Newlyweds. Goofballs. Movie stars. We are Carbonated Jeans.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cooking Chronicles: Chapter 1 Continued

As promised, here is my recap of the dessert portion of Sunday night's spur-of-the-moment cooking experiment.

I tried this double chocolate dessert thingy, also from the Five Ingredient Cookbook.

Holy cow...there was SO much stinking butter in it. Too much. I mean, once the thing had finally cooled and hardened enough, the butter was VISIBLE among all of the chocolatey goodness. Gross, right?

I took it over to Joe's yesterday and he played with it. He said he tossed it in the oven and re-melted the butter, then kind of poured a bunch of it out, cuz I guess it separated enough from the other stuff? Blech.

All that said, we tried it again tonight, and it was a bit more bearable. I mean, it tastes good. It's really rich, which, granted, was a warning in the recipe itself, so I shouldn't be surprised. But if I ever make it again, I will definitely play around with the butter factor. And this one also said to use a 9x13 pan, which just seemed way too big for the amount of stuff I had to pour in there, so I used a square one instead. Maybe that messed up the butter-cookage? I don't know.

I'm not losing heart, though. This is fun.

Stay tuned for the next Cooking Chronicles!


It's hard...picking out the songs, the colors, the compromises that are easy, the compromises that are not, getting the timing of guests and their ever-changing schedules/locations, getting the pre-wedding parties arranged and scheduled, table arrangements, ceremony outline, vow-writing, ring buying, dress wrangling, tux sizing, food deciding, cake tasting, the thank you note writing, invitation deciding, invitation sending, etc.

It's a good thing I'm only doing this once.

It's hard to take time out and just BE with Tabitha for a bit. We have to go to LA so often it's hard to have date nights much out. But when we do have a moment to ourselves, it's so...wonderful, like remembering why I'm doing this.

It's almost like I can't wait for this to be behind us so we can move on with life together.

In my mind, it's a done deal unless I find out she sacrifices puppies during the full moon or something.

Cute story to illustrate what I mean...the other day, I was putting my wallet in my left pocket, and I had a sudden panic attack: "HEY! Where's my wedding ring?"

It was a moment of relief, like when you realize you are only dreaming that you are in high school in your underwear, when I realized that I wasn't married yet, therefore there wasn't anything wrong with me not having a wedding ring.

Weird couple of moments afterward when I realized the full implications of what just happened.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cooking Chronicles: Chapter 1

My mother would be so proud of me. I cooked TWO meals this past week!

Those of you who know me are aware that I am seriously inexperienced in the realm of cooking. I'm still afraid of raw meat. I mean, seriously, I keep finding recipes that require browning ground beef or boiling/baking chicken, and I can feel my heart rate skyrocketing at the mere thought of such an undertaking.

Baby steps, people.

So last Thursday, Joe and I cooked a meal for our pastor Jim and his wife Jenny. It was an easy one which we had done before, but this was my first time kind of taking the reins, as Joe is a tortellini pro. Anyway, I like to call our meal the "Twelve Cheese Extraordinaire" - because, um, there was a lot of cheese in it. The tortellini was the seven cheese kind from Costco. The sauce was four cheese from Ralphs. And then we grated fresh parmesan to top it all off.

It. Was. Delicious.

I added some garlic and herb seasoning and pepper to the sauce, which was a gooooood plan. Then I steamed some broccoli, also adding the garlic and herb seasoning, and that worked well too. (Thanks to Joe's mom for the tip on how long to steam broccoli!)

Jim and Jenny brought some great garlicky bread, as well as two bottles of wine - a red and a white. All in all, a complete success!

So last night, fueled by Thursday night's delightful experience, I decided to bust open my cool new Five-Ingredient cookbook, which I bought from Ross for a whopping FIVE DOLLARS! See, Joe came over to my house so I could do some laundry, and we were watching Jeff Dunham's ventriloquist comedy stuff, but Joe started to fall asleep. So he laid down to rest, and I was totally not tired, but I didn't want to disturb the angelic creature in my presence.

Then a little lightbulb went *ding!* and I thought, Ooh, I could try one of those five-ingredient recipes! Woohoo! I ran into my room and started thumbing through the pages I had already marked with post-its as ones I wanted to try. I found a dinner recipe and a dessert recipe, jotted down the ingredients, and took off for the store...oh, and I left Joe a note saying, "Don't go anywhere! I'll be back soon." (Funnily enough, he woke up to my note and the sound of my housemate and her fiance, and I think it threw him off a bit. Hehe.)

Anyway, I came home and set out to make the most fabulous dish ever:

"Peppy Macaroni"

That's right. The base of this meal is a box of mac 'n' cheese. Don't judge me. I just figured it looked like something I could throw together quickly, since it was a spur of the moment sorta thing. It turned out pretty good, but definitely not gourmet. Basically, you make a box of macaroni and cheese, then stick it into a greased baking pan (the size they recommended was way too big, so next time I'll use a smaller one). You spread some pizza sauce on top, then layer pepperoni and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake it for awhile, then serve!

Like it said, it was decent. A keeper for a casual, quick meal for Joe and me, but not really an entertaining one, unless we're going to like, a potluck or something? And I will add a LOT less mozzarella next time, and use a smaller pan. And maybe add some more spices/seasonings. And make bread to go with it.

Then it was time for dessert. But since this post is already getting long, and we didn't actually TRY the finished product yet because it took too long to cool/set, I'll post a "part two" later tonight or tomorrow after we try it out.

Things I've learned about this particular cookbook:
  • You can't always trust the quantities or sizes of things (proved in both the dinner and dessert by the pan issue, the cheese issue, and (to be explained) the butter issue.
  • Five ingredients doesn't always mean FIVE ingredients. The box of mac 'n' cheese was counted as one, even though you needed the box, the butter, and the milk. Still, it seems like it's gonna be a great tool for a beginner like me!
To all you pro cooks out there: do you have some way of organizing your recipes like, what worked and what didn't, or what you and your family like and don't like, etc? I'm thinking of getting two separate recipe files and putting all the MILLIONS of recipes I'm collecting in one (I'll call it "To Be Tested" or something) and then moving them over into another one once I make them. I guess once we hate I could just throw out. I dunno.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's all getting real...

First, a warning. Though humorous, this post might make those with low tolerances for bodily functions a little...squeemish.

Let me take you a little through our experience planning a wedding.

First there was the awkward dating at the beginning. I was fortunate that Tab let me know early on that she was interested in me. We dated and dated and dated and discovered that we really liked each other's company.

After a good long time of being around each other every day, we realized that this relationship was heading in a marriage direction. We looked at it from all angles, and came back to each other and said, "yep, forever would be awesome with you."

So, we then went to Pre-married's at The Church on the Way for twelve weeks.

Four weeks before the end of the class, I arranged for the ring to be made, attended the final few classes with the ring in my place.

A week after classes, after much planning, I arranged a total surprise (awesome!), and proposed to Tabitha.

So now...we plan...and wait...and wait.

The weird part is that I'm basing almost every date I find around our wedding date. The string cheese I have in my fridge will be good until after our honeymoon. My next birthday will be as a married person. There will be 7 more paychecks until I am married. There are five performances of the Esquires that we can attend before we are married. There are two paid holidays until we are married.

All that to say, the other day, certain female-exclusive regulatory functions started up with Tab. The first thought through my mind was, "only three more periods until we are married"


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Believe it or not, we have decided to honeymoon in Vegas (probably).

I can hear you gasping with horror and surprise, Mom.

But's not actually VEGAS. It's 17 miles outside of Vegas -- far enough away from the strip and all the "sin" and stuff, so we are confident that it'll be a relaxing, quiet time. And maybe we'll stop by to "see the sights" while we're there, since I still haven't ever been to Las Vegas. But for the most part, we'll be...ahem...taking it easy.

Relaxing by the amaaaazing pool.

Taking strolls around the gorgeous gardens/flower beds/green stuff I saw in the pictures.

And, you know, other honeymoon stuff. *blush*

Anyway, the original plan was to go to Monterey, but that plan fell through when the place we were looking to stay didn't have availability on the days we needed it. If, by some chance, it does become available again, we'll probably go there instead, but for now it's looking like Plan B.

And I'm thoroughly excited about Plan B. Not only is it a shorter drive than it would've been to Monterey, I'll finally get to say I've been to Vegas. And on the slim chance that we get, like, bored or something? There is tons to do. My co-worker spewed off about 30 ideas she had, all of which sounded really cool, so I'll have to look into some of it.

Did you know there are ROLLER COASTERS in Vegas? And one of them suspends you over the city, or something? Then there are always shows to check out, the skyscrapers, some fancy schmancy restaurants, etc.

Oh, and the Hoover Dam is apparently on the way there/back, so that could be cool.

All good options.

But chances are, after an insane bunch of months of preparation and one very full, wonderful, exhausting wedding day, we are going to need the next week to catch our breath.

AND after being together and in love and WAITING for over a year (by that point) and finally saying, "I do,"

Well, um...we WILL.

I'm just sayin'.

P.S. Sorry we've been such blogging slackers! This wedding planning stuff is a leeeeeeettle time consuming. Feel free to leave us comments, or email me at tabitha[dot]blog[at]gmail[dot]com, and ask us questions about ourselves, our relationship, or whatever you wanna know. It's always good to have input on what you -- our friends, family and other random onlookers -- want to see here.