French Onion Soup

When I went to France 10 years ago, I sat in a little restaurant on top of a hill and had French Onion Soup to die for. Now, 16-year-old me wasn’t really into food. In fact, I had so many new-to-me food allergies that I didn’t know what to do and I wasn’t used to eating anything that wasn’t frozen and bought at Costco. But ever since then, I’ve been a fan of French Onion Soup.

This recipe is original from Cookography where they call it the Best French Onion Soup Ever, and while I still think that restaurant beat this (but that could be me romanticizing my Europe trip), I do think this is damn good soup. Jason thought it was little labor intensive — I made him stir a lot –, but from what I’ve read about French Onion Soup, this recipe is actually an easier one to make. Though Jason did admit that delicious soup was worth that little extra labor every once-in-a-while.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup
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Tofu Pad Thai

This was a failed experience of sorts. I’ve tried in the past to make Pad Thai, and there was just something missing. So when my friend B tried the following recipe with a good review, I figured that I try it myself. Part of the problem, for me, was the fish oil. I figured that maybe fish oil was as essential to Pad Thai as beef broth is to French Onion Soup. Instead, I just made myself sick from smelling fish oil and remembering every reason why I don’t eat fish and protest fellow “vegetarians” who do.

Jason, being the omnivore in the house, did like this recipe. Which is good as he had to finish cooking it and eat it.

Pad Thai

Tofu Pad Thai
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Hot Issues to Melt the Snow

With the laser beams of anger from my eyes. (Apparently, they already singed my sock.)

1. Obama’s choice of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama’s inauguration. I knew before Obama’s election, and before I voted for him, that he was more socially conservative than most Obama nuts and the Republican party portrayed him to be. Obama’s platform was against gay marriage. As one of my sassier friends said, ‘ah, the bigotry against gay people, something both parties can still agree on.’

Obama and Warren

Obama’s choice of Pastor Warren is a slap in the face to every gay person or straight ally who voted for him. Obama calls marriage rights for gay people — a civil right — a “disagreement.” But thing is, it’s not a disagreement. It’s not that I like mint chocolate chip ice cream and Jason like rocky road. It’s without rights from consenting adults, rights like visiting loves ones in hospitals and getting social security after a loved one has passed. It’s about finally making gay relationships “real” in society as they are to those in said relationships. It’s about how if Jason were a woman, I would still be with her. As Jon Stewart so eloquently pointed out, no one is making Obama or Warren marry men.

Obama says that Warren is not a political choice. I call bullshit, especially given the Reverend Wright shenanigans. Warren is indeed a political choice. Especially since Obama won far more of the Evangelical vote than expected and Warren, an Evangelical, runs the 4th largest church in the US.

2. In a similar story, California is still tangled up in legislation about the passing of Prop 8. Okay, Prop 8 (the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative) was passed for one simple reason: the “Yes” people had a better marketing campaign. They started earlier and initially had more money backing it. They community organized between religious populations and did community outreach. A friend of mine who lives in San Diego saw “Yes” signs that said, “Vote Yes for Free Speech.” As an informed ally, he shook his head, but no doubt others, especially fence sitters, were thoroughly confused.

Good news is that California Attorney General Jerry Brown has changed his opinion on gay marriage to understanding that it’s a civil right. Bad news is that the “Yes” people are trying to repel the 18,000+ already legal marriages. As the law about grandfathering reads, I hope a judge will laugh at them and throw it out of court. (Grandfathering is where you can’t be breaking the law if it was legal when you did it. Or laws aren’t retroactive.)

The problem is that marriage in the US needs to be redefined. It needs to have a separation of church and state. Every other law does. As a non-religious entity, the Government should have no problem issuing marriage licenses for civil rights, tax laws, inheritance laws, etc. As a religious entity, churches, temples, and other religious organizations can have ceremonies of religious and personal significance. I don’t understand why it’s not already like this. When we’re born, the state issues our birth certificate and that’s the legal moment of our birth. The legal moment of birth is not (for example) when we’re baptized into a Christian religion, which would be the moment of birth in that religion.

3. The financial bailout and the complete lack of regulations and the continuing asshattery of corporations while real people are suffering the consequences. Goldman Sachs, which accepted $10 billion in government money, and lost $2.1 billion last quarter, announced Tuesday that it handed out $10.93 billion in benefits, bonuses, and compensation for the year. And some of those bonuses were $200,000 in cash. I don’t make that much money in four years of my salary.

“‘Why be pennywise and pound foolish. You want your good people, you want them motivated. And that is why they are paying bonuses,’ said Steve Kaplan, professor of finance at the University of Chicago.” Geez, I should’ve gone into the finances instead of marketing and e-commerce. In finances, hard times = bonuses and pay increases; while for the rest of us, hard times = no bonuses, no pay increases, and lay offs. Ah, Mr. Scrooge, just another coal for the fire.

4. A new report found that women lose approximately $434,000, on average, over a 40-year period because of the gender wage gap. Currently, the US Chamber of Commerce is preventing legislation to make women’s wages more equal. The thing is that this is not just a woman’s issue; it’s a people issue. In my household, I’m the bread winner. (Jason is a graduate student and gets some compensation.) Needless to say, my household is very pro-equal wages.

5. TV shows throwing out and killing gay characters, then congratulating themselves on being so open minded with their tokenism. Okay, this might not be as big as the economy, but, as a bisexual woman, I would like some better representing on TV, thank you.

Callie and Erica kissFirst, there was the firing of Brooke Smith on Grey’s Anatomy. Smith played Grey’s first lesbian, Dr. Erica Hahn, who hooked up with the bisexual Dr. Callie Torres. Then was unceremoniously dumped because Hahn didn’t have the right “chemistry.” I watch Grey’s all the time and everyone is sexing it up all the time. That’s what the show is about. But apparently, 3-4 instances of lesbian sex made everyone freak out compared to the hundreds of heterosexual sex scenes that have happened over the five years of the show. Even Isiah Washington (infamous for having to go to rehab for being homophobic and being fired from the show) called them out on their bullshit.

Additionally, ABC ditched Rebecca Romijn’s transgendered character on Ugly Betty. Okay, Rebecca was pregnant and taking time off. Her character couldn’t have gotten pregnant in any storyline. Still, pregnancy doesn’t mean that they should completely write off the character and say that she isn’t coming back.

Then there’s Stargate: Atlantis, which I love my cheesy sci-fi. Unfortunately, this past season has failed even more to live up to its potential than all the other seasons combined. The news of the series cancellation seems to have caused the writers to even further ignore any skills they ever possessed as writers. Then they announced, “Oh, we had a gay character and she was Hispanic too. But then we killed her off. Oops.” Because Stargate doesn’t have enough problems with how it portrays minorities that they should also add the Dead Lesbian Cliche to their pile of problematic writing. In many ways, I’m am so glad that the show has two episodes left.

My hot issues haven’t melted the snow. (In fact, it’s snowing again. Dammit.) But they are made of fail.

Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce and Fried Tofu with Honey BBQ Sauce

This was a meal that I sliced and diced together. Or maybe pasted in a better word: Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce recipe, Tex Asian BBQ Tofu recipe (my recipe so does not look like Chef Erik’s picture as I rather just used the frying instructions), and Honey BBQ Sauce recipe I’m not a big fan of bbq sauce and neither is Jason, so I had to resort to making my own. This is a true what’s in the fridge today meal.

Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce and Fried Tofu with Honey BBQ Sauce

Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce
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I’m Still as Pretty as a Turtle

Erica as a babySaturday is my 25th birthday. I’ll be a quarter of a century. Wow. (Yes, this picture is of me when I was a baby.)

My mom is here visiting with my fake!daddy in tow. This time, she let him get his own seat on the plane instead of packing him in her makeup bag. (For I have successfully taught my mom about men-in-jars — the ancient art of shrinking a man down, storing him in a jar, and pulling him out at full-size to use when needed.)

I love birthdays. They are awesome. To celebrate on Saturday, I am having a girls’ day at the spa and treating myself to a massage. (There are many ways that I am treating myself like a lady of luxury.)

While there are unsettled things in my life, I do think that at 25, I am pretty happy. I also think about different my life is than the other women in my family as they turned 25.

My mother was either engaged or almost engaged to my father when she turned 25. She married him shortly after she turned 26 and had me several months after she was 27. This turn in her life made her move to a smaller town, drive in the snow, and become a housewife. (Seriously, my dad took pictures of the hospital grounds the day I was born and there was snow everywhere. See why I live in Seattle now?) At 25, all my mom wanted to do was get married and be a mommy.

My maternal grandma had two small children and another on the way. She lived on a farm in rural South Dakota. She and my grandpa eventually moved to Oregon. It might’ve been when she was 25. But I am not sure of this. (Grandma, any help?) She likes to tell us stories about getting up every morning and butchering 25 chickens to take to market. To think that I don’t even have to grow my own tofu. Can you imagine how everyone would’ve laughed at a vegetarian then? The relatives already think that I’m weird enough.

At almost 25, all I want to do is read comics and hang out with my boyfriend and my totally awesome friends. I mean, we have important debates to consider — like who would win She-Hulk or Wonder Woman? Or maybe I want to ramble all over the interwebs and have conversations with with friends in other cities that I miss so much. Then I’m going to have a spiritual crisis as I drive by a beggar on my way home from my web design job.

I am amazed at just how different my life is. I couldn’t imagine being married or having children. I feel like such a young person myself, and right now, I don’t think I’d trade that feeling for anything.

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Kale

In winter where I live, fresh vegetables are rather limited without making them travel thousands of miles. So it’s always nice to find a winter recipe with fresh, seasonal (or anytime) vegetables. Plus, it has a lovely, spicy flare.

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Kale

This recipe yields 6 to 8 servings, and if I make it again, I’ll cut back on the size since it’s just me and Jason at my house.

The original recipe is from the Foodnetwork’s Giada De Laurentiis

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Kale
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Sunshine Cookies

When we go grocery shopping, Jason always tries to buy cookies. Usually, I tell him no and he puts them back. Of course, then I bake him cookies as it’s cheaper, they taste better, and they tend to have less sugar so I can enjoy them too.

In our Halloween card, my maternal grandma included $5, saying to use the money to buy Jason cookies. Apparently, she was very offended on Jason’s behalf that I didn’t indulge his cookie-buying whim.

Grandma, here are some cookies I made for Jason. He is not deprived of delicious cookies.

Sunshine Cookie

The original recipe is from Melissa.

Sunshine Cookies
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