Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sandra Lee: Holiday Cocktail Party

Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee: Holiday Cocktail Party

A point by point analysis.

1) Whoops. I stopped paying attention already- let me rewind.

2) Sandy is walking through the falling snow in a pine forest with echo-y audio waxing nostalgic about the holiday season being where tradition meets modern--- especially when it's 'Semi Homemade.'

3) Less than a minute in and she's already telling us about the booze. She knows where my priorities are. Thank you Ms. Lee.

4) Hmm. I don't know how I feel about the frozen blue martini. There are three drinks though-- no one can call Sandra Lee a slacker.

5) A hint of what's to come: there's a nutcracker tablescape.

6) It also appears that she's recycling old ideas- she made a "cocktail tree" last year, didn't she? I didn't mention it in my recap, so I don't know if I'm imagining cocktail trees or if I'm just a lazy blogger.

7) Her intro is way more polished than it's been in the past. She must have a bigger budget. She explains the 70% 30% breakdown during a montage of her being all blonde and smiling.

As a side note, I was making christmas cookies this year, and there is a Sandra Lee recipe on the side of my Domino's Sugar. After initially being freaked out, I'm now just comforted that this additional income is being put to good use.

8) Clothes: What should be a white knit turtleneck, biased cut with an asymmetrical hem, jeans, and ugg type boots.

9) What is she holding? A plaid treasure chest with nutcrackers at each corner? When will she explain this one? (addendum- she doesn't)

10) 1st recipe: marmalade meatball

-Put pre-made, thawed meatballs in a slow cooker.

-Cover with orange marmalade. She emptied the marmalade into a red bowl, then poured the red bowl in the crock pot. I don't know why she added the red bowl middle-man. I assumed she was going to mix something into the marmalade (vanilla extract? That's a favorite of hers…). but she didn't. Just plop. Into the slow cooker.

-Add whole bottle of Catalina dressing. I used to love that on my salads when I was 12. I would literally drown my iceberg lettuce in that. Damn. This is bringing back good memories. She didn't put that into a bowl first. At least she's not making sure we have too many unnecessary dishes.

-Worcestershire sauce. Nothing interesting about that. Carry on.

-Oooh. Hot red peppers. Getting fancy there Ms. Lee! Half a teaspoon- it really makes the dish.

-Sitr to cover all the meatballs and distribute crushed red pepper. Slow cook on high for 3 hours.

11) 2nd Recipe: Blue cheese date spread

-Open up one of those nifty packages of crushed blue cheese. I'd feel more comfortable teasing her about those if I didn't use them all the freaking' time myself. Stupid easy supermarket-cheese. Then she adds two bricks of cream cheese. That seems like a lot of cream cheese to blue cheese, but I really like blue cheese.

Literally just seconds to do!

-She's going to let that baby firm up now. Wait, she just compared it to gelato. I mean, only the consistency, but that's a little weird, no? Or am I just reaching? 3 hours to set??? Luckily, due to the magic of TV, she has some already made.

(She just called some basil in a red cup a "little christmas tree- how cute is that??" You can practically see the tablescape forming in her head as she suggests putting it on the table at dinner.)

-Wet cheese scooped with an ice cream scoop and then rolled into a ball. Roll into the chopped dates (she said she chopped them herself, though they were pitted) then put on a few leaves of the basil.

12) 3rd Recipe: Rock Shrimp with Spicy Cream Sauce

-She tells where we can find rock shrimp, and it seems totally dubbed and unnatural. The camera is on a bowl of rock shrimp for 11 whole seconds, and all you can see is her fiddling with the bowl and waving her hands above it like a crazy person. It's a little disturbing (especially after the third time you've watched it- these are the sacrifices I make for you, gentle reader).

The cream sauce first

-1/2 cup mayo

-1/4 cup heavy cream (she's trying to kill us all!)

-2 tsp sweshwan style seasoning. That's a "fabulous" spicy asian spice mix. There's cracked red pepper in it. That's how you know it's spicy.

- 2 cups of tempura mix (Sandy goes international!) and 1 1/2 cups of ice cold water. She literally has ice in the measuring cup. She doesn't mention if she adjusted her measurements because of that.

-Deep fryer at 375- I stand by the "she's trying to kill us" statement. Maybe not quickly, but isn't that the worst kind- the lingering, fat with unhealthy foods type of murder?

She then fries the shrimp one at a time, which might be correct, but seems like a pain in the butt- There's 80 shrimp there (enough for 8 people, and I assume that's appetizer size, because 8 rock shrimp wouldn't be enough for me for a main course).

She's blotting them- trying to convince me she's not trying to kill me- before she dumps them into the cream/mayo mixture.

Her garnish are endive leaves. She does way more garnish than I do, though I do like endives. However, I would not usually describe them as "festive."

13) Wow, she just insulted me. Humph. Apparently my lack of attention to details like this is making my guests feel like I don't like them enough to put in the energy and effort to make their holidays extra cheerful. Now you know the truth. If I make you deep fried shrimp without the endives, I don't really care about your holiday.

14) Cocktails next. Thank god. I need some booze. Sadly, the hot chocolate that I'm sipping on doesn't have booze in it. What was I thinking when I turned on Sandra Lee without alcohol???

15) Sandra just walked back into the kitchen with a life sized nutcracker. Seriously, he could take her in a fight, being at least 5 inches taller and broader than her.

However, if his extremely sparkling jacket is any indication, Mr. Nutcracker may be a bit fey and not into that. Maybe he'd just do her hair. I hear she's huge in the gay community. And why not? She's practically a drag queen. Though I must admit, I'm a bit disappointed in her clothes- no cleavage and she only has one outfit though we're 17 minutes in. My fingers are crossed she has a costume change planned for the tablescape reveal.

16) She called the nutcracker her "little buddy" and said he's going to help her in the kitchen. I think she's already tested of a few of those cocktails. She's also blocking her refrigerator with him.

17) She then points out what I somehow didn't notice before- her entire kitchen is filled with nutcrackers. Let's play the counting game. 17 on Screen right now. Nope. Wrong. I didn't see the wreath. 23.

18) She named them all. Simon. Fredrick. Bjorn. Eek.

19) Bib lettuce to garnish the meatballs.

20) Recipe #4-6 3 Cocktails:

1st up: Frosty Cocktail


-1 part vodka

-equal parts blue curaco and orange liquor.

-Rim your martini glass with honey and then coconut before pouring in the drink.

It looks like a slushy and tastes like blue.

2nd: Gingerbread cockail

Equal parts

-vanilla vodka


-Half part of butterscotch schnapps


-She pours it into a snifter and tops it with some dark rum and a splash of ginger beer. The lady does not mess around with her cocktails. I would not play asshole with her. I'm sure she can hold her liquor.

But then she goes and balances a poor gingerbread man onto the rim. Why can't she just leave the rims of glasses alone? What did they ever do to her? (see photo above re: Gingerbread man crotch)

3rd: Candy cane cocktail

Equal parts

-vanilla rum

-peppermint schnapps

-white chocolate liquor

Garnish that with… you guessed it-- A candy cane.

21) Next up: Spend a few hours making cursing at candy while attempting to make a Santa Sleigh favor.

22) Now I see that Sandy is shilling for Wii sports resort. Hmmm… (Though it is totally awesome. Seriously.)

23) Costume change!!!!

Sandy is now wearing a red tank top showing much more d├ęcolletage than before covered with a red, plaid shirt that's unbuttoned, and then I suspect tied together at the bottom, thereby mimicking my favorite outfit from the 11th grade. I wonder if she's also wearing men's jeans that are a few sizes too large. (I had horrible fashion sense in high school)

24) Hold onto your fashionably 90's shirt, she's already started on those sleighs.

Cover graham crackers with red and white royal icing (alternate per cracker.)

On the white cracker, set in 2 candy canes, curled side up and drizzle with some more royal icing and dust some coconut on top.

Sandy looks at the camera very excitedly as she tells us that the coconut will help hold the candy canes in place as they dry. I think she wants to do a little hop there, but she can't because she's on TV.

The red graham cracker goes on top of the candy canes and that sets.

Then she makes a licorice bench and uses some icing to attach it to the sleigh. She implies that she's not even going to show us how to make the licorice bench because it's soooo easy, but I am going to have to assume it's not because it involves a lot of cutting of licorice and outlining with royal icing. It probably has to set for awhile too. And I can't tell how the licorice is being held together. Is the royal icing acting as glue? And if so, how did she get it not to show?

She just pulled out a fruit roll up ladies and gentlemen. Things just got interesting.

She's putting unwrapped starbursts (though she called them fruit candies) in the middle of a circular fruit roll up and wrapping it up like a sack. Then she's tying it up with more licorice, but a single strand this time. Ah, it's the sack of presents for the sleigh. Ooh. No, bad. She is putting little x's of royal icing on more (unwrapped) starbursts to act as presents for the sleigh. Someone is going to die of a sugar coma. Maybe that's her evil plan.

Now she's putting a chocolate Santa (allegedly all over the place this time of year) on the seat. He's leaning all crooked on the licorice bench. Chocolate Santas don't have knees.

25) Into the living room. AHHHH. Her christmas tree is guarded by two of the most awesomely grotesque nutcrackers I've ever seen. I mean 3.

26) She has glasses dangling upside down on her tree. Champagne glasses, martini glasses, wine glasses, brandy glasses…She wired them there with floral wire. I can't imagine this is a very family friendly tree. If one of those glasses goes…. well, you can use your imagination.

27) The nutcracker on top of the tree (did you expect anything else?) has his own cocktail in his hand- I don't think it's a real drink, though it does look scarily like the "Frosty Cocktail." She never says what it is actually made out of though.

28) Her tablescape has even more nutcrackers on it. Each place setting is set off with a charger (I've never understood chargers. An extra plate to wash that you can't even eat off of? Seems like a waste of a plate to me) with either a red- or a green- plate on top of it. She sounds SO excited all of the time. She must be exhausted by the end of this show. Or trashed. Just saying, I can't maintain that level of "OH MY GOSH, HOW CUTE" all of the time.

And that's it. Hope you had a Sandy-Lee worthy holiday!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

'Tis the Season... of Sandra Lee

Scrolling through my StatCounter Statistics this afternoon, I noticed an upturn in hits. As I have not updated this blog since.... um.... yeah.... oh.... October 23rd, that seemed a little strange so I inspected the keyword analysis. Much to my surprise (or chagrin?) I found the following:

Out of my top 20 recent keyword searches, 16 17 were looking for information about Sandra Lee, and only one was trying to find out what I wanted for Christmas. If you're still interested, I'd like some earrings. And 2 were about Vermont, which is awesome

There were a multitude of questions (well, 17), like:

What does Sandra Lee's red and green christmas table look like?
Is she having a 2009 Christmas special?
How does she make chocolate liqueur?
Where does she buy her lace tops?
Does she have a 2009 Christmas magazine?
And how do you get those fruit roll up bows stuck to those festive little cupcakes?

This is what the public is clamoring for! So, say I, give the people what they want! Beginning tomorrow (tonight I'm playing the role of a 16 year old girl and see New Moon in theaters. Yup. Paying $12.50 plus tax for a teeny-bopper movie about emo vampires. And the sad thing is that I'll enjoy it) I'm on Sandra Lee watch. Stay tuned for new features here at Amy's Magical Places, such as:

The Sandra Lee Test Kitchen
Sandra Lee Runway
Top Tablescape
and more, once I think of a couple more catchy (ie- blatantly parodied from Reality TV) titles!

Stay tuned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween and Fall links

Here are some fun things I've tagged for the fall season!

Homemade Candy Corn from Cakespy at Serious Eats

Evil Mad Science Laboratories has an awesome Halloween Project archive

Yes, We Carve is leftover from the election season, but I think it's pretty awesome still...

Pumpkin Pancakes at The Iscream Truck. I've made these. They're awesome.

My favorite (and that's saying something!) recipe at Smitten Kitchen: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

I can't get enough of the orange this time of year.... Pumpkin Biscotti from Simply Recipes

I made this a few years ago, in orange and green (less strange than it sounds) and it's my favorite scarf!

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The death of Reality TV?

For the last few years I've been watching a lot of what TWOP would refer to as "Competitive Reality Shows" rather than "Candid Reality Shows" (The Real World, Real Housewives..., Jon and Kate, etc) or "How To Reality Shows" (Trading Spaces, pretty much everything on Food TV that's not competitive).

I really enjoy watching Project Runway, Top Chef, America's Next Top Model and over the years have been at different times, a little too involved with liking/disliking different "characters" (aka people). However, this season I feel this has slowly been changing. Rather than analyzing every nuance of interactions between the participants, trying to decide who is winning and losing as it goes along, I have been tuning out until the runway show/dinner/photos when everything is done and I can see the final product. I don't know if this is me trying to be lazy even in my trashy television watching habits, or if reality television is finally losing its evil hold on me.

Nearly every episode of PR I've had to rewind because I've realized I have no clue what the challenge is (hint: make a pretty dress. out of fabric. yawn). I peek back in during Tim Gunn's comments, because, well, you know. Tim Gunn. He's funny, he's snarky and he always wears a suit. Then I watch those pretty dresses. And though I hate to admit it, I barely looked up during Tyra's antics on ANTM and even the narrative during TC has been leaving me cold.

Guess it's back to the good ol' television Drama. Once I start tuning out during Dexter though, get worried!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Resolutions

Unlike most of the Western world, I don't jump on the New Year's Resolution train. Sure, January is a fresh start in many ways, but it has a lot of stuff working against it. It's cold. I need to finish off the Christmas cookies. The days are short. And, like most people, I have a job. Though the thought of starting fresh and getting into new habits is intriguing, but not really enough to get me out from under a fluffy blanket, snuggled on the couch next to my husband with my dog at my feet and a plate of chocolate filled butter cookies on my lap.

But this June, as the school year was winding down, I thought long and hard about all the things that I said I would do "in the summer. When I'll have time." It was at that moment that I realized that though I am not an advocate for the New Year's Resolution, I should start a new tradition- that of the Summer Resolution. So I made up a list of things that I wanted to accomplish this summer and ways to better myself. Now to make progress on it!

1) Stop being messy.
As mentioned previously, I am not a clean person. Much to the chagrin of my husband, a perfectly clean room on Sunday slowly devolves through the week as every item of clothing I own somehow ends up all over the floor and bed frame by Friday. My footsteps to bed are muffled because my feet don't actually touch the floor (J- that should be in your "pro" column). It's time I come to terms with the fact that if I'm sifting through a pile on the floor to find a shirt to wear for the day, I have a problem.

I am in fact taking this one step further than just cleaning and organizing my things, which are all nicely now either packed away in boxes to be stored for the summer or folded beautifully in drawers waiting for me to wear them. I cleaned out the little bedroom and the refrigerator (2 years and a fridge gets gross!). Next on my list are my shoes/ closet. I'm sure that this list will grow weekly!

2) Stop being lazy.
I don't like exercising. Though I will enjoy the occasional Yoga class or long walk (owning a dog is good for something! Those suckers like to walk. And they will look at you sadly with big, beautiful eyes if you don't want to), I'm not much for... organized exercise (much like organized religion. In fact, most people I know are much more devoted to their exercise regime than to G-d). However, this summer I have vowed to get off my lazy ass... which is often sitting on the couch... and start the couch to 5K program. I'm in week three. I still don't like running, but I'm pretty sure I look hotter already!

3) Take advantage of NYC
I hate to admit that 3 weeks into summer vacation, this is the one that I'm kind of slacking on. I want to make a date to go into Manhattan and do an activity a week... maybe a museum or the park. I haven't been as on that as I would like, but it's on my to-do list. I still haven't seen the high line!

4) Do school work

Teachers may have the summer off, but September will be here before I know it! If I'm teaching seniors (and I might be) I need to design an advanced curriculum and will have to hit the ground running! There is no faking it for a few weeks while I throw something together. I haven't started this yet, but I'm forming some ideas.

So, those are my basic summer resolutions. Hopefully I'll stick with them well past August into the new (school) year.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Trend-spotting: Vampire Edition

Now, I know I'm a bit behind the vampire fiction curve (I only read the Twilight series this year, and twilight itself was first published in 2006. The main "plus" to this is that I did not have to wait with baited breath for each new book to come out. JK Rowling, I hope you're taking notes. There doesn't have to be a 10 year gap between the first and last book in a series), but I like hopping on these literary waves as they fly by. So seeing how the vampire wave is just about to hit the shore and fizzle into the sand (am I carrying the metaphor too far?), I figured I'd try to get one more blog entry out of it. A friend lent me Dead Before Dawn, and I just couldn't help but notice...

These are just some things I have noticed are trendy in new vampire fiction:

  • Telepathy. It might be the vampire. It might be the girl. But someone can read minds... and the person they fall in love with is the one person whose mind they can't read.
  • Mainstreaming. These modern vampires want nothing more than to live among the uh, living. They want to hang out in bars, drink anything but human blood (synthetic/ animal), and have loving relationships with humans. Their favorite hobby seems to be mooning over their present relationship in a disbelieving "I can't believe I'm so in love with you" haze.
  • Crime Solving. Mysterious deaths in town? Mass murderer in Seattle? These vampires will get to the bottom of your problem with their trusty gal friday! Vampires... they're the new Sam Spade!
  • Socially awkward girlfriends who are mysteriously much more beautiful than everyone else, but don't really notice it. It's kind of amazing. These girls are the social outcasts that everyone is seceretly in love with. Much like me in high school, I must admit.
  • Bad vampries who dress all slutty and want to kill everyone.
  • Shape-shifters who turn into dogs/wolves and are also in love with the socially awkward girl, but she love the vampire more. But she really loves him... *as a friend*
And speaking of clothing in Dead Until Dark (et al), none the clothing that Sookie dresses in sounds pretty. She wears lots of things that I think would get her put on What Not to Wear, or that indicate that the books are set in 1991 when they were written a good 10 years later- white dresses with roses, jeans that lace up the sides in leather, blue dresses with daisies. The worst part is that all of Sookie's outfits are described in minute detail, making it so that I can't even pretend that she's dressed like a grown up. "But Amy," you're probably saying right now, "you said yourself that the female characters are socially awkward. She's probably supposed to be dressed badly as part of her characterization." However, I am mostly convinced you are wrong. I think you are wrong (yes, you are wrong) because EVERYONE comments on these outfits favorably. Everyone is like, "Wow, Sookie is dressed in clothes a decade out of fashion. She looks great! How sexy!" That just messes with me even more.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Liveblogging the Oscars: 2009 Edition

Kajal is out of town and likes my live-blogging, so Kajal... this is for you! I'm out of practice blogging- I should really start up again. Maybe the Oscars are the right time to get back on the proverbial horse! And straight off, from every news source I borrowed red carpet pictures from, I apologize. I just need the visual.

The Red Carpet...

Got a little bit of a late start here. Sorry. I probably missed all the good stuff.

1) TIM GUNN is doing the red carpet! That's amazing. Give whoever decided to do this a raise!

2) So is this lady I don't know at all. She's probably famous or something, but I don't know.

3) The cast of Slumdog Milllionaire is adorable.

4) Mikey Rourke is crazy looking. And wearing a ton of makeup.

5)I didn't realize that Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron were "America's sweethearts"... I haven't ever seen one High School Musical movie, and barely know who these kids are.

6) I love Viola Davis' dress. I don't know who she is, but she worked with Meryl Streep, and the gold dress is so pretty.

7) I love Tim Gunn.

8) Miley Cyrus' dress is a little age-inappropriate. What's with all the tweens anyway? I want grown-up actors!

Plus, when she starts talking, she's annoying. Plus, it just makes me think of that clip from a junket during Bolt! that The Soup always uses for her. I'm sure that's part of the fact that I just can't listen to her.

9) Ahhh... Anne Hathaway. Beautiful dress. Not to mention... LOVE Tim Gunn. Seriously, her dress is amazing. Like a disco ball, but pretty.

10) Amy Adams looks pretty good too. Or was that Inga Whats-her-name. They look a lot alike.
Okay, maybe not so much there.(Ilsa Fisher's picture is not from the Oscars, but is the only red carpet picture I could find where she had similar hair.)

11) There go the dorky guys with the winners. Tim is telling us about their outfits, but really, they're just boring tuxes.

12) Meryl looks good, but the dress is a little boring. Her daughter is striking though. I think Meryl should have worn a necklace.

13) Penelope Cruz is wearing a pretty cool dress, though it's a littlebridal. I love the fact that it's vintage however. Not sure how I feel about the bangs.

14) Jack Black has a SEXY wife. Though I wish her dress was a little more formal.

15) Marissa Tomei- Her dress is kind of like something Leanne from last season's PR would have made with all the pleating.

16) Did Seth Rogan lose weight? He looks pretty good. Maybe he was just heavy during Pineapple Express.

The Oscars!!

8:30: Starting right on time. Good job Oscar-people! Lets see if we can stay on schedule!

8:31:See how much I follow this stuff. I had no idea that Hugh Jackman was the host. That's a little strange right? He's not a comedian or anything...
Kate Winslet looks pretty.

8:32: My sound keeps knocking out. This will piss me off before long. Hopefully it will fix itself.

8:33: Kate Winslet's hair doesn't look all that great. The front does, but the back is strange.

8:34: Craigslist dancers? AH! funny...

8:35: Anne Hathaway is wearing a different dress already? This one looks kind of like an ice-skater's costume.

8:36: A Frost/Nixon romantic drama might have been nice...

8:37: Okay, The Reader part was super funny. "I didn't see the reader...I meant to see it"

8:38: I'm Wolverine. Okay, maybe Hugh wasn't a bad choice. Still a weird choice, but at least he's funny.

8:39: Meryl Streep's daughter is afraid that Hugh Jackman is going to do something crazy to her, you just know it.

8:40: Love Angelina's green ring.
Is Meryl Streep the Susan Lucci of the Oscars? No, she won in 1979. Nevermind.

8:41: Whoops. The curtain isn't opening for the montage! Kind of a dull montage, so just as well.

8:42: Tilda Swinton is kind of adorable. I love that she doesn't wear makeup. Or at least lipstick and eye shadow. It's adorable. Did I say that already? Well, she's wearing lipstick now, but she wasn't the year that she won. Unless she ate it all off.

8:44: Uh, what are they doing to Viola Davis? Oh, she's nominated for best actress.

8:45: Whoopi, that was funny "It's not easy being a nun." And Amy Adams is adorable. And I LOVE her necklace. Though I better watch out- J thinks she's pretty cute too! Did two of those women who got nominated come from Doubt? Amy and Viola? Hmmm... I don't think I even heard of that

8:47: Huh? This is only best supporting Actress. Really? Hmmm... That's quite a set up! Yay Penelope! Joe and I didn't see this film yet.

8:49: Uh, why is Penelope still talking? Isn't there a time limit? And anyone want to give me the Spanish?

8:53: Tina Fey looks beauty-ful! Steve Martin looks dashing too! Love her earrings!

8:54: They're pretty funny.

8:58: Sorry, I was in the kitchen beginning to heat up some Trader Joe's Coconut Shrimp to nosh on. J and I ate dinner at like, 4. We're a little hungry. Hopefully the deep-fried aspect won't make me sick so
I'll miss the rest of the Oscars, and dead-blog (uh, regular blog) the Oscars later. Fingers crossed.

9:03: Team Jen! and Team Jack! (He doesn't necessarily need a team, but he deserves one). I kind of like her hair.

9:04: What's with the closeup on Brad and Angie? For what it's worth, they're laughing and look fine. Of course, they're friends with Jack Black. Right? Damn, I'm behind on my celebrity gossip- I haven't read an US
Weekly in a month!

9:07: Is anyone surprised that Wall-e beat Kung Fu Panda?
I watched Mamma Mia on Friday, and might I just say that I am thrilled to get to see Meryl not wearing overalls.

9:26: What's with Robert Pattinson's sketchy facial hair?

9:32:That's an interesting color for Natalie Portman's dress. Kind of Barbie-pink. Don't know how I feel about it. Hmmm... Ben Stiller is doing a kick ass Joaquin Phoenix though.

9:34: The camera man is more interested in the clips than in Ben Stiller's being funny. People
are laughing and I don't know why. Good. He caught up.

9:35: Who was that who was returning to their seat? Aren't there ushers to stop this kind of thing?

9:57: I'm a huge musical fan. Why is homage to the musical number leaving me cold?

10:01: My puppy is fast asleep. Adorable.

10:08: I didn't even see The Dark Knight, but I'm glad Heath Ledger won for Best Supporting Actor.

10:10: Stupid E! Online won't let me copy their pictures.

10:13: Did the documentary lady just curse because she cursed? Funny.

10:27: I haven't heard any songs. Are they not doing that this year? Usually at this point I've heard like, 5 songs that are up for an Oscar. I didn't miss it, did I?

10:29: The Dark Knight is doing well. I still can't believe I haven't seen it yet.

10:40: I'm bored.

10:43:Aw. I want to give Jerry Lewis a hug.

10:46: Seal is hot. How do Heidi Klum and Seal even exist in the world without it imploding from their combined beauty?

10:51: Ah, here's the music.

10:54: Zac Efron has gross looking hair
Slumdog Millionaire is doing pretty good too! Another one I haven't seen. I barely watch movies. It's embarrassing.

11:01: Oh, I just realized, another Barbie-Pink dress. Is this in honor of her 50th Birthday?

11:05: Uh, are we really living in an age where a commercial where a woman is looking at vacuum cleaners as her love is appropriate (Woman lusting after Hoover Platinum while "At Last (my love has come along)"
plays- I couldn't find a video)? Is feminism really dead?

11:18: Reese Witherspoon is wearing an interesting dress. I don't know how I feel about it exactly. and the whole HD thing is making it so I can see all the flesh-colored supports that are supposed to blend from
this distance. Well, I suppose that answers a lot of my questions about celebrity clothing. But in general, I'm pro-Reese, so I won't get too picky.

11:26: Ah, here we are, the money awards... or as they say, the "highly anticipated" ones. Sophia Loren is still alive?

11:27: Halle Berry is so cute.
Anne Hathaway is back in her beautiful dress. Whew.

11:30: We are officially over time now. Meryl looks amazing. Sophia Loren should lay off the plastic surgery. Wowzers. Sophia Loren then Sophia Loren now.

11:31: Maybe I'm just a sucker for Nicole Kidman, but I love her sparkly feathers and her adorable hair.

11:32: Anne Hathaway had the most joyus and genuine reaction for Kate Winslet. That was sweet.

11:34: The whistle thing was adorable.

11:35: "I think we all can't believe we were in a category with Meryl Streep at all!" ADORABLE!!

11:40: What happened to Adrian Brody's hair?

11:41: Anthony Hopkins is super awesome.

11:43: Sean Penn won for Milk. Which I assume he was great in. Give yourself a cookie if you realize by now that I haven't seen it either. Sigh.

11:44: "You commie, homo-loving, sons of guns." Love it!

11:46: REPEAL PROP 8!

11:47: Steven? Stephen? Spielberg. I'm still a little bitter with him over Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Yes, I've seen that. Sigh. I'm an embarrassment.

11:53: Slumdog Millionaire won best picture. Excellent!

11:56: Done. Not too shabby! G'night!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On Demand

I have always ignored the on demand channels on my cable box, because I get no fancy cable channels, so i figured they would be worth nothing to me. Then a few years ago I found out about exercise tv on demand (channel 1025 on Time Warner Cable NYC), which is free and lets me pretend to be healthy while not leaving my living room.

But today I was looking to see which channel exercise tv was for a friend of mine (I never said I actually used it), when I discovered that there's a lot of normal tv on demand. I can watch My Super Sweet 16 on Demand. The Barefoot Contessa on demand. Demetri Martin on demand (channel 1012 on TWCNYC). This is facinating. I don't know if I'll ever use it, but it's kind of neat to know that the option is there.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Blogging Sandra Lee- A Very Special Christmas Present to You!

Some of you might know the infamous food-tv host Sandra Lee, whose show, Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee, has given hours of amusement to me, Brianna and Gillian among countless others.

One assumes that somewhere in the world there are people who actually like Sandy with her crazy tablescapes, boozy cocktails and re-purposed food. Luckily, they don't invite me over for dinner. When I noticed that Sandy had her very own Christmas Special this year, I decided that I had to watch it and blog it so that you could avoid having to watch it yourself. So grab a beer-garita, make a centerpiece out of car parts, and enjoy.

1- Sandy is not looking too hot these days. She's kind of... orange. And her decollage is really tan and looks sun-damaged. She is fair, she should be more careful.

2- Sandy, honey, lay off of the bedazzler. That shirt has been jeweled within an inch of its life.

3- Self-serve cocktail bar. Actually, that's a pretty sweet deal. One place where Sandra Lee doesn't mess around is her booze.

4- Sandy is a little too excited about the fact that she doesn't have to "play bartender" her whole party. Somehow, my guests have always been able to mix their own drinks themselves for years.

5- Secret for faux-mojitos that look "professionally made": fresh mint. How do you make a mojito without fresh mint? And the names! Mistletoe mojito?

6- She's making a turkey. So far I see nothing semi-homemade. Seems normal turkey-making to me. She's pouring broth in the bottom of the pan. I have no clue why. She also seems to think that stuffing compound butter under the turkey skin will make it "self baste" and therefore save time. I don't think she understands what basting is.

7- I'm not even going to comment on her "cranberry glaze". All I have to say is: canned cranberry, orange juice and orange marmalade.

8- She stuck candy on the edges of all her guests cocktail glasses. That annoys me.

9- She's making stuffed mushrooms, and so far I'm kind of impressed of how little of this is semi-homemade. She de-stemmed her own mushrooms, chopped the stems, cooked sausage, chopped leeks, but now she's using pre-packaged cornbread stuffing. The way she said this was as if people who were not semi homemade might be spending all of their time making cornbread from scratch in order to use it to stuff mushrooms. Thank goodness we have Sandra Lee to save us from ourselves!

10- Special tip from Sandy. If you light candles, you don't have to tend to them the way you would a traditional fire, and will have more time for your guests. Seriously. That's her time-saving idea.

11- She seems to be serving passed appetizers. Herself. She buffets the drinks but then spends her time passing around mushrooms on a tray?

12- Ah, here's some semi-homemade. Canned potatoes and cream of potato soup in the potato-leek soup. Whew. I was getting worried.

13- Cream of potato soup and organic chicken broth in the same pot... sigh. Sandy, Sandy, Sandy.

14- Her tablescape this year is very black and silver. It feels very 80s to me.

15- They just showed a basting shot. How dare she lie to me!

16- Crap. Sandra Lee has fire. We should all run for our lives!

17- I wonder how much they pay the people at Sandy's party... right now it seems they pay her in booze.

18- My friends are way to lazy to do this build-your-own-cocktail bar. But could she not garnish just one glass?

19- Who does all of their cooking during their party? Wouldn't you do most of this before hand?

20- Why is she so amazed that cupcake batter is so thick? Oh- because she "semi-homemade-ed" up the box-mix by subbing out water for milk and adding instant coffee. So thick! How amazing!

21- She's making these cupcakes in mugs. Can you just put a mug in a 350 degree oven? That sounds wrong. I think you would just end up with crappy cupcakes in a puddle of ceramic shards.

22- Sandy's friend just called cool-whip "your famous whipped topping". Scary.

23- Just stop it with the garnishes. Why can't these women lay off the garnish?

24- Princess bites?

25- Her turkey looks gross- I think she just pulled out the raw turkey. I swear it's still pink.

26- She's cooking on a gas stove top, but there's no flame. How peculiar...

27- It's cocktail time (again)!

28- She's got a heavy hand on the white chocolate liquor.

29- Oh! A garnish-less glass. How did that lady luck out? Of course, maybe luck is too strong a word. After her first sip, she looked like she wanted to hurl.

30- She just used about $20 of fresh herbs as garnish for her turkey. And a bunch of fresh cranberries. And some pears, but at least she can use those again! Seems semi-homemade is not too easy on the pocketbook or on the stomach.

31- Oh! we're using pre-made cupcakes as a base for our dessert. First, we take chocolate cupcakes with no icing (she did say "cupcakes or muffins" so they might be muffins) and chop off the top. Then we scoop out the middle and fill it with the most amazing filling. Yes, you guessed it right. Cherry pie filling. There is your cherry center. Then make a "beautiful presentation" by making a shell out of aluminum foil. Now, for the wreath, use pre-made icing with peppermint extract and make little stars. It seems we just dicard the tops. Excess. Why do they make cupcakes with tops? And OF COURSE a wreath needs a big bow. It's very easy. So first get a fruit strip. I don't know what this is. It looks kind of like a skinny piece of red and green fruit rollup. Then take the ends and roll them into a big bow. Pinch it in the middle and boom! An edible bow! "How sweet" Then she just sticks it onto the icing. Now, if you want to get "fancy" we can kick it up a notch. Put a dab of icing in the middle of your "bow" and put a red hot in the middle. The final touch- green sugar sprinkles. How festive and pretty..and gross.

32- Winter white wonderland meets disco chic with black and white. That is her theme for her tree and her tablescape. The executive editor of InStyle magazine just complimented it. Remind me never to buy that magazine, as their taste is obviously suspect. Oh, and now she's helping put together the tablescape. So black and sparkly. Just screams Christmas. Her table cloth is just from the fabric store- beautiful black velvet with sparkles! And finally, where you would expect food to go on your traditional table is a big oval mirror covered with cake pedestals of various heights with one black or white ball ornament in it. How does she come up with it?

I'm sorry I wasn't able to get this post written in time for your holiday festivities, but hopefully you can use some of these *amazing* tips for your next party, or even start planning for next year.
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