this is the semi-grown up blog of liz markus, showcasing her ability to put letters and symbols together in a pleasant and correct manner.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

the best waffles

remember that time i wanted a cooking blog?

yeah, me neither.

life is messy, man, and waffles make things better. this is adapted from the better homes and gardens new cookbook, the one with the red gingham and ring-binding for easy addition/subtraction. these waffles will make you feel good. they will remind you of diners. they will silence you because you will be busy chewing. they are delightful topped with butter, and syrup that also has butter added to it because, fuck all.

the best waffles
1 3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt1/2 cup butter
2 eggs1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp vanilla

whisk together the flour, sugar, powder, soda and salt. make a well in the middle, set aside.

in a separate bowl, melt your butter. add eggs one at a time, whisking well so they don't scramble and/or clumpify the butter. slowly whisk in the sour cream til smooth. whisk in buttermilk and vanilla.

pour wet ingredients into well of dry ingredients, and mix just until moistened, resulting in a lumpy, sticky batter.

cook according to your waffle iron's instructions, serve pronto with the aforementioned butter and buttery syrup. also, whipped cream. also, fruit. also, ice cream.

*or be me and add 1 tbsp of white vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup and fill the rest of the way with milk; let sit 5 minutes. because srsly, who has buttermilk around anymore? i know they used to drink that shit straight in the 50's but damn.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

a lighthearted interlude

i had somehow forgotten about this video's existence. this is a failing on my part, and i sought to remedy it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

the violence inherent in the system, but not the sex.

so i've done a lot of thinking about the whole "violence is ok for kids, but sex isn't" debacle that plagues our society, and i think i've finally hit upon a logical conclusion.

anyone who has ever spent any time around young kids (and i mean pre-teen/prepubescent young) knows that the lord of the flies had it absolutely right: without societal guidance, children are mean. they will say whatever they want, regardless of the feelings of others, and with a complete lack of tact. they'll hit and kick and scratch and bite. they will defend themselves over the smallest slight, and attack verbally at a moment's notice.

so violence, messy as it is, is ingrained. it's there at the start, and is un-taught for the greater good (i.e., not going around punching everyone because you want to). it's relatable. it's even casual; my guy and i beat each other up all the time. mostly me. because he's a jerkface*.

i'm not a doctor. i have no grants, and i haven't spent years observing children and their brain patterns and diets and hormone levels. but it doesn't take a doctorate to know that kids are jerks. nor does it take a rocket surgeon to know that kids don't really develop an interest in sex until later on, much later than an interest in violence and slapping tommy because he took your blocks away.

sure, kids know they have parts. they know that if you touch some of those parts in a certain way, it feels weird/good/hilarious. they know that acting out on the touching can get a response that is also hilarious, especially when your parents have guests over for dinner. but the intricacies of sex and its larger-scale effects are basically lost on children**. part of the joy of childhood is the inexperience and innocence that coats our interpretation of the world around us. we catch glimpses of things and reconstruct them in our head based on already learned facts and pure imaginative whimsy. we see a bit of sexy-times on television before the channel is quickly changed, and lie in bed replaying that bit over and over again, wondering what and why and how and hey what's going on there. we ache for the unknown, in an unknowing manner; we don't even know what it is that we want.

so where does this leave us? well, it's my opinion that information about sex should come from someone who cares and knows what they're talking about, and i'd really like it if we lived in a world where that person is a parent or guardian. unfortunately, we don't live in such a world. we live in a world where it seems like a lot of grown human beings don't know how their own bodies work. we live in a world where girls are growing up to be women who think a hymen is something that has to be broken through***, and many men think that pornography is a learning tool.

like wonder bread and alvarado st bakery, the sex that is found in movies and books is a creature completely separate from actual sex. in movies and books, two people (usually a man and a woman) meet, know each other for about a week, have sex (in books--at least, in romances--the woman is usually a virgin and there's pain and blood and the man holds her close as her eyes well with tears and he assures her the pain will pass and then omg it's so beautiful lolz~****), and then are in love forever and ever.

this is not what we need to be teaching children. we need to be teaching them that their bodies and minds are complex, and thus, social and sexual interactions are as well. we need to teach them to be safe, with their own bodies and with other bodies. they are not going to learn any of this watching/reading current forms of entertainment. this, unfortunately, says a lot about the quality of our entertainment these days, but frankly, if you're looking to something called entertainment for learning material, you're already in a lot of trouble. children, however, see everything as learning material, because everything is new. what they do with that material is, for the most part, up to you.

sit down with your kids, tell them how their bodies work. they don't need all the fleshy-moist details all up front; a nice outline of the basics will do, and then work your way up from there.

and tell tommy to stop being a dick and give back the damn blocks.

*not always.

**which is why 16 and Pregnant exists.

***i think i truly grasped how second-rate the female gender is considered in this country when i learned, at age twenty-nine, that this is not true.

****i was an avid reader of harlequin romances. it is seriously like this. all the time. forever and ever. just like love! <3 <3 <3 xoxo

Monday, August 6, 2012

pumpkin pie rice pudding.

so i had a random urge for crazy food-related delight this afternoon, on my hour-and-a-half drive home from pacifica*. i recently found, via tastespotting, recipes for fried oatmeal chicken and pumpkin mash. the page in question was an exercise in de-health-ifying an existing set of recipes, and believe you me, it sounds pretty freaking awesome. however, i've been trying to pay attention to what i stuff in my facehole, and the thought of frying chicken in pure butter was slightly repellent to me. so, i stopped at the store, and then i improvised, via baked oatmeal chicken and pumpkin polenta.

it was pretty amazingly delicious considering i was basically winging it; the milk needed egg to really make the oatmeal stick, and i probably should've run about half of the oatmeal through the food processor to make a really nice coating. but the oven maintained 350 degrees fahrenheit**, and the polenta soaked up the pumpkin like a champ. well, half of the pumpkin.

see, the smallest size can of pumpkin puree one can get with regularity at their local supermarket is 15 ounces, the size of a slightly-large soup can. i only needed half the can for dinner, and whilst i took a couple bites of puree straight from the can, i craved more.

enter cook's illustrated recipe for simple stovetop rice pudding, tweaked and adapted to complete shit because i'm impatient and didn't want to use two cups of any dairy product. because we were running low. however, my bastardization was the real winner this evening:

i give you, pumpkin pie rice pudding.

1/2 cup medium grain rice
2 cups water
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
half a 15oz can of pumpkin puree (aka, 7.5oz pumpkin puree {math is power!})
1 tsp cinnamon (or, one container cinnamon. it depends on your tastes. i don't judge.)
dash nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

bring 1 cup of water to a boil. stir in rice and salt; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

stir in milk and 1 cup water; the sugar; the spices; the extract; and the half can of pumpkin puree. bring to medium heat, stirring frequently until thick. reduce to low heat to continue the magical thickening process, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

you could, of course, let it chill in the fridge, and then top it with freshly-made whipped cream and some more cinnamon. or, you could be real damn impatient like me, and let it fall to just below taste-bud-slaughtering heat before consuming it like the animal you are. i am. we are. IT TASTES LIKE PUMPKIN PIE, ALL RIGHT?



*i almost stopped a few times--the weather was perfect, the sea was exquisite... ugh.

**which was twenty-five degrees lower than i wanted, but the fact that it maintained any temperature below 425 is a victory to me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

+100 things that make me happy+ #24: falling asleep sitting up with the light on and a book in my hand, then waking in the night to find the light off and the book put aside for me

the title to this post pretty much explains it all.*

a few years back, i had a massive ear infection. and i mean massive; i could not hear out of my right ear for a good five months total. the infection culminated the morning of christmas eve, forcing me to spend the wee hours of the morning crying in pain in the urgent care of the local doctor's office.**

two hours and a couple hundred dollars in time and prescriptions later, i was back home, medicated and packing up little chinese-food boxes with cookies for the coworkers i was, unfortunately, bailing on that day.*** i rested for a bit, then headed out with the guy and kids to drop off the boxes, apologize profusely for being ill, and spend the evening nodding off in a corner at the guy's parents' house.

that night, we sat in bed reading, the red-shaded vintage lamp behind the bed making everything look warm and cozy, and the down comforter actually making it warm and cozy. the nodding continued in earnest, evolving into drowsing, and ending with me falling asleep sitting up with my book splayed in my lap.

later, i woke up to a dark room and soft snoring. my book was set aside. i'd been tended to in my sleep. at a time when i was already feeling vulnerable and crappy, it was immensely comforting--a small, lovely gesture of affection.

*unlike clarissa. i liked the show and all, but really, she explained absolutely nothing.

**pro-tip: screaming and clutching your head gets you to the head of the line every. time.

***retail work = usually working shitty days of the year and having to pay for doctor's visits and prescriptions out of pocket. SCORE!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

+100 things that make me happy+ #23: quail

summer in california means many things to many people. in the past it has meant to me that i had one more stupid season to get through before autumn finally arrived, and i could wear sweaters and eat squash again. living in the mountains has toned down my dislike for summer, and i have come to more fully embrace the long days and barbequed foods and cold beverages that i used to really not care that much about.

summer in california also means that the local wildlife is out in full force. frogs, cicadas, owls, mockingbirds, coyotes--they're a constant nightly reminder that 27 hours of daylight is not nearly enough, and will screech in protest all night long. luckily for me, i wear earplugs to sleep.

my all-time favorite summer "visitor" is also a bit noisy, but it's an adorable noise. the california quail makes a poppy sort of whooping sound as it scratches through the brush bordering our property. they like to gather there in the mornings and late afternoons, and i like to try and get as close as possible without scaring them away. i unfortunately suck at it, so i have to make do with glimpses of blurred feet scrambling into the christmas tree farm next door and sightings down the driveway.

a baby quail is called a walnut. take a moment to fully absorb that fact, i'll wait.

ok, you good now? no? me neither. i still can't get over the fact that the offspring of one of the cutest birds ever is called a freaking walnut. a group of quail is called a covey*. so you can have a covey of walnuts. i don't even know what to do with myself in situations like this.




*thanks, covey run vineyards!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

the chicken whisperer.

at least five days a week, i drive down the hill into town. and then, in turn, at least five days a week, i drive back up the hill to home. the passenger-side window of my car doesn't roll down, so the ride home is when i take a little back road, and stop to talk to the chickens.

seriously. i pull over, roll down my window, and greet them with a "good day". i will then proceed to either ask them "what's up" in english, or translate it into what i believe is chickenese. i sit in my car and cluck at them until they come over to the fence, where they scratch, stare, and cluck softly in response. every once in a while, the rooster will give me a crow*.

i sit and i tell the chickens that they are very lucky to be chickens, that they have it easy. they don't know right or wrong, and therefore it doesn't exist for them. they just do. i tell them that they don't have to worry about rush hour traffic, or complex social interactions. this is not at all meant to belittle the chickens; far from it.

then, after a minute or so, i drive off, because another thing chickens don't have to worry about is their owner coming around the corner of the coop to find a strange girl in a car babbling to their yard fowl. nope, that worry is all mine.

*the sound, not the bird. i wish it was the bird. that would be sweet.