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As you know, I don’t do TMI Thursdays.  They really aren’t my thing.  This being said, something happened to me this week that LiLu convinced me I had to share. She has had some food stuff kicking around so it seemed the perfect opportunity to swap blogs for a day.  Head on over to her place and check it out…a very special TMI for you from me with love.  Mom, seriously, please skip this one.  If you look, you only have yourself to blame.

Also, I leave town tomorrow to go visit my boo, bettyjoan.  I have lined up some smart, funny, incredibly good looking men to fill in for me while I am gone.  I figured we needed some testosterone up in this piece.  They are good guys so please be nice to them in my absence.  Well, unless they use emoticons…you have free reign to burn them at the stake if they commit such an offense here. –Lexa

What up, kiddos? Most of you probably know me around this block, as I am Lemmonex’s lesbian e-lover bffie and biggest fan, LiLu from Livit, Luvit. Well, we decided we’d pull a Freaky Thursday on y’all, and try posting in each other’s styles for a day. Ready, beetches? Cause heeeeere we go…

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We all have our “go-to stories”. The ones we’ve told time and time again, but never seem to get old… (at least to us). This here is one that all my friends (bear with me) have undoubtedly heard before, but I’ve wanted to share it on my blog for quite some time now, as it represents one of the proudest moments of my very young (and stupid) life.

I was in high school and working my ass off at the local TGIFriday’s. It was my first job, and I’d worked my way up quickly from hostess to server (a promotion that required 18 years of age and approximately 45 working brain cells). The restaurant was in a mall, a mall in the SUBURBS with a MOVIE THEATRE. It was Christmas time, and Shit. Was. Insane. We were constantly on a three-hour wait and everyone was in a horrible mood, staff and customers alike.

One particularly grueling Saturday afternoon, my two-top got sat with an enormous, red-faced, pissy redneck woman and her chubbalicious good-for-nothing preteen son. These greedy little pigs spared no expense; he got a milkshake, they shared an appetizer sampler, got full entrees, and painstakingly deliberated over the dessert menu before deciding on the Brownie Fudge Sundae.

Now, even when I don’t like a customer, I’ve never given them anything less than decent service. I did my job; I was attentive, I refilled drinks, their food was on time and their orders were correct. I brought the bill quickly, as I was anxious to flip the table and make another few bucks. Their check was $32.19 (remember, this was a TGIFs in 2002).

A few minutes later, I walked over to the empty table and looked down. $33 was lying on top of the bill, and the patrons were nowhere to be seen.

“You have GOT to be freaking KIDDING ME,” I hissed venomously, and something happened. I just snapped. Too many doubles during the holidays had finally caught up with me, and I decided this bitch was NOT getting away with it. I ran out the side door into the mall, and scanned furiously for their fat asses. There, across the way, I saw them waddling into Linens ‘N Things. I hiked up my suspenders, adjusted my cowboy hat, and ran after them, pieces o’ flair and all.

“EXCUSE ME,” I tapped her on the shoulder and she whirled around, her squinty eyes startled by my red and white stripes.

“Um… yes?” she stammered, clearly taken aback.

“Hi there,” I smiled sweetly. “I was just wondering if everything was okay with your service today?”

“Uh, yes… yes, it was fine,” she glanced nervously at her oompa loompa son, but he was in a sugar coma and wouldn’t be coming to anyone’s rescue.

“Oh, really? That’s surprising,” I cooed, loudly enough for the small crowd gathering to hear… “Because you DIDN’T LEAVE A TIP.”

“Welllll, I’m unemployed right now,” she said, starting to back away from the crazy TGIFriday’s server covered in sarcastic buttons.

“OH,” I said, the ‘sweet’ quickly melting out of my voice, “THAT’S REALLY FUNNY. BECAUSE ACTUALLY, THIS IS MY JOB!!!”

“I’m- I’m sorry,” she mumbled as she turned to get the hell away from me.

“SO NEXT TIME, WHY DON’T YOU SKIP THE DESSERT AND LEAVE ME THE FIVE BUCKS??? Or better yet, there’s an Arby’s in the food court. Why don’t you shit on them instead???”

She was almost running at this point, but she heard me. Morally satisfied, I returned to the restaurant a new woman, and finished my shift with the ease of someone who knew that a tiny slice of justice has been served that day.

Much like this story, chicken parmigiana is a dish that I have always considered a classic, a favorite of mine. A couple weeks ago, when I’d taken a mental health day and B (the bf, for the newbies) had slaved away at work all day, I wanted to have a delicious dinner waiting for him when he got home. And what could be better than this Italian classic?

Like Lemmonex, I like to use healthy substitutions when possible, (while keeping the food delicious). So this recipe has been tweaked a little to include whole wheat noodles, eggbeaters, etc… but trust me when I say it was still DELICIOUS. See?
Like a favorite story, this dish will never disappoint.

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Easy Chicken Parmagiana

Slightly Adapted from ezinearticles.com

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt
Pepper
1/4 cup flour (whole wheat if you’d like; I seasoned mine with an Italian herb blend)
1 to 2 Tablespoons margarine
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups tomato sauce (add spices to taste)
4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
6 to 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

You will need to cook the chicken breasts before assembling the casserole. This can be done ahead of time if you choose. For example, cook the chicken in the morning and then put the parmigiana together in the evening. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts, then dip both sides of the breasts in the 1/4 cup of seasoned flour to coat the meat. In a heavy skillet, heat the margarine and olive oil on medium heat. Place the coated chicken breasts in the sizzling skillet. Sauté for 4 minutes and then flip the breasts. Sauté for another 5 minutes to finish cooking. Chicken will be firm to the touch and lightly browned on both sides.

To assemble the chicken casserole, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and oil the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan. Spoon about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of the pan and arrange chicken breasts in the sauce. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese over the breasts and then spoon the rest of the tomato sauce over the chicken. Arrange the sliced mozzarella cheese over the whole casserole and sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until everything is heated through and a little bubbly.  Garnish with fresh basil.

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Who is your crush? I’ve been asking folks and the responses are varied…Jon Hamm. Paige. Gwen Stefani. Robert Downey, Jr. Whitney’s boyfriends roommate. Joaquin Phoenix circa 2003. (That’s me.) Your mom. Rachel Maddow. My girl. (Gag).

God…crushes. When was the last time you had an all consuming crush? That is one of the things I hate about getting older; the crushes are so rare. Too soon we start searching for flaws, trying to find a way to talk ourselves out of our tiny infatuations. Really, it is all pretty harmless, though. It helps us pass the day.

And this is where you come in. I have a secret. I have crushes on some of you. My heart flutters at your comments. I await your haikus. I wonder where some of you are when I haven’t heard from you in a few days. I love how I can predict some of your responses. I read some of your blogs and adore the insights in to your life. Really, isn’t this the perfect definition of a crush? I am enamored with certain parts of you, not knowing all, but liking the little parts you allow me to see. I imagine us frolicking together, my hair perfect, you holding my hand ever so gently, and us sharing a cupcake… I’m sorry, did I say that out loud? I didn’t know anyone was here…

Also, I know you have some crushes, too. You have a blog you read that makes you cringe in empathy or laugh hysterically. You think this guy or gal is smart, cute, funny, or just adorably kooky. You await their posts every day, feeling a little twinge of disappointment when they don’t post.

I am going to ask you a favor. Be brave and tell that blogger you think they are the cat’s pajamas. Leave a comment for them or find their email and tell them you want to meet them. Everyone likes to feel loved, right? There ain’t nothing better than being the object of affection. I am going to follow my own advice and send a few emails myself.

As I am such a giver, I want to provide you with a venue to make your greatest desires come true. Please join my pals and cohosts Roosh, Arjewtino, and, of course, me next Friday at 8 pm at Marvin for the Blog Crush Happy Hour. You could meet your new best friend (everyone needs a BFF), your new fuck buddy (don’t worry, we bloggers all have the same strand of HPV at this point), or maybe even a big disappointment (let’s be real, this is the most likely…sometimes the crushes are a letdow). Just come, see us, invite others, and have a great time. As always, bloggers, commenters and the public are welcome to attend. Can’t wait to see you.

iybc-b

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…and Exhale

Thanks to everyone. Yesterday was a huge leap of faith and I cannot thank you enough for holding me close to your collective bosoms and telling me it is okay. Also, snaps to everyone who shared so honestly and openly; I know it isn’t easy. By the way, your bosoms are lovely and you smell like peonies.

I am taking a bit of a breather today, but will be back tomorrow with a new recipe.

Don’t forget to check out what I am eating at So Good. The things I do for you.

If you still miss me, please pop over to Capital Spice and check out the”foodie resolutions” for the new year contributed by DC gourmands. I never thought I would be on a list with Spike Mendelson (owner of Good Stuff Eatery and reviled Top Chef contestant) or Teddy Folkman (chef at Granville Moore’s and winner of Bobby Flay’s mussels “Throwdown”) that didn’t involve a restraining order.  Feel free to kick in any foodie resolutions you may have for the year below.  I’d be interested in hearing.  I am nosy like that.

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United

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I started up this blog pretty innocently and maybe entered into it with a bit of naivete. I just wanted a little space on this huge internet to ramble on about my kitchen successes and mishaps. By being myself…or Lemmonex, more accurately…I have certainly pissed off a few members of my family and offended more than my fair share of folk. It has all been worth it, though, as I have certainly found a voice, a creative outlet, and most importantly, made some really great friends.

bettyjoan is certainly one of the best. I emailed her one day about one of her recipes, and our relationship hit the ground running. We were soon gchatting daily, becoming quick friends without having even laid eyes upon each other. We organized the DC Food Blogger potluck over email and finally met in person just a few weeks ago.

You know how there are just some people you feel really drawn to? You can sense they are good, and kind, and funny, and caring? That is how I feel about her. You can just tell sometimes you were meant to be friends with someone. It saddens me to no end that she is moving away at the end of May, but there really is no doubt in my mind we will remain in contact and keep building our friendship.

So, yes, I have a huge girl crush on BJ and we both talk about running away to Massachusetts together, living a simple happy life filled with elaborate home cooked meals and lots of wine. If only she didn’t have a boyfriend and I didn’t like sex with men so much.

Not only is BJ an awesome cook and a fantastic new friend, but the girl is a survivor. She kicked cancer’s ass and showed it who was boss. In about 5 weeks, she is participating in Avon’s Breast Cancer walk…and this is my plea to you: please donate. She has been working her ass off, giving cancer the middle finger on a daily basis…the least you can do is throw a few bucks in her direction. I am sure there is something you are feeling guilty about right now: consider helping her out a way to erase your sins. Pretty simple, right? $20 is like a get out of jail free card.

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I attended the classiest, most upstanding DC event of the year this past weekend: Shamrock Fest.

The thing that is so incredibly strange is everyone keeps on trying to act like we are a bunch of drunk bad asses. Do not take this bait: we were all stone cold sober and have nothing to blame but our raging insecurities and personal demons for our behavior. Not one beer consumed. I love pointing and laughing at drunk people and feeling superior.

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Arjewtino and Lemmonex, drinking water and smoking candy cigarettes

Instead, I got home at a very reasonable hour and prepared this delicious soda bread (an Irish Lebowski family recipe! it is not too late to make this tonight!) for the Food Blogger Potluck. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar and not to be trusted. I would never behave irresponsibly and have to scramble last minute to pull my shit together.

Oh, yeah, the bread is pictured below in the Food Blogger recap. It likes to be photographed with friends.

Irish Soda Bread

2 c flour
3 T sugar
3 T butter
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt (opt)
3/4 to 1 c raisins or currants (I used a combo of both)
flour raisins first
3/4 to 1 c buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, soda. With a fork, cut in butter until it looks like meal. Stir in raisins and then add buttermilk, stirring only until ingredients are moist. Add more buttermilk if needed to make a soft dough.

Turn dough onto floured board and knead until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Flatten to a 6 inch circle. With a sharp knife, make a cross on top of bread. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove and cool. Serve hot or cold with butter.

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Last night, bettyjoan and I co-hosted the first DC Food Blogger Potluck. It was such a fantastic opportunity to meet so many great new people and talk food. I have not been this full since Thanksgiving, but it is worth it. (Seriously, day later, still full.)

Represented was: DC Food Blog, Food Rockz, Looking2Live, Jacob Grier, Kitchen Tango, Spork and Knife, So Good, Draw Conclusions on the Wall, and EatFoo(d).

The food was awesome, the company was even better and we cannot wait to hold another one.

Pictures really cannot do this justice but here are a few…

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Mixologist Jake Mixes it Up

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Israeli Cous Cous Salad, Curry Potatoes, Irish Beef Stew, Brussel Sprout Hash, bettyjoans Spinach Dip

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Irish Soda Bread, Rosemary Whole Wheat Bread, Mint Brownie Bars, Rum Cake, Armaretto Cake

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Me and bettyjoan, feeling pleased with how things went

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