Month: July 2014

WWU: Goosebumps – “Calling All Creeps!”

By Kelsey and Lindsey

Welcome to the inaugural post in our Watch With Us series! We’re trying a kind of Mystery Science Theater 3000 premise in written form. Basically, this is going to be a series smack-talking through shows/movies.

We’re starting with Goosebumps, because why not? Get your Netflix account fired up, press play and read along with our banter, if you’re so inclined. (more…)

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Good Reads: An Ode to Graphic Novels

By Kelsey

I used to regard graphic novels similarly to how I regard Pokemon. Not interested. (But adolescent boys/girls are wayyyy into those little guys.)

That is no longer the case. It was only my (incorrect) assumption that graphic novels are for children. Most of these volumes contain tough, mature content, so I would highly recommend these for an adult audience only.

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.

It all started with this book. Bear in mind that I still haven’t finished this novel, but it’s one that I like to mull over from time to time, instead of devouring in a few days. This became the first graphic novel (by Art Spiegelman) to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. It details the author’s interviews with his aging father regarding the family’s struggle for survival during the Holocaust, where they lived in Poland during WWII. To describe the illustrative approach of the novel, Jews are depicted as mice, while the Nazis are portrayed as cats (non-Jewish Poles are sketched as pigs).

Maus is a novel executed with grace. This book will make your heart hurt.

Blue is the Warmest Color

You may be familiar with this title due to the buzz surrounding the film of the same namesake. Please, please, read this book, and ignore the movie that alters the storyline/ending, largely pandering to cheap shock value throughout. This novel is a typical “coming of age” story, albeit one dealing with the additional hardship of struggling with one’s sexuality and the resulting reception by family/friends. Above all, it is a love story. This book is gorgeously illustrated and thoughtfully crafted.

Watchmen

I won’t go into detail here, but this cult classic is next on my to-read graphic novel list. (Lindsey says it’s pretty great.)

Through the Woods

The only thing better than a graphic novel is A SCARY graphic novel. This one is still on my Amazon Wishlist, but one of the short horror stories in Into the Woods is featured on author Emily Carroll’s website: His Face All Red. This is going to give me nightmares tonight, and I don’t even care. Worth it.

Honorable Mentions

I have not read The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes or Persepolis, but they both come very highly acclaimed.

I love the rich mixture of written word and often meticulously detailed illustrations on each page. It is a new experience,  absorbing both mediums simultaneously. Get to reading, friends.

 

Recipe: Garlic Pickles

By Lindsey

Looking for a weekend project? Like pickles? This is the post for you. Also, if the following video is the first thing you think of when someone talks about making homemade pickles, we should probably be friends.

But I digress.

For my pickle project, I modified this recipe from The Kitchn as follows.

Garlic Dill Pickles

Makes 2 pint jars

58809B4D-F9D3-4045-8B71-F42E4FD3F963Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Kirby cucumbers

1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed
2 teaspoons dill weed (or dill seed)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
8-10 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt

 


Instructions

  1. Wash your jars and lids. I made refrigerator pickles, so I didn’t sterilize for long-term storage. If you’d like to go for pickles that will stand the test of time, see the Kitchn’s instructions.FFE382ED-1531-4AE4-A01F-F84672AB54A6
  2. Wash and trim your cucumbers, making sure to get rid of those stumpy ends. Slice them up according to your preference. I chose coins, because I thought they’d be easier to pack. I think I was right.
  3. Divide your chosen garlic and spices equally between your two jars.
  4. Pack your jars with those soon-to-be-pickles.
  5. Boil your brine. Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil in a sauce pan.B846E177-769B-42F3-BB72-6FB3867A81CF
  6. Pour the boiled brine over your pickles, making sure to cover the tops of the cucumbers (but not so full to spill). I increased the brine ingredients above, because the original recipe didn’t have quite enough for my thirsty pickles.
  7. Tap the jars to remove air bubbles before tightening those lids!
  8. Let the jars cool, then refrigerate. I waited a week before opening mine. They should keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Notes: I couldn’t find dill seed at my local supermarket, and I didn’t feel like trekking to Whole Foods. Dill seed is recommended in every recipe I found, but *spoiler alert* my pickles turned out just fine with dill weed.

End result? Slightly vinegar-y, crispy pickles. Plus, I felt like a homesteader/hipster for a little while. You can pickle that!

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Fear of Flight

By Lindsey

If you know Kelsey and I well, you know we like to travel. We actually make for really great travel companions. We we both believe that after a tiring day of cultural attractions, one should get dinner to go and eat in hotel beds whilst wearing jammies. (I know you’re excited about our future travel posts.)

Plane - LindseySAnyway, we sisters share another travel tendency: we both fear flying. By fear, I mean almost panic-attack inducing, stomach jumping, seat-neighbor asking if you’re okay kind of scared. For me, I hate take-offs and landings. Once I’m in the air (assuming that air is smooth as silk), I like to see the tiny houses and colorful patterns of farmland far below. For Kelsey, it’s the opposite. She feels trapped while on the flight and loves watching the plane inch closer and closer to the ground. Maybe we both like control. Maybe we haven’t flown enough. Maybe everyone is born with fears, and this is our shared space in which we try not to barf and cry.

Some of you may be thinking, “What wimps! I love to fly!” Well, for those of you who lack natural empathy and call names, this Buzzfeed post should give you a little insight into the terror we experience.

Why am I posting this now, you might wonder? Well, this Friday I’m flying for the first time in almost a year. I’ve been trying to mentally prepare. This means I:

  1. Don’t watch the news. Unsurprisingly, disasters make me even more nervous.
  2. Download great podcasts. My current favorites are Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia, Welcome to Night Vale and Radiolab.
  3. Wear comfy clothes. I have a giant cardigan picked out already.
  4. Have plenty of reading material on hand. I read magazines during take-offs and landings, Kindle books the rest of the flight. I’m just going to air my shame and say this: I downloaded the Fifty Shades of Gray Trilogy to keep me busy. There’s nothing like poorly written sexy books to keep the mind off crashing! (I also downloaded this book and this book to make up for that choice…maybe.)
  5. Keep a prescription anxiety pill in my purse just in case. I’ve never actually had to take an emergency pill, but knowing it’s there makes me feel better, like a tiny, chemical security blanket.

For those of you who also hate high-speed trips through the air, I thought I’d share some more resources from around the web.

Any other tips for me? Wish me luck.

Good Reads: The New Yorker’s Archives

By Kelsey

My heart is aflutter with the magic of Tuesday, everyone.

To make your Tuesday a little less Tuesday, The Verge heralds news that The New Yorker has opened its Disney Vault to allow free reading access to articles from 2007 onward in promotion of a modified layout, which is more aesthetically pleasing and more conducive to multiple reading platforms. Included in The Verge’s article is a link to Longform’s “25 Favorite Unlocked New Yorker Articles.” These archived gems will be available until some point later in the fall.

Happy reading, everyone!

Lazy Sunday Links

By Kelsey

Happy Lazy Sunday, friends.

Today’s theme is vlogging, so listed below are some of my (Kelsey’s) favorite Youtube channels:

HowStuffWorks – Stuff Mom Never Told You

A funny and informative feminist resource: “Cristen gets down to the business of being a woman and all the Stuff Mom Never Told You about bodies, boys and the female brain.” New videos are posted multiple times throughout the week.

John and Hank Green – VlogBrothers   

You’ve likely heard of John and Hank Green at this point, and their weekly postings (John – Tuesday and Hank – Friday) aren’t set to a particular theme. Their fans/followers are collectively known as “nerdfighters,” so clearly, their varying informative topics very much appeal this lady. For more John and Hank, also check out CrashCourse and Mental Floss.

Natalie Tran – communitychannel

Nat Tran is a vlogger from Sydney, New South Wales, and her videos actually make me laugh out loud, alone in my bedroom, with my cat. Her videos (uploaded every Tuesday/Wednesday for those in the APR region), “are a combination of monologue and sketches that focus on the humourous aspects of everyday life.” I may have spent most of this weekend eating gummy words and watching her videos. Also, the end of every video features “porno music/comment time.”

Ashley Skidmore and Lyle Friedman – hotmessmoves

Anyone who appreciates Lena Dunham’s Girls will likely appreciate this channel that “is a series of  webisodes that chronicle two typical 20-something single girls in the city.” Short and to-the-point hilarious.

Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton – RoseEllenDix

Rose and Rosie are an adorable couple that vlog/live in Worcester (accents!). Their videos are sometimes themed, sometimes about nothing, but honestly, whatever they’re doing, I typically find myself laughing hysterically. New videos every Friday.

Happy watching!

Recipe: Carnitas with Cilantro Lime Red Cabbage Slaw

By Kelsey

No lie, this is the best meat dish that I have ever made. Full disclosure, I don’t cook many meat dishes (except BACON). But this recipe is difficult to botch. It may look labor intensive, but trust, it’s not. It just takes a little bit of time.


Carnitas

via Smitten Kitchen (via The Homesick Texan) Recipe

My single lady take on the above:

~ 3 LB Pork Butt (Pork Shoulder, because meat terminology is weird)

Juice of 2 Limes

Juice of 1/2 Orange

Salt

Pepper

Corn Tortillas

Instructions:

1)  Cut the pork putt into ~2 inch square chunks. Also, remember not to trim any fat from this relatively fat-laden cut. This is all of the flavor, and you want it in this dish.

2) Take these chunks and place them in a dutch oven (or similar pot) with the citrus juices above and salt/pepper to coat. The original instructions say to fill with water just enough to cover the meat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer (uncovered) for 2 hours. *In my experience, even at a simmer, I kept adding water almost every half hour or so to prevent running dry. Perhaps my simmer was too aggressive, but remember to keep an eye out if more water is needed. Otherwise, forget about this meat, let it do its thing.
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3) After 2 hours, raise the temperature to medium-high until any remaining water is evaporated. You will be left with fall-apart pork and residual fat. Now is the time to return to the stove and cook this pork to crispy, crispy goodness, stirring as needed.


There is nothing I love more with carnitas than a good vinegar slaw. I used some inspiration from the internet (and whatever I had in my kitchen) to make this concoction below:

Cilantro Lime Red Cabbage Slaw 

1 Small Head of Red Cabbage

2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

3/4 Cup Cilantro, roughly chopped (or more, if desired)

Juice of 1/2 Lime

Salt to Taste

Drizzle of Olive Oil

1 Small Shallot, thinly sliced

Instructions:

Mix all of this up, and if possible, let sit overnight to let all of the flavors mingle. It. Is. Killer.

There are numerous sauces that would be delicious on a carnitas taco, but a friend shared this recipe with me, and I knew that it would be amazing. This recipe below is traditionally used on barbecue, to my understanding, but its slightly sweet flavor perfectly balances with the salty, savory carnitas. It may also be tweaked a bit spicier, depending on preference, by adding more cayenne or horseradish.

*Note – I’ve never purchased real horseradish in the grocery before, and after searching everywhere in the aisles, to no avail (only horseradish mayo-based sauces). I found horseradish in the dairy section (with help) refrigerated by the cream cheese. Go figure.

Alabama White Sauce

1 Cup Duke’s Mayo

1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp fresh ground pepper

3 tsp horseradish

1/2 tsp course salt

1/2 tsp ground cayenne

BOOM.

I might also suggest garnishing with another squeeze of lime, extra cilantro, or avocado if you have some around. Enjoy.

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