28 January 2008

Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

It's your faithful cheese queen signing in, at long last.

Yo, check me out!
Let's make some cheese!

As I've mentioned, I took a cheese-making class at the Zingerman's Creamery on Saturday. I was joined by my posse of Lisas (S and Z!) and four other cheese hounds for a two-hour course on mozzarella. And boy, did that turn out to be the best $35 I ever spent! We got a brief intro on the science of cheese making (bet you didn't know that all cheese has the same ingredients!), then jumped right in.

First up, we made cheese from scratch, mixing all variety of little ingredients into a big bowl. Rennet (I'll spare the vegetarians the details on where their cheese really comes from), water, milk, etc... With the right acid level, temperature, blah blah, you end up with a big bowl of this:

Once the goop has solidified enough, you take a long knife and dice it into long cubes like in the pic. Then you pour hot (I mean HOT) water in to cover it, then pour it out. Cover, pour, cover, pour. You're basically dumping out all the whey to make room for all the cheese goodness. After a ton of this, you finally end up with just a little pile of what is almost cheese. You reach in (it's still hot! ow!), grab the goo, and start stretching it. But not too much -- light stretch is what makes the cheese so fresh and milky. More dumps in the hot water. Eventually, you form balls and drop them in a bucket of cold salt water to set. And thus, you have cheeeese!


But there is more! We made that and I thought, wow, that was fun! And I get to take a bunch of cheese home.... Then they started distributing the curd -- time to learn about the easier way to make cheese, from, well, curd, duh.


In this process, the curd is a shortcut -- no need for milk or agents or anything. Just a bucket and a pile of curd. And lots of ReALLY hot water. Hot water, stir, dump, hot water, stir, dump. Finally you have another pile of goo, and you form that into some more cheese balls of yummy.

But it didn't stop there! We made some more balls. Then we made a braided log surrounded with myrtle and tied with a ribbon (for bake-age!). Then we made this crazy "water ballon" of mozzarella with fresh cream inside. And we got to take it ALL home.

The Posse
We Heart Cheese!

Then we got to go home and eat it! :) Mmmm.

I would highly recommend taking this class to anyone that loves cheese. Even if you don't care about making cheese -- I certainly don't plan on making it at home -- it's fun, and worth every penny. Do the math: one ball of fresh moz from Zingerman's is around $7. I came home with one HUGE round, 2 medium rounds, 1 tiny round (little pinch! for Rachel), a huge braided log, and a ballon ball filled with cream. For $35. AND it was fun! Hello? Do you really need to think about it any more?

And if that wasn't enough excitement for one Saturday, that evening us PPYL had our second Roe event, Get Down for Choice, at the Corner Brewery in Ypsi. Despite the insane weather, we had an amazing turnout. Better yet, everyone had a blast! The band, which I was quite skeptical about, was even awesome... even without lyrics! haha I'm so glad i was able to get involved in this group, and I'm sad that we don't have any events for at least a few months. Thanks to everyone for supporting us and coming out -- hope y'll had as much fun as I did!

Third Coast Kings

I Love My Peeps

For Sara: Where's Waldo
Can You Spot the SHS Alum?

*Note: Quick shoutout to PP staffer Kate who made awesome teeshirts to sell at the event. Just $10, and all the proceeds go to PP.

I Like Shirts That Are Awesome

*PS, Lisa and I went to Zingerman's for brunch on Sunday. Remember how I raved about brunch at Aut Bar? This was even better. I heart corned beef hash.

21 January 2008

We all float down here.

I've been meaning to write for days now... but I'm enjoying this lovely two-week throbbing headache, so I just haven't wanted to look at the computer screen for any longer than absolutely necessary. This is how I feel:

Now that we are past the apologies, it's time to get down to the real business: a recap of our RoeVolution event last Thursday.

While I don't know how totally successful we were in our underlying goal--getting fresh faces to the event and interested in the cause--I think we were all super pleased with the outcome and everyone had a great time. I love our little group, and it's growing all the time. Kate, my old assistant from SRCD, is going to join. She'll bring a fresh, young perspective to our efforts, and I'm excited to have her join the crew. So anyway, we all got there about an early and littered my new favorite bar with PP stuff. If you haven't been, Circus is the top-most bar of Cavern Club, and it's super cool and not creepy at all. Well, other than the creepy clown.

Lions Practice Safe Sex, Too

Palio provided the food (props to them for offering it up at 50% off!!), and we provided two drink tickets with each ticket. The first hour so, everyone hung out, mingled, spread the word. Then the entertainment kicked in. Leah Bonnema flew in from NYC to deliver some of the most amusing jokes about balls I've ever heard. She was a riot and just crazy enough to bring out the goofy in some of our older supporters without totally scaring them.

Ball glitter!

Mmm olives and cheese.

People laughed throughout her set, and she performed for a full 45 minutes. Afterwards, our fearless leader, John, gave a great little talk -- how awesome is he? Awesome, and inspiring, as always.

The last little bit of the evening was spent enjoying the company of like-minded folks. Again, a success, and a good time was had by all.

Especially me and Rachel.

15 January 2008


We're just two days away from our first RoeVolution event -- I hope everyone that can come has signed up and scheduled the event on their calendars. As of Monday we only had 28 registrants; we need 52 to cover costs, and we really want 100. So if you know anyone that might be interested, spread the word!

Just a few random notes from the past couple days. Heidi got a new toy. I love watching her go nuts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSbHSzBcuUM

I used our wedding wok the other night for the first time in months and months -- I always forget we have it, and it's an awesome wok. I threw together some quick stir fry, and it was yummy, of course. I love that you can even see the steam in the picture. I never bother with fancy recipes for stir fry -- just throw my veggies in, maybe some shrimp, and a few splashes of veggie broth and soy sauce. But light on the soy sauce -- I actually can't stand food that actually tastes Asian. So I make some pretty plain stir fry, but when you've got yummy veggies and rice, what more do you need, right?

I also finally used the pizza stone my mom got me for Xmas -- I was so excited! Brad and I are obsessed with homemade pizza now, and I even found a really good frozen dough at Fresh Seasons (even better than the Trader's Joe dough). It didn't come with instructions, so I just used it the most logical way. Built the pizza, put it in the oven. I found out afterwards you're supposed to heat the stone first, then put the fully put-together pizza on it to go in the oven. Oops. Oh well... It didn't cook quite right in the middle, and it stuck in some spots, but it still tasted super yummy! And we ate the whole thing, of course.

Sunday I got motivated to jazz up my craft space and I made a quick trip out to Home Goods. I found a very reasonably priced, gigantic rug, so now my toes won't freeze while I sit at my desk. I also picked up a little doggie bed so Heidi has somewhere comfy to rest while we craft and/or exercise downstairs. AND... I scrapped page 2 of my family album! Wahoo!

A quick shoutout to fellow blogger and PPLY member Alison -- Happy Birthday (Wed)! And thanks for letting me pawn creepy red-head dude on you! :)

And last but certainly not least... A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my most favoritest twins in the entire universe. Meg & Liz, hope you party down, wherever you might be today (Wed). XOXO!

PS. I wish Mike Huckabee would stop calling our house.

PSS. I can't WAIT for American Idol tonight.

10 January 2008

Reading rainbow.

Last night I had my first meeting of book club. I met Lisa, a fellow Humane Society volunteer, at gift wrapping over the holidays. She invited me to join, and I took her up on the offer. She is friends with Kristal, who (I believe) works with Melody, who invited her to join. I think Melody also works with Aleta (I think that's her name), who brought her friend Cassie for the first time last night (*sidenote: Aleta and Cassie met at a Buffy group!). Melody did an Artist's Way course in 2006 with Kathy, and they formed the base of the book club, and thus leads us to the current selection: The Artist's Way.

In a nutshell, it's kind of a self-help book to unblock your creativity. It's certainly not something I would just pick up on my own, but I'm actually kind of excited to work my way through the "course." It's a 12-week program, and we'll be meeting every two weeks to discuss. The core of the process is daily pages and artist dates. Meant to dispell all the crap from your brain each morning before you begin your day, the daily pages are just three pages of freehand, free-thought babbling that should help you feel less blocked throughout the day. An added bonus for me will be the help actually getting up in the morning. I plan to start this... tomorrow! Yeah! Tomorrow! The artist dates are weekly "dates" you take with yourself to do something creative or naturey or just plain thoughtful. Spending 20 minutes on the beach alone (I wish!), going to an art gallery, visiting a garden, scrapbooking! I've already got two lined up: my cheese class, and Melody suggested, as a paper fan, that I visit Hollander's in Kerrytown and check out all the paper.

In addition, each week has a chapter to read, followed by a list of tasks. We're meant to do the one task that we we really want to do and also the one we really don't want to. I haven't gotten that far yet, so I don't know what kind of tasks I'll be doing. But I think it'll be good.

The whole thing oozes of cheese, but it could also be helpful and fun. I need something to get me out of this lump stage. I love love love working from home, but I find myself falling into the do-nothing-but-sit-on-the-couch trap. I love to do my scrapbooking, but I hardly ever venture downstairs. I love to take photos; I used to love to write. Now the most I do is make lists (although dammit, I love to make lists). I've long since given up the hope of being a real writer (I peaked when I was published in 12th grade! ha ha), but I still like to do it, and writing news blurbs at work doesn't quench the thirst. Thus, this blog. But I still feel lazy about that even. So here's to a creative 2008... To 12 weeks of inspiration, getting off the couch, getting crap done, and hopefully reawakening a teeny part of my brain that closed up long long ago.........

PS. The first meeting itself was fun! I'm the newbie so I mostly just listened, but everyone was super nice. And Melody, the host for this particular book, made stew and carrot cake! Yum! Can't wait to see what she whips up for our next meeting in two weeks!

06 January 2008

The babysitters club.

Happy 2008, everyone! Hope the year has been good to you so far! Although 2008 meant a return to work (sleeping in + watching tv is so much more fun), it also meant I got to hang out with Matt and Sara (woohoo!) and even go snowshoeing with them. While good fun, I don't think my clown feet and duck walk are coordinated enough to manuever long walks in the snow.

The first weekend in 2008 also brought a babysitting night with Jordan, as my mom redeemed her first Xmas coupon to go see a movie with Larry. No joke, it was the first time I've ever been totally alone with a baby. And guess what? I didn't break him! I even changed his diaper twice. We had fun playing with trains, watching Ice Age, and I even showed him how to use my camera. He's already taking after his Aunt Stephanie. Such talent!

Q1 FY 08 Goals:

  1. Starting losing some of the "healthy gut weight" I've put on. Cut back on cheese, quit the stuff (pop). Exercise more. With two treadmills, a weight bench, and an exercise bike, I really don't have an excuse, do I?
  2. Join book club (first meeting next week!).
  3. Scrap more. I just bought some organization bins yesterday and cleaned my space up. Much more enticing now.
  4. Get lots o' people to attend Roe event and Get Down for Choice. Spreadin' the word!