Viewer, I married him.

There are so many adaptations of Jane Eyre that I don’t really know what to say about this one. Everyone does a good job – Mia’s Jane is sufficiently clever and downtrodden and self-righteous; Michael’s Mr. Rochester is sufficiently tormented and wild and appealing; Jamie’s St. John is sufficiently tool-y; and Judi Dench is brilliant as always.

I think Liz was a little unconvinced, having recently seen the BBC miniseries, but I quite liked it.

(I’m not counting this as part of my summer blockbuster tally because this was meant to have been out in March, but took this long to arrive here.)

My last yum for a while, I’m afraid…

After a doctor’s appointment where my self-esteem took an unprecedented hit, I…am on a diet.

But I made this before that fateful Monday, so here’s one last hurrah of food for a little bit from me. It’s a Blueberry Buttermilk Sorbet with a White Chocolate Mud Cake.

It’s very nice and both are superbly simple to make (though the sorbet is complicated a bit if you have an itty-bitty ice cream maker like I do)!

So I guess I’m off to search for low-cal recipes now – wish me luck!

Just like Sonic!

Or so I hope – I’ve never been to Sonic, but I know they do cherry limeades there and I hope these Cherry Limeade Macaroons approach their inspiration.

They’re certainly tasty – I brought them in to work to share and one of my coworkers described himself as being on Cloud 9 after eating one – but I think I would make them smaller next time and refrigerate the filling before spooning it into the cooked macaroons so I could hopefully get a bit more of the lime-cream cheese filling in each cookie to balance out the chewiness of the coconut.


I don’t much care for bugs, but I will make an exception…

…for this grasshopper tart!

I thought this was really nice – not too sweet and light and refreshing, despite being a dessert that involves both chocolate and heavy cream. It went over very well at work – Liz said she would not be averse to my making this again in the future, something I’ll take into consideration when planning future grocery lists. 😉

One quick thing, though – I decided to take a page out of the original poster’s book and make my own cookies for the crust (rather than buying Oreos and scraping out the filling), using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. As I was just beginning to mix things up with my carob powder, an ominous wave of deja vu suddenly swept over me. It was THIS recipe (from Martha Stewart originally)!

When I was faced with such a crumbly “dough,” I decided to just mash it all together and bake it one giant piece instead of trying to get cookie-shaped cookies. Alas, the rolled-out dough was too big for my cookie sheet and, when I persisted, there was with my stove a great puff of smoke which required me to suddenly open all the windows and stand in front of my smoke detector, waving a kitchen towel in front of it for a bit.

It turned out all right, but next time I’m buying the damn Oreos.

Jim Henson’s Fantasic World is fantastic, indeed!

A few weekends ago, Heather, Liz, Alicia, and I went to Peoria to see Jim Henson’s Fantastic World at the Lakeview Museum.

It was really interesting to get a look at Jim Henson’s background and see the progression from his beginning in commercials (which featured many Muppet ancestors) to the Muppets to Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock and the more experimental movies (Labyrinth and Dark Crystal).

They had some Muppets there (notably Rowlf, a Kermit, and Bert and Ernie), but most of the visuals were his sketches and storyboards for characters and commercials and a lot of his early work in graphic design and some of his experimental works in film that didn’t necessarily feature puppetry.

It’s amazing to get these glimpses into such an amazing mind – one which was not only so creative, but also so ambitious and determined that the world would see his ideas (he wrote many proposals and scripts that never went anywhere before he finally pitched The Muppet Show).

And I really, really want to know why puppets and the Muppets in particular are so endearing and enduring.  Why are we so eager to forget about the people that we know are there, that we know are moving their mouths and their arms, and accept the Muppets as creatures? Their eyes don’t move, their mouths only open and close, and their faces have very limited ranges of visible emotion and yet, somehow, he was able to create characters that have souls and personalities! WHY?!?!?!

The exhibition itself (and this may have been a limitation of the space it was occupying) was somewhat difficult to follow – the flow wasn’t quite clear. As you can see above, I’m a bit confused about the timeline of his creations and am trying to be a bit vague about it all because the flow of the exhibit, which was sectioned into his life, early work, Muppets, Sesame Street, his non-puppet films and interests, the Fraggles, and the films, was not easy to follow. I mean, we saw everything, but it wasn’t very clear which section followed which.

I think this exhibit is on tour from the Smithsonian and has been since 2007, so I’m not sure how much longer it has to go, but if it comes near you, I’d really recommend going to see it.

What an amazing guy.

Don’t have time for pizza?

Well, to be honest, then you don’t have time for Garlic Knots. But they’re worth the time if you’ve got it!

Once again, I ended up creating quite a bit of smoke – I knew it when I was putting them in the oven. ‘How’s this going to work?’ I thought, but I didn’t do anything about it. And ended up in front of my smoke detector again. It’s the topping of garlic, cilantro, and other spices that you paint on top of it that caused the smoke – maybe cover it with foil?

The high temperature results in a lovely crispy outside and the lovely, soft, yeasty bread on the inside. I think I might try getting some of the flavors in the topping into the dough itself next time, but they’re still nice either way!

Oh, my god, you guys!

Heather and her mother have season tickets to the Broadway series at the Assembly Hall and the last show of the season was Legally Blonde: The Musical. Unfortunately for Heather’s mom, she was feel under the weather and, lucky me, I got her ticket!

I didn’t have high expectations – I like the movie, but wasn’t sure how it would work as a musical – and ended up being very pleasantly surprised! The plot moves along at quite a sprightly clip, seeing as how they have to get most of the movie PLUS songs into approximately the same amount of time, but the numbers a cute, the songs are listenable (if not entirely memorable), and the production we saw was really quite good!

Bruiser (her chihuahua) steals the show, though – he’s only on stage maybe four times, but each time I forgot entirely about what else was happening and I’m pretty sure the entire audience just went ‘Awwww…’ until he finished his scene.

If the touring company pops up near you, consider spending a very enjoyable couple of hours with Elle and company!

All Rory, all the time!

Is what I want from the sixth series of Doctor Who, but I will settle for some Rory, all the time.

Doctor Who (Saturdays, BBC America, 8:00 CST)

We’re three episodes in and so far we’ve had the Silence, Nixon, Las Vegas, pirates, a siren, a high-stakes series-long arc, and I think I spotted an Ood in the preview for next week. It’s all been very exciting!

I’m liking Amy a lot more now that Rory’s there to balance her obnoxiousness out. Frankly, I’d be happiest if the Doctor and Rory dropped Amy back off at home and went frolicking about the universe, but if I can only have Rory WITH Amy, then I will put up with her.

Matt Smith’s not getting quite so much on my nerves the series (though his caveman brow still freaks me out a bit) and, again, Rory!

I’m in love and I’m not ashamed!

The Voice (Tuesdays, NBC, 9:00 CST)

I never thought I would watch, let alone adore, a reality show. But The Voice has won me over!

If you’ve not heard anything about it (which must mean you don’t watch anything on NBC because they have really been advertising the HELL out of this show), here’s how it works: There are blind auditions, in which the four celebrity judges (Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine [from Maroon 5], and Blake Something [he’s a country singer and apparently engaged to Miranda Lambert, another country singer]) have their backs turned to the singers (and these are the finalists – no embarrassing, cringeworthy performances here). Each judge will create a team of 8 singers and if they want someone for their team, they hit their button and their chair turns around. If one judge turns around, the singer is automatically on their team. If more than one judge turns around, the singer gets to choose whose team they want to join.

We’re through the blind auditions and everyone has their team of 8.

Now we start the battle rounds in which each judge/mentor will work with their teams and then whittle them down to four singers per team.

Then WE get to vote!

And, oh, yes, I will be voting.

I love it (so far) because it’s so positive – like I said, everyone here has made it through previous rounds of auditions. They’re not making us sit through all the sad, embarrassing singers who think they’re awesome but are not – these people are all very talented, but for whatever reason, just haven’t “made” it in the business yet. And I think the level of talent they’ve gotten is in a different league than American Idol. Adam put it best when he said, “The people we’re turning away could win American Idol easily.”

So the competitors are super-talented; Xtina, Adam, Blake, and Cee Lo all seem really intelligent and kind and supportive (especially Blake) and are adorable and have fabulous chemistry with each other; and the approach to the competition seems really positive which I like – I don’t want to see someone’s hopes and dreams crushed, I want to see constructive criticism that will push them to be better even if they’re not winning the game this time.

Heather and I are hooked and, barring a complete change in direction, will be seeing this through to the very end.

Happy Easter!

I know it’s more than two weeks late, but…

I don’t have an excuse. Shut up.

At any rate, I was a bit overambitious (surprise, surprise) with my menu.

We had mimosas and bellinis (either orange juice or peach nectar with champagne), caprese eggs benedict which were super-yummy (and poached perfectly, despite the worries of my philistine father), roasted new potatoes with rosemary and lemon (also super-yummy), Croatian Easter cake (lovely flavors of orange and cranberry, but quite dense), boozy hot cross buns (the recipe for which I’ll post at the end of the post since I combined three recipes to get these and they were very tasty), and the darling AND yummy topiary cupcakes!

Everything was very good, but, as always, took me much longer than we’d anticipated. My mom helped a lot – she basically decorated the cupcakes once the grass tip I was using with the frosting got too frustrating (I got two that looked as they do in my picture – she did a variety of different designs on the rest, the most successful of which was just stars). I think it was just on this side of too thick for the tip – it needed to be thick to be able to stand up under its own weight, but it also kept clogging the tip. If I’d had an actual adapter which would allow me to screw it on and off, I could have just rinsed it out after each cupcake, but I was using disposable bags and the pressure I was having to put on it popped a couple of bags before we gave up.

Click here for my hot cross bun recipe!

Looks aren’t everything, you know?

Isn’t it pretty?

It’s smoked salmon cheesecake with homemade tartar sauce and I was so looking forward to eating it! It was simple to throw together and was, as you can see, very picturesque. And it’s ingenious – it’s everything you would eat with smoked salmon on a bagel (i.e., cream cheese and dill).

Alas, it was far too salty for me.

And the recipe doesn’t even call for any salt! Obviously the smoked salmon is salty and there’s parmesan in the crust which is? You guess it, salty! And unfortunately, smoked salmon + parmesan = inedible levels of saltiness.

So it was with heavy heart that I chucked the entire thing in the bin. 😦

It made me sad.

An entire movie made of backstory…

It was enjoyable – Thor is likable, Natalie Portman is likable, Kat Dennings is her normal sarcastic self, Loki is likable despite being an obvious baddie, Thor’s buddies are likable, and there are more than a few good laughs to be had, but basically the whole movie felt like setup to me.

There are lost of “exciting” battle scenes and big fights, but I felt slightly bored the whole time and I think a lot of it is because we flip back and forth between Thor’s meeting with Jane (Natalie Portman) here on Earth and the drama going on back in Asgard (both before and after his banishment). I spent the whole time going ‘Man, if Ken doesn’t get through this setup soon, this is going to be the world’s longest movie!’ but instead of really getting going once everyone’s motivation and situation had been established, it just stopped.

So go see it in preparation for The Avengers and in case they decide to do another Thor film, but that’s really what it is – establishing his character and his supporting characters for whatever the next movie is going to be.

You know what? It’s my blog and I’m starting my Summer Blockbuster tally now even though it’s still early May.

Summer blockbuster tally: 0-1-0