29 November 2010

Movie Mondays: Dollhouse

Today's movie isn't actually a movie, it's a tv show. A brilliant and captivating tv show that sadly only ran for two seasons. This show is called Dollhouse. It stars Eliza Dushku and is written by Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly, Serenity, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I can't fathom why the show only got two seasons, because in my opinion it's way more interesting than most of the hour long dramas out there right now. The show explores an underground business called "The Dollhouse", which rents out "actives" (people who have been stripped of their original personality and can be imprinted with others) for a high price. In particular, an active named Echo (Eliza Dushku) is followed on her numerous engagements- which range from romantic encounters to top secret museum robberies. Echo is different from the other actives though- after a while, she starts to have memories of her engagements, even after she has been stripped of the different personalities.

This show is just amazing. Eliza Dushku is an amazing actress, the characters are so well-developed and interesting... and the overall concept behind the show is so interesting. The first season is available to stream on netflix, but the second season is not. You will want to watch them both though, believe me. It's worth renting. Here's a trailer:

seriously, watch this! It is soooooo, sooo good! enjoy :)

happy monday!

Post-Thanksgiving Update

How were everyone's thanksgivings? Hopefully all family members arrived safe and sound, nothing got burnt, and everyone left feeling 5 pounds heavier. I know I did. I don't want to bore you with a whole rundown of my glorious 5 day weekend... but I'm going to anyways. ha!

my ridiculous family in our tiny kitchen...

Stewie and I left Tucson around 9 am on wednesday and picked up my grandma in Casa Grande. When we got up to Prescott we went out to lunch at a cute greek place downtown called Pasquales Place. I got dolmades and a cup of potato leek soup. So, so delicious. Then we dropped my gma off at my aunt and uncles (where she was staying for the weekend) and stewie and I headed to my house to wait for my parents to get home. The rest of the day was pretty lazy.. I made 2 pies in the evening (a pecan and a pumpkin that was probably the best pumpkin pie in the entire universe. I'll have to make it again so I can take pictures of it and post it for the world to see), my grandpa arrived in the late afternoon, we picked my sister up from the shuttle station, and the 6 of us ate a delicious veggie lasagna dinner. Stewart and I decided to meet up with a few of our friends at starbucks, and we spent a couple hours chatting and hanging out before going home to get some sleep.

On Thanksgiving morning, we woke up around 9:30 and hung around in our pjs for a bit. After showering and getting dressed I got started working on some rolls for dinner (I used PW's awesome parker house roll recipe. dipped in butter and everything). My aunt and grandma came over for a light mediterranean lunch of marinated green beans, hummus, pitas, roasted red peppers, feta, and kalamata olives. After that, my mom made a yummy vegan stuffing and some equally yummy very un-vegan mashed potatoes. My dad took care of the turkey (although, as happens every year, we underestimated the time that it would take to cook and ended up eating about 2 hours later than planned haha). Stewie, my sister, my dad and I all played cards for an hour or two while waiting for the food to cook which was quite a lot of fun. We finally ate around 6:30 and everything was delicious. After dinner we sat around a fire in the living room and ate some of the (4) pies. Before long everyone left to go home and stewie and I headed to his mom's house in hopes of using the hot tub, but unfortunately we found (after waiting for an hour inside in our swimsuits) that it was broken and never going to get above 50 degrees. big bummer :( so we went home and got into pjs instead.

On friday stewie and I went downtown to cuppers and then walked around the square and to the bridge we used to hang out at in high school.
  That was our date of the week so I'll post more pictures later. After that, we went home and met up with my parents and sister and went out to the movie theatre to see HP VII P1 (for the third time for me and stewie). The we went back downtown and did the art walk that takes place on the fourth friday of every month. It was really fun :) Stewie and I stayed in that night and just played cards and watched tv.

On saturday, my mom and I took stewie to his mom's house for her thanksgiving dinner, and then my mom and I went to an empty church parking lot and she showed me how to drive stick shift on my new car (my aunt and uncle sold me their old subaru outback). I stalled it a few times, but after a while I got the hang of it. My dad and I went out and drove it a bit later in the day, and then again on sunday. I didn't take it back to Tucson with me, but I will when I come back down here from winter break. Anyways, we had a light early dinner and then took my sister to the shuttle so she could get back to california. Around 5:30 I went downtown to meet stewie for the light parade and we met up with a couple of our friends to watch it. We went into my old work (mama edda's pizzeria) and I got to say hi to all my wonderful old coworkers. We then went down to starbucks and got some apple cider (and met up with more friends). Stewie and I drove around town a bit and looked at the city lights, and then headed home with the intentions of going back out in a little bit. Stewie started feeling sick, though, so we spent the night in and went to bed pretty early.

Sunday we went out driving again, and then came home and had a light lunch of soup, salad, and bread in front of the fire. Stewie and I packed up and then burried our time capsule in the backyard to be dug up in a year. Then we had to hit the road... sadly we got into a minor fenderbender on the outskirts of phoenix but other than that the drive was pretty uneventful. There were a couple serious accidents on the highway but they only delayed us about 30 minutes. We finally got back to Tucson around 9:00. And now it's back into the swing of things... although I wish I could just sleep through the next two weeks! I'm so not in the mood to take tests and write papers. Oh well. Soon it will be the 15th and I'll be back on my way up to prescott.

Anyways, thanks for sticking around if you read that whole thing, I know it was really long haha. I'll be back later today with a movie monday. Hope your weekend was lovely!

23 November 2010

Family Traditions

Well, the holidays are fast approaching (although I still think it is too early for Christmas music and decorations... that is strictly post-thanksgiving business) and it seems like everyone has at least one tradition that is special to them this time of year. I love thinking of all the fun little things my family does for the holidays, and that got me thinking about all the other family traditions we have throughout the year! I've always been a really big fan of traditions (and not much of a fan of change lol) and I hope that when I'm older and have kids of my own I can share some of the things that made my childhood so special. Here, to the best of my abilities, is a list of all the family traditions we have celebrated over the years. I don't have as many pictures as I'd like, but maybe when I go home for thanksgiving tomorrow I can scan some more.

1. Picking out a fresh Christmas tree and drinking hot apple cider while they cut off the trunk and put it on our car. Every year my Dad and Sister and I go to Watter's garden in Prescott and pick out the tallest, plumpest tree we can find. I love using a fresh tree because it makes the whole house smell like pine for a good month. The night after we get the tree, we all make hot cocoa, listen to christmas music, and decorate the tree with our box full of mismatched ornaments that we've collected throughout the years.

2. Having cozy holiday meals with way more food than is necessary (and pretty much always making the same things year after year). We used to have thanksgiving and christmas dinners just the four of us, but as Jenny and I (and other family members) have gotten older, we've started having various grandparents, aunts, and uncles join us as well. I love that every year we usually make the same dishes... and each person makes the same things haha. My Dad takes care of the turkey, my mom makes her mom's recipe of mashed potatoes (the ones I turned into a delicious Irish Colcannon dish), Jenny makes pecan pies, I make pumpkin pies and cranberry sauce, and towards the end of the day when things are getting frantic someone remembers to put the rolls in the oven, cook the stuffing, and sautee the green beans. We always use our nice white china and real silverware and drink champagne and sparkling apple cider out of "special occasion" flutes. It's just wonderful.
 3. Advent calender stockings throughout the month of December. For as long as I can remember, we have always hung a string of 24 little red stockings on our hearth on the first day of December. My parents would put a candy or two for both me and jenny for each night. It was such a fun and cute way to count down until Christmas.

4. Getting up early on Christmas morning and making my parents breakfast. Another Christmas tradition is that my sister and I always sleep in the same room on christmas eve so that we can wake each other up EARLY the next morning. When we were little kids we would get up around 4 or 5 o clock! Nowadays its more like 7 or 8 haha. after we wake up we go out into the living room to look at the tree and all the presents underneath and then we each take our stocking off of the hearth and look through the contents back in my room. Then we go out into the kitchen and put some coffee on. When we were younger we made honey scones from a children's cookbook we had, but now that we're older we make eggs and other things. Last year I made eggs benedict. yum!

5. Playing in the snow. It doesn't snow all that much in Prescott, but we usually get one or two big storms a year that can leave 6-12 inches of snow. When I was little and this happened, I would put on my blue snowsuit and play for hours. I remember making snow men and snow angels and going sledding with my Dad and then coming inside for hot chocolate :) One of the main things I remember though is snow ice cream! We always made a bowl whenever there was enough snow on the ground. It consisted of a lot of snow, some maple syrup, milk, and vanilla. Sooo yummy!
6. Tamales on Christmas Eve. This is a tradition in Mexico, and I don't know how it became a family tradition but I assume it has to do with my Dad growing up in Tucson. Sometimes we get them from a restaurant but a lot of the time we make them together a few days beforehand and then we move our table into the dining room and eat in front of the christmas tree. Delicious!

7. Making Christmas Cookies. I know everyone makes cookies around the holidays, but there are a few recipes that my mom and sister and I always try to make together. It's gotten harder in the past few years since we're both away at school until a week beforehand, but it's still a nice tradition! We make peppermint sugar cookies that are shaped like candy canes, chocolate spritz cookies with a spritz maker that looks about 50 years old and stained glass cookies (sugar cookie circles with melted lifesavers in the middle to look like stained glass windows).

8. A wild goose chase. I'm pretty sure this was my idea- my mom had this booklet of sweet little notes to put into kid's lunch boxes and I was looking through them one day. At the back was a kind of scavenger hunt called a 'wild goose chase'- basically a bunch of little rhymes that served as clues to lead to where the next rhyme was hidden and at the end was a prize. I begged my mom to let us do one for one christmas (I think I asked her about it like every day... how annoying haha) and we've done one ever since! A lot of families let their children open one present each on christmas eve, and this is how my family goes about it :)

9.Collecting Firewood. It's been a couple years since I've been free enough from school and things to do this one, but I still have many fond memories of it and hopefully I can do it again this year! One winter or fall day every year my Dad and I would drive out into the forest around prescott in his ollllld white pickup truck (sometimes we would stop at a gas station and get some pastries and cocoa first) and collect firewood. He took care of most of the big stuff, I mostly just picked up kindling and small, already broken up pieces. And when I got tired of that I'd play in the forest :) It was always so much fun and afterwards we could come home and have fires in the fireplace for the rest of the season.

10. Camping and coloring eggs on Easter. We haven't gone camping since I was 14, but it used to be a regular yearly thing. First we tent camped, and then after a few years we bought an old rv. We always go to the same campsite in Bullpen. The creek is right next to it and there's a big tree that my Dad would tie a rope and a piece of wood to to make a swing. We would all color eggs on a camper table and my parents would hide them after we went to bed so that we could look for them the next morning. So fun! A lot of these traditions have to do with religious holidays but my family isn't really crazy religious or anything... I think holidays are more about family, love, and fun times :)

11. Triple Scoops on our Birthdays. I don't know when this particular tradition started but food has always been an important thing to the Estes family. My Dad had 3 brothers and a sister so there was always a lot of food at their house. As soon as my sister and I were old enough to get excited about ice cream, my parents started taking us out for triple scoops at baskin robbins on our birthdays. It was really special and fun because cmon, who orders a triple scoop ever?! It's so tall and precarious and looks absolutely ridiculous when handed to a small child. It was always something we really looked forward to though :)

12. Traveling. I know this isn't really a tradition, but it's a very important part of my childhood. My family has always devoted time and money to be able to go new and interesting places. We've been to mexico and california many times, new england, the midwest, the northwest, and europe. I think it's so important to get out of the bubble where you live and go experience new cultures and ways of life. I hope to continue traveling for the rest of my life. The picture below is of my dad, my sister, and I in chicago. We drove there all the way from prescott, and that wasn't even the last stop! We went all the way up to Wisconsin to visit my aunt and uncle.

That's all I can remember for now. If any of my family members can remember more (because I'm sure I'm forgetting some but I'm getting too tired to keep at it haha), let me know! Also, what kind of family traditions do you cherish this time (or any time) of the year?

Happy holidays all, and I'll see you tomorrow Prescott!


22 November 2010

Movie Mondays: The Business of Being Born

Today's movie will certainly appeal to a slimmer audience than usual, but I wanted to post it for a few reasons. 1, everyone in the universe seems to be pregnant and about to give birth right now! I know like 5 different people! It's so weird. I guess it's just the age group I'm sidling up into. Weird. 2, Danielle over at Sometimes Sweet just had her baby boy Henry this morning! It's very very exciting :). 3, What with all the pregnancies going on around me recently, I've become interesting in looking into the pros and cons of natural birth vs. medicated birth, mid wife vs. doctor, hospital vs. home. and 4, a good documentary is something I really love and enjoy, and I want other people to love and enjoy them too ^^

So without further ado, today's film is The Business of Being Born.

 This movie is wonderful. Basically, former talk-show host Ricki Lake had her first child in a hospital and wasn't too happy about the way everything went down. She had a lot of questions afterward which made her decide to create a documentary that "takes a hard look at America's maternity care system, juxtaposing hospital deliveries against the growing popularity of at-home, natural childbirths that some expectant parents are opting for". There are many sets of parents that are interviewed in the film, both those who can't imagine having to go through the pain of labor medication-free and those who are determined to have their bay at home with a mid wife. There is also a whoooole lot of home-video footage, some of it a tad graphic... but it's very interesting to see how each woman goes through labor in her own way. There is even footage of Ricki Lake's second experience with labor (at home with a mid wife) and footage of a mid-wife's own labor experience.

The movie also looks into the scientific and historical aspects of labor. It shows the actual effects and purposes of the medications used in hospitals, the reasons behind America's distaste for anything but a hospital birth, and what prompts doctors to decide that it's time to induce. It's extremely, extremely interesting, especially for someone who has had, is about to have, or is planning to someday have children of their own.

A lot of the pregnant women I know are opting for natural births which is what prompted me to check this film out. I'm very glad I did! If you know anyone who is pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you should show them this movie. It's definitely not a fun family film or anything- but I found it to be extremely educational, interesting, and sweet and funny at many moments.

Here's the trailer:

Date #2: Heart-Shaped Pizza

On the list of 100 dates that Stewie and I got, this is the first one:

"Go out for pizza — ask them to cut the pie into the shape of a heart"

A cute idea, sure, but I've worked at a pizza place and I'm pretty sure I would have been kind of annoyed if a couple of teenagers came in and asked for a heart shaped pizza. Dough likes to be in circles, not hearts. You can't toss a heart. we don't have heart shaped pizza screens. And cutting a pizza into a heart after the fact seems kind of wasteful for one but also a pretty tedious task. I decided it would be better for us to just make our own heart shaped pizza, as to not piss off any fellow pizza makers. Besides, I'm pretty sure homemade pizza is better than what you can get at most restaurants.

Last tuesday (it was baking night, if you recall) I made a batch of pizza dough- enough for 3 medium-small pizzas. On thursday night stewie and I stretched and tossed the dough and I shaped one into a heart. I also made some homemade pizza sauce (out of 1 small onion, about 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 4 cloves garlic, 1 can of whole tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a whole lot of oregano and parmigiano reggiano) and spread it evenly on the three different pizzas.

Then on went the toppings. Stewie and I called the heart pizza a "grown up combination" because it had a whole lot of stuff on it, but it was mostly "adult" flavors. I used a cheese combination of cheddar and mozarella on all the pizzas, and other than that this pizza had red onions, fresh tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, capers, spinach, and goats cheese. We baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the toppings were a little wilted, the cheese was bubbly and the dough was golden brown on the underside. 

Mmm. So, so delicious. 

The other pizzas were much simpler and tasted more like traditional pizzas. One had red onions and green and red bell peppers, the other had red onions, fresh tomatoes, and spinach. yummy yummy! here are a couple pics.

Stewie and I ate this and then watched friends and drank tea for the rest of the night. definitely a good, cozy Thursday night date. Another one later this week! And I'll be back later today with the Movie Monday :)


20 November 2010

Looking For Alaska

Hey guys, so I actually finished Looking for Alaska on Wednesday but I hadn't gotten around to reviewing it until now. Like I predicted, it had the tell-tale signs of a teen fiction- the characters are all 16, they're just figuring out alcohol and sexual attraction, and the chapters (although they aren't really chapters in this book I guess) are nice and short. Unlike It's Kind of a Funny Story, though, this book had plot! and character development! and some nice, potent, teenage angst.

Looking for Alaska is divided into two parts. 133 pages of before and 84 pages after. In the middle is an event that dramatically changes the lives of the characters and (obviously) is very much central to the plot.

And while the plot is interesting, I found the beauty and intricacy of the writing and planning that went into the novel even more captivating. As with many great books, when you look at just the storyline alone, the book seems almost absurdly simple. It is the additional material- the character development, the dialogues, the thoughtful narration, the well-placed droppings of foreshadowing and symbolism that make the book a piece of art. John Green did an exceptional job with this in Looking for Alaksa, especially since it is his first novel (he has written a couple others since).

The story follows Miles Halter, a 16 year old boy who decides to follow in his father's footsteps and move to Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama. He makes friends with his roommate- a short but built boy named Chip (although he goes by The Colonel) and a sometimes moody and often reckless (but incredible) girl named Alaska. Alaska seems a bit old for her age, chain-smoking cigarettes, downing bottles of strawberry wine bought with a fake id, and reading melancholy books which question the meaning of life. Miles falls for her almost instantly, and the novel carries on from there, documenting the 3 student's activities, traumas, and adventures over the course of the year.

It's a short read, but a good one. It definitely appeals to a broader age range than It's Kind of a Funny Story did. I don't know if I would recommend it to anyone older than myself to read, but I enjoyed it and I consider myself to be more mature than a lot of my peers (at least the ones I see walking around campus discussing their latest wine cooler/frat boy/dance party debacle and wearing wildcats T-shirts cut to reveal as much skin as possible without showing enough to get arrested), so who knows. Maybe someone older could read it :)

Like I said before, it was mostly the writing that grabbed my attention. Margaret told me to highlight anything I particularly liked (several who had read this copy before me had done so as well), and while the whole 36 hours I was reading it I didn't have a highlighter on hand, I did find several passages that I enjoyed. I'll only share one, for the sake of time, and also because it's the one I first stumbled upon on the computer (it was just a blank page with this quote and the name of the author and the book at the end) which prompted me to ask Margaret if I could borrow her copy all those months ago.

"Just like that. From a hundred miles an hour to asleep in a nanosecond. I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane"

(sometimes I think about how writers think when they are in the process of writing a book. And while I love that last line, I can just see John Green coming up with it really early in the writing process, or maybe even before he thought of the book, and loving it and waiting for the perfect moment to slip it in. I mean, c'mon. It rhymes!)

Anyways, overall 4 stars. Maybe 4.5. I liked it a lot, but I've pretty much lost my taste for high school literature because I'm no longer in high school and I'm finding it more difficult to relate to the characters. It was the writing and some of the brilliant quotes that are spread throughout the book that really got me. I would recommend this to anyone above the age of 11 and under the age of 22, depending on reading level and maturity.

In other news, the day after I finished this I got The Time Traveler's Wife!!!

I've read 107 of its glorious 536 pages and I'm absolutely in love with it. Excellent writing, captivating story, amazing characters, and really interesting style. I already dread the day that I will finish it and at the same time I can't seem to put it down... I just want to stay in the little world it creates for hours on end.

I look forward to reviewing it for you guys in a few days! Hoping your weekend has been lovely <3

18 November 2010

Getting Over Rude People

For the most part I encounter really wonderful, pleasant people in my life and I feel very lucky to be around them. Those who I don't think I'll get along with I just don't bother interacting with and things seem to work out just fine. Every once in a while though, I'm either put in a situation when I have to deal with someone who is rude or catty or someone I don't even know acts rudely towards me or another person for no good reason. I always try to be really nice and polite so these situations really upset and irk me, leaving me flustered and thinking about it for the next few hours. and i HATE that, because it makes me feel so crappy! and it's not even something that I personally have done, it's this other person who is projecting some sort of nastiness or negativity into the world.

The other day when I went to lunch with my grandma, aunt, and uncle, we talked a little bit about the Enneagram. The enneagram is really, really, interesting and I encourage you to look into it more, but for the sake of being short and sweet I'm just going to tell you that it's basically a diagram of 9 different personality types, each of which has specific traits, goals, and ways to stray from a healthy lifestyle. I am a type 9 personality, which is described as people who are "accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts." My aunt is also a 9, and she told me about how 9s often have the problem of taking in too much of everyone elses energy and losing sight of their own. I think that might be why these negative people bother me so much and why even hours after, I'm still thinking about the things they said or did.

I just don't understand why some people can be so rude or cruel, not even necessarily to me but to anyone. I've never even understood people who don't say "thank you" when you hold a door open for them or don't smile back when you, a stranger, smile at them out of random kindness. Obviously these instances aren't the ones that leave me mulling over rudeness like I am now, but they still bewilder me. My parent's raised me to be kind, compassionate, and polite, and to return smiles and hellos and pleases and thank-yous. I suppose I'm lucky because so many people out there take simple kindness for granted, but I can't imagine raising my own children any other way. 

When I sit there (like I am now) thinking about the way the person was rude or abrasive, I just keep asking myself questions like, "why would they act that way?", "what did I do to make them want to do that?", "why can't they approach the situation in a more mature way?", "what have I done wrong to make them not like me/be rude to me?" and that is so not necessary and just sends me in a big circle of questioning and feeling guilty and sad and I didn't even do anything in the first place. It's so stupid. I should be able to just brush it off and get on with me day. So, that's what I'm going to try an work on. Letting those rude comments, notes, and remarks roll off my back and realize that it's not me, it's them. I just feel lucky that I have my wonderful family, boyfriend, and friends who are always supportive and kind.

On that note, I can't wait to go home to my wonderful family in one week from yesterday :) Sorry about the long, ranty, and kind of grumpy post... just had to get it out of my system! I will be back tomorrow with lots of fun stuff including my review of Looking for Alaska and Stewie and my second date. Have a lovely friday blogger friends. Also, if you feel like it, post in the comments what you do when someone is rude or catty to you. Do you get flustered about it like I do? or are you better at brushing those things off haha.

Lots of love

17 November 2010

Classic Pumpkin Pie

 yep, with evaporated milk and everything! lol. Having made a number of pumpkin pies in my day but always following the directions on the orange libby's can, I was under the impression that evaporated milk was an absolute necessity. Little did I know there are a thousand (awesome sounding) other ways to go about making a pumpkin pie! But silly me, I didn't even consider these possibilities when I bought the 50 cent pie pumpkin, and immediately went straight to the baking aisle to pick up the "required" 12 oz can of milk. By the time I got online and started looking up pumpkin recipes (thinking I would find a hundred recipes that closely mimicked libby's), it was too late to consider making a pie with cream cheese or maple syrup or separated egg yolks. I had a can of evaporated milk, so evaporated milk it must be.

And of course the pie turned out great, like pumpkin pies always do. But this isn't going to be finished until I try out a couple of those other recipes... just a warning :)

Today's post is about the canned milk pumpkin pie though.

There's really no reason to buy canned pumpkin, because pie pumpkins are super cheap in grocery stores these days and just about the easiest things to turn into puree ever. All you have to do is cut off the top, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, and place them face down in a baking dish filled with an inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees for about 90 minutes. Let cool and then peel off the skin (it will come off pretty easily) and mash or blend the orange stuff up 'til it's smooth. Voila, fresh pumpkin puree. I found that my small pumpkin produced about 2 cups of puree- just the right amount for a pie.

Start with 3/4 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves in a small bowl. Mix to combine. I bet this would be good on buttered toast... like a step up from cinnamon sugar toast. pumpkin spice toast!

In a large bowl, beat four eggs. Then add 2 cups of pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, your choice. One 15 oz can of libby's is about 1 3/4 cup and that works fine, but I had two cups so i used it all.) combine into an orangish slush.
Add the sugar/spice mixture to the pumpkin/egg mixture and stir it up.

Slowly add in one 12 oz can of evaporated milk, stirring to combine. 

Then pour it in a pie crust. You made a pie crust, right? Forgot to mention that. Look, you can buy a crappy processed frozen pie crust from the store or you can make a delicious flaky and chemical free one in the comfort of your own home. Pie crusts really aren't that hard, people. Here's a link to my favorite pie crust recipe (there are all butter people and there are all shortening people. I myself am a half-butter half-shortening person and I'm sticking to it)

yummy. Ok, then you have to put it in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. After that, turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 30-50 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. I'd like to say I could tell you exactly how long that will take, but the pumpkin pies I've made in the past have always seemed to take almost as long as the thanksgiving turkey. Maybe it's the high altitude? i don't know... the one you see above was done ten minutes before the recipe said it would be though, so keep an eye on it. OH, and before you put it in the oven, make some kind of foil contraption to put over the pie crust edge to keep it from burning.

Mmm, fluffy and delicious... and as I've found with most pumpkin pies, even more delicious after being refrigerated the next day ^^

There's my thanksgiving recipe for the week. There will surely be more to come :)

See you tomorrow!

Last Week/New Book

I have a bunch of pictures that I took last week and I thought I'd just post a few bunch of them to show the different stuff Stew and I were up to :)
 Yummy fresh baked bread and goats cheese for dinner
 Making a lasagna on a Tuesday afternoon to eat for the rest of the week. The sauce is from the Prescott farmer's market and is made by an Italian chef in Phoenix- all fresh, healthy ingredients :)
 Stewbean mashing up some cream cheese and ricotta for the lasagna
 My pet fishy Zia!
 Favorite heels :)
 Stew took this picture of me blogging after we got home from working out one night
 Cinnamon Sugar toast on homemade bread is the best breakfast!
 Pretty rain cloud sunset while grocery shopping
 Stewie drew gnome faces on the food coloring we bought for the HP cupcakes
 Unbaked vegan red velvet cupcakes (with gryffindor colored papers)
 Drinking the first batch of butterbeer!
 Very yummy and realistic vegan buffalo wings
 In my room watching HP on my 15 dollar goodwill tv
Liquid Echinacea to put in my tea (still keeping that sickness at bay!)
 Me a few minutes ago, drinking tea out of my new purple camper-style ceramic mug. yummy!

My copy of The Time Traveler's Wife hasn't come yet, so I'm starting/continuing reading a different book. 
Looking For Alaska is my friend Margaret's favorite book and she let me borrow it back in May. I admit I read like the first chapter and then got swept up in all the summer excitement. What with working at mama eddas, going on salt river and california trips, and partying every day I just never picked it up again. Margaret wants it back by thanksgiving though, and I don't want to give it back without having read it, that would just be sad. So i'm going to read it now. It seems like a pretty quick and easy read (another one of those teenage fictions), so I will hopefully be done with it in a couple days. I'll let you know what I think! 

I'll be back later today with a pumpkin pie post . Tonight is Chana Masala for dinner, gym (if I feel better), Film history and geography homework, and bed at a reasonable hour I hope. I really want to start going to the gym early in the morning so that I can use the weights without being crowded by douchebaggy guys... but if I want to do that I've gotta go to bed early enough to wake up at 5!

See you later tonight lovies

16 November 2010

Tonight is Officially Baking Night

 Happy Tuesday everyone! I've been feeling a little under the weather lately (I'm trying to kick it before I have to admit to having a full-on flu) but have been going to the gym anyways... But when I came home from working out yesterday and felt like I was going to pass out/throw up and couldn't get down more than a couple bites of the spaghetti Stewie had made for me, I decided to take a little break to give my body time to fight whatever's getting at me. Which means no gym tonight... and since I don't have any [pressing] homework to do and I do have a pie pumpkin that has been sitting on my table begging to be used, I decided it was time to take action.

Tonight is officially Baking Night.

That means I'm going to roll out a pie crust, puree up some pumpkin, and also make some more bread for this week/pizza crusts for dinner in a couple days. Hooray for my new little jar of yeast! It's gonna be a jam packed evening but I love cooking and baking so no complaints.

Anyways I just wanted to say hi and let you know what was up before I go to the grocery store to pick up a pie pan. Yesterday and today I turned in two BIG projects for two different classes so I'm feeling pretty accomplished. My grandma, aunt, and uncle came down to see me today and go to lunch and that was really nice so overall I'm in a pretty good mood today. 3 days till HP and 1 week and half a day until home for thanksgiving! I'll be back tomorrow, probably with a pumpkin pie post and maybe some other stuff. Have a good night!


15 November 2010

Movie Mondays: Ira and Abby

This week's movie monday is another serendipitous find on Netflix instant (it's still on there). The description sounded kind of dull but it was rated highly so I watched it and I'm glad I did! The movie, my friends, is called Ira and Abby.
The film is about slightly neurotic Ira, who has seen numerous psychologists and is having a bit of a quarter-life crisis. Feeling fat one day, he decides to become a member at a gym. When he goes in, he meets Abby- a life-loving, spontaneous, and kinda flaky woman who gives him a tour of the fitness center. The two spend the next couple hours together in the gym, talking about themselves and life... and then Abby (being the crazy girl she is) suggests that they get married, because "what's going so great in your life?" and "half of all marriages end in divorce, so we'd probably have just as good a chance as anyone else".

Abby's parents are free spirited, funky, and totally supportive. Ira's are uptight, rich, and definitely not. Regardless, the two end up getting married and simultaneously learning about who they and each other are. But that's not all this movie is about. That would be too simple! Turns out it's not always the best idea to marry random strangers. I don't want to give away too much but the movie is really an amazing look into the ups and downs of a relationship and it asks the question, "Is getting married really all it's cracked up to be?"

In the end, the movie shows that all that really matters is love.

It's such a sweet and funny movie and really makes you think about social expectations for relationships. Go watch it! Here's the trailer:

14 November 2010

Date #1: Time Capsule

Hooray for Date #1! This date took place yesterday, November 13th 2010. I have to remember, because Stew and I are going to try to crank out all 100 in one year.

On the list we got online, this one was actually one of the last ideas and it suggested making a capsule and burying it to be dug up in ten years. Stewie and I both agreed that that was absolutely ridiculous, since we're only 19 and 20 and ten years is a long time to ask us to keep in touch. We decided to shoot for one year instead, which works well with one 1 year of dates thing.

We took things from both of our apartments that reminded us of each other and put them in a cleaned out peanut jar. It was really fun finding different things from our relationship! here are a few:

 These are two things Stewie gave to me a long time ago. The bracelet he made for his senior math class (something about combinations and patterns... remember those?) and gave to me after. That was like 2 years ago. The little coin purse is from a year and a half ago. Stewie used to work at a little privately owned movie theatre in prescott and all summer long me and a couple of our other friends would just watch free movies when we had nothing better to do. I miss that soooooooo much. The theatre closed about a month after I moved to Portland unfortunately. Anyways, they had a few of those 50 cent machines in the lobby where you can get candy or little prizes and while Stewie was working one day he went over and got this little purse. I think he put a candy or something in it and then brought it to me while I was watching some movie (star trek maybe?). It was really sweet :)
 These are some pictures of various things we share and love... the show Dollhouse by Joss Whedon (soooo sooo good!!!), the movie Wristcutters: A Love Story, the tv show Friends, the Harry Potter series, arizona southern sweet tea, and jalapeno cheddar cheetos. Yum!
 The keychain is one I got from paris when I was 14. I got about 30 of them and gave them to all my friends, some of whom still had them when I started hanging out with Stewart 3 years later! I think stew saw one of them and liked it so I brought him one of the extras I still had. The business card is from the Arizonan motel in Flagstaff. Summer of 09 Stew and I tried to go camping and ended up driving right into a crazy rainstorm right around Camp verde! So, we decided to alter our course and spend the night in flagstaff, where we ate pita pit and hung out in barnes and noble and stayed in this awesome hotel. The next day we ate our would have been camping food in the car- we even heated up our veggie burgers in a gas station microwave haha.
All through last year while I was in Portland, Stewart and I sent a notebook back and forth to each other. We would keep it for a couple weeks at a time each. At the start of the year I bought two plastic bubble-wrap lined envelopes so we could reuse them- one with my address on it and one with his. We decided that before we sent the notebook off each time, we should draw something on the package! This is the one I sent to him- the one he sent me has different drawings.

We also wrote letters to each other to be read when we dig up the time capsule in one year's time. We aren't going to bury it until we go home for thanksgiving in a couple weeks though, because my parent's house/backyard is the only place I'm 100% certain we will still have access to then!

Making the time capsule was really fun. I think i did it once before, with girl scouts maybe. come to think of it, i don't remember ever digging that one back up haha. Anyways, you don't have to make one with your significant other, you can make it with a friend or family member or just by yourself. I've always thought it was a cool idea to preserve yourself at a moment in time and then be able to uncover it in the future. If you're so inclined, I suggest you make one :) there are even online sites that do virtual time capsules if you aren't into the whole finding various knick knacks and burying them in the ground thing. Try http://www.electronictimecapsule.com/time-capsule/index.php

After we made our capsule, stew and I made vegetarian Chicken tuscany (which was basically just lightly roasted red peppers stuffed with chicken patties rolled up with mozarella and spinach and baked- simple and delicious) and watched HP 3 and 4. tonight is Subway for dinner (blegh... sooo sick of it!) and HP 5 and 6! Hope your sunday was lovely and I will see you tomorrow.