I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind you wake up excitedly for on a Sunday morning, despite it being Sunday morning. The kind that wakes you from your deepest slumbers like the smell of bacon can. I don’t even like to eat bacon, but I know for damn sure there is no better alarm clock  than the scent of fatty, crispy, greasy bacon. I want the kind of love that lets me know that there’s someone out there who’s taken the time to get to know me– to learn my likes and dislikes, my preferences and exact specifications– the way my dad’s omelette does. No chef on the planet will ever make an omelette as perfect for me as my dad does.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you spend all day looking forward to. The kind that you spend  hours and hours meticulously planning and preparing for. The kind that requires cheese from the nice part of the store. The kind that you break out the nice china and crystal wine glasses for, even though it’s just an average Tuesday night, because being in each other’s company and being in love is as good as any other reason to celebrate. Or the kind that you eat off of paper plates and ripped sheets of paper towels and frisbees that you hastily rinsed off because the food is what matters and you don’t need to dress it up all fancy to know that it’s amazing. In fact, forget about dressing up in general. I want the kind of love where I can be plopped in my chair wearing gym clothes with bits flour dusting my hair and oversized glasses planted on my face and still know you think I’m the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen. Not everything needs to be perfect for it to be perfect.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’re proud to share with your friends. The kind that your friends push into natural light to Instagram and brag all over Facebook with photos that are captioned “Alexha just made me the best meal ever! Am I in heaven? Can I marry her?” The kind that make starving people studying for their final exams shut their laptops. The kind so gorgeous, you don’t even use those tacky filters.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that fosters non-stop laughter that makes you cry and dab your eyes with your shirt sleeve, and incites loud, passionate conversation where people are yelling over each other– about mortgage rates and settling down and having babies and which *NSYNC member you would’ve dated (JC, obviously) and that one Monday night we all went to the Giant’s game and got drunk– the way dinner parties tend to do. It doesn’t matter what we talk about; there will be ab-strengthening laughter and witty banter, and (most likely) 3 glasses of wine involved, and at the end of the night, we’ll feel like we’re that much closer.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that brings silence to a table when the food comes out because it is freakin’ spectacular and we were all starving and engulfing the meal takes precedence over maintaining small talk. In a world overrun with noise– may it be elevator music or the incessant honking during rush hour or the non-stop clamor of Twitter– I just want to the enjoy the silence with someone and not worry about it being awkward. I just want to look up at you between bites of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and see you smiling back at me like we’re sharing a devious secret, and without having to say a single word, know that we are both incandescently content.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you’ll pack up in neat, plastic containers and continue to enjoy the rest of the week. The kind you don’t get tired or bored of, because you know what? Spaghetti tastes better as leftovers.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that’s like trying a new recipe. No recipe is ever going to come with a guarantee. The author may have different tastes than yours, or you might have accidentally bought regular paprika instead of the Hungarian smoked paprika, or your oven just cooks at a significantly different rate. The recipe might just suck in general. Likewise, you and your love might not love bouldering as much as you thought you would, or you both might really suck at surfing and never stand up on the board (though not likely, because I stood up on my first attempt, nbd), or underwater basket weaving is a lot easier than you anticipated and you got bored 15 minutes into it. Who cares? At least you tried it, and now you have a funny story to tell our friends next time we throw a dinner party. I want the kind of love where we can laugh at our misfortunes and mistakes; where we can toss our catastrophic attempt at making butter chicken and naan in the trash and just order a pizza instead, happy to have spent a few hours together in the kitchen.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel like I’m part of a team. That I’m making a difference. Like I’m part of some higher power’s plan. Every Thanksgiving, my brother and sister and I spend months trying to “top” the dinner we made the previous year. This takes countless phone conversations and recipe-laden email chains and hand-cramping shopping lists, and sure, it can get really stressful. But come the morning of, we morph together into one, spinning and twirling around the kitchen like a culinary dance… or a well oiled machine. I don’t know how you and your siblings are, but in our family, we compliment each other perfectly. I love that feeling. I want to be someone’s “other half.” I want someone to blast Spice Girls and dance around the kitchen with. Sure, it’s pretty fun doing that with my sister and having our brother exasperatedly ask my parents for two new sisters, but frankly, I’m tired of being sighed at, and moreso, I’m tired of sighing at my sister’s dance moves. And I know my siblings and I are not always going to be able to do this, what with life and growing up and jobs and all those superfluous things getting in the way. I need someone I can be that comfortable with. Zig-a-zig-a-zig-ahh. 

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that you can just feel when you walk into the room, like when I would come home from school and the whole house would smell like my mom’s pho. I want the kind of love that makes me nostalgic and crazy and giddy like my mom’s pho. The kind that can never be replicated by restaurants people like to eat at just because they have punny names like “What the Pho” and “Pho King.” If the love that I end up loving turns out to be half as ineffably amazing as my mom’s pho, I will never, ever complain about anything again. This includes: having a case of the Mondays, Twilight, feeling fat after eating 3 donuts, and not dating Joseph Gordon-Levitt even though we’re perfect for each other.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes you take small bites and shuffle your ravioli around on your plate because you don’t want the night to end. The kind that, before you know it, it’s already 11pm and you missed that finale of the Bachelorette that you meant to watch, but it’s ok because the evening was perfect, and everything else can wait until tomorrow. I want a hug or a kiss that lingers the way my family used to linger around the dinner table well after we finished having tea and dessert because we’re too enraptured in discussing things like how my grandparents fell in love at the age of 15 or how my sister did on her AP Chem exam or the places we want to visit on our intracontinental road trip next month. I want the kind of love where family dinners together are the highlight of the day; where TV’s get turned off and cell phones get put away; where we genuinely care to hear about each other’s day.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind that makes me feel the way cooking makes me feel. Nothing makes me happier than cooking for people I care about. Nothing. I feel like a goddess, creating something from nothing. I feel like I can disregard rules and recipes and just trust my gut instinct and improvise. I feel confident in myself and passionate for the first time, every time. I feel tested and successful and squeamish with ideas flooding my mind. An extra pinch here, omit that dash there, and minor substitution here and there. There are no games here: I don’t have to wait 3 days for him to call me back, or pretend I haven’t already stalked his Facebook profile before our first date, or lie and say I’ve only read Harry Potter once in my life because I’m afraid you’ll think I’m lame. No, there are no games here (and to be honest, if you’ve only read Harry Potter once in your life, there’s a 99% chance we’re not going to work out anyway)– it’s just me being me and you being you. I want a love that makes me feel these things. I want a love that makes me unequivocally happy just being me.

I want a “home-cooked meal” kind of love. The kind I can pour my heart and soul into (sorry for the cliche; I guess I want a love that makes me write in cliches). The kind of love I can share my family recipes with.

Honestly, I just want a love I can cook for. And when I do, I want you to tell me that that is the best goddamn baked ziti you’ve ever had. Because it will be.

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If my sister was a dinosaur…

Did anyone outside the Northern California central valley experience a heatwave this past Father’s Day weekend? I swear, it was the only topic of discussion on my FB newsfeed (which was a welcome change from all of the Lebron James malarkey).

Naturally, due to the profuse sweating going on in my apartment, Judy and I decided to slaughter what little self-esteem we have and peruse the Victoria’s Secret website for swimsuits. The experience reminded me a lot of going to a haunted insane asylum: at first it’s all fun and games as you’re running around with your friends, laughing and playing flashlight tag, when suddenly a door closes by itself and an impending doom rushes down everyone’s spines as you realize you’re locked in here forever. And by that I mean, at first it was super exciting to look at swimsuits that we’d “look awesome in after a summer full of eating right and working out,” only to realize that 1) unless we somehow figured out a way to survive off of low-calorie tap water, we’d never look like this, 2) we had just thrown back half a tube of thin mints* while swearing to each other that we were never eating again, and 3) all of our favorite colors and cuts were only available 2 sizes too small or 2 sizes too big…

DAMN MY PERFECTLY AVERAGE BODY!

This morning I was arguing with the boy about which gender has it worse when it comes to societal pressures to be physically perfect. Obviously, I think women have it way worse because there are 10 ScarJos, Padmas, Cindys, Heidis, and fucking “Gisele Bundchen”‘s for every 1 Ryan Gosling to be dealt with.

First of all, if you’re a boy, you’re either buff, not buff, or somewhere in-between, and that’s about all there is to it. When you’re given a female body, you are frantically running around like the SOLO maintenance guy at Disneyworld trying to ensure that everything is working and in tip-top shape (which, as you can imagine, is quite impossible). You might have nice legs but overly broad shoulders; a nice butt but no boobs; nice abs but a weird fuzzy mustache you can’t get rid of. Don’t even get me started on backne and love handles! The potential “problems” are agonizingly endless!

After about 24 years, you start to really grow comfortable– more like you give up wishing you looked different– with your body and are just content that you don’t look like an alien. That’s pretty much where I’m at now, and this self-appreciation slash self-reverence is where my unparalleled self-esteem comes from. Just when my ego has gotten the best of me, however, my little sister likes to remind me that my itty-bitties are ant holes compared to her Mount Everests.

If my sister was a dinosaur, she’d be a Voluptusaurus Rex.

I will not grace this blog with a comparative photo between in my sister because this is my ego’s sanctuary, but I will say this: poo on you, little sister. 

Secondly, there’s a reason why there are more make-up brands for women than entries in Charlie Sheen’s little black book, yet the only advertisement I can find for “makeup for men” is this:

Henceforth, society is much more okay with men looking “natural,” but expect women to change their face… daily. Think of all the time you spend putting makeup on. Is it really necessary?! What does mascara even do, anyway? And that creepy eyelash-curling torture device? How closely are people looking at your eyelashes?!

Third, I’ve always found it strange that men “read” “magazines” such as Maxim that feature super hot women on them… and women read magazines such as Cosmo that ALSO feature super hot women on them. WHY DON’T CHANNING OR ANY OF THE HEMSWORTH BROTHERS DROP TROU FOR OUR MAGAZINES?!

Ladies, we’ve been fighting for over 92 years for equal rights. This may be the final frontier. Get some hot men on our magazine covers, please.

Or, instead, impose some sort of regulation for how “skinny” (I’d prefer to call them skeletonly) women in the media can be. If I had to be “this tall” to ride Space Mountain, you sure as hell should be “this heavy” to be featured in this fashion spread, don’t you think? Is it crazy for me to think that a model should weigh more than the camera+lens they’re being photographed with? Or at least a suckling pig. I mean c’mon. As I stated many months ago, I can BENCH AND CARRY A SUCKLING PIG. How long do you honestly think you’ll last in the Hunger Games if all you eat are ice cubes?! That alone should motivate you to scarf down a burger or two.

And since I’m already complaining: why is it that you need at least 120IQ points to understand the female clothes-sizing system?! Why do we make life so much more difficult for ourselves? Don’t even get me started on accessorizing. That’s a whole ‘nother monster to sigh at.

Anyway, in the case that you still think men “have it worse” than girls, let me know, and I’ll give you a play-by-play explanation of childbirth. With accompanying videos. And if that’s not enough, you can sign up for my podcast about my monthly period. Get ready for lots of details– I own several thesauruses.

Boy or girl, you have to agree that our idea of “the perfect” body has gotten pretty out of hand. If the simple act of online shopping can throw such a giant wrench in the gears of my self confidence, I can only imagine what it’s like for those who don’t think nearly as highly of themselves.

But enough about that! All this talk about “never eating again” makes me hungry, and I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve posted any sort of culinary magic for you to try, so here’s a super simple pork chop recipe that’s easy enough to make while you’re skimming through your Reader’s Digest, Wired Magazine, or National Geographic.

Alexha’s “Pork chops for Fat Dinosaurs trying to lose weight” pork chops:

(I combined and tweaked two recipes to make this one: 1 & 2)

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops, fat trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp very finely minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmasean
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Throw on that sexy apron and let’s get to work!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the garlic, parmasean, breadcrumbs, rosemary, parsley, salt, and pepper. This will be your “dredge.”
  2. Gently rub mustard on pork chops until both sides are evenly covered.
  3. Dip pork chops into the dredge bowl and generously coat both sides.
  4. On a skillet or nonstick pan, heat some olive oil on medium high heat. Once ready, add the pork chops and saute both sides until the panko coating is a nice golden brown color.
  5. Place pork chops on a foil covered baking sheet in the oven (or, if you’re fancy, put your cast iron skillet in the oven) and bake for about 5-8 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees F.
  6. Enjoy! Apparently half of this recipe is from a “healthy eating-weight loss” recipe blog, so it’s half healthy!
Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:


Step 5:

Step 6:


Happy hunting, fellow VS-shoppers :)

*yes, I still have Thin Mints laying around the house. I’ll be featured in the next episode of Hoarders as the girl who hoards Girl Scout cookies. Stay tuned…

Some things are better left unsaid.

Last week, our fridge was found barren and my housemates and I (okay, Judy and I. Thom hasn’t resurfaced from Diablo III quite yet) were frantic to find something to eat for dinner. Because I’m pretty much as good as it gets in terms of housewife-qualities, I decided on meatloaf because I knew wifey #2 had been craving it for months (insert crude joke about Judy not getting any meatloaf since Diablo III came out).

We raced to the grocery store, desperately clinging on to our integrity while grazing our way through Costco, and came home, high from the excitement of prospective meatloaf. The rush of adrenaline, combined with her cute, adorable, nubby fingers, caused Judy to drop an onion while getting out of the car and it rolled underneath, smack dab in the middle of the chassis. Deflated, we crouched down and stared at the onion longingly. Because I’m a lady, I asked Judy to “put a blanket on the Grand Canyon*” as I got on all fours and pleaded to my elbows to grow an extra 2 feet. They sent back a “Child, please. Have you heard of stretch marks? Have you seen your thighs? Why do you hate us?” memo.

I cried.

I didn’t mean to do that to you, body. The fried chicken just has a siren call I can’t resist. Please forgive me.

Judy stared at me as I had this internal emotional break down. She asked if I was thinking about that scene where Dumbledore asks Snape “All this time?” to which he responds “Always.” I lied and said yes. As far as she knows, that’s the only thing that makes me cry on a regular basis. It’s not like I cry when I hear “Hey there Delilah” or anything. Anyways, Judy gave me a knowing nod and lightly tapped her heart with her fist, signaling that though she understands my pain, I need to get over my PMS moment and quit freaking out the nearby children whizzing around on their knockoff Razor scooters. We’ve seen Hunger Games. If those kids sense any sort of weakness, they’ll pounce on us faster than an Asian tourist whipping out their camera for a “foodie Instagram” photo.

All hope seemed lost. I couldn’t reach the onion. Trying to disguise my search for some Kleenex, I mutter something along the lines of “let me check to see if I started growing onions in the back of my car and forgot about it” and pop open the trunk. The clouds instantly parted and the sun shone down on my old lacrosse stick like a spotlight. (I dabbled in a bit of lacrosse when I was in college, no big deal.) It was as if the heavens were speaking to us, saying “Don’t give up. Your meatloaf needs onions.” I’m pretty convinced that all I had to do was stick out my hand and the lacrosse stick shot towards me like Mjölnir.

By the hammer of Thor, Judy and I had a delicious, onion-filled meatloaf.

And the rest is history.

You’d think after that lifechanging story, I’d reveal my level-8-secret meatloaf recipe.

Well, sorry to disappoint, but laughs and intensely sexy mental images of me playing lacrosse are all you’re going to get out of today’s post. Call me old fashioned, but I think something as ambiguously named as “meatloaf” needs to retain as much mystery as possible. Would you ask the lunch lady how she made Thursday’s mystery-meat-meatloaf? No. Of course you wouldn’t. Because you respect the fact that she went through the trouble of naming it mystery-meatloaf.

I may not be a lunch lady, but I do eat lunch, and I am (relatively) a lady. So I ask you to respect the meatloaf code. In turn, I will promise to thank you, my readers, one day when I’m giving my Oscars speech (which I will accept on behalf of my soon-to-be best friend Natalie Portman, who begged me to go to the “silly aw(k)ards ceremony in her place because she’d rather be in Africa simultaneously ending poverty and curing AIDS.”).

So the moral of the story is: keep a lacrosse stick in your trunk. You’ll save your wife from an onion-less meal, and it increases your chances of hooking up with a lacrosse boy by 378%.

Have you seen lacrosse boys?

I’ll leave you on that note.

*in case you’re typically the “last person to laugh at a joke,” “put a blanket on the grand canyon” refers to el crack de la ass.

Love me, feed me, never leave me.

My apologies, dear readers, for leaving you malnourished for so long. Things have really picked up here at work. Que? You thought moi was a professional blogger? Oh, you flatter me so, mon cherie. But I make absolutely no money writing this amazing blog. I wish I could live off this blog! But if I did, I’d probably go broke and become one of those “mole people” living in the sewers. Sure, you get more sunlight as a homeless person, but the mole people take my long, luscious hair as currency, so I’d more power down in Pipecity. But that is all hypothetical. The reality is, I have to pay some people to read it, just to give it some traffic. So remember, every time you click on this blog, you’re giving a poor, third world country child a blog. Very philanthropical of me, I know. Soon, blogs will be referred to as “Dongs,” and hipsters will love then hate them, and normal people will hate and then love and then hate them again.

But yes! Thanks for asking about my work at Acacia Vineyard! I’ve somehow gone from “human paper weight” to “glorified delivery service” to “awesome joke teller” back to “attractive girl that randomly walks around looking bored” and finally, “indispensable.” So my prime blog-writing time (aka, lunch break at work) has been severely cock-blocked lately by my duties as a “working adult.”

As you Americans know, it was Memorial Day last weekend, and I am not particularly productive on 3-day weekends. I hope everyone spent at least a few seconds before popping open the beer kegs at 10am to thank those who had or are fighting for us. My brother and I drove down to LA to visit my aunt and uncle, who’s son is currently serving in Germany.

All in all, it was a great weekend, that could easily be summed up by my cousin’s Instagram photo:

My aunts and uncles tend to have a tendency to think my brother and I are starving children just because we live 3000 miles away from our parents or something. Did I mention my brother is almost 30 years old?! I don’t even know why I’m complaining. It was glorious and coma-inducing. Yes, pity the Luong siblings and shower us with your fancy cheeses and charcuterie and wine and weird Asian ice creams! Throw plates of Korean short ribs and bowls of ramen and garbage bags of popcorn and tubs of Vietnamese food I’m afraid to describe in public at me! I’ll take it all!

Don’t ever ask me “what is there to do in LA?” BECAUSE I HAVE NO FREAKIN’ CLUE. All I’ve ever done is eat. Even when I visit the Beastie, such as this weekend, what did we do?!

Eat.

Oh wait, we also drank 2 bottles of Champagne at 10am.

Not that I’d have it any other way :)

By now I’m sure you’re brimming with jealousy that I can eat like a pregnant woman, drink like a frat boy, and still look like a fabulous 10-year-old girl from District 11. Let me warn you: it’s about to get worse.

The reason I am cooler / better / more likely to be asked to guest judge on SYTYCD than you is this:

I have a cool new screensaver on my phone of a picture I took over the weekend, and I plan on taking over the world with it. Wanna see?

Magical, isn’t it?

Love me, feed me, never leave me.

I plan on having this inscribed inside my wedding ring one day. Wait– do I put it on his wedding ring? Oh screw it. I’m just going to use it as my vows (remind me, dear reader, the night before my wedding when I’m still struggling to write said vows, will yah?).

You know how sometimes you meet someone, and you just KNOW you’re going to be friends forever? That’s how I felt when I saw this quote… scribbled next to the bathroom sink.

 

TGI(almost)F!

BRR’s (Bestie[/Beastie] Rights & Responsibilities)

I won’t lie. As much as I’d like for you to think that I’m an endless well of hilarity, I have to admit that, sometimes, even the deepest wells dry up. I hit a wall a couple of weeks ago, and I don’t know if you can tell the difference in writing, but I was struggling. I could also feel my writing becoming stale. Well, maybe not stale, but definitely predictable. I decided that I owe it to my audience (of 2) to make them pee their pants at least 3 times per post. Nothing less. So, for inspiration, I reread Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” And, because I didn’t quite get the 6-pack abs I wanted from laughing, I also reread Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).”

Two of the best books I’ve read since Harry Potter.

You may think I’m exaggerating.

If you do, get out.

Obviously, you don’t know me well enough to know how deeply I revere Harry Potter.

I have a lightening bolt tattooed somewhere on my body.

Will I tell you where? No! This is a respectable blog, not a “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Ass Cabin” video.

Okay fine. If you quit pestering me about tattoos and sending me those “wow, you look fantastic these days! have you lost weight?” texts, I’ll let you stay. But you’re on thin ice, buddy!

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes. Tina and Mindy are geniuses. (I hope they don’t mind if I’ve decided we’re all on a first name basis. I’m hoping that if I do this enough, we’ll just magically become instant friends.) There’s a segment in Mindy’s book called “Best Friends Rights and Responsibilities” where she gives the guidelines of bestfriendhood. Some of the ones she mentions are:

  1. I can borrow all your clothes
  2. I must be 100% honest about how you look, but gentle
  3. I will take care of your kid if you die
  4. I will keep your favorite feminine product at my house
  5. I will try to like your boyfriend 5 times
  6. I will hate and re-like people for you
And so on and so forth. Most of which I agree. However, I only need you to be 90% honest about how I look, but I need you to be 300% gentle. Too many harsh criticisms about my muffin top or my bony elbows or my lack of dimples and I will break into tears, and then you’ll have that to deal with. So really, this rule is more for you than it is for me.

To this list, I’d like to add a few things. Beastie, you know I’ll pretty much do anything short of sharing a pet bird with you. In turn, here are my expectations for you:

 

Laugh at my jokes, even when they’re not funny. 
No one likes awkward silences. I know most of the time, you (and everyone else) are really just laughing at me, but you know I don’t care! As long as people are laughing, no one is noticing that I ate the entire tray of brownies. So please, if there’s ever a time that my joke is sub-par, let out a hideously nasal laugh so that everyone stares at you and I can lick the brownie crumbs clean.

Know when it’s my “time of the month”
so that you know when to be extra sensitive to my needs. Also, conveniently pretend to forget when it’s my “time of the month” so that I can blame my outrageous cravings and emotional outbursts on it, even when these accusations are completely invalid.

Always say “YES!” to dessert.
And understand that when I say “let’s share this slice of cheesecake,” I just want you to have one bite so I don’t feel like a fatty, but I pretty much want it to myself. We never really order the same flavor anything, anyway. Also, this is already deeply implied, but “sharing food” and “going halfsies” is always a given. You know I can never decide on just one dish on the menu. I’m pretty much going to spend the first 15 minutes at the restaurant convincing you to order the other item I want, and the rest of the meal sneaking forkfuls of your food onto my plate. Please don’t swat my hand away. I’ll let you eat the extra piece of bread they brought out for us.

When my ex changes his status to “in a relationship,” you notify me immediately.
If we are within 1hr driving distance of each other, we are on the same computer within 60 minutes. If we are further than that, we are both on our computers and on the phone within 60 seconds. You will already have prepared a list of, at minimum, 3 ways in which I’m prettier than her. And then you will remind me of all the reasons the ex and I broke up in the first place, and remind me that I’m better off without him. I want to pity this new girl, not want to kill her.

Do everything within your power to alert me when you’re engaged. 
Call me when he’s on one knee if you have to, so I can hear the proposal. After all, he’s pretty much proposing to me by extension, as part of this package deal. Likewise, *like* my status change as soon as I’m engaged. Alert the tabloids. This is as close as I’ll get to becoming Kate Middleton.

Don’t believe me when I tell you “I’m fine” and show up at my house with a tub of ice cream and box of donuts after a breakup anyway.
I don’t care if the relationship only lasted for 3 days… or only took place in my head. I need you. (sidenote: not that the other things on this list hasn’t happened, but I can very clearly remember when the Beastie came over, uninvited, with a pint of my favorite ice cream– chocolate malted crunch from Rite Aid– after I found out a boy I liked had just started dating another girl. We ate ice cream on my bedroom floor and I wallowed and then I got over it. Thanks, Beastie!)

Humor me when I tell you I’m going to marry Tom Brady one day.
Also, text me your condolences after he chokes during multiple Super Bowls.

Tell our friends “she’s fine, she’s just cleaning the bathroom bcuz she is OCD” when I’ve locked myself in the bathroom during a party…  and immediately cut me off from beer pong.
Help me save face. Not that this happens often, but I’d prefer it if no one ever knew about it.

Sit around watching movies we’ve already memorized with me.
You know I am more emotionally handicapped than you, and I can only open up about feelings if Matthew McConaghey is being a dbag, or Katherine Hiegl is being an insecure little beech.

Never directly call me a slut. Or a prude. “Directly” being the key word. 
Even though I’m probably being both… at the same time. Our years of friendship have made us inexplicably talented at dropping hints. I know what you mean now when you say “you’re just old fashioned” and then smirk and roll your eyes. Or when you say “you’re just being friendly and social… with the fellas…” and then smirk and roll your eyes. Sometimes there’s a *sigh* mixed in there somewhere. But pretty much, I know what a smirk and eye roll means.

Remind me how cool / awesome we were in high school. 
There will be days when I call to complain that “my life is going nowhere” and “I’m such a nobody.” I am literally fishing for compliments. Amongst the numerous lies I’d like you to tell me (you’re the smartest person I know; you’re so pretty, Blake Lively is jealous and Facebook stalks you), I’d also like to be reminded that I’m not only awesome now, but I was the shit in high school, and have pretty much always been this amazing. Like remember that time when my volleyball team won the national championships under my leadership and then that night we went to Prom and I won both prom queen AND Miss Congeniality after saving the building from being burnt down by Al Qaeda and then on our way home our limo got a flat tire and I changed it by myself and then was asked to be on the next swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated by the editor driving by on the freeway but turned it down because I wanted to focus on staying in school and curing cancer? Me neither. A made up story never hurt anybody. Alternatively, there will be days in which I’ll call to complain that “my life peaked in high school.” Please remind me how much we’ve grown / how much cooler we are now.

Sing as loud as you can in the car with me
because you know I’m dying to sing, but it’s no fun to sing by yourself. Make up the words if you have to.

Help me go to the bathroom whenever I need assistance.
As an experienced baby sitter, older cousin of 12, former day care teacher, “assisted living center” volunteer, future nurse, and bff of the Beastie who decides to buy an unnecessarily long Prom dress, I’ve done my fair share of assisting others to the bathroom. One of my greatest fears about getting older is losing control of my bladder. I’m just asking you to return  the favor and help me avoid the embarrassment of peeing my pants.

Keep your own check list of what I need in a bf.
Let’s be honest here: I may not always know what’s best for myself. You know me better than I know myself at times. I can’t believe you sat idly by when I dated that underage, drug-dealing, dog-fighting, UFO chasing, registered sex offender with the socks-under-sandals and unibrow! Just kidding. But now I feel like I should, just to make sure you’re doing your job. The better you enforce this check list, the faster you’ll be my MOH.

Keep and maintain detailed logs of my “wedding blog bookmarks.” 
I definitely won’t remember everything, and I need your help persuading the poor guy that my way is best. Also, let me lash out Bridezilla style and stay loyal as my MOH. You know I’ll do the same for you.

Understand that when I open up a bottle of wine, we are obligated to finish it. 
We’re just being wasteful if we don’t.

Nothing changes between us, even if we go days/weeks/months without a real conversation. 
A quick update and then we pick up right where we left off like real best friends do. If we go a year without talking, it better be because one of us became an astronaut and got stuck floating around in space.

Remember to leave out the eggplant and throw in extra beets when you’re cooking for me, and I’ll remember to leave out the onions and throw in extra mushrooms when I’m cooking for you.
I still can’t believe you spent 2 hours picking the caramelized onions out of the risotto I slaved over for you. The fact that we’re still friends speaks volumes about our friendship’s strength and how we’ve overcome these dauntingly horrific obstacles. ONIONS! THEY’RE SO DELICIOUS!

Be there to hold my hand and keep my husband in check during childbirth. 
You’re a woman. You understand the pain I’m in. Let me demand whatever the hell I want. In return, I’ll name you godmother.

Write a blog with me. 
First, thanks for pushing me to finally start a blog. You know I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but I’ve always been too lazy to. (Half of me thinks it’s because you’ve just gotten tired of my whiney/random/sporadic texts.) Second, thanks for agreeing to embark on this journey with me, even though you don’t even like to write that much, because you understand that I don’t want to do it alone.

I LOVE YOU, WHALELAMB. I hope this made you pee your pants 3 times <3

Douchebags need lovin’ too, y ‘all.

(Alternatively named “How to be a blatant douchebag and still have friends”)

I feel like we are entering that inevitable era in human history where douche-iness transitions from “scum” to “cool.” Like everything else in life– Pokemon cards, Yomega yo-yos, Glee– I’m hopping on this bandwagon ASAP. To test out the waters, I started wearing my sunglasses indoors. At night. Even if it dramatically impaired my vision. Even if it made me walk into walls, or worse better yet, into the bathroom while my roommate’s dropping some kids off at the pool. Then I got my motorcycle license so that I could split lanes and guffaw at the tunnel of middle-finger salutes. Now my roommate and I decided that douchebagery needs to encompass every facet of our lives, and where better than to kick it up a notch than the gym?

With a little inspiration from Lebron James, we decided that it’s not enough to just be super hot, buff girls. We need to rub it in your face. And thus, we opened up our DIY DOUCHEBAG-SHIRT WORKSHOP.

I’ll (not-so) live stream it here for you.

What you’ll need:

  • a tshirt that is the perfect combination of athletic and slutty (much like its owner)
  • fabric scissors (yes, they must be scissors of the fabric variety. We’re douchebags, not animals.)

Step 1.
Lay your shirt down somewhere flat.

Step 2.
Cut off one sleeve.

Step 3.
Cut off the other sleeve.

Step 4. (optional, so I obviously didn’t do it.)
Cut off the shirt collar for extra deep-V sluttiness.

BOOM. Done. Being a douchebag has never been so easy.

The best part is, everyone will be so distracted by your super buff arms and now exposed abs that it won’t even register how douchey you’re being. EXTRA DOUCHE POINTS. Plus, it is comfortable as hell. I never realized how constricting a freakin’ t-shirt can be until I started preemptively hulking out of my clothes. It’s like my body just broke out of Azkaban for the first time and went swimming in a pool of delicious chocolate pudding. MMMM :)

Actually, on second thought, the best part about these intense side-slit shirts is the fact your dog (aka best friend) doesn’t have to be left out! EVERYONE WINS!

Nothing sexier than a douchebag and her douchedog prancing around Vallejo, I guarantee it.

(If you find yourself needing a towel after seeing these pictures, it’s probably because I just finished doing Insanity Abs. Thanks, Sean T!)

Anyways, a fun fact about douchebags. It took me a really long time to be able to drop the d-bomb (very much like how I can still barely utter the word “penis.” In fact, my fingers cringed just typing that). I didn’t really say it ever until I moved in with a certain Judy-shaped potty mouth last year. In fact, it used to bother me whenever people would say it. This is mostly due to the fact that it brings back horrific nightmares.

The summer I graduated high school, I worked as a “courtesy clerk” at Raley’s. AKA, I bagged your groceries, walked them out to your car, and loaded up your car for you, put away all the random shit you brought to the register and then decided “on second thought, I’m just gonna go to Panda Express tonight because I hate myself and my body and love cheap knock-off Asian food (this is ironic because Asians monopolize knock-offs).” But most of the time, I just walked around the store saying HI to people and asking them if they needed help finding anything. 99% of the time, people would just tell me how incredibly cute I look in my uniform and ask me to strut down the cereal aisle and then be well on their way, because 99% of people are self-sufficient enough to find things in a freakin’ grocery store.

You know how sometimes you can just sense impending doom? Kinda like Spider Man and his spidey senses? Well, that day, I sensed it. But I went for it anyway. I was gallivanting in the produce department, blowing kisses and signing babies’ heads, when I noticed a somewhat distraught looking older lady. Though there was already a line of boys following me around, begging me to help them find the donuts and pickles (thanks Edith Wharton!), I winked and coyly asked them to stay behind the velvet rope, and then proceeded to walk up to said distraught lady and asked her if I could be of any sort of assistance.

She turned around and sweetly said “sure, can you help me find the douchebags?”

“Um, excuse me? Sorry, I’m hard of hearing.”

“Silly girl, help me find them douchebags!”

“uhh… well, I’m not sure if we, the union of respectable grocery stores, carry them, but I’d be ‘happy’ (I wish I had air-quoted that word in the moment) to help you find them. I highly doubt they’re kept here… between the bell peppers and brussel sprouts… BUT FUN FACT ABOUT BRUSSEL SPROUTS! They’re freakin’ delicious if you saute them with some ham hock!”

“I’m allergic to anything from Brussels. (Damnit, my change of subject did not work.) Now about them dbags?”

“Oh. Yes. Dbags. You can find a plethora of them in the self-tanner and body oil aisle at Target across the street. Can I interest you in some tiny peppers instead?”

“That’s what he said.”

Okay, she didn’t actually say that, but I feel like she should’ve. Her request automatically catapulted our relationship into that level of conversational intimacy. The worst part was, she was so calm about it. Like it was no big deal. Could this lady seriously not tell I was freaking the eff out?!

Eventually I regained control over my legs, heartbeat, sweat glands, and dropped jaw, and started to “casually” walk her around the store, frantically trying to figure out where in the hell douchebags would even be stocked in a grocery store as she continued with some random small talk completely unrelated to my horrifying task.

At this point, God himself decided enough was enough. You know how sometimes you’re watching TV and something is just so unbearable awkward or gross that you can’t even summon the strength to watch it, and end up either getting up to “grab something from the fridge” or changing the channel? For me, the epitome of this phenomenon is when Stiffler eats the dog’s poo in American Wedding. I just can’t bear it, and that’s coming from me, the girl who brings up poo at every formal dinner. Anyways, I’m pretty sure that’s how God felt when he was watching me helplessly wondering around Raley’s with this lady. With a stroke of luck, we randomly walked by the aisle with feminine products, condoms, and yeast infection medication that I only recognize from those equally soul lemon-facing commercials. (Yes, so awkward it lemon-faces your SOUL.) I thought to myself “if it isn’t here, maybe I can feign surrender and next time, she’ll keep her grocery shopping and douchebag shopping separate.”

We brisk through the aisle. My eyes are so glazed over, I don’t even know what I’m looking for. But then I hear her exclaim “Oh yay, there they are! Can you reach them for me?”

I think this question alone sums up pretty well the type of lady she is. I’m 5’4″. If she needs my help reaching something, you can only imagine how petite she is. Also, she said “oh yay,” clearly identifying her as a hip grandma who’s caught that catch-phrase from an even cooler grandchild (who probably knows her grandma should just order douchebags online to avoid the awkwardness). So I throw on some extra thick, fire-proof gloves, grab a box, throw it in her basket, and run like it’s a live grenade emblazoned with the Dark Mark.

So… the end, right? RIGHT?! Wrong.

If you’re as careful and thorough a reader as you claim to be, you’d remember that another majestic responsibility of mine is to bag groceries. I’ll give you 2 guesses to guess who showed up in my aisle. Yes, I handled that box of douchebags 2 more times that day, chalking my life’s experiences with douchebags to a whopping total of 3. And hopefully it stays there forever.

But as you can tell from this post, I have no problem saying it anymore. Just one of the perks of having a foul-mouthed roommate.

Speaking of douchebags… THOMAS KELLER IS THE SHIT.

I mean, this guy has more “chef of the year” awards than Lil’ Wayne has baby mamas.

Okay, I don’t actually think Thomas Keller is a dbag. He’s too godly. That’d be like saying Morgan Freeman is a dbag. But in case TKeller really is a dbag, I’d like to be the first to say that I’m completely okay with it. The world needs douchebags. You need that much ego to make fried chicken as delicious as TKeller. And, as you know, mama needs her fried chicken.

I’ve read Ad Hoc cover to cover. Camped outside of the French Laundry begging for scraps like Tramp more often than I can count. And you can bet your ass I’m at Addendum every weekend, eating that buttermilk chicken. A few months ago, I found a buttermilk roasted chicken recipe by SmittenKitchen that I can sincerely say I love more than I love your mom. Being the culinary genius that I am (move over, TKeller), I made a few tweaks, and made my own fried chicken.

Alexha’s Juicy-Ass Chicken for Douchebags (roasted or fried):

Ingredients

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (um, I used 10)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling (I used Hungarian)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican Style (hot) chili powder
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • lots of fresh thyme
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts (we used all legs)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Flaked or coarse sea salt, to finish
  • flour (if you’re frying it)
(I typically double this recipe)

Ready?

Let’s do this shit.

  1. Smash your garlic. Embarrassingly enough, I, the culinary genius, don’t have a garlic smasher. (My birthday is coming up in 2 days though, so if you feel ever so inclined to send a gift, you know what I need!) So, instead, I threw the peeled garlic cloves into a ziplock bag and smashed the crap out of it with a glass cup. The results are similar, and you get to feel like MacGyver.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, garlic, garlic salt, sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and black pepper.
  3. Strategically arrange your chicken in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and pour in the brine.
  4. Toss in as many sprigs of thyme as your heart desires. (Did you really neatly place the chicken in the bag in perfect puzzle formation? Me too. And then they all fell out of place as soon as I stood the bag up haha) Let this sit in your fridge for anywhere between 2 to 72 hours. I wouldn’t cook it a second before it hits 48 hours, but maybe that’s just because I like my chicken drumsticks to sploosh me in the mouth with amazing chicken juice whenever I take a bite.
  5. When you’re ready to have the absolute best roasted chicken of your life, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you’re going to fry the chicken, skip to step 7.) Take the chicken out of the brine and once again, arrange it perfectly on a lined roasting pan (I used a casserole dish, because I’m a douchebag like that). Drizzle with olive oil and some additional paprika and salt.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. When you’re ready to have the absolute best fried chicken of your life, combine in a bowl your own flour dredge. In this instance, I used flour, paprika, garlic salt, fresh black pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and an even smaller pinch of chili powder.
  8. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and dredge in the flour mixture.
  9. Let sit for about 30 minutes so that the flour absorbs your amazing buttermilk brine.
  10. Toss into your deep fryer for about 8 minutes. (Not pictured. Sorry, I was too busy being attacked by a giant monkey.)
  11. Serve with some super-delectables! For this evening, I served both the roasted and fried chicken (that’s right, my guests got BOTH) with a simple salad, my homemade (and improved) Zuppa Toscana from Olive(r) Garden, corn, and scalloped red potatoes.

Step 1:

Step 2:


Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Step 7:

Step 8:

Step 9:

Step 10:

Step 11:

(Pairs perfectly with Acacia Vineyard’s Lone Tree Pinot Noir, btw. Too bad that’s actually a 2006 Napa Cab Sauv in that glass.)

So delicious, your friends will beg to put up with your douchebagedness, just for more chicken. You have my promise!

If you feel like I’m further douchebagging by bribing my friends with my cooking, then fine. I’ll admit it. We need lovin’ too!

If you’re still not convinced, then you can just suck it.

 

 

 

PS, it tastes extra delicious when you’re wearing a homemade douchebag shirt.

PPS, you owe me a shot for every single time I said “douchebag” in this post. Including that last one. Oh, you didn’t know this blog was a drinking game? Think of it this way: frats and gangs haze for a reason, right? I’m just trying to establish that sort of camaraderie with you.

PPPS, I swear I’m not a dbag in real life.

PPPPS, No offense to proud dbags.

#canonsound

Over the weekend, my friends and I attended a Taco Festival in San Jose that was pretty much an amalgamation of all awesome Bay Area food trucks offering tacos. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the hispanics no longer have claim over the word “taco.” Pretty much any culture can slap some delicious slosh onto a tortilla these days! We had Cajun tacos (shrimp, crab, and lobster in a gumbo-esque sauce, and blackened catfish with a splash of hot sauce), Indian tacos (curried beef or chicken), Chinese tacos (honey walnut shrimp… on a taco), Thai tacos (roasted duck or sauteed lamb), Korean tacos (bbq short ribs)… pretty much every kind of taco except for Mexican tacos.

(Here are some pictures I stole from my friend’s Instagram… bcuz I was too busy eating to take any of my own photos. Thanks, Leiman!)


The point of all this is that there was a whole lot of sniggering going on all weekend due to the phrase “taco fest.”

Similarly, there was a whole lot of sniggering going on in our corner of the movie theater when Judy and I went to go to see Hunger Games.

Quit sighing all exasperated. This is the last Hunger Games post, I swear.

Ahem.

We were laughing because Jennifer Lawrence is kinda an awkward actress. Not in the annoying, I-wish-my-phone-had-a-ninja-star-app-so-I-can-stab-myself-rather-than-actually-finish-this-movie type of way like Kristin Stewart, but certain scenes weren’t exactly depicted that way Judy and I had pictured them in our minds.

Also, did anyone notice that a canon never went off when Rue died?

Anyways, the whole movie had the same effect that those damn Olympic recap/preview/montage commercials had on us: WE NEED TO WORK OUT.

Given that Judy and I haven’t actually been to the gym for 2 weeks, we were suddenly very aware of the fact that we never would survive the initial blood bath at the cornucopia (or worse, never get hired as strippers). We ran home and (semi) immediately got ready to head out for the gym. Typically we record our workouts on Fitocracy, but then I realized that these numbers don’t mean much when you don’t correlate it to real life, so here’s figures from last night’s trip to the gym in terms of Hunger Games:

  • Running (treadmill):
    • 0:08:54 || 1.1 mi (+114 pts)
So slow I would’ve had a better chance of survival saddling up on a Sneeyore (Snail-Eeyore hybrids)


  • Barbell Bench Press:
    • 45 lb x 12 reps (+56 pts)
    • 95 lb x 8 reps (+74 pts)
    • 100 lb x 6 reps (+72 pts)
    • 105 lb x 3 reps (+56 pts)
    • 85 lb x 8 reps (+69 pts)
I’ve looked it up and I would be able to able to haul (given my PR of 105 lbs):
— 1/3 an adult male deer (average 300lbs), 90% of an adult female deer (average 125lbs), or Bambi
— 4 giant turkeys… two tied on each end of a long stick strung over my shoulder like my Vietnamese ancestors… or hobos
— 70 squirrels
— 2.5 cases of wine
… I’m obviously going to go with the wine. 


  • Bent Over Barbell Row:
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+31 pts)
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+31 pts)
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+31 pts)
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+31 pts)
  • Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift:
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+55 pts)
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+55 pts)
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+55 pts)
    • 50 lb x 8 reps (+55 pts)
Given that these two lifts were the same weights and have similar motions, I’m going to say I was practicing picking up and moving heavy-ass logs (okay, maybe branches) so I could build myself a kickass tree house. Swiss Family Robinson was one of my fav movies growing up, btw.


  • Standing Barbell Shoulder Press:
    • 40 lb x 8 reps (+70 pts)
    • 40 lb x 8 reps (+70 pts)
    • 40 lb x 6 reps (+66 pts)
    • 40 lb x 4 reps (+56 pts)

Obviously, this lift is for when I upset Peeta with my overly raunchy comments and I have to stand outside his man-cave holding a 40lb stereo over my head to apologize. I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to keep his feelings in his vagina.

(Whoops, wrong 90’s rom-com. Although I think Julia Roberts and John Cusack would make a cute couple.)

 

  • Lying Barbell Triceps Extension (“Skullcrusher”):
    • 20 lb x 12 reps (+11 pts)
    • 20 lb x 12 reps (+11 pts)
    • 20 lb x 12 reps (+11 pts)
    • 20 lb x 8 reps (+11 pts)

Skullcrushers probably won’t have much use for me in the arena, but they’re called skullcrushers after all, so that’s got to count for something.

 

So that sums up HungerGamesWorkout #1.

It occurred to Judy and I that there are some obvious strategies the tributes could have utilized that Suzanne Collins blatantly disregarded.

  1. Why didn’t anyone bring their Blastoise pokeball as their district token? You’d always have water available, plus he has a shell you can throw from your Mario Kart as you’re chasing the others around the arena.
  2. INVISIBILITY CLOAK! I bet every kid has one, given that it’s the year 3012 or whatever.
  3. Find some wild savage animals, sing to them like a Disney princess, and train them to attack your opponents. They could also cook for you, do your laundry, and help distract your evil step mother from hooking up with your true love.
  4. Give the technician who inserts tracking microchips into everyone a prosthetic arm so that once you get into the arena, you can just hide out somewhere until everyone dies.
  5. The most obvious survival skill: play dead. All you’d have to do is throw ketchup all over yourself, fake some dying noises, and imitate the canon sound (obviously, you spent your whole life training on how to beat-box various canon noises). If you want to get technical, you could even sneak in a mini- air horn / fog horn thing and a mini projector to both fake the UFO that collects your body and your picture in the sky at the end of the night. You might be worried about being able to sneak an air horn into the arena, but if I can do it for my little sister’s graduation, I’m sure getting it through the Peacekeepers will be a breeze. Also, don’t forget to send out a tweet announcing that you died… and HASHTAG CANON SOUND!
The best idea came from Thom,though, who thought that when Peeta said his special ability was decorating cakes, he meant he was going to bake a giant pile of cakes and paint himself into it… and when she’d go for said cakes, he’d pop out and scream IT AIN’T EVEN YOUR BIRTHDAY!
… but she want it in the worse way.


BAHAHAHA.

Which makes me beg the question:
Why is a girl’s vagina referred to as both a taco and a cake? And what other delicious food items are we?

Sexual euphemisms confuse me.

CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE.

I party like a rock star, look like a movie star…

… play like an all star, and cook like a food network star.

Pretty sure that’s what Pitbull meant. Conveniently, this is actually one of my favorite songs to blast as I cook / dance around in the kitchen.

Body rolls and all.

That’s actually the secret ingredient to all my cooking– the dancing. I guess it’s not much of a secret anymore, but seeing as how I’m trying to become a famous food blogger, I guess I’ll have to reveal a secret here or there. Similar to how Rachel Ray released her secret as to how to thread corn. Yes, thread… corn… Oh my heavens, you have no idea what I’m talking about?! BAHAHAHAHA.

This video clearly depicts my maturity level as a college junior. My roommates and I pretty much peed our pants watching it. We also made music videos like this:

BUT ENOUGH WITH THE YOUTUBE! It’s time to get down to business.

So yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my bf and I getting back together. We’ve been trying to figure out how to celebrate, but given our busy schedules, it’s been hard to accommodate any sort of getaway. So instead, I offered to cook dinner, because let’s be honest here: cooking is all I really have to offer. After being with someone for a year, you pretty much run out of party tricks. Cumulatively, we’ve been together for almost two years, so not only have I run out of party tricks, I’ve also run out of made up party tricks.

In case you find yourself in a similar predicament, here are a few of my relationship talents. Maybe we can set up some sort of “talent swap” or “how-to-still-impress-your-bf workshop” in the near future.

  • cooking, obviously. I am obsessed with Tastespotting, and am always researching new things to make, or variations of his (or his mom’s) favorite dishes.
  • among similar lines, I am stellar baker. All boys have a sweet tooth, whether they admit it or not. And even if they’re super stubborn about not loving your baking, there’s always one person you can rely on to eat the delicious cakes: YOU. WHAMO! Win-win situation.
  • scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is a family hobby… to the point where my aunts go to scrapbooking conventions… and one aunt owns a scrapbooking store. So obviously I try to mooch off as many ideas as possible, but still suck. I’m pretty sure a blind lady with no fingers could produce a better scrapbook than me. Doesn’t matter though, because most boys can’t tell the difference anyway. So scrapbooking, regardless of your skill level, is an awesome relationship talent because it’s pretty much a glorified way of constantly reminding your bf how hot his gf is. Yeah, try dumping my ass after you’ve spent 3 hours looking at amazing pictures of me.
  • googling. I love to travel, and I have a penchant for finding cool things to go see and do. Maybe “cool” is an objective word, but I don’t care. I’ve had some amazing adventures, and the type of guys I date must also have an appetite for adventure.
  • gambit. I have a super adorable dog.

That pretty much sums up my genius.

No wonder I was single for so long.

Anyways, back to the dinner. I decided to make a chicken tikka masala pizza, because back when we lived in the same town, we’d grab Indian food at least once a week, and a long time ago, we’d get this smoked salmon pizza from this cool Davis pizzeria every time we had something to celebrate (like the release of Batman: Under the Red Hood). So obviously, I was going to smash these two memories together into one dish, because that’s the type of calculating romantic mathematician I am.

… turns out I was supposed to marinate the chicken over night if I wanted to make the chicken tikka masala from scratch, and my eyes definitely forgot to relay the message to my brain when I read the recipe around midnight the night before, after coming home from a 10 hour shift. Whoops, my bizzle.

Naturally, I jumped ship and went from a sentimental dish to pretty much the most unromantic dish I could think of: chicken paprikash.

“What is chicken poopookray,” you ask? It’s this super old Hungarian comfort dish consisting of chicken smothered in a hearty paprika goulash type of situation and some very understated plain dumplings.

When I turned 21, my brother took my family out to a brunch at this Czech restaurant and for the very first time, I found a beer that I absolutely loved. I don’t really believe in love at first sight, but I definitely believe in love at first sip. I’m talking FIREWORKS, people. I don’t even remember if I was standing or sitting or squatting, but I know for a fact that my soul started skipping and twirling and cat-daddy-ing. As a result, I became a (very) frequent patron of this restaurant/bar, though most of the time I just came to grab a sip of this miraculous brew. (This is the only place I know of within a 250mile radius that pours this beer on tap) Eventually, I decided I should probably eat something, so that the owners would stop referring to me as “that one alcoholic Asian girl who looks like she’s 15 and only tips $1 per beer.” I should probably mention now that whenever I’m faced with a menu in which I don’t recognize 50% of the words or more, I pretty much just close the menu and ask the waitor/waitress to surprise me. I put a lot of faith in people, and I find that I’m only disappointed about 10% of the time. Luckily, my waitress had some sort of cute Eastern European accent, and (though the American school system’s lack of emphasis on world geography has failed me several times) from what my memory serves me, the Czech Republic was/is somewhere near Hungary, and if I recall correctly, that’s somewhere near Eastern Europe, so when I asked her to “bring me whatever you’d recommend to your mom,” I knew I was going to be getting some good shit.

Turns out I was right. She brought me a steaming plate of chicken paprikash, and I haven’t stopped eating it since.

Especially since it pairs PERFECTLY with my favorite beer.

But anyways, at one point, it was a weekly tradition for my bf and to go get frozen yogurt, a pint of my favorite beer, and to see a movie every Tuesday night, so though he never actually had the chicken paprikash with me, we always had the beer together. And in my mind, the beer and chicken paprikash go hand-in-hand. So after a year of dating, I guess it’s finally time to let him in on my delicious Hungarian secret.

See? In a way, I am awesomely sentimental and romantic… in a goulash kind of way.

Blah blah blah. Here’s the recipe!

Alexha’s Date-Night-in-Sweat-Pants Chicken Paprikash:

Ingredients

for paprikas (chicken)

  • 2-3 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 1/4 C paprika
  • dash of hot pepper
  • dash of chili powder
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 3/4 C sour cream
  • 1 Tbs flour

for nokedli (dumplings)

  • 1 C flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-4 Tbs plain yogurt

You know the drill… set out all your groceries!

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pot until very hot. Add a splash of oil then add the chicken, skin side down. Fry undisturbed until it is well browned then flip and brown the other side.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the onions. Fry until soft scrapping up the browned bits of fond from the chicken (the awesome delicious chicken flavor stuck to the bottom of the pan)
  3. Add the paprika, hot pepper, and chili powder and continue frying for 2 minutes or until the paprika is very fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken stock and return the chicken to the pot, pushing them to the bottom of the pot. Turn down heat to medium low and simmer covered until the chicken is very tender and falls off the bone when prodded with a fork.
  5. To make the nokedli, put the flour in a bowl and add the eggs, one at a time mixing to combine. Add the yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is very wet and soft (about the texture of soft mochi), but not runny. Let the dough rest while the chicken cooks. (Not pictured. Sorry, I was busy enjoying my 4th glass of wine and forgot to capture the moment!)
  6. When the chicken is almost done, boil a large pot full of salted water. Flick small bits of dough off the side of the spoon. They are done when they float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl containing some butter or olive oil tossing after each addition and covering with foil to keep warm.
  7. Mix 1/2 C plain yogurt with the flour. Add a few spoonfuls of the braising liquid in the pot to the yogurt mixture and combine. Continue adding liquid from the pot to the yogurt and mixing until the yogurt mixture is warm. This tempers the yogurt preventing it from curdling. It also ads more liquid to the flour preventing it from forming lumps.
  8. Pour it all back into the pot and stir to combine. When the sauce thickens it is ready to serve. Get your sweat pants on and eat up!

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I swear I have more pans than just my dutch oven. I don’t know why (oh yes I do), but I love it so much. I pretty much only use a frying pan my mom gave me awhile back and this dutch oven when I cook. OH! Unless I’m making soup. Then I have a soup pot. Everything else in our cupboards is merely decorative. I’m a simple woman, what can I say?

Also, I should warn you that there’s a great amount of oil splatter happening during the initial chicken-frying step, so make sure you wear the proper protective equipment.

Can’t wait to cook for you, blogfriends, come OUR one year anniversary!

Until then, live long and prosper <3

SUPPLIES!

I know I’m really just perpetuating the problems with stereotyping in our culture, but for some reason, I find racist jokes pretty hilarious… I mean, as long as they don’t cross a line, of course. In my world, a little bit of harmless racism can be quite hilarious. For instance, I heard this joke when I was probably in 4th grade or so:

An Italian, a Scotsman, and a Chinese fellow were hired at a construction site. The foreman pointed out a huge pile of sand and told the Italian guy, “You’re in charge of sweeping.” To the Scotsman he said, “You’re in charge of shoveling.” And to the Chinese guy, “You’re in charge of supplies.”
He then said, “Now, I have to leave for a little while. I expect you guys to make a dent in that there pile.”
The foreman went away for a of couple hours, and, when he returned, the pile of sand was untouched. He asked the Italian, “Why didn’t you sweep any of it?” The Italian replied, “I no hava no broom. You said to the Chinese fella that he a wasa in a charge of supplies, but he hasa disappeared and I no coulda finda him nowhere.” Then the foreman turned to the Scotsman and said, “And you, I thought I told you to shovel this pile.”
The Scotsman replied, “Aye, ye did lad, boot ah couldnay get meself a shoovel! Ye left th’ Chinese gadgie in chairge of supplies, boot ah couldnay fin’ him either.” The foreman was really angry by now and stormed off toward the pile of sand to look for the Chinese guy.

Just then, the Chinese guy jumped out from behind the pile of sand and yelled…

“SUPPLIES!!”

BAHAHA. I’m pretty sure I fell off my chair laughing at this joke, mostly because it’s true. My mom really does say “surprise” like that, along with the rest of my Asian relatives. In my mind, this joke isn’t “racist” because it’s true!

But enough of that. The theme to tonight’s post is… SURPRISES!

More importantly, life’s little surprises.

Like when you go to the bathroom due to #1 and your body surprises you with a gigantic #2.

Or when you find a random $5 bill in your old jeans pocket. (or better yet, when you fit your old jeans.)

Or when you find out that Community is finally coming back on.

Or when you wake up and find that your crazy psycho roommate has cleaned and sanitized the entire house just to avoid studying for her pharmacy exams.

Or when you find a half-eaten Ho-Ho in the couch cushions.

The list goes on and on.

Some surprises are better than others. I’m never really all that pleased when a birdie that I already hate decides to give me a “special gift” from above. But what can you do? You have to take the good with the bad; the “30 Rock” with the “Toddlers and Tiaras,” Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate with Mr. Goodbars, the Harry Potter with the Twilight.

(Apparently all I can think to write tonight is a bunch of lists. So sorry.)

Anyways, I feel like there were a bunch of surprises last week!

For one, I went winetasting, got pretty buzzed, and then got offered a new job. But that was probably the least exciting surprise.

The medium-sized surprise was being invited over for a homecooked meal with Christina Ly’s mom… AT THE NOTORIOUS DONUT SHOP. I spent hours preparing for what I thought was going to be a “my friend’s mom and me” type of date, but turns out she just cooked enough food for a village and then watched me eat it with Christina. So yeah, you can pretty much sum it up to a 50% awesome 50% disappointing surprise. I’m really good at flattering parents, so I thought I would get another chance to wiggle my way into a possible adoption with the Ly’s, but I guess I’ll have to settle for wiggling further into Christina’s heart.

But yes, the grand finale! The big, jackpot surprise of pre- St. Patty’s day week! (sidenote: what does St. Patrick’s Day celebrate? The birth of leprechauns? When is it national unicorn day?)

I don’t know how normal people typically respond to grocery ads, but in our house, we treat them like they’re letters from N*Sync-era Justin Timberlake. Or maybe Friends with Benefits JT? We’ll take either. But yes, come Wednesday afternoons, we scurry around the dinner table, searching the papers like treasure maps. To preface this elaborately short story, Judy and I have been experiencing wildly chaotic food cravings ever since we started turning into meatheads. AKA, we’re ravenous. At all times of the day. So you can only imagine what it’s like when we peruse the food-porn. We also have a deeply-seeded problem with too much food inventory. Our fridge and pantry suffer what I can only assume China and India are experiencing population-wise. We hear the cabinets groaning with fatigue as we make an overly extensive shopping list and reluctantly decide to scour through the slums, searching for any usable ingredients.

An hour later and that original reluctance has turned into excitement– going through our freezer was like going through a time capsule! Minus all the worms and (I wish I could say) decay, of course. I pull out a gallon-sized ziploc bag of mystery and notice Judy is holding another bag with very similar contents. We’re scientists, of course, so we whip out the microscope and titraters  and eventually figure out that it’s a 10 lbs of leftover turkey meat from Thanksgiving with my folks. At first fear strikes our eyes… WTF are we going to do with 10 lbs of turkey?! The only person who seems overjoyed is Gambit. He jumps around on an invisible pogo-stick begging for the tryptophan. Slowly, we realize that we’ve stumbled upon a blank canvas, and we can pretty much make WTH we want!

CLEAR THE FLOOR! IT’S TIME FOR AN INTERPRETIVE DANCE!

The brain juices get flowing (we may or may not have stumbled upon some questionable beer in the fridge and used ourselves as test subjects to see whether or not beer goes bad*).

The room goes silent and still.

I close my eyes.

At first, all I can hear is Gambit begging for me Thom to cuddle with him. eeeehn- eeeehn- eeeehn.

Then a piece of foil from a Costco hot dog is heard rustling in the wind. chiiiiii- chiiiiii- chiiiiii.

Kelis walks into our house all of a sudden and starts singing about her milkshakes. La-La La-La La.

What’s that computer operating system that came before Windows again? Oh yeah. Dos.

I don’t know how, and I don’t know from where, but I figured it out: we’ll make enchiladas!

So… SUPPLIES! Here’s my super makeshift recipe for some pretty bomb enchiladas, and a surefire way to get rid of random turkey meat you find in your freezer.

Alexha’s Racist Enchiladas:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 lbs (ish) shredded turkey meat
  • 1 large can enchilada sauce (I used Las Palmas because it’s spicy. I’m a working woman, alright? I can spare a shortcut here or there.)
  • 1 can fire-roasted green chilies
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • Mexican blend cheese
  • sour cream (or yogurt, for you healthy folks)
Does your unpacked grocery bag look like this?

Yes? Awesome. Let’s get started!

  1. Dice the onion and throw it into the slow cooker with the turkey.
  2. Grab your can opener and get some arm exercises in. Open the enchilada sauce and green chilies and add them to the pot.
  3. Hold the pot at about waist level, turn on Apache, and do a quick few hip swirls to mix semi-mix the ingredients. Set the timer for about 2 hours. *I chose to slow cook the turkey out of fear that its frozen origin would render it dry. If you know for a fact that your meat is nice and juicy (bahahaha), give the onions a quick saute in olive oil on a hot pan and then add the meat, sauce, and chilies. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. While you’re waiting for the meat to stew, line up your boxes of Girl Scout cookies on the counter. Blindfold your roommate and take her to the kitchen. Shove her into the counter where the boxes are neatly sitting. The first one she touches on her way to smashing her face becomes the box you should devour while skimming through Hunger Games for the next 2 hours.
  5. When the timer is about to go off, lightly oil a casserole dish with olive oil to ensure that the tortillas won’t stick to the bottom when they bake.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (Yes, I got too lazy to clear out our real oven so I used the small convection oven.)
  7. Remove the chicken/onions/chilies mix from the sauce and spoon generous portions onto the tortillas.
  8. Roll the tortillas up like you’re rolling up a newspaper to smash a fly and then place them seam-side down on the casserole dish.
  9. Pour the sauce over the tortilla rolls and then top it all off with fistfuls of cheese. NOT TINY SPRINKLINGS. We’re talking a HAILSTORM of cheese, none of that drizzling crap.
  10. Foil and let bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Carefully take it out of the oven and then start fanning the aroma towards your roommate’s room.
  11. Serve with sour cream (or plain yogurt) and lots more cheese!
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I really wish our kitchen didn’t have such warm lighting. Probably has to do with some sort of symbolism. Like how our house is so cozy and warm, like a fireplace. Or how we’re so hot. Who knows?

I’m glad it’s been cold lately. Enchiladas are pretty comforting to me. Well, maybe not comforting? Reassuring? They make me feel like… like if I were to have a bad day and then the bartender buys me a drink and gives me one of those “life is bullshit, it’ll get better” winks. You know what I’m talking about. The non-creepy kind of free-drink-wink that bartenders give you.

Anyways, life isn’t bullshit. It’s full of SUPPLIES!…es.

*I’m obviously kidding. Beer never lasts long enough in this household to even get a chance to go bad. You have better chances finding the end of a rainbow whilst riding on your centaur boyfriend than finding expired alcohol here!

Mu(s)s(c)les.

Buenos noches, adoring fans.

Sorry I’ve been neglecting you lately. If you feel personally affected by my disappearance, find me in person and I will give you a level 3 hug. If you’re unfamiliar with the hug scale (I don’t know why it confuses everyone if they seem to understand the Richter scale or Scoville scale), then it breaks down as follows:

Level 1: awkward 1-armed hug
Level 2: goodbye hug I give to someone I’ll probably see later on in the day, or (at most) the next day
Level 3: genuine “I haven’t see you in years, I barely recognize you with that beer belly and mom arms” hug
Level 4: my pants were on fire and you ran 5 miles to retrieve a fire hose in order to put it out
Level 5: strictly reserved for Tom Brady and Tom Felton… yes, this is that special “adult hug” that your parents awkwardly told you about in middle school.

So if you think about it, a level 3 hug is a pretty good bargain in this situation, considering you don’t actually have to gain a beer belly or mom arms in order to receive one. But before you all start hunting me down like a prized deer in the middle of a famine, please give me a few moments to explain to you why I’ve been so negligent.

You see, I blame it all on my dear friend Christina Ly. Please send hate mail to http://www.itschristinaly.com/ because after all, it’s all her fault. Let me elaborate:

First of all, we make plans to go to SF and she shows up at my house with two dozen donuts. WHO DOES THAT?! Not to sound ungrateful, because I’m not, but there goes every ounce of productivity I had for the rest of the week. You know how on TV (or maybe in real life, but not MY real life), when a couple finds themselves alone in a room with a desk, sometimes they’ll swiftly sweep everything off of the desk with their arm in preparation from some awkwardly passionate lovemaking… on a desk?! Okay, well in my mind, I swept my calendar clear of all the paperwork, cups of pencils/paperclips, and desk snacks in order to make room for some passionate donut-eating. Okay, that sounds a little weird now that I’ve said it aloud, but you know what? I don’t care. Sometimes it does get a little awkward how much I love donuts. Especially if they’ve got sprinkles on them.

Okay, new hypothetical scenario. You know how TV shows have people dreaming about rolling in piles of cash? Made famous by Indecent Proposal? I’d do that to the box of donuts. Much less awkward, right? Ok cool. Thanks Demi Moore for helping me out of that pickle.

So back to the story… Christina had the balls to bring me a million donuts. But we leave them at my house and head to San Francisco where she has a job interview and a coffee meeting with a potential employer. We grab lunch at this Mayan restaurant where no one seemed to speak any English and there was a 50 year old man walking around with just a guitar and his mariachi voice. It was AMAZING. So good, in fact, that my body somehow pulsed with such excitement that it caused my phone to overdose on electrical impulses and die. Usually I’d be heartbroken that my phone is dead, because 1) I had a bunch of witty tweets I wanted to send out and 2) I wanted to be one of the first ones to check into this rare gem of a restaurant, but my heart is so elated from the culinary orgasm that I forget to smash my phone against the wall and instead pretend I’m Anthony Bourdain.

We continue trekking around SF to meet up with my brother (you can find him at http://www.dinhternet.com/) who has invited us to a mussels cooking competition. In case I haven’t revealed this to you before, my absolute favorite dish in the world (besides my mom’s Bun Bo Hue) is moules et frites. It’s just mussels and fries. I had it for the very first time in this tiny little shack in Paris when I was 14, and from then on my dad used to cook it for me every year for my birthday. Nowadays, my boyfriend has taken over that tradition since my parents have moved back to Minnesota. I don’t care who makes it, I freakin’ love it. So you can imagine how excited I was to eat a bunch of different styles at this event!

We get there and as you can imagine, my panties immediately dropped. That’s a real figure of speech, right? I hear it a lot on TV, so I hope I’m using it right. Everything was delicious. I went back for seconds, then thirds, then camped in front of tables as the chefs coolly prepared the mussels on the other side and started asking me a bunch of questions like “haven’t you already been here 5 times?” and “jeez, aren’t you full yet?” I’d like to think it’s just because I have a memorable face.

Anyways, it then struck me that I should probably write a post about the panties-dropping mussels and include some pictures, but as luck would have it, my phone had previously died earlier that day and I was too distracted by Christina’s g’damn donuts to grab my DSLR, so I had to ask her to take photos for me on her phone. A week of nagging later, she still hasn’t been able to send the photos to me (probably too busy baking me more donuts) so today, I decided enough was enough, and I went to stalk the chefs from the event on twitter for photographic proof. I tried to choose the ones that capture the atmosphere of the event: even though it was at a relatively upscale French restaurant, there was a lot of fun and excitement in the air. The chefs were all young and very unique and even moreso talented, and the hilarious MC didn’t hurt, either. Anyways, here are the photos!




(I hope @chefJenish from The Grand Cafe doesn’t mind if I stole them…)

So yes, that is why it has taken me so long to update this blog. Sorry it took me 1047 words to get to this point, the real beginning of the entry.

To sum up the night: I persuaded Christina to go from hating mussels to loving mussels. I also got to witness a 7o-year-old lady drunkenly tell my brother that he and “his wife” (aka ME) that we’re a beautiful couple. For the record, I did clarify the situation and immediately explained that we were siblings, at which point she started grinning and telling me I have a super sexy brother. AAAAAAAWKWARD.

But for the record, my brother IS quite adorable, as you can see for yourself:

AND HE’S SINGLE! SO HOLLA AT ME, LADIES.

Anyways, onto the second half of the reason as to why I have been MIA, I’ve been in a weight loss competition with my family for about 6 months now and just recently got a little more serious about weight lifting. I hate cardio, so I pretty much lift whenever I work out. Since the other contestants have gotten much more serious about the competition, I’ve also tried to step up my game, and now I find myself doing the same things in my spare time:

  • flexing and checking myself out in the mirror
  • mixing protein powder with my blender ball
  • telling my roommate we’re going to get super ripped while laying on the couch and then putting off going the gym until midnight
  • mentally eating lots of healthy snacks but in real life eating donuts
  • wishing I had Kerri Walsh’s body

So, as you can see, there’s been very little time leftover for these entries. It takes a lot of time to summon this much wit!

Some days, I get tempted to scarf down an entire pizza and then not be able to write because there’s pizza sauce all over my keyboard, but somehow I find the strength to refrain myself from doing so. It helps a lot that my brother sends out  emails every morning, trying to keep us all motivated, whether it be a question about what positive thing we did that week, or a youtube clip from a motivational speaker… my favorites are always the photos, though (mostly because I tend to read them when I first open my eyes and my brain isn’t fully capable of comprehending words quite yet), so I thought I’d share a few with you today, in case you’re also in need of some motivation.

Sometimes they’re pictures of ridiculously muscular people (muscular to the point where you wonder how small his junk must be after all that steroid use)

Sometimes they make me ridiculously envious

But most of the time, they make me laugh


I hope this excessively long post makes up for the fact that I was gone for so long.

Just blame it on the mussels/muscles.

(See what I did there?)

:)