Updates: Both Culinary And Life

moonwolf_gwJanuary 10, 2014

Hi everyone,

Sorry I haven't been around lately. This winter has been busy with the holidays and all. The schedule doesn't show signs of slowing as I have a baby shower to attend on Saturday afternoon (my biological brother and his girlfriend are having their first baby-a boy). This will be the first time I've ever attended one. Hope the holidays were good to you all!

The culinary news I have is that my group of friends that I had a picnic and Halloween party with have come up with a new event: A Movie Day/Night! For that, we will just be eating several appetizers and perhaps two gallons of that lemonade everyone rants about lol. As I said to the one friend of ours: "you guys treat it like it's the nectar of the gods or something lol". There is talk of having some kind of cake for dessert. I either want to make my Mandarin Orange Cake or my Pink Lady Cake. No official menu as of yet, but I will update you all as the time draws near. It is scheduled for either the 8th or 22nd of next month. From the way things are looking, it will probably be on the 22nd.

My non-culinary news is somewhat as exciting lol. I have to get back to doing my Winter Sowing (planting seeds in milk jugs and other plastic containers and setting them outside for the winter). That helps me with those dreaded Winter Blues and I only have my houseplants to look at for signs of flowers. The other news is that I already have next year's costume picked out. I am searching for materials for it, but I fear as it may be almost too late since the Christmas decorations are almost gone for another year in the clearance shelves. No, my costume is not a Christmas tree or Santa Claus, but still an important figure: The Winter Queen :-).

Hope you're all doing well!

Brad AKA Moonwolf

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Olychick

Well, luckily (for you) the Christmas stuff seems to reappear around July, so you'll have plenty of time!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 3:09AM
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grainlady_ks

The bargain after-Christmas pickings were scarce this year. Hope they were better where you live.

You should try growing sprouts and micro-greens indoors for a wee garden-in-a-jar experience. Plus it's a great, not to mention inexpensive, source for fresh food. You can plant the root end of your celery after you've used all the ribs and it will grow in a sunny window. The cut-off ends of scallions/green onions will grow in a tall glass with a little water in the bottom, or in a small pot of soil. I'd also suggest wheatgrass (and other similar grains), but you need a special juicer to extract the juice, and it can take a large bite out of the budget. I grow it in 5-inch pots and it's fun to see the graduated stages of growth in the line of pots under the grow-light. We've had snow cover since Dec. 20th and my garden beds are all draped in white.

I always smile when you mention Mandarin Orange Cake and how everyone enjoys it. That was one of my dad's favorites, and the mention of it makes for one of those fond food memories. :-)

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 4:44AM
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chase_gw

Hi Brad, thanks for the update. Movie nights with the friends sounds like a fun idea. don't forget to keep us posted, so to speak, on the menu.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 8:18AM
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mustangs81

Hey, good to get an update from you! Sounds like you are in deed keeping busy.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 8:36AM
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moonwolf_gw

Thank you, everyone!

It looks like I'll be making a Mandarin Orange Cake this weekend since my eldest niece is coming for a visit tomorrow and Sunday.

I have ideas for my costume. YouTube tutorials have been a great source of help and inspiration. I found this ghost costume that I can easily turn into one fit for the Winter Queen. I plan on attaching fake fur to the sleeve cuffs, neckline, the edge of the hood and the bottom edge of the cape. I'll also add rhinestones to it. The crown I plan on doing will be made out of florist's wire as a base, and attaching some icicle branches to it and stringing some clear or "pearl" beads to look like icicles hanging down. There are even shoes someone made a tutorial for on YouTube, but I am having trouble locating some items I need for them.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

Here is a link that might be useful: WInter Queen Costume

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:45AM
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debrak2008

Brad, Can you Mandarin Orange Cake recipe be made with navel oranges? If so can you post the recipe?

I am desparate for recipes with navel oranges.... I have lots of them....

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 11:05AM
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moonwolf_gw

debrak2008, I don't think my Mandarin Orange Cake can be made with navel oranges. However, there are lots of cake recipes using orange juice and orange zest.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 12:31PM
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debrak2008

Thanks Brad. The recipes I'm finding just use a small amount of juice I would have to bake 50 cakes!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 12:39PM
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moonwolf_gw

You're welcome! Oh my, that would be a lot of cake lol.

OT, but, any other creative crafters like me? Here are the shoes I was talking about for my costume. Anyone know where to get the wire cages? I plan on using shoes with a smaller height heel. So, I hope it still works.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

Here is a link that might be useful: Snow Queen Shoes

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 1:12PM
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annie1992

Brad, I'm so glad to hear from you, I hope your holidays were wonderful.

I'm sorry, I'm not crafty at all, so I will be of no help to you on your costume, although I can sew. Too bad I have zero creativity, LOL, but I can make a tote bag out of a chicken feed bag, if that helps. (grin)

I grow basil and parsley on the counter, but that's the extent of my winter gardening. I used to grow wheatgrass for the cat, but no more.

I'll be looking forward to hearing about your movie night and the food!

Annie

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 9:08PM
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moonwolf_gw

Annie, LOL My sewing skills aren't the best, but I can do embroidery and basic sewing. I do have a machine, but mum uses it more than I do. I am planning of attaching some fake fur to the ghost costume I saw for sale on this one Halloween costume website that could easily be turned into a Winter Queen costume. I'll be gluing on rhinestones to the robe and cape once I get it (whenever that will be). A wig and gloves come with it, too, but I'll get a different set of gloves for it.

Well, no Mandarin Orange Cake this weekend, since my niece isn't coming, but I will have a busy day tomorrow with the baby shower for my brother and his girlfriend (they've been together for a few years now and they really are a good match for each other). Looking forward to seeing some of my biological relatives (the ones I was telling you all about before) and meeting her relatives for the first time. Let's hope I don't have a klutz attack in the meantime.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 10:28PM
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ann_t

Happy New Year Brad.

~Ann

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 11:26AM
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bevwinchester

We used to do Academy Award night parties- so much fun& good food & drink!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 6:23PM
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moonwolf_gw

Update: It looks like it will be on the 22nd of next month and the friend who hosts our gathering has asked if we could each bring at least one thing to share. I will be taking my Mandarin Orange Cake for sure, but I will probably take something savory to share as well.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 11:29AM
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jkom51

A group of young friends and I alternate a monthly movie night or dining out (in the SF Bay Area, eating out is a major hobby for everybody). It's fun as we do potluck on the movie night, so everybody round-robins emails on what they feel like bringing to complete a meal.

Keep those social contacts going, Brad. They get even more important as all of us get older!

Have a wonderful 2014!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 2:19PM
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moonwolf_gw

Well, the baby shower was a major success and a good time was had by all. I was sad when it was over, but I am happy for the time we all spent with one another.

*sighs* Never learning how to drive seems like a regret to me now, but that's something that's beyond my control, unfortunately. Otherwise, I would try and be more social.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 11:27PM
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annie1992

Brad, I'm glad the shower was a success and you got to spend some quality time with your family.

Circumstances change, and you aren't very old. There is still time to learn to drive and to do a lot of other things too, maybe not now but there's always a future. No one ever knows what tomorrow might bring them.

Annie

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 12:06AM
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johnliu_gw

You can learn to drive at any age, and I'd argue it is actually better to learn later than the current norm of 16-17 y/o.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 12:27AM
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dcarch7

Learning to drive is like having fun in an amusement park.

Automatic transmission! No clumsy clutch to deal with which will make you pee in your pants on a sloped street. Power steering! Power brakes!

Go for it!

dcarch

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:46AM
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moonwolf_gw

Annie, you're absolutely right. I am planning on making some big changes this year as mom and dad and I all agree on sending me to a new restaurant/catering service (a partnership with the owner of a local restaurant and the county VoTech) that will offer cooking classes/courses. It's supposed to be opening up this fall :-). I'm a nervous person, especially around new people (long story that I don't want to bore you all with). So maybe, just maybe, some high times are headed my way.

johnliu, I lost one of my best friends in a car wreck when she was 17, and just got her license a few months before. Not that she wasn't a safe driver or anything (I never rode with her to experience how she drove, but she was always was concerned about the well-being of others). My one uncle didn't get his license until he was 30 lol.

dcarch, lol lucky for me and my folks, we live out in the country, so I don't have to worry about anything steep. Our car isn't the best to learn in, and I do have offers to learn how, but the friend who wants to teach me has such a busy schedule. I hate sounding like I have a whole bunch of excuses, but that's just how things are around here. I feel like Ariel sometimes: "Wanderin' free, wish I could be, part of that world."

An amusement park.....now that's somewhere I haven't been to in years. Not much for roller coasters, but I do love the scrambler/merry mixer. But, I digress.

Thank you, everyone, for letting me ramble lol.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Olychick

My mother learned to drive at age 58. She was a widow and managed without a car through my youth, but then when I was old enough to drive she bought me an old car and depended on me for transportation. When I was moving out in my 20's she decided she needed to learn, so she took lessons and bought herself a convertible!

If you want to drive, I hope you'll go for it...once you can fly, you'll never look back to the years your wings were clipped.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 12:04PM
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debrak2008

Brad, I highly recommend you learn to drive. Instead of thinking about negatives, make list of positives. I don't know where you live but in NY you have to read a permit manual first and then take a written test to get a drivers permit. Just do it. List all the people you know who have a car (everyone). Call all these people and ask for a driving lesson. You said you parents have a car. Why not drive it? It doesn't have to be pretty. If it passes inspection (a new york state requirement) then its safe to drive. If your parents won't/can't teach you ask someone else. D O N' T G I V E U P !

I love driving. Started driving a motorcycle when I was 15 (oops! only got caught once). Got my car license a month after turning 16. Driving is freedom. Did I say I love driving?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:03PM
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moonwolf_gw

Debrak2008, I'm in PA (hi neighbor lol), and obtaining a driver's license is the same here as it is up there in New York. It's not that our car isn't the best looking, which it looks fine on the outside. All of my friends are too busy to teach me. The one who wants to teach me is working two jobs. Other close friends either have babysitting problems, work all the time, or are just downright busy. My turn will come someday. And I usually am optimistic, but it's frustrating when you want to do something and the time isn't right. I keep remembering this old saying: good things come to those that wait. I do realize once I have a car, I can go out and get a job, too. Not that I'm not willing to work, just that transportation is always an issue.

I have a friend from the theatre who loves driving as much as you do. He says that it relaxes him.

Meanwhile, still looking for materials for my Snow Queen costume. The Christmas décor is probably gone from the stores until November. Still, I would love to go find some things for the shoes and crown :-).

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:45PM
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annie1992

Brad, you might think you're nervous around new people but look, you jumped right in here, without any trouble at all and we're all new people.

I think the cooking/culinary class might be a big help to you, both as a vocation and as a social opportunity. You gotta get something cooking! (grin)

My oldest daughter didn't learn to drive until she was 18. She has seizures as a result of drowning in our swimming pool when she was 15, and she was afraid to drive because of that. She overcame that fear and learned to drive. It took her three times before she passed the driver's test, LOL, because she was scared beyond words. She still won't drive in big cities or places with lots of traffic but she drives to work every day, to the grocery store, dance classes for The Princess, etc.

I've been driving since I was 10 or 11. First tractors, then the farm truck, go-carts, mini-bikes, snowmobiles, then cars, even the school bus once. In Michigan you get to drive on your own property and I drove through the hay fields, across the pastures, through the orchard.

My Jeep has a manual transmission and I don't have problems even on hills, but my girls do, although Amanda's first car had a stick shift.

I don't love to drive but I've driven from Michigan to Florida and from Maine to California and gotten everywhere eventually.

You can do it, I know you can.

Annie

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:58PM
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moonwolf_gw

Thank you, Annie :-).

I have become somewhat more social since graduating high school. My first few workdays at the theatre I know I was a little nervous. It's different when you're behind a keyboard and talking to someone because they can't hear the quiver in your voice or see your hands shaking or anything like that. Let's hope that if and when I go to take the cooking courses I don't drop everything or cut myself lol.

I just hope whomever teaches me to drive doesn't have a stick shift in their car. The one friend (whom is the one friend for our picnic/party group of friends that I post about) said her car isn't a stick shift, so I feel glad about that lol.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 1:24AM
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moonwolf_gw

Update: I have decided on what to take to the party! I am going to make some Tortilla Pinwheels/Roll-Ups. I'm going to use chicken in them. It's an easy recipe. I've never made them, but we've had them out at the theatre before (the lady that makes them makes half with olives, and the other half with chicken). The recipe calls for 4 ounces of chopped green chili peppers, drained, and 4 ounces of chopped black olives, drained. I figure if I substitute a cup of chopped cooked chicken, then that would be okay. The rest of the ingredients are sour cream, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, chopped green onion (I may use regular onion or omit it altogether), garlic powder and seasoned salt.

I'm also taking my Mandarin Orange Cake, and lemons to make lemonade. Others are bringing some snacks, too.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 1:05PM
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colleenoz

Brad, is there a driving school in your area? I would seriously consider contacting one to learn to drive as opposed to getting friends to teach you.
Advantages:
You learn correct techniques, not others' bad habits
They're available when you are, you don't have to wait for them to be free
Their car
Dual control cars to mitigate any potential for an accident while you get confident
You learn extra stuff, like basic maintenance which your friends may or may not instruct you in
Qualified instructors are experienced in assisting nervous newbies and in giving clear guidance, which may not be the case with friends
Disadvantages:
Cost
But, when I did a driving school course in Ohio (admittedly some decades ago) the local high school actually paid the driving school costs as I had not done their Driver's Ed course. Pennsylvania may have a similar deal. Even paying for lessons is worth it IMO as I think you would learn faster and better with professional instruction.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:36PM
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moonwolf_gw

colleenoz, There are no driving schools around here, to my knowledge, but I wish there was one.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:56PM
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annie1992

Well, it does sound like everyone will be well fed. (grin)

Here there are driving schools in the bigger cities, but not in the small towns. Michigan has driver's education in the schools, but it's gotten to be quite expensive now, hundreds of dollars.

However, you could probably get a jump on it for free by doing the on-line courses that are directed at teaching people traffic rules, driving requirements and that kind of basic thing. Then you'd be all set with your knowledge and only have to learn the actual mechanics of driving. Here the Secretary of State has a website too.

Annie

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 1:18AM
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moonwolf_gw

Annie, I do have a driving manual here that someone gave me. We did study Driver's Ed back in high school, but not any actual driving took place.

We will have plenty of food at the party! I know if everyone attends that is invited, there will be nine of us total! We're all supposed to bring a snack/dish to share, but I am bringing the pinwheels and cake, plus lemons for lemonade, so I have enough covered for two other people lol.

I am also crocheting some stars (made out of gold colored yarn) to hang up at our hostess's/friend's home in the living room and kitchen. Next time I go to Wal-Mart, it's picking up some clearance gold, glittery ribbon to hang them up with :-).

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 2:31AM
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grandmamary_ga

Brad, I learned to drive in the dark ages. No it was actually in the late 50's and I never drove on the street just around the walnut trees at our summer farm. lol. Up and down the driveway over and over again. I never practiced parking and somehow I passed the test and I've never had an accident or a ticket. But if I was getting a license now I would take a drivers training course, as my grand daughter did. She is a wonderful driver and knows just about everything there is to driving, like how to change a tire and where all the things are that she would need to do it. She had a flat tire just last week and called her grandpa to assist her he told her I do not know where the jack is and she said I do. Someone did come to assist her besides her old grandpa, she even had a flashlight. Good luck in your driving experience. You will do well, we are all nervous when we drive. Me too even at my age. Would you please share your mandarin orange cake recipe. Thank you and I enjoy reading about your acting experiences too.
Mary

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 5:33AM
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cookie8

LOL, if you can crotchet, you can drive (sitting here envious as my brain to hand coordination has made learning to crochet very difficult - but I can knit, sort of).

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:05AM
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moonwolf_gw

Hi Mary,

I'd be more than happy to share my Mandarin Orange Cake recipe!

Mandarin Orange Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2-11 oz. cans Mandarin oranges, undrained
Frosting:
1-15 oz. can Mandarin oranges, undrained
1 pkg. dry instant vanilla pudding (1 small box)
1-8 oz. container Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well blended. Stir in 2-11 oz. cans Mandarin oranges with the juice. Pour batter into a greased and lightly floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Frosting:
Blend together 1-15 oz. can Mandarin oranges with juice, 1 package instant vanilla pudding, and 1-8 oz. container Cool Whip. Chill for 2 minutes (or longer) until mixture has set a little. Spread on cooled cake.

Mom got a stand/upright mixer some time ago (a year or so ago) from Ginny's and it's been a big help in doing cakes, cookies, and other desserts!

And I don't act at the theatre, I'm more behind the scenes helping clean and put up sets on the workdays.

Not sure when I'll be learning to drive, but maybe it'll be sooner than later.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:16AM
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grandmamary_ga

Thanks Brad for the recipe. I hope to make it soon. Behind the scene people are as important as the ones in front of the curtains. I'm sure you do a wonderful job. Maybe sometime you will be in front of the curtain.
Mary

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 4:42PM
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moonwolf_gw

You're welcome, Mary!

I hope to be in front of the curtain someday, too! (Our theatre doesn't have a curtain, but I do hope to share the spotlight in the future :-).

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:56PM
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