Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My first Pinterest fail... cake mix fudge

So there I was, Saturday afternoon, wishing there was something sweet in the house to eat.  I just wanted something yummy.  We had cake mix, but no frosting, and besides, I didn't want cake anyway.

I did, however, have a pin on how to make fudge out of cake mix.  So I pulled that pin up on my phone (gotta love the mobile app...) and saw that I had everything necessary to make that fudge.

It's supposed to be easy!  And fast!  And look like fudge and taste like cake batter!
what it was supposed to look like....
But, this is what I got...
I tried to make it blue/red/purple with a little bit of food coloring...
It was not cake-battery.  It was kinda opaque, but not.  I don't know, I can't describe it other than FAIL.

I sure hope the garbage disposal liked it...

Monday, November 19, 2012

HaHa for HooHas - so funny!

You have to read this woman's blog entry:

The Fart that (almost) Altered my Destiny

You have to admit you've been in an embarrassing fart situation too.  I know I have...

Before I met Jeff I was hanging out with this guy that I liked (cute!  funny! and he smelled good usually!*) a few times a month.  I had been eating a lot of veggies - broccoli mostly - and most of them were roasted.  Roasted in olive oil and garlic.

I looked great!  I was wearing my black dress, cute shoes, my pink jacket, good hair.  I was feeling really good about myself!  But then I was farting the entire drive to Madison!  Before I got to his place I pulled over and put the windows down to try to get rid of some of the smell.  Did I mention it was February?  In Wisconsin?  So I couldn't sit there very long with the windows down.  I was late and it was cold!

We took my car about 6 blocks away to the restaurant, and I know he smelled how bad the car smelled, but he didn't mention it.  I was so embarrassed.

And you know one of the ways that I knew Jeff was the one?  When that first fart leaked out in front of him, he wasn't grossed out and I wasn't embarrassed.  And he just farted on my foot 10 minutes ago.  We've been together 3+ years and married for 13 months.  I love that man, and the fact that I don't have to hide my farts...

*I should have known that guy wasn't the one.  I always thought to myself "I wonder if he likes me?  What does he think of that?  Should I do xyz differently?"  After I met Jeff and was able to be completely myself with him, I knew it was right, he was right, he was the one.  Don't change yourself for someone else.  Find the one you can be yourself with.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Improving upon Apples & Cinnamon Oatmeal...

Around Christmas time last year Jeff said that he and Rhy thought it would be a good idea to buy a Keurig.  They both like coffee, but different kinds, and I don't like coffee, but I do enjoy hot chocolate, and I could use it to get hot water for oatmeal.  And a Keurig would allow us to each have what we want in individual servings.  Perfect, right?

We had some gift cards left over from wedding gifts and were able to get the Keurig we wanted and some k-cups.  I fell in love with the milk hot chocolate, chai latte, and the hot apple cider.  Oh.......  the hot apple cider.  So so yummy.

One day after I made my hot apple cider I took apart the k-cup because it's still heavy after you make your drink and I was nosey and wanted to know what was in it.  There is some sort of apple pulp & filter going on in there.  So I thought, what if I run it through the Keurig twice?  What would happen?

What happens is you get watery hot apple cider.  And what do you do with that watery hot apple cider?  You use it as your hot water in instant oatmeal, that's what!!!
It gives the oatmeal another level of apple-y goodness.  An extra bit of kick or tang or something.  All I know is that it's wonderful!  It has, however, ruined me for apples & cinnamon oatmeal made with boring old water...

If only the chai latte flavor was filtered, I would try that in the cinnamon sugar oatmeal...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

You needed a laugh? Look at this...

The 25 Greatest Animal Photo-Bombers of All Time

I was laughing so hard my tummy hurt, my cheeks hurt, and there were tears rolling down my face (and almost down my leg...).


Friday, November 16, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday: Chores!

Picture it:  Illinois, 1979.  A house in the country.  Two cousins do the dishes at their Grama's house.

Or at least that's what I assume is going on here!  Only reason that I know this is Grama's house is because the cupboards are the same as another picture that I was told was in her kitchen.

So, let's take it all in.

Check out that amazing wallpaper!  What is that, watering cans?  Do I see some sort of juicer and a crockpot on the wallpaper too?  I can't wait until someone who actually knows can leave a comment and tell us!
The cupboards look to be metal, and for some reason I think I remember these being in our garage after the house was torn down.  Or is my memory just plain wrong?
What's so nice is that older cousin (my sister - her smile is just priceless! like "hey, I know you!") is helping her cousin (just 3 & 1/2 years old!) do the dishes.  How sweet!

I wish I could remember Grama's house.  I have faint recollections of it, and I often wonder if those are made up.  I'm pretty sure Mom had her sewing room there, and that would be where I had cut my leg with her pinking shears.  And I vaguely remember Mom telling me which bedroom had been hers.

I really need to get to Mom & Dad's house to scan some pictures that don't all include Tina...  Making her a photo book last year resulted in a bunch of old pictures of her!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wedding decor - lace covered bud vases

As I'm trying to come up with ideas for daily blogs, I've turned to the most wonderful, amazingly photographed day in my life - our wedding.  Pair that with the fact that I've spent too much time on Pinterest, and I found myself looking for pictures that would make a good pin...

And this is what I came up with:

One weekend my sister came to visit and do wedding crafts.  We spent more time that I would care to add up glueing lace to glass.  It was really quite easy.  We used parchment paper on the table as a work space, cut the lace to size, painted glue (white glue, graft clue, whatnot) onto the glass with foam brushes, and placed the lace.  It was really very easy.

And we didn't solely use round glass containers.  Nope.

 There were also rectangle containers.
And square bottles.  And even a lace-covered drinking glass or two...

In fact, I even ended up covering a few pieces with fabric:

The container with the candy sticks was covered in some of the fabric left over from the table runners.  I think it's so cute, it now holds my make-up brushes.

That picture also reminds me, now is the time to purchase "Thanks" signs.  The one above was purchased from the Thanksgiving section of Hobby Lobby.  It was close to the wedding so I asked my mom if she would please paint it for me.  She had silver, and I think it's lovely.  It looked great on the guest calendar / gift table.

Now, anyone want to suggest what to write about tomorrow?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies (my version)

I saw something (on Pintrest) that said Pintrest should have an "I did it!" button, which applauds loudly when pushed.  I agree.  In fact, I created a board on Pintrest that I labeled "I did that!"  And I made that board before I read that pin!  Yeay me!

Anyway, I have made a recipe that I found on Pintrest.  I don't want it to just be a website that sucks my time, so I knew that I needed to make one of the recipes I pinned, and I had the rest of that pumpkin to use, so...

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
brownie mix {and whatever the box calls for}
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tbs vanilla
1cup flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups pumpkin {pureed}
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

mix up the brownies as directed on the box, set aside. blend the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in one bowl and the flour, baking powder, and salt in another. mix all of the ingredients together until smooth. add remaining ingredients and mix well.

line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. pour half the brownie mix, then half the pumpkin mixture, and repeat. 

bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  

let cool in pan and top with melted chocolate or a ganache 

The differences between the original and mine:  I didn't have pumpkin pie spice so I used some nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  Also, no topping.

Verdict?  It was greatly enjoyed.  Quickly.  In fact, I don't think any of us ate lunch.  We all just ate Pumpkin Swirl Brownies all day, along with some clementines (me) and an apple (Rhy).  It didn't really taste very pumpkin-y, perhaps because I used the pumpkin pulp from the carving pumpkin on Sunday, but it was good nonetheless.  Definitely a recipe worth saving.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday: 3rd Birthday

I think that was for my third birthday.  The curtains look vaguely familiar, or at least the material does...  Susana doesn't look excited enough for it to be hers, Tina's way to old, and look at me - fairly bursting at the seams!

I kind of remember getting shaped birthday cakes, and Tina has made them for her kids.  What I remember more are the candy toppers for my cakes.  Preston Ridley's mom down the road would use a page from a coloring book and make solid sugar pictures - I remember the Care Bears one she made one year.  I have no idea how it was done but it was awesome and delicious.

Now Rhy really likes to bake cupcakes and make them look pretty.  It's fun to help her, but she always has way more interesting ideas than I.  She made cupcakes for our new neighbors, and decided they should be neon colors, so she separated the batter into 4 bowls and colored them.  They were delicious!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

from pumpkin to pumpkin pie.

Rhy went to a Halloween party on the 26th.  She was adorable.  Seriously.  Do I have a picture of her?  Only if I can get her to download the one she took with her phone.  She wore her black dress and used black and orange body paint to make tiger stripes.  It was *awesome*.  She took a pumpkin because there was to be jack-o-lantern carving at the party.

And then she came home at 9:45.  Before the carving began.  That's just what happens when you aren't having fun.  Unfortunately her costume took her more time than she ended up spending at the party.

And so a pumpkin has been sitting on our side table for 9 days.

Rhy has been saying she wants to carve it, then Halloween came and went, so now she said she wants to make a pumpkin pie.  Hello, Google?  Can you help me please?  I really have never been mistaken for Betty Crocker.

So, on Sunday, we cut the top of the pumpkin off.  Rhy got grossed out by pumpkin innards.

We cleaned it out, cut it in half, and baked it.  350 degrees for 1 hour cut side down on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet (the kind with the sides).  The halves were so big only one would fit on the cookie sheet at a time!

I scraped the soft pumpkin off of the rind (not perfectly though, I'm sure there was more pumpkin pulp to be harvested...), then procrastinated on going to the store.  So the pumpkin got put into a ziplock bag to await its transformation.

Fast forward to Tuesday night, The Night of the Pumpkin Pie.  It took no time at all to vote, so I knew I had time.  First thing I had to do with really pulp-ify the the pumpkin pulp.  I tried using the food processor, but it didn't move the pumpkin around enough to be effective.  So I got out the immersion blender and used it in a way-too-shallow bowl.

After I cleaned pumpkin off of the surfaces around that shallow bowl, I mixed the filling using this recipe:
2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée 
1 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 good crust

...with a couple of modifications.  I didn't have ground cardamom nor lemon zest.  I added a smidge more cinnamon to make up for the cardamom and zested a cute little clementine in place of the lemon zest.

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Mix sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated.
  • Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

The results?

Not bad.  A little too orange-y for my taste, what with the zest of a clementine, but really not bad.  Of course, I'm not the one to ask.  I really only like my Mom's pumpkin pie.  She uses canned pumpkin pie filling.  Which is what I'll do from now on, because the process to get pulp from a real-life pumpkin was more work than it was worth...

But at least the Keurig got cleaned...  :-)

What did Rhy think?  She said it tasted different, but good.  So I would say that's a win.  :-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

There's a bird in my office!

This little birdie, who was at our wedding reception, sits in the corner of my office, protecting the books.  Isn't he cute?  It's something nice to look at when I'm at work.

Do you have a nice little something at work?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sometimes I feel like it's a merry-go-round state...

I'm so incredibly sick of living in a swing state.  My husband said last night, "I want to live in a teeter-totter state, or a slide state!"

In one episode of Jeopardy there must be 15 political ads.  It doesn't help that we have a Senate seat up for grabs either.  And Ryan is running for his seat in congress again.  So, you know, lots of people want my vote.

The two polling places that I pass on my way to work were not nearly as busy this morning as they were 4 years ago, but I heard that other places were booming at 7AM.  I'm so sick of all of it, I almost don't even want to vote.


But I will.  I will exercise my right that the founding fathers didn't even give me that Susan B Anthony had to fight for.  Thanks Susy!  This one's for you.

If the vote is contested and draws out for just ever like it was twelve years ago (darn you, hanging chad!), then I just might have to find a cave and move away from civilization forever.  Except I would miss Famous Yeti's pizza...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Who moved my cheese?!?! Why I've been MIA for over a week.

As much as I would like to think that I do a very good job of thinking outside the bun, sometimes I have a week that reminds me that, yes, I am human, which means that I, too, fear change.

There are certain things that I always do the same way.  Once the underpants got put on the left side of the drawer, that is where they will always live, and if they accidentally get put on the right, I will move them back.  I must pee last thing before going to bed; otherwise, I'm up and out of bed to go, no matter if I have to or not.  And once I get a pile started at work, you best not touch it, because I know just where it it and what's in it, and touching it makes my eye twitch.

So imagine when I got kicked out of my office for 3 days*.  During a week when my hours were all messed up anyway.  Because I had to go and do events at each facility and be nice to people at them.  Three things all grating my nerves, just waiting for me to fall apart.  It was all I could do to not go all velociraptor on everyone I came in contact with.

It was not a good week.

And you would not have wanted to read anything that I might have written, if I'd had 2 brain cells to rub together in order to create a thought to put on "paper".  It probably would have contained the word *stupid* a few hundred times describing a few dozen different things.  It was, really, the adjective of the week.

On top of that, after 9 hours of discomfort a day, I was impossible to live with.  So the fact that my Jeff & Rhy still live in the same house as me is really pretty freaking awesome.  Sorry!  Love you!

Regardless of the fact that I almost imploded from annoyances, there has been stuff happening.  Stuff that, now that I have regained my brain - and my sanity, I just might find the ability to share with you.  In a humorous, witty, or interesting way.  Because at times I really do think I am those things. 

please don't burst my bubble

So, soon to come:
  • Photomosaic puzzles - not the best idea ever
  • My pantry!
  • Pumpkin pie made with *gasp!* real pumpkin
  • And, I promise, a Vintage Photo this Friday.  For real.

*I have decided to spare you the details, since I probably would get all pissy if I wrote it all down, and no one wants that, really.  Suffice it to say it involved construction and a laptop missing essential work-related software.  And an HVAC guy who didn't get the whole "You moved my cheese" reference.  Amateurs...


Yeah, I hadn't heard of it either.  And then I started reading it on some blogs and in some comments on those blogs.  Apparently November is National Blog Post Month.  And people who sign up for the challenge write one blog post per day.  I'm going to make an attempt to do so.  Be prepared for the short & sweet some days.  ;-)