Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chili Chocolate Truffles

 
I have been meaning to share my our Valentine’s gift.  I decided to make chocolate truffle for Hubs.  I got the idea from watching part of an episode of Giada De Laurentiis on food Network.  I tried to find the recipe on their website, but found this one by Emeril Lagasse instead.  I tried a few of Emeril’s recipes and they always turn out well.  I liked this one better than Giada’s anyway, because she used balsamic vinegar in hers.
Well, let me be clear to say that I didn’t follow Emeril’s recipe to the letter.  I decided to mix them . . . sort of.  I used Emeri’s for general measurements.

I chopped up two Lindt Excellence Chili Bars and melted them in a double boiler.  I then poured in about a cup of heavy cream, and whisked until smooth. I then put the bowl into the refrigerator for two hours to set.  After the chocolate was firm, I scooped it into balls and rolled in Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa.  Delish!  And super easy.

The chili in the chocolate bars gave it a little heat, but not too much.  It worked really well.  Hubs said that he wasn’t crazy about the cocoa powder, but I liked it.  He said that he would have liked nuts.  Maybe next year.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Craft at the Thrift



I finally got to make a trip to the thrift on their stocking day.  There were tons of people there, but there was a better selection just not much that I was interested in.  I did get to stock up on some craft supplies though.  All of this for around $10.

I didn’t realize that I had picked up so much green. But then again, what else is new!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentine's Pearl Bead Necklace

I know!  I know!  This is a little late for Valentine’s Day, but I think this is such a great idea I just had to share!  And it makes such a perfect present for Grandma’s, special Aunts, and of course Mommies!

We decided to make red bead necklaces for Valentines Day.  I mixed together a standard recipe for salt dough for the beds.  I can’t remember where I found it, but I made it for the smallest amount that I could.  There are tons of recipes out there.  When we have made it before, it makes a lot of dough.  I formed balls and then made holes with a skewer.  Then backed them in the oven for an hour and a half.  Half way during the baking time I took the beds out and reworked the holes with the skewer to make sure they weren’t closing.  Some of them flattened on one side, and some cracked but most of the beads made it.


 

I then had some help painting them with red Crayola tempera paint.  After it had dried I put on 2 coats of Modge Podge.  Then using this Martha technique I strung them on some red ribbon!

I used ribbon I already had, so it was a little short for a necklace but works perfect for a bracelet!  And personally I think this is totally wearable!

 

Aside: This is the second or third time I’ve worked with salt dough, and quite frankly I’m not loving it.  I’ve tried two different recipes and just don’t like the results.  Partly because of the long time in the oven.  It makes me feel wasteful.  I’ve seen several projects online about bead making and different recipes and I might try this one next.  If you guys have a good salt dough or other harding dough recipe let me know! I love the idea of these little keepsakes.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow

 

I thought I would share something else besides Project Runway.  But I guess half the country is probably sick of seeing this too.  Spring please come soon!
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Project Runway 7 Episode 6 Scores

YOUR TEAM: lisalulabellsdaughter's Project Runway 7
-8 points in this episode.              -12 points overall this season.
5012th place in this episode.        5162th place overall this season.

Noooooooo!  It’s true!  It isn’t the designers.  It’s me!  My favorite was kicked off.  And Amy on my team was in the bottom three.  That is twice in a row for me!  Emilio did really well I thought, but wasn’t even picked for the top three!  Ugggghhhh!

Now who am I going to pick next week.  Out of the six episodes there have been six different winners.  That leaves four that haven’t won at all.  I’m thinking I will go with Emilio, Jonathan, and Seth Aaron.  I’m not sure though.  Jay almost won last night, and that would have put him at two wins.  I don’t know though.  I might change my mind by next episode.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Project Runway Season 7 Dream Team for Episode 6

Oh grief!  Last season it was so much easier.  I really wish that I could pick a team after seeing the designs so I could pick which one I liked during the show.  But alas. So here is my pick for this episode.


I decided to go with Emilio.  He seems to have really good construction skills and staying power.  I also decided to stay with Amy.  At least for now.  I’m keeping Janeane.  I’m not going to take her off because she and Anna were both my fan favorites.  Hopefully that won’t be bad luck for her!  It always seems like my favorites get voted off . . . what does that say about my fashion sense?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Operation Comfort Warriors

Here is something that I hope you guys will take the time to check out.


The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors is competing for a $250,000 grant to be awarded by Pepsi Cola, Inc as part of its Refresh Everything project. Nearly 730 charities are competing for grants which are determined by the number of votes received at Pepsi’s Refresh Everything Web site. Operation Comfort Warriors is currently in second place. The top two vote getters will receive quarter-million dollar grants. Visitors can cast their votes every day between now and Feb 28th by visiting.

Since Dec 2008 the American Legion family has raised funds for Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW), a program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded military personnel, providing them with comfort items not usually supplied by the government. OCW ensures that patients at US military hospitals and warrior transition units are given items like sweat suits, DVDs, puzzles, electronic devices, books, calling cards and more.

“The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue. Military service will always include inherent dangers from training and other hazardous duties,” American Legion national Commander Clarence E. Hill said. “As long as our men and women are in harm’s way, there will continue to be wounded warriors. The American Legion needs to be there for our heroes. Operation Comfort Warriors is an excellent way to show our appreciation for their sacrifices. I urge all Americans to show their appreciation by voting for it on the Pepsi Refresh Everything Web site.”

All administrative and marketing costs for Operation Comfort Warriors are paid for by The American Legion, meaning 100 percent of all donations and grants received go to the troops.

Please cast your vote daily at Pepsi Refresh Everthing: Operation Comfort Warriors

Friday, February 12, 2010

Project Runway 7 Episode 5 Scores

YOUR TEAM:  lisalulabellsdaughter's Project Runway 7
-7 points in this episode.              -4 points overall this season.
5066th place in this episode.        4946th place overall this season.

Why? Why did I give up Anthony? I ditched the winner of the episode! And then kept the one kicked off! Apparently I’m not very good at this game. Time to regroup and think my strategy for next episode!

And bye Anna.  I will miss you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Project Runway Season 7 Dream Team for Episode 5

I almost forgot it was Thursday! It’s amazing how it can sneak up on you. I’m surprised none of you said that you wanted to make a dream team. Well, only a little surprised. I know I get a little too excited about this show.

I decided to change things up a little. I’m going to try and go for more points, so I decided to drop Anthony. I decided to choose between Mila, Maya, and Amy. I decided to go with Amy. That might be a bad idea since she won the last episode. I did think about Emilio too or Jonathan. In seasons past, it seemed like you could tell more who was doing better. We shall see. So without further adieu, here is my dream team for this week’s episode.


I will let you know tomorrow what my score was. And I’m still up for a competition!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Movies in Review aka What I Did for Two Weeks

Needless to say, when I was sick I had a lot of time on my hands, but didn’t really feel like doing anything. Movies have always been my escape. I just don’t usually let myself indulge. Why? I’m cheap. I hardly let myself justify the cost of renting, but from my sick bed I was weak. And just so I can justify it a little bit more I decided to review some of the films for you. Alla Laney-Paney.

And just so you know I do have a background in film, although I don’t think I got too technical here. Just to let you be aware that I might have a different take on viewing film. Ok, there is my disclaimer.

Bedtime Stories
Decided on this one to try to keep from watching Santa Buddies. Did not disappoint. Super cute.


Bolt
This one came highly recommended. My husband and I really liked the movie Up, and was told that this one was even better. I don’t know if it was because we watched this one second, but neither of us thought that it was as good as Up. It is a cute movie and defiantly worth watching, but Up’s was an all around better movie. The animation was better, story was better, and the jokes were way funnier. In fact, I highly recommend watching the film about the making of Up on the extras section. But Bolt is good too.


Coraline
Not that great. I’m not sure what all the hype was about. Excepted it to be this super cool animated movie. It was ok. Watched it in 3D. Gave me a headache. Not for little kids.

Gamer
You know how sometimes you pick up a film because of either the reputation of the director or one of the actors? Well I did that for this film. I thought it would be high action for the hubs and Gerard Butler for me. Well, I wouldn’t really recommend this one. Action was ok, concept was extremely interesting, but it was a little too graphic for me. It was like watching a film shot by an adolescent boy. A really smart but gratuitous adolescent boy. The movie was an interesting take on the ‘man as prey’ The Edge and Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window voyeurism.


Hangover
This was a funny film, but I didn’t like it as much as hubs. Yes, I know it’s a film, but I had a hard time laughing because of the baby. Yes, I know . . . no babies were harmed in the making of this film.


Quantum of Solace
The first couple of action scenes were brilliant! Brilliant! The detail and continuity involved with the shots just made them amazing. I think I just said wow after watching them. The story is good too, but I think the first couple of scenes over shadowed the plot. But then again I still think that Sean Connery was the best Bond.


Hurt Locker
Some of the scenes were really well done, but I guess I never really got the full message or viewpoint of the film. And I have it on good authority that it isn’t completely realistic.


The Proposal
Love Sandra Bullock. This was a very cute film. Betty White was very funny.  Defiantly chick flick. Hubs wouldn’t have liked it. The scenery in Alaska was breathtaking.


The Ugly Truth
I wanted to see this since seeing the previews on TV. In fact wanted Hubs to take me, but of course couldn’t talk him into it. This is one of the first movies I picked out, and I have to say it is my favorite off the list. Love Katherine Heigl. I think she picks some really great roles. And of course Gerard Butler. I do have to warn you that this film is not for everybody. If you are ok with Sex and the City HBO you would be ok with this.


Julie & Julia
Ahhh. I really expected this to be a great film. I heard so many good reviews from the ladies in blog land, and I really thought I would like it. Well. I didn’t. It was ok, but. I think I would have liked it better if it was just Julia. Meryl Streep did a wonderful job. Stanley Tucci was good as always and generally I like Amy Adams. I think I just didn’t really care for her character. She complained too much. I mean if I lived over a pizzeria in Queens (I think . . . or Brookline . . . either way) I would love it . . . until I got homesick for red clay. But she just seemed like an eternal pessimist. (If you want to watch this film stop reading here because there is a slight spoiler) I couldn’t really figure out why I wasn’t enjoying the film until the part were Julie finds out that Julia didn’t really care for her blog and she asks if it’s because she says the f word too much. That kind of answered it for me. I had heard that the book and the movie were a lot different. That some people decided to read the book because they had enjoyed the movie so much, and were disappointed and one of the reasons was because of the language. I think I just couldn’t relate to the character. The whole concept just seemed a little too contrived from her part. And of course, gratuitous. Totally as an aside if you get to visit the Smithsonian in DC don’t miss the Julia Child exhibit. The kitchen is amazing. There is a part in the film near the end were you see Stanley Tucci drawing around the utensils on the walls so they can be put back in place, and it’s really just like that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Project Runway Season 7 Dream Team

Ok, now back to fun stuff. Not only did I get behind on the blog, I also got behind on my Project Runway watching. During my sickie I pulled myself to the computer and finally watched the first three episodes. I did get to watch the fourth episode on Thursday. I was excited to see on the Lifetime website that they have started a dream team game! How awesome! And then I forgot about it until right before Thursday’s episode. I had to quickly pick my dream three and the watch the episode to see how I did. I think I only have a score of three points now. But I am behind a few weeks. And I didn’t do that good because my girl Anna was in the bottom. But this is lots of fun! I haven't decided if I want to change it up before next Thursday or not.  I really like Anna and Janeane, but only went with Anthony because he's funny and from Georgia.  It's kind of hard at this point because I'm not real sure what everyone's style is.  But it's fun to follow along this way.  And I'm still marking them out on my printout as the season goes along.  LOVE this show. 

An extra fun think about the dream team is that you can form a group and compete against each other.  Anybody else want to play? I would love to make a group.  Remember I only have three points!

And if you haven’t watched Project Runway in a while, and want to watch an episode I recommend Episode 2. It’s a potato sack challenge meaning burlap bags. I was thinking flour sacks so at first I was really excited, but then I realized it was burlap. Which is still pretty dang cool. Burlap is one of my favorite materials.  I even used it in my wedding.  One of the contestants did an ombré technique to dye the burlap.

I just thought flour sacks would be cool because of the vintage patterns. To me a flour sack dress (or quilt) is the ultimate example of a make-do mentality. Or as Tim Gunn says "make it work" mentality. Awesome.


And remember let me know if your up to a Project Runway Dream Team Competition!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I've been sickie!

Wow! I knew it has been a while since I had written anything for the blog, but looking back now I see that it was a month! I had decided to take a little break to try and knock out some of the things on my to-do list. Isn't it funny how the New Year always seems to inspire you to do that? And then I caught the cooties! I had/have this horrible cold that just totally knocked me down. For two weeks! I have always been pretty susceptible to sore throats, and this was no exception. So after two antibiotics, multiple doses of Sudafed, cough suppressant, and ibuprofen, and truck loads of Cepacol and Ricola; I finally feel better. And I’m soooooo ready to get out of the house!

All that talk about over the counter stuff brings me to something that I want to share with you guys. Have you ever noticed how many over the counter medications there are? How many analgesics and cough and cold products in particular? Want to know a secret? They all contain the same active ingredient! Remember Tylenol PM? Guess what, it’s just regular Tylenol and Benadryl. The Benadryl is what makes you drowsy. Over the counter sleeping pills are also just Benadryl. Same active ingredient and same dose.

This is why when I buy over the counter medications I try to buy it in the simplest forms that I can. I don’t get the products that deal with multiple symptoms, because more than likely I’m not going to use the whole box. That way next time I’m sick I can go to the medicine cabinet and get what I need without taking extra medicine for symptoms I don’t have. Make since?

Here are some active ingredients to notice:
Pseudoephedrine – Decongestant - Narrows blood vessels to decrease swelling and congestion.
Guaifenesin – Expectorant – Thins and loosens mucus.
Dextromethorphan – Cough Suppressant
Acetaminophen – Analgesic

Those four ingredients make up almost all of the different combinations found on the while cough and cold aisle. Can you imagine how different it would be if it was simplified down into those four products?

And something else to remember next time you get a killer sore throat. Gargle Benadryl (without swallowing). Really it works.