Thursday, October 23, 2008

Seriously? C'mon People

What does a person's medical records have to do with them being or not being Vice President? Seriously. This is just getting to be beyond ridiculous. I would not be releasing my medical records. What would people do with that kind of personal information? What if I asked the doctor about a spot on my arm that turned out to be nothing, but could be construed as something bigger than what it is? What if I had a miscarriage, and it's now released into the public media that I had lost a baby? Would mass speculation ensue about what could I have done differently? Would they tear me apart for losing a baby and still working, or having other kids, or any number of things that could be said? I'm sorry, but if you are basically bullied into releasing your personal medical records, then we've come to a pretty sorry state of affairs. Personal records should stay just that. Personal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hmm... Duh?

The 10 Secrets of the Effortlessly Thin

I don't know why people feel the need to keep repeating this over and over again. This has all been true for years, and it's really quite simple. I figured all this out on my own without even trying. I knew that when I skipped meals, I ate worse. When I was constantly snacking on little meals here and there, I stayed on the thinner side. I even took smaller plates at meal times, so that I wouldn't take as much food. At the very least I wouldn't waste it all. I even occasionally induldge in the sympathy eating that is supposedly so horrible, but I still try to work it in between meals, and put a limit on it somewhere. Like instead of taking the whole bag of Cheetos with me, I pour some into a bowl. Yeah, it creates another dish, but it also tells me how much I'm eating.

Is this really all that hard? Is it really difficult to just spread out and reduce the amount of food that is consumed every day? I don't even know that I'd consider myself to be the healthiest eater. I don't eat tons of fruits (it's hard finding decent fruit at the grocery store on any given day, though I'll buy it if I run across it), we eat lots of veggies, but we also eat some prepackaged types of foods. I try to go from scratch, but we do lots of cheeses and milk based things. Yet, our family is still pretty thin for the most part. I just struggle to understand the mindset of people who think starving themselves is a really good idea.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fish Bowl Cupcakes

I finally got hold of a copy of Hello, Cupcake! at my local library, and it is too adorable! My 4th born son's birthday is today, so I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to make one of the themes from the book. I decided on the Fish Bowl Cupcakes, and they turned out pretty cute. I went a bit too dark on the frosting though. Apparently sky blue coloring paste goes a looooong way. Aside from that, and the lack of a few key ingredients, I managed to make a pretty cute version.

I will definitely be buying this book soon. It is actually pretty inexpensive for the amount of ideas that are in there. I was quite surprised.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Apple Grilled Cheese

I found this recipe in a vegetarian kids cookbook, Better Than Peanut Butter and Jelly, which had some very interesting recipes. The one I ended up making was the Grilled Cheese With Apple Slices. Sort of. I actually only glanced at the recipe, and returned the book without writing it down. So my version, which may or may not be vegetarian, is such.

2 slices white bread
cheddar cheese
2 apple slices, from a cored, peeled and crosswise sliced apple (so you get round slices), granny smith

Spread a thin layer of margarine on the outsides of the bread. Arrange the two apple slices so that you have maximum coverage of the bread, top with cheddar cheese, the other slice of bread, and grill over medium heat until golden brown.

My next attempt, if this turns out well, will be to make a grownup version. Adding ham, using homemade Hi-Rise cornbread (excellent sandwich bread), and using miracle whip instead of margarine. Possibly adding a piece of mozzarella cheese, too. Mmm... I'm drooling just thinking of it.

Update: The sandwiches turned out well. I think a golden delicious instead of granny smith might be a little better though. The granny smiths were almost too tart/sour. Otherwise, not half bad.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Whatever Happened To Sending Your Kids Outside?

A "new study" suggests that kids and adults need much more Vitamin D, and have doubled the "suggested requirements" for the vitamin. It can be found in milk and some fish, among other things. While it's briefly mentioned in the article that the best source is sunlight unhampered by sunscreen, it's practically tossed out as dangerous because of the risks of sun exposure. I'm sorry, but people have gotten along just fine going into the sun here and there, without serious detriment. Most of the people who have issues are the ones that stay in the sun to get a tan, or are working outside constantly. When you're exposed to it for very long periods of time as with anything else, you're likely to have issues. But sending your kids outside for 15 minutes here and there on days where it's not 98 degrees outside, generally isn't going to be a major issue. This isn't rocket science. Get outside a little bit here and there. It's not going to kill you!

Cute Little Cloth Diapers

I made these last week, in an effort to start potty training. I had heard these were good for helping the little ones feel when they're wet, teaching them that they need to use the potty sooner. So far, not too bad.

Here are some pictures of what I've made: (for some reason blogger keeps turning the second pic on it's side, but you get the idea).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gourmet S'Mores, Take 1

First, you need to find a good recipe for some really tasty homemade graham crackers. There are several variations of this, some of which involve graham flour. This is the version I have chosen, since I love a good textured cracker.

My recipe of choice comes via a Google search, and this website. I chose this particular recipe because it allowed me to use my mixer, instead of my itty bitty food processor. I really need a bigger one. Eventually. For now, this is the recipe I'll be using. This will be next.

Anyway, on to the recipe. To make these graham crackers, you will need:


Homemade Graham Crackers

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat graham flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the honey, water and vanilla. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball.

Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll the dough 1/2-inch thick. Chill for 1 hour, until firm. Lightly flour the dough and roll 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife or cookie cutter (a pizza cutter also works great), cut into 2-inch squares. Arrange the crackers on parchment lined cookie sheets. With a fork, prick several holes in each cracker. You can sprinkle with some sugar crystals if you like.

Bake at 350 F. for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.

RECIPE NOTE: These turned out fairly well, but the dough was stickier than I would have liked. They were pretty soft while they were still warm, but got nice and crispy as they cooled. They had a good flavor and texture, and tasted good with the chocolate and marshmallows. Great on their own, too.

Now, for the marshmallows. This is the first time I have ever made anything even remotely close to this. I am using the recipe from Chef Thomas Keller, via Cooking For Engineers, also the product of a Google search. I love that site. It's just a really fun place for recipe breakdowns. I also have placed The French Laundry Cookbook on hold at my library, and I can't wait until it comes in. It looks like it's full of all sorts of goodies.


So here is the recipe for these very tasty looking marshmallows. I will post the link again to Cooking For Engineers, as he has the best breakdown of how to make a great marshmallow.

RECIPE NOTE: These turned out really great. The instructions from Cooking For Engineers were perfect, and helped me in a few tricky parts. I've never made anything like these before, and they turned out perfectly. They taste great and are fun to make. The kids enjoyed helping, although I think they liked licking the bowl much better. I did have trouble getting these out, and ended up with a few crusty spots from the buttered side of the pan, so I think next time I will use a greased piece of plastic wrap to line the pan instead.

Last, but not least, the Chocolate Bark. I didn't need any help on this one thankfully, and it came together very nicely. Simply melt several squares of chocolate over very low heat until melted. Then spread on a piece of waxed paper on a baking sheet. Melt a little bit of white chocolate, and drizzle it over the chocolate. Swirl it around until it looks pretty. Your chocolate should be roughly 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, depending on how chocolatey you like your S'mores. I think I am closer to the 1/8-inch thickness for this attempt.


As a whole, the flavor is really good. I might try a thicker bit of chocolate next time, since with both pieces of graham cracker, the chocolate didn't come through quite enough. But, for a homemade treat, it turned out great. I will definitely bring a pan of marshmallows to the next bonfire I attend and try them out roasted. I am drooling in anticipation!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eek! I Want One!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Joys Of Finding New Music To Listen To : Or : Where Did I Put My Horned Bagpies?

Looking around for some odd music the other day, my husband and I came across this little gem of a band. The music is actually pretty good, until the guy starts singing. I love the bagpipes though. The little horns and everything, it adds a nice touch ;)

In their own description,

Eluveitie clearly belongs to the fast growing Pagan Metal-scene, anyhow brings some "fresh air" into it. Eluveitie's sound is traditional, authentic celtic Folk Music combined in a unique way with modern styled Melodic Death Metal, strongly influenced by the classic “Göthenburg Sound”.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Funny Parody on Palin and Biden

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wow, This Just Takes A Special Kind Of Stupid

Man burns himself trying to steal gasoline.

I mean, really, how dumb can you get? I think this one deserves an honorary Darwin Award mention, at the very least.