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)

Friday Flix-Fiction Edition

NaBloPoMo's theme for the month is Fiction and since I'm not much of a fiction writer I thought I would give the  theme my own treatment.  Each Friday this month I'll focus on my favorite films based on works of fiction. I'd love to hear your thoughts on both the films and the books.  What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kitchen Tip - Clean Your Sponges!

                      Hello Kitty Die-Cut Sponge

So I think we all know kitchen sponges are a little sketchy.  They're pretty much a magnet for germs, grime and all around grossness.  If they are as cute as this one you don't want to simply toss them unless they are worn out, so here is a super easy solution-pop them in the microwave!  Make sure your sponge is good and wet, then let it go for about 2 minutes.  The heat from the steam will kill the bacteria.  If it's dry it could burn, so be sure it's wet-it may foam a bit, but that's not a problem.  Super easy, super clean!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cauliflower Leek Soup

As you can probably tell by the pictures and use of words such as "glugs" I'm not super serious when it comes to things in the kitchen.  However, I do like to eat tasty things and I try to incorporate seasonal / home grown items into what I cook.  This soup qualifies as both and was inspired by this one from All Recipes.  I hope you enjoy it!

Yields: 4-6 servings

1 Head of Cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
2-4 Leeks (depends on size) light green/white part only, sliced into 1-inch (ish) pieces
1 or 2 Shallots, thinly sliced
6+ Cloves garlic, minced
32 oz. Broth (Chicken or Veggie)
1/2 cup Half and half (optional)
1 or 2 Glugs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Snipped chives for garnish

   Saute your garlic, shallot, cauliflower, and leeks in the olive oil for about 10 minutes.  Add pepper.  Add broth, bring to a boil.  Cover and let soup simmer for about 25 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and easily breaks apart.  Take soup off of heat and blend until creamy.  Stir in cream, top with chives (if desired) and serve. 

A few notes:
-I use an immersion blender, but you can use a regular blender-just do it in batches and be aware that the steam can build up some pressure inside your blender.
-If you've never used leeks before, be warned, they can be super sandy.  Since they have so many layers, the dirt likes to get in between  them and this can make them hard to clean.  Rather than cleaning them first, I chop them up, put them in a collandar and poke them around a bit to seperate the layers.  Then you just spray them off and you're done.

I'm participating in the Link Party at Homework!  Pop on over and be inspired!