panda babies!

January 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

madrid zoo’s giant panda cubs.

may I adopt one, please?

—- Cyndie

muffin-top.

January 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

I love baking muffins. They’re fast and easy to make, and the ingredients are usually minimal and cheap. Muffins are cute and quaint, too.

Alex’s nickname for me is “muffin-top”. That isn’t cute at all. He thinks it’s hilarious.

Even though I don’t like it when he calls me “muffin-top”, I still bake him muffins. This week I made him Brown Sugar muffins (I bake them when I’m short on ingredients) and Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins from Baked Perfection.

I’ve made this recipe about three times. Alex wants me to bake cranberry muffins next. I’ve already scoped out some recipes, but I think I might freestyle this one (unless anyone has recommendations). I love baking muffins that use sour cream for moistness, like the recipe above. The crumb topping is also a must!

On a related note, I used to love Blueberry Muffin Top Cereal. Seriously, this cereal tastes just like Blueberry Muffins! From what I remember. Strangely, I could only find it at the dollar store.

I’m excited because I have an awesome cookie recipe that I need to test out this week. However, the muffin-situation took priority last night and I didn’t have enough flour to bake the cookies, too. In time…

Cyndie

cheese & carbs.

January 26, 2011 § 4 Comments

Pasta is far from my favorite carb. That elusive designation would have to go to pizza. When I lived in Italy, I chose pizza over pasta at every restaurant (don’t hate me, that pizza was delicious).

But when pasta is covered in four different kinds of cheese, that’s a different story. I made Jenna’s baked four cheese macaroni last week for the boyfriend & brothers with great success. I didn’t make any changes or substitutions (I was going to make it with whole wheat pasta, but then I realized how ridiculous that would be). It’s also made more amazing with Frank’s RedHot. Because what isn’t better with hot sauce.

a goblet of Coke Zero compliments the pasta beautifully.

Eating copious amounts of cheese makes me wonder how I was ever vegan (albeit for a hot second). All of my current favorite foods  are un-vegan: pizza, cheese, mac n cheese, grilled cheese, quesadillas, bacon. I know, I have a pretty refined palate.

before dousing everything in hot sauce.

I might venture out by making actual pasta dishes like lasagna and…I don’t know, probably just lasagna. Because you can’t really go wrong with cheese & carbs.

Cyndie

true grit. [movie review]

January 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

I watched “True Grit” last Tuesday with Alex, at his request. I was skeptical at the movie choice, and even protested against it. Every time I see previews for a western, I’m unfortunately reminded of 2003’s atrocity “Open Range”, with Kevin Costner. I often cite that movie as the worst I have ever seen, mainly due to Kevin Costner’s awkwardness, and oh, I don’t know, the fact that nothing happens in the whole movie. But, alas, I’m not reviewing “Open Range”.

Anyways, I eventually bit my tongue and went ahead to watch the movie with him. After all, his dog had died that morning. Energy drink in hand (a staple for the movie theater, I tend to fall asleep every time), I was prepared for a painful one hour and fifty minutes.

Although I fell asleep within the first ten minutes, that fact should not be representational of the entire movie. Soon after Alex ever-so-sweetly woke me up by abruptly pushing me off of his shoulder, the witty one-liners drew me in to the surprisingly comedic cast. Hailee Steinfeld does not fail to give life to the western backdrop with her dry humor and smooth delivery. As a newcomer, I was pleased to see that she had no trouble fitting in with the likes of Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. In fact, she stands out with such an unexpected and memorable performance. I found myself on the edge of my seat, not for the action scenes, but instead for the next clever comeback from any of the colorful characters.

Rarely do I find myself wondering, at the end of a movie, who wrote the screenplay. Only as the credits rolled did I realize that “True Grit” is a Coen Brothers film. Not surprising, considering the unusual tone and style (it should be noted that the screenplay is actually in adaption of a 1968 western novel by Charles Portis, and a remake of the 1969 film of the same name).

I would recommend this film to anyone, as it’s more than just a western or an action-adventure movie. I mean, I’m a hard sell; I drag my feet at the idea of watching any ol’ movie, and I didn’t even need the energy drink for this one! I did drink it though, for honesty’s sake. But I didn’t need to. Trust me.

Cyndie

the talking stove.

January 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

Alex’s dog, Eddie, was put to sleep on Tuesday morning due to some health complications. Alex got Eddie nearly ten years ago on his 17th birthday. Eddie was just a puppy!

In an effort to cheer him up, I baked Alex some cookies I have been wanting to bake for a while. When I saw these on Crepes of Wrath, I immediately bookmarked it. Alex loves straight-up peanut butter cookies, but I think they are kind of boring to bake and not everyone goes crazy for them like he does. The Nutterbutter Peanut Butter Cookies are both fun to make a crowd-pleaser!

They probably would have been even tastier if I had not eaten half of the peanut butter chips from the batter, but that was impossible to help. I added all of my leftover Nutterbutters to the batter to compensate! I also subbed half of the white sugar for brown sugar, because I prefer cookies super chewy (I’m not sure if that was necessary because there is a lot of honey in the cookies). The soft cookie with the crunchy Nutterbutter pieces turned out to be a great combo.

Alex and I also went to see True Grit that night as a distraction. I did not want to go see this movie, but I ended up really enjoying the clever dialogue. I may have to write a review soon.

When one of us is grumpy (okay, usually me), Alex and I reference The Talking Stove from Flight of the Conchords! Always makes me smile.

Cyndie

another day, another chocolate bar.

January 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

and another lovely, low-quality webcam picture. Your welcome.

I put salt on errrything (don’t worry I have low blood pressure – for now), so the deliciousness of this combo does not surprise me in the slightest. And dark chocolate is healthy, right? Especially in copious amounts, because then I’m really reaping the benefits of those antioxidants.

Cyndie

black swan. [movie review]

January 9, 2011 § 4 Comments

I’m going to make this review short and sweet, because I am honestly bored just thinking of this movie.

Alex and I went to see Black Swan a couple weeks ago. The film got rave reviews and plenty of publicity, and my interest piqued after I read a couple of articles addressing the strict exercise and eating regimens Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis endured to portray realistic ballerinas. I mistakenly believed that the film would give insight into the life and minds of professional ballerinas.

I don’t really know what this movie is supposed to be about, really. The movie itself was pretty, I’ll give it that, but I never felt attached to it. I nearly forgot I watched this movie the following day. I left wanting much, much more out of the characters. Portman’s character is troubled, but we aren’t given any reason to understand her or sympathize. She merely presents herself as a crazy person. Kunis’ character (see, I don’t even remember their names) isn’t really a character at all, but more of a plot device.

The trailer makes Black Swan seem thriller-y, but I would probably describe it as just weird. The plot was convoluted; a few subplots arose and then never amounted to anything. Consequently, the climax of the movie disappointed. There was no twist, no a-ha moment, no resolution, only a cliched end that cemented my poor feelings toward the film.

I know a ton of people loved this movie, including critics, but in retrospect I wish a friend had told me to save my money. So here I am, being that friend to you. Save your money.

—- Cyndie

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