Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"She's a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can't look away."

Yeah das right, just try looking away from these pictures that I awkwardly took of myself against a nearby elementary school wall. Kids were on the adjacent swing set, most likely questioning why the heck some broad was trying to channel her inner Cosmo Kramer.

Denim shirt: Belongs to my dad. Similar ones found at a Goodwill near you.
Kramer shirt: Target boy's section in 2009.
Jeans: Forever21.
Boots that I once biked 26 miles (round-trip) to purchase: Jelly Pop Leal Booties.

I feel like I should end with another related Seinfeld quote.
"Why do they call it a 'building'? It looks like they're finished. Why isn't it a 'built'?"
*cymbals crash.* To clarify, that quote is related to this post because there is a building behind me.  I, uh...I guess I'll talk to you guys...later. *Drops microphone. Walks off stage.*

Saturday, December 8, 2012

All That Glitters...

...ain't gold. I can tell you that. I found this out firsthand when I attempted to make a Star Spice Cake that I found on TasteSpotting.   The recipe originally came from this website. Please click on it. Tell me if anything looks problematic. 

"Who cares," I said. 
"It'll be fine," I said. 
"That's what Google translate is for!" I said.

So wrong, Katie. So very, very wrong.

 The night ended with me, very Peeta-esquely, tossing the flavorless brick into my backyard.  Have at it, birds! Enjoy this Polish mistake! It tasted like raw pancake batter. I won't even post the measurements I used because somewhere during the conversion process, I fudged up. Was it the 10 eggs? The entire jar of honey I poured into the batter? Who knows. At least it looked okay.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I-wish-I-could-say-that-I-haven’t-posted-in-over-three-months-because-I-was-too-busy-living-a-wild-and-glamourous-lifestyle-but-the-reality-of-the-situation-is-that-I-was-too-scared-to-write-a-movie-post-WOW-IT-FEELS-GOOD-TO-GET-THAT-OFF-MY-CHEST. Gimme a sec. I gotta catch my breath.
It is true. Every time I sat down to grease up this blog’s wheels and finally get her rolling, I ended up asking myself, “What business do I have writing about movies?” I am not a Film student. I am not involved in any type of film production. I don’t even know the official name of that black-and-white-clapping thing they shove in front of the camera before each take.

(Note: I just Googled. It is often called a Clapperboard.)

As these months went by, however, I began to realize that I was going about this all wrong. I shouldn’t be kicking myself because I don’t yet know the all cinematic lingo that will allow me to discuss inherent themes and shot composition. I should be writing these posts to organize the jumble of thoughts I have about films I watch, to learn as I go, and to share and gush about said films with anyone who’d be interested. To quote Mean Girls’ Kevin Gnapoor, “Cady Katie, this is your night. Don’t let the haters stop you from doin’ your thang.”

 So let’s buck up and get going. First stop on this cinematic gravy train: 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The cast was perfect. The whole lot of ‘em. I’ve never wanted to be friends with a group of fictional characters so badly, and it was due to their believability. It was my first time seeing Ezra Miller, and I’m hooked. The kid’s got stage presence. He played his high-school-senior character, Patrick, with enough authenticity to get me wondering why I never saw him in the halls of my own high school. I know people like Patrick and his friends existed, because I heard their jokes and saw their clothes on the friends my older sister brought home when she was in high school and I was just a scared, awkward middle-schooler hiding in my room. 
That’s one of the bigger messages I took away from the film. There are so many different kinds of people in one high school. Each with their own favorite teachers, reading assignments, iTunes libraries, and scars--both emotional and physical. Why shouldn’t we try our best to get to know them all? I hope current high schoolers who saw this movie are moved to widen their social circles, even if by just the slightest amount, because that is one of my bigger post-high school regrets. I wish I came out of my room when my sister’s friends were over. I wish, on the first day of the semester, I sat by the odd (but really who am I to judge) kid in class instead of that one girl I knew from the previous year's math class. I wish I had a teacher like Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd) that told me to participate. Charlie, the scared and socially awkward protagonist, took that plunge when he approached Patrick at a football game on a Friday night, and his story began.

He also met Emma Watson’s character, Sam, that night, who was played with equal amounts of wonderful. Any worries of Emma Watson getting pigeonholed into being known as Hermione Granger for the rest of her life are gone, baby. She wasn’t Emma Watson on screen. She was affable, emotional, strong-minded Sam, with an awesome hairstyle to boot. She cried, I cried. She made jokes, I laughed like I was a part of them. I love you, Emma Watson.

And Logan Lerman. Loooooogan Lerman. You delicate, baby deer. I questioned your portrayal of Charlie the first time I saw the movie. “Who the heck wouldn’t want to be friends with him!? He’s built like a model and has the face of a small woodland creature!” I asked as I shook my fists at the sky. The second, third, and (oh God) fourth time seeing the movie helped to ultimately change my opinion, though. His awkward half-grins and social gaffes became endearing and relatable. Little things like his posture, walk, and slight hint of a Pittsburgh accent made him seem real. Maybe even more believable than Charlie’s character in Stephen Chbosky’s book. Good work, Logan. Good work, director Stephen Chbosky. Good work, casting directors Venus Kanani and Mary Vernieu. I love you guys, too.

 When I read Stephen Chbosky’s book in middle school, I never actually decided whether I loved it or not. Maybe it was because some of Charlie’s thoughts hit close to home and left my sense of individuality feeling a little violated. Maybe it was because I was too young to understand the emotional, uphill slalom course that is high school. Maybe I was just too busy catching up on The Clique series to take the time to fully process my own feelings. Probs that last possibility, if we’re being completely honest.
I know how I feel about the story now, though. And it can only be described as that glowy vibration you get in your stomach when the waiter brings out your food at a restaurant, except it lasts for the entirety of the movie and then some. Or maybe I could just say it makes me feel infinite. One of my favorite quotes from the book was when Charlie wrote:

  “I’m not exactly sure why, but I always thought it would be fun to have “glory days.” Then, I would have stories to tell my children and golf buddies. I guess I could tell people about Punk Rocky and walking home from school and things like that. Maybe these are my glory days, and I’m not even realizing it because they don’t involve a ball.”
The quote hasn’t left the back of my mind since I first saw Perks. My first thought, as I watched Charlie and his friends experience high school through school dances, house parties, drug experimentation and first kisses, was, “Why didn’t I have those experiences? I must have done high school wrong.” I later realized, though, as I drove home from the AMC Waterfront Theater, through the Fort Pitt Tunnels with my best friend, that we all have different glory days and moments of infinity. No matter who we were in high school, we had those moments where it felt like our throats would burst due to laughing and our stomachs would burst due to the bubbling, boiling-over love for our friends that filled it. And for the joyful reminder this movie gave me, I’m grateful.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I goofed at the end of my last entry. I said this was going to be a movie post. It is not.  I simply had way too many kitchen adventures this week to ignore! This post was practically bursting out of my fingertips! PATRIOTIC TREAT OVERLOAD.

I spent most of this year's Fourth of July in the kitchen, and enjoyed every minute of it. While waiting for the many layers of my Flag Cake to bake or cool, however, I:
  • Watched a full two episodes of Band of Brothers and had to ask my super-mega-history-buff brother, Joseph, which war they were fighting. The look of disgust he gave me could have killed a small plant. 
  • Practically knocked my mixing bowl off of the counter when I saw both James McAvoy and Damian Lewis come on screen within the same two minutes.
  • Sigh. Attractive, talented actors in uniform.
    • Made a quick run to the grocery store. (The cake recipe calls for Baking POWDER...not Baking Soda.)
    • Chased our now 5-year-old dog around the living room, eventually tackling him and forcing a puppy birthday hat upon his head.
    • Ate half a watermelon.

      All in all, a wonderful holiday! And these recipes made it even better, I tell ya what.
    Star-Spangled Spritzer
    Adapted from Apron Strings.
    Ingredient amounts are very flexible. Especially that 6th one. Wink wink.
    You'll need:
    Star Cookie Cutter
    Fresca, Sprite, or 7-Up
    Orange Juice
    1. If you're feeling patriotic, cut a few star shapes out of large strawberries and freeze before serving.
    2. Crush or blend strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple and place two spoonfuls at the bottom of each glass.
    3. Add liquids. (Again, amounts can vary according to preference.)
    4. Add a few whole blueberries and pieces of pineapple to each glass.
    5. Add ice and enjoy!

    Flag Cake
    From 17 and Baking.

    The recipe takes time, but is so worth it! The lengthy directions can be found here, and a wonderful video tutorial can be found here. This cake is both gorgeous and TASTY. I heard all of America collectively hold their breath as I made that first cut, I swear. Will the flag be right-side up? Will the stripes be the right color? DID I REMEMBER THE BAKING POWDER?! Luckily, it all worked out. For bright white icing, omit the vanilla extract. 
    I wish you all a happy belated 4th. Hope you had a wondahful holiday!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

And the Livin' is Easy

Made some turkey sandwiches, packed up the ol' minivan, and spent an afternoon in the woods with my friend Erin. After visually inhaling five consecutive Mad Men episodes the night before, I had retro clothing on the brain. A squirt of that 1960's brain juice must have dribbled into my eyes (plenty more pleasant visual imagery where that came from) as I sifted through my closet that morning,  because my get-up had a vintage feel to it. Mainly because of the scarf. 
First name: Katie. Last name: The Riveter.

The skirt is from ShopSosie, but as it is no longer in stock, here's a similar style from ModCloth. 
The shirt belongs to my mama. ShopSosie has one quite like it. 
The floral belt came with a Ruche dress I bought last year. While the dress is no longer on their website, they have plenty of other beautiful, floral prints on sale right now! Click!

First movie post, comin' up next.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sweet Peach Cake

I would like to say, "Welcome." Welcome to Meal and a Movie, where I'll be going places many no women have gone before in the world of food, movies, and clothesall while on a college student's budget. It's going to be so much fun.

Like opening-a-new-jar-of-peanut-butter fun.
Or WHOA-this-parking-meter-already-has-30-minutes-on-it fun.
Or I-just-bumped-into-James-McAvoy-at-my-local-grocery-store-and-he-helped-me-carry-my-bags-to-the-car-and-now-we're-engaged! fun.

I was lucky enough to find myself in two of those situations this morning. You can decide which ones.
I think you get the picture, though. We're gonna have fun here. Let us begin! 
With Sweet Peach Cake!
I did not originally plan for this Peach Cake to be my blog's first recipe. I planned to make some sort of fancy-pants layered cake and WOW you with my attention to detail and piping skill. Due to a misunderstanding between my Dad and I, however, which involved us accidentally going to the grocery store at the same time, our household ended up with a TON of peaches . A literal ton. The kitchen floor caved in under their weight and I landed upon a heap of debris and old board games in my garage.

It was all worth it in the end, though, because with those peaches, a glorious dessert was made. A dessert that came straight from the kitchen of Giada de Laurentiis, and involved a few tweaks from yours truly.

Sweet Peach Cake
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
Time: 3 hrs, including cooling
Yield: 8 - 10 servings
For the Cake:
Butter for greasing
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 fresh peaches, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces.
For the Glaze:
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ .
2. Butter and flour a 9x9 glass pan.
3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl until blended.
4. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a separate large bowl to blend.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients and stir until blended.
6. Stir in diced peaches.
7. Pour batter into prepared pan.
8. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes.
9. Melt butter in saucepan or microwave
10. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium-size bowl.
11. Add melted butter to powdered sugar.
12. Add three tablespoons milk.
13. Add vanilla extract.
14. Beat until smooth and creamy.
15. Drizzle over COMPLETELY cooled cake.

This cake takes quite a while to bake and cool. Instead of kneeling down in front of the oven, turning on the light and drooling on your kitchen floor as the cake rises, my sweet-toothed friends, I suggest laying on the living room carpet and watching my dog, Oliver, OBLITERATE the remnants of a jar of Jif Peanut Butter with his eight-foot tongue. It's better than television. 
Well, at least better than Whitney. Or Two Broke Girls. I am in no way implying that Oliver's peanut butter love-sessions are better than Mad Men, however, which has grabbed hold of my heartstrings over the last four days, snatched me into its fandom and won't let go until I have finished all five seasons. Hopefully by the end of this weekend.

ANYWAY. Once the cake is cooled, and you've added your glaze, feel free to add some thinly sliced peaches as decoration. Pretty snazzy, eh? EH?!
My glaze ended up as more of a thick icing. If the gooey, classic, cinnamon bun glaze is what you're lookin' for, be sure to add at least 3 tablespoons of milk.  
Enjoy this sweet, flavorful, wonderfully moist cake!  
Thank you so much for reading! All 4.7 billion-trillion of you!

No, but seriously. Thank you. Get ready for some fun.