Friday, June 24, 2011

Anxiety Pancakes

Dear Reader,

Just because it is officially summer, doesn't mean you won't suffer the occasional bout of anxiety. After all, summer offers a lot to feel anxious about, skin cancer, bikinis, ice cream melting all over your hands when you aren't near a suitable place to wash them.  These pancakes can help.

Anxiety Pancakes

You will need:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk

Wake at 5 AM to the feeling of dread and terror sitting on your chest like that thing from Paranormal Activity. Close your eyes, willing yourself to go back to sleep, and then open them to stare at the ceiling. Imagine all the horrible things that can ruin your life. This can range from illness, car accidents, dentistry, someone breaking in and holding you prisoner, someone abducting you and locking you in a ROOM for seven years, or locking you in their basement dungeon. You know the drill. Tell yourself that if you haven't gone back to sleep by 6 AM, you will get up and go for a run. Wonder who is out on the street at 6 AM and if it is safe to run at that hour. Picture yourself being hit on the back of the head by a brick wielding maniac.

Fall asleep and dream that you are running on the street where you grew up, and it is very dark out. You can see the road far ahead of you, and it is totally deserted. Become aware that you don't have a cellphone, because in your dream it is 1987 and cellphones haven't been invented. Wonder if you will be able to see inside your house, which is just around that corner up there, and if your younger self will be home. Turn the corner and see that your childhood home has been replaced by an ice rink.  Why is it so warm in the ice rink?

Wake to stare at the ceiling until you eventually get up and put some flour into a bowl with baking soda and salt.  Take some apples and peel them, but make sure you check that the door is still locked from the night before. Also look in the closet and under the sofa. Chop the apples and put them in a pan with some butter and a lot of maple syrup. Crack an egg into the flour, just like your head would crack if that maniac got you with his brick, had you foolishly gone for a run instead of making pancakes. Pour in buttermilk and stir. Heat butter in a pan and spoon in circles of batter.  Cook them until they are brown and crispy then flip them over. Cook until done and serve with apples in syrup. Have a little vodka. Not a lot, just enough to calm your nerves and make you not care so much if all that stuff happens. I mean, we don't live in a rubber world, right? Sometimes you get whacked on the head. Sometimes you don't. So what? Right? Right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Music for Motivation

Dear Reader,

I got a new phone a few weeks ago, and it has changed my life. First, I've taken to running outside rather than at the gym, and I was under the impression that my runs were not very far or very fast, but I downloaded this thing called "AllSport" on my phone, and it tracks my run using GPS. GPS is something that I find astonishing in the first place. When you think about it, something in space can pinpoint exactly where you are at any given moment. Insane! Well, it turns out that I've been running much farther and faster than I thought. Good news all around for me! I thought I would share with you some of my favorite music that I listen to when I run. It is also quite good to accompany housework, a morning commute, or other times when you might be listening to music. Enjoy.

My Pandora is on the Kate Nash station most of the time, and this might be my favorite song of hers. After watching this, I feel compelled to put on some eyeliner.

I also love The National.

I still have not given up hope that someday Simon LeBon will realize he made a big mistake marrying Yasmin and not me.

I borrowed this from my daughter. Totally addictive and again, feeling desperately eyeliner deficient. The leotard I can do without. Am I the only one who remembers pants?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Birthday Cake For An Absurdly Spoiled Six Year Old

Dear Reader,

I have a word of advice for those of you with very young children, or who do not yet have children, but are planning on having them at some point. When the time comes to make their first birthday cake, don't go all crazy trying to make something delicious that will impress everyone. Stick to Duncan Hines. If your children develop a taste for boxed cake early, your life will be much, much easier. I wish I had known, for now it is time to create a cake for my six year old, and she has specifically requested the chocolate cake I make every year, which can be found on Epicurious. Oh, and here's something else - it's not even her birthday. Her birthday is in the summer, so she never gets to spend it with friends. Last year we told her that we would have her birthday party before the end of school, and of course we forgot. But she did not. She has been planning this party for ten months. And it is tonight. I don't go overboard on the birthdays. I let her pick a few friends to come over for a slumber party. But this morning she left me with a long list of tasks which absolutely must be accomplished before I pick her up from school, starting with the cake, and ending with finding a pool for them to swim in tomorrow morning. The pool isn't going to happen, but the cake I can do.  She is a very demanding boss.

She was mulling over two cake options. One was the standard Barbie in the top of the cake princess type of thing, which she's had before. The second was to shape the cake like a building and have the candles be flames coming out the windows and little marzipan people running for their lives. We went for the Barbie so as not to frighten her guests.

Stump Doll.

Stump Doll wearing pasties.

Stump Doll and Barack Obama.  Oh no! Looks like she's lost her pasties!  My kids wonder what I do all day when they are at school, and they would never in a million years imagine this.

I feel about my new mixer the way some people might feel about a new sports car.  It runs so smooth.  Of course I ended up with chocolate splattered all over my shirt.

Here's what is going on right NOW.  The cake is cooking in this big bowl, and I have no idea how long this is going to take. The recipe says that a normal cake will take about an hour.  So how long for this big bowl cake? I've got to frost the damn thing and put some clothes on Stump Doll before picking the girls up at 3:00. 

Tada!  It took about two hours to bake, and when I iced her, she was still warm, so her dress is a bit limp, but still very yummy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brothers and Sisters Cocktail

Dear Reader,

Last night's GOP primary debate has me all in a funk.  I turned on the television at 8:08 just in time to hear Michelle Bachmann announce her candidacy.  That was a surprise, because I had no idea that anyone could just show up.  I would have loved to debate Keynesian Economics with those folksie folks.  Not really.  I'd rather sit on my couch with my large cocktail and feel the anxiety welling up from my toes to my neck where it constricts, tighter and tighter, like an Anaconda, until I can't sleep at night.  Do we really have seventeen whole months of this to endure?  I'm still recovering from post traumatic stress after the 2008 election, and I can't go through another one.  To gear up for the upcoming political onslaught, I offer this cocktail, for everyone on both sides of the fence except the Mormons, because they can't drink, so sucks for them.

Brothers and Sisters Can Get Along Cocktail

You will need:

Ask the older lady who lives next door if you can borrow some of the tea bags she has hanging off her hat, then ask the gay guys across the street if you can borrow a bottle of Grey Goose.  Put the tea bags in the Grey Goose and set outside in the sunshine of America to steep.  When the tea has infused into the vodka like divisive feelings that seeped into your veins, bring it inside and mix up a simple syrup by boiling one cup water and mixing in an equal amount of sugar.  Squeeze a generous amount of lemon into the vodka, and add the syrup to taste.  Pour over mint leaves stolen from the old lady down the block who knows better than to let politics ruin her year.  Pop one or two Valium and then invite them all over for game night, being careful to avoid lefty elitist games like Scrabble, and honest right wing favorites like Bunco.  How about a nice game of Sorry?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Hairpin

I wrote something for The Hairpin.  If you are not familiar with The Hairpin, it is about to be your new favorite website.


Super Surprising Salad for Soon To Be Skinny Moms (and others)

I received a desperate plea from a reader in South Carolina.  See for yourself:

Dear Heather,
It is the end of the school year and my three kids have three separate class potluck dinners and I've got to make something.  Other moms always sign up for the good stuff to bring, like paper plates, so now I've got to make actual food.  I know that what people want are macaroni and brownies, but I'm trying to lose a few pounds so would love to bring something light, but yummy.  It's terrible to be a fat lady eating brownies in front of people.
Thanks in advance,

Sharlene, I feel your pain.  I myself have two potlucks for which to prepare, and I also forgot to sign up early so that I could just bring cups.  However, we are both in luck, as I know of a super delicious, sweet and savory salad that will win you points for both creativity and healthfulness. And like you, I am avoiding brownies for now.  If I were to bring along my current favorite dessert to the potluck, my contribution would be a few bottles of Fat-free Reddi Whip to squirt right into your mouth.  But that is frowned upon by the quinoa/ kale set.  Here you go.  Enjoy.

Super Surprisingly Delicious Salad for Soon To Be Skinny Moms (and others)

You will need:
Olive Oil
Feta cheese

First, buy a 2012 calendar, and mark June 1st with the words "LOOK OUT FOR POTLUCK SIGN UP SHEET."  It would also not be a bad idea to start telling other parents about your surplus paper cups or plastic forks in September, unless they are likely to chastise you for purchasing plastic forks and paper cups in the first place.  If someone does this, then make sure that they are responsible for all the ceramic dish wear and stainless silver wear for each and every potluck from now until their child graduates.  Obtain a watermelon.  Make sure it is as big as your bottom is now, and as firm as you would like it to be.  Chop it into cubes.  Roughly chop mint.  Use enough so that there are abundant flakes of mint throughout the watermelon, but not so much that your watermelon looks like it has been dipped in a bog.  Chop the chives - use a slightly smaller amount than you did mint.  Squeeze limes over everything using soon to be toned biceps and triceps.  Do not attempt to squeeze limes by placing in armpits, as that is disgusting.  Crumble feta cheese, or even fat free feta cheese for those on Weight Watchers (1 point!) over salad in desired quantity.  Drizzle with olive oil - not too much! Sprinkle with salt and toss.