Sunday, March 25, 2012

Speechless Sunday

Aloha from Hapuna Beach, Hawaii! I'll be here for the next week, so posts will be sparse. Enjoy your spring break wherever you may be!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hunger Games T-Shirts

I'm 24 years old and have never been to a midnight premiere of any movie. I have grown up as the Harry Potter movies were released, but just never made it to a midnight showing. Last summer, after I finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy, I declared that I would be attending the midnight showing of the first movie. I loved the books and was pretty excited to see how it was adapted to a movie. All in all, there ended up being 10 of us in a group and some of us made puffy paint shirts. Here's the back of mine.

Even though this quote is from the third book, I chose it because I love it and wasn't sure if I would ever go to another midnight showing and make shirts. I ended up drawing everyone's mockingjays, so if you need one drawn, let me know. Along the bottom right hand side I wrote:

Here a few of us are, fanatic shirts and all.

So, my take on a midnight showing with far too many teeny boppers? Never again. Well, of course when my niece begs me to take her and her friends to the big defining movie of her adolescence, I will. But, never again will I subject myself to the "Ohhhhhs" and "Awwwws" and the high pitched giggles with nearly every scene. I'm not trying to be negative Nancy here, but it was pretty ridiculous. I'll wait at least a few days after the opening night for the next 2 HG movies, or any other mega movies that come out for that matter. I cannot even fathom what Twilight movie theaters are like. Makes me gag a little.

And now, just for a few laughs, Hunger Games related some e cards.

Well, there ya have it. Have you seen The Hunger Games? Read the books? Been to any insane midnight showings? Tell me!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Olivia's [Hunger Games] Birthday Cake

I still can't believe baby Olivia, or as she is affectionaly called, Wia, Livia, Livvy, Liv, Livvy Loo, Esmooche Dos etc. is 1 year old!

Courtesy of Michelle Waters from The One With The Cupcakes

Celebrating a little after her official 1 year mark to accommodate out of town family and friends in a very hectic month of March, her party was incredible thanks to her super talented and creative momma, Michelle. If you need some party planning ideas or just want to swoon over some food and decor for your next occasion, go check out Olivia's handmade birthday hat (tulle and glitter involved) she wore for 1.8 seconds, stunning flowers and decor, scrumptious food, including coconut mango wontons, cranberry chicken salad fillos, strawberry pretzel salad dessert cups and finally my personal favorite, homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Courtesy of Michelle Waters from The One With The Cupcakes

Michelle asked me to help her with the cake. She baked the chocolate cake, then I made the frosting (based on her yummy buttercream recipe) and decorated it. Michelle had more or less based the whole party's theme (sea green/blues and gold) on the fact that she wanted to recreate the cake described in Mockingjay, the third book in Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Peeta made a cake for Annie and Finnick's wedding that was covered in blue and green waves to commemorate their home district, which is known for fishing. Even though there are some incredible fondant wave cakes, we knew we wanted to use buttercream because it tastes so much better. I used Wilton star tip #18 and switched off, swirling colors of frosting in an upwards motion, starting at the bottom of the cake. The only thing I would do differently would be to frost the whole thing in blue or white before starting.

Courtesy of Michelle Waters from The One With The Cupcakes

Here it is, finished with the glittery gold 1 on top of it.

Courtesy of Michelle Waters from The One With The Cupcakes

In addition to the two tiered cake, we had cupcakes with little gold sprinkles as well.

What do you think all you Hunger Games fans?

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Speechless Sunday

unknown source -- please let me know if you know where this is from so I can give proper credit!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sticker Giveaway

I have been wanting to get an Etsy shop up and running for quite some time now. See: 25 Before 25. I have been brainstorming a cute logo to put on labels, stickers or a stamp. Ironically enough, I was contacted by PrintRunner to giveaway 250 stickers to one lucky reader! A million thanks to to PrintRunner for providing us this giveaway. I will receive a set of stickers for hosting which I will be using for my Etsy shop.

It must be the entrepreneur in me, but I love that was established with little more than a small press and a dream. After 10 years of hard work, the company has become one of the foremost quality printers in Southern California. They have a very strong commitment to provide the best value and high quality full color printing at affordable prices. Go see all the great print services they offer and try printing stickers from them.

One winner will be chosen March 21st at 12:01am EST and receive the 250 Standard Custom Stickers. Here are the nitty gritty details:
                       Sticker Shape           :       Standard Stickers
                       Flat Width                :       2"
                       Flat Height               :       3.5"
                       Quantity                   :       250
                       Paper                        :       Premium Sticker Stock
                       Colors                      :       Full Color ( 4 Color Process), Black and White
                       Proof                        :       NONE
                       Ready to Ship In      :       3 Business Days
               *Giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above.

So many easy ways to enter, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Boston Cream Pie

It's definitely a cake, so why is it called a pie? The wikipedia page has short and sweet history of this dessert, which was created by a French-American chef in 1856 in the Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. It has always been one of my favorite cakes, but I had never made one myself....until I was inspired by my favorite foodie blogger Christy at The Girl Who Ate Everything.

She posted this recipe that I tweaked slightly, as seen below. While the cake part is simply a golden yellow box mix - which for most people is tasty enough! - the filling is sooooooooo yummy. If my jean size could afford it, I would eat it by the bowl-ful. I will certainly be finding more excuses to use it in other cakes and desserts from now on.

1 yellow cake mix (and ingredients called for on the package)

1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cups Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream (1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/3 cup powdered sugar)

Chocolate Glaze
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream

Follow the instructions on the bake of your cake mix in order to make two 9 inch round cakes.

While the cakes are baking, go ahead and make your filling. You need to decide whether you are making homemade whipped cream or using Cool Whip.

If you want a little more of a homemade taste and have the time, whip up some whipped cream by beating 1 cup heavy whipping cream with 1/3 cup powdered sugar. Add a dash or two of vanilla, if desired. For tips on achieving just the right consistency, read this post.

If you opt for the quick, easy Cool Whip route, you are ready to make the pudding mixture.

Mix the instant pudding with the milk and heavy cream. Christy's recipe just calls for mixing the instant pudding with one cup of milk. We drink fat free milk and were about out, so I figured adding 1/2 cup of fat free milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream would work. It did. Exceptionally well. But if you want to save yourself a few calories, just add 1 cup milk to the instant pudding mix. Beat for 2 minutes Then, slowly fold the whipped cream or Cool Whip into the pudding mixture. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before spreading onto the cake.

The filling can be placed in the refrigerator if you won't be assembling the cake right away. (This is a very dangerous option, as you will be extremely tempted to devour the bowl of filling.) Just make sure to remove the bowl from the refrigerator a little ahead of time so it isn't too stiff to spread.

After cakes are done baking, make sure they are completely cooled on a wire rack before assembling. Leveling the round tops off of at least the bottom layer is idea. Place the bottom layer on whatever plate you plan to serve the cake on. Spread the thick filling onto one cake layer. Top with the second layer.

Now, you are ready to make your chocolate topping. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring until completely combined. Mix in powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk, or in my case heavy whipping cream because we were out of milk at this point, until smooth. Immediately spread over the cake. Allow to drip down the sides. However, it probably won't if you use heavy cream like I did as it becomes a little thicker. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Next time, I'm going to make cute little Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. Michelle made these and I've seen other versions on pinterest, but will definitely be using this recipe, adapted into cupcake form!

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Food Tour: Austin, Baton Rouge and New Orleans

When I started this blog, I never intended or realized how many of my posts would revolve around food. That being said, I don't consider myself a foodie blogger. I just post recipes I love.

Naturally, I'm friends with people who love to eat the food I make, so it really should be no surprise that when reuniting with my 3 best friends from college a couple weeks ago - for the first time since June 2010! - much of our adventuring was spent eating. Here's the round up, photos brought to you by instagram, narration and opinion on food by yours truly.

First up, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Ever since I visited last year, I have been waiting to get back to have another tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich from Chelsea's. You must visit if you're ever in Baton Rouge. 4+ stars on Yelp, Urbanspoon and Google reviews. Great atmosphere and loads of live music. Plus, I'm not a beer girl, but they have loads of microbrews.

I even had cravings for this combo at various points throughout the year. Not like one I make at home. This exact one. I'm not kidding. I love grilled cheese and tomato soup. How could you turn down 6 cheeses on homemade focaccia bread served with tomato basil soup? I sure can't.

We didn't eat out much more in BRLA, but we did make ourselves a tasty spread for Super Bowl, including my crock-pot Little Smokies recipe and Michelle's infamous sandwiches. We spent Saturday in New Orleans where we had to have beignets from Cafe du Monde. Again, can't leave NOLA without some of these.

Upon returning to Austin, we forged on devouring more delicious food, worth every calorie. We got Torchy's Tacos to go and ate down on the river. Another must stop if you're ever in Austin. The queso and chips are to die for and I loved the shrimp taco. Unique to Torchy's are their Little Nookies, also known as deep fried chocolate chip cookies. What can't be deep fried?

We shopped along South Congress and stopped for Amy's Ice Cream, which I fondly remember having at the airport before I left Austin last time. With locations all over Austin, you will regret not stopping for a scoop. They didn't have the Blueberry Muffin flavor I had last time, which was fine, because Salty Chocolate Covered Kettle Chip was an excellent choice too. Olivia agrees, see?

When I first arrived in the Lone Star state, I remember Cara (and Hailey, another friend in Texas) first asking me, "Well, you have two options for dinner. BBQ or tex mex?" It's a hard decision. First up, BBQ from The Salt Lick as seen on Man v Food, The Food Network and many other notable press outlets. A short drive outside of Austin to Driftwood is totally worth it. Plus, it's BYOB! Meat, meat and more meat (also known as ribs, brisket and sausage) plus beans, potatoes and slaw. All American meal right there.

My favorite breakfast place was easily 24 Diner in Austin. I am a sucker for breakfast. I would eat it for every meal if I could afford to. If you didn't guess, this joint is open 24 hours and it's obvious why. They have killer food, made with local, seasonal ingredients. I was super tempted to order a Roasted Banana and Brown Sugar milkshake. Next time for sure! Their hashes are pretty famous and so delicious. I had a the small 24 Hash and half of a waffle with the brown sugar butter. 

Cara ventured out and ordered Chicken and Waffles. I have never seen anyone eat this. I'm from Oregon, remember? I could not get over how much chicken was atop this waffle. Look at that!

So, in true girls' vacation fashion, we couldn't pass on going back to Amy's Ice Cream and getting a couple pints to share for a night in watching movies. Oh, and as if you need any more convincing, the Mexican Vanilla flavor is arguably the best vanilla ice cream I have every had. Not exaggerating.

After making the visit last year, I attempted to replicate Bacon Pepperjack Cheese Wrapped Shrimp I had from Boutin's in Baton Rouge, Lousiana. (I had the same thing this year, too!) Their version is deep fried. I'm not really sure I will even attempt recreating the food above. It was just so so so good. I would highly recommend eating at any of the places listed above if you get the chance.

My tastebuds? Delighted. My jeans? Not so much. On our flight back to Portland, I said to Michelle, "Well, I think we ate enough this past week to feed a small elephant." Was I kidding? Maybe. Maybe not. It was only a week, but still so awesome to see my friends again. I know it will be far too long before it happens again.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

#14 Have an animated Disney movie marathon with my best friends from college [✓]

I knew this item on my 25 Before 25 List was going to be a little tough to do since the 4 college best friends #14 refers to don't even live in the same town any more. 2 in different cities in Oregon, 1 in Texas and 1 in Louisiana makes having a movie marathon a little difficult. During my vacation to visit the girls, we packed our days full of eating and sight-seeing Austin, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. A Disney movie marathon just wasn't quite in the cards - there was a lot to be done in a short amount of time. We did manage to sneak one Disney movie favorite in: Beauty and the Beast.


Although I do feel like I'm cheating this item a bit by checking it off the list, there is a slim chance of the 4 of us being together again to have a marathon before I turn 25. I don't like growing up.

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