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Coming to America

13 Jan

30 years ago today I came to America. Unlike Prince Akeem  who came to the U.S. looking for a wife, I came to meet my new parents and sister.

First plane ride

First plane ride

At the orphange

At the orphange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My journey to a snowy, sleepy town in Minnesota started a few years earlier when a couple, already parents to two kids from Korea, decided to expand their family. The hope was to adopt another boy, but tragically in November 1982, their son Joey was struck by a car while crossing the street to board the school bus.

While nothing and no one could replace Joey, the couple eventually decided to continue with their adoption hopes, which now included two boys instead of one. After some time the adoption agency came back with news that there were two brothers waiting to be adopted, but there was twist – the brothers had a sister. Not wanting to split up a family, the couple decided to take all three kids.

This selfless decision is how my brothers and I ended up on a plane from Seoul to the Twin Cities. And how our lives changed forever.

With Grandma Dolores

With Grandma Dolores

First meal (ramen)

First meal (ramen)

Belated Xmas gifts

Belated Xmas gifts

 
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More Like Sleaziest Man Alive

21 Nov

Last week I heard a rumor that Adam Levine was going to be named “Sexiest Man Alive” by PEOPLE magazine. I tried to ignore this disturbing news, but Tuesday night it was confirmed. I have questioned previous selections (see Bradley Cooper), but this is one of the worst decisions yet*.

What do I have against Adam Levine? He oozes sleaze and douchebag. Sure I like several Maroon 5 songs, but this is despite Adam. The website Jezebel had a post where they referred to the esteemed sexiest man alive as ”the human equivalent of testing positive for chlamydia.” Lovely.

While I should just accept that I’m no longer the demographic Sexiest Man Alive is targeting, I will present a list of better candiates (as gathered by an intense group IM session between Mrs. Peanut and Boss Lady): Colin Firth, Aaron Paul, Henry Cavill, Ryan Gosling, Paul Rudd, Taylor Kitsch, Jon Hamm, Taye Diggs, Joel McHale, Justin Timberlake, Adam Scott, Prince Harry, Rob Lowe, Idris Elba, Timothy Olyphant, David Beckham (silent and with long sleeves), Ben Affleck (in Argo)

To quote Jezebel again “It’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive,’ not ‘Person Who Most Reminds You of an Infection You Got from a Hot Tub‘”

*At least it wasn’t RPatz or Bieber

 

CSA Box: #1 – Swiss Chard

28 May

Last year The Boy and I found ourselves in a bit of a food rut. To up the interesting quotient (and our veggie intake), we signed up for a CSA (community-supported agriculture) box. In a CSA, subscribers help support small local farms by paying in advance for produce; joining a CSA was our little contribution to the “local, sustainable, and organic” movement that is sweeping the food industry.

We looked at a couple CSAs before deciding on Eatwell, which had produce that we would be interested in and the options to test the CSA and have biweekly deliveries. This CSA also gives you the option to add eggs, flowers, and even seasoned salts (try the lavender salt). Essentially the CSA box brings the farmers market to you.

Eatwell CSA

First ever CSA box (2012)

Since having the CSA box introduced us to new veggies and expanded our cooking repertoire, we signed up for a second year. Our first subscription box of 2013 contained strawberries, lettuce, lemons, chard, sugar snap peas, fennel, scallions, cabbage, green garlic, beets, carrots, and rosemary. The biweekly boxes are a perfect fit for the two of us — usually it keeps us good for 9-10 days on the veggie front.

Full disclosure: Due to vacation, we ended up not using everything in the box (admittedly I would probably have not used the beets anyway since they seem gross).

The following is a recipe we tried the first time we got chard in a CSA box. We liked it so much we’ve made it a dozen times since, even seeking out chard on our own. The exact amounts and veggies all depend on your preferences.

Pizza with Swiss Chard
Ingredients
Pizza dough
Pizza sauce*
Hot or sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
Chard
Onion, mushrooms, or any other topping you choose
Mozzarella cheese (crumbled or thinly sliced)

Directions
Preheat the oven according to  the directions for the pizza dough.

Crumble up and brown the Italian sausage. When it is cooked, put meat in a bowl and drain most of the oil (leave a 1T. or so). Saute chard and other veggies in chard. I usually start with the onions and mushrooms as they take longer to cook.

Roll out the pizza dough and spread pizza sauce on top of it. Sprinkle the sausage and sauteed veggies on top of sauce. Finally, add mozzarella cheese.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until crust is done and cheese is bubbly.

201206-029 201206-032

* I don’t make pizza enough to justify buying pizza sauce, but I do have plenty of diced tomatoes. For my sauce, I puree some of the diced tomatoes (drained first) and season with Italian seasonings.

 
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Summer of Bridie

03 May

10years

Today I find myself unemployed for the first time since high school when I got part-time jobs working for Dakota County and the bakery. These jobs, plus gigs at the dining hall and Freshmen Writing center, kept me busy high school and college, but as graduation loomed my entrance in the real world called for a “big girl job”.

I spent many hours in my senior year submitting resumes and interviewing, trying to find that perfect job. The biggest problem for me was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I only knew what I didn’t want to do, namely Investment Banking*. By chance I dropped my resume for a financial software company (both my majors!) and got not only an interview, but a follow office interview, and ultimately a job offer. I admit I knew next to nothing about this company nor was I dying to become a consultant, but it was too late to cancel the interview without receiving the wrath of the ND Career Center. This ambivalence is most likely why I rocked the interviews (the more I wanted a job, the more awkward I became).

For almost 12 years, I called F home – unexpected since I was sure this was going to be a 1-2 year job at most. I worked with many cool people and made several good friends (and probably some enemies). I was fortunate that after getting married I was able to transfer to the office in CA without a hitch. Things were chugging along smoothly until February when I was informed that I would have to transfer to headquarters or be out a job. Now, CA may not be my first choice to live, but it sure beats the Nutmeg State (no offense). I considered the transfer for about 10 minutes and made my decision to stay on the West Coast. There were lots of tears and anger, but not one moment of regret in my decision. I was fortunate that to have three months to prepare for my eventual unemployment – giving me time to say good-bye and wrap up loose ends. It has been overwhelming to hear all the nice things my co-workers had to say about me (gold star) and my situation. Yesterday, after my last set of updates for the online help went live and my last alert email went out, I turned my badge and computer over and walked out the doors for one last time**.

The “Summer of Bridie” starts now. I have no real plans, but my unofficial To-Do list looks like this: Maui, nap, paint, blog, garden, and watch tv (one of the first things I did was make a list of shows to watch – Seinfeld, The Wire, Friday Night Lights). Eventually I’ll have to dust off my suit and practice not being an awkward interview. It will also be a time for to decide if I want to continue my current career path (technical writing) or do something completely different (event planning, professional napper). It’s exciting and scary at the same time!

I could write more, but I have several episodes of the Real Housewives of Orange County on my DVR to tackle (and a nap). If you have any job leads, advice, or tv suggestions, let me know. I’m sure when I go stir crazy I’ll be using this blog as an outlet so come back often.

* I interviewed with one of the top IB firms for fun and it was as awful as expected. I interviewed with two people at once, plus they gave me mind puzzles. I failed miserably on a question about driving conditions in SF, at that point in my life I was not aware SF was hilly (oh the irony).

** My box of personal effects included: cereal, peanut butter, chips, and 6 pairs of shoes. Sounds about right.

 
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Draw Something

28 Mar

For a long time, my addiction was Angry Birds. Ping! Got you piggie! I could (and did) spend hours shooting mildly irritated birds at smiling pigs. Sadly, I had to limit the amount of time I played Angry Birds after my hands started to be sore and tingling all the time.

I tried to find other games that were less taxing on my hands, but would keep me as entertained. Fruit Ninja was shortlived and Words with Friends, while fun takes some brain power. This is when I found Draw Something.

If you haven’t played, Draw Something is basically Pictionary. You have the choice of three words, worth 1-3 coins, to draw. Your opponent has to guess the drawing, using the 12 letters provided. As you correct draw/guess, you earn coins that you can use to buy more colors or bombs (extra words to draw).

My most consistent opponent is my mom, but her atrocious spelling and dyslexia* can make it interesting.

Drawing from Mom

tomawhawk

Most people would say “tomahawk,” but if you look at the letters, that is not it. After days, I realized the word was “tonyhawk” (as in the skateboarder).**

I’m always looking for new people to play against ((taking a moment to throw shade at my siblings/in-laws who haven’t drawn something in days/months), so if you can draw a stick figure and have basic spelling skills, find me on Draw Something.  If you want a more challenging version, find my mom.

* Self-diagnosed after multiple word mix-ups as described above.
** This is just the most recent example of this, another time I had to take her drawing of “sheik” and get to “shrek.”

 
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Feed Me: Sideways Cake

21 Mar

IMG_3185-001Earlier this month, our friend Mrs. Bronson celebrated her birthday. Before I came into the picture, Mrs. Bronson was a proxy girlfriend/wife for The Boy. She made sure he had an occasional home-cooked meal – a foreign concept for a bachelor with beer, mustard, and 3-year old cranberry juice as the only contents of his fridge and chicken caesar wraps from Whole Foods for dinner nightly.

Mrs. Bronson also made sure The Boy had a social life; she and her now-husband didn’t seem to mind having this perpetual third wheel. Activities included golfing, sailing with the skipper, baseball games, and many (many) drinking opportunities (Napa, bars, they weren’t picky). One story The Boy tells over and over involves the Bronsons and The Boy at a pinot noir tasting event. When they bought tickets to go, they didn’t realize it would be the three of them and 47 pinot noir growers and bottlers. They didn’t let this stop them, they sampled dozens of pinots (no spitting) and walked away tipsy and flashing purple smiles.

Since moving here, I’ve gotten to see first hand Mrs. Bronson’s kindness and hospitality towards others. Despite her grueling work life (did I mention she’s a kickass attorney?), her house is usually the site for miscellaneous holidays and game watches. With this in mind, I set out to find something special to make for her birthday. When I saw a recipe for red wine chocolate cake from Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had a winner. The recipe is pretty simple and you can use any red wine; I used pinot noir in honor of their epic tasting.

Cheers Mrs. Bronson!

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients
6 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 cup red wine*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/8 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. table salt
1/4 t. ground cinnamon

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment, and either butter and lightly flour the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and yolk and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together, right over your wet ingredients. Mix until 3/4 combined, then fold the rest together with a rubber spatula.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be shiny and smooth, like a puddle of chocolate. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

I just dusted with powder sugar, if you check out the original recipe you will find directions to make a mascarpone topping.

*The red wine won’t cook all the way out, so use something you find tasty.

 
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