Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Adventures in International Cooking!

I spent most of Sunday hanging out with Ariana. This involved a trip to the Asian market, as suggested by Chris. He wanted to go to H-mart, but I knew he had never experienced the wonder known as El Grande Supermercado, now known as All Green. It's a fantastic international supermarkets that is one of my favorite places to go. It's got a huge selection of crazy seafood, produce, meats, and more, along with normal American staples.

Really, my whole venture into more asian/international themed cooking has been brought to you by a book called Creole by Babette de Rozieres.


This books was down by the registers in Border one day, and I was bored, so I flipped through it. Love at first sight. Seriously. With recipes like Urchin Blaff, with pictures of this dish served in urchin tests, how could I not love it? The first recipe I am trying from it, is "Pan-fried Chicken Breasts with Cinnamon and Coconut Milk".

Being an experienced, international food shopper, I already have everything I need to make this dish. I have learned from Ariana, to always keep some coconut milk on hand, just in case I ever have the desire to make some thai-style curry.

Back to the International Supermarket Adventures!!! I have some pictures to share with you.

Crazy nuts! They look totally hardcore. The only reason I know they are nuts is because they were next to chestnuts and hazelnuts.

Durian! I have these trees on my farmville farm! But they smelled really good and now I am curious to try them someday. They were HUGE though. Like, bigger than my head. This was at the H-mart, where they also had kumquats and longan berries.

Some of the squid we bought today. CJ is currently making calamari. It keeps setting off the fire alarm because he is frying stuff, but so far, aside from the noise, it's turned out pretty well.

Removing the beak from the squid. CJ did his homework and checked out a couple on on-line video tutorials on how to clean whole squid. It was kind of cool.

And with a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon, the calamari tastes awesome!

Guess what else is on the way today?? More birnen-speck cake!

This is the place we originally found the recipe. We made it once before and we liked the flavor, but we knew it needed a little practice to get it right. I think this time will be better than before. It's in the oven right now.....mmm

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Job searching sucks.

Seriously! It does.

I had my interview today with Bon Appetit. Basically it was either, fill out new-hire paper work, or tell them no. It wasn't even an interview, they wanted to hire me on the spot. Which is cool, except that it's no better than what I am doing right now. So I filled out paper work. I can't make major decisions in minutes. I need time to digest and plan and day dream, etc etc. So now that I am technically in the process of being hired, I don't want the job. Crappy, I know.

Basically, we are still unsure of where CJ is going to be after the end of this month. We are still sharing one that makes finding a new job difficult. He may or may not still be at Borders. It's all up in the air. The only thing we know for sure is that his current position goes away at the end of the month. Whether or not there will be a new one/vacant one for him to step into is what is unknown. If there is not, they will keep him on, but cut his hourly wage...which is too low anyway. So he can't stay there if he takes a pay cut.

And frankly, I am over the mall. I am at the point where I am ready to move on to a real job. Another barista position is not a step forward. In fact, I think that since it's on a college campus, it's a step backwards for me. I am no longer a college student. Eventually, I want to go to grad school, but I shouldn't be on a campus until then, unless I am doing something applicable to my degrees.

So who knows where we will be next month. I am still holding out for this Living Classrooms job. I haven't heard from anyone yet, but I was told mid-January, so I am hoping to hear good news in the next week or so. It wouldn't be a big pay increase, but I would be working a lot less, to make about the same amount of money each month. In the summer, when their schedule gets busier, I will actually get paid more. And it's something I actually WANT to do, something that will help build my resume in the Environmental Science field. Plus, I'd get to learn about the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay, which is really exciting to me! I am a nerd, I know.

It feel really nice to be relaxing at home right now. I was off work today, but I ran a whole bunch of errands. I had that interview, and I went to IKEA to exchange our damaged stuff, then I picked up my external hard drive from UPS since they couldn't deliver it, and then CJ and I went to Navy Federal to re-apply for a consolidation loan, with me as a co-signer this time. Then we did our long over-due grocery shopping at Walmart and spent $110. Snap. That's a lot of food.

When we got home, I made dinner while CJ set up our new loveseat.


You can also see my new bookshelf that he put together. He's so manly. Or at least accustomed to IKEA furniture.

Here's a photo of the super awesome wine holder Mike Helfer's parent's gave us for Christmas.


Mike's step father is a bit of a hobbyist with woodworking, so he actually made the holder himself. They then went the extra step and got us a bottle of wine and two wine glasses. How cute are they?? The wine that's with the holder right now is one I bought at the Wine Bin. It's my new favorite wine store. They carry verdes from Portugal and when Ariana and Nick came over for fondue the other night, we split a bottle of sparkling muscat I bought there. IT WAS AWESOME. I will actually keep the bottle so I can remember what it is and buy more.

Plus they have tasting events and classes....and they are right next to the new, super giant Whole Foods. They can do no wrong!

Monday, January 11, 2010


For Christmas, a bunch of our Maryland friends got together and got CJ and I a giftcard to IKEA. And by giftcard, I really mean Ariana is holding on to $125 in cash for us for the purpose of buying a couch. I guess they didn't have a chance to get an IKEA giftcard, but that was the intention. Anyway, CJ and I drove up to White Marsh to check out the IKEA there. It was my first IKEA experience. Oh My GOD, the place is HUGE! It was kinda fun to see all the miniature rooms set up...but the warehouse part frightened me a bit. It was kind of barren, and at points I felt like CJ and I were the only people there. It was weird. But we went yesterday for a specific reason...there was a loveseat that was on sale for $99 on Sunday only. So we bought it. YAY! Mission complete.

Except that one of the pieces of the frame is broken...and one of the covers is missing I get to go back tomorrow. I will actually be in the area for an interview, so I called them that same day to let them know I would be coming in for an exchange, and to make sure they would have it in stock. So maybe tomorrow we will have a loveseat! We are slowly furnishing this apartment. Someday it will be a real home! I still haven't bothered to hang anything on our walls. I just haven't decided how I want to do it...and I don't have a hammer. Lol.

So my interview tomorrow is something I found on Craigslist. I think I already blogged about it, so yeah. There's nothing new to add, except that the interview is tomorrow. I will also be filling out an application that day too. Basically, it's full time, which is a plus, but if the pay rate isn't great, I'll be peacing out.

I am tired of the mall and tired of working two part time jobs. It's worked so far because CJ and I have needed to carpool. We still will, so I am not sure how it will all work out in the next month, but it's gotta change. It's time for retail to stop. I'm over it.

The book I am reading right now is really strange. It's interesting, but I don't know how I feel about it.

The writing style is intriguing, but it's really quite gruesome at times. It's kind of creepy, in fact.

BTW, I love getting advanced copies of books. And this book is PRETTY. It's hardcover, and as you can see from the image above, a very eye-catching image.

I FINALLY used my giftcards to buy an external hard drive from Now I am just trying to figure out how to get UPS to LEAVE THE DAMN THING IN THE BUILDING. It's under $100, the building has a key entry, but they must not have a key. It's obnoxious because the mail man has a key and leaves USPS packages inside the door all the damn time. They are going to try and deliver the package tomorrow...but I won't be here then either. So I will go to the website and tell them what to do. They didn't actually leave a UPS delivery attempt notice the first time, I just got an e-mail from WAY TO GO UPS. Failpile.

Anywho, I should probably go to bed. CJ is staying at his parent's tonight, as he has work in Annapolis at 6:30 am, and I have an interview in White Marsh at 11:30am (THE OTHER SIDE OF BALTIMORE FROM ANNAPOLIS) he's doing his own thing and I get to sleep in this cold ass apartment all by my lonesome. This is when I wish I had a dog to cuddle with. Or a space heater.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New in 2010!

Yeah, sorry that I haven't posted recently. It's been a little crazy with work, but nothing is really going on that I feel is blog worthy.

I am sick of working retail, and am continuing the job search for something a bit more substantial. I still haven't heard about the Living Classrooms people that I interviewed with, but probably won't hear from them for another week or so. I have an interview next week with an organization called Bon Appetit which is a cafe/catering place up at Gaucher College. It wouldn't really be all that different, and working a service job on a college campus would probably be kind of awful for a college graduate...but if they offer full time and pay well enough, it'd be enough for me.

Both Borders and Teavana have cut their payroll hours. Welcome to the post-Christmas season. It means I actually have days off, which is nice, but it also means less money. With the impending "I need to get my own car insurance" deadline, money might be a bit of an issue. It's not like I don't have any, it's just that I won't be saving any. I like saving it. I like seeing it add up in my bank account each month. It makes me happy, as sad and greedy as that sounds. Really though, it's about security. And feeling like a grown-up. I work full time and have a college degree, therefore, the next step in my life should be to save money in order to spend on things that come getting married and buying a house. But I also like having that money add up in my bank account because it makes me feel safe. If something happens, I can cover it financially. That's a big deal for me! I am on my own and I can financially take care of myself! I hope!

Having time off has been really nice, especially with my reluctance to go to work as of late. It's not like I wouldn't go, it's just that I don't want to be there. I am tired of all the bullshit of working in retail. I am sure there is plenty of bullshit elsewhere, but if I A) Got paid more and B) Felt like I was using the last 6 years I spent getting a degree, then I might be more willing to deal with the bullshit.

Always at the back of my mind is eventual wedding planning. I haven't really done anything for that, other than think about it. I know I want to make my own cake, I know the dress code for the bridesmaids and groomsmen and I know who I want to ask to be my bridal party, I just haven't bothered to yet. I need a date. That's the biggest thing, and I don't even know WHERE we are going to have it, which will affect the date. Plus, Annie is planning on getting married around the same time, so I need to know HER date, in order to plan my own date. I am her maid of honor, after all. Blech. This is all so complicated. Rachael got engaged after I did and she's getting married in September! Adrienne and Aaron got engaged just recently and they are getting married in December. So...I just feel like we jumped the gun with getting engaged and need to get on the boat with wedding planning.

Speaking of Rachael's wedding, it will probably be the next time I am in Oregon, which is mid September. I plan on being there for about a week, figure I can kill every bird in a 10-mile radius with that stone. Chris Jordan wants to come with us too, since he really wants to visit Oregon, and Ariana might be interested as well. Ben, I hope you are ready for us to take over your house! Hahaha...I am only sort of joking though. I imagine we'd fly into Portland and hang in Corvallis for a bit, then head down to Southern Oregon for a bit as well. It depends on the timing of everything, as I imagine Rachael's wedding will be in Corvallis, so I will need to be there for that. Who knows. It's far enough away I haven't really bothered to figure it all out yet.

Oh yeah. New Years. I didn't make any resolutions or anything. I had already made one to be less of a know-it-all (especially at work), but that was before January. Our New Year's party was our Friendsmas party. Basically, everyone in our friend group went to Chris, Aaron, and Adrienne's house and did a present exchange and then got drunk. I drank a lot, but I had a really fun time hanging out with everyone. We attempted to play a game called Dicecapades, which we had never played before. Learning a new game = FAIL when you are drunk. I attempted to play match maker and went for a drunk run, after Ariana and Mike and Nick, who had left. It was fun times.

Anywho, life here is a lot of work, work, work and a lot of sleep, sleep, eat. I feel like I very rarely have time to do anything else, simply because of the retail schedule that CJ and I live by.

Speaking of's about time to head to work....Joy.