Thursday, December 17, 2009

30 Day Shred

I have had the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels for several weeks now and have only done it twice. I love the workout, I love that it makes me work, that I feel my muscles, that it makes me SWEAT in a 20 minute workout.
I am always finding a way to avoid it, which I think is just me wanting to bury my head in the sand. Starting tonight, I am going to do this for 30 days straight. If I don't feel ready to move from Level 1 to Level 2 in 10 days, I will extend it a little bit, but will do at least 10 days of each level with no days off in between. That includes Christmas and the New Year (which I will have to get creative with, as I will be up at camp with no electricity).

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Altered & Repaired

Original Image

Cropped Image to even it out

Edited Curves, each individual color

Dodge 53% and Burn 15% over the whole image Finished Image


Original Image

Cropped Image to even it out

Dodge 11% & Burn 18% Over the whole image

Dodge lower left corner & Burn mid right side

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stuffed French Toast My Way

Jeremy and I spent the weekend up at Mary and Clints. Jeremy went hunting, sadly Clint had to work and Mary and I met up with Mel and Nikki and checked out the Cabot Hoisery Sock Sale, Blackdiamond Sale, and the Chouinard T-shirt Sale. It was a rainy nasty day and had a blast. I got some Christmas Shopping done early, which was awesome, and some socks for me of course!
Before going to bed, I prepped breakfast for Sunday morning. That way, all I would have to do was bake it and cook bacon. Worked beautifully. I set the oven, popped in the pan, and 40 minutes later it was done. While letting it cool a little bit, I cooked the bacon, in the oven. Cooking bacon in the oven has become my favorite way to cook bacon. No grease spatters everywhere, no burned black bits, fully cooked, slightly crisp, slightly chewy, yummy bacon.

Stuffed French Toast My Way
1 Large Loaf Bakery Bread, cut into 1in cubes (or 1 1/2 small loaves)
1 Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
6 Eggs
2 Cups Milk
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 Quart Strawberries, sliced (or any fruit of your choosing)
3 TBS Sugar

Prepare the night before for best results, although allow at least an hour of time to set before baking.

Cream the cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla together and set aside.
Toss the sliced strawberries (or any other fruit you would like) with sugar and set aside.
Wisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Layer the bread, fruit, and cream cheese mixture in a large baking dish. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread.
Let sit overnight.
Bake the next morning for 40 minutes at 350degrees.

Next time I make this, I might consider tossing the bread with the egg mixture to coat before layering into the baking dish and allowing to sit over night.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Not Your Mother's Meat Loaf

Totally forgot to pull out camera... Why is that so hard to do?

Last night I made meatloaf. I love meat loaf, Jeremy loves meatloaf, and really, what isn't to love after all.

When I was little, I wouldn't eat anything with crunchies in it, if a vegetable such as onion or pepper had even the slightest crunch, I could tell and would pick it out, around it, or just not eat it. To make meatloaf that I would eat, Dad would blend the veggies before mixing them with the meat to bake into meatloaf. I loved the flavor that the veggies added, but for whatever reason, couldn't deal with the texture. As I started making meatloaf on my own, I followed the same procedure.

Then came a day when I tried to eat fajitas with the onions and peppers (as long as they aren't green of course) and found that when cooked thoroughly I could eat them and enjoy them. With that knowledge, my meatloaf recipe changed and changed for the better. The onions and peppers get diced and put in the meatloaf, but not before getting sauteed with some garlic and salt and pepper.

Not Your Mother's Meat Loaf
2 LBS Ground Geef
1 Red/Yellow/Orange Pepper, diced
1 Onion, diced
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 TBS Butter
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 Egg
1 Can Tomato Soup
1 Cup Oatmeal
Salt and Pepper

Saute the pepper and onion with the butter and olive oil for a few minutes till they start to soften, add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Keep cooking for another 2 minutes, till the garlic is fragrant.
Allow to cool.
Mean while in a large bowl, slightly mix the meat with half of the oatmeal, the egg, and 1/3 of the can of tomato soup. Mix in the veggies, if it seems to wet, add more oatmeal. Season with a little bit more salt and pepper.
Form into loaf on cookie sheet or push into a loaf pan.
Bake in the oven at 350degrees for approximately 45min to an hour. Place a thermometer into the middle of the the meat, wanting it to read approximately 170degrees.

Serve with the remaining tomato soup, heated up.

Photoshop and Layers

To get the photograph , I used images from the web to update the living room. I changed it from a mirror to a photo of a wave. I gave the candles flames, put in a dog, and added a rug.

To get the photograph on the right, I played with the marquee, magnetic lasso, curves, and saturation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Portuguese Kale Soup

I have a memory of eating linguica like hot dogs at my grandmothers. I also have a memory of eating Portuguese Kale Soup for the first time at her house. It has been years since I have had any, but yesterday, it was all I could think about. I was having Mom over for dinner and had been wanting to make soup and it all worked beautifully. We reminisced a little about Mammam and ate some really good soup!

Portuguese Kale Soup

1 1/2 - 2 Large Links of Chourico (spicy) or Linguica (mild), halved lengthwise and sliced
1 Large Shallot, diced
1 Carrot, diced
1-2 Parsnips, diced
1-2 Red Potatos, diced
1 Large Bunch Kale, rough chopped
1 TBS Fresh Thyme, just pull it off the stem
1 15oz Can of Diced or Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 15oz Can of Kidney Beans, drained
2 Boxes of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Preheat Oven to 250 degrees - cook time in oven 3-4 hours
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees - cook time in oven 1-2 hours
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven, adding the chourico, heating through, letting a little fat render out, just a touch of brown on a few pieces. Add in the shallots, cooking till fragrant, about 2 miutes. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and the thyme, and season with salt and pepper, cooking till frangrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the can of tomatoes with their juice and one box of stock, bring to a soft boil. Add in the kale one or two handfulls at a time until the whole bunch is wilted in. Add the kidney beans and more stock to fill the pot, approximately half the second box. Place the lid on the pot, bring to a soft boil again, then place in the oven.
Approximately half way through the cooking time, pull the pot out of the oven and give it a good stir. When there is approximately 15 minutes left to the cook time, pull it out again and give a good stir. Back into the oven it goes, no lid this time, and place some crusty bread wrapped in foil into the oven next to the soup pot.

Pull from the oven, let set for a few minutes and serve.
I forgot to take a picture of the pot of soup last night, this one is of my leftovers for lunch today. YUM!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Playing with Photoshop

Light - Soft Light - Saturation
The first photograph is the original. The 2nd and the third I played with light and soft light and finally saturation. The middle shot has a low opacity to the light, with a high opacity of the soft light and the last shot is the opposite. Saturation was upped on each one, although the middle more than the last.

Levels - Brightness/Contrast - Color Dodge/Burn
The first photograph is the original. The second and the third photographs, I played with the levels. I pulled in the black and the white and where the gray was just a little bit on the middle shot and really exaggerated it on the third shot. The brightness was lowered a little in the 2nd and even more so on the third, while the contrast was upped on the 2nd and even more on the third. Same with the color dodge/burn. The middle one was just slightly edited with those two, while the third was exaggerated.

Curves - Color Balance - Saturation

The first of these three is the original. The second and third photographs I played with the curves on each color, R,G,B and then as a whole RGB. With the color balance I pulled it more towards one color or another. Finally with saturation, on one I lowered the saturation and the other I upped it.

Playing with Photoshop

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Barnstable Village Ghost Hunt

Jeremy and I had been on the Cape all of last week. We found The Barnstable Village Ghost Hunt. They also do haunted history tours and haunted overnights. We had such a good time we did the Ghost Hunt twice. We are hoping to do the haunted overnight in The Old Jail when we come back in May. I have always loved ghosts and the supernatural and paranormal and this was just way too cool.

The Old JailThe first night we did the ghost hunt, while in The Old Jail, Jeremy got touched. He felt something just kind of push up his sleeve a little bit. We also heard one of the rope stands get picked up and dropped with no one near it.

That same night I heard what I thought was footsteps running across the floor upstairs. The back floor is safe, but not something that can be easily or safely reached quickly. No one else seemed to hear the footsteps as people started to get move and get ready to move on to the next stop.The second night we did the tour, we had the other guide and she had with her a recording of EVP that made my skin crawl. It was not anything scary as far as what was said, merely that there was actual EVP and I know it wasn't something created for a TV show or anything of the like.

The Barnstable House

Also known as The House of 11 Ghosts. This building is creepy once you hear the stories. There is a man named Edmund Hawes who hung himself when he lost all of his money and haunts the building and grounds. He wears a white shirt and dark pants and Jeremy thought he saw him just before the above photo was taken. Jeremy thought he saw him, but when he turned to get a better look he was gone.
There are 11 different ghosts to have said to haunt the house, not sure what we got in the photographs, but I do know that no one was smoking or even near Jeremy when he took these. No one else was taking photographs either. The last two photographs I took, and as everyone else had just about walked off I know that no one else was taking shots either.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cape Cod Day 2

The elments post is photos from day 1 down here on the Cape.
Jeremy and I spent some time walking the trails at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, something Jeremy had never done before.
It was a lot of fun!

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