Friday, June 29, 2012

Magical Unicorn Pony Food

How much do you really know about magical unicorn ponies?

That little huh?  Well I can tell you what they like to eat. They like to eat these.  These are Bakerella's Pillow Cookies.Learn about them here.  (Bakerella is one of my favorite blogs that I mentioned here.)  The cookies are amazing. They are a brownie inside of a chocolate chip cookie.  YES. A BROWNIE INSIDE OF A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. I didn't used Bakerella's exact recipe, I just use the recipe on the back of the choco chip bag to make the cookie dough (The real secret is to use butter flavored Crisco instead of butter.  My mother says so and she is right.)  The brownies just came out of a box and after baked them I just wrapped chunks of brownie in cookie dough (I don't bake the brownies ALL the way since they are going back in the oven but don't leave them to wet or gooey either.) Then just put the whole big thing back in the oven and wait for the magic!




You cannot tell from the picture but many of these cookies are 4 to 5 inches across! GIANT YUMMY-NESS!
YUM!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Good Day Sunshine

The weather goddess must have liked this sunny manicure because the forecast this week is for hot sunny days into the 100s!

Orly Hook Up, Studio M Covered in Diamonds

This manicure is two coats of Orly Hook Up and one somewhat unruly coat of Studio M Covered in Diamonds.

How are you worshiping the sun on these long summer days?

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Skate Day!

Mark likes to skate.

3 fakie to soul, Razor skates, in-line
I'm told this picture was taken during a "3 fakie to soul".

Mark recently ordered a new pair of skates, but had to wait the whole weekend for them to be delivered.
Valo AB.VX
I swear they do come with wheels - you just pick those separately.

So I decided to make a String-of-Things to turn the weekend wait in to a celebration of all things skate!

Remz, Razors, Valo, Bunting, In-line, Skating



These are the logo's of the 3 companies that Mark now owns skates from: Razor, Remz and now Valo.


NOTE:  Mark enjoyed the String-of-Things but he thought the "skate" addition felt a little "quad" which is apparently the term for regular or "non-inline" skates.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Sun and a Mocha Manicure

First I want to wish you all a Happy Summer Solstice!

Picture found here.


I'm not generally a neutral person - I love lots of color and sparkles too.  So I guess it is the hint of silver shimmer that makes me love this Essie Mochacino manicure oh so much.



1 coat OPI Nail Envy
3 coats Essie Mochacino
1 coat Seche Vite

NOTE:  I just realized how wrinkly my thumb looks in this picture.  It's like the hand version of a double chin.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cash Advance? I don't want your Cash Advance.

For any of you that tried to view my blog last night you may have been offered some cash advance and debt consolidation advice.  That was not me.  I know nothing about either of those things.

SO - it turns out that what I'm calling the "Great Cash Advance Debacle of 2012" turned out to be a problem for anyone using blogger and redirecting it to their personal domain name through Google.  As bloggers flocked to the support forums and we realized that we could all see some blogs that belonged to others but not necessarily the same ones as everyone else, but no one could see their own.  So while I waited for the problem to be fixed I clicked on the URLs of the folks in the forum and am posting them here.  So if you guys need to check out some new random blogs please give a little love to these folks who lost some internet face time last night.


http://www.whitelacecottage.com
http://www.chowgypsy.com/
http://www.monmakesthings.com/
http://www.missluxurylifestyle.com/
http://www.betzysmakeup.com/
http://www.wyosparkles.com/
http://pearlsandchiffon.com/
http://www.travelswithnathaniel.com/
http://www.brendawritesablog.com/
http://www.outofalabaster.com/
http://www.slatefallspressbooks.com/

http://whats--hot.com/

http://www.darrellburksblogs.com/
http://www.secondhandsuperhero.com/
http://www.phillyrunninggirl.com/
http://www.lyrikheute.com/
http://www.monettepangan.com/
http://www.markkohlerchangeofpace.com/
http://www.anthonycerrato.com/
http://www.nadernazemi.org/
http://www.northmanspartyvamps.com/

Check them out and leave me a comment to let me know which one you like best!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fur Was Flying

Skeeter my family’s 15 year old cat...



... got a haircut for the first time.  Skeeter is a gorgeous and incredibly large cat who we believe may be part Norwegian Forest Cat (or at least I believe that after seeing a Norwegian Forest Cat at a cat show years ago who looked JUST like Skeeter – except that Skeeter was actually prettier).  Skeeter is just a few pounds over where he should be but some mix of his giantness, older age and incredibly long fur – we are talking 4 inches or possibly more in some places has made it difficult for him to keep his fur neat and tidy.  You see, Skeet (as we like to call him) is incredibly prone to getting giant fur mats on his hind quarters and for the past several years, most often my brother and sometimes myself, have taken to using hair cutting scissors and delicately cutting them off a few hairs at a time.  “BUT YOU SHOUD JUST BRUSH HIM MORE OFTEN,” you exclaim!  And I reply “Yeah, we do that.  Skeeter is the type of cat that you could brush for an hour each day and still pull off gobs and gobs of cotton candy-esque fur.  In fact, he has so much fur that for a while in high school it started making yarn out of his hair by sort of felting it together.  That was before this book was invented -   XXXXX    (After I had thought about it I sort of wished that my mom had asked the groomer if we could keep the hair she shaved off.)

Anyway – here is our fluffy kitty now!!!
He looks sooooo happy.

Sorry for the creepy eyes I'm none so good at photo editing.


Big Blog Changes

The dedicated group of you who read my blog regularly (Thanks!) might have noticed a few changes taking place lately.  I have been diligently working on my BLOG SKILZ and dedicating some time to try to make Peace and Plastic a happinin' place for all of you.  NOW, for those of you who don't know my blog by heart (Why not?) and haven't noticed the 6 changes that recently taken place, I'll list them for you.


Stop reading right now and DON'T look ahead - How many of the six changes have you noticed?  Make a mental note and leave me a comment with the number.


1. A new domain name: This is super exciting I went from www.peacellen.blogspot.com to www.peaceandplastic.com. SA-WEET! Don't worry if you have the old address bookmarked - it will automatically forward to the new address.

2. The addition of a watermark to my photos: I was torn on this as some bloggers do and some don't - but especially since the advent of Pinterest (Look to the right sidebar for the link to follow me) there are a lot of stories of photos floating around the internet without a way to find where the came from.  Not that I'm posting photo's of anything that groundbreaking - but hey, I'm going to keep at it for now.  Note that you will see photos in the upcoming weeks going back and forth between addresses - that is just because I edited some of them before the BIG DOMAIN CHANGEOVER EVENT as I like to call it.

3. The ability to follow me on Bloglovin': Take a look at the right sidebar and you'll see a new button that will connect you to Bloglovin' where you can follow my blog.  Bloglovin'  is a reader type setup that will gather new posts from all of the blogs you follow into one feed. (You can still follow me on Google reader - I don't really care which one you use - but if you follow me thenI know that you are out there, or at least leave a comment from time to time for goodness sake!)

4. The addition of a few pages: Over on the left hand side of my blog you can see that you can now click on page links for Food, Beauty, Crafts and Home Decor and you will be brought to a page that shows all of my posts on that specific topic.  Just another way to browse my blog!

5. The additional sidebar on the right: If you've read the previous 4 items than you've already looked at the right sidebar TWICE!  It's handy isn't it?  I'm going to use this sidebar for things about me and my presence on the web outside of this specific blog. The left sidebar will be the directory for all things Peace and Plastic.

6. The button that you can copy and post on your blog:  This took up a good chunk of a Saturday morning so it's a good thing I was up at 5:30 AM so it didn't cut into my day!  This was the most technical of the new additions and even though I copied and pasted most of the code and found several websites with step-by-step directions (typing that gave me a mind break where I started singing NKOTB and pictured Susanne Sommers in her role as a sweet 90's mom), none of them worked for me directly.  I ended up using a combo of information from Between Naps on the Porch and Paper Heart Camera.  Please feel free to copy the code and share my button on your blog!


Now that you can see all of the cool new things happening on the blog be sure to check back later this afternoon for a SECOND Monday post.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe for Success

I’m not a natural born cook.  My mother cooked dinner every night while I grew up so you would think that I would have gained some skills but it’s actually the opposite.  I never had to fend for myself for food so I never really did a whole lot of cooking until I lived on my own.

Since cooking doesn’t come naturally to me I have found that the best way to build my confidence (and successes) is to use recipes.  Now I know that sounds kind of boring and DUH! But the thing is that I only use each recipe once or occasionally twice.  That doesn’t mean if I have a recipe tacos that I only make tacos once ever – but that I learn what the basic ingredients are to season my tacos properly (some taco seasoning packets have gluten – they also have a lot of salt!).  After the first meal I know what the recipe tastes like and then I know enough about food to know what kind of things I can add to make it perfect for me (and Mark too).  Which, with tacos, usually means SPICY!  Another reason I like to use recipes other than to learn basic flavor combinations is to learn to use a food that I’ve never used before.  This was the case when I recently embarked on my newest adventure of freezer/crockpot cooking.  I stumbled across Mama and Baby Love and her easy instructions and recipes for delicious and healthy meals.  Please visit her site to learn more about the basics – mamaandbabylove.com.

I started with her first three recipes – BBQ Chicken, Chicken Curry and Stephanie’s Goulash.  I had a Saturday at home by my self, so after my early am workout with Jamie of the ReallyReallyBlog I headed to Kroger and loaded my cart.  I needed pretty much all of the ingredients except for a few spices and it turned out to be one of those shopping trips where I feel kind of smug because my cart was loaded with all kinds of veggies and just a few packs of meat and fancy spices.  I was especially excited about the beets (one of those foods I mentioned that I was going to learn to use).  My Kroger only sells organic beets so I took my time selecting my beets and acted like I was some kind of fancy beet elitist.  My whole grocery bill was right around $50.  Some of the purchased things will be able to be used again and again such as the brown sugar, gluten free flour and curry powder and I ended up not using all of the sweet potatoes and zucchinis so I figure that if I were to make these 6 meals again it would cost about $35 which is just over $5 for each meal which has been enough for each of us to eat at least twice - so about $1.25 per serving!  I like that!

Fruits and Vegetables for Freezer and Crockpot Recipes

I then arrived home and it began.  I spent the afternoon chopping, chopping, chopping and then some measuring and seasoning.  The whole shebang took me around 5 hours but that included cleaning up (and a freezer clean out to make room for my food) and doing some extra chopping (I chopped some extra onions, garlic, peppers and tomatos for the tacos I was making for dinner and I chopped some celery for snacks!).  But in the end I had 6 meals that were to be frozen and then just put in the crock pot when needed.  So 5 hours for 6 meals (7 really if you count the tacos I made for dinner that night) and a freezer clean out and kitchen clean up?  I thought it was worth it and I know it will go faster if I do it again.

Prepared bags of freezer and crockpot dinners.
After this photo I mixed everything in the bags, squeezed out the air and massaged them flat and stacked them up in the freezer.


We have since eaten the Goulash (which was pretty good but Mark didn’t like it because of the tomato-y sauce), and the Chicken Curry (which was good but I will add a little extra chicken broth – WATCH OUT FOR GLUTEN! – next time I make it, and more spice too!).

Crockpot Goulash over Gluten Free Pasta
Goulash with Plain Yogurt and Gluten Free Pasta
Tacos with homemade seasoning, avocado, tomato, cheese and plain yogurt
One of the Tacos that I simultaneously prepared.


 But just after one session of following Mama and Baby Love’s recipes I had an idea of what foods work well in freezer and/or crockpot cooking so I already made my own recipe! Spicy and Veggie Loaded Chili!  Mark and I thought of a few changes for the next batch and the recipe below reflects that.  Remember we REALLY like spicy food – so adjust peppers to your liking.

Ellen’s Crockpot Chili!

1  large sweet potato
½ zucchini
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 bag red kidney beans (I do soak these overnight the night before)
1 30oz. can tomato sauce 
1/2 cup chicken, beef or vegetable broth
1 lb of ground beef - browned and drained (I bought a bunch on special and browned it and froze it in about 1 lb portions)
1 green pepper
4-5 hot peppers (We like Serrano or Habenero)
Spices (amounts are not exact – I just kind put it in until it smells good)
2 tbs Chili Powder
1 tbs cayenne pepper
1tbs cumin
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

This made enough for each of us to eat it 4 times!

NOTE: Occasionally I say that I don't like music and that I'm not actually any fun.  This was a perfect example as I sat alone in the kitchen chopping and such for 5 hours in complete silence.   Just me, my mind and some veggies.  There was however a snippet of Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe playing in my mind.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What is a Raspberry?

Wikipedia says: The raspberry or hindberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus; the name also applies to these plants themselves. Raspberries are perennial, with woody stems.

   But in my case it is a bottle of nail polish.  I'll say that essie is quickly growing one.  This is my second essie manicure (see the first one here) and I must say I'm loving it.  You know how I know I'm loving it? Because I have put this polish on twice in a row now!  WHAT?!?!? Crazy I know.  I was just thinking that since I usually do fingers and toes and since toes last soooooo long that it was a shame to keep changing totally perfect toes.  Also, with all of my other polishes so far I have had to take them off by the third day due to chipping  - but this one has lasted until the 5th day each time (note that the pics were taken on the second or third day)!  There is some tip wear (See! I'm learning the jargon.) of course and  now I have some latex paint on them but they are really holding up because I am NOT gentle with my hands - unless I need to be ;)

Essie Raspberry nail polish swatch
This picture is the most color accurate but not 100%.

Essie Raspberry nail polish swatch
2 coats of essie Raspberry

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Not Over Until Ellen Finishes Her Bunting and Blogs About It

While the Queen's Diamond Jubilee ended last week - I'm still celebrating with my latest String-of-Things here across the pond.  

Diamond Jubliee Union Jack Bunting

Diamond Jubliee Union Jack Bunting

Diamond Jubliee Union Jack Bunting

I was inspired by the beautiful printables offered by Hostess With The Mostess (and used just a few of her food and drink flags on the ends of the bunting) but the cool Union Jack and queen silhouette flags came from a link she provided to iChild and Kodak found here.   Of course I needed to jazz it up a bit with some fancy diamonds that are just standard clip art found in Microsoft Word! 

Now the celebration can come to an end and I'm already working on my next String-of-Things!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gray or Grey? Let My Manicure Tell You.

Apparently they are the same thing except "gray" is how Americans spell it and "grey" is how everyone else spells it.

Orly Faint of Heart Cool Romance Collection
Sorry for the crummy photo on this. I actually had this polish on for 3 days and the photo didn't take place until sometime late in day 2 so you can see it has dulled up a bit.  It really is a shame because in person this polish is one of my favorites!  It's a really great creamy gray that has these micro black specks that give it amazing life.
The polish is  Orly Faint of Heart from the Cool Romance Collection. I'll have to try this one again soon to see if I can get a better photo that really shows how great it was.

2 coats Orly Faint of Heart
1 coat Seche Vite



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Art Is In The Eye Of The Groupon Holder

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I’ve recently found myself facing a bit of a quandary.  How do two people with similar taste but totally different ideas about decorating and style cohabitate?
Many of you know that Mark and I have recently moved to a new place a together. While we quickly agreed on our amazing sofa (You can read about it here), new kitchen sink (learn more about that here) and cool grey curtains, I’m finding most of our decorating preferences are polar opposites.  This dilemma really reared it’s ugly head for the first time when Groupon offered a deal to Allposters.com.  I quickly hopped over to Allposters.com to check out their selection and I quickly came upon this.
http://imagecache5d.allposters.com/watermarker/15-1507-UE3BD00Z.jpg?ch=894&cw=670
The Witches Sabbath
One quick glance and I was smitten, I turned my computer to Mark for approval and her agreed. So I bought the Groupon.  Later that day (or maybe the next day, I don’t really remember - the whole drama actually lasted a few days) I was browsing the rest of their selection  thinking maybe I would purchase a few other things as well.  I found a few other things I liked but went back to check out “The Witches Sabbath”  only this time around I noticed the sickly/dead children in the painting  :(  

Hmmmm.  I love the colors and ladies and goat but do I really want sickly/dead children - painted or otherwise - in my living room?"

So I started thinking maybe I would go with something else so I broke the news to Mark and showed him some of my new choices.  Mark still liked The Witches.  So I went on a journey to learn what I could about Goya (the artist and my memories of one of his other paintings are mentioned here) and the story behind the painting. It turns out that the painting is somewhat of a satire of the fear-mongering ideas that the heads of the church spread against those who did not conform during the time of the Spanish Inquisition.  Take that fear mongers!  So the print was back on.   


Yeah! Art with a message - BAD ASS!”

I thought.  Well, I thought that at least for a few minutes until  realized that there were still sickly/dead children in it.  I just didn’t want to have them watching me while I’m chilling on the couch watching quilt shows on PBS. 

FONS AND PORTER SHOUT OUT!

So I picked a few more options and there were a few others we agreed on, but Mark was still holding out for The Witches.  So for a few days i think we looked at every print on the site and went back and forth shooting down each others ideas.  In the end we never came to a total consensus, but one winner that we both liked almost as much as the first one.

http://imagecache5d.allposters.com/watermarker/61-6179-D411100Z.jpg?ch=894&cw=671
The Little Mermaid


So I bought it! 

 PHEW.

Then just a few days later I brought over a few more of my things from my parents house where they have been living for years ever since I became a nomad.  Among those things were two large mirrors.  One I thought would go on my dresser and one would go on the mantel above the (non-working) fireplace.  I was very excited for all of this until Mark got home and poo-pooed the idea of a mirror on the mantel.  It turns out that while I had been picturing a mirror in the space from day one, he had been picturing a painting.  Go figure.  So again, over the course of a few days while the mirrors rested in the hallway we went back and forth about our ideas for the mantel and the living room as a whole. The problem has been temporarily solved since last Thursday my parents came to take us out to dinner and to see our place now that it had stuff in it.  While I was at work Mark went on a cleaning mission (isn’t he great?) and ended up putting the mirrors where I had originally imagined them just to get them out of the hallway.  It actually made me feel bad that I got my way by default so I know this issue will be revisited in the future so we can both love what it above the mantel. (Actually, now that it is up there I'm not sure that I love it.)
Sometimes it’s really hard for me to give up a decorating idea once I’ve envisioned it in my head but in this case, sleeping on it a few nights helped me to get over my original idea to know that we could come up with something we both like.  
Have you ever gotten your decorating way by default?  How did you feel about it?  What poster would you have chosen from Allposters.com? Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthday cake. Birthday party? Birthday cake again?

I wanted to do a special manicure for my niece's 5th birthday party.  I decided on a "birthday cake with sprinkles" look so I grabbed my essie Adore-a-ball and Nicole by OPI Rainbow in the S-Kylie. The essie Adore-a-ball went on beautifully but i went for 3 coats because I wanted it to be pretty opaque then I added a layer of Rainbow in the S-Kylie.  Then it kinda got out of control.  Some of you may already know that glitter polishes can be tricky to apply.  You can't necessarily just brush it on like regular polish, if you do most of the glitter will brush off with the brush stroke.  This is where I ran into trouble.  The first coat of glitter went on pretty sparse and looking back I should have left it because I think it was actually what I was going for.  You know, just a few sprinkles on a bed of delicious frosted cake.  But I got caught up in the moment and needed MORE GLITTER!  After the second coat where I loaded on the glitter I felt it was overdone but I was out of time and needed to finish up so I wouldn't be late for the party.  So I went like this...


Essie Adore-a-ball, Nicole by OPI Rainbow in the S-Kylie 

My almost 3 year old nephew thought it was awesome, but I thought it was too much. It was more birthday party than birthday cake.  I knew I needed to tone them down so I made what is called a "glitter sandwich". 

Essie Adore-a-ball, Nicole by OPI Rainbow in the S-Kylie, glitter sandwhich
A glitter sandwich is where you layer polish then glitter than polish again.  This may not work with all polishes, especially some that are considered "creme" formulas but I think that the Adore-a-ball is a "jelly" which is less opaque or somewhere in between a creme and a jelly called a "crelly".  I really liked the way it ended up - pretty birthday cake-ish if you ask me.

2 coats Nicole by OPI Rainbow in the S-Kylie
+ 1 more coat of essie Adore-A-Ball
Topped with Seche Vite


What does this polish job remind you of? Cake? Balloons? Muppet barf?