Saturday, January 30, 2010

january in pictures

So apparently this 'month is pictures' thing has become a feature of sorts around here. I kinda like it. We'll see if the iPhone comes through for February as well:
Grocery shopping with the roomie. Al tried to switch our cart with the one the wine stockers were using. It definitely would have been a quite a fun month if that was our cart! (sans the white zin on the top of the pile)
Julie's engagement dinner! Champagne, Chicken Tequila Fettucini, and The Waspy Redhead's Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake for dessert!
There were a lot of leftover bell peppers & onions from the Chicken Tequila Fettucini, so naturally fajitas came to mind. I made up recipes for a marinade and homemade guac and both turned out pret-ty delish!
Hilarious dance-off between the guy in the plaid and this older lady (who may I add was wearing sequins... at the MAT!).
I played set designer for a day on a shoot for one of our clients. It was a lot of fun to get out of the office and be creative. (No, I wasn't in this one for those of you that witnessed my commercial debut!)
This is my friend Patrick's adorable new puppy, 'Banks'. He was only seven weeks old here and so sweet. But wowza... SHARP little teeth!
Mmmm... the best fried pickle recipe, ever. I could not cook these suckers fast enough! Of course a crowd of 15 that had spent the better part of a Sunday playing flip cup isn't exactly a shy audience to feed.
I managed to catch this sweet little moment between Wylie and Bossdad on camera. I think Bossdad was trying to work the knots out.
Mavs vs. Lakers!
The Mavs sadly lost, but Dirk celebrated his 20,000th point during the game!
The craziness during the Masterchef auditions.
My friend Rachel got engaged! Her beautiful rock.
Moose attempting to get warm in a pile of laundry. (and apparently purses. and belts.)
One of my friends went to give blood for Haiti and was denied because he was gay. I get that when HIV/Aids first came to light in the early 80's people didn't fully understand the origination and how it was transmitted, but it's crazy to me that it's 2010 and they haven't changed this rule yet- especially considering they test all blood regardless. Since he wasn't allowed to donate and sincerely wanted to help, I told him I would go donate on his behalf.
Annnnd, last but not least: my life for the last week. Packing boxes and going through files. We are moving our offices next week and I'm fully convinced that moving offices is a far bigger beatdown than moving residences. But yay for shiny new work spaces!!

See ya January! Bring oooooon the birthmonth celebrations!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Foodie Friday- new blog!

So this might be a little crazy since it seems I have a hard enough time keeping up with my own blog at times, but I was recently asked to join a new cooking blog (that my friend Jodi started) as a contributor! I'm sure she asked me knowing there was a very slim chance I would say no since:

a) cooking + blogging are two things I love doing, and
b) she knows I'm game for pretty much anything after our adventure attaching name labels on 250 glass candle holders while wearing surgical gloves so we didn't fingerprint the votives! (and let's not forget the post labeling alphabetizing)*

Sidenote: this should not be misconstrued as complaining because rest assured she made sure I was pumped full of wine for the aforementioned task. Ahhhh the joys of maid-of-honoring**. :)

You can find my first post here. Jodi is quite handy with photoshop and set the whole thing up... all I have to do is help with content! While there may be a bit of duplication, feel free to add www.homecookinginheels.blogspot.com to your google reader and follow along with our adventures in the kitchen. From what I understand more contributors will be joining us as JJ adds to the blog.

Happy Friday everyone!!

*Proof of surgical glove clad labeling {please excuse the fact that I look slightly "special"}:
**Wine bribery aside, JJ was very un-bridezilla like and I loved every second of our pre-wedding projects. Vino, craftiness, and girl's nights... what's not to love??

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Extreme Makeover- moose and lulu edition!


It's also very fitting with the current theme in my life... it's a fresh year, big changes are happening as we speak at my work (new name, new offices!), I'm less than two weeks away from starting another year of life (ugh... twenty-EIGHT!!), and there may or may not be a new boy around* (who may or may not have an adorable English accent).

Thank you to Marina at Penny Lane Designs for coming up with such wonderful modern, fun, blog layouts. If you want to see more of her work, please check out her website here.

*intentional vagueness used a lame attempt not to jinx anything. But it's been longer than two weeks (which is my usual threshold), so we shall see!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The one where I get shot down.

**This post is a bit late, but these last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind so please excuse the tardiness.

When I started blogging it was at the inspiration of a few girly blogs I had found: day-in-the-life-of type blogs similar to moose and lulu. Being genetically predisposed to nosey-ness, I loved reading about the lives of some of the bloggers that I related to.

Fast-forward to present day and it's interesting that about half of the blogs on my must-read list are informational reads, mainly of the foodie variety. (favorites: here, here, and here)

During my typical lunchtime blog perusal about a month or so ago, I saw this post on the D Sidedish blog and it caught my attention, but I didn't really think anything more of it. A week or two later the idea was further reinforced by Jodi sending me the picture below with the heading "thought of you when I saw this":
Since I had already seen it before, I took a second look:
  • Passionate Foodie? Um, check.
  • Amateur Chef? Well, emphasis on the "amateur" part, but check.
  • The Ultimate Dinner Party Host? Not sure... that is a pretty big accolade to give myself, but I'm guessing my girlfriends would probably say 'check'.
I didn't have plans for that particular Sunday and I had this fairly impressive new recipe that I had recently become quite fond of, so I thought why not? At worst, it would be a good story for the blog and at best I would take the culinary world by storm, get on the show and try my damnedest not to make an ass out of myself.

One of the requirements was to have a photo of the dish that you were bringing. And due to the high likelihood that I would be running around like a chicken with my head cut off anyways, I figured that the day before would serve as a good time to do a trial run and ample time for food styling/photography.

The result:
I made a goat cheese topped pork chop wrapped in puff pastry with a mushroom/red wine reduction, sun-dried tomato risotto, and a spinach salad in a parmesan cheese bowl (yes, I made a bowl out of parmesan cheese, eat your heart out, Martha).

To make a looooong day/story short. I made everything, packed it up, and my dad and I headed to Sur la Table. Where we proceeded to wait for TWO HOURS in the cold. I was shocked at how many people showed up:
Thankfully, I had gotten this adorable little lunchbag for Christmas and had nestled all the cooked food inside of it to keep it warm. As great as those intentions were... puff pastry wrapped anything + confined area + two hours = soggy, nasty mess. Awwwwwesome.

As it turns out, it didn't matter too much because the casting director ended up running out of time. Once you arrived to the back of the store there was an area where you could plate whatever you brought, talk to the casting people, and in general just show them how charming you were.

Well, with about four people left in front of me, they decided they wouldn't be able to get through everyone at the rate they were going. So they asked everyone left to plate their dishes in line. People were scrambling looking for any square inch of display/counter space available... it was insane. And then the casting guy walked the line, said about two words to each of us, and maybe took 5 calories worth of a bite (which let me just say, if you are bringing anything with 'puff pastry' in the title, that is a TEENSY bite). It was obviously a cheap way to ensure the remaining throngs of people wouldn't riot courtesy move. Very disappointing.

Truth be told, Bossdad was infinitely more pissed than I was. As evidenced by his very sweet albeit slightly biased slew of Facebook status updates:

Wayne Walker

Wayne What a bad deal . . . we waited in line for 2 hours, outside in the cold. We were 4 groups away from the presentation and tasting that they cancelled the program, had one guy come out and pass through the line. Didn't even taste the food . . . They just ran out of time. I think I'm more pissed than Natalie! Fools! Don't they know how good she is???? She would at least double the ratings!

January 10 at 6:38pm · ·
Natalie Walker
Natalie
haha.... nothing like a completely biased, proud papa. :) Thanks for being such a trooper and coming with me!!
January 10 at 6:50pm ·
Daniel Lewis
Daniel
Sorry you didn't get your shot Natalie. You could always jump ahead to one of the next stops, get in a day or two early and then get to the venue insanely early morning of...
January 10 at 6:58pm
Wayne Walker
Wayne
I'm still pissed!
January 10 at 7:00pm
Paul Meacham
Paul
Original recipes, great, help her publish a cookbook and make a million. she is a doll and would sell a lot of books,heck your an ad man get to work, perhaps she will share the dinero .
January 10 at 7:13pm
Wayne Walker
Wayne
actually that's a good idea . . . she can write too and is funny!
January 10 at 7:15pm
Val Fitzpatrick
Val
What a bummer!
January 10 at 8:21pm
Angela Musgrove Brown
Angela
make a tape and keep it ready for when the Food Network announces its auditions. It's usually in February.
January 10 at 10:10pm
Wayne Walker
January 10 at 5:14pm via Facebook Mobile · Share
Wayne Walker

Wayne We'll see how she does!

Wayne Walker

Wayne Natalie's in! Wow, it's cold.

Wayne Walker

Wayne Join me on Team Natalie today! Gordon Ramsey is having MasterChef auditions today here in DFW at SurLaTable for a new cooking reality show. Natalie is cooking one of her original recipes and I am fairly confident going to win a spot on the show....then the million dollars! TEAM NATALIE!

January 10 at 12:29pm · ·
Kate Harper
Kate
Team Natalie!!
January 10 at 12:53pm
Daniel Lewis
Daniel
Best of luck Natalie! When Gordon starts to curse, put your fingers in your ears and stare at him cross-eyed.
January 10 at 1:20pm
Julie Jenkins
Julie
Good luck Natty!!!!!! Let us know how she does!! The pictures looked amazing!!!!
January 10 at 1:28pm
Rachel Bilbrey
Rachel
What time is she going up there?
January 10 at 1:42pm
Val Fitzpatrick
Val
Please let us know what happens! Wishing Natalie the best of luck!
January 10 at 3:00pm
Erika Goodwin
Erika
YAY!!! GOOD LUCK! Can't wait to hear how she does!!
January 10 at 3:18pm
Silver lining: it was an entertaining way to spend a Sunday, good to hang out with my dad, and probably ended up the best in the end since it would have been really bad timing to leave Bossdad hanging for five weeks.

However, you can be damned sure I will be tuning into Masterchef to compare myself to every member of the cast see who actually made it through the casting call craziness when it airs (this fall?? I think).

Once again, thank you Bossdad for standing in the cold with me for two hours, taking pictures, and making Starbucks runs! You were like a much cooler version of those crazy stagemoms you see on tv!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Foodie Friday: Breakfast to Go


2 piecrusts expiring on 1/6/09
+ 5 eggs expiring on 1/6/09
Breakfast for a Week!

I bought two pie crusts before the holidays with fantastic intentions of June Cleaver-ing up some fresh, homemade pies to take to my parent's house. As it should come as no surprise, thaaaaat didn't quite happen. What can I say? Shopping, wrapping, and wine just kind of got in the way.

I am trying to get better about only buying groceries for things I am fairly certain I will get around to cooking so I don't waste perfectly good food. So given that the expiration dates for these things was upon me, I picked up some ham and swiss cheese and just whipped up breakfast for the roomie and I for the week. June who??

As with many recipes these days, I looked up a few and then kind of merged my favorites together.

Muffin Size Quiche Lorraine
  • 2 pie crusts
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 C heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 C swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1 C diced ham
  • 1/4 C onion, minced
  • salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk eggs, cream, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in medium bowl.
  3. Unroll pie crust one at a time on a floured surface.
  4. Find a cup or cookie cutter that will cut a circle slightly larger than the size of one of the muffin holes.
  5. Cut out circles and form excess dough into a ball and reroll to cut out more circles. Continue until you use all of pie crust.
  6. Form each circle gently into bottom of greased muffin tins.
  7. Smush circles into muffin tin bottom and sides with a tart tamper or shot glass. Pierce bottom of each circle with a fork.
  8. Bake on 350 for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Take out and fill each crust evenly with cheese, ham, and onion.
  10. Pour egg mixture evenly on top of each quiche crust.
  11. Bake for 20-30 minutes until a knife or toothpick is poked into a quiche and comes out clean.
Apologies that measurements/cooking times aren't exact. One of these days I'll learn to cook, measure, and write all at the same time. {Cue visions of me as a small child attempting to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time} Until then, these individual quiches make for a great grab-and-go breakfast!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Translation Troubles, Part II

While I still talk to Pierre on a fairly regular basis, we have stopped the lengthy emails that our reconnection began with. Now it's more of just the normal conversations that you see between facebook friends... only made a little more interesting with that pesky language barrier bit. The past two exchanges have been particularly amusing.

I debated posting this (especially the second one), because for the most part I try to keep things clean here at moose and lulu, but it's just so funny to see the difference between american and european versions of what is considered appropriate. And the entirely innocent nature of our short meeting just exacerbates the cultural differences even more.

A post from him on my facebook wall shortly after New Years:

Happy new year health joys of sex and money while your wishes are realized, full of happiness for 2010.

First of all, WHOA DUDE BOSSDAD IS MY FACEBOOK FRIEND and I'm highly doubtful that Big Wayne appreciates anyone of the male persuasion wishing me "joys of sex" for the new year. Not to mention, my brother, grandmother, and plethora of Mississippi relatives. (The Dot thought it was funny, naturally).

Second of all, isn't that something that most people think but don't actually say outloud? I mean, I guess when we wish fellow americans "A prosperous new year filled with love and happiness" it's pretty much saying the same thing, but wowza with the directness on wishing straight up billz and booty!!

Annnd, the second. Okay, forewarning: this one is a little bit more sexual in nature, but only due to a misunderstanding. So if you're easily offended, please stop reading now.

This started as a comment from him on one of my profile pictures:

Pierre: Aih aih aih sapapaya
Translation: no clue

Natalie: Que fait-il "aih aih aih sapapapya"? Il ne traduit pour moi.
Translation: What does that mean? It doesn't translate for me.

P: Ca veut dire que tu es magnifique et que je veux te manger!!
Translation: It means that you are beautiful and I want to eat you.

**Sidenote: I read this and reread this. I knew what "ca veut dire que tu es magnifique" meant and had no problems there, but I just kept rereading "je veux te manger" thinking that I was 99% sure I knew what that translated to, but... SURELY NOT!

N: Vous êtes si drôle.... merci beaucoup! Et juste vous avertir, "je veux te manger" peut signifier quelque chose très different (sexuel) quand traduit dans l'anglais.
Translation: You are funny... thank you! (WHAT ELSE DO YOU SAY?) But just so you know, "je veux te manger" means something very different (sexual) translated to english.

P: Mais je te te cros ca c'est sur! Plein de biz partout.
Translation: no clue.

N: Je ne comprends pas. Tu dites dans l'anglais?
Translation: I don't understand. Can you say it in english?

P: I say I'll crunch is I eat you because you're too beautiful and I really want to have you undertaker. Undertake it's croque???
Translation: He said this in english, but.... um, what???

N: Je ne sais pas. Je l'ai traduit juste et "undertake" est entreprendre. Mais je ne sais pas toujour que vous signifiez. :)
Translation: I don't know. I just translated "undertake" and it is entreprendre. But I don't know what you are saying.

P: In France in which we see a pretty girl and that we want to kiss the one that says we want the crunch.

N: Je comprends maintenant. Mais dans l'anglais "eat" et "kiss" a sens TRES des différents. J'expliquerai dans un message privé.
Translation: I understand now. But in english "eat" and "kiss" have VERY different meanings. I'll explain in a private message.

P: Ok, I wait your mail.

Annnnd then I had to explain to him the difference. So um, yeah, if you ever look through my google history... you will definitely see "how to say 'oral sex' in french". I also explained that while I realized that it was a misunderstanding and that he didn't really mean what he said, that he should probably refrain from telling other american girls "je veux te manger" to prevent getting slapped/punched/or worse.

It definitely makes you realize how different two countries can be. While I have to admit that I rely very heavily on google translator to help me write to him, I absolutely love the fact that I can almost always read his messages without any help. It is definitely a way more interesting way to accomplish #19 on my 30x30 list than flashcards (even if it means googling the occasional french sexual term in order to clear up miscommunications!) And BONUS, it leads to hilarious conversations with my girlfriends:
So that's the latest in the story of Pierre... undoubtably more to come in the future!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why I'm too old for NYE

Sorry you're finally mature enough to just want a quiet evening with friends on New Year's Eve
I do believe I can say with a fair amount of conviction that this year was my last year attempting to do the "Go Big or Go Home" New Year's Eve. While I would like to think that I've just gotten smarter, I am quite sure the truth is that I have simply just gotten too old.

Our original plans for New Years fell through for this year, so we came up with a last minute alternative, the Diamond Party or something like that. You pay $60 and it's open bar. Simple, easy, accommodating for a big group = great plan, yes? Notsomuch.

Don't get me wrong, it was fun at first... but as the night wore on and the young, slutty (too harsh? let's go with "scantily clad") girls got drunker and the floor got more slippery with what I had sincerely hoped was booze, but proved to be otherwise... it just got old.

My top ten reasons why I'm staying home next year:
  1. It's Overrated.
  2. Cab shortage. Enough said.
  3. Drunk People. Actually, let me rephrase, Drunk Strangers. (I had a girl PUKING in a target sack next to me on my cabride home. Also, it should be noted that said girl was a COMPLETE stranger and not one of my friends).
  4. No one can agree on a plan.
  5. Did I mention finding cabs is nightmare?
  6. It's usually so cold. And if you are out at a party you are most likely dressed up in a (cute, CLASSY) dress and strappy heels. #6 + #5 = hypothermia.
  7. How awkward is midnight if you are single? I'll tell you... SO AWKWARD! In honor of #7, you get a bonus funny ecard:
  8. Let's pencil each other in for a New Year's Eve kiss, with the understanding we'll drop each other if someone better comes along
  9. I'm a big 'B' and the only drunk people I like are my friends. (See: #3)
  10. I judge the scantily clad youngsters far too much. I love that you're young and cute, but if you can't lean over to set your purse on the table without showing those behind you your business, your dress is TOO SHORT. End of story.
  11. I figure, I've already fed moose vanilla vodka, may as well have a house party and add a little bubbly to the mix.
Okay, so to cancel out my negativity, here are some fun pics of our New Year's prior to above sentiments setting in:
Edited to add: I couldn't have asked for better company for the night and don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, but this is just my opinion on the build-up of NYE and the random parties with hundreds of people. Which is why I personally had just as much fun at the preparty with only our friends there as I did at the actual party!

December in Pictures

Last month was a busy one... so this is a fair warning that this might get long, but hey- pretty pictures are better than my wordy drivel, right? (hint: the proper answer is not "right" but more along "oh your writing is absolutely the opposite of drivel, Natalie")

So sweet of you to say! Okay, here we go:
We started off December by taking a cheese class at Central Market with fromage expert, Clark Wolf. My mom and I went and were almost kicked out when The Dot nearly started a riot when they wouldn't give her more wine for her remaining cheese pairings. Okay to be fair, she merely asked politely, but the sheer amount of spluttering that she quietly did in my ear when they refused her was of an impressive nature...

Note: When CM advertises a class involving "tastings and pairings", they do not mean Napa-style, lets-get-you-drunk-so-you-buy-lots-of-wine, parings. They mean one or two stingy, two ounce pour, pairings. Gotta make a profit out of that $60 per head, you know! So the lesson of this, is: plan accordingly. The poor girl sitting behind us that was on the blind date looked like she could have used a pregame or a kegstand or two to get her through the class and/or date.
Luckily for my mom, we were able to get plenty of wine drinking in during the holidays and weeks following the cheese class.
Holiday week = empty office = take your moose to work day.
Here he is playing with a purple cow at the ad agency.
Ironic? Just a touch.
Ha... not even kidding you- this was a gift from one of my reps. While I do love me some Twilight, this was obviously a joke and won't be making an appearance in my semi-grown up house anytime soon. But it was a hilarious variation from the bottles of wine that are frequent vendor gifts and I have to say it made me laugh and gives a little something extra to my work space.
Christmas sugar cookies!
What was left of the finished product- there were also red Christmas lights and candy canes. This was my first foray into Royal Icing!
On the 15th we got some very exciting news that Whitney and Patrick welcomed beautiful baby Kate into the world just in time for the holidays!! She decided she was a little too comfy and made her appearance about a week later than expected.
AND, a few days later one of my best friends, Julie, got engaged! Here we are sippin on some bubbly while celebrating the news! (me, Jules, E)
Jules and Brent, her fiance (still SO WEIRD to say that!).
Watching The Holiday, drinking vino, wrapping presents.
The pups relaxing in front of the fire at my parent's.
My nickname around Christmas is "Elf" because I wrap the majority of the presents. However, I have one rule- I won't wrap presents that are for me. This picture is after my mom tricked me by saying a gift in a box was for my brother when it was really for me. I wrapped it, tagged it, and then they came back in and stuck another tag with my name on it. So sneaky and rude, but they definitely thought they were very funny!
Baxter in Moose's santa suit. Just a touch roomier on him!
My stocking at the townhouse with a "don't peek til I get home" note from the roomie. :)
Ahhh, the 'W' family tradition of Bossdad serenading us with the accordion. Only this year we shared the love and skyped with my brother's fiance and her family in Arizona during which my dad treated Whit to a lovely rendition of "Here Comes the Bride". Nothing like torturing your future daughter-in-law by making her think you would like to personally provide her entrance music with a 50-year old musical instrument favored by polka bands and fans alike.
Clint and I preparing Christmas dinner- Beef Wellington.
C'est fini.
All tuckered out after Christmas!
The snow in my parent's backyard.
Post holiday fondue when it was snowy outside. Despite the look on my face, it was actually really good. I think the look is due to this being a few cocktails/bottles of wine in...
My roommate's mom apparently made an impulse buying decision in the Banana Republic checkout line and gifted her with this jaunty beret. While it is not something that she will likely EVER wear out, I've gotten quite a kick out of wearing it around the house. And it channels my inner Parisienne almost as much as getting crazy messages from the french boy (foreshadowing: hilarious Pierre story coming soon!).
Even moose got in on the fashion statement.

There ya go... my lazy girl's recap of a busy, busy month!!