All I Ate This Week Was Charcuterie Meat

~Maddy~

Let me tell you, I am more sodium logged than I think I’ve ever been, and I’m so thirsty that I have basically had to live in the bathroom.

And it’s worth it. If you’ve ever experienced charcuterie in all its glory, you understand.

Charcuturie is actually a method of preserving meats in their own fat (plus a whole lot of salt and sometimes spices). A charcuturie board combines an assortment of charcuterie meats, various cheeses and accompanying fruits or fruit spreads. Upon assembling and, eventually, devouring said charcuterie board, I guarantee you’ll feel so damn fancy that you’ll never eat Ritz and spray cheese again.

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We served capriccioli, salami, and prosciutto with an aged white cheddar and a slightly creamier, merlot infused goat cheese. Pears, apples, figs and grapes work well with the creamy cheese, and olives and baby pickles are nice with harder, saltier cheeses. Add crackers, a couple $8 bottles of wine, and call it a night.

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Also brie, because brie is amazing. One wheel was wrapped in prosciutto and bacon, and the other slathered with fig and blueberry compote. Did I mention that brie is amazing????

So try this. Really. Costco has a surprisingly great selection, and Hy-Vee is pretty close to top notch. Oh, and Aldi has wheels of brie for $2.99 (you’re welcome).

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Yeah, drool about it.

 

Three Resolutions EVERYONE Should Attempt In 2015 (And Every Year Hereafter)

~Maddy~

I find New Year’s resolutions completely absurd, and probably always will.

I mean think about it.

The “New year, new me” mentality is not only a ghastly cliche, but also irrelevant, since you’re a “new you” with literally every passing second of every passing day of EVERY YEAR SINCE YOUR EXISTENCE.

2015 is no exception. It is not a magic year, it is not a year of promise, it is just. a. different. number.

On a lighter note, I am a big believer in making positive, day-to-day changes to oneself and ones routine. Yeah, long term goals are important, but they’re so damn easy to put off because they’re often far away from where you are in the moment.

So do something now, today, something short term for the greater good. Something liiiiiiike…

1. Tip Your Barista/Bartender/Waitperson $1 More Than You Usually Do

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Those of you who have worked in the food service industry know the horrors that waitstaff, bartenders and baristas face every day at work. I waitressed at a little diner all through high school and still bear the psychological scars years later.

The constant hustle and bustle of needy/noisy/nasty customers is enough to drive anyone out of their freaking minds, and then there’s the matter of the pathetic paychecks. I don’t know if people are jerks or if they just don’t get it, but tips are part of bartenders’/baristas’/waitpersons’ wages.

According the the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average hourly pay for baristas is between $7.50-12.50, and between $7.84-14.83 for waitpersons, which doesn’t sound too bad if you’re at the higher end of the spectrum.

However, speaking as someone who is very familiar with the industry, I can tell you that much of the time your bartender/barista/waitperson doesn’t receive enough in tips to actually break their supposed hourly wages. As a waitress in a rural area, my coworkers and I made a measly $4.95/hour.

This is Patch. Patch would appreciate more tips and less flash photography, please.
This is Patch. Patch would appreciate more tips and less picture taking.

These people work very hard and deal with all of us at our worst, when we’re hungry, thirsty and/or tired. The LEAST you can do is send an extra buck their way. A dollar won’t break your bank, and believe me, it means more to that sad empty tip jar than it does to you.

2. Try New Foods

Even if you don’t want to.

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Even if you have a “sensitive palate”.

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Even if you’re that wacko who eats nothing but McDonald’s chicken nuggs for every meal.

Why, Anderson, why???
Why, Anderson, why???

Try. New. Foods.

Because picky eaters are hands down in the list of Top Ten Annoying/Awful Human Beings. I do not care if you don’t like green things, vegetables, or other non-bacon items.

Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Ron Swanson.
Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Ron Swanson.

You are a grown ass adult, suck it up and eat the brussel sprout.

Oh, you hated shrimp when you tried it one time in the third grade? So I’m guessing you also still think kissing can get you pregnant and that one week anniversaries are a thing?

What’s that? Can’t eat Thai food because there’s no steak and potatoes? Open wide, uncultured Puritan, here comes the tom yum choo-choo.

Hmm? Not giving tofu a shot because you’re a red-blooded American? Newsflash, dimwit: our blood is blue over 95% of the time, and I’ll spill some of yours if you call vegan dishes fake food one more time.

I’m not saying you have to love everything you try.

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In fact, you probably won’t like some things.

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But for the love of pizza will you at least TASTE it?! How do you know you’re not missing out on the best thing since Nutella?!

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You’ll never know if you don’t dig in.

3. Go Through Your Stuff

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Taking personal inventory of what you own from time to time is so, sooooo helpful in the long run, especially if you’re an avid shopper like myself. It’s scary how easy it is to become a dedicated pack rat, and when you need to find something or move to a new location, having an idea of how much stuff you have (and where it all is stashed) will prove invaluable.

Start with one specific area, like your dresser drawers, supply closet, or kitchen cupboards, and go through absolutely everything. If it hasn’t been touched, worn or moved in over a year, you may want to consider tossing or donating it.

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If your tendencies lean more towards hoarder than minimalist, it’s helpful to have a buddy system going. Friends don’t let friends save their tube tops from 1997.

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It may be painful at first, particularly if you are super sentimental, but it’s important to know when to let go of the old (an broken, and grody) and make room for the new. You’ll thank yourself later.

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Even if it hurts a little now.

10 Tasty Spiked Coffee Drinks Guaranteed To Help You Survive Winter

~Maddy~

So I was cruelly awakened by my parents at the butt crack of dawn this morning (meaning about 8:30) and drug off on the only kind of acceptable a.m. adventure: a trip to a coffee roasting factory.

As a truly avid coffee lover, I think my awe, gratification and overall bliss is implied.

A father in the wild observes the native's impressive selection of coffee beans.
A father in the wild observes the native’s impressive selection of coffee beans.
Definitely bought this.
Definitely bought this.

Suffice it to say that I am too caffeinated to ever sleep again. But seriously, worth it. Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee on a blustery morning, more of which we in the Midwest are bound to endure.

Because winter lasts from December to March here. Welcome to frostbitten hell.

So to keep you EXTRA toasty, do please enjoy the following java+alcohol concoctions sure to make the cold weather deliciously bearable (click the photos for recipes!). Pairs well with snow, but I highly suggest forgoing all activities involving shovels, sleds, or ice skates.

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Irish coffee
The Irish like a little sass in their morning joe.

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grand marnier
Fruit and coffee=a balanced breakfast.

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hot buttered rum
This will never not sound amazing. Or a little dirty.

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An old favorite, with good reason.

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black forest coffe
Willing to bet it goes well with cake?

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amaretto coffee
For the coffee nut. *snort*

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Spiked-Pumpkin-Spice-Latte
Because Starbucks doesn’t add vodka.

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Hot chocolate
Creamy, pepperminty perfection.

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Butterscotch-Fireball Coffee
Burns so good.

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Cafe Royale-p33
A stroke of Italian genius with a splash of brandy.

***The Curly Girls must implore you to caffeinate responsibly***

Christmas Cookies So Cute You’ll Gag Before You Eat A Single One

~Maddy~

Christmas equals the season of endless temptations for me, temptations that I’m pretty shoddy at resisting.

Nom.
Nom.

Real shoddy.

Nom nom nom
Nom nom nom

Like I’ve stopped trying at this point.

Every year I tell myself I shouldn’t hand out gifties two weeks before Christmas (but I do), I can’t buy any more presents for the cat (yeeeaaaaah, I do) and I won’t eat a 32nd peppermint truffle Hershey kiss (I totally freaking do).

So, as you can imagine, Christmas goodies are kind of a huge weak spot for me. Needless to say, you’d imagine 100% correctly: this month alone the Curly Girl crew has baked and decorated 200 (at least) cut out sugar cookies, distributing some and devouring most. I have the cavities and the back fat to prove it.

Anyways, in the spirit of the season of overindulgence and gluttony, here are 25 of the most disgustingly adorable Christmas goodies we could find on the internet in the past hour.

1. These Gorgeous, Tiffany’s Approved Sugar Cookies

These cookies are more attractive than I am :(
These cookies are more attractive than I am 😦

2. These Over-The-Top Christmas Bell Cookies

Feeling insufficient yet, Grandma?
Feeling insufficient yet, Grandma?

3. These Floral-looking Mint Meringue Cookies

Meringues are low fat...so I can eat twenty, right?
Meringues are low fat…so I can eat twenty, right?

4. These Penguin Macarons That Are Cuter Than a Kitten in Mittens

OMFG THEIR LITTLE FACES!!!
OMFG THEIR LITTLE FACES!!!

5. These Cookies That Tell Frosty’s Story

He died, kids.
He died, kids.

6. Noshable Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies

YES TO ALL.
YES TO ALL.

7. Or Ugly Hanukkah Sweater Cookies!

Shalom.
Shalom.

8. Gingerbread House Cookies Literally Too Cute To Eat

Dear Lord someone make tiny gingerbread people to match.
Dear Lord someone make tiny gingerbread people to match.

9. Cookies That Are Cute As A….You Can Guess

The pun was too easy, couldn't do it.
The pun was too easy, couldn’t do it.

10. Sleepy Santa/Gnome/Hobo Cookies

Frost won't be the only thing nipping at those wee noses :D
Frost won’t be the only thing nipping at those wee noses 😀

11. Cookies For The Canine Fanatic 

Maybe don't eat these in front of Fido?
Maybe don’t eat these in front of Fido?

12. Disney’s Over-the-top Gingerbread House That I Want To Live In

Bet it comes complete with a matching, cannibalistic witch.
Knowing Disney, it probably comes complete with a matching, cannibalistic witch.

13. Cookies Worth Melting For

If you don't love Frozen we can't be friends.
If you don’t love Frozen we can’t be friends.

14. These Crunchy Chocolate Pinecone Cookies

Fun game: mix in real pinecones with these and see how many get eaten.
Thought they were real for like ten full minutes.

15. Mouse Christmas Cookies That Look Like Cat Toys

Creepy AND cute.
Creepy AND cute.

16. Christmas Tree Brownies, Because Variety/Spice/Yadayada 

Brownies are timeless: remember this.
Brownies are timeless: remember this.

17. Reindeer Cookies Involving Neither Pretzels Nor Oreos

No Nutter Butters either.
No Nutter Butters either.

18. Cookies To Pair With Hot Cocoa

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Could use mini marshmallows instead of “whipped cream”, no?

19. These Lovely Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

With fancy marbling!
With fancy marbling!

20. Or These Ones…

Look shatter proof to me...
Almost don’t look edible.

21. Or These

They're just really pretty, okay???
They’re just really pretty, okay???

22. The Pizzelle, Aka A Snowflake You Can Bite

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For a touch of Italy in your Christmas.

23. Mistletoe Cookies (Kisses Included)

Now if only they came with a man...
Now if only they came with a man…

24. Harry Potter Christmas Cookies (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!)

Because we all secretly want to spend the holidays at Hogwarts.
Because we all secretly want to spend the holidays at Hogwarts.

25. Killer “Joel The Lump Of Coal” Cookies, A Curly Girl Original!

Shine bright like a diamond little guys.

So that’s it folks, enough cutesy goodies to rot your gums and give you a raging case of type two diabetes. We wish you all a Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice etc. etc. etc. Have a very merry politically correct holiday season!

Joel the Lump of Coal aka Your New Favorite Christmas Song

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For those of you who have borne witness to The Killers’ glorious new Christmas song, Joel the Lump of Coal, you’re neato, totally rad, super cool, a real pal. Pat yourself on the back.

As for the rest of you…

Prepare for enlightenment. Every year since 2006, The Killers have written and produced an entirely original Christmas song, the proceeds from which they donate to a charity called RED, which supports those with and the fight against AIDS (you can buy the song and support RED here).

Aaaaaanyways, traditionally there is some sort of collab effort going on, and this year The Killers co-wrote their song with Jimmy Kimmel.

So, naturally, the song is ridiculous.

Joel and fellow lumps.
Joel and fellow lumps.

And adorable.

And perfect.

Watch.

Listen.

Love.

You loved it right? Right.

Because how can you not?!?!?! Squadpod (a formal name referring to the household of all three Curly Girls) has had it playing on repeat since it came out. Also may have called each other a “stupid lump” and/or a “poopy prize” about a bazillion times.

So, digressing yet agaaaaaain, cookies.

Joel the Lump of Coal cookies.

They were Michaela’s idea, and they turned out cuter than anticipated. Take a looksie!

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Cute, eh?

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Yeah, super cute. The recipe was adapted from this one for plain coal cookies, and we just coated them with black sugar/sprinkles and added candy eyeballs. The cut-out sugar cookie recipe is here, and the royal icing recipe is here. They’re pretty amazeballs, as amazeballs as sugar cookies can possibly be that is.

We ate ’em all either way.

Also, you do not need to buy a diamond shaped cookie cutter, just cutting the shapes out yourself with a decently not-dull-or-rusty kitchen knife is perfectly fine. So get baking comrades, and may you ALL be naughty enough to get a diamond in your stocking!

Halloween Was Bomb/Hello, World!

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Goodbyes are tough, but hellos are just as hard, in our humble opinion. After all, first impressions can determine whether or not someone will become your new best pal or, as is more likely in our case, think we’re total loonies and run screaming in the opposite direction. Plus there is just so much to say, and there’s no bloody way we could possibly narrow it down to the 2-3 brief paragraphs you’ve got time to read! So instead of trying to come up with some sort of clever introductory post, we thought we’d give you guys a peek at what our apartment looked like for our first annual Halloween party (just now decided to make it a tradition, fyi). That way, if you run off screaming we can console ourselves with the fact that this was a Halloween post, and therefore ought to insight some form of terror in the heart of its beholder.

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“Poison” candy apples (while not fatal, they will turn your poop black and probably give you cavities. YUM.)
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Seriously, how cute are these angry little guys? SO CUTE RIGHT?! SO CUTE.
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Paying homage to school and city with a pumpkin barfing spinach artichoke dip. It was warm, and it was yummy.

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Most of the decorations are DIY and all of the treats are homemade, because well, Pinterest.  Needless to say, it was pretty awesome for something thrown by a trio of perpetually underfunded college students, and we’re happy with how it turned out. How did you all celebrate Halloween? Give us all the scary, sordid details!

*Photo Cred goes to Kristin Garcia, dear friend and total babe.