Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back to the Roots Grow-it-at-Home Mushroom Kit

Thank you to everyone who entered my Mushroom Kit giveaway! The lucky winner of this unique prize is...



Congratulations, Kendra! I've forwarded your email address to the nice folks at Back to the Roots, who should be contacting you shortly. 

And if you didn't win, don't despair. I have another giveaway coming up very soon! It involves cheese.


Bwah ha hahahaha! Even all these months later, that still cracks me up.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Grouch?

AAAAAAARGH! You know those days/weekends when bad things simply pile up, one on top of the other? I set our "away" message at work on Thursday afternoon and realized this morning that I said we'd be back Monday instead of Tuesday, which is not the kind of mistake my boss tolerates well. I have a bug bite on a non-bug bite friendly area and it itches but can't be scratched without attracting crazy looks. I'm at the end of my 4 day weekend (off Friday and Monday for the holiday) and I think I get into trouble when I have too much time away from work.

Example 1:

I ironed. Me! Ironed! This is not an activity I ever, ever do. I needed a new black skirt (my old one is a bit tight for working in a children's office!) and was super lucky to find a perfect, practically brand-new one at the thrift store. With so much free time on my hands, I decided to iron the skirt, despite having just a few teensie wrinkles (much to my boss's dismay, I've never thought "teensie" wrinkles justify ironing). Remember, I do not iron, ever...and now my perfect skirt is ruined! I melted the fabric and now it has permanent iron marks, without me ever even wearing it. *Sigh*

Example 2:

Remember my tweet the other day regarding the $10 highlights deal? It turned out to be for only 2 highlights. Being the cheap thrifty gal I am, I decided to buy an at-home highlighting kit instead. Looking back, the truly frugal thing would have been to simply leave my hair as it was, which was perfectly fine. For the record, I have used these kits before and have had wonderful results. The Herbal Essences highlighting kit with the lime green comb is perfect! But, that wasn't the kit that was on sale for $5.

Damn you, Revlon Frost & Glow!

*Beware, the results you are about to see are real. Yes, I even performed the strand test!

Who else thinks I look like Rogue from X-Men?

 See that clump of silver hair in the lower left? That's not the mistake of my camera - some of the highlights turned gray! I can't explain that little pink fuzz on the right, other than to say it fits right in with my "one bad thing after another" mentality of the moment. I feel like a ticked off senior citizen.

*Sigh!*

Of course, I read all the bad reviews of Revlon Frost & Glow after doing this to my hair. The grayness, the breakage, the mixed shades of color all over your head, the frustration with the stupid hair dye cap that rips out pieces of hair, and the inaccuracy of the strand test - all online and waiting to warn people before using this kit, if only they would take the time to Google it. They are never going to let me hear the last of this at work.

Example 3:

Really, wouldn't this be too many examples? I'm sleep-deprived and Sexy Nerd has ignored me all 4 days (except for the hour when he helped me dye my hair with that terrible Revlon kit. Can I blame the results on him?) of this long weekend because he ordered a lathe and now spends all his time spinning blocks of wood into bombs (bombs, for fricks sake!!) in the garage. Between you and me, I think the bombs all look like little Christmas trees.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Start the Week with a Jack Russell Smile

I'm going to make you smile. Remember how I told you the other day that it's a challenge to walk Pica, our Jack Russell terrier, due to her constant desire to race crazily down the street? This weekend, I captured a photo that sums Pica up.

Keep in mind that this was taken in the "action" setting of my Canon Rebel T1i camera, which claims to capture 3.4 photos per second. Photographing a dog *inside* the house should be no problem at all, right?

Hind legs flying, ears flopping fun

This photo makes me smile. I suspect it will have that effect until the next time I'm left running frantically and screaming as Pica darts into traffic, leash dangling behind her.

"Look mom! Look at me! Take my photo! Mooooom!"

I love Jack Russell terriers. Am I as crazy as my dog?

Friday, May 27, 2011

3...Make That 4...No, 5! Tidbits

1. The Not "Baaad" Linky Party will be up and running tonight, along with the nominees for the latest Best in Show award!

2. Did you see my comment from the Albuquerque Library (!) on the latest Sexy Nerd Quote of the Day post? I hope I didn't freak them out too badly by saying that they're a bunch of scammers. And you can bet I loved their book recommendation!

3. My Mushroom Kit Giveaway ends Monday. Time is running out if you haven't entered yet.

4. Yesterday's silly post, Funny Father's Day Gift Wrap Tutorial, is featured below my BlogHer ads today. Woo hoo!

5. What are your long weekend plans? We're going to make cherry ice cream and drink soda (I almost never buy soda!) I'm hoping there will be plenty of walks with the doggies too (we almost never walk them! To be fair, Pica tries to bolt every time I walk her, which I'm told is a common trait of Jack Russells.) That's all I've come up with for this weekend, so I'm sure I'll be in awe of just about anything anyone else has planned.

6. Oh, what the heck. I'm up to 5 tidbits, so what's one more? My Kenmore Genius Tip is in 3rd place! Click here to vote for Cheap Molding & Magazine Pages! Sure, there are a whopping 380 votes separating me and 1st place, but never lose hope, right? Thanks a bunch! And gosh darn that cute kid and his "big balloon"!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Funny Father's Day Gift Wrap Tutorial

If you've clicked onto this post in hope of elevating your already gorgeously wrapped packages to new, sparkly heights, I'd better warn you that this is an idea for people like me, with no gift wrapping skills whatsoever. The expensive paper, the darn tape that sticks where it doesn't belong. I just don't see the point! You can find an example of my mad anti-wrapping skills here: Thrifty Cloche Decorating.

To my fellow anti-wrappers, I say that if you're going to embrace the anti-gift wrap lifestyle, you may as well go all out. My hatred of creating fancy packages has evolved over time into something downright fun. If you were Sexy Nerd, this is what you would wake to find on Christmas morning:

Oooh! Fancy, right?

 Ta da!

 Why, yes, that is an old tag from an old gift dangling from that old ribbon. Whyever do you ask?

And bubble wrap! Beautimous.

I've made a joke out of my trouble wrapping gifts. In addition to all the scrappy-looking presents I *try* to make look decent, I create 1 ridiculously, intentionally ugly gift, wrapped with just about everything. Tape random bits of scrap papers and tie it with an assortment of leftover, reused bows. If you have some Elmer's Glue, a sticky handprint would be right at home on this. You can even sprinkle glitter on it afterward, though I have to say that wouldn't be quite keeping with the anti-wrapping lifestyle. Too much effort.

Nothing says "Happy Father's Day" like a mismatched, mystery present. Just imagine the look on your dad's face when you surprise him with this!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sexy Nerd Quote of the Day - Poor Baby Nuke

The Albuquerque library system has a scam running. I went in the other day to pick up a book I'd reserved. Directly in front of the holds, they had a beautiful, eye-catching display of baby books. Ack, just what my baby madness didn't need! Very clever, library. They know that little kids are highly likely to damage and lose books, resulting in fines. Well it's not going to work on me, library! You can take your Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy and go to heck!

Oh, who am I kidding? I was there to pick up my reserved copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block. And I already own The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy (in my defense, it was only a dollar!)

Which leads me to the latest in a long list of Sexy Nerd silliness...

Dr. Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, has a 5 step technique to calm colicky infants: Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Shush, Swing, Suck. Excited to learn this latest tidbit of baby advice (lest I be unprepared for our own baby in 3 years), I found Sexy Nerd and told him all about it. Yes, I made him pause Nascar. The 5 step technique can't wait! He feigned interest, saying how fascinating Dr. Harper's (!) theory is, then resumed his race. I wasn't convinced.

Pausing the TV again, Sexy Nerd proceeded to recite back the 5 steps. "Swaddle!" he said proudly, impressed with himself for remembering when he really hadn't even been paying attention. With a bit less enthusiasm, he listed off Shush and Suck. The last 2 steps just would not come to mind. "I know it," he insisted, though he clearly did not know it. "Oh! You put the baby on its Stomach," he remembered. With just 1 more rule to go, completely proving me wrong, I could see that Sexy Nerd was really racking his mind for the answer. His face lit up.

"Swim!" he said.

"Swim?" I asked, a bit concerned. "Are you sure?"

Sexy Nerd unpaused his race, quite pleased with his awesome parenting intuition. "You're not fooling anyone. I got all 5 right! Admit it."

"So," I interrupted "to comfort our baby, you are going to swaddle its arms to its sides, stick a pacifier in its mouth, and place it face down in water??"

"What was I thinking?!"

He later clarified that he meant a relaxing, well supervised bath. Nice try, my love.

Poor baby Nuke.

*Want more quotes of the day? Click here!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Anti-Emma? All I Needed Was a Jane Austen Education

I'm blogging over at BlogHer today, with a post featured in the BlogHer book club! 

My review of A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz.

And, yes, I'm aware that my reviewer photo is horrible and blurry. Methinks I'll need to correct that before my next review.


If you've read A Jane Austen Education, I'd love to hear your opinion on it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Camp Blogaway Swag and GIVEAWAY

There are a lot of reasons to attend a blogging event like Camp Blogaway and many people would argue that the swag bag is not one of them. To these fuddy duddies, I give an enthusiastic "CHECK OUT MY SWAG!!" Hey, I didn't wear pajamas 2 nights in a row for nothing.

Let's begin with the Camp Blogaway swag successes:

Spuddy Buddy! There was actually a trivia contest at camp where I could have won a life-sized Spuddy Buddy from the Idaho Potato Commission. I just don't know enough potato facts. Also, a 6 foot tall Spuddy Buddy sounds slightly creepy. I would have insisted on it sleeping in our bedroom just to mess with Sexy Nerd.

The California Avocado Commission was also present. The insulated shopping bag, the high quality avocado slicer, and, of course, the avocados - I loved everything about this! And the avocados led to a yummy new recipe, LambAround's Avocado and Egg Salad.

Whoever came up with this swag idea at Wilton was really thinking. It's everything I need to use fondant! As I've never decorated with it before, you can bet my first thought when I opened this was that there's a fondant learning post coming in the near future. I'm pretty sure it will be called "Fondant FAIL", but Wilton can hardly be blamed for that.

Cookbooks! Is there anyone in the world who doesn't love a cookbook? And, thanks to The Purple Kiwi Cookbook, I now know what a purple kiwi is.

Saag's Sausage was mostly a hit with their swag. Sausage? Yum! Sausage temporary tattoo and sausage keychain? Ummm...kinda strange! I passed these on to my friend's 12 year old son. If nothing else, they were good for a laugh.

Delicious and deceptive almonds from Marchini Almond! Deceptive, you ask? This photo is my proof. When I sat down at my desk yesterday and munched on these, I figured the package had maybe 2 servings at the most. With 2 almonds left, I casually read the itty bitty nutrition information. I had consumed nearly 128 grams of fat! Factor in the 1,360 calories, and you can just imagine my horror. Really, doesn't it look like such a tiny bag?

More food! After my almond mishap, I won't be able to touch any of this for at least a week, but I'm looking forward to trying all of it. Especially that White Truffle Oil Spray. And who knew you could buy packaged crepes? So fancy!

Now, in what is perhaps another misstep on my part, let's see the Camp Blogaway swag misses.

I was excited when I first saw this reusable water bottle. It's BPA-free, which is a must have. That chamber inside was intriguing and I imagined that it either froze to keep your drink cold without diluting it or had holes to diffuse things into your drink, like tea leaves or fruit. Nope. That hollow tube is storage for a drink mix packet, like Emergen-C (which, side note, I completely LOVE and can't believe hasn't been mentioned on LambAround before). A drink-mix-in-my-water-bottle kinda gal, you'd think I'd be the perfect supporter of the Copco Mix-2-Go bottle, but I just don't see the point. Why wouldn't I just add my mix before leaving the house? Or keep a packet in my purse or pocket? It's not like they take up a lot of room!

Ummm...yeah. Can someone please tell me what this has to do with turkey? Gadgets are fun, but I would have much preferred a coupon toward the purchase of a turkey product. And isn't this pretty much useless after you get your results the first time? I'm assuming it is, though can't say for sure because mine was broken.

Fiji Water, I don't trust that your keychain thingy isn't going to break, leaving half my keys in my hand and the other half falling into a gutter. There was a Fiji Water presentation at camp that included a taste taste comparing food and lemonade made with Fiji Water versus LA city tap water ("the shitty water", as everyone joked). The items prepared with Fiji Water really did taste better, which made me wonder if this fancy water should be used whenever water taste is especially important, like making soup or coffee. Again, a coupon would have been much better swag.

I know I mentioned them earlier, but come on. A sausage keychain?? Sexy Nerd and I had a good laugh over this!

There was one other noteworthy item of swag received at Camp Blogaway. I wasn't going to mention it because I'm planning to give mine to Sexy Nerd for his birthday, but since he doesn't read my blog anyway (!) I may as well tell you. Not only that, but I have one to give away to a LambAround reader. Are you excited? It's...
A GROW YOUR OWN MUSHROOM KIT!!!


Seriously, is that just about the coolest swag you've ever seen? The mushrooms grow right out of the box. Sexy Nerd is going to love this! These Back to the Roots Grow-it-at-Home Mushroom Kits are environmentally friendly, as well as a lot of fun and convenient in the kitchen. Here is some information, straight from the sponsor:

My name is Nikhil Arora, and I’m one of the co-founders of Back to the Roots, a 100% sustainable urban mushroom farm a friend and I  recently started during our last semester in college. We'll collect and reuse 1million lbs of  spent coffee grounds this year from local cafes as a soil for our mushrooms!

Follow the instructions inside the box, and you'll get your first harvest in as little as 10 days (be patient though, as you won’t see anything for a week or so, and then they’ll suddenly pop out and grow rapidly!)

A neat idea, right? If you'd like to order one (or 2. or 3!) I have a nifty coupon code that will save you 10% - Mushrooms4me10. These have Sexy Nerd written all over them. They'd also make a great science project for school, though it seems a bit odd to write that following "Sexy Nerd"! Want to win a mushroom kit? Entering is easy peasy.

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post. Any comment at all!

Optional Entries (leave 1 comment per entry method): 
1. Visit Back to the Roots and tell me your favorite recipe from the site.
2. Follow LambAround via GFC (right sidebar).
3. Follow @LambAround via Twitter.
4. Follow LambAround on Facebook.

The Fine Print:
Open to US residents (sorry, my Australian friends!) only. Giveaway ends on 5/30/11. The winner will be selected using Random.org. 

Good luck everyone!


This giveaway has ended, but thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. The lucky winner will be announced soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cupcakes, Anne, and Other Fun Ramblings

1. Remember when I posted about listening to Anne of Green Gables while I drive? None of you warned me that Matthew Cuthbert was going to die. I appreciate you keeping that little spoiler to yourselves (which, I realize, I just blurted out) but he died when I was driving to work. My mascara was a mess!

2. I have a post scheduled for next week that will make you laugh your butt off. Sorry for the unpleasant image, but it will.

3. Tomorrow morning I'm posting a giveaway! Yep, a lot of fun things are coming up on LambAround. A recipe for cookie dough cupcakes (soooo insanely yummy!) and my BlogHer book club review for A Jane Austen Education are all right on the horizon.

4. Sexy Nerd has been away on a business trip all week (in LAS VEGAS, the lucky duck!) and should be home any minute now. Thank you for humoring me while I pass the time, my wonderful blog readers! Oh, I love you all so much! I know it's cheesy, but it's true.

5. The voting for the Best in Show award this week is close! Will it be Inspiration & Realisation? I Heart Toys? Teddy Bear Princess? Someone else?? This is exciting!

6. My next book on CD was Lolita. As creepy as it was, I loved it. Now I'm listening to The Lovely Bones. If anyone has a suggestion for my next book on CD, I'm all ears.*

7. My Kenmore Genius Tip, Cheap Molding and Magazine Pages, has fallen back to 5th place. Ack! Have you voted today and pestered all your friends to do the same? (Thank you, thank you!)

I hate to post without a photo, so here's another quick, random tidbit. Keebler has ripped off the Girl Scouts! These are scrumptious and so much cheaper, but still, it seems very wrong.

*A cheesy joke. Book on CD. Ears. Get it? Really, though, I need ideas!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recipe: Cottage Cheese and Salsa Dip

Here is the best dip recipe EVER.

Step one: Mix 2 parts cottage cheese with one part salsa. Step two: Grab some tortilla chips and eat.

Ahh, now wasn't that easy?

I have a fancy camera now, so why am I still taking photos with my cell phone?

I'll admit that it's not the prettiest dip in the world (and, to be honest, whenever I tell someone about this dip, the practically unanimous response is always "EEEEEW!")(they haven't even tried it!) but it really is tasty, especially when you're looking for a quick snack.

Quick, easy, and cheap. Healthy too, if you don't go crazy eating tortilla chips (next to Funyuns, tortilla chips are my favorite, so that's not going to happen around here.) What's not to love?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nakedness at Camp Blogaway!

I posted this last week right before The Great Blogger Fiasco. Although Blogger is back, this post returned with the title changed and all the comments missing! Most annoying of all, Blogger still has not resolved the ongoing problem where all the blogs I am following vanish. Most mysterious of all? I now have a duplicate category for my posts. Oh, and the new one starts out with Chinese! Did anyone else out there have control of their blog returned to them with a little Chinese thrown in?

I promised you some hot, naked action in my last Camp Blogaway Sleeping Arrangements post (Click here if you missed part 1). Okay, maybe not quite as exciting as that. Geez, can you imagine the Google results LambAround is going to come up in after this? Oops, maybe I shouldn't write "come up". There are going to be some very disappointed perverts out there.

At camp, I found it difficult to fall asleep. Being cramped up inside a sleeping bag is not my style, especially when you throw in bunk beds that squeak if you so much as exhale too forcefully. Spiders, roommates, and bloggers drunk on wine, laughing it up outside the window, all decreased the likelihood of me getting any rest. Still, I tried. Traveling to LAX had made me pretty sleepy, as had the hours long drive to camp. Sleep was overtaking me. Then, a panicked thought. You see, (*TMI ALERT*) I don't do pajamas. Never have. They're great for lounging around the house, but for sleeping, I've never understood how anyone can stand to wear them. I hate pajamas! And, thus, my nightly fear at Camp Blogaway:

What if, while asleep, I take off my pajamas and throw them onto the girl in the bunk next to me?!

It was hot in our cabin. I'd planned for chilly weather and had packed, hahaha, a long-sleeved pajama top and long-legged pajama pants. "Thermals", as my mom calls them. There I was, bundled up in a thick, toasty sleeping bag, the heat zipped up all around me, while those damn pajamas twisted up every which way. Surely, subconsciously, I would peel those pajamas off the first chance I got. Still hot, I'd probably sprawl out on top of my sleeping bag, fast asleep and drooling.

Sexy Nerd's a lucky guy, right?

I don't have any pajama photos from camp for this post, but I found the next best thing. Behold, a pajama photo from when I was 16, taken in my (very!) purple bedroom using the camera timer. Oh, did I think I was hot stuff!

 I thought it would be clever to cover my bare tummy with a lamb, but am now debating if the location of my left arm sends the wrong message. "Why would she photoshop herself with her arm up a sheep's butt," you're probably wondering.

Camp Blogaway solution? Sleep is overrated. I played Scrabble on my phone inside the safe darkness of my sleeping bag all night and filled up on green tea the next days.


Pajamas suck! We anti-pajama bloggers have the opportunity to unite and put an end to all this jammy nonsense. It's time for a pajama boycott, baby! Who else is with me?

Dog Gone It

Sexy Nerd was playing around with my fancy new camera the other night. What you are about to see is not (really can't stress that enough) the way our house usually looks. A certain someone, who is not shown in the photo, had been brewing and bottling beer and thought it best the save the mess for the next day. "Something to do tomorrow," this someone had said, fiddling with a camera that he had never shown any interest in up to that point. There's a trash can on the counter. And cheese right next to it! This goes against everything I ever learned as a restaurant manager.

Showing a photo of myself in my fabulously frumpy pajamas (which I bought on our honeymoon - sexy!) also goes against everything I ever learned, but here we are.

I'll post my trashed kitchen and I'll post my trashy jammies, but I really do need to draw the line somewhere.

So, what is the point of all this? Take a closer look at the photo. If this were a restaurant manager scenario, I'd have a major case of insubordination to write up.

Nyah, nyah!
I wouldn't be surprised if this were Pica, but I thought better of Biscuit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Kenmore Genius Tip

*Reposting due to crazy Blogger screw up last week*

I entered the Kenmore Genius Tips contest on Facebook. Right now, I'm in the top 4! If you can spare a moment (possibly a moment per day, as you're allowed to vote once every day) I'd really appreciate it if you vote for my tip. Ooh, and spread the word! Yeah, I know you're awesome ;)


Wondering if my tip is worth your time? Here are my tip-related photos, taken in my downstairs guest bathroom:

Unimpressed? Clearly, you need to see the Before photo.

Before (Blech!)


Sexy Nerd did all the work, but I'm enjoying basking in the credit. Thank you for voting!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger is Back...Kind Of

I had never realized just how Blogger-obsessed I am until last night (and this morning) when I'd check Blogger every 5 minutes and receive the same error and apology from Google for it being under temporary maintenance. Then again, I am writing this from work (lunch break!) so I guess that says something.

It seems like everything in Bloggerland is back to normal, but my post from yesterday morning isn't appearing! Is anyone else experiencing this problem?

Blogger maintenance pending, stay tuned to LambAround for the next Not "Baaad" Sundays blog hop! My plan is to post it tomorrow morning. See you then!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cheap Molding and Magazine Pages

I entered the Kenmore Genius Tips contest on Facebook. Right now, I'm in the top 6! If you can spare a moment (possibly a moment per day, as you're allowed to vote once every day) I'd really appreciate it if you vote for my tip. Ooh, and spread the word! Yeah, I know you're awesome ;)


Wondering if my tip is worth your time? Here are my tip-related photos, taken in my downstairs guest bathroom:

Before (Yucky!)

After! (Snazzy!)

Sexy Nerd did all the work, but I'm enjoying basking in the credit. Thank you for voting!

Camp Blogaway - Sleeping Arrangements (Part 2 of 2)

I promised you some hot, naked action in my last Camp Blogaway Sleeping Arrangements post (Click here if you missed part 1). Okay, maybe not quite as exciting as that. Geez, can you imagine the Google results LambAround is going to come up in after this? Oops, maybe I shouldn't write "come up". There are going to be some very disappointed perverts out there.

At camp, I found it difficult to fall asleep. Being cramped up inside a sleeping bag is not my style, especially when you throw in bunk beds that squeak if you so much as exhale too forcefully. Spiders, roommates, and bloggers drunk on wine, laughing it up outside the window, all decreased the likelihood of me getting any rest. Still, I tried. Traveling to LAX had made me pretty sleepy, as had the hours long drive to camp. Sleep was overtaking me. Then, a panicked thought. You see, (*TMI ALERT*) I don't do pajamas. Never have. They're great for lounging around the house, but for sleeping, I've never understood how anyone can stand to wear them. I hate pajamas! And, thus, my nightly fear at Camp Blogaway:

What if, while asleep, I take off my pajamas and throw them onto the girl in the bunk next to me?!

It was hot in our cabin. I'd planned for chilly weather and had packed, hahaha, a long-sleeved pajama top and long-legged pajama pants. "Thermals", as my mom calls them. There I was, bundled up in a thick, toasty sleeping bag, the heat zipped up all around me, while those damn pajamas twisted up every which way. Surely, subconsciously, I would peel those pajamas off the first chance I got. Still hot, I'd probably sprawl out on top of my sleeping bag, fast asleep and drooling.

Sexy Nerd's a lucky guy, right?

I don't have any pajama photos from camp for this post, but I found the next best thing. Behold, a pajama photo from when I was 16, taken in my (very!) purple bedroom using the camera timer. Oh, did I think I was hot stuff!

No one needs to be seeing that!

Camp Blogaway solution? Sleep is overrated! I played Scrabble on my phone inside the safe darkness of my sleeping bag all night and filled up on green tea the next days.

Pajamas suck! We anti-pajama bloggers have the opportunity to unite and put an end to all this jammy nonsense. It's time for a pajama boycott, baby! Who else is with me?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce - 2nd Chance

Yesterday's meal of Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce was a big, fat, LEMONY failure. I set out to jazz up the leftovers, but half expected the entire thing to end up in the trash.

Blech! Cold leftovers!

Add a couple handfuls of spinach.

*Nifty Tip* Storing rinsed spinach inside a Tupperware or glass container with a paper towel on the top and a paper towel on the bottom keeps it edible and slime-free for a long time.

Add a few splashes of coconut milk

Another "by the way" moment: I love our can opener! Not only does it leave a smooth edge around the lid so that your cooking isn't interrupted by running off to find a first aid kit, it also creates a great way to re-seal the can if you don't use the entire contents.

Ta da! With the added spinach and coconut milk, as well as some homemade "french fries", this was actually a pretty tasty meal. So, if you're going to buy Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce, disregard the directions on the bottle. Unless you really love lemon, I suppose.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce Review

*Update*
Since posting this, I have found a way to modify the Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce recipe from the bottle into something fairly yummy. Whew!

What the heck is a masala?

I wasn't in the mood to prepare anything elaborate tonight, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to try the Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce that has been sitting in our pantry.

I poured the contents of the jar, some small pieces of chicken, and a cup of water into a pot and covered it, then let it heat on the stove. Easy enough.

I also added some carrot, celery, onion, and peanuts.

Sexy Nerd made some instant brown rice to accompany our meal.

The finished product, piggy and all.

So, how was the Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce? Lemony. Really, really lemony! I'll be honest. I wasn't quite sure what "Masala Simmer Sauce" was supposed to taste like. The jar is no help. All it says is that the product makes a great base for authentic Indian meals. Silly me, I didn't realise that authentic Indian meals meant full of lemon juice. When I did a search for masala recipes, the results came back with lots of cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, but not a lot of lemon. Altogether, tonight's dinner was a bit of a dud.

For tomorrow's leftovers, I'll try adding a little spinach and coconut milk. In defense of Trader Joe's, I do enjoy their curry sauce. In fact, the next time I'm in the area, I plan to stop by for curry sauce, soy chorizo, pizza dough, and something called "mangolicious".

No Masala Simmer Sauce though.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Camp Blogaway Review - Sleeping Arrangements (Part 1 of 2)

*Update* My post, Easter is Over, is being featured in the BlogHer list of links this morning. Now, more of the world will know what a nut I am!

You want to know more about my experience at Camp Blogaway? Well, okay. Let's start with a confession. Remember how I told you that the bunk beds are close together? Like, crazy close together?

Squeeeeeze in there!

The first time I met my bunk mates, I put my foot right into my mouth. I carpooled over (no driving in LA traffic for this gal!) and we were one of the last groups to arrive, driving up shortly before dinner (courtesy of that glorious LA traffic! Who would have guessed it would be so busy driving from LAX...during rush hour...on a Friday...into the mountains?) Each camper had been assigned to a room. I noticed while unpacking that some rooms had crammed in four people. My room had just myself and two roommates, so I considered myself lucky.

Fast forward to after dinner and after the highlight of the evening (Joy the Baker - LOVE HER!) I returned to my room to find myself face to face with the two gals I'd be sharing sleeping space with. My ice breaker? I joked about how teenie tiny the rooms were, saying that I'd attended Girl Scout camp every summer, but there had never been accommodations like this. Did I stop there? Nope.

"We should consider ourselves lucky," I'd said. "Some of the rooms have four people, stacked on top of each other like sardines! I don't even know how you'd be able to turn around in a room with four people. Thank goodness it's just the three of us!"

To which I was told, sheepishly, "I hope you don't mind, but my sister is in this room, so I moved my stuff in here as the fourth person. You don't mind, right?"

Just call me the first impression queen.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Camp Blogaway Review - Sleeping Arrangements! Not sure you want to? Ummm, I'm not going to force you, but...it involves nudity.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easter is Over

I'm in for some weird looks with this post.

As you know, I've had trouble sleeping my entire life. People often ask how I can get through the day, let alone work full time, after several nights of little or no sleep. I think it's because I'll usually sleep well (at least, my idea of "well", which can be 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep) every couple of sleepless nights.

Over the past two weeks, I have not been able to recharge with one of these nights of good sleep. I've been trying to go to bed at a set time, avoid caffeine, not watch TV or blog in bed, (etc, etc!) but nothing ever helps. Sleeping pills often leave me lying in bed feeling somewhat dazed, as if my mind is frozen like a computer screen, but not asleep. After so many nights of uninterrupted sleep deprivation, I've been feeling lethargic, complete with a nonstop, pounding headache. I'm just not myself.

I stumbled downstairs the other morning, groggy and grouchy, and got out a pair of scissors to open a bag of cereal. Then, I saw them on the kitchen counter. Peeps. There were a few new boxes that I'd picked up for 75% off after Easter, as well as a few dry, remaining Peeps from the bird's nest cookies I'd made. I stared at them, half asleep. Scissors in hand, I approached the unsuspecting Peeps.

Note the tear under his little Peeps eye.

Something about this cracked me up! Just thinking back to it now brings a smile to my face (though, to be fair, I'm still unbelievably exhausted.) The more little Peeps heads I ended up with, the harder I was laughing, like a CRAZY person. Soon, I was so hysterical that I actually had tears in my eyes. Through giggles, I set up my unfortunate headless Peeps and called for Sexy Nerd to come to the kitchen.

He didn't get it.

Are the boxed Peeps cheering this on, Colosseum-style? They were next.

Sorry, Peeps. I just really, really need to get some sleep!

*Update* I have now Googled "peeps jousting". My entire Peeps stash for this year has already been beheaded, but expect some Peeps duels the day after Easter, 2012. Yellow Peeps, you're going down!
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