Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Funday: The Most Ridiculous Leggings Ever Made

Okay, let's walk through a thought experiment:

Picture the most ridiculous leggings you can possibly imagine.  Now make them a million times more ridiculous.

Got it?  Got that mental picture, friends?

I'm about to blow away your wildest imagination.



Available here (affiliate link).  They were $18 the other week (when I bought them, because I do ridiculous things sometimes and have a huge weakness when it comes to the ugliest items imaginable, see e.g. here), so keep an eye on that price as hopefully they will drop again.  I also found them here for $20 (not an affiliate link).

Let me break this down for you:  There is a bucking unicorn on one side. There is a robot T-rex on the other side, and he is shooting laser beams from his head.  All of this is happening on a backdrop of rainbows and galaxies.

If this is not the height of "IDGAF" then I don't know what is.  I saw some girl wearing these at a dance party the other week and she was crushing the whole scene.

So, I just thought you all needed to know that this exists.

(Out of curiousity, when I asked you to picture the most insane leggings you could imagine, what did you picture?)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Intro to Sous Vide

About a year ago, I saw an article about an interesting Kickstarter project for a sous vide circulator by Sansaire.  At that point, I had never heard of sous vide and it's possible I had not heard of Kickstarter, either.  The only thing I understood is that cooking sous vide would allow me to cook a steak that was perfectly medium rare from end to end.  This was the sales image that made me want to explore sous vide circulators:

So, sure, this isn't exactly a fair comparison, since we can all agree the steak on the right wasn't cooked by a particularly masterful chef, but the point remains that it's hard for me to get a totally even texture and temperature in my steaks.  They're often more well-done on the outside or on the ends.  The more reviews I read about how easy sous vide circulators were to use and how amazing meat tastes when cooked sous vide, the more I wanted to give this thing a shot.

(Plus, if you know me at all by now, you know I'm a sucker for interesting kitchen gadgets.  My pressure cooker is still the MVP of my kitchen, years later.)

The other week, I decided to take the plunge.  I had decided on the Anova sous vide circulator (it seems like the choice is either Anova or Sansaire) and was about to use my points to buy this one, when I did a bit more googling and realized that Anova has a new sous vide circulator model with bluetooth connectivity, and it's about $25 less than Amazon if you purchase directly from Anova's page.  I found a coupon for another $25 off at Anova so that sealed the deal.

(I liked the idea of getting a circulator instead of a fixed sous vide oven, since a circulator allows you to turn any basin into a sous vide oven.  So if you have thirty pounds of beef to cook, stick it in a huge rubbermaid bin, stick the sous vide circulator in there, and you're all set.  When will I ever cook that much beef?  Probably never.  But I COULD.)

My initial experience with the Anova was mixed.  I was excited to try the bluetooth connectivity features, which allow you to control the temperature of the water from your phone, make your circulator follow recipes from Anova's app, and alerts you when the water is ready:

But, what I learned the hard way while trying to cook a corned beef brisket for ten hours:  if you walk away from your Anova such that the bluetooth is disconnected, the device TURNS OFF.  And STOPS COOKING your food.  (As in, you arrive home after being gone five hours only to realize that your corned beef has been NOT cooking for all that time and you're having people over for dinner in two hours.  Luckily, I dumped it in the pressure cooker with some sauteed onions and water for an hour and a half and it came out GREAT.  Best corned beef I've ever had, in fact.  Not sure if the pressure cooker or the sous vide is to thank for that one.)

So, basically, the bluetooth feature is useless as far as I can tell.

(No pictures of the corned beef because it was immediately devoured.)

Last night, I gave the sous vide a try with steak.  I had a big win at work and decided to treat myself to a fancy ribeye (my favorite cut of steak).  I had a community meeting to attend around dinnertime, so I rubbed the steak with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, and a little butter. 

 Then I sealed it in a ziploc bag, dropped it in a 130 degree water bath, and went on my way.

It's only supposed to cook for an hour at that temperature, but I didn't get back to my house for almost three hours.  I'd read that keeping a steak in the water bath for longer than an hour wouldn't hurt it, since it would not exceed the 130 degree temperature of the I figured I'd test that feature?

Once I got home, I seared the steak for a few seconds on each side:

And you guys, it came out perfectly:


So, overall, I'm pretty pleased with the sous vide so far.  The bluetooth technology is just for show, but the implement itself seems to do a GREAT job with meat.  I'm going to try fish and eggs in the next week or so...I'll let you know how that goes.

Have any of you tried cooking sous vide before?  What did you think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Things I Love Buying in Thrift Stores, Part 1

Quirky pins!

Focus on the pin, friends, and pay no attention to the fact that I wore this blazer (sans pin) a few days's toooootally different now...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Shabbat

Despite the name of this blog, I'm not much of an actual Jewish girl.  I was born Jewish, I had a Bat Mitzvah, and I even had a "confirmation" when I was sixteen.  I taught Sunday school for a couple of years when I was in college --- I was assigned to third grade, because any class above that would have exceeded my knowledge of Hebrew and Judaism.

I'm not sure when I first started feeling uncomfortable in religious settings.  Maybe sometime after college?  Religious services started feeling less meaningful and more cultish.  The chanting, the conviction that improbable-sounding religious stories actually all felt strange.  Add to that the fact that my basic religious knowledge meant I couldn't fully participate in most services, and you've got a recipe for discomfort.

So I dialed back my participation in actual Jewish ritual.  I experienced a brief renewal in my spirituality and feelings towards Judaism after going on Birthright Israel in 2011, but my practices didn't change much.

After moving to Baltimore, I have found myself inching into the Jewish scene here.  Seemingly every week, a different Jewish group hosts a young adults/professionals Shabbat that are either inexpensive, free, or potlucks.  I've gone to a bunch of these dinners, mainly because they are something to do and a good way to meet people.  I've met a handful of cool people through these Jewish events and I certainly can never have too many friends.

Plus, I think on some level I enjoy reconnecting a bit with my religion, even if I'm totally awkward at these events.  A couple of weeks ago, I tried to strike up a conversation around the table about recreational activities during a period during the ritual when (unbeknownst to me) we were all supposed to remain quiet.

Anyway, I was inspired to write this post after my experience with last night's Shabbat.  I have had an extremely stressful day at work, even though we only had a three-day week.  There are a ton of exciting things going on and I've had a few huge professional successes in the last month, but the next few weeks are going to make me want to pull my hair out.  As the workday wound to a close I started feeling that familiar tension in my chest --- that feeling of having too much to do and too many balls in the air.

Then an unfamiliar feeling came over me --- one of impending relaxation and calm.  I think it came from the knowledge that I was taking a purposeful pause from work and life to go through the Shabbat ritual and have some kind of meal with other people.  For one of the first times in my life, I found myself looking forward to Shabbat.

I'd imagine I'd get the same kind of benefit from setting a fixed time to meditate and disconnect, but it was nice to feel it come from part of my religious heritage, even if I still struggle with the ritual and the theology.

I'm curious to hear about other weekly rituals that provide that sense of calm and focus.  What do you guys do for yourselves?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This is absolutely everything.


First, that picture says everything.

Second, these quotes are more than everything:

"We fucking hate glitter. People call it the herpes of the craft world."
"Glitter as a Service: want to piss off someone you dislike for only $9.99? Let us send them some stupid fucking glitter that is guaranteed to go everywhere."
"You'll then be taken off this shitty website for payment processing via PayPal. Yes, we know PayPal is a shitty company, hell why not send those dicks some glitter?"

The internet can go home; we've hit the apex.  I think we're done here.

Who wants to help me open the American distribution center?
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