Sunday, April 22, 2012

the lucky one

You may think that this post is about the sappy movie featuring Zac Efron, who, let's be real here, is a total manchild. In the way that if you shaved off that stubble, he would reveal himself to be 14 and shouldn't be sleeping with that actress because she's a lot A LOT older than him. But anyway, if you thought that, you would be incorrect. Because it's really about the fact that I won some more stuff! I honestly can't believe my luck. Do note that I spend a significant amount of time entering giveaways.

Anyway, today I received my Muppets movie from Anderson Cooper AND my INPINK jewelry. What a great mail day (I looove mail, especially packages!). I hadn't mentioned the jewelry on the blog before, but I got it from a giveaway at The Daybook (thanks Sydney!). I also won a tshirt from Oberto (yeah, the beef jerky brand), which is super ridiculous and will be given to my boyfriend's roommate.

INPINK (now excuse my discontinuation of capitalizing that name because I feel like I'm yelling at you) has been super generous with giveaways lately, and this is actually the second $40 gift card I've won from them (I got the first one from Selective Potential, so thanks Tieka!) . As far as a review goes, I love what I got last time, and I frequently wear the bracelet set. Their website is great with lots of search options. The one thing I don't like is they don't provide photos of people wearing their jewelry, so sometimes it's hard to visualize the size of pieces (especially earrings). Their packaging is meticulously done, with each piece of jewelry individually wrapped in tissue paper, then put in a cute little box with beaded elastic to keep it closed. I got two pieces of jewelry with each $40 gift card and still had enough for shipping! I would recommend the site for gifts for girlfriends, maybe even options for your bridal party.

I thought I'd share what I got this time around...
Pink Tear Drop Necklace, which I got on sale.

Gold Tone Hammered Teardrops on Chain Earrings

Anyway, I did win one more thing, but I'm going to keep it a secret for now because I want to post a picture when it gets here!
Maybe I should've played Mega Millionaire afterall... 

Monday, April 9, 2012

matzoh much?

So in case you didn't know, Passover began Friday. I'm not observant, so I've been gorging myself on all carbs without discretion, as per usual. However, David is observing, so when he came into town this weekend, I thought it wise to not torture him by making homemade banana bread with dark chocolate chunks (must I remind you that I am so. nice.?).
Instead, I made an appropriate treat -- chocolate covered matzoh toffee concoction!
Usually I make this with Saltines, and it is gooood if not better that way, but since I had a whole box of matzoh, we substituted the salty crackers and used our unleavened bread instead. It worked almost as well, which you can read about below. This is a serious crowd pleaser, folks. This is the treat that I give as a gift during the holidays because it is always a hit.
We also made matzoh brei, which I had never had before. There are many ways to make it, including making a kind of dough and frying it up like pancakes. Then just add jam/jelly (we used peach) or maple syrup. We used this recipe from Epicurious, who you can also thank for the delicious picture below.
As for the chocolate toffee concoction, here's the recipe for that:

Matzoh Toffee
  • 2 1/2 sheets of matzoh (or whatever will fit nicely on your cookie sheet)
  • 1 stick butter 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I generally use semi-sweet chocolate chips, and two cups is about a normal sized bag)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put some aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray (Pam). 
Arrange matzoh as a single layer on the foil -- I used whole sheets, but I would recommend breaking it up into smaller (think Saltine size) pieces, so the toffee can get under it better. 
Combine brown sugar and butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook until just bubbling/boiling. Make sure it's well blended.
Pour this toffee liquid onto your matzoh, making sure it's somewhat even -- it will spread more in the oven, so it doesn't have to be perfect.
Bake for about five minutes (I'd check at four). The toffee should be bubbling and spread out all over and below your matzoh. 
Take it out and quickly pour the chocolate chips over the bubbling toffee. Wait about 30 seconds for the chocolate to start melting, then spread it with a knife, so it's even all over the matzoh. 
You can add nuts or crushed matzoh on top if you like at this point.
Put in the fridge for at least an hour (or 30 minutes if you really can't stand waiting that long). 
Store in the fridge in an airtight container if you have any left over :).

Yum yum! Enjoy these tasty matzoh treats and brag about them to your non-observant friends!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

a lazy weekend

Dear Weekend,
Thank you for being SO good to me. You were hot but not too hot, sunny but not too sunny, and just the right amount of breezy. And definitely lazy, can't forget that one.
You came right when I needed you.
So thanks for that.

The boy came down this weekend, and really, all we've done is hang out by my apartment complex's pool (looks like a resort, right?!) with $35 worth of daiquiris (true story -- I had a LivingSocial deal that was expiring today!). Geeze, I'm pale. Oh, and we've cooked. And we are not cookers, as I may have mentioned. We made that garlic shrimp I mentioned in my last post, and it was equally delicious (we used 3/4 of a pound for the both of us, by the way, and poured it and the sauce it makes over some jasmine rice -- scrumptious!). David even steamed some green beans. I know, we're gettin' pretty fancy over here.
Tonight we're making some grilled chicken (thanks, George Foreman, you're a pal), mashed potatoes, and oven-baked asparagus. We are crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. After some dinner, we're headed to Jeff, Who Lives at Home at Perkins Rowe. Tomorrow it's back to work with me, and I won't even be that mad about it because of how much relaxin' we've been doing. It helps that I don't have class this week. So hopefully I'll get some serious cleaning, maybe some crafting, done, which would mean a few good blog posts. We'll see!
P.S. Next post -- what to do with all that matzoh you've got!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

in the kitchen with hilary

The title of this post is actually the title of a horror comedy (kind of like a romantic comedy, but... without the romance, plus a little terror -- but the realistic kind, not that sci-fi crap). This is because I am a hot mess in the kitchen. I am not exaggerating. Because I don't have a lot of experience cooking, when I leave the kitchen after one of my "adventures," the mess left behind is unreal. It's like a five year old was in there (and that's kind of insulting the whole five year old population).

Anyway, one of my goals this semester was to cook more. This was for various reasons:

1. I spent all of my income from last year's research assistant job eating out. Now, I was in New Orleans, which has the best food in the country (ask anyone), so it's kind of hard to NOT do so. Nonetheless, I could've used that money now for, well, food. Or rent. Or to pay back my newly acquired loans. I'm gonna have a lil panic attack if I keep discussing finances, so moving on. People claim it's significantly cheaper to cook for yourself. I have yet to see the major savings, but that may be because I don't use ingredients wisely and wind up throwing away food. (If you have advice, please share.)

2. It's healthier for me to cook than eat fries and toast at Raising Cane's (Don't live in the south? Let me educate you. Don't bother looking at the nutrition facts, just let me tell you that most anything is probably healthier than the carb-only meal I delight in far too often at their fine establishment.).

3. This is a skill that I will likely need in the future. Even though the boy and I are thoroughly convinced we will be rich enough to either eat out for every meal or have a personal chef, someday I may actually like cooking and want to feel self-sufficient. Maybe.

Based on the above evidence, I have started browsing websites online (I really like and have a subscription (which I got for free because I'm a baller, duh) to Rachel Ray. Half the time I don't know what she's talking about in her recipes (What is this season you speak of, Rachel? Could you be a little more clear?), but I have used a few with good results.

Here's the recipe I used for dinner on Monday (then leftovers for lunch Tuesday, yum yum). I highly recommend it! It's super easy (I could do it, which means you can definitely do it). I couldn't find it online to link to, so I typed it for you because I am just. that. nice.

Garlic Shrimp from Everyday with Rachel Ray, May 2012

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb large shrimp (peeled, tails on, deveined) -- I couldn't find any at my store with these specifications, so I got deveined and peeled them myself (a little icky but definitely cheaper that way, I'm sure, and still fresh); I also only used 1/2 lb but kept all measurements approximately the same
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped -- I made this easier by using the pre-chopped garlic bits that are sold in a jar... so much easier! It tells you on the jar how many tbsp are equal to a clove.
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro 
  • lime wedges -- I used lime juice found in a jar. As you can see, I like to make it especially easy for myself!
Heat skillet over medium-high. Add 2 tbsp butter and shrimp; cook undisturbed, 1 minute. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds, season (See what I mean? ;) ). Off heat, toss with remaining 1 tbsp. butter and cilantro. Squeeze in lime. Serves 4. (So that would be 1/4 lb of shrimp for each person.. I ate this as an entree twice, so the same serving size, but as an entree. Use your appetite as your guide.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

what I wore.. no, won!

I'm a pretty big fan of giveaways. I enter kind of a lot, and it's only getting worse.
But I keep winning! There's something to be said about positive reinforcement, you guys.

Anyway, my most recent win is the Wocka Wocka Muppets Value Pack from Anderson Cooper's talk show Anderson. I guess I entered on the website (See, I enter so many I can't even remember! Yikes!), but anyway, I got a notification in the mail that I had won and to send in a form to claim it. I haven't claimed yet, but I'm pretty excited about it because I loved the Muppets movie. Didn't you? So funny.
He probably remembered me from speaking at my graduation in 2010, don't you think? Tulane bias, you know how it goes.

Anyway, thanks Anderson! I can't wait to get it and watch it (and share the Blu Ray with my family).

P.S. Want to get in on the giveaways? My current obsession is They're having an Easter contest, in which they "hide" 100s of gift cards (and prizes as big as an iPad!) on their site each day. You can sign up at my link here if you'd like to join in!