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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