Three years old!

Three years old! 14

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Tomorrow, ‘Sota is Sexy celebrates three years of ridiculousness. My baby is all grown up! (But unfortunately, still not potty trained.)

To celebrate, I’m taking the day off from writing and turning back the clock to highlight my three favorite posts from the past 12 months. Ready? Here goes:

  1. This is what you did last “inight” - AKA, adventures with Ambien.
  2. Urine for a rude awakening - The time I accidentally drank my husband’s pee. {shudder}
  3. Squirrel Tail (Part 1) - Trust me…you’ll want to read Part 2 as well.

Want to send ‘Sota a birthday greeting? I’d love to hear how you found my little blog and what your favorite post is in the comments. Better yet — share the love and post a link on FB or Twitter! There’s always room for more readers here in ‘Sota.

Most importantly, thanks so much for supporting this crazy little endeavor of mine. Words can’t express how much I appreciate you stopping by from time to time to read my delusional musings. Truly, ‘Sota wouldn’t be the same without you.

xoxo,

Katrina

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Who wants to be my Vice President?

Who wants to be my Vice President? 4

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A few weeks ago, I learned that one of my friends from the gym is the president of a local motorcycle club.

How cool is that? It’s like Minnesota’s version of Sons of Anarchy, just without illegal activity and Ron Perlman!

Naturally, I was inspired by this discovery. Not to ride a motorcycle — I think we can all agree that would end in some sort of unintentional amputation — but to found a club. To gather a group of like-minded individuals and spend time doing something fun together.

But what type of club would I start?

My mind  instantly went to The Happiness Project, a book I read last Spring about–you guessed it–being more happy. Sure, I got distracted with who knows what and never actually finished the book, but I did make it to the chapter about having more fun. Gretchen’s advice? Think about how you loved to play as a child, and do that!

Simple, right?

While I probably shouldn’t form a club based on terrorizing my younger sister or spending five straight hours watching Hey, Dude, I had tons of other childhood pastimes that could translate quite well into a “grown up” club. Especially dancing!

I’ve always loved to dance — particularly making up my own routines to a favorite song. Heck — I was learning dance routines until the age of 22 as a member of my college dance team! So why in the world did I ever stop?

After a great deal of research, I’ve come across the unfortunate truth that there are no adult dance classes available in Smalltown. In a moment of desperation, I considered crashing a hip hop class for 12-year-olds but one, that would be creepy, and two, they probably don’t get to do any shimmying yet.

The solution soon became obvious.

It was time for me, Katrina Taylor, to found a hip hop dance club for adult women!

(Cue the applause.)

We could meet in my garage, take turns choreographing routines, and shake our asses to Missy Elliot, all while getting a really great workout! And wearing really awesome hip hop shoes!  Then we could perform the routines in front of my dogs before drinking wine to rehydrate!

I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds like the best club in the world.

Now I just need some members. Smalltown friends….anyone interested? I’m totally in need of a Vice President. As for all you long distance readers, I will obviously support you in founding your own local chapters.

I think this is the start of something big, you guys.

(Let’s just hope it goes better than this did.)

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The Easter Fool

The Easter Fool 9

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My husband Scott is not a church person.

Not even a little bit.

But was I going to let that stop me from getting my Easter Sunday on at the local Lutheran church this weekend?

Not in a million years!

I’ve spent the past few months scoping out different churches in Smalltown. Fortunately, living in the “Land of Lutherans” means this ELCA-raised girl has dozens of nearby congregations to choose from. The night before Easter, I checked out several different options online, ultimately deciding I would go to whichever service I naturally woke up in time for.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that when I came to Easter morning, the only viable option was the 11:00 service at Calvary Lutheran. (What can I say? Katrina needs her beauty sleep.)

I invited Scott one last time, received a firm “Nope!”, and cheerily walked out the front door, hollering “He is risen, indeed!”  before my exit. The absence of my husband wasn’t going to stop me from rolling into the sanctuary in my Sunday best!

easter-outfit

My theology may be Lutheran, buy my fashion sense is 100% Southern Baptist.

Previous Easters spent in Smalltown have taught me that the good people of Minnesota don’t wear Easter bonnets. But at this point, I no longer gave two Easter Eggs about what my fellow church-goers thought of me. I mean…if you’re going to stroll in to the Lutheran church all by yourself on the biggest day of the liturgical calendar, you might as well do it with a comically large peony atop your head!

Especially if you and your brightly colored heels strut in twenty minutes after the services has started.

(Turns out I had my times mixed up. The 11:00 service actually started at 10:45. Whoops.)

I was disappointed to see that my fashionably late arrival meant the sanctuary was already full.

As was the narthex overflow area.

And the balcony.

After five minutes of wandering, I finally located an empty folding chair in the front row of the balcony overflow area. The bad news is that I couldn’t actually see any of the service. The good news is that with such nosebleed seats, my giant headpiece wouldn’t be obstructing a cranky church lady’s view of the pulpit.

While frustrated that I had missed the readings and was sitting in the cheap seats, my mood instantly improved when I heard the organist pounding out the intro to my favorite Easter hymn of all: “Thine is the Glory.”  I had already belted the first two phrases with dramatic Easter gusto before realizing the harsh truth of the balcony overflow section:

I was quite literally the only person singing.

(I’m assuming this is due to the fact that the balcony overflow section is filled with a combination of non-regular church goers who don’t know any hymns and crying babies. Lots of crying babies.)

I paused for the rest of the first verse, not wanting to look like the crazy loner girl in the flower hat who treats the traditional Easter Hymns like an American Idol Hollywood week audition.

But then it hit me: I ditched my husband to come here. I had the nerve to show up a third of the way through the liturgy. I’m wearing a giant flower on my skull that is larger in circumference than my actual cranium.

I am the crazy loner girl in the flower hat who treats all the traditional Easter Hymns like an American Idol Hollywood week audition!

“Screw it!” I muttered under my breath. I took a deep breath, pushed my shoulders back, and started singing more loudly than I had the first time around. And you’d better believe I harmonized the final verse.

Because let’s face it — if you’re going to be the unstable looking church lady with a flower-pot for a head, you might as well really commit to it.

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A recipe even I can’t mess up

A recipe even I can’t mess up 2

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While I’d like to think I’m a fairly decent cook, from time to time I certainly have my…umm…moments.

(Let me clarify that by “moments” I mean “disasters”.)

Breakfast a few weekends ago is a prime example. Our good friends from college were visiting, and Scott and I had planned a decadent breakfast for them: banana and macadamia nut pancakes topped with the organic coconut syrup we had purchased at this farm in Maui, paired with a heaping serving of Midwestern bacon.

Scott kept busy prepping his from-scratch pancake batter, while I piled strip after strip of organic, nitrate free bacon onto parchment paper. My husband insisted I cook the bacon in the oven as it “heats more evenly”. {Eye roll.}

Scott had cooked the first few pancakes, but was burning the outside of them on our scalding stove top griddle. And then there was the brisket he had been smoking outside for the past fifteen hours that kept distracting him. Yep. The man insisted on making homemade pastrami for our guests.

{Second eye roll.}

“You worry about the brisket,” I told him, “I can take over flipping the pancakes.”

He hesitated briefly before nodding in agreement and darting outside to tend to the smoker.

I reduced the heat on the griddle, and started manning the pancake situation. I must admit that flipping hotcakes doesn’t come naturally to me. Still, while my finished products were far from symmetrical — a few could even be described as grossly misshapen — they were perfectly fluffy and golden.

It wasn’t until I set the giant platter of banana pancakes on our dining table that I remembered there was $36 worth of Whole Foods bacon cooking away in the oven. I rushed to retrieve the pan from the heat, but it was too late. The strips were so burnt, even Jolie turned her nose up at them.

Still…I placed them on the table. (Throwing $36 of burnt designer bacon in the compost without even trying to choke some of it down goes against every single one of my principles.)

At least the Hawaiian pancakes will be good, I thought to myself.

Thirty seconds later, I learned the hard way that you should never judge a book flapjack by its cover. Despite their buttery gold exterior that appeared grilled to perfection, my hotcakes were completely raw in the middle.

But at least the coconut syrup was good…?

*******

You can see why I’m often hesitant to try new recipes. Yet when Scott requested brownies, I couldn’t help but feel obligated to redeem myself from the breakfast disaster.

“Fine,” I conceded, “But I’ll have to run to the store to pick up brownie mix.”

“No you won’t.” he informed me. “You can just make them from scratch. We need to use up all that cocoa powder you bought in South America, anyway.”

Brownies that aren’t from a box? Surely, Scott jests!

“C’mon, Katrina,” he encouraged me, “Just follow the instructions this time.”

I knew he was right. The hour of culinary redemption was upon me, and I simply could not fail. I took a deep breath, dug my Ecuadorian cocoa powder out of the pantry, and pulled this recipe from Inspired Taste up on my iPad.

Fudgy Brownies that even Katrina can’t mess up:

  • 10 tablespoons (145 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar (I used a 1 1/2 cups, as a few commenters noted these brownies weren’t super sweet.)
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour (we use Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 2/3 cup (75 g) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional — I didn’t use any.)
Directions
  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 325 degrees F (163 C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (20cm) square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. (This helps when removing the baked brownies from the pan, once cooled).
  2. Add enough water to a medium saucepan so that it is 1 to 2 inches deep. Heat water until barely simmering. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder and the salt in a medium heat-safe bowl. Rest bowl over simmering water (if the bottom of the bowl touches the water, remove a little water).
  3. Stir mixture occasionally until the butter has melted and mixture is quite warm. Don’t worry if it looks gritty, it will become smooth once you add the eggs and flour.
  4. Remove the bowl from heat and set aside for 3 to 5 minutes until it is only warm, not hot.
  5. Stir in vanilla with a wooden spoon or spatula. Then, add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
  6. When the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the flour and stir until fully incorporated, then beat with the wooden spoon or spatula for 40 to 50 strokes. (The batter will be quite thick). Stir in nuts, if using. Spread evenly in lined pan.
  7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out almost clean (you want it to be a little moist with batter). Note: Some have found they need to bake an extra 10 minutes, so keep an eye on the doneness of the brownies and use the toothpick test as your guide.
  8. Cool completely then remove from pan. For the cleanest lines when cutting, place into freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up. Cut into 16 squares.

******

Holy cocoa powder, these brownies were good! Baking them was so much simpler than I had anticipated, and the finished product was more than enough to get me out of the doghouse for ruining all that pricey bacon. I can honestly say I will never make brownies from the box ever again.

Now if only it was appropriate to serve these for breakfast.

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