Monthly Archives: February 2013

February Photo shoot: Repetition

For My monthly photo shoot, I will come up with a theme and document it to the best of my ability and talent- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and strike a pose.

My theme for the month is repetition, hope you enjoy:

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Cake Decoration 1 (and 2): Mom’s Birthday!

For one year I will make a birthday cake for all of my immediate family and close friends- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and can I borrow a cup of sugar? 😉

For my mom’s birthday this past weekend I made a cake from scratch – unfortunately from a really shady recipe I found online so it flopped. Tasted more like dry bread than cake. Since I decorated it with a semi ombre ‘flower’ design we had it as a birthday-eve celebration.

Cake 1:

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Since time was short, I made the second cake from a box and used pre-made frosting with ziplock baggies as a frosting tool. Mcgyver’d the entire thing, but it was delicious!

Cake 2:

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1 Year, 100 Movies: #88 Bringing Up Baby (1938)

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For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

I expected to like this movie- but I didn’t expect how funny it would be! It was a completely relaxing and fun experience- and is a movie I will have add to my  collection. Both Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn were amazing and had such great on screen chemistry. The movie was fantastic from the word go.

Grant plays David Huxley, a mild and conservative paleontologist who after four years is about to complete the reconstruction of the skeleton of a brontosaurus. The only bone missing is the intercostal clavicle, which the archeologists have just found and have sent to him. He is also engaged to the unfeeling Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker) who only cares about the work that he is accomplishing. To add to his stress he must impress Mrs. Random (May Robson) because she is considering donating one million dollars to the museum. He really needs a night out.

Hepburn plays Susan Vance, a free-spirited lady who initially unknown to Huxley, is Mrs. Random’s rich niece. Her brother has sent her a tame leopard from Brazil named ‘Baby’ for her aunt, and believing Huxley is a zoologist rather than a paleontologist, she stops at nothing to get him to help her take care of the leopard. Once she decides she’s in love with him she stops at nothing to keep him.

Hijinks ensue- including a wild and tame leopard swap, and the pet dog George stealing the intercostal clavicle bone and burying it somewhere on Mrs. Random’s extensive property. Of course at the end Huxley gives in and realizes he can’t live without Vance- but not before she looses her balance on the ladder and jumps down upon his skeleton of the brontosaurus, sending it crashing to the ground. 🙂

A very enjoyable movie- do yourself a big favor and make sure you see it!

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:5star

Food and Basketball… 2nd February Recipe Test with Anna!

Our chilly February recipe test at my apartment took SO long to make, but it was worth it! Risotto takes a long time to make! On the menu: Red wine Mascarpone Risotto and Creamy Lemon Oat Bars.

Cast of characters for the Red Wine Mascarpone Risotto:

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Cast of Characters for the Creamy Lemon Oat Bars:

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Making the Creamy Lemon Oat Bars:

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Making the Red Wine Mascarpone Risotto:

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Snacking while stirring in the chicken stock- it took so long!

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Bon Appetite!

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Basketball after our late lunch- it had been awhile!

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Recipes:

Creamy Lemon Oat Bars

Ingredients


  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to make it


  • Heat oven to 375F degrees.
  • Coat 8×8 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix milk, lemon zest and lemon juice in medium bowl until thickened; set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in medium bowl until crumbly.
  • Press half of the crumbly mixture in pan; bake about 10 minutes or until set.
  • Spread lemon milk mixture over baked crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture over the lemon milk mixture, press down gently.
  • Bake about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is set but soft. Cool completely. Cut 4 rows by 4 rows.

Red Wine Mascarpone Risotto

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablepspoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested

Instructions

  1. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add the butter and melt. Add the shallots and garlic and stir for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the rice and stir until it just begins to toast.
  2. Continue to cook the rice for about 1 more minute and then add the wine. Once the wine has evaporated, add the chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir the rice constantly and add another 1/2 cup of stock once the previous addition has been absorbed. Continue this process till you have no more stock.
  3. Once all the stock has been absorbed, remove the rice from the heat and add the mascarpone cheese as well as chives, lemon zest and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Season with salt and stir to combine.
  4. Let the risotto sit for 2 minutes and then serve.

1 Year, 100 Movies: #89 The Sixth Sense (1999)

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For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

The fact that I kind of liked this movie was so surprising to me. I’m not a ‘scary movie’ person by any stretch of the imagination, but this movie was teetering more on the psychological thriller side, a genre of movie that I appreciate more.  However the ‘surprise’ twist ending however was lost on me because this movie came out while I was in high school and inevitably I heard what the suprise ending was in the corridors- which made the entire viewing very different than what it would have been going into it unknowing.

First I must say that Bruce Willis is and will always be one of my favorite actors. His performace in this movie just cemented that fact further. A-MAZ-ING. Haley Joel Osment was also superb.

This movie is based on the idea that a troubled young boy, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), is able to see and talk to the dead. A child psychologist, Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) tries to help him. He suggests that Cole listen to them and try to help them if he can. Cole ends up following his advice and helps a girl reveal who her killer was. Cole tells his mother everything in the end, and she believes him when he tells her that her mother really did watch her dance recitals from the back- and gives her the answer to her question for her mother after she died, ‘Every day’. His mother reveals her question was ‘Do I make you proud?’ (Here starts the waterworks).  Then- and here’s the real spoiler- (don’t keep reading if you plan to watch the movie and haven’t!): Malcolm realizes that he is dead! He was the entire time he was helping Cole.

I was surprised how emotional it was- especially at the end. That was an element I didn’t expect at all, but I’m glad of it.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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1 Year, 100 Movies: #90 Swing Time (1936)

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For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

This was a fun movie. The dancing and singing is, of course, incredible. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers have amazing on-screen chemistry. While the plot has been critized by many, the dance numbers and dialogue are just as good as any other Fred and Astaire movie. And then there are the songs! “The Way you Look Tonight” – one of my favorite ‘love songs’ was original to this movie! It became Astaire’s most successful hit record. Another song I enjoyed was “A Fine Romance” which is sung alternativly by Astaire and Rogers and includes a hilarious scene in the snow to boot.

Unfortunately this movie marked the decline of Astaire and Roger’s public popularity- no movie they did together did as well as this movie or the ones before. However this one still was a hit, grossing over two million dollars.

John “Lucky” Garnett (Fred Astaire) is a gambler and dancer who is engaged to a girl back home, but because of her father, to marry her he has to go to New York to earn $25, 000 as a sign of good faith. Once in the city, he meets Penny (Ginger Rogers), and he asks her for change for a quarter. It turns out it was his lucky quarter and so he and his friend Pop get it back by causing a minor scene. To apologize for Pop stealing back the quarter, he follows her to where she works- a dance instructional studio. In order to talk to her he takes lessons from her even though he is very good already. My favorite scene is when Penny is fired because her boss overhears her say that she can’t teach him to dance and he should save his money- and he saves her job by pulling out all the stops with her on the dance floor.

The two end up dancing together throughout the movie. John wins enough money to go back to Margaret (his girl back home), but calls it off at the last second, proving he loves Penny. The two dance around the subject (literally and figuratively) until of course, we get our happy ending. While the plot is not the best ever, it is simple and relaxing to follow.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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1 Year, 100 Movies: #91 Sophie’s Choice (1982)

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For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

This film tells the story of a Polish immigrant, Sophie Zawistowski (Meryl Streep),  her lover Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline), and their new neighbor, writer Stingo (Peter MacNicol). We get a glimpse of things to come with Nathan’s explosion at Sophie the first time Stingo sees either of them. They all soon become the best of friends and share many good experiences while getting to know one another. It soon comes out through Stingo’s perspective and Sophie’s flashbacks that Sophie was interned in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and lost her two children, a young boy and girl there.

I won’t give away the revelation in the plot- but I will say that it explains why Sophie is so sad and keeps going back to Nathan, even though he can be violent- and (unbenounced to her) is a paranoid schizophrenic. The revelation also explains what Sophie’s choice was- and following that the new choice that leads to the conclusion to the movie. So sad. 😦

This movie was great for several reasons. The main reason is Meryl Streep. She’s simply amazing. I totally get what the big deal is now. Also, the flashbacks to the concentration camp scenes are worth the cost of admission alone. There’s one scene in particular where Sophie gets caught by the commandants’ child trying to steal the radio to use for the internal resistance in the camp. She faints and the child talks to her instead of getting her in trouble. She tells her about her childhood growing up and shows her pictures in her scrapbook. In the scrapbook were pictures of when her family was stationed at the Dachau Concentration camp. This was particularly interesting (and unsettling) for me since I toured the Dachau camp last summer on my trip to Europe. You can see that post here.

It’s not a movie you could watch frequently since it’s so emotionally draining, but if you’ve never seen it do yourself a favor and make sure you do.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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