Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey people, I accomplished something

So, I dropped the ball on my e-course, I still haven't gotten that desperately-needed haircut, I don't exercise as often as I should, my blog makeover is still not done, and I'm somewhat of a procrastinator, but dammit, I completed the crap out of this NaBloPoMo. I got ahead in the beginning and then fell behind in the middle but I wound up exactly where I needed to be, with 30 posts in 30 days. Yay me.

Check out my sweet new sidebar badges. Those two were so awesome, I had to add them both.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spicy Pumpkin Pie (and I promise this is my last post about pie)

Spicy Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart

All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 recipe Pie Crust (see this post for the recipe)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle-chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (I use 3/4 real pumpkin puree*, 1/4 canned pumpkin)
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk


  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a 12-inch round. Fit dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Tear away any dough that hangs over to create a jagged edge near rim. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick bottom of crust all over with a fork. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. (The original recipe called for you to pre-bake the crust with pie weights for 15 minutes and 15 without. When I tried this, it burnt to a crisp. You might want to do this if you are using a different recipe for the crust.) 
  3. Whisk together granulated and brown sugars, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin, followed by the evaporated milk. Pour filling into piecrust.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Pie can be covered loosely with parchment and then foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days.) Unmold pie. Serve with whipped cream (I use a ratio of 1/2 pt heavy whipping cream to 1/4 cup sugar - whip until soft peaks form).
  5. Optional - I used the extra pie crust that the recipe makes to make cut-outs to decorate the top of the pie. Roll out extra crust to 1/8 inch and use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Bake on a cookie sheet along with your pie. Let cool and set on top of filling after pie has cooled. 

    *Directions for making  your own pumpkin puree

    1. Scoop out the insides of a pie pumpkin.
    2. Cut the pumpkin into quarters or smaller pieces, if possible.
    3. Place pumpkin pieces in a microwave-safe casserole dish with lid in 2-3 inches of water (enough to cover the pumpkin pieces).
    4. Microwave for 10-20 minutes, until the pumpkin is fully cooked and mushy.
    5. Scoop out cooked pumpkin (skin will fall away)
    6. Puree cooked pumpkin in food processor or blender.

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Duel in the Desert

    Man, that game was a nail-biter toward the end. Also, we haven't had any real "weather" in months and it rained and hailed during the game. What is up with that? It was fun, though, if a bit stressful. At least we won this time! I was so glad, because I really didn't want to cry in front of people. And yes, I cried after the Oregon game, but at least I was at home.

    Here's a shot of both bands performing together at halftime, which I really enjoyed. Good songs! And even if you hate your rival, support your band! The tradition of performing together at halftime is pretty classy.


    (That gap in the far endzone was where ASU's band was sitting; it wasn't empty... just in case you were wondering)

    I am also happy to announce that this was the first time visiting Sun Devil Stadium where I didn't get severely taunted (as in screaming in my face) or have those creepy "sparky fingers" flashed at me. I think that it might be because I wasn't dressed in sequins with a big "A" on my chest this time.

    Also, I realized that I am really old because this guy, who is my age and started band the same year as me, is directing the band while the regular director is on sabbatical. (I mean, I realized this at the beginning of the semester, but hadn't mentioned it on the blog yet :P)

    So. Old.

    Oh well, Go Cats! Can I also mention how glad I am that I didn't have to drive back to Tucson tonight? (sorry to my friends that are currently still on the road)

    Bear Down!!

    Friday, November 27, 2009

    Apple Raspberry pie

    I like baked apple desserts but I am not the biggest cinnamon fan in the world. I like it ok, but I'm not worshipping at the altar of 'add cinnamon to everything.' I was glad to find this apple pie recipe that doesn't call for it. It was really yummy and quite popular at Thanksgiving. We brought back an empty pie plate and I think that's the best compliment for a baker. I highly recommend having a pie crust shield or tenting the pie with foil to avoid my overly-browned crust. 

    Apple Raspberry Pie
    Adapted from Martha Stewart

    Crust (Pate Brisee) - It is most convenient to make this the night before

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 cup cold plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons ice water

    1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube until dough just comes together (no longer than 30 seconds). 
    2. Turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface. Divide in half. Shape into disks. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 2 days). 
    Filling & Pie Instructions

    2 3/4 pounds assorted baking apples, (I used Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Braeburn), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
    6 ounces fresh or partially thawed frozen raspberries
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    Pinch of salt
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1 large egg yolk
    1 tablespoon heavy cream
    Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir apples, raspberries, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
    2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fill with apple mixture, mounding the apples in the middle. Dot with butter.
    3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into a 12-inch round. Drape over filling. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Press edges to seal. Fold overhang under, and crimp as desired. Make five 3-inch slits in top crust. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
    4. Whisk egg yolk and cream in a bowl; brush over top crust. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. Place foil on rack below to catch juices. Tent pie with foil if browning too quickly or use pie crust shields. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool 4 hours (up to overnight).

    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

    Oops, I almost forgot about NaBloPoMo and I can't even blame tryptophan. I hope you all had a great day with friends and family and gave thanks and all that. I am thankful for my husband who cut up apples and pureed a real pumpkin for the pies I complained about yesterday (which were very well received at Thanksgiving so at least they tasted good). He's very cute and his hair stands up on its own without the aid of hair products. Also, for someone with two southern parents, he does the most atrocious fake southern accent. Love you, babe :)

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    I hate pies

    I like baking virtually everything except pies. Mine always look ragged or I burn the crust or I forget some dumb ingredient like the dots of butter or the pinch of salt (or both) or realize that the apples should have been sliced thinner and piled in the middle so the pie isn't all slumpy on one side. Plus, I can't taste the pies in advance to make sure they're ok, like I can with cookies or cupcakes or just trust my instincts like with a cake I've made 100 times. And why on earth does Martha Stewart's recipe site have 8 different recipes for pie crust under different names that are all the same recipe? Is the point of that just to freak me out and cause momentary panic when I think I've made the wrong crust? Also why do some pumpkin pie recipes require you to pre-bake the crust and some don't? I think it's probably just to make my life difficult. It really is all about me, after all.

    I don't get why pies have to be the go-to Thanksgiving dessert. I want to start a new tradition next year. I'm going to have a pie-free holiday and serve pumpkin cheesecake or individual sweet potato cupcakes or something.

    Have I mentioned I hate pies????

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    I should really be baking right now

    I think I'm losing what little nablopomo mojo (say that 5 times fast) that I had to begin with. I'm reaching the end and I'm definitely starting to lose momentum. Plus, I should definitely be baking right now. I've got 2 pies, 2 kinds of cookies, and 1 nutso baking failure challenge to finish before the end of the day tomorrow. All those from-scratch things are difficult to make so I'm going to share something really easy  (and delicious of course).

    I was searching for something I could make for breakfast one day and use the spartan ingredients I keep on hand. I found a recipe for super easy chocolate chip scones.

    Chocolate Chip Scones (using Bisquick)
    Adapted from Group Recipes

    • 2 c original Bisquick baking mix 
    • 3 tbsp sugar 
    • 1 c mini chocolate chips (I used regular sized chips since it was all I had)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla 
    • 1/3 c heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream for brushing
    • 1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling
    • Preheat oven to 425F degrees F.
    • Line Cookie Sheet with Parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray)
    • Stir Bisquick mix, chocolate chips and 3 TBS sugar together, form a well in this mix.
    • Pour in the 1/3 c whipping cream, vanilla, and egg and stir until soft dough forms (if it seems a little dry add 1-2 TBS more of whipping cream).
    • Split the dough in half and form two circles about an inch to an inch and a half thick.
    • Brush top of the circles with extra 1TBS cream and sprinkle with sugar
    • Cut each circle into 8 wedges but do not separate
    • Bake about 12 min or till golden brown - test in the center.
    • When done, pull from oven, let rest a min or two, cut into prescored wedges and serve warm.

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    I <3 these pretties at Matt & Nat

    A short blog tonight because it's almost my bed time, but I have to talk about the awesomeness that is Matt & Nat. They have some of the most beautiful purses ever and they are 100% Vegan and more affordable than most designer bags. As a bonus, the lining is made from recycled water bottles. I want to add the entire line to my Christmas list.

    I bought this one when it popped up on Gilt Group so I can attest to its stylish looks and high quality. Now I want everything that comes in their mustard color.  I have a thing for yellow.

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    (SPOILERS) My first liveblog - Star Trek

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS.... though if you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for??

    Hi all,

    We just bought Star Trek Movie on Blu-Ray and I have to tell you that I absolutely love this movie, I truly enjoyed seeing it in theaters (and I am a big Star Trek fan). I just want to get that out of the way, just so you know that any snarkiness during my liveblogging experience is just good-natured fun, I'm not hating! Also, I haven't been frequenting any forums or sites about this movie so apologies if any of my observations have been discussed to death - just know that I came by them honestly :-)


    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    A few things

    1. International Comment Leaving Week. Apparently Nablopomo isn't enough and I just had to participate in this too! Click the button on my sidebar for more details or to participate. Today is the first day so you still have some time. My goal is to comment on 5 blogs that are participating every day and make more of an effort to comment on blogs I read daily in order to become more of a part of the conversation. I have already had a slightly overwhelming volume of new commenters come by here and I could not be more excited. Hello to everyone who has stopped by so far! You are so very welcome.

    2. Farscape WatchReWatch - Mike and I started watching Farscape and we are going to participate in the discussions over at Big Damn Heroes (or at least I am). Click the button in the sidebar for more info. I love me some good scifi, so I'm pretty excited about it. P.S. it's on instant streaming netflix!

    3. GO CATS! BEAR DOWN! It is halftime right now but I want to post this entry before the end of the game so I am just going to send some good vibes out to my Wildcats.

    4. I have a potentially "bad in a good way" idea for a new blog. I think I'll probably launch it sometime after Thanksgiving. That's all you get for now. I don't really care if it gets a lot of readership, I just know it would be really fun for me to write.

    5. I think I may be getting sick. Send good vibes to my currently scratchy throat. That's all for now, I think I'm going to go drink some tea and watch the rest of the game.

    P.S. Welcome again new friends!

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    101 things progress

    Hey remember this? Here's how far I've gotten. I've only included list items that are completely finished and I can officially cross off. On a lot of the numerical ones I have made progress toward the goal but have not reached it yet. I'm looking forward to completing "get a new passport", "become a CPA" and "complete a Nablopomo" in the next month or so.

    Note - I've added comments below, it's not just a re-printing of the original list. I'm thinking I can do whole blog entries for some of these items so here is the intro for that series. 

    1. Clean out bathroom cupboards and cabinets - this one is self-explanatory
    2. Plan at least one extended family activity (either side) - Father's day 2009
    7. Take 2  photography classes - started "Intro to Photography" 1/26 and "Unravelling - Summer 2009")
    8. Organize bookshelves
    22. Attend an opera - Carmen, the beginning of this month - it was wonderful!
    23. Sell something on etsy
    25. Purchase 3 new blazers to upgrade work wardrobe (3/3)
    26. Double my blog's google reader subscriptions - more than doubled, thanks everyone who reads this!
    31. Put together a "through the viewfinder" rig - done, but I still haven't edited my photos. When I do, I will post about the rig. It is the easiest rig to make, but sometimes it is a bear to use. 
    35. Dress up downstairs bedrooms with new duvet covers over the old comforters and new pillow shams - done and done, love the bird duvet.
    39. Redistribute couch throw pillows and try again - the current ones are beautiful, but too small - my couch is a colorful ensemble of colorful, funky throw pillows
    47. Take a train in the U.S. - From Durango to Silverton for our Anniversary
    51. Go wine tasting - Jerome Winery
    54. Get a new cell phone - Love my iPhone!
    60. Replace that silly broken orange chair - replaced with an ultra-mod table and molded plastic chairs (all knockoffs, but pretty anyway)
    64. Inspire someone else to start his or her own list - my brother!
    65. See another Cirque du Soleil show - Vegas for Jeff's Birthday
    73. Clean out and organize my home office - Done, it's beautiful
    74. Buy filing cabinets and use them - see 73
    75. Get a display case for my camera collection - also included in my office re-org
    76. Implement a “Monday films” requirement for myself – fulfill for at least 10 weeks (10/10) - semi-cheated because I did it as part of my photo class, but it still counts.
    77. Shoot with my SX-70 (accomplished 2/8/09)
    79. Finally buy that new car - Love my car, his name is Captain Von Trapp (yes, I'm ridiculous)
    80. Plan a picnic - Mike's last birthday at Lake Pleasant
    81.Create blog/facebook page/twitter account for volunteer program - done!
    88. Stay somewhere that advertises itself as "haunted" - Jerome Grand Hotel, Jerome AZ
    91. Make a new 8mm video - On our durango trip, not finished yet, but I did shoot it!
    93. Visit an aquarium - at Disney World & in Vegas (the Mirage)
    97. Go to Disneyland - last May

    When I was going through the list, I felt like I had accomplished a lot, but this is only 29/101. I still have over a year and a half to go, but it's intimidating.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Shopping the Baby Aisle

    I have always had sensitive skin so sometimes I buy baby products instead of adult. They work well, are (obviously) safe to use, and are usually a lot cheaper than adult products (especially if you buy generic). I was shopping for a baby shower gift last night and thought this might be a good post - my baby aisle secrets: using baby products for adults.

    Baby Shampoo - A really gentle shampoo for problem hair or sensitive scalp. Also, it can be used to wash your dog or de-fog your mask when diving/snorkeling. Yes, really.

    Vaseline - under-eye cream, moisturizer, lip balm, blister prevention, chafing treatment and prevention, or spread it on your feet (and put on socks) before you go to bed. Simple, and it works great. Plus, you can find lavender and chamomile scented vaseline in the baby aisle. I put it around my eyes before bed each night.

    Baby oil - body oil, bath oil, eye makeup remover (put a little on a cotton ball). This also comes in different scents if you don't want to smell like a baby.

    Baby bedtime bath - Lavender scented bath - way cheaper than fancy adult bath additives and so relaxing. I add it to a bath of epsom salts when my muscles are sore.

    Soothing vapor bath - for babies with colds, also for adults with colds! I just bought some and haven't used it yet but it sounds AWESOME.

    Baby powder - use for foot powder or anywhere else you need it. It smells way better than any other talcum powder.

    Baby lotion - super gentle unscented lotion

    Aquafor (baby chapped skin healing stuff) - the best lip stuff for tragically chapped lips. My dermatologist recommended it to me.

    Eucerin - great lotion if you skin is irritated or rashy

    Oatmeal bath - useful for kids with chicken pox, also great if you have dry, rough skin or a rash.

    Also, this doesn't exactly fall under the "baby aisle," but I shave my legs with cheap $.75 conditioner - it works really well, is super cheap, and smells great.

    P.S. I discovered they now make "baby cologne" when checking out the baby aisle last night. Come on people, that just seems wrong.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in

    Yeah, I still haven't seen the Godfather movies, I totally suck at completing my AFI list. This post has nothing to do with that, however. This post is dedicated to 3 shows, several previous episodes of which, I really did not enjoy. I was watching out of habit at that point and seriously considering throwing in the towel on all three of them and, you know what? All of a sudden, they started getting GOOD again.

    Dear Ugly Betty,

    Thank you for making episodes without the usual formulaic plot. Betty is naive, you say? Everyone is against her and pulling her in different directions and when she tries to please everyone, she pleases no one and ends up in big trouble? Hmmm... I might have seen that one already.

    Also, I love Betty's new look.



    Dear Grey's Anatomy,

    Thank you thank you thank you for getting rid of Izzie. I love Katherine Heigl but I could not loathe her character more. Don't toy with me, though, she was in the latest episode. Can we kill her off?

    Also, I thought all the new doctors were even meaner than the old ones but they might not be. There is potential there! Please tell me they will continue to be interesting and not horrible! The show needed some new characters, especially since Lexie was the only intern to become a real character.



    Dear Gossip Girl,

    Thank you for Hilary Duff (never thought I would say that) and a slightly less Oliver-like (anyone watch the O.C.?) Georgina lately. Also, I'm not sure exactly what it was but "They shoot Humphrey's, don't they?" was the best episode in a loooong time. I just loved it.

    More sex, less bitching please.



    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Chocolate Toffee Cake

    ...also known as "Heath Bar Cake." Pseudo live-blogged during the baking process... Pay VERY close attention to the cake pan selection in step 1.


    This is the best cake ever and it's not too hard to make (psst... it's from a mix - with a twist!).

    I fashioned this recipe from my aunt's description of how she made my mom's birthday cake and the "ice cream cake" recipe from the Omnomicon and Playing House. The secret to this delicious cake is to take any box cake mix and substitute a pint of melty ice cream in a complementary flavor for the oil called for in the mix instructions. Add the eggs and water and mix as directed. Trust me, it makes all the difference.

    Chocolate Toffee Cake
    adapted from all the sources above

    Cake ingredients
    1 box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix (or suitable substitute)
    1 pint Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra Ice cream
    1 c water
    3 large eggs

    Topping ingredients
    6-8 oz caramel sundae topping
    6-8 oz butterscotch sundae topping

    1/2 pint whipping cream
    1/4 c sugar
    4 Heath Bars, broken into small chunks


    1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a cake pan (DON'T use bundt, I had a catastrophe this morning) with your choice of grease and unsweetened cocoa powder (I use pam w/ flour or butter and Ghirardelli cocoa powder). I recommend using a metal or glass cake pan where you can serve the cake in the pan, rather than a layer or bundt cake. After step four, the cake can start to fall apart and end up all over the floor, like mine did this morning.


    2. Mix the above cake ingredients thoroughly for 3 minutes in the bowl of a mixer on medium speed (or by hand if you like).


    3. Pour into greased cake pan and bake for 45 minutes (or consult your box mix instructions for cupcakes, mini cupcakes, etc.)


    4. Transfer cake in pan to wire rack. While cake is still warm, poke several holes in the cake with a wooden spoon handle. Pour toffee and butterscotch toppings over the cake. I like to mix them together in a measuring cup to make this part easier. It will seem like it is way too much sundae topping but trust me, it's not.

    5. Let cake cool on the rack. If you're in a hurry, you can speed this process up by putting the cake in the fridge.

    6. Make basic whipped cream frosting by whipping together the whipping cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Frost cake and sprinkle heath bar pieces on top. You can also use cool whip but whipped cream frosting isn't hard to make and it tastes much better. If you like super-thick frosting, double the frosting recipe.

    7. Refrigerate for at least an hour before consuming. Enjoy!

    FIve Colors (sight)

    I think I have to make sight a two-parter in my sense series because favorite sights is a very different thing from favorite colors and I want to cover both.

    My favorite color was red for a long time and then it just... wasn't anymore. I have expanded my color horizons. I recommend to create the perfect pallette and even make some patterns. What are your top five? Also, my favorite neutral is grey, I just don't think it counts as a favorite "color."

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    In true American fashion...

    ...Magic Kingdom was transformed from Halloween to Christmas in 2 nights. Check out the fun time-lapse video.

    I've been to the big D during Christmas party time too, and the fake snow is pretty fun. It's hard to deal with Christmas so early, but I'm still into time-lapse :)

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Leica love

    Notice how in my recent vacation posts, my point-and-shoot photos got a lot awesomer than they have been in my past vacation recaps? The culprit is this little beauty.

    This camera takes gorgeous pictures when it is just too much of a pain to lug around your DSLR. Plus, the amazing settings like "high sensitivity," the ability to shoot in manual mode, and the widescreen setting, make for some dynamic shots even when you can't use a tripod or need to shoot something without prep time.

    The downside is that a new model, the Leica D-lux 4, came out recently, and they stopped manufacturing these little guys. D-Lux 3's are so popular, market price for a new one shot up to something crazy.

    I got mine for a significant steal on eBay, so if you're interested, I would look out for deals there. I don't know much about the new D-lux 4, though I've heard pretty good things. Newer isn't always better, however, so do the research! I read a lot of reviews and looked at a lot of flickr photos before I chose this camera.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Five Tastes

    I was taking this online photo/writing course about exploring the senses and it is a lovely course, very well constructed and interesting. Then, life got in the way, and I had a bunch of work to do, and nablopomo, and our Florida trip. I had to let something go, so I chose to revisit this course the next time it is offered, as I have completely missed out on the bulk of the experience at this point. In related news, I thought as part of my nablopomo, I would do sense posts, top five in each sense category, to be precise. Although the vague idea is inspired by the e-course, it does not contain e-course content, nor is it affiliated with it. /disclaimer.

    A perfect meal for me would include all of these things.

    Black Coffee

    Red Wine - Robust, but not sweet

    Cheddar or a similar Cheese - so sharp it's falling apart

    Dark Chocolate

    Lemon in anything - water (sometimes excessively), baked goods, pasta

    I like really strong flavors (if you couldn't tell). What are your top 5?

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    It's been one of those bad days, kids

    So no blog today, nablopomo or not. 

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake

    Grapefruit Cake - Brown Derby

    Mike and I like to make a reservation at the Brown Derby whenever we are in Disneyworld, and our meal must end with a slice of Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake. It is just the perfect amount of sweetness, and the right amount of tang. I have wanted to try and make it myself, and this recipe from the Taste of Home community claims to be the original Brown Derby recipe. I'm considering making it as my next baking project, though I need an occasion. Suggestions? I would say my Dad's birthday but he is, and forever will be, a chocolate cake kind of guy.

    Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake (original recipe)

    1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
    3/4 cup sugar
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 eggs, separated
    3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
    1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into mixing bowl.
    Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Add water, oil, egg yolks,
    grapefruit juice and lemon rind. Beat until smooth.

    Beat egg white and cream of tartar separately until whites are stiff but not
    dry. Gradually, pour egg yolk mixture over whites, folding gently with a
    rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir mixture.

    Pour into ungreased pan.

    Bake in 350-degree over for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake springs back when
    lightly touched with finger.

    Invert pan on cake rack until cool. Run spatula round edge of cake.Carefully
    remove from pan. With a serrated knife, gently cut layer in half.

    Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting

    2 packages (3-ounce packages) cream cheese 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1
    teaspoon grated lemon rind 3/4 cup powderd sugar, sifted 3 drops yellow food
    coloring 1 (1 pound) can grapefruit sections, well drained.

    Let cream cheese soften at room temperature, then beat until fluffy. Add
    lemon juice and rind. Gradually blend in sugar. Beat until well blended,
    then add coloring. Crush several grapefruit sections to measure 2 teaspoons.

    Blend into frosting.

    Spreading frosting on bottom half of cake. Top with several grapefruit
    sections. Cover with second layer.  Frost top and sides. Then garnish with
    remaining grapefruit sections.

    Source: Freeport Journal Standard
    Servings: 4

    Monday, November 9, 2009

    Hollywood Studios

    All the different parks in Disneyworld have something special to offer. I feel like Disneyworld is what Disneyland would be if there was unlimited space to expand onto cheap land and you didn’t have to build rides in old parking lots (Indiana Jones).

    Animal Kingdom has the Expedition Everest Ride, the amazing safari (we went twice this time), and all the little details that make the different “lands” resemble small, ancient, Asian and African towns. If you’re ever there and you’re hungry, check out the Yak and Yeti restaurant, it has really delicious food and shave-ice martinis! Can’t beat that. Technically, they are snow-cones, not shave-ice, but we will let that go. They were yummy anyway. This time, at Dinoland, I kept my eyes open the whole time on the Dinosaur ride. I had a pretty significant fear of animatronic dinosaurs as a child, and although I have gotten over dreading the museum exhibits, having scary dinos lunge at me still gives me a chill.

    Then there is Epcot Center, which I really like. I am very into Disney’s view of the future as imagined in the past (like old school tomorrowland), Epcot is a good example of this. Also, they have the new Mission Space ride, with its crazy realistic g-forces. Always choose orange. Plus, there’s the great food at World Showcase, which I already discussed.

    Magic Kingdom I just love because it is nearly the same as Disneyland, though it’s a small world is actually small and there are some rides scattered throughout the rest of the parks. I like that I don’t need a map to get around, and I know exactly what I want to go on before the end of the day. Plus, if I miss a ride, oh well, because we go to Disneyland at least once a year.

    And last, but not least, there is Hollywood Studios. I think I might like this one the best. There’s the Brown Derby for your good eats, the behind-the-scenes tour experience (reminiscent of Universal Studios), and several good rides. We have Star Tours with the big Imperial Walker outside, Rockin’ Rollercoaster (love that one, a funky coaster in the dark that actually goes upside-down, set to Aerosmith music), Tower of Terror (way more involved than the one at CA Adventures), Toy Story, etc.

    To wrap up the re-caps, here is our photo tour of Hollywood Studios. Enjoy.


    Me, outside of the Brown Derby. Check out my awesome shirt, got it at Dinoland the day before.


    A better view of the Sorcerer's Apprentice landscaping.


    Mike, loving the Rockin' Roller Coaster.


    Great Movie Ride, an animatronic journey through a bunch of the classics, including special effects and your guide getting involved in the action.


    Mike, trying to escape the storm troopers on the forest moon of Endor.


    He can't catch a break, now the walker is after him. They used to have a snow speeder, but it got replaced by the Jedi Training academy. We spotted the speeder in storage on the Behind the Scenes tour.


    And, in the end, it was a tale of 2 monkeys.

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Worst roller coaster video ever

    Ok, I usually don't use youtube because I think that place could basically be located in a cave under a bridge for all the trolls commenting on there. With my iphone, however, I can publish straight to youtube without even using a computer and, being a really lazy person, I couldn't pass that up.

    The best parts of this video are 1) my weird commentary (basically I just keep saying "YETI" and yelling), 2) the fact that my finger figures prominently in the later part because I had to grip my phone tight to keep from dropping it and 3) the best part of the ride is backward in the pitch dark. This is only evident because everyone starts screaming so much louder at that point.

    This was my first iphone video, just taken to test the camera. I think it did a pretty good job for a cell phone camera.

    Warning - Everyone starts yelling really loudly so I would keep your volume down.

    No criticism of my video techniques, please. I know it sucks.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    Animal Kingdom





    The Safari rules. Live animals without fences? Funness. And the blobbies in the water are hippos, by the way.

    I have a major headache so that's all you're getting from me tonight. Stay tuned for my lame-ass video of the Expedition Everest ride in which my finger features prominently during the last part when I started gripping the phone extra hard to keep from dropping it. It's quite amusing.

    Friday, November 6, 2009

    Look into these eyes, and you see that they are google-y

    Happy 40th Anniversary to Sesame Street! I am really loving Google's tribute - especially today's. I am a BIG Ernie fan and I think all the Ernie/Bert controversy is RIDICULOUS. Don't get me started, though, I'll start ranting.

    I still have my Best of Ernie LP at home! Also, did anyone else have the I'll miss you, Mr. Hooper book? That one makes me cry every time. Oh, and Big Bird goes to Japan! Love that special. (And San, ni, ichi is 3, 2, 1!)

    I could go on all day, but I'll leave you with the Yip-Yip Martians. Confession: my husband and I often do silly impressions of these guys - usually in the car.

    Anyone else have a favorite Sesame Street memory or moment to share?

    Edit, Nov 7: check out today's google for Oscar the Grouch!

    Edit, Nov 8: Elmo!

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    A great day to be a geek (as is every other day)

    I am going to say that my "phoning it in" type post about Castle, though awesome, doesn't count as my NaBloPoMo-worthy post for the day.

    So, here are 2 great things about today:

    Number 1 - It is the anniversary of the invention of time travel! Yes, on November 5th, 1955, Doctor Emmett Brown slipped on wet porcelain in his bathroom and hit his head (while hanging a clock, of course). When he came to, he drew the design for the flux capacitor which, as you know, makes time travel possible.

    I can't take credit for remembering this on my own, though - I got a reminder from Gizmodo and my friend Bryce. It makes me want to watch Back to the Future, one of my favorite movies of all time.

    Number 2 - Remember Think Geek's April Fools joke about the Tauntaun sleeping bag that everyone wished was real? Now, it is!! Pre-order your very own at Think Geek today!

    Yes, the lining looks like innards. As far as I know, it doesn't smell bad (inside or out), which is a plus!

    Proof Castle is AWESOME

    In case you aren't watching (or you are and you love it as much as me), here is my favorite Castle intro... ever. I know that it has been over a week now, but it's still awesome.

    Oh, PS - I couldn't find this video on my own, so I found the link on Kim's blog.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Epcot Center & World Showcase Culinary festival


    On Thursday day and Saturday night, Mike and I spent some time in Epcot. We had lunch at Les Chefs de France with Chef Remy (from Ratatouille), who was very amusing, though he didn't seem to like that we had cats at home.


    The food there was delicious, I had baked Macaroni, a cheese plate with an assortment of amazing cheeses, creme brulee, and a refreshing cocktail of pear vodka and apple juice. Some of the food was split with Mike, but I was still absolutely stuffed afterward!

    Mike and I had to, of course, make the most awful faces when Spaceship Earth was taking our pictures for our journey into the future. Aren't we just so attractive?


    Apparently in the future, we do a lot of surfing and working from our neato futuristic house. Also, our car drives itself.

    After the stomach-settling ride, we went on Mission Space. Man, those G-forces are crazy on that ride. It's quite dizzying. Gary Sinise stars in the video and I always want him to say "I'm not an astronaut, but I've played one in several movies."




    For our Saturday night feasting, we went to the Culinary festival in the World Showcase. I tried out mushroom soup from the Vienna booth, Lamington Cake from Australia, mini capellini from Italy, and rounded it off with some Lefse in Norway (not as good as Grandma's, though). Everything is served in small portions so you can walk from booth to booth and get the cross-cultural culinary experience. There was also much wine and beer to be had. It was great fun and everything I tried was surprisingly delicious. They also had a lot of vegetarian options, which was just AWESOME.

    I'm a pretty big fan of Epcot, all in all, a rollicking good time.

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