little sarah Big World

Month: March, 2012

Being a Girl

I enjoy it, that’s all.

I mean, yeah, getting my period is pretty much a torturous life-and-death experience every month, but then I just forget about it. Isn’t that why people have more than one child?

Anyways, I’ve been waiting for over a month to post this picture of my most favorite (and, well, ONLY) toiletries. It’s because I can only get the Rose Petal Witch Hazel from Whole Foods, and goodness knows I don’t go there but twice a year.

Sometimes I’m prone to daintiness, friends. To beautification rituals and tonics and powders and creams.

I kinda dig it.

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The Seasons, They Go Round and Round

~OR~

We’re Captive on a Carousel of Time

(Joni Mitchel)

Ah, but where does the time go? It seems not even a year ago that I was making Passover puns in poor taste…

…probably because it wasn’t even a year ago. Sometimes seder  has to be moved up a few weeks, to accommodate world travelers. And–as Joey pointed out–it’s usually “a bit more reverent.” Listen, we do what we want.

But oh, we have fun.

Except…except this year’s (early) Passover seder turned into a metaphor for my life:

Everyone was having a good time eating and drinking and wanting to dance all night, but then they all got distracted talking about relationship troubles and babies and the seasons of our lives.

And I still just wanted to dance.

Baking Give-Away!

~OR~

Seriously, Friends, Why Aren’t You More Excited to Contribute?

 I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, because I haven’t been baking as often.  WHAT WAS IT THINKING?! Guys, baking is awesome. It is so much fun, so soothing, such a pleasant early-morning activity. I listened to my Harold Arlen compilation (he’s the guy who wrote “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) and threw together a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal lovelies.

I used the recipe from inside the Quaker Oats drum…

…but I changed pretty much everything about it–flax instead of eggs, applesauce instead of butter, less sugar, no raisins, etc. I’ll post my recipe at the end, for those of you into mutant vegan cookies.

At first I wasn’t going to photograph this little venture, because I had already forgotten to document it step-by-step. Then I remembered that I don’t even LIKE doing step-by-step recipe pictures. I just like taking pictures of that which I find to be elegant, graceful, lovely, and delicious. Like this:

I will never tire of the sunlight coming in through my kitchen window. It warms my heart and soul. And my body. In fact, when I have time, I warm up in the morning by having Dance Party of One: Morning Edition in the little patch of sunlight on the carpet between fireplace and kitchen counter. The soundtrack? “My Girl” station on Pandora. Try it.

*       *       *

I baked these little beauties to say “Thank you.” Some for Robyn, who lent me books 2 and 3 of the Hunger Games series (the crack-cocaine of YA lit), and some were for Marcela, who lent me workout pants at CrossFit when I had mistakenly packed my black stretchy workout top instead of my black stretchy workout pants. An honest mistake.

Saying thank you is important to me; I want people to know that when they go out of their way to make my life more pleasant, it is a big deal. It is a cookie-deserving occasion. Plus, you know, I like to bake things and wrap them in brown paper and admire them in the sunshine at 11am.

In that same spirit, I want you to know how much I appreciate YOU, dear Friends! AND I need help. I’m going to ask a favor, and I promise you that your help will be duly rewarded. With baking supplies:

Here’s the deal:

1 – Sister Nikki gave me baking stuff for Christmas, which is awesome. I always need more dishtowels, and now I have a pie crust protector and other fun baking goodies. But now I have two flour sifters and two rolling pins. That’s too many! So I want to give away a 3-cup flour sifter and a wooden rolling pin. To you!

2 – But you’ve gotta do something to earn it. See, I’ll be away for a few weeks in May, unable to keep up my (admittedly half-assed as of late) blogging schedule. I need content, Friends.

3 – I want YOUR favorite vegan recipes! Send me your favorite recipe, along with some notes (if you like) and some photos. Get creative! Do it! The best recipe/notes/picture combo will receive the rolling pin and flour sifter! Yay! But runners-up will receive post-cards from my top secret vacation destination. Everyone loves to get postcards, right?

*       *       *

So that’s the deal–send your recipes, words and pictures to littlesarahbigworld[at]hotmail[dot]com. Also your mailing address. You have until March 31st, winners will be announced April 1st. No joke!

Now get a-bakin!

*       *       *

Sarah’s Super Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

-1 c applesauce (unsweetened)

-3/4 c brown sugar, packed

-2 Tbs ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tbs water

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour

-1 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp salt

-3 c oats

-1 c chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350°F

-Whisk together flax seed and water with a fork. Set aside.

-Mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a smallish bowl. Also set aside.

-Blend applesauce and brown sugar in a large bowl, then add the flax mixture and vanilla, stirring well.

-Add the flour mixture to the applesauce mixture in three parts, stirring well. Then add the oats. It will seem like way too many oats and you will think “This is CRAZY,” but just go with it. It’ll all come together, promise.

-Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips. Then drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Milestones

~OR~

Please Let Me Remember Tomorrow That I Dropped Picked-Off Nail Polish Into a Water Glass and Not Just Re-Fill It and Start A-Drinking

 Tonight my mom asked me why I’d decided to become a vegan.

Then she listened carefully to the answer. And later she seriously considered my suggestion that she eat more whole grains.

It was pretty bad-ass.

*       *       *

Yesterday I went to brunch at Vertical Diner with Nicole friend. We had both been pretty shit-faced in public the night before. She’d rambled on to an acquaintance at a bar, and I’d negotiated with a high school-aged Jamba Juice employee. Milestones. 

I am not yet too old to be publicly intoxicated. I have not yet reached Patsy and Eddy status. But someday, when I do reach that point, I will be okay with it.

SO okay.

*       *       *

Anyways, the point is that Nicole and I have decided to regress to high school levels of debauchery. And I’m okay with that as well, Friends. I’m okay with staying out late and having sleepovers and making bad choices and giggling and hanging out with my friends as though they were my very life-blood.

No parents, no rules.

(Which at this age means not only that my folks aren’t around, but also that I, myself, am not a parent).

Except my mom IS around. And we drink two gin and tonics (each) on a Monday night. And shoot the shit.

Then I come home and blog.

*       *       *

You’re Welcome!

The Difference a Year Can Make

~OR~

National Pi(e) Day!

…was last Tuesday. How did I not know about this in advance? Anyways, now I know, because it will be every year, March 14th (3.14…). This day, however, is not to be confused with National Pie Day, which is January 23rd. I celebrated that one last year.

Which gets me to thinking about how much has changed for me in just over a year. Last year, I baked that pie at my moms’ house, where I was living in the basement, next to the coal shoot. I baked the pie by myself, because baking is one of my many coping mechanisms, and I had much to cope with–lack of friends, lack of personal space, lack of direction in life, etc. I was taking everything personally, you see, feeling that I didn’t have decent friends or quarters or plans because I didn’t deserve them.

Now, I do have those things:

AND a much-improved sense of self-worth. And guess what, Friends? It was the self-worth that came first. I had to trust that my shitty circumstances were just that–circumstances. That they did not reflect who I was or what I was capable of or what I merited. I had to trust that I could and would have a better apartment, better friends, and better, more-suitable goals. That I was not inherently flawed, but just going through a bit of a rough patch.

And now? Well, now when I bake a pie, I have many lovely ladies to share it with, friendships that continue to grow and develop and deepen all the time. Now I don’t have to use my moms’ kitchen (unless I’m house-sitting), because I have my very own. It’s small, and imperfect, but it’s all mine.

Now I don’t have to feel guilty about dropping out of school, or quitting my band, or looking for a new job, because I know that it’s okay to want better for myself, and that I deserve it. I know that my thoughts and ideas and dreams and aspirations, no matter how radical or half-baked or uncertain, are all mine. I can do what I want, like eating leftover pie for lunch.

Not that there was much left over.

Meaning

It’s not every day in the First World that you wake up knowing for certain that you’re going to see a dead body. And I was thinking about that, last Friday, in the shower. While I got ready for your mother’s funeral.

I know we joked about it, made light of the situation, maybe even more than most would. It’s just that she wasn’t that type of lady, you know? Not the type for us to go into hysterics over, not a warm and compassionate person. And I didn’t know her as much more than just…your mom.

But you loved her. You love her so much, of course you do. And I should have known that. I should have said something better.

Instead I said I was really sorry, and you said “Thank you.” And you said “It’s okay.”

Anyways, I didn’t even get a good look at the body, so busy was I trying to find a place to warm up, but it’s probably for the best. See, I don’t believe in embalming. I prefer my deceased to look, well, dead. Gone, expired. But you don’t know that, because that’s not the type of thing you say to a 26-year-old planning her only parent’s funeral. You just say “Of course I’ll come, of course I’ll play the violin.” And try not to cry when you see the oldest sister’s broken, wet face.

I should have said something, when I got up to play, but instead I made some comment about…wearing heels, was it? Some silly little thing. Then, later, I thought of all the things I could have said. And what I wanted to say was:

“I didn’t know Linda very well, I only knew her as my best friend’s mom, and to tell the truth I was always a little scared of her. I think we all were. But really I was scared of most people’s parents, because they saw me as a bad influence. And I don’t think Linda ever saw me that way. She always welcomed me without much fuss, if I wanted to stay for dinner, or if I wanted to have a sleepover. I never felt out of place in her home. I’m sorry that life was so hard for Linda, especially these last few painful years, and I know that now she’s not in any pain. I dedicate this song to her.”

But I didn’t say that. I just played my violin, and nobody clapped at the end, because I guess that’s how it’s done at a funeral.

And you said so much, and so well. You made everyone laugh, and you made me bawl silently, and you told stories that I never heard, and you gave so much life and depth to your mother with your honest words. It was a side of you I’d never seen before, and all I could think of was how amazing you are, and how strong, and how lucky I am to have you as a friend.

You know, when I came back from Spain, I was plagued with anxiety and regret. I thought I’d made the wrong choice, yet again, and I almost couldn’t live with it. I kept searching for a sign, a reason that would justify my decision, where I could look and point and say “See? There. That’s why I had to come back. It was meant to happen this way.”

But instead I grew, and grew up, and I don’t think like that anymore. I don’t think that things happen for a reason, that they’re meant to be one way or another. I just try to do my best, to accept the decisions I make and deal with the way things are.

So I can’t comfort you the way the others did, can’t tell you that your mother is in heaven, because I don’t believe that. I have no Celestial Kingdom to offer you, no promises, no answers. I do not think that I was meant to come home from Spain so that I could be there for your mother’s funeral.

But for the first time since coming home, I’m glad I did.

Brewtah

 

~OR~

This is How We Brew It

(in Utah)

You might think of Utah as a conservative Mormon-filled wasteland. And you’re right! Sort of. But just as an oasis appears in the desert, so do Utah liberals, radicals, and groovy-types (both Mormon and and non) find ways to express themselves, challenge the dominant culture, and create local, worthwhile enterprises.

Which is why we have so many frickin’ microbreweries in a state where you can’t even buy high-point beer at the grocery store. Viva la revolucion!

And speaking of oases…it’s not ALL ladies’ nights and slumber parties for this littlesarah. Because sometimes my Adam friend comes up with the idea of touring as many Utah breweries as we can in one night, having a sampler of all their beers at each one. He even researches brewing history! YES. And he has a car. So we hit the road one late Friday afternoon.

And drink a lot of beer. Like this:

Brewery #1 – Roosters Brewing Company & Restaurant (Layton location)

I’ve already raved about Roosters being  my favorite restaurant of all time. But we didn’t want to drive all the way to Ogden, so we went to their second, business park-y location in Layton.

Same great beers, same great food. Different location. NBD.

Our favorites were the Diamondback Ale and the seasonal Irish Stout. But they were all good. Except for the amazingly-named Polygamy Pale Ale (“You can’t have just one!” etc.), which I didn’t like. But Adam finished my shot of that, so it couldn’t have been all that bad.

Also, I’ve decided to try my hand at veganism, FOR REALS, so this night was not only about drinking local brews in abundance, but also about gorging on meaty treats that I will miss forever. (But it’s all for the best).

*       *       *

Brewery #2 – Bohemian Brewery (Midvale)

This one was probably my favorite. The atmosphere was like that of a Swiss Chalet (or at least what I imagine a Swiss Chalet to be like, having never been to one…), and the beer was the epitome of European deliciousness.

Each beer was distinct, crisp, complex and refreshing, but my favorite was the Czech Pilsner. I could probably drink 3 or 4 of those before temporarily getting sick of it. The Bavarian Weiss was also good, and super light. We deemed it a summer beer, which was just part of the fun we had deciding which exact atmosphere would be perfect for which beer. Oh, us!

*       *       *

Brewery #3 – Hoppers Grill & Brewing Co. (also Midvale)

Fun fact; if you sit at the bar, there will be sports. If you sit at three bars in a row, you will get super sick of looking at sports games.

Hoppers was hands-down our least favorite. Was it because they’ve perfected the chain-like atmosphere, despite being a small business? Was it because their slogan is “Your Local Chill!” (which doesn’t even make SENSE)? No, it was because their beers, despite being many and varied, all tasted a little flat, both in terms of carbonation and flavor. But I’ll give them points for presentation.

The only beer worth mentioning was the Uno Mas, a Mexican-style pale lager that was pretty much the most delicious Corona I’ve ever had. But probably not worth the drive to Midvale and the harsh overhead lighting.

*       *       *

The Aftermath

I got mud on my “bad-ass boots.”

We tried to meet up with my Dad at The State Room (not a brewery), but there was a $12 cover charge for a raggae/dub band, so we bailed.

We hit up the “tasting room” at Epic, only to realize that there was one chair in a sad little backroom with a grill in the corner and 30 minutes ’til close. Pity, since they have some of the dankest beers around. We agreed that it’d be best to do Epic as a stand-alone, lunch-time affair.

Then we met up with Stephanie Red and Whitney at Desert Edge Brewery, where I failed to take any pictures. Sorry. Anyways, we didn’t do samplers there, and I was sick enough of beer at that point to be unable to finish even my one glass of Anniversary Amber Ale. AND I wanted to complete my Last Supper of Meat with a delicious brew-pub burger and fries BUT they do not have fries at Desert Edge. Burgers, but no fries.

Is that even legal?

And the burgers weren’t that great.

So MAYBE we’ll go there for round two of the Brew Crew, or maybe we’ll try out one of the other three brewpubs in Salt Lake City alone.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

One Time I Ate 16 Courses

~OR~

A Complete Amateur Reviews the Mist Project

Sometimes I can get really into something just because a friend of mine is into it. So where I was never all that into action flicks, I now get totally excited to see them with my Lindsey friend, because SHE’S totally excited to see them. Also…they’re just ridiculous. Have you seen Total Recall? Or The Fifth Element? ‘Nuff said.

Lindsey’s also really into good food. Like, fancy, sit-down dinners. Whereas I can be satisfied by most brew-pub fare. But as seen through the eyes of my friend, a gourmet dining experience becomes an adventure! And somehow I’m magically able to eat, like, twice as much as normal, who knows why?

To celebrate my 26th, she took me to the Mist Project–Salt Lake’s very own guerilla dining experiment, or what their website calls “a multi-course, multi-sensory experience.” We had two bottles of wine! Which made the night go a little something like this:

Course #1: Bread

There were two types–fennel seed/golden raisin/semolina and olive/walnut. I’m allergic to walnuts and Lindsey’s allergic to olives. But the first bread was tasty, and warm. Plus there was butter for dipping. Can’t argue with that.

Course #2: Spoons

These are prepared by students and vary from night to night. Ours was a take on a caprese salad (mozz/tom/basil–that watermelon-looking thing you see is a honey-roasted tomato…I think) and an asian-y thing involving tofu and peanuts and eggplant. The first one was too vinegary, but the second was good. I dunno. I’ve never had an amuse bouche before, so that was cool.

Course #3: Duck-Themed Shot Glasses

The left one is a duck confit with feta, sweet potato and barly risotto. Amazing. The right is a duck tea/palate cleanser. In the middle is a wafer-like savory cracker filled with fois gras. SO GOOD. So creamy, and salty, and…my mouth is watering. The point is, these things used to be ducks, and now they are an edible science experiment situation.

Course #4: Sticks

That round orb is a barley gelato which is just as interesting as it sounds and about a billion times more delicious. So good. I’d buy a carton of it, honestly. In the middle was a wee shot of popcorn with candied bacon, sage, dehydrated beehive cheddar, and powdered bacon fat. Unfortunate, really, because now I have to spend the rest of my life eating just regular popcorn. The pork-belly-looking thing was pork-belly, and was as tasty as one would expect.

Course #5: Beets

That whole yellow bottom part of the plate is a beet-flavored jello (a shout-out to our Utahn heritage). Those bubbles were the first (and best) of many foamy garnishes; they’re chlorophyll-honey bubbles. Also there were a bunch of different ways to eat beats, none of which was better than how I like them–roasted, over a bed of arugula, with goat cheese.

Course #6: Tuna

I don’t know, guys, sometimes I just want all of my flavors and textures to fit together nicely on a plate and not be some sort of equation that I can’t work out.

Course #7: Scallop

I like scallops, sure. Even if you fuck around with them and throw in some mushroom foam and “apple fluid gel,” my mouth will still recognize and appreciate their silky, meaty texture.

Course #8: Guest Chef Course!

This was actually our favorite, but we were so stoked about eating it that we didn’t take a picture. Oops. It was a super slow-roasted squid in it’s own ink. Smoky, squidy, inky. Amazing.

Course #9:

I only like my lamb that one middle-eastern way where it’s ground up and mixed with spices and then formed into long sausages around a skinny sword. And this was not that. Fun Fact: that egg-looking thing is actually a “reverse sphere of curried yogurt” on top of sherried tomato gel. Oh! Also! This course had fried sweet breads (glands), and they were not bad! Though I guess most anything tastes good fried. Except ear; ear is weird and wrong no matter how it’s cooked.

Course #10: Short Rib

This is a blurry photo of a too-salty short rib parfait. But I ate most of it anyway, because it was topped with potato mousse and a RYE AND CHORIZO CRUMBLE. I mean, come on.

Course #11: Campfire

SO GOOD. Our waiter assured us that it would be “downhill from here,” and thank goodness for that, because it meant I could go to town. What you see here is soy and coffee cured beef sizzling on top of a 500-degree granite stone rubbed with beef fat. YES, that is a true statement. A true statement accompanied by a literal can of baked beans. S’good. There were other shenanigans, like edible coals made of meringue and also some  veggies, but I focused mainly on the best beef I’ve ever had in my life. And I don’t even LIKE beef.

Course #12: Intermezzo

Another palate cleanser! But why would I want to cleanse an edible campfire homage from my tongue? Oh, because you’re serving a spiced apple cider flavored granita with merengue and cream that tastes just like apple pie but is impossibly light and refreshing? Okay then.

Course #13: Sunrise From My Plane Window

Sometimes I think chefs can go too far out there (remember all that foam?), but this is an example of where it works. A hand-blown sugar sphere covering a lychee wrapped in passion fruit mousse on a popping candy base? That is a fancy way to dress up pop rocks, Friends, and I am all for it. Even the cotton candy clouds were good, and I normally hate cotton candy. Plus the blue background was a cocoa butter spray that you could write messages in. We talked about leaving our numbers for our cute, hickie-sporting waiter, but decided against it.

Course #14: Palate Cleanser

I think maybe we weren’t supposed to chew up our dry ice Mist tablets? But we did. These cookies were prettier than they were yummy. Also I don’t understand how a cookie will cleanse your palate SLASH why did we need cleansing after two fairly light dessert-type courses? Anyways.

Course #15: Edible Forest

Did I mention that this was supposed to take place at Paradise Palm and have a forest-y plant theme? But instead it was at the former Metropolitan, and besides the campfire, this is how to do it right, edible-botanical-style. The base is crumbled chocolate cake “soil” and pistachio sponges (meant to look like moss) dusted with powdered sugar “snow,” and then we have delicate, intricate chocolate trees filled with glace cherries and cherry marscapone ice cream. Then our hot waiter poured warm chocolate sauce over the whole thing. It was beautiful and delicious and sensual and just rich enough to finish off our meal in style without overdoing it. Except…

Course #16: Mignardise

…except then they brought us this cluster-fuck of random and unnecessary treats. Some of them are made by local bakeries! But what does that matter, because you just followed up a perfectly wonderful last course with a slapdash smattering of not-so-greats on top of your leftover edible soil. Mignardise are supposed to be small, sweet bites served after a meal with coffee. But there was nothing small about the giant log that even our waiter warned us not to eat, because it wasn’t very good.

Anyways, that’s really my only picky-pants objection to an otherwise amazing, lengthy, and thorough meal. It was super fun! And now I’m a vegan, so it’s probably good that I got that out of my system. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.

If I were a professional critic. Which I’m not.

 

…and now…

I guess now is the time where I once again apologize for slacking as a blogstress and promise to post not only new stuff but all the retro-acties that I’ve long been promising. It’s just that time of year, Friends. It comes ’round more often than Daylight Savings Time.

WHICH, by the way, is the most ridiculous SLASH the best ever word-of-mouth campaign. I mean, have you ever, in your lifetime, been forewarned of the impending Spring Forward or Fall Back by any manner OTHER THAN word of mouth? I always seem to just hear about it the night before. Every year. Twice a year. For life.

Ridiculous, is what it is.

Almost as ridiculous as my SEEMINGLY EMPTY PROMISES. However, in keeping with the theme of Zany Time Antics AND in an effort to make a post, no matter how trivial and last-minute AND to relieve myself of the burden of random old emails filling up my inbox…here’s some pictures from, like, two years ago:

 

Ah, bebbes. Gotta love ’em.

And here‘s a DST-related post, from even longer ago! The past, Friends!

Group Projects

~OR~

Why I’m Glad to be Graduated

Man, what is it with professors these days and group projects? I think we can all agree that they are the worst, yet they seem to be ever gaining in popularity. So while I graduated college in 2009 and did I think two group projects, my boyfriend who graduated in 2011 did more like two per class per semester, and my friends who are still in school seem to do nothing but.

Seriously. Seriously, nobody likes these. Everyone dreads them. They do not prepare you in any way for “real life,” (whatever THAT is…). I mean, I work sometimes in teams or on committees at work, and I’ve planned social events as a group (potlucks, movie nights, camping trips, etc.), but it is just not the same AT ALL. Because everyone wants to be participating and tends to volunteer for whatever they’re best at, and you don’t ever have to present about it afterward.

I dunno, maybe it’s just the writer in me that prefers to work solo.

…OR maybe it’s that there are better, more natural, less torturous ways for people to work together towards a common goal. Like this:

Collaboration, Friends! Of the best sort! The bloggy, photogy sort! Just take a photo each day in response to the little prompt, and then share as you see fit! Care to join me? I promise that your grade will not be affected by my performance! Exclamation points!!!

I’m going to wait until the end of the month to share my photos, but consider this a sneak peak–all the photos in this post (except for the one I lifted from fatmumslim.com) are my rejects up until this point. They just didn’t make the cut. Try and guess which photos correspond to which prompts! Then get into groups of four to six and discuss your opinions! Then write a 3-page response essay together and present it for 5 minutes in front of the class!

No? You don’t want to do that? You can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to do that? Because it sounds painfully pointless and frustrating and inefficient? You’d rather be judged on the merits of your own work or collaborate only with others who you know share your same passion and drive and goals?

You don’t say!