Friday, August 31, 2012

Dinners for the Week

Doritos Casserole with corn - I've been slowly tweaking this one & think last night was the best yet! It's finally ready to share & that just gives us an excuse to make it again soon so I can take a picture! Until then I'll share the unfinished recipe page with you.

Chinese Roast Chicken with Coriander Rice (2 dinners) - We've made this dish a few times now & it is so good! I think I follow this recipe pretty closely except that I double or quadruple the ingredients so that we each have 2 drumsticks & one portion of rice (for 2 meals). 1 drumstick a piece isn't going to cut it!

This time I also threw a bunch of fresh green beans in with the rice (boiling it in the water  with the rice & mixing it all in the sauce). I love green beans but thought the rice was not quite as tasty as before, but Justin & Orson had no issues with it! We didn't think Orson would eat the drumstick & did not make any for him but he got ahold of his dad's and proudly took a few bites so I'll definitely count him in next time.

► (Frozen) Fish Fillets with roasted broccoli

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Red Test & Purple Netting Nails

A few posts ago I mentioned that I am on the hunt for a good red polish that can stamp over black. So far I've bought three that turned out to be duds. I did a test stamp (Bundle Monster plate BM-201) of each over white & black to show the problems.

Red Test on White

Pointer finger - China Glaze "Ruby Pumps"
I bought this polish after seeing it on this list of polishes that work well for stamping. It's a beautiful shimmery red that I am happy to own but I do not agree with the list. When you use this polish the first coat goes on sheer and purplish. It looks nothing like the bottle but the glitter builds up with a 2nd or 3rd coat to create a true fire engine red. When stamping you get the same look as that first coat - red-violet, not too bad over white, but too sheer to really be a 'stamping' polish.

Middle finger - Konad Special Red
A great, crisp print, just as we'd expect from Konad.

Ring finger - Jessica "Cinderella Red"
I bought this one after seeing this picture of it stamped over black (here's the post). Unfortunately the color looks nothing like the picture but is a dark burgundy color. The product shot is closer to the color but still not dark or brown enough. It stamped very purple and very smudgy.

And over black...

Red Test on Black

... they all disappear. The first two are only visible under close inspection. "Cinderella Red" does show up slightly, but only in the brightest spot of light.

This is probably the next polish I will buy in this quest, but I am a little worried after the Jessica picture faked me out. At least with the big brands I know I can sell them on eBay if they don't work (which I'm doing with those last two!).

And now for a happy manicure!

Purple with Netting (Bundle Monster)

The base is a generic old purple I have (Enamelettes “Pearly Grape”) topped with a coat of OPI “It’s My Year”. I recently figured out that polish is awesome layered over over pinks or purples, giving them a golden shimmer that reminds me of some Zoya polishes. I stamped over that with Konad Special Black & Bundle Monster plate BM-209, not wanting to cover up the color too much! This was really gorgeous in person & I couldn't help but stare at my nails.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ozotic 506

Today I have some pics of a very special polish for you!! I asked for this one for Mother's Day because it's quite a bit more than I would normally spend on polish ($20), but you'll see why it's worth the price below.

Ozotic 506 is a color shifting polish (a "multi chrome") that is very sheer on it's own & looks best layered over a dark polish to make the the colors really pop. Here I am wearing it over black & holding my hand up above my head. As I move my hand down you can see the color goes from a reddish purple through purple, dark blue, blue, and finally to teal.

Ozotic 506, 1


Ozotic 506, 3

Ozotic 506, 4

Ozotic 506, 5

Ozotic 506, 6

Ozotic 506, 7

And sometimes, when you have lights coming in from different angles, you can catch two colors on your nail ~

Ozotic 506, 8

These pics are a few months old but I kept delaying editing them (wow, my nails are so short!). Of course I had to try it out as soon as it arrived!

Tragically Ozotic recently announced that they will be discontinuing the whole 500 line, which includes other multi chromes, so it may be a bit harder to find now. I bought mine from the awesome Llarowe. It looks like she is out of 506 for now but 505 is very similar, shifting to a green instead of teal. I did see some 506 on Amazon & eBay for a little more $$.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dinners for the Week(s)

2 new recipes last week! ~

Asian BBQ Chicken with grilled corn - Very good! She recommends using thighs but we had some breasts to use up. I cut them at their thickest point & folded that out to give it a more uniform thickness for grilling. You can find directions for grilling the corn on their site as well.

Chicken Tikka Masala (2 dinners) with roasted butternut squash - The reviews for this one were right - amazing! Do take notes from the comments though. The salt amount is way off, so only use 1 tsp each for the marinade & sauce (about 1/4 of what they call for!) I used garam masala in place of the cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne in the marinade since it is a mix of those spices. And I left out the spicy stuff because I'm a wimp!

I've wanted to make this one for a long time but avoided it because it was hard to grill at our old place. Once we were ready to make it I notice that you only grill the chicken for a few minutes on skewers & then simmer it in sauce for 10 minutes afterward. We ended up skipping the skewer & grilling all together to keep it simple & just put the chicken into the sauce raw & let it cook through as it simmered.

► Grilled hamburgers, steak fries, and side salad

Thai Basil Curry

This week we were not as adventurous & stuck with old favorites ~

Thai Basil Curry (pictured above) - This recipe is not 100% finished but I'll share the work-in-progress. The dish ended up a little spicy this time - perhaps I added extra curry base?

Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with green beans (2 dinners, pictured below)

Spaghetti Casserole

I also tried out a new breakfast recipe ~

Bubble Biscuits - These were good but the lack of amounts in the recipe was not fun. I used the 6 eggs called for, ham lunchmeat in place of bacon, & 3 cups of hash browns, which ended up making 20 biscuits (Grands Jr. biscuits). I'd halve that in the future!

However, both Justin and I agreed that the hash browns were really a waste in this one. The taste was too similar to the biscuit to be noticed & so I'd choose different fillers if I made these again.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Subtle Flower & Stained Glass Nails

Ever since I started stamping my nails I wanted to do a design with a pretty flower and some green leaves in the background. I tried early doing this early on & realized I did not have the right colors. The red ended up too purple, the green too blue, and both were too sheer ~

Flowers & Leaves on Silver (Bundle Monster)

Well, apparently I still don’t have good polishes! The colors are better but barely visible, only seen in the brightest spot of light. 

Flowers on dark gray (Bundle Monster)

The base is a dark metallic gray, NYC “Bowery Black”, and I stamped the leaf with Kleancolor “Metallic Green” and Bundle Monster plate BM-208 (the green is a little too sheer in this case, but shows up OK on some colors). I then stamped the flower with plate BM-06 and Konad Special Red. While this polish is meant for stamping it was totally lost over the dark color, I think you would need something metallic to stand out. I stamped over the flower with China Glaze “Ruby Pumps” to give it a little shimmer but it was still not clear at all.

I’ve bought three duds so far In my quest to find a red that will stamp over black. Who knew that would be so hard to find? I did some comparison stamping of the three & will post that for you soon.

After that fail I wanted to do something pretty & tried this stained glass look with my new striping tape. The colors were so much prettier in real life - the picture does not do this one justice!

Teal & Green Stained Glass Nails

Looking at the pointer finger, the colors used were - (top left) ORLY’s “Halley’s Comet”, (top right) Color Club “Cold Metal”, (bottom left) Sally Hansen “Marine Scene”, and (bottom right) Kleancolor “Metallic Green”. The black lines were added with the striping tape.

I followed the directions from the video, using one polish as a base color ("Marine Scene"), laying down tape as a guide for the colors, and then replacing that with new tape at the end. I would recommend doing one coat of each color, removing the tape, and then adding however many coats are needed so that it doesn’t get built up at the sides of the tape or dry too much before you pull the tape up.

The technique worked well but it was slow going. I’ve never worked with the tape before & it was much harder to manipulate those tiny pieces than I had expected! I do think I would get quicker at it with practice but by the time I’d finished my left hand I had no motivation to replicate that on my right hand. (Working at home it’s not like anyone is even going to see it!)

Unfortunately the striping tape does not want to stay down at the nail tip, no matter how much top coat you put over or under it. I was constantly trimming the end and filling in the missing line with a Sharpie! I bought my set of tape for super cheap on eBay & wondered if it was just a lousy brand, but looking online it seems most people have problems with it lasting. Taping side-to-side seemed to stay better, and perhaps some pricier or wider brands stick better, but I’m skeptical. So sad!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dinners for the Week

This week we went with some old & new favorites for dinners ~

Chicken Cobbler Casserole with side salad (2 dinners) - I do make a few changes to this recipe (more bread!) which I need to type up soon.

► Tacos

Onion BBQ Chicken with roasted broccoli (2 dinners) - It looks like the firs site is down but you can still see the recipe faintly in the background.

I did try out one new recipe for breakfast ~

Bacon & Egg Ring - I only used about 1/4 of the cheese called for and 1/2 piece of (thinly sliced) ham lunchmeat in place of the bacon slices. I cut the ring into 5 pieces for breakfast through the week and it was so good I'll be making it again this week!

Next time I think I will cut it into 4 pieces instead of 5 to make it a little more filling and easier to divide up. I checked the nutrition info (with my ingredient changes) and it looks like 1/5 is 250 calories or 1/4 is 300 - not too bad!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

China Glaze - flop & dots

I recently picked up 2 China Glaze polishes on clearance on Sally's. The first was a teal crackle polish which I thought was from their newer glitter set I'd seen pics of here, but I guess they were just selling off old ones to make room for those.

"Oxidized Aqua" is such a pale silvery blue that I think you would only be able to see the crackle effect over a dark color. I layered it over Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in "Black Out" and it looked pretty good on the thumb ~

Aqua Crackle - thumb

But failed on the rest of the nails. The middle two nails here had hardly any cracks, and none of them had a particularly nice pattern ~

Aqua Crackle

After seeing that I didn't even bother painting the other hand & moved on to another polish. I don't think I'll be keeping that one!

Now this is actually a manicure that I did while I was camera-less & I loved it so much that I re-did to take pics. The base is a shimmery dark green with a brownish tint called "Agro". I love the color and the fact that it's from the Hunger Games collection! (I'm so tempted to get this one but know I realistically wouldn't wear it that often.)

Agro with silver dots

Inspired by the ring finger here I used my largest nail-dotter to dot two lines down each nail with Pure Ice "Silver Mercedes". At first I tried using a smaller sized dotter to make two rows on the pinkie nail, but I didn't like the look & ended up using one row for the pinkie & three on the thumbnail.

I love the look of this & it is so easy to do! I'll definitely be dotting rows again in the future. My only qualm is this particular color combo - I feel like this shade of green would look better with a bronze or dark gold, but I use what I have!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dinners for the Week(s)

We tried quite a few new recipes the last two weeks! Two weeks ago we made ~

► Burgers with side salad and Elote (Mexican corn on the cob) - Justin had fun grilling at our new place! For the Elote we grilled the corn & then you coat it with a sour cream, mayo, and spice mixture and top with Parmesan cheese (or Cojita cheese, if you want to be authentic). The sauce has a strong lime flavor to it, which was a little odd at first, but by the next day I was craving more!

► Pot stickers, egg rolls, and rice (2 dinners) - This was all pre-made frozen stuff, but still tasty.

General Tso's (2 dinners) - I make this with green beans instead of the snap peas (usually too hard to find or two pricey) and it is such a good recipe!

I attempted to make Ginger Scallion Noodles on the side but the 'sauce' was basically *just* minced ginger and green onions. I like both of these in recipes, but don't particularly want to eat them alone. I took a taste of the sauce, gagged, and decided to whip up a batch of the delicious sauce from this Bulgogi recipe. (To make just the sauce I'd recommend leaving out the oil and only cooking it for a few minutes)

Chicken Sukiyaki

And 2 more new recipes last week ~

Chicken Sukiyaki (pictured above, 2 dinners) - I needed more miso so we took our first trip to the local Asian market. It's so nice to have one nearby!! While we were there I picked up the ingredients for this Japanese recipe, including some crazy items I haven't tried before.

The broth was delicious! At the top you'll see we had a lot of chicken, then working clockwise there are strips of tofu, sliced napa cabbage, shredded burdock root, shitake mushrooms, sliced green onion, and konnyaku in the center. The burdock root was as tall as Orson & took a while to prepare. The texture was similar to bamboo shoots and mostly had the flavor of the broth. Konnyaku is made from a yam starch & sold as noodles or a block (which I sliced & twisted for this recipe). It also takes the taste of the broth or sauce & is added for its texture, which reminded me of the chewiness of squid.

Meatball Pie - Several years ago I bookmarked this Spaghetti Pie, which is basically cooked spaghetti mixed with an egg mixture that is cooked until firm & cut into wedges to serve. I was intrigued but it seemed a little too plain. Then I saw this new recipe, which tops the pie with pasta sauce, cheese, & meatballs & I quickly added it to the line-up!

This was really good but I will definitely be making changes next time. I thought the noodle layer was too thick & needed some sauce mixed in for flavor. There are also some steps that could be simplified - you add a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese, mix the meatballs with sauce & cheese & layer that on top, and then top with more sauce? Next time I'll be mixing that all together and adding it as one layer!