Reci-bee: Pistachio Ice Box Cake

What is it about that artificial pistachio flavor that just tastes so freaking good?  Pistachio ice cream…pistachio cake…pistachio pudding…you’d think the toxic neon green color might deter me, but no.  I love me pistachio flavored anything.

And this Pistachio Ice Box Cake is no exception.  A play on the popular Watergate Salad (another guilty pleasure that I can just eat with a wooden spoon while sitting in my pj’s on my couch watching Gossip Girl), this cake combines only a few ingredients to create a tasty n0-bake summer treat that’s great for, well, anything!

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As is custom with most ice box cakes and pies, this treat gets better the longer it sits.  Since it’s made in a small pan, it doesn’t make many servings, so plan ahead if you plan on making this for a party.  However, because this recipe is pretty simple and VERY budget friendly, this is a great party treat if you double the ingredients and use a larger 9 in. x 13 in. pan instead.

Pistachio Ice Box Cake

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.50.16 PMIngredients:

  • 2 (3.4 oz) packages instant pistachio pudding
  • 2¼ cups cold milk
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, defrosted
  • 18 to 20 graham crackers
  • Chopped pistachios for decorating

 

Directions:

  1. Like an 8 in. x 8 in. pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding and milk until combined. Refrigerate 5 minutes.
  3. Fold 8 oz. whipped topping into pudding until combined.
  4. Place one layer graham crackers in prepared pan. Top with half of pistachio pudding. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of graham crackers. Top with remaining 8 oz. whipped topping. Top with chopped pistachios.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.

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Bee Happy: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

911Xmhn9+rLSPOILERS AHEAD.  You’ve been warned.

I am a product of the Harry Potter generation.  Ever since the book release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I’ve been completely hooked and obsessed with the series.  I remember going to Borders (RIP) and Barnes and Nobel for all the midnight release parties (sometimes in costume)…I walked around The Taste of Chicago reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning the day before my friends wedding finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

For as long as I can remember, this book series has been an integral part of my life, so when I learned that J.K. Rowling was working on a new Harry Potter project, I was beyond excited!  While I decided to forgo the insanity of the book release party, I did pre-order my copy and dove in to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as soon as it arrived on my doorstep…

And I kinda wish I hadn’t.

While Cursed Child is not technically meant to be the 8th Harry Potter book and was openly advertised as a much more mature, less magical story, I still found it kind of…dare I say…boring.

Similar in style and feel to A Christmas Carol, Cursed Child tells the story of Harry’s son, Albus, and his desire to right a wrong that his dad was involved with years before (remember Cedric?  Heeeee’s BAAAAACCCK!!).  Together with his best friend, Scorpious (who ironically is the son of Harry’s enemy, Draco Malfoy), the two troublemakers travel through time and try to save Cedric from ever having to be killed by Voldermort.  Why, you ask?  Great question.

I just didn’t feel this story was necessary to the Harry Potter canon.  It didn’t change my feelings about any character and didn’t resolve any unanswered questions from the series itself.  To me, Cursed Child read more like fan fiction…like someone’s attempt to finish a small story line that was abandoned in the HP series…but I really felt no different after reading it.  The story just moved right through me like a House Ghost.

However, despite all the criticism, I do have to say that I was quite impressed with Harry’s character and his very realistic and relatable flaws he has as a parent and a spouse.  There’s no denying that Harry’s past is heartbreaking, and seeing how it has affected him as an adult was quite interesting…but again, didn’t need it.

If you read the end of Deathly Hallows, you know that the storyline wraps up quite nicely.  We see the happily ever afters…all the kids of the kids we knew and loved ready for their next adventures at Hogwarts…and all was well.  J.K. Rowling said it herself!  And sometimes, I think you just have to let a good thing be.

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33 Amazing Wizard of Oz Facts

We’ve been celebrating The Wizard of Oz over the past couple weeks, and today we celebrate the 77th anniversary of its worldwide release!

Though it didn’t open to great reviews or massive success, The Wizard of Oz has found its rightful place in cinematic movie history and now sits at #8 on IMDb’s list of 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

It also shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that this movie is also riddled with crazy rumors about filming and production.  While some of them are true (Toto did make more than The Munchkins), others were not (no, the colored horses were not covered in Jell-O).

To help debunk some of those crazy stories and celebrate this gem of a movie, here are 33 Fun Facts about The Wizard of Oz.

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  1. Judy Garland almost lost the role of Dorothy to America’s sweetheart, Shirley Temple. Metro-Goldwyn Meyer outbid 20th Century Fox for the movie rights and if Fox had won, Shirley Temple would have had the starring role.
  2. Talk about having courage…the Cowardly Lion’s costume was made of real lion skin!
    wizard of oz dat ass cowardly lion
  3. Toto the Dog reportedly earned $125 a week during filming. Each Munchkin actor earned $50 to $100.
  4. The horses in the Emerald City were colored with vegetable dye, not Jell-O as rumored.
  5. In the book, Dorothy’s slippers are silver…however, the studio didn’t think silver would show up on film, so they changed them to red.
    wizard of oz dorothy click heels ruby shoes
  6. The Oscar-winning song, “Over the Rainbow”, was almost cut from the film to shorten the length.
    wizard of oz judy garland dorothy gale
  7. Wanna try on Dorothy’s slippers? She sported a tiny size 5!
    movie film retro wizard of oz oz
  8. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West, was a kindergarten teacher before becoming an actress.
    wicked witch wicked witch of the west wizard of oz
  9. The tornado in the film was actually a 35 foot long muslin stocking spun around with dust and dirt.
  10. The Wicked Witch also has a death certificate, dated May 6, 1938…the 20th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s death (the author of the book).
  11. Baum apparently invented the name ‘Oz’ when looking at an alphabetical filing cabinet label, ‘O – Z’.
  12. The Munchkins have a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  13. Garland won an Oscar Juvenile Award for her role as Dorothy Gale, which she later called the Munchkin Award.
  14. The Smithsonian exhibit housing Dorothy’s red slippers is so popular, the carpet in front of the slippers has been replaced numerous times due to wear and tear.
  15. The fire that blazes out from Dorothy’s shoes when the Witch tries to touch them was actually apple juice spraying out of them, sped up on film.
    wizard of oz dorothy gale wicked witch ruby slippers wicked witch of the west
  16. Several actors playing Winged Monkeys in the forest were injured when the wires suspending them above the sound stage snapped, sending them falling several feet.
  17. MGM paid $75,000 for the film rights to Baum’s book, equating to about $1.2 million today.
  18. Margaret Hamilton suffered severe burns during the scene in which she vanishes in a cloud of smoke (her skin makeup ignited).
    wizard of oz judy garland wicked witch glinda munchkinland
  19. Production costs for the film were around $2.7 million dollars, equating to about $45.6 million today!!
  20. The actress who played Auntie Em, Clara Blandick, committed suicide in 1962 after battling debilitating arthritis and impending blindess.
  21. Comedian W.C. Fields was offered the chance to play the Wizard, but he wanted $100,00 for the role. MGM offered $75,000, which he turned down.
    Warner Archive winner bow thank you thank you applause
  22. Judy Garland was 16 when she starred in The Wizard of Oz.
  23. The cast of The Wizard of Oz was tight off screen as well. Jack Haley (Tin Man) was the godfather of Bert Lahr’s son (Cowardly Lion). Judy Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli married Jack Haley Jr., the son of Jack Haley (Tin Man). Ray Bolger (scarecrow) gave the eulogy for the memorial service for Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch).
    wizard of oz movies crying green dress frank morgan
  24. The role of Toto was played by a five-year-old female Cairn terrier named Terry. She was owned by Carl Spitz, who started the Carl Spitz Hollywood Dog Training School.
  25. After the film was released, Terry’s name was permanently changed to Toto.
  26. Over her lifetime, Terry/Toto appeared in 17 films!
  27. Judy Garland earned $500 a week for the film, however Ray Bolger and Jack Haley earned roughly $3,000 a week.
    wizard of oz movies
  28. There were four or five pairs of ruby slippers made for the film. Each shoe was made of red satin and covered by 2,300 sequins.
  29. One of those pairs is waiting to be displayed at the future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. A group of wealthy donors, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Stephen Spielberg, pooled together their funds to purchase this pair. The price they paid has not been released, but it’s thought to be between $2 and $3 million.
  30. It took 22 men one week to make the 40,000 fake flowers that made up the film’s poppy field.
    flowers wizard of oz movies happy friendship
  31. One of the last surviving actors of the film is Jerry Maren. He played a Munchkin and was a member of the Lollipop Guild. He was the one to hand Dorothy a lollipop.
  32. In the film, the Witch wrote “Surrender Dorothy” with her broom in the sky. In real life, it was written by a production designer with a hypodermic needle filled with dye in a tank of cloudy water. He had to write the words backwards in order to be filmed.
  33. The early Technicolor process required more light than a normal film production, so the set temperatures often exceeded 100 degrees.

 

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Creativi-bee: Marbled Clay Coasters

I love to entertain.  I really don’t get to do it enough because…

A) no time
B) no space
C) no time

But when I can, I really enjoy it!  I love putting together themed parties and decorating my space to suit the occasion.  Even if there’s no theme, it’s always a blast eating and drinking with those you love.

So the other day, while indulging in Avalanche Sharks (yes, it’s a real movie), I got an idea for some colorful and fun coasters that would add style to any get-together…PLUS, it’s a great clay buster if you’re looking for a project to use up all those random clay pieces from other projects.

diy-marbled-coasters

These Marbled Clay Coasters are awesome!  They’re super colorful and durable and I just love how they turned out.  They also make great gift ideas for that special hostess with the mostess (Christmas is 4 MONTHS AWAY, PEOPLE!!)

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Marbled Clay Coasters

Materials:

  • Various pieces of crafting clay (I used an assortment of Sculpey clay…this much clay gave me 4 coasters)
    Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.31.09 PM
  • Clay rolling pin
  • Large circular item to cut out coasters (large drinking glasses, biscuit cutters, or small bowls work well…just make sure they’re slightly larger than a drinking glass – I used the lid for a large candle)
  • Sand paper (optional)
  • Felt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Work the clay pieces individually in your hands until soft and pliable.  Keep in mind that dark clay might stain your skin, so I suggest starting with the light colored clay first, then work the darker colored clays.
  2. Roll clay into logs.  It doesn’t really matter how long or fat the logs are here…just eye ball it and try to keep it somewhat equal.  Here were my logs, with a pen for reference (these logs gave me 2 coasters, then I did the same with the clay on the left for 2 more).
    Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.28.09 PM
  3. Gather logs together and twist once.
    Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.29.08 PM
  4. Fold logs in half and twist again.
    Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.29.29 PM
  5. Gather clay into a ball and work for only a few seconds, as you don’t want the colors to bleed too much.
    Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.26.41 PM
  6. Roll out the ball to reveal the neat marbling effect!  Don’t like the look?  Turn your clay over, it’ll look different on the other side!
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  7. Cut out your coasters and transfer to baking sheet (I have a sheet I use specifically for clay, but you can use a regular baking sheet covered with aluminum foil).
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  8. To cut more coasters, you can add more clay to your already marbled clay or start fresh.  Just remember not to work the clay too much or else you’ll just end up with nasty poo brown clay.
  9. Bake your coasters following the instructions on your clay.
  10. Let cool and enjoy!
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  11. If you want, you can sand the edges using sand paper or glue felt to the bottom of the coaster, but neither is necessary.

Here’s a closeup of some of the coasters I made…I clearly had way too much fun here!

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The Bees Knees: Three Most Important Things

parks-and-rec

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August 23, 2016 · 7:25 am

Reci-bee: Starry Night Pound Cake Bites

As a baker, crafter, and creative brain, I have a tendency to collect more than I need. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was a HOARDER (though my husband may disagree with me!), but I certainly do have a lot of…stuff. And one thing I find myself collecting, for some absurd reason, is sprinkles.

Do I use a ton of sprinkles? No. Not even a little bit. But if I’m walking through Target or Michaels and there are some cute bunny-shaped sprinkles on sale, how do I say no?

So the other day as I was going through my strange sprinkle collection, I came upon this assortment of Easter sprinkles that I used for a project a while back. I only had a few of each kind, so to save space, I just dumped them all together to create one epic sprinkle mix…and then I got an idea.

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All the textures and colors blended together so perfectly and looked like a lovely starry night sky…so I decided to put this new sprinkle mix to use!

These little bites were literally the result of me going through my cabinets and fridge to find a way to use my new sprinkle assortment. I used a light blue Candy Melts candy to help create the illusion of a night sky, and I just love how these little bites turned out!

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For the cake, I used a Sarah Lee pound cake from my freezer, but you could really use whatever cake you’d like. However, keep in mind that a pound cake is sturdy and heavy, which stands up well to the weight of the candy and sprinkles.

Literally great for any occasion (as long as you have sprinkles for it!), these little Wish Upon a Star Pound Cake Bites were a super fun, fast, and budget friendly project! Best of all, now I have a little more space in my decoration box for more sprinkles!

 

Wish Upon a Star Pound Cake Bites

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite pound cake recipe (you can also use a frozen pound cake if you’d like)
  • Small round biscuit cutter (mine was about 1 in.)
  • Assorted sprinkles
  • One bag Blue Candy Melts candy
  • Disposable decorating bag or Ziploc bag
  • Large yellow star sprinkles

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Directions:

  1. Prepare your pound cake recipe. Bake and cool cake following recipe instructions.
  2. Slice your pound cake into 1 in. slices.
  3. Using your cutter, cut out as many round shapes as you can from each slice.  Using the Sarah Lee cake, I got 2 circles from each slice.
  4. Dump assorted sprinkles on a parchment-lined baking sheet (make sure your sheet has a rim so sprinkles don’t go everywhere!). Set aside.
  5. Melt your candy in a bowl following package instructions.
  6. Transfer melted candy to decorating bag and pipe candy on top of your pound cake pieces. Carefully dip candy side into sprinkle assortment.  Don’t push too hard because then the melted candy will ooze off your cake bite.  Just a light dip into the sprinkle mixture will work.  Transfer to cooling rack.
  7. Once all your cake bites are dipped, use the leftover melted candy to pipe small dot on top of each cake bite. Place large yellow star on top of dot.
  8. Place bites in freezer for 5 minutes to set candy.

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42 Inspiring Quotes from Literature

Oftentimes books do so much more than help us pass the time.  They inspire, they motivate, they help us look at the world in a different way.  Books take us on adventures, break our hearts, make us laugh, and make us mad.  They creep and crawl into our conscious, become the mantras for how we live our lives, and hold within their covers the characters that we love, mourn, hate, and admire.

In my day I’ve read a lot of books…A LOT.  A live-long obsession with reading and a degree in literature have opened my world to a whole plethora of reading materials.  Take a look at my bookshelves and you’ll see everything from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Crime and Punishment.  I have books on the history of pirates, novels written by local Native American authors, and even signed copies of some rare first editions.  I love reading and love being transported into a world all my own.  Every time I pick up a new book, I create a new world in my mind and I almost always learn something along the way.

As I’ve moved my way from story to story, I’ve collected quotes that have stuck out to me, that mean something to me or that have taught me something about life.  While this is by no means a full list, here are a few inspiring quotes I’ve stumbled upon during my 30+ years of being a book nerd.🙂

Books and Literature

You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anyone says to you, don’t let ‘em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change…it’s a good one, even if it does resist learning.
–To Kill a Mockingbird


–Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’
–God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.
–A Wrinkle in Time


–Gone with the Wind

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.
–Alice in Wonderland

Gilgamesh, whither are you wandering?
Life, which you look for, you will never find.
For when the gods created man, they let
death be his share, and life
withheld in their own hands.
Gilgamesh, fill your belly,
Day and night make merry,
let days be full of joy,
dance and make music day and night.
And wear fresh clothes,
And wash your head and bathe.
Look at the child that is holding your hand,
And let your wife delight in your embrace.
These things alone are the concern of men.
–The Epic of Gilgamesh

 Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.
–The Painted Drum


–The Little Prince

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
–Worstward Ho

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.
–Foundation

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
–As You Like It

Things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.
–Life of Pi


–Les Miserables

Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.
–A Game of Thrones

Wanna fly, you gotta give up the shit that weighs you down.
–Song of Solomon

Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.
–Tuck Everlasting


–The Princess Bride

People always think that happiness is a faraway thing, something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.
–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
–To Kill a Mockingbird


–The Fellowship of the Ring

The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
–The Catcher in the Rye

Without love, we become savage.
–Lord of the Flies

Write it all down.
–Harriet the Spy

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.
–The Last Lecture


–The Alchemist

Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.
–The Catcher in the Rye

You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.
–The Phantom Tollbooth

I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.
–A Wrinkle in Time


–Alice in Wonderland

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.
–Peter Pan

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.
–The House at Pooh Corner


–Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Don’t you know that everybody’s got a Fairyland of their own?
–Mary Poppins

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.
–Charlotte’s Web

Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
–The Minpins


–The Magician’s Nephew

Keep all your promises, don’t take what doesn’t belong to you, and always look after those less fortunate than yourself, and you’ll do well in the world.
–The Dragon of Lonely Island

There is nothing sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.
–The Tale of Despereaux

You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing.
–Tuck Everlasting

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
–The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

How long is forever?  Sometimes, just one second.
–Alice in Wonderland

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