Monthly Archives: November 2012

$550 million Powerball? Oh, okay.

I should first say that I never gamble, have never before this purchased a lottery ticket, and the one and only time I stepped into a casino was to have dinner.

Today I was one of about a trillion people purchasing a Powerball ticket. Why? Well, first of all it’s on my manifesto for this year. Second of all, there’s the tiniest chance of actually winning. One in 175 million to be exact. 😉

Come to find out, a person has a much better chance of being attacked by a shark, being hit by lightning, or dying from a bee sting than winning the Powerball.

The Huffington Post’s list of things you have a better chance at than winning the Powerball is pretty great:

– Picking a perfect NCAA bracket, 13,460,000 to 1 (And boy have I tried!)

– Birthing identical quadruplets, 13,000,000 to 1

– Becoming an astronaut, 12,100,000 to 1

– Becoming president of the United States of America, 10,000,000 to 1

– Dying by a hornet, 6,100,000 to 1

– Dying from being left-handed, 4,400,000 to 1

– Becoming a movie star, 1,505,000 to 1

– Drowning in a bath tub, 840,000 to 1

– Getting a royal flush in a first hand of poker, 649,740 to 1

– Dating a supermodel, 88,000 to 1

– Being murdered, 18,000 to 1 (Ummm… who figures this out?)

– Dying in an asteroid apocalypse, 12,500 to 1 (Now they’re getting crazy)

– Finding a four leaf clover, 10,000 to 1

– Loosing an appendage to a chainsaw, 4,464 to 1

– Writing a New York Times bestseller (if you’re an author), 220 to 1

So I’m sure no one is surprised when I ask you to PLEASE do not come knocking at my door because clearly I didn’t win! 🙂

My numbers: 02, 09, 44, 51, 57 Powerball: 18

The winning numbers: 05, 16, 22, 23, 29 Powerball: 6

Yup. There goes that trip around the world. 😉

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Glassblowing in St. Louis

Check another one off the list! On November 3rd, I took a glass blowing class at the Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis. I’ve been interested in the topic ever since reading books on the subject and visiting the island of Murano in Italy (prized for its glass blowing). I was nervous beforehand since the closest I’ve gotten to glass blowing is watching just a few minutes of men working in Murano and at the Silver Dollar City amusement park in Branson, MO. I bought the book ‘The Art of Fire’ by James McKelvey which laid out all of the basic steps to glassblowing. There are a lot of them!

Once we arrived at the factory we were greeted by the sight of urban sophistication – the entrance was a large room clearly meant for entertaining, and further inside there was a beautiful gallery:

… and the hot shop blocked off by glass doors for easy viewing:

Once we got started we dove right in, practicing moves with props before we started with the glass. We repeated different steps, learning them in sequence so we could eventually each make a cup- kind of like learning the steps to a dance so you can string them together. Finally each of us students (the three of us) were able to work as a team to make our cups.

Forming the basic shape in the new gather of glass:

Sitting at the bench creating the jack line after gathering the glass and blowing the first bubble:

My team helping out as we formed the bottom of the cup:

Connecting the punty to the bottom of the cup in order to work on the opening of the cup:

Flashing the cup in the glory hole- this was a constant. Working with glass basically means controlling the heat. That and always turning, turning, turning the piece! This was sort of a restful part, since it sits on rollers that greatly assist in the rolling, but I still kept thinking of Harry Potter’s Professor Moody- “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” lol:

It was SUCH a fun experience, I had a great time.

My cup was delivered, and you’ve never seen such a sad, messed up sucker. But honey, I love it. It has a trumpet top, bubbles, marks from the tools and a slightly wobbly bottom, but it also has so much character. And let’s be honest- it’s a GLASS CUP that I made!! So cool. I think I may make it a vase though. That trumpet top is just calling for some flowers.

The finished product:

After the class was over I was so tired and ready to eat! We looked up a close restaurant and found Rigazzi’s- the oldest restaurant on the ‘Hill’- with the same family ownership and true Italian recipes.

The manicotti was amazing!!

It was such a fun day, enjoy this video of my experience. I tried to set it up in a step-by-step of the process. Curtsy of my amazing dad that photographed/video taped almost the entire process! (Which, by the way- takes much longer than the video!):

2012 American Music Awards

Sunday night was the 2012 American Music Awards- and I tuned in to see all the new gowns and also to support my YouTube fav- Shay Carl from his family’s channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/SHAYTARDS/videos?view=0. He was there hosting the red carpet with other celebrities including Sean Kingston and Lance Bass!

Once I got past my geek-out seeing Shay’s success on the carpet I could focus on the fashion. Overall it was a disappointing fashion awards show- but with that said my #1 and 2 I absolutely LOVE:

#10

Christina Aguilera: Love the ombre effect of the fabric and the flattering shape. Not a fan of the bangs.

#9

Phillip Phillips: Bond. Phillip Bond. Yup. Nuff’ said.

#8

Kelly Clarkson: Love the dramatic spikes and embellishments on her dress- girl power! It fit her performance to a tee.

#7

Ryan Seacrest: Looking dapper as always. I kind of like that he didn’t wear a tie.

#6

Pink and Carey Hart: A nice mixture of tough with a gooey center. And by the way, her performance was just amazing!

#5

Lady Antebellum- Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood: They take the cake for best dressed group!

#4

Shay Carl and Collette Butler: The heads of my favorite YouTube entertainers! Shay looked spiffy. No other word for it. Collette looked lovely as usual.

#3

Kelly Rowland: Is it just me or there a lot of Kelly’s up in this countdown? Miss Rowland’s dress was a 10- fit, style, pattern. Her hair and shoes were frosting on the top. 🙂

#2

Carrie Underwood: Love. This. Dress. The fit, color, pattern again are a 10.

Drumroll please!!

#1

Taylor Swift: Talk about a perfect dress! The sparkle, the fit, the cut and the overall look are amazeballs. The picture can’t begin to do it justice. Seeing it move and shimmer on tv brought this dress to life. Taylor nailed it! 🙂

Sassy Southern comfort food… 2nd November recipe test with Anna!

Chalk another one up on the #winning collumn. That was this past Tuesday’s recipe test at Anna’s where we made Bruschetta chicken and a Peach Crunch Cake. Both are going in the ever-growing pile of new favorite recipes. And both are EASY. I just wish KU could have won the tournament game against Michigan St. we were watching- and made it look easy like we normally do. But as in past years this is a reloading year, and we’ll be ready for the conference season soon enough. But back to the tasty niblets..

Anna chose a couple of southern comfort classics- with a sassy (and delicious) twist. If you need a tasty, super easy and quick dinner idea these are the dishes for you!

The cast of characters for the bruschetta chicken:

Adding the balsamic vinegar/olive oil mixture to the chicken:

The cast of characters for the Peach Crunch Cake:

So easy.

Step 1: Dump at least one can (you could use more) of peaches into the pan and cut each of the pieces in half:

Step 2: Dump the yellow cake mix over the peaches:

Step 3: Place pats of butter on top of the cake mixture:

Step 4: Sprinkle the brown sugar over everything:

Step 5: Stick it in the oven and have to endure smelling the deliciousness until it’s finally done:

Anna:

Me:

My audience for the entire meal, lol:

The FANTASTIC dinner:

… and AMAZING dessert!:

The Recipes:

Bruschetta Chicken
Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 thin slices fresh Mozzarella

2 Vine-Ripened Tomatoes. seeded and diced
4 fresh Basil Leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced into chiffonade
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat grill pan or skillet to medium heat on stovetop. Spray with cooking spray.

To make Bruschetta topping:  In a mediium bowl combine tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt and balsamic. Toss gently together. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

For grilled chicken:  Combine balsamic and olive oil in a bowl. Season both sides of chicken with pinches of salt and place on grill. Brush top sides with balsamic mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then flip chicken. Brush other side with balsamic and cook another 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Place one piece of fresh mozzarella on each chicken breast and continue to cook until slightly melted.

Remove chicken from pan, and place on individual plates. Top each with desired amount of bruschetta topping. Serve immediately.

Peach Crunch Cake

24.5 oz jar of sliced peaches in light syrup
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 16 pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (Didn’t use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer ingredients in a 13 X 9 dish, in order starting with the peaches.
Bake for about 40 minutes.
Serve warm or cold… with or without ice cream.

Enjoy!

Pepperoni and lemons…1st November Recipe test with Anna!

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found another recipe test winner!

Oh my goodness. Who wouldn’t love a recipe for a calzone that doesn’t make you want to urp after you eat it? That’s exactly what I found and I’m so excited because it also happens to be delicious! I can’t get calzones at restaurants anymore because they pack them so full of pepperoni that it’s basically a greaseball. Very unappetizing.

We held my recipe test turn at my parent’s house so we could go to the showing of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ on campus- still just as good as in the movie theatre!

The cast of characters for the pepperoni calzones:

The cheese mixture. Now this is very important. It needs to be the right blend of ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan. Cheesy calzone perfection:

If you don’t care much about your waistline try out these cookies. SO good- yet also so buttery. The cast of characters for the Citrus Butter cookies:

Anna grating the lime, lemon and orange for the zest:

Adding the zest to the mixture:

Juicing the just-zested fruit:

I don’t know what it is about my parent’s house but both times I’ve held my recipe test turn there we’ve totally forgotten to take pictures of ourselves. I did however remember to take pictures of the tasty dinner!:

The recipes:

Recipe: Calzones

Prep Time: 3 Hours  |  Cook Time: 20 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Easy  |  Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 16 whole Frozen, Unrisen Dinner Rolls  Note: Can Also Use Frozen Bread Loaves. (I used pizza dough mix from the blue Jiffy box)
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced (Didn’t use)
  • 1 pound Breakfast Or Italian Sausage (I didn’t use.. I used pepperoni) 🙂
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (Didn’t use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (Didn’t use)
  • 15 ounces, fluid Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1-1/2 cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley (Didn’t use)
  • Marinara Sauce, For Serving
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten

Preparation Instructions

Place frozen rolls (or frozen bread loaves) on a baking sheet to thaw. Cover with a tea towel and let thaw and rise for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Add sausage and cook until brown, crumbling the sausage as you stir. Add Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a plate.

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and parsley. When sausage is cool, stir it in. Set aside.

When rolls are thawed and risen, roll them out on a lightly floured surface until paper thin. Spoon 3-4 tablespoons (approximately) filling onto half of the dough circle. Fold half of the dough over itself, then press edges to seal.

*Note: If you want a larger calzone, use frozen bread loaves and use about 1/4 to 1/3 of the loaf for each calzone.

Brush surface of calzone with beaten egg, then bake for 10-13 minutes, or until nice and golden brown. Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Recipe: Citrus Butter Cookies

Prep Time: 15 Minutes  |  Cook Time: 15 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Easy  |  Servings: 36

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (4 Sticks) Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 whole Large Eggs, Separated
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest (approx 1 Tablespoon Each)
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And/or Lime Juice (2 Tablespoons Total)
  • Icing
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest
  • Juice Of 1/2 Lime
  • Juice Of 1/2 Lemon
  • Dash Of Salt
  • Extra Zest, For Decorating

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar until combined. Add egg yolks and mix until combined (set whites aside for the icing.) Add the zest and the flour and mix until just combined, then add juice and mix until combined.

Scoop out heaping teaspoons of dough, then roll them into balls between your hands. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep on the cookie sheet for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a spatula and allow to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, combine 1 egg white with the rest of the icing ingredients. Whisk thoroughly until combined, adding either more powdered sugar or more juice until it reaches a pourable but still thick consistency.

Drizzle the icing across the cookies in several lines, then do it again in the other direction. Sprinkle with extra zest before the icing sets.

Enjoy!!

St. Louis Shenanigans

We spent  our last morning in St. Louis visiting- of course- the Gateway Arch. It was fun to explore the surrounding area and sight see a little. Next time I’d like to spend more time downtown and in the Forest Park area. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures from our day!The last picture is where we parked for $4… DOWN BY THE RIVER!

Coming up soon- my glass blowing class!

Road trip to St. Louis!

On November 1st I took off work along with my parents and we set off on a road trip to St. Louis!  I had signed up for a glass blowing class on Saturday and decided to make a fun weekend of it.

We took the scenic route as any good road trip must include- so after stopping for a BBQ lunch in Concordia, MO we zipped south and hopped on highway 50. The trip was gorgeous, but so hilly we all felt a little car sick. It was a long drive, but very fun- and a good opportunity for me to finish reading the beginning glass blowing book I had purchased, and to catch up on a little napping. 😉

We stopped at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City, MO for a 30 minute walk

We stopped at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City, MO for a 30 minute walk

Photo op on our 30 minute walk break! (Please ignore my unhealthy McDonalds...)

Photo op on our 30 minute walk break! (Please ignore my unhealthy McDonalds…)

We climbed the old fire watch tower- and could see Missouri's state capitol!

We climbed the old fire watch tower- and could see Missouri’s state capitol!

Driving tour of Hermann, Missouri- such a cute town!

Driving tour of Hermann, Missouri- such a cute town!

Pretty rooftop in Hermann, Missouri

Pretty rooftop in Hermann, Missouri

I wish I could have a camera attached to my retinas sometimes- there were so many things I would have taken a picture of – including someone’s yard that was so completely full of Halloween decorations I’m surprised they could get inside their house, beautiful drop-offs and views, and a gorgeous sunset as we made it to St. Louis.

Up next- a blog on our shenanigans in St. Louis on Sunday. After that is my glass blowing class on Saturday. I’m waiting on the cup I made to be shipped to me so I can take pictures of it before I post anything. 😉