Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Cake From Hell ... not really, but it felt like it.

It’s time to blog again… but what should I blog about?


The other day Holly and I were discussing stuff, and she suggested that I start a Cake Blog and blog about all the cakes I make… But that would be a really lame blog since I really only make about two cakes a year… Except this year I have made three (and #4 is coming up for Halloween.) And then I realized… I never did blog about the Batman cake I made for Holly’s friend’s birthday.

Back in July Holly asked if I could make a Batman cake for a friend at work, and being the nice person I am, I agreed. I had almost a months notice. I had to have the cake ready by the morning of August 4th, (it was a Thursday) so she could take it to work with her.

This cake was a PAIN IN THE BUTT to make. Sure, the pattern was pretty simple, but the putting together of it was harder than it needed to be.  The plan was:


Black sides

Yellow Bat symbol on top


Yes, looking at the picture you’d say, “that’s what is does have.” But getting it that way was ridiculous.


First I had to find a logo to use. holly and I agreed on this one:

I had to make the cakes on Sunday afternoon because our week was turning out to be rather booked. I was going to just make one 9x13 cake, but I’ve learned that that’s really not a lot of cake if you’re sharing with a group, so I ended up making two 9x13’s. Chocolate, of course, and one layer also was filled with mini-chocolate chips. (I was told that it tasted fantastic.) So after baking and cooling on Sunday the cakes went into the fridge to await frosting.

Monday we went to a spectacular Ludo concert at “In The Venue” that I kind of grazed over in this POST back in August. so we weren’t home that night. It was a fun night. I’ll have to remember to post about it, I mean *really* post about it, one day before I forget everything. So needless to say we weren’t home that night.

Tuesday night I used an entire can of Pillsbury Chocolate Frosting to glue the two layers together before putting on a crumb coat.I made the frosting yellow just to try and see how much coloring I was going to need to use for the actual cake… turns out it was a lot. Then it went back in the fridge to await it's final frosting coat on the morrow... it was time for bed.

Before I get to the next day – I want to point out this fantastic little cake contraption that Holly gave me to put the cake in. It is large enough for a 9x13 cake (as long as you’re not having it frosted) or, if you flip the bottom it holds 12 cupcakes. It has handles and a lid and seems so very handy… except when it comes to decorative frosting. I had to cut about an inch and a half off each side of the cake so the handles would flip back up. But then, once I got the cake on the base, and dropped it in the box after the crumb coat… I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get it out again. I did, but It was stressful and really dangerous for the me and the cake in that order… You can see the box in some of the pictures. So – Note to Self: I will no longer try decorating a cake to put in this box unless I’m paid extra to do it.


Wednesday it was time to get down to business. I had all evening to put the cake together and I was going to get it done. I made the frosting, guesstimating how much black I’d need, and how much yellow I’d need. I think I did a pretty good job, I didn’t have too much frosting left over.

I HATE black frosting. First frustrating thing of the night. I can never get it black enough to satisfy myself. It has recently turned out very gray. I wanted nice BLACK frosting like I used on John’s birthday cake in 2010 (because that was an awesome cake) but no matter what I tried this time I couldn’t get it right. I have since learned a trick to black icing form the Wilton website. The advice is located HERE. Turns out I can add coco powder to the frosting to help the black be more blacker. I’ll have to try that next time.

I started out frosting the sides. Turns out that was a stupid idea. Second frustrating thing of the night. I should have done the top first, but you live and learn. I spent time getting the sides just right and the realized at this point that I should have done the top first, but it was too late so here is where I got the top on. So I frosted the top bright yellow. I debated on if I should just do the oval in the center yellow or if I should cover the entire top. I chose to frost the entire top.

It took forever to get the corners of this cake to cooperate. The top did not want to join the sides. The black kept smearing into the yellow. And I kept getting more and more frustrated. I put the cake back in the fridge to let the frosting harden a little before I tried adding the logo to the top. Third frustrating thing of the night.

After a little while I pulled it out again and threw the logo on top of the cake and traced it using a frosting bag and a # 2 frosting tip. Now I had to add more black frosting around the outer edge of the oval and cover up all that yellow. Here is where I’m really glad that I decided to frost the entire top yellow instead of just an oval in the middle.

Then I decided to do the Bat symbol all in stars and used a #16 Tip to do them. Mostly I chose stars to cover the mistakes and to get it done faster. Because let me tell you… I was DONE with this cake.

All in all it turned out really well. Aside from the anger, and all the snapping at poor John who happened to be in the same room with me. I didn't throw the cake away and tell Holly she was out of luck. So it all worked out. Also, because I cut the bat out of the center of the paper pattern I had it left over at the end... So what did I do with it? I turned the bathroom into the Bat Cave.

We really like it there and are considering actually painting one on the door for reals.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween Movie Month 2011

Red Riding Hood (2011) - This movie was alright. Not as good as we wanted it to be, but not as bad as we expected. It really did keep you guessing who the werewolf was for most of the movie.
Goonies (1985) - Really liked this movie. I don't think I'd seen this once since the 80's, and John had never seen it, so it was pretty much a new experience for us. We were taken aback by the foul mouthed children at the beginning of the film, but it was pretty tame for today's standards. The adventure was great and the plot was simple. This is a great movie for a good night in.
The Addams Family (1991) - I hadn't seen this movie until I married John. He really enjoyed it, and now so do I. Its silly and spooky and just a little ookey... Whatever, it's the Addams Family. It an easy laugh in the midst of horror movie watching that we really enjoy.
Gremlins (1984) - Wow, Cory Feldman sure aged between this movie and Goonies a year later.. Also, why are so many Halloween movies centered around Christmas. Anyway. this movie is still pretty awesome. I have to point out that the animatronics for Gizmo are amazing for this being 1984. What a cute little guy. I promise that if someone gets me one for Christmas I'll follow all the rules.
An American Werewolf In London - John watched this one without me. That's okay though, because we own it, and I've seen it before.
The Mummy (1999) - I absolutely love this movie. It is full of action, adventure and so many memorable lines... Do you swear? Every damn day. He he. Definitely one I'd recommend for anyone's movie watching pleasure.
My Bloody Valentine (1981) - Entertaining. Bloody. Cheesy. Not as horrific as I expected. One thing I do appreciate about these 1980's horror films is that the directors still knew how to leave some of the violence to the viewers imagination. And would you believe it, a whole movie without nudity. Wow. I was pleasantly surprised since the 2009 version was full of naked (we watched that one last year.) If you're going to watch a version of this movie I suggest the 1981 version.
Stir of Echoes (1999) - This was better than expected. Kevin Bacon, after being hypnotized starts seeing ghosts and has to solve a mystery with the knowledge he has gained. This runs along the same vein as What Lies Beneath, The Sixth Sense, and The Other's. If you liked those, chances are you'll enjoy this one.
Night Fright (1967) - We spent the entire movie waiting for Elvira or the Mystery Science Theater guys to pop in, but sadly we got the actual movie and not one with commentary. I guess 1967 was really just that lame. It took forever to get to the point of them movie and apparently John fast-forwarded a bit while I was out of the room. In the end, after waiting so long, the monster was destroyed very anticlimactically.
The Signal (2007) - I randomly picked this from the free Amazon Prime movies on our Blu-Ray... It was questionable on if it was any good. For the most part it was entertaining. Confusing, yes. But entertaining. It's shown in three segments and each once makes you doubt what came before and then the ending confused the heck out of us. Was it a *happy* ending or wasn't it. I don't know, I was too lost. This one was full of foul language and a naked but within the first 10 minutes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Low Self-Esteem?

Alternate titles:
You’re Only As Beautiful As You Think You Are
Or, A blog post about self-loathing and personal image depression

The last few weeks I have been horrified with the idea of looking at myself in the mirror. I don't know what has triggered it, but I'm feeling very ugly, very old, and very plain.

It's not true.

Or so I’m told.

I have people to vouch for it, and sometimes I see a glimmer in the mirror of what maybe the rest of the world sees when they look at me, but that's not very often.

As a female in general, I have a terrible self image. I always have, ever since I was a young kid. I was always too fat, too short, too zit-faced, teeth were too crooked, nose is too long, too dorky with glasses to ever be loved. Yes, the world had beaten down this girl and helped me see that I wasn't ever good enough.

I didn't eat much food through much of Jr. High and High School. The toast for breakfast would be handed to the dog on the way to the car, and lunch money would be pocketed for later use...

Unfortunately I was a size 8. Always a size 8. I could never get any smaller no matter how much I starved myself and tried to be active enough to help the weight fall off. No matter how hard I tried I could never get below 135 lbs and to someone who looked in the mirror and saw that fat girl every time, that was never low enough.

I wore make-up, too much make-up, to cover my flaws. I tried off setting the make-up with hair dye, cleavage and short skirts. Hoping that I could fit into *that* mold of what everyone else wanted me to be… or what I thought everyone wanted me to be. Some days I’m not even sure who *that* Liz was.

I look back now and see myself as thin, I looked good, without the poky bones or my ribs showing. From a 15-years-further-down-the-road/outside perspective I look back and wonder "What was I thinking?" I spent so much time worry about my looks that I missed out on the opportunities I had to wear more mini-skirts and skimpy swimming suits and showing off my arms... because of the little rolls that would appear on my belly when I'd sit in a chair. (Oh what I wouldn’t give to have *little rolls* when I sat in a chair again.)

Eventually I got over most of this… I had friends who noticed my lack of eating and started making sure I had something to eat every day – even if it was just going out to dinner. I really think that saved me from spiraling into an even deeper hole in my life. Thank you friends.

When I was 23 I had just returned from my mission. I had spent 18 months being torn down by nasty companions and rebuilt by companions who truly loved me for who I was. I gained a new view of myself and had finally decided that yes, maybe I was okay. I weighed 165 lbs and was perfectly content with my life, how I looked and the way I felt about myself. I had curves in all the right places and a choice of clothes that flattered me, and helped me snag the wonderful husband that I have. I gave up make-up, deciding that I preferred my natural beauty to that made-up look. My complexion was nice, I had rosy lips and a nice skin.

I really thought I had finally beaten it. I could look at myself in the mirror and smile and think that I looked really good. I was an adult and I could face the world and be content with who I was, what I was doing and where I was going… Yeah, right. Turns out it was just hiding in a closet in the back of my mind.

Unfortunately, due to life situations and circumstances after we got married, with medications and stress, over the years I gained weight, and gained weight, and gained weight until a few years ago I found myself weighting 249 lbs and completely unhappy with myself, the 5’ 2.75” fat girl. I fell back into *that* hole, but at least this time, I really was overweight and knew it. I no longer had cute things to wear and became a slave to the fat girl clothes stores that never have anything cute or shape flattering. I don’t shop for clothes in stores any more, the whole experience leaves me depressed and heartbroken so I only ever buy clothes online now.

I’ve lost some weight since then, I’m much closer to the 200 lbs mark than I used to be, but I’m still larger than I’d like to be, and this has a harsh impact on how I view myself. Over my lifespan I have shed a lot of tears over how imperfect I am.

Why am I drudging up these sore feelings and sad memories on my blog today? Divulging my dark loathing to the world? Well….

I have been planning to have pictures done by one of my best friends, Michelle Sallay from Michelle Sallay Photography. She was my MTC companion, and although we didn’t get along so great back then, she has turned into one of those people that you really couldn’t imagine your life without. She’s pretty spectacular. Anyway, Michelle is a fantastic photographer. I love looking at her work and seeing what a beautiful job she does. Her pictures always look so nice, and the people in them so beautiful… so photogenic… so … like they belong in the beautiful settings that Michelle’s talent has the eye to see. I’m not one of those people.

I think that’s where I have hit my rut. I want to have beautiful pictures of me and John, but I don’t think I belong in her photos. I look in the mirror and see my glasses and crooked teeth and my sun spots and think how absolutely non-photogenic I am. I see the acne scars and the left over sunburn shadows. The dark circles under my eyes, the never ending cycle of adult acne… and I wonder if the rest of the world sees me the way I do. It just breaks my fragile little heart sometimes.

With picture day coming up so fast (next Monday!) I have set out to put together a nice outfit that will make me look thinner than I am, hide my rolls and bumps and saggy arm fat. I have yet to do that, but I still have a few more days.

I also have been staring myself down in the mirror looking at my facial flaws, my hands, my hair… trying to decide what to do about it all. I polled some friends on Facebook asking if I should invest in make-up (which I haven’t owned or worn in almost 10 years. I don’t think I even wore make-up on my wedding day.) Or just go with my regular lipstick and mascara routine. They all told me “No new make-up” of course, because, as I pointed out earlier outside people see me differently that I see myself…

I decided that I’d take that advise and not buy make-up… but then I read the following articles on the internet last week:

KSL News article: Study: Women who wear makeup seem more competent
MSN article: The Makeup Hater's Guide to Makeup

Apparently, according to both of these articles I am not competent, likeable, attractive, successful, or trustworthy.

*BAM!!* I’m back into the hold of self-loathing and depression.

I tried not to listen. Really I did, but it festered. I fought and struggled against that ugly girl who lives just below the surface who reminds me that I am not as good as everyone else.

Guess who won?

Nope, not the rational me who can step back from what’s going on in the world and think that I’m okay. “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!”

No, the insecure paranoid me won out, and I ended up spending $45 on make-up the other day. New face wash, new lip-stain, eyeliner, blush, base, powder… yes, I have bought into the fact that the world doesn’t think I am good enough, so neither do I.

Saturday morning after I showered I decided to try out my new make-up, and while I must admit, I did look quite nice and un-made-up I died a little inside because I had given in. When I asked John how I looked, he told me that I looked very nice, and I started to cry. When he asked what was wrong he also followed up with the question of “are you feeling old?” and I sobbed. My newly applied mascara began to run and the make-up had just applied became blotchy and smeared, and I felt worse than when I had been duped into buying the stuff…

Why do I let the world get to me? Why can’t I just be happy with myself as I am, in whatever situation I am placed? Why can’t I just love me for being me?

Why can’t the young women of the world look at themselves in the mirror and see the beautiful person that they are, and not the abstract image of what they *should* be or what they *want* to be? Why can’t the world appreciate the natural beauty in things and enjoy the differences that are presented to us in each individual?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, I don’t know if any one does.

Fact of the matter is – I bought into it. I let the failure in me out to the surface where I need to be acknowledged and recognized as part of the beautiful people of the world. I need the approval of others, I feed off compliments, even if I don’t always believe them.

When it gets right down too it, I will have pictures taken next Monday by a fabulous photographer, and I’ll be the same old Liz I have always been. Yes, I’ll wear the makeup that I invested money in, and I’ll hopefully have the new clothes I ordered from Old Navy before picture day. But I’m not holding my breath. If they don’t show I’ll go a head and have a minor melt down over the weekend but eventually find something I already own that will work out for pictures…. And it will all turn out fine. It will, because everything usually does.


So now here is some good thoughts to finish of my self-loathing post about how inferior my looks are to the rest of the world…

I really liked this quote. I don’t know if Emma Watson really said it because we all know how true everything we read on the internet is {sarcasm} but it’s nice to hear some one say it once in a while:

“I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me - dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt. It’s nothing to do with protecting the Hermione image. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy. What’s sexy about saying, ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder.” - Emma Watson


As a child, when I would look at the little forget-me-nots, I sometimes felt a little like that flower – small and very insignificant. I wondered if I would be forgotten by my family or by my Heavenly Father.
Years later, I can look back on that young boy with tenderness and compassion. And I do know now I was never forgotten.
And I know something else. As an Apostle of our Master, Jesus Christ, I proclaim with all the certainty and conviction of my heart and soul – neither are you!
You are not forgotten.
Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, you Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, he loves you, with an infinite love.
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday October 10th ....

oh, and Columbus Day too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Eating With Liz 2011 - Baked Turkey Rolls

I haven't been posting recipes lately… I'm sorry to any of you who are paying attention and/or even care. We have had an interesting last few months. Either I've been sick or John's been sick or we've both been sick … needless to say that hasn't led to us eating much at home or doing a lot of house work… so our house is dirty, our bank account isn't too happy with us, and I failed on making a new recipe for a few weeks. I just haven't figured out how to make dinner and be sick at the same time… I just don't think it works.
We are still participating with We've gotten used to is over the last six months (wholly cow! Six months!) The food has gotten better and we're learning the use of seasoning to make something edible. It's been great. The last three months we've been using the Low-Carb menu, and let me just say that's been a lot of meat. We've decided that we can't do that much meat. With this last renewal we've gone back to the standard menu and look forward to more variation in dinner time.
I'm still amazed at the amount of money we save every shopping trip, and it is SO nice to be able to come home from work and have dinner all figured out for me already so we don't have to stare at each other and do the:
"What do you want for dinner?"
"I don't know. What do you want for dinner?"
"I don't know. What do you want for dinner?"
"I asked you first. What do you want for dinner?"
I don't know. What do you want for dinner?"
It's a life saver. Nice thing about it as well is that most of the meal take 30 minutes or less, and some stuff can be prepped a head of time. (Like when a meal calls for ½ pound beef I'll cook the entire pound and put half in the fridge for another meal that is coming up. It's amazing how much time just doing that saves.)

Anyway – I'm stop doting on e-mealz and just get to the recipe we liked this last week:

2-3 slices turkey bacon
12-16 oz turkey cutlets, pounded very thin
Garlic salt
Black pepper
2-3 slices provolone cheese
½ c Milk
1 c whole wheat crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350o. Cook bacon in skillet. Let cool; crumble. Lay turkey cutlets flat; season with garlic salt and pepper. Layer each piece with bacon bits and a slice of cheese. Roll up. Dip in milk; coat with crushed crackers. Place on baking sheet, seam side down. Cover loosely with foil and bake about 25 min.

Green Beans
½ lb green beans
(Olive oil)

Wash and prepare beans. Steam green beans in an inch of water until crisp-tender. Season with oil, salt and pepper to taste.

What did I do differently:
I didn't buy turkey bacon. I used regular bacon.
I used club crackers instead of wheat.
I know. Two not very big changes, but the result was really pretty good. We ate this with the suggested green beans and a side salad. It almost looked like a real meal when set out on the plate.
I <3 Emealz

Halloween Movie Month 2011

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010) – This movie was entertaining enough. Out of all the one’s we’ve watched so far this year it was definitely the best. But that’s not saying much. Dylan is a Private Investigator who used to work as a mediator between the worlds of the dead and the living. He’s pulled back into the world when crazy things start going down in the world of the undead. I kept expecting Brandon Roth to go all Superman on the undead... but he never really did.

Crucible of Horror (1971) – This movie had so many flaws in the murder plot that I just couldn’t stand it. I found myself several times yelling at the television telling the useless women to “just shoot him!” The ending was pretty predictable. Full of bad 70’s acting even though it had some great actors to draw from. Very disappointing. Very slow. Very un-scary for a movie in a box set called “Pure Terror”.

Double Exposure (1983) – Terrible, terrible movie. I can’t believe we watched this. A photographer has graphic dreams of killing his models and then they turn up dead. The question is… is he really the one killing them or is it something else. It really did keep me guessing for most of the movie, but when the end comes all you can say is, “really!? That’s how it ends?” Not one I’d recommend to anyone. Oh, and there was lots and lots of naked.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Werewolf (1996) – This movie was so bad I was surprised to learn that it was filmed in the 90’s… but then again 90’s movies were never really that good. All the actors were foreigners and their accents just got worse as the movie progressed. I don’t think I could have made it through the movie with out the Mystery Science Theater guys shadows in front giving running commentary. It was awful.

They Live (1988) – or rather “John Carpenter’s: They Live” like adding John Carpenter’s name to it would make it any better. Staring Roddy Piper… (yes, that is in fact Rowdy Roddy Piper.) There are aliens living among us, and they are hiding themselves with a massive power transmission that hides what they really look like… unless of course you have the magic sunglasses that allows you to see them as they are. All in all the movie was rather lame, but it had the worlds best line: “I came here to chew bubblegum and kick some ass... and I ran out of bubblegum.” And of course there was one really long unnecessarily absurd fight scene because Roddy is/was a huge member of the WWF.

Vampire Journals (1997) – Remember what I just barely said about 90’s movies? This one didn’t change my statement. This was horrible… What terrible acting. Again a bunch of people who didn’t speak English very well. I guess the plot of the movie was one vampire out to get revenge on another vampire, but with all the naked boobs and bad accents I didn’t follow the plot too well. -- Vampires. Apparently. Can't. Speak. In. Full. Sentences. What did I learn from this movie? A) The vampires in this movie were very wasteful. They would bite someone and then open their mouth and let blood spurt all over the victim. B) All crazy vampire women sacrifices must wear white flow-y dresses. And when you add A + B = a mess. John actually stated that it would suck to have to try and get those stains out.

Grave of the Vampire (1974) – John and I agreed that the subject of this movie was a terrible vampire. Instead of just biting all his prey and drinking them dry he opted to kill them by various means; Throat slitting. Smashing a head with a sarcophagus. Breaking a back over a tombstone. Ice pick… The premise of the movie was that the main vampire (who was a terrible vampire) raped a woman and she birthed a half vampire who spent his life searching for his father to kill him. Well…. To ruin the end for you (because trust me, you don’t really want to watch it) The child of the vampire kills his father but then… are you ready for it? …. He TURNS into the vampire. Duh duh DUNN!

Big Bad Wolf (2006)Lots and lots of naked boobs and sexual situations. So… boy is trying to pledge for a frat. They go to his step-father’s cabin in the woods. Everyone but original boy and his girl die a horrible death at the claws of a slathering talking werewolf in pants. They run home and one thing leads to another and some how it is deduced that step-father IS the werewolf and the have to get proof and kill him. A few more people die. More naked boobs. A big fire… were wolf dies, but boy is bit. OH NO! The tragedy of it all! Yes, I just ruined the entire movie for you. Don’t watch it.