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Thursday, June 30, 2011

strawberry apple crisp

Before I tell you about this delicious and not completely bad for you dessert, I just wanted to thank everyone for the oh-so-kind feedback on my new 'do yesterday. You guys put the biggest cheese on my face! :D I feel much more confident about my new ginger locks after reading your lovely comments and shared hair coloring experiences! :)

One other thing before the dessert, just because I have to tell everyone I know. This morning I was driving down the street in Northeast Philadelphia and had to move out of the way for a peacock. A PEACOCK! It took me a minute to identify the giant blue bird in the middle of the road because, well, I wasn't IN A ZOO. I didn't think peacocks walked down the streets of Philadelphia like a pigeon, no bigs. Sorry, I will seriously tell anyone who listens because I'm still amazed. I wanted to take a picture so bad but I also didn't want to crash as I was driving around it and gawking at the thing.


Oh yea, fruit! That's why I'm writing this post. This is a great dessert if you've got an abundance of berries that are in danger of spoiling. And apples too. You could use blueberries, raspberries, strawberries.. whatever you have. I had a container of strawberries and after seeing that one had gone fuzzy, I decided I needed to use the rest before they went bad. I looked up strawberry apple crisp or crumble since I have a bunch of rolled oats and I found this great recipe from Joy of Baking. I tweaked it a little to my likings and it came out great.

First combine your topping ingredients and crumble everything together with you fingers or a fork. Set it aside.


Take you granny smith apples..


..then peel, core, and chop them up.


Put them in a new bowl and add your berries on top. Chop them if you're using strawberries.


Top with lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and toss to coat everything. Spread them in the bottom of your greased pie dish.


Spread the topping all over the fruit.


Pop it in the oven and enjoy the scent that will waft out of the kitchen. :)

Serve it up warm with some vanilla bean frozen yogurt and enjoy!



Strawberry Apple Crisp
recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

Topping..
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (ap flour will do just fine)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup rolled oats

Fruit filling..
6 cups of chopped granny smith apples (I used five apples, which was plenty)
1 cup sliced strawberries (or berry of your choice)
juice from half a lemon
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8-9in pie plate that's at least two inches deep and set aside. In a bowl, combine all topping ingredients and crumble them with your fingers or a fork until the butter is in small pieces and everything is mixed together well. Set aside. Peel, core, and slice about 5-6 cups worth of granny smith apples. Dump them into a bowl and add your berries on top. Squeeze half a lemon into the mix, add your vanilla and sugar and combine until everything is coated. Grab your pie plate and spread the fruit mix on the bottom. Spread the topping all over the fruit and slide it in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until topping is crispy and golden. Serve warm by itself or over ice cream.


Hope your week is going well!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

gingey

So here's the new 'do! I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's pretty much exactly how I hoped it would look.

Sort of orangey-red with some added blonde highlights thanks to that multiple tones the bleaching produced.

Here's a little three stepper of how I went from my last hair color to this one..

I started out dark brown but I had about two inches of roots from sheer neglect and having no time to make myself look human. I applied three boxes of Manic Panic Flash Lightning Bleach to my head (because my hair is crazy long) and left it on for just under an hour. That brings me to step 2. Like I said before, the bleach will turn roots white (unless you have super dark hair maybe?) and it turned the rest a sort of coppery color. When my hair dried, I applied the light auburn dye which brings us to step 3! Easy. You just need to have a day to devote to it. Lest you go out side with a gradating 'do. Which is why I waited so long. I didn't want to freak everyone in my class out by showing up during step 2. They didn't know me back in my pink hair days. ;)

Now it's just a lot of getting used to. This is the most drastic change I've done to my hair since I was platinum blonde three years ago. It's just been various shades of brown/reddish brown since then. So now is the stage where I can't stop fondling my head every time I pass a mirror. Does anyone else do this? Like when you get a new haircut or something? I just keep pushing and prodding it to make sure I like it and see every sort of variation of it. Something like this..


Oh and I make tons of funny faces at myself that you have now been subjected to.

So those are my summertime hair adventures. I think I'll keep it up until fall. I like to shake it up for new seasons. :) Have you been making any changes to welcome summer?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

done and done

Last night was my last class for the six week summer semester. I did a quick count and figured out I wrote a whopping 25 papers for that class. That's around four a week. Crazy! I've never done anything like it. But you know what? I didn't mind it. I learned so much from that class and I kept telling myself "it's only 6 weeks and then it's done." And it is. And I am so happy. I finally have some time to myself. So you know what the first thing I did was? I'll give you a hint.


Time to dye my hair! This blog isn't the only thing that got neglected. My poor hair had about two inches of gnarly roots and *gulp* some silver strands. :( I think this year has just taken a toll on me. So much stress and anxiety. But everything has been progressively getting better and things are lookin up! So three boxes of bleach later and I'm halfway done my hair. This is where I'm at now. Don't laugh. It's a bit of a gradient at the moment.


The bottom is still wet so it looks darker than it is, which is probably a dark strawberry blonde. the top is pretty much white and there's streaks of orange here, there, and everywhere. If you recall back to this post on my ever changing hair color, my next step is to go that sort of natural orangey-red. I've done just about everything else. Check it.

Here's the back view. I have the linen closet door open which has a mirror on it so I can see the back of my head. That's how I color my hair myself.

Not far from the color I'm going for to begin with. I just wanted to lighten it up from the dark brown before doing the red. The bleach I used is Manic Panic Flash Lightning. It's the only kind I've ever used and it works really well. I left it on for a little under an hour and it got this light. I used three boxes which was perfect for my length. I remembered that when my hair was only shoulder length, it took two boxes to cover it. I would've gotten more than three this time but that's all they had in the store. Thankfully, it was just enough.

Obviously your roots will get a lot lighter than the ends so you want to make sure you leave it on long enough to lighten the ends as much as you need. But I wouldn't leave it on for more than the recommended time. That is if you could even make it that long because after a while it tends to feel like a bag of fire ants on your head. :)

I'll probably let this finish drying and then finish up with the dye. Hoping for the best since I've never tried this color before! Is it weird that I almost want to leave it like this? I have such an urge to grab my pinks and blues that are hiding in the back of my hair-things drawer. Someone stop me! Since I'm going to become a teacher and need a "respectable" hair color, I have this thought that I might do something crazy to my hair during the summers just to get it out of my system. :) Who knows.

Monday, June 20, 2011

spaghetti squash


I've been wanting to try spaghetti squash for a while now and was inspired after seeing a few recipes on foodgawker. I decided tonight was a good night to make since I have off from my usual class. It was an interesting experience and everyone loved it!

I wanted to start out with a basic recipe so I didn't make it with sauce and cheese which I've been seeing a lot. Definitely trying that next though!

I sort of looked at about three recipes for the actual squash cooking because everyone had something different to say about it. After reading some recipes and comments, I combined a few things that worked really well for me. I started by microwaving the squashes for about three minutes each just so they'd be soft enough to cut. They were way too hard to cut uncooked. Or maybe my knives just suck. I'd believe it.


After microwaving, cut them in half longways and place them face up on a baking sheet covered with parchment. I made three because they looked really tiny. It ended up being perfect with just a small amount leftover.


I coated the cut side in a little olive oil and some kosher salt and black pepper. Into the oven they go at 375F for 45 minutes.


When they were done I took them off the pan to prep it for some chicken. (Yay less dishes!) Scoop out the seeds and webby looking parts (think of gutting a pumpkin) without scraping out the spaghetti like flesh. It should look a little like this..


Here's the fun part.. get a fork and gently scrape out the "spaghetti" into a bowl.


Keep on scraping until you basically just have the skin left. More spaghetti comes out of these buggers than you'd think!


To try and keep it simple, I sauteed the squash in some olive oil with garlic, basil, and chives, and paired it with some herbed chicken.


If you haven't tried this yet I highly recommend it. The preparation and recipe variations are endless! Next time, saucy with lots of cheese. Oh yes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

fun finds in june

I've started bookmarking pages of things I like around the internet because there's nothing more annoying than snagging an image and forgetting where it came from. So I made a separate little bookmark folder for the things I want to share so that I can come back to them later when I'm ready for a post and no one gets mad about a lack of crediting. ;) Win/win.

These are some things I've stumbled on lately that I think are worthy of a mention.

I love this little Victorian cottage. How awesome would it be to have a little space like that as a kid? I always wanted a tree house or something that I could decorate and call my own (yes, even as a child). :) This is like playhouse times a million. Heck, I'd live in it now! Click the source link to see even more photos!

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Charlie just signed a lease to a new apartment and it got me thinking about what I want from a space, especially now that it's summertime and I've got outdoor fever. Of course with my job and school situations, I'm not quite ready to move yet so for now I'll live vicariously through him and help him set up his place. And maybe he'll let me sneak a few potted herbs in by a window until I have a backyard and do something all rustic and beautiful like this..

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This is probably the coolest kid's toy I've seen in a while. It reminds me of this set of fruit and vegetables in my kindergarten class that were segmented just like this and held together by velcro so you could chop them up with a wooden knife. The blender just makes it even more awesome. I also like this because it's not plastic and covered in sparkly stickers and all that other crap that adorns kids' toys today. Just simple wood with a calm color palette. Perfect for whipping up a summer smoothie!

{source}


While we're on the topic of pretty things made of wood, this keyboard is pretty awesome. I would love to sit on my future porch with a glass of iced tea, feeling as much a part of nature as you possibly can with a computer on your lap. I think tapping on these tree-like keys would do the trick!

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I know everyone and their mom is obsessed with caravans and trailers right now but I had to add this because it's just so summery and gorgeous. I wouldn't mind spending a few nights in this bad boy, sitting under those awnings and reading a book.. amazing. Click the source link for more photos again!

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That's that. I need a serious break from thinking. Finals are next week so I should be able to mellow out for a bit after that. Happy weekend everyone!!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

still here



Even though it may not seem like it! I swear I am! Oh poor blog, how neglected you have gotten in my attempt to stay on top of schoolwork and maintain a proper social life. Yesterday, I had two one-page chapter reflections, two four-page observation journals, PLUS my presentation complete with a Powerpoint slideshow and six-page research paper that just happened to all be due on the same day. In an effort to get it all done in time, I did four of those papers in one day. One longgg tiring day. Just so I could go to Atlantic City with Charlie, his boss, and his wife on Friday, which was an absolutely amazing time. Then I had a Union game on Saturday and drinks with Charlie's parents at our favorite speakeasy for their anniversary. Then Sunday was the infamous decade party. I'll post photos from that later.

I know I keep saying this, but I think I might possibly be able to breathe now. Every time I say that something else jumps on my shoulders but I only have a week and a half left of this summer semester so I think it's for real this time. This was one intensive class. Holy poo. I can't believe I survived it. Two people had to drop it and there was only 13 of us to begin with. But I've almost made it. Thankfully my other class required pretty much none of my "free time".

Just to add a little fun to this post, I snatched this little fill in the blank from Alycia over at The Curious Pug. Pretty appropriate for this time of year.

1. This weekend I'm going to a bbq on Friday and my cousin's bachelorette party on Saturday.

2. My last vacation was in Miami a couple weeks ago.

3. My next vacation will be with Charlie for our 5 year anniversary. :) Not sure where we're going yet.

4. My favorite way to relax is getting coffee and walking around Newtown or having drinks at home with crappy food.

5. When vacationing one should always take pictures, explore somewhere new along with visiting an old favorite spot, and definitely go in an ocean if one is available to you.

6. When vacationing one should never be stressed or in a rush.

7. The best part about a vacation is doing things that are out of the ordinary. Ditch your current routine and just go with it!


Sorry for the lame check in but I just couldn't go another day without a post. I promise to have something interesting to say next time! I'll try anyway!

Hope your summer has had a less busy start than mine. ;)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

stuff i love: nail polish

A few facts about me..

I love having neatly painted nails.
I have no patience to sit in a salon every two weeks.
I can't sit still for more than five seconds without touching something.

This all adds up to me painting my own nails, getting frustrated when my right hand looks a hot mess because my left hand has subpar painting skills, and several of my nails getting that smudged, bunched up look because I didn't have the patience to let them dry before I tried to brush my hair or bake a cake or dig though my bag.

That is why I want to share this. You may already know about it and hell, maybe it's on your nails right now, but I still get a ton of views on my original stuff I love post so I thought it'd be cool to write about some stuff I generally dig every now and then in case there's something you've never tried that would solve your worldly problems. Or something.


The thing that is currently solving my worldly problems is Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri nail polish. I originally bought that crazy green in the middle and loved it so much that I went out and bought a rainbow. Cause who doesn't love a good rainbow? I think I've worn them all so far except for the very last pink there.


I love it for a few reasons. First, and most amazingly, it really does dry instantly. Like, really really fast. No sitting around with your hands palms down hoping you don't get an itch, or dramatically fanning them like you're having a hot flash.

Second, the brush is wider than most nail polish brushes. This means that on most nails (save maybe your thumb or big toe) you only need one brush stroke to cover the whole nail because the brush just sort of flattens across it. Big thumbs up for this because less movement leaves less room to get it all over your finger. I'm not the only one with this issue, right? ;)

And finally, look at those colors! Can't go wrong with such a bright, beautiful selection. It's nice after wearing gray and dark blue and red most of the winter.


I'm wearing this color right now which is called Peachy Breeze. Ironically I put it on because it reminded me of watermelons. It looks a little lighter up there but here it is in action! (The bottle is in the back.)


So if you're uncoordinated and fidgety like me, this may be your new best friend.

I think I need to go bake brownies now. I'm just feelin it. Happy Tuesday!

*Nobody paid me or gave me free things to write this. I just wanted to share a little awesomeness with you so there ya go.* :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

memorial day eats


I think it was Sunday night after returning from Miami that I decided I wanted to make all the sides for our Memorial Day BBQ. I knew my parents were grilling steaks so I started going through my bookmarks and foodgawker favorites and came up with four winners. I decided on..

Pasta Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing
Baked Beans
Salsa Verde
Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Sadly, only three of these were made because the asparagus I bought was no bueno. I guess I was so concerned with how many were in the bunch, I didn't notice there was something very wrong with them. I grabbed a bunch, flipped it to count the bottoms since that was easier, and went on my way. When I took them out at home to get them ready, I realized the tips were all slimy and smelled like fish. :C Do you see that face back there? That is the biggest sad face EVER. I love asparagus and am infatuated with prosciutto so I was probably most excited about this dish. Oh well, another time. I was not about to fight my way through the supermarket again just to score some non-creepy asparagus.

Things that worked out just lovely however..

..the salsa verde. I had it at the only Mexican restaurant I like and Charlie loves the stuff so I thought it was a good opportunity to try it. Note: I added about half a cucumber to the original recipe because the one we had at the restaurant tasted like it had some cuke in it. Delish.

The pasta salad was also a hit. Here is the pasta mixed with the homemade dressing..


..and here is the plate of accoutrements I had on the side because I'm the only who would eat all of this. My mom would've picked out the mushrooms, my dad would've chucked the peppers, my brother would get rid of the olives, and Charlie would ditch the olives and tomatoes. So this seemed like the most reasonable option. I also had pieces of fresh mozzarella to add but they were still in the fridge at this point.


The baked beans recipe is my new favorite. Everyone agreed that they taste just like the ones in the can. Why make them yourself then? Well, because now you know exactly whats in them and it's probably healthier that way. Also, it is incredibly easy.


Add a cold, summery beer to wash it all down..

..and you're good to go.

We capped off the night with some water ice and a rousing game of iPad Scrabble in the yard by candlelight.

Sorry if you can't make that out. I didn't have my tripod outside so long exposures weren't in the cards. I still like it though. :)

Perfect kickoff to summer. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Hope your start to summer was great too!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

miami

Oh life. I tell ya. I had planned to post this on Monday but I forgot it was Memorial Day so I spent a good portion of the day in the kitchen making some bbq-accompanying sides. Then it was relax time. Both Tuesday and Wednesday (the hottest days of May EVER) I spent in second and third grade classrooms getting my last few observation hours in. I'm taking a summer semester class so I was still required to do 20 hours of classroom observation, despite the fact that everyone is pretty much reviewing for exams, cleaning up, having tons of days off, etc. But we did get out early yesterday for the heat. That was good considering there is no AC whatsoever in that school.

Anywho, with all that, catching up on 6 small papers, and attending my own classes, that left little room for blogging. So here I am, sharing some vacation photos from Miami, trying to get back on track.

I picked out my favorites to leave big and grouped together some small ones because I know it can be boring looking at other people's vacation photos. I'll probably upload the full size ones to my Flickr at some point so if you guys are into celebrity mansions and view-from-a-boat pictures you can check em out without me bombarding you on here. ;)

Here are a few from the hotel room. We stayed at the Fountainebleau which was amazing. They have such a great selection of restaurants. I was stuffed every night from the most amazing food ever. The beach was great of course, as I am a beach girl at heart, despite the fact that I hide under umbrellas coated in spf 75 these days. :)



Loving that warm, teal water.

The only hitch was that it was Urban Weekend or Week or something. Which meant Lil Wayne and Drake were performing at the clubs in the hotel. Which sounds all good and fine until the clientele changes from scarce resort goers, to a more spring break like bunch that crowds every bar, beach chair, and pool side area, and has raging parties in the hotel room next door to yours until 4am. *insert death stare here* But if you can put all that behind you, it was still an amazing vacation. You just had to make the best of it.

So we went on a tour!

We stopped in Little Havana which was beautiful. The houses were so colorful and this little gift shop (above) had this Cuban coffee that was better than any coffee I have ever tasted. We were taken there specifically to try the coffee. Now that's my kinda tour!

We drove through Coral Gables which was this gorgeous area where a lot of the house are made of coral (bottom left) and the streets are all lined with these crazy tangled up trees (top left) where the roots grow down from the top to reach the ground and form more tangles. Apparently these only grow in a few tropical regions so I thought they were worthy of a photo. We passed by a playhouse (bottom right) where they were doing an Alfred Hitchcock show which I thought was fun. And then we moved on to the boat portion of the tour where I saw a cruise ship in person for the first time (top right). Cruise ships are bigger monstrosities than I ever imagined. It was a little scary getting so close to it! (That tiny bridge below it has cars on it. You can't even see them! Huge, I tell ya.)

Above are various celebrity mansions from Star Island. This was pretty much the main feature of the boat tour. We went all around, learning which mansion belonged to which star and how much they cost. I couldn't tell you who any of these belong to because celebrity stuff is not something I really care about, but they were cool looking so I took some photos anyway. ;)

This one seemed pretty worthy of my attention though so it gets it's own special spot.


This is the Scarface mansion where those final crazy scenes were shot. I thought that was pretty interesting to see. The only other one that really grabbed my attention was Al Capone's old mansion. I didn't get a shot of it though because there was a two story little plain looking house in front of it where his armed guards apparently stayed, so it didn't make a great photo.

So that is my vacation in a tiny little nutshell. I feel like summer has officially started. Swimming in a crystal clear ocean will do that to you. How are you enjoying (or staying out of) this crazy hot weather? We actually have some relief here today which is pretty nice. Hope your week is going well!
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