Monday, January 31, 2011

Bacon Pierogi Bake

This is one of those perfect weeknight dishes. It takes just a few minutes to put together and uses really inexpensive ingredients. This was the first time I've ever had pierogies and I really like them. Basically potato-filled dumplings, pierogies are an easy way to stretch a buck without feeling like it. I love food like that.

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I added more cream cheese and chicken broth then the recipe states so I would have more sauce. I figured I might as well since I had leftovers. This will feed about 4, but it is really easy to double or halve based on your needs. Served a simple green salad along side (and maybe some garlic bread if you're feeling zesty) and you've got yourself an easy and filling dinner.

Would I make this again? Already have. :)

Bacon Pierogi Bake

Ingredients:

1 (16-ounce) package frozen potato and onion pierogies (such as Mrs. T's)
Cooking spray
2 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

1. Arrange the pierogies in an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cook bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until crisp; remove from pan. Set aside.

2. Add garlic to drippings in pan, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently. Gradually add chicken broth to pan, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over pierogies.

3. Top evenly with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with bacon, green onions, tomato, and pepper.

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Source: Cooking Light

Sunday, January 30, 2011

365 Project: Week 3

Besides going to the hockey game with my friends, I spent most of my week just hanging out and going to class. It was great.

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Full disclosure: the hockey picture is actually from the last time I went. I didn't take any pictures this time since I was too busy talking about movies and Skins. I really am terrible when it comes to sports.

Hope everyone had a good week!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

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:

One by Sky Ferreira:



Like How You Are by P. S. Eliot:



Ghost by Bombay Bicycle Club:



Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect by The Decemberists:



As We Enter by Nas & Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley:



Bender by Stray Bullets:



Monday, January 24, 2011

Life is so long until you're dying

People think I'm joking when I admit I still rock a cd walkman, but that doesn't compare to the ridiculously crappy radio I have in my car. The tape deck doesn't work and the display is broken so I have to guess what radio station I'm listening to. It's just sad.

I've never been a big fan of the radio, but it does have it's perks. Every once in a while an old worn song makes a reappearance and you get to fall in love all over again. And that's quite a feat in my opinion.

Last night this song came on by Limp Bizkit and that's exactly what happened:



So I thought I'd share.

Melted and Gone (What I Wore)

Even though it is still pretty cold, most of the snow has melted. This makes me happy. Even though I love winter, it was way too cold for a while there. Like so cold you think your face is gonna fall off in the parking lot or something. I hated it.

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Melted and Gone
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Sweater - Lane Bryant
Skirt - F21
Tights - Target
Shoes - Madden Girl

I love this skirt so much I wore it twice last week. It just speaks to the inner 90's child in me. I'm also seriously loving these "Gipsey" shoes by Madden Girl.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

365 Project: Week 3

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like you just need a change? You may not even know exactly what it is that's bothering you, but you just know something has to happen. Well, I felt that way this week and as a result I ended up dying my hair bright ass red.

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The color is actually a lot more pink than it looks in these pictures, but it is super bright. It's so bright I haven't even made up my mind how I feel about it. Besides that, I had a pretty standard week. I went to the thrift store, went out for Mexican food and $1 margaritas at Mi Ranchito with some friends, and played bonco with the neighbors. All in all I can't complain.

Hope everyone had a good week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

7 Layer Bean Dip

This is my Aunt Kym's signature dish. She's always asked to bring it for parties and BBQs and I try my hardest to take home any leftovers. Even though it looks a bit unassuming, this bean dip is fantastic. Ryan and I can easily eat a whole dish of it in just a couple of days. I actually like to top mine with shredded lettuce since I like the crispness, but it's all about personal preference.

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The big secret of this dip is mixing the sour cream and taco seasoning. Peppers are optional and I usually leave them out since some people don't' like too much heat (though I like to throw a few jalapeno slices on mine). You can also control the heat by whatever salsa you decide to get. You can make your own guacamole if you like, but I personally think Wholly guacamole is just as good.

Would I make this again? Of course!

7 Layer Bean Dip

Ingredients:

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1-2 (7 oz) packages of Wholly Guacamole (any kind)
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (6 ounce) can diced green peppers (optional)
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and sour cream together.

2. Spread beans in any oven safe dish of your choosing. One can of refried beans is perfect for an 8x8 baking dish (or something similar in size). Then you want to add your jar of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. The order doesn't really matter, but I usually add the salsa, guacamole, and then the sour cream mixture. I don't really know why. I think I did it differently in these pictures too so you can probably just ignore me. Point being, it doesn't really matter.

3. Top the layers with cheese and black olives.

4. Heat the dip in the oven until the cheese is melted and the dip is just warmed through. Serve immediately.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Make your own Burberry Prorsum inspired zipper jacket

I haven't been able to do any crafting lately since I've been catching up on other hobbies (like reading!) and going to school, but I have to do this. Seriously, I am dreaming of thrift store jackets and zippers.


I know the video is a bit cheesy, but isn't this delightfully simple? Wow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gwen Stefani before she was Gwen Stefani

Here's a short video of Gwen Stefani in 1991 before No Doubt made it big. She's super adorable.


I've always been a huge No Doubt fan and I thought her comment about how living near Disneyland is sad because you're so close and yet so far was surprisingly poignant.

Here's a great video showing the "evolution of Gwen:"


And since Tragic Kingdom will always be my favorite No Doubt album, here's the song "Spiderwebs" (why not right?):


I still remember listening to No Doubt on my tape-deck Walkman. Oh how the times have changed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Classic Deviled Eggs (with relish)

This is one of those recipes that isn't really a recipe. I feel a bit silly even sharing it with you guys, but this is one of the dishes I make the most for guests. I probably make deviled eggs 9 out of 10 times I have people over and they're always eaten the fastest. There is just something wonderfully delightful about a well made deviled egg. From the first bite you know whether it is just good or if it is a piece of your childhood in a bite. (It's kind of like potato salad in that way.) Deviled eggs are a bit nostalgic for everyone I've noticed.

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You should know all of these quantities are estimates. Deviled eggs is one of those things you really just make to taste. I'm not a fan of mayonnaise so I always make sure I add just enough but no more. I also always use dill relish since sweet relish is pretty gross in my opinion (though I do use it in my potato salad), but use whatever you like most.

Would I make this again? Duh.

Classic Deviled Eggs (with relish)

Ingredients:

12 eggs
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons relish
Salt/Pepper
Paprika, for dusting

Directions:

1. Place eggs in a large saucepan. Cover them with cool water by 1 inch. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium heat; when the water has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 12 minutes. Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking. Remove eggs and and cool in refrigerator.

2. Once the effs are completely cooled, remove shells and slice in half lengthwise.

3. Separate egg yolks and place into a bowl. Place whites on a separate plate. Add mayo, mustard, relish and salt and pepper, to taste, to yolks and mash together with a fork until creamy and smooth.

4. At this point fill your egg white halves with your egg yolk filling. You can just spoon the mixture in, but I like to fill a gallon resealable blag and pipe the mixture in. You can use a star tip to make it extra special, but I usually skip it. The bag really is easiest.
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5. Dust tops with paprika. Refrigerate. Serve cold.
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365 Project: Week 2

I had a bit of an eventful week this week. Spring semester started, I went shopping and caught up with a friend I hadn't seen lately, had my volunterr orientation with the Utah Pride Center, and went out for sushi and a movie with Ryan that ended with me buying a pair of the most lovely sparkly shoes ever (I love date nights!). All in all, it was a great week.

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I know that picture of our ferret (Josephine) is blurry, but I loved it too much not to include it.

Hope everyone had a good week!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Size is a number. Confidence is a choice.

Alternative title: Prepare to Swoon

This video has already made the rounds, but I just had to share it. This video is full of win I don't even know what to say. Totally self-indulgent in the best way.



Carmakoma's new film "Boost your carma" is a vivid illustration of the curvy woman of today.

"The main character in the film is like the carmakoma woman. She feels free in her body, uninhibited by other people's opinions. With an understated decadence she is playing with the forbidden showing her bold femininity and her urge for life in a sophisticated and extremely sexy manner," says Heidie Lykke and Angelica Weiss, the two women behind carmakoma.

The film is created as a visual collage with a boost of feelings, states of mind, actions and expressions. The carmakoma woman likes challenges and to explore herself. However, she finds calmness and strength from inside. All of these qualities makes her beauty radiate. The gorgeous styles on her body establishes a balance between her inner and outer expression og you are not in doubt about her identity. She is a pioneer who is not afraid to use her femininity in her stride forwards. Like a modern Marilyn Monroe

In a celebration of the curvy woman the film is inspired by Helmuth Newton's classical and iconic fashion frames and an observing and sensual camera posture like the filmic portrait of "the perfect human" by the Danish film maker Jørgen Leth.
You can see the new look-book for the Spring/Summer Collection 2011 from Carmakoma here. I want this "leather-like" dress so bad. I would rock the shit out of it.


Friday, January 14, 2011

There's one in every group

There's always one owl messing up the high for everyone else. Damn owls.


"Daughters" 12/10

I made this for my dad for Christmas. I'm not entirely happy with it, but I finished it the day I had to give it to him while on vacation in California. So I can't complain too much.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

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:

This is a mix of the Mad Men theme song and "Nature Boy:"



If that wasn't cool enough, the video was filmed in one take.

Closer by Kings of Leon:



Bullet by Steel Train:



Magic by B.o.B (ft. Rivers Cuomo):



I know this song is old news by now (I have tons of songs that need to be posted), but Rivers Cuomo definitely is magic.

The Sound Of Violence by Cassius:



Then here is the Tha Trickaz Remix of the song above:



I liked both, but for different reasons.

Middle Of Nowhere by Hot Hot Heat:



Hello Hot Hot Heat. It is very nice to meet you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

This is one of the dishes I made for New Years. Elegant and simple, this recipe is exactly the type of thing you want to serve for a special occasion. The presentation is just amazing and the combination of the goat cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar reduction is brilliant.

Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

I made these a few hours earlier and added the balsamic vinegar reduction just before serving. This is the first time I've ever had endive and I was a bit surprised by the flavor. Endive is very bitter. Too bitter for me in fact. While Ryan adored it, I would have preferred something a bit more mild like romaine. So, if you haven't had endive before you might want to keep that in mind.

Also, I used mandarin oranges to save time, but I think orange segments would have a nicer flavor. It is really up to you though.

Would I make this again? Yes. I probably just won't use the endive though. Or maybe a combination of greens.

Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons honey, divided
Cooking spray
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
16 Belgian endive leaves (about 2 heads)
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese
16 small orange sections (about 2 navel oranges)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

1. Combine walnuts and 1 tablespoon honey; spread on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.

2. Combine 1 tablespoon honey, vinegar, and orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons (about 5 minutes).

3. Fill each endive leaf with 1 orange section. Top each section with 1 teaspoon cheese and 1 teaspoon walnuts; arrange on a plate. Drizzle the vinegar mixture evenly over leaves, and sprinkle evenly with chives and pepper.

Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Source: Cooking Light

Nice People Who Make Cool Things

I love this design by Will Bryant. I mean, who doesn't love nice people who make cool things?

Bryant sells t-shirts with this image too. I'm thinking about getting one.I'm not fond of shirts with words on them for some reason, but I just might make an exception for something so awesome.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Champion of the Rose by Andrea K Höst

Title: Champion of the Rose
Author: Andrea K Höst
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Andrea K Hösth
Publishing Date: November 30th 2010
Paperback: 304 pages

Stand Alone or series: The first book of the Darest series. Not sure how many books the series will be though.

Where did I get this book: I won this book from Goodreads "first reads" actually.

Summary:
Soren Armitage is an anachronism. Proclaimed Rathen Champion by the Rathen Rose, intended to support the rule of a Rathen King or Queen. But there are no Rathens. Resigned to symbolising only Darest's faded glories, Soren is not prepared for the sudden appearance of a Rathen. Now she must find and support the heir despite the machinations of the kingdom's regent, sylvan curses, and the strange behaviour of once-dormant protective enchantments. While the odds seem stacked against her, Soren is determined to do her best to live up to the name of Rathen Champion. But what is she to do when it seems that there is something very wrong with her Rathen? Can she trust the person she is meant to protect?
Review:

The kingdom of Darest has always been ruled by Rathen's. With the help and protection of the Rathen Rose, a magical enchanment that helps protect the family, the Rathen's were expected to rule the kingdom forever. At least until a few centuries ago when plague and family rivalry wiped the last of the Rathen family out. Now Darest is being ruled by a regent Queen and experiencing a slow decline. The magical forests of the Fae are starting to take back the land and neighboring kingdoms are helping the inevitable death of Darest along with greedy eyes. And in the kingdoms time of great need, the Rathen Rose's enchantments are dormant. With one exception that is: The Rathen Champion. The Rathen Champion was once the right hand of the Rathen King or Queen. Confidant and protector, there was no role the Rathen Champion couldn't fill. Yet even though there are no more Rathen's left, the Rathen Rose still calls upon a Darest citizen to become Rathen Champion once a generation. But instead of having a role in palace life, the Champion is now just a reminder of what once was.

This is where Champion of the Rose opens. Soren is the latest Rathen Champion trying to find a place for herself in the palace. Resigned to simply organize the Champion library, Soren's life is turned upside down when the Rathen Rose appears to have a single flower on it's vine after centuries of being bare. This single new rose indicates a living Rathen and sets Soren on a journey that will change everything.

Champion of the Rose has everything an epic fantasy should have. Journeys, evil enemies, court intrigue, and complicated relationships are all par the course for this novel. What I went into with little expectation, ended up completely surprising me. I loved Champion of the Rose. For some reason I thought the cover/blurb of the book made the story seem like it would be for older children or younger teens, but that's definitely not the case. Unlike most stories I've read, especially fantasies for young teens, this book focuses on the space between right and wrong. There is a lot of gray throughout this book and things are never as obvious as they seem.

While the plot is pretty basic in this story, the relationships between Soren and...well pretty much everybody is what really caught my interest. I found myself staying up far too late to finish the story and I just adored Soren. She wasn't perfect, but she's the kind of protagonist I want to read about. Not entirely confident in her place, we get to watch Soren grow and overcome her mistakes along the way. And I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I love flawed characters.

My only two issues with the book are personal. I prefer not to read stories with any kind of rape (though it's very complicated and I think Höst handled it well) and I thought the ending was a bit cheesy. The way Höst treated relationships in this book was a breath of fresh air though. I know I've left a ton of stuff vague, but you really should experience the story for yourself. You know how every once and a while a book comes a long and reminds you why you love to read? Well this book did that for me.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

You can read the first half of the book here.

Verdict: 

If you can't tell, I loved it. I hope it gets more recognition in the future and I hope everyone gives the book a shot. (The book is self published so I doubt you'll be able to get it from the library though.) If I hadn't won it I would have bought it. I can't wait for the sequel. 

Rating: 9. Damn near perfection

Monday, January 10, 2011

365 Project: Week 1

I've decided to try my hand at the 365 Project this year and I've decided to post the weekly results. I'm going to try and post on Sundays, but yesterday was Mr. Holden's Birthday so it didn't happen.

I have a feeling I'll be playing catch up quite a lot and taking pictures of random junk in my house, but I still think it'll be fun. Hopefully by the end of this I'll have some mad picture taking skills.

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