Sunday, December 7, 2014

Easy Appetizer Trays

Appetizer trays are easy and well loved by snackers the world over.
There are three main types: savory (usually sliced meats and cheeses), vegetable (celery, carrots, broccoli, etc) and fruit (apple, orange, etc).
When doing the shopping for the rest of your ingredients, make sure and grab some extra ingredients for snack trays. Snacks keep guests entertained, lower blood sugar levels and soak up early alcohol ingestion. In short, snack trays keep antsy guests busy, hungry guests sane and help the festivities on into the night.

Holiday History: Memorial Day

Originally called Decoration Day, this holiday is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Memorial Day was first observed after the Civil War as a desire to honor the dead. Originally proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan (national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in the Civil War) because the date wasn't the anniversary of any particular battle. In his General Order No. 11 he proclaimed:
“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie
in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” (original text link here)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mamma's Book Review: The Subtle Knife, Phillip Pullman

Book 2 of the His Dark Materials trilogy, the Subtle Knife 

by Phillip Pullman

"Having slipped through a newly formed astral portal, the intrepid Lyra finds herself in the beautiful, haunted world of Cittagazze--a city where soul-eating Specters walk the streets and the wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies. For young Will Parry, in search of his father, has stumbled into this strange new realm via a magic gateway.
Together the enlightened pair forge ahead on a perilous journey between worlds teeming with witches, angels and sorcery--and uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devastating power. But with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat--and the shattering truth of their own destiny..."
~from the back cover of The Subtle Knife

Spicy Creole Corn (Corn Maque Choux)


1 can Corn
1 can Tomatoes, diced
1 Habanero Pepper, diced (use less for a milder recipe)
1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 cup Onion, diced
1/4 cup Celery, diced
3 large cloves of Garlic, chopped OR 2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Salt

Optional: 1 cooked and diced Potato, 1/2 cup chopped Green Onions and 1 cup Cream Cheese. Add to the Creole Corn after cooking and stir together well. This makes a great dip for parties.

Mamma's Book Review: Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

Author: Jane Austen
Recommended Reader Age: Adult
Of course the original will always be my favorite!

"Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters; pragmatic Elinor and passionate, willful Marianne. When their father, Henry Dashwood, dies, by law his estate must pass to the eldest son from his first marriage. Suddenly homeless and impoverished his current wife and daughters find themselves living in a simple country cottage. The two sisters are soon accepted into their new society. Marianne soon becomes swept up in a passionate love affair with the dashing Willoughby, while Elinor struggles to keep a tight reign on the family purse strings and to keep her feelings for Edward Ferrars, whom she left behind, hidden from her family. Despite their different personalities, they both experience great sorrows in their affairs, but they learn to mix sense with sensibility in a society that is obsessed with both financial and social status."
~from the back cover of Sense and Sensibility

Mamma's Book Review: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Author: Ben H. Winters, original novel by Jane Austen
Recommended Reader Age: Young Adult to Adult
A fan-fiction novel of Sense and Sensibility set to the tune of Sea Monsters!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quick, No Egg Waffles

 These are a nice, light waffle that can be eaten with or without sweet toppings. They are also made without using eggs! So, if you want a little something more for breakfast but don't have any eggs on hand, this is the recipe for you.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mamma's Book Review: The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman

Book 1 of the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Golden Compass 

by Phillip Pullman

"Lyra Belaqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a deadly struggle--a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward dangers in the cold far North, young Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle."
~from the back cover of The Golden Compass

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Creamy Rucola/Arugula Ciabatta Pizza

This is a really nice snack that is easy to make. The recipe produces a ciabatta pizza that is roughly the size of a normal medium pizza. Serves 2-3 people. 

view the full recipe here.

Puppy Loafing

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Marinades: Italian Salad Dressing

Yes, that's right. Italian Salad Dressing.

It makes a great emergency dressing when you have under an hour to marinate the meat. The only drawback? It's not all that great on red meats. My best results have been with pork and chicken. Chicken in particular takes to Italian dressing very well, but I have also successfully used this dressing on white fishes and shrimp.

Get the full recipe.

Meats vs Veggies: The Adventure that got it All Started

Check out the original meats vs veggies argument that stirs up so much creativity in the kitchen around here:

Make Your Own Journal Part 1: Homemade Paper

To launch this project you really want to start at the base and work your way up. So, you'll need to make your own paper. Oh, don't groan like that, this is actually a fun process and since paper is so versatile you can make whole sections of your journal different. Just trust me on this one: it involves sparkles and dye. 
Try it out here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Holiday History: Columbus Day

Anyone know anything about this holiday? Anyone? For most modern citizens Columbus Day is known mostly for the fact that all the banks and government offices will have an excuse to close all day. Oh, and for Christopher Columbus; the man who discovered America, right?

Well, no actually, that's wrong. Columbus never got as far north as modern American boundaries. He stayed mostly in the Caribbean and Central Americas. It was his exploits though that discovered the American Continents existed and allowed for further exploration of the Northern Continent at a later date. Therefore, Columbus Day is named for the man that allowed for the future colonization of modern day America by explorers following in his wake. To put it nicely.

video made by: Choice and Truth

For a great History lesson by the History Channel, check out the link below: 
(Really you should check out the link. Their video is much better than mine)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Make Your Own Game: Paper Airplane, Part 1

Most of you all remember painstakingly folding a square of paper into some semblance of a plane only to launch it with expectation and sadly watch it fall only a few feet from where your fingers let it go. 

SOMETIMES you could fold a good plane that could make it a room-length or so, but really, I was never very satisfied with my flight patterns.

So, well into my adult life, I decided to do a little paper plane research. Needless to say...I had a lot of fun and my house was littered with the remnants of the Paper Age of Flight. Here's my favorites and a few challenge planes I couldn't quite get right. When you complete them send in your pictures or videos!

Here's the pretty basic Jet template. Just print out the picture and fold following the numbers. Line 1 folds in first, then line 2, etc. Make sure to fold the plane with the printed side of the paper down, otherwise the folded paper will block your instructions ;)

Here's another original basic to get you warmed up; the Snub Nose. This little plane tends to be heavy and falls out the sky fairly easily, but it's a good tool to teach beginners the wrist action used in launching planes. It's a sturdier model so you can launch it over and over without too much damage done to the plane. Also good for children, the heavier weight will give them something to hold on to as they learn.

This one feels more like a Star Cruiser model, it'll be a fun project for the space fan in your family. Keep in mind that all paper planes can be decorated as well. Tip: fold the plane first, then unfold it and color with markers or colored pencils. Crayons are too heavy and will pull the plane down. Pencils are my favorite.

The Best Paper Airplane in the World

Despite the audacity of awesomeness that this model plane claims to be...I'm going to have to back them up on this one. 

The folds are thicker and stronger than normal paper planes so the creases don't come undone in flight. Furthermore, the design is more like a light balsam wood model plane than a paper one.

 This plane can get some serious air! It's one drawback? Not very good with turns or choppy wind. Give this plane a clear path and smooth wind and it can coast for hundreds of meters!

Images 24 - 28 show the making of the tail. The tail is important to add weight to the back end of the plane, counterbalancing the heavier nose and pulling back on the wings allowing them the maximum amount of draft.

The tail is folded by using the last inch or so (depending on your preferences you can play with the amount you use and try out the differences) of the wings and back-end of the plane. 

Start the tail by folding the paper up to the bottom of the wings. Unfold. From that crease you are supposed to cut (That's right! You get to CUT this paper plane!) the remaining piece back. This piece is then used to fold the tail.

Challenge Paper Airplane
Watch the video below and fold the Willow paper plane. The challenge here lies not in the difficulty of the fold, this plane is only medium in difficulty, but in the tricks you can do with this design. My challenge to you? See if you can do a complete loop-de-loop. What other tricks can you complete? Send me your success videos and pictures!