Dirty Shiny Pretty

Musings on Dirty Shiny Pretty Life

Oct 28, 2011

Trick or Treat Bag D.I.Y

Her scary sailor look

Bell's is dressing as a sailor girl this Halloween. I tried to encourage being a prima ballerina and wearing the very expensive costume I had to buy for her to wear once for her recital, but she would not be budged. Oh well, I'll wait to fight my battles once we have to start dealing with the slutty teenage outfits (seriously is anyone else creeped out by the 12 year old in thigh highs, heels, mini skirt, and choker staring out at you from the packaging?). Anyway, we were talking about trick or treating one day and asked what she would use for her bucket. Usually, I hand her a sheet and say go have fun, but her sailor costume got me thinking that I could make her a little sailor sack to carry her candy haul. It was super simple to make and I feel like the decorations could be changed to compliment all types of Halloween costumes.
Taking the tote out for a spin

Canvas tote
Print outs for stencils

1. Cut off handles of tote bag. Stencil and color in designs on bags.

2. Mark placement of eyelets at top of bag. Cut out holes for eyelet centers. Attach eyelets with pliers.

 3. Thread rope through eyelets, tie at ends to make handle, and you're done.


Oct 21, 2011

This Ain't Stouffers: Great Grandma's Lasagna Bolognese Recipe

One of my all time favorite foods is my great grandma's lasagna bolognese recipe. Besides being delicious I love this recipe because of it's family history and the fact that it is such a labor of love to make. Now it's not incredibly complicated but it does take time and patience to make, but at first bite you'll understand why it's worth it. This is authentic lasagna that fed Sicilian ranchers, mafia (my great great uncle is Joseph Ardizzone), and movie stars. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do.

F.Y.I. You won't find Ricotta in this recipe, but that's for the better. Trust me.  

-1 lb lasagna noodles
-1 lb Mozzarella cheese, grated
-1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Meat Sauce
-1 c. chopped onion          -1 clove garlic minced          -1/2 c. chopped celery          -2 Tbs butter                       
-1 lb mild Italian sausage          -1 lb ground beef          -2 Tbs olive oil          -1/2 c. dry white wine          
-2 c. chopped tomatoes, peeled/seeded          -3 Tbs tomato paste          -2 c. beef stock          -1 bay leaf
-1/2 tsp sugar          -1/2 tsp dried oregano          -1/8 tsp allspice          -salt and pepper to taste

Besciamella (Bechamel)
-3 Tbs butter         -6 Tbs flour         -2 c. milk         -1 c. heavy cream          -1 tsp salt          -dash nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13" baking dish. Cook lasagna according to package. Drain and cover with cold water. Then lift out strips and let dry on paper towels.

Meat Sauce- Combine onion, garlic, and celery. Saute over low heat in 2 Tbs butter until golden, 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a heavy 3-4 quart saucepan. In same fry pan saute sausage and beef in olive oil until lightly browned. Stir to break up lumps. Remove excess grease. Add wine to meat. Boil, stirring constantly, until almost evaporated. Add meat to saucepan and add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, and seasonings. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour stirring occasionally. 

Besciamella- Melt 3 Tbs butter in heavy 2-3 quart saucepan, over low heat. Stir in flour and cook slowly 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in milk and cream slowly, stirring with a whisk to obtain a smooth sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Assemble- Spread 1/3 of  meat sauce onto bottom of baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of noodles. Make sure noodle edges overlap. Spread 1/3 of besciamella over noodles, making sure to cover noodles. Top with 1/3 of mozzarella. Repeat 2 more times. Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately or cool and freeze for a later day. 


Oct 17, 2011

Back from Brooklyn

Photobomb in the old neighborhood
I got back from NY a week ago and just have been too lazy to post anything since. I had a great time catching up with friends and family in the city and exploring places I had never been before, like the NY Botanical Gardens (seriously check it out). The weather was great and I was happily surprised by how much I liked Brooklyn. When I went to school in Manhattan I went to BK maybe 2-3 times for parties and dinners, so I wasn't really sure what to expect, other than lots of hipsters. What I learned is that I really liked Brooklyn (or at least parts of it) and for the first time felt like it wouldn't be completely insane to move out to New York with my daughter. Not that that's even a plan but before this trip I was adamant against raising my kid(s) in the city. Brooklyn made me feel like family life would be attainable in New York. I also really loved all the great little stores, restaurants, and gorgeous homes scattered around the borough. All in all it was a great trip and I'm so happy that I got to go back. I promised my friends to make it a priority to come out every other year. I look forward to keeping that promise.
Awkward tourist pose on Williamsburg bridge
You can tell we're sisters by the size of our teeth
How old does one have to be to be considered an Old Lady?
Drinks with my old roomie
Beautiful flowers at the NY Botanical Gardens Japanese Exhibit

Oct 2, 2011

New York's Alright if You Like Saxophones

I'm so excited! After a five year absence(too long) I'm finally heading back to NY for a long weekend to meet up with my old roomie and my sister. I left NY much sooner than I ever anticipated, and while I always planned on moving back to CA I was definitely bummed about not reaching alumni status at the university I spent three years at (I'm a Chapman alum) and starting my "adult life" out there. Life is full of crazy loops and turns and you never know what's around the next corner but you gotta just keeping rolling. While my life has been turned upside down more than a few times over the last couple years, I'm always excited to see what lies ahead because it could be something fantastic like meeting up with great friends in a city I love.

P.S. I like saxophones. I actually took sax lessons for a few months when I was in 4th grade.