Thursday, February 4, 2016

No Time

Trying to come up with an excuse for not posting here lately is unnecessary. Thinking on it, I used to post new stuff more often simply because it was a way to get out of doing other work. When I find that I enjoy the work I'm doing I don't make time for things like this. There's a real grown up word for that, PRIORITIES.  I know a lot of people who complain about not having enough time in the day to do what they want.  It's pretty simple, if they prioritized they would get it all done. Also, if they would quit wasting time complaining about not having enough time....
Sometimes there's this other issue that's called, oops I forgot. That's what happened to me yesterday. I totally forgot I said I would make chocolate covered strawberries and Oreos for a going away party being held today. So I found myself in the kitchen at 1:45AM dipping things in chocolate. This is even after I told my friend earlier in the day that I had to do this. It just simply slipped my mind. When I mentioned this to my friend she commented that it would make a good Valentine's gift. That thought never occurred to me either, nor did the impending day of doom covered in pink hearts. She did have a great point and it definitely got me thinking. You can order chocolate covered strawberries and have them delivered. I used to patron Shari's Berries quite a bit.  They're reasonably priced, reliable and the customer service is impeccable. One time they screwed up my order and they refunded all of my money, even though they only messed up part of the order. This is a great place to order from if you want to send someone a gift who lives too far away to hand deliver them yourself.
These chocolate covered strawberries have started taking off in the last few years. Everyone jumped on that bandwagon and the bandwagon is not cheap. A local grocery store makes them and they're priced at around $20 per dozen, but they leave the stems on. That may be a better investment than flowers, but you can buy a nice bouquet at Aldi for $8.99 or less. So with this super easy and inexpensive alternative you'll be able to gift your valentine with flowers and chocolate covered strawberries for the price of just the strawberries at the store.
All you need is a bag of Ghiradelli melting wafers and something to heat the chocolate in. I swear I don't work for Ghiradelli, but if they'd like to offer me a job we could get cracking on an ice-cream line. Anywho, the wafers are around $4 for a 12 oz bag or $12 for a 2 pound bag. The strawberries usually aren't that expensive but I haven't checked to see if stores raise the price around Valentine's.
Wash, pat dry and cut the stems off of your strawberries. As I mentioned before, the grocery store leaves the stems on and I really don't like that. If it doesn't bother you then don't worry about it and leave them on, but it takes little to no effort to remove them. Then you follow the melting directions on the bag. Using the microwave directions is best because these wafers will melt at a low temperature which is wonderful. I've made chocolate covered stuff before using "old fashioned" methods where you have to really heat up the ingredients for the chocolate to melt, then when you go to dip stuff in it you burn your hands. If you follow the directions these wafers don't get scorching hot and you won't burn your fingers. You can get your hands really dirty if you want, or you can stick a toothpick in the strawberry and dip it. If you want to cover the berry completely you can use a spoon or spatula to pour over the entire berry. Then place it on a baking sheet, or any kind of flat tray. I put parchment paper down first, surely wax paper would work as well. They only need 15 minutes in the refrigerator to harden so if you forget, like I did, you can still whip these out in about 30 minutes. There are white chocolate melting wafers you can purchase if you want to add decoration, or you can sprinkle crushed pecans or even just candy sprinkles. These are just a little more special than store bought because you made them yourself.
Sargent and the Sea is the book I read this week. It retails for $50, but I picked it up at Half Price Books for $19.99. If my 3rd grade math doesn't fail me I'd say that's more than half price. I'm a huge fan of Sargent, I don't know anybody who isn't. Seriously, when was the last time you heard of anyone looking at a Sargent and saying, my five year old could paint that? That's what stuck out at me about this book. I remember reading a post somewhere, Instagram or something, where an art student had a conversation with his teacher. The student was lamenting how he wished he could be like Sargent. Meaning he wished he never had a bad painting, drawing, sketch etc. His teacher then said, do you think Sargent kept his bad paintings/drawings? Surely he threw them away and only kept the good ones. This, is a conversation that can be debated until the ends of time I think. But that's what stuck out to me, there's a paragraph in this book that leads you to believe that Sargent NEVER made a bad painting or drawing. Someone even said that Sargent, only a few years into his career, already knew everything about painting and there was nothing else for him to learn. That was one man's opinion and most likely didn't reflect on how Sargent personally felt. But looking at his work it's hard to imagine what else he needed to learn. Some other nice things about this book are excerpts from letters he wrote and of course the pictures. I don't know if I'd pay full price for this book as it seems to be written by some obnoxious art historian who analyzes things far too deeply, but for $19.99 it was a bargain.
I'll leave you with my monkey grass hair. I've purchased some of those grow in the house herb thingies before and they didn't work. I was at the store the other day and walked by the section with seed packets and peat pots. There was a display of Buzzy's Animal Hair grass grow kits. They were only a couple dollars so I thought what the heck. With zero expectations I followed the directions and waited. I only had to wait two days for my monkey hair to grow. This is about a week's worth of growth. I cut the hair after I took the picture. I would say this would be fun for a kid but obviously it's fun for little kids and big kids both. They come in all sorts of animals too.