Still #4 (Or Michigan Defeated Wisconsin)

I’m back from Michigan, and I’m pleased to report that the Wolverines are still #4 after (barely) defeating the Badgers in Ann Arbor.

Even though the game almost made me die of stress (I still can’t talk about our kicker), I had sooooo much fun!

See?

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My Panda and I reunited to party like undergrads.

Tailgating is our favorite. We had pulled pork and Doritos for breakfast. I’d show you pics of that situation, but I was too busy eating it.

(Pro tip: Slows Bar BQ in Detroit knows pig. You need it in your life.)

When I wasn’t stuffing my face, I was meeting up with old friends.

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Including my old buddy, Dhani Jones. 

Even though we hit up four tailgates, we still made it to the Big House well before kick off because we’re professionals.

Angela spent half the game pacing the stadium (see earlier kicker criticism), but here we are in our seats for a minute.

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She love Michigan as much as I do. 

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I dare say we like it more than most of the 110,000+ people pictured here. 

After we won, we kept the party going.

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I may have had to pop an extra bottle to celebrate. 

And Angela used it to chase her victory tequila because she’s a gorgeous beast….

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And my kind of Wolverine. 

On the way to our next celebration we ran into some serious fratastic action.

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College never changes.

And somehow I find that comforting.

Maybe that’s why I keep going back.

That’s all I have for now.

I’ll tell you all about my Nana’s 90th at the cottage later.

Productive Procrastination (Or Life Goals)

I should be writing today. I mean this kinda counts, but not really. I should be working on my second pilot, but I did that yesterday. Or maybe two days ago. Either way, I’m not feeling that script today… or my second feature.

Today I’m feeling sausage, bacon, and truffle popcorn, but that’s not really news. I’m always in the mood for those things.

Do you know what is news?

U of M and Notre Dame will be rekindling their rivalry in 2018. That announcement made my day. I’m already planning a pilgrimage to Ann Arbor for the 2019 match up in the Big House. I put the entire crew on notice as soon as I woke up.

Know what else I’m planning?

A trip to Michigan for the Wisconsin game in October.

We haven’t played Wisco in absolutely forever, and it’s always a good time. Plus that game coincides with my Grandma’s birthday, so the trip is sort of like multitasking. #winningatlife

The other thing putting me in a good mood?

The rose I found at Costco for $12.69.

It’s delicious.

Also?

Any wine purchased at Costco is well-deserved and can be opened immediately upon returning home because procuring it generally involves waiting in line behind someone buying 4,000 diapers and 42 bottles of hand sanitizer.

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Costco needs an express line for single people. #truth

So, that’s sort of the latest. Oh, and I did a dialogue rewrite of a movie that starts shooting this week in New Orleans, so that was awesome.

In other news, I want to own a sports bar some day. I spend enough time in them that I may as well get a return on my investment, right?

In the spirit of learning the business from the ground up, I picked up a few shifts at a chill spot on the westside with good burgers and solid crew of regulars. I’m getting writing material up to my eyes, and I’m also learning things about city ordinances for grease lines, the importance of free goldfish crackers, and cutting off drunk people in baseball caps.

Plus? I’m having fun.

You’re not really living if you’re not having fun… or changing things up.

Speaking of changing things up…. I said goodbye to my stick this spring.

That may not seem like a huge thing, but I have driven manuals since I got my license, so it feels like the end of an era, because I’m not exactly 16.

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I’ll miss you, manual.

It was time, though.

I needed more room for the Bubba… and my 92,000 bags.

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Points if you can find the pup in the pic. #sorrybaby

It got the Mercedes GLA, and it may be a lot bigger than my last car, but the turning radius is TO DIE FOR. If you’ve ever had to pull an illegal U-ey in LA you’ll understand why this is key. German engineering is no joke.

So, things are changing.

And in the spirt of all that, here’s a song I’m into right now celebrating changes in the air.

 

Football’s Back and It’s Time for Spicy Sausage (Or How to Make Spicy Italian Sausage with Tomato Cream Sauce on Farfalle)

Fall means spicy meat to me. For real.

I almost can’t believe football is back. I mean, it’s like 93 outside, but whatever. Football means fall to me. So in honor of it all, I’m making my favorite pasta dish for the game tonight. It’s a spicy sausage pasta with a tomato cream sauce, and it’s divine. It basically combines everything I love in this world.

Namely: cream, carbs, and pig.

Do you know what else makes this week a big deal? Besides all of the photos of my friends’ kids’ first day of school all over Facebook?

Yesterday was Albus’ one year adoption anniversary.

On September 4, 2011, I rescued a scared little boy named Bruno from the backseat of a Honda Accord and brought him home with me. I had just planned to foster him, but by September 5, I was making homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches while watching Harry Potter, and I sort of fell absolutely in love with the bombastic beast. Before Harry was off to Hogwarts, I had renamed the dog and informed Woodley we were keeping him.

I mean, look at this face.

What on earth am I wearing, woman?

How was I going to give him up? Woodley might have looked something like this when I told her the big dog was staying.

Another dog? I can’t even look at you.

But now they’re best buddies or something.

I’m not a dog, but I think this means they like each other. Plus Woodley cries at daycare if they don’t let her into the big dog area with her brother, so there’s that.

So anyway, here’s the recipe. It’s easy. And amazing.

Spicy Italian Sausage with Tomato Cream Sauce on Farfalle

2 T olive oil
1 lb spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional – I like my sauce really spicy so I add the pepper flakes)
1 C diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 14.5 ounce cans of chopped tomatoes
½ C whipping cream

1 lb farfalle (or bowtie pasta)
½ C fresh basil, torn
Fresh grated parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium high heat. Add sausage (and red peppers flakes). Cook until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 minutes, breaking the sausage into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon as you cook the meat. Add the onion and garlic, sautéing until tender, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and juice.

Put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil after adding the tomatoes to the sauce. Once the water is boiling, cook the noodles according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, simmer the tomato sauce for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and the tomatoes are a brick red color. Add the cream to the sauce and cook for 3-5 minutes until the cream has reduced slightly.

Drain the pasta and serve the sauce over the farfalle with torn basil on top. Garnish with fresh grated parmesan.

Eat. And smile while watching football and pretending it feels like fall.

Whooooo’s Impatient? (Or How to Make Owl Cupcakes)

I’m impatient — like I freak out in front of the microwave — impatient. And so is my birthday buddy, Connor. He was born five weeks early — the day before his own baby shower. He’s healthy, and so is his mom, and that’s what really matters.

Since we have pushed his Owl-themed shower until he’s ready to meet all of the ladies at once, I had a lot of owl cupcake supplies sitting in my pantry. I didn’t want to wait to use them. (See reference to impatience above.)

I recently made Amy Sedaris’ cupcakes and figured it was the perfect opportunity to see if I could actually deliver the owl design I had promised.

I think I did.

Whoooo wants a cupcake?

Because I had initially planned on using banana cupcakes as the base for the owl cupcakes, I deviated a bit from the Hello, Cupcake! suggestion to use chocolate Oreos and Junior Mints for the eyes. I went with Golden Oreos and Reese’s pieces instead. I chose Double Stuff Oreos instead of the regular Oreos because they’re easier to separate. (I just happen to know this because I kind of like dismembering my food before consuming it.)

If you go with the regular Oreo variety, Hello, Cupcake! recommends microwaving the Oreos briefly before twisting off the top layer. I didn’t find this step necessary.

Here’s the supply situation.

To make the owl ears(?!?) you cut the top of the Oreo in half and affix it to the cupcake with frosting.

Here’s the pointy bit of the owl.

I ended up slicing a little off of the bottom of the cookie so that less stuck out, but it’s up to you. (I was worried the weight of the frosting would make the cookie ears fall off.)

Here’s the owl before final frosting embellishment.

Instead of making banana Runt beaks, I used a banana candy I found at a store in the mall. I looooove Runts, but I couldn’t find them ANYWHERE. (I did finally find them at the mall where I also found the banana candies, but it was easier to buy banana candy than it was to pick out banana Runts from a large colorful bin.) If you don’t feel like schlepping to the mall, Amazon has banana candies here.

To achieve the blue and yellow two tone frosting, I stuck a Wilton pastry bag of blue frosting into the yellow bag of frosting like this.

You don’t necessarily need to have two colors for the owl feathers. I just felt like making things more difficult for myself.

So, those are the owls. You should totally make them. If you do, decorate the owls the same day you serve them; the Oreos get a little gummy if you refrigerate them.

By now you’ve probably figured out there are few things I love more than a party. Those things? Are football — and theme parties. In the coming months, look out for some party planning posts involving a Winnie the Pooh party for a very special one year old boy, and some serious football theme parties.

This owl army? Is ready to get in my belly.