Friday, February 13, 2015

Honest Abe and the Amendment

My 9 AM work shift was today. It was on-and-off busy. While I did spend an hour doing returns later in the day, I was late going on break, and ended up being late getting off. They just didn't have anyone to go in for me, and no one was coming in for another half-hour.

When I finally got off, I went right in the back to get my schedule. It's probably just as well that I have Monday and Tuesday off. The weather is supposed to be nasty here Sunday night into Monday. Monday is President's Day anyway. My only plans as of right now is to do the laundry and hang out at home. Tuesday is counseling. I do have one early and long 7 hour day on Thursday. Otherwise, nothing abnormal for this time of year, and actually slightly more hours. 

While I didn't have a big grocery load, I needed a lot of things that are fairly expensive, like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Greek yogurt, and honey. Purdue chicken was 40% off; I bought tenderloins and boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Picked up cream cheese for my baking project for work and Parmesan cheese for dinner tomorrow. Acme was clearing out its generic cheap brand pasta sauce for 64 cents (even cheaper than the 69 cents they had it listed as). Restocked apples and grapefruit; replaced the spinach (it was buy one, get one, and I don't need two bags) with escarole. They only had 3 bags of the Valentine's York Peppermint Patties left at work. I bought one today. I figured if I waited for tomorrow, they'd be gone.

As soon as I got home, I changed, put everything away, then started my baking project. The Acme is having a Dessert Party for Valentine's Day tomorrow. I volunteered cookies again. They're easy to make and to transport on a bike. I wanted to do something different and a little...sweeter. I've never made sandwich cookies before. The retro cookbook my sister Anny gave me a few years ago had a simple recipe for chocolate sandwich cookies. I added the last of my red food coloring to the cookies and made cream cheese filling instead of buttercream filling. I love the look of Oreo's new Red Velvet Cookies, but they're in these really small packages and aren't easy to find. I thought these might be a nice substitute. 

Ran Lincoln while I baked. The movie covers the last four months in the life of President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he works to end the Civil War and get the 13th Amendment to end slavery passed in early 1865. Needless to say, most of the southern states left in Congress aren't happy about this. Radicals like Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones) want to get the Amendment passed right now, even if it extends the war. More conservative politicians would rather make peace with the South first. Lincoln has to figure out how to get both the conservatives and the Democrats to vote for the amendment, without getting even further into war. Meanwhile, his own son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) wants to join the Army, much to the shock of his mother Mary (Sally Field). Mary herself isn't the most stable woman...but she does have enough sense to know that her husband's politics may have put his life in danger...

I'm not the biggest fan of politics in general or Civil War history, but I do like Spielburg, and I heard good things about this when it came out about three years ago. (Including from Mom, who grew up around many famous Civil War battlefields and is a bit of a Civil War/Victorian buff, as well as a big fan of Sally Field.) This is less of an up-and-down biopic and more of a political tale, but the cast really makes it work. Day-Lewis, Field, and Jones were all Oscar-nominated for their roles; Day-Lewis won. If you love Civil War history like Mom does or are a fan of any of the cast or Spielburg's darker films, this is beautifully made and quite highly recommended.

Finished the night with some TV episodes as I made leftovers for dinner. Wonder Woman has her own problems with politicians when a telekinetic man at a disco seems to be stealing their memories. Diana Prince engages another telekinetic, this one a shy, clumsy guy who has a hard time keeping a job, to help her find out what's going on. 

Alton Brown shows off one of the most versatile of all vegetables in a Good Eats episode on celery. I'm especially fond of the braised celery from the end of this episode. I've made it before. It's a great vegetable dish for winter, when celery is often one of the few affordable fresh vegetables many people can get. 

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