that is floating on his hot air abstracts that vaguely resemble ideals.

The West WIng offers a truly fictional escape from this political reality to one where people still try and accomplish some good.  I acknowledge this is one of those three AM ramble sessions that I’m prone to writing.  But I can’t help but wonder how my own MTV generation and the current texting generation isn’t influencing the way the news media are disseminating the news.  Britney Spears and Paris Hilton’s recent police busts have served only to further dumb us down.

Once on a show, one character points out to the other the difference between Clark Kent and Superman.  “Superman is who he is…” he says, “Clark Kent is the way he views humanity.  Weak, feeble, and inept.”  If those traits that Superman portrays as Clark Kent are his reflected opinions of humanity.  Let’s consider the way the News Media wraps up truth and their reflected opinion of our humanity.  Their opinion is we care more for Brangelina’s 100th adopted baby, some poor girl’s pregnancy, and something that a movie star said whe he was drunk.

In all, I watch the West Wing because its an escape to a world where the reflected humanity is a little less about being entertained, but more about being informed.  Final thought…as a missionary I once reached for a cup to eat my cereal out of because of a lack of clean bowls and I was too lazy to wash them.  Another Elder stopped me, and washed a bowl and handed it to me.  He said, “Elder why settle for what will due when you can have what you need.”  Think about it.

Process that and your haircut.  Free dinner to the person who can figure out that last haircut line.



mental snapshots
June 7, 2008, 2:03 am
Filed under: Ramble

We arrived around noon in NY and walked out to see lots of cement and rebar and very little sky.

Searched for a deli that I still don’t think exists.

Went to 30 rock and signed up for a tour of the studios. Unfortunately we really only saw the SNL studio that was being used as storage. Which was a waste because we didn’t get to see Conan o’Brian’s set.

Visited the site of the former world trade center looking for a memorial of some sort. In truth, they can’t erect it until they stop finding bodies. However, they continue to find remains and can’t do a memorial if they don’t know the extent of the damage.

Searched for a ny pizza experience, but really just ended up with fancy thin crust and non-refillable soda.

Angry train engineer on the trip to NJ. The sad thing is…I think she can take me. I better duck down.



The Significant Other Buffet
April 4, 2008, 2:16 am
Filed under: Dating, Ramble | Tags: ,

Of late, I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time around diapers. And by diapers I mean babies, and by babies I mean parents, and by parents I mean married people. By married people I mean friends who’ve gotten married, had babies, and bought diapers. So I’ve been spending a good deal around diapers lately.

At 26, I’ve seen a lot of my friends pass through these stages while I’ve chosen to remain single. And by chosen I mean, I’m that guy that everybody says is quite the guy (and I am) but for some reason hasn’t gotten married yet. Maybe it’s the mole on the back of my head (ew gross, i know, but it’s true, think of it as a tickle button). Maybe it’s my affinity for talking during movies or during tv shows or while the radio’s playing or while the radio’s off. Maybe it’s just me talking that drives people nuts. Or maybe it’s the go-to response that every single married person or any single person who thinks you should married,… “you’re just too picky.”

Right, I am too picky. Let’s consider the seriousness of the choice and the way people act when they say you’re too picky. When people say I’m too picky, I feel like I’m in a grocery store trying to pick out fruit. Then I get an image in my head of me walking around the ward pinching, poking, and mumbling to myself…”well this one isn’t ripe yet. Ahh, the Accountant’s must not be in season right now…” From what I hear, marriage is kind of an eternal option. So, being picky might be a good idea. I can barely decide who I want to hang out with on a Friday night let alone eternity.

And I don’t even know if I’m the best person to make that decision, up until the time that I moved back to VA, the list of choices in dating I’ve made has included two bi-polars, two people that refused to take prozac (for the record, I have nothing against people with depression. However, I do believe that if they’re prescribed meds, they should take them. I’ve got asthma, you don’t see me refusing my inhaler.), two candidates for Miss Cling-Wrap, and one foot mutilator (sound’s like there’s a story there, well, there is).

So, if I’m picky, imagine if I weren’t, I’d be dating ax murderer’s, reformed nose pickers, and britney impersonators or even just britney herself (I hear she’s on the market). It’s not like I can just walk up to just any blessed daughter of our heavenly father (almost rhymes) and say “will you”…and have it all work with me riding into the sunset on a Llama (sorry, allergic to horses). And there’s not Significant Other Buffet that I can just walk down the aisle and pick out the little traits that I want.

“Ooh, I’ll take some personality. Maybe some affection, well not too much, it’ll give me an upset stomach later….hmm, do I really want the crazy special?…”

There’s no such thing as the significant other buffet. BYU seemed like it was something close to that, but no matter where you are finding the right match is hard and I’ll give a shout out and congrats to Chris and his recent engagement to Jennie. They did it, but as they can attest it wasn’t an easy process.

If you ask me, you go to the buffet for fun but not to find something you really like. For the real thing, the real treat, you find this restaurant one day. Maybe it’s in the corner of the shopping mall you go all the time. Maybe, it’s in the middle of nowhere. Or maybe a friend of yours recommended it. The truth of the matter is, you’re investing memories, you don’t just do that any restaurant. You do it at the one that gives you the right mix of what’s important to you: food, ambience, staff, even the table linens. The same thing goes with mate seeking, you don’t settle for any person or an ok person. You go with the person that makes feel at your best and the person you with whom you want to make all your memories.



So, I like Chick Flicks…
February 17, 2008, 7:09 am
Filed under: Dating, Life is Wierd, Ramble, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , ,

Alright, I’ll admit it in front of everyone on this who happens to read this, well at least all five of you. I like chick flicks, always have. You could say that it’s was an imminent byproduct of having three sisters, also the reason why I know some playground hand slapping games. As a result, there is something of a hopeless romantic in me. While making confessions, I even own some of these chick flicks. My favorite belongs to How to Lose a Guy in 10 days which replaced My Best Friend’s Wedding. Something about Guy and Gal getting together aside from cleverly written obstacles and comical timing, that meet cute is what keeps me going after the many dating frustrations and faux pas(btw, meet cute, a reference from The Holiday)

I have discovered, however, some key elements that aren’t true in these films. Romantically that set me back a couple of steps, and have found the need to learn the truth. This same truth I’ve hammered out the kinds through many first dates, and very few thirds.

Love at the Speed of Light: Contrary to what many a film will try and tell you, love doesn’t appear in the morning and graduate into marriage by the end of the night. In fact, love rarely happens in a day. Sometimes it takes two.

Perfection doesn’t come in one form: No matter how much we’d like to think that one person should have the sum of all the qualities we think we would like. The more important thing is being around that person that makes us feel like the sum total of the qualities we’d like to be (kind of cheesy, but I think it’s true.)

Love only comes to perfectly witty people: Some of the most awkward people lack the clever repartee inherent in the gilmore girls and His Girl Friday (The first reference, I claim three sisters, the second, good taste). Clever conversation doesn’t always happen in meet cutes. In fact, very rarely does it happen, and since the writer’s strike, I haven’t had a clever thing to say to a girl. People just have to mesh.

When is a kiss about to happen? The music will tell ya.: Unfortunately, I ordered the soundtrack to my life, but I’ve been informed that the music comes when we get to heaven and are watching our lives on the ultimate HD Plasma Screen in the sky. If you want to know when to kiss, look at the eyes. If they want to kiss, look at the eyes, if you feel like those two peepers are boring into the back of your skull, but in a good way, then you’re in like pez at a candy shop.

More to come…If you’ve got any, leave a comment, I’ll add it.



I miss yesterday…
February 12, 2008, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Ramble, Ramblings | Tags: , ,

kidandi.jpgUsually I try really hard to be funny, but for the second on this Tuesday, I feel a bit mellow.  For a moment, the mood strikes me to reflect a bit.  You ever sit yourself down and look at some pictures just to reminisce.  I’m not just talking about photo albums or those scrapbooks that put your specialty edged scissors to the test.  I’m talking pictures on facebook, on your blog, my blog, and even pictures in your mind.  Pictures that you see of your friends in their recent past.  It’s amazing how these things take us back, if not for only a moment.

There’s a longing, for me at least, that is associated with these moments.  Time has dulled the achy and the breaky, and colored the difficult moments with the brush of new perspective and the great moments with warmth.  There was a day that felt like last week, but it was really two years ago that friends and I headed up to a cabin in Heber and spent the night laughing and telling stories.  There was a night, where my companion and I walked the streets of San Francisco and we found every bar empty.  For a moment, we felt like we were winning.  There was a morning, many sunrises ago, that I swallowed extra hard as my mother drove me to my first football practice.

These mental pictures are scattered in the recesses of my mind, only to be brought forth by the daily triggers that flip the light on somewhere: a smell, a color, an emotion, and a reference.  These mental pictures are a bit ragged on the edges, and have come a bit unfocused with time, but they’re the company I keep in those late moments of solitude at night.  They’re the friends I take with me on my morning drive.



Valentine’s Day Sucks, but don’t blame Feb 14th!
February 10, 2008, 2:18 am
Filed under: Dating, Ramble, Ramblings | Tags: ,

So, my single brothers and sisters, I’m here to tell you that Valentine’s Day is not inherently bad.  We all say we hate it, because we find the day as a reminder of everything that we don’t hold dear.  That is, we’re not holding anything at all and it just makes it sad.  Something about that day we all put such immense pressure for something to happen, and we often find it a failure.

In my long tenure in the dating business, I’ve never had a single successful  Valentine’s Day.  You’d think that with 364 days to prepare for this single day, I could lock down one date and one activity for the evening.  I mean this really has put my goal setting abilities to the test.  However, with a perfect record of failing I have to wonder why we have the holiday in the first place.  This should be called “couple’s spend too much money on things they’ll never get to use ever again day”  Let’s be honest, how many times during the rest of the year are you going to be able to use the bear with the heart sewn to his two arms.  How often am I going to use those valentine’s day socks?

Let’s go back to the day when everybody in the class got a valentine’s day, and you had to debate who got the Donatello or April valentine from the TMNT set.  Do I give it to Sara R or Jenny C?  I mean these decisions seemed so crucial to my romantic future at the age of 9.  As you can all tell, I failed miserably and do not find myself married to either Sara R or Jenny C.  In fact, I’m not even sure that I quite remember who either of them are.  So, if you all happen to know who these people are and have a current picture, please provide because I’m still in need of a date.

We might be better off calling it, “The day that everybody who’s bitter about dating, period, uses to be even more bitter…day…er”   more to follow…