The Fork and the Spoon (229th new thing).

December 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Patrick hates Halloween. He says he’s jaded by working in a bar where people think because they have a mask on it’s ok to misbehave. Or something like that. Until this year, he has refused to dress up in a Halloween costume. He refused this year too, but I had decided I was going to make a couples costume and needed an “other half.” On Day Two Hundred Twenty-Nine I made Halloween costumes for Patrick and myself.

They aren’t anything fancy. I had looked through various costume websites and found the least expensive couples version was a shiny fork and spoon, where the person’s head goes through the fattest part of the utensil. I contemplated buying the set, but figured it would be easy enough to make it. So I spent my money on a few yards of shiny silver fabric, poster board, and batting.

I was originally planning on sewing all my pieces together (it looked perfect in my mind), but resorted to the glue gun pretty quickly. The glue gun doesn’t get clogged with thread like the sewing machine. I laid everything out and cut out haphazard spoon and fork shapes in the poster board. I used it as a template for my fabric and batting, cutting with extra material to fold over and glue down. I made a tail-looking piece to represent the handle of the utensils. I wasn’t being super precise. It was homemade, after all.

Next came the gluing part of the costume-making. I managed it ok, only burning my fingertips a few times. The head opening turned out to be too wide for my head (I used Patrick’s face as a template), and too short for Patrick’s. But you get the idea.

This year for Halloween we are a toilet seat and a castle turret spoon and a fork.

Is that egg on my face? (138th new thing)

August 16, 2011 § 3 Comments

There are many things you can make with common household products from window cleaners to body scrubs. On Day One Hundred Thirty-Eight I made a pore-cleansing face mask. Out of an egg. Well, more precisely, an egg white.

I looked through several different methods of combining basic household staples to tighten pores and smooth skin. Some were as simple as an egg white and lemon juice. Others involved yogurt and oatmeal. One even (and I kid you not) called for cat litter. Fortunately for me I don’t have any cats, so that option was out. I settled on the basic egg white recipe, with a couple added ingredients for pizzazz.

Beat 1 egg white to thick foam and add ½ tsp of honey, ½ tsp of fresh milk and ½ tsp of lemon juice. Mix well and add a little bit of flour to make it thicker. Apply to the face and keep on for 20 min. Wash off facial mask with cool water without soap.

I think another first for me was to beat an egg. I don’t own an electric egg beater, nor one of those wind up ones. I have never made a meringue.  It was just a whisk and a strong right forearm that made this egg foam. And it took forever. Like two hours. No, I kid, but it sure felt like it took that long.

I beat the egg and added the honey, lemon, milk, and a little flour, and then a little more flour, until a paste formed in the bowl. Then I leaned over the sink and scooped the concoction on to my cheeks, nose, and forehead. It kind of dripped down my chin and I wiped away the excess.

After twenty minutes I headed back into the bathroom to rinse it all off. No soap, just like the directions. And you know what? My skin did feel smoother, younger, with smaller pores. I actually had a compliment about my skin the next day. Who knew something so common could possibly work.

Eighty-Nine. Homemade Apple Dumplings.

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

I Day Eighty-Nine, I decided to bake. Inspired by my friend Steven’s blog post about making apple fritters, I browsed the interwebs for various pie recipes and such. I chose to make apple dumplings, cutting out any attempt at frying.

I went to All Recipes to find a good how-to. I’ve never really made any kind of dessert from scratch (vegan coconut delight excluded) in my adult life, and the website really is full of down home country type good cooking. Lots of butter and shortening. I figured it would at least be a good start, and it wasn’t long before I found a recipe to suit my needs (it needed to be simple).

I peeled and cored the apples and put them in ice water to prevent browning. It took forever. I had a difficult time cutting out the core, and a couple of apples split.

Then I mixed the dough, which came together really well. I didn’t have a flour sifter, so I kind of sprinkled it into the shortening/milk/salt mixture and hoped for the best. It turned out very well, although the feeling of shortening on your hands is pretty gnarly.

Yeah, it says "Kiss the cook"

I rolled out my dough and cut squares for my pastry. I was only able to get four pieces out of the material (instead of six); it turned out that I had rolled my pastry too thick. I only put a half apple in each dumpling (a whole apple is pretty big), sprinkled it with the magic of sugar and cinnamon, and pinched the pastries at the top. I topped them off with the sugary cooked mixture I had made earlier and popped the suckers into the oven. Thirty-five minutes later they were done.

The dessert was tasty, especially with the salted caramel ice cream from Morelli’s and a touch of honey (Patrick’s idea). Even if the dough was a bit thick and the apple a bit small; they really do shrink.

The only downfall to the dessert was the aftermath. I added all of the apple peels and cores to our kitchen waste container on the back porch which is eventually added to the compost bin. Well, with the screen door left open during the night, a curious raccoon managed to come onto the porch and knock over a chair, fan, and the container. Coffee grounds and egg shells and apple peels poured onto the table and floor. The monster only took the apple peels. I bet he would have loved a taste of the dumplings I had made!

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