Thursday, November 17

Pssst! I've moved!

Hey! Hey you!

I'm no longer here anymore!

Go visit me over at:

The Finer Points of Life

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 13

Cracking the Craigslist code

All this time away from blogging leaves me with a laundry list of things I need to discuss with you guys, but before I can do that I need to get a good, old-fashioned rant off my chest.

I don't know about you, but I looooove me a solid, soul-cleansing bout of bitching.

The topic today? Apartment hunting on Craigslist. Uhhhh, hmmmmm. Where do I even begin? Well, let's kick this thing off on a positive note:

To every realtor on Craigslist, you deserve to win the Pulitzer Prize for your creative use of vocabulary. Do they give away a Webster's Thesaurus with your license? I've never seen so many colorful synonyms and adjectives used in postings that all mean the exact same thing.
Since I'm wicked smart with my various degrees in English (and yet seemingly incapable of writing a blog post without glaring grammatical errors), allow me to translate for you:
  • "cozy" = small and crappy
  • "charming" = old and crappy
  • "quaint"= ghetto and crappy
  • "very cute" = super crappy
I'm on to you, Craigslist. I've tapped into your secret code and I know the truth. I've quickly realized that you've written these listings with such poetic license, they should be read aloud by a girl with dreadlocks and unshaved armpits who hates her father in some beatnik cafe under a bridge in Brooklyn. For instance, your use of the word "near" is quite vague. How can an apartment 10 miles outside of the city be "near all the action of the Red Sox Nation". So apparently, being "near" Fenway Park means turning on your HD TV to ESPN and tuning into that night's game from your living room. Gotcha.

I also learned long, long ago never to look at a Craigslist apartment that didn't include pictures. If you only show me pictures of the street or the front door, we have problems. If you tell me it has "great closet space" and a "fabulous, modern kitchen" then SHOW ME THEM. Otherwise, I'm going to call you a liar, liar pants on fire.

However, there is a flip side to this coin when you show photos of your property for rent (you know, that transaction where you expect people to give you their hard-earned dollars in exchange for a suitable place to live). For the love of all things holy, clean. your. shithole. apartment. up. first.

Ladies and Gentlemen, enter Exhibit A:

Oh, my what a beautiful kitchen you have here! Look at all the counter space! I mean, I think that's a counter under there. Wait, no sorry that's a giant cockroach. Would you mind killing it with the leftover pizza box or one of the dirty pans in the sink? I prefer living alone. Thanks!

Oh just wait, it gets better:

Great! I've always wanted an apartment without closet space! Do you think the current tenant would mind leaving that picture of Justin Bieber she has hanging on the wall above her bed? Those yellow heart stickers are the perfect art statement. I've been collecting them for years.

aaaaaand then there's Exhibit C:

Did you tie that giant red Christmas ribbon on the refrigerator door just for me?! Even though it's April? Awwwww, you shouldn't have. You've already done so much with the place. I just love the avant garde feeling of your shit being strewn all over this tiny living room.

and last, but certainly not least:

No no, don't worry friend. I understand how tricky bed-making can be sometimes. I actually like how you have the sheets thrown back revealing a bit of drool on the mattress, it's a nice touch. Really. How long did it take you to arrange the pillow like that so it's half on the bed and half on the wall? Very interesting indeed.

Seriously.

Need I even say more?

Tuesday, April 12

Welcome Back!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Errrrrrr, not sure what happened with my header? Apologies. Please close your eyes and picture me while you read. In case you forget, I look just like Marissa Miller.


Greetings from the beyond the computer! How's it hangin?

If this were happening in real life, I would run into a busy Starbucks to meet you, dump a nip (or two) of Bailey's into my coffee, and launch into an exhausting diatribe of what I've been up to for the past month. By the time I finish an hour later, you'd be bored and I'd be drunk. And no one wants that. (Well, maybe I do)


Instead I'll give you the Cliffs Notes version of my life in the past month:
  • still engaged. still wedding planning. post coming on that later this week
  • didn't kill anyone in my Grad program during finals. (small miracle)
  • I yelled at some guy on the T yesterday. 1 week back in Boston and I'm already a Masshole again.
  • cried tears of joy while grocery shopping at Trader Joe's for the first time in a year, which was quickly followed by tears of sadness as I finished my trip at Whole Foods and kissed my new American dollars goodbye.
  • started working. Hello, productivity! Being a contributing member of society sure does look good on you!
I've got a list of things I want to chat about, but all in good time. I also need to make some major cosmetic changes to the blog. I'm in conversations about it with my blog designing duo of RV Designs who have done my layouts in the past, but it will take some time. Rachel's kind of busy having a baby and Victoria's determined that I need to switch my entire blog from Blogger to Wordpress because as she says, "I'm Big League". (Although my bank account and Google Analytics beg to differ.)

The thought of going self-hosted and switching platforms makes me break out in hives. What if Wordpress loses all my old posts? What if I lose followers (all 7 of them)? What if it doesn't let me type in random, fragmented sentences? WHAT IF IT DOESN'T LIKE CHOCOLATE AND TEQUILA?!

Oh God. I'm hyperventilating.

HELPPPPP! Have you made the switch? Does your new platform accept your love for whining and wine?


Sunday, April 10

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I'll love ya....tomorrow!

Regular posting will *FINALLY* resume tomorrow!

Thank you for being so patient! I've got a million and a half things to catch everyone up on.

Until then, stare at my feet and my wedding date in the sand:


Wedding planning not your bag, baby? Here's a picture of Snooki instead:


Not a fan of Snooki?

Welp then I just feel a little sad for you.

See you tomorrow!

xx

Monday, March 28

Guilty Pleasure

Just so you don't think I've fallen into a well or got dumped in a ditch or anything, I wanted to pass along something to show you I'm still alive and kickin'

Here's what I've been losing my mind over working on for the past 3 months as part of my Master's program.

It is our bookazine, Guilty Pleasure!



What is a bookazine you may ask? It is the cross breed of a book and a magazine. It has some features of a book (i.e. text heavy, consistent design and layout features) but reads like a magazine with a variety of topics and monthly editions.

What's a Guilty Pleasure you wonder? Simple: reading this blog entry while you're supposed to be working. (Ahem, caught you!) It's also things like tequila. and chocolate. and Real Housewives of Every City in America Worth Visiting (except Miami, because if I were to visit there, I'd most certainly bitch slap both Christy AND Larsa across the face). Basically a guilty pleasure is all of the wonderful things I devote my blog too.



This project was certainly a learning experience for me. I learned how to submit article and photo release waivers, preflight PDFs for print, and control my temper so I don't climb over a table and attack fellow group members when they disagreed with me.


It was magical.




I've got 1 more paper to complete this week and then Sean and I are Boston bound on Friday! Regular blogging will resume next week!

So for now, please, for the love of all things holy and good in this world, go pour yourself a glass of wine the size of a swimming pool and read Guilty Pleasure. (Much like a fine wine, the content gets better with age alcohol)

Tuesday, March 15

Bad, bad blogger

I know. I know.

I'm MIA.

I could spend the next twenty minutes filling this blog post with link backs to past posts in an effort to fill the void of creativity I'm currently experiencing, but I'm not going to do that. Instead, let's play a numbers game:

17 = days until I move back to the United States
6 = number of suitcases I need to pack all of our belongings in
6,500 = words I must have typed into reports by March 31st
40 = pages of content and layout design that must be edited and shipped to Thailand for print by tomorrow
0 = number of tequila shots I've done in the past month (maybe that's why I'm feeling so blah?)
150= posts I've written on Quarterlife Quandary
0= dollars I've received for writing said posts on Quarterlife Quandary
_ _, 000 = dollars I've spent on getting my Masters (you don't want to know the first two numbers. Trust me.)
13= Nutella cookies I baked
11= Nutella cookies I immediately ate
8 = new wrinkles on my forehead

It is with all of these numbers in mind that I must take a brief break from posting. I often use the analogy of a duck to symbolize my desired work ethic. I like to appear calm on the surface while paddling like hell underneath...but right now, I'm more like the cray-cray version of Natalie Portman in Black Swan, doing nose dives into a bucket of chocolate to self-medicate. I'm feeling a bit of a blog burnout so before I go shaving my head and smashing car windows with umbrellas and golf-clubs, I need to check myself into the Betty Ford Clinic for Blogging. The next 3 weeks are going to be insane and out of respect for my sanity and your intelligence, I don't want to clutter the cyber world with my half-hearted attempts at humour.

Fear not, my friends. I will be back.

I'm still doing the 52 Flavors Challenge in my "real" life, I just haven't had an opportunity to blog about it. I've also already have a line up of post ideas just waiting to be written. Among them: what the hell is happening to the Real Housewives Franchise? I want to punch Tamara in the face this season and don't even get me started on Miami. Fer real.

Until then....

xx Marie

Friday, March 11

Feelin' it in my toes

One of the things I love most about Barcelona (and subsequently one of the things I loathe about London) is the energy and vibe of the city and its culture.


Gone were the hard stares and cold shoulders of people bristling by you, hurrying to their next destination. The feeling of Barcelona was one of complete enjoyment. People were not as rushed, instead they spent their time soaking in whatever the day had to offer.

(It goes without saying that any city that has a two hour lunch followed by a three hour siesta is game in my book)

This city had some serious spirit to it and I liked that. Music and laughter filled the streets and plazas of the neighborhoods wherever you went. People were so friendly and open.


They also don't take themselves so seriously. Well, except maybe this dude:

He looks kind of serious. And scary.

It seemed that everywhere we went, people were taking time out of their day to simply enjoy life. Sean and I were getting on the Metro around 6pm on Friday night in Placa Catalunya, one of the busiest sections of town, and came across this taking place in the subway tunnel:

video

Where else do you find strangers doing the samba during rush hour? I, of course, felt obliged to join in. Hey when in Barcelona Rome, right?

We are three weeks away from being back in Boston permanently and I am a month away from starting my full time job. This summer will be filled with 45 hour work weeks, researching and writing my Masters dissertation, wedding planning, and hopefully a few races. It will be busy and stressful to say the least, but I am going to make every effort to keep the spirit of the city with me when we go back.


Something about Barcelona moved me. Perhaps it was all the music or all the fantastic sangria that had me feeling funny, but the city just spoke to me. Sean and I must've said a thousand times, We should've moved here instead. Let's never leave! (Don't worry Mom, we did) But this trip was exactly what I needed to snap out of my winter funk and get my head right. It is times like these I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel. With every new country and culture I visit, I learn something new about myself. Barcelona reminded me to slow down and appreciate the small things in life and that it's okay to take a breather every once in a while.


So thank you Barcelona and your sunshine-filled days for healing my soul and allowing me to feel the energy of this city right down to my toes!

*** To see more Barcelona pictures, you can visit here and here. ***

P.S. Stay tuned on Sunday for my 52 Flavors update and a post about the food and flavors of the city! Sangria, Cerveza, Cava...oh my!

Wednesday, March 9

Bittersweet Barcelona

Greetings from reality! I can't honestly say I'm happy to be back in the real world, but I suppose I couldn't live on that balcony forever.

(Trust me, I would've if it were possible)

There are so many things I want to tell you about our trip to Barcelona, but because this is a blog and not the next great Russian novel, I'm going to break it up into a series of posts.

As many people already heard me constantly bitching and whining about know, the main purpose of this trip was to run the Barcelona Marathon. But after a case of anterior compartment syndrome and being prohibited from running and high heels, my marathon dreams were dashed (as opposed to me...who was hobbled. har har har). Going into the trip I knew there was no hope of me running the race, so I was surprised by how emotional I was when we arrived. There were tears involved. Quite a few of them.

After a few minutes of wallowing and self-pity, I dried my eyes and got a hold of myself. As part of my marathon registration, I was enrolled in a 4k Breakfast Run the morning before the big day. Even though 4k is nowhere near the 42k I was hoping for, Sean and I decided to wake up early in the morning of our first day in Barcelona and do the race.


I am so glad I did. The "race", albeit for fun rather than a medal, completely changed my attitude about everything.


I wanted a run in a foreign city that would forever change me and that's what I found, even if it was less than 3 miles long. Funny how life lessons are hidden in the strangest of places isn't it?

I will always remember this race for a number of reasons. First of all, there was this guy:

Oops, sorry. Wrong guy. But he's pretty cool, too. I meant this guy:


South Africa's representin! There was an insane amount of pride people had for their countries that weekend. As we stood at the starting line, announcements were made in a million different languages. They also played Mamma Mia to kick off the race. Who knew ABBA was the international anthem?

Here's our attempt at a video. It's only 11 seconds long, but I promise it'll be the most amazing 11 seconds of your life. (Errr, maybe. Depends on your quality of life I suppose)

video

Another cool aspect of this race? Women are outnumbered by 6 to 1. Not only does this make for superb eye candy while mid stride, but I totally felt like a bad ass leading a pack of men.



(See that one girl there? Yeah, I smoked her. I know, I know...it's supposed to be about enjoying the experience not your time, but sometimes you just can't control that competitive spirit)

Speaking of the views though, this was definitely the best part of the experience. Huffing up a hill isn't so hard when this is to your right:


The homestretch of the 4k had us entering through the Athlete's Tunnel of the 1992 Olympic stadium. It was so cool. Everyone started cheering and yelling. Sean managed to get a quick video of it:

video

Getting to be in the front of the crowd entering into an empty Olympic stadium is pretty darn nifty if you ask me. It was especially great getting to do it with Sean. A former marathoner himself, he hadn't run a race in six years due to a knee injury.


So getting to cross the finish line together, despite both of our injuries was something special. It was also really metaphoric for us. We've been struggling a lot lately with the stresses of living in a foreign country, being homesick, and having no money. In many ways, our time in London really put a damper on our spirits. As we watched our savings drain away to mere pennies and Sean spent many months out of work, we questioned our decisions. But as we crossed the finish line, hand in hand, we realized that we did it together.


We won our own private race. We're getting by and in many ways we are thriving. When you look at it, our time in London is like the 4k. It's shorter than we had anticipated and we may have been injured along the way, but we've accomplished something together. So I needed to quit the tears and appreciate what I did have instead of focusing so much on what I didn't. I no longer look at that breakfast run or our time in London as a 2nd rate consolation prize to the real race, it's simply another form of training...

because ultimately the marathon still awaits us. Marriage, jobs, babies: The whole schabang. And I know without a doubt that we'll cross that finish line together too.


(Well, except for the whole poopy diapers thing. That's all Sean)


Sunday, March 6

The blogger is out.

Pardon me for the lack of updates these past few days. I've been so busy.


Regular posting will resume on Wednesday. Unless, of course, I decide to just live on this balcony in Barcelona forever (especially if I can figure out a way to have a constant supply of sangria out here)

Adios!


Wednesday, March 2

What's In a Name?

Well folks, it appears to be about that time for ole' Quarterlife Quandary to get a name change.

Come next month, I will be turning 27. I will also be returning to Boston to start a job that I'm really excited about...

This means I will no longer be "quarter-life" and since the only quandary I've had lately is whether to be completely jealous of Bethenny's abs and boobs or use them as inspiration, I need to make a few changes around here.

Come mid-April, I will have a new look and hopefully a new name, but I need YOUR help in picking one! I'm still in the brainstorming process and I'm not sure what I want yet. But I do know what I don't want.

I do not want a name with the words eat, run, healthy, or happy in the title. There are already a million blogs out there with some variation of these words. I get it, you like eating and running. You are also very healthy and incredibly happy about that fact. Rock on, sister. But I'd rather be labelled with something more akin to my personality, my true inner cynic. Do you think tequila-guzzling persnickety curmudgeon would be too long for a domain name? Perhaps.

This whole brand-naming, reinventing my blog business is a tough nut to crack. I've had problems in the past defining who I am as a blog writer because I don't like putting myself in just one category.

My blog has multiple personality disorder. I wish I could be like Prince and just use a symbol to represent me. My symbol would be super fierce. Maybe a wine bottle with a Lilly Pulitzer label with alcohol that tastes like chocolate and gives you the ability to run marathons at a blazing speed while simultaneously obsessing over reality TV. That shouldn't be too difficult to conceptualize, right?

So now I'm turning to you for inspiration. Whacha got for me? And just for good measure, I've made sure to pre-register for the following domain names: www.marieisawesome.com, www.marieissobeautifulIcouldcry.com, and www.IwanttobemorelikeMarie.com.

I'm kidding.

Maybe.

Monday, February 28

Beauty is only cookie sheet deep

They say love is blind.

It's also said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Well, these totally burnt slightly crisped, falling apart cookies may look ugly to you...

but remember: beauty is only skip deep and it is on the inside that matters...and inside of these are chunks of white chocolate chips and cranberries.

Hello, stress eating. It's so nice to see you again! Thank you for being here while I do copious amounts of school work. I have a feeling we are going to be very close friends this next month.

(I'd give you guys the recipe, but unless overly buttered, flat and broken cookies are your taste de jour, I'm going to save you the strife. Betty Crocker I am not)

Sunday, February 27

52 Flavors Challenge Week 8: My Secret Stash of Saffron


Seriously, folks... What was I getting myself into with this week's challenge? I knew saffron's street rep for being notoriously expensive, but I didn't really know what this would entail until I got the store. It all started out innocently enough in the spice aisle.

I was able to find it at the first grocery store I went to, but then I saw the price tag: £3.86 for 40 grams. That's odd, I thought to myself, they don't typically sell spices by the gram do they? As I stood among the jars of neatly labeled herbs, mentally weighing my options, calculating how many grams I wanted versus how many I needed, things started to feel a bit suspicious.

An older man in a rain jacket crept up to the display next to me. I eyed him apprehensively... was he looking to score some saffron as well? My pulse was racing and my hands were clammy as I gripped the glass jar in my hands. One would have to be enough for now. It was only my first time after all.

After quickly using self-checkout (couldn't let a cashier handle the goods), I rushed home to study my purchase.

Okay, if I wasn't convinced saffron is secretly an illicit narcotic before, I certainly was once I opened the cap.


It's hidden inside an orange pharmaceutical tube INSIDE the glass jar?


Uhhhh....Hmmm....so let me get this straight: saffron is sold by the gram, very expensive, and is discreetly packaged in a plastic vile disguised by a jar? And it's just a spice? You're sure about this?


I had planned to make several different recipes, but the first one completely wiped out my saffron stash. At least it was worth it. I made Ina Garten's Saffron risotto with butternut squash

(photo from Food Network. I couldn't take any pictures of my recipe. You know...
incriminating evidence, probable cause, and all that business )

Although, I will admit this risotto recipe is one of the best I've ever had. The saffron added an element of depth and flavor to it that my usual risotto base lacks. (But if you tell anyone I said that, I'll deny it. And then have to kill you.)

Next week's flavor: UNKNOWN! Sean and I are headed off to Barcelona at the end of the week and I know I'm going to be exposed to a food culture shock. I want to leave myself open and see what I find. If you've been to Barcelona or Spain and have any native cuisine suggestions, send them my way! (You can be guaranteed that sangria and Cava will definitely be on the list!)


52 Flavors Tally:
Foods I like: 6 (Fennel, Indian, British desserts, Chickpeas, Kale, Saffron)
Foods I dislike: 3 (Figs, Quinoa, Hummus)

Friday, February 25

Something's gotta give

Normally I love to-do lists because they help me feel more organized and more in control of everything (and we all know I love being in control).

But when your to-do list is 12 items long before you even wake up and is accompanied by a sad face at the bottom, you know you're really screwed.

Editor's note: Ahem, for all you Nosey Nelley's reading the items on my list. (caught you!) Items #4-11 are articles that I need to have written, not actual things to do. Rest assured, I would not put "drinks" or "marriage advice" on a to-do list. (Although that'd be pretty frickin' sweet if my biggest concern of the day was allocating time for boozin' and schmoozin')

I have six major papers and projects due by April 1st, in addition to the normal daily routine things I need to be responsible for... you know, things like showering on a semi-daily basis (let's not get too carried away here) and attempting to cook a meal that doesn't involve me manically shoving chocolate in my mouth between assignments.

So for the next couple weeks, my blog load is going to be a little lighter. I'm still aiming to post at least 3x/week. However, since no Sugar Daddies have come out of the woodwork to offer me a book deal, something's gotta give or my head is going to explode.

It's okay though, I hear that absence makes the heart grow fonder so in reality I'm just giving you the opportunity to miss me more. See? It's a win win.

I'll be back on Sunday with this week's 52 Flavor Challenge recap!

Saffron, you saucy minx, show me whacha workin' with

Wednesday, February 23

Strength training scares me

This is the face I typically make when stepping foot near the weight area of the gym.

Ehhhhhh, I don't like it here.

It smells yucky.

These big men are scaring me.

I am not a fan of strength training, but I know I should be. Word on the street is that it's good for you. Muscles burn more calories than fat and any activity that allows me to eat more chocolate should be game in my book.

and yet......

I don't do it. Many other women don't do it either. Just pop into any local gym and the ratio of men to women pumping iron is drastically disproportioned.

To me, it seems that there are two fractions of "healthy" people who enjoy working out: those who strength train vs. those who don't. I read a million and seventeen blogs about running, yoga-ing, and oatmeal photographing, but very rarely do I see people pimping out their strength training routines.

Why do we consider running 20 miles the epitome of healthy living, but not lifting 20 pounds? I love running as much as the next gal, but just ask any doctor or sports therapist and they'll willingly tell you about the disastrous effects long term marathon training can have on your knees, joints, and hips. Cardio is fantastic, but it can't be the end all and be all. Are you just as healthy even if you don't strength train? What determines a "good workout"?

I love the feeling of satisfaction after tackling a long run, the breathlessness and racing heart beat make me feel alive. It is a feeling I would never want to trade in. But for my body's benefit, I need more to my workout routine and I'm stalling on it. I'm aware of the factors that prevent from me strength training:
  • gym membership- running is free and is something I can easily squeeze into a spare 30 minutes. With most memberships running anywhere from $20-$80/month, I usually choose to spend my money on different things (like shoes. and wine.)
  • pace- weight lifting is so incredibly boring to me. I see people doing a lot of flexing and mirror-staring in between all those reps. One of the reasons I love running so much is because I'm constantly moving and pushing myself.
  • intimidation (and stubbornness)- I get scurrrrred. And stubborn. I don't like being the newbie at anything, particularly in a place where I'm sweating and surrounding by men in cut-off t-shirts.
I need to get over it though. If I don't start trading in the chips and dip for some tricep dips, these wings are going to be flapping around in people's faces. No one likes a bride with parachute arms.

More importantly though, I need to make a shift in my thinking. I respect my body enough to avoid cigarettes, eat a predominately plant-based diet, and pack in the cardio sessions, so why aren't I treating my muscles with the same regard? Besides, if Pauly D and The Situation can do it, why can't I?


Any strength training experts out there? I'd love to get your input on this.

Monday, February 21

I'mma cut you.

First off, I realize titling my post "I'mma cut you" is not nice, nor is it grammatically correct. However, it is a suitable alternative to the many, many rap lyrics I had flowing through my head that I would've rather used. But in the vein of being somewhat professional and appropriate and all, let's just leave it at that vaguely written threat, mmmkay?

As part of my Valentine's Day present, Sean enrolled us in a Jamie Oliver knife skills/cooking class.

I have a secret love for the prep work aspect of cooking. Chopping and dicing ingredients is really relaxing for me. Give me a giant pile of onion and garlic and I will happily drift off into my thoughts and mince away to my heart's content.

But I am also the same girl who has crashed her car no less than 7 times (Seriously. You should see my car insurance bill.) Lady Grace I am not.

So out of love and concern for my safety and the safety of all ten of my little wiggling digits, Sean and I headed off to Jamie Oliver's joint in Clapham yesterday.


It was a restaurant, test kitchen, and store rolled all into one. When you walked in, you were immediately hit with a waft of orgasm-inducing scented breads and muffins. We made sure to snag some garlic foccacia bread for the trip home.

Scrumptious? Yes. Cheap? No.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any pictures during the actual class due to the whole food sanitation/trying to avoid cutting off your fingers thing. Ironically enough, while we weren't allowed to photograph while slicing and dicing, we were allowed to drink wine.

A lesser wine drinker cook than I would be daunted by this task, but since I've been mixing my booze with dinner for years now, it wasn't a problem for me. (Does that sound as bad to you as it does to me? Errrr....)

I managed to survive the class with a meal in hand and all 10 fingers still intact. Success!

On the menu? Thai mango salad with grilled prawns.


We chopped A LOT: cabbage, peppers, garlic, ginger, cucumber, chile, mango, spring onions, and fresh coriander. We were also supposed to rip the heads off our prawns and pull out the poop trail ourselves, but one look into my bowl and seeing those beady little eyes staring back at me and I said, "uh uh, no way, I'll stick with my wine and veggies ma'am". The end result was beautiful though:

I learned some really cool techniques during the class. Did you know you can peel ginger root with a spoon instead of a knife or potato peeler and it wastes less of the ginger?

One of the most important things I learned was how to properly do the "rock chop", which is one of the basic styles of cutting. I'm sure many of you already know about this (especially Becca and all my other culinary experts!), but it saved me from losing a pinkie or two.


The first thing to remember when using any big, sharp instrument is to protect yourself. I never realized how many times I let my fingers fly all over the place when I'm cutting vegetables. The #1 thing the instructor emphasized was the importance of tucking in your thumb and creating a wall with your fingers.


This morning I was particularly excited to attack a pineapple we had (who gets excited over chopping fruit? Such a nerd.)


I made a short video for you on the rock chop technique they taught us yesterday. Enjoy the bed head!

Untitled from Marie Evans on Vimeo.


(One of the other major things you'll notice in the video is that I'm not holding the handle of the knife properly. I was told it's a bad habit to stick your index finger on the knife the way I do and can be an indication that the knife isn't comfortable enough for you. I didn't even realize I was doing it until I watched the video 2 minutes ago. Woops!)

Hope that was helpful! Now go pour yourself a big glass of wine, grab your sharpest knife, and start cutting! (Wow! Worst. advice. ever.)

In other news, to update the 52 Flavor Challenge post from yesterday...Next week's flavor: Saffron! I've never worked with this spice before, so I'm excited to try it! I've heard it can be notoriously expensive, so I'm going to see what I can find. If you have any recipes or cost-cutting techniques to cooking with saffron, let me know!

52 Flavors Tally:
Foods I like: 5 (Fennel, Indian, British desserts, Chickpeas, Kale)
Foods I dislike: 3 (Figs, Quinoa, Hummus)

Saturday, February 19

52 Flavors Challenge Week 7: Kale!

Kale.


What can I really say about it?


It is delicious to eat, especially slathered in olive oil and seasoning and roasted at 425 for 18-20 minutes (except when you forget it's there and almost burn the house down). Delicious to eat, but so very boring to write about.

So there you have it.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then this 52 Flavors Challenge post is worth about 58.

Kale. Mmmm, good. (make that 61)

*I hate to dine and dash but I am late for a Jamie Oliver Knife skills class! Be back tomorrow with all the juicy tidbits (and hopefully all ten fingers). We'll discuss next week's flavor then! *
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