Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, readers!

Now that Mike and I are settled in a house, we're bound to have trick-or-treaters at our door so we're staying put for the evening. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, I'll be making this delicious taco dip for us to share and pairing it with a glass of pumpkin ale. Low key and loving it. 

Will you or your family be dressing up? Whatever you do, enjoy yourselves!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yusuke Oono's 360° Storybooks

Japanese artist Yusuke Oono creates storybooks that read frame by frame like a regular book, but also transform into 360° sculptures. It's amazing what can be done with simply a few sheets of paper and a pair of scissors, isn't it?
The process..
Snow White

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Low-Carb Stuffed Green Peppers

I'm a huge fan of crock-pot cooking in the fall.  The days start to get darker, colder and shorter which means by the time I get home from work, I'm in full-on lazy mode. The last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen cooking.

So last week I busted out our crock-pot and made up a recipe for stuffed peppers.  I used hamburger meat and cheese and lots of small, sweet peppers as stuffing instead of spanish rice. It turned out great and had a lot of flavor.  If you're watching your weight or counting your carbs, you may enjoy this one.

Photo courtesy of www.thespiffycookie.com.
(My peppers didn't look quite as nice!)

Low-Carb Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 1 lb. lean, ground hamburger meat
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped, pitted miniature sweet peppers
  • 6 green bell peppers, pitted and sliced in half
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz. tomato paste
  • 6 oz. salsa
  • Salt to taste
  • Dash of pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce

In a large sauce pan, brown the hamburger meat and onions. Add chopped sweet peppers, water and taco seasoning, stir until well blended. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine cooled mixture with salsa, tomato paste and hot sauce. Stuff into green pepper halves. Place stuffed peppers into slow cooker and set on high for 4 hours.  At the 3.5 hour mark, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the top of the peppers.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

I don't know about you guys, but I did a whole lotta living over the weekend and I'm feeling pooped going into this week.  It's definitely a multiple cup coffee morning, which feels about right going into a Monday.

Tiredness aside, it was a fantastic weekend filled with friends, family and holiday festivities. One of the standout highlights for me was a trip to Craven Farm to pick out our Halloween pumpkins for carving. The farm itself is adorable and a lot of families came dressed up in their Halloween costumes, which was a hoot for people watching. They also have a fun slingshot tool that you can use to send miniature pumpkins flying into space (see video below). We will absolutely make this pumpkin patch visit a family tradition when we have kids someday. It's so fun!

The friendliest pumpkin farm on the planet!
Craven Farm's corn fields looked gorgeous against the stormy sky.  
They had so many pumpkins to choose from and all of them were huge!
We settled on a short and tall combination. Kudos to hubby for doing the heavy lifting.
video

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Funny

Today's Friday Funny touches on a growing trend in baby accessories - the mustache pacifier.  As a child of the 80s, I can appreciate all things vaguely reminiscent of Tom Selleck so I'm happy this trend is catching on.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wicked Witches Legs

I love this Halloween-themed treat idea from Sweetology. It's a simple mix of paper, tape, plastic wrap and Oreo cookies and no baking or glue is required. I love the easy stuff! This idea works across other holidays as well (think: santa boots and red/green Oreos for Christmas treats).


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Food Figures

Who is in the mood for a little art exploration? I sure am! That's why I'm happy to have stumbled across this project from photographer Klaus Enrique Gerdes. He recently recreated Giuseppe Arcimboldo's famous 16th century portrait paintings using real fruits, vegetables and flowers. You can see some of Arcimboldo's originals below for comparison with Gerdes' interpretations. I'm amazed by both portrait versions. They're creepy, yet mesmerizing. If you stare long enough, you sort of expect them to start moving, don't you?

The 16th century painted version
Gerdes' photographed version
Another painted version
And Gerdes' photographed version

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mixology Monday: Cider, Cinnamon, and Whiskey

Good morning, readers! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We were quite lazy yesterday.  We slept in, watched a bad movie, caught up on laundry. It was just what I needed to recharge my batteries in preparation for this week.

While relaxing on Saturday, I made a drink that my dad mixed for me a few weeks ago at his housewarming party.  The drink has a horrible, NSFW name so I'll leave that out of this post, but if you like hard cider, cinnamon and whiskey, you'll love this one. It's 3/4 cup of hard apple cider and a shot of cinnamon-flavored whiskey. Easy enough, right? The result is something that resembles a small glass of pilsner, but it packs a spicy punch.

Cheers!
Photo courtesy of Tastefully Julie

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Carrot & Zucchini Bars

I recently came across this delicious recipe for carrot & zucchini bars (hat tip: Feeding My Temple) and it brought me right back to my childhood. When I was younger, I lived across the street from a woman who loved to bake and zucchini bread was one of her staples. It was amazing!  What I love about this particular recipe is that it has zucchini AND carrots - lots of vegetables in a dessert? Brilliant.






Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Secret to Perfectly Layered Cakes

I've always wondered who has the time to make beautiful layered cakes like the one below. It looks like a lot of work. BUT, now I know the secret - the Piece of Cake Layer Slicing Kit. Brilliant!



Mmm... layered cake!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Funny

Happy Friday everyone!  Here's a Twitter account worth following. It's called Honest Toddler and it looks a life from a toddler's perspective, with such insights as "Did a pee pee in timeout. Mom's face. LOL. I really LOLed there" and "Grandma, I am not being cared for. So hungry for cookies, too. So so hungry. I can barely see." 



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Facebook Fails

Have you seen Facebook's latest commercial? It's ignited a passionate conversation amongst social network users. The problem? It undersells itself with comparisons to inanimate objects when it's so much more than that. Like many clever marketing efforts these days, it appears to be going for an emotional response with the audience. It makes sense to take that angle, as the product truly does create an emotional response in users.  Unfortunately, it doesn't quite get there.

What do you think?

That Time Glen Hansard Jammed in the Street

I had one of the most amazing nights of my life last night. I watched one of my favorite artists create an impromptu jam session in the middle of a quiet street in downtown Seattle.  Anyone else out there a fan of Glen Hansard (previously part of The Frames)? If you're not, you might be missing out on one of the musical greats. This man has a way of turning your soul inside out with the stroke of only a few chords. If he's coming to your area during his tour this year, I highly recommend you catch his show. It's absolutely magical.

Post-show at The Moore Theater, Glen took the band out in the street and of course, we followed.
A photo with The Lost Brothers, another fantastic Irish band.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Easy Halloween Boa Wreath

Who cares if it's only October 3rd? I'm getting into the Halloween spirit this week with decorations.

I love this idea from Simply This and That featuring a wreath made out of a black boa and Halloween knick-knacks picked up from Michaels. It sounds like it only takes minutes to make which means I may have a fun craft project on my hands this week! (I'll be sure to post results.)


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Unexpected Rainbows

Artist Gabriel Dawe (hat tip: Dude Craft) has some of the most amazing rainbow-inspired art installations I've ever seen. They're made from cotton thread which is strategically arranged to create unique, colorful patterns. I know that art speaks different things to different people, but to me, these exude happiness. They're gorgeous.

Plexus No.6
Density of Light
Plexus No. 11

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mixology Monday: The Normandy

Happy Monday everyone! After taking a blogging break last week, I'm feeling recharged and ready to get back into the swing of things.

If you like brandy, you'll love today's Mixology Monday.  Enter The Normandy cocktail, made with Calvados, fresh apples, cranberries, sugar and lemon juice.  Can you get any closer to a perfect autumn pick-me-up?

Cheers!