Speaking of March 2004

Lauren’s email:
“Is it just me or is this stuff harder to understand the more you study it?”
Sevan’s reply:
“1) ‘this stuff’, n., of or pertaining to crap, particularly in the field of fluid mechanics, especially taught in course 250B at UCLA. –Sevster Dictionary 2004
2) ‘exam’, n., comes from Latin word for fail –Sevster Dictionary 2004”

3/23/04 webpage post

Old dress

How’s this for a Monday? I had to be at work at 3 AM, which is extremely difficult to do right after the weekend, and on top of that I had to work for more than twelve hours. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Obviously I wasn’t looking forward to a day like that so I decided to start it the best way I could – by looking really good. I only own a few dresses that are workplace appropriate and I’ve already worn two of them in the last couple of months, so this time I went for a different one. I bought this black and white dress at Ann Taylor back in 2004 to wear to my friend Meghan’s bridesmaid’s luncheon before her wedding. That’s when the above photo was taken (3/25/04). (I probably don’t look a whole lot different now, but my hair is longer!) Lucky for me it’s a simple dress that’s classic enough to not be out of style almost nine years later. And it’s a size 0 which I am so thrilled I can fit into again! So Monday was a very long, stressful day at work, but at least I looked good!

Movie blitz

I preparation for the 2013 movie award season I’ve been hitting the theaters pretty hard over the last month or so. I saw “Argo” and “Flight” a while back when they were first in theaters because I thought they were going to be big awards contenders. Little did I know that “Argo” would win the Golden Globe for best dramatic picture in a big surprise over “Lincoln”(and that “Flight” would flounder even with an amazing performance by Denzel Washington). I suppose time will tell which movie walks away with the best picture Oscar. Here are some of the other movies I’ve seen so far in preparation for the Academy Awards next month:

“Hobbit” (12/21/12 and 12/25/12)
“Les Miserables” (12/26/12)
“Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2” (12/29/12) – Not that I expected this one to win any awards!
“Hyde Park on Hudson” (1/5/13)
“Silver Linings Playbook” (1/12/13)
“Zero Dark Thirty” (1/13/13)
“Lincoln” (1/19/13)
“Life of Pi” (1/27/13)

My birthday

On my birthday I woke up at 5:15 AM when my alarm went off, meaning it was time for me to get up and start getting ready to go to my 6 AM spinning class. Once I remembered it was my birthday I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach because bad stuff always seems to happen on my birthday. Every year I wish I could skip right from January 8th to January 10th, and this year was no exception. The first thing I did after turning off my alarm was check my email. There was a message there from my dad at 2:29 AM telling me that my grandfather had passed away during the night. It wasn’t unexpected because he’d been in a semi-comatose state for about five days. So the whole family was prepared for the news that he was gone, but it was still extremely sad. I was very lucky to see my grandfather over Christmas before he died. After reading my dad’s email I was in no fit state to go to the gym. In fact I was so upset that I almost decided to stay in bed all day. But after a couple of hours of crying and a phone conversation with my mom I finally got out of bed. I took a shower, put on my favorite black dress, grabbed the caramel apple pound cake I’d made the night before, and went to work. I won’t lie, it was incredibly difficult being there, but a couple of hugs and more than a few folks offering their sympathies (and happy birthdays) I made it through the day. And everyone loved the cake. I had no appetite (I only had two bites of my own birthday cake) so I was tempted to cancel the dinner reservations I’d made for myself that night, but as the end of the day approached I finally started getting hungry. So at 6 PM I went home, changed into a different dress and shoes (the ones I wore during the day were giving me a blister), and drove to Disney’s Grand Californian Resort to have dinner at the Napa Rose restaurant. I could tell that the staff felt sorry for me because I was eating alone on my birthday, and I even got a couple of really pitiful looks as I sat at a table by myself, but I tried to ignore that part of my surroundings and concentrate on a truly delicious meal (see the photo I posted last Wednesday). Luckily I avoided any further disasters for the rest of my birthday, but it was still a miserable day. I was so relieved when the clock struck midnight and my birthday was over. Here’s hoping my horrible birthday isn’t a portent of things to come and that being thirty-four years old turns out better than the year I was thirty-three. I’ll leave you with a photo of my family on Christmas Day (minus my dad who is behind the camera). My grandfather is at the opposite end of the table on the left. Goodbye, grandpa. You will be missed.

Foodie Friday – Pumpkin pie sheet cake

I promise to write about something other than food soon (maybe even this weekend), but not today. It’s Foodie Friday and I have quite the backlog of recipes to share! I only have one picture of this pumpkin pie sheet cake and I already posted it in my update about the white Texas sheet cake last week. Yes, I brought two different sheet cakes to the potluck in November. Who said I wasn’t an overachiever? Luckily they were both very good and gobbled up by my co-workers in record time. I love that this pumpkin pie sheet cake has the texture and flavor of pumpkin pie with very little effort. Remember this recipe when the holidays roll around at the end of this year!

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
4 eggs
1 can (29 oz) pumpkin puree
2 can (12 oz each) evaporated milk

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. In a medium bowl combine the cake mix and melted butter and stir to combine. Add 1 egg and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Press the mixture into a large jelly roll pan (mine is 11x15x1″) coated with cooking spray.

In a large bowl beat together sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, 4 eggs, and pumpkin puree. Pour in the evaporated milk and beat until combined. Open the oven and pull out the rack where the cake is going to bake. Place the jelly roll pan with the crust on the rack and carefully pour the filling over the crust. Trust me, since the filling is very thin and fills the pan almost to the brim this is the best way to avoid spills. Carefully push the rack back into the oven and close the door. Bake at 350 deg F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Enjoy!

Based on Jamie Cooks It Up’s Pumpkin Pie Sheet Cake.

Chocolate chip cookies #24

Chocolate chip cookies #24: Based on Chef in Training’s Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies. Baked on 12/13/12.

Biscoff Spread is one of the newest trends in baking, kinda like Nutella was not too long ago. If you’re not familiar with Biscoff Spread it’s similar to peanut butter, but made from Biscoff Cookies (you know, the ones you get on airplanes?) instead of nuts. The concept is a little strange, but it’s very popular in the foodie world. Every food blog I frequent has recipes for baked goods with Biscoff spread these days so when I saw this one for Biscoff chocolate chip cookies I had to try it. These cookies turned out really dense and chewy with just enough Biscoff flavor to know it’s in there. Not bad! I can’t say I’ll be making these cookies again because I’m just not the biggest fan of Biscoff Spread (I’ll stick to Nutella, thanks), but I’m glad I made them as an experiment. If you like Biscoff Cookies or Biscoff Spread, you’ll love these chocolate chip cookies!