Monthly Archives: July 2013

July Photo shoot: Reenactments of classic movie moments

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 of July are classic movie moments- all shots imitating a classic and recognizable moment from a great movie. Hope you enjoy!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s:




A Christmas Story:


Home Alone:


Singin’ in the Rain:



2nd July Recipe Test with Anna!

Just in the nick of time for the end of July I’ve got the second recipe test ready to be posted- Anna and I tried out a new main dish and dessert at my apartment. The main dish was alright, but the dessert was soooo good!! We made a Tomato Basil pasta dish and Apple Pie Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes:

The Cast of Characters for the Tomato Basil Pasta:


Making the sauce:

The Cast of Characters for the Apple Pie Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes:


Creating the delicious morsels of sugary pastry amazingness:

Enjoying our meal!


One Pot Wonder: Tomato Basil Pasta


12 ounces linguine pasta
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth, not low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with olive oil.

2. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – leave about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

Apple Pie Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced in to 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of half lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 can (12.4 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls
  • whipped cream
  • caramel-flavored syrup
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray 8 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. In 10-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add apples; cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, the cinnamon and salt. Cook 5 minutes longer or until tender. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix butter, flour, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and walnuts with fork or hands until crumbly. Set aside.
  • Separate dough into 8 rolls. Flatten each into 4-inch round; place in muffin cup. Divide apple filling evenly onto rolls in muffin cups. Divide flour mixture evenly over apples.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until bubbly and tops are lightly browned. Cool slightly before removing from muffin cups. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.Serve cupcakes topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of syrup.

Exploring local towns: St. Joseph, Missouri

This past Sunday I had a fantastic time visiting one of my best friends Lindsey in St. Joseph, Missouri where she and her husband live. We made a girl’s day of it and Lindsey, Anna and I spent a day on the town. Here’s a few shots of our fun day- and a new experience (at least for me) in this historic and cute city:

1 Year, 100 Movies: #56 Jaws (1975)


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!

Jaws- another classic film on this list that I have not seen before. Like most of the others like it, I enjoyed this one too.

The first scene gives us a glimpse into the horrors that this massive shark is capable of. A girl is dead in the summer tourist beach town of Amity, and the new Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) struggles to close the beaches. The Mayor (Murray Hamilton) is only concerned about the cash flow that comes in during the summer season. They hold a town hall meeting to tell the locals and merchants of the danger. Sam Quint (Robert Shaw) gives a foreboding speech of what is to come, but the town is focused on its economic needs and having fun in the sun. Brody calls in an expert on sharks, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), who does research and investigation. A shark is caught, but Hooper discovers the killer shark is still on the loose. All appeals to the mayor fall on deaf ears.

When another victim is discovered the mayor cannot stand in the way anymore. Brody, Hooper and Quint sail off to face the shark on the open water. There are some very cool moments aboard this ship. The characters are expanded further and given real depth. The story line unfolds into a horrible fight for survival from this blood-thirsty shark. The shark itself while underwater is mysterious and frightening. Above water however he’s showing his age. It looks like a well made but half-broken robot shark that was likely incredible in 1975, but by today’s standards doesn’t meet par. As ‘Jaws’ is a thriller and not a comedy, it’s necessary to believe that the shark is actually after these people to be believable, and only falls a little flat in the areas when the shark breaks the surface. All in all the movie does hit the mark- a young director Spielberg creates a classic, and John Williams gives us one of the most recognizable pieces of music in movie history.

I want to note here also that I think sharks are incredible and are creatures to be respected, not feared. Also I absolutely love Shark Week on the Discovery channel, and all throughout this film I was thinking, oh-  that statement about sharks is outdated… and so is that one. The film’s key mistake was portraying great white sharks as vengeful predators that would remember certain humans and hunt them to settle a grudge. It is sad and shameful that this film spurred dozens of shark fishing tournaments, based on the thought that they were ‘man-killers’. At least an inadvertent benefit came about in that because of the calamitous drop in shark numbers (this film had only been a part of a growing shark-hunting trend) scientists became aware of the need to learn more about sharks. This resulted in increased funding for research, and knowledge of these incredible creatures . Hopefully with shows like those on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and other similar programs we are becoming more aware that sharks are just something you need to be aware of like anything else in a natural environment.

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


Cake 9: My Brother Kevin’s Birthday party

This past Saturday we went to the zoo and played black light mini golf for my brother Kevin’s birthday. We had a great day and topped it off with a picnic outside on my grandparent’s covered patio with much needed rain pattering overhead and thunder rumbling. A beautiful day.

This is Kevin’s requested chocolate cookie as his ‘cake’- topped with frosting and cut outs of fondant dyed blue. Rave reviews!

Happy Birthday Kev!!!



1st July Recipe Test with Anna!

This past Sunday evening Anna and I tested a couple of new recipes at her apartment. Both are keepers! We made stuffed crust pizza snacks and Watermelon Limeade as a cool summer drink.

The cast of characters for the stuffed crust pizza snacks:


Just roll out the pizza crust, divide it into squares, add cheese and pepperoni (or any fillings you like), and roll them up into little pockets. Spray the tops and sprinkle on the seasoning.

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The Cast of Characters for the Watermelon Limeade:


Just cut up the watermelon and blend it – then strain it (before you add the sugar, don’t be like me)- add the sugar and lime juice to the liquid, and voila!

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The finished meal- bon appetite!


So tasty, just enough for a light summer dinner!

The Recipes:

Stuffed Crust Pizza Snacks Recipe

What You Need

1 can of Pillsbury refrigerated classic pizza crust

Mozzarella Cheese

20 pieces of pepperoni ( small)

1/8 cup of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

Parmesan cheese

Pizza Sauce – Warm

What To Do

Preheat oven to 400

Roll out dough and cut into 20 rectangle

Place a small amount of mozzarella and pepperoni in the center of each

Now fold the dough together wrapping around the filling- you want to make a pocket.

Place each bite onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper – seam side down.

In a small bowl mix oil and seasonings.

Brush seasoning on the bites. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with pizza sauce

Enjoy :)

Watermelon Limeade


  • 8 cups cubed watermelon (seeds removed), or 1 quart watermelon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Lime slices, for garnish (optional)


  1. Place half of the watermelon cubes in a blender and process until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl; discard the solids. Repeat with the remaining watermelon cubes. You should end up with about 1 quart of watermelon juice.
  2. Add the lime juice and sugar to the watermelon juice, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Taste, and add more sugar if necessary. Transfer the limeade to a nonreactive pitcher and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  3. Serve over ice, with lime slices for garnish.

1 Year, 100 Movies: #57 Rocky (1976)

rocky-posterFor 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!

Believe it or not I’ve never seen Rocky before. It’s shocking, I know. I was really missing out. I loved this film. Rocky held my attention from the opening scene to the end credits.

It’s the classic underdog story based on a boxer past his prime who has never honed the skill that he has. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) is a softhearted ‘debt collector’ for a loan shark in Philly, who fights in the local boxing club. He falls for the local pet store clerk, Adrian (Talia Shire), who is his friend Paulie’s (Burt Young) sister. The current heavyweight boxing champion, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is looking for a new opponent for the heavily publicized New Year’s Eve bout after Mac Lee Green bows out with an injured hand, and he decides to find an unknown and unranked local fighter. He chooses Rocky because he likes his nickname, ‘The Italian Stallion.’

The relationship that Rocky and Adrian have is an unusual Hollywood tale. Each of them are a bit awkward, and they are in their early thirties- very different from most of the Hollywood romances we get today. Rocky talks all the time, and although much of his dialogue is of little consequence, his tone and delivery – and those nuggets of truth give us a measure of his character. Adrian is quiet and painfully shy, but Talia Shire’s acting is of such quality that she can portray the depth of her character through the silence. He draws her out of her shell and she makes him a better person and a better fighter. This relationship is one of my favorites that has come from the ‘silver screen’. It’s tender, real and wonderful.

Back to the boxing. Rocky trains with Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), a 1920’s-era ex-bantamweight fighter, and gym owner, who considers Rocky’s potential to be wasted from lack of effort. Even though Mickey had never made Rocky a priority before, Rocky accepts his offer to train because he really can learn from him. Rocky’s friend Paulie also lets him practice punching the carcasses hanging in the freezers at the meat packing plant he works at, (never any news on how the owner feels about the free meat-tenderizer). Here we get – to my opinion – the best sports movie montage ever of Rocky training for the big fight. He knows it’s his last big shot.

After the big match both fighters are just destroyed, but they have a moment of equality and respect. Apollo says there will not be a rematch and Rocky says he doesn’t want one. Apollo fended off this unexpected ‘cinderella’ opponent, and Rocky made it through all the rounds. This is where we have the famous scene where Rocky is calling for Adrian through the crowd. He’s just held his own with the defending heavyweight champion and all he can think about is her, he just wants her there to share in this momentous moment with him.

After I watched this movie I was surprised and impressed to find out that Sylvester Stallone not only starred in this film, but he also wrote the story. It’s the movie that turned Stallone into a star, spawned five sequels, and was the highest grossing film of 1976. It also won three Oscars, including Best Picture. I went into this film not knowing much about Stallone, and came out a fan.

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