Saturday, December 31, 2011

Token Year End Post

    I know!  I'm alive!  You may have been wondering what was going on and why The Daily Claire seemed to be much more of a Faily Claire...Living in the sticks has its disadvantages (too many to list here) but the main one has been that since mid October our internet has been completely unreliable.  However, it seems to be somewhat functional now (IE, works for more than an hour at a time at random intervals), so this little blog should be back up and running soon, hopefully with a way better layout and a lot more structure.
   I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season, I shall be posting some pictures from ours shortly.  Also, for up to the minute (sort of...) updates, follow me on Twitter @thedailyclaire.  Have a safe and happy New Years! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Virtual Fall Feast!

I'm so excited to be participating in Baking Bad's Virtual Fall Feast!  My contribution is my favorite Thanksgiving salad.  It was originally published on, but I have made a few changes to fit my tastes.

Mixed Greens with Goat Cheese and Pecans.

SERVES: 10 to 12
TIME: 10 minutes

 (Maple Dijon Dressing)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1/3 red wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

(Mixed Greens)
2 Large heads of endive, washed, chopped
1  large head radicchio, washed, chopped
4 large handfuls arugula, washed
1 1/3 cup goat cheese
3/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:
  Mix garlic, mustard, maple syrup, vinegar and salt/pepper together.
 Slowly whisk in olive oil.
For the Salad:
  Toss your greens together and divide up into salad bowls.  Sprinkle
each salad with cheese, pecans and cranberries.  Dress with Maple
Dijon dressing.

  Feel free to substitute a bag/box of "baby mixed greens" for the
endive and arugula.  Also, to make the salad extra special, drizzle
pecan halves with real maple syrup before toasting them.  Chop and add
to salad as directed.  This is especially yummy with left over
thanksgiving turkey mixed in.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween !

   Due to a malfunctioning sewing machine and lack of seamstress skill on my part, the Angry Birds costumes were a fail.  However, Stormy still dressed up and I thought I would share his picture with you all.  He does make a pretty mean Catula.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ribbon Wrapped Bracelet

This is such a simple way to revamp that bracelet you grabbed from the dollar bin, found at Goodwill, etc. Here's what you'll need:
-Sturdy Bracelet
-Ribbon of your choice
-Glue (I recommend Fabri-Tac or hot glue)

Wrap a small piece of ribbon around your bracelet to act as a guide. You can either make a full loop or just enough to cover the visible part, it's up to you.  Cut out several piece of ribbon to match your first one (see picture in upper left corner.  How many you need will depend on ribbon width and bracelet size.  Add a dab of glue to the inside of your bracelet, attach the ribbon, wrap over and attach the other end of the ribbon with another dot of glue.  Repeat until you have covered your bracelet, being careful to overlap the ribbon slightly so your bracelet doesn't show through.  

Keeping It Simple

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Coffee Confessions

Confession #1
   I love things that are mini-mini animals, mini cupcakes...if you can find the miniature form of something, I'll probably like it.  The exception to this rule is mini corncobs.  I positively loathe them and find them to be somewhat unsettling.  They look like they belong on an episode of X-files rather than in my food.
Confession #2
   I love red lipstick but it intimidates me to wear it.  I've always thought "I'll wear it when I'm more grown up" Oh wait...
Confession #3
   I had Red Bull every day this week and feel no shame.
Confession #4
   I have to check my alarm at least 3 times before I'm able to sleep.
Confession #5
   I can't stand hipsters but love mustaches, scarves and Ray Ban wayfarrers.
   I love planning, but I'm not good at following said plans.
   I talk at the TV.  When something happens in a movie that I don't like, I make sure to voice my opinion.  I also ask questions I don't want the answers to.  "Is *character's name* going to die?"  "It doesn't end this way does it?" Yup, I'm one of those people.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Gluehwein (Glue what?)

   I don't know about you, but I'm always interested in trying the traditional foods that represent my heritage.  Being predominantly German on my father's side, I saw this and thought I'd give it a whirl.  It is a unique twist on mulled wine, which just seems right this time of year.  It is based off of this recipe, but since I'm a lightweight, I modified it to suit my tastes.  This fills your home with the loveliest spicy aroma, you simply must try it.

1 Bottle (750ml) red wine
2 Cups orange juice
1 Orange, cut into thick slices
1/2 Cup sugar (I used turbinado, but white works fine as well)
4 Tablespoons honey
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
1 Allspice berry

   Mix orange juice, sugar, honey and cinnamon stick in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer.  Stick your spices into the orange slices and place them in the saucepan.  Allow to simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until fairly thick.  Add your wine and allow the mixture to heat through until steaming.  Pour into mugs and drink!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coffee Confessions

Confession #1-I'm a sucker for sparkly make up and accessories but I loathe sparkly clothes.
Confession #2-Sometimes I crave foods by color.  I know.  Weird.  Like all orange food, all white food, all green food, etc.  I don't realize it until it's all on my plate.
Confession #3-I have high expectations when I make a purchase...Whether it is my $1 McDonalds coffee or something far costlier, I expect to get what I asked for.  If I don't, well, you'll know.
Confession #4-I love having naturally curly hair.  Even though it can be rebellious, it still makes me smile.
Confession #5-I almost freaked out when I thought the lady at the check out wasn't going to card me for the wine I bought.  She did, but I felt really old there for a second.
Confession #6-I am really tired of allergy season, and it's only just begun...
Confession #7-I really want a cape for the fall, but I am afraid it will make me look like a hobbit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Real Hot Chocolate

   With the onset of fall and the cool evenings I have really been craving hot drinks.  I tried making hot chocolate the other day but the cocoa based powdered mixes just don’t seem to cut it.  So, I set out on a search for a solid “real” hot chocolate recipe.  Mine is adapted from this recipe.  I couldn’t bring myself to make it with half & half like they call for, but I’m sure it would be even more tasty. 

2 ¼ cups milk (I used whole)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate-chopped
2 ounces milk chocolate-chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder

Heat milk over medium heat until just below simmering.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate.  Once it is melted, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk thoroughly.  Reheat a bit if needed, then serve. 
While this is lovely as is….here are a few tweeks just for fun.
-add a shake of cinnamon or cayenne for some extra heat
-add 1/2 a shot of your favorite liqueur, such as creme de menthe, irish cream or Frangelico. 
-add a spoon of Nutella
-use flavored chocolate such as orange or raspberry 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs, Remembered.

   I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Steve Jobs today.  While most know him as the driving force behind Apple's genius, he was also the original financial backer of one of my favorite film companies, Pixar.  His vision, passion and remarkable ability to see the potential in others will live on in the hearts of millions. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Coffee Confessions

Confession #1-I am a product junkie. In other words, I rarely buy the same thing twice. I'm always on the search for a better product.
Confession #2-Fall is my favorite season. I think I could be happy if it was fall all the time.
Confession #3-I am the queen of the unfinished book.
Confession #4-Sometimes I wake up panicky for reasons unknown to me. It's hard to shake.
Confession #5-I am incapable of giving up coffee. I have tried. It just doesn't work. Coffee makes me happy and makes me a better person, why should I give it up?
Confession #6-I can spend all day watching The Big Bang Theory.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I am super excited because October holds many awesome things here in Claireland.  I am actually being smart and planning ahead!  October marks the first month of my monthly business spotlight, as well as a giveaway that I know you all are going to love.  In addition to awesome bloggy things, October means apples and apple orchards and Halloween and costumes and all sorts of exciting things.  I will be cooking up lots of fall foods (and drinks!) so keep checking back because awesome things are happening!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Noms...or the lack thereof.

   I must apologize for my recent lack of recipe posts.  I have been experiencing a number of culinary fails and most certainly not "bringing the noms."  I am resolved to do better and probably stick a little closer to the things I know I'm good at.  Look for a plethora of soups in the weeks to come.  In my book, soup is the official food of the autumn season and I couldn't be more excited about it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coffee Confessions

Confession #1
   I am afraid of my sewing machine.  There, I said it.  I bought it last year and I haven't used it yet.  I took it out of the box, looked at all the pieces, read through the little booklet, and into the closet it went.  I feel rather awful about this and in my mind I am determined to remedy the just hasn't happened yet.
Confession #2
   I "baby talk" to animals, but never to babies.  There may be something weird about this.
Confession #3
   I am more than a little addicted to Craftgawker.
Confession #4
   I chatter incessantly when I have Red Bull.  So much so that my coworker has informed me I am not allowed to have it when we are sitting in the same office.
Confession #5-I can easily spend an hour on
Confessions #6-I cant catch things very well.  Even a small toss at a short distance.  I drop things.  It's bad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Miss Purple Crayon or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live Without Missoni.

When I was a kid (think preschoolish) I really liked purple.  I mean really really.  Hey, I still like purple.  Whenever there was an opportunity to color, I was always first in line for the purple crayon.  Some times the other girls didn’t like this, but hey-they should have grabbed it first.  It’s not like I wouldn’t let them use it eventually, they just had to wait.  Then, one day, someone beat me to it.  And you know what?  I survived.  I learned a little patience and I also learned that purple is not the only color in the crayon box. 
   You have most likely heard of the cyclone that recently hit Target stores taking the form of the Missoni for Target collection.  It immobilized for an entire day and made normally composed women come dangerously close to fisty-cuffs over the coveted Italian designs.  In some stores the collection sold out within an hour.  Some took the morning off of work to get in on the deal, some went and snapped up as much as they could as soon as they were able, some went and found empty shelves.  As with any high demand item, large amounts of the collection have ended up on e-bay.  Some of this is by design, some by chance, as it is easy to just grab what you can when things are flying off the shelves.  This often leads to buyers remorse.  While normally you'd just return things to the store, why do that when you can make a 300% profit?  Now this seems logical to me, but many people are up in arms about not being able to get the items they wanted.  Since Target will not be restocking the collection, many will simply not get what they were hoping for.  Rather than acting like adults, they are throwing around harsh accusations against those who choose to resell their purchases.  Now last time I checked, a Zig-Zag print dress is not essential to life....and if you think it is, well, that's a whole post in itself.  To these people I say this-go back to preschool.  There are other colors in the crayon box and you've got a lot to learn.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Moss Letter DIY

I have been really into moss lately...I am not sure why, perhaps it is me rebelling against the untimely demise of the terrarium I tried making, but regardless, I think moss is a lovely way to bring a bit of nature into your home in unexpected ways.

DIY Moss Letters:

1 letter form (wood, pressed paper, etc. Mine is from Hobby Lobby)
1 bag of moss (I found mine at the Dollar Tree)
Hot glue gun
A covered work space

1.  Seriously, make sure you cover your workspace-this is messy.
2.  Hot glue small pieces of moss to the top of your letter.
3.  Continue adding pieces until the entire top is covered.  Then turn the letter on its side and add moss to all sides of your letter. 

4. Admire your awesome moss letter and smile because you made it!

If you are anything like me, I recommend using a low heat hot glue gun as it is super easy to stick your finger into a wad of hot glue/moss.  Having done this multiple times, I can say I am very glad I used a low heat.  No burns, yay!

Keeping It Simple

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coffee Confessions

So I know I said I would be doing Silent Sundays but this was way more fun. Check out the Linkey below to visit AdelynSTONE who is our host.

Confession #1-I am not drinking coffee..neither is it morning.  It's 9:30PM and I'm drinking spice of life chai.
Confession #2-I purchased a Dracula costume for our cat and he wears it on Halloween each year.
Confession #3-I cannot knit to save my life.
Confession #4-I giggle when I have a lot of carbs.
Confession #5-I like things to be symmetric and become irritated when things feel lopsided.
Confession #6-I cannot cook rice...even in a rice cooker. Rice is my arch nemesis of the food world.
Confession #7-I sleep in too much every weekend and promise myself I'll do better next time...and then don't.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Bloggin at Random Dude Eats Random Food

Today I'm guest blogging over at Random Dude Eats Random Food.  Brent invited me to do a cooking post so pop on over for some super tasty Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad.  Yumtastic!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Thanks

So this is long over due, but I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been reading and supporting this little blog of mine.  It is so much fun for me and I am so thrilled to see that there are actually other people who enjoy it as well.  Thank you for all of your comments, tweets, emails and guest blogging opportunities!  This seems like an appropriate time to bring out the big guns when it comes to gratitude, so here is one of my favorite cheezeburger-esque pictures to let you know how I feel about you!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Flix: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

   I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm something of a vampire geek.  This extends to other things of a semi-gothic nature as well, a prime example being the book Frankenstein.  It was 100x better than I could have anticipated and nothing like I expected.  I wont go into a rant on how terrible most film addaptations are, but let it suffice to say there is only one I've seen that I feel is faithful to the spirit of the book. Yes, this film is "old" (1994) but seriously who cares?  It's awesome and that is that.
   The film, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is direct by and stars Kenneth Branagh, as well as Sir Ian Holm, Robert De Nero and Helena Bonham Carter.  While that is really all you should need to know to make you run out and see it immediately I will give you a little background.   Branagh plays Victor Frankenstein, a kind, funny and highly intelligent medical student.  Helena Bonham Carter is simply lovely as Elizabeth, Victor's best friend and love. Robert De Nero plays Dr. Frankenstein's creation, known simply as The Creature.   Contrary to the greenish hued Boris Karloff version, The Creature is actually highly intelligent, sensitive, fast and incredibly strong.  Angry at his maker for being abandoned to fend for himself in a very harsh world, The Creature sets out to find him and seek his revenge.
   With a few select exceptions, I'm not much of a horror movie fan, but this is not at all what I would consider a horror film.  More like an epic period drama/romance/adventure film.  If you like any of those, see it.  Or if you like to plan ahead and you are just looking for a respectable pseudo-creature-horror film to put on your October movie list, see it.  Or if you just fancy the idea of a gratuitously shirtless Kenneth Branagh and a "Frankenstein Monster" without bolts in his neck, see it.

Mary Shelley's FrankensteinMary Shelley's Frankenstein
Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text (Oxford World's Classics)Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text (Oxford World's Classics)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

I'm always looking for ways to incorporate herbs I'm growing into what we eat-even if it just a little oregano here or some chives there.  Since there is just Hubs and I, this is just for two, but you can easily double or triple it.  As usual, I hit up All Recipes for this, but since I'm not really capable of sticking to a's my version.  I served it with shallot roasted corn.

2 Salmon Fillets (mine were about 4 oz)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 teaspoons Honey
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 little splash (1 or 2 teaspoons) white wine-if you have it
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped ( or just ripped up in little pieces)
Aluminium foil

Preheat your oven to 400 Degrees.  Cook your garlic in the olive oil until soft, add vinegar, honey, mustard and wine (if using).  Let it cook down about 3 minutes.  Add your oregano.  Make two little pouches out of foil, put one piece of salmon in each.  Divide your sauce between the two and close it up enough that the sauce doesn't spill out.  Pop them in the oven for between 10-15 minutes or until it easily flakes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yay! Indiana State Fair! Part 2

   So yesterday I covered most of the animals we saw, except the other goats in the "Petting Zoo" type area.  These goats were considerably less snooty than the show goats, plus, there were babies too!  There was also one little donkey who was exceptionally cute, but I'm not exactly sure why he was there. I promised more info about non-animal things today so here is a little more info about what we did at the fair:

     First I will say I did not end up having a corndog.  I didn't avoid it on purpose but once I reach a certain level of excessive warmth, meat stops sounding good.  I did however have 2 lemon shake ups from two different stands and they were both splendid.  The shake-ups I've had at other fairs/events before have been too sweet and not lemon-y enough.  These were just the right mix of sweet and tart-very refreshing. 
    After hearing how awesome the grilled cheese sandwiches were from the Dairy Barn I decided to get one.  Seriously, a total waste.  I think I had reasonable expectations but this was just a really sad little sandwich.  Small, thin bread, not much cheese...certainly not deserving of its positive reputation, it was easily the biggest failure of the day.
    While wondering through the Ball State Ag. building and looking at the honey display I discovered they had honey ice cream.  I think we already know that I'm a big fan of honey and this ice cream was fabulous.  Very creamy with a pleasant vanilla-honey flavor, it was a unique change pace and I'm very glad I tried it.

See & Do:
    One of my favorite things we did was to see the Stars of the Peking Acrobats.  They have quite a few shows each day and are amazingly tallented.  Everything from tumbling, balancing, plate spinning and all around fantastic acrobatic skills.  Their shows are reletively short, but are really worth your time to stop and watch.
   I love plants and so it was really fun to see all of the bonsai trees in the Ball State Ag. building.  The Bonsai Society had a broad variety of all types of trees on display as well as for sale.
   I also had fun playing a few games in the midway.  I'd actually never played any so this was super fun for me.  It was exciting to find that they had Ski-Ball, which I love in spite of my lack of skill.  I also did the balloon-wall-dart-game and ended up winning a little purple unicorn.  Stormy has since adopted the baby unicorn and seems to think it is the newest member of the family.  
   Over all Hubs and I had an awesome time at the state fair and look forward to going back!    

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yay! Indiana State Fair! Part 1

   So today Hubs and I went to the Indiana State Fair.  I had never been and I was shocked and saddened to find that he hadn't either, so obviously we needed to go.  We had so much fun!  Yes it was hot, but it was so worth it.  The first thing we went to was the 4-H cat show.
  Yes, you read that right, there is a cat show.  There is even a separate contest for cage decorating.  Everyone we talked to was super friendly and very knowledgeable about the process and about their cats.  These were seriously well behaved felines.

We also checked out the World's Largest Hog...because it's just not a fair without seeing the world's largest something and well, why not a hog.  However, I did find it somewhat awkward when I noticed how many people were looking at the pigs whilst eating hotdogs...but I digress.
   One other thing I learned is that people are pretty hard core when it comes to showing goats.  Granted I know nothing about them I just think the little ones are cute, but I almost felt like I walked into the goat version of  Best in Show.  Seriously folks, the goats were getting their hair done.  They even had personal fans and jaunty red jackets...and they didn't smell!  Needless to say, I was impressed.  I thought about including the picture of the giant hog, but lets face it, it was really ugly and I try to avoid putting ugly pictures on here...So in conclusion, we saw lots of cute animals, one giant hog and I learned that people take goats way more seriously than I had anticipated.  Stay tuned tomorrow for more info on the fair( what to eat, what to see, what to skip) and less info on 4 legged critters.  Ok, there will probably still be a few.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

State Fair!

So it's no secret that I am something of a geek. Tomorrow we're going to the state fair and it's kind of like Christmas to me. I haven't been to a fair since like jr high and I am super excited. I moved down here about five years ago and I've missed the fair for various reasons each year. I plan on taking tons of pictures, eating an elephant ear and doing a lot of pointing and smiling. I shall report back tomorrow on whether or not I saw the worlds largest hog and if I did indeed have a corndog after a 15 year hiatus.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Flix - Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

   This film was originally a book published in 1938 and was very popular at the time.  It was scheduled to become a film however with the start of WWII it was put on hold.
   When people ask what my favorite film is, it's pretty much impossible to say.  However, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is probably a front runner for the title-I could seriously watch this film on a weekly basis. Along with Whip It! it is one of my never fail "cheererupper" movies.
   To me, this film has everything.  I grew up watching a lot of films from Hollywood's golden age and I think that has a strong influence on my perspective on movies.  Miss Pettigrew takes place in pre WWII London.  What I love about this film is that it is at once completely modern and flawlessly vintage. The cast is wonderful-Amy Adams as Delysia Lafosse simply shines and Frances McDormand's Miss Pettigrew is both funny and profoundly insightful.
   Miss Pettigrew is an out of work nanny who happens into her job as a social secretary for Delysia LaFosse quite by accident.  Delysia is a lovely and talented singer, hopelessly with a hopelessly flawed love life.  She lives with the owner of the nightclub where she sings, she's having a fling with a Broadway producer in hope that he casts her in his next show, and her accompanist Michael tells her he loves her-and all in one day.  What's a girl to do?  Enter Miss Pettigrew.  While at first glance it may sound petty, but there is much much more than what meets the eye.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition)Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition)