Tuesday, November 30, 2010

French Onion Dip

I made this dip for my Halloween costume party and it was super tasty. I know some of you are probably wondering why you would make French Onion Dip when you can buy it in the store. I thought exactly the same thing. But since I had everything on had, I decided to give it a go anyways. And I'm sure glad I did.

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I don't know if I'd say I never plan on buying French Onion Dip again, but this dip was still very delicious. I made it the night before since almost all the comments said it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. It was easy to throw together and everyone enjoyed it. There's a sweetness from the caramelized onions that some people didn't seem too keen on, but I liked it. I used my cheap mandolin-style food slicer from walmart in order to make cutting the onions a snap. You can always use a food processor instead.

Would I make this again? Sure.

French Onion Dip

Ingredients:

2 tbl butter
2 Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/4-inch rings (about 4 cups)
2 large shallots, sliced into 1/8-inch rings (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sour cream
1 c mayonnaise
1 t celery salt
1 t Worcestershire
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t salt
Chives, finely chopped for garnish
Potato chips or veggies for dipping

Directions:

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add butter.

When butter is melted, add onions and sauté stirring occasionally until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Add shallots and sauté for 10 minutes more until onions and shallots are dark brown.

Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool for 5 to 6 minutes, then chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, celery salt, Worcestershire, salt and pepper.

Fold in onion mixture.

Chill at least 1 hour or overnight, prior to serving. Add chives and serve.

Source: Guy Fieri

Sunday, November 28, 2010

If Only I Was Half As Cool As This Guy

This guy made his own instrument out of pvc pipe and, according to the youtube page, plays everything from Lady Gaga to Ozzy on it:



How cool is that? I feel like such an underachiever.

David Sedaris at Sam Weller's Bookstore

I was lucky enough to find out about a reading by David Sedaris at Sam Weller's Bookstore. I seem to have the knack of finding out about things just after they happen. In fact, I've missed David Sedaris twice now. When I found out he was coming again, nothing could have stopped me from going.

If you aren't familiar with Sedaris' work, here's an example:


Sedaris read a story from his new book and some of his diary and it was great. The way he reads is really lovely and I'm not at all surprised he does the audio book narration for his books. We had to wait forever to get our books signed, but it was definitely worth it.

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I have to admit I was nervous when we finally got to meet him. I wished something fierce that I was more clever at that moment. It was also the first time I'd been to Sam Weller's and I will most definitely be going back. What a nice place.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Spicy-ish Sausage Pasta

Sorry for the wonky lighting in the pictures. With it getting dark so much earlier here I'm going to have to find some kind of lighting solution.

This is another one of those recipes that I use time and time again. Spicy sausage is one of my loves in life, and this whole dish takes no more than 30 minutes to throw together. Paired with a simple salad and some bread, and you've got yourself a lovely and filling meal. The cream makes the pasta smooth with just enough kick from the spicy sausage. This recipe is by Sam the Cooking Guy and it totally cemented my love for him.

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I know a cup of cream sounds like a whole lot, but you can also use evaporated milk of you want to watch the calories. You may need to add a little cornstarch to make it thicker though. And keep in mind this serves six so it's not as bad. Maybe even half cream half milk would work.

Would I make this again? Like I said, already a family favorite. This and Peasant Pasta are my two go-to pasta dishes.

Spicy-ish Sausage Pasta

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb penne pasta
1 lb spicy Italian sausage (casings removed)
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

1. Heat oil in medium hot pan, add sausage & break apart to crumble. Cook until no longer pink and stir in garlic - cook another minute or 2.

2. Add cream, Simmer on low about 10 minutes. While it cooks, add pasta to boiling water. When the pasta's ready, so is the sausage.

3. Drain pasta and add to sausage. Add butter & Parmesan cheese & parsley - mix well. Sprinkle with a little more cheese of course and serve.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Double Clip Sock Garter DIY

Here is a really easy tutorial for making your own sock garters using mitten clips. Mitten clips should be readily available this time of year (I got mine in the infant section of Walmart), but suspender or garter clips would also work. Sock dreams sells something similar, but you'll have to pay $18 for four. These will only set you back six dollars at the most.

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As you can see, these are intended for over the knee socks/stockings and are double sided. I decided to make mine this way, rather then a conventional sock garter, because I always wear shorts under my dresses and I didn't want to worry about the elastic falling down or pinching my chub. These particular garters also have the added benefit of keeping your shorts in place if yours tend to ride up.

With these garters, every pair of tights can become thigh highs. Just cut the tights as close to the crotch as you can, and you'll have the perfect thigh highs without any elastic to dig into your leg. That's exactly what I did with the thigh highs shown here (the tights wouldn't stop falling down when I walked so they had to go). That sounded very infomercialy didn't it? Oh well.

Double Clip Sock Garter DIY

Supplies:

2 sets of mitten clips
ribbon
needle/thread
pins

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Directions:

1. Cut away any material connected you your clips if need be.

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2. Measure how long you think your garters should be.

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3. Cut out four pieces of ribbon all the same length. Make sure you leave seam allowances.

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4. Pin the ribbon to the clips.

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5. Sew away.

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And you're done! They can be worn in the front or on the side and you can add ribbons if you fancy.

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If you want sock garters that look more like conventional men's sock garters, then you just have to change a few steps. Just measure your thigh and cut a piece of elastic to fit (make sure it's sung). Then you just sew one side of the ribbon around the elastic instead of adding a second clip. Easy peasy. Just make sure you add some length to the ribbon.

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The nice thing is you'll one need one set of mitten clips instead of two if you decide to make yours this way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Licorice Whip Love

I can't be the only one totally enamored with this dress:


High necklines don't look very nice on me, but I can't help lusting after them. There is just something so demure and yet naughty about them. At $72 dollars the Licorice Whip Dress is a bit out of my price range, but a girl can wish can't she?

Boots Boots Boots (What I Wore)

I got it into my head that I had to have over the knee boots in my life and I am happy to say that that goal has been reached. I was a bit worried if they would look alright, but I ended up loving them more then I had thought I would. The nice thing is you can only see a bit of the tights underneath so it's kind of like a little surprise every time I take a step. And I am all about little surprises.

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Jacket - F21
Dress - F21
Harness - DIY
Tights - Target
Scarf - Walmart
Boots - F21

I know I get most of my clothes from F21 but that's cause I'm poor. I'm also kind of cheap to be honest. This dress was only $16 and I adore it. It is simple and soft and I couldn't resist buying it in two colors.

FYI: My calf is about 17 inches around at the widest point and these boots just fit. I wouldn't risk it if your calf is bigger, but I wanted to throw that out there since F21 doesn't give you a circumference measurement.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Random Hockey Pics

I went to my first real hockey game this weekend. I've only ever gone to a exhibition game before and I found this much more enjoyable. Not only was I able to feel my toes the whole time (the other rink was absolutely freezing), but I also got to sit right next to the team box area or whatever.

Here are some random pics from the game:

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Our team didn't win unfortunately, but all in all it was a fun experience.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Steaks with Pomegranate-Pinot Sauce

This recipe is surprisingly elegant and absolutely perfect for this time of year. I really liked the texture of the seeds paired with the meat and the sauce was super tasty. The combination of sweet and savory was just perfect. I've mentioned many times that I'm not a big meat eater on this blog, but sometimes I find myself craving a steak and this is the perfect way to make it. Combined with Garlicky Baked Fries and a simple salad and you have yourself a lovely meal.

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I ended up using pomegranate and blueberry juice since the grocery store didn't have any pomegranate juice by itself, but it turned out great. Plus it was a lot cheaper. I also added way more pepper since I prefer my steaks pepper-crusted, but as always do what makes you happy. I didn't have any shallots on hand so I used fourth of a red onion.

Would I make this again? Most definitely.

Steaks with Pomegranate-Pinot Sauce

Ingredients:

4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/3 cup pinot noir or burgundy wine
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 thyme sprig
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

1. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks evenly with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from pan; keep warm.

2. Add shallots to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, wine, juice, broth, and thyme sprig; bring to a boil. Cook 7 minutes or until reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Remove from heat; discard thyme sprig. Add butter to sauce, stirring until butter melts. Serve sauce with steaks.

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Hello Winter

Winter has arrived in Utah in full force. The heaviest snowfall we got was 14 inches. This is what I woke up to:

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And yet I love it. Don't get me wrong, driving in this stuff is a horrible experience. You feel like you're going to die when you go 40 mph and I get headaches from straining my eyes in an attempt to see the invisible lane lines. But at the end of the day, I love the snow. There is just something magical about it to me. Maybe that's just what happens when you grow up in a place where it never snows, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'd like to get some better pictures, but I'm not going outside today for any reason. One storm down, three to go. Wish us luck!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Indoor Picnic

I just saw the most adorable Indoor Picnic Guide over at ModCloth.


Wouldn't it be great to set up some fake grass and have a lovely picnic in the middle of a snowy winter? I think I see a new project in my future.


Check it out for all the details and the grass place mats can be found here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comforting Chicken Potpie

There are so many cookbooks that it can be hard to decide which ones are worth the money and shelf space. The Comfort Diner Cookbook is definitely one of those books. The recipe for biscuits and gravy was all it took to win me over and I've made this pot pie at least 20 times. It is a staple in our house for the colder months and I can't imagine even trying another recipe. The potatoes are really what does it for me and a little shredded cheddar makes things even better in my opinion (especially when re-heating leftovers). If you like your pot pies chunky and filling then this is the recipe for you. You can even use a rotisserie chicken to cut out a step if you like.

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I always throw in a little extra veggie so I can make one big pot pie and one small one for Ryan to take to work the next day. I know, I'm wonderful. I've made this pot pie with puff pastry, regular pie crust, and even phyllo. Regular pie crust is by far the best. I use store bought pie crust cause I'm lazy, but do whatever you like. This works for me since I need two crusts. I find it easiest to spoon the mixture into the pans and then pour the cream mixture over top. Sometimes I have a lot of liquid and this avoids spills. I'm pretty sure I use a deeper pie dish, but I can't remember for sure.

Would I make this again? As I said, this dish is already a family favorite.

Comforting Chicken Potpie

Ingredients:

4 6-to 8-ounce chicken breasts
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups small-diced carrots (2 to 3 medium-sized carrots)
1 cup small-diced celery (2 to 3 stalks)
1 cup small-diced red onion (1 medium-sized onion)
2 cups medium-diced red potatoes (6 medium-sized potatoes)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
1 cup frozen green peas
1 pie crust (store bought or homemade)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the chicken for 10 minutes, until cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the chicken, as it will be cooked more later.

2. While the chicken is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, and sauté the carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes for 5 minutes. Again, be careful to avoid overcooking. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set them aside in a large bowl.

3. When the chicken has cooked, remove from the water and drain. Slice it into bite-sized pieces.

4. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining ¼ cup butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter. Stir gently and frequently for 2 to 3 minutes, until the flour is absorbed and the bubbling mixture is lightly golden.

5. Add the heavy cream and chicken stock. Mix thoroughly. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the chicken and the sautéed vegetables. Season with the salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes more. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and add the frozen peas.

6. Roll out the puff pastry so it is 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Place it over the pan and tuck down the edges into the pan. Cut a few slits on the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape. (I brush the crust with a beaten egg for extra browning.) Bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

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New Music Thursday

New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Obsession by Sky Ferreira:



Tiger by Maximum Balloon (ft. Aku):



The Gardener by The Tallest Man on Earth:



Start Wearing Purple by Gogol Bordello:



This is just funny.

Lonely by Medina:



My Body by Young the Giant:



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harry Potter Stars Learn To Speak American

This is just adorable and totally self-indulgent:



Tom Felton sure does have "boo-yah" down doesn't he?

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Title: Rot and Ruin
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Genre: YA, Post Apocalyptic, Zombies

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publishing Date: October 5th 2010
Hardcover: 458 pages

Stand Alone or series: Book one in the Benny Imura series.

Summary:
In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
Review:

Benny Imura just turned 15. That means he has to find a job or his food rations will get cut in half. After wasting his time looking for a job that is both easy and entertaining (ah the teenage dream), Benny's forced to work with his older brother as a zombie hunter apprentice. The problem with this, in pretty standard teenage fashion, is Benny has a lot of bad feelings towards his brother, Tom. As Benny goes on his first trip into the Rot and Ruin, the area outside of their fenced-in community where the living dead are, he's about to be confronted with a lot of the things he thought he knew. Not only about zombies and his brother, but about the thin line that separates man from monster as well.

For me, this book was what The Forest of Hands and Teeth and World War Z seems to have been for everyone else (to be honest I hated Mary and thought WWZ was "meh"). I've been pretty disappointed by the zombie novels I've read lately, but Rot and Ruin was a breath of fresh air. This is very much a coming of age story. We get to see how Benny has to confront his own assumptions and come to terms with the reality of the world he lives in now. While I did think the town's mentality was handled a little too heavy handed, Benny and Tom's relationship was great. It was a nice break from all the love triangles that seem to be taking over YA.

Benny actually reminded me a little bit of Todd from The Walking Chaos series (which is a good thing in my opinion). While Benny didn't have quite the lovableness that Todd had, he has the same quality about him. I'm not even sure what it is. Authenticity maybe? Either way, Benny feels like a genuine person. He annoys the shit out of you and he's a bit full of himself, but he's 15. He's not perfect and I loved him all the more for it. Then there's Tom. Tom is just lovely. I haven't been so enamored with a character in a long and it makes me nervous about what's to come.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

You can read the first 100 pages here and here is Maberry talking about Rot and Ruin:


Verdict:

All in all, this book completely took me by surprise. I know everyone looks for different qualities in their zombie fiction, but this is one of the best I've read. Maberry has set the bar pretty high and I hope the next book doesn't disappoint.

Rating: 9. Damn near perfection

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flower Power (What I Wore)

Wow. It seems like I wear flowered things all the time doesn't it? I promise I don't. I'm just having a hard time finding the perfect flower fabric so I keep trying out new patterns. This skirt is my latest attempt.

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Jacket - F21
Black sweater - Target
Black t-shirt - Walmart
Skirt - DIY
Tights - Target
Boots - Not sure. They used to be knee highs but I cut them into booties and added the bows.

It hasn't been too cold lately so I'm taking every opportunity to wear shorts and skirts without freezing my ass off.

Monday, November 15, 2010

XXIII by Antonio Machado (A Poem)

by lorenzo stupid kid AKA rockito
I love this poem by Antonio Machado:

XXIII

Traveller, your footprints
are the road, nothing more;
traveller, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking the road is made,
and turning to look behind
one sees the road that never
can be walked down again.
Traveller, there is no road,
just ripples in the ocean.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Muffins

I saw this recipe over at Cooking With My Kids and I knew I had to try it out when I had people staying over. (I had originally planned on making these Texas Biscuit Baked Eggs, but I thought scrambled eggs would be a safer bet then baked whole eggs. Not all people like their eggs runny and I didn't want to risk it.) As you can see by the table cloth, I made these eggs the morning after our costume party. They turned out great and everyone liked them.

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Sorry I didn't get better pictures, but I didn't want to make everyone wait for me to take pictures before they could eat. I used jumbo biscuits. I do not recommend this. I found it was easier to just press the biscuit out with my hand then it was to try and roll it, but if you use regular size biscuits this won't be a problem.

Would I make this again? Yes. I think some cooked chorizo would be especially good in these. You know me and my spice.

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Muffins

Ingredients:

1 package biscuit dough (10 biscuits)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup of shredded cheddar
4 slices bacon (we used turkey bacon and veggie bacon)
salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. Cook the bacon in a pan or in the oven until it’s almost done. Chop into small bits and set aside. Whisk together eggs and milk, a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper to taste and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, roll out each biscuit until it’s slightly bigger than the circumference of your muffin tin. Grease the muffin tin with cooking spray and push one biscuit into each muffin cup being sure to push it all the way down and to the sides. Leave the ridge hanging over the edge.

3. Divide the cheese evenly in each of the biscuit cups and then pour egg in, filling each cup only 1/2 way. They will look empty but resist the urge to top them off. You must account for the biscuits puffing up – otherwise you’ll have a mess on your hands. Sprinkle bacon atop of the egg and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden and eggs are set.

4. Use a butter knife to loosen each muffin and serve warm.

Note: if your egg does overflow, just let it bake the rest of the way and then remove the extra egg when you are loosening the muffins. They’ll still taste terrific.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Side Chignon Tutorial from Martha Stewart

Isn't this side chignon just lovely? Maybe it's the model's gorgeous hair color that's throwing me through a loop, but I just adore this.


I am definitely going to give it a go. I've a hard time coming up with different ways to do my hair since I cut it and I think my hair is just long enough to make this work. Is there anything Martha Stewart can't do?

Here are step by step pics:


1. Using a round brush, blow-dry hair smooth and straight, focusing on the top sections.

2. Once dry, use a large-barrel curling iron to create waves from the ears down.

3. Build height and volume at the crown by teasing hair gently with a fine-tooth comb.

4. Gather hair into a low ponytail; twist it along the nape of your neck, pinning as you go.

5. Once you reach your ear, shape the remaining hair into curls, and pin them back over.

6. Hairspray in place. To add texture, gently curl and scrunch the wispy ends with your fingertips.

You can see more ideas for wedding hairdos from Martha here.

Not So Easily Labeled

When I was filling out the entry form for the Chronicle Book giveaway, I had a hard time answering this question:


Ummm...quite a few of those would work. I think I ended up going with the food one, but I felt like I was being misleading no matter what. Oh well. I guess this is bound to happen until they come up with a "random shit" category.

Win $500 Worth of Books from Chronicle Books


Chronicle Books is hosting the best giveaway I've ever seen. They are giving away $500 dollars worth of books to one blogger and another $500 to one of their readers. That's right. $1,000 dollars worth of books. I think my heart just stopped.

It is super easy to enter. All you have to do is post your list on your blog and then fill out the entry form. The last day to submit is December 10th and the winner will be announce December 13th. Also, the contest is only opened to US residents.

Here's my list:


1. Bon Appétit Celebrations Deck
2. Fiesta Latina: Fabulous Food for Sizzling Parties
3. Cocktail Food
4. Farmers' Market Desserts
5. Field Guide to Candy
6. Savory Baking
7. The Exquisite Book
8. DIY Fashion
9. Stencil 101 Decor
10. French General: Handmade Soirées
11. The Printmaking Bible
12. Lotta Jansdotter's Handmade Living
13. Masterpuppet Theatre
14. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
15. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
16. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
17. Aesop's Fables
18. Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents
19. How to Speak Zombie
20. The Small Stakes
21. Mini Goals Notepad
22. D.I.Y. Delicious
23. The Indie Rock Coloring Book
24. Drop Dead Cute Postcard Book
25. F in Exams

I look forward to seeing your lists and you can find all the rules here. Good luck!