Thursday, February 24, 2011

True Confessions - Oscars

True Confession Thursday - I am not a movie buff. I admire those who are and I've always thought that it would be super fun to host an Oscar party, complete with paparazzi and a red carpet with fancy appetizers. It is my opinion though, that in order to host a legitimate Oscar celebration, one must actually have a vested interest in the Academy Awards. More so than being overly excited by viewing the glamorous dresses of the actresses, which truth be told, is one of my favorite parts! As far as Best Picture nominees go, I've only seen two of the films. Maybe a little disgraceful to those of you who maintain an avid interest in the film industry, but not too shabby for me. I enjoyed both of the films and I hope to get a chance to see Toy Story 3 and The Social Network before Sunday.

I loved Inception. Did I necessarily understand it? No ... honestly, it was a little challenging for me to follow which dream level they were currently placed in. I've seen the movie three times, so I think my comprehension problems is solely my issue. I must be slow. Or have a mind that isn't cut out for the abstract. I do love a man in a suit. Joseph Gordon Levitt is good eye candy and I love his gravity defying fight scenes.

We saw The King's Speech last weekend. I really enjoyed it. I actually had no idea that the movie was about a speech impediment. Blame it on me for thinking the title must be some abstract play on something thematic. Nope, it's actually about the king's speech. Foolish Kara. I thought Collin Firth was brilliant, witty, and funny. Granted, on any given day, whether or not he's portraying Mark Darcy or King George the Sixth, I love Collin Firth. What have I said - I'm totally British!

I think that The King's Speech and Inception will clean house on Sunday. I'm sure that Natalie Portman will walk away with Best Actress. I can't bring myself to see The Black Swan. I don't do well with creepy. Which is too bad. I'm a typical dancer girl who loves ballet movies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.

General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere.

Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy,but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love.

If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."

Taken from the film "Love Actually."

Sometimes we all need a reminder to choose love.

Photo credits

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's a British thing

I think that Kate Middleton would be so proud of how British I am. Really, can't you tell? I mean, I love big hats, Harry Potter, bank holidays, and I take my tea with milk and sugar. I'm practically British. One of my British things are scones. Scones are a basic component of a traditional, afternoon, high tea. As an American, I prefer my scones as a breakfast pastry. Scones are my favorite form of breakfast pastry, second only to a well-made blueberry muffin. I like the fact that scones are sweet but aren't overly sugary like a doughnut. This recipe takes a little time to prepare in the morning, but the results are well worth it.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
1/2 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup half and half
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries (I presoaked these in orange juice to plump and soften them)
2 tablespoons half and half
Turbinado sugar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, set aside.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers. Whisk into the flour mixture.
3. Add cold butter pieces to the flour mixture. Cut in butter using a pastry blender, fork, or your hands. I prefer to use my hands. Mix until you have pea size chunks of butter.
4. In a small glass measuring cup, whisk the half and half, eggs, and vanilla extract together. Pour over dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until moist. Gently stir in the cranberries (drain the juice off them first if you've chosen to pre-soak). Transfer dough to a floured countertop and knead until dough comes together.
5. Shape dough into a large circle. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the scone dough. Cut dough into wedges and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush each scone with half and half and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until scones are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Makes 10-12 scones
*Note-these scones are best eaten the day they are made. Serve with jam, butter, or enjoy plain.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

True Confession Thursday.

If you've been to my house or read my blog, you know this much is true: I'm a food hoarder. I really am. If there's a national disaster that involves a food shortage, head for my house. I've got you covered. There's no other way around it. This is better than being a animal hoarder (that show FREAKS me out). Lance discovered last night, safely tucked away in our deep freeze, is last year's Girl Scout cookies. He came across 1 box of Peanut Butter Patties, 1 box of Peanut Butter Sandwiches and 2 boxes of Caramel Delights. Opps. I'm fairly certain that is last year's order in it's entirety. How? Because it's pretty much the same order as this year's, with the addition of a box of Thin Mints and the reduction of one box of Caramel Delights. How is it that we haven't eaten any of our Girl Scout cookies from 2009? I was probably saving them for when the mood struck me. Or it could be due to the fact that I'm always adding to our deep freeze and hardly ever deducting from it. I think I might have some sort of disease that involves "saving" food.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cinnamon Candy Popcorn

In honor of Valentine's Day, I made cinnamon popcorn. For myself. Because Lance doesn't like cinnamon and the visions of individually cellophane bags with pink curling ribbon filled with popcorn turned into more of a headache than I would have imagined. Would I make this again in the future? Maybe. You see, the end result was too buttery for my preference and not a strong enough cinnamon-candy flavor. I had to walk a very fine line between over boiling the candy mixture and making sure the Red Hots had melted down. In the future I might try and tweak the recipe to include less butter. It was also a challenge to get all of the popcorn evenly coated. This combined with stirring it every 15 minutes for an hour, made it for a somewhat annoying Valentine's Day treat. By the time it was all said and done, tasty-enough treat, for the pregnant woman who wants popcorn and Hot Tamales.

8 quarts plain popped popcorn
1 cup margarine or butter
½ cup light corn syrup
1 package ( 9-oz ) red-hot candies

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, combine margarine or butter, corn syrup and candies; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Pour over popcorn and mix thoroughly. Turn into two greased15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pans. Bake at 250 for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from pans and place on waxed paper to cool. Break apart; store in airtight containers or plastic bags.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Remodel update

Here is an update on the flooring project. Basically, it's still NOT DONE. Yes, at one point Lance jokingly said that competition date would not be until after my birthday. Which is March 7th. Please keep in mind this project was started the weekend of Thanksgiving. 2010. We're rounding on 75 days. I foolishly (I admit, I was stupid) thought Lance would be able to complete the entire project in the time period of 4 days. I was so confident of this that I invited 8 of our friends and their children over for supper at the end of the weekend. Big mistake. Another set of our gracious friends ended up hosting that dinner.

The majority of the flooring is done. The living room, hallway and kitchen are done. The stairs, however, are not done. They still have the nasty berber carpet and Lance has a finish strip that he needs to add to the doorways of all the bedrooms and the bathroom. I have this nasty gut feeling my baby might have seen his first Christmas before this project is completely wrapped up. Hopefully the pressure of returning a saw in a timely fashion that Lance is borrowing from a friend will help speed things up.

This is the type of nursery energy I'm channeling. I'm not really feeling the total cutesy baby theme. I'm thinking more bedroom, less nursery. I don't want the room to feel outgrown in a two years. I might be a fool, but I really want white wainscoting for the nursery. I might have to call in reinforcements in the form of family members and out of town friends. I think Lance has exhausted the goodwill of all our in-town friends :)

I've already purchased bedding and a crib. It's pretty cute. Stay tuned for more nursery updates in the coming months! And hopefully an announcement that the flooring is 100% done!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In honor of the Superbowl ...

In honor of the Superbowl I made Potato Slabs. That was really the only thing I did to acknowledge the existence of the day where millions of millions of dollars are spent on 30 seconds. Please excuse the lurid green plastic plate (really Kara, stop photographing with that plate) that correlates with the green onions. Blech.
I really like this recipe. It's akin to Potato Skins or Potato Boats, but without all the unnecessary scraping and wasting of potato insides. The trickiest part is slicing the potato evenly. Keep these easy appetizers in mind the next time you need a simple, hearty, man-approved appetizer!

Potato Slabs
2 russet potatoes
Salt, to taste (I used Cookie's Seasoning Salt as a substitute for the salt, pepper and paprika)
Black pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste
1/3 cup colby-jack cheese
5slices of bacon, cooked and diced
Green onions for garnish, if desired
Sour cream, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 375. Clean and scrub potatoes well. Slice the potatoes into 1/4" thick slices. Place potatoes on a lightly buttered (or use cooking spray) baking sheet and season each side with salt, black pepper, and paprika. Cook for 30 minutes. Flip potatoes over and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
2. Remove pan from oven and place a pinch of cheese and bacon on top of each potato slab. Return the pan to the oven and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve with green onions and sour cream, if desired.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Some people might call me lame because I'm excited about being home this weekend with only one scheduled event. In fact, there's a part of me that wished I didn't even have the one event (tickets to the ISU game) and that the whole weekend was unplanned. (I suppose this makes me a little bit of an disloyal ISU fan. We have tickets to the ISU vs K-State Men's basketball game. I know that ISU is going to get stomped, so it doesn't make me very apt to be enthusiastic about watching the slaughter in person.) I'm even boycotting the Superbowl in lieu of not wanting to give up any more of my time to "wasteful" time drains (yes, I think the Superbowl is a waste of time). After traveling half of the weekends in January, nothing excites me more than the prospect of getting caught up on laundry, organizing and cleaning.

Here's my idea of a fun weekend:
  • Scrubbing the bathtub

  • Cleaning out 4 junk drawers (count 'em people, that's disgraceful!)

  • Organizing my maternity clothes

  • Intentional blogging

  • Nursery furniture research

  • Decreasing my mending/hemming pile

Doesn't that sound like fun to you? Anyone who wants to come over and help me with the bathtub scrubbing, give me a call :)