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Hello, I Quit.

So, I know you guys have had a whole weekend to forget entirely about any of my earlier posts (or possibly the fact that I even exist), but try to keep up with me here…

Remember the job I mentioned here, here, and kinda-sorta here?

The boring one with the great coffee and gross lack of supervision?

The one I just got three weeks ago?

That job?

Well… I quit it yesterday.  Ha!

How could I do that, you ask? 

Well, I’d love to say there was a reason, but I just… I just don’t know what got into me. 

The last thing I remember was sitting at my desk and the woman in the next cubicle over was slurping her soup, and it was just so maddening to listen to the constant sluuurp, sluuurp, sluuurp that I didn’t even notice when my eye started twitching.  And, well, I guess I just sort of lost it after that… 

My memory of the incident’s pretty fuzzy, but the police reports say that I climbed up on my desk, took off one of my high heels and held it like a gun while making bullet noises—pshew pshew pshew!—at coworkers. 

And, for the record, apparently security guards are authorized to use brute force—fortunately, I’m wiggly like a greased piglet, so when they tried to tackle me, they only ended up being able to hold onto my feet.  Which, of course, just ended in an awkward (but kind of fun) situation where they wheelbarrowed me around the office for a minute or two.  Then I think I managed to latch onto the water cooler and pull it over before they dragged me, kicking and screaming, out of the building. 

Haha, kidding. 

But, seriously, how awesome would that have been?

Even if it didn’t happen like that exactly, rest assured, it did still happen.  I just chose to go the far more pathetic route of sweating profusely and groveling for their forgiveness in between repeated apologies.  (I’m easily guilted, which makes me wretched at break-ups of any kind.  Seriously, ask any of my ex-boyfriends. )

Ok, and I didn’t quit on the spot exactly as inform them in stuttering, broken English (I’m like an ESL student when I’m nervous) that I would not, in fact, be making any appearances—special guest or otherwise—in the office after early August.

So maybe it doesn’t make as entertaining a story as going out in a glorious blaze of psychotic, law-enforcement-induced fury, but still.  I did it.

The more pressing question than how I quit is probably why

Well that, dear friends, will be revealed here very, very shortly.   Just bear with us a little bit longer. 

Suffice it to say, after years and years of complaining about mediocre desk jockey jobs, I’m making the conscious choice to try out something different. 

And who knows where it’ll lead?  I may very well end up at a desk job again (and, if so, please disregard this post, potential employer!), but I feel I owe it to myself to try something new and see what happens. 

And maybe I’ll have an adventure or two.  And maybe I’ll learn something about myself.  And maybe by the time I’m back from wherever I end up, I’ll be settled down and ready for that nice, comfy desk job.

Maybe.

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Guilty Pleasure

One of my all-time favorite foods is the avocado.

Case-in-point.  Here’s the DELICIOUS avocado salad I ordered at a sushi restaurant in Frederick, MD a few weeks ago:

Avocado Salad

If I can eat – and love – a “salad” comprised almost entirely of avocado, you know I love ‘em.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that it was followed by this:

Sushi

(Sorry, took the sushi photo with my phone.)

And this:

Cocktail

But anyway.  You wanna make me happy?  Don’t bring me flowers.  Don’t bring me jewelry.  Bring me a couple of ripe avocados.

(Or a can of black olives.)

But today, I’m talkin’ about the avocado.  A luscious, buttery, and green (happens to be my favorite color) fruit that tastes great plain, but even better when adorning a BLT, salmon, or whipped up into a dip for chips.

I make avocado dip all the time in the summer.  It’s my favorite weekend snack, especially when the hubs is out of town.  It’s not exactly a healthy treat, but a girl’s gotta have some guilty pleasures, right?  Right?!

I’m sure you’re all familiar with guacamole, which is made from avocados mixed with various seasonings, tomatoes, and onion.

The dip I make is quite a bit simpler because it’s really just all about the garlic.  And I usually have all of the ingredients on-hand (besides the avocados).  I play with the proportions all the time – you’ll notice the amounts in my photos don’t exactly match the amounts below, but below tends to be the proportions I stick with the most and should give you a good base to adjust according to your tastes.

What you need:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or more if you love garlic like me – less if you plan on making out with someone who didn’t eat this with you)
  • 6 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1.  Start by dicing up your garlic.  Mmmm…. garlic.  They say garlic smell starts coming out of your pours when you eat it.  I say, why is that a bad thing?  There are worse things to smell like than garlic.

minced garlic

2.  Then slice your avocados length-wise (you’ll have to circle around the seed), chop your knife into the seed, twist, then pop it out.  Use a spoon to scoop the delicious avocado innards into a bowl.

avocado

3.  Add the minced garlic to the bowl.

avocado dip

4.  Then add the sour cream and lemon juice.

avocado dip

The lemon juice helps keep your avocado from turning brown.

avocado dip

5.  Mix everything together with a fork.  (You can also do this in a food processor if your avocados are still slightly hard, but usually mashing it up with a fork works pretty well.)

avocado dip

Okay I realize this doesn’t exactly look appetizing, but trust me.  It’s yummy.

6.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, dip in a chip, and enjoy!

avocado dip

Alaina’s Unique Flooring Solution

Do you all remember my friend Alaina and how we had so much fun demolishing her old kitchen and how she and her husband Dirk started the agonizing task of putting it back together again?  There was another progress check somewhere in there as well.  If you missed it, click on those links to catch up.
 
I asked her once to describe her granite counter-top buying experience for the blog, and now I’ve asked her to describe how she chose and installed her kitchen flooring material.  As with her counter top tale, I will periodically interject in this lovely green italic font, but here, in her words, is the saga of the flooring:
 
Flooring is a touchy subject.  You touch it every day around your house so it needs to meet certain needs.
Our needs (in no particular order):
  • Durable
  • Pretty
  • Easy to install because we don’t want to pay someone more than what the tile is worth to install it
  • Pretty
  • Not a temperature shock when you transition from different floor styles
  • Pretty
Now might be a good time for me to give my quick spiel on kitchen flooring.  Wood and laminate are great flooring materials because they’re warm, soft, smooth, and beautiful.  Unfortunately, they are both (yes, laminate too) susceptible to warping if exposed to water for long periods of time.  Since kitchens can have a considerable amount of water running through them (dishwasher, faucet, refrigerator, etc.), be warned that you’re taking a risk.  Tile, however, is much “safer” when it comes to water.  The drawback with tile is that it’s incredibly hard (this can be rough on your feet and back if you’re standing on it for long periods of time, not to mention the fact that you can kiss any dishes you drop good-bye).
  
Lucky for you (but too late for me), Alaina seems to have found the perfect kitchen flooring solution.
 
Considering all of these requirements of our floor, you might think it’s amazing that we actually picked one.  But we did, and we liked it so much that we purchased it twice!  We recently renovated our converted garage because it still looked, smelled, and leaked like a garage.  Yes, yes it did.  After discovering the source of the leak and fixing that, we gutted the room and fixed it up!  (I really hope to highlight this room renovation at a later date.  It is a fantastic garage conversion – perfect entertaining space, game room, movie theater.)
 
Through that project, we did a lot of research on flooring and found Congoleum DuraCeramic Tile(Sounds like something you’d contract in a trip to the Amazon.)
 
 
This “tile” is a limestone composite that comes in two patterns per color choice to offer variance in the floor.  It’s important to note that this is not a typical tile.  It’s softer than ceramic or porcelain tile, and warm to the touch.  Also, the installation process is quite a bit different than a traditional tile floor.
 

Congoleum DuraCeramic Tiles

 
With our dark cabinets and granite with a lot of movement, we wanted to pick a simple-patterned, light-colored tile.  I returned to my favorite flooring guy, Chad, at CarpetOne here in Durham, NC.  He provided me with every light color tile sample they had in the DuraCeramic, and from those, we picked 3 we liked best.
 
He even let us take those tile samples with us to look at granite so that once I picked my Atlantis granite slabs, I could pick my tile and order it.  We ended up selecting the “Sunny Clay” because it picked up the gold flecks in the granite we purchased.
Congoleum DuraCeramic Sunny Clay
 
Before they could install the new flooring, Alaina and Dirk had to pull up the old flooring.  Let’s stare at Dirk in complete awe for a moment, because ripping up FIVE layers of multi-flavored linoleum is NOT EASY!
 
Step 1:  Vigorous enthusiasm.

Tearing Out Floors

 
Step 2:  Quirky delirium.

Ripping Up Floors

 
Step 3:  Sheer exhaustion with a hint of annoyance directed at the person standing around taking the pictures.

Replacing Subfloor

 
Okay, back to Alaina.
 
We prepped our subfloor by cleaning it as well as we possibly could and actually ended up replacing some of it - due to rot from unnoticed small leaks.  It happens in an older home.
  
Then, in order to tie down some of the dust generated from the drywall, we primed the floor using a latex (not lamb skin?) primer.
 
Typically for a more square room, instructions recommend that you chalk-line the center of the room, but because our kitchen involved several doorways and paths, I did 3 chalk lines:
  • From the back door to the doorway at the bottom of the stairs
  • From the center of the main kitchen area
  • From the center of the doorway into the butler’s pantry

Here’s the nifty little chalk line tool, and uh… the chalk?


Chalk line tool

Then I plotted out all of the tiles so that I would know that the end of a row wouldn’t leave me with a tiny sliver of a tile.  This is a VERY important step, my friends!  As a seasoned tiler myself, you do not want to skip this dry-run, or you could find yourself making some very awkward (and visually unappealing) cuts at the end of a row.


Laying Out Tiles


Laying out duraceramic tiles

Because I had worked with this product before, and I had some more difficult cuts to make around the door trims, I “dry fit” every tile alone my initial path into place.  I made all of the cuts I needed and though it took me a bit longer than I expected, I am definitely happy that I did.  Trim sucks.

Bonus!!  Because these aren’t hard like porcelain or ceramic tiles, you do NOT need a tile saw or nippers to cut these.  A sharp knife will do the trick.


Cutting congoleum duraceramic tiles

Then I FINALLY got started with the glue!  Another big difference between this and traditional tiles – instead of dealing with messy mastic in small sections, Alaina applied special glue to the entire floor before beginning the install.  I glued my way over to the back door and from the butler’s pantry out to the kitchen.  Then I waited for the glue to tack up.  The 45 minute drying time is apparently just a suggestion, because it took more like 2 hours for it to tack up.  It was also raining that day so that might have had something to do with it.

glueing congoleum duraceramic tiles

Then, the first tile was laid into place, and the rest followed shortly after.  I separated my tiles out into the two patterns so that I could ensure I staggered them and turned them so they would look more like a ceramic tile.  (Way to finally make it look like you did some work, A.)

How to install congoleum duraceramic tiles

Dirk was a big help not only laying tile, but keeping me motivated to keep going until we had finished the project!  Oh did Dirk help?  I thought he just stood around taking pictures while you did all the work…

Grouting occurs within 48 hours of setting the tiles.  To do this, get your pre-mixed Congoleum grout, a grout float, a large bucket of water, a sturdy sponge and LOTS of patience.

Grouting congoleum duraceramic tiles

Grouting took almost as long to do as the tile installation, but when it was done, I had a very happy husband.

One final step was to remove the grout haze by taking an ammonia based window cleaner and scrubbing each tile, removing the cleaner with plain water.  And brute strength.

Remove grout from tiles

One more step big step complete!

You can see this is a bit of a tedious DIY process, but the end results are well worth it.  All the beauty and durability of a tile floor, but a much more comfortable standing surface.  Nice work, guys!  We can’t wait to see how everything comes together!

A Scary (Sponge) Story

So I might as well tell you now – because, Lord knows, you guys will find out soon enough – that I have a lot of quirks.

A lot.

Like, for instance, I’m a gum addict who chews at least two pieces at a time.  At least.  I’ve cut back from my pack-a-day habit, but I could still easily fritter away hours a day contentedly gnawing, like a golden retriever, on a massive wad of gum until I have sucked every last flavor crystal out of it.  And I’ll even mix flavors, too.

Peppermint and bubblegum?  I ain’t skerred.

Anyhoo, somewhere near the top of my long, long list of neurotic quirks are sponges.

More specifically, gross sponges.

I think it has to do with being somewhat of a germophobe, but I have what can only be described as a “thing” about them.  So much so that I even listed it in my “Who the heck is Erin?” section off to the right of this post.

Seriously, take a look.  I’ll wait…

See?  It’s right there.  And why?  Because it’s something I feel you should know about me before we go any further in this relationship.

And it’s sponges specifically — I don’t even mind germs in most other forms really.  But, for some reason, if there’s a two-day-old sponge lurking around that smells even slightly funky, game over.

And what is that old sponge smell anyway?  It’s like a combination of mildew, wet dog and the inside of an old Civil War trunk all in one.  I guarantee you we eat nothing in our house that might ever potentially produce that smell.  So where does it magically come from?

Ok, I feel you’ve been appropriately briefed on my deep-seated sponge issues.   Moving on…

So, ladies and gentlemen, imagine my complete and utter horror when I innocently stop by the office breakroom to wash a coffee cup and come face-to-face with…

THIS.

What IS that??

Going against every natural instinct for self-preservation, I chance a closer look.

I know it’s blurry.  But I wasn’t sticking around for a second shot.

I immediately whip my palms to my face in self-defense, shut my eyes tight and turn my head away with my mouth frozen in a silent scream like you see every female victim do in Hitchcock movies.

Do people in the office actually use this?  And how, in this modern-day era of advanced health awareness and disease prevention, is this moldy, bacteria-infested zombie-sponge acceptable??

This will haunt every fiber of my being for a long, long time.

Oh, and then I saw a ghost.

The end.

(Phew!  I hope I didn’t scare you guys too much…)

These Shoes Weren’t Made for Matchin’

This morning I almost left the house wearing two different shoes.

No joke.

After playing hookie yesterday, my sluggish mind was apparently confused about why I was going back to work after only one day off, and it decided to play a little prank.

Luckily I heard the weather report just before heading out the door – cream-laden coffee in one hand, peanut butter and jelly toast in the other.  Today it’s going to be “oppressively hot and humid.”  Oppressively.  My black pants had to go.

I scrambled back into my closet to grab a skirt (when it’s this hot and humid, I do what I can to aerate), and it wasn’t until I went to slip my sandals back on that I noticed they were different.

Wow.

I immediately realized 2 things:

1.  I need to start weaning myself off of my caffeine addiction.  When I can’t even manage to put on matching shoes before I’ve had my daily dose, we have a problem.

2.  Maybe I’m just not cut out for this 9-5 business.

Anyone want to take on an apprentice in a specialty trade?  I’m good at sales, decent at writing, I’m creative, I know how to fix watches, and I can type like a million words a minute.

Just don’t ask me to wear matching shoes.

*It has been brought to my attention that it’s been awhile since I’ve updated you on Alaina’s kitchen.  I will try to have something for you by tonight – if you’re interested in finding a unique flooring product, don’t miss this one! In the meantime, you can read about demolishing her kitchen here, behind-the-scenes action here, the countertop selection here, and a progress check here.

Just a Typical Wednesday Morning…

6:45-8:30:  Commute is especially heinous due to a lane closure.  Creep… ever… so… slowly… past three tanned, smiling construction workers who appear to be joking with one other.   Briefly consider pulling over to the shoulder, kicking off my heels as I leap over the concrete barricade, and slapping on a hard hat.

8:30:  Arrive at work.  Le sigh.

8:31-8:40:  Start day with a cup of coffee and Facebook.   Hello, notifications!

8:40-8:45:  Officially all caught up on Facebook.  Time for second cup of coffee.

8:45-8:48:  Eat banana after carefully inspecting suspicious-looking bruised spot on it for several minutes.  Throw offending part in the trash.

8:48-10:00:  Surf the Interwebs while intermittently texting Katie.  Google “Three’s Company TV theme lyrics”.  Ahhh, so that’s what they’re singing.

10:00-10:02:  Third cup of coffee.  Starting to sweat profusely.

10:02-10:03:  Am asked to do actual work.  How rude is that?

10:03-10:20:  Do work.  Grudgingly.

10:20-10:22:  Man, is it lunchtime yet?  Start rummaging through my lunch bag.  Eat carrot sticks.  So not satisfying.

10:22-10:24:  Google “Maryland state song” out of curiosity.  Wow, there’s about 20 stanzas and I don’t understand any of it except “Maryland! My Maryland!”.  Come up with a pretty rockin’ tune for the lyrics.  If the real song isn’t close to my version, it should be.

10:24-10:25:  Check Facebook.  Comment on a few posts.  “Like” a few others.  Yadda, yadda.

10:25-10:26:  Am asked to “jazz up” a technical article about health care program management.

10:26-10:32:  Stare blankly at open Word document.  They can’t be serious.  There is literally no amount of sorcery or dark witchcraft I could conjure up that would make this topic any less boring.

10:32:10:  Start to typ—

10:32:12:  Lord a-mercy!  Bathroom break.  NOW.

10:38:  Return from bathroom.  Man, I really had to pee after three cups of coffee.  Kinda sneaks up on you all of a sudden, doesn’t it?

10:38-10:39:  Have awkward stand-off in lobby when office door doesn’t open while sour-faced receptionist watches.  You’re quite the jokester, defunct key fob.

10:39-10:40:  Google “how electronic key fobs work” out of curiosity.  Turns out I wasn’t really all that interested in knowing.

10:40-10:42:  Now is it lunchtime?  Again rummage through my lunch bag.  Break down and buy bag of pretzels out of the vending machine, which ends up breaking down to roughly 75 cents per pretzel.

10:42-10:43:  Pass by coffee machine and consider fourth cup, then decide against it.  Already have visible sweat rings around my armpits.  Best not to tempt fate.

10:43:  Notice that my right shoe squeaks audibly.  Get embarrassed and try to hobble awkwardly without squeaking back to my cubicle.  Mission: Failed.

10:43-10:47:  Overhear someone quietly say my name but can’t hear the context.  Wait, what are they saying?  Was it good?  Bad?  Ponder that obsessively for a while.

10:47:  Hear the rustlings of a candy wrapper opening.  Sounds like chocolate.  Wait, a Hershey’s Kiss, maybe?  Are there more where it came from?  And if so, where?  For the love o’ God, WHERE??

10:47-10:49:  Take a victory lap around the office out of sheer boredom and somehow end up back at bathroom.  Oops, someone’s in a stall.  Hang around uncomfortably while acting like I’m checking my makeup and then hightail it out of there as soon as an appropriate amount of time has passed.  I’m not a communal bathroom dweller.

10:49-10:50:  Check Facebook.  Then e-mail.  Then Facebook again.  Seriously, where is everyone??

10:50-11:00:  Break down and eat my lunch — but quietly, so that no one else can overhear, and hence judge, me.

11:00:  Decide to post about my morning on Domestiphobia.net.

Here I Am (Rock You Like a Hurricane)

Since Katie’s agreed to let me horn in on her labor of love here (which, I guess, is now our labor of love) and bask in the reflected glory of her hard work, I feel I should at least introduce myself and make everyone’s acquaintance before I start cranking out posts about how much I love garlic, hate ‘chick lit’, yadda, yadda.  ‘Cause my mama raised me right…

So, greetings, new friends!

My name’s Erin, I’m 28, a Scorpio (if you’re into that sort of thing) and, while I’d love to divulge all the juicy details of my incredibly fascinating career, I don’t really have one to speak of just yet.  For the most part, my “career path” has been more of a loose term to describe the random assortment of desk chairs I’ve warmed when I wasn’t pillaging unsupervised candy dishes and daydreaming about what I really want to be when I grow up.

In fact, I’m writing this at work right now.  Don’t narc on me, eh?

Here is my work phone.  It has many complicated buttons that frighten and confuse me.  This concludes the tour of my cubicle.

Granted, my status as a professional benchwarmer might be changing here soon, but we’ll save that for a later post…

Where was I?

Oh, right.

I live with my husband of two years, Elliot (or, as I lovingly call him, “Chuckles”), and two neurotic cats.

The hubs has a ridiculous number of hobbies, including being a private pilot, and travels a lot for work, so I have lots of free time to revel in all sorts of shameful single behavior – hello, four hour Millionaire Matchmaker marathon! — and dream up home improvement projects for him to do when he gets back.

Our military background – me growing up an Air Force brat and the hubs serving 10 years in the Army – has saddled us with a nasty case of location ADD.  Which might explain why, about two months ago, we traded in a three-year-old mortgage on a nice, cozy 3 BR/2 BA rancher in the Dirty South…

…for a 700 square-foot, one-bedroom apartment above a noisy bar in downtown Frederick, MD.

Bold?  Daring?  Entirely ill-conceived?

All of the above.  But that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?

I enjoy good food, good books, good wine (and even mediocre wine), writing, being outdoors, 1930s slang, snarky celebrity gossip, and many other things that I’m sure will reveal themselves in due time.

But, even more so, I love, love, love new experiences – whether it’s tasting unpronounce-able foreign cuisine, trying my hand at potentially disastrous DIY crafts, or traveling to new places (hmm, foreshadowing, mayhaps?).

And now I love you guys, too.  But be warned, I’m a jealous, vindictive lover when scorned.

So, if you’re a kindred soul who craves a little adventure in life, is willing to try new things and capable of laughing off failures (and sharing them with us so we can laugh at you, too), and can appreciate – or at least tolerate – cheesy movie and song references, we’re going to get along just swimmingly.

And that’s me in a nutshell.

Help!  I’m in a nutshell!  How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell?

Hello, Austin Powers?  Anyone?

Better buckle up, folks,  ’cause outdated pop culture cliches are what I’m all about.

Don’t Go Changin’

…to try and please me.  I love you just the way you are.

oooOOOoooo ooh yeah.

Sing it.  You know you want to.

I’m guessing you might be noticing a couple changes around here.  The site title, for one.  As sad as it makes me, this site will no longer be called Domesticating Kate.  You will be automatically redirected to domestiphobia.net from now on.

Why?

Most people who know me – okay, all people who know me – who read the site have pointed out that my name is not Kate.  My name is, and always will be, plain Katie.  Also, this will no longer be just my site.  I’ve taken on a partner in crime because frankly, this is a lot of work.  I love it, but other parts of my life were getting neglected.  Finally, I feel like this name much more closely depicts a “truer” version of who I really am.

We’re still in the process of adjusting the “about” section and other categories of the site, so you’ll understand more of what I mean as we progress.  Oh, and the “big news” is still to come.  Just workin’ out the deets’.

Let it be known that sharing the site is not the same as quitting a project.  I’m simply readjusting to meet my needs.

Capiche?

Hopefully Erin will get a chance to introduce herself later today, and then we’ll get back to the fun stuff.  I have been going through a lot of photos lately, so don’t hang up.

Here are some random Hawaii surfboards to tide you over:

And here they are all vintage:

Rice and Veggies and Sausage and Such

The new site is still a work-in-progress.  But it’s coming, I promise.

But in the meantime, you know what’s fun?  Besides walking 100 yds. out onto a bridge just to get a crappy photo?

Taking some food that might – in its purest form – have some type of health value, and then adding enough other crap to basically negate that as much as possible.

Rice and veggies, meet oil and sausage.  And a bit of mayo.  But it’s SO worth it.  Trust me – you’ll see.

This is kind of my “fall-back” dinner – the thing I make when I have no idea what else to make.  So we basically have it like once every other week.  I enjoy cooking, but I’m not exactly creative.  The ingredients are easy, the process is easy (plenty of chopping, which I find therapeutic – is that weird?), and this makes enough to keep us rich in work lunches for at least 4 days.

And because it’s loaded with vegetables and grains, I can do my girl-thing and justify my wittle brain into thinking it’s healthy.  And then I add mayo.

So here is where I found the original recipe.  I didn’t change anything this time, but you could get creative – add teriyaki if you don’t like soy sauce, change up the veggies, etc.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean’s Hot sausage.  He’s yummy.)
  • 5 eggs, beaten (Get the free range “happy chicken eggs”.  That’s what I call ‘em.  You’ll feel better about yourself as a person.)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil  (I suppose you could sub a “healthier” oil.  But I’ve always made it with the veggie oil, and I’m afraid to change because I know I like it this way.  Plus, it’s VEGGIE oil – can’t be that bad, right?  RIGHT?!)
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored and shredded  (Screw the shredding – I just chop it up with a big fat knife)
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 6 cups cooked white rice, cold*
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, or to taste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can bean sprouts, drained (I actually use fresh sprouts – about half the weight in ounces does the trick)
  • 1 (6 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed (These really don’t even need to be thawed)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 green onions, chopped

*The reason the recipe says the rice should be cold is because day-old rice tends to be less sticky than freshly-cooked rice.  The problem?  I NEVER think that far ahead.  I don’t know I’m making this until I’m making it.  The solution?  Stick your cooked rice in the freezer for about an hour or so (while you prep your other ingredients, run to the store for the ingredients you forgot, paint your toenails, etc.) and I don’t usually have a problem.  You  might want to stir halfway through to make sure it doesn’t freeze together in clumps.

1.  Cook your rice according to the package directions.  I use a rice cooker to justify its existence.  I simply add 2 cups of uncooked rice, 4 cups of water, hit the “cook” switch, and end up with 6 whopping cups of cooked rice.  This is a LOT of rice, friends.  Consider yourselves warned.

2.  Get your sausage cooking over medium-high heat.  You don’t need any oil yet – this is greasy enough.

3.  While your sausage is cooking, chop up your carrots, cabbage and green onions.

4.  Meanwhile, your sausage should start to look like this:

Once it’s cooked, set it aside on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up some of the grease.  Don’t forget to feed a couple pieces to your pups.  They deserve it.

AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, DO NOT drain the grease from the pan!!!

5.  Yep, that’s right.  You’re using that grease.  Crack open 5 eggs into a bowl and beat the heck out of  ‘em with a fork.

Am I the only one impressed with myself for taking a photo while cracking an egg?  Okay, so the timing could’ve been slightly better, but I assure you that this is egg-cracking action here – I’m not just holding it next to the bowl.

Then scramble them up (over low heat) in that sausage grease-laden pan.  YUM.

Take the cooked eggs out of the pan and set them aside as well.

6.  Here’s where things really get moving.  Heat 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a VERY LARGE pan (if you’re making the full recipe) over HIGH heat.  When you stir fry, it’s all about the heat, baby.  This should go QUICK.  Add your carrots and cabbage, and cook until the cabbage is wilted.  This should only take a couple of minutes…

7.  Add the cold rice and stir it up until the clumps are gone.  Can’t get rid of the clumps?  No worries.  I think it tastes better that way.

8.  Add the cooked sausage and 1/4 c. soy sauce.

9.  Then stir in your bean sprouts, peas and eggs.

10.  Add a bunch of ground pepper and your chopped green onions just before you remove it from the heat.

*I couldn’t actually grind the pepper and take a photo at the same time, so pretend there’s something happening here.

11.  Sit back and admire your handiwork.

And, if you’re feeling extra frisky, you can add some Japanese white sauce (also known as duck sauce, seafood sauce, etc.) to your bowl.  We tend to use a combination of this recipe and this recipe.  Pick your poison.  Oh, and this is where the mayo comes in – so you see, it’s completely optional.

It’s probably not for everyone, and doesn’t exactly look gourmet, but I love this.  Nay, crave this.  Yes, I said nay.  And I might say “good morrow” later this evening.  It’s a Renaissance kind of day.

Update

The plans for the new site (and a BIG announcement – NO I am NOT pregnant) are well underway, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you the dumbest picture I ever took.  (Thanks for your patience, by the way.  This website stuff isn’t exactly easy or quick, and I appreciate the patience of those of you who actually read my ramblings – it really means the world to me.)

I snapped it on my way home from a visit to Frederick, MD this weekend (more on that later).  I drove over this bridge – probably about 100ft. above the water – and couldn’t resist the beautiful sunset with the kayaker below.  So I crossed the bridge and pulled my car off to the side.  There was no shoulder, so I basically had to walk on this elevated piece of cement that held the bridge railing.  The railing was probably only a couple feet high.  I was wearing flip flops and had been in the car (hung-over) for 6 1/2 hours.

Not my brightest moment.

Meanwhile, cars are flying by, the occasional SUV brazen enough to honk.  Enough already, I know I’m an idiot.

The worst part is that the picture is not even good.  Not terrible, mind you, but not good.  The sunset had all but disappeared, and I was so nervous as I crouched at the railing, my bare toes hanging over the edge of the precipice as the cars zoomed past a couple feet behind my back, that holding the camera steady was not really an option.  And I didn’t even get to the center of the bridge.

So the lesson?  Don’t risk your life for a mediocre photo.  If you’re going to risk it, then walk to the middle of the bridge, take a deep breath, and get the shot you want.

And for God’s sake, don’t drop the camera!