Tuesday, August 31, 2010

C is for Cookie

Recently, RecipeZaar.com was rebranded to Food.com.  I only know this because I got a free brownie and a booklet with several "5-star" recipes to commemorate the rebranding.  It was a big to-do when Sister found out that RecipeZaar was no more because she used RecipeZaar ALL the time. No joke, I got some pretty angry text messages from her about what happened to RecipeZaar, and I had to explain that it was the same site, just a different name!


Anywho, I thought this past weekend would be the perfect time to try out a 5-star recipe since we were having company this weekend.  There would be 3 big, strapping men in the house and what do men like better than freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? Well probably lots of things, but they do enjoy chocolate chip cookies.  The 5-star recipe for these soft chocolate chip cookies can be found on Food.com :

I prefer a combo of Semi-Sweet and Milk Choco Ghirardelli chips.
Flour & Baking Soda Mixture
Sugar sugar sugar sugar!!
This was the first time in my house (just over 2 years) that I had made chocolate chip cookies from scratch.  It was also the first time EVER I made chocolate chip cookies by hand, with nothing more than a bowl and a wooden spoon.
Just call me Suzy Homemaker
Raw cookie dough
Freshly Baked!

The only difference I made in the recipe was in the size of the cookie. The suggested cookie size just seemed way too small for 3 grown men and a girl with an incredible sweet tooth, so I made them about 4 times that size.

I think the cookies turned out great and they were a big hit. They were nearly gone by the end of the weekend (as of Monday night, we only had 2 remaining).  The guys were especially impressed that these were from scratch, as in, there were more steps than "break cookies apart, place on baking sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes."
Yummy Yummy!
Disclaimer: I should probably note that I was not paid to advertise these delish cookies OR Food.com. This is based on my opinion, and my opinion alone. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fun with Photo Apps

This past spring, my harddrive tragically crashed when my woolly mammoth of a cat, Willie, jumped on my laptop.  Along with about half a year's worth of photos, I also lost the copy of Photoshop I had on my laptop and have not been able to find the backup CD. Major sads over here.  So I've been trying to find a good (but cheap) replacement for touching up photos. Last night I turned to my iPad to try to find something Photoshop-esque without breaking the bank. 

I found an app called "Color Splash" for $1.99 (Not to be confused with the David Bromstad show on HGTV).  This app automagically turns your photos black&white, then you paint color back on the photo with your finger.  It is insanely addictive. I have a limited number of photos on my iPad right now, but every food photo I had I ran through the Color Splash app. There is something therapeutic about adding color back into photos. 

I also downloaded an app called "FX Photo Studio HD" that cost $2.99. With this app, you can add all kinds of crazy effects (at least 128 different ones) like turning your pictures into mosaics, adding water droplets, frost, or...

This app also has a "Vivid Colors" function that turned Kimmie's little tongue bright pink.

The Original Kimmie (Top) and Vivid Colors Kimmie (Bottom)

Anybody know of any other good (cheap) photo editing softwares? What are your favorite iPad/iPhone apps?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cheese Coney Guy + Mr. Redlegs = Best Dinner EVER

Last night, my parents, the Goog and I decided to meet at the The Taylor Mill Skyline for dinner. Little did we know, we were about to have the best dinner ever.  We walk into the restaurant and see this sign:

We are about to have dinner with a CELEBRITY!
It wasn't quite 6 PM yet, so Mr. Redlegs was not there, but there WAS a guy dressed as a cheese coney taking orders.  His costume reminded me of the Justin Timberlake Omeletville sketch except he never broke into song-and-dance.
Bring it on into Coneyville
Finally, Mr. Redlegs comes out and all the little children (me included) started going wild. I get my cell phone camera out and get photo-happy. As soon as he walked out, I lost all interest in my food, because I was just too busy taking pictures of the guy!!

 He walks all around the restaurant, watches some of the Reds game on TV, munches on some oyster crackers, gives kids exploding fist bumps, signs autographs, acts like he is taking orders, and sits with people while they are eating.  When he comes over to our table, he poses for me while I take his picture, then goes over to the ice cream freezer right next to our booth and practically lays down on it because he really wants a ChocoTaco. 

It was great! It was like being at a Character Breakfast at Disney World, except our whole bill for 4 people was about the price of a breakfast buffet for 1 person at Disney. 

Do you love mascots? Have you ever had dinner with a mascot? Do you like Mr. Redleg's stylish mustache?

Monday, August 9, 2010

2 Legit 2 Quit (Even After 20 Years)

For anyone who was concerned that I had fallen off the face of the planet, you'll be happy to know I'm back.  I've been working 14 hour days, with barely a lunch or bathroom break and have been just too mentally exhausted to string 2 words together once I actually get home.  So let me tell you about one of the only fun things I've done of the past 3 weeks.  There are barely any words to describe this awesomely bizarre blast from the past, but I'll try my best to give you all the details.

Several Friday nights ago, the Goog and I went to see the Cincinnati Reds versus the Colorado Rockies.  Friday nights are always a fun night to go to the ballpark because not only do you get to watch a baseball game, but you also typically get live music and fireworks.  This Fridays in particular was a very special night.  It featured the musical stylings of

...wait for it...

M. C. Hammer

Yes, as in the guy that really is too legit to quit the music industry even 20 years after his last hit song.  I'm telling you, it was Hammertime, ALL the time. 6 straight hours of Hammertime with a small amount of baseball thrown in the mix. As if people actually go to Great America Ballpark to watch baseball.

The first little taste we had of the Hammer was during the pregame show, when he and his crew of dancers came out in their finest tracksuits to sing a handful of songs that I had never heard of before, but one that the Goog was familiar with called "Have You Seen Her". The really sad part was the stage was set up way out in Right field and there were maybe 50 or few people surrounding the stage.  His dancers were really something. Some of them look like they were his originally dancers from 20 years ago, some of them look liked ex-convicts, and a few of them looked like ladies he had just picked up off the street before the game, but they all seemed to be just phoning in their performance.

LOOK how close to Hammertime!! I think the Goog is crying tears of joy.

Of course, No M.C. Hammer night would be complete without a member of the grounds crew dressed in a classic gold Hammer suit.

After his pre-game concert, Hammer changed into a Reds costume and became the game's honorary captain.

*Then some actual baseball was played. No need for a recap of the baseball...*

Seventh inning stretch and it's Hammertime again. This time, he serenading us with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame":

A couple things to note during this video:

  • MC Hammer may or may not have been hammered. 
  • The Lemon Chill guy yelling "LEMON CHILL" over "crackerjacks"
  • The Goog yelling "REDLEGS" over the "home team" part
  • Lemon Chill guy once again: "It's not Hammertime, it's Lemon Chill time, let's go!" How long do you think he's been holding onto that gem?

*Some more baseball was played. In typical Reds fashion, the pitcher loaded the bases and ALMOST gave up the tying run. The Goog got mad that the game was almost tied; I got mad that I might have to stay for extra innings.*

After the Reds managed to win, it was time for the post-game concert.  This time Hammer went for a classy look: A tuxedo with Hammer pants, a bandanna and glasses. All the dancers were wearing Cincinnati Reds hat during the pre-game concert, but switched to Oakland A's hats during the post-game concert. (For the significance of this, head over to Wikipedia to be schooled on the 1990 World Series).  Hammer first came out and did a couple songs like "Turn This Mutha Out" and "Pray" and others that I simply had never heard before. I was really mad when he finished his set and walked off the stage without singing either of his 2 "good" songs.

The lights go down and the crowd starts going wild as through the 2,000% base, we can start making out the tune to "U Can't Touch This."  I'm going to warn you that this video contains only about 5% of actual Hammer rapping and the rest is all screams and base. Plus, halfway through the video the guy in front of me decides that is the perfect time to take an iPhone video of...the people BEHIND us, which throws my camera out of focus. As you can see, though, people were actually really into the concert. People were going insane!!

The concert ended and the fireworks began. They
 were decent fireworks, but nothing really out of the ordinary. That is, until the fireworks music faded, and MC Hammer came back on stage and started singing "Too Legit to Quit" during the fireworks finale! At first I thought it was a mistake, like Hammer didn't show up to the dress rehearsal and was like "oh snap, I forgot to do Too Legit to Quit" and just started rapping even though he wasn't supposed to do so. It wasn't until the end of the song, when Hammer was doing his Hammer-dance in sync with the fireworks did I realize it was planned all along. Not even Disney World can put on a fireworks display that includes the one and only MC Hammer dancing live to a fireworks finale. It...was...AWESOME.