Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chewy, gooey, messy and yummy

I'm going to attempt to update this blog.  I've been having REAL issues with Blogger lately and am trying not to regret choosing it.  So, let's try this again.

A few nights ago, we decided that we were craving sugar and something unhealthy.  While Candace was visiting last weekend, she bought me a desserts cookbook for my birthday.  

Eric picked the "Gooey Caramel Butter Bars"and to the right, you can see the beginning ingredients to the right.  These, plus four cups of flour, some vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, make up the crust of the bars.  Essentially, these bars are a layer of crust, topped with pecans and a caramel layer.  All of this is topped off with crumbled crust and baked.

And in celebration of Halloween, I picked up a bottle of Vampire Cabernet.  This bottle DEFINITELY needs to breathe before the first sip, or you will get a really strong slightly bitter sip.  After it has some time to breathe, it smooths out and has more of a creamy consistency.

Back to baking...

So here's the crust in process.  I've never made it before, but I'm fairly certain it's just a shortbread crust.  Not too fancy but if you are a fan of shortbread like me, it's addictive and very dangerous to the middle figure.  Oi.

Have I mentioned how much I love my mixer?  Mi Marido had doubts about getting the mixer and how often I would use it.  Now, I'm fairly certain he is as grateful as I am that we have it.

Above, you will see the first layer of crust in the pan and baked at about 350 for 20 minutes.

And to the right, you will see sin in a bowl; in other words, it's caramel candies, heavy cream, vanilla and a pinch of salt. 
Put that in the microwave and heat for 1 minute.  If it doesn't melt, than continue to heat it for 30 second intervals.  WARNING: as the caramel melts, it will stick to whatever you are using to stir it.  

So here we are with the crust, pecans and caramel gooiness.
And the final touches...slide it in the oven.  And you are all set to go!

Don't worry.  For those of you who are concerned with weight gain, we each had two and then cut up the rest and brought them to the apartment front office.

I'm fairly certain they are all gone now.  :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Design Love

Jen-jen-jen once designed the bedroom that she thought suited me.
It was lovely.
The color palette involved about 10 different colors and shades.
It was just me.
Tonight, I stumbled across ROCOCO and feel as thought I've found my true aesthetic
(although I'm fairly certain mi marido would argue against almost every piece).

Here are select favorites (of mine, not mi marido):

 The last one is my favorite.  Go check out their site!  Lovely!

So much to do...

Sorry for the week long departure.  Candace was in town this past weekend and so it was kind of nonstop around here.  Now, it's back to the routine.

Sidenote: Netflix put seasons 1-4 of "Bones" on Instant Queue.  Love you Netflix!

So here's a recount of what's been going on:
  • Eric was sworn into the Colorado Bar on Monday (yay!)
  • Candace bought me a new cookbook as a birthday present and it is filled with delicious things that will surely add on five pounds with just one serving.  I'm looking forward to every moment of it (don't worry...I'll share).
  • I've had three interviews in the last two days.  I got two of the jobs (nanny position and part time job at Borders) and the third one I won't know about for a while.  I haven't accepted either position yet as I'm still trying to figure out what to do (neither of them will make enough money to completely hold us over).
  • I have another interview today with an advertising agency.
  • I applied for a freelance blogging job; the blog would be about baking (that sounds about right).  FINGERS CROSSED!
  • I've started working on my child psych class.
  • Hoping to dabble in graphic design.
And as usual, I have about 1800 projects going on at once.  :)

I'll post again soon, dear reader.  Don't worry.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something out of Nothing

*Note to readers: this post may be a bit jumbled so try to hang on as I attempt to make sense.

Considering how much I want to say tonight, I'm at a loss for words.  So, I'll just start with the book and attempt to weave the rest of the story and thoughts into that.

I picked up the book at a Barnes and Noble about four weeks ago.  Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb.  The cover art and the title caught my eye and after reading the synopsis on the inside of the jacket, I thought it would be a good read.  I bought it off of for about 30% less than I what I would have paid for it at B&N.  I waited patiently for it.

It arrived about 10 days ago.  I put it on the shelf though because, well, that's what I do with most of the books I buy.  I put them on the shelf until I'm ready to read them.  I have a thing about books, if you don't know that by now.  Some artists say that the canvas talks to them; a sculptor will say that he just shapes the clay as it tells him to; a composer sits at a piano and he writes down the song that the piano sings to him.  My books do that for me.  Sort of.  Obviously, I don't write them but every now and then, I can feel which one is supposed to be read.  People wonder why I'm a little anal about them...okay fine...VERY anal about them.  There's a treasure in all books.  I have an aunt who shares this same thought about them.  But I'm digressing as usual...
The other night I asked Queenie to pick the book that I would be reading next.  I gave her four choices, one of them including the book this post is about.  What she didn't know (sorry!) is that normally, when I ask this question, I already know the answer.  Nine times out of ten, the person picks the wrong answer.  There's no way for them to know that it's wrong though; nor is there anyway for them to know that the book is talking to me (I swear I'm not insane).  So, when she chose the wrong book, I informed her that I was overriding her choice and going with mine.

And so, the ramble truly begins.  

I'm not going to tell you the story held in this book.  What I'll tell you is this: the woman in this book is broken, shattered, and completely changes in this book.  When I started this book, I fell in love with her character immediately because I could understand the hard part of her journey: learning about herself.   It is not easy to spend hours wondering who you really are, what are you doing, etc.  The questions that can pierce a person's soul and keep them up for hours at night.  Although I've learned much of myself in the last four years, I'm finally coming to those questions that are more career oriented but still have so much to do with the self: what am I going to do with my life?  Why do I want to become a therapist?  Why am I always starting some project, whether it's baking, knitting, sewing, painting, wood carving, etc?  So it was easy to relate to Stevie, the main character.  I can remember struggling with some of the same issues that she faces (although if you read the book, I can assure you the issues were not caused by the same events).  

As the story continued to unfold today, I couldn't put it down.  When I went to the gym to workout, I read the book on the treadmill.  Even at an interview today, I thought about the book and couldn't wait to get back home to continue reading about Stevie.  And it was in the 100 pages or so that I felt like answers were pouring out of the pages.

I always thought I did artsy things because I like art.  Don't get me wrong, I do like art so I like creating art.  I've always liked talking to people and listening to people's problems so I thought (and was told) I'd be a good therapist.  And around page 400 I took a minute in the kitchen (sitting on the counter has become my new favorite spot to read) to think about these things and Stevie and where my life is right now and where it's headed and it kind of hit me:

I like making something out of nothing.  

That's what I'm really passionate about.  It's why I even love making Excel spreadsheets.  It's starting with that clean slate, the clear canvas, with just a ball of yarn or a cup of flour and then taking what you have and making something amazing out of it.
Whether it's pineapple brulee, a painting for a friend, or a database that runs as smoothly as an oiled chain...

it's just something out of nothing. 

And I find that's the way I see everything.  Hiking up to Gem Lake was doing something out of nothing to me.  Walking is just nothing.  It's just natural.  But walking up a 1000 foot incline to reach some pond that had a breathtaking view of the mountains around us...that's something out of nothing.
So that's what being a therapist to me is really about.  About working with a client who sees themselves as absolutely nothing, and taking their hand and walking with them as they find that, truly, they are something, and that something is amazing and special.  

I had to catch my breath after this realization and stare into the rice and water on the stove so I wouldn't start crying and freak out Eric.  After I had a moment and finished fixing our dinner (leftover beef stew), I got in bed with my stew and my book.  A short while later, I got to the line.

"I had made something out of nothing."

Stevie's words.  Not mine.  Well, mine as well but also Stevie's.  

From that point on, I cried on almost every page.

Needless to say, Such a Pretty Face is now in my top five.  And I'll continue to get to know myself.  I'll continue to grow and figure out the rest of the pieces.  

And I'll probably read this book again and again and again... 

Red: Review (no spoilers)

dun dun dun

First off, there are many reasons why we love Cinnebarre, the theater about two miles from our apartment; here are the top two:
1) $5 movies Monday through Thursday. Again, that's FIVE DOLLAR movies.  Right.
2) Alcohol and food.  And not just any ole alcohol like your run of the mill beer.  Not for this snazzy lady.  I love to sip my Chateau St. Michelle Riesling while enjoying the latest cinematic event. 
But I'm not here to review Cinnebarre.
Last night, for funsies, we decided to see the movie Red.  Now, in all honesty, I wasn't really amped up to see this movie because I was certain it was going to be just another shoot em up movie that has little to no plot.  I really love a good plot (even one as zany as Burn After Reading which is misunderstood by some and unappreciated by most).  So let's bring everyone up to speed about this film.
Main Characters/Actors:
Francis/Frank: played by Bruce Willis
Sarah: played by Mary-Louise Parker
William Cooper: played by Karl Urban
Joe: played by Morgan Freeman
Marvin: played by John Malkovich
Ivan: played by Brian Cox
Victoria: played by Helen Mirren

I'm going to stick with these folks.  Richard Dreyfus is also in this movie and he plays a psycho asshole very well.  That's about all I'm going to say because I don't want to ruin it.

Quick plot breakdown (don't worry, there are no spoilers here).  
Frank is a retired CIA agent who has an over-the-phone friendship with Sarah, who works for the pension office.  After an attempt is made on Frank's life, he and Sarah go on the lamb to find out exactly who is trying to have him killed and why.  He gets his gang together of old CIA buddies and they try to help him figure out what's going on before...dun dun's too late.

and that's all you get because you should really see this movie.

So here are the reasons why I LOVED this movie:
  1. Let's talk about the cast first off because the casting can always make or break a movie (except for movies like Bug and Birth...great casting....TERRIBLE movies...amazing that you can go wrong with people with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr...although the fact that Harry was topless 75% of the time should have been a big tip off but I digress).  In Red, we, needless to say, have an all-star cast.  Bruce Willis is always a good choice because the men love him for his fighting ability and have for the last 800 years and the ladies love him because there's a softer side, he has a knee-buckling smile, and the man just looks good.  Mary-Louise Parker is always great at playing a kind run-of-the-mill broad and her character in this movie is somewhat similar to her character in the hit TV show "Weeds" (without all the drug dealing and the kids and the weird brother in law who is always getting into trouble...digression again).  Morgan Freeman...he could talk a dead man back to life.  I don't know what it is about his voice but it's like a cello solo in a symphony at Carnegie hall.  Besides, he is REALLY good at playing a bad ass as well.  John Malkovich...there is something about this man that makes me laugh.  And I mean, side splitting, I can't get any air, I'm not even making noise hysterical laughter.  Especially when he drops an F-bomb (which he doesn't say once during this movie)...I have no rational explanation for that at all.  He plays his character flawlessly and it made me love him even more.  Especially when he brought out piggy.  Wanna know what that is?  GO SEE IT.  Dame Helen Mirren.  First off, I want to be Helen Mirren in 40 years.  Seriously.  She has taken such good care of herself or has super power genes or something.  She's sporting the blonde/silverish hair in this film and she looks DYNOMITE.  And who knew that she could play a CIA Badass turned Martha Stewart so well?!  BRILLIANT!  And of course the rest of the cast is great.  Sorry, but those were the only people I wanted to mention.  JOHN MALKOVICH RULES!!! WHOOOOOO 
Alright now that I have that out of my system...Moving on...
  • Plot of course is super important as well.  This plot is beautifully well written.  You get everything you could want: a little bit of humor, action, romance, suspense, there's a twist at the end, good CGI, etc.  I don't have any complaints about the plot and loved that I was riveted by this movie.
 Seriously, it was an amazing movie and I'm having a REALLY hard time not telling you all of the details about the movie because I've been warned NOT TO SPOIL THE MOVIE.  SO FINE!

My one complaint (and this doesn't spoil anything).  In the first ten minutes of the movie, there is a scene where the camera pans across the street as Frank is standing in his driveway.  All the way across the street and back in a circular motion.  I get the point of this type of filming but good grief, this was one of the worst filming sequences that I've seen in a while (I am reminded of the Dawn of the Dead remake).  Seriously, I kept lifting my glasses to see if the blurriness or the oh-my-gosh-we're-spinning effect was caused by my weakening eyes or wearing glasses to the movies; to my relief, Eric leaned over and said "Think they could've done a better job with that filming?"  To which I let out the air I was holding in my lungs from fear that my eyes were getting worse.  But then I thought about it.  They had to have spent a TON of money on this movie.  Seriously.  A TON.  How did that pan around the street get missed?  "Oh don't worry about it, Frank.  It's really not that bad."  Believe me, you could have spent the extra thousands to fix that sequence.  It hurt to watch it.

So...long story short.  Go see the movie!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Side Note

Quick side note:
Thanks for all the emails about your concern for Kaya.  She's fine.  The biopsy came back and there were no cancer cells (yay!).  The swelling has completely gone away.  Here's to quick recoveries!

Etsy visit

I took a walk through Etsy this evening and here's what I found:
There's something Victorian about these ruffles in the back.
Oh come on!  Who doesn't want to look like Audrey!?

It's just so pretty!

Why I'm like This: Review

I recently picked up Why I'm like This by Cynthia Kaplan (purchase from  The first question that comes to mind is: "Why didn't I pick this up sooner?!"  

So quick overview:
This book is a collection of stories from Kaplan's life.  I'm a big fan of memoir-like books, especially if they are funny (i.e. anything by David Sedaris).  She includes stories over the course of her entire life thus far so you get a wide range of topics.  From her dad's obsession with gadgets to her therapist that pops pills (including Kaplan's) and falls asleep during sessions, you definitely get up close and personal with the author.  

And for a giggle whore like me, this book was a riot!  

Seriously, I laugh at almost anything.  It's a strange compulsion and doctors have yet to figure out how to control it.

Part of what made it so funny to me was that Kaplan utilizes metaphors in some of the most ridiculous ways, which are my favorites.  The utter exaggeration she uses to describe scenarios brings everything to life as if she may have slipped a little LSD into the pages of the book that is slowly seeping into your skin.  Psychedelic. 

But I think what made it really HI-larious to me was that I could completely relate to her life situations and her thought processes.  The best evidence of this was in her admittance about her grotesque imagination that makes her fear the most ridiculous things.  She freaks out at moths (okay that's not too ridiculous...their powdery wings are freakish), avalanches, and Legionnaire's disease.  Although these may seem like rational fears, she DWELLS on these.  Allows them to chew on her cortex for hours on end.  

She also fears Mountain Men:
"Mountain Men are men who live in the mountains and occasionally come down and kidnap female hikers.  At least that is my understanding of them...They look like a countrified ZZ Top.  They go too long without the company of womenfolk and litt'luns, which is what makes them so dangerous."

For those that don't know (and that's most of you save for Queenie), I have an imagination that rivals Kaplan's even in her most anxious of situations.  For instance:
-I fear the car sliding off the road and down the mountain every time we drive up or down from Fraser.  Seriously.  My knuckles are white the whole time and I don't take a full breath until we are off the side of the mountain (that's an hour long ride, folks).
-Last night, when we were awakened in the middle of the night by a very loud THUMP, it took me about 10-15 minutes to fall back to sleep because I kept thinking the dead body upstairs that had fallen to the ground was going to start leaking blood through the ceiling.
-Driving on the Atchafalaya bridge (ESPECIALLY at night) could always drive me into a tizzy.  You never know when one of those 18-wheeler gangs are going to gang up on you and force you to the side of the road so that they can rob and kill you (and for those of you that think that's crazy, I read an article about that very thing about 10 years ago and it's been imprinted into my sub-conscious).

It gets much worse than that (Queenie can attest to that) but I'd rather save some of my dignity to be washed away in another post.

Long story short: if you enjoy a good read and a good laugh, this may be the book for you! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stevie's Cake

Sunday was Stevie's birthday.  In celebration of the big day, I decided to bake him a cake.  When I asked him what his favorite kind of cake was, his response was a yellow cake with chocolate icing.  Same as mi marido.  Now, I'm not the biggest cake fan.  It's not that I think it's gross.  It's most likely some psychosomatic issue because of the multitudes of times that I've lost control and devoured much more than my fair share and my neighbor next to me.  However, the cakes that I do foam at the mouth for (let's face it...if you have a sweet tooth, you don't just drool.  You FOAM for sweets.) are cakes like triple chocolate mousse cakes and a chocolate ganache cake with hazelnut rum glaze.  Take my wedding cake for instance.  White chocolate truffle ganache (or something to that effect).  Really.  It can't be just white chocolate.  (Thanks, Mom, for that brilliant suggestion.  KILLER).  

Moving on.

So, as I am prone to do, I had to "dress up" Stevie's cake.

So rather than having just a yellow cake with chocolate icing, I made a caramel icing as well.  
 Ahh...the sweet smell of fresh baked cake.
 Lesson number one: when making icing, if you need to sweeten it, used powdered sugar.  Regular white sugar makes it a bit gritty.
 Top that caramel icing off with pecans.
 Place second layer on top of caramel, Put a nice layer of chocolate icing and then decorated with caramel icing.  Yay!

One last thing!

I know Tuesday is over but I found this just now:
At Ann Taylor Loft
And I think I'll be purchasing that skirt this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

For Now!

"Nothing lasts
Life goes on
Full of surprises.
You'll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes.
You're going to have to make a few compromises.
For now.
For now.
But only for now!"
-For Now from Avenue Q

One of my all-time favorite blogs was Stuff Under Twenty.
I looked forward to receiving their updated blog roughly at 5 pm every day.
And then, the unthinkable.
They went on a break.
Alright, a break.
I can handle that.
However, that break never seemed to end.

In honor of Stuff Under Twenty, I decided to do a little research tonight and find some items that I'd love to have for under $20.
Presenting, the Under 20 Tuesday.

A top that can go from day to night!  What is not to love?

Side note: my dear friend, Queenie, is assisting me with the finds for tonight's posting. 
Moving on...

Who doesn't love a Handkerchief Dress?  They flatter all bodies and that hemline is a modest tease.
And for $19.99?  Yes please!
And did anyone else notice it in animal print?  Mreow!
(that was my strange attempt to meow with attitude)
I have a slight obsession with belts right now, along with the rest of the fashion world.
How cute is that bow though?
And for $11.00?  I want three!
And last, but certainly not least, are these great jersey skirts from Old Navy.
Love jersey!  It's great for any time of year.
For the upcoming winter, add tights and boots and you're styling and profiling!
And can we talk about how BEAUTIFUL jewel tones are??
$12.99 from Old Navy

That's all for tonight, folks.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I realize that I haven't posted any recipes or pictures lately.  I apologize.  There hasn't been any big recipes or desserts this week, but for Stevie's birthday on Sunday, I am baking a cake.  So, pictures will be taken!
On this Saturday morning, please allow me to make a toast.  Raise your glasses ladies and gentlemen, to:
  • Eric passing the bar.
  • I learned how to knit properly.
  • Finishing the second week of couch to 5k (albeit with some serious pain)
  • Signing up for a psychology class

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


As I'm writing tonight's entry, mi marido is watching "The Lost Boys", a low budget vampire flick and I'm in the bedroom taking some time to write and type up more recipes.  And to kill the absolute silence of the bedroom, I'm watching on of all time favorite flicks, Saved!, which gets the underlining effect because in my personal opinion, it far exceeds some low budget vampire flick.  Honestly, I think I've seen this movie about 10 times and I never tire of it.  I never tire of stories about personal growth and I love Mary in this film and her growth.  And because I feel like it, here's a list of movies that I love and have watched many times (NOTE: this is not an all-encompassing list and as my siblings can attest, I have watched PLENTY of movies COUNTLESS times).  Without further ado, here are some movies I love in no particular order:
  • Nightmare Before Christmas (I've seen this over 400 times.  That may seem like a wild exaggeration but in high school, I watched this movie many times and to this day, it is still a go-to if I have a really "blue" day.  I can sing all of the words to all of the songs and I can recite many of the lines as well.)
  • The Dead Poet's Society 
  • Saved! (duh)
  • Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous 
  • Keeping the Faith
  • Role Models (I've never laughed that hard during a movie) 
That's enough for now.  If you want a list of books I love, that could take a while.  Maybe I'll add an entire page to this blog for just that purpose.

And here's a quick update:
  • Eric has an interview tomorrow.  Fingers crossed everyone!
  • Kaya had a small needle biopsy this afternoon.  Fingers crossed it's nothing!
  • I bought two books yesterday from Borders for a little over 4 bucks.  Thanks, Borders!
  • I should be starting my Child Psychology course soon.  Yay for school!
That's pretty much it.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Birthday fun time

The Fried Strawberry Pies started out well enough.
And then...

 As with any good story, let's start at the very beginning.
I had really great intentions of making this delicious recipe for Eric's birthday.

So I mashed up the strawberries.

Put them in a saucepan and added sugar and cornstarch.
Heat and stir...

As the combination cooled in the saucepan, I cut circles out of the pie dough.
Once the strawberry jam like deliciousness was completely cooled, I spooned a little bit into the center of each dough circle.
Dab a little bit of water around the edge of each circle, fold it over and then pinch down the edges with a fork.
Freeze the batch of pastries for at least an hour.
Once they are done freezing, pour vegetable oil into a deep pan and heat up to 350F.
This is where things went TERRIBLY wrong.
Smoke alarms went off. 
Children cried,
Dogs barked.


Okay. So it wasn't THAT terrible (although the smoke alarms did go off).

While the oil was heating up, I was trying to get the old (and apparently, broken) electronic thermometer to work.  I lost track of time.  It wasn't until the smoke alarms went off that I realized the oil might be hot enough and might have reached the 350F.
TO BE FAIR, there wasn't any real visible smoke...yet.
I returned to the stove and put the first pastry into the oil.
Voldemort appeared and ruined everything.
Alright so Voldemort didn't appear.
But he may as well have with how crappy this turned out.
See that blacked ball above?
That would be one of my beautiful pastries after I placed it in the oil.
It IMMEDIATELY turned that color after being placed in the oil.

Sidenote: This was the point when the smoke started to appear in the apartment.

I quickly scooped the pastry out of the oil and placed it on the paper towels.

And that's when I noticed something terrible.
My slotted spoon.

Completely ruined.
Those stringy bits?
That would be melted spoon that dripped.
And it's really hard to tell in the pictures but that side of the spoon is a little flattened out.

Insert sad face.

Another sidenote: I need emoticons on here.

Mi marido had to put the saucepan outside because the smoke alarms went off a second time.
But never fear.
I was able to able to save the day a little bit.
I decided to bake the pastries.
And it worked!
That's powdered sugar on them.

I need to get a shaker for the powdered sugar...hmm...

So there you have it.  It's a fairy tale about pastries.  
Started off nice and sweet, then a villain (hot oil) came in and ruined everything.
Later to be saved the day and live happily ever after.

And before I bid you adieu, here is Eric's birthday present that I made for him.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...