Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 Manifesto End of Year Wrap up!

Out with the old and in with the new! It’s been a year of ups and downs – but overall a good year of growth and of building relationships. I had a great experience with my 2012 manifesto, and completed a lot of things and had so many great experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me!

Happy New Year! And look for my 2013 Manifesto coming tomorrow! ūüėÄ

Check out how I did with my manifesto this past year:

2012 Manifesto

1.    Spend a day at an art museum Completed 1/14/12

2.    Start my own business- NOT COMPLETED THIS YEAR

3.    Work on the set for a play- NOT COMPLETED THIS YEAR

4.¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄėLearning new Recipes‚Äô Dinner with Anna/Lindsey twice a month- Completed throughout the year!

Jan. (1) Jan. (2) Feb. (1) Feb. (2) March (1) March (2) April (1) April (1) part 2  April (2) May (1) May (2) June (1) June (2) July (1) July (2) August (1) August (2) September (1) September (2) October (1) October (2) November (1) November (2) December (1) December (2)

5.    Go horseback riding Completed September 30, 2012

6.    Travel to Europe, Completed June 5-19

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9 (part 1), Day 9 (part 2), Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15

7.    Make a budget for my finances- NOT COMPLETED THIS YEAR

8.    Paint a landscape outdoors on a canvas Completed September 30, 2012

9.    Have a picnic with friends in a park Completed May 28, 2012

10. Complete my resume and portfolio Completed November 2012

Resume, Portfolio

11.  Go on a professional storm chase- NOT COMPLETED THIS YEAR

12.  Attend two concerts in a week… and live to tell the tale Completed the week of Jan. 17/19

13. ¬†Make my own version of an ‚ÄėEpic Rap Battles of History‚Äô video- NOT COMPLETED THIS YEAR

14.  Attend a wine tasting Completed September 29, 2012

15. (Self?)publish a book that I write and illustrate- NOT COMPLETED THIS YEAR

16.  Build a snowman Completed December 20, 2012

17.  Fly in a hot air balloon Completed August 10, 2012

18.  Send out Christmas cards to my loved ones Completed December 2102

19.  Make that skirt with the sewing machine I got Completed December 2012

20.  See an open air performance Completed October 6th and October 14th.

21.¬†¬†Read a book from the ‚Äėbanned books‚Äô list¬†Completed Banned Book week, September 30-October 6

22.  Read all of Jane Austen’s novels РCompleted throughout the year

Northanger Abbey Sense and Sensibility Pride and Prejudice Mansfield Park Persuasion

23. ¬†Organize my closets–¬†Completed December, 2012

24.  Visit an aquarium attraction Completed April 21, 2012 Also Completed May 20, 2012, Also Completed July 7th

25.  Catch up on scrap booking Completed December, 2012

26.  Pick apples in an orchard Completed September 9, 2012

27.  Buy a lottery ticket Completed November 28, 2012

28.  Go tubing in the snow- NOT COMPLETED THIS YEAR

29.  Write a poem Completed September 11, 2012

30.  Dress up for Halloween Completed October 31, 2012

31. Take a yoga class Completed April 17, 2012

32. Watch absolutely as much of the Olympics as I can РCompleted July 2012

Countdown, Opening Ceremony, London, Week 1, Week 2, Closing Ceremony

33.  Invent a board game Completed December 31, 2012

34.  Learn how to blow glass (lamp working) Completed November 3, 2012

35.  Volunteer my time for a worthy cause Completed December 8 & 9, 2012

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Happy New Year’s Eve!… 2nd December Recipe test with Anna!

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The very last recipe test of the year! It was  a really pretty snow day and a great time to reflect on the past year, wrap up my manifesto for next year, and to look forward to new experiences in 2013.

I chose to make penne with ‘The best spaghetti sauce you’ll ever have”, Grilled chicken with roasted tomato and oregano salsa, and Lemon Raspberry cake for dessert!

The cast of characters for the Lemon Raspberry cake:

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Anna grating the lemon:

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The mixture for the lemon filling:

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The raspberry sauce for the cake:

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Putting the filling in the loaf pan:

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The cast of characters for the sauce:

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3 burners at once!:

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The cast of characters for the chicken:

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Spices for the marinade:

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Veggies for the salsa:

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YUM!:

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Opening the champagne bottle for new years! This was  a new experience!

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The dinner was SO GOOD!!

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Feeling festive!

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Fun evening of board games and champagne- and waiting for the new year’s when we’ll have boyfriends/husbands- but in the meantime girl’s night is awesome!

Recipes:

The Best Pasta-with-Tomato-Sauce You’ll Ever Have
By Luisa from The Wednesday Chef
(Photos by Laura Ratliff)

This simple bowl of pasta is over-the-top amazing and so easy to boot. All you do is make a plain tomato sauce (empty a can of good-quality plum or cherry tomatoes into a pot, add two cloves of garlic, a sprinkle of salt to taste and a few spoonfuls of good-quality olive oil; and bring the tomatoes to a simmer before letting the sauce cook over medium-low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, adding some fresh basil at the end) and boil up a bunch of penne or rigatoni in salted water until they’re¬†al dente. Then, in a serving bowl, combine the drained pasta with the tomato sauce–but, before mixing it all together, add a big dollop of fresh ricotta (calculate a scant 1/4 cup per person). If you’re lucky enough to find ricotta imported from Italy, use that: it’s worth it. Working quickly, mix the cheese, sauce and pasta together until you have a pink sauce that’s fragrant and creamy and delicious, then serve IMMEDIATELY (passing grated Parmigiano at the table). Your guests will be floored.

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Tomato and Oregano Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)

Salsa

  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 small jalape√Īo, cored, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray

preparation

Combine first 8 ingredients in a plastic bag. Add chicken; marinate at least 30 minutes. Heat oven to 400¬įF. Cover a baking tray with foil. To make salsa, spread tomatoes on tray; drizzle with oil. Add salt and pepper. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Combine tomatoes, shallots, onion, jalape√Īo, garlic and oregano in a bowl. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade; cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, flip chicken and add leftover marinade to pan. Cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Cover chicken; cook 10 minutes. Divide among 4 plates; top each with 1/4 of the salsa. Serve immediately.

Lemon Raspberry Cake

YIELD: Makes one loaf.

Ingredients:

1 ¬Ĺ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¬ľ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 ¬ľ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
¬Ĺ teaspoon vanilla extract
¬Ĺ cup vegetable oil
juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons framboise liqueur* (raspberry liqueur)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup sugar (for sauce)

Directions:

Preheat the oven 350¬įF. Butter and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk and combine the buttermilk, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Mix the buttermilk mixture with the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the vegetable oil until evenly incorporated. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Allow batter to rest.

In a blender, blend the lemon juice, raspberries, framboise liqueur, and sugar. Blend until smooth. Take one ounce of the raspberry mixture, straining if desired, and drizzle lightly on top of the cake batter. Use a toothpick to swirl into the batter.

Place the loaf pan into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Strain the remaining raspberry mixture into a sauce pan. Add 1/3 cup sugar, and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool and set aside.

When the cake is done, let it cool on a wire rack. Serve the slices with the ruby raspberry sauce. Enjoy!

*Optional. If you do not have any raspberry liqueur, substitute with water.

¬†HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!! ūüėÄ

Inventing a board game!

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I did it! All year I was brainstorming how to make a ‘different’ board game- and with the recent Mayan “End of the world” business I had a idea.

My game is called “The Great Pacific Volcano ‘Adventure'” The players- up to 8, are tourists that have been captured by natives and are being led up a rope bridge on a volcano to be their ritualistic human sacrifices. Fun right? The object of the game is to be the last player standing- the last one to make it to the ‘finish’ (aka the open volcano at the center of the board).

All the items needed to get started, including an old board game I don’t want to play anymore:

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Rendering the logo for the top of the box:

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Gluing on the paper to the board:

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After I finished it, Anna and I played the game. I won both times!

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When you land on one of the Tiki masks you have to pick up a card and follow the instructions. They can help or hurt you. Here are a few of my favorites:

“The natives tickled you into submission. Go ahead 4 spaces.”

“You tried to make a great escape. Go back 2 spaces.”

“The natives push you forward. Go ahead 6 spaces.”

“You get stuck in a hole in the rope bridge. Skip a turn.”

“You got hit by a flying piece of lava. Ouch! Go forward 6 spaces.”

“You choked on volcano ash. Hope you feel better! Go ahead 4 spaces.”

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We played the game first with two dice, and then with just one. It worked out a lot better with one dice- we both ended up reading a lot more cards.

What is a game you would invent?

Catching up on Scrap booking

I love scrap booking, but for me I get it done in spurts. This time for instance, I was almost a year and a half behind. That’s a lot to catch up on! Here’s a sampling of the 100+ new pages I created.

Persuasion

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Persuasion is the last completed Jane Austen novel- and the final Jane Austen novel that I’ve read to complete my goal of reading them all this year. Persuasion was published after Austen’s death in December of 1817, but dated 1818. It has been described as the classic Cinderella story- with Anne Elliot as the heroine who is under appreciated and to some extent exploited and Captain Frederick Wentworth as the handsome suitor who seems to be more interested in the “more obvious” charms of others. There is the moment of realization and the happy ending- but I think the novel is more than that. Never in Cinderella do we get the background from the prince of how he has fretted over his decision, tried to forget about her, but was unable to fall out of love.

Austen fell ill with the disease that would kill her while writing this novel, and as a result it is shorter, and as I noticed, less polished than her other novels. It is also different from the others as it is the first novel in which Austen had a heroine who was ‘past the first bloom of youth’ – which I think is ridiculous, as I’m the same age as Anne in the novel. I’d like to point out a quote from Captain Wentworth ¬†here, “He inquired after you very particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little suspecting that to my eye you could never alter.” Le sigh.

I’ll admit I was annoyed with the characters dancing around getting to the meat of the situation- but then the letter that Captain Wentworth wrote for Anne while they were sitting in the same room- and delivered to her in secret sent me over the edge. I love this:

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are in my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. – Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? – I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others. – Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in

F.W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening, or never.”

Pardon me while I swoon. Yes, swoon.

All is forgiven.

I very much enjoyed reading all of Jane Austen’s novels over the past year. I had only read Pride and Prejudice before and it was great to round out my view of Austen as an author.

My favorite quotes from the novel:

“You pierce my soul”

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

“One man’s ways may be as good as another’s, but we all like our own best”

“A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman! He ought not; he does not.”

“To my eye you could never alter.”

Sewing a skirt

It’s been years since I’ve sewed anything. After my grandmother gave me her sewing machine for my birthday last year I immediately went out and got fabric and a pattern for a skirt. My grand plans of cranking out one article of clothing after another quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going to happen- but by stealing moments here and there I’ve finally finished it! I won’t be winning any grand champion awards at the fair mind you, but for going 10+ years without so much as blinking at a sewing machine I’d say I did a pretty darn good ¬†job. Here was my process, step by step:

1. After realizing I didn’t purchase enough fabric initially I went back out and got different fabric- and enough of it. First thing was to wash and iron it:

2. I pinned the pattern on to the fabric.

3. And then I cut the patterns out.

4. I set up the panels as the pattern indicated to create the draping.

There is a lot of fabric!

5. I basted the panels together before switching to the sewing machine.

6. Then I ironed the panels into place.

7. Then it was time to learn how to use the new sewing machine. And this machine is way more high-tech than I’ve been used to.

8. I learned how to load the bobbin.

9. And also how to thread the machine. I practiced on a scrap peice of fabric.

10. The practice went well!

11. So I jumped right into the skirt.

12. After sewing up the pieces together I ironed the seams.

13. And even though the directions didn’t mention it, finished off the edges so they look nice.

14. Boom. Fantastic.

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15. I sewed in the pockets- another new thing for me.

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16. And sewed up the sides.

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17. Then it came time to add the zipper and I had to switch out the foot and then figure out how to make the needle move over. On an computer in the machine. Also new.

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18. Thank goodness for directions- and I got to sewing in the zipper.

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19. Getting there!

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20. Lesson learned: If you have a sewing machine with a computer in it- at least the version I have then when you turn off the machine the needle goes back to it’s default position. If you try to sew something with a different foot then the needle breaks and almost hits you in the eye. Good thing it was attached to the thread and couldn’t reach me!

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21. Then I got to learn how to put a new needle in! The machine came with a little screwdriver for this purpose.

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22. Zipper in. Check.

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23. Likely not kosher- but I figured out the different thread pattern to use to close up the little area under the zipper without it puckering.

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24. I cut out fabric for the waistband and ironed on the basting for it.

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25. I ironed it into place. The directions were vague so I made this part up.

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26. I pinned on the waistband to the skirt.

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27. It makes a huge difference! I experimented in the back so the waistband overlaps itself.

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28. Next I hand sewed on the hook on the waistband.

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29. Looking good!

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30. Almost done- sewing the hemline.

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31. I cut off the extra, and cut off all of the extra threads, and gave it a good ironing.

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32. COMPLETE!

I wore it to my family’s church Christmas Eve Candlelight service. LOVE.

The pockets make me happy! ūüėÄ

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Happy sewing, and Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope your day was filled with family, love and lots of tasty goodies! Between the food hangover and breaking in all the new toys, lets remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Enjoy some of the lights from the season!

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And a video of an animated light show from a house that can always be counted on to have a great show:

Merry Christmas!!