Monthly Archives: July 2010

impermanence

Hello All,

Or just you.  You know who you are.  Not much going on lately.  Still waiting to hear on this job.  Still waiting to hear back from unemployment.  Still dreaming of backpacking Asia (and the world for that matter) Still deciding…

At least Bella is having fun…

I will spend the next two weeks counting the days until Eat Pray Love is released; eating and drinking with my best friend who is home from Cairo; Driving up the coast to explore where wine is made; and making big decisions, or not, depending on the weather.  What will you do?

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Beef Tamale Pie

Today I made a beef tamale pie with a cheesy, corn bread topping.  I bought ground beef and didn’t know what to do with it, besides the same old stuff I always do, so I googled recipes and decided on this one.   I halved it to fit into an 8/11 shallow baking dish, if you want to make one the way the recipe calls for, in a 9/13 baking dish; just double what I’ve listed below.  Enjoy!

Beef Tamale Pie (with cheesy top)

  • 3/4 lb. ground beef (I prefer grass-fed, it’s better for you.)  
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion (or a small one)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 c. chopped bell pepper
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5, undrained)
  • 1 small can of corn (or half of the regular, or the whole thing, get crazy!)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c. sliced ripe olives

Topping

  • 3/4 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 c. shredded, cheddar cheese (try to find it without all that orange dye)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat your oven at 375 degrees.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil and brown beef.  Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, cook 2 minutes.  Pour off grease (I didn’t do this because I used grass-fed, and there isn’t any) stir in tomatoes, corn and seasonings.  Cook 5 minutes more.  Meanwhile mix 1/4 c. of cornmeal with a 1/2 c. of water and stir into the mixture.  Cover and cook on med-low to medium for 10 mins.  (I say this because I cooked mine on medium and some got stuck so it sort of depends on your stove)  Add olives and pour into baking pan.

Now mix the topping.  Heat the milk, butter, and salt over the stove in a small saucepan.  Add 1/4 c. of cornmeal and stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in egg and cheese.  Pour mixture around the edge of casserole, and then middle.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Let stand, and serve.  You can really garnish this dish however you’d like, more olives, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, the possibilities are endless.  Happy Monday!

P.S. I got a new cookbook…..

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Day Tripper

My friend Katie and I had a date…a date with Pasadena.  On Friday we travelled 20 minutes to old town Pasadena and made a day of it, strolling through shops and art galleries and lunching on sushi.  It was delightful, and much-needed.  This is something I love about LA.  If you want to go on a day trip and get a change of scenery, its only a 20-30 minute drive in any direction.  Just close your eyes, point at the map, and you are bound to end up somewhere exciting and historic.

This is the Town Hall and its gardens…

At Goldbug, one of my most favorite hidden treasures in Pasadena, we tried on these amazing, handmade, leather masks.

At The Soap Kitchen, the owner showed us how she makes all her soaps by hand in the kitchen in the back of the store, using lye, olive oil, and various fresh spices and essential oils for color and scent.  I found this beautiful and nostalgic.

There is always time for cupcakes, and Dot’s did not disappoint!  Here are a few of the flavors we tried:  Strawberry lemonade, red velvet, carrot, hazelnut creme, fleur de sel, and chocolate mint.  I am a total, self-confessed cupcake snob, and I have to say, there was not a bad one in the bunch!  Bravo ladies 🙂

Then the craziest thing happened…we asked for some advice on which art galleries were good and the owner of Goldbug suggested we go down the street and check out the Monfils exhibit entitled This Is It.  Katie’s face lit up like a pin ball machine.  She loves MJ, so we promptly walked down the street toward the gallery.  There was a big closed sign out front, but the door was cracked so I encouraged her to pop her head in and just see if they would let us take a look.  It turned out that the exhibit was being taken down, but the guys who were doing it were so happy that Katie was so enthusiastic, they proceeded to unwrap pieces for us and show us some of the pieces that were still hanging.  This piece was made from the artist’s actual record collection.  They told us basically, he had one shot at it, without destroying the records, and he pulled it off.  It was amazing in person, the picture doesn’t do it alot of justice.  Anyone got 75,000?  You can have it in your living room…contact  SanMarinoGallery.

Overall, a fantastic day with a great friend.  Today, I feel blessed.

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Grateful Grappling

I have been wandering lately. 

I apologize for this.

You know the phrase “not all who wander are lost”?  Well that is not me.  I am lost.  Lost in memories of the South, of family, of friends, of fireflies and warm, dewy summer nights.  Of stars in the sky, and barbeques on the lake, and drives to the gulf which may no longer exist.  Did I ever think those words would come out of my mouth?  Maybe.  Probably.  Did I ever think I would admit them in a public arena such as this?  Not a chance.  But I am feeling vulnerable, and for me, that is an entirely freeing experience.  It always has been.  I am open and honest, sometimes to my detriment, but always unapologetically so.  So right now, I want to be honest with you. 

I am torn.  I miss home.  I love what I do and I will do it till I die, but lately I’ve been feeling like I need a change of plans.  A new battle plan so to speak.  There is work all over this country, and less and less in LA for someone at my experience level.  I am struggling with the decline of my grandparents’ health, and facing the possibility of deep regret, later in my life, for missing crucial years of theirs.  (And mine for that matter)  Everyday I meet amazing, interesting people and new possibilities arise here in LA, and I convince myself that this is the right place.  But when I get home at night, and go to sleep alone in my bed with my dog, in a house that I share with 4 people who I barely know, the loneliness sets in, and I dream.  I dream of living somewhere else.  Spending time with my best friends and family, cooking with my grandma, fishing with my dad, travelling with my sister, and simply talking to my mom.  Rooted somewhere in there is some amazing theatre, somewhere (don’t ask me where) maybe even some writing.  Meeting the man of my dreams, and maybe getting married.  I am sure that others, even in this lonely city, have these same dreams (maybe even experience them as a reality), but are afraid to admit it.  I have big dreams.  I don’t want to give them up.  Not for anything or anyone.  But I believe I can have all of these things, and that admitting that I want them doesn’t mean I have to give up my dreams.  This is what I have been grappling with over the last two months.  I know I havent been around.  I have been around.  I have experienced some fun things, but my thoughts return home, or to an idea of it.  I am in limbo.  On this constant rollercoaster.  I don’t really have a home.  My parents live in a house in a town I didn’t grow up in, and in which I have spent about 3 days of my life.  I live in a house with somewhat complete strangers, and a dog who I love so much, but reminds me daily of a person I’d rather forget.  I don’t have a home.  In LA, to have your own place, you need about $1300 a month, give or take a couple hundred.  To have that much money a month I would have to work about 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.  So then, I’d have no time to live in this amazing city.  And it IS amazing, don’t get me wrong.  I’d have my own place but not much time to spend in it, and a bank account full of money that I’d have no time to spend.  (Which could actually be a good thing considering my saving account balance is $0) Not to mention time for workshops, class, auditions, or anything else it takes to build your resume and stock your “tool belt” in this town.  But I am grateful.  Grateful for these feelings.  Grateful for this struggle.  Grateful for my grappling.  To me, it means I am an artist.  I feel things.  I care about my life and what goes into it.  I care about the mark that I make on this world.

So what am I saying?  Do I want to move?  I don’t know. Do I want to stay?  I don’t know.  Do I want a new career?  I don’t know.  Do I love acting?  Yes.  Do I want to quit?  No.  Do I need a new plan of action?  Yes. 

Any suggestions???  Words of advice?  I know some of you may be having these same feelings.  You don’t have to be an actor.  But I’d love some insight or words of wisdom from you, whether you are a friend or a stranger.  Keep it positive people, I have no tolerance for negativity at this time.   Thank you.

Also, this made me happy the other day…

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