Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dear Twitter, I Love You

When I first started tweeting, it was just a sort of experiment to see what all the hoop-lah was about. I'm on the Faceplace all the time, I can update my status as my day progresses, many of my close friends check in there throughout the day and it's a fun place to be. Isn't that enough?

Twitter at first just seemed to be a place for people to spew out every little thing they think and do all day long, in 140-character snipets, and it seemed absurd. But then I started following a lot of my favorite bloggers, and suddenly there was all of this added context for the posts I was reading. I felt like I was getting the inside scoop, hearing about the puppies nipping their ankles and the kids screaming as they wrote blog posts that I would then go read, and it added a whole new layer of richness to the experience. I'd follow designers waiting for the mail to see samples of fabric or sewing patterns that I'd then buy, or authors slogging through work on books that I'd go on to read. I'm right there with them, and all of the little daily trials and tribulations and joys become part of this larger, more organic web of context and sharing and experience.

Blog posts can be very personal, and often very off-the-cuff, but there is understandably quite a bit of editing behind the scenes. Good bloggers write with focus and edit well, while still allowing for their own personality and style to shine through. Over in Twitter-land, though, no one asks for focus or editing. Just spit it out and move on, typos be damned (or even required, to squeeze your thought into 140 char). And I can tweavesdrop on exchanges between other people, often very funny people, which is very appealing to my voyeuristic tendencies.

I've been hooked for a while. But then last weekend I had this very small, but wonderful experience. We were having a dinner on Saturday night with a few friends from our temple, all of our kids, and the family of our brand-new rabbi. We would be doing the Havdalah ceremony (to non-Jews: Havdalah is the weekly observence of the end of the Sabbath, or Shabbat, or Shabbos, at sunset on Saturday). That afternoon, my friend who was hosting the dinner texted me and asked if I had a Havdalah candle that I could bring. I texted back that no I did not, and I also didn't have the box of spices we'd need. And she was all hello? Box of spices? And we both panicked.

And then I thought: Twitter can help me! I follow several rabbis, rabbinical students and knowledgeable Jews. I sent out a plea for help from my phone as I was out running errands, and within minutes I had the info I needed for what the necessities for the ceremony were, what we could use that we already had at home, and we were all set. (Thanks again @heidihoover and @imachai!!!) Jews save the day!

I called my friend and gave her the scoop, and told her I'd heard it from "my rabbi friends on Twitter." I might have felt a little bit like I was very cool and fancy. And she might have chuckled mockingly a little bit. And that summed up why I love Twitter, the immediacy of connecting with all of these people all over the world. It's like IMing with scads of people simultaneously. It makes me happy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

CEiMB: Baked Onion Rings

This week's CEiMB recipe is Ellie's Oven Baked Onion Rings, chosen by Meet Me in the Kitchen.

When I was working on these, Josh came home to find us in the kitchen, me furiously dipping and coating my onion rings while Mimi sat on the floor at my feet howling and Delma stood next to me screaming over and over and over MOMMY I NEED LIPGLOSS. So, you know, I didn't really take much care in the assembly of this dish. I was very quick and sloppy in throwing them together, and it shows. Goodness, that photo looks unappetizing. I'm sorry you have to even look at it. The onion rings, however were very very good.

These ugly yummy babies came out a wee bit spicy for me. I would try them again with different herbs, maybe Italian seasoning or something. Also -- man, those baked potato chips were good! I am officially hooked.

Onion rings that aren't all greasy and fried and bad for you. Thanks, Ellie!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CEiMB: Aromatic Noodles with Lime-Peanut Sauce

I didn't think I'd be able to cook along with the Craving Ellie in My Belly crew this week. We've had a heck of a week. But this recipe was so quick to throw together that even I, with my sinus infection causing throbbing pain in my head and neck, and with my needy baby with her ear infection, and with my crazy toddler and her I WANT TO COLOR WITH CHALK I NEED WATER THE BABY IS TOUCHING MY PUPPY PAPER, and with my husband stumbling around like he's about to keel over because our house has been consumed by like one huge atomic germ, could manage to pull it off. It's that easy.

I didn't have fresh ginger, so I used this ginger/garlic paste sort of stuff that I had in the fridge. When I blended up the sauce I thought I had totally blown it with that uncalled-for garlic, but once it was on the spaghetti it tasted just fine. And I didn't have red pepper flakes so I used cayenne pepper, but I used a little less than the recipe called for because Josh said that cayenne is hotter than the red pepper flakes. What else... Oh, I used broccoli, green beans and baby peas. Some people have talked about adding edamame or other things to get some protein into this dish, but peas actually have quite a bit of protein. I think. Or did I just unintentionally make that up? I really do think I've read that in some reliable source somewhere. Also I didn't think I was going to dig the whole wheat pasta, but I used some by Bionaturae from the overpriced health food joint and it was GREAT.

All in all, a fast and very tasty meal. I will definitely make this again. You can see the recipe here or at the blog of our host this week, Supplicious.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


For this week's Craving Ellie in my Belly, Lonely Sidecar picked the Lobster or Shrimp Roll. They look so freakin good. I am a huge fan of lobster, despite being a mostly vegetarian. I do eat seafood outside the house but never prepare it at home. So I had to skip this week's recipe.

But I really wanted to try the gazpacho that everyone made a few weeks ago, so I whipped up the White Gazpacho with Grapes and Toasted Almonds.

Good God. It flew together in no time and was absolutely delish. I didn't get it entirely smooth so it still had some nice texture. I will definitely use this recipe again, it would be great when having dinner guests because it is so stupidly easy but seems very unusual and fancy. I'm a big fan of fancy deception.

Also please admire that rad trifle bowl that rarely sees any action. We got these from Crate and Barrel with a wedding gift certificate, it's a set of nice heavy Polish glass bowls, a big mama one and I think four of these smaller ones. They're lovely and I've never used them as actual serving bowls for some reason. Add that to my to-do list: Use pretty bowls for something either than staging food photos or storing dead batteries.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CEimB: Breakfast Cookies

This is my first week participating in Craving Ellie in my Belly. Hi, gang! What's for Supper? is hosting this week, serving up the Breakfast Cookies. I'm so happy this was my first recipe, because I've actually been looking for a good breakfast cookie recipe. Delma eats her breakfast at daycare every morning, so we try to send her easy-to-pack stuff that's relatively healthy. Packing 2 meals plus snacks every day is a lot, especially since we try to keep it pretty simple and we don't want her to get bored with all the repeats of meals. Like when we make a box of Annie's, and then she has mac 'n cheese (with lots of frozen wee peas tossed in to make us feel like she's eating something healthy!) for lunch for 3 days...

So, breakfast cookies. Easy to pack, chock full of stuff I feel good about her eating. I didn't have time to try to stage a photo that would make some big lumpy cookies look lovely. They taste great, though -- not very sweet at all, lots of good stuff that will have you picking at your teeth for ages after eating one of these bad boys.

We only had a sad bag of basically walnut crumbs left, so I used half walnut and half pecan, toasted and then chopped into oblivion. I usually leave nuts in cookies or muffins sort of chunky, but I wasn't even paying attention tonight when I was pounding on that chopper (that sounds dirty), and they ended up practically powder. That's fine, though. And we also didn't have any bran or other flake cereal in the house, so I used Grape Nuts. Oh, and I didn't have pastry flour, so I just used regular whole wheat and all-purpose. I have no clue how that may have changed the final outcome.

This is a great, super-easy recipe and lends itself to countless variations. I'll definitely try with dried cranberries, and with some fruit-sweetened chocolate chips. Yum!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Craving Ellie in my Belly

So, I decided to join the Craving Ellie in my Belly group. I really want to try new recipes on a regular basis, and this will force me to do it. I picked a great week to start, too -- Breakfast Cookies!

Posting is each Thursday, and I have the night to myself for a bit tonight while Josh is out at band practice, so it looks like Delly will have a fresh-baked cookie for breakfast tomorrow!