The Amazing Adventures of Josie and Seb

February 14, 2010

SEE! I do stuff sometimes!

Filed under: adventuring, apartment, food, neat!, pictures — Cate @ 8:57 pm

While Joe’s been off lallygagging in the woods, I’ve been having a semi-productive weekend. Not only have I watched almost two full season of Doctor Quinn* (one disk left until the WEDDING!), I have washed just about every dish we own (ugh), made soup, baked bread, baked half a batch of sugar cookies and beaded a bracelet. Oh yeah – and managed not to kill Josie, though believe me when I say I have been sorely tested.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Friday I got a big package from Fire Mountain Gems filled with beady goodies. I knew I wanted to make something but I was feeling overwhelmed and not very creative and didn’t manage to do much more than look at the beads. Saturday I watched Doctor Quinn all morning (which as we all know is the best way to get creative juices flowing) and worked on a bracelet. It took me roughly four episodes. Actually, I think one was a double episode (twice as nice), so technically five episodes.

It was good practice and I like the outcome, but unfortunately the jump rings I used were too small a gauge to hold up to the weight of the stones. So it looks pretty, but I don’t dare wear it because it keeps falling apart. Listen to me – I’m totally legit as a beader!

OOOOOOOOOOH

AAAAAAAAAAAAHH

Hard to tell, but it's made of rough-cut onyx stones.

It broke. :(

After I finished the bracelet, I did the dishes. I had to break them up into shifts – there were so many, the hot water kept running out. We’re total slobs, I admit it, but we’re working on that. It’s a process.

Then I watched more Doctor Quinn.

Around midnight I started making potato soup (don’t judge) and it was super easy and came out really well. In a move that can only be described as pure genius, I used some leftover bacon grease in the roux, so there’s a lovely bacony flavor even though it’s just veggies in the soup. Did I mention it was delicious? It was.

Josie was really bugging me while I was in the kitchen so I figured I’d give her some catnip and have a good laugh. She didn’t react to sprinkling some on the ground so I tossed her the baggie. She went absolutely batty, rolling around on the floor, mraring, jumping around. I got some cool videos of the insanity, but haven’t gotten them off my phone yet. When I took the bag away, she took it back. All night long I could hear her in the kitchen, doing whatever it is high cats do in the dark.

Later (I’ll in night owl mode lately) I made some sugar cookie dough to chill overnight. Joe asked me to try and make some different recipes. He’s the sort of person who likes to get something different every time he goes to a restaurant. I’m the sort that develops favorites and then sticks to them, and I guess this is reflected in my cooking. I certainly don’t ever tire of chocolate chip, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try something new.

Sunday morning (ish) I mixed up some bread I’ve been meaning to try. It was SO GOOD. And a great companion to my potato soup. Mmm, carbs.

It looks like a meatloaf, but it's a slice of bread.

After a bit more Doctor Quinn, I decided to try the sugar cookies. I thought it would be easiest to roll the dough up in a log and just slice cookies off it – like the ones you get in a store. Problem being, I’ve never actually done that before and it’s harder than I thought it would be. Mostly I just mashed piece together. My logs looked pretty sad.

They look sort of like little brains...

Bad as they look, they cooked up yummy. I’m no food stylist; looks don’t matter as long as it tastes good.

Now I have an almost-made bracelet, a clean kitchen, homemade foods to put in my belly and goofy-looking cookies to follow-up. I guess these solo weekends aren’t so bad after all.

I look forward to seeing what Joe will make when I leave town… ;)

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February 4, 2010

Verdict: Awesome.

Filed under: food, googly eyes, neat! — Cate @ 11:17 pm

I’ve long held the opinion that Joe and I are one of the coolest, bestest couples around. When me and him hooked up, the sun shone a little brighter, the birds sang a little louder, the world just got better all around. I know, I know, as one half of this power duo I’m probably biased about how cool we are, but I’m pretty sure it’s a scientific fact. It’s not bragging if it’s true, you know?

Anyway, I’ve known it for a long time, but in case we have any doubters out there I have something that I think will change your mind.

mmmmm! sloppy, meaty goodness!

Midnight Manwich. I think that’s all I need to say.

January 26, 2010

Go ahead…make my dog.

Filed under: adventuring, food, pittsburghing — Cate @ 6:11 pm

So yesterday I got fired from my shitty, soul-sucking job that I hated. Today to celebrate, Joe and I went downtown (that’s dahntahn in Pittsburghese) to run a few errands and have lunch. Where did we eat? Why, Franktuary, of course!

And on the seventh day...

Franktuary is an awesome little hot dog shop in the basement of a church. It’s where all the cool kids go to eat ‘dogs in the middle of their hip, downtown days. When I was in college, this place was all the rage among my classmates and I because it was started by two young people – just like us! Proof that we could do something with our lives! Proof that life-after-college didn’t have to suck!

Joe had never been to Franktuary so it was fun to share the experience with him. He’s a committed fan of D’s Dogs up in Regent Square, but I think he liked Franktuary just fine, too. Dare I say more…?

Between us we got a Detroit dog, a Texan dog and a Chicago Impostor dog, all delicious. Next time I definitely want the Pittsburgh dog (pierogies and slaw – hello!), but I was happy with our choices. The Chicago Impostor is something I probably would never have ordered on my own, but it ended up being pretty yummy. There I go with my closed mind again…sigh.

Detroit: chili, onions, yellow mustard

Chicago Impostor - yellow mustard, relish, onion, banana pepper, celery salt, tomato, pickle spear

Texan - chili, cheddar cheese, jalapenos

A really good hot dog with yummy toppings, not to mention a Boylan’s black cherry soda (and, oh yeah, the company), makes for a great afternoon.

A reason to smile!

Gobbling in an unladylike manner...?

Of course the problem with such a nice afternoon is that it eventually has to end. But at least I didn’t have to return to the office afterwards – YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I miss you already, Detroit Dog!

December 23, 2009

AVATAR CHANGED MY LIFE

Filed under: adventuring, food, neat!, pictures — Cate @ 3:31 pm

Not really. But I did see it. And I didn’t hate it. But I didn’t love it.

I judge it like so:

Story = suck

Effects = WHOA

3-D = meh

Overall = slightly on the “whoa” side of “meh”

I really want to be excited about 3-D as the NEXT BIG AWESOME AMAZING THING THAT’S GOING TO CHANGE MOVIES AND HOW WE WATCH THEM FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES, but it sort of…doesn’t thrill me. Mostly I just kept thinking, “would I be enjoying this scene even if it wasn’t in 3-D?” And every single time, the answer was yes.

Cool trick, I guess, but I’m not sold.

The real highlight of the evening was the sweet-ass glasses we got to wear:

At first, Joe felt sort of ho-hum about them.

Then he saw how good I looked.

And he changed his mind.

Also, the leftover mac and cheese I forgot to eat during the movie that spilled inside my purse that I then had to pick out by hand.

Totally gross. (Not all of the mac is pictured, smart asses.)

December 22, 2009

Meatloaf Tuesday is kind of a big deal.

Filed under: conversations, food — Cate @ 5:48 pm

me:  are you excited for meaty loaf?!

Joe:  not as much as you, but yes.  I am.  I’ll kick its ass.
Joe:  but we dont have eggs
Joe:  is that a problem?
me:  wait
me:  i thought we had two?
Joe:  oh, ok.
Joe:  cool.
Joe:  thats right.
me:  i need them for cookies
me:  meatloaf will be fine
Joe:  do we have bread crumbs?
me:  oatmeal
Joe:  hmm, hybrid meatloaf explorations.
Joe:  yessssss

October 31, 2009

Happy birthday, Joe!

Filed under: adventuring, food, googly eyes, pictures, triumph! — Cate @ 4:37 pm

So Mr. Joe is officially a year older (and wiser…ish). We had a pretty chilled out day to celebrate, just watched movies and laid in the Sac and relax.

I tried my hand at making him an authentic Southern red velvet cake. Not only have I never baked one, I’ve never even tasted one, so I was flying totally blind. The cake came out mostly OK (Joe ate it and professed to like it, which is the important thing) but it was a trial and a half.

I couldn’t get the batter smooth (hand mixing SUCKS), I forgot to sift the sugar for the icing so it was all lumpy, the cake was red but not RED! like I wanted, the edges and part of the bottom of one cake burned while the middle was raw-looking and sunken, I used canned vanilla frosting in the middle because I thought I wouldn’t have enough cream cheese frosting but I did have enough after all, I forgot to buy candles, I didn’t have a plate big enough for the cake (had to use a cutting board…so trashy), on and on and on.

Look how sunken the middle is! WHYYYYYY?!

Look how sunken the middle is! WHYYYYYY?!

Stupid cake.

It says, YAY JoE iS 27. I'm a corn ball.

It says, YAY JoE iS 27. I'm a corn ball.

Luckily, it ended up being pretty damn edible.

The animals didn’t let Joe’s birthday go unnoticed. Sebastian got him a back yard full of shedded-out hair (so sweet)…

Mmm...less edible.

Mmm...less edible.

…and Miss Josie didn’t claw his face off.

"You're welcome. Mrrarr."

"You're welcome. Mrrarr."

All in all, his birthday was, if not a smashing success, at least an interesting experience.

Obligatory birthday boy self-portrait.

Obligatory birthday boy self-portrait.

October 30, 2009

Holy Mother of Quail!

Filed under: food, googly eyes, pittsburghing — Cate @ 11:12 am

Tomorrow is Joe’s birthday (that’s Halloween, if you’re playing along at home). Last night, as part of the Birthday Week celebrations (really, why limit it to just one day?), I took him out to Bona Terra for dinner. I knew I wanted him to have a Good Meal at a foodie-approved restaurant and I debated for a while over which of Pittsburgh’s many dining establishments to take him to, but Bona Terra won out. All reviews pointed to “awesome,” and they have a local-food mission that aligns with our priorities, so it was just a great fit. Even better, I managed to keep it a secret till we walked in the door.

OK, enough about that. Let’s talk FOOD.

I wish I’d been able to keep the menu because I’m about to reveal how little I know about fine dining. We started off with a teensy bowl of luke-warm green stuff – all I heard the waitress say was, “…blue cheese, heirloom tomato and chili oil.” But it was delicious. We ate it with an itty bitty little spoon. So fun.

For our appetizers, I got a semi-boneless quail with pears and Joe had a tuna thing. Blah blah blah tuna, but my quail was AMAZING. I’ve never eaten quail before and I think I had it confused with pheasent because I was shocked at how tiny and delicate it was. Tender and moist and with this wonderful crispy herbed skin…oh golly. I wanted to take it home with me and learn its secrets. But there was none left.

Then soup and salads. I skipped the soup because they only had clam chowder and tomato, neither of which I really care for, though now of course I wish I’d been less picky because I’m sure it would have been divine (Joe’s chowder was yummy, and I don’t even like clam). Anyhow. I had a baby spinach and greens salad with other things – I don’t remember what they were, but they were good – and gorgonzola crumbles. Joe’s had feta and bacon and other things. Both very tasty.

Then a taste of sorbet before dinner: cantaloupe. I cannot express deeply enough my love of that little dish of heaven. If the waitress hadn’t said it was sorbet, I’d have thought we were just eating a very finely pureed piece of fruit. Holy crap. It was so good. I licked the plate clean, to Joe’s horror. (Not really. But damn did I want to!)

Then dinner, the baby animals course. Oh, yum. YUM. I had a veal rib chop with braised cabbage and the most wonderful risotto I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. Joe had lamb with mashed potatoes and beans – his potatoes were divine, his beans so fantastically green. It. Was. So. Good.

For dessert, Joe had a cup of tea (such a civilized young man) and a lemon pound cake with berries. I had an apple tart made with local fujis. It was melt-in-your-mouth good, with a crispy crust and just the right amount of crunch on top. Oh momma.

Even the bottle of wine I picked out because it was pretty ended up being great. Even the music they were playing was great – an eclectic mix of Willie Nelson and Radiohead and others that somehow all worked just right. At the end of our meal, they started playing Sigur Ros, which I always associate with Joe and I. In the very early days of our relationship, when we were first starting to learn each other, he’d put on Sigur Ros. Those were happy times (heck, they’re still happy times!) and it was touching to hear it after we’d just finished that incredible meal and were staring at each other across the table, all full and happy and lovey…

I wish I had pictures, because it was so extraordinary and beautiful and DELICIOUS – did I mention delicious? – but I refrained from whipping out my phone to snap grainy photos while we ate. Barely. I didn’t even remember to get pictures of us all dolled up in our finery. Trust me, though: we looked good. Even despite a lack of photographic evidence, it was a wonderful night. And I certainly couldn’t have asked for better company.

We’re hoping to make a habit out of this kind of luxury, or at least a birthday tradition. Only four months till mine!!!!

Worth every penny.

Worth every penny.

October 23, 2009

It’s just Thursday in our house…

Filed under: apartment, conversations, food, googly eyes — Cate @ 3:42 pm

cookiedough

Scene – Thursday evening

Cate, curled up in the Lovesac, calls to Joe (off camera): Oh, darling? Be a dear, won’t you, a bring me a spoonful of that delicious cookie dough that I made the other day but have not, as of yet, bothered to make into cookies?

Joe (off camera): Absolutely, shnookems!

(Josie bats a ball of yarn past; Seb snores as he naps at Cate’s feet)

Joe (entering the living room with a serving spoon heaped with cookie dough): Here you go, dearie-poo!

Cate (eyes widen): Oh, you!

(laugh track)

October 13, 2009

Babies, pancakes and reinvention

Filed under: food, girls in the world, googly eyes — Cate @ 1:55 pm

For the past handful of years, I’ve noticed a three-pronged trend among young women around me (who I know in school or knew in high school or see around the city): first everyone seems to get engaged, then everyone’s getting married, then everyone gets pregnant. “Everyone” is obviously an exaggeration, but sometimes that’s how it feels.

Over the summer we had the “wedding” trend. Now we’re full-swing into pregnancy. And it makes me a little crazy. How are you supposed to react when someone approximately your age announces she’s knocked up? I guess the polite response is, “wow, that’s great, congrats!” (or in Facebook-English, “OMG!!!!!!! that’s awesome!!!!!!!”). But I can never quite contain my gut reaction, which is always along the lines of, “oh…uh…yikes. Sorry.”

I have an irrational fear of being near pregnant women, as though somehow the condition is contagious, like I might catch it. Also because I don’t want to let my lack of enthusiasm ruin someone else’s happiness. I don’t want to be that bitchy girl that hates babies and thinks women who have them are stupid.

Obviously I don’t feel that way. My mom had babies, which enables me to exist. I’m in favor of that. Some very dear friends of mine have some very sweet babies and children. Good for them. Good for the world. But it’s not my priority. I’m young and kinda selfish and immature and it’s hard for me to understand the desire to “settle down” and “start a family” and “end my life as I know it,” because my desires are so definitely in the opposite direction – maybe not forever, but certainly in the near future.

I try to be nice. If there’s a way to weasel out and just not comment, I’ll take it. Otherwise I fake it as well as I can and swallow my horror till I get to a safer place. Like my blog, in which I can whine about babies in a broad, vague sort of way, without attacking anyone personally and hurting feelings.

josieC

Pets and babies are basically the same. Here Josie makes a fun game out of digging her claws in electrical wires. Sigh.

To each her own.

[As an aside, I was in college before it occurred to me that I wasn’t a crazy freak for not being all amped up to eventually have babies. I remember reading Sandra Cisneros’ House on Mango Street and coming on the author’s bio in the back: “Sandra Cisneros lives in (wherever). She is nobody’s wife and nobody’s mother” (emphasis mine). It was a profound moment.]

On a happier note, last night my dear Joe made Breakfast For Dinner, one of my all-time favorite meals. He made pancakes and eggs and peppers and onions and home fries and sausage and toast. I was too busy stuffing my face to remember to take a photo, but imagine a very full plate and two very full tummies. It was amazing. The perfect end to a long day of work and class and grainy ultrasound images of fetuses plastered all over Facebook.

Also, you may have noticed a new look to the Adventure blog. I’m trying it on for size. So far I like it! I went with orange because it’s finally fall and the city is starting to color up. I love the crispness in the air. I love sleeping with an extra blanket on the bed. This is definitely my favorite season.

Even abandoned houses look OK in front of that blue fall sky.

Even abandoned houses look OK in front of that blue fall sky.

October 4, 2009

Weekend catch-up

Filed under: adventuring, food, pictures, pittsburghing — Cate @ 12:39 pm

We had a pretty productive, wonderful, busy weekend. PSO on Friday night for Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, which was a wonderful performance, as expected. I made Joe get up early, early on Saturday to go to the Farmer’s Market (actually, he bounded out of bed at the first alarm and I was the lingerer wanting those 10 extra minutes). As usual, we got a good bounty, including some farm fresh chicken breasts and bacon. Yum.

Then borrowed a friend’s car and headed for Construction Junction, which is a wonderland of construction supply. We picked up 3 big carpets (ugly pattern, but it will be nice to have something on the floor!) and somehow managed to fit all three into my friend’s little Corolla. Joe had to fold himself into a tiny Joe-square to fit in the car with the carpets, but…you know, the point is we got everything home. And Joe. In one trip.

Joe unloads a carpet.

Joe unloads a carpet.

We unloaded and set out for Pamela’s, a Pittsburgh pancake staple that (SHOCK AND AWE) Joe had never been to. We went to the one in my old neighborhood and waited in line for a bit and then got some pancakes and eggs. As we pulled into the parking garage and I reached for my debit card to pay the $2, I realized I’d left it at home. Felt pretty silly, but Joe said no problem. I think Joe was underwhelmed by his breakfast, but mine was delish.

Off to the Waterfront. I wanted to zip home and grab my card, but again Joe said no problem, so I didn’t bother. We saw Capitalism: A Love Story and, honestly, I cried through a lot of it. I left feeling so sad and small. But finding a cute dress for $7 on clearance cheered me a bit. (The Capitalism Monster cackles, Spend money! Buy STUFF! Collect THINGS! Ignore that niggling little feeling…BWAHAHAAA.)

Anyway. Since I didn’t have my debit card on me, I figured I’d write a check for my purchases. With the exception of our rent and some utility bills, I don’t write checks for ANYTHING. Surprised I remembered how. But with today’s technology, checks are almost obsolete and trying to use them nowadays is harder than I expected. What should have been a 30-second debit card transaction turned into half an hour of madness – the check printer not working, having to call it in, needing ID, realizing I didn’t have my licence on me, begging them to take student ID, agreeing, check printer still buggy. It was a mess.

On the way home, I realized my card is expired anyway, so even if I hadn’t left it at home, I still would have been up poop creek.

We made up for it by taking a nap.

That night we went to see some local bands play at Brillobox, which I’m becoming more and more fond of. Also, I discovered the joys of hard cider. Good night.

Sunday we slept late, Joe made breakfast (mmm bacon) and we contemplated heading up to the Laurel Highlands. We ended up going to the grocery store instead. Mistake. It was packed and chaotic. And they wouldn’t let me write a check. What a world we live in…

That night I cooked dinner: meatloaf and mac’n’cheese and an apple crisp, made with fresh jonagold apples from the market. I paired it with a lovely concord wine that I picked up at the Ren Fest. The mac left something to be desired, but the meatloaf meatlog was (and is) yummy. Too much crisp on the apple crisp, but the apples underneath are divine. If I do say so myself.

You can almost see my glass of local wine in the background!

You can almost see my glass of local wine in the background!

Mmmm...apple crisp....

Mmmm...apple crisp....

I usually demand a laid-back, lazy weekend to make up for five days of going to work, but we kept pretty busy and I didn’t mind it too much. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, though… ;)

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