Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pumpkin Love!!!!

We have this adorable little pumpkin patch next to the house. A few months ago the leaves were so large, we named the patch Audrey II (We're a theatre family, y'know.)
In the midst of my feeling down today, I decided to cheer up and be creative. SO I chose two of the pumpkins to make a pie and a Jack-O-lantern. (Aidenn wanted to pose as well.)
I took a large pot and filled it half way with water. I set it on the stove and started heating the water so it would boil. While it was heating up, I washed off both of the pumpkins.
I then took the smaller of the two and cut it in half- a Herculean task in and of itself. I scooped out the inside goop and seeds. I then began to cut it into pieces and cut the "meat" from the outside shell (or skin or whatever you call it). After that, I cut the "meat" in to small pieces and added it to the boiling water. I was surprised at how almost sweet the boiling pumpkin pieces smelled. It also made me hungry, lol. Once all of the pumpkin pieces were in the boiling water, I occasionally checked their texture. Once they were easily pierced with a fork, I knew they were ready for the next step.
I carefully poured the contents of the pot into a colander in the sink, draining out the water. I then allowed cold water to run over the softened pumpkin pieces to help cool them a bit.
This food processor pictured is what we call the Oskar, so dubbed because of the name brand. Now, the Oskar was a wedding gift for mom and dad. That thing is 25 years old and still works like a charm. Is it weird to have an emotional attachment for an appliance? I don't care. I freaking love the Oskar. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANYWAYS, I took the warm pumpkin pieces (they were hot-ish still) and started to puree them in the Oskar. I obviously had to do it little by little as there was a lot of pumpkin to grind up.
All in all, I ended up with a little over five and a half cups of pumpkin puree. With two cups of the puree, I whisked in the following ingredients to make the pie filling: 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk 2 eggs 1 teaspoon Cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground Ginger 1 teaspoon Nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon Salt ***You can use one 16 oz can of Pumpkin Puree if decide to do store bought.*** I took the remaining three and a half cups of puree and place it in the fridge for later use (I'll definitely make another pie within the next week!) For the crust, I used the following recipe: 1 1/4 cup Flour 1/4 teaspoon Salt 1/2 cup Butter, chilled and Diced (this also translates into 1 stick of butter) 1/4 cup Ice Water I set the oven to preheat for 425 degrees. I combined the flour and salt in a bowl and then cut in the butter until the mixture resembled coarse crumbs. I slowly added the ice water to the mixture and stirred it up until it began to ball up. I went ahead and rolled out this mixture to make the pie crust. I had to add a little bit of flour as the dough was sticking to the rolling pin. I placed the dough in the greased pie pan and poured in the filling, and put the pie in the oven for 15 minutes. I ended up with extra dough and filling so I simply grabbed a small custard/souffle dish and baked it off along with the pie. After the 15 minute span, I lowered the temperature to 350 and baked for 35 more minutes.

While waiting for the oven to finish baking, I took the larger pumpkin, gutted it out, and carved a silly happy face. :) It made me smile.

This was taken right after I took them out of the oven. Isn't that a beautiful sight???? I love the fall!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Garlic Honey Black Bean and Veggie Stir Fry

After church today, I was craving a mixture of black beans, veggies, and honey (vegetarian cravings, lol). I looked over my foodie pinterest board, but I couldn't find something that suited what I wanted. SOOOO I made my own concoction. :o)

-3-4 cups veggies (I used Carrots and Broccoli.)
-1 can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
-Sauce (ingredients listed below)
-2 Eggs
-1/2 cup Rice (I used Long Grain)
-1/4-1/2 cup Olive Oil, plus enough to coat the bottom of the skillet for the veggies *I used 1/2 cup, but it seemed like a bit too much.*
-A couple dashes of Onion Powder

-2 tsp Soy Sauce
-2 tsp Ginger
-6tsp Corn Starch
-2 tbsp Minced Garlic
-2 tbsp white cooking wine
-3 tbsp Honey

-Cook the rice as instructed on the box/bag. *I started boiling the water before I started on the veggies and beans, so everything was cooking at the same time.*
-Ok, so I poured enough Olive Oil in the bottom of the skillet to coat it and start cooking the veggies and black beans. *I tossed in the Black Beans immediately with the veggies, and the bean were mushy by the time I plated the mixture. Next time I do this, I'm going to wait until the veggies are tender before I add in the Black Beans.*
-I added a couple of dashes of Onion Powder to the veggies and beans as I tossed them in the Olive Oil.
-Add the ingredients of the sauce together, stir. Pour and stir into veggies and black beans.
-As the veggies become tender, stir in the sauce. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
-Scoot the veggie/bean mixture to one side of the skillet, and tilt towards the opposite side, allowing the oil/sauce to drain down. Crack and scramble the two eggs into the oil/sauce. When the eggs are thoroughly scrambled, stir them into the veggie/bean mixture.
-Once the rice is cooked and drained, toss it into the veggie/bean/egg mixture. Stir it all up and you're done! :o)

This yielded about 2 bowls (enough for a starving vegetarian, lol).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Strawberry and Banana filled crepes

*Sometimes, when I make something that blows my freaking mind, I have to blog about it because writing down a recipe usually leads to losing that piece of paper and thus losing the magic forever... This is one of those blogs.*

Crepe recipe-
-1 cup of Flour
-2 Eggs
-1/2 cup of Milk
-1/2 cup of Water
-2 tablespoons of Butter, melted
-A couple dashes of Salt
-A 3-4 splashes of Vanilla

1. Whisk together the flour and eggs, gradually adding in the milk and water, stirring to combine Add salt and butter; beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop 1/4 cup of batter per crepe into the frying pan. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
3. Cook crepes for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, and cook the other side.

**Yields about eight crepes**

Cream Cheese filling with Strawberries and Banana*-
*Ok, with the amount of fruit, I have no limit. I diced up about seven strawberries and one banana. The fruit is up to you!*
-Fruit, diced
-3/4 to 1 cup of Cream Cheese
-3 tablespoons of Milk
-A sprinkle of sugar
-A couple dashes of vanilla

1. Soften the Cream Cheese in the microwave for 30-50 seconds.
2. Stir in the Milk, Vanilla and Sugar, combine ingredients.
3. Stir in fruit.
4. Spoon fruit into crepes.

***I only made up four crepes for myself, so you may have to double the amounts if you decide to use all of the batter. :)***

Now, I decided to go the extra mile for my crepes and made a sweet topping with strawberries and sugar. I minced up about five strawberries and sprinkled about a 1/4 tablespoon of sugar. Because I lack the patience to cover the fruit and allow them to macerate, I put them in a glass bowl in the microwave for about a minute. I then topped each of the crepes with this amazing concoction and NOMMED like crazy. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cheesy Green Chile and Potato Chowder AKA Tonight's dinner

Tonight's dinner was a success! WOOOOT! I found an interesting recipe on this morning while waiting for mom to get through her testing for Carpal Tunnel (BTW,  hospital waiting rooms are boring as alllllll get out. UGH!)
Now, the original recipe calls for the use of bacon and bacon grease- disgusting! However, since 5 out of 6 members of this family are carnivorous eaters, I cooked off bacon and chopped it up, and then used it as a topping for their soup. I also utilized the wonderful addition of sour cream as a topping- delicious! Just to make it all come together, I put it all together in bread bowls from Panera. 
Here's the link to the original recipe; I followed the directions as they are written with the exception of the bacon and grease. I used a bit of olive oil to saute the veggies.
I also pan roasted the poblano peppers with olive oil in an iron skillet.

Hope you enjoy!!!!
Cheesy Green Chile and Potato Chowder
serves 4-6
3 poblano peppers
Olive Oil
1 large yellow onion, small diced
1 Red bell pepper, small diced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 stalks celery, small diced
6 Carrot sticks, sliced
12-15 bacon slices, chopped 
2 tsp minced garlic
32 oz Vegetable Broth
several dashes of salt
3 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
2  cup (1 bag)  Mexican blend cheese {plus additional for serving}
thinly sliced green onions (full bunch)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Listen, you despicable old man

I've tried to deal with what you've done. I thought I was over it. Well- I'm not. The fact that you continue to wake up everyday, the fact that you are still capable of crawling of the festering ooze that has become your most recent resting place revolts me to my very core.
 I wish nothing for you other than disease and destruction. As you have become a rash in my life, so too do I wish such an abrasion in yours. I'm surprised you haven't gotten scars from all the bridges you set ablaze.
I am infuriated to tears when I think of how many good and wonderful people are in the world, dying every day of fatal diseases, and yet you are able to walk the earth as you please.
You have created quite a name for yourself, haven't you? Several, in fact. You hide behind every one of them, you deceitful cur. And yet, we all know who you are, every time. Each of your faces follows you, much like the path of brokenness and misery you leave in your wake. 
I look forward to watching your sandcastles dissolve. I long for the day when you are ruined and broken, when the world casts you out and rejects you- having finally realized how disgusting you really are- and you are forced into the darkness to die alone. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Will somebody please think of the children('s theatre): A challenge

      It's time for theatres to start owning their surroundings. Whether you're a community theatre or a member of the theatre community, we all need to adopt our communities, installing ourselves further into the minds of those around us, starting with the minds of the children. I have written (and ranted) before of the importance of theatre in the lives of adolescents, but lately I've been hit with a revelation that saddens me. I noticed that more and more young people are being stripped of artistic education in their school systems. The opportunities to learn theatre, to sing in a choir, or play in the band- all of these- are vanishing. And this is unacceptable to me, honestly.
    Now, I understand that the schools are lacking in funding and they must make cuts. It's happened in the past. Theatre members should then be more pro-active in combating this issue. We should be in our communities, sharing our passions. We should be filling in the gap these cuts have made in their lives. Many of our groups use "education" in their mission statements, but how far are we really education? And who is truly growing as a result of our events/shows? This is all a thought process with which I'm still battling, but the concept is simple- we have to get out there and allow our young people the opportunity to see why theatre is still relevant to us and to them.
    Every year I work with local Headstart/preschool groups in bringing kids into RTP, talking about costumes, acting, lights, and make up. The kids get to parade on the stage, trying on dresses, hats, and an over sized turtle shell. We then perform a short skit for them to tie it all together. It isn't a huge deal; it takes place over the course of a couple of days. And yet, it matters. The children talk about it for weeks afterwards. And they come back for the children shows we stage. The parents and teachers are grateful for the experience each year, and I really love it. I guess it is a big deal, to me anyways.
I mention this because it's an example of something so simple but something that can make such an impact. Another activity I love is bringing Girl/Boy Scout groups in for dress rehearsals for the kids' shows. They get to see a show for free and earn their theatre badge,  and the cast gets a "test audience." A few times, after the show, I've taken the groups around the theatre, onstage and off, giving them a full view.
I wish I had more time and money (along with a doppelganger) to carry out the ideas I have for our great state... but I don't. So I feel compelled to challenge all of my theatre friends.
 My challenge is two-pronged:
1.) We need to identify where in our area young folks are lacking in education geared towards the performing arts.
2.) We then need to work towards sharing what keeps us going- our craft, our passions.

What's the saying? "If you build it, they will come?" If you build up an fun and educational program, whether it's classes, workshops, or a children's production, and share it, you'll find children craving this education.
(Can you tell this is a passion of mine?)

So. Who's up for the challenge?


Saturday, July 28, 2012

There is no sanctity in American marriage

           ***I have yet to tie the knot. The main reason for this is because I am not so stable in my emotional maturity to guarantee that I can settle down and be faithful to one person for the rest of my life. I can’t do that- right now. Maybe some day. Maybe never. I don’t know. However, I do have eyes. And a brain. And I use all three. It’s like a magical power that is seldom used anymore. And because I use my brain, I am able to make the observations necessary to know that I am not fully prepared to get married, unlike some people.***

                      I am not a politically minded person. Until the past year or two, I didn’t really care about politics. Actually, it was not until people started utilizing the subjects of sexual orientation and female reproductive organs as platforms for candidacy that I really started to sit up straighter and pay closer attention.
            In this day and age, I am truly amazed anyone actually still has the gall to use the “sanctity of marriage” as a standing point for their arguments. Really? I mean, do we as Americans in this day and age actually give a flying flip about marriage and who is marrying whom? My original viewpoint had been this: If one person feels that they can suffer through another person’s idiosyncrasies and bad habits for the rest of their lives, living with them under one roof, and, at times, attempting to raise younger carbon copies of themselves, why would we fight it?
            Nowadays, however, this situation has found me to be more cynical and grossly fed up. We find ourselves in a society where common law marriage, premarital sex, and adultery are king. We laugh at them during our midday sitcoms. We know several people within our lives who deal with these situations as their everyday lifestyles. Heck, Maury would be out of a job if it weren’t for these lifestyles. Still, not even these people with these situations are what really tick me off. What really grinds my gears are the people who view marriage to have equal sanctity with that of a dying goldfish in a toilet bowl- Those dreadful people who find marriage to be so expendable that they are celebrating their 6th marriage within a year of their 5th divorce. THESE are the people that are ruining marriage in America. You cannot tell me that these are stable people. I know several individuals who have chosen to play this marriage game well into their older years, and have yet to stop. I imagine they will die at the altar or in court. Some people, I feel, cheat on their spouses just to get out of the marriage. And then, sometimes, they actually marry the person with whom they did the adulterous act. Talk about trust on both accounts! It goes back to that questionable stability I mentioned.
            Here’s another thought for you- if we are going to limit who can marry whom, we should also put a limit on how many times people get married. I thought maybe three times, and then their locked in for life, spending the rest of their time trying to figure out how to kill the other person and making it look like an accident. I’m serious. To say that homosexuals are the reason behind the corruption of marriage in the world today is an absolute joke. Period. I find it hilarious that the people who are taking this idea and making giant campaigns for their causes haven’t actually caught on yet. Maybe we should fix what is already broken before we attempt to sever bonds that have yet to be formed. 

            Oh, and for those of you who make fun of those Sister Wives people? Yeah, screw you. Those dudes can stay married to multiple women for X amount of years and yet we’ve got people who can’t stay married to ONE person for more than 10? You won’t catch me making another Mormon marriage joke.