Monday, August 31, 2009

Marvelous Monday Meal Munchable In Minutes

Just getting through that title is enough to work up an appetite, I know. Hang in there though; this is worth it!
I made little bowl of Asian perfection on a Thursday, but it was so quick and easy that I thought it would be the perfect fare at the end of a busy Monday.

You will need:

4 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
A pinch of salt
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional - like I have to tell you that, right?)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
5 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2-3 scallions thinly sliced or 1 small shallot*

9oz Asian Noodles -- you can use any kind you like really. This time I used dry rice noodles that are about fettuccine width.

Two Baby Eggplant, sliced -- you can also add bok choy, snow peas, etc.

Take a small, dry pan and over medium high heat toast the sesame seeds until golden. Set aside.

Next mix together salt, red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and set aside.

Set a pot of salted water on to bowl. Make sure you are using a pot large enough to give your noodles some room to swim; they will cook better. Add noodles when water is ready and cook following package instructions.

Heat a pan with some olive oil [or sesame oil if you want extra bold flavor] and saute the eggplant for a few minutes until tender. Then add your prawns and cook 3 to 5 minutes more depending on size and whether or not they are fresh or frozen.

Drain your noodles and throw them in a bowl. Add sauce to sauteed ingredients and immediately turn off heat and add to bowl with noodles [You don't want all of your sauce to cook down and not be liquid enough to spread over your noodles.].

Toss ingredients, dress with toasted sesames on top, and bust out your chopsticks baby! I am just telling you that to be festive, by the way. I only use forks - my native tool.


Serves 2 to 4

Note: I highly recommend at least doubling the sauce so you have enough to really flavor your dish.

* When I use scallions I simply add them to the sauce, but when substituting with shallots, I add them to the saute when I add the prawns.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Soba Noodles With Toasted Sesame Seeds

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Dreamed A Dream - A Nice One This Time

I dream a lot, and I remember many of my dreams in pretty vivid detail. Sometimes that is not always all that fun as many tend to be rather intense adventures into my subconscious that leave me wondering "what the hell?" in the morning.

Last night was different though. Last night was dreamy in every sense of the word -- ethereal, romantic, and exciting.

I dropped into Dreamland smack-dab in the middle of my aunt and uncle's pool yard. They had gone through what I would assume was a great expense to completely enclose their entire backyard. It looked wonderful! All the lush plants bordered and the roof had big sky lights that let in some of the evening light.

As I dove in, the water in their kidney shaped black-bottom pool was bathtub perfect. When I surfaced I found myself surrounded by people. Some were in the water with me and others were standing beyond in the patio area. Many people I know and like were there, but I was also aware that I didn't know everyone. Despite this though, I was completely comfortable. None of my social anxieties had leaked in to this night flight.

I was having a great time playing in the water and chatting with friends. I was also rocking this black one piece bathing suit. Every time I popped out of the water, I was once again amazed at the favors I was doing for this suit!

Me rockin the my dreams

And then it happened.

I am chatting away with someone, standing in the shallow end, when I become aware of someone waiting to get my attention. A man is standing over by the pool steps waiting to catch my eye. A hot man.

I finish my convo and wade over to where he stands looking down at me. He is tall, and dressed in a dark suit (I guess he wasn't planning on swimming). He compliments my swimming (you can't avoid awkward ice breakers party people -- not even in your best dreams). I see his cheesy remark and raise him by replying,

He rockin my my dream

"Well my ancestors are from Sicily - island people are good swimmers" Island people are good swimmers - nice Daniella. Yeah, that is what I said, I remember it crystal clear. Yikeys. He then told me he was from Italy (how convenient this dream is becoming!).

The whole time we are talking I feel this rush of excitement and attraction to my new pool pal. We have total dream chemistry.

Next thing I know I am taking his outstretched hand as he helps me out of the pool. We are standing pool side gazing at each other when he curls his forefinger under my chin and raises my mouth to his. It was a fabulous kiss of course....then I woke up. my dreams.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Free Books Are One Of The Ways God Shows His Love For Us

They really are. I'm going for it. Check it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Letting Go

Another song has been running through my head again. Just like the last time it is not a song I feel particularly attached to, or even remember much about.

Letting Go by Suzy Bogguss is the tune. It's a country song [don't judge] from the early 90s [Seriously, stop judging me] about a young girl going off to school; leaving behind the comfort zone of her kid-dom.

Only a couple of lines of it have come to me.

There's nothing in the way now,
Oh letting go, there's room enough to fly
And even though, she's spent her whole life waiting,
It's never easy letting go.

Letting go - it isn't ever really all that easy, is it?

There seems to be so many little fingers that come with it. Our hearts have them, our minds have them, our ego, our pride, our fear of suffering. All these steely grips keeping us in place - hanging on.

Whether we are excited for the next phase of the journey, bittersweetly moving on, or thrust into the change that is beyond our control, it seems we all are faced with some degree of resistance to letting go.

Right before this song piece came to visit me, I had made a decision to return a material item from someone I had to let go of recently.

I've got all my figurative digits dug in on this one too. I don't want to feel bad, it is a damn nifty material item [Do I really have to let it go?], I don't want my choices leading to someone thinking ill of me, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I don't want to move forward in some ways because I keep analyzing and then reanalyzing my decision.

Despite it all though, I am loosening my grip because I want to be true to myself.

And isn't that what this is all about anyway? This short, difficult, precious, precarious, wonderful life is really just a stab at standing staunchly in the truth of who we are. Can we come full circle on letting go by holding fast to ourselves.

Today I made one small step for letting go and one big[ish] step for Daniella.

So now I think I know why my brain has been entertaining this little diddy all day. My subconscious was just stopping by to weigh in on the sitch and remind me that while these things are never easy, they do indeed make room for us to fly.

This is me getting ready to fly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In Order To Be Returnable, There Must Be Death

Not long ago I was watching Elmo with a very charming young man named Joe. In this riveting segment, Elmo was asking his goldfish Dorothy questions, and I'll be goddamned if she wasn't answering them!

Each time the E Man interpreted another tidbit of the sage advice of Miss Dorothy, I became more and more enthralled. I had to have one of these fish, so it could start talking to me as soon as possible.

Alright - cut to reality: I don't believe that shit. I know fish only talk to other fish. They aren't going to give up their magical watery speech skills to some red furry Plaza de Sesamo character. Sheesh, what kind of nutbag do you take me for?!

Anywho, despite my irritation at Elmo's attempts to trick me, I was getting a warm fuzzy over Dorothy. I remember my first fishbowl with it's two crap feeder goldfish in it, and how excited I was to have them for the 42 hours they lived.

I remember my dad taking us on a rainy afternoon to the local aquarium store to pick out our goods, and then helping me and my brother each put our fish bowl together. They were round, glass bowls complete with colored gravel, plastic plants, and the token must-have treasure chest.

I loved having a pet in my room and eventually our bowls turned into full-fledged fish tanks with all the fixings. I still remember falling asleep under the soft glow of the tank light and the hum of the air pump.

Ahh those were the days.....

Two weeks ago, I decided to indulge my nostalgia and went to Petsmart. I already had a bowl set up, and I decided ahead of time I was going to get me a couple of scrappy feeder goldfish to go in it. Recapture a bit of the good ole day's glory.

I had a touch of that little kid excitement too [ok - big touch] as I entered the store and started perusing the tanks. Fish, fish, fish, expensive fish, ugly fish, who would want that fish?, saltwater fish, glowy fish, tiny fish - where are the feeders man?!

Eventually I work my way back to where I started, and next to all the fancy goldfish I see a big empty tank. They were out. Noooooooo!

Like a seven year old, I was hell bent on instant gratification. I was going home with fish goddamnit!

I then proceeded to make a big mistake. I bought Ethel and Enid.

I have had fancy goldfish in the past and it has never worked out. They're snotty, spoiled and superficial. And then just so you can hate them that much more, they go and die right away so you can weep as you flush your $5.99 down the toilet.

What was I thinking?! Fancy goldfish?! Eck! As soon as I got them home, I knew I should have held out for my scrappy little faves, the feeders. Talk about an attitude of gratitude! They know how grim their prospects are. How you could have fed them to your snapping turtle or pet piranha or dumped them in bleach water like a certain brother I know. Their every move screams "thank you!" and you have just got to love them for that.

Alright, well so I fucked up, but I am a commitment girl so Ethel and Enid are going to shack up with me for as long as they haunt this earth.

If I hadn't been thinking like a kid, I would have got me some guppies. At least they are small and darty and you never know when they are going to splooge out some babehs - God's miracle every one of them.

But I digress.....back to E & E.

They are annoying as hell. My visions of relaxing evenings sipping a glass of wine, gazing at my peaceful little fishy duo are blown out. These two will not be any help in lowering my blood pressure.

For starters, they can't swim worth a shit. Everyday looks like it is their first day behind the fin. Most of the time they just look like they are trying not to float up to the top. They fight over the food like there isn't a thousand little flakes there floating for them to share. They're pretty much ungrateful little biotches........and I am stuck with 'em.

And we come full circle: When I was leaving the store that fateful day, the sales girl tells me that they have a return policy on their fancy goldfish. If they eat it within 14 days of purchase, and you have your receipt AND the dead fish, [she told me twice I had to have the carcass on me] they will give you a refund or store credit.

Well that little ray of hope blew out yesterday. Today is Day 15 and as I type this those two gaping fools are over there still trying to get the swimming thing down. Damn.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Super Power Ball Me!

I have given up all dreams of self earned grandeur for my life. I'm an American, goddamnit! I shouldn't have to work hard, or take responsibility for myself.

That sort of tomfoolery is for the Russians or something.

I on the other hand will be playing lotto from now on. Like a fiend.

I will let you know when I make it to the Big Spin baby - wish me luck!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Don't Let Another Child End Up Stoopid Like Me

The amazing Back To School sales going on right now at the warehouse office supply stores make it easy and inexpensive to help out students in need!

Too many kids go back to school each year without the tools they need to excel in the classroom. This is unnecessary - and easy to fix.

So how can you get involved? Glad you asked! Following are a few organizations that could use your gift.

C.A.S.A. - Court Appointed Special Advocates together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so that they can thrive in safe, permanent homes. School supplies donated to C.A.S.A. enable their advocates to share with the children they are paired with. For more information on a branch in your area, click here

Foster an A+ by contributing to a local Sleep Train location's school supply drive to benefit children that are part of the California Foster Care system. You can visit their site and find by going here

I Love Schools is an online program aimed at matching classrooms with the people who can help them get the school supplies they need. Read through teachers' wish lists to see if there are any school supplies you are willing to donate. You may also post a "donor offer" and let teachers contact you if they are interested in the items you would like to give. You can find out more here

Want to go international with your donation? Awesome! Here are a couple of ideas.

Operation Iraqi Children does amazing work for the Children of Iraq. They have ongoing needs for school supplies. For an outline of what they need and how you can pitch in, please visit there site here

Have you read or heard of the amazing book Three Cups of Tea? The Central Asia Institute was born out of Greg Mortenson's incredible work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They continue to aid central Asia in educating it's youth. To find out how you can help them, please click here

Operation Action Packed! sends small toys and school supplies to our deployed troops so that they may share them with the children they encounter incountry. You can visit OAP's site by clickinr here OAP also ships reserve supplies to an organization in Afghanistan, Women Of Hope, that aids Afghan women and their children rebuild. More can be found out about WOHP at there site here

Just want to keep it super simple? That's easy -- simply shop till you drop and take a quick drive over to your favorite school (one in a low income district will probably be able to make even more of an impact with your generosity). In most cases, you can drop off your donation at the main office and the supplies will be distributed to those most in need.

Typical supply needs include:

* lined paper
* pens and pencils
* rulers
* erasers
* highlighters
* dry-erase markers
* overhead projector transparency sheets
* overhead projector markers
* paperclips
* binders
* report covers
* staples and a stapler
* construction paper
* glue sticks
* markers
* tape
* art supplies (for elementary and art classes)
* text and reference books

Many of these items are less than a dollar each right now! Dollar stores are always a great place to shop for school supplies as well.

There are many ways you can help a student.

We don't need any more tit-a-whirl operators over here at Daniellaland, so I hope this has inspired you to reach out through an organization that shares your vision.

You can make a difference for these kids!

Thank you,


Friday, August 14, 2009

Funny Fecal Friday

Scroll down, smile and have yourself a little chuckle because this shit right here is funny. Happy Friday!

funny shit Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Joe's Special

How can I put this? Joe's Special isn't all Don't get me wrong, I love me some JS, but the specialness definitely lies in how unsophisticated it is.

I first enjoyed this dish at Original Joe's, a restaurant that has been in my hometown since the 1950s.

Being part of a large Italian family, many occasions called for a trip downtown and a big booth at Original Joe's. Many traditional, Italian old world specialties are on their menu.

My first OJ memories are of large, white oval plates of steaming ravioli in hearty Bolognese sauce. I think The Adults ordered that for me on every visit until I was street legal. Left to my own vices as an adult, I definitely got more adventuresome on my travels through the menu. One day I happened upon Joe's Special. That moment began the love affair that lives on to this day.

So just where did Joe get his special?

According to legend: Folklore has it that a customer ordered a spinach omelet very late one night. The customer asked the chef if he had anything else available to cook. The chef replied he had some hamburger left. The customer asked him to throw some of the hamburger into his omelet. The dish became so popular that they eventually put it on the menu. ~Original Joe's website

A simple pairing of flavors and ingredients that comes together to be absolutely delicious -- and satisfying.

To begin, heat olive in a skillet and brown ground chuck (I used ground buffalo because I prefer the taste and leanness of the meat,and it was still de-lish).

Once meat is mostly cooked through add finely chopped onions, garlic, and after a couple of minutes, the chopped spinach (I used fresh spinach but frozen would be fine as well).

Once the onions, garlic and spinach have had time to soften, add eggs and cook through until not runny.

The rule of Joe's Special is one egg for each person you are serving.

Beat 'em!

Salt and pepper to taste, then your ready to plate! A little grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top is the perfect finish. In the OJ's tradition, serving this tastiness with fresh, crusty sourdough bread is highly recommended.


The other thing of beauty about this recipe is how well it lends itself to your own creativity too. Have some mushrooms in the fridge? Throw those bad boys in with the onion and garlic. Summer time tomato calling your name from that bowl on the counter? In it goes! Have a bell pepper that is just asking for it? You know what to do..... And there you have it -- Joe's Special just keeps on getting more specialer.

Looking for a more regimented recipe? I think the OJ's San Francisco adaption will do.

Original Joe's Special
Source: Original Joe's, a restaurant in San Francisco
Serves: 4

1 pound ground chuck
1 box of frozen spinach
2 medium onions (sliced thin)
1 clove of garlic
1 egg per person
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain spinach and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Set aside.

Brown onions and garlic. Add crumbled meat. Sauté until it loses red color. Mix constantly. Add spinach bit by bit, and stirring in.

Break eggs into skillet and stir constantly. May be served immediately or allowed to brown further.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Miracle Is Never Old News

I heard about this when it first hit the news, and I have been meaning to do a post ever since.

Long story short, apparently God so loved the world he decided to send his virgin mother's image to the form of......loose stool from a bird's pipe.

I'm not making this shit up. ABC and many other news agencies actually reported on it.

A miracle. Moved by the grace of the spirit. Touched by a bird's ass.

What?! Come on, people aren't really buying this crap, (full pun intended party people) are they?

If you watch the video, there is no shame in anyone's game as they gush over the miraculousness of dried poo on some dude's truck mirror.

They're full of it, right? I mean, come on. Our creator actually expects us to draw the sacred from this? In these troubled times, what message are we supposed to take away?

Bird poo? Really?

But what if....

What if the Divine really is trying to shine through shit? Trying to reach out to us. Send a message. Let's suspend doody disbelief, and go with it. However, I offer you this: The supposed miracle detailed above is simply not grandiose enough.

Here is how I like to envision it.

A zookeeper enters the Elephant enclosure early on a Sunday morning. The zoo won't open for visitors for several hours, so it's very quiet as he works. The hills in the background are misty and the there is a golden Sun Ray coming down right over the pen. A truly glorious morning. After water troughs are replenished and hay bins refilled, Jesus grabs his shovel and prepares to muck out the stalls.

As he enters the enclosure the sight before him takes his breath away. There on the concrete floor is a giant pile of dung, and in the center is a perfect image of the heavenly father. Swathed in a deep red robe, one hand outstretched, the other over his heart. He smiles peacefully as he lovingly looks up at Jesus. His halo and the surrounding divinity glow coming through the pile have filled the room with a soft yellow light.

This humble zookeeper can't believe his eyes. As he steps closer a voice emanates from the heap before him, "Jesus my son, I love you and I want you to be happy."

As tears stream down his face he replies, "Yes Father, thank you for showing yourself to me. I have loved you all of my life."

After a few moments, the image starts to fade and the light around this miracle starts to dim. Seeing this, Jesus fills with urgency. Surely, there must be something God has come to tell him to do. A special task he must carry out to save the world.

He stammers, "My father, before you go, is there any way I can serve? I am here to do your will."

God smiles again and says, "Yes my son there is. Clean up this shit."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Book Of Ruth - Chapter One

Fixer-uper Puppy

Ten years ago today I brought Ruth home. Well actually We brought Ruth home. You see, back then I was married and it was the other half of the We, John, that wanted to bring Ruth home.

I admit I started it. My not-so-subtle pleading to at least go down to the Humane Society and look around had finally paid off -- or so I thought.

August 4th 1999 was our third trip down to the pound. Our house was small and we were on the hunt for a petite pooch to match. Our previous two visits the preceding weeks were Pit Bull and Shepherd mix adventures. No-go.

This visit was shaping up about the same. Row after row of large breed puppies and large breed adult dogs watched us walk up and down the rows of runs. There was the occasional small dog garnish amongst them but they were all on adoption hold already. We were never going to find a dog this way.

As I frowned into one of the last runs full of Shepherd mix puppies, I marveled at the little brown dog toy they had in there when I realized it was moving. What in the french toast was going on here?!

John caught up to me, and as I pointed, his smile confirmed that my eyes were not deceiving me. A tiny, brown scraggly little puppy was sitting in the middle of this pack of dogs destined for great...size. Each time they tried to play with her it looked more like a pummeling. Paws on head, playful nosey nudges pushing this little thing right over.

Bummer for that puppy or squirrel mix, or whatever, I thought as I walked towards the exit. But John was not so quick to follow. "Where are you going? This could be the dog for us."

Um, what?! I only agreed to the strict size limit on the prospective puppy because I thought I was going to end up with a CUTE one!

This is a cute puppy.

This is a cute puppy.

This.....not so much.

Alright, alright.....but still...

Before I can even spell UGLY, John has hurried off in search of an adoption counselor. Five minutes later he returns. Alone. "She's already on hold" he tells me in a disappointed tone. Whew! That was close. As we leave, the woman who had helped John stopped us to tell us that if the potential adopter doesn't pass muster during the scheduled interview that was to take place that evening, She-It would be back up for takers starting the following morning.

Oh great.

There we were bright and early the next morning; arriving when the Humane Society opened. We waited to speak to someone, and were informed She-It was off of adoption hold and back on the market.

Apparently the woman who wanted to adopt her had what else but a big dog at home. Since that Rottweiler of hers was an adult, it made the environment for She-It unsafe by HS standards, and her application was denied.

Oh great.

We followed the woman out to the kennels and the little brownish clump of steel wool managed a half wag as we approached. As John stepped into the run and picked She-It up, a yellow sprinkling hit his jacket. "She peed on you!" I screeched. Unfazed, John held She-It close and softly dismissed my resistance with, "She's a fixer-uper puppy"

Oh great.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Get A Brian Morons - Go USA!

If you don't love this picture, then you my friend, do not love this country. Might as well put your shit in a shoebox now and get on the next plane to France.

This picture encompasses all of what is right and good about the USA. Well, not really, but it's funny as hell!

Let's start at the top, shall we?

White stars on blue do-rag is fabulous. I like to think this piece of patriotic headgear is covering a red stripe of faux-hawk to round out the theme. And if we look closely, our friend has a healthy amount of hair coming out the back there. I think I might have to call a Mullett Alert. The Go USA Mullet -- the ultimate in patriotism. It's one thing to die for your country. It's a whole different sacrifice to look like an idiot for life for it.

On the subject of hair: a moment of respect and deference for this man's Magnum PI would be nice of you.

Right now I am wishing that I was more of a sports buff so I could find some witticism about his shirt, but I got nothing. I do love the hint of the shed he is building to cover his tool we get under that shirt though. Niiice.

Now we come to the signage - it's just so perfect! Or purfect.

And hell yeah - GO USA! Who wouldn't want those morans to get a brain?

I encourage all of you to get out there and follow this man's lead -- show your nation something GO USA! about you!