Beer (and my pooch and some pasta)

It was such a bee-a-yootiful day here today!  It was like 85 degrees.  It was awesome.  I took the day off (well, technically flexed the day off, for those of you more acquainted with my work schedule).  I took my lazy bones dog for a walk.  Here's a picture of my lazy bones poojoo:

Her "real" name is Layla.  But she grew into Poojoo mostly because I'm retarded and I call my animals by stupid nonsense names.

Anyway, after we got back I was in the mood for a nice, cold beer.  I have a case of the Sam Adam's brew master collection right now.  My favorite is the Noble Pils.  I'm always a fan of a good pilsner.  Especially on a hot day so I chose the pilsner to drink with dinner.  We had grilled marinated chicken. Grilled indoor on the grill pan because my boyfriend's a meanie mean pants and won't buy me a grill.  Just kidding.  He didn't actually say he wouldn't.  But I don't have a grill so I'm blaming him ;)

You can check out the recipe for the marinade at Homemade by Holman.  It's bangin'.  I didn't change a thing.  No pics of the chicken.  I was starving.  No time to mess around with a camera and a tripod.  I wanted to drink my beer and stuff my face, damn it.

I made some really simple pasta with the chicken.  It was surprisingly good for how simple it was.  It was really light and perfect for the hot day (if pasta is ever perfect for a hot day). It went something like this:

6.5 oz. of dry angle hair, cooked to al dente
1/2 c. pasta water reserved
2-3 tbsp. evoo
2 tbsp red bell pepper and garlic perfect pinch seasoning (mccormick)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp parsley flakes

Just toss all of that together and you've got yourself a side dish. 

I've gotta say, I'm not usually a huge fan of premixed season blends, but I rather enjoy that red pepper and garlic perfect pinch stuff.  I know it's probably full of disgusting preservatives and strange additives.  For once, I don't care.  This stuff is delicious. 

Anyway, I enjoyed a Boston Lager after the sun went down and that brings me to my photo of the day.

April 11, 2011:

If you view it larger (on flickr perhaps) you can see all of the condensation, which I thought was pretty nifty. 

I hope you all enjoyed this beautiful day as much as I did!


New photos

It's been a while since I posted.  What a busy, busy beaver I've been.  I got some new filters since I last posted.  They are a set of close up "macro" filters.  Four filters come in the set.  1x, 2x, 4x, and 10x. They're pretty cool.  And they came in a nifty little pouch.  The best part?  They were less than $15!!

I was playing with them this weekend.  Here are some of my shots using them:

April 10, 2011:
I used the 4x filter on this one.  I was probably less than 6 inches away from the shrub.  I did crop it a little bit to get rid of some of the distracting background.

April 9, 2011:

 I also used the 4x fitlers with this one.  No crop here tho.

April 8, 2011:

This was taken with the 10x filter.  No crop here either.  I was probably about 3 inches away from the subject.  

I think these filters are just super.  I mean, for $15 you really can't go wrong but you are still kind of left wondering what kind of quality you could possibly get with a set of filters this cheap.  Especially when you read reviews on Amazon saying exactly that...that they're complete crap and the image quality is poor.  In my opinion, the image quality is no worse than with the bare lens.  I kinda think it's all about the aperture setting.  You're not going to be able to obtain the same DOF at f/4 with the bare lens as you will be able to get at f/4 with a close up filter in place.  You'll have to bump the aperture up to maybe f/8 to get the same DOF depending on the magnification.  Once you play around with them and get to know them (which I'm still doing) they seem to be quite fun.  I can get closer to things and still obtain focus.  That just makes my day because I find that I like to get up close and personal with my subjects.  

Anyway, here are more photos (not taken with the filters)...

April 7, 2011:

A shot of my neighbors car.

April 6, 2011:

I was feeling lazy on Wednesday.  A simple shot but it works. 

If you're interested in EXIF you can find that on flickr.  C&C is always welcome! 


Chicken Linguine with Pesto Cream Sauce

This was a really simple meal that was surprisingly delicious.  It was a crowd pleaser, for sure.  I had this flavor in mind when I was throwing this recipe together and I was totally sure it wasn't going to come close.  I was way wrong.  This recipe hit the nail dead on the head.  I think I just got lucky with the pesto that I bought.  I really had no other option because I can never find anything at walmart (even though I do my grocery shopping there every week) and the Classico brand was the only thing I could find.

I think next time I will double the sauce tho because I'm just a saucy kinda person.  I like everything drowning in copious amounts of sauce.  I made a one substitution and that was to use almond milk (because it's what I had in my fridge) instead of heavy cream.  It turned out just fine.  In fact, I think I prefer the thinner consistency.  Oh, and I also added some veg. 

Once again, this meal is also my photo of the day for April 5, 2011.

Chicken Linguine with Pesto Cream Sauce
adapted from Handle the Heat

2 large chicken breasts, cut thinly in half lengthwise 
(my two weighed exactly 1 lb 11 oz)
Coarse salt and pepper
EVOO or cooking spray
1 box of linguine 
1 (8 oz) jar of basil pesto sauce
1/2 c. milk or heavy cream
1/2 c. reserved pasta water
Frozen veg (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and grease the pan with cooking spray or oil (I used EVOO in a misto). 
  4. Bake chicken for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.  When chicken is done cooking, slice thinly across the grain and keep warm.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions (the shortest cook time listed on the box).  
  6. Remember to reserve 1/2 c of pasta water before straining the noodles.
  7. Add pesto to the pan and heat until loose. Add milk (or cream).  Stir to combine.  Heat through then remove half of the sauce to another bowl. 
  8. If your adding veg, add it now and cover the pan for a few minutes until the veg is warm. 
  9. Add the chicken, pasta, and reserved water to the pan once the veg is warm.  Toss to coat evenly.  
  10. Serve with some of the reserved sauce drizzled over each serving.   
If you double the sauce this would be good served with some bread to sop it up.  If you don't there won't be enough extra sauce to sop. If doubled, I would then reserve 3/4 of the sauce instead of half or all the extra will get absorbed by the pasta. 


Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

The name says it all.  It's chocolate chip cookie dough baked in a pie shell.  The dough for the filling isn't a traditional CCC dough.  That's to say that I don't think it would make good cookies by itself.  It does make a delicious filling tho because, lets be honest, anything involving chocolate chip cookies is delicious.  (Am I right??)  But next time I think I will forgo the pie shell and maybe just bake a huge, thick cookie.  I kinda think the shell detracted from the deliciousness of the cookie.  But then again your talking to a chocolate chip cookie purist.  I don't like anything messing and interfering with the awesomeness of my CC cookies.

You, however, might think this is the best thing to grace the pie world since coconut cream (wait, you don't like coconut cream?).  Apple then?  I'm not really a huge pie fan which might be where my slight dislike for this recipe is stemming from.  Despite my feelings towards pie I tried this anyway because my inner fat kid just couldn't say no to the cookie.  Thinking of it as a pie (which it is) and not as a cookie (which it technically is not), it's honestly one of the best pies I've ever had.  Right up there with coconut cream and french silk. 

I'm sort of cheating with my photo of the day because the photo for this recipe is my photo for April 4, 2011 (Yes, I know...I'm a day late.  Whatev's.  I took it yesterday, I swear!).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
adapted from Bakerella

1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (6 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl on high until foamy.
  3. Beat in flour, baking soda, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter.
  4. Stir in morsels and spoon into pie shell.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with ice cream and syrup of your choice.  Maybe even some whipped cream if your feeling extra crazy.



Weekend photos

Hello!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I was lazy about posting as usual on the weekends so you'll get all of my weekend photos today.  Oh, and I did my first real edit today!  I was so impressed with myself.  It's not even that what I did was extravagant or difficult...I'm just a photoshop retard. But I just raised my photoshop IQ by a few points.  Check this out...



Do you see it?  Look really hard.  It's there.  Down at the bottom...right corner and towards the middle.  Anything?  Yeah, that's right.  I removed some light posts and a tree.  What now bitches?  My life is forever changed.  Just kidding...only this photo is.

Is it just me or is the color a little paler in the second photo?  I think photoshop is a color thief.  What a jerk.  The above after shot is my photo of the day for April 2, 2011.

And here are my remaining photos.

April 3, 2011:


April 1, 2011:


March 31, 2011:

Oh and I might just have a recipe for you in the near future.  I had Mongolian Beef for dinner and it was prr-ett-ty tasty.  

As always, constructive criticism is always welcome!  Thanks for stopping by!


Star Anise?

I was taking a walk today on my lunch break and spotted this decrepit plant in someones yard.  I thought it was pretty neat looking.  It kinda looks like star anise.  I really have no idea if it is or not. I have no idea if star anise even grows around here.  I'm going to call it star anise tho because I have no better name for it.  Not to mention calling it random decrepit plant doesn't sound awesome at all. 

March 30, 2011:

My composition is a little off and I probably could've picked a better angle to shoot from...but I wasn't feeling too comfortable just prowling about in some strangers yard with a camera.  Can anyone say creepy?  Yep, totally creeptastic.  I wasn't into it.  So I just hopped in and tried to get the best shot I could before someone noticed me ;)

If you're into EXIF data, you can find it on flickr

Does anyone have any idea what this REALLY is??  Leave a comment and tell me what you think this might be.


Thorns in the Sunset

It was a beautiful day today.  It was a little chilly but I'll take chilly and sunny over warm and overcast any day.  I was really happy to wake up to sunshine for once instead of clouds and rain.

I went out for a walk after I got home from work to see what I could see and enjoy the nice evening sunset.  The light the sunset was casting made everything picture perfect so I came home with a few decent shots.  But this thorn bush silhouette against the sky was my favorite.

March 29, 2011:

Something about foliage silhouettes against a good sunset that just gets me.  I realize my sunset could be better.  But honestly, this almost captures what I was seeing at the time.  It's a little underexposed compared to the actual sky at the time but I kinda like it better this way.  The silhouette stands out better. 

If you're interested, you can check it out on flickr.  You can also view my EXIF data there if you'd like to know how this shot came together.

As always, constructive criticism is very welcome (on this an any shot I post).  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!


Spinach and Sausage Penne

Today's photo of the day just so happens to be of my dinner.  So today is a double wammy day.  You get my photo of the day and also a recipe.  Woo-Hoo!

March 28, 2011:

See it on flickr.

This is a modified recipe for Sausage and Spinach Penne I found over at Your Home Based Mom.  I kinda just used what I had on hand and went with it.  She calls for chicken sausage, I had pork.  She called for fresh diced tomatoes, I didn't have fresh or canned, so I went with tomato sauce.  She calls for topping it off with almonds (which I did have but my fam isn't too big on nuts) but I decided to throw in a can of beans.

I think it turned out pretty well.  It was quick, cheap, and easy.  Not to mention it was easy on the dishes...only one pot for the whole meal!  These are things I think everyone can appreciate, am I right?

Here's the recipe:

Sausage and Spinach Penne

8 oz. dry penne
1 lb sausage, casings removed
2 cloves minced garlic
4 C. loosely packed fresh baby spinach
2 tsp. chicken bouillon 
1 (4 oz.) can tomato sauce
4 oz. water
1 can of beans
Parmesan cheese to taste

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain and set aside. 
  2. Cook the sausage in the pot that you cooked the noodles in.  
  3. When sausage is done cooking, add the garlic and smoosh around until the garlic is fragrant. 
  4. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes, until the spinach is wilted.  
  5. Add the chicken bouillon, water, and tomato sauce and stir well.  
  6. Add the pasta back into the pan.
  7. Let everything simmer for a few minutes.  Top with some shredded parm if you wish and serve!
I would say this yields about 4-6 servings, depending on the size of your servings.



I got a new lens :)

Oh. My. God.  I got a new lens this weekend!!  The Canon 50mm f/1.8.

Wah-Hoo!  My dad bought it for me for my birthday (thanks Dad!).  I'm so psyched.  I've been totally ob-freaking-sessed with this lens since I discovered it's awesomeness. 

I took a bunch of retarded pictures of everything within seeing distance all day Saturday.  Literally, everything.  I was just walking around my house with it up to my face snapping pics.  New lenses are fun.

I was lazy this weekend about posting so you get all of my weekend pics in one go.

March 25, 2011:

A picture of the interior of my car.  There aren't many photo opportunities when you are at work from sun up until sun down.  You gotta take what you can get. See it on flickr.

March 26, 2011:

This was taken with my new lens.  One of my many random snaps from Saturday converted to B&W. See it on flickr.

March 27, 2011:

Also taken with the new lens.  I was out walking the dog and saw this escapee ball laying along side the road by the basket ball courts.  I thought it was cute with that little face drawn on it. See it on flickr.

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend!


If we put our heads together...

I'm not extremely happy with my photo today.  It's a little grainy.  It was taken in my boyfriends office in the dark by the light of his computer. I could barely see through my viewfinder to focus it was so dark in there.  If I would have put even minimal effort into setting this up I could have probably improved the photo ten fold. But I'm tired and I'm lazy...so given the circumstances, I guess it turned out ok.

Here's my post for March 25, 2011:

Wanna see it on flickr?

18-55 @ 45mm
ISO 400
wb: cloudy
PP: crop

Hopefully tomorrows pic will be a bit more creative.

As always...thanks for stopping by :)


It's raining, it's pouring...

...And I'm splashing about in my kitchen trying to capture a post worthy photo. 

Today was a really crappy day here in my neck of the woods.  Rain, rain, and more rain.  I'm sick of the rain.  I had all of these fun ideas for things to shoot inspired by the rain...but by the time I got outside it was too dark to shoot without my tripod.  And it was too rainy to shoot with my tripod. Sooooo...no rainy day shots for me.

I decided to try for one of those super cool water drop shots.  I didn't quite hit the mark.  I got a few drop shots that I was sort of ok with but this one was my fav. I really liked the colors even tho there isn't actually a water droplet in the picture.  Minor technicality. Whatevs. 

Here's my shot for March 24, 2011:

As always, you can view this in better detail on my flickr page. 

18-55mm lens @ 55mm
ISO 400
PP: cropped, sharpened, slight hue saturation

Thanks for stopping by!


A photo a day

Ever since I got my DSLR a few years ago (thanks to my awesome fam!) I've been trying to learn photography.  The pro's make it look so easy peasy.  It's not.  It's freaking hard as heck.  Especially with one lonely 18-55mm kit lens (and a 100-300mm lens that you never pick up).  But it's fun too.  The problem is, I don't practice enough. Uhhhh, that...and I hate editing.  I despise editing. I find it boring and tedious and confusing.  So when my photo's aren't perfect I get overwhelmed and discouraged and I put my camera away.  I'm determined this year not to let that happen.

I'm going to try this photo a day thing.  Pretty self explanatory.  I'm going to try to take one post-worthy photo per day...then post it.  I think it will be a fun way to force me to practice.  And maybe (just maybe) I'll even learn to edit.

So here is my photo for March 22, 2011:

You can also view this a bit larger on my flickr page.  

18-55mm kit lens @ 55mm
ISO 200
-0.3 exposure bias
PP: cropping and slight hue saturation

Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by!


Best ever chocolate cup cakes (seriously)

Don't they look yummy?  I used a recipe I found here.  Awesome.  It's called the only chocolate cake recipe you'll ever need and it's so true.  Ever since I found it, it's become my go-to chocolate cake recipe.  It's super moist and super fluffy.  It almost melts in your mouth.

I then used a recipe for chocolate icing I found here.  It's called 1-minute chocolate frosting.  It takes a bit more than a minute from start to finish to actually have usable icing, but it does cook in 1 minute.  This, too, is super awesome.  And, like the cake recipe, has become my go-to chocolate icing. It sort of turns out more like a donut icing than what most people think of as frosting.  My boyfriend says it tastes like the icing that tasty-kake puts on their cakes.  And ya know what, thinking back, it kinda does.

I chopped up some Rolo's and Reese's cups and threw a small handful into each cup after I poured the batter into the pan.  It didn't turn out so well.  This batter is sadly not sturdy enough for candy insertion :(  All the candy kinda fell to the bottom and melted into a puddle of gooey goodness.  It did taste really good tho, once you got the goo peeled off of the wrapper!

Then I topped each cake with a some of the peanut butter cups (for the ones with pb cups inside) and some caramel bits and chocolate chips (for the ones with rolo's inside).  Yum-o.

Anyway...here are the recipes: