Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Warning: ridiculousness follows

This weekend I learned that paper towels, of all things, have warning labels. In utter amazement, I read: "Not recommended for use in hot conventional ovens. Do not leave crumpled paper towels in oven – they can ignite." The scary thing is, someone must have done just that – and cashed out in a lawsuit. Why else would you even think to disclaim something so silly?

I started to notice of all sorts of products and their ridiculous disclaimers. Here are some of the most outrageous I came across:

  • Most hair dryers: Do not use while taking a shower. Do not use while sleeping.
  • Dial soap directions: Use like regular soap.
  • Toilet bowel cleaning brush: Do not use orally.
  • All microwaves in the United States: Do not put pets in the microwave to dry them.
  • Tampax tampons: Remove used tampon before inserting a new one.
  • Portable stroller: Remove infant before folding for storage.
  • On a toilet bowel cleaner: Safe to use around pets and children, although it is not recommended that either be permitted to drink from toilet.
  • Liquid Plummer: Warning: Do not reuse the bottle to store beverages.
  • Irons: Do not iron clothes on the body.
  • Bic Lighter: Ignite lighter away from face.
  • Heinz Ketchup: Instructions: Put on food.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tasty Goodness

I splurged on just about everything this weekend. Not once did I consider money, calories or time when making a decision.

It all came to a perfect end after a delicious, savory brunch at Stephanie's. After much deliberation, I finally decided to get a tall bloody Mary, poached eggs inside homemade brioche, topped with lemon hollandaise sauce and served with grilled ham, home fries and a crisp salad. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it.)

Although the food was tremendous, I was
a little disappointed that they weren't making the macaroni and cheese until 5:00 p.m. It is undoubtedly the world's best macaroni and cheese ever. Don't believe me? Try the recipe below.
Mac & Cheese

Serving Size: 6 People

1 lb large elbow macaroni cooked and drained

For Sauce:
3 oz butter
3 oz flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb white Cabot Vermont cheddar
4 oz Romano cheese, shredded
4 oz Asiago cheese, shredded

For Topping:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumb)
4 oz butter, melted

For Dish:
13x9 baking dish

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add flour to butter and cook 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add cold milk and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Cook sauce on low-medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add heavy cream, all cheeses and seasonings. Cook until cheeses are fully melted. Add cooked macaroni and mix thoroughly. Place macaroni mixture in a 13x9 baking dish and top with panko breadcrumbs and 4 ounces of melted butter mixed together. Place in oven at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Decisions, decisions.

In fifth grade, our teacher Mr. Rossetti asked the entire class to write a letter to ourselves. We were supposed to describe what we thought our lives would be like once we were all grown up. It was a surprisingly easy task for us - I don't think it took longer than 15 or 20 minutes for all of us to complete it. Then we folded up our future plans, sealed them in envelopes, and passed them to the front of the class. I completely forgot about my letter until they handed them out at high school graduation, seven years later. My letter went something like this:

Dear Jen,
Congratulations! After college, you are going to become a fourth-grade math teacher in a small town. You are going to get married and have a big black lab and two kids.

I laughed when I read this. Not because it was a silly idea, but because it was so simple and so matter-of-fact. At the time, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wrote the letter full of confidence, but I read it full of indecision. Standing there in my graduation gown, I didn't even know what I was going to study in college, let alone how my life would turn out.

Over the years, the future I imagine has never been the same for longer than six months. I frequently change my mind about what I want, and I'm constantly learning about new things I enjoy and want to try. Within the last five years, I've wanted to become a columnist, a vet, a novelist and news anchor. I've lived in California for a while, but I also want to try out Chicago, New York and maybe even New Zealand. Since I seem to like practically everything, and my interests are only growing, it's impossible to zero in on a goal and stick with it for any length of time.

But I don't necessarily think my indecisiveness is a bad thing. Since I'm open to new things, I'm always learning something new about myself. I think that's how people stay happy. If you're constantly chasing the same dream without questioning it or re-evaluating it, you run the risk of ending up with something you don't really want - something that won't really make you happy.

And as I learn more about myself, I think I'm getting closer to finding what I want. It's just taking me a little longer than most people.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Good friends, Good food, Good times

I know it's been a while since my last entry, but I've been a very busy lady lately - and this weekend was no exception. It was filled with so much fun that I really could have used an extra day off just to rest. During my fabulous two days off, I found out that:

  • Moo is "sassy," very similar to her dad and a really good swimmer.
  • Loaded coronas are quite fantastic.
  • Watermelon + tequila + blender = not a good idea (even after the third try).
  • Ice cream cake is the perfect 4 a.m. snack before bed.
  • Apparently, I can't lift 170 pounds right up over my head.
  • Fresh melon and prosciutto might beat grilled pineapple in the race for ultimate summer food.
  • We really need to invest in a karaoke machine before festivus.
  • I am in desperate need of a tan.
  • The Life and Times of Thunderbolt Kid has made my list of favorite books.
  • Rachel is one of the few people I can sleep nose-to-nose with.
  • Zoe is more interested in TV than her human companions.
  • Jeremy is well read...very well read. That's right. I was just as shocked as you.
  • The summer is almost over, and I still have a lot of things on my bucket list.