Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July Photodump

My red, white & blue cupcakes were a little less white and a little more yellow.  

They tasted good, though!

Remy made lots of friends

I got more use out of my SpyderCo knife :)

The garden didn't do super, but I got some delicious peas, so I'm not disappointed.

< 3 

My grandma was getting rid of some stuff...

I'm so glad I'm the favorite :)

Finally wore my favorite Delia's dress.

Playing with LR long enough to figure it out was one of the most productive things I accomplished in July.

Oh, and I got a new (top 3 favorites) tattoo!

It has finally arrived!

I am SO excited.  I've been playing on it all day and I'm in love.  The fact that I can connect to my Hotmail account via the Mail widget here is probably the most exciting thing ever!  I'd love to write more, but I have to play now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting for the day that my abs of steel set off metal detectors

Last Tuesday I was sick and instead of entertaining poor little exercise-starved Remy, I made her lay on the couch and watch One Tree Hill with me.  I was feeling better by Tuesday and we stayed outside, battling weeds, until the mosquitoes turned us both into swollen divas.  Anyways, the more I watch every season of that amazing show, the skinnier I want to be.

I broke down and bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  Her voice (and her stupid comments) make me want to slice her throat, which is surprisingly good motivation for physical activity.  I'm not saying I'm not grateful for the option to do the workouts with her muted, though.  Anyways, I've been doing the same workout for 20 minutes for 7 days so far (tonight will be 8) and I can't believe how much better I already feel.  I haven't really noticed any physical changes yet, but if I actually look decent when I'm done with the last 22 days, I'll find her and thank her personally.  Just to give you an idea of how desperate I am.

I started out just buying the DVD.  I did two workouts before finally ordering a very special yoga mat so that my spine won't be permanently bruised (I had a yoga mat a few years ago but it sat in my room for two months unopened so I returned it and haven't needed one since, thanks to Wii Fit).  I'm happy to say that I got free shipping and it was at my house, waiting for me when I got home from work the day after I ordered it.  Yay, Amazon Prime!  My next purchase is hand weights so that I don't have to use water bottles forever.  I just had to make sure I was going to stick with it before investing, but when I get those, I might just buy her Ripped in 30 DVD, too...It's funny how I'm totally willing to throw money down for this.  I don't ever actually want to be ripped, it'd just be nice to see muscle clearly.  We'll see if the comfort of confidence outweighs comfort food.

It goes way back, women gather.

(This is old news now, but I was waiting to post it until I had time to organize/take pictures.)

I'd like to say that I collect things.  I could copy The Dainty Squid's idea and do a bunch of posts on things I've accumulated and it would be interesting.  The problem is word choice, I do not collect - I hoard.  I was on a clothing shopping spree for about three months last year and I have three jam packed (color-coordinated) closets to show for it.  And when I say clothing, I also mean make up and nail polish and shoes...Speaking of clothes, this is the new dress I got from Delia's a couple of weeks ago.

Anyways, I am going to post a few pictures of things that are really important to me.  The first is a ring my grandpa made while he was serving in the South Pacific during WWII.  I'm still trying to figure out how, but he made it from a quarter.  I thought it was the coolest thing ever when my grandma showed my mom and I (I'm sure my mom had seen it before that) last summer.  When my birthday rolled around in November, my grandma gave it to my mom for my birthday present!  The fact that my grandpa died when I was four assigns even more importance to this little gem.  I also have the trunk he was given at Fort .  And the blanket that was always on his corduroy recliner...Out of 26 grandkids, I feel like my grandma gave me the most sought-after things...:)  Not that I'm proud of being materialistic, I need to work on that.  But it's nice to have the things that have memories and history attached.
1945 Manila P.I. (Philippine Islands)

Cameras are another area of weakness for me.  My latest indulgence was a Flip Video Camera (flip cam).  I saw them in the local newspaper ad at Target for $70 a few weeks ago.  Since then, I didn't check on prices, I just looked at the official website.  I got free shipping and with a coupon code, I bought the base model (in LEOPARD PRINT!) for $73.  Right after I ordered it I looked on Target.com and found that they're $50.  But mine is prettier than those plain ones, so it's justified.

I want a letter seal and wax set.  Only I want the letter seal to have both my and Adam's names on it.  I found one on this amazing photographer's blog I discovered and I neeeeeed my own.  This website has products closer to what I'm looking for...I think that because this is frustrating me so much, when I see the one I'm envisioning, I'll be buying it without considering a price.

July 2nd:
I got home from work tonight and noticed a ball of fur in the driveway.  I couldn't tell what it was.  I couldn't tell if it was alive or not.  Thank God for Remy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pure Preservation

I stumbled across an amazing blog today (this lady is living my dream!) and I'm so excited to start trying recipes with honey in them.  Here are the first two I want to try.

Honey Strawberry Lemonade
5 or 6 fresh or frozen strawberries (clean and hull fresh strawberries)
1/4 to 1/2 c honey (more or less to your own liking)
1 small can frozen lemonade concentrate, made according to directions (you will only use about 1/2 of this in the recipe)
Ice cubes 

In blender, process strawberries with honey until pureed. If using frozen, no need to thaw first. Add lemonade and blend.  Use a few ice cubes if using fresh strawberries and it's not "slushy" enough for you or you can add the frozen lemonade straight into the blender without making according to directions first.   Substitute limeade concentrate for lemonade for a twist. Can use maple syrup or stevia in place of honey (but why would you want to do that?) 

Honey Strawberry Tea Cooler (Adapted from the National Honey Board)
1 pint strawberries
1/2 c honey
1 can frozen orange juice
2 cups brewed green tea

Process strawberries and honey in blender.  Add juice and stir into tea.  Serve over ice.

Within the week I'll be grocery shopping for canning ingredients.  My beans and things are far from ready to be canned but if I'm prepared with the necessities, I'll be more motivated.  It's a little sad that I have to trick myself into it.  :)  Anyways, I plan to can green beans according to the recipe found here along with blueberry jam from the same recipe source.  I have big plans, but we'll see how it goes.  Mostly I'm just interested in the idea of a canning party. 

Also, I've missed baking pies.  I'll try out this whole gluten-free business at my earliest convenience.  This reciple is from gluten free girl's blog which rocks!

This is a super-chatty recipe. Forgive the length, but I wanted to make it feel like I’m standing in the kitchen with you, showing you how to make this pie. You can do it. Read through, gather your ingredients, and then begin.
A happy baker makes a happy pie. Remember that. Don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that could happen? It’s pie.
For the dough
350 grams Aherns’ all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
230 grams (2 US sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup ice-cold water, plus a few splashes more
For the filling
1 pint strawberries (as red and juicy as you can find them)
1 pint cherries, pitted
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup sugar (or more, if you have a sweeter tooth)
70 grams (about ½ cup) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon (we’ve been loving this one from McCormick Gourmet)
1 large egg, beaten
Preparing to make the dough. Cut the butter into one-inch cubes. Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Making the dough. Put the flour and salt into a large food processor. Pulse them together until the flour is fluffy and aerated.
Add the butter cubes. Pulse ten times. (Count loudly, and firmly: one! two! three! as though you are a toddler proud to know how to say these numbers.) At this point, the flour and butter should look like a sandy mixture, with the butter chunks still visible.
Pour in the ½ cup of ice-cold water. Pulse five times. Look at the dough. If it still looks a bit dry, add a splash more water, not exceeding another ¼ cup. The finished dough should like curds of dry cottage cheese. (See photograph above.) Stop adding water.
Forming the dough into a disk. Dump the dough onto a clean, cool surface. (We love our marble pastry board.) Gently gather all the dough together in your hands. Working quickly, take half the dough, make it into a ball, then flatten it into a plump disk, about 2 inches tall. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Do the same with the remaining dough.
(Now let’s be honest here. If you want, you could roll out the dough immediately. Sure, the dough is better when you let it rest, because the flours hydrate more fully. But if you’re in a rush, you can roll out the dough immediately, if you work quickly.)
Making the filling. Meanwhile, prepare the filling of your choice. In this case, we’re working with strawberries and cherries. Take the tops off the strawberries. If they are large, cut them into cherry-sized pieces. If they are small, throw the whole strawberry into the bowl. Pit the cherries and throw them into the bowl. Pour in the almond extract. Toss the fruit to coat it with the almond extract. Put the sugar, flour, and cinnamon on top of the fruit.
(Now again, let’s be honest. I never measure these. These measurements are a guess. You simply want enough sugar and flour to cover the top of the fruit, lightly.)
Toss the fruit with your hands so everything is evenly coated. Let the filling sit while you roll out the pie.
Rolling out the pie. Take the pie dough disks out of the refrigerator and let them sit out for 15 minutes or so, or until it has come to a chilly room temperature. (Think Seattle in June.) Preheat the oven to 425°.
You have your choice here: a floured countertop, a floured marble pastry board, or two pieces of parchment paper. Once you have made pie a few times, you’ll know which one works best for you.
(If you’re brand-new to this, try the parchment paper trick first.)
Gluten-free dough can be a bit stickier than gluten dough. This is just a fact. So, be sure to use plenty of gluten-free flour to flour the board. When I use two pieces of parchment paper, I lightly oil them, to try to prevent sticking. (And I mean lightly.)
So, using the method of your choice, roll out the dough. Pat down the disk and put the rolling pin on it. Now, imagine that the dough is the face of a clock. Roll out once at 12 o’clock. Then, lift the pin and roll at 12:10. Moving in “ten-minute” increments, roll out the pie dough to slightly larger than your pie pan. Be patient. Think of this as meditation. Roll out the dough evenly.
Now, if you have worked with the parchment paper, lift the top paper, put the pie pan on top of the dough, and flip it over. Carefully, strip away the parchment paper. Go slowly. Voila! Pat the dough down into the pan.
Now, if some of the pie dough has stuck onto the parchment, do not despair. Simply peel it off and pat into the rest of the pie dough. With a gluten dough, this might make a crust tough. Guess what here? No gluten! No problem. Pat away.
(If you have used the marble board or countertop, roll the dough onto your rolling pin and transfer to the pie pan. Again, if it sticks, no worries.)
Crimping the edges. Crimp the edges of the pie pan by working with floured fingers. I press from the inside of the pie pan with my thumb and first finger on the left hand, then press between those with the first finger of my right hand from the outside. (That’s a lot of words. Try to visualize it. This will make sense.) This is one of my favorite activities in the world. Go slowly and enjoy it.
Fill the pie with the filling. Pat it down.
Roll out the remaining dough the same way. Lay it onto the pie gently, like you’re putting a blanket on a sleeping child. And if the dough sticks and breaks, just pat the pieces together. (That’s what happened with both the finished pies you see here. They didn’t suffer.) Tuck the edges into the crust.
Baking the pie. Cut a few slits into the top crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Slide the pie pan into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 375°. Bake until the juices are bubbling out of the pie, the crust is browned, and you hear a sizzle-whump when you put your ear to the baked pie, about 45 to 55 minutes. (That last part will tell you that the juices are boiling in the pie and are thoroughly cooked.)
And, you have pie.
But wait.
You HAVE to let it cool for at least 2 hours before you cut it. I know. Hard. But you want happy pie, not sad pie. Wait.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Great news!  I'm getting a new MacBook Pro as soon as Lion is released!  EEEEEKKK!  :-D  I'm just a little bit excited...I've been waiting a few months already and I was kind of hoping that since it'll be released in July, that it'd be like... the 1st of the month.  I'm getting very impatient.  Oh, and besides the Apple Education discount, I'm also getting a $100 gift card.  My iTunes library is going to be so happy. :-)

Oh, and I need this dress.  More than oxygen.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Three Tale Tuesdays

Books to read:

Currently reading:

I'll also be making these awesome sandwiches when I get home.  I loooove Kalamata Olives!

Toasted tomato, basil, cucumber and goat cheese sandwich with olives