Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

My CORA and I All Dressed Up 
Happy Halloween to one and all.  Funny thing...I actually forgot today was the big day.  I saw the cutest little girl dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake this morning, and only then did I realize today's actually Halloween, not yesterday.  Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that I have class until 10:30pm tonight and wore my housewife costume last night.  It's officially, my ghoulish games are officially over for Halloween 2011.

As for last night Frank Sinatra blared, and  168 people sampled my homemade pumpkin, coconut, and apple pies.  For the most part, reviews were positive; I think they were just surprised our desserts weren't store bought.  I had two excuses for spending all of Saturday baking 1) I was on duty and couldn't leave Laf and 2) I was simply getting into character for my Halloween costume.  But honestly, I just love baking.  Sometimes, I do wonder what my life would have been like if I'd been born 50 years earlier; I think it's safe to say that I would have made an excellent housewife.

The Lafayette Staff, All Dressed Up in Our Costumes 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mad About Pie

In celebration of Halloween, Lafayette Residence Hall will be hosting our first ever Haunted Hallways extravaganza tonight.  Residents will be able to trick-or-treat from floor to floor, and each RAs room will be passing out goodies.  Because my CORA and I were on duty/call all weekend long, we decided to make our dessert.  Obviously, I haven't been able to dress up this year, so I decided weeks ago that our floor theme was to be Mad Men because I have this adorable 1960s housewife dress that I actually want to wear.  So, to compliment our theme, we spent hours making three types of pie yesterday...Pumpkin, Apple, and Coconut.  Sure, it was quite time consuming, but we sure had fun.  I just hope everyone likes them.  Now, we only had $65 for the entire event, so we had to get a little creative in our purchasing.  In total, we were able to make six pies and still stay under budget.

Of course, my first stop on my recipe hunt was Paula Deen's website.  We slightly modified her directions and made our own version of Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients (per pie)
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
15 oz. of canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 cup half-and-half
 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 piece pre-made pie dough

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350º F. 

For the filling, a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer.  Add the pumpkin and beat until combined.  Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined.  Add the eggs (mixed with the yolks), half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined.  Finally, add the vanilla and cinnamon, and beat until incorporated. 

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for an hour, and until the center is set.  Let the pie cool to room temperature and cut into slices.  

Next, we made cooks.com "Mom's Easy Apple Pie."  I must admit, the name was a little deceiving; although quite tasty, the apple pie was certainly the most time consuming.

Ingredients:

Pillsbury ready made pie crust
6-7 apples (I used 2 granny smith, 2 gala, and 2 red)
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. flour

Directions:
Peel and cut your 6 apples; mix your sugar in with the apples.  Blend cinnamon and flour into a bowl.  Add the cinnamon-flour blend to your apples and sugar mixture.  Place the pie crust into the bottom of your pan.  Add in the filling and dot with butter.  Cover it with the top pie crust layer.  Brush with milk, and sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake at 375°F for 50 minutes or until done.

To give a little variety to our all fall menu, we ended the afternoon by baking two Coconut Pies.

Ingredients:

3eggs
1 3/4cups milk
1/4cup butter, melted
1 1/2teaspoons vanilla
1cup flaked or shredded coconut
3/4cup sugar
Ready-made pie crust

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350º and lay your ready-made pie crust in the pan.

In large bowl, stir together all ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in the center comes out clean.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

New York City Pop-Up Shops

For my journalism class this week, our professor assigned us our very first day-of-air piece.  After we sent him an email, we literally had until 10pm that night to find a story, shoot it, write it, edit it, and get it on the web.  The exercise's purpose was to show us what it's like to be an actual reporter with quick deadlines.  Because I'm on call/duty all weekend (so I won't be able to leave Laf late Sunday night), I knew my only day to produce a package was Friday.  So, here you have it.  I finished the exercise and even had 4 1/2 hours to spare. Hope you enjoy my spooktacular story!

Anchor Intro:  This October, additional Halloween retailers have been popping up across New York City. Ashley Thublin has the story for us now.

I just realized the video isn't always uploading so here's the link if you're having trouble and would like to view it! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Finished Products

As much as I absolutely love my major (and trust me I do), this semester I've spent more time in the Journalism Department than I have in my own apartment.  When I  knew all  the security guards on a first name basis that probably should have been my cue, but nonetheless I continuously find myself on the  7th floor of the Cooper Square building at all hours of the day.  Here a few of the projects I've been working on.  It's only been a few weeks since I first picked up a camera, but at least I'd like to think I'm improving. 

Resurrection of the Knitting Needle-As the weather begins to cool down, there's a new knitting circle that's open to more than just grey-haired grannies.  Ashley Thublin has the story for us now.  


Sometimes, it says "Content Offline" when I click on the play button.  If you too are having that problem click here


Oyster Shucking-Competitors from across the globe made their way to Manhattan this  past September to battle for the title of World's Fastest Shucker at the Ninth Annual Oyster Frenzy.  Ashley Thublin has the story for us now.  

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hello Again John Steinbeck

So, I'm officially deciding that I like John Steinbeck.  As an eighth grader, I remember reading The Pearl and absolutely hating it.  Seriously, the short text took me weeks to get through.  But now, I finally feel like I'm old enough to understand what makes Steinbeck so great.

Book Review:  Cannery Row by John Steinbeck 

For starters, I read Cannery Row.  While the setting for this novel is somewhat bleak--an impoverished and ofttimes depressed coastal town in California--the characters are brought to life by everyday exchanges and emotions the reader can relate to.  It's a book without much of a plot, but there's no denying it captures the feeling and people of Monterey.  The "story" of Canner Row follows the adventures of Mack and the boys, a group of unemployed but resourceful men.  They inhabit a converted fish-meal shack on the edge of a vacant cleverly named Palace Flophouse.  Sprinkled throughout are also interactions with the local grocer, Lee Chong, and Cannery Row's marine biologist, Doc.  The book follows Mack and his friend as they try to do something nice for Doc.  Eventually, they hit on the idea that they should throw a party in his honor; and immediately the entire town rallies around the idea.  If you're trying to ease back into Steinbeck, I'd certainly say this is a great book for getting reacquainted.  Plus, the chapters are super short. 

My Rating:  ****

Book Review:  Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck 


After finishing Cannery Row, I quickly found out a sequel had been written...Sweet Thursday.  Again, Steinbeck follows the quirky characters of Monterrey, but he also introduces us to Fauna, the new headmistress of the local brothel, and to Hazel, a bum whose mother must have wanted a daughter.  Additionally, a love interest for Doc's been written in; however, she's not exactly the kind of girl you'd take home to meet your parents, but you can't help but love her.  Sure, I've read some reviews that say Sweet Thursday isn't as good as its prequel, but I completely disagree.  I absolutely loved it.  Maybe it's the time period (following WWII), or maybe it's the romance.  But, I think it all works together and creates an absolutely wonderful read. 

My Rating:  *****

Saturday, October 8, 2011

To Many Hours With Final Cut

These past couple of days have truly been a whirlwind.  I not only spent the weekend in Georgia but come Monday night found out my Journalism assignment had to be completely finished (including Final Cut edits) by Wednesday at noon.  I was on call Tuesday night and had a French exam too...basically my first full night of sleep for the week was Thursday!  Multiple, daily trips to Starbucks for a Venti Pumpkin Spice latte is the only way I made it through.

It all started Sunday night.  I'd spent an absolutely wonderful weekend back home in Georgia.  During my four days of Southern  bliss I ate way to much food, watched football, heard my little brother play in the halftime show, and shopped for Christmas presents.  Despite the not so convient timing, just getting to love on my mom made the whole thing worth it.  Anyways, my plane landed in JFK around midnight, but I didn't actually get to sleep until 1:30.  And, I had to set my alarm for 4:30am to finish a script for one of my classes.

Come Monday night, I'd originally thought I'd have a pretty early evening.  After my class finished at 10pm, my plan was to go straight to bed, but he told us that our assignment had to be ready for grading my Wednesday at noon, so obviously that through a giant wrench in my plans.  I didn't leave the journalism building until 11:30pm; then I came  home and spent a few more hours editing on Final Cut Express.

Tuesday, I actually got to sleep in until 6:30am!  After a normal day of classes, I rushed back to Lafayette by 5pm because I was on call.  We had our first fire drill of the semester, so rounds ran later than usual.  In total, I spent eight hours on Tuesday tweeking my assignment.  But, I still had to study for my French midterm.  Around 1am I finally cracked open my textbook and practiced the conjugations for avoir (to have) and etre (to be).

My wakeup call for Wednesday came bright and early...5:00am to be exact.  I wanted to get my last bit of studying in before the big test.  After completing my Examen One, I realized that I'd yet to write my history paper.  Once again, it was going to be another  sleepless night.

Come Thursday at noon, I'd finally finished all my assignments for the week!  I took a nap in the middle of the day, and actually got to bed at a decent hour that night.  Now, I have a four day weekend- thanks for that random Fall Break NYU.  Sure, I'll have to spending some time editing another piece, and I'll want to get a jumpstart on midterm studying.  But most importantly, I just plan on relaxing.

If you'd like, take a look at the final results to my premier piece.  No judgement now; it was after all my first time editing with Final Cut.

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