Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Bra Purse: A Humorous Christmas Story

First, I have to say, my poor husband was definitely dealing with an estrogen explosion this night. Lucky for him the Wii was there to help him survive it.

Our friend and current roomie needed a gag gift for her company party gift exchange, and she needed it asap since her original idea rather fell apart. Twizzlers and hot glue don't mix so well I guess.  Lucky for her, there were about six females total in the room! Give us 10 seconds and we have a creative idea you can make in about as long as it took to think it up! Inside reports say that significant embarrassment was induced.

Step One: You need a Bra, the flashier the better, although if you have enough craft supplies flashiness is easily achieved through alternate routes.

Step Two: Align the two cups together, make sure the straps aren't all wonky and tucking the material that goes around the rib cage into the cups. Glue the cups together along the edges. We used hot glue but a good fabric glue would be just fine.

Step Three: Once the glue has dried, align the material you tucked into the cups (which are now, for all intents and purposes, the exterior of the purse) and glue together to make a handy pocket.

Step Four: Embellish with glitter or rhinestones. or feathers. or any other flamboyantly appropriate item. tassels maybe.  this is not a time to hold back your creativity! have at it!

Step Five: Have your lovely assistant pose for documentation of the fun.
Step Seven: Fill the purse with other embarrassing items, such as fake breast enhancement pills (take a medicine bottle, change the label, fill with MnM's for the "pills") or a breast enhancement cream (pretty much the same idea, just with lotion).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reverb10 #'s 2 ad 3

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

I would say that I cook, clean, interact with others but really it all contributes to my writing. I couldn't write without influence, food or some sense of order to keep my brain from being distracted. These things are all needed. And the other things I do my grandmother, encourage my husband and support my brother... well they might not contribute to my writing but I won't eliminate it. That's pretty much my life right now. 

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

We were swimming in the pacific, the bay was warm and clearer than any other water I had ever been in. Glassy, soft, enveloping. All the while that we explored,  a haze over our vision from fogged up lenses and sand stirred up by the occasional rolling wave. The rocky barrier was invigorating to climb over, the current pulling one direction and then the next, the water getting so shallow you could barely float over the jagged surface. It was an adventure, the possibility of unknowns and being overcome together. It was an experience to get the adrenaline up a notch in your system. We swam past and on and on, clicking noises of the fish eating algae off the rocks, eagerly we looked for more and more life. Its a strange, indescribable feeling when the earth drops out from under you...and yet you're floating...its ominous, the concept of depth is there in all its undeniable reality. Its overwhelming, invigorating, inviting and frightening. We float there for a moment, taking it all in- The drop in the waters temperature, deeper gradient of the blue, the unmistakable feeling that out there something could be much bigger than you and hungry enough to consider you a meal. When I can't take it anymore, I tap out, pulling my husband's arm to get his attention. His eyes are wide, he nods and holding hands we turn to go.

Monday, December 27, 2010

One Word

December 1 - One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

The first word that came to my mind was "Hope" and I had to think about it a little before I even knew the extent of  why that word is so descriptive for 2010. So much happened! I probably won't even remember it all if I list it. The DIY wedding, moving five times,  money concerns, job changes, family matters, family health matters... I suppose 2010 will be remembered as a year of change, transition, but within all of that commotion you have to have something to hold on to or you'll just get washed away by it all. It's the hope for something better, maybe, or the hope that things are not as out of control as they seem. That it's all, in someway, Ok. Maybe you know why, maybe you don't, but knowing is the key to it. The faith that feeds the hope and vice versa. Its hard to have one without the other.

I hope (there's that word again) that in 2011 the word will be Growth. I was going to say "fulfillment" like the fulfillment of a promise you're hoping for, but I think even progress towards fulfillment of a promise would be enough for me :) And Change is different that Growth. Growth means you have a place to take root, it means you've found a foundation and you're settling in, getting a process going. I could go for that!


So I am late to the game on this but it seems like such a great idea that I decided to go for it anyway. You should check out Reverb10 for more info or just to peruse the concepts of others. Here's the general rules:

Here are the rules:

  1. The Reverb 10 challenge starts at midnight on Dec 01, 2010 and ends at 11:59pm on Dec 31, 2010. Each day we'll post the prompt to
  2. Create something, blog or journal on each of the 31 days.
  3. Tweet (using the hash tag #reverb10) to signal you'd like someone from Team Reverb to visit your blog and read your post. Tag it #reverb10 on Delicious.
  4. Support the community by reading and commenting on one other person's post each day.
I barely squeezed in! but i am going to do it anyway. Isn't this a fantastic way to wrap up the year? =D I am excited. Ok gonna go work on the first one.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Brunch

Gale Gand's Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal

Today could be amazing, I am hoping for amazing, because I am going to be making recipes out of this book I "got for Christmas" (ok i saw it in a store, it was on sale and I begged my husband to get it. It didn't take much really, considering it has a recipes for White Hot Chocolate and he loves white chocolate...)So you wanna know what I am going to make?! Here's the menu:

White Hot Chocolate with Orange
Baked Eggs in Ham Cups
(Possibly) Roasted Pears (i have to see if i remembered orange juice... OH and thanks to our Aunt and Uncle for the special delivery of the pears!! yay!)
Egg Nog French Toast
Goat Cheese and Chive Hashbrowns
Herbed Mini Popovers

Does it sound AMAZING? Do you see how this could potentially go wrong? Its a lot to undertake, especially when I have never made any of it before. BUT I am going to give it a go!  :) As long as its still edible I am sure it will be fine.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mushroom-Brie Soup ala Me

So its snowing like crazy outside, and after shoveling, having a snow fight, playing snow-baseball, building a snowman... I thought it was time for some soup! Back home, a deli near my parents had this Mushroom Brie cream soup. It was AMAZING. So I made one up after looking over a few other versions. This is a random compilation all my own! Yay!

1 1/2 c. dry sherry
6 c. chicken stock
2 T butter
1/3 c. diced ham
4 strips turkey bacon, diced
10 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 T cornstarch
12 oz Brie cheese - rind removed, room temperature
1/3 c. white onion (shallots would probably taste better but i didn't have any on hand)
12 oz Brie cheese, trimmed and cubed
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp pepper

Boil sherry to reduce by half; set aside. In large saucepan melt butter, stir in mushrooms, shallots, ham and bacon. Cook over medium high heat, 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in cornstarch, add stock and sherry. Bring to boil then simmer 15 mintues. Add brie, stir to melt. Add 1/2 and 1/2 and pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and either serve as is (which is what I did because the peoples were hungry) OR puree in batches (OR try an immersion blender) and serve it creamy.

 The Verdict: Tasty goodness, the masses enjoyed it :)I think it would work great minus the meat too, but it was the whole dinner so i needed some protein in there.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Well maybe I WILL

Scott and I are staying at my cousins till we figure out where we settle down etc. Her roomie said rent could be paid in meals. We are on week two and guess what....they think I should open a restaurant :) I am so flattered!! It's pretty awesome =D

So we were picking out meals for next week and everyone felt like nachos. I LOVE nachos. I do not love plastic cheese. So thanks to google i have discovered a very nifty blog called "How To Cook Like Your Grandmother: A Guide to Cooking with Real Food the Way Your Grandma Used To." Fo realz!?! That's like....exactly what I want to do! So here's a preview of my future adventures in cooking this week:

Also on the menu, Mushroom and Brie Soup. I will probably wing this one. Add some sherry, that kind of thing. Nom.

Amy who?

I am sure I am way behind on the times here but you really can't fault me toooooo much, I am bad with names! and i forget things unless i write them down... yeah, this is why i have gadgets to help me. trees were being sacrificed to my lack of capacity to recall things.


Amy Sedaris, have you heard of her? I have heard her name dropped in crafty podcasts and I always think, as I am driving, gee i should look her up, whoever she is. Then the subject changes on the podcast or i get home or the wind blows west instead of east and i forget. BUT NO LONGER! (thank you, Steven Colbert, btw) See, its kind of a big deal. And it was totally a "Oh heeeeeerrr" moment. I was not expecting that. And it makes me want to buy her books! If they're as funny as her blog is so far, I think this is right up my ally :) Her latest one is Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People but she's also got I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. I wonder if its at the library.....hmmm......

So i just had to share my little discovery :) At least this time it wasn't years later like with Handmade Nation.... :) yay me!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Throw a Party: Part Three-Lighting

So, you've chosen your theme, you've gotten your invitations going....really everything else is all in preparation for the big moment when everyone arrives at the house/place of partying. The remaining elements (Lighting, Music, Decorations, Treats/Food, Entertainment, Clothing, Beverages) are not exactly in any given order of priority, although the food typically isn't made too far ahead. SO, while you might want to decide what you're going to eat and drink that day, you really are going to focus and more so on decoration type things as the day approaches. Lighting can be a big part of the ambiance, though how big really depends on the party.

In general, a good place to start is to think about how to make a space more intimate for your guests. Think about your local Starbucks, they don't have bright florescence lighting going on, they big windows letting in daylight and soft, warm light from multiple lamps. It feels like a comfortable space one wants to sit back and relax in, chat with friends etc. Recreating that is pretty easy, just think smaller light sources rather than your bright over head lighting, light bulbs with warmer light and/or candles. You probably don't want to go ALL candles, unless you want THAT kind of intimate space... just sayin'...

Lighting can also help you enhance a major theme, like Halloween, Christmas, Oscar Awards, etc. if that's what you want to do. There are some incredibly unique ideas out there, often inexpensive and gorgeous too. For example, a great Christmas idea (if you live in an area that is friggin' cold) is shown here by Creative Juices For Decor. This concept warmly welcomes your guests, putting them in that Christmas spirit before they've even walked through the door! Other ways to light up your entry way include strings of lights, outdoor candle holders, lanterns, glow-in-the-dark objects, tiki torches, electronic tealights (a great option if you don't feel comfortable with putting candles inside paper or fabric luminaries, or if you have kids about, etc.) ... and these can all be used for a myriad of parties. Think outside the box on how to make them unique to your needs:

  • Dress up a more classic or standard candle holder with ribbon
  • Use vellum paper to make covers for the string of LED bulbs for a look specific to your needs, or cupcake liners like Camilla at Family Chic.
  • Create a shape on a wall or ceiling using strings of lights
  • Hang paper lanterns in a "clump" for an inexpensive chandelier look  
  • Wrap candleholders with tissue paper or fabric in your party colors for a whole new look
  • Use wire to hang jars or other candleholders 
  • Colorful paperbags make great luminaries, and using a crafty punch can make the edges have a special something more
  • Use colorful sand, rocks, beads, or combination thereof inside a clear candleholder and then nestle the candle within that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scrappy Scarf

I know, third blog of the day can you tell I have no job?! :) It's ok, I'm still productive. In fact, I have evidence of this! Despite my craft stuff all being in storage, I still managed to make something. Just goes to show you can't keep a good crafter down.
You see this? This is a bunch of scraps from a friends No Sew Blanket project. The kit she bought was wonky, one blanket was much larger than the other, and so she had to do a lot of clipping to get it to work properly. Hence, extra fluffy flannel material! I couldn't just...get rid of it. Its against a code or something, isn't it? I am sure I read this somewhere. All the pieces were about and inch wide and anywhere from an 1 1/2 to 3 inches long so I just did what you do with the blanket kit they came from: I tied them in knots. I worked from the middle, so that it came out equal on both sides and just kind of went until it was long enough to be called a scarf. It was kind of like two knot chains that joined together in the middle on occasion so it could be one big chain. I should have done a video. or taken more pictures. Still learning this whole "tutorial" thing...but it was a pretty easy concept! Anyways, once it was done it looked like this:
Cute huh!? Ok, so it was a lot cuter than I expected it to be, but i wore it today and got compliments on it. By my grandma. And you know you better not say my grandma is wrong! heard me.... :)

How to Throw a Party: Part Two-Invitations

Do you really need an invitation for your party? Of course you do! Its the mood-setter, so to speak. It tells the guests what to expect, what to bring... its the teaser. Feel the pressure? Well, lucky for you, you're probably inviting friends and family that don't mind too much if your teaser isn't engraved on card stock. There, feel better now?

If that's the case, and I really hope it is because no one needs that kind of anxiety ever, then your next step is basically deciding paper or digital. Neither is "better," but one might suite you or your party better. That just depends and I'm going to let you make that choice.

Some definite pros about going digital is that, for starters, its "green" because you don't use any paper products. Its all pixels, baby. Another plus is that its usually everyone's favorite word: Free. Also, if you're comfortable with it, it can be as easy as fill in the blank. If you're not the kind to want to spend a lot of time on invitations, or if you're just plain pressed for time in general, digitally inviting people to a function can be really helpful. There are a myriad of choices to go with and it comes back to preference, however, I really think you should consider the whole ambiance thing we talked about. It might be faster/easier to just write an email and send it out, but don't forget you're setting the tone for your party too. Even a basic email (or facebook event) can have a color scheme or a picture. But to be honest, if you're really that computer shy that you would avoid using something like or then you might want to think about doing a paper invitation instead.

Paper invitations can be as easy as buying the Winnie the Pooh cards at Vons for your kids Pooh Bear themed party. But you can also have some fun and make a memory by going DIY. Your budget doesn't have to suffer, but unless you plan to hand out every single invite you should at least expect to pay for postage. If you don't want to buy your invites at Vons OR like to support small business endeavors, then another option is to hop on your or and look up a stationary store. If you want that crafty look but don't feel crafty enough to do it yourself (or, again, like supporting small business), there are plenty of shops on that will help you design a beautiful, fun, unique invitation all your own.

If you're in the mood for some crafty adventures, then prepare to DIY! When it comes to doing it yourself, you have a wide range on the budget. You can even keep them costless if you have enough materials around!

The main key is: Think outside the box.  Have a bunch of old magazines you don't look at anymore? Try cutting out colors, pictures and words that fit your theme and create unique, individual invites. You can combine this with other media (like fabric, buttons, ribbon, sketches, crayon, pen, photos, etc.) to get different looks. All you need is some paper, card stock or even card board to paste everything to and some Mod Podge. The possibilities are endless.  If you're doing a kids birthday party or other celebration, try including them in the process by drawing or painting pictures with them to be used on the invitation. They will love it and the recipients will get that warm feeling inside just looking at that totally cute art piece by your little artist. (If you have a lot of invitations to make then you might want to take one big piece of paper, have the kiddos go hog wild on it and then cut it up into smaller mini art works to glue onto the invitations. Remember, its not about child labor, its about having fun!)

Thinking outside the box is key to finding and integrating less expensive supplies too. If you do have to buy something, try looking around your local dollar store first. They carry some craft supplies and what they carry changes, so you never know what you may come across that could fit the bill. But don't just look in the craft section, look around and think of how you can use other items to make it work. Doing a Valentines Day theme? Try using that pack of doilies and offset them on colored paper. Want a light and airy spring time look? Try using coffee filters to make flowers or butterflies (use water colors to paint them). Feeling stuck? Browse some websites for inspiration and then make up your own thing. You can do it :) And you should totally share your idea with others.

How to Throw a Party: Part One-Ambiance

am·bi·ance also am·bi·ence  (mb-ns, ä-byäs)
The special atmosphere or mood created by a particular environment: "The noir ambience is dominated by low-key lighting . . . and deep shadows, creating feelings of disorientation, loneliness and entrapment" (UCLA Film/TV Archive).

[French, from ambiant, surrounding, from Latin ambins, ambient-; see ambient.]

There are several aspects to putting on a fun party. Mainly you're going for "ambiance," but ambiance can get expensive when, for example,  you don't live in a mansion but you want your house to have that haunted mansion feel, not that Haunted Upstairs Apartment feel. Even when you're not going full hog on some themed out party you can end up spending a wad on ambiance. Then again, ambiance can SAVE you a ton!

Ambiance keeps your party planning focused. Its the first and most important step in your planning because everything hinges on that decision. You don't want to go out and buy a mess of modern cartoony Santa Claus paper plates only to change your color scheme to vintage, right? Sure the show could go on, but wouldn't it be nice to just have it right the first time? You'll feel better, rather than getting stuck thinking about how you coulda-woulda-shoulda. It can also save you some dough because you can choose to come up with a theme that compliments the setting you've already got, thus less work for yourself and your wallet.  That's all up to you and your creative juices.

So how do you create the ambiance, once you've decided what you wanna go for? These are the aspects that I find go into it:

Some of you, this is all you need to know. Heck, maybe you didn't even need to know this! But plain and simple, these are the basics. They can be subtle, but they are all part of the whole and if you can manage to cover all of these bases in some way then you're party will be that much better! (In future posts I am going to cover each with some basic brainstorming, etc. Don't worry, I won't leave you hanging!)

Coming up! Part Two: Invitations

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Job Hunting and Encouragement

You know it ain't no use, banging your head, up against that cold stone wall,
Cause nobody's perfect, except for the Lord, and even the best bound to fall,
Remember He is de vine, and you are de branch,
He'd love to get you through it if you'd give Him a chance,
Just keep doing your best,
And pray that it's blessed,
And Jesus takes care of the rest.
Yes the Lord said that He'd take care of the rest, He's gonna do it,
He'll take care of the rest, He'll see you through it,
He'll take care of the rest, the devil blew it,
He'll take care of the, He'll take care of the rest.
Keith Green: The Ministry Years 1977-1979

Friday, December 3, 2010

Adventures in Moving

The hubby and I just moved from the central coast to lovely eastern Oregon/ western Idaho. Ugh. It took EIGHTEEN AND A HALF HOURS but you know what made it bearable? The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero. It's like 500 pages long and we about went hoarse reading it for that long but so far its pretty fun. Thanks to my sister-in-law for that awesome idea, otherwise we might have been a Donner party sequel or something! 

Part of our transition across such a distance includes staying with my cousin and her friend until we figure out where we wanna park ourselves long term. Our "rent" is to cook tasty meals and you know I am all for tasty meals. So on Wednesday night, in honor of the snow day, we made stew. Total win. However,  I don't think I will post the recipe because if you know anything about stew you know it's just a bunch of whatever thrown together. Just make it chunky pieces. This is what makes it stew. If the pieces are small then it's soup. Just ask my mom. 

I wonder if my mom knows that I include her in so many of my blogs.... think I'll start tagging her...


Tonight, my cousin and I made Loaded Baked Potato soup, which was actually a recipe from Pampered Chef. I made one change though and I thought I would mention it because....'tis the season for left over mashed potatoes. Which we had. So I added them to the soup and it made for more creamy awesome! Yay! so... that's my cooking tip of the week. I know it's not much but...I just moved from one state to another and I don't really care :P HA! In fact, you might have to continue to suffer for an unknown period of time considering ALL of my crafting supplies are in storage right now. Fortunately, my cousin is going to show me how to use her looming stuff so I don't think I will go completely crazy :) yet.....mwahahahahaha

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I defeat you vile Evil-Doer!!!

So....its what...9 am? And already I am making the world a safer place.

How's that you ask?

Well, I have this item on craigslist I am trying to sell and I got a hit, talked to this person all day yesterday. They wanted me to send this thing to ENGLAND. Um....ok. Did you know it's about $300 to send a ten pound box to Manchester? Me niether...but I do now! Anyway, I obviously wasn't going to send anything till i had money, the grand total should be $675 they asked for a pay pal email so they can pay me that way.


Today, I check my spam and low and behold I have five notifications from "Pay Pal." They were a pleasure to read, really, because they were so obviously written by someone too stupid to successfully pull off a least against me. I mean, obviously if i am just typing i* make mistakes (see?) but would pay pal in a professional message? Of course not.


I only wish you could see the way i would make this bleed red ink for all the horrible editorial mistakes it made... so I will use red highlighter instead :)  Have a looksi:

We hereby inform you that Mrs. Jane Phillips has successfully made the payment using Pay Pal.The payment  has been CONFIRMED. this is to inform you that the cash will clear soonest, we are currently working on your issue, note that Mrs. Jane Phillips has made the payment, but there is problem in your Pay Pal account. so we advice you to go on with the shipping for we are working on your account to enable the money reflect on your pay pal account. We hereby inform you that you can now ship out the item she paid for and you should also send us the Shipping Tracking Number and the estimated number of days of arrival of the shipment for verification purpose, to enable us process your account and make the money available, do note that your account will note be credited if Pay Pal do note receive the Shipping Tracking Number, immediately the details requested of you is received your account will be verified. After this, your account will be processed within 48 - 72 hours of  Shipment and the fund will reflect in ( )

Payment Details
Transaction ID: 6NP88926JC037322F
Item Name:

Total: $6755.00

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The last Tuesday in Cali...

You know what comes out today? THIS:
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Yes, its been out but for the MAC which is what i have which means I don't have to ninja someone else's computer to play this with my husband. HUZZAH!

In retrospect...there should be a warning on this entry. *NERD ALERT*  or  *WARNING GEEK APPROACHING* something like that. Too late now, can't go back and edit ;) ha! sucker...

It's been a long week. Among other things, I have decided not to have a facebook account. This blog will now officially contain personal things not everyone will care about but my mom will. And mommies matter, dammit, way more than you random people. Meh, thats conjuecture. ugh! rambling! See? SEE?! I am ready for a break and, today, hopefully, that will actually happen. I will be productive today, don't get me wrong. But come this afternoon I will be entering a nirvana like state in the form of a video game involving simulated world domination and enjoying the mental lapse very, very much. 

I wonder if I can make a tasty treat to honor this day..... The boys really seem to like that Dragon's Breathe popcorn....NO NO I will make a popcorn worthy of Sid Meier's Civilization V. Just you wait :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rain + Food Network = An Autumn Menu for a Day Off

If I don't have a big family then I am going to be throwing a lot of dinner parties someday. I get these urges to cook, whether there is anyone to eat it or not :) but i typically find someone to eat it with...usually its the guys my hubby used to room with. Starving bachelors will eat anything and that takes a lot of the performance pressure off. I use their kitchen, they eat my food, its a great trade! And we have a ton of fun, I have to admit, because they are usually "bugging" me in the kitchen too. I get all the absurd stories, dirty/cheesy jokes and amusing male banter i could want for entertainment. Its like being younger with my brothers again.... nostalgia and eating always go well together. Hence the holidays.

Since original plans for tomorrow got canceled, i decided i wanted to relax and cook things far too technically advance for myself. This is the menu i devised (thanks to and and will most likely...kind of....loosely base my cooking on tomorrow. i already changed the mashed potato recipe LOL hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Pork Loin with Fig and Port Sauce



  • 2 1/2 cups port
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 dried black Mission figs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2-pound) boneless pork loin


For the sauce: In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the first 6 ingredients. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Discard the herb sprigs and cinnamon sticks (some of the rosemary leaves will remain in the port mixture). Transfer the port mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Blend in the butter. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

For the pork: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Stir the oil, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a small bowl to blend. Place the pork loin in a heavy roasting pan. Spread the oil mixture over the pork to coat completely. Roast until an instant read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 145 degrees F, turning the pork every 15 minutes to ensure even browning, about 45 minutes total.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Let the pork rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the chicken broth into the roasting pan. Place the pan over medium heat, and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Bring the pan juices to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Using a large sharp knife, cut the pork crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the pork slices on plates. Spoon the jus over. Drizzle the warm fig sauce around and serve immediately.

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes


  • 2 pounds Yukon golden potatoes, washed and quartered
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Place potatoes in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and cook until fork tender. Drain well. Add back to the pot that they were cooked in.

Meanwhile, heat butter and cream until hot. Add the crumbled blue cheese and stir together. Add sauce to potatoes and mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Spiced Pomegranate-Apple Cider

A classic fall and winter beverage tastes even better with the addition of fresh pomegranate juice. To serve chilled, after the mixture has steeped, store sealed in the refrigerator.

  • 6 cups apple cider 
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon, about 3 inches in length 
  • 1-1/2 cups pomegranate juice* SEE POMEGRANATE JUICE RECIPE 
  • 1-1/2 cups rum (optional)


Heat apple cider, cloves, and cinnamon until juice just reaches a simmer; remove from heat. Let steep, covered, one hour. Stir in pomegranate juice. For each serving, heat 3/4 cup juice mixture (do not boil); stir in 3 tablespoons rum.
Makes 8 servings.

I made all of these and i admit it....i followed the recipe. Almost to the letter, i added a cinnamon stick (I know HUGE right? meh i like cinnamon and i didn't regret it either) What can i say, i needed structure. Too much has been out of my control and everywhere, especially today, so where my cooking is normally a way for me to bust out of control a bit and get creative, this time I had to stick to the recipe just to get through it at all. Not because they were hard, but because it's what i needed. I am happy to say everyone enjoyed the meals, every course was a hit. So over all....a win :) Thanks Food Network.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dear Blog

I swear I'm not neglecting you, I just have so much going on I can't manage any new crafting ideas! Moving is a pretty all consuming mental process. Not to mention other things going on as well. I think this November wins the prize for most transitional month of my family's life. Anyway....just hang in there for a couple more weeks and I'll be back! I promise!

Friday, November 5, 2010

I just have to say....

SO....I color coded my storage unit. Its like....a dream come true. You would not believe how many boxes I have of books. Not to mention all the yellow striped craft boxes! You can tell a lot about a girl by the contents of her storage unit and mine says "efficient craftaholic introvert" aaalll over it.  I am not sure why I am this excited. Maybe its because I know finding things in there will be so much easier! Maybe I just want to brag because this took me eight hours to do and my hip joints and lower back are currently reminding me I normally have a desk job. But then again, maybe it goes even deeper. There was some archeological evidence supporting a strange love of filing from a young age. DANG IT! I should have taken a picture! Then I could say "See Article 1.A" and show this lovely picture of the accordion file I still have from when I was a kid. I know this because on the front in big green letters it says my name, address and phone number. I was even smart about it, I put "Lucinda Lane" instead of "Dena Court" so if anyone found it at school then they wouldn't have proof I was being snuck into that district.

...I am pretty sure this means I should have been a spy...

                                      ....A spy with great fashion sense and the ability to make anything given scissors the right amount of glue.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Treats for the Haunted MANsion Party

Since my pudding flopped (i guess rice milk doesn't work with those things) I had to send the hubby to fetch some dollar store pudding cups to pull these treats off. But they worked out great!

Grave Dirt
Package of oreos beaten to a pulp
Chocolate Pudding Snacks (12)

Mix together, garnish with a gummy earthworm and some round white sprinkles, makes 7

Blood 'N' Guts (A last minute version)
Red Jello 
12 Vanilla Pudding Snacks (12)
6 Raspberry Jelly Donuts, cut up
Whipped Cream

Take ingredients, except for whipped cream, and combine in a bowl. Dishout into cups, garnish with whipped cream. Makes 12....13 if you don't eat one to test it....

Worm Sandwiches
Hotdogs (however many and kind you like)

Slice them in about sixths, or fifths, long ways. Pan fry till they curl up. I guess you can boil them too if you prefer :) I've seen it posted that way too. I got this off of and I really enjoyed it. Just like Hotdogs only Halloweenier.....hahahahhah get it? ah man I am good...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Art After Dark" October Highlight: The Growing Grounds

On the 1st Friday of every month, ARTS Obispo coordinates with shops all over San Luis Obispo to host artists and their work in their shops for an event called "Art After Dark." This October there were 29 hosts, most of which offered food and beverage to its wandering patrons. The Growing Grounds garden shop was one such establishment that kept its doors open past closing hours. Nestled in the ally between the Adobe and Ja Nene Natural Body Products on Chorro, across from the Mission, it is a beautifully comfortable shop supplied by the Transitions Mental Health Association (TMHA)'s own farms in SLO and Santa Maria. This month is the last time they engage in the Art After Dark event until the spring, due to the establishment being out of doors.
The setting of the shop is intimate, nuzzled gently between two older buildings, the character of their siding lending to the atmosphere of the little garden shop. The owners make the most of the small space; plants and products are packed into every nook, yet it avoids feeling busy or cramped. In fact, the shop's organization has the opposite effect; instead it begs you to take your time and look about, to take it all in. Past the main selection of plants, Growing Grounds provides their customers with a unique selection of local or USA made products. The garden-related objects are often handmade, organic, or even vegan.

"I love Art After Dark," was one patron's exclamation, "it's wine, it's art, it's walking, does it get much better than this?" She is one of about 200 who stroll in and out throughout the evening, enjoying the relaxing decor of the backyard garden party. There is no rush as people chat over the donated Javadi wine and samples of produce fresh from the Growing Grounds farm. "These tomatoes are so good!" is heard again and again as people visit the table throughout the evening. 

Twinkle lights braided through the branches above and adobe brick-work below lend to the atmosphere. Food and wine in hand, they turn to the art work and artist to ask questions and to learn about all there is around them. "What's the process you use?" is an inquiry that induces a personal tour by the artist of his methods, throughout which we learn something of his values and his history. Suddenly his art gains deeper meaning for us too.

There are two artists tonight at Growing Grounds, author Anthony Taylor and photographer Barry Goyette. Taylor is a friendly man, chatting with inquisitive costumers as he signs his book, "The Sacred Sites Bible."

The Sacred Sites Bible: The Definitive Guide to Spiritual Places (... Bible)

Goyette and his partner happily discuss their art as well, a method called "tintype". (Unfortunately, his website didn't display any of this form of his work). The work is beautiful and understandably attracts a lot of interested viewers.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dinner and a Movie: How To Train Your Dragon

Tomorrow we have our first dinner and a movie experience with my parents, his parents and his sister. Its kind of exciting since we rarely have a time when both of our dad's have the same night off!

I am pretty excited to be playing hostess, even if it is at my parents house. Its the kind of thing I really love to do! I already told you my popcorn idea and now you get to find out about my dinner menu. (I went to this website for my inspiration. Who knew there was a Viking Answer Lady?! Pretty darn cool if you ask me!) My menu....Behold:

-Side: Dill Rye Toast with Salted Butter (easy enough, I just bought it.)
-Main Course: Chicken Stew with Beer (Viking Answer Lady posted this recipe but I changed it a smidge)
  • 3 lbs chicken thighs
  • 6 carrots
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 2 turnips
  • 1/8 c. chopped Thyme
  • 1/8 c. chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic minced
  • 2 bottles of dark gluten free beer
Directions: Chop the chicken into 8 pieces.  Peel and cut the vegetables into pieces.  Fry the chicken in butter, about 5 minutes on each side.  Season with salt and pepper and place in a pot.  Add the vegetables, thyme, allspice and beer.  Let boil for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Serve the dish with bread. (Note: I am using the crock pot, on low 6-8 hours)

-Dessert: "Skyr" (Ok it's not really Skyr but Skyr sure sounded a lot like this so I made it up. If I had time to stay home and make Skyr then I totally would have given it a shot, but I work...sad face. Still, i tried to stay true to the flavors that the Viking Lady had explained)
  • 18 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of honey (or to taste....the hubby worked on this, i dunno how much honey he ended up using in the end)
  • 4 (I know it shows six but four was enough) fuji apples sliced, tossed with butter and cinnamon, and baked in the oven until soft

Dragon's Breathe Popcorn

You would think I would start this off talking about the movie this is all for....but I'm not. Actually, I think I'll lead in with popcorn. Popcorn is pretty big deal in my family. Being on the poorer-side of things growing up, it was one cheap snack food mom could make in bulk. And I'm not talking about that air-popped crap. I remember the first time I had that stuff at a friends house, it was like eating wadded up cardboard, totally tasteless. I grew up with the "Clardy-style" (as it has become known to others) which was originally popped in a large black pot with saved bacon grease and seasoned with Lawry's Seasoning Salt. Then we got healthier and started using olive oil sometime towards the beginning of the two thousands. 

Really... i think we just started eating less bacon. 

Which is probably good. 

You know....theoretically speaking.

Popcorn is cheap, easy and pretty healthy as a snack food. Its one of the few things my youngest brother knows how to make. Its also shown it can be transformed into a wide range of flavors. I think one of the all time favorite endeavors of my mom's was nacho popcorn. We ran out of Lawry's so she had to come up with an alternative. It had taco seasoning and grated cheese on top and it was soooooo gooooood, let me tell ya. It was a whole new world after that. A world with no boundaries....

So it's plain that I am an addict, and yet I am such a foodie I can't just have it simple. Whenever I am at my in-laws and they bust out the good ol' butter and salt, I inevitably sneak off to the kitchen to sprinkle some spice or another onto it. It just NEEDS something!

This week I am taking this blank canvas of a starch and dressing it up for a DVD premier my husband cannot wait for: How To Train Your Dragon. I dunno the last time he was this excited about a movie. We bought it, it's in the mail and it's supposed to arrive this Friday. He even invited his parents and mine to see it, since they had thus far missed out on what is apparently his new all-time-fave. So to show my support of his excitement, I proposed a themed dinner to go along with it! (yeah....It's what I do.) 

Immediately, I thought "Dragon Wings" (who wouldn't) but this was not ok with the Man since (spoiler alert) the dragons are ultimately good creatures. We can't eat the good guys. Good point. So then I proposed looking into viking foods and seeing what I can come up with. Excellent idea, I will let you know how it goes in a different note. And I am all for authentic.....ish.... 

Back to amazing popcorn. I haven't made it yet but i know it's gonna be awesome. The plan is to have some of the sweet honey flavor common to the Viking's common fare (which I now know because of THIS site) and mix it with the spicy everyone expects when you hear the word "dragon." Stay tuned for the results and the recipe :)

(time lapse: a few hours later)

Woot! I experimented with it tonight, my parents were willing test subjects (hubby doesn't like popcorn...go figure), and it was AWSOME. Therefore, it is definitely a go for tomorrow.

This was a pretty big batch, but a normal one for my family. Mom claims the popcorn accidentally over-poured into the pot.....but I think she was just hungry. Anyway, it was a lot. So I am going to half the recipe:

Honey Butter:
4 oz stick of butter, melted in the microwave with about an 1/8 c of honey mixed
1/2 tsp each of cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder, ginger powder, and salt

2 tsp garlic salt
Mix together and use to taste
Pop the corn. Toss popcorn with Honey-Butter mixture. Then take seasoning mix and toss to taste. (We like it hot so we added more cayenne)

The Haunted MANsion

Yeah....I gave the party a Logo...
The bachelor pad that the husband used to live in still houses some of our dearest friends, so when one of them decided he wanted to host a Halloween party (and i spilled out ideas like a broken atm machine spills twentys) he asked me for some pointers. And so it began my first holiday brain child. 

Lucky for him I had used black and white in my wedding colors so I had a good supply of basics to help out, but there were still a lot of details to create. And that took about....I think the total is maybe $60 now... and a couple of visits to the dollar store and the goodwill outlet. If you want the ultimate cheapest junk, you have got to find you one of those, they just kind of eyeball it and offer you a price, it's incredibly fabulous if you plan to basically destroy said item anyway for some new creative purpose. But a good thrift store will do as well. 
One of my black table clothes gets a spooky make-over
We foraged the bins and found a variety of masks, material scraps and mangled pieces of costumes to use. I also snagged some hefty candlesticks and different sized frames to be painted. The dollar store was also productive, if you frequent that place you'll probably recognize some of the items. 

As a warning, i was doing this for a guy so there's not a lot of "cuteness" factor, which is really more my thing, I don't like scary movies and all that actually. However, he is more into that so I tried my best to do it :) Not gonna lie, I started to give myself some bad dreams.....and when you see this stuff you won't even know why, its not that bad but I have THAT kind of imagination, go figure. 

As you can see, I removed the glass from the frames we found (goodwill outlet) and painted the cardboard backing with some fake blood (crafts store). Then I took the plastic hand (dollar store) and stuck it on to that. I did a similar effect for the fake heart (dollar store) and the alien mask above (goodwill outlet). Its kind of like a body parts gallery....? *SHUDDER* but the guys loved it! So macabre ftw.   

A collage of artwork for a big blank wall

Also, you simply cannot go wrong with a whole lot of black tulle and spider webs. Those are you background basics. Cut the tulle up to get a worn look, whether its a stand alone or a layered material. I coupled the tulle with a the garlands of skulls (dollar store) to hang on the chandelier for a good first impression when people come in the door. 

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