Musings of a Museum Fanatic: November 2013


Chocolate Turkeys

I have seen many recipes floating around Pinterest, the blogs and other recipe sites for a while now about turkey type desserts.  This recipe though is one of a kind and very unique,  I've been making these guys since I think undergrad.  People always ask where I got the recipe and honestly I can't remember for the life of me ... probably some wise old mystic handed it down through the generations to me ... or maybe mom?

Wherever I got it I'm sharing it with you now!  This is always my thing that I like to bring to our Thanksgiving meals and it always goes over so amazing.  People love how cute they are.

Chocolate Turkeys

1 bag candy corn (I suggest buying during Halloween or you will be running to 10 different stores trying to find it) 
1 bag mini Reese Peanut Butter cups
1 bag Rolos
1 package stripped cookies
1 package square chocolate covered cookies (the past few years I can only find the graham cracker ones)
Melting chocolate (bark or chips)

1.  Unwrap all Reese Peanut Butter cups and Rolos.  Set these aside on cutting board or cookie sheet.  Seriously do this or else life will be really difficult for you later.  

2.  Melt 1 brick of the melting chocolate.  (I use the bark so I like to do it one brick at a time in the microwave, if you prefer a different way go for it!)

3.  Using a butter knife or small spreader spread melted chocolate on the wide end of the Rolo then press it to the small end of the Reese's.  Allow the chocolate to solidify.

4.  Spread chocolate on the wide part of the Reese's then press onto stripped cookie.  Set these aside and allow to solidify.

5.  Spread melted chocolate on candy corn then place them at one end of the square cookie, wide part on the edge.  Be sure to melt more chocolate bark or chips as needed!!

6.  After both parts are solidified spread chocolate onto the bottom of the Rolo/Reese's body and press onto base.  You might need to move it around so it doesn't slide to the side or back.

7.  Take candy corn and dab the wide end into the chocolate and put on the edge of the Rolo making it look like a little beak.


Wedding Photo Dump 1970's Style

In an effort to move along in my quest to check off items from my 101 list and to do mysterious things for my parents ; ) I have started to go back and scan old photos.  Last week I brought home with me my parents wedding album so I could take out all the photos in it and scan them.  I ended up posting one of their photos on Facebook and it was such a hoot I thought I would share some of my favorites from their wedding with you guys.  Meaning we're doing a photo dump old school 70's style!
That's my mom!  I think she looks so beautiful.  I actually really love her dress (minus the 70's macrame) and was hoping we could get it re-made or something for our wedding but the fit just didn't look flattering on me 

Here are my parents with their entire wedding party.  OH yes my friends those are 70's powder blue tuxes!

From left to right is my aunt Donna & uncle Jim, my parents, my dad's mom and my aunt Bev.  It's so funny to go back and see my grandma in older photos because honestly from the 70's until she passed away she really looked almost exactly the same but with more gray hair.

Left to right here is my aunt Karen, my mom, her mom and dad.  It's hard to tell in these photos but my grandpa used to have a wicked comb over and from what I can tell he had it for a looooong time : )

I love these photos of my parents.  I don't know why I think they're so neat ... maybe it's the whole "they're exactly like us" mentality?  Or the fact that they're so darn cute and happy and still act that way all the time.

My favorite!  It's so weird to think that they were younger in these photos getting married than I when I got married.  Not sure if that makes them young or makes me feel old?

After posting the above photo on Facebook I got a lot of fun comments and one of my friends commented on my dad's hipster glasses ... I don't know if it can be considered hipster when you had the look the first time around.  Either way, bask in the 70's glory of the powder blue tux a little while longer and appreciate that it's not one of the 70's trends that's come back in style.


Da Bears

**Disclaimer**  I do not pretend to be an avid bears fan nor to I actually attempt it.  The extent of my being a true fan really comes from being guilted into watching the games with Kevin.

With that disclaimer being said even if you're not actually a Bears fan when you're from Chicago you're a Bears fan.  That's just kind of how it is in this town and in my family.   Lately the Bears have just not been playing their best, especially this past weekend.  Kevin was really glad we weren't able to watch it, I think he might have cried if he would have.  Even though our teams aren't always the best we still idolize them and our coaches.  We even think they're awesome enough to run for president!

As a Chicagoian you root root root for the home team!  Even when the home team isn't that great ... or even good at all ... *cough cough Cubs cough*.  I'm pretty sure that Chicago has some of the most out there and in your face fans in the whole country.  We are hardcore fans to the end!!  Well most of us are ... especially this guy ... 

Drunk Chicago Bears Fan Runs Headfirst Into Street Sign

Unfortunately the video was removed by the person who put it up before I posted it but this GIF shows the most important part.  In summary Da Bears fans are so intense we run into solid objects, and keep on ticking just to show our pride!  


Tunes on Tuesday: 5 Weirdest songs

Sunday Kevin was complaining about how people just don't get his love of metal music and how everyone just thinks it's so weird.  I'm not a huge metal fan especially the kind he listens to but honestly if people saw some of what was on my play list they would think I'm a crazy lady.  Seriously I have some weird stuff in my musical collection that spans the entire music gambit, except country I don't like country.

1.  Australian Aboriginal
Seriously I have at least two entire albums and a number other other random songs.  I have always been a big fan of international traditional music but I think Australian aboriginal takes the cake as the oddest type I have on my playlist.  The uniqueness of so many different culture's music is just fascinating and very beautiful.  If you're looking for something not sooo out there check out middle eastern belly dance music (another major favorite of mine!)

2. 90's German Punk
I know I've mentioned this one before but during my younger years I wanted to do everything my brother did and that included developing a love of some of the same music.  Since he took German in high school he got really big into German punk music.  SO of course I became really big into German punk music.  I'm a big fan of the band Die Toten Hosen, this song in particular is a really good one to work out to.

3. Hardcore Metal
Moving further down the metal spectrum I don't tend to like a lot of hardcore metal but when I do it seems to surprise people.  Not sure why? : )

4. Christian Rock/Pop
Being the good Lutheran I am I went though my love of Christian rock phase during high school when Jars of Clay, DC Talk and Newsboys ruled the scene.  Since this era I feel like Christian rock isn't just the same so I tend to stick to that time period in music.  I know the whole oh man Betsy is Lutheran? thing is a bit on surprising side but I don't tend to talk about my faith walk much with anyone so that might be something in the future.  For now rock out to this killer tune by DC Talk, again another one I enjoy working out to.

5. Techno
I'm not talking about the top 40 type techno that gets played on B96 (Chicago's pop station) I'm talking hardcore club type techno.  I've got loads of it!  A friend of mine was a DJ a local under 21 place in high school and gave me a ton of stuff and I've been hooked since then!

What's the oddest thing on your playlist?? Seriously I need some new things to listen to : )


10 Things I Hate About Monday

1.  Going back to work

2.  After a fun weekend with friends you have to go back to being an adult and doing adult things.

3.  It's the longest point away from the next weekend of fun or just not having to do adult things.

4.  Everyone always seems to be extra crabby or annoying.

5. You realize everything you didn't get done at the end of last week because you were so busy wanting it to be the weekend and now realize you have a ton more work to do on Monday

6.  Monday makes you realize how unprepared you are for the week and remember all the things you were going to get a head start on over the weekend but didn't.
Doesn't it seem like weekends are flying by anymore? *Like* if you agree that there should be another day in between Saturday & Sunday! :)  -Parra Electric, Inc.

7.  Everyone seems to drive like a jerk on Mondays.

8.  Everyone else seems to be totally off their game so even if you're on the ball, being awesome and getting awesome things done they mess it up.

9.  Even though you got 8 hours of sleep the night before you seem to always be extra tired on Monday.

10.  Because it's Monday!!

...oh yeah...


Grandpa's Homemade Sauce & Meatballs

One of the items on my 101 list was to make my grandfather's/mom's homemade meatballs and sauce recipe.  I am happy to say that over the weekend I achieved this feat!  Now this isn't some easy open the jar of sauce and add a few extra dashes of spice, this is make it in the morning let it cook all day need to stir and let the flavors meld type stuff.  I have assisted my parents in making it before but I've never done it all on my own in our kitchen.

I must start off with disclaimer this is one of those type of recipes where things are simple but don't really follow the recipe and some things are added.  So I apologize for the craziness of it.

1 head garlic
Onion (I used a yellow)
2 small cans tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
To taste: Italian Seasoning, Parsley, Oregano, Mint (I have no clue if my mom has ever actually put mint into the sauce since I've never seen it in the spice cabinet)
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 C. bread crumbs
1 T. grated cheese

1.  Saute in olive oil  4-5 cloves pressed garlic, 1/4 C. chopped onion & 1/4 C. chopped celery until transluent  (I'm not big on chunks of either so I really chop mine up super tiny with my Manual Food Processor)

2.  Add cans of tomato paste to pot.  Fill cans with water (getting off all the leftover paste!) and add that.  Add the can of crushed tomatoes.

My hint of the day ... open up all the cans before you start trust me it helps!

3.  Add Italian Seasoning, Parsley, Oregano, Mint to taste and stir so ingredients start to combine.  Let it start to heat at a low heat.

1.  In mixing bowl combine beef, 1 clove pressed garlic, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and cheese.

2.  Mix together all of the ingredients with your hands! Form into about 1 inch balls.  If you like bigger meatballs go ahead and make them bigger it's all up to you!

3.  In a saute pan brown the meatballs on at least two sides (I prefer 3) then put them into the sauce.  You will probably have to do it in batches.

4.  Simmer or cook on low heat for 2-3 hours.  Stir on a semi-frequent basis, stirring gently from the bottom to keep incorporating all the flavors.

I was too slow to get a photo of the finished spaghetti dinner since we devoured it right away!  This is a great recipe for a crowd, just double or triple the amounts of everything.  My mom is a big fan of freezing some of the sauce and meatballs for later in the month.  I hope you enjoy one of our family favorites!


Tunes on a Tuesday: Disney on Pandora

Lately in an attempt to not be so connected to my computer I have taken to listening to Pandora on my phone in the mornings.  The past week I was all about the 90's alternative but this morning I went for a change in style.  I had been putzing around on Buzzfeed last night and came across the article about 21 Underappreciated Disney Songs.

So this morning I decided that it was going to be a good morning for some Disney!  Lo and behold there were multiple types of Disney Pandora stations.  Obviously the ones relating to anything current Disney channel were quickly passed over, we don't roll that way in our house!  I decided on the Walt Disney (Children's) station.

The first couple songs were killer ones like "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and "Belle" they got the blood pumping and woke me up for the day.  Then the romantic ballad and Billy Joel love fest started up.  Don't get me wrong I enjoy Tarzan and the soundtrack for the movie but when out of 8 songs half are from Tarzan we need to have a talk Pandora.

Just when the Billy Joel saga ended it was time to head to work and Disney on Pandora totally redeemed itself by sending me off with this epic tune.


5 ways I realized today I'm unprepared for Chicago Winter

Snow!  This afternoon one of my friends told me that it was snowing.  Since I work a basement and only emerge three times during the week day I had no idea that was going on.  Unfortunately for me I seem to be totally and utterly unprepared for winter and snow that has so obviously arrived!

1.  Shoes ... In the winter time I go all out and pretty much wear my Doc Martins all winter.  Staying two inches above the snow?  Yes please.  Today what was I wearing?  My cute little ballet shoes which got wet right away.

2.  Hat & Scarf ... I have awesomely warm, keep the wind off fleece hat and scarves.  Was not prepared with them today in my possession.  Really hoping that they are even at our place and not packed away at my parents house!

3.  Wipers ... Don't tell Kevin but he's going to have a major "I told you so" moment this evening.  He asked me a few weeks ago if I needed new ones and I was like oh no they're good.  HA not in heavier Chicago snow they aren't!

4.  Snowbrush ... I have a nice little 2007 Cobalt but I do NOT joke around with snow removal.  Currently in my car is a crappy little brush I had to buy after running my huge 52' one into the ground after three years.  I did not enjoy using that one and neither did my cute little ballet shoes.  Pretty sure I'm going to be ordering this bad boy from Amazon this week.  

5.  Moisturizer ... Kevin and I both have excema which means we both get super dry skin in the winter.  My finger joint skin started to crack this past week really badly.  We were finally able to get our industrial size humidifier but I took stock of our Aveeno and we are down to almost nothing!!  Meaning one thing of the excema type and two little travel size regular ones.  My poor fingers need more!

Are you ready for winter?!

These guys aren't ready either. 


People of Facebook: Things my Friends say

Yesterday Samantha over at Life is But a Stream of Thoughts posted a hilarious post about things she said when she was first on Facebook back in 2010.  After I finished laughing I realized that I've been on Facebook since 2005 ... Holy cow what ridiculous things have my friends said to me in 8 years of being on Facebook!  Let's just say there are definitely some good ones but I'll let them speak for themselves.

So the best part of going back and looking at the things my friends have posted, especially at the reaaaaally old ones is that the conversation is only one sided.  I have NO idea what he's referring to here and I'm not sure I want to remember!

Fact ... I have big boobs ... Fact ... my friends like to comment on them ... a lot.  These are two of the best early ones I found but there are definitely more!  

We called each other wench a lot.  I might have done something here with Snood.  Anyone remember Snood.  That game was the best! 

This is another one where I wish I knew what we were talking about.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't being dirty since I am an innocent little angel : )  

So much ridiculousness it cannot be contained in one single post.  There will definitely be more to come ... I might have to go onto my friend's profiles and see what ridiculous things I said on theirs ... maybe the have the other parts of the conversation ...  


Tunes on Tuesday: Gettin' It Done Playlist

I'm the type of person who always has to have something going on in the background while they're working on writing, cleaning, cooking, etc, etc. As I type I'm working my way through season two of Gossip Girl. When it's time to get down and get serious on my organization and getting things done I break out the straight up music. Not just any music it's usually power metal music.

Being completely obvious and cliche I usually kick off with some 80's hairmetal and it's usually Loverboy! I mean come on this one just screams (or sings) get up and dance around with the duster as your microphone.

Next I usually go for the stripper music. More dancing and cleaning ensues.

Obviously you can't have any sort of play list without one Bon Jovi song. By that time I'm living on a prayer and wishing I could hire a maid

Moving on to the 90's to keep myself pumped

Then I start to get a little more hardcore. I know some people are not a fan of this song since it's not considered one of their older songs but I'm a big fan of their cover of it. This is also one of my favorite workout songs.

I know this one is definitely way out of character for me but you'd be surprised how hard metal I can get haha. Not a huge fan of the video but I do like the song

Then it usually winds down with some college age independent rock

What gets you moving and grooving ... and sometimes cleaning?


Strange Things are Afoot ...

Firstly if you know the quote my title refers to I will love you forever!  Secondly I don't know if it's because we just got done with Halloween or what but it seems that this weekend was a really strange news weekend here the Chicagoland area.

Starting off with today and working our way backwards we kick off the first Monday in November with a bang ... well more like a rattle.  It seems as though today there was some sort of earthquake that they're now calling a blast from a quarry.  If you look down at the comments some sort of rattle was felt all over the Chicago area not just in the immediate area of the quarry.  Like usual I didn't feel a darn thing!  People still talk about the few earthquakes that have happened on our fault line over the years and I've slept through them all.

Usually when you think of libraries you don't' think controversial but a south suburban library is definitely stirring up the pot.  They have allowed viewing of any website on adult only computers and of course someone has seen what people are looking up and doesn't like that.  I personally have no opinion either way and can see both sides but seriously guys you're going to look at that stuff in public?  I would feel really awkward about doing that haha.

Over the weekend a cute little alligator was found hanging out underneath the stairs at O'Hare Airport.  After watching the video the smart person who just left it, probably when they realized it wouldn't get through security, tweeted photos of the alligator on the Blue line.  Gotta love smart people who leave a "paper" trail.

The last story wasn't so weird as it was a little close to home ... well actually work.  Whenever I see any article that's near us or my parents I automatically read it, while this one wasn't at our end of Arlington Heights it is only about two blocks from work!

Hopefully all the wacky news dies down a bit.  I mean come on an alligator and an earthquake might be a little much in one weekend!!