Monday, February 8, 2016

%@*! Romance: Anti-Romantic in an Enlightened Age

Romance.  Ugh.

Look up romance in the dictionary.  Do it!  This one is my favorite definition:

verb (used without object) romanced, romancing.
  • to invent or relate romances; indulge in fanciful or extravagant stories or daydreams.
  • to think or talk romantically
verb (used with object) romanced, romancing.
  • to court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness:
  • to court the favor of or make overtures to; play up to
Fanciful and extravagant.  There it is, right there in black and white.

The expectations set forth by society in regards to romance are ridiculous.  It is too much pressure.  Unless you know everything there is to know about your mate, in which case things have progressed to a point there is no amount of extravagance to resuscitate the romance that has been sucked out of your relationship.  Sorry.

With that said, I am breaking down some of my favorite romantic clichés and reminding you to ‘just say no’ when it comes grandstanding your passion.  A little goes a long way and if it does not, run.  What is it Kanye said?  Oh yeah – I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ with no broke… well, you know how it goes.

First, comes roses.

Really!?  These are the cliché of clichés.  No flowers either.  What is romantic about giving someone a plant that is already dying?  If that is how you see our love, then maybe we should move on.  Give me a potted plant or something.  No – scratch that.  I would probably kill the plant too.  Nothing says romance like being forced to keep something alive.  Ooh, I know – plant a tree in my honor, in a protected area where it will never be cut down.  Let the depth of the roots symbolize the depths of our love. (That last sentence was not sarcastic, by the way.  I know.  It is hard to tell.)

I was researching “what women want” and even though I am a woman and I know what I want, it seems there is a stalemate on which is better: receiving flowers or receiving chocolates.  Obviously you know my opinion on flowers, but some women seem to think there is more thought put in the selection of flowers than in chocolates, so I wanted to touch on the subject briefly.

Do you realize how much information is out there on the meanings of the different flowers and their colors?  It is overwhelming.  I suppose if I guy is willing to do all the inquiry in order to pick out the perfect flowers to express his feelings, I may be swayed into thinking this is romantic.  But really, what are the odds?  All that effort and you still only get an extra week of enjoyment out of them.  As for chocolate, they say ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’, so using that logic means chocolate lasts forever, just like our love.


Speaking of chocolates…

It seems a safe romantic gesture to buy a box of chocolates (unless the person is allergic and you are not trying to kill them).  It does not last as long… well, I guess that depends on the person’s willpower (of which I have none when it comes to chocolate) and their interpretation of said logic above.

A gift of chocolate can say many things, but not all of them will scream romance.  It could say ‘I love you and I want you to be happy’.  Or it says ‘By accepting these chocolates you are confirming the existence of shark week and I will know I am not getting any tonight’.  It could say ‘I know how much you love chocolate and I wanted to prove myself worthy.  I will still love you even if you gain ten pounds and have diabetes.  Let me give you a foot massage’.  Or it says ‘I already think you are fat, so what is the harm of more chocolate’.

Or it could just mean ‘here is some chocolate.  Happy Valentine’s Day/ Anniversary/ Birthday/ Wednesday’.  You just never know.

Anyone up for Public Displays of Affection?

Seems a simple enough task, but this is heard all too often (on Maury): “My significant other does not show their affection to me in public.  I think they are ashamed of me”.  Seriously – why is this an issue!?  Do they really love you any less if they do not want to hold your hand?  They could have boundary issues or germaphobia.  Maybe their parents did not show much affection toward each other and the concept seems foreign. They could secretly be Doctor Sheldon Cooper, in which case congratulations and condolences Amy Farrah Fowler.

Plus, public displays are not always considered romantic.  Some might find them possessive or inappropriate.  Wait until you are old and gray – then most people will find it adorable and you will be at an age where you do not care.  Win-win. 

My point is if your partner is not showing their affection in public, it most likely is not personal and if it is, you need to move on.  And if it bothers you that much, initiate contact so you will know and can move forward. 

The rose petal path to a bubble bath:

Again with the dead flowers!  Plus the subsequent clean-up, which the woman knows she will end up doing. 

I saw this done once on a show – it did not end well.  The woman ended up dead and the man was a serial killer.  Nothing kills the mood faster than being drown in rose-tainted bath water.  As for the mental picture, you are welcome.

And while some people may find bathing with your significant other is sexy, I do not get the appeal.  Sharing dirty water with someone?  Gross.  I will hop right in the shower with you though, so do not think I am against all co-bathing.

When you decide not to get down and dirty in the clean room, candle-lit love-making moves up on the romantic scale.

Can you say fire hazard?  If your bed is a’rockin, firemen will come a’knockin.  Just saying.  If you feel the need to rein in your fiery love-making (no pun intended), you are doing something wrong.  Slow and sweet is all well and good, but give me unbridled, heavy-breathed, clothes-tearing passion any day.  And keep the candles at a safe distance.  Blow the roof off the joint but make sure it has a place to come home to.

Unless you are into hot firemen... but I think they reserve those for the calendar. (That pun was intended)

So you skipped the candles.  How about cuddling together in blessed silence in front of a roaring fire?

Okay.  This one I could go for, but only during the cold months.  And if I had a fireplace.  And my floor was not covered in shag carpeting as old as I am.  I mean, think about it.  It is not practical to have a roaring fire going in a climate-controlled home in the middle of summer while you are living in the desert.  Sure, it gets colder at night, but we all have to sleep sometime.

As for what we really want:

Ask any stay-at-home parent out there what they want most in a romantic gesture and I can guarantee a day off is near the top of their list.  I do not care if it is an offer to take care of the kids and home so I can go out with friends or simply hide away and read a book uninterrupted.  Arrange for a babysitter or ship the munchkins off to the grandparent’s house for a night.  One day off does wonders, not only for the relationship but for the libido.  It reminds us of the days before children became priorities and the sweet pitter-patter of tiny feet and cooing segued into stampeding elephants and screaming banshees.

We want someone who listens and remembers the good things.  I do not want to be reminded of the time I threw a bottle at the cat and broke the television, no matter how funny everyone thinks it is.  Remember the geeky thing I mentioned in passing three months ago and bring it home as a surprise and I will swoon.

Romance may come and go, but nerd love is forever.

This has been a collaboration called Blog with Friends.  Each month we pick a theme and create a post, project, list, or recipe, each one being unique but unified under a common element.  

Since I went the other way, let the others romance you:

Lydia is giving us her run down of the Best Love Songs {Ever}:

Make your way into the heart through the stomach with this Crusted Prime Rib from Karen:

Rabia is talking about How to Say I Love You with love languages:

Short on cash?  Melissa has Romance on the Cheap - DIY projects to show your love:

Fall in love with this pie from Dawn - some Sweets for your Sweet:

Show your love with these non-food Valentine's Day Gift Ideas by Shannon:

And remember: I (heart) all of you.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Just One Kiss

My Subject is: Who was your first kiss and how did it all go down?
Submitted by: The Angrivated Mom

Jeez lady.  Do you know my mom reads this!?  Only kidding - if she does not want to know... well, she is probably too late anyway.  (Love you, Mom!)

And since you did not specify the type of kiss and I am speaking of my mother, she may be the only reason I know of my first kiss.

I was four or five years old and have had several brain surgeries since then, but I will attempt to piece it together for you.  I was an adorable, rosy-cheeked toe head and there was a birthday party (I am remembering a grainy picture with a seventies brown plaid couch piled with kids). The kiss looked like it went down like subjects in a Kim Anderson photograph, but in reality was probably an innocuous disaster.  His name was Scotty and he was not at an age where boys like kissing girls or, in this case, being forcibly kissed by an over-eager girl with no boundary issues. 

Yeah.  I imagine it was like that, only I was kissing him, he was not happy, and we were in someone's basement.  It was the kind of kiss parents think is adorable and the kids never live down.  Case in point: my ability to recount this bizarre encounter of innocence for you now.

Oh, I know.  How about the first kiss I can remember (on my own) and was reciprocated?

Elementary school was a big time for me.  I played a lot of tether ball, started showing signs of bipolar disorder, uttered my first big-girl curse words, and called a long-haired boy named Marcus my boyfriend.  He was a year younger than I and we shared a lip-to-lip kiss in the large tire half-buried on the playground right as the bell rang.  Rebellion started early with me.

Or maybe the first kiss in which the tongue was introduced?

There are many descriptive words expected to label that first deep kiss - passionate, magical, amorous - which do not apply here.  More like unexpected, awkward, and a little desperate.  I remember his name too.  Arthur, the new kid in seventh grade.  He was sweet, walked me home after school even though I lived farther away from the school than he did.  Standing at the end of my parent's driveway, we both went in for the kiss, but he slipped me a little tongue action.  I was surprised enough I could have pulled away, but instead I just went with it.  Worked out in my favor eventually - practice makes perfect.

Reminds me of this exchange in John Tucker Must Die between Beth (brunette) and Kate (blonde):

Beth:  Okay, are you a good kisser?
Kate: I don't know.  How does anybody know?
Beth: Do guys tell you you're a good kisser? 

If that is the proof, I am a good kisser.  Notice the present tense. *wink*

Okay, okay.  How about the first kiss to give me butterflies and pleasant shivers up my spine? (Look away Mom!  Look away!)

Forbidden.  When it comes to kisses, no word is as tantalizing on the tongue than forbidden.  We knew each other through church youth group and he was older by a couple years.  His name was Dan and his attention was coveted because he was sweet on two girls - me and a close friend.

He and I tried to fight it, but the magnetism between us was too strong.  At first we were tentative with our affections: a brush of fingers here, a demure glance in passing, an embrace held just a little tighter.

The tension built, the pressure of barely restrained passion bubbling under the surface until finally, it broke.  My heart fluttered, lips tingling from the current running through our bodies.  His hands were in my hair, pulling me closer, my fingers entwined behind his head.  I stood on tiptoes, needing his touch, his kiss.

We came up for air.  The moment passed.  In the blink of an eye, we were done.

Now the only person I kiss is my husband and those kisses are by far my favorite.


This was a blogging challengeThis week 14 bloggers braved the unknown by coming up with a secret subject for another blogger, while getting one in return.  It's been all cloak and dagger, until now!

Here are the links to the other participating bloggers.  Don't miss out on the fun. Visit them all and see what the fuss is about!  And you can always join us - just ask.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Raspberry Mini Heart Cakes with Chocolate Ganache

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  To coin a phrase, the road to my kitchen is paved with intentional recipes gone by the wayside.

I get an idea in my head.  I plan it, imagine it, and it is perfect in every way.  The end result... not so much.  I have found, in my case, it is always a good idea to have the ability of remaking something with what you have already made.

Like these cakes.  They are adorable, if I do say so myself... and I do.

My intention was to have them double layered with a chocolate cream cheese buttercream filling and chocolate ganache coating.  Sounds easy enough, except the fact I only had one jelly roll pan and had never baked a cake in one to bolster my confidence.

The cake came out great - perfectly pinkish, soft and moist.  Exactly what you want in a cake, right?  Apparently not if you want to use a cookie cutter to make cute little hearts.  And since I only bought enough cake mix for one shot, I could not fix it... this time.

So, side note, while moist, fluffy cakes are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, make denser cake.

In order to continue my love affair with cake, I had to rethink my strategy.  Layers were out of the question, which meant leaving out the chocolate cream cheese buttercream.  I know - {sad face}.

Can you believe this was made from a boxed mix?  Sure makes things easier.

Another side note: when you are buying your chocolate, pay attention or you will end up laughing at the fact you bought jumbo chips and mini chips, like I did.  Just another stop on my misadventures in the kitchen.

Back to cake.  And chocolate.  For once I was smart - I knew I had one shot at covering these damn things with ganache, so I used a baking rack over an empty bowl to catch the excess. Brilliant, of course.

Did not make them any prettier, unfortunately.  I am going to have to practice more... not that I mind!

I would tell you to look away, but then you would miss out on the recipe and what these lack in finesse, they make up for in taste.

All right.  Preheat oven to 325°F/162°C.

Here is what you need:

For the Cake:
  • 1 box white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines® Classic)
  • Egg/egg whites recommended on the box + 1 more (I used actual egg whites, not the liquid kind)
  • butter, melted - in place of oil, double the amount
  • Milk - in place of water
  • 1 tsp raspberry extract
  • pink gel food coloring (I used Americolor® Electric Pink)
For the Ganache:
  • 2 2/3 cup semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped or chips (dark chocolate would pair well, too)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For cake:
  1. Mix cake according to directions.  Beat in extract and one drop of food coloring. 
  2. Pour batter into lined jelly roll pan.  Spread evenly.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes.  Turn 180°.  Bake another 8 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool completely.  Cut out desired shape with cookie cutter.
For ganache:
  1. Pour heavy cream into saucepan.  
  2. On medium heat, warm the cream until it starts to steam.  Remove from heat. 
  3. Pour over chocolate chunks/chips.  Stir.
Placing a rack over a bowl, spread cakes over the bowl with enough room between them while keeping them over the bowl.  Using a spoon, pour chocolate over cakes and spread to cover all sides the best you can.  Allow excess to drip into the bowl for a few minutes.

If you run out of ganache, scrape out the bowl and continue until there is nothing left.

Transfer finished cakes onto platter.  When done, put into fridge to set.

Then, eat your heart out.  Get it?  *wink wink*

Friday, January 29, 2016

Dat Face Doe

Funny Friday, January 2016

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday  150 X 150.jpg

Here’s today’s picture, submitted by Dinosaur Superhero Mommy.

24 - Dinosaur Superhero Mommy.jpg

1. What are you smiling at?

2. No, seriously. Why are you smiling like that!?

3. AJ finds your lack of happiness... disturbing.

4. Ah, the irony: a welcome mat with a no trespassing sign.

5. Dad has a gut feeling something weird is about to happen...

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

My Brain on Kids

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Fly Under a Spell

Quesadilla was sitting on the couch on her phone.  The Big Guy just walked in.
Q: How do you spell legacy?
Me: L-E-G-A-C-Y.  Why?
Q: Because.
Me:  Are you a little impressed she didn't try to spell that with two Y's?
TBG:  Kinda.  Yeah.
Q: What?
Never mind...

It was time for our bi-weekly shopping trip.  We pulled into a spot and the vehicle parked in front of us was for a local cleaning service.  I got to looking at their advertisements plastered on the back.
Me:  Do you see anything wrong with that?
TBG:  *silence*
Me: Something spelled wrong, by chance?
TBG: *silence*
Me:  They misspelled professional!  A professional cleaning service misspelled professional on their company vehicle.
OMG.  (It was spelled profesional, but to be fair it could have been an ESL mistake.)

Yoda - wrong spelling  you have
Have you guys ever heard of carrageenan?  Apparently it's a by-product of red seaweed and is a food additive.  Personally I had not heard of it until my recent shopping trip.

On the front of my almond milk, it stated clearly there was no carrageenan in it.  I had to look up how to pronounce it, guys.  That's bad.  I do not think that has happened to me before!  And even worse, it is not that hard to say.  [kar-uh-gee-nuh n]

Ack!  Bigfoot turned fourteen.  Fourteen!  And in less than 6 months, Quesadilla will be 13. I'm not ready for this. 
No. Nein. Non. Нет. Κανένα.  沒有. ノー. 아니.
Now shoo fly.  Shoo!