Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Owning the Big O at Babeland! (Goal #12)

Sunday evening I achieved goal number #12 on my list- “Take a class at Babes in Toyland”! Initially when I added this goal, I had planned on making it kind of like a girls night out and going with some friends to take one of those “How to please your man” type of classes (ie “The art of the blow job”, “How to please your man”, or “Deep throating with Madison”…. Yes those are all real classes happening at Babeland in September), but as I’m getting older I’m less and less interested in spending my time learning how to please others, so I decided take this goal a little more seriously and actually try to learn a few things for, and about myself.

Babeland is an awesome, female-focused, sex shop with a few locations in NYC and Seattle. I, and one good friend, signed up for a “More-gasm” class, which promised to teach us to “Take risks, get messy, own your orgasm, get more of what you want from sex, and be a better partner.” The class was pretty awesome. It was taught by two very sex-positive, funny, female-bodied instructors and covered sexual anatomy, the benefits of masturbation, sexual communication, and some actual tips/tricks for oral sex, sex positions, etc.

Overall, I learned a TON in this class (yes I was the dork in the front row taking notes at a sex class). I picked up a bunch of fun new techniques and actually learned quite a bit about female sexual anatomy, but the concept that I was most struck with was the overarching theme of “owning one’s orgasm” and not expecting someone to give one to you. This wasn’t presented in a selfish I’ma-get-mine-so-you-bests-to-get-yourn, type of way, but more in a “It is totally fine, natural, and even empowering for you to talk to your partner about wearing a vibrating cock ring if you think that will improve your experience” type of way. The class really stressed the idea that sex (at least good sex) is about people experiencing pleasure together, and working on ways to ensure that is happening not a ego trip about how big of a man (or woman) you are that you can “give” your partner the big “O”.

The only think I would change about the class is to include much more on how to bring up the use of toys in sex play. The class was very toy focused, which I think is great because toys can be a very fun, and often underutilized, part of sex, but in the workshop it was kind of taken for granted that all people are comfortable with using sex toys. In reality, I feel most men have a certain level of discomfort , or even competition, with vibrators and other sex toys, and think that if a woman "needs" to introduce something into the mix then he’s not doing something right. If neither partner is sexually adventurous, and especially if the male partner was insecure or egotistical it would be a really difficult subject to breach, and a little more information on ways to positively start that sort of conversation would have been helpful.

Overall I give the class a solid A. I came away feeling empowered and educated. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chili, Compost and Quesadillas; Recap on Recipes 28 to 55!

Greetings! I’m back with a goal update. I am not going to sit here and lie and say that I’ve really been keeping track of things this whole time. I haven’t. But I have been inadvertently moving forward in some of my goals. My girlfriend Cynthia, who was part of the impetus for this blog and has her own 101 things blog and I made a pact that as of Monday August 23rd we were in it to win it with this goal stuff.

So this posting is to update goal #10- Make 100 new recipes. At last update I was at 28. I’m sure in reality I’m probably well over 100 at this point, since I make a new recipe at least once a week…. But if you don’t record it, it doesn’t exist, right? So below are the 27 recipes that I can recall making in the last 9 months. In an effort not to bore anyone silly, I will give each recipe a rating and give my thoughts in 50 words or less!

29. Pumpkin chili (Rating 4 out of 10): Don’t remember where I got this recipe, but I remember having high hopes for it… Hopes not realized. Chili tasted vaguely of dirt. Would not make again.

30. Japanese scallion soup (Eating Well Magazine, Rating 6 out of 10): Easy, fast and delicious, but a little sweet/mall food court-ish for me. Would be a great recipe if feeding a non-food adventurous man.

31. Hot and sour Mushroom cabbage and rice soup (The kitchen, Rating 9 out of 10): DELICIOUS! Great soup for a cold. Have made several times. Loves it!

32. White bean and kale stew (Recipe Unknown, Rating 3 out of 10): It takes a lot for me to say I don’t love a kale dish… but from my recollection this mess was nasty. Don’t remember where I got this recipe from, you shouldn’t try it. Fail.

33. Ultimate spaghetti and Meatballs (Food Network, Rating 4 out of 10): Made for the fam when I was home for Christmas… Good, but not as delicious as the 274 positive reviews led me to believe. The sauce wasn’t as flavorful as I’d like, and the meatballs were too bready. Expensive and not worth the effort.

34. Pasta alla norma (Epicurious, Rating 7 out of 10): Surprisingly tasty given the simple ingredients, but a little greasy due to pan-frying the eggplant. Tried to make it again roasting the eggplant and it wasn’t as good. Would make again for company.

35. Double chocolate cherry cookies (Epicurious, Rating 7 out 10): Made these to bring to work last Valentines Day. Yummy with 2 types of chocolate and dried cherries.. Would make again, but not for co-workers… dried sour cherries are expensive as hell!

36. Overnight cinnamon rolls (Food Network, Rating 7 out of 10), Really tasty. Time consuming, but not too much active time. Would definitely make these again, for family or some sort of romantical brunch :-p

37. Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (Epicurious, Rating 8 out of 10), Perfect summer cake! Easy and delicious. Sweet buttermilk cake with a little sourness from the raspberries. Would be good with lots of types of berries. Yum… Will definitely make again.

38. Outrageous Brownies
(Food Network, Rating 7 out of 10): Made a few times for work… HUGE hit, but can you really fail with a pound of butter, a pound of chocolate, 6 eggs and 3 cups of nuts? A bit indulgent for me, but people love them.

39. Lime and honey glazed salmon with basmati and broccolini (Epicurious, Rating 4 out of 10): Great idea, 1 dish meal, cook the salmon on the seasoned basmati rice and then steam the broccolini over the salmon and rice in the end. Rice was soupy and didn’t cook properly. Broccolini was super bitter. Bleh.

40. White bean and Tuna Salad (Simply Recipes, Rating 7 out of 10): Good basic recipe using stuff that you probably already have in your house. Have made this at least 4-5 times to bring for lunch. It’s hard for me to find oil packed tuna, so I just use water packed and add a little olive oil. Don’t skip the red onion in lemon juice step… or your breath will be uber-stinky. Probably make this once a month for lunch

41: Slow cooked salmon (
Steamy Kitchen Blog, Rating 9 out of 10): Probably my favorite new way to cook salmon. Great for summer ‘cause it doesn’t heat up your house. Lightly scented with the aromatic of your choice, flaky and beautiful…. Just don’t use crappy salmon.

42: Jasmine Rice with Garlic, Ginger and Cilantro (Epicurious, Rating 9 out of 10): DELICIOUS! Made for company and had to stop myself from eating the remainder of pot when he left. Oily, gingery, and delicious, but definitely not an everyday rice. Tried to make with brown rice…. Didn’t work so well. Will try again.

43. Pork tamales (Cooking Mexican, 8 out of 10): Curtis and I had a second International cooking night with tamales. Delicious, but a little challenging. The pork filling was DELICIOUS! I would totally make that and just eat it over rice.:-p. Would have scored a 9, but the amount of shortening in the cornmeal makes me nauseous.

44. Sweet Tamales with Raisins and Spices (Food Network, 7 out 10): Tasty and easy to make… at least easier than the meat tamales because you don’t have to wrap the cornmeal around a filling. Would be a great ending for a Mexican themed dinner.

45. Roast for Christmas
- (Secret Saba recipe, Rating 8 out of 10): Delicious. My family really enjoyed this… my mother couldn’t stop “Mmmm”ing. Tried to make an au jus, but it ended up burnt. In the end MUCH better than my previous attempt at roast.

46. Pork Tenderloin with seasoned rub (Food network, Rating 4 out of 10) : Interesting mixture of spices… unfortunately it was pretty nasty. I don't remember it well enough to describe the nastiness, just believe me when I said it wasn't good. I’m not so sure about Elie Krieger…. Wouldn’t make again.

47. My favorite Simple Roast Chicken (Epicurious, Rating 7 out of 10): I love roast chicken and love salt, so cooking chicken in a salt crust intrigued me. The chicken was AMAZING, moist and delicious… but it smelled too much like chicken… which kind of bothered me. Would use the method again, but would add more spices/aromatics to mask the chicken smell.

48. Skillet Ginger Chicken with Cilantro and Lime (Clean Eating Magazine, Rating 5 out of 10): Hmmm I think this was good. I don’t really remember, and I don’t think I made it more than once, so it gets a 5.

49. Adobo pork-chicken (Recipe unknown, Rating 8 out of 10): I made this for a Phillipino Party. My first time making or tasting Adobo pork-chicken. Didn’t know what it was supposed to taste like… and it wasn’t too appetizing looking, but it was a HIT apparently. Even got a shout out on facebook!

50. Hainanese chicken rice
(Steamy Kitchen, Rating 9 out of 10): . I LOVE THIS MEAL! It’s super easy. The rice and the chicken are super flavorful and it’s fun to make for company b/c of all of the different toppings/fixins that you can add onto it. Also tried to make with brown rice… need to work on that.

51. Mediterranean Chicken Salad (Epicurious, Rating 9 out of 10): Another one of my go to lunches. I usually make this with rotisserie chicken. I use white wine vinegar instead of tarragon vinegar, and just add extra fresh tarragon. Never added tomatoes. I use roasted red peppers instead. I also usually add feta.. yummm..

52. Wheatberry Waldorf salad (Whole Foods, Rating 7 out of 10): This is my attempt at the wheatberry salad at WholeFoods. Super tasty, but also super caloric with nuts, apples, dried fruit, juice, and oil. ¾ of a cup of salad is 400 calories. I might try the beet wheatberry salad next.

53. Avocado and Watercress Salad
(Epicurious, Rating8 out of 10) Surprisingly delicious. Made for a bday dinner for someone who, unbeknownst to me, didn’t like avocado. The dressing, made with grated apple, grated onion, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar was unexpected and amazing. Will definitely make again.

54. Chicken Quesadillas (Clean Eating Magazine, Rating 7 out of 10) Tasty! The filling was a mix of ricotta, mozzarella and mashed white beans. Additions of beans reduced the fat, but didn’t give it the diet taste that adding cottage cheese can. I sent this to my mom, maybe she’ll stop using cottage cheese in her stuffed shells. Love you mom!

55. Compost Cookies (The Kitchen via Momofuku, Rating 7 out of 10), My 2 girls Saba and Alex gave up sweets and fried food and alcohol for Lent, so I made these cookies for their boozing post lenten brunch... butter, sugar, pretzels, potato chips, reeses pieces, chocolate chips in a cookie? Weird, yes. Delicious, indeed.