Kori and Amanda Learn

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“yegg” May 26, 2010

Filed under: Crossword,Movies,Vocabulary — Amanda @ 12:01 PM

A curious word popped up on yesterday’s crossword: yegg. 

Origin uncertain, possibly from English or Scottish dialect, yark or yek; popularized in 1930s gangster movies.

Noun (slang)

A person who breaks open safes, a burglar.


1904 Capture of the ‘Yegg’ Bank Burglars – movie directed by Edwin S. Porter (with quotes in as part of title)

Movie Plot: A group of bank robbers meet at their campsite to plan a burglary. When everything is ready, they break into the bank and blow open the safe. Their getaway, though, is not a clean one. They have to shoot their way out, and the gun battle sets off a desperate chase.

I want to watch this movie now.  And I want a campsite from which to do my scheming.


Olives, Furr’s, and Glazes May 24, 2010

Filed under: Annoying things,Cooking,Science — Amanda @ 5:17 PM
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Learned thing #1:  More people eat dinner at Olive Garden at 4:30pm on Sunday afternoons than you would imagine.   

My roommate Who Eats Mozzarella Sticks for Dinner (RWEMSD) and I have been planning an outing to Olive Garden for weeks to celebrate the end of LOST and to reminisce on a time in our lives when the only restaurant choices available to us in our suburban hell hometowns were places like Applebee’s, Red Lobster, and Chili’s.  We planned the whole evening: dinner 4:30-6:30pm, LOST recap show 7-9pm, LOST season finale 9-11:30pm.    

As we walked up to the South Bay Shopping Center Olive Garden, melodious Kenny G. version of My Heart Will Go On wafting through the air, RWEMSD commented on how many cars were in the parking lot.  “Oh, they’re probably at Target next door,” I said.  “Look at all those kids running around in the grass out front,” he said.  “Better than running around our table whilst we try to enjoy dinner,” I said.     

RWEMSD pulls open the fake stone door, I get my first whiff of unlimited salad and bread sticks and make my way to the hostess stand, “two for an early bird dinner!”  “Thirty minutes,” the hostess says.  RWEMSD: “huh?”  “It’s a thirty minute wait, unless you want to sit in the bar.”   

SIDEBAR: People who eat dinner before 7pm freak me out.  What time did you eat lunch?  Won’t you be hungry again before bed?  Do you eat early dinners because you go to bed at 8pm?  Going to bed at 8pm is frightening.  Eating dinner before 7pm reminds of a time in my life when weekly meals with Grandma and Grandpa were at Furr’s Cafeteria.  Furr’s might be called Furr’s Family Dining now.  If you don’t know what Furr’s Cafeteria is, click here.   Basically, you get a tray and walk down a school cafeteria-esque line picking out tiny bowls of cauliflower puree and Jell-O.   

Anyway, as you can imagine, the decision to eat dinner at 4:30pm  on Sunday was a made only out of a necessity to be home in time for 4 1/2 hours of LOST.   The fact that the punk hostess was telling us that we had to wait 30 minutes to eat dinner at 4:30pm was appalling.  I was 3 seconds away from marching out in a huff and walking next door to Applebee’s when the punk hostess says, “or you can sit in the bar.”  Oh, can we?  Thank you, punk hostess, for pausing just long enough for me to hate you.   

So, we sat at the bar.  Everything was just above par and totally what we wanted.  Salad.  Bread sticks.  Eggplant parmesan.  Yum.  

Learned thing #2: Vegan baking is basically a science experiment.     

In the spirit of our office Cake-Tatorship, I made a poppy seed bundt cake with blueberry glaze this weekend.  The recipe called for buttermilk, which confounded me at first because 1) I wasn’t quite sure what makes buttermilk buttermilk and 2) I’ve never seen vegan buttermilk at the store.   

First, I did what any 21st century woman would do: I Google’d it.  Buttermilk is basically cultured, or curdled milk with acid, typically lactic acid.  Second, I Google’d “vegan buttermilk” and discovered that adding 1 tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of soy milk will create the necessary conditions for delicious, cultured, vegan “buttermilk.”  It was amazing.  It was science. 

Here’s the original recipe from Joy the Baker.  I substituted 1/2 cup of vegan yogurt for every egg and vegan “buttermilk” made from vinegar and soy milk.  For the glaze, I had to add almost 1/2 cup more powdered sugar to get the desired texture.  

Freaking Delicious

Vegan Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with Blueberry Glaze


Critical Corner: Open Sesame May 21, 2010

Filed under: Annoying things,Criticism — Amanda @ 10:29 AM

Dear Dunkin Donuts,

This is a sad excuse for a sesame bagel:

Epic Fail




Order! Order! May 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda @ 11:42 AM

I’m sad to say that yesterday’s crossword was a flop. Yes, it was sad. Yes, there were tears.

One interesting tidbit did come from yesterday’s failed attempt at puzzlry: Robert’s Rules of Order.

Robert’s Rules of Order is the short title of a book containing rules for conduct at meetings that allows everyone to be heard and to make decisions without confusion (also known as parliamentary procedure).   Most organizations, governments, etc. use a procedure resembling Robert’s Rules. 

The first edition of the book, whose full title was Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies, was published in February 1876 by then U.S. Army Brigadier General Henry Martyn Robert (1837–1923) with the short title Robert’s Rules of Order placed on its cover.  The procedures were modeled after the US House of Representatives.

Mr. Robert was a big, underconfident nerd.  His interest in parliamentary procedure started when he was asked to preside over a church meeting, but didn’t feel like he had what it would take to run a successful meeting.  He thought to himself, “there should be a manual for this!”

And so, Mr. Robert published 4 editions of this book before he died in 1923.  It has become the most commonly adopted parliamentary authority among societies in the United States.  The most current edition, published in 2000, contains provisions dealing with videoconferences, teleconferences, and email. 


Typical Example of Robert’s Rules

  1. Call to order.
  2. Roll call of members present.
  3. Reading of minutes of last meeting.
  4. Officers reports.
  5. Committee reports.
  6. Special orders — Important business previously designated for consideration at this meeting.
  7. Unfinished business.
  8. New business.
  9. Announcements.
  10. Adjournment.

Kori Bakes: Funfetti. Enough said. May 17, 2010

Filed under: Brilliant things,Cooking,Merchandise — Kori Learns @ 3:51 PM


Okay, maybe I could say a little more.

I, Kori Learns, will never be confused with a culinary genius.  I do not make dishes more complex than the rare plate of scrambled eggs or the occasional grilled cheese.

Sometimes however, I bake.  In the past it’s been pies, but on Sunday I woke up and thought “Kori, it’s time to challenge yourself.  It’s time to take some initiative and expand your horizons.  Dream big.  Live large.”  Also, it is officially the start of the Cake-tatorship…so I had to make something.  So I made Funfetti.

Martufo kindly provided me with a box of Funfetti.  Funfetti is scientifically proven to be the quickest way to start a party and cure those Monday blues (see empirical evidence below).  Funfetti is hands down the absolute best type of cake from a box, and to be honest one of the best cake types of all time.  It is unsurpassed in both festiveness and deliciousness.  There are almost no occasions where sprinkle filled batter doesn’t add a little something something.

Empirical evidence of Funfetti’s greatness:  It is 3:36 PM and almost the entire cake is gone.  Considering the cake eating start time was 1:00 PM, we’re clearly dealing with a high demand item.  Smiles in the office abound.

As if Funfetti alone wasn’t enough to insure my success and a brilliant, action packed start to the Cake-tatorship, I made my own frosting.  That’s right kids, I made it all by myself.  Here’s the recipe:

For 1 cup of confectionary sugar add:

2 Tbsps softened butter

2-3 Tsps milk

1 Tsp vanilla extract

My homemade frosting was a home run, solidifying my Funfetti cake in the Kori Learns Baking Hall of Fame.  Game over.  Match point.  Funfetti wins.



Martufo’s Contribution to LEARNING May 13, 2010

Filed under: Science — martufocontributes @ 2:34 PM
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Dear World,

First and foremost, I must thank Kori and Amanda Learns to provide such a widely read and highly regarded platform of learning so that I may share my truth bombs.

Friends, let’s be real: Vitamins are dangerous and can make you sick and maybe even die (!)

 My crusade against vitamin poisoning (also known as hypervitaminminea) goes back to this cautionary tale of a Young Martufo who loved learning and her imaginary horses almost as much as her Flintstone vitamins. Delicious and candy flavored, Young Martufo enjoyed a handful of Dinos, Wilmas and Bettys as an afterschool treat. Young Martufo’s mother, the Extremely Patient Upbringer of Young Martufo, discovered this mass ingestion of HanaBarbara characters with great fear. As a victim to the alleged ‘health movement’, Martufo’s Extemely Patient Mother had purchased these delicious health supplements in anticipation of a metered and supervised administration. She did not anticipate Young Martufo’s helper monkey-like dexterity and ability to climb counters and manipulate the child-safe cap. After admonishment and a healthy dose of education of the dangers of vitamin poisoning, Young Martufo was drawn to, nay, charged with the crusade against hypervitaminminea (or hypervitaminosis if you want the proper but less fun name of the diagnosis).

Try not to fall victim to the siren's call of "health" "supplements"

I am relieved to claim that my crusade has been successful and it is only because of me (pretty much) that there are usually no vitamin poisoning related deaths every year. In fact, there are more deaths related to ingesting laundry products than vitamin abuse (probably because Young Martufo’s Extremely Patient Mother placed said laundry products out of helper monkey reach was Young Martufo able to avoid this perilous fate… thanks, Mom!).

Victoriously, and with the proper amount of humility, I’m here to remind you, world, don’t mess up my perfect record. Don’t be a Young Martufo. I suggest healthy afterschool snacks such as apples or even Dunkaroos, because childhood obesity is decidedly preferable to nerve damage (caused by assorted vitamins B), yellowed and unattractive skin (vitamin A…you’ll never beat my father’s record of 11 girlfriends with skin like that) or digestive issues (vitamin C …also: ew).

Hypervitaminminea… it’s real. Just ask Amanda Learns! She took a seemingly harmless multi-vitamin and had a headache… a HEADACHE. Can you IMAGINE if she took the vitamin for another day?! She’d be dead! Well…hopefully not but you can never tell in the world of vitamins when danger is lurking around every metaphorical and proverbial corner. Crusade on!


Amanda Cooks, Kori Eats May 12, 2010

Filed under: Brilliant things,Cooking — Amanda @ 9:36 AM
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This is the first installment of a series we like to call “Amanda Cooks, Kori Eats.”  The topic is pretty self-explanatory.

Root Beer Float Cake

Recently, I came across this recipe on a blog I enjoy, Joy the Baker.  Two things prompted the cooking of this cake: 1) Kori and I both share a love of root beer floats, and 2) next week is the beginning of Cake Month (aka Cake-tatorship) in the office.  

I followed the recipe pretty much to the T, but with one twist: I edited the recipe to make it completely vegan.  Yes, VEGAN.  And it’s scrumptious!  

Click here for the original Root Beer Float Cake recipe.  

I substituted 1/2 cup of vegan yogurt for the eggs and soy margarine for butter.  I also had to use 70% cocoa for the frosting, instead of 60%, so I think it turned out a tad more bitter than it should be, but it’s still quite tasty!