Sunday, January 31, 2010

Disney, Cousins, Christine and Lemon Pie

This last week has been a doozy. (And I mean that in a good way.)

It's just been so busy that, between driving to Cali and back and then working 36 hours in a 72 hour time-frame, I haven't had time to post pics and/or blog about my super fun weekend in California.

I'm going to make that up to all of you, right now.

It all started at about noon last Sunday. Christine and I went to our respective churches and then hit the road, Jack. We laughed and talked and ate our way to my-favorite-aunt-who-lives-in-California's house and got there between dinner and bedtime. Which meant that we got there just in time to eat about 4 of these rolls. Apiece. (I'm telling you, they were THAT good.) And we ate some M&M's and salted cashews, and we talked and laughed until waaayyyyy too late Sunday night. (It's always a party at Deb's house. I so love her. Her, and everyone else who lives there.)

After staying up crazy late Sunday night, miraculously Chris and I were still able to get to the park bright and early. Disneyland opened at 10:00 AM, we walked onto Main Street at 10:03. And then we promptly went and had breakfast at the Carnation Cafe. (Listen, it was Christine's idea. Something about how she'd always wanted to eat there. Oh, and there was a little beauty called Eggs Benedict Croissant on the menu. That's right, Hollandaise sauce smothered on croissants. Holy moses, they were fab!)

After ingesting butter sauce on top of a the buttery goodness that is a croissant (Mmmmm....) we headed straight to Peter Pan. My total favorite ride of all time. (Except for Thunder Mountain and the Teacups, which are also my total favorite rides of all time. Listen, I have a lot of favorites, okay?)

Christine got to ride Dumbo for the first time ever. Of course, I took her pic. (Because you know I must document momentous occasions such as riding a kiddie ride for the first time when you're 32 years old.) Check out the shadow of my hand in the picture - lower right. Hilarious, no?!

And here's a lovely shot of me and my elephant friend - in case you've ever wondered what we'd look like together.

We spent all morning in Fantasy Land, walked on to Space Mtn a couple times, and then headed back across the park for a little Pineapple Whip and some Indiana Jones. As we were crossing, we saw a band starting up in front of the castle. Upon closer inspection of the band, we realized they were playing songs from Mary Poppins. So, we decided to walk that way. And then - glory be and hallelujah! - we saw Bert and Mary come out of the throng and join the band.

They sang every major song from the movie. Bert and Mary danced, they got little girls up there to twirl with them. I sang Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at the top of my lungs (with Mary, thankyouverymuch). I had major flashbacks to my childhood crush on Bert. Oh, it was a jolly holiday of a sing-a-long, I'll tell you that right now.

After that fun little ditty, we ingested some fabulous Hawaiian pineapple products, rode Pirates a couple times (have I told you yet that we just walked on to all these rides?), and then thought.... "What the heck, let's see if there are any tables open at Blue Bayou for lunch". And there was one table open - for two - immediately. We were amazed. (Usually, Blue Bayou needs reservations. I'm talking 30 days in advance reservations.) We waited approximately 3 minutes before we were seated. At a water front table. With no reservations, we got a water front table. Shocking! ... We ordered/split the Monte Cristo. Why? Because we love deep fried sandwiches, that's why! Check this beauty out.

After lunch, we rode Splash six times in a row. (Not even kidding. Six times in a row.) We walked on five times, and then the crew caught on and just started offering to send us around. We took advantage of it once, but on what would have been the 7th time around, opted to get out and head to Thunder Mtn, which we also walked on to - three times in a row. I'm telling you - Best. Disneyland. Day. EVER!

The bummer? We didn't ever think to have anyone take our picture TOGETHER. What silly girls we are. But we did snap some pretty fun pics of each other.

Case in point:

I started the morning off kissing a toad,

and by nightfall, I was arm in arm with a knight in shining armor.

This must be some kind of sign, right? (Hey, a girl can hope. And pray. And cross her fingers, etc.)

We were home by 9:00 that night, which was a little late to start the lemon pie I'd been told was payment in kind for our room and board. So, we just stayed up talking to Rachel, Mark and Debbie until about 11:00. (Yeah, I know, that was totally enough time to make pie!)

I got up on Tuesday a couple hours before Christine, and made some lemon pies with my cousins Rachel, Shelly and Jason. (Mostly with Rachel, actually. But Shelly and Jason had a good time playing with the flour and the cornstarch. Bless them.)

Again, I wish I'd thought to have Chris take some pics of us in the kitchen. Shelly and I had matchy-matchy flour bellies that were pretty cute, and it's just always fun for me to have cousin pics - so I wish I had something taken with Rachel. Oh, well. I guess that means that I'll just have to go back and do a re-play.

After which, I'll blog about it some more. That'll be fun for all of us, don't you think? (Kidding. Well, not about the blogging part. You know I'm good for that.)

Anyhoo... I have no pics of my cousins or the pie making process, but I did snap a couple of the finished product that I'll include, just for fun. So what if the meringue's a little toasty, I'll still show them to you. Just don't judge me and call me a burner of all foods, okay?

Gosh, that was such a fun week/weekend. Christine and I had SUCH a fun time, traveling, staying at Deb's, playing at the park, traveling again. I so love my life!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reunited, and it feels so good!

As some of you may recall, about this time last year, I bought myself an annual pass to Disneyland. Why? Because I love Mickey Mouse. And because I wanted to. And because my favorite aunt who lives in California will let me crash at her house (with my friends) on incredibly short notice.

It's been an incredibly fun year, I'll tell you.

But it's coming to an end. So, in classic Evans style, I'm going out with a bang. (It's how my mother taught me to do things.) I came to California yesterday with my good friend Christine, and this morning we're headed to the park. Because we're masochists, and because we like short lines, we're actually hoping for a little bit of rain. (Not a lot - just enough to keep the locals away, and only because we love short lines.)

Aaaaahhhhhhh..... I. Love. My. Life.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Celebrating National Pie Day

So, yesterday (1/23) was National Pie Day.

Isn't it a shame that I didn't post that yesterday morning so all you Razzzberry reading folk out there could be aware and celebrate properly? I'm sorry. But it was a 12 hour work day and I didn't find out until the evening, and ... well, just mark it down on your calendars so you'll know next year, okay? (That's what I'm doing.)

Anyway, yesterday was National Pie Day. And since, as you may recall, I'd made a crust I wasn't able to use a couple weeks ago (a crust I'd wrapped in saran wrap and thrown in the freezer because I had to leave town the next day and knew I wouldn't be using it any time soon), I made a pie.

Okay, I'm kidding. I mean, not about the frozen crust. I really did do that. But the real reason I made the pie was for the Julie and Julia party at My's that had to be cancelled the same weekend I'd originally made the pie. Which translates into: I finally made that stupid Bavarian Cream that's been haunting me ever so, since I very first saw the movie in the theater many moons ago. And let me just tell you this - that pie was good. (Or, at least, the filling was. The crust? Not so much. It tasted like my freezer smells - which is not a treat. But my friends are good folk and they still ate it. Bless them.)

But back to the pie. Holy Mother of All Things Delicious, this is a good recipe. If you like berry pie and/or cream pie, you've got to check this out.

2 cups fruit/berries

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tab lemon juice

1 packet unflavored gelatin in 3 Tab water

2 cups heavy cream, whipped

I used the frozen berry mix, light on the strawberries. (There were a few, but for the most part I used the more tart berries - because I love them so.) I let the berries thaw, then crushed them up with a potato masher (so some of the berries were still intact) and poured the sugar over them - and the lemon juice. Let that sit for 30 minutes. While it's sitting, I dissolved 1 Tab (or 1 packet) unflavored gelatin in 3 Tab hot water (I boiled it, because I love to use my teapot and don't have much occasion to do that, as I am not a tea drinker and keep forgetting to buy hot chocolate mix). I whipped my cream during that half hour as well. After the fruit and sugar has gotten all good and sweet and gooey (and delicious - you know I licked the spoon, and then replaced it, of course) - add the gelatin to the fruit*. As soon as it starts to set (kind of like really runny jello), fold the berries into the cream and pour it into a baked pie shell. Let it set up - and voila.... you have a fabulous, creamy and delicious fruit and milk concoction. (And I'm thinking if you put it in a graham cracker crust, it would be equally delightful.)

*I will tell you, here and now, to make sure your fruit is at room temperature before you go pouring the gelatin into it. If you use frozen berries and they are still even the least bit chilled, the gelatin will glomp into solid bits of goo before you can start to stir it in. (Yes, I know this from experience.) If you have that happen (and I did, so I know this'll fix it), just pour the whole mess into a saucepan and keep it on a medium/low heat (because you don't want to cook the berries), until it heats through and the gelatin goes back to a liquid form. Then let it set up (sorta) and mix it in with the berries and you're as good as gold.

And that sentence ("good as gold") just made me want to watch Swing Kids. (Does anyone else love-love-love Robert Sean Leonard in that movie? I know I do!) Too bad I need to pack for my little mini-trip to California and don't have time to watch it. Blast!

In fact, I don't even have time to be blogging (yeah, I need to pack that badly - I stayed at My's entirely waaayyyyy too late last night). So, I'll stop now. But if you love berries and if you love cream like I do (or even sort of half as much as I do, because really, who loves either of those things as much as I do?) - make this pie. You will love it. I promise.

The End.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Fiber One testimonial for the masses...

As some of you may remember, I love Fiber One Chewy Bars. I mean, I love them on a level that could be considered dangerous. (After all, one wouldn't want to exceed 100% of one's daily recommended fiber needs. At least, not day after day after day. If one were to do that, one would also probably need to ingest Imodium in order to counteract the effects of said Fiber One bars. ... Not that I would know, personally, how that would play out. I'm just saying, I think that's what would have to happen.)

Anyway, I love Fiber One bars. Fiber One cereal and pop-tarts? Not so much. But the bars? Holy, think-you-died-and-went-to-heaven goodness, they're delish.

And I'm a fan of their latest commercial, too.

Every time I see this ad on TV, I laugh out loud. The pseudo-lederhosen clad, muttering lunatic at the end is my favorite. (Though the Fiber One fan in drag is pretty sweet as well.)

Good grief, I do love a clever commercial. Honestly, I'd be buying these anyway, but this ad just takes it over the top. I love it!

Monday, January 18, 2010

BFF's, celebrating HP on MLK...

How's that for a sentence full of acronyms?

I cracked myself right up.

Of course, that could very well be due to the sugar/caffeine/junk food rush I'm on right now. I'll show you a picture of my counter from earlier today - I only ask that you don't judge me too harshly for what I fed the kids (and, uhm... myself) today.


So, Jo dropped Roomie (who is 10) and Rook (who is 8) off this morning, bright and early, so we could watch the most recent three Harry Potter movies. For those of you who don't know, I've read the series of books with both kids. We've had our own little book club, complete with going out to eat after finishing each book so we can discuss plot points. ... Or, in Rook's case, to see how many Big Macs he can eat in one sitting. (The record is 2 and a half. Which is kind of a lot, but doesn't sound like too much - unless you know he'd also had a large fries, a large sprite AND a hot fudge sundae. Honestly, that child's ability to pound down food astounds me.) Anyway, Jo's kids and I have bonded over Harry Potter for years, so when I got all 6 movies on DVD for Christmas (thank you, Uncle Remus!), we planned a little movie date. As today was the first day that they had off school and I had off work, we planned the big day for today.

The kids came in their pajamas (I stayed in mine) and we ate a ridiculous amount of junk food while we watched three consecutive HP movies (with a drive-thru lunch between the last two movies). They came with their wands (note the wand to the right of the popcorn/m&m bowls in the picture above - hilar!) and their magical creatures (a stuffed toad and a monkey). The highlight of the day, other than Roomie saying that Umbridge reminded her of Hillary Clinton, was the fight in the ministry at the end of Order of the Phoenix - both kids had their wands pointed at the TV during the entire fight scene, yelling "unforgivable curses" at Bellatrix and Malfoy, Sr. I'm telling you, these kids are so stinking funny. I love them!

Anyhoo... it was a fun day. One of my most enjoyable days in recent history. And now that they've gone home, I think I'll do some laundry, and maybe sort through one of my bookshelves. Both things I totally could have done while they were here, but it was too fun to just sit and veg - I couldn't make myself do one single productive thing.

Why I don't watch three movies a day every day is beyond me. This day's been fab!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I have SUCH a split personality!

This revelation isn't a surprise to anyone who truly knows me, I am sure.

It's true. I'm a split personality - esp when it comes to decorating and home decor. It's so funny to me, when people come in to my apartment for the first time, how they react and what they say. To me, my hodgepodge of shiny/textile upholstery and silver and/or matte, dark frames with old black and white family photos just go together. Also, my vintage kitchen table that's in some serious need of refinishing and my cherry apple red Kitchen Aide were meant to live in the same room. I don't know, I can't explain it. I love shiny things, and I love beat-up, old, weathered enamel cast cookware. I am a combination of two opposite worlds.

And today, I took a little quiz here that proved it. It was super fun, and DEAD ON, as I'm sure you'll agree.

My tastes run 50% French Eclectic (French Country)

And 50% Classic.

While I do find it interesting that both these pictures have basically the same chair in the lower right quarter- a chair that strikingly resembles one that I have placed in the far corner of my bedroom, thankyouverymuch - what slays me are the descriptions of the specific styles. Check it:

French Eclectic

Parlez-vous fran├žais? Even if the answer is no, you can confidently say your home does! French Country, like its name, somehow manages to both be formal and casual, classy and unassuming at the same time. You like your spaces to feel inviting from the moment you (or your guest) opens the front door and this feeling should continue even after you've entered your most formal room. Even though there are French antiques here and gold details there, the rustic elements provide a balance and warmth that seems to say, "come in, relax and stay a while." Your love of antiques leads you to flea markets, garage sales and hours of eBay hunting.

The materials and pieces you are drawn to play on the mix of formal and casual. Many of the pieces look like they were passed down from your great-great-aunt (even if they are brand new!) and you managed to upholster them in a way that made that piece both then and now. Much of the furniture is wood-framed and the wood is either left natural (hey there rustic!), painted white (hey there country!) or even gold (hello refinement!). And many times there is a strong mixture of all of these.

When it comes to color, you are drawn to bright and airy options. Thoughts of the French countryside are key - warm colors such as yellows, reds and oranges hinting at fields of gold.


What's old is new again! The beauty of Classic Style is how well it takes all of the beautiful forms, colors and textures of the past and reinvents them in a way that feels both fresh and inspired. Furniture is well proportioned and comfortable and the rooms give off an air of sophistication and grace. Oil paintings depicting a still life or nature scenes and emphasizing symmetry of pairs helps maintain the Classic nature of the room. Windows are often covered with opulent fabric shades and/or drapery. Classic rooms give off an air of history that seems to say: "I was here long before you, and will remain long after you've gone." And yet, even with this level of sophistication, the rooms are soft and inviting.

Classic rooms are filled with texture and deep color. Walls are often saturated in color and many times have an old-world faux finish to hint of days gone by. Dark stained wood is very common and is often distressed. Additionally, gold, bronze and silvers have a natural-looking patina to them that softens their shine. Maps and animal prints are common, and fringe and tassels are often used to trim pillows, drapery and cushions. Genuine antiques are mixed with replicas and found objects become sculptural elements in the room.

Common colors are creams, and rich versions of traditional colors such as burgundy, dark green and navy blue. Golds and yellows are also popular as many Classic rooms have a very warm tone to them.

These descriptions slay me. Distressed wood, both left natural AND painted white (and/or metal tones)? Check. Opulent fabrics, fringed throw pillows, genuine antiques mixed with old-world replicas? Check. I would sooner die than have animal print anywhere near me, but I've always wanted a HUGE, framed map. (And I have a love affair with globes that's a little unholy.) What colors are the walls in my tiny little 600 sq ft home? Red/burgundy - a peachy/cream - yellow - plum. Check and double check on my love of both warm and saturating colors. If my living and bed rooms were any bigger, I'd have huge sweeping curtains. Nay, drapes. (Because I love heavy fabric. It speaks to me. Call me Scarlett, I won't care - I love heavy, dark drapes.)

Anyway, this quiz cracked me the heck up. It was so completely dead on (for me, anyway). It's good to know that I live in the home I would choose, and that my decorations truly reflect who I am. Too, too funny. Let me know if any of you take the quiz. I'm wondering if anyone else will get the same, exactly right, outcome.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I love these puppies...

I really do. They're delish.

And I don't even like dried fruit, so I really can't explain why I'm so drawn to these little guys. (Except that they're dried fruit, dipped in two different kinds of chocolate. So, really, maybe that explains it all right there.)

If you've never had these, you must try them. You can get them in the candy aisle at the WalMart for about $3. (And if you don't like them, you can drop your opened bag off at my house. I'll be happy to finish them off for you. I know, I'm such a giver.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How Dad talked me into staying the night...

First, he put this on.

Then he made me this.

I'm not even kidding. I called home as I was leaving the funeral, to ask if they needed anything from the store (since both Mom and Dad had been down with the flu, I figured they might need to be re-stocked). Dad picked up the phone and said "Please come home, Laurie. Your mother and I have anti-bacterial masks that we'll wear, so you won't catch what we've had." Ha! And even though I told him that he did not have to wear the actual mask... true to his word, he wore it. All day long. How adorable is he? I love my dad!

And then, at about 7:00 PM, to kind of seal the deal, he took a Marie Callendar Razzleberry pie out of the freezer and threw it into the oven. (Up until then, I'd been talking about driving back down the mountain. As soon as I decided to stay the night, the pie went into the oven.)

The moral of the story, folks: I can be bought. Even in the face of possible flu germ inhalation, I can be bought for the price of one Razzleberry pie. (Not that that's news to anyone who truly knows me.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A change of plans

Today, instead of doing this - so I can go to a party at My's, watch a movie and eat a lot of rich, buttery food...

I'm headed home for a few hours.

Yeah, a few hours. I was going to stay the night (because it's free to stay with Mom & Dad), but I called this morning to let them know I was coming and was met by a frog-voiced mother who informed me that both she and my dad have the flu. - Insert screeching brake sounds here. - I am sure not going to catch the flu from my loving parents, so I'm just driving home and back today. I think. Maybe. ... Maybe I'll call one of my friends up North who know I'm the kind of kid who won't stay in a house of sickness, no matter how much I love my family, and beg to sleep on a couch. I don't know, we'll see.

Anyway, the reason for this post isn't to let you all know that I'm a horrible child who will shun her own mother, for the sake of flu germs. The reason for this post is, simply, gratitude for an awareness of how the Lord works in my life.

Yesterday, while at work, I had a FB message come through to my phone. (All together now, let's give thanks to God for modern technology that allows FB to relay emails and wall posts through my phone.) I received an email message, through my phone, at about noon yesterday from one of my childhood friends that another friend had passed away last week. These two girls were my best friends when I was a kid, and I'm so grateful Stephanie had been reading obits to have seen that Holly had passed - and that she then emailed to let me know. Because of when in the day I got the news, I was able to search for and find a phone number for Holly's parents, and then make contact with her mom yesterday afternoon, which is how I found out that her service is this afternoon. And as luck would have it, I already had today off work, because I'd scheduled it for a family outing that ended up getting cancelled.

Suffice it to say, I am - again - amazed, and grateful, for the hand of the Lord in my life. I'm so grateful for timing - that because Steph knew, she could tell me - and that with time on my side yesterday, I was able to speak with Holly's parents - and that today, I'll be able to go home and to be with the family that was like a 2nd family to me through my early childhood.

Oh, my gosh, I'm so grateful.

Of course, I'm also bummed that the Julie/Julia party has been cancelled, because that means that there will be no Boeuf Bourguignon and/or Bavarian Cream in my Saturday night this week. ... I guess I'll have to "settle" for some Trapper's pie. (It's a tough life, I know.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Further proof that I wake up... STUPID

As we know, I wake up a brainless idiot. Every day of my life, I wake up as a a brain donor. The thing is, when I'm waking up, I think I'm brilliant.

Case in point: I woke up this morning about 10 minutes before my alarm went off and I thought "I could use this time to make a pie crust!". (Yeah, I know. I'm super ambitious in the AM. Ambitious... and unrealistic. But I did have the extra 10 minutes and I did need them, as I have a super crazy packed day Friday, and I have the Julie and Julia party at Myra's on Saturday .... to which I am taking a Raspberry Bavarian Cream.

Why am I making a Raspberry Bavarian Cream? Because it was, hands down, my favorite delicious looking dessert in the movie. (When she dropped it, I gasped. Then teared up. Then thought, "I'd totally eat that off the floor!".)

Anyway, so... I'm taking a Raspberry Bavarian, and in looking up recipes online what I was seeing is you make the cream and you sugar the raspberries and then you fold it all together and throw it in a baked pie shell. Berries can be crushed and sugared in the blink of an eye - and I can whip heavy cream while I'm berry crushing, so I wasn't too worried about that piece, but the pie crust? That was going to take time to mix, and then time to shape, and then time to bake. Add to all that time the time I would need to have it cool before I put said berries and cream into the shell... And I thought "Oh, yeah. I'll just whip that crust out this morning, then I can finish stuff up on Saturday before the party, after work. That's a great idea!" (Not.)

So, I went to the kitchen, and I turned on the oven - and I got out the butter, and pulled out my favorite green glass pie pan ("while I really do prefer emeralds, we could have made it on green glass"), pulled out my fav rolling pin (I have three), measured out the water, washed off my pastry cutter, measured my flour...

And dumped it right into the pie pan. Like an idiot.

And then, as if having dumped the flour into the pie pan itself wasn't brainless enough, I stood there looking at it, thinking something along the lines of "that doesn't look right...". (I only wish I were kidding. I, sadly, am not. Not even one little bit.)

After about a few seconds of blank staring at the pie pan full of flour, I laughed out loud (took a picture, because I am my mother's daughter), dumped the flour into the bowl I was going to mix the crust in... and I got to work.

30 minutes later, my kitchen was smelling buttery and delish. See the finished product below.

I am SUPER EXCITED to make the raspberry deliciousness that will be poured into this shell, come Saturday. (And when I say "SUPER EXCITED", I mean it. All caps and all.)

You know I'll do another post after I actually make the filling. I live for taking pics of fabulous food, as we all know.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mmmmm.... Candy.

I love these little guys. I mean, I LOVE THEM!

While I guess you could use these to stir hot chocolate, I'm pretty sure it would break off in about 4 and a half stirs. It's better to just munch on them - in bulk. (I'll tell you right now that after chain eating roughly 6 sticks, they start to get a little gummy and they stick in your molars - which sounds really gross, but it's actually quite a treat!)

If you've never had these - go buy some right now. And if you don't like them, know you're more than welcome to drop the rest of the container off at my house. I'll finish them off for you as a public service. (I know, I'm such a giver.)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Who do I love today? Hugh Grant, that's who.

Oh, Edward. I love you so.

Oh, Alex. Talk about a Grand Gesture. I love you, too.

I also love him in Two Weeks Notice (honestly, the witty banter in Music & Lyrics and Two Weeks Notice about kill me). And right now the BBC and their affiliates are at the top of my hit list for having either disabled the embedding or completely blocked video feed "to my country" from Love Actually on YouTube. (I love the David and Natalie story. I also love the dancing down the stairs scene.)

Whose kidding who? I basically love anyone with an accent, but today I'm so grooving on Hugh Grant and his fabulous hair. (Honestly.) Alex Fletcher's my fav. He can write dinner. (Pardon me while I swoon.) He's delish.