Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fair Foods Manicure

Last Saturday we were going to make our annual trip to the fair with my parents so I whipped up this fun manicure. My dad gets free tickets from work, and Saturday was also mom’s birthday & she was eager to see her grandkids, but our car had other plans! Friday it broke down on Justin’s way home from work and we later found out the engine is shot. The fair is still open this weekend, but we’ll probably be driving around all day car shopping instead!

Justin and my favorite thing about the fair is the foods, so this is my homage to all of the fried goodness! I found lots of great images in the Cheeky summer stamping set & used Sally Xtreme Wear “Black Out” for the base color. There is a lot going on in this manicure, so I’ll break it down by nail.

Fair Foods Manicure

Thumb ~ Even the giant Cheeky stamps will barely cover my large thumbnails, so to make it easier on myself I blocked off the bottom of the nail with some Scotch tape and stamped the image sideways so I had plenty of wiggle room. The “yummy” image comes from Cheeky plate CH42. To create a gradient I laid out half Pure Ice “Silver Mercedes” and half No Miss “Palmdale Paprika” (metallic red), blending the two at the center a little with a stick, and then scraped and stamped like normal.

Pointer ~ I was planning on stamping some soda cups from CH41 with white or silver, but I could not get a clean stamp from that one. I used a dotting tool instead to create an easy cotton candy with Jessica “Smitten Kitten” (pink) and brushed on some Sinful Colors “Pinky Glitter” for shimmer. Then I added a small triangle of white with a small nail art brush and Milani “White on the Spot”.

Middle ~ For the pizzas I stamped with plate CH41 and Essie “Penny Talk”, then dotted the pepperonis with No Miss “Palmdale Paprika”.

Ring ~ The silverware is from CH42 and stamped with Pure Ice “Silver Mercedes”. I definitely had to do a few touch-ups with this image!

Pinky ~ For the fries I made my first stamped nail decals! You can see an awesome tutorial for this technique here, though I had to add some of my colors from the back and some from the front. I took a few pictures of the process and will be posting a mini tutorial for these soon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New, But Not Noteworthy

Here are a few new recipes we tried that turned out rather blah. Honestly, none of them were bad, just not drool-worthy enough to make again. Thought I would share them here in case any of you had them bookmarked as well!

Chicken in Sage Walnut Sauce ~

Walnut Chicken

While searching for a chicken dish with a creamy walnut sauce I came across many variations similar to this. I was intrigued by the use of ground walnuts and white bread in the sauce, but the results were a rather gritty, bland paste. I did cut back the seasonings a little, but I don't think they would have helped that much. I left off the odd garnishes, but you can see it is a rather boring looking dish without them! If I were to make this one again I would recommend using pre-cooked chopped or shredded chicken if you have some on hand and sprinkle something on the top for color.

Japanese Hamburger Steak ~

Japanese Hamburger Steak

This one was the best of the bunch, and pretty tasty, just not what I was expecting. Based on this picture I thought the dish would have a light sauce with Asian flavors, but it basically tasted like a steak sauce. Knowing that I would not have used the mushrooms or poured it over mashed potatoes! This was lacking the Asian twist I was hoping for, and if I'm going to go traditional, this one we made last month was much better.

Beef & Green Bean Stir-fry ~

Beef & Green Bean Stir-fry

Kate raved about how this recipe won over her pickiest eaters, even people who hated beef or vegetables or stir-fry, but the sauce fell a little flat for us. Once again, not bad, but it tasted like every stir-fry we've made using bottled sauces in the past. I'm a bit obsessed with Chinese food & am currently searching for some sauces that taste more like true take-out, so this is one I'll pass on.

Mississip Sin Dip ~

I didn't bother taking a photo of this one. I doubled the ham and green onion, but the taste was a bit boring. I also found the texture a little odd, almost curdled (I'm guessing there was too much sour cream in relation to the cream cheese). We have made several incredible cream cheese based dips before and this one was pale in comparison.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

I've never been a big fan of classic spaghetti, but I was intrigued when I saw this recipe which added not only cream cheese, but French fried onions too! Oh my goodness, it tastes as good at it sounds! We've made this countless times now for several groups & it got rave reviews from all.

Baked Spaghetti Casserole, 1

Baked Spaghetti Casserole, 2

The only change that we make is omitting the peppers, but the flavors would blend well if you like them. Give it a try ~ I doubt you'll make 'normal' spaghetti again!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Berry College Football Manicure

I kind of hate football. When our alma mater Berry College talked about starting a football team we were against the idea, but made the long drive to see their first game and visit with college friends last weekend. In honor of the occasion I pulled out my stamping plates and did a football themed manicure in Berry's colors ~ blue, white, and silver.

Berry College Football Nails

Color Club's "Cold Metal" is the base color of all of the nails. The index finger was stamped in silver (Pure Ice "Silver Mercedes") with a small football helmet from Cheeky plate CH35. I used a dotting tool to fill in the empty space with two rows of white dots (Milani "White on the Spot"). The middle finger was stamped with Konad's white polish and the stars from Cheeky CH51. I also dotted the center of the larger stars with silver ~ hard to tell in the pictures! On the ring finger I stamped a few footballs from CH35 in a copper polish, Essie "Penny Talk". And then on the thumb and ring finger to make things simple I just dotted a polka dot pattern in silver.

Unfortunately it was so blazing hot at the game we were all drenched in sweat and miserable by kick-off and left shortly after. We headed over to McDonald's with some friends who also have young kids to enjoy some cold drinks and air conditioning while the guys watched the game online. Berry got beaten pretty badly, but at least I got a few compliments on my nails! ;)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Misoyaki Roast Chicken with Shoyu Onion Sauce

Salty miso mixed with sweet mirin makes an awesome glaze for grilling! Skewered tofu, fish, eggplant, and other foods are often glazed with a mixture and served at Japanese festivals. I loved the flavor when we used it on Onigiri Yaki (grilled balls of rice), and so this roast chicken recipe had me drooling.

Misoyaki Chicken

The only whole chickens I found were 5 lbs., so I added 20 minutes to the 350 cooking time (1 hour) and it came out perfectly cooked and wonderfully juicy! The marinade was tasty, but like most marinades it added a rather subtle flavor (and I start wondering if it was worth the effort). Thankfully the Shoyu Onion sauce added the needed punch.

I don't think the sauce really needed to cook the whole time the chicken was roasting ~ it was a bit too salty & so I added 1/2 cup water and 1 Tbsp. sugar to tone it down a bit. (Still super salty by itself but nice over the chicken and some white rice.) We made roasted kale on the side but next time I will definitely be picking out a sweet side instead so we don't suffer from salt-overload.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

China Glaze "Electrify" with Stamped Flames

I was glancing through my Pinterest Nail Polishes board and was reminded of "Electrify" from the China Glaze "Hunger Game" collection that came out last year. This is the only polish from the set that I was interested in; it really reminded me of the 'girl on fire'! It's a fun mix of tiny gold glitter and slightly larger red glitter. (I do have Agro, but only because I needed a green and it was on clearance) I figured it would be pretty cheap by now & snatched it up for $4 on Amazon.

China Glaze "Electrify" with Flames

I'm trying to get back into nail art, so I added flames along the tips. Originally I'd planned on doing just one accent nail and used a black flame (thinking the red wouldn't show up against the glitter), but it looked pretty bad. I ended up removing that & stamping all of the tips with No Miss "Palmdale Paprika" and the flames on Cheeky plate CH52. It is hard to see the flames, but it looked like a fun gradient from afar. Unfortunately this chipped terribly & did not last long at all.