Apr 22, 2014

Get In My Belly: The Perfect Cheese Plate

Welcome to Get In My Belly! You know what I have a hard time doing? Prepping for get togethers. It's not that I don't know how, or that I am bad at it, so much as I tend to go overboard. This results in me being more tired than happy during said get together. Solution?

Stick with me here.
A Wine and Cheese party is not labor intensive by any means, just requires a bit of thought and a trip to your local Whole Foods or what have you. Selecting a good wine can be as easy as asking someone in the store or a google search, but what about "cheese plates"? Everyday Food Blog takes the somewhat unknown territory of cheese plates and breaks it down for the every man (or woman). Here is the very basic break down:
  1. Choose the right cheese: no kraft slices, please.
  2. Pick the vehicle: I think the baguette slice is the luxury car in this case.
  3. Make some sweet selections: fresh fruit probably better than candy.
  4. Just add crunch: being nuts doesn't count.
  5. Get a board: is serving on a surfboard cool or weird?
  6. Consider timing: room temp is better, but no one is that picky.
A Wine and Cheese party is excellent when you want to focus more on the party and less on the clean up. Bonus points because you look fancy and grown up to your friends and family. Besides, if you can't live off cheese, fruit, and bread, you are not the kind of people I want at my party anyways.

Have you had a Wine and Cheese party before? Was it a success or did your guests think you were lazy? Comments are always welcome!

Feb 19, 2014

Cheese With My Whine: Looking For A Home

Welcome to Cheese with My Whine! If you've read my blog before, you might have caught some of the recent drama in my life. So here is a recap with some new information.
  • The whole debacle with James and The Navy. They yanked his chain for nothing.
  • Moving to Florida thinking I'd get to look for a house. Haha, guess not.
  • Terrible luck looking for an apartment. Sorry, doesn't matter how much deposit you give them, if your credit sucks, too bad.
  • How about a condo with a private owner? Didn't like the less than great credit either.

So without much other choices left, I considered going back to Chicago. I know, after moving from Chicago to Florida, going back would seem like a huge defeat. However, our saving grace came from an unlikely place.
I recommend their corn nuggets.
I went on a dinner date with a friend and our old high school English teacher (who is our friend). We got to catching up and stuffing our faces when our teacher brought up how her daughter's roommate had screwed her by basically giving little notice of moving out. With no roommate in the immediate future, she was scrambling to find a replacement. I asked for when, and the golden word came out "March." Exactly when we were looking to move into a place. Not only that, it was in a 3 bedroom 2 bath house with a huge living room, big kitchen, and garage with a washer and dryer machine. All within our budget. I cried when I got home.
Really, I look for reasons to make Frozen relevant.
After taking a look at the place, it was clear. We found our new home. Now, I know it isn't solely ours. We share it. In the end though, we like our roommate, and we love our space. I risk getting sappy when I say "Home is where the heart is." but it really is true.

So now we are dashing to the finish line of March 1st for the big move. We've got friends ready to help, shopping and measuring to do, and some serious unpacking, but we are ready. Finally.

This amazing gift however doesn't stop me from being angry about the events leading up to it. Being stone walled at every turn drives you a special kind of crazy when you don't even know where you will be living soon. I think there are flaws in the way we restrict rental properties, and that in general a credit score can mean serious downfalls in your ability to lead your life. Have you had any difficulty looking for your home? Comments are always welcome!

Jan 3, 2014

Geek Out: Disney Princesses

Welcome to Geek Out! Let's talk about Disney Princesses, or to be more general, Disney Heroins. There is a huge fanbase comprised of what Disney could consider "out of target audience" age group and even gender for these female Disney characters. You could scroll into forever on tumblr and never reach the end of fanart, fanfiction, reviews, raves, and gifs in celebration of these animated ladies, but why is this so?

Disney Heroins are idols, but also can be identified with. Many little girls grew up with Jasmine, Ariel, Pocahontas, and Belle. They had strong wills, went after what they wanted, and ended up helping resolve some type of conflict either directly or indirectly. Oh, and they also looked pretty fab. Little girls bought their dolls, stationary, costumes, etc. Fast forward and lots of those little girls are now in their 20's and 30's, and some have taken that love with them to Adult Land because they see qualities or situations which connect them to those heroins.

What's keeping young adults interested in Disney Heroins? They keep getting better. Disney has been getting it very right lately. It's been what I liken to a reawakening of the Disney Heroins, and where I believe started with:
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
The Princess and the Frog was the first animated Disney film since Lilo and Stitch (2002) to feature prominent female characters and a female lead. Tiana is a hard worker with a dream, she has a wicked funny friend Lottie, there are great one liners, and who doesn't enjoy a love story. After the revival is what I consider the real concentration of awesome:
Tangled (2010)
Tangled came out a year later and upped the Disney Heroin game. A quirky, sassy, and adventurous Rapunzel with her trusty frying pan and chameleon are out to win your heart. There is humor, beautiful animation, and a compelling female lead who is more than just some damsel. I've seen this movie a couple times, and I've yet to stop enjoying it. Two years go by, but what awaits is well worth it:
Brave (2012)
"But Adela, Brave was made by Pixar!" It's STILL a Disney property, so you just hush up. A story about a wildly spirited young woman balancing freedom and family, who can't relate? You get laughs, action, and tear worthy moments. But the most successful new Disney Heroins to break into the scene have to be from:
Frozen (2013)
I have never felt so in sync with a Disney movie in the past 10 years as I did watching Frozen. Sisters Elsa and Anna have a compelling story, tongue in cheek humor, good musical numbers, and have issues you can relate to (I TOO can be an icy bitch). I went home and looked up anything I could to add to the fun I had just had, which included listening to the movie's soundtrack, reading fanfiction, and scrolling through endless gifs/fan art.

An emphasis on independent or growing female characters, more adult humor, and difficult life problems has made the Disney "Princess" movie a more grown up film to enjoy. I've seen adults with all sorts of memorabilia, accessories, and even tattoos celebrating their love for these great gals. Do you love all the Disney Princesses? Are you happy with this resurgence of strong female characters in the animated Disney pantheon? Comments are always welcome!

Aug 21, 2013

Cheese With My Whine: Health Care In The USA

Firstly, how about you watch this:

That was John Green. He's an excellent writer, advocate against world suck, and a reminder to me to never forget to be awesome. I saw this video and I very clearly felt happy and upset at the same time. Too often do I hear United States Sheep Citizens play along with the political pandering of the Health Care "Debate".

"Making me have free health care is unconstitutional."
Buddy, we do lots of things we don't really have any say in. Following road laws, paying taxes, and even submitting to surveillance. This isn't the thing to complain about.
"Free health care means lower quality health care!"
Not sure if you heard, but we're 33rd in life expectancy. I'd also like to point out who has free (Universal) health care. Japan, who is number one on the list.
"We'll have higher taxes with free health care!"
It's documented (you know, fact) that we pay more in taxes than those with Universal Health Care, and receive nothing close to free health care in return. If the government decided to raise taxes, well then we know it's their choice, not a necessity.

"Free health care is socialist!"
Oh, I'm sorry. I thought we were having an adult conversation. My bad.

I'm sick (health care joke!) and tired of this terrible "debate". I don't care who you are, where you're from, or what you did (N' Sync joke now), if you are telling me that you are against a system that is proven to work in major counties around the world, that could improve the life of your fellow citizens, your friends, your family, and yourself, then you are either a political sheep or intentionally an A-Hole.

Are there flaws with Universal Health Care. Yes. Is the system the United States has now a gleaming bald eagle of amazing? Far from it. I'd at least prefer to have a health care system that consistently out performs our own. What is your view on the issue. Very interested in what you have to say, positive or not. Comments are always welcome!

Oh, and I hope you caught him mentioning the next season of Sherlock. He understands my physical need for the new season.

Aug 20, 2013

Get In My Belly: Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole

Welcome to Get In My Belly! Today I want to share a recipe I found on Pinterest that was kind of a surprise for me because it doesn't involve bread, sugar, or frying. Shocker.

Doesn't that just make you go mmmmmm?
It's a Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole, and it's probably something I'm going to make on a regular basis when I have my house. The ingredients aren't in any way hard to come by, the bake time is about 20 minutes, and makes 4 servings. Also, you can dress it up with other things besides pepperoni, just use the puree recipe as a base and go from there.

This would be a great quick dinner to make ahead of time, then just pop in the oven when you get home, or for those potluck events everyone makes potato salad for. I'm sure we could all do with eating more veggies, and this is a sneaky way to get yourself and your family a nice dose without feeling like a starved hippie. There is cheese!

Does this sound like something you'd like to eat? Are you more of a carnivore or herbivore  Would you try to make this yourself? Comments are always welcome!