Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bobby Brown Is Dating! Lock Up Your Daughters! And Your Booze! And Your Money!

The former Mr. Whitney Houston and badass says he's back on the dating scene. For all you single women looking to hook up with His Hotness, you'll find it hard to resist this package:

• Numerous DUI arrests and related bail violations starting in 1996.

• Was jailed for failing to pay $11,000 in child support.

• Reneged on a deal to appear on a Washington DC radio station that gave him $19,000 to bail himself out of jail.

• Appears to have gotten Whitney's hat in the divorce settlement.

Who said all the good men were taken?

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Feed Me: A Pasta Recipe That Isn't Rocket Science.

I've always been a sucker for cooking shows. So of course I'm a huge fan of The Food Network, that 24-hour orgy of food preparation, home to edge-of-your-seat entertainment such as "Gingerbread Challenge" and "Calorie Commando." One of my favorite things to do is to watch it while I'm walking on my treadmill, since nothing says health and fitness like watching Mario Batali cook up a big batch of fettuccine alfredo using twelve pounds of butter and a barrel of heavy cream.

Although it's not my favorite show on the network, I often watch Ina Garten on The Barefoot Contessa - there's something so comforting about her manner, and I always feel like she's the type of person you could always call when you're having a bad day and she would show up at your doorstep with a huge rib roast, a tub of mashed potatoes and a homemade cake. This is so different from what actually happens when I call any of my friends to tell them I've had a bad day, as they're more likely to yell, "Again?" before hanging up the phone and then changing their number.

While I'm not a big fan of the way shows try and hawk their own cookbooks and products, I did succumb to buying Barefoot Contessa Family Style, and I'm glad I did. The recipes and ingredients are simple and straightforward - not a single reference to fermented hazelnut oil or candied pheasant glands. Everything I've made from this book has been fairly easy to make and came out great. My favorite recipe is her Lemon Pasta with Shrimp which I've make frequently, with and without the shrimp. I've made it as a main dish, and as a side dish, before getting on the treadmill and after a grueling twelve-minute workout. And sure it's a little heavy on the butter, but if you promise yourself you'll spend the rest of the week drinking wheatgrass juice like I do, it doesn't feel so bad. Here it is:

Lemon Pasta With Shrimp Scampi
Serves 6

Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds linguine
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (around 9 cloves)
2 pounds large shrimp (about 32 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of salt, and the pepper and sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

$33,000 Can Buy A Lot Of Lunchables.

Ellen DeGeneres' ex, Anne Heche is being accused of being a poor parent. In court papers filed by her soon-to-be-ex husband, Coley Laffoon, Heche is described as exhibiting "bizarre and delusional behavior" and is characterized as having "poor parenting skills." In the document Lafoon also claims that Heche often made school lunches that their son, Homer "did not like." Apparently the 5-year old was outraged when he opened his Barney lunchbox and found a bologna sandwich and Cheetos when what he really wanted was a brie and prosciutto focaccia with currant chutney.

Laffoon, formerly a videographer who made $6,000 a year, is asking for $33,000 a month in spousal support.

No word on who will be prosecuted for allowing a child to be subjected to the name 'Homer Lafoon.'


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Monday, May 14, 2007

I Use It Everyday: Bliss Soap Makes My Skin Soft As A Baby's Behind But Not As Smelly As One.

After checking into a hotel the first thing I do upon entering my room is scope out the bathroom amenities. Then, like any normal person would do, I spend the next few minutes figuring out how I'm going to stuff all that free shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer into my toiletry bag and then make it seem like I've used it up so housekeeping will replenish my supply the next morning.

So when we stayed at the W Hotel a couple of years ago for our anniversary I was excited to find samples of six different bliss products, all tucked into their own little case. It was like the Holy Grail of bathroom amenities! The only thing that could have been better was to discover that little case perched on George Clooney's abs while he lay sprawled on the bed, telling me I had just won the lottery.

I've been hooked on bliss lemon+sage soapy sap ever since. Not only does it make me smell good, and therefore irresistible to the opposite sex, but it makes my skin so soft that the opposite sex no longer cries out in pain when my sandpaper elbows graze his arm and makes him bleed. Now he says it was worth being tricked into distracting the maid while I slipped an extra sample case off her cart.

The stuff's not cheap, so I admit to feeling a little guilty when I've used all my money to buy a bottle instead of say, buying milk or paying the phone bill. But can a carton of milk make my skin soft as a rose petal? And what good is a phone if I can't call everyone and brag about my fragrant skin? Priorities, people!

But don't take my word for it. You can get your own sample case here. Or, for true bliss, check into the W Hotel and grab the free toiletries instead of spending ten-dollars on that can of cashews from the minibar.

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

I Like A Little (25% Less) Sugar In My Bowl.

I was recently sent a box of Fruity Cheerios to try. This was exciting on two fronts:

1) Free cereal!
2) I wouldn't have to feel guilty about buying something with the word 'Fruity' in the title.

Not that I have anything against sugar-infused, kid-appealing breakfast cereal. In fact, we buy it regularly - Trix, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs - they all have graced our cabinets. But here's the trick - I almost always use it as a 'topping' on top of plain cereal (usually Cheerios, or Trader Joe's), sort of like the marinara on top of pasta. Or chocolate sauce on ice cream. Or vodka - well, you get the picture.

When I was pregnant with Kira I remember having, along with my other odd cravings, the urge to have one of my childhood favorites, Cap'n Crunch. So after buying a box of it a the supermarket, I sat down with a big bowl, alongside my plate of Spaghetti O's, jar of pickles and my glass of yak milk. I took one bite of the cereal and could feel the sugar coursing through every tooth and root in my mouth. It was so strong I was certain it had just permeated my placenta and given my unborn child a mouth full of cavities on her unformed teeth. I vowed to give my children sugared cereals only in moderation in the future. However I continue to consider Spaghetti O's the nectar of the Gods.

The girls almost never get an entire bowl of sugary goodness (unless Rigel is serving it up, which is a whole other issue. This is a man who puts honey on raisin toast. Who does that? Isn't the toast already sweet? That's like putting sugar on top of a cookie, for chrissakes.)

Where was I?

Fruity Cheerios!

I'm happy to say that with the 25% less sugar ("than the leading fruity cereal") they promise on the box, these brightly colored circles aren't nearly as sweet as their counterparts and as an added bonus they don't make my teeth feel like they're going to fall out. Also, the sugary cereal to plain cereal ratio is much lower in my girls' bowl, which they like. Why, if I'm feeling particularly in a good mood one of these mornings, I might just give the girls an entire bowl of Fruity Cheerios, not cut with any of the plain stuff. Along with their yak milk.

Oh, and there's a third front. I finally have an excuse to buy this:

Because having to pour cereal out of the box is just so much work.

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