November 26, 2012

Giving Thanks for Yams

This is a post I recently shared on Chic Galleria, but I wanted to make sure I shared it here too!

This is a family favorite around Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's torture waiting for it to come out of the oven, and then when it does it goes fast! Since there's so much other food to go around, though, there's usually enough for breakfast leftovers... like really good french toast. But better.

Swahili Sweet Yams                                              

Yield: About 10 servings

Ingredients
  • 3 medium yams
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 small loaf of French bread ("tea loaf" size)
  • 1/2 c. cream, half and half, or eggnog
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. pecans
  • 3 tbs. butter (1/4 stick)
  • 1/3 c. water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter the tops and sides of a baking dish. (This can be any size, but should be large enough hold the chopped yams and potatoes snugly, but without spill-over.)
  2. Rinse and dry yams and potatoes. Slice all into 1-inch wide disks, then slice the disks into sixths or fourths. You should have a pile of rough cubes when finished. 
  3. Slice the small bread loaf into similarly-sized pieces (cubes about 1 inch.) Set aside.
  4. Put all yam, sweet potato, and bread cubes into a large mixing bowl.
  5. In a smaller bowl, combine cream, orange juice, and spices. Mix well.
  6. Pour cream mixture over ingredients in large bowl. Add brown sugar and pecans. Turn with a large wooden spoon to coat evenly.
  7. Transfer contents of bowl into prepared baking dish. Add thin slices or "dots" of butter over the top of the baking dish contents.
  8. Gently pour 1/4 c. water over the ingredients, to add moisture.
  9. Cover dish with foil. Place in middle rack of oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until yams and sweet potatoes are tender. 
  10. Serve hot with vanilla yogurt, whipped cream, or ice cream!

Inspirsession in Action

It was sometime during our New York travels that my bf (in both acronymical senses) came up with the idea to make a to-do list for the year ahead. I'm not sure what he termed the project exactly, but it reminded me of the self-coined phrase which lead to the creation of this blog: "inspirsessions." In admiration, I copied his project, creating a schedule for it (as I'm wont to do...) so I'd know what to focus on month to month.

I decided I'd choose a range of topics to explore over the course of the year -- subjects I've always been interested in and wanted an excuse to obsess over (as I'm also wont to do.) I heard once that the fastest way to learn something is to check out 10 library books on the subject and read as much of them as you can. I'm sure you're aware by now just how much I like reading. And independent study. And engaging myself in activities which most people find old fashioned or useless. Hence...

My Year List:

  Sept: Makeup & Face-paint
  Oct: Dance (Ballet and/or Swing)
  Nov: Sewing and/or Knitting
  Dec: Running
  Jan: Film Acting & Editing
  Feb: Business, Money Management & Finances
  Mar: Weight Training and/or Yoga
  Apr: Cooking
  May: Thrift Shopping
  June: French Language
  July: Photography
  Aug: Minimalism

I chose to start in September not only because I didn't want to wait 4 months to begin my project, but also because it always feels more like the true start of a new year for me. Additionally, I've always taken pleasure in doing things a little differently than other people -- especially if it means I'm getting a head start! ;) This way, I'd already be a quarter of the way into my resolutions by January.

Unfortunately, as is common with many of my brilliant plans, my list went by the wayside on my return to work and rehearsal. BUT: I am proud to say I have been exploring a range of these topics little by little -- like a sampler season. So I intend to explore the first four topics over the course of December in more detail, along with running, as initially planned. I found a 30-day training schedule online and took my first run today! Today the weather was unexpectedly beautiful, but I'm sure it's going to be hard to keep up when it gets back to the standard Seattle slop.

Anyway, here's what I've done so far:

Makeup & Face-Paint:



Above is my take on "Ariel" from The Little Mermaid.  Job purposes.


I wish I could say this was me getting really good at abuse makeup, but sadly this is from my nose tragedy. Thank goodness it healed, but I did learn the ins and outs of foundation during the 2 weeks I had a black eye. Sunblock was (and is) my best friend.


Face-paint practice for a children's party in which I was Dora the Explorer. Knowing little about the show beforehand, I was cram-studying on Netflix for picture ideas. I'm pretty happy with how the map turned out, but Dora looks like a creepy girl-Ernie from Sesame Street.

One afternoon I tried to determine if all the lipstick in my possession actually enhanced my skin and hair tones. I narrowed it down to these six. The others I threw out. I still haven't found the perfect red, but the one below ("Temptation" by Revlon) is my best bet for now. Teal is NOT the right color to pair with it, but I do like how these darker shades liven up my hair and make my eyes pop.


Halloween!!!


Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays because it's an excuse to wear some really wild makeup (which is the only kind worth wearing, as far as I'm concerned.) "Doll" and "Cat" are my typical costume go-tos when I lack inspiration, and this year I was especially pleased with the results. I managed to make cat-ears out of my own hair and finally discovered the secret to making your eyes look huge!!

Charming, sad doll...

...demonic Halloween-y doll!

I made said bf and bro-ha into a "Grumpkin" and a bunny, respectively.




So the makeup month was a great success!


Dance:

I have no pictures to show for it, but last month I worked on a production called Costly Desires, in which I got to revive my dance skills full-force. It was fabulous getting moving again, and I even got to do some pretty serious partnering work! With the group/partner piece and my solo piece directly afterward, the dance portion of the show ran about 14 minutes -- I didn't know I could dance nonstop for that long!

A couple people have recommended the open classes at PNB. I'm a little nervous to go, but maybe I can find a friend to take along? I'd love an excuse to hang around the dance school at Nutcracker time...


Sewing & Knitting:

My progress in this field can really only be chalked up to knitting skills -- I haven't done much sewing lately. I keep meaning to retrieve my machine from my parent's house, but I always decide I don't have room for it. This month especially, however, I've been working on improving my knitting skills beyond the range of scarves. I started by learning how knit in the round with double pointed needles, something I've always been curious about. Unfortunately curiosity doesn't necessitate talent, and what I emerged with was an oddball collection of rather useless, lumpy... somethings:

My first attempt at in-the-round:

I have no idea.


An accidental fingerless glove:

Not too shabby for a sampler!

A hat for someone with a fist-sized head:

(This one actually went quite well minus the shrinkage and running out of yarn.)

If only I were friends with more babies.

Attempt at using two colors:

GO Husk--urshurdlefloopinshteiiiiiii....


And my pride and joy: the oversized sock.



What I must impress about this piece is that it didn't start out as a sock, so I had to increase and decrease stiches all over the place until I gradually worked my way back to the original pattern. As such, its cuff starts out huge, then decreases to the proper size; the heel is properly gorgeous (pat on the back); and the top is is where everything went downright wonky. This area evidences my panicking in the wake of too-few stitches: I doubled them and came up with a sock better suited for Andre the Giant.

I'm not finishing this one, which is why there's no toe. Now that I know the ins and outs I'm eager to start a new sock that will actually fit me!!

 ____

So, those are my triumphs so far. I shall try to keep you updated at the season progresses. Day 1 of running was yesterday. Today it's back to crappy weather, but I with a night off rehearsal I have no excuse to miss Day 2!

Best Wishes,

LGPQ

November 11, 2012

Nightmarish

Just woke up from an awful nightmare:

I was forced to be in an Anna Wintour fashion shoot, but they didn't like how I looked, so they drugged me in order to dye my hair. I woke up a platinum blonde with over-plucked eyebrows and those awful long nails. When I went to sob about it to my parents I found they had extracted all my journals from storage, read them, and ripped out the pages they didn't like. They told me they were worried about who I was turning into -- who I'd "become" in the past few months, and warned me if I didn't change I was sure to lose J. The rest of the dream I sat around feeling betrayed and trying to work out what in me had changed -- how to get back to whoever they thought I was.

Everything about it was awful. A combination of Costly Desire violence, scenes from The September Issue and Downton episode 3.7 (Thomas confesses his love for Jimmy), and a visit from my parents yesterday. Collective Unconscious working overtime. Whew.