2014 Week 16: Associate with your neighborhood

La De Blog - The Mountain Goats @ Laurie's Planet of Sound
The Mountain Goats @ LPOS

Best this week: the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association Meeting/Election was on Thursday and our slate was voted in, and I am now Vice President. We are buzzing with ideas for the UVNA.

Also this week: Dinner with Adam & Jennifer at Semiramis. Lunch with Paige @ Native Foods. Got my hairs cut @ Chicago Ave Salon. Donated books at Open Books and then met Mike, Eliza, and Eliza’s parents @ Black Dog Gelato. Record Store Day Festivities. Our Easter potluck with the nicest porch hang weather possible.

Saturday was the busiest! For Record Store Day, Z and I got up early, went to breakfast at Janik’s, and headed to Saki to try to score the Sunny Day Real Estate/Circa Survive split 7″ for me. Pat had picked up the Songs: Ohia 7″ singles collection at Permanent earlier, which was the only record Z wanted. After we waited in line for 1.5 hours, Sei Jin (who was closer to the front) was able to buy the split 7″, so we headed to Paper Moon Pastry and then to the Numero Pop-up Shop at Comfort Station. Then Girl Scout Cookies and off to The Mountain Goats/Fake Limbs/Savage Sister @ Laurie’s Planet of Sound. Then I went to Trader Joe’s and Plenty for potluck supplies and then met Z at Mariano’s to finish up our grocery shopping.

Films watched 16th week of the year:

Out of the Furnace
A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Frozen

OOTF was completely forgettable for me. AFFOE was my favorite this week and mostly it was because of stop-motion animated hedgehogs, but it was really fun. I finally saw Frozen and it was fun, but not sure it lives up to the bonkers hype surrounding it. I preferred Brave.

2014 Week 15: Positive JAM Recipe for Grapefruit Malört Jam

La De Blog - Grapefruit Malort Jam
Grapefruit Malört Jam

Going to the Chicago Food Swap last week inspired me to try some of those things on my cooking bucket list; one of them being JAM. I dreamed up making a grapefruit malört jam. I asked LCB, my guru of all things home cooking, to show me and on Sunday night, we made my dream into a jammmy reality; jam-ality. We tweaked one of the standard recipes and it was GLORIOUS. I’ve never had a jam like it and neither will you! The Malört after-taste is there, but nice and subtle. Use Jeppson’s Malört only, substitutions are stupid!

RECIPE for Grapefruit Malört Jam
3 1/3 cups of grapefruit segments, chopped
1 1/2 cups of grapefruit juice
1/2 cup of Jeppson’s Malort + 1/4 cups added near end of cooking
4 cups of sugar
1 3/4 T Ball Low/No Sugar Needed Pectin

This recipe made 7 half pints of jam. For the grapefruit, remove the membrane & seeds. I wish we’d seen this great FAQ here before tackling the segmentation. 5 medium grapefruits yielded 3 1/3 cups of segments.

This week: Ukrainian Village Community Page Meet-up for Taco Tuesday @ Old Oak Tap. Spontaneous dinner with Stacy @ Thai Village. Anna Vogelzang/Steven Gilpin @ 914. A lonely Saturday. A super packed Sunday: Bongo Room, Mariano’s, Powell’s, Under the Skin @ Landmark, and making jam with LCB!

Films watched 15th week of the year:

Fando y Lis
Under the Skin

In TV watching, I caught up with The Mindy Project, Kitchen Nightmares and watched Treme.

2014 Week 14: 8-year boo-versary & Chicago Food Swappery!

La De Blog - 2014-04-06 Chicago Food Swap - what I made
What I made for the swap

La De Blog - 2014-04-06 Chicago Food Swap - my haul
My haul

My first time attending the Chicago Food Swap was a success. I made all vegan items: grapefruit cookies with grapefruit Malört filling (2 cookies x 15 bags), creamy & garlicky sunflower spread (4-oz. jars x 12), and biscuits (2 biscuits x 8 bags). Well, I definitely made too much, but it’s a rookie mistake. I gave away most of what was leftover to Chopping Block staff (Thanks, Curtis!) and neighbors! Also, since this was a bigger swap, there were more things for swappers to eye, so I feel like more stuff would have been spoken for at a smaller one. I made 2 savory things; a tip from Ian, because there was A LOT of sweet stuff. The more exotic baked goods had more interest than biscuits or cookies. Case in point: my most requested to swap for item was my grapefruit malört cookies. Only one person signed up for my boring biscuits (though they are very tasty). I walked the floor at least 3 times and every time I saw something that I hadn’t noticed. I am so happy with my haul, but I think I am most excited about the stilton bleu cheese dressing, the pinot noir jelly, the madelines, and the egg pasta. I’m not sure how, but it seems that there has to be a better way than “start swapping” and then a mad dash to try to get your favorite items. I’m rarely a competitive and aggressive person, so hot ticket items at this one that I wanted to swap for, but went too quick were chicken eggs, the bourbon caramels, and ricotta. A swapper named Dora made little stickers with her name and what she made and this was SUCH a good idea and saved the time from writing down your name and what you made as many times as you found items you wanted. Another thing I can recommend is having multiple sizes of items to barter a better trade with, or if a swapper thinks they won’t be able to use all of a perishable item before it goes bad. I had such a great time and am so looking forward into digging into my goodies! I am in love with food swaps now. Thanks to Ian for telling me about the Chicago Food Swap!

Since Z and I dated for many years before getting married, we are not throwing all those years away. We used a gift certificate given to us by Brianne, one of my bridesmaids of awesome, to go to Girl & the Goat to celebrate! This was a stellar meal and it turns out our waitress was a friend of a few friends. Chicago world is the smallest world! The potstickers were TO DIE FOR, but the cauliflower with mint might have been my favorite thing overall. Very accommodating for vegetarians, but not much for vegans on the menu.

What an absolutely great and well-rounded week I had. USPS Meeting organized by Steve. Girl & the Goat! Finally filed my taxes online with H&R Block. Saw Dogs in Ecstasy/Platinum Boys @ Tall Pat Records presents Cuddle x Cuddle West @ Empty Bottle. Had brunch with my friend Christa in town from Philly at John’s Place. Chicago Food Swap. Dinner @ Quesadilla and then Jordorowsky’s Dune @ Music Box.

2014 Week 14: Films watched

Films watched 14th week of the year:

About Time
The Last Dragon
Blood Simple
Jodorowsky’s Dune *

* documentary

Being a feminist, I felt like this Onion article while watching About Time and Jodorowsky’s Dune. Sure, About Time was a romcom that was fun to watch, but I could not stop thinking that the film was fairly misogynistic that only dudes can time travel and then they get to manipulate women into situations that were amenable to them. SPOILER ALERT: there is a scene where Tim first has sex with Mary and then he keeps going back in time 5+ times to do it all over again. Really rubbed my brain the wrong way. Changing the destiny of the sex of his baby by his selfish acts of wanting to time travel. There are some things deeply wrong with that film, but then there are moments of brilliance showing Tim’s relationship with father, played by Bill Nighy.

With Jodorowsky’s Dune, looking back at this boy’s club Jodorowsky pulled together to create ticked me off and, while I am sure this was the norm back then, it’s still gross to me. The only woman interviewed was The film itself was quite good and it’s clear to see that this version should absolutely have been made. Now, for what really soured me on the film. Jodorowsky makes a joke about rape in the film and the half full theatre at the Music Box belly-laughed. Z says it’s because Jodorowsky is just a crazy old dude, but I don’t buy that. He is a true visionary with a downright ridiculously creative mind. It saddens me that the only way he can think to describe his vision of Dune compared to Frank Herbert’s novel is rape; rape of a bride, nonetheless. It’s downright pathetic especially when he was a product of rape himself (source: Wikipedia).

Somehow I never saw Blood Simple. I liked it, but not my fave Coen Brothers film. I think I heard about The Last Dragon from an Instagram user. Really fun, absolutely silly 80′s movie. Worth a watch, for sure.

2014 Week 13: You say sweet potato, I say sweet potato

La De Blog - Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burgers
Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burgers

This week: Fat Willy’s/Muppets with Z & the Jarvises. Yuzu with Ashley. Divergent with Eliza/Jerroid. Shokolad with Gretchen & Margie. Rachel & Tanner’s wedding celebration – nice to attend a celebration filled with so much love and joy and malört. Speaking of, at R&T’s celebration, I made Malör-chata and you should try it! Just mix malört into horchata. Also, look at this amazing poster someone made –> here. Saturday was Street clean-up of Thomas from Damen to Western with small but mighty group of neighbors and we celebrated our job with dinner and drinks at Takito! For his March vow dinner, Z cooked maple sweet potato pecan burgers from The Tolerant Vegan which were a pain in the bum, but totally worth it in my opinion. Recipe here.

Films watched 13th week of the year:

Muppets Most Wanted
Divergent
Goodfellas
Pete Smalls is Dead

MMW was really fun and I liked it more than the first reboot Muppets movie. You know what one of my fave cameos ever in a movie was? Pacey & Joey in Muppets in Space!

Divergent was a nice DIVERsion. I also finished reading Allegiant over the weekend. I enjoyed the series, but the last book is my fave, by far, and I think that will make one awesome movie. The first one; not so much. Jerroid said something like: “I had idea what was going on for the first 3/4 of the movie” and he had not read the books. It seems to be doing well at the box office though, for some reason. Casting for Tris was great and Four was stupid.

I thought I had seen Goodfellas, but apparently not, because I only remembered little bits here and there. I had no idea Ray Liotta was even the star. Wah wah. I used to love gangster movies and I guess this one was fine.

Peter Dinklage not used to the best of his dinkability in Pete Smalls is Dead. Not really worth a watch. Mostly, I wanted this movie to just be Peter Dinklage hanging out with his awesome pittie Buddha.

2014 Week 12: IKEA-Argh!

La De Blog - hedgepacks
Hedgepacks

This week: IKEA & Yuzu with Jen S. Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association Meeting/drink @ Sportman’s Club. Jen L.’s Bday @ Winchester/Rainbo. Sold at Blue Buddha Boutique’s Spring Trunk Show – met some neat makers and sweet customers. Dropped off 6 bags that I had cleared out from #40bagsin40days at Brown Elephant. Tackled my taxes and am nearly done getting all my numbers together.

Doing great with the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. Z is saying I am overly-organized now. It is a really great feeling having a place for nearly everything now. :)

Films watched 12th week of the year:

End of Watch

Weirdest thing ever to have only watched one film in the week since I was so busy. This was much better than I had ever imagined with a very unexpected ending.

2014 Week 11: Veronica Mas Attacks!

La De Blog - Veronica Mars
Stephanie & Me pre-VMARS

Longtime overdue lunch with Linsey @ The Winchester. Dinner @ Quesadilla. Veronica Mars Movie! Grand Budapest Hotel/lunch @ Urban Vegan. Veggie Sushi-making.

My 40 bags in 40 days challenge has been feeling really good. I’m doing a little something each day and it is feeling so good. It’s manageable doing it this way and I’m so happy to be doing it!

Films watched 11th week of the year:

Veronica Mars
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Martyrs of Life ** [ Czechoslovakia ]
Upside Down: The Creation Record Story *
The Butler

* documentary

Veronica Mars has owned my life for the last month and finally seeing the film was SO PERFECT. I have gone to the opening night of Harry Potter, the newer Star Wars, The LOTR trilogy, all that, but never have I felt a crowd more excited than this one. When the film started and ended, everyone clapped. There were squeals of joy and an incredible buzz in the room. LOVED IT! So exciting to see it and I know I’ll be seeing it once more in the theatre before it leaves.

The Grand Budapest Hotel was enjoyable, but I was spoiled with Moonrise Kingdom, which I think is my fave WA film.