Since I’ve been MIA for several days, I thought I’d go ahead and catch you all up on what’s been going on around here…
1-We had more snow! Yep, last weekend we had another appearance of the “white stuff” and once again, I picked a heck of a day to go grocery shopping…I mean, how could I believe the weatherman this time…One snow a winter in the south is one thing, but two???? Little did I know that it was to be the weekend of “49 states with snow”-yep, 49 of the 50 states in the good ole’ US or A had snow (I guess Hawaii didn’t get the memo…) So once again I fought the battle of the “Snow Birds”. I returned home almost 2 hours later, exhausted, but triumphant.
2-As some of you know, I am a Professional Costume Designer (like those caps?) Yes, folks, I am as big a bad ass with a sewing machine as I am with a saute’ pan. We go into hell, um, tech week starting tomorrow so there will not be much time for cooking, blogging or working on the Domestic Badass Video Blog. On the upside, I just found out that Gary actually has time off for this year’s spring break, so we will be working on new episodes that will include other cool domestic surprises. Hey, being a Domestic Badass means more than just wielding an immersion blender with the ferocity of Gunga Din, right? Well, I have some other cool tricks up my sleeve to share with you. Like I always say, a Great Domestic Badass is a well-rounded Domestic Badass.
3-A great big shout out to my biggest inspiration, my Mom, Jennie. She’s been experimenting in the kitchen lately (“I’ve been just kinda throwing stuff together, like you do-and it’s been fun and everyone loves the food!”) and is proud to be a budding Badass. Last night, she told me about a Primavera dish that she made for dinner and I asked her if she stuck to the recipe or improvised it. This was her reply: “Well, I followed the recipe, but made more sauce because the pasta looked a little dry. ” So I said: “So you Badass-ed it.” And she said: “Well, I Half-Assed it.”
I could not breathe for about 3 minutes, I was laughing so hard.
I just love that woman-she is the coolest and just has this way of being absolutely hysterical without having to think about it. She rocks.
3-So I decided to try something a little different this week. Like everyone out there, the economy is taking a bite out of the finances, so I’ve been picking up extra work here and there. The extra cash is nice and I’m always up for a new experience to draw on for inspiration (or give my husband a good laugh over dinner).
On Monday, I participated in a research panel. Now I cannot divulge the company or what the research was for, but I can say that I had something resembling a swimmers cap put on my head with these little electrode thingys attached to measure my brain activity. After getting over the feeling that I was an extra in the remake of “A Clockwork Orange”, I actually found it interesting. It took less than an hour and I made a nice tidy little sum, while helping mold the consumer experience. Hmmm, I feel kind of important. Cool.
On Tuesday, I went on a “Go-See” to be a Fit Model for a private label clothing brand for a department store. I figured it would be kinda cool to be on the other side of the design process and the extra cash wouldn’t hurt my feelings either. What an experience that was…
It started on Monday night when I realized that I did not have a decent pair of undies to wear. “Undies?”, you ask…Yep. For those of you who don’t know what a Fit Model does, let me start off by saying that it is not America’s Next Top Model (hey, every girl has her guilty pleasure-the clothes, the makeup, the art direction, the catfights….Don’t judge me.) Basically a Fit Model gets to try on the samples of the clothes to see if they fall correctly on the body. So in reality, you are just a living dressmakers dummy that gets a check at the end of the day. But like I said, I’m all about a new experience and extra $$, so I respond to the ad. According to the ad, my measurements are pretty darn close to what the “standard” is for the size. I didn’t really expect a response, so imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail back inviting me to come in for a measuring session. I am told that I will be measured in my bra and undies to see how close I am to the “standard”. Ok, no problem. Between being in theatre for about a gazillion years and all the years I worked as a figure model for art classes, I am no stranger to being naked or nearly naked in front of people, so this is no big deal to me. Unfortunately, I realized that I’d at least have to have “nice” underwear on, since someone other than my hubby would be seeing them. So off I go, with Gary in tow, to the store to hunt down the perfect pair of black cotton undies. A simple task, right?
I guess with last weekend being Valentine’s Day, every woman decided to buy out all the black underwear available. We looked high and low and after the 4th store I was of the opinion that I’d rather be measured naked than go to another store. At this time, I’d like to say that my husband officially qualifies for saint-hood. As uncomfortable and tired as he was, he stuck it out and encouraged me to maintain focus and keep my eye on the prize and lo and behold, store #5 had the goods! We happily exited the store, bag in hand, drove home and watched the Olympics till 2 am. I was confident that me and my new underwear would score the job the next day.
So the next morning, I get up early, and start getting ready. When it comes time to get dressed, I put on my new black undies and a black bra and am feeling oh-so coordinated and, I have to admit, pretty darn good. Then it hits me.
I’ve been so consumed by what I was going to wear underneath that I didn’t think at all about what I’d wear over my matching undergarments. Oh no! I quickly think over my options and try to balance them out with the rest of the day’s activities…I have to do the thrift store tour right after the go-see to find the rest of the items I need for “Of Mice and Men”. I have to be comfortable for the rest of the day, but do I want to wear jeans and flats to the fitting appointment? But then again, if I wear my “dressed-up-jeans” look complete with heels, will it look like I’m trying too hard? My head is spinning, the clock is ticking and I seriously consider just throwing on my high black leather boots and a long coat over my matching underwear and going on my merry way. It is at this point that I hear my Mom’s voice from somewhere saying, “But what if you get in an accident?” and I say to her voice, “Well, at least I’ll have nice underwear on.” I snap out of the monologuing and decide on a pair of skinny jeans, a fitted, long sleeve t-shirt and a pair of those flat, cloth Mary-Jane, Chinese shoes. Done. And I’m out the door and on my way. I arrive at about 9:50 am for my 10 am appointment. I’m greeted by the technical designer’s assistant, and am lead to a holding room that contains three other women, all of vastly different sizes. So as usual, I break a little ice and strike up a little conversation, during the course of which, I find out that we are all here for the same exact size. Ok, I’m really not sure what kind of measuring tape these girls are using, but I want one. Apparently it is a measuring tape that takes a good 4-5 inches off certain areas and adds 2-3 to others. Now that’s a cool trick. All the ladies were lovely but there was no way in hell that we were all even close to same size.
One by one we are led into the fitting room.
My turn comes up and am I ready for this. I go into the dressing room and disrobe. I have to admit, it was a little bit weird to about to be on the other side of the measuring tape, but I walked out of the dressing room, confident in my brand-spankin’ new panties. The woman doing the measuring first instructs me to stand against the wall so she can measure my height. So I do as I’m told and stand still while the tape measure does it’s thing.
It is at this point that our story takes a tragic turn.
The measurer says to the designer (who is sitting down with a clipboard, taking notes), “Five one and a half.”
I feel as if I’ve been punched in the stomach. The room starts to spin, my palms start to sweat and my throat gets very dry. Even so I manage to croak out, “But I’ve always been five-three.” The measuring demon gives an evil little chuckle and says, “Oh, no. Five three is all the way up there” as she points to a higher place on the wall. “But we can round it up to five one and three quarters.”
Round it up???!!!
You have got to be kidding me. Apparently this crazy woman has the same magical measuring tape that the women in the holding room have. So she starts the process of measuring every inch of my body. “Waist-great! Bust-a little bigger than the “standard” but we can work with it” (Yes, this is the one measurement that all of us girls don’t mind being a bit bigger than the “standard”-don’t lie, you know it’s true, ladies.) “Hips-great!” The designer looks happy and I’m feeling pretty darn good at this point.
Once again, our story is about to take a detour into “Oh-Crap-Town”.
I am instructed to stand in front of Little Ms. Measuring Tape with my legs spread so she could measure my thighs. My thighs? Are you freakin’ kidding me??? But I comply and wait for the result.
The designer’s face darkens, she looks at me and says, “Everything else is really close, but the thigh measurement is a little too big. I’m so sorry, but thanks for taking the time to come down.” I hide my shock, smile and say, “It’s all good.”. Then I walk back into the dressing room, quickly throw on my clothes, say my goodbyes and leave.
Now, I have to say, a few years ago, this experience may have sent me into a state of depression only curable by large quantities of Chocolate, Fig Vodka and Mc Donald’s French Fries. But being a Domestic Badass is a very liberating thing. I am more that the size of my thighs or the stature of my tiny little person. I am fearless, I am bold and so what if I am not the “standard’ size. I don’t want to be the “standard” anything. I am above all that trivial crap, even at $25 bucks an hour. Victory is mine!
So in the spirit of this revelation, I encourage all of you who “fall short” (pun intended) of the “standard” of beauty. Be yourself, be fearless and don’t ever apologize for who you are. Being “standard” may get you $25 bucks an hour, but being a Badass is a much more fun club to be a member of (plus we have a secret handshake…just kidding..)
So that’s been what’s been going on here. Since this week will be a time crunch, I’d love to share a great dish I came up with a couple of weeks ago. I love Chinese food, but it’s hard to find great quick service Chinese food that is not loaded with msg and a ton of fat. This is my take on Orange Chicken-it is soooooo good and super easy to make. The inspiration was born of another challenge issued by my hubby-create a recipe using take out sauce packets (we have quite a collection-we even have a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to them) It really tastes like something you’d get out of a restaurant, so if you want to fool your family, just buy some of those little take out boxes to serve this dish in. You can even pick up some fortune cookies if you really want to lay it on thick…
“Honey, Orange You Glad I Saved All Those Chinese Take-Out Food Sauce Packets?” Chicken
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5-1.75 lbs)
Wash chicken and remove any excess fat cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Put chicken bites into a large bowl.
To the chicken bites, add:
½ cup of flour
¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Toss chicken with dry mixture to coat well.
In a large sauté pan, heat up 3-4 tbs. of veggie oil on high heat. When oil is hot, fry chicken in two batches for about 6 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and crisp. Set chicken aside in a bowl.
Be sure to save the bit of extra flour mixture for later….
Now for the veggies!
1-16oz. package of frozen stir-fry veggies (I used Wal Mart’s “Great Value” Brand Asparagus Stir Fry Mix, but you can use your favorite)
1 medium onion (you can also use 1 cup chopped scallions)
3.5 cups fresh sliced veggies (For a nice variety, use veggies that are not already in the frozen mix. I used 1 large green bell pepper, 1 large stalk of celery and two medium carrots (bias cut, which means to cut on an angle)
In the sauté pan that you cooked the chicken in, stir fry the fresh veggies first, for about 4-5 minutes, until tender crisp. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl.
Next, stir fry the frozen veggies for about 3-4 minutes, or until tender crisp. Add these to the bowl with the other veggies. Toss to combine all the veggies.
Ok, now for the sauce!
Here’s what ya need:
1/3 cup white wine (Chardonnay works really nicely)
2/3 cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
1/8 cup teriyaki sauce
Juice and zest of one naval orange
5 packs of take out duck sauce
1 pack of take out hot mustard
2 tbs. honey
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
And now for the “secret ingredient”….
Marischino Cherry Juice!
If you happen to have a jar of these babies hanging around, use 2 tbs. of the juice. If not, you can omit it and add an extra 2 teaspoons of honey. But trust me on this, use the cherry juice. You won’t be sorry.
Ok, so after you’ve removed the last of the veggies, lower the heat to medium and add that flour mixture that you coated the chicken in to the remaining oil in the pan. Working quickly using a wire whisk, whisk the flour mixture into the remaining oil, until flour is browned. Add the wine and continue whisking until the lumps are broken up. Add the soy and teriyaki sauce and continue to whisk until liquid just starts to bubble. Add orange juice (both fresh and bottled), zest, red pepper, chili powder, cherry juice and garlic powder and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Next add the honey, and sauce packets and simmer for 2minutes, until thickened and bubbly.
Remove sauce and pour over chicken, toss to coat and then add chicken to veggies and toss.
Serve with rice and enjoy!
Well, that’s all for now. Give this dish a try this week and let me know what you think! Until next time…Have fun and be fearless-not “standard”!