Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hunger Games Design


When I watch a movie the first time, I tend to notice only the major design elements but try hard not to let my mind stray so that I can follow the storyline.  It isn’t until my second preview, that I really become consumed by the design details.

This weekend we re-watched the “Hunger Games”.  Really great storyline, however even the first time I watched it I found the styles/design to be so jarring!  By the second viewing, it drove me nuts. 

My husband had read the book, so I asked him if there was great description of what people wore and the settings…naturally he didn’t remember, but I’m willing to bet it was Hollywood that just didn’t “knock this one outta the ball park”.  With the movie’s success, I’m hoping the subsequent movies will be better.

In case you haven’t watched it, here is a quick synopsis:

It takes place in the future.  After an apocalyptic event poor districts are formed around a wealthy capitol.  As punishment for rebelling against the capitol, and as a reminder of the history, a televised “Hunger Games” takes place where each district has to enter a boy & girl (lottery style) to fight to the death, leaving one survivor.

The beginning of the film has a very somber feeling influenced by the depression era.  When I first watched the movie I remembered the mood the sepia & wardrobe evoked.  As the districts are marching to the reaping, it is almost a snapshot of the 1940’s.  This definitely set the stage for what you should experience while watching the opening, but it displaced the timeline of the movie.  I think they could have still achieved the correct atmosphere by using the sepia screen, and posture of the characters…the wardrobe, to me, was too ‘authentic’.  Even if they made their own clothing, I don’t think every district would select 1940’s patterns…just saying.  Check out the images below & see the lack of cohesion I'm talking about...
The Depression


 The Reaping
 
1940's clothing & hair
 
 
Muddy tones give somber feeling
 
 
Now we jump to the 'futuristic' Capitol


Citizens...Really?
 
 
Hmmm...where's the Mad Hatter?

Oh, and here's a little Asian Zen
because we haven't touched that style yet...

 I guess leather is popular in the future, well, when Lenny Kravitz is your stylist anyway.


Then, we are in a basic windbreaker.
 
Aside from the identity crisis, I really did enjoy the movie & look forward to seeing the upcoming ones.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

OUR FAVORITE RECIPES

Most of you know how much I love to cook. Many of my friends & family have asked for some recipes…so I thought I’d put them all in one place. Feel free to leave a comment on the ones you’ve tried & let me know what you think about them. And sorry folks…but if ya want our family “Eggrolls” or my special “Sunday Sauce”…you’ll just have to get together with me sometime so I can cook for ya! ;)

I cook a lot with fresh onion & garlic. If you don’t know how to easily cut them, ask me sometime!

Some recipes are basic, some require a little more time. Some are from my family,  some original, some from the Internet.  I’m always trying new recipes, so check back often as I will be updating this particular blog with our family favorites.

MEXICAN
TACOS
I never use the envelope stuff

1-2lbs of Ground Beef
1 16oz Can of Tomato Sauce (I use hunts)
1/2 Large Onion Chopped Finely
Garlic Salt
Chili Powder
Cumin
Salt & Pepper
Couple light dashes of Cayenne Pepper
Cheese (shredded, we like mozzarella & cheddar)
Shells
Optl Toppings (we like salsa, lettuce, tomato, hot sauce, corn, & orange bell pepper)

Brown meat with onion in skillet. Drain grease. Lightly salt & pepper-stir. Stir in sauce (adding slowly to the thickness you like-depends on how much meat you get) Add spices to taste & simmer. (start with 1/2 teaspoon of everything (excluding cayenne) then add to desired taste. Then I lightly butter one side of my shells & assemble my tacos in a nonstick pan this gets the outside of the shell nice & crispy. 
 
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ENCHILADAS

1 lb of Chicken
½ Cup of Onion
Tortillas
1 Can of Enchilada Sauce (we use mild heat)
1 Cup of Picante Sauce (we use medium heat)
1 Jar of Tostitos Cheese (we get medium or mild)
Shredded Cheddar
1 Tb Vegetable Oil
1 tsp cumin
1 Tb Chile powder
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350* Sauté Chicken & Onion. Add spice. Spoon filling into shells. Add a Tablespoon of Tostitos Cheese. Fold shells & arrange in baking dish. Mix picante & enchilada sauce & poor over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese & bake for 40mins.

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TACO WON TONS
This recipe is the best of both worlds, you get the soft shell on the bottom & the crisp of a chip on top

Follow Taco recipe for seasoning meat add desired veggies to meat (we add corn & bell pepper)– purchase won tons instead of shells Spray cupcake tray with Pam. Place won ton in each hole in tray. Fill with taco meat. Layer another won ton, meat & top with light sprinkle of cheese. Bake @ 350* till won tons are crispy/brown on edges. 
 
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SOUTHWEST WRAPS

2 Tb Veg. Oil
1-2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Minced Green Onion (sometimes I use sweet onion instead)
2 Red Bell Peppers
Frozen Sweet Corn
(optional black beans drained & rinsed-I’ve made it both ways, but not a fan of beans so I tend to omit)
2-3 Tb of La Victoria Green Jalapeño Salsa (we use extra hot)
Parsley
Cumin
Chili Powder
Cayenne pepper
Monterey Jack cheese (shredded)
Tortillas

Cut chicken & veggies into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil. Brown chicken with onion. Add seasoning. Add veggies. Add jalapeno salsa, add cheese. (turn heat off when you add cheese so it’ll melt not burn. Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Spoon into shells & put in broiler until crispy edges/brown.

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CHICKEN, CHICKEN & MORE CHICKEN

CAJUN CHICKUN:
Yes, you must keep my silly names!

4TB Butter
2 Chicken Breasts-Cut bite sized
2 Cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
Start with 4 tsp Paprika (add more if desired)
Start with 1/8tsp Ground Red pepper
1 Container of Sour Cream
1 Box of Shells or Rotini noodles
Garlic & Onion Powder to taste

Heat Butter. Brown Chicken. Add soup & paprika & pepper. Heat to boil. Stir in sour cream. Add few dashes of garlic & onion powder. (taste heat level & add more red pepper to taste) Serve over noodles


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MOM’S COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN

Oil
Chicken (whatever you prefer-we usually do boneless breasts or tenders)
2 Egg
Couple Tablespoons Milk
Flour
Salt & Pepper

Heat Oil-high. Beat eggs & milk in a bowl. Pour a cup (give or take) of flour in a platter. Skin & wash chicken. Dip in eggs & Milk (both sides) Season both sides. Roll in flour & Fry till chicken is done. We like biscuits & potatoes, gravy, & green beans with this meal. ;)


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ZESTY ITALIAN CHICKEN

Marinate Chicken in Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Seasoning & cook in oven or grill.
 
 
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BASIC CHICKEN

Chicken Breasts
Garlic Clove-minced
Light sprinkle of Lemon Juice
Light sprinkle of Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper
Cayenne Pepper (dash)

Rub ingredients on chicken ( you can marinate in a bag overnight or for a few hours if you want.) Grill or cook on stove top till chicken is done.
 
 
 
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CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP, CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Ok, so it really is just one soup, but I get chicken salad out of it for lunches too

2 Chicken breasts WITH BONES & SKIN (don’t ask me why, but ya gotta have it for flavor!)
Celery
Onion
Baby Carrots
Butter
Water
LB Jamison Chicken Base
Salt & Pepper
Linguine Noodles Broken into ¼

Fill Large pot with water cook boil chicken for 45 mins. Remove Chicken set aside. Scoop out chicken scum from water. Cut & sauté all veggies in butter & season generously till soft (cook slowly careful not to burn the onion-may take 15 mins or longer) You will likely need to add another 2 cups of water to the pot. Add veggies and taste to see how much of the chicken base you want to add (I start with 1 Tb) when water boils, add noodles & tear chicken add last. I add one breast to my soup & cut up the other for salad. Salt & pepper chicken & add mayo & cut red grapes for salad serve on croissant, crackers, or bread.
 
 
 
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CHICKEN SALSA CROCK
You got it….dump jar of salsa over chicken in a crockpot…pretty easy, and good.
 
 
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CHICKEN ENCHILADA SOUP

1 Can of Black beans (rinsed/drained)
1 Can of diced tomatoes
1 Large Onion diced
1 Cut Red Bell pepper
1-10oz of enchilada sauce
1 Can of Condensed cream of chicken soup
1-1/2Cups of Milk
1 Cup of shredded Pepper jack cheese
2 Chicken breasts
1 Pkg of frozen corn

Place veggies in crock pot. Put chicken ontop. Mix sauce & soup & milk till smooth & poor over chicken. When chicken is cooked, remove, shred & put back in either stir in cheese, or top it
 
 
 
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CHICKEN STIR FRY

1 lg Onion
Red Pepper
Snap Peas
6 cloves Garlic
2TB Oil
½ Cup Chicken Broth
1TB grated ginger
2 Chicken Breasts cubed (I’ve also used tofu…but I hate tofu…so chicken it is for us)
2 Tb soy
2 Tb sugar
Corn starch (can substitute with flour)

Heat & season oil with ½ of garlic & ½ onion (about 30 secs) Add chicken Leave it for one min, then cook through 4-5 mins (till done) & remove Cook veggies (5 mins till as tender as you prefer-I cook longer to get very soft) Add broth2-3 mins (cover) Add chicken. Stir a hole in the center to add sauce (toy/sugar/corn starch) this will thicken. Sometimes I use a little ‘accent’ & pepper to season.   Serve over Asian noodles or white rice.
 
 
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BEEF…IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER

BEEF STROGANOFF
Either 1lb steak to cut up, or you can usually buy precut stroganoff meat
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 container sour cream
1 pkg of onion soup mix
Egg noodles

Preheat 350*. Mix meat with soup & soup mix. Back 40 mins till done. Boil water. Cook noodles, drain. Mix meat, noodles & sour cream in pot. I’ve also made a fresh gluten-free mushroom soup before that was wonderful…but takes much time. If you are interested, I can share that recipe.
 
 
 
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BEST BA BURGERS
You can decide what the “BA” stands for…btw-those *are* my initials… :)
1 egg
1/2 Cup Crackers
2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese
1-1/ lbs ground beef
Onions
1/2 Cup Coca Cola
6 Tbsp ketchup or French dressing

Mix 1/4 cup of cola with 2tbspoons of dressing-remaining amount goes in burgers

Drizzle oil and minced onions on grill heat on high Mix in bowl and roll 6 patties Grill 3 mins per side with onion and brush with cola/dressing on each side Then cook for 8-10mins more till done (basted with cola/dressing as needed)
 
 
 
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ROAST

Roast Salt & Pepper Garlic Cloves Olive Oil (couple TB) Potatoes Carrots (I like baby carrots) Celery Onion JB Jamison Beef Stock In a skillet-heat oil (very hot). Rub salt & pepper on roast. Scorch all sides of roast in skillet. This gives you a yummy ‘crust’. Deglaze skillet with red wine (if you don’t know how to do this ask me) Then, in crockpot, add roast, drippings, cut veggies, water Jamison stock (read back I usually add about 2 TB) Cook on Low all day. When it is done, I pull out the carrots & blend everything else with a little butter & flour for a yummy gravy.
 
 
 
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SHEPHARD’S PIE
1-2 lbs of ground beef
½ Lg onion
LB Jamison Beef Stock
Potatoes
Corn

Brown meat with onion. I buy lean meat & keep the juices for my sauce…Just add the stock to taste & serve over potatoes & corn.

Well, that should be enough to get ya’ll started…will add more when I have more time! ;)

  Happy Cooking!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gift Wrapping Ideas

I've never really considered myself 'crafy'.  Creative and artistic, sure, but crafty...not so much.  I don't really have the patience to sit and scrapbook, cut & glue things with precision...just not my thing.  However, I do always have scrapbook paper on hand.  It seems I always find a different purpose for it.  I've used them for place mats at parties, as gift card holders, and now the most recent repurpose I learned....is using decorative papers for a finishing touch on gift wrapping!

Below are images of two gifts I just wrapped.  Want to learn how to make the paper roses? (Gosh, that sounds crafty doesn't it!) Just scroll down.  They are easy, anyone can do it!






Rose Instructions:



First, draw a spiral.  Doesn't have to be perfect...just give yourself a rough guide...(draw on the back of the decorative paper)


Next, use your drawing as a guide & cut following the lines.  You can even cut jagged to give the edges a scalloped look.




Start with the outer edge & tightly roll so that the decorative print is on the inside of your roll.  I try to keep the bottom of the roll straight.  It will spring out a little 1/2 way through & that is fine.


When you get to the center of the spiral, that naturally becomes the base of the rose.  Put a little glue in there & twist the rose until you are happy with the way it looks.  The center of the rose will be more recessed in & you'll want to almost crunch the paper down with your fingers so it'll set with the glue. 

Try it...even without glue.  If you have a little girl, make one with her, my daughter loves them! ;)