Just Bea RSS



Open Letter

OK, college students of the USA, listen up.  Today is the thirteenth of March, and because St. Patrick’s day is on Wednesday you decided to celebrate Irish heritage today.  I get it.  I do.  The Irish are great.  They have cute accents, have some of the most beautiful land in the world, and like to drink beer.  And for college students across America this means that you honor the Irish by drinking as much as you can without passing out, or do.  Whatever.  Which for me and the rest of the city, means that you are drunk and on the streets before noon, blessing us with your jubilance.  

I am all for having a good time.  I like to see people having a good time and enjoying the warmer days.  Upon meeting some of you, I myself was on my way to a brewery, where I would be taking a tour and sampling some local hand-crafted brew.  However, what I do not condone, is rolling down a busy street in a large group illegally consuming beer in broad, rainy gloom and imposing your fun on me.  

I want to at least make my Saturday morning appearance without your antics and shenanigans.  I also don’t think my friends want you to stumble over to them and ask if you like the girls that he is with.  Do you, sir, like the females that we are packin?  

Finally, riding the train is not fun, generally.  May you please not increase my discomfort by piling on my car, standing in a group that occupies the entrance and scream across the car to each other?  I too, like to converse with my friends and you are making it impossible with your drunken banter.  Thank you for understanding and please don’t drive anywhere today.

Comments (View)

It’s just sad.

Ah, social networking.  It is so ingrained in this generation and, especially with all new technological advancements, it will surely only garner more significance.  As with any new adventure, it is always best to greet such things with trepidation and caution.  I feel that I am inundated with the world’s most sympathetically challenged, or idiots as I like to call them, fairly regularly and do not need additional encounters with these people when I am checking my news feed, or is it live feed.  I forget which one is right!

I recently had to defriend two people on Facebook for postulating their ideals pertaining to the rights of Haitians to survive the earthquake of last week.  And I couldn’t decide what was more disturbing, that they were treating the victims with such disregard or that so many people seconded their views.  I am embarrassed to know people who could even think, let alone say out loud on the internet, that anyone could deserve what has happened in Haiti.

It makes me wonder if social networking is a way I want to spend my time and energy, sorting through the muck and mire.  I like the ease in which I am able to stay informed of friend and family updates, but at what cost?  The challenge is that even if I were to break up with Facebook, it wouldn’t break up with me.  Several of my friends have posted photos of my on Facebook, so I would still be involved in the relationship.  I think going forward, I am going to be more selective toward the people I choose to friend.  After all, isn’t that the way we approach relationships in the real world?

Comments (View)

Can I get a little mole with that mole?

Scott and I made our very first mole sauce.  And I have several thoughts about it.

First, it was hard.  The ingredient list is extensive and some of the items are very obscure.  For instance, I had to go to three stores to find the correct chiles and one of them one was only half right!  Oh and adding cinnamon to regular chocolate does not make Mexican chocolate, by the way.

Second, we did not look up any other recipes to compare ours to.  I think that would have helped us get an idea of what we were getting ourselves into and maybe grant us a little leeway with the amount of some of the ingredients, ahem, orange.

Third and finally, it took about 4 and half hours with both of us working at the same time.  The prep work alone was an hour.  Have you ever thinly sliced a 1/2 cup of almonds?  Neither had I.  Have you ever stemmed, seeded and sliced five chiles?  Neither had Scott.  Geesh!

I will say that I enjoy cooking and was very happy to have made this dish.  It was interesting, again oranges, and I will be using some of the sauce tonight for enchiladas.  My parting advice to you is read recipes all the way through, a couple times, before embarking on a culinary adventure and always question the amount of orange rind being used.  Always.

Bon appetite!

  • 3 tablespoons (or more) peanut oil (preferably unrefined), divided
  • 5 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/4 pounds onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 4 ounces dried pasilla chiles,* stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
  • 1 ounces dried negro chiles,* stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 4 3x1/2-inch strips orange peel (orange part only)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 3.1-ounce disk Mexican chocolate,** chopped
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Warm flour tortillas
  • * Available at many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin markets.
  • ** Dark, sweet, grainy-textured chocolate disks flavored with cinnamon; available at Latin markets and from mexgrocer.com.


  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot; sauté until lightly browned, adding more oil by tablespoonfuls as needed, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to large bowl.
  • Return chicken and any juices to pot. broth and orange juice; bring just to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender and just cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add almonds, garlic, cumin, and coriander. Sauté until nuts and garlic begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add chiles and stir until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
  • Using tongs, transfer chicken to large bowl. Pour chicken cooking liquid to saucepan with onion mixture (reserve pot). Add raisins, orange peel, and oregano. Cover and simmer until chiles are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand until chocolate melts and sauce mixture cools slightly, about 15 minutes.
  • Working in small batches, transfer sauce mixture to blender and puree until smooth; return to reserved pot. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Coarsely shred chicken and return to sauce; stir to coat. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat before serving.
  • Transfer chicken mole to bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with warm tortillas.Courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazinehttp://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2009/05/chicken_mole
Comments (View)
Comments (View)

America’s Most Wanted

I’ve learned tips from my grandmother on how to simplify your life and everyday activities.  And by doing so, one will become more efficient.  One way to do this is by giving exact change whenever you are able.  You will have fewer coins in your wallet and honestly, it is satisfying.

Recently, I was at a grocery store picking up a key missing item, cilantro, for my stepfather’s famous guacamole.  Wait, let me preface this story by saying I had minutes earlier had a delicious margarita and was perhaps a little loopier than normal.  I strolled into the almost dead supermarket and picked up the cilantro, double checked that it wasn’t flat leafed parsley and walked to the cashier.  I was proud of myself for remembering such an important detail.  She smiled and told me how much she loved anything with cilantro and I enthusiastically agreed.

Thirty nice cents, she informed me was my grand total.  Perfect, I have change!  I knew I would be making Memaw proud.  I pulled out a shiny quarter and dime and handed it to the woman.  She took the coins, looked down at them for a moment and said, um, you don’t have four cents?  I thought well, she must not have a penny to give me my change.  I didn’t, but I smiled broadly and said don’t worry about it you can keep the change!

I took my cilantro while the young lady was still staring at the quarter and dime  I had given her.  I strutted, yes strutted, out of the store and climbed into the car with Scott and his mother.  It was then I realized, I was an idiot.  Instantly I felt like a thief.  I set the tainted cilantro down on the seat, buried my head in my hands and told my companions what I had done.  I couldn’t go back in I was too embarrassed.  After all, I had been so confidant with telling her she could keep the change.

Of course I defended myself by saying that the girl never said, you gave my only thirty five cents and I had just consumed a margarita.  I worried for about five seconds that I would never be able to show my face in that particular store again.  I still flush a little when thinking about it.  This is why they tell you never to drink and shop.  Usually it is because you buy things you don’t actually want, not short change the poor girl working at the supermarket the day after Thanksgiving.  Oh well, at least it makes a good story and we got some damn good guacamole out of it.

Comments (View)

Treats on a Plane

I don’t blame you for having kids.  I think kids are great.  I someday hope to have a couple of the little buggers.  However, what I do blame you for is you and your spouse bringing four kids under the age of five on an airplane and falling asleep while they kick my chair for two and a half hours.  Oh and then dirty themselves.  I do not understand why it took you almost twenty minutes to notice.  I noticed.  I noticed immediately.

I get it, really I do.  You have the same rights that I do to travel freely about the country this merry holiday season.  But I do not think that you have the right to fall asleep, both of you, for the entire flight.  It seems tough not to notice your sons playing tug of war.  From two separate rows.  Also, hard to believe that you can’t hear them yelling to each other about the “snow” (which is actually clouds, which is kind of cute but whatever).

That’s all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Comments (View)

Color Coordinating

I love shopping.  When browsing racks for fun or for a specific event, I often wonder what would Carrie do?  As in Bradshaw.  Or Patricia Field via Carrie Bradshaw.  Sadly my wardrobe does not reflect these intentions.  Black and blah seems to sneak into my clothing even when I make specific attempts to step outside my box.

This predilection for non glamour could be attributed to habits or perhaps cost of clothing.  In my experience, the bright, fun, exciting clothes that reek of cocktail parties and nefarious fun tend to be out of my price range.  The past two fashion seasons designers have boasted more wallet friendly collections.  One designer claimed a buyer could wear their label starting at just five hundred dollars.  *Cough*.

I’m not going to lie.  I would pay five hundred dollars for a designer piece that I loved.  I would do it and not think twice about it.  Alas, I do not have that luxury.  Pun intended.

So here it is designers, we know you like to be exclusive.  We know you don’t want everybody being able to afford your lifestyle as that would diminish the appeal.  But don’t patronize us by saying you are making affordable looks.  We all want to be able to look great, have style, and not wear flammable clothing.  Think about those of us who purchase Vogue for the ads, not the articles the next time you are creating your affordable collection.

Comments (View)

Where’s the Beef?

I recently googled “how many lobbyists for each member of congress”.  The answer I got was a bit stunning:  6.  This rumor has been circulating late night comedy news and talk shows but I was sure it was an exaggeration.  It wasn’t.  Also surprising, that the entire page of search results announcing this depravity was from bloggers and watch groups.  Not a single mainstream news source thought it necessary to inform the public that the reason it is not getting universal health care is because the insurance and health care companies are *donating* millions of dollars to the public officials elected to create said health care.  I ask you friends, WHAT THE FUCK?  Pardon my language, but is no one else completely dumbfounded and outraged?

What does the health care industry have to do in order for people to understand it could use a competitive product?  We already know insurance companies have an egregious habit of turning down coverage for pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy, and oh, being the victim of domestic violence.

Wake up people, this is no joke.  Democrat, Republican, Atheist, or whatever, health care is something that every person, every citizen is entitled to.  No matter what.

Comments (View)

Are you done yet?

The news is depressing.  We all know this.  The most difficult thing for me to swallow is that some people are not able to discern fact from fiction.  Everyone in this country is entitled to their own opinions and judgements.  What some radicals fail to realize while voicing said opinions and judgments, is that every citizen is allowed to have their own views.  I know, I’m making your head spin.

The recent town hall forums are a great example of people screaming, ahem, speaking to hear themselves speak.  After these rambunctious spectacles, arguments are made that the public is unaware and unclear regarding the President’s plan.  That makes sense if all one hears at the forum designed to inform the public are insults and slander hurling across the aisle.

I recently had an experience during a discussion for my online university.  Some classmates were attempting to discredit President Obama based on his registered status as a Muslim.  How can we trust his appointees, they challenged?  It is my own fault for involving myself in discussions that I know are futile.  I try to be open minded and attentive when people are sharing with me, however I can only tolerate so much frantic fodder.  This discussion was particularly difficult because the parties were spouting information that was incorrect and actually dangerous.

One of the most important functions of argumentation is have clear, well thought out, and factually correct points.  How can we have worth while debates if the conversation is centered around fiction?

Comments (View)

Catching Up

Catching up with old friends is fun, especially when you have had a year filled with moves, engagements, breakups, etc.  I recently reconnected with a woman I met a few years ago who, while we have never been close, conversation was never lacking.  This past year she has changed jobs, gotten divorced, and gone on her first date.  Ever.    I was shocked.  She explained that besides her ex-husband high school dating was her only experience. 
I found myself wondering how many relationships and dates does one have to go through before finding the right person.  And even when you think you have found the person whose smile gives you heart palpitations for life, how can we ever really be sure?  I have several friends who found the perfect partners, exchanged vows at a beautiful wedding, and then split, labeling the ex a great learning experience.  Later they go on to meet wonderful people that they want to spend life with.     
I asked one of my second time engaged friends about the upcoming wedding, to which she informed me it would be a really small affair with only family.  The first wedding with souffle, which turned into a disastrous marriage, merited a big to do, but the “one” gets merely a pat on the back and a hot dog.  Do we need a trial marriage in order to make sure we are getting the right model?  These days you can test drive anything from a car to a dog.  But does that mean we want to invest the time and effort it takes on a trial?  A trial in court can determine a person’s guilt or innocence.  This isn’t to say that I disapprove of divorce.  In truth, we deserve to be happy and love the person that we are with.  Some of the best couples I know are on the second or third marriage.
As a recently engaged gal, these questions naturally come up but I only let them fester for a moment.  The truth is we never really know the people we get in bed with.  We have to be able to trust our judgements and ourselves.

Comments (View)