Monday, December 27, 2010

Where did all the rum go?!

As I'm sure many are this year, I've had to be very creative in the gift giving arena. With that being said, I decided to make Cinnamon Rum Caramel Sauce. Mind you, I don't cook. I'm learning my way around the kitchen, so when I told C what I was attempting his exact words were, "good luck. I hear caramel is tricky." Crap.

As I looked at the recipe, I told myself that I could do it. You never know til you try, right? If it is a complete disaster, fine. At least I tried.

The recipe is as follows:

Bananas Foster Cinnamon Rum Caramel Sundae

■1 cup of sugar
■1/4 cup water

■6 Tbsp butter

■1/2 cup half and half (many recipes for caramel sauce call for heavy cream; I’ve had great success with half and half but if you want an even richer end result, by all means substitute an equal amount of heavy cream) (I used the half & half and was happy with the results!)

■1 tsp cinnamon

■3 Tbsp rum (I used Bacardi Gold)

■1/4 cup coarsely chopped and toasted California walnuts (follow @CaWalnuts on Twitter!)


1.Whisk cinnamon and rum into half and half and set aside.

2.Combine 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

3.Once mixture starts to boil, turn heat to medium-low and stop whisking.

4.Continue to boil until the mixture turns amber, about 10 to 15 minutes.

5.Remove pan from the stove and add butter; whisk in butter as it melts. (I had to modify this step and leave on heat. Immediately when I took off stove it hardened and clumped.)

6.When butter has melted, whisk in half and half mixture; it will bubble vigorously; just continue whisking til smooth.

7.Cool; will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks (that theory has never been tested; it disappears too fast!).

Serving Suggestions

Pour 2-3 Tbsps of sauce per serving into a small non stick skillet. Add sliced bananas and heat til warmed.

Top vanilla ice cream with bananas and sauce and sprinkle with toasted walnuts or put two scoops of ice cream on a crepe, roll it up and cover with the bananas and sauce mixture and toasted walnuts.

Amazing, right?!

I emailed Barbara, the blog author, to ask her about serving. I wanted to put the sauce in cute little mason jars and give as gifts that way. She was so unbelievably easy to talk to and offered fabulous advice. Just what a cooking novice like myself needs. Thanks Barb!

Barb mentioned that she double the recipe and it was enough for 3 6oz mason jars. Mine were 8 oz so that could actually work! However, here is where I went stupid....

I followed the directions and doubled everything as I should. Once I got to the step to make simple syrup, I forgot to double the cooking time. So rather than having caramel sauce, I had caramel soup. This is where I needed C's help. I somehow managed to convince him that what I was doing was way more important than football and he listened (he rocks!). He realized my error right away. Since I had done the last steps already, adding butter, etc. we didn't want to chance it and mess anything up. He had a plan.

I decided I'm not skilled enough to double batches or recipes without supervision, so I just followed the directions like I should have in the first place. This is where my husband's culinary geniusness came into play. In the step where you add the rum/half&half mixture, we added my effed up batch. It had a real nice creaminess to it and we were able to salvage the ingrediants, as I had only bought enough for my 8 jars.

This time, it was magic. I freakin' made caramel! Woohoo! I made four jars just of caramel, then the next 4 I added toasted walnuts to the top. Hubby says it's delish and I didn't even have to bribe him to say that. Score!

Oh, and I only burnt one batch, which was before I drank some of the rum....

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Motivational Monday....

Ok, ok, it's Tuesday. Technicalities, sheesh!

I have a bad case of the Monday's & Tuesday's. I'm ready for this week to be over! Here are some posters assuring me that it will be a ok.

See, doesn't this make you want to kick back and relax? Yup. Give me a Natty Boh and I'm good to go!

And, since I've been on vacay for a week, I have come home to a boatload of shenanigans. Needless to say this poster made me squeal with glee!

And, when Monday's get on your nerves, you are sad, or you just need a pick me up, read below.

Hope your Monday's rock!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Post- Etsy Holiday Picks by Ashley @ A Hasty Life

Hello Everyday Nonsense of a Nonsensical Gal Readers!

My name is Ashley, Megan and I are switching blogs for the day, you can find her at my blog: A Hasty Life. I’m so happy to be posting here. Guest posting is such a wonderful way to meet new bloggers and share new ideas! I’m excited to see what new relationships blossom through this guest post (for both Megan and myself!)

Today I want to share with you a few of my favorite holiday hair accessories from Etsy. More emphasis is being put on small, local, and handmade businesses this year and I’m LOVING this trend! Hope you enjoy my picks!

1. Two Lillies Boutique
2. Night Lady
3. Snnewt
4. Pretty Hair Clippies
5. Brook Owens
6. Along For the Ride
7. Queen Ece
8. Cotton Lane
9. Cotton Lane
10. MoJo Spa Style
11. Scarves For Ewe
12. Heads Up Savannah Up
13. Belen’s Boutique
14. Sandy a la Mode

It’s been a pleasure! I hope to see you around the blogging world again!


A Hasty Life Blog

A Hasty Life on Twitter

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just another Etsy Monday....

This week's featured Etsy shop is The Accidental Artist. I found Mousumi's shop via the pounce feature back in October, when her shop first opened. I have been impressed with her work ever since!

Mousumi takes everyday household items, such as wine bottles, and transforms them to a beautiful piece of art.

How great would this look on your table for the holidays?!

Besides making decanters, she also tranforms jewelry. We all know how much I love jewelry!

These need to find a home in my jewelry collection, stat! They are embellished with Swavorski crystals and hand painted by Mousumi herself.

This bracelet is goregous! Look at all the detailing, wow! This piece will definitely make a statement.

Mousumi was kind enough to answer some questions, enjoy!

1. How did you get started painting jewelry?

I must profess I am a craft store junkie, and would often visit a store and buy something to try it out. I started out by painting on ceramics mostly, and from that I ventured into canvas. It wasn't until recently that I painted my first wood bangle as a gift for my mom. It was such a hit that I felt encouraged to come up with more styles.

2. What is your favorite color to paint with?

This truly changes based on my mood, but I do enjoy hues such as blue, topaz, purple. My favorite accent to use is typically gold for a little "bling" effect.

3. What kind of paint do you use?

I paint with Acrylic.

4. Do you take custom orders?

I do take custom orders. From requests of colors and designs to the size of the bangles.

5. Do you plan on expanding your shop to items other than just jewelry?

I am slowly starting to do just that. I recently added Christmas Ornaments, and this weekend I have a case of wine bottles to paint. The wine bottles make great hostess gifts, or a good showpiece to any bar.

Mousumi is also offering a 15% discount! The coupon code is HOLIDAY15.

Thanks so much Mousumi!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#reverb10- I'm a Beautiful Disaster

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

What makes me different? Many things.

Have you seen my hair?

Thanks mom.

I used to hate my curls. A LOT. But, as I've grown older, I've learned to appreciate them. And love them. And realize, that they are a great excuse to not do anything with my hair. :) (Remember I'm lazy folks!)

What lights people up? Can I say my big hair? No? Dagger.

I randomly dance in public. ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME.
More poor hubby is a good sport and just smiles and says, "yup, that's Megan."

So the point? Big hair and a crazy dance doesn't make you different, it makes you unique. And beautiful. <3

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh Christmas tree....

So I totally signed myself up for this Weddingbee post without reading all the directions. Woops. Anywho, long story short, we are trading Christmas cards. Sounds easy right? The kicker? They are handmade. And we all know how crafty I am, ugh!

I pondered long and hard and debated asking my niece (she is 4) to help. I then decided those three ladies needed something better (hopefully) and I would do my best. And if I failed, my niece doesn't live too far away!

My first card consisted of cardstock and ribbon. That's easy enough!

I know, it still looks like my niece did it, but it's the thought that counts, right?!

If you are crafty you can probably make this better. I am not. And I don't have patience. I suck. Anyway, I cut five pieces of ribbons at five different lengths and assembled to look somewhat like a tree. I then stuck a star on top and a pice of paper on the bottom as the stump. Viola!

The inside is my favorite!

Apparently my phone on my camera can't focus, so it's a little off. It's a bee for Weddingbee, get it? get it? I think I'm hysterical.

And the other card I made had the above bee image and saying on the front and this on the inside.

For this card, it was fairly easy. I first printed out this image:

It took me a few tries because I made the first one itty bitty, woops! Once I adjusted to grown-up size paper, I was set!

The dotted lines are key. What you do is fold on the middle dotted lines, so the image is on the outside. Next, cut along the first set of solid lines, while still folded. You will then fold the cut-out to the dotted lines. Next, push through, like below.

This is what the front will look like.

And this is the back.

Now, you will do the same with each line. Cut, fold, push. At the end, you have a completed pop-out Christmas tree!

I'm not a genius, I totally learned how to make this little number on wikihow. They are the geniuses.

So viola, I attempted to be crafty. And, because I felt bad, I included a recipe. Something I can do is bake, so I knew that would be a success.

If you all feel fiesty and want me to make you a Christmas card, let me know. I won't be offended otherwise. ;)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

#reverb10- It's ok to let go

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I tend to be an emotional person and where my heart on my sleeve. I have, in this past year, learned how to let things go. I used to harbor and fret over things that were said or done. So much so that it would eat me up. This past year I have come to realize that s*&^ happens. Sometimes people say things they don't mean. Sometimes I say things I don't mean. Sometimes people hurt others and it's not on purpose. Just because you perceive something, doesn't always mean it's right. I will give you an example. I harbored resentment towards a friend. I thought she purposely hurt my husband and I out of greed. I was angry. I don't hold grudges, but I do hold feelings (I'm not sure if there is a difference, but I will never be rude or mean to a person, I keep my emotions internal). I continued to think this was a slap in the face. Finally, one day I snapped. I questioned her motives, her thoughts, her actions. Turns out I was wrong. I ate crow.

I learned at that moment that just because I was hurting didn't mean I had to stop talking to the person or being friends with them. I cut that person out of my life and I truly missed her. And over something stupid. I have now realized that if I have a problem, I need to address it. And most importantly, let it go.

Friday, December 3, 2010

#reverb10- promt 3- Alive

I may wear the glass slippers..but my hero wears combat boots.♥

"Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors)" (Author: Ali Edwards)

Taking a lead from Jessica, I knew the moment in my life that made me feel most alive was seeing my husband (then fiance) on R&R from Afghanistan.
My husband and I have been through a lot together. More than is necessary to get into via this blog. All of these experiences have only made us closer- made us more appreciative of each other.
When C deployed this last round, we were in the midst of planning our wedding. And I got a third job. I was exhausted. One day, in November, I was working at job 3 and did not get out work until 10 pm. Cell phones were not permitted on the sales floor, so it had been in my locker all evening. C's sister had called roughly 6 times in a row since 9 pm. I immediately thought the worst. I fell to the floor and sobbed.

Since I tend to freak out before I know facts, I took a deep breath and called. She just wanted to say hi. Dang! We talked the whole 20 minute drive home, just catching up. Little did I know she knew what was about to occur.

I will backtrack a little here. For a certain number of days the guys and gals are deployed they are allowed R&R, or rest and relaxation time. However, this last deployment, it was based on a lottery system. C had informed me of this previously and I was under the impression his number had not been called, therefore, he would not be coming home. Sigh.

Back to the point. I walk into the house and notice an ABU jacket hanging on the stairwell. I thought nothing of it, as our roomate at the time was also in the AF. I walked to the kitchen and noticed his name plates on the mail on the counter. Again, my thoughts went to, "C must have asked Tina to grab him a new set at work." I sat on the couch, put my head back to relax and the next thing I know I hear, "hi baby." I panicked. I looked up and C was there. I immediately burst into tears, dropped the phone (and his sis was still on the line, woops!) and wept like a baby. Then I proceeded to say (because we all know how smooth I am), "I didn't shave my legs!" Who says that?! Why didn't I say hi! HA!

I started to worry. Was he home due to injury? Due to something that happened? No, he surprised me! Once over the intial shock, I hugged him as tight as I could. I had never been so alive at that moment. I had needed him there. I was going through a lot. He was home and comforted me at just the right time. I remember not being able to breath, and for a moment, almost having an outerbody experience. This was so real, but was I dreaming? I wasn't. And it was amazing.

What was your moment?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#reverb10- prompt 2- Taking the Easy Way Out

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

It took me until 5:30 pm today to figure out what I was going to write about. Then it hit me. For some of you that have read my blog, you know I'm lazy. I love to take the easy way out. This has become especially handy in the age of the internet. However, I remember being a kid and my Grandy used to sit me down and say, "Megan, so & so gave you a nice gift, you must write them a thank you note." And by write she meant with paper and pen and in cursive. It used to be such a chore. I'd moan, complain, even stomp my feet. I just didn't want to.

As I've grown older, I've become more reliant on the internet. If someone does a great gesture, I send them a quick, "thanks a bunch!" email. That took 2.2 seconds to write. If I go on an interview, I send a "thank you blah blah blah" email and make it sound all professional and whatnot. It wasn't until today's prompt that made me think about this.

I am fortunate enough to teach small children. Munchkins, I like to call them. We have a blast. And what I have learned from them is that they teach me something new everyday. Today is no exception. As I was going through my purse I found a card. I opened said card and low and behold it was a hand written thank you note from one of my students (the writing was super neat, I'm thinking mom had something to do with this!) thanking me for everything I do for her. It touched me. Then made me write this post.

What do I do each day that doesn't contribute to my writing? I take the easy way out. Can I eliminate it? You bet. Think about it. How great is it to open your mail box and get a nice note from someone saying how much they appreciate you. And if they wrote it out, you know they took time. I need to do this more often.

I know this is something small, but it's a step, right?

What do you do that doesn't contribute to your writing? And can you change it?

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#reverb10- prompt 1

I decided to take a cue from some awesome bloggyfriends Em, Steph, and Ali and reverb my 2010. What is #reverb10 you ask? I shall tell you!
"Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10, we'll do both. This December we invite you to share your story and join us in reflection." (Reverb10)
I know it's a month long committment, and I will be honest, I'm committment phobic. For real. I don't like change or committment, so believe me, C is a lucky man lol! I just get scared getting locked into things, so I'm taking this as a 'this will be a blast' perspective rather than a 'you have to do this because you signed up' perspective. So bear with me. And please don't be mad if I don't everyday. I'm forgetful. And going on a cruise/honeymoonIneverhad, so internet access will be limited I imagine (do they have internet in the middle of the ocean??).
So anyway, here it goes!
Prompt 1:
"Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?" (Author: Gwen Bell)

2010 was chaotic. I was planning a wedding while my husband (fiance at the time) was in Afghanistan. Communication was limited. I don't like committment, nor making decisions, and sometimes I had to without his input. That sucked. BUT he was pleased and proud of me for doing so. UGH. I was fighting with my mom constantly, as she was not a fan of my ideas, and struggling to say, "let me do it my way!" And, being too much of a control freak, I couldn't bear the thought of asking for help.
I would cry a lot. Cry because I was overwhelmed. Cry because I missed him. And cry because I'd eat a whole box of chocolates due to the first two reasons. It was rough. I also had a lot going on in terms of work, as I had just started a new job and it was my very first time not having a roomate in the house. Chaos I think, is an understatement.

2011 I hope I can say I'm thankful. I can't wait to live our lives as Mr. & Mrs. and to expand our furry family. I just want to wake up each morning and smile and be thankful for how far we have come and what our relationship and lives have endured.
What are your hopes for 2011? And what does 2010 mean to you?