Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Pancakes

I guess when I'm posting recipes that I got off other websites I should post a link instead of infringing on copyright laws :) These pancakes are sooooo yummy! Don't be scared off by the higher fat content, they have nuts in them so it's the good kind of fat. To reheat, I think the best bet is just stick them in the toaster, then they will have a slight crunch to them instead of being all soggy.

Also, I don't reserve any of the nuts, I just dump them all in the batch - it's easier that way. These are great to serve with some chopped fruit (kiwis, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, whatever floats your boat) and maybe some scrambled eggs. A great fast dinner. And can you tell? I love breakfast for dinner!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Decor sites

I don't know about you, but I love "window shopping" for what I hope to someday fill my house with. In my imagination, my house is filled with the best cottage/shabby chic/country stuff I can find. And in my head I'll have plenty of time to repurpose stuff, too :) I always like finding new sites - so, in case you haven't run across these, here are some of my favorite "windows" to look at...
For great prices on Chandaliers and all kinds of lighting with a ridiculous selection (they also have rugs and furniture, but I'm not sure how those prices compare): --------------------------->

I want to be able to paint stuff, but really love that distressed look. I found a site that sells distressing kits! They obviously recommend cleaning what you're going to paint, but you don't have to strip off varnish or old paint for that matter. You can get the normal distressing kit which comes with one color and the instructions and tools to distress for $50 or the barnworn kit, which comes with 2 base colors and supplies for $95 (both cover 50 sq ft). Considering how much even unfinished furniture place charge you to paint and then age furniture, this is an easy way to save quite a bit of money... (they also have plaster kits, gilding, glazing, and stenciling!)

here's the link to the barnworn look (you kind of have to go to project ideas to get to it)

Now that you have paints, here are some unfinished furniture sites

This first one has FREE shipping on everything!

This next one is actually located in SLC, so you could just pick it up

I love architectural elements. I don't know how much these guys charge for shipping, but they hvae some great stuff!
A couple discount wallpaper sites (be aware you have to order in sets of 2 I believe)

This one has pretty good prices.

this one has great prices!

If you know of any others, please share! Hope you enjoy and don't end up spending too much time on them :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saints and Soldiers

I had seen this when it first came out, but saw it at the library and decided to pick it up again. I'm so glad I did! This is honestly one of the best war films ever! What is so great is that it has top notch acting (whoever knew Kirby Heyborne could actually act?!) , moving but not cheesy script, great camera work and directing, is suspenseful, has incredible sound effects especially given the paltry budget, doesn't sugar coat the violence, but it also isn't gratuitously gory.
It smartly eschews political overtones. It isn't anti-war or pro-war, but it also importantly doesn't paint the soldiers in a negative light. The conflicts and friendships that occur during the movie are compelling and believable. I would highly recommend this as a great date movie if you haven't already seen it, or even if you have. The guy will of course like it (it is a war film after all! there's guns, grenades, blood, etc), but I believe girls would too. (Or, maybe I'm just slightly odd... scratch that - of COURSE I'm odd, but I still think girls would enjoy this. at least smart ones) :) There's enough humor to keep it from being too dark, but not so much that you lose the emotion. In fact, I honestly believe that humor can be one of the strongest tools to get you to care about the characters and be more emotionally invested in their fate. Here's the trailer, I wish there was a better one. They did get "the movie guy" to do the voice over, but I think the trailer is one you would parody to no end, but it will at least give you a glimpse of the awesomeness that is this movie.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Fringe

This is my new series I'm watching while I work. I'm a little torn as to what to think about it. I find the premise and storylines fascinating, the characters multi-faceted, quirky, loveable yet realistic, overall well executed. My only beef, I think, is that it can be a little over-the-top-in-your-face grotesque. Which is one of the main rasons I don't watch any of the C.S.I. shows anymore.

But, if you don't mind that stuff so much, this show is incredible.

Also on a side note I keep expecting Dr Walter Bishop ------------------>
to don a big fur coat and yell for everyone to "flee! flee for [their] lives!"
(100 points to anyone who gets the obscure reference, I'll even inc a pic) :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spiced Apple Pancakes

It was still pretty warm outside today, but from inside my cool house you might have thought it was Autumn (which is my favorite favorite season). So I decided to try a new recpie for Spice Apple Pancakes and had them with Potato-Zucchini cakes and center-cut bacon. Yum! On the pancakes, I just used cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (Ethan said our house smelled like "christmas") :) Also, the recipe says medium-high heat, but it burnt the sugar unfortunately, so I would try medium and for less time than recommended (just keep a close eye on it). Here's the recipes for both
Spiced Apple Pancakes (from Country Living website)
Makes 8 servings

2 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine
2 tablespoon(s) water
1/2 cup(s) sugar
2 tablespoon(s) sugar
1 1/2 pound(s) (3 to 4 medium) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
3 large eggs
3/4 cup(s) milk
3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon(s) pumpkin pie spice or 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat butter, water, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium-high heat to boiling. Add apple wedges; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until apples are golden and sugar mixture begins to caramelize, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in blender or food processor with knife blade attached, place eggs, milk, flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, adding liquid ingredients to blender first. Blend until batter is smooth. (I just used a spoon to stir it)
When apple mixture in skillet is deep golden, pour batter over apples. Place skillet in oven; bake 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information(per serving)
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Here's the recipe for the Potato-zucchini cakes (very fitting since anyone with a garden has zucchini coming out of their ears) :) I originally got this from cooking light. Also, if you have a poor man's kitchen (like I do) I just used a cheese grater to shred the ingredients. I would also recommend washing any towels you use for this immediately or they'll stink up your entire house.

Yield: 4 servings
3 cups shredded peeled Yukon gold potato (about 1 pound)
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 8 ounces)
1 cup shredded onion (about 1 small)
1/2 cup egg substitute (I used 1 large egg)
1/4 cup matzo meal (I used flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
Place potatoes, zucchini, and onion in a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze out excess liquid. Combine potato mixture, egg substitute, matzo meal, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and dash of pepper in a large bowl, and stir gently to blend.
Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a nonstick griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spoon about 1 cup potato mixture onto hot pan, spreading to a 6-inch diameter. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate; keep warm. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 teaspoons oil and remaining potato mixture.

Nutritional Information
242 (31% from fat)
8.4g (sat 0.8g,mono 5.2g,poly 1.9g)
So basically one serving of each plus 2 strips of center cut bacon and you have a yummy meal for only 505 calories!

Walnut Bread

Instead of using a bread mixer as suggested (which I don't have) I just kneaded it on a lightly floured surface. This bread is soooo yummy! You can make 2 normal sized loaves, or split it into 4 smaller loaves.

Yield: 2 loaves, 16 servings per loaf

1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup boiling water
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
6 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
20.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups), divided
9 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Cooking spray

1. Place oats in a food processor; pulse 8 times or until coarsely chopped. Combine chopped oats and 1 cup boiling water in a medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add buttermilk to oat mixture, stirring to combine. Stir in honey and oil. Add the oat mixture to yeast mixture; mix with dough hook attachment until combined. Weigh or lightly spoon 13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups) and whole-wheat pastry flour in dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours with salt. Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture. Mix dough at medium speed 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding remaining all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to sides of bowl. Add walnuts; mix at medium speed just until combined.
3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
4. Preheat oven to 400°.
5. Punch dough down; divide in half. Divide each half into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), shape each portion into a 14-inch rope. Place 3 ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch). Pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes, and pinch loose ends together to seal. Repeat procedure with remaining dough to form another braid. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
6. Spritz top and sides of loaves lightly with water from a spray bottle. Bake on center rack of oven at 400° for 28 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Nutritional Information
4.3g (sat 0.5g,mono 1.2g,poly 2.2g)

Spinach Pasta Soup

I normally don't like tomatoe soup (at least not Campbell's), but this is fresh and delicioso! Not to mention uber healthy. I like to serve it with either fish or a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough bread. Orzo pasta, by the way, is found on the pasta isle.

4 C chicken broth (low-sodium)
1/2 C water
1/4 C plus 1 Tb tomatoe paste (no salt added)
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
1/4 C orzo or pastini (I like more, so put closer to 2/3-3/4 C)
6 C (8oz) fresh spinach leaves only, patted dry
1/4 C green onions
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine broth, water, tomatoe paste, and lemon zest. Whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil. (Make sure you watch it, it always boils over when I cook it).
Stir in pasta, reduce heat to medium and cook 5-7 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
Stir in spinach and green onions, cook for 2-3 minutes.
To serve stir in salt and pepper.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Missing Alex Wong on SYTYCD finale

Now, don't get me wrong... tonight's finale performances were tremendous! I'm a huge fan of Lauren and Kent and Robert have grown on me a bit. But, in memory of he who would have won by a landslide missing due to injury... here are my 2 fave dances of his while he was on the show... and dangit, all the vids have embedding disabled! But, here are the links...

Twitch and Alex Hip-Hop

Alex and Alison contemporary

New book by Orson Scott Card

Let me just start by stating something very obvious to anyone who has ever discussed literature in any degree with me: Orson Scott Card is my favorite author. I like a higher percentage of his stories than any other author that I love. Now, the last few novels have been somewhat dissapointing (ever since "Magic Street"), but I just saw that he has a new novel coming out and the storyline sounds promising. Here's the synopsis from his website:

"A powerful secret. A dangerous path.
Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him -- secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.
Rigg's birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent . . . or forfeit control of his destiny. "

It finally sounds like the conflicted moral and ethical dilemmas that Card truly excels at are back. His short stories have kept true ("Keeper of Dreams", a collection of many of his short stories, has all of the raw thought and energy that his earlier stories had that changed the way I view things), but he didn't seem able to sustain that through a lenthier story. I just hope this can live up to a higher expectation.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wait? You seriously HAVEN'T seen "Inception" yet?

With musical genius Hans Zimmer scoring the movie like this...

how could you not think this movie awesome on the merit of the music alone? But we all know, that isn't all there is. Check out this surprisingly intense fight scene with Joseph Gordon Leavitt (which was done with a set that was ACTUALLY rotating while they were fighting and no stunt double for Leavitt!)

I would give this 9 out of 10 stars. Only knocked down for one thing that I didn't like (which I can't say as it's kind of a heads up spoiler). If you are one of the few people who hasn't seen this yet, do yourself a favor and GO! DiCaprio has managed to make it out of his teen heartthrob status (*shudder*) and become a huge talent. And of course this movie has Cillian Murphey

And anybody who knows me will attest, I have a slight obsession :) He came on screen and Ethan leaned over to me "Hey, look! There's your boyfriend" If only. ;)

My latest musical obsession

So, I recently discovered the musical "Chess". Be forewarned there is a little bit of language, if that bothers you. I watched the concert version (which is the best considering the storyline is a crazy mess) with Adam Pascal, Idina Menzel (the original Elphaba of "Wicked" fame), Josh Groban, & Kerry Ellis (London Elphanba). The music is in parts haunting, pop-style, energetic, operatic, but all sorts of get-stuck-in-your-head wonderful.

This is a quick 1 minute commercial for it being broadcast on Great Performances

Or, if you'd like to hear a bit more these are some highlights someone put together on Youtube from the first and second acts: