Monday, July 11, 2011

Silly Lyrics

I've written poetry and lyrics in the past, but it's been awhile. This past weekend I got a little silly - for a good cause - and reworked the first two minutes of Don McLean's American Pie into a contest entry. I'm hoping to win my registration to ALIA's fifth New Librarians Symposium, NLS5.

At first I wished there had not been a two-minute restriction for audio/visual entries because that's only a quarter of the length of the original song - but by Sunday's end, after singing the same two minutes over and over, then cutting different videos together in iMovie, then messing with transitions and tracks...I was glad it was only two minutes. The lyrics are meant to tell the story of my metamorphosis (it's the conference theme) from girl to undergrad to library student, and make my case for why I should win a conference pass.

Unfortunately, some of my better audio runs had blurry or poorly lit video accompaniment. I considered doing a full track of my voice and laying it on top of the muted video, with a third track of music underneath, but heavens, I'd already been singing and watching myself sing all day! I'm a bit of a shy one when it comes to singing, and this is my first-ever YouTube video. Here's hoping it will be good for my professional development (at least until my husband leaks the bloopers reel). Jody recorded my performances and we stitched together the movies as a team. Here is the result:

If you click on 360p and choose 720p, you can even watch it in HD :) The lyrics are under "show more."

Good luck if you've entered the contest too! And I hope to see you in Perth.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Recipes of Roommates Past

Roommates come and go, but sometimes you crave the food they used to make.

Brandy's Chicken in Really Good Sauce

1/4 C butter
1 pkg dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1/2 C white wine
1 can Campbells Golden Mushroom Soup
4 oz cream cheese
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Melt butter on stovetop in a saucepan. Stir in dressing mix. Blend wine, then soup, then cream cheese into butter & dressing mix. Heat throughout but do not boil, stirring until smooth.

2. Arrange chicken breasts in ovenproof dish. Pour sauce over chicken. Cook uncovered at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes if fresh, 60 minutes if frozen.

3. Cook spaghetti or other pasta according to package directions. Plate, then top with chicken and sauce.

This particular roommate combo was short-lived, but it gave me this recipe, which is darn tasty. If you're serving more people than you have chicken breasts, just cut it up before cooking. Unfortunately I can't make the chicken here in Australia, because there is no golden mushroom soup, and Campbells cream soups in general just don't taste the same. Come to think of it, I haven't found dry italian dressing mix either. Sigh.

Chris' Rice n Beans

White rice
1 can of black or kidney beans, rinsed
Black sesame oil
Good quality chili powder
Salt to taste
Light flavoured olive oil
Garnish: cilantro, lime and grated cheese

I can't vouch for amounts but here's the basic method:
1. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Heat black sesame oil in large pan or deep electric griddle
3. Transfer rice to pan once hot, then add beans and mix.
4. Shake chili powder and salt onto beans & rice, to taste
5. Add lots of olive oil - chef says "enough light flavoured olive oil to make it kind of oily." Stir, stir stir, because the pan should be hot and the rice n beans sizzling. When it's shiny and a bit crispy, you're done!
6. Top with fresh cilantro (Aussies: coriander), a squeeze of lime, and grated cheese.

The best part of the rice n beans is definitely watching Chris make it, because he's so very happy in the kitchen. He's usually wielding some utensil or another as though it were an extension of his arm. Chris is also the roomie with whom I argued over "small mashy." I did promise to tell this story sometime...

Jody and I started our married life as the roommates of Chris and his talented fiancee Angie. Between us we had far too many utensils. As a newlywed AND a student, wine was scarce - and I had been given a glass. Chris and I were going through the kitchen stuff and deciding what to put in storage. He had the standard wavy potato masher, while I had my round one with holes, and I was trying to argue why mine should stay in rotation. Tipsy from the wine, I was unable to conclude with anything other than,
"Because it makes smaller mashy!"

Danielle's Strawberry Muffins

My roommate Danielle once stayed up until midnight to bake strawberry muffins and take a 20-minute drive to sneak them into her boyfriend's truck. (They got married not long afterward!) Michelle and I got to eat the extras. I don't have her recipe, but this is my fave strawberry muffin recipe, from Eggs on Sunday.

Please consume responsibly, and enjoy!