Monday, March 9, 2015

National Meatball Day!


I love meatballs! Of course, the ones without pork...:paranoid:There's quite a variety of different kinds out there. They're good with spaghetti, in sandwiches, in soups, salads, etc. There's lamb, vegetarian, beef, and more out there as well. I've made some in the past. They can be easy, but incredibly messy.:iconusaplz:

Finished the manga, Variante. It was pretty good.:iconheroamericaplz:The ending was good and bad, depending on how you interpreted it. I kind of feel odd about it.:iconhanatamagoplz:We don't know if everyone died, and the main character (Aiko) may have dreamt that everything turned out fine before dying. (Her legs had been ripped off, and a large cement beam was pinning her down...Didn't look good.:iconraivisplz:) Or, they really did survive, and everything seemed to have turned out really well for them. (They didn't show her legs in that 'dream' or reality.) No one can really tell which part was 'real'. I'd like to think that they survived, and were able to live their lives out normally. But, part of me feels sad about it, even looking at it that way. They destroyed the organization that created and experimented on the Chimeras. So, at least no one else will get hurt in the future. This was surprisingly brutal to go through, too.:iconawkwardplz:Psychologically and visually. The deaths were pretty violent, and almost all the characters had a somewhat traumatic past. Plus, once Aiko found out that the Chimeras were once human, she realized she was really killing human beings. She went nuts. The whole story was like a crazy messing-with-your-head ride.:iconchibiswedenplz:

Also, finished the manga, Dawn: Tsumetai Te or Dawn: Chilly Hands. I liked this one a lot more.:iconfrancisplz:It's another parasite/virus type series. It had a really good ending. They had us going for a moment, though.:iconwtfukplz:This one had a lot of psychological and graphic stuff too. But, it never felt as 'heavy' as Variante. Interestingly, there was also a trans character in it. The author portrayed them in a respectful way, I think. At first I thought they'd turn out to be a villain. But, she turned out to be a good ally to the other main characters. I use 'she', because she was m to f, although she felt she had to hide it most of the time. Even created a group for 'outcasts' where she can feel comfortable being herself with other people who feel the same or that they just don't 'fit' in. She also secretly had Nightshift, which is a virus that turns people into zombie-like 'monsters'. Only, like the main character, Nagasawa, she can learn to control and live with it. Nagasawa was very supportive of her, especially at the end. Taking her out on a 'date' and telling her she's a beautiful lady. (He already had a girlfriend at this point, and she supported her too. They became close friends when they thought Nagasawa died.) Anyways, it turned out that the main doctor also had Nightshift. He kept telling Nagasawa that he needed him to study the effects, and yet he was one of them...:iconlietplz:He said Nagasawa was special, because he had the first attempted virus strain. It turned out to agree more with his body than the previous patients. (Nagasawa got it by accident after a rat bit him.) It's more 'pure', too. Originally the virus was designed to help cure things like cancer. It was for a good cause, but something went haywire. For a while, Nagasawa thought he was the only one to survive its effects. If it has a bad reaction with you, you have an insatiable appetite that'll never be sated, your body starts to break down, you grow fangs, etc. until you have a slow and painful death. Some of the Nightshift were able to keep their intelligence intact, like Nagasawa could. So, it was hard to tell who was one during the day. They tended to 'change' at night. Hence why it was called Nightshift. 

Went through a giant 3-ringed blue binder my mom used that was full of recipes that were handed down the generations, some from local markets she frequented, some from newspaper articles, etc. Some of the recipes that were handed down were handwritten by her. The oldest recipes were from one of my great grandmothers on her side. I think she asked her or her mom (grandma wasn't very into cooking, if I remember correctly) about them, and wrote them out. I recognized some of them, others sounded really good and I wonder why I never had those dishes.:iconpolandplz:There was also a large section full of Jewish recipes. Some come in handy especially for Passover. So I've actually used some of these already. I got rid of a lot of the other recipes. Some were pork or shellfish-based. I don't eat that kind of stuff.:icongermanyplz:Some of the others I tossed were just really bizarre sounding. There was also a 'recipe' on how to make oatmeal. If you really need instructions, it's usually on the container...Some of the dessert recipes I want to keep sound very simple, but very good. It was very interesting to go through.:iconchibinitalyplz:

I also went through all our Jewish cookbooks in general to prepare for what I might make for Passover. Some of the recipes sound really good!:iconawwwplz:The things I might make from those cookbooks in addition to the usual: Kefte Prasa or Fried Leek and Potato Pancakes, Nanaeya or (lamb) Meatballs with Garlic and Minty Sweet and Sour Sauce, Mina de Espinaka or Matzah and Spinach Pie (it has feta in it, too), Orange Chicken Stir Fry, Tried and True (Passover) Chocolate Cake. The first 3 are actually Sephardic recipes, but even though I follow Ashkenazic dietary guidelines for the holiday, they still seem to follow that. Sephardim are Jews who originated from Spain and the Mediterranean. Ashkenazim are Jews who originated from Germany and eastern Europe. (Which is where that side of my family came from.) There are other ethnic groups that Jews classify themselves as, but these tend to be the largest groups. They also tend to clash when it comes to the holiday. Simply because they have different restrictions, and Ashkenazim seem to have the most limited diet during it. Apparently, this is a big deal in Israel. Also, many Ashkenazim feel they can't attend a Sephardic seder (lit. 'order'. It's really a symbolic dinner that goes in a certain 'order') because of it. Anyways, these 3 sound very interesting. I might do the chocolate cake instead of the almond and cream torte. It sounds like it'll be a lot easier. Although, I remember that the torte wasn't nearly as complicated as I expected last year. I have a hankering for chocolate and it doesn't use very many eggs...So, why not?:iconenglandispervyplz:

I'll make Passover popovers like I usually do, as well. Everyone seems to like them.:iconthailandplz:They're super quick and easy to make. Depending on how big the chocolate cake ends up being, I might make a Passover angel food cake. We have an old mix for it. If I make that, maybe I'll put some chocolate syrup or fruit over it. I'll be making matzah granola for breakfast, too. That stuff is awesome!:la:It's matzah farfel (small pieces of matzah), honey, oil, raisins, nuts (I like either walnuts or pecans, sometimes both), and whatever else you'd like in your cereal (sometimes I'll add dates). Might make some potato kugel (like a potato casserole), since we still have a mix of that. 

There will be a few other things to make, too. The holiday lasts for 8 days. It starts the night of April 3rd this year. (It's coming up quick!:wow:) The first 2 nights are big, and we have seders for them. We tend to hold one of them, and usually we go to our friends' seder for the other. This year it'll be just Dad and I for our seder. So, it's a lot less food to worry about quantity-wise, but still have to plan it out. For our friends' one we usually just have to bring more popovers and a salad. Lots of people usually show up, too. We haven't had any word from them as to which night they'll have theirs. We tend to trade off with them. When they have the 2nd night, we'll do the 1st, and vice a versa. The 1st night feels a bit more of a to do, simply because it starts off the holiday. 

Also, for most of the holiday, the food for it will be just for me...:iconseychelles-plz:So, I have to think about things in individual portions. And, how long it'll take for one person to eat something. It's a bit different than thinking 2 people will be following it, like we had it when Mom was around. Dad doesn't follow the dietary laws for the holiday. She's not Jewish, but enjoys the seder part of it.

I also looked through another pile of my mom's that was Passover-related. It was full of haggadahs (like guidebooks to the seder), printouts of outlines on how she wanted our seders to go, extras to enhance it, handwritten notes on what to get, etc. It was kind of like a treasure trove, but most of the printouts I have no use for...:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:The oldest 'outline' for ours was when I was 13. Found a haggadah that seems to be as old as me.:iconsleepygreeceplz:I'm keeping the haggadahs, obviously. (Except for a weird contemporary one that adds a bunch of side stuff. Probably more for studying than for an actual seder.:iconkikuplz:) I could use those for my own future seders. There was also a hacky-sack like ball with a matzah print pattern on it. It's a matzah ball!:iconlaughingplz:Found another matzah sweeper. (It helps pick up crumbs after eating matzah, which is cracker-like. We had another one out in the open in a different area.) Yay!:iconyayhanatamagoplz:Also, found a megillah printout that was in Hebrew on one side and French on the other. Not sure why a Purim thing would be mixed up in with the Passover stuff, or why it was in French...:icontinoplz:All in all it was very interesting. 

Made an appointment to get my hair trimmed next month. Haven't had it trimmed in a couple of years. Before that, I didn't see a stylist for around 6 years. I've been growing my hair out for a while. I really needed it styled a couple of years ago, and I like the one the stylist came up with.:iconchibihungaryplz:Been using it ever since. It's kind of made me like it even more. I have a few reasons for growing it out, but it needs to have a decent style.:iconhongkongplz:That's what I got last time. Now I'm thinking it just needs the trim. Not a new look or anything. Apparently, I'm going to get the same stylist as last time. Even though the company changed its name, she's still with them. Yay!:iconranranruuplz:She's also their go-to person for curly hair. They asked me if I wanted a consult with her to talk about her 'diva' style haircut. No, I'm sorry, I don't want or need something like that...:iconwtfromanoplz:

For last Friday's cleaning day, I used Endust on my bathroom door, the frame, and the bathroom cabinets. They look brand new now!:iconeduardplz:I don't think I've seen it this clean in years. I tend to forget about the door and outside of the cabinets. Also, tried to lift off some of the weird stuff from the inner doorknob. I used CLR, mouthwash, Endust, Windex, and a few other things but it didn't do much.:iconromanoplz:Even used an electronic toothbrush I kept just for cleaning to help 'polish' or buffer things. Everywhere around that area on that knob is nice and sparkly now, though. I also tried to put the curtains back up on the upstairs window that you come face to face with as you go up the stairs. Got the curtains on the rod and all that. It's really a 2-person job, and I'm noticing more and more lately that I'm too short for many things.:iconohboyamericaplz:(I lost 2 inches after I lost all that weight, but it feels like those 2 inches were a big difference. I'm back to the height I was in junior high...) With being at the tallest part of the step ladder, I could barely reach what I thought was its latch. Turns out the things that hold it up on the wall are broken, and it won't hold it anymore. I really tried to get it up there, though. I probably looked like an idiot while doing it.:iconnataliaplz: 
Started reading Tousei Gensou Hakubutsushi or A History of Present Day Illusions. Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler and Ao no Exorcist or Blue Exorcist are both updated once a month. (Cool that I've caught up with both of these series!) When they're not up yet I'll read this. It's been very interesting so far. It takes place in the early 20th century. In a seemingly ordinary and peaceful city. Residents in general don't notice the strange things that have been happening. Shinobu, in the above pic, is a university student who manages his father's second hand shop. He comes face to face with one mystery after another that most of the time center around items in the shop. In some synopses of the manga online, they say eventually all those occurrences become one story. I think it's starting to form into one where I'm at. Shinobu is kind of mysterious himself. He seems to know a lot about the 'supernatural' or things that can't be explained easily through logical means. So far, he seems to know what to do with these things, too. He rarely mentions his father, and at one point he gestured towards his father's office and asked something. He responded. We haven't actually seen him. He has an unusual maid, too. She's inhumanly strong. (Kind of reminds me of a female version of Sebastian, only more stiff and doesn't show much emotion.) He says she also stands in as a bodyguard. Why he'd need one, I'm not sure. Shinobu kind of reminds me a bit of what Yoko was/did in xxxHolic. She also had a similar shop. This is also a josei, where the audience tends to be for young adult and older women. I kind of like them more than shoujo, which tend to be for younger girls. Shounen is the counterpart to shoujo. Seinen is the counterpart for josei. I tend to like shounen more than shoujo. Josei and Seinen on the other hand, both seem pretty good. They tend to be more complex, more psychological, more mature, artwork can very within their own categories, etc. There are some series that you can't really tell where they fall in the categories, there are some that are labeled a certain way but are popular with everyone, some don't want it to be labeled a certain way, etc. It's very interesting. The lines are a lot more blurred than people realize. 

Finished watching Zero no Shinjitsu or Zero Truth. It was pretty good overall. They lead us to believe that something big and mysterious was happening (pertaining towards Mao's mother's death), but it didn't end up that way. Kind of anti-climactic. I didn't really like that part. They did seem to leave it wide open for another season. I liked the case by case aspect they had. It was very interesting, and cringe-worthy at times (only because of the occasional gross-out factor). It was kind of like a Japanese version of Bones. The main character, Matsumoto Mao, rarely shows emotion. She's cold and methodical towards her work and coworkers. She's exceptionally bright. Mishaps happen kind of similar to when the interns mess up in Bones. (There's a scene in Zero where all 3 MEs that sniffed the stomach contents of the deceased passed out at the same time. The deceased person still had remnants of poison in his stomach.) The detective is hot-headed, constantly betting on things, doesn't care about what the chief will think, and often goes off on his own. Slight hints of Booth there. There are some other similarities, but they still kept things fresh. Plus, it was a Japanese drama, so they do things a bit differently. I guess they have a different 'formula' for their medical/mystery/detective shows. The ending theme song was kind of cool. I'd watch the 2nd season if it happens. 

Tried to make some hamantaschen for Purim, but they lost their shape. Although, some stayed in slightly triangular shapes, just not the way they started out as. I thought getting store-bought sugar cookie dough that was in a tube would make it easier to cut, and form them. If I do it this way in the future, I won't use sugar cookie dough...:icondisgusted-hongkong:The flavors this time were: lemon, apricot, and chocolate. At least they still taste good. They have those flavors, and the outside ended up crisp while the inside of the cookie was nice and chewy. It was perfect that way.:iconitalyplz:

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