Friday, October 29, 2010


I am just finding all kinds of stuff that makes me smile today. I love these Ninjabreadmen cookie cutters. They make me giggle. Via The Pioneer Woman.

Halloween Chicken McNugget Buddies!

Anyone else remember these? My mom still has a set of them and brings them out every Halloween! We never had the Frankenstein and Dracula ones, apparently, because I don't remember seeing them before. Maybe it's time to do some scouting on Ebay or at antique stores!

Via I'm Remembering. I love this site, it's the perfect walk down 80s and early 90s memory lane. The person making it must be about my age, because I'm always looking at it and finding things from my childhood I totally forgot ever existed. (Pop Tarts cereal, anyone?)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Candy Corn Cupcakes (and they're low calorie!)

For some reason, I am completely obsessed with candy corn this Halloween season. I can't get enough of the stuff! And I've always loved the way it looks. You see candy corn and you know, it's fall! So my recent enamor with candy corn inspired these cupcakes I made for our Halloween lunch at work tomorrow.

(I was trying to multi-task too much, so sorry about the lack of pictures.)

So, here's what you need to make these cupcakes:

Lemon cake mix
Orange cake mix
2 cans of Sprite Zero
Food coloring
2 to 3 tubs of fat-free Cool Whip
Candy corn

And here's how you make them:

1. First, make the lemon cake. It's so easy! Pour the lemon cake mix into a bowl. Pour in a whole can of Sprite Zero. Beat with an electric mixer until all the dry mix is incorporated. I added a few drops of yellow food coloring to make sure it had a nice yellow color.

2. Next, make the orange cake. Same as above, mix the orange cake mix and Sprite Zero with an electric mixer. Again, I tried to pump up the orange color with some food coloring.

3. Get your cupcake cups ready. Personally, I spray the cups so the cake doesn't stick to the paper.

4. Fill the cups a little less than halfway with the lemon cake mix. (I used this pancake pen to get the batter in the cups without making a mess. It is A-MAZ-ING.)

5. Next, cover the lemon batter in the cups with orange batter.

6. Bake according to cake mix directions.

7. Let cool! (This is important! The icing is just Cool Whip so if you put it on while they're still hot it will melt.)

8. Top with Cool Whip. (I used a Ziploc bag to pipe out the icing, but if you are fancy and have a piping bag, go for it.)

9. Garnish with candy corn!

According to the boxes, this should have made 48 cupcakes, but I only got 30 out of it. You could make smaller cupcakes and get more.

Here's the final product:

Check out the side view. See the different colors?

Ok, and the best thing about these cupcakes - they're healthy! By replacing the eggs and oil and the sugary frosting, we've cut out a ton of calories. From what I've figured up, these are about 2.5 Weight Watchers points apiece (for the number of cupcakes I made). Is that awesome or what?

Happy Halloween!

Sheldon vs. the Arachnid

I love Sesame Street so much! Whenever I have kids, I'll probably want to watch it more than they will! Here's an adorable clip with Jim Parsons and an "arachnid". If you don't watch Big Bang Theory, you should check it out! Jim Parsons is hilarious as a brilliant but socially-impaired physicist named Sheldon Cooper. I also heard an episode of Fresh Air that he was on recently, and he just sounds like an all around nice guy. Enjoy this fun Sesame Street clip:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World's Largest Gummy Worm

Gummy worms are one of my favorite candies... but I don't think even I could handle this 4,000 calorie monster. Also, is it just me, or does it look a little too realistic?

Via Slashfood

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Posts Coming...

... one day. I promise. I graduate in 52 days. But hopefully there will be more posts before then...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Currently Reading: The Flying Troutmans

The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews is one of those books on my Books-to-Read list that I don't even remember how it got there! Somewhere along the way I heard about this book and thought I might enjoy it. Sometimes these forgotten discoveries turn out to be great and sometimes they're not so good. But so far I'm liking this one. It's about 28-year-old Hattie who suddenly must care for her niece and nephew when her emotionally-disturbed sister enters a psychiatric hospital. Hattie decides to make the children on a road trip to find their long-lost father. Hopefully I can let you know soon if I recommend it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pretty Things

The HGTV Design Happens blog is one of my favorite places online to go and look at pretty things. Here's a few things I found there today.

These bottles and pink flowers make me smile and for some reason remind me of my Mamaw.

Could this couch made out of an old bathtub be any cooler? I'm not convinced it would be totally comfy, but it's pretty to look at anyway.

I want to move into this bedroom right now. The indoor swing is super fun.
One day when we move back to the North Carolina mountains we'll need a sleeping porch like this.
And finally, I doubt I'll ever live anywhere as glamorous as this, but I'm kind of drooling over this room.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

This American Life.

I love This American Life and I was really excited to see Paste's recent list of great episodes. Cant' wait to listen to them all.

Paste Maganize: Seven Must-Listen This American Life Episodes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Love Gladiolus!

My sweet husband surprised me with this huge bunch of my favorite flowers when I got home from work today. It's an early birthday present. Aren't they pretty?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Vegetable Gratin Recipe

Last night I went to a vegetarian pot-luck. Andrew and I are not vegetarians, but I have one veggie recipe that I absolutely love. I think it's so delicious, I promise you won't miss the meat. The tomatoes and garlic oil give it an Italian flavor. Here's the recipe (from America's Test Kitchen):

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound zucchini , ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound summer squash (yellow), ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (3 to 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 medium onions , halved lengthwise and sliced thin pole to pole (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 large slice white sandwich bread , torn into quarters
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium shallots , minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 13- by 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.
  2. Toss zucchini and summer squash slices with 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl; transfer to colander set over bowl. Let stand until zucchini and squash release at least 3 tablespoons of liquid, about 45 minutes. Arrange slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.
  3. Place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and dark golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Set onions aside.
  5. Combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme in small bowl. In large bowl, toss zucchini and summer squash in half of oil mixture, then arrange in greased baking dish. Arrange caramelized onions in even layer over squash. Slightly overlap tomato slices in single layer on top of onions. Spoon remaining garlic-oil mixture evenly over tomatoes. Bake until vegetables are tender and tomatoes are starting to brown on edges, 40 to 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, process bread in food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds. (You should have about 1 cup crumbs.) Combine bread crumbs, remaining tablespoon oil, Parmesan, and shallots in medium bowl. Remove baking dish from oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture evenly on top of tomatoes. Bake gratin until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and let sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.
It does take quite a bit of time to make this dish, but it is really yummy and perfect for all the summer vegetables available right now. For the breadcrumbs, I took the easy way out and used pre-made breadcrumbs.

Here's the finished product (although it looks less impressive than it tastes, actually):

And of course, I couldn't done any of it without my kitchen helper. Who, as it turns out, really likes summer squash.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rugby Dog!

Just a few pictures of my sweet Rugby.

Farmers' Market Goodies

Look at all these goodies we got from the farmers' market today! They are for a dish I'm making tomorrow night for a vegetarian dinner party. More details on that to come...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trying Again...

Here I am, a year after my last blog post! I'm going to try to fire this thing back up again. I want to keep up with my photography, recipes I like and the occasional craft. Right now I'm in summer school, so it might be sporadic, but I like having a place to put down my thoughts.

My family recently lost another member. (This makes 3 in 6 years.) My cousin Dan was killed in a pretty tragic accident. He was only 32 and had 2 older brothers and many other family members who loved him very much. In the past few days my heart has been hurting. I've been so confused why God would allow this to happen and I've been unable to react in the way I wish I could. It's complicated, but my feelings are all mixed up and messy. Suddenly this morning a felt a great thirst for God's peace. In the midst of my crazy stressful life, I have abandoned the quest I once had to attain God's peace above all else. Since I'm at work and don't have a Bible handy, I took to the internet in search of a word of comfort. The first website I found had a verse of the day that was perfect for me right now:

"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him." Psalm 18:30

I think that pretty much says it all.