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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Adventures in Egg(less)land!

Ooooooooh goodness. o.O When the urge to go a-baking hits me.. it hits hard.

This past month i've seriously baked some of my bests, and some of my worsts. I figured i would share some with you today. (Mostly because i'm proud of my cupcakes, and because i want to rant about how much i hate my mom's camera... XD) Unfortunately, i've had to do most of my baking without eggs... because not only do i get strong cravings for vanilla cake with creamy icing... i also get cravings for eggs. Scrambled, poached, fried, baked, etc... point is, i'm lovin' me some eggs. So in the end, when i get those sweet cravings for chocolatey goodness, i end up having to use egg substitutes. (and not the nifty ones where it's powdered or comes in a carton. i mean literally, NO EGGS.)

Firstly, my family has managed to gather quite a collection of Jello boxes. (Church Christmas baskets, sudden urges, sales at Krogers, etc. etc. etc....) and those who know me well, know i despise jello. I get grossed out over the fact that it's made from bones (Abes Oddworld much?) yet i'm completely fine with eating Chicken periods... go figure, lol.

But i am a sucker for creamy desserts with pudding-like textures. (except for flan... blech.) So after some deep soul searching, (i.e: Intarwebz lurking) i came across this wonderful recipe from JustJenn for "Ice Cream Jello".

Isn't hers lovely? It's so perfectly square, and gorgeous, and looks like it had no problems freeing itself from it's glass prison.

(Picture courtesy of my mother's blurry camera)

Isn't mine hideous? Yeah... well, it's not what's on the outside that counts, it's how it tastes in my mouth.

And God was it good!

Second on my list (and ironically made in the same day as the Jello, because i was impatient and hungry...) is my "Pumpkin Pudding Pie". This was the lovechild of late-night hunger, rifling through the cabinets and the fridge, and 'moar intarwebz lurking'.

(Picture Courtesy of my mum's blurry camera...)

Looks neat and tidy doesn't it? I was rather proud of that teeny pie. Made it all by myself, mixed it by hand, baked it with no help from the momma, nothing.

weeeeeell.....except for one thing. Once again, we were out of eggs. So with some help from the 'great minds' on yahoo answers (and i use that term loosely...) i found that "2 tbsp of cornstarch works the same as one egg in pies!". LIES. LIES I TELL YOU! D:
You know what cornstarch does? It draws moisture out of things. You know what eggs do? They give moisture to things, and make them taste eggy, and hold together better... Somewhere in my sleep deprived mind i thought using 6 tbsp of cornstarch was a good idea. Yes, i said six freaking tablespoons of cornstarch. I give you full permission to smack me. i deserve this.

Either way, the pie turned out alright. Yes, it was tasty, and yes it was pumpkiny... it was also somewhat chewy and rather awkward texture that i shall never be recreating ever again.

If you'd like you try your luck at this recipe and actually follow the directions and use eggs then you can find it [Here].

This next recipe actually DID have eggs! :-D I found it while oogling over the fantastic pictures on Foodgawker (somewhere you'll never see my blurry bits of yech) when i came across these Blondies.

Now, i've only had blondies twice. The first time, was made by one of my friend's amazing mum's late one night at like, 2:00 in the morning when we were all craving something sweet, but were poor high school kids. Mrs. Dewitt baked them up and i was completely sold. heck, at the time i'd never even heard of Blondies! So a year or so later i tried my hand at them, and baked up a batch (untasted mind you... baaaaaad idea for bakers and chefs everywhere!) and brought them to a family get-together where they sat untouched (because the hubbs has to bake like, 80 things for every gathering, lol). By the time anybody got to try them, they were safely sitting at home on the counter where my mum proceeded to take a huge bite... and realised i forgot to put sugar in them.... go me. lol.

But this year?? This year i was prepared. I had peanut butter. I'd been on a baking streak. I was 'learned up' on all this and knew what i was doing! and it totally showed.

(Photo Courtesy of my mum's blurry camera...)

Unfortunately, the picture doesn't do it justice, but these blondies were fan freaking tastic. They were literally gone from the pan in less than one night. (I give half this credit to the fact that i had eggs. If they were eggless? they would have sucked. big time).

Want to find out how i made these gorgeous bits of Peanut-buttery chocolatey heaven? Click [Here].

Last but not least, I give you my craving of the day.

Vanilla Cupcakes with some kind of icing! But once again, i was hit with the egglessness that is my fridge. The Good news? i didn't use cornstarch. the bad news? instead of sucking it up and asking my neighbors for one egg (yes, one single freaking egg!) I once again decided to trust yahoo answers and use some bizarre concoction... (1tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2tbsp flour, and 3 tbsp water). What did this give me?

(Another photo courtesy of the blurrycam!)

Well, they are pretty... but they taste a LOT like baking soda... with a distinct lack of egg.

(And another!)

It did give me a chance to practice my piping skills though. (Which i am rather proud of tyvm... lol) I didn't get to make the frosting though. I've never had a good experience with making my own frosting... so i skipped it and bought a tub of Duncan Heinz Hershey's Chocolate.

(Recipe adapted from "How to eat a cupcake"'s version [Here])

Have I learned my lesson about egg substitutes? Definitely. Will i continue to bake things without them when i'm desparate for sweet things? eh, probably. But at least i know the importance of eggs.

Mmmm... Chicken period.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Venues and Piggies!

I live in a strange relationship with my husband-to-be.

We've been together for a little over 5 years now and things have changed a lot since we first met in German class. For starters, we're not so embarrassed to kiss in public anymore... (although grabbing of asses is still frowned upon.) and the special visits to the "couples store" down south, would have left us both speechless and nervous a couple years ago.

However, the only thing that hasn't really changed, is our visiting schedule... I get to see him maybe once to twice a month... and while this has grown from dates to the movie theatre and Wendy's for lunch -- to spending the night at one's house for a couple of nights, it still becomes a little emotionally tiring when you haven't seen your man in almost a month, and the only times you can "talk", is when he's not too exhausted to sneak onto Yahoo after working from 11 at night to seven in the morning.

This last "weekend" (it's not really a weekend, it's just what i refer our 'visits' to...) was definitely emotional in a lot of different ways, but for the most part, it was worth it. Though we have yet to iron out our sleeping schedules, it was nice to be able to have the house to ourselves while his dad was away for some Navy-stuff. It was like living together -- a goal we've been working on for the past few months.

After three nights of knitting, reading my new books (1, 2, & 3), watching several movies (okay, probably like 100...) and countless chicken meals (mmmm... cheeeekin! -- and yes, that's the hubb's blog!) we managed to have a day to ourselves and get out of the house, letting him spoil me all to hell at our local hobby store (and guilty pleasure...), leaving with 4 new colors of yarn for socks (one looks like pumpkin pie, and one's made of wool so i can do some kool-aid dying! booyah!!!) a new loom, some piping tips, and a sigh of relief.

Ah, but our day was not yet done!

Meet Kaya, the newest addition to our clan... er... family.
She is -- by far -- the cutest 30 dollars he's ever spent. lol. A long-haired calico guinea pig who's only a month or so old, she's the younger sister (or possible mate o.O) to our older piggy Kurumi. (he's a short-haired brown hamster with pepper-like flecks. He totally looks like a groundhog... lol) She's super tiny compared to Kuri, and she's the calmest little thing i've ever seen! she'll snuggle and cuddle and even purr! (i've never seen a guinea pig purr, but she does!)

So we needed a name that would fit... right? Well... all of Jim's pets have Japanese (or Asian) names... "Kurumi, Ichigo, Renji" (yes the last two are from Bleach, but that's besides the point.. lol) so we didn't feel right naming her "Isabelle" or "Julia"... so after some internet-time, we came up with the name "Kaya" meaning "Restful Place" (because, you know... naming your guinea pig after a grave is totally awesome.. haha) but it's her. She's the calmest and most chill pig we've ever seen!

Okay okay... enough squealing over fluffy new babes... on to the wedding bits....

After taking Kaya home and getting her situated in the air-conditioning, we grabbed some Pizza (Papa Johns, thou art truly a god!) and breadsticks, and made our way to our possible venue to take some pictures and enlighten friends and family as to our Celticy, pumpkiny plans.

(Unfortunately, we couldn't get pictures of the shelter yet, since there was a family using it to have a rather-large picnic... so we'll come back next week maybe and grab some then...) But in the meantime...

Park porn!

Firstly, one of our main concerns is where to have the ceremony... the walking down the aisle, the vows, all that good stuff that's kind of the whole reason you're having the wedding... So since we wanted this outside, we had to find somewhere out of the sun, and yet not in a shelter...

[underneath that tree over there, is where
we'd set up the arch and the chairs...]

It's close to the shelter with a stone fireplace, for the reception (left, but not pictured) and a playground for the kiddies.... (below)

There's a huge field separating the two... but not too huge so that the older family members wouldn't be able to make the trek. Those family members who are used to our covered bridge festivals and pioneer days, should be used to parking and should know how to get to the wedding without wearing out their feet.

"Covered bridge?"
Yes. Covered bridge. Indiana has a ton of them... this one in particular has been moved from Riley Indiana over here to Fowler Park to bridge the gap between a creek, and the lake.

Around October and November (The amazing autumn months when this park glows with fiery goodness and geese, and indian corn, and all that amazing stuff that makes autumn my favorite season...), our little city -- which for the most part is boring as hell...-- holds two festivals. (often they overlap eachother, which is fine by me!)

[Some of the bricks on the bottom of this picture are
actually stamped with names. Some of them
"in memory" of, some of them are company names]

The "Covered Bridge Festival" where we celebrate the history of covered bridges, (since there aren't that many left). This usually involves a lot of kitschy items (think those country yard ornaments with the woman bent over, or the cowboy sihlouette) for sale, along with homemade fudges, brownies, candies, and etc. with lemonade stands, kettle corn, and other yummy things crowd the streets. Lots of live music, lots of things for sale. it's a lot of fun, and something we actually look forward to every year. (i'm going to be looking this year for some yarn or fibers! maybe actually learn to spin... mmm... homemade goodies!)

[Blurry pioneer village is blurry...]

"Pioneer Days" is a Terre Haute tradition, where our locals dress up like Indians and Pioneers, hang out in pioneer villages and tee-pees, craft homemade candles the old fashioned way, tan hides the old fashioned way, play games the old fashioned way, and generally do stuff they would have done back then... with totally modern stalls set up everywhere selling goods of every shape and kind, usually related to Pioneers, Indians, country kitsch, and food. (kebabs, lemon shake-ups, and elephant ears? count me in!) It's often held at the same time as the covered bridge festival at Fowler, and honestly? half the people there couldn't tell the difference anyhow.

[Working church and schoolhouse! The little white
paper by the door is actually advertisting a
church sermon happening last Sunday]

We had fun taking pictures and goofing around at the park, and it was definately something we needed... to take a breath and re-evaluate the day and make me remember why i fell in love with him in the first place.

The pictures he kept taking of me every time i turned around though made me want to tackle him and tie him to a witch-burnin' pole though. ;-) (love you Liebe!)

But despite my personal paparazzi, the insane heat, and the inconvenient family picnic going on at the shelter, the park did provide one really neat feature...

Now if i could just figure out how to fit one of those into the bedroom... ;-)


Friday, July 23, 2010

David, David, David... *sigh*

I know before, i praised David Tutera and his girly little show like there was no tomorrow... and yes, it is my little obsession....

but I've come to an understanding...

I don't watch the show because the man "is a genius" ... rather, i watch it for the things the brides do!

Watching his recent episode of the "cowgirl bride" actually made me want to punch him.


I'm a huge follower of "" -- which was introduced to me by the most offbeat couple i know (whom i love, you know who you are m'dears) and they're all about being who you are on your wedding day. Want to wear flip flops, jean cutoff shorts and a tie-dye tanktop for your wedding? do it! don't worry about stressing out over the perfect dress... DIY everything, and have fun... don't stick to the rules, etc!

It's come to my attention that David is the complete opposite...

He was absolutely APPALLED at the fact that this little Texas bride wanted to wear worn cowboy boots (with purple accents) on her wedding day... so what!? He looked like he was about to shit himself at the idea! Hell personally? I'm dying to buy a pair of Ruby slippers for my own wedding... and i see nothing wrong with it. I plan on adorning my bridesmaids in faerie wings, and wreaths of flowers... If someone dares to call my wedding a costume party, then I'll remember it as the best damn costume party i've ever been to! and they can proceed to smooch my lardy white behind!

It's basically just made me realize how much i appreciate the offbeat community and how extremely supportive they are for each other and any new members! There are quite a few websites that are easily accessible that offer a huge array of projects for the DIY bride and her DIY reception and/or Ceremony!

When i first began watching "My Fair Wedding", i used to have this vision of perfection... of having every little thing just perfect, and how i'd squeal with delight if he showed up and made my medieval/Renaissance wedding a reality.... but the more i tune in, the more i realize... he hates everything i love!

The color green? hates it. DIY things? hates it. Non-Couture gowns? If you look like crap, he'll change it. if you look gorgeous, he'll make you change into something for the reception... If you go completely "offbeat" and do something crazy (I.e: swamp bride, Texas bride, etc.) he "spiffs" everything up and takes it way out of what my own comfort zone would have been!

(And i swear to god if i see those pink/blue/purple lights in ONE MORE design of his, I'm jabbing a brooch through his temple, so help me!)

Well, anyways... this whole post (as scatterbrained as it is) was meant to be me simply conveying my thoughts on the whole "i wanna be a DIY bride" bit, but turned out more as a "Let's bash David" post o.O oops....

point being, I'm leaving couture behind. (not that i ever followed it anyways... ha!) and fully embracing my DIY-ness.

I'll take some online instructions, blurry pictures, and an electric drill over etiquette and posh any day!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Foodgawker, thou hast corrupteth me...

I have *seriously* been craving me some cake lately....

I even went so far as to figure "well... since i'm on a diet.... I'll just make something a little healthier!" and concocted some rather amazing oatmeal cream pies (lowfat, etc etc...). They were gone by day 2. But it still didn't fill the void that a delicious vanilla cake, with dreamy vanilla icing would fill.

So what do i do?

I hop onto my little laptop and surf foodgawker until my stomach is to the point where if i don't bake something containing chocolate chips, vanilla, and brown sugar, it's going to start WWIII.

Well, now that it's settled that i'm going to be breaking out the cooking spray and the cake pans, i have to figure out what to make... well? having borderline pregnancy cravings (not meaning I AM pregger, just meaning my cravings for food are as BAD as a pregnant woman's... just not as wierd!)

well, my stomach and i have come up with (with the assistance of my mother over my shoulder!) a list of desserts i will eventually get around to making.

  1. Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies -- courtesy of "Handle the Heat"
  2. Molten Chocolate Cakes -- Courtesy of "Martha Stewart"
  3. Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake -- Courtesy of "Mrs Multitasker"
  4. Heaven and Hell Cake -- Courtesy of "Whisk Kid"
  5. Garlic Hasselback Potatoes -- Courtesy of "Momofuku for 2"
  6. Spicy Hawaiian Burgers -- Courtesy of "Homemade by Holman"
  7. Fleur de Sel Caramels -- Courtesy of "Not so Humble Pie"
  8. Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies -- Courtesy of "Picky Cook"
  9. Rocky Road No-Bake Cookies -- Courtesy of "Recipe Girl"
  10. Homemade Custom Feux-reos -- Courtesy of "JustJENN"

So there's TONS more of course, but these are in the top 10! Yes yes i know, a couple of them are totally non-sweet and completely oh-so-savory, but they were too good looking to pass up, so i had to add them in.

How does this pertain to weddings? it doesn't. i just needed to update something and i'm hungry.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cupcakes and Diamonds

I've been finding myself craving cupcakes lately. Not just any cupcakes mind you, Vanilla cupcakes. Any icing would suffice, just it has to be Vanilla cupcakes, and preferably yellow. Maybe it's because I'm eager to redeem myself after the Fourth-of-July red dye disaster*, maybe it's because my body requires certain levels of butter cream consumption... maybe it's because I'm pregnant with the second Christ-child (Ha!) -- but whatever the reason, I'm craving these little babies and it's inspiring me in all the right ways!

**(These cupcakes were created using food dye to color the white cake mix Red and Blue to make some patriotic desserts for the annual family picnic. They were based after the rainbow cupcakes i had executed about a month prior without a hitch. However... the cupcakes for this particular holiday, lacked enough Red food coloring to actually make them Red... So instead of using my standby of liquid food dye, i added a half a teaspoon of GEL dye (Wilson's Christmas Red to be exact). It had completely slipped my mind that red food coloring leaves an icky disgusting taste if used innacurately... GEL dye was like concentrated Red flavor! (Which i found out is caused by iodine used in the dye... lovely huh?) Thus resulting in pretty -- but practically inedible -- cupcakes. Good note? I got to use my awesome new piping bag and tip! They turned out to be gorgeous little heartburn-infested morsels of iodine-y goodness.)

I've come to the conclusion, that -- after my camera is repaired -- I'm going to start a second blog. (Titled: Cupcake for two) This second blog will be not only a Julie & Julia style setup where i cook my way through a set amount of recipes... but will also be a way Jim and I are going to narrow down the flavors of cake for the wedding. (Two years and 3 months should suffice i think?) However, not only cupcakes are going to be baked at the blog. Casseroles, Doughnuts, Pasta, Frozen treats, Soups, and other miscellaneous sweets are also sure to grab the spotlight here and there because, Hey... I love to cook. So while Cake for Two is aimed at all things wedding, Cupcake for Two shall not. (I might also sneak some crafts in there to help promote the Etsy shop i'm going to start! Whoopee!)

Jim and I have also discussed the possibility of beginning our own bakery. (Though not quite like the lucky and extremely talented lady at How to eat a cupcake) Perhaps starting off -- much like most bakeries had -- as a home-based business. Begin with catering cupcakes and celebration cakes (mostly gourmet, not those fancy carved cakes like Food Network boasts) and possibly rake in some extra cash for that dream house! However owning our own building and hiring staff is probably somewhere in the extremely distant future, it's still something i'd love to do after our future children are grown a little and things aren't so tight.

Well, getting back to what this particular blog is about, i happened to catch up on my overflowing DVR list of bridal shows. (I.e: My Fair wedding, Say Yes to the Dress, Girl Meets Gown, and of course -- Don't Tell the Bride). The last of which i began to ponder something...

In one of the episodes of "Don't Tell the Bride" (A witty little show on the BBC where a couple is given 12,000 pounds to finance their wedding. The catch? The groom has to do all the planning, while the bride can't know a single detail until the day of the wedding!) the groom had completely forgotten to get the wedding bands until the very last minute!! He ended up getting them in the end, but it got my wheels turning...

I have yet to find a suitable wedding ring...

Actually to be honest, i don't even have an engagement ring! (No, i'm not one of those "he hasn't proposed yet i just feel like planning the wedding anyway" brides... >.>) We've been dating for 5 years now. Five freaking wonderful, amazing, astounding years. (That i wouldn't trade for anything else in the world!) but around our 3rd or 4th year together, we had come to the same conclusion, that we both wanted to get married someday...

One creepy Jamaican guy at a convention and 20 bucks later, i ended up with a super-simple braided silver band with no diamonds or stones, or anything on it. Just a simple. silver. band. Practically a wedding band! But Jimmy had never truly proposed. He's never gotten down on one knee and asked me to be his wife, nor has he gone out and purchased a ring all by himself for me (or at least to my knowledge he hasn't!). We've both been planning this wedding though in full expectations of going through with it... However it feels just a little strange without a "true" engagement ring...

Part of me feels like i don't need one. I'm happy with the "promise" ring i have (that i bartered for and ended up buying...) and i honestly go ballistic when i lose it (read: left on the edge of the sink during a shower) -- but it doesn't feel like an engagement ring to be. But -- and this is the big part -- my other half is saying i don't need a ring, and that even if i did, we can't even afford one right now! I would truthfully be thrilled to get a ring from the pawn shop for all i care... but that's not the point. We're trying so hard right now to move out and start our lives, that it's impossible for us to afford a flashy piece of jewelry just to tell people i belong to someone.

Lets say just for a moment, that we had the money... there lies another problem waiting to strike.

I'm picky as hell.

I absolutely abhor certain pieces of jewelry. Yellow gold, Diamonds, "Swarovski crystals", Cubic Zirconium, all that super flashy "bling" that every girl dreams of... and of course the "Bigger is better" rule, that can honestly go throw itself out the window...

I have a horrible horrible habit of playing with my rings... especially if they have jewels on the top like a normal Diamond engagement ring. I twirl it around and around my finger until my digits are sore and raw. OCD? probably. So when it comes to rings i can actually wear i tend to buy simple bands... (I.e: the "promise" ring i'm currently wearing)

Oh, one last thing -- I'm horribly allergic to numerous metals. Copper? Yep. Pewter? You Betcha. Any kind of steel (besides surgical)? Mmm hmm! Lovely huh? So unless my jewelry (Piercings especially!) are pure silver, gold, or platinum, I'm pretty much destined to break into nasty rashes and sores.

"Mindy, will you marry me?"
"Of course! Oh it's gorgeous!"
"You like it?"
"Yes! It's so -- .... itchy! Get-it-off! Get-it-off!"
frantic screams ensue*

okay so the rashes don't exactly happen that quick... but you get my point! For a ring that's supposed to stay on your finger for an eternity, you don't exactly want to be allergic to it! So even if Jim really did want to buy an engagement ring for me, he's stuck with spending a buttload of cash on a real metal ring -- limited to nothing but bands, very few diamonds, and silver colors.

Have fun!

I figured in the spirit of the blog (and my love for all things shiny...) i'd spend a little while browsing the interwebz and maybe make his imaginary trek for the "perfect ring" a little easier. (Ha!)

Tiara Diamond and Sapphire ring in 18k White Gold
Firstly (because that's totally a word, so says i) I stumbled across this lovely band from Brilliant Earth. (B.E offers diamonds and gems that are cruelty free, meaning they don't obtain their diamonds from the slave mines in Africa)

What i love about it: Semi-Precious stones are -- to me -- more precious than diamonds. Each one is made of gorgeous deep colors and anymore, are more rare than diamonds themselves. Sapphires however are just the perfect blue to me, and i don't mind the diamonds in this one, because they only enhance the sapphires. Being a band is a huge plus also, considering i hate playing with giant jewels hanging off my ring, and since the pattern isn't completely around the ring, it saves your palm from random bejeweled massacres when you least expect it!

Cost: $800.00
Link: Here

Esther's Garden and Blue Zircon and Diamond Ring

This ring was googled up from, and has completely taken my breath away! The teeny tiny diamonds on this ring are just miniscule enough for me to tolerate, while the Blue Zircon seems to glimmer right off the page! I can almost see the green and blue light dancing inside of it. Too pretty!

Whate i like about it: Coming from Etsy means a lot to me. I enjoy seeing people getting paid for their hard work, rather than seeing it go to giant companies who mass produce mediocre crap, or for those "haute couture" people who spend thousands on something rediculous. (Like 40,000 on a dress you'll only wear once!?). The Blue in that Zircon makes me drool... way too gorgeous! The silver band it's all daintily placed on is also intricate enough for my tastes, without being gaudy costume jewelry. I adore this ring!

Price: $1,120.00
Link: Here

Celtic Garden 14k Yellow Gold and Emerald Ring

Yes, yes i know... i said i hated yellow gold. and it's true, i think this ring would be much better in silver, but if i were given this ring today i would wear it without complaint. The gold itself actually makes the emerald look absolutely stunning, and although i could live without the diamonds, at least they're small enough to be tolerable, and not the main feature of the ring.

What i like about it: I love love LOVE celtic knots, and the one on this band is done perfectly! Not too overstated to the point where it looks like an Irish tombstone, but still delicate enough to fit into a ring without being gaudy and be recognized as a celtic knot. The Emerald is my mother's birthstone and is actually the first jeweled ring i ever owned. (it's my grandmothers, but it's way too small to wear anymore and the diamonds are missing, leaving huge face-ripping craters on either side of the gem now.) Also? it's by the same shop as the last ring! (Kudos!)

Price: $1,650
Link: Here

Sapphire Set Elegantly in 14k White Gold

Oh sweet sapphire... thou art truly magnificent! Framed in twisty turvy ivy with teeny tiny diamonds dotting each leaf.

What i like about it: The deep dark blue of this Sapphire reminds me of that necklace from Titanic -- Oceanic almost! The white gold is just stunning, giving it that silver shine.

Price: $2,200
Link: Here

Bespoke Ceylon Sapphire Celtic Engagement Ring in Yellow Gold

I have to admit with this one... i hate the gold on it. I would definately have to get this one in silver or white gold!

What i like about it: The pointed shape to the ring is totally unique and very elven (to me at least...) while that tiny little sapphire dots the tip with understated elegance. The twisted pattern on the band itself could be more intricate, but on the whole it's a gorgeous ring. except for that damn gold!

Price: £341.00
Link: Here

Next are a few wedding bands themselves... because hey, i need to find those too!

Remember how i mentioned that i'm allergic to all different kinds of metal? well... a similar problem appeared with Jimmy. See, he's also allergic to most metals (except pure metals and surgical steel, etc.) with the exception of Silver... go figure. My favorite metal and he has to be allergic to it! Well, with my hatred of yellow gold, his allergy to silver, our combined allergies to most metals and my general distaste of platinum, it leaves us with really only one of two choices: Separate rings, or white gold.

18k White Gold Leaves and Buds Diamond Ring

Now, wedding bands -- in my opinion -- should be simple. No super fancy jewels everywhere, no "bling" so to speak... just a simple decorated band. But the band doesn't have to be a boring tube of metal, it can be a band and still be enchanting!

What i like about it: First off, white gold! yay! Second? Though i generally dislike jewels in my bands, i like these teeny diamonds. (I'm finding them rather hard to escape though which is starting to tick me off!) And the leaves pattern is just fab, very reminiscent of celtic knots!

Price: $900.00
Link: Here

Men's Celtic Eternity Knot Ring in 18K White Gold

The first Men's ring on the entire post! Woot! (Also, is it just me, or does the little stamp on the inside look like an alien's head with japanese writing?)

What i like about it: Another white gold ring -- Brilliant Earth really knows how to make me squeal with glee! -- and this time with celtic knots on it. Jim's not much on wearing jewelry in the first place... but when he does wear it, i know he wants it to be something worth wearing. Whether that applies to his philosophy on wedding rings is yet to be seen... but if I were the one to pick them out, he'd be getting this one for sure!

Price: $1,150.00
Link: Here

Burnished Platinum Emerald Eternity Ring

I'm finding it rather hard to find a wedding band that doesn't involve creepy disembodied hands holding hearts with crowns on them, or diamonds...

What i like about it: Even though the gems on this ring go all the way around they're inset so that you can't dislocate your finger if you smack it on something by accident. The Emeralds are brilliant, and the Platinum doesn't look too bad. not my ideal white gold, but still pretty. The only thing i don't like, is that it's the same for the male as it is the female, and to me, these are too girly for a guy to wear on a daily basis!

Price: $1375.00 -- $2475.00 (depends on size, thickness, and metal finish)
Link: Here

Well, that's it for now on rings... There are literally thousands out there to choose from, but i guess i'm just too picky for my own good!

Will i ever get a proper proposal with ring? Beats me. If i do, i'll be thrilled for sure. If i don't? I still get to spend the rest of my life with the most amazing guy in the world. So what if i don't get proposed to like a normal girl? I didn't go to Prom either! (I know, Blaspehmy!)

Enjoy your sparklies my lovelies,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All Hail the Pumpkin King!

Okay okay i know.... it's the middle of summer and I'm worrying about Autumn food, but i mean, c'mon... you have to give me a break. I'm hungry, in a cooking mood, and wanting to do something productive. so why not try and come up with a few dishes for the reception? right? right? see, i knew you'd agree. (And if you don't, then go away, or i shall taunt you a SECOND time!)

First off, i'd like to mention that we're having a rather unconventional reception dinner. Due to budget, we're not offering fancy menus and catering. We're not having men in black and white tuxes serving you amazing food steamed in luxury and basted in moolah. It's not happening...

But then again, neither did we want to have everybody show up and have to pick meats off of cold platters and eat soggy pre-made sandwiches that not everybody's going to like! So what's our solution? Potluck.

The sound you just heard was a million couture brides passing out from shock simultaneously. It's fun isn't it? haha. but no, seriously. We're going to put (gently worded of course o.O) that though not required, it is suggested that the invited please bring a covered dish (but no desserts!). Mostly because i want Grandma Juanita's corn souffle and Mac and Cheese... but that's besides the point...

And i figured since we have such peculiar food allergies (Coconut, peanuts, strawberries, chocolate, nuts in general, wheat, etc.) everybody could bring something they know they're not allergic to so at least they get fed, right?? Well of course we don't want to show up empty handed, offering nothing but scrumptious homemade wedding cake, so Jim and i have been thinking... what kind of awesome dishes (since we both rock at cooking and love doing it...) could we bring to this? Well... this is what i've come up with so far:

1) Pumpkin Pie from Scratch.
Yes that's right, scratch. My baby can make the most uh-maze-ing pumpkin pie you'll ever taste -- straight from the pumpkin itself! none of that canned stuff for us! (and a small sweet pumpkin -- aka "pie" pumpkin -- can make two decent pies on it's own!) So although i can't seem to locate his specific pie recipe, i have found one quite similar to share with you all!

[Click me for super awesome pumpkin-y goodness!]

(Honestly the recipe is tooooooo long to post here without it deserving it's own redundant post, so just follow the links and scroll towards the bottom. you'll find it :-D)

2) Hot Apple Cider
Ah... sweet apple-y cinnamon-y goodness! what could possibly be more satisfying than something sweet, spicy, and warm on a cool autumn eve, gathered round loved ones!? Nothing, that's what! Although depending on how "warm" you want your cider is debatable. Me? i like mine virgin personally...

and because i couldn't settle on just one recipe, you're getting two. Because i love you guys that much. ;-)

Allspiced Cider
Hot Buttered Cider

If you raised an eyebrow and thought "Butter? in my beer!?" you've completely lost the point. If your eyes lit up, and you thought "HARRY POTTER!" you get brownie points. Yes my lovelies i've gone geeky teenage girl on you all... but i have an excuse!

Okay no i don't. i just really love this stuff and the fact that it's related to Harry Potter just gives it that extra oomph of cool.

My mother made an alcoholic version of this for Halloween a few years ago, and (even though i wasn't there personally...) i heard it was the favorite on the snack table. Since it was served warm in a big punch bowl, and it was like -10 outside the punch itself began to steam creating sort of a fog-effect over the bowl. Spooky!

This version though is non-alcoholic for the kiddies since (chances are...) the Cider will end up being spiked.


  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch topping
  • 2 tablespoons whipped butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla cream soda


Combine condensed milk, butterscotch topping, and butter in a glass heatproof measuring cup. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir until butter has melted and incorporated into mixture. Meanwhile heat cream soda in another heatproof measuring cup for 1 minute 30 seconds.

Divide butterscotch mixture between 2 (10 to 12-ounce) mugs. Fill mugs with heated cream soda and stir thoroughly. Serve garnished with an old-fashioned butterscotch candy stick. (for the candy stick site, click on the 2nd row, first picture for the right stick, or else you're looking at banana o.O)

4) German Potato Salad / Deutsch Kartoffle Salat

Since Jim and I met in German class, and it was German that brought us closer together, we figured we have to incorporate something German into the mix. I love potatoes... (fry em', mash em', stick em' in a stew...) and what family gathering is complete without potato salad? So why not throw some Deutsch into the mix and make German potato salad, right?? It's hot, it contains Bacon, and it's a completely different world than that cold mustardy stuff your Aunt Gladys makes!


  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives, for garnish


Place the potatoes in a medium-size pot and cover them with enough water to extend 2 inches above the surface of the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once crisp, place on a paper towel-lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Pour off the rendered fat, reserving 1/4 cup in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Whisk in the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt and stir until thick and bubbly. Add the sliced, cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Top with the crumbled bacon and garnish with the chives. Serve warm.

5) Chicken and Harvest Vegetable Soup

(no picture available)

Well we need a main dish. or rather, a few main dishes... Something that says "October!" without slamming a golden brown Turkey on the table for everyone to massacre. A few things come to mind of course, but i think this Chicken and veggie soup might just be one of my top three for the list! It's got meat, local vegetables of the season, and best of all, super easy to make...


6 cups chicken stock

3 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 cup sliced carrots
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 diced onions
3 minced garlic cloves
2 large diced bell peppers
6 diced plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups quartered green beans
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil


Combine the chicken stock and white wine in a heay soup kettle over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the tomato paste and potatoes, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash and carrots, cover, and simmer for ten minutes. While the potatoes and squash are cooking, place a medium heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and oil and cook until the butter melts. Add the onions and saute until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add a ladelful of broth to the skillet and stir well to scrape all of the vegetables from the pan. Scrape the onion mixture into the soup and stir well. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Add the green beans, chicken, and sliced basil. Cover the pot and simmer until the green beans and butternut squash are fork tender, but not over cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

6) Cran-apple Turkey Medallions

(no picture available)

A second main-dish plays with the fruits of the season, Cranberries and Apples! (both in HUGE abundance here!) The only thing that concerns me is the Turkey medallions, and the cost of making enough for everyone to have enough to fill them! Considering it's the season of the turkey, maybe prices will be low? Or maybe because Thanksgiving is just around the corner everyone will jack their prices up. (I'll probably just end up buying it in bulk that summer while it's on sale, and freeze it until the wedding...). More expensive? probably. Impressive, tasty, and totally worth it? Definitely.

2 pounds turkey tenderloin, cut into 3/4 inch medallions
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 minced garlic cloves
4 diced shallots
1 cup peeled and diced cooking apples
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice


Salt and pepper the turkey medallions. Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet. Brown the turkey medallions quickly on each side. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and shallots. Cook until the turkey is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in the center. Place the medallions on a warm serving plate. Add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the apples are soft. Pour the sauce over the medallions and serve.


Out of many of my amazing, wonderful, couldn't-live-without-them friends i have some vegetarians/vegans. Now here's where things come to a standstill for me :-(

I've personally, never eaten vegetarian for longer than one night, and usually that was with Emma spending the night in Highschool and we experimented with Omelettes for dinner and Ice-cream for dessert...

Omelettes a fancy meal, does not make!

I'm attempting to contact a few of my awesome cooking veggie-tary-an friends to maybe give me a few ideas but i'm going to voice one concern right now...

Tofu scares the bejeezus out of me.

not the sight of it, not the texture, not even the taste! (I've eaten it twice before in completely different forms and it was pretty good -- no Chicken alfredo mind you, but still edible!) I'm just scared of cooking and preparing something i've never made before! with most foods i cook, i know just what spices to use, just what sauces and toppings, garnish and etc! but tofu?

I'm also aware that not all vegetarians like tofu, and that there are zillions of other dishes out there i could fix! I'm just slightly terrified they're all going to ask for something from the wiggly bean-curd and they're going to end up remembering my wedding as "the worst main course we've ever tasted!"

So please if you have any recipes for vegans/vegetarians that AREN'T nothing but side-dishes (i can make side-dishes. side-dishes are easy peasy) then PLEASE send them my way!!


As for dessert(s), We've been thinking...
I know i mentioned pumpkin pie up above in my recipes, but the recipe Jimmy uses contains eggs... i know at least one person coming to the wedding allergic to eggs. like, deathly allergic to eggs! I don't want them missing out on my super-awesome-cake or our homemade pumpkin pie just because it has eggs in it! (but i don't want to make 50-billion desserts either, when the main-focus is going to be the cake!) so i'm pulling a page out of, and going with a variation of the wedding pie.

However, instead of using the pie as the main focus of the desserts, i'm going to offer three different pies along with the cake. (or two, or seven, heck i haven't decided yet!) But i figured a couple homemade apples, a cherry, and a pumpkin alongside the cake, would suffice. (and i know for a fact that i can make a flaky tender pie-crust without using eggs! i just have to dig it out of my recipe binder currently lost in the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-warp-of-space that i dare to call my closet...)


As for our wedding cake, i believe we've settled on the interior!

Chocolate? nope. Carrot? closer. Red-velvet? Even warmer.... wanna keep guessing?


We're thinking about doing a rainbow cake! (remember the rainbow wedding inspro-board i did just for fun?) different colors of cake separated by thin layers of buttercream frosting...

Actually? the people over at "Wedinator" seemed to have worded it perfectly:

"I like knowing the cake sat there throughout the ceremony looking traditional and boring, and then BAM! you cut into it and it’s packed with awesome."
And that's how i feel about it! We can have the gorgeous white cake, all decorated intricately and prettily... sitting there throughout the whole ceremony looking pristine and quiet, and then we cut through it with his medieval sword and WHAM-- Rainbow-Freaking-Tastic!

Now whether or not we're going to flavor each color differently and have a fruit-loop cake is debatable. (i do like the idea of using the fun flavors from Loranne oils though!)

But that's about as far as we've gotten food-wise.

If you have any suggestions, stories, or recipes you'd love to share, feel free to message me! You might even get yourself your own entire post! ;-)


(Recipe and picture credits to the following awesome people:,,,,,,

Sizing up the matter...

A few days ago, we spent dinner over at our awesome neighbor's house for a little cookout and was reminded -- once again -- that i may yet be able to try on dresses (even though I'm a size 28 waist -- American sizes). Twice now I've been told that wedding dresses don't conform to the same ones used for pants and shirts (and I'm not talking about 2x and 3x here, i mean 0-32 etc.) but since I've never been dress shopping, i can't really confirm or deny that o.O

See, all throughout my childhood I've never been to someone else's wedding. I've never been a maid of honor, a bridesmaid, a flower girl, heck even been a guest at one! (well, at least not one where i was old enough to remember...) and when it finally came time to get a dress for a dance, the only dresses i had were horrendous nightmares I'd post pictures of they weren't currently bursting into flames every time they saw the light of day.

No seriously, these were horrible. Back in middle school we had this geeky little dance for all the surrounding schools (which was like, 12 of them o.O) called "Harvest Moon" which -- the first and only year i went -- was held on my birthday November 15th. So of course i was excited as heck to get to go, even though i was completely dateless. (i went with my best friend Emma and i got to dance with two of my crushes so i was thrilled in the end, haha). But my dress was something from the depths of hell itself...

(Like this, but with more Roses-made-of-lace, Completely Burgundy, and beaten with an Ugly stick until it cried for mercy, and then beaten more just because they could.)

Burgundy lace formed giant mumu-esque roses draped over an equally burgundy rectangle tanktop cotton/nylon dress that went just past my knees and ended in a ruffled curtain-y mess. To cover my shoulders was a shawl/jacket/thing that was made out of the same burgundy lace but cut so that it hung like rolls of fat in every place possible. It was putrid, but it was a gift from the lady across the street. My mum -- being the seamstress she thinks she is -- tried to fix it for me, but no amount of hemming and imagination could have possibly saved this thing from being grotesque. Needless to say it was burned the moment i got home.

The Second dance was -- dare i say it -- worse. Our eighth grade graduation dance was held in the school cafeteria and decorated like a luau with leis and palm trees, little umbrellas and pineapples -- all kinds of nifty crap you could buy from your local craft store for a kitschy party.
My dress in my head, was going to be gorgeous. it was going to make me beautiful and make all those boys moving to the school on the other side of town think "wow! we really screwed up not asking her out huh!?" except once the dress was done? that statement was repeated, dripping with sarcasm and slathered with humiliating laughter. My mum -- bless her -- sewed my dress for me. She created the pattern, bought the fabric, laid it out, stitched it together and handed it to me as proudly as she could. I only wish i'd tried it on sooner! This thing was another rectangular tanktop dress of bad fashion sense.
(Picture this, sewn into a rectangle-like-pillowcase shape... but with armholes and a v-neck, and a belt that dragged on the ground... that's my dress.)

Needless to say the night went off pretty disappointingly, and there was no amount of hair curling or makeup that could have made it any better.

"But Mindy! What about Prom!? Every girl remembers picking out a dress from those flashy stores at the mall right!? You must have redeemed yourself there and found something gorgeous!"


As "sacrilege" as it sounds, i never went to prom. Junior or Senior. Why? Blame the boyfriend. He had to work those nights... (volunteered to work those nights actually, so the boy he was replacing, could go to freaking prom.) Cue second fight ever in two and a half years...

I never got to try on dresses, i never got to buy one. i never got to go. because what was the point of going to prom when everybody had their dates and you were stuck sitting by the punch wondering why the hell you came...

So -- long story short, I've no idea if sizes are different on bridal gowns vs. regular clothes. But it's what I've been told. I've also been told David's Bridal caters to girls with curves in all the right places (and a few extra to boot... XD!) So I'm going to set up an appointment sometime this summer/autumn and try a few on... but I'm hoping to do a little research on the subject first.

So if anybody knows anything about dress sizes, please please PLEASE leave me a comment, or an email ( and let me know! It would save me a ton of heartache in the end, lol.

If you've had similar problems, or know anything about dress sizes (ESPECIALLY plus sizes!) leave me a note! I'll have your babies. or bake you cookies. or something!

Ah, sweet obsessions...

Oh goodness it's been a while since I've posted anything hasn't it? I apologize! I've been driving myself nuts with my little obsessions... (Facebook games, Knitting, poptab weaving, reading, etc.) It's all been so busy lately and yet i feel as though I've not really completed anything! (and i have yet to get my camera fixed... so i can't show off my knitting or my weaving! damn!)

Oh and new layout! Blogspot decided to give us these nifty new layouts you can customize within an inch of it's life... i fell for the dandelionss... lol.

Anyhow, my point is that I've become a little obsessed with a few things lately. Number one being my knitting.

Of all people in the world to teach me to knit, it had to be my boyfriend! Unfortunately, it's not with needles. it's with looms! (All of my grandmothers died before i was old enough to say my own name, and most of my aunts live halfway across the country or just plain don't know how!)
These "knifty knitting looms" can be found at pretty much any craft store and are easier than making a metaphor at how easy it is to do! A lot of people I've talked to didn't even know they existed, or if they did simply thought they were limited to hats and scarves, blankets, and etc. (basically tubes and squares o.O) but it's actually pretty easy to get the hang of, and when you get going, you can almost make anything that comes to mind! So far i've finished a pair of socks, a few dozen hats, working on another pair of socks (out of striped blue gorgeous yarn!) and i'm even working on the most adorable green dinosaur hoodie for one of my friend's little 5 month old Declan.

(Isn't he a handsome little squirt? If they haven't moved to Texas by the time the wedding gets here, he's gonna be our studly ring bearer!)

So of course with me knitting my fingertips away i got to wondering.... we love knitting so much, is there a possible way to incorporate it into the wedding? Well... so far, short of knitting your own garter belt (which i'm not wearing because it'd be uncomfortable for us both...) i haven't really found much! which depresses me actually.

So i began thinking... "what kind of things can one knit?" well, a short trip around the internet can tell you this... You can knit pretty much anything! And boy do i mean anything! People nowadays aren't just knitting socks and sweaters, they're crafting some absolutely amazing things! I've come across everything from Pokemon and Mario toys, to purses and slippers, hammocks, all kinds of nifty items! But one thing i came across that made me feel like a real dolt was this...


Lace could be knitted! (If you performed a facepalm i don't blame you, haha.) Now i don't know about you, but when i think wedding i think lace! Now i may have to invest in some needles and spend some quality time with some crafty ladies (or men!) and their Youtube tutorials -- but at least i have plenty of time to learn!

Now you could use the lace for almost anything! You could stitch it to the edge of your veil, adorn your handmade wedding dress (or one of the fab ones from Etsy!) -- there's a hundred different things you could do with lace and with the right tools and the right creativity the possibilities are endless! Upon researching what one could knit for a wedding, i actually came across a rather intriguing website! Apparently they held an entirely knitted wedding where one was allowed to knit during the ceremony, and even the food at the reception was crafted from the soft stuff! As fuzzy and warm as that all sounded it might be a bit much for my own wedding, haha. but still an amazing feat!


The 24th was our 5-year anniversary and we both agree, it doesn't feel that long ago since we met! (We were both in German class together with the same teacher between two different schools, i was a freshman, he was a senior and we were penpals between! Only allowed to write in German and only got to see eachother during field trips. it was all very romantic. sort of. haha.) so we celebrated by doing what we do every year -- shopping! We stopped off at Goodwill and picked up a pair of sweat-jeans (not really sure what to call them? They're bootcut jeans but at the top it's got the button and the zipper and instead of belt loops, it's the top of those super comfy pajama sweatpants!) and i'm in love with them!! On top of that we nabbed a few new coffee cups of various sizes for the apartment we're saving up for, and some to-die-for tie-dyed purple fabric i had to have! (but have no idea what to do with it! o.O) After that we stopped around a few random places and checked things out... ended up buying some cake decorating tips and a pastry bag (so i could make some fancy tops for my cupcakes i've been doing) and managed to grab a 6-pack of mikes hard lemonade to celebrate! (because i hate wine and beer, but we're sick of Daqueries...)

Ended up spending the next day over at my Grandfather's introducing Jim to Jim (we're seriously inviting like Jim's to the wedding; My dad, Grandpa, my fiance, his dad, his grandfather, our friend, my dad's friend... the list goes on, lol!) and stopped by one of our favorite little mom and pop stores: "Herbs and Heirlooms" (a store for home brewery, teas, herbs, and often occult items) and left with some nifty new glass bottles, a fake set of pearls (because i freaking adore pearls!) and a pendant of an agate geode with a dangling chunk of citrine in the middle. (Gawd i'm dying to show you guys pictures!! i wish my camera worked! D: )

Anyhow, we had an awesome anniversary! (and for those of you who have me added on Facebook, thank you so much for the well wishes! they were all greatly appreciated :-D)

I promise to update a little more often, haha. i know i've got a few things i've been dying to turn into posts!