Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Wednesday!

I feel like it is Thursday...or that weird day of the week that shows up between Wednesday and Thursday that makes you think it just might even be Tuesday.

As you can probably tell, this week has been a Charlie Foxtrot for me. I finished Summer A term classes last Thursday and I started the next Summer term last night. I now have class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings... 3.5 hours each night. Nothin' but pure Shakespeare. Dr. S (professor) is calling our class "Shakespeare Summer Camp." Love. It.

Somehow I got the class days mixed up and thought I only had class Monday nights. Psssshhh... I drove allllll the way downtown for class Monday evening just to find that I read the syllabus wrong. I'm a Lit major! I know how to read, very well. Words, I can read words. Not numbers. So reading time on paper is a no-go. Haha

Wanna see how giant my text is for this class? It's not the biggest book I've ever used for a class either (anatomy and physiology).

Anyhoo. I've got a few giveaways coming up on other blogs, so I'll redirect you all to those when the time comes!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tutorial/Recipe: Guinness Cottage Pie

Heeeeey! Ask anyone... I love Cottage Pie! When I make it I make two versions: Vegetarian and with minced beef (I don't eat animals, the mister does). I've looked up and researched this dish so much that I'm ready to share my methods with my pals!
(Note: When I bake I measure everything, when I cook... I eyeball everything. Measurements are approximate). Keep in mind, I cook for 2 (including myself.... to include leftovers).


  • 1/2 lb Minced or Ground beef or vegetarian substitute
  • 4-5 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • mushrooms (i like to use fresh, but whatever you have on hand...)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bag mixed veggies (frozen or fresh equivalent) 
  • 1 or 2 fresh carrots
  • 1 packet of mushroom or onion gravy mix***
  • 1 bottle or can of Guinness
  • salt, pepper, favorite herbs/spices

These are some your ingredients (minus the beef) (I like to use veggie patties or polenta in my portion of the pie):

Start browning your beef and boiling your potatoes:

Chop onions and garlic, add to pan(s), start browning these babies:

Chop fresh carrots, add to pan(s) with mixed veggies, mushrooms and gravy mix***: (keep in mind I am splitting everything between 2 pans... herbivore and carnivore). Split accordingly... or add to one pan if you are only making the carnivore version  :)

Let all of this cook a little in the pan, but not long enough for the fresh carrots soften. Just enough so the onions and garlic are lightly browned and the frozen veggies aren't so frozen.

Next, add your can of tomatoes and let this mixture reduce so it's not so soupy. Also add any vegetarian protein substitute (chopped up veggie patties or polenta. It's ok if either of these are still frozen).

Guinness! Add your entire bottle or can to the mixture, if you're cooking 2 separate versions like me just split the can or bottle between them. Also this is a good time to preheat your oven to 350 F.

Let this mixture reduce a little while you move onto your potatoes, they should be ready. Drain them, cut them up and start smashing! Add milk, butter and whatever other ingredients you prefer to use in smashed potatoes. You can make instant potatoes... if you're into that sort of thing. :) Now then, I leave my smashed potatoes a little lumpy, but you can make them completely smooth if you'd like. (If you can get homemade smashed potatoes smooth then I applaud your prowess in the kitchen. I always have lumps!)

Once you are finished with the potatoes, your veggie/meat (or veggie....veggie) mixture on the stove should be ready. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Then start making a layer of mashed potatoes on top of the veggie mix. Once you've got it covered in potatoes (a good inch or 2 in depth), use a fork and "rake" little lines on the potato topping. (the one on the left is vegetarian, the one on the right has cow in it) Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the dish(es) in the oven until the potatoes are slightly golden (about 30 minutes).

Note on the beer: I've also made this recipe with Murphy's Irish stout with the same yummy results. I'm going to go ahead and say you don't have to use Guinness, any stout will do. No, you will not get drunk from eating this recipe. I do not have a recipe (other than drink recipes) that will do that.

If you have children and aren't comfortable feeding them a dish that was cooked with beer, substitute the beer for beef broth.

Did I miss anything? Oh, cheese. Apparently cheese is a big hang up/debate for some. Some recipes I've seen say "add cheese to your potatoes," while others say "don't even think about cheese, this is cottage pie!" If you like cheese, add it. If you want to use cheese, use it. These days nothing is wrong or authentic when it comes to food. Make it yours, or as Ezra Pound said (about art/poetry) "make it new." I like to think cooking is art. Have fun with it!

***Most packets of gravy mix, if not all, have some sort of meat powder in them. If you are looking for a 100% vegetarian recipe read the ingredients on the packet.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fill in the Blanks Monday

1. The last thing I ate was toast.    

2. The next thing I'd like to eat is an apple dumpling (homemade, of course).

3.The best things in this life are the little things. The random kiss just because, the warm little hugs from kitties and nephews, and soft rain. The "big" things are great too, but they wouldn't be as awesome if we didn't have a little bit of random happiness everyday.

4. Something that makes me supremely and utterly happy is an unexpected surprise (usually chocolate) when I walk in the door from school.

5. Sports are ok and fun, if you're into that sort of thing. I've never found a sport that I really liked to play. I don't care to watch them either. When you watch sports you are always munching on something and watching other people burn 50 zillion calories while you're ingesting 1000 zillion is not a confidence booster!

6. I miss the little chihuahua I used to have.

7. Right now I am blogging and cleaning, putzing around on the computer and cleaning.

Prompts by Lauren

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sundae Stroll--cancelled

Boooooo. The rainy weather foiled my plans for the day! The plan was to get on my bike, bring the camera and just get lost. I haven't been able to do that in ages. Instead, I think I'll spend a little more time getting acquainted with blogger, order a book for my advanced Shakespeare class and have some tea. I also see a few episodes of Bones and a little crocheting in the crystal ball for today!

Aside from my secret Christmas present project this is the other blanket I'm working on:

I have a looong ways to go on this blanket!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm here!

Hey everyone! I imported all of my posts to Blogger today from Wordpress. I'm finding that everything I want is over here. I also felt a little isolated from the best part (with a few exceptions) of the blogging community. I'm working on getting everything comfy, so if anyone has any tips/tricks/advice, I'm all ears! Right now you can find me here at I'm working on switching everything over to my domain

Also....look! I have Google Friend Connect. This was a huge reason for switching. I could have upgraded my wordpress blog, but after looking into it (and remembering the hassle Chris put up with doing it) I decided to pack my bags. Why didn't I switch sooner? Someone else (who has not posted in years!) is using the name 'hellosundae.' Odd, right? I thought I'd invented it one late night back in March. Anyhoo, I sucked it up and added a hyphen. No one was using that one, so I am now.

I'm still @HelloSundae on twitter and my Etsy shop has remained the same. If I can't get my domain to work with blogger I'll set it so that it directs to my shop.

Hopefully everyone has great plans for this evening. Please be patient with my Hello Sundae is underconstruction!

Please ignore this next bit...
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursdae, Bikedae

Is Thursday a good day to discuss my adventures with my bicycle? I think so. I rode to and from school on Monday, but I drove the car on Tuesday. I was exhausted. Yesterday I rode my usual route to school but decided to take the Pinellas Trail home. I got on the trail at Tropicana field and got off at 58th st N. A hike. I like to go different ways because I like to look around! Yesterday I saw parts of St. Petersburg that I had never seen before. Here are some photos I took with my crappy old iPhone.

One more goofy "What I Wore"

Shirt: old Grand Prix tee, shorts: Gap, Shoes: who knows

Today was my last real ride of the week. It was also my last day of term A Summer classes. I celebrated by slacking off and pedaling slow!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fill in the Blanks Monday

1.   The last movie I saw was Resident Evil: After Life. I watched it Thursday night. I also VERY recently just saw Avatar. I'm VERY behind.

2.  I want to fit into all the jeans in my closet. Even the little ones!

3.  Surprises are are good for the most part. Don't "scare" surprise me though. I'm skiddish and I swing when I get scared!

4.  The best accessory is a smile. Yeah, I said it. I have Chronic Bitchface, but I do know that I look good in a smile. After that, a simple bracelet.

5.  My favorite warm drink is tea. Hands down. Mint, Chai, Early Grey... gimme gimme gimme.

6.  My favorite cold drink is (are) tea, beer, and wine. I like my white wine chilled, red slightly above room temperature.

7.  Currently loving my bracelets from Flourish, the new 311 song, oreos, and The Airborne Toxic Event.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Little Bits of Epcot

Since I'm at Epcot all day today, I thought I'd post some photos from previous trips. Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tutorial: How to change your car's oil

This post started out as an outfit post. Not gonna lie. I'm so dorky and awkward sometimes that I thought it would be funny to do a "what I wear to change my oil" post. Then a liiightbuuulb (think Despicable Me) went off! Why not do a tutorial!?!

Loads of gals change their own oil. I'm not sure where I learned, I think it was the years growing up watching my uncles work on cars in their driveways. They were always filthy! I thought I'd show everyone how a girl gets it done! Here we go!

1. You need a car. Preferably one that needs an oil change.... like mine! Make sure the engine is cool. You should be able to touch the engine block and not get burned. This is very important!  Meet Optimus Kiwi:

2. Get your supplies. It helps to get them all at once so the job goes smoothly.

   1.) rags  2.) oil  3.) screwdriver, socket wrench, various sized sockets  4.)flashlight  5.) oil filter  6.) Jack  7.) Jack stands  8.) Drip pan and funnel (not pictured: water, have something to drink)

I like to have different sized sockets close by because I can never remember what size I need! Also check whether you need metric or standard sizes. My car is a Kia, so it uses metric. You don't need the flashlight or the screwdriver,but they're good to have just in case.

3. Put a brick behind each of your back tires. Find a good spot to put your jack. My car has a little round thing where the jack goes, usually this spot is in the center. Now, start jacking the car up! Go slowly though. Once you've got it up high enough place your jack stands under the car. There are also spots for these too. You'll seem them

4. Now the fun part! Slowly lower the jack onto the jack stands and pull it out from under the car, out of your way. Shimmy under the car on your back and bring your wrench, sockets and drip pan with you. I just lay on the driveway but you can lay on an old yoga mat if you'd like. You shouldn't wear anything that you don't want to get messy.

Your going to be looking for your oil pan. You might want to look up on the internet or in your owner's/repair manual before hand to find yours. Mine looks like this:

It's the grey metal bit at the top. There's a bolt on the oil pan. Match up the socket you need and then attach it to the wrench. My bolt is on the back of the pan, facing the rear of the car.

Once you've done that, position your drip pan underneath and loosen the bolt! It shouldn't be too tight. Take the bolt out completely and let it drop into you drip pan.

Shimmy out from under the car and let the oil drain for a little. This can be a little messy. See? This is also why it is very important to only work on the car once it's cooled. The oil can burn you.

5. Next, remove the old oil filter. This is definetly a part you'll want to look up the location. Mine just happens to be in the tightest spot ever. They make wrenches to remove these, but a little elbow grease should suffice. Check and make sure your drip pan is underneath the oil filter too. The filter in my car is actually in line with my oil pan bolt, I don't have to move the drip pan.

Remember I said you don't need the screwdriver? Sometimes the oil filter it really hard to remove. Some body with muscles put it on too tight. This is where the screwdriver comes in handy. Stab the side of old oil filter with the screwdriver and use it as a handle/leverage to loosen the filter!

Once you get the oil filter off, put it in the drip pan to drain as well.

6. Once everything has drained, get out your new oil filter. Dip the seal into the old oil, like so:

Now, put the new filter on the car. Tighted it as hard as you can with your hand. This is a part on my car that is "hand tighten" only that way I can get it off next time!

7. Now it's time to put the bolt back in the oil pan. The blot should have a washer on it. The washer can be metal or plastic. If yours is plastic like mine, make sure it is still in good shape (not cracking or melting).

Put the bolt back in and tighten it with your socket wrench. This is another one you want to "hand tighten." Make sure it is tight enough that you can still get it back off, then tighten it a little more. It should take a little muscle to get this bolt off.

8. Phew! The hard part is over! With all your bolts tightened you're ready to put the new oil in. Get your funnel and pour! Easy does it though. Pour slowly.

9.  Now your ready to pour your old oil into the empty container. Get you funnel and place it into the jug. Then, put the plugs back into your drip pan. Leave the one furthest from the pouring spout a little loose. It will keep the oil from "glugging" when you pour. This part is sometimes easier to do with a little help.

TaDa!!!! You're done! Put the hood of the car down gently and get the jack. Put the jack under the car and lift it just enough so that you can remove the jack stands. Then lower the car down very slowly. Wipe up your tools and take your old oil into an auto parts store to be recycled! Pour kitty litter onto any spots you spilled oil in the driveway.

Now, hit the showers!

If you take care of your car, it will take care of you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just so ya know...

I have a lot to say

I am smart

Sometimes I'm wrong

I've lived through a lot

I eat too much cheese

I'm a sucker for paper products (cute little books and pens etc)

I hate birds, but I wish for wings that work

I used to love cleaning house

I love the sound of crickets in the house, it means my lizards are happy

I have freckles that hide during every season except summer

My car is pink

Eating meat reminds me of the cannibalism in the movie "Alive"

I cannot bend the tops of my ears, it's gross

I can smell my nose ring

The sound of public toilets flushing scares me

My favourite book is Of Mice and Men

I love the smell of diesel

I miss the mountains

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yellow bikes and Blue bikes

 Chris and I have been logging some time on our bikes lately... and miles. I've been doing the 13 mile round trip hike to and from school about 2-3 times a week. Chris has even ridden to to school with me on his days off, or at least met me half way on my way home. It's nice to have a riding buddy. Next week my goal is to ride to class all 4 days (no class on Friday). On Sunday evening we rode on the Pinellas Trail for a little more than an hour. It was a nice, leisurely ride. The ride to school is not. I push myself and for about an hour when I get home I feel "blah" but then I'm peppy!

Ps My bike is yellow and Chris's is blue.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Flourish Leather

A few weeks ago Danielle launched her shop Flourish. She makes braided leather bracelets that are just the best! I ordered mine fast and I love them. I also have a blue one and a pretty (slightly) iridescent white one. I love how they fit my natural "tree hugger" style and don't clash with my feathers. Go on and check out her shop on etsy!

Fill in the Blanks Monday


Since the weather is just about stifling here and warm everywhere else, this week's theme is vacations!

1.   This weekend I'm going to Epcot! We're doing the 6th (or 7th) annual Drinking Around the World and celebrating a few birthdays. 

2.  My last vacation was not really a vacation. We went to Disney and stayed in a hotel for the night instead of at Chris's brother's place. We go to Disney a lot anyway, but we were out of town for a few days and Chris took some time off work.

3.  My next vacation will be (hopefully) after graduation, if not before and I want to go back to Key West.

4.  My favorite way to relax is a glass of wine and a spankin' new book. Or a glass of wine and a foot massage. Or a glass of wine and a movie. Or a glass of wine and a spankin' new book at the beach. (See any patterns here?)

5.  When vacationing one should always take loads of pictures and an extra duffel bag for all the extra goodies one might find. 

6.  When vacationing one should never try so hard to stick to a schedule that all the fun is zapped out. Have a list of the things you want to see and do, prioritize "want to do the most" and "it's ok if we don't get to it" and just go from there! 

7.  The best part about a vacation is the first night away and the first night back home. The first night away you can truly let your hair down because "YEAH! You're on vacation!" and the first night home because you can sleep in your own bed and you know you have clean towels and coffee.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New necklaces!

I just posted these up in the shop! I don't go on about my shop a lot around here, but this is what I've been working on for the last few days.