Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games - CONTEST REMINDER


The Hunger Games is just around the corner and I don't know if you've been waiting - like I have!!! but I can hardly contain my excitement. So...to celebrate the arrival of the movie I'm running a contest where you can win a pair of shoes with artwork by the wonderful and talented Kathryn Lillie.

Here are a few examples of Kathryn's work. These are fan art pictures she did before the movie was cast. Here's Katniss in her dress for the interview:

And a scene from a showing of solidarity:

Kathryn's vision of Peeta and Katniss, after reading the book

and a pair of shoes she painted for a friend

So, if you'd like to win a pair of your own fan art shoes with Katniss and Peeta or other characters Kathryn feels like painting, all you have to do is enter a Haiku about your favorite character from the books (and of course win my Hunger Games poetry contest).

The contest will be open until Sunday, March 31st and the winner will be announced on April 1st!!! Yep, that's right April Fool's Day! The winner will have to message me their shoe size so the shoes will actually fit when they get their prize. And I'll pay the shipping and handling. A free pair of fan-art shoes :)

So tell all your friends about the contest and then enter one Haiku in the comments section and come back and read all the entries - I'm hoping to see some great ones :)

Good luck everyone! And, I can't wait to talk, blog, on-line chat about the movie!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Haiku

Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that uses the 5-7-5 pattern and does not need to rhyme.



Listen now to hear
whispered words of love and fear
Vows that say - I do

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pictures from San Antonio

A space needle look alike and Giant Cactus

and a beautiful old gate

It was warm and beautiful and I had a wonderful time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Remember the Alamo


We just got home from San Antonio. I'd never been in Texas before and this turned out to be an educational experience.

I'd nearly forgotten about the stories of the Alamo. And, this story was a lot like the Spartans. 200 men fighting for Freedom against thousands of soldiers. The Alamo defenders were under-manned, under-armed, and under-equipped but they gave their lives for what they believed in: Freedom.

Davey Crockett, "King of the Wild Frontier", was one of the men who fought and died defending the Alamo and now, in his honor, he has a street and a hotel named after him.

I'd totally forgotten that Davey Crockett was one of the defenders. We watched a fifteen minute movie about the Alamo and I found out that the freedom fighters were immigrants who came from all over including Germany and even Denmark to stand against Santa Anna and his soldiers of Mexico.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Running for Our Lives


My sis and I have been Moms for the past two decades...or to be honest...a little more. And along the way we put on a little weight baking, cooking and (of course) eating. But one of my favorite mottos is "It's never to late to be what you might have been." So, my sis and I have taken up running. It's free, you can do it as a team or all alone, and there's never any equipment that puts the sport out of reach. In fact Sunday I saw someone running in the Shamrock run barefooted. Seriously! And, it was snowing up by the Chart House when my sis and I finally crested the course. No kidding.

Our time wasn't the best. But, we finished and we ran all the way...no walking. And, it was a lot of fun. I bumped into friends I hadn't seen in a long time. And, what are the odds of that? In a crowd of 30,000 people...

I learned a couple things too. Don't go out for a run two days before a big race wearing new shoes and sprint like you're running for your life...especially if you're not used to it. I actually hurt my foot. My right foot was bruised and sore and I was worried about a small stress fracture. Of course it was just crazy me...stressing out needlessly - no fracture. So, my sis and I took it super-dee-duper easy and jogged at our slowest pace but we finished the course and that was all we were hoping for ... given my crazy antics. I didn't want to get seriously injured and not be able to run in the Pacific Crest marathon in June. I've already signed up and I don't want an excuse not to make it.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun - what a way to spend a day - with friends in the snow running like crazy. And I'm just going to think of it as a training run not a race.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fry...day - Cooking with a Cast Iron Pan or two or three or five


My grandmother didn't pass many belongings down to me. How could she? There were nine kids just on our side of the family. But she did leave me a couple of my favorite belongings and I still have them today (nearly 40 years later).



She left me my Hope Chest (or what people today call a cedar chest). The "Hope" was supposed to be that I would get married one day. And, she wanted me to be prepared to run a household. She encouraged me to start saving my linens and special wedding lingerie inside the chest. Of course I was supposed to have pots and pans and other wonderful wifely gear too. The only problem was that I wasn't so good about following through with her plans. I didn't embroider my linens like she'd hoped, or crochet my blankets like she'd taught me, I didn't even sew my special wedding night lingerie but she did leave an incredible mark on me.

I saved her cast iron pans and I still cook in them today. I even cook pan-pizzas in those cast iron pans that she left me, which is one of the wonderful things about these pans. They can go from the stove to the oven . . . no problem.

HEALTH BENEFITS of cast iron:

1) You can use less oil when you cook on cast iron.
2) The cast iron can leach a little iron into your foods, which is very healthy for you.
3) There is no need to use any chemicals to clean cast iron.

Those are just three of the reasons that I have Aebleskiver pans, skillets, a dutch oven, a griddle and even a crepe pan that are all cast iron.

The great thing about cast iron is that it cooks everything evenly and clean up is easy. You simply rinse the pan clean and if it gets too clean you simply apply a bit of olive oil and cure it by heating the pan in the oven or over the burner.

The only bad thing about cast iron is that the pans are heavy. The only time it really matters that they are so heavy, is when I'm trying to cook crepes. It's difficult to roll the batter around the pan when I'm holding it up. It's easy for my husband (but his arms are much stronger than mine) he simply holds the pan up and lets the batter slide around the surface.

How 'bout you...do you have a special cooking utensil? Has it been passed down in your family? Or...will you pass on any kitchen utensil to your kids...?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Tutu





I'm working on a tutu for my run this weekend. I'll be running in the Shamrock run and people dress up for this run.

I have a homemade dress frame that I hang between the door jamb so I can pin my fabric in place.



Last year I ran with shamrock tights on. I was a little too warm, so this year I'm going to be more careful and not overdress but a tutu should breathe - so I can too ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Peter - Survived the fridge



My first attempt at making chocolate candy I learned a few things. Candy can crack when it hardens too fast. So, don't put the chocolate in the freezer to harden.

The first time I tried it, I put one in the refrigerator and one in the freezer to harden. The one in the freezer cracked the one in the refrigerator didn't.

I was able to fix it though by simply pouring milk chocolate over the dark chocolate and hardening it in the refrigerator.

I hope this helps you if you're making home made candies for Easter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Treats - Cake Pops



I wanted to try to make some cake pops so I bought a new silicon pan and made some cake batter

I filled the cups 3/4 full (which is a little to full - the cups overflowed a bit)

I took some flower foam
Then I bought a little shamrock bucket to "plant" my cake pops in. I cut the foam down to size and fit it inside the bucket


I stuck the cake pop sticks in the pops
then I planted them in the foam (next time I'll put a little green grass around the foam to cover it up.

The only problem was that I made cream cheese frosting, which is pretty heavy, so the cake pops wouldn't stay suspended on the sticks after they were frosted.

I'll have to try it again and use more of a glaze-type frosting. This was a fun baking experiment and I learned a few things that I'm hoping will help me next time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gummy Bear Mold



My son's friend melted down the gummy bears and poured the juice into a honey bear mold to create a giant gummy bear.

Friday, March 9, 2012

FRY...DAY - SUGAR THE BITTER TRUTH



Watch it...I guarantee you'll learn a lot and be in for a rude awakening

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Here Comes Peter Cottontail



I wanted to try to make my own Easter Bunnies and chocolate eggs so I did. Of course this was my first try at molded chocolates. Real experimental food.

First I washed out the molds just to make sure no dust or unseen grime was hiding inside the plastic.

I air dried the molds to make sure no unwanted cotton tails or cotton fuzzies were stuck inside from the dish cloth drying method.

I let the silky, shiny chocolate cool down to about 90-100 degrees and I made sure by using a candy thermometer to double check the temp.

I poured the chocolate inside the molds (trying to be careful not to spill the chocolate all over the molds.

The chocolate I accidentally drizzled on top of the mold, I wiped off with a wet paper towel so I'd have a little less cleanup.

I let the chocolate cool for about 8 minutes before I put the molds in the fridge.
Then I had to unmold the eggs and bunnies


One of the bunnies didn't make it. The unmolding was too much for him.

I had to fit the egg pieces together but first I heated a knife and scored the edges of the egg by running it between the two halves to warm them up. Carefully I put the two sides back together



But first I had to stick some peeps inside and a few jelly bellies for a hidden surprise.


This was a fun experiment and I learned a few things so the next time I make more chocolate (probably this weekend) I'll have a better idea what I'm doing.

I thought the dark chocolate egg turned out pretty but then I wanted to try a milk chocolate bunny (my favorite) rather than the dark chocolate rabbit.
We'll have to wait to see if he survives the unmolding process. Keep your fingers X'd that Peter Cottontail survives or kids may not be getting any colored eggs in their baskets this holiday.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Green Knitting


Okay so it doesn't go with the outfit but I wanted to get a picture of my little button shawl before I had to head out for work. So I had my daughter snap a quick photo. And this is a seriously "green" shawl. My husband says it looks like a baby cape. . . okay, maybe it does but I still like it.

I wanted to make a shawl/scarf that was a little different than all the other ones I have. So I made this. It's clipped at the throat with a large green button.

Here's how I made it: first I have to cast-on and I start by making one loop

Then I do it over and over again

Next, I simply start knitting one loop after the other




Finally I was starting to make a little progress on my project...green knitting just in time for St. Paddy's Day.