Saturday, November 19, 2011

On the Homefront: Thanksgiving Is Coming! Thanksgiving Is Coming!

This Is How I Feel (from Cheezburger)

Have you ever had one of those moments when you felt just like a one-person disaster area -- a veritable harbinger of doom with the ability to destroy everything your path?  Well, folks, this week that would be me.  I started the week off with a bad case of the flu, which has gradually worked its way into my sinuses so that I now have no sense of smell and very little sense of taste (although I noticed this morning that my taste for sweet things is returning).  My husband is out of town so I am muddling through on my own.  Not great, but not much different from other bouts of the flu (and BTW, I did get the flu shot, so this is one of the types not covered).  However, in the last 24 hours life has taken a distinct turn for the worse, if not the downright bizarre.

It all started when I tried to turn on the water yesterday afternoon.  Nothing.  Okay, someone probably cut our line again -- it happens on a fairly regular basis in our rural Georgia location for reasons best left undiscussed.  Sure enough, when I called the city clerk to report our lack of water, it turned out that a company putting in a new sewer system had indeed severed our water line, and now had to reroute as well as repair the line since it was in their way.  Naturally the fellow in charge of the Water Department (who seems to be the only employee and who only works for our town part-time anyway) was out of town due to a death in the family and our local city clerk doesn't work on Fridays, but the kindly clerk in the next town over helped me (bless you, dear lady) and our water was eventually restored.

After letting the water run outside for a while to clear the lines, I started running water through the lines in the house to flush out the air.  All went well until I flushed the master bath toilet, which is one of those water-saving vacuum pump-type deals.  Somehow the air in the lines messed up this toilet and now the water won't stop running -- I will need to call a plumber on Monday.  Heading to the TV room to flush the downstairs powder room toilet, I noticed a strange glow as I entered the room.  The TV screen had taken on a new look -- all black with a glaring white line of light across the middle.  After fussing with it a bit and talking to the cable company, we decided the TV picture screen had burnt out -- time for a new TV.  How does this relate to the ruptured water line?  Not at all -- it was just a bizarre coincidence.

This morning I got up early to walk the dogs -- it has been days since I have done this since I was too sick until now.  We got home and I prepared to feed them, which is our normal routine.  I put some liquid medication in the microwave to warm, as usual, and was rewarded with dazzling sparks and angry pops.  I hastily turned the machine off and opened the door.  The medicine bottle was fine, but one side of the microwave had a black blister in the middle.  Probably foolishly, I took the bottle out and reset the microwave for a few seconds, then watched in idiotic fascination as a thin line of fire worked its way down the blister.  I turned the thing off again, unplugged it, and hauled it outside to the trash (luckily today is trash day).  Now we need a new microwave!  As I sit here writing I fervently hope that this is the last of the freakish household disasters -- bad things only happen in threes, right?

My husband returns tonight and we are supposed to go out of town on an overnight trip tomorrow.  When I came down with the flu I tried to postpone our reservation for a later date but the B&B will only do that with two weeks notice (which I would have gladly given them if I had known two weeks ago that I was going to come down with the flu).  They did agree to re-list the room on their website, and if someone else reserves it by noon today we will no longer need to pay for it.  If not, I guess I will drag my sneezy, wheezy, coughing body to that B&B where with my current luck I will probably end up infecting everyone there with this flu virus.  According to my calculations, there is a 48-hour incubation period, so all of those holiday travelers and staff people can expect to start feeling the symptoms right around Thanksgiving Day -- sorry, guys.  As for me, I will try not to destroy any more appliances or toilets, enjoy any sweet things being served, and savor a hot cup of tea while at the B&B.  Oh, BTW, did I mention that the only temperature I can feel is from food or drink in my mouth?  For some reason, the sinus congestion renders me incapable of feeling ambient temperatures -- whether I go outside in a T-shirt or a parka, my body feels the same temperature-wise.  Go figure.

All of this leads me to the whole point of this post.  Since I will be spending a lot of time recuperating from the flu, replacing appliances, calling plumbers, and trying to prepare for the holiday, I will probably not be posting anything on my blog Thanksgiving week.  I will also probably be sending my poor husband out to buy ready-made food for our Thanksgiving meal rather than trying to cook anything. (Have you ever attempted to cook when you can't taste or smell the food?  I don't recommend it.)  Hopefully things will return to normal the following week.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Update:  I just found out that the B&B was able to rebook our room, so the rest of the world is safe from me for now!  What a relief -- I would have hated to ruin anyone else's Thanksgiving holiday!

At Least I Hope I'm Not! (from Mizunogirl's Blog)
   

Friday, November 18, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Cranberry Walnut Conserve

From Food Network

I have two recipes that have become my own Thanksgiving traditions -- this is one of them.  My Cranberry Walnut Conserve is actually an old James Beard recipe that I found in the original Cook's Magazine many years ago (the one with the beautiful watercolor covers), which was later reinvented as Cook's Illustrated.  It is very similar to Ina Garten's recipe for cranberry sauce, except that hers has no port.  If it is more convenient, the cranberries can be reduced to three cups (the amount in a 12 oz. bag), but you may want to reduce the amount of water and sugar as well.  When I was young, cranberries came in 16 oz. bags, which held four cups, but over the years, as with so many things, the size has been reduced.  I often substitute pecans for the walnuts, depending on what I have in the house, and they are just as good if not better than the walnuts.  This recipe takes a bit more work than most, but it can be made well in advance, and can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.  There will be more than enough left over to serve with Christmas dinner, and I promise that the flavor is well worth the slight amount of extra time and effort required to make this Thanksgiving classic.

Cranberry Walnut Conserve

4 C. fresh cranberries
1 1/2 C. water
2 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. golden raisins
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
juice and grated peel of 1 orange
juice and grated peel of 1 lemon
6 T. port wine
1 C. chopped walnuts

Cook berries in water until their skins start to pop, about ten minutes.  Add next five ingredients and cook over medium heat, uncovered, for fifteen minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in wine and nuts, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.  Makes four cups.

Happy Thanksgiving!
     

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: Fiery Rug-Inspired Living Room

I just couldn't resist creating a style board for a living room designed around the Fiery Rug I mentioned yesterday.  I love the bold color combination of red, purple, orange, and grey, and in my opinion it works perfectly in a contemporary living room:

Clockwise from top left: Abstract Orange 3 from Naxart; Abstract Orange 2 from Naxart; Abstract Orange 1 from Naxart; UFO Contemporary 4-Light Floor Lamp from TheFurniture.com; Radinka Red End Table from Scandinavia; Orange Leather Club Chair from ebay; Spezia Sofa from Chiásso; Fuel Red Credenza from CB2; Isamu Noguchi Red Gloss Coffee Table from mydeco; Center: Fiery Rug from Boconcept; Background: Bamboo Flooring from Amazon.com
           
This room suits my tastes perfectly -- I am ready to move in right now!
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wish List Wednesdays: Fiery Rug from Boconcept


When I first found this Fiery Rug from Boconcept I just couldn't take my eyes off of it!  I love the bold pattern and colors -- it would be perfect in my great room.  The 5'x8' size costs $749, and the 7.5'x10' size is $995.  These prices are quite reasonable for a high-quality rug such as this.  If I save up my pennies, one of these beauties could be mine some day!  And doesn't it look great with the Bear Table I mentioned in last week's post?

    

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Terrifying Tuesdays: The Black Scorpion (1957)

From Antipodal Arapaima

This week I've decided to feature another giant bug movie.  "The Black Scorpion" (1957) is set in Mexico just after an earthquake causes the overnight formation of a new volcano.  Two geologists, American Dr. Hank Scott (Richard Denning) and Dr. Arturo Ramos (Carlos Rivas) from Mexico, set out to investigate this unusual event.  On the way to the village of San Lorenzo, which is near the volcano, they find a scene of disaster -- a farmhouse and police car destroyed, a dead policeman, and an abandoned infant.  The two scientists take the child to some friends of the family in the village, and meet the local priest, Father Delgado (Pedro Galván).  The priest tells them that others have gone missing in the area as well.  In addition, livestock have been killed and strange sounds have been heard at night, leading the villagers to believe that supernatural agents are at work.

Scott and Ramos begin their research on the volcano as the Mexican army arrives to begin disaster relief.  They meet a young boy named Juanito (Mario Navarro) from a local ranch, and the ranch owner, Teresa Alvarez (Mara Corday), with whom Scott falls in love.  Then one night the volcano erupts again, and the cause of the recent troubles is revealed to be giant prehistoric scorpions, released from the depths of the earth by the new volcano.  The scorpions head for the village, and the army's guns have no effect on them.  Come morning the giant arthropods return to the bottom of the volcano, where other giant invertebrates also live.  The authorities call in a reknowned entomolgist named Dr. Velasco (Carlos Múzquiz), and the three scientists must work together to find a way to deal with the scorpions before more lives are lost.

This is another above average example of the giant bug genre of horror movies.  In fact, a triple feature night of the movies "Them!" (1954), "Tarantula" (1955), and "The Black Scorpion" would be an excellent way to spend a cold winter evening becoming familiar with this popular format from the 1950s!

Interesting Fact: Mara Corday, the female lead in this movie, was also the female lead in "Tarantula".

Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 0

Scene from "The Black Scorpion" (from Row Three)
     

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mystery Mondays: And Then There Were None (1945)

From Classic Film Freak

I have decided to continue featuring movies based upon mystery novels this week with "And Then There Were None" (1945).  This movie was inspired by the Agatha Christie novel and subsequent play of the same name.  The movie begins with eight people in a boat headed for a weekend on Indian Island, the guests of a wealthy but enigmatic couple, Mr. and Mrs. U. N. Owen.  When they arrive, they discover that their hosts are absent, although a servant couple is present to attend to them.  Expecting their hosts to arrive for dinner, the guests settle in to their rooms and gather for the meal, only to find that the Owens still have not appeared.  During dinner the guests discuss the rather unusual name of the island, and the ceramic figurine centerpiece of ten little Indians on the table.  One of the guests makes a remark about how this centerpiece brings to mind a childrens' rhyme about ten little Indians who perish in various ways.

Moving to the living room after dinner, the guests are startled to hear the voice of their host accusing each of them as well as the two servants of a murder for which they managed to avoid punishment.  A gramophone recording is found to be the source of this voice, started by the butler Rogers (Richard Haydn) by instruction of the mysterious Mr. Owen.  The cook, Mrs. Rogers (Queenie Leonard), becomes hysterical and is sent to bed with a sedative.  All of the accused deny any wrongdoing.  They decide to leave the island until Rogers informs them that there is no phone in the house and the boat will not be back until Monday morning.  The guests come to realize that the name of their host, U. N. Owen, could also be interpreted as "Unknown".  One of them, Prince Nikita Starloff (Mischa Auer), rather tipsily declares that he did indeed cause the death of an innocent couple, but promptly expires after singing the "Ten Little Indians" song and downing a drink which turns out to be poisoned.  Rogers then announces that one of the Indian figurines has vanished.

The next morning, the distraught Mrs. Rogers is dead and another figurine is missing.  This is followed by the stabbing death of General John Mandrake (C. Aubrey Smith) and the disappearance of yet another Indian statue.  Since a thorough search of the island uncovered no hidden murderer, the remaining seven individuals conclude that this villain must be one of them.  However, despite efforts to prevent more murders with various precautions, Rogers and then a guest named Miss Emily Brent (Judith Anderson) are killed and two more Indians are removed.  The remaining five guests, Dr. Edward Armstrong (Walter Huston), Judge Francis Quincannon (Barry Fitzgerald), Detective William Blore (Roland Young), Phillip Lombard (Louis Hayward), and Vera Claythorne (June Duprez), try desperately to stay alive until Monday morning when the boat returns, attempting if possible to identify the murderer as well.  The storyline takes some clever twists and turns, and the conclusion is rather unexpected, making this movie quite absorbing until the very end.

Several versions of this Agatha Christie tale have been filmed, but this one is the first and arguably the best of the bunch.  The ending is similar to that of the play, although the original novel has a very different finish indeed!  A few touches of humor in the movie only add to the appeal, contrasting as they do with the rather grim happenings on the island.  Watch this one first if you want to see a film version.  You can watch it for free here.

Interesting Fact: This film won Best Picture at the Locarno International Film Festival.  The film's director, René Clair, directed two films which won this award, making him the only director to achieve this honor.

Scene from "And Then There Were None" (from Fine Movies Online)

The nursery rhyme upon which Agatha Christie based her story (from Wikipedia):

Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he'd stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two Little Soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.
   

Friday, November 11, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Pumpkin-Black Bean Chili

From Taste of Home

I made this Pumpkin-Black Bean Chili for Halloween, and it was quite tasty.  My husband loved it so much he had it for both lunch and dinner the next day!  I served it with the Pumpkin Biscuits I made from last week's recipe, and they were the perfect combination.  Top the chili with shredded cheese and/or Greek yogurt to enhance the flavor even more.  I left out any really spicy ingredients, but add two seeded and minced jalapeño peppers, or any other spicy hot ingredient(s), if you like your chili to have a little kick to it.  I tossed the last of the peppers and Japanese eggplant harvested from my small garden into the pot just to use them up, and my husband really liked the eggplant in particular.  Feel free to throw in any vegetables you think would work in this recipe.  I also added some peanut butter and a cocoa/chili powder blend because I had them.  I might play around with the proportions of these two ingredients the next time I make this recipe, which will likely be very soon!

Pumpkin-Black Bean Chili

2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Japanese eggplant, diced (optional)
1 lb. ground turkey breast (or use dark meat or a combination if you prefer)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin purée
2 T. peanut butter
1 1/2 C. water
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cocoa powder
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 C. frozen corn
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Stir in the next four ingredients and cook, stirring often, until tender, about five minutes.  Add the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink.  Stir in the next eight ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and add the corn and beans.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more.  Serves 6.
   

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: My Favorite Color - Seeing Red!

From YafaRay

Red has been my favorite color for quite a long time.  As a child I loved blue, and during my undergraduate years yellow was my preference, but since then red has endured as my number one color choice.  My favorite cut flowers are red,

Red ginger (from Grow Hawaii)

as is my favorite flowering garden annual:

Red geranium

My favorite gemstone is the ruby (even though it is not my birthstone):

From Palagems.com

On the rare occasions when I need a stylish dress, I most often choose a red one like this:

DKNY red draped jersey dress (from STYLEBOP)

And on those same rare occasions my makeup of choice will of course include red lipstick and nail polish:

From Ask the Makeup Doctor

Naturally red is also my favorite color when it comes to interior design, like the room shown at the top of the page.  Here are just a few more examples of red rooms that I love:

Red living room (from Best Home Designs)

Red dining room (from Belle Maison)

Red bedroom (from Best Home Interior Design)

Many people do not care for red interiors as they find the color too overpowering, and I noticed that many of the red rooms on the internet are rather cold-looking (which is surprising since red is one of the warmest colors).  However, the photos I chose show that, when the color is used properly, red in a room can be very inviting and easy to live with.

The current red item on my wish list is this luxurious chaise longue:

From FurnitureNYC.net

I just love seeing red!
    

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wish List Wednesdays: Bear Table by Napalm

From Freshomezine

I suppose it must be obvious by now that when it comes to design, my preference is for anything nature-related, and also anything that is a bit unusual or odd.  It should come as no surprise, then, that when I saw this high-gloss, fire engine-red table with a base in the shape of a bear by a Russian design company called Napalm I was instantly smitten!  There is some confusion as to whether this table (which unfortunately no longer seems to be available) is a coffee or dining table.  Photos of the table in other finishes show dining chairs placed around it, however, so I have a feeling it is the latter.  Regardless of its function, the bear table is definitely the type of furniture I would welcome into my home!
   

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Terrifying Tuesdays: Tarantula (1955)


Yesterday's mention of a tarantula reminded me of a better-than-average "giant bug" movie called "Tarantula" (1955).  Set in the fictional town of Desert Rock, Arizona, the movie starts off with the discovery of the body of a mysteriously deformed man named Eric Jacobs.  Jacobs was an assistant to Professor Gerald Deemer (Leo G. Carroll), a scientist doing research in his home just outside of town.  The local doctor, Dr. Matt Hastings (John Agar), is baffled as to how this man died.  He appeared to have suffered from an advanced case of acromegaly, but since this disease takes years to progress and Jacobs was known to be completely normal only a few weeks before his death, Dr. Hastings cannot believe this to be the case.  The doctor and the town sheriff, Jack Andrews (Nestor Paiva), ask Deemer for more information.  Deemer insists that Jacobs did suffer from acromegaly and refuses to consent to an autopsy.

Deemer returns to his lab, where the exact nature of his experiments is revealed.  In an attempt to create a efficient food source that will support the growing world population, the professor is injecting animals with a nutrient that causes them to grow to huge sizes at an accelerated rate.  Unfortunately, the substance also caused Jacobs' deformity and has affected Paul Lund, Deemer's second assistant, as well. Lund suddenly enters the lab and goes berserk, attempting to destroy the lab.  He knocks out the professor, sets the lab on fire, injects the unconscious Deemer with the nutrient, and then dies.  Deemer recovers in time to put out the fire and bury Lund's body, but unfortunately one of his test subjects, a giant tarantula, has escaped.

The next day a new research assistant hired by the now deceased Jacobs, Stephanie ("Steve") Clayton (Mara Corday), arrives in Desert Rock.  Dr. Hastings gives her a ride out to Professor Deemer's house, and Deemer invites her to stay and assist him, explaining the damage to the lab as an accident.  She agrees, and they set to work, but she begins to notice that the professor's features are changing, and she fears for his health.  Meanwhile, livestock and even humans are dying mysteriously in the desert, their bones picked clean and surrounded by large pools of a fluid that Dr. Hastings identifies as spider venom.  The escaped tarantula has continued to grow and it is only a matter of time before the residents of Desert Rock find themselves fighting for their lives as they attempt to destroy the giant rampaging creature.

This is one of the better giant bug movies -- the story line is interesting, the actors play their roles well, and even the special effects are believable.  If you are not familiar with this subset of the genre, "Tarantula" is an excellent introduction.

Interesting Fact: A very young Clint Eastwood has an uncredited role as a fighter jet pilot near the end of the movie.

Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 0

From The Pulp Sanctum
   

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mystery Mondays: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)


Since I seem to be on a roll with Peter Cushing movies, I thought that this week, instead of mystery novels, I would feature a film based on a Sherlock Holmes tale.  "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959) is the only Sherlock Holmes movie made by Hammer Films, but it is one of the best.  It is also the first version to be filmed in color.  While some of the characters and plot lines in the story have been changed, the basic premise is still the same.

A Dr. Richard Mortimer (Francis de Wolff) pays a call on Holmes (Cushing) and Dr. Watson (André Morell) at their rooms in London asking for their help with a mystery concerning the death of Sir Charles Baskerville of Baskerville Hall in Grimpen.  He tells them the story of Sir Hugo Baskerville, the cruel ancestor of Sir Charles who kills a manservant and imprisons his daughter with evil intent.  When the girl escapes, Sir Hugo pursues her over the surrounding moors and stabs her to death, only to be killed himself by a giant hound rumored to be an emissary from hell itself.  Thus begins the legend of the Hound of the Baskervilles, which brings death to each Baskerville who becomes lord of the manor.  The death of Sir Charles results in the imminent arrival of Sir Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee), who is the new lord of Baskerville Hall, and Dr. Mortimer asks for Sherlock Holmes' help in ensuring that Sir Henry does not meet the same fate as Sir Charles.

Holmes agrees to meet with Sir Henry, who is initially skeptical that his life is in danger, and is more concerned about the loss of one boot at his hotel.  However, when a tarantula emerges from the other boot and nearly bites him, a shaken Sir Henry agrees to let Dr. Watson accompany him to Baskerville Hall, since Holmes cannot get away from London for a few days.  Holmes warns Sir Henry not to go out on the moors alone after dark, and asks Watson to make sure that this does not happen.  On their way to the manor, the men are informed by their coach driver that a dangerous prisoner named Seldon has escaped from nearby Dartmoor Prison, and that it is not safe to roam the moors.

At Baskerville Hall Sir Henry meets the manservant Barrymore and his wife, as well as the local bishop, who arrives the next day asking for contributions for the upcoming jumble sale. Dr. Watson is saved from drowning in the Grimpen Mire by a farmer named Stapleton (Ewen Solon) and his daughter Cecile (Marla Landi), who take him back to the Hall in their farm cart.  The men go inside to see Sir Henry, but he is out.  Sir Henry returns in time to come upon Cecile alone in the cart, and is startled when she darts away.  He goes after her to find out why, and is startled again when she suddenly kisses him before running back to the cart.  Her father then appears and they drive off, leaving behind a very confused Sir Henry.

At night Dr. Watson sees a strange light out on the moors, and he and Sir Henry go out to investigate.  They find the light and see a strange man, but when they pursue him they hear the ominous sound of a howling hound.  Sir Henry, who has a weak heart, has a mild attack and they are forced to give up the chase, but after seeing Sir Henry safely home Watson returns to the moors to search for the man.  To his surprise the man he finds is Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes explains that he has been in the area almost as long as Watson, and has been out on the moors, where he met and talked with the convict Seldon.  Suddenly the two men hear the hound again, and the sound of a man being mortally attacked.  They fear it is Sir Henry, but once back at the manor discover that the victim was Seldon.  Holmes deduces that Seldon was the sister of Barrymore's wife, and that the couple had been helping the convict survive on the moors.  He also surmises that Seldon was killed because he was wearing some of Sir Henry's clothes and was mistaken for the other man by the hound.

After paying a visit to the bishop, Holmes solves the mystery of the tarantula.  Meanwhile, Sir Henry visits the Seldon farm and becomes even more infatuated with Cecile.  Her father invites Sir Henry and his guests to dinner the next night and Sir Henry asks Cecile to meet him at Baskerville Hall so that they can walk back together.  This turns out to be a bad idea, especially since Holmes, while investigating an old mine earlier in the day, injured his leg and does not feel fit to accompany them.  Dr. Watson stays behind with Holmes, and only then does Holmes let him know that the Stapletons are responsible for the recent deadly events.  The two set off after Sir Henry and Cecile, who end up at the old ruins where Sir Hugo murdered the young servant girl decades ago.  There Cecile turns viciously upon Sir Henry and informs him that she and her father are illegitimate descendants of Sir Hugo, and will inherit the Baskerville fortune once Sir Henry is dead.  Fortunately Holmes and Watson arrive in time to stop Stapleton and the giant hound, which is a real dog after all.  Cecile runs off but ends up drowning in the Grimpen Mire, thus ending the saga of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Although there are a number of plot changes from the original story, the movie is well made and the acting is excellent.  Apparently the initial reaction to Peter Cushing's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes was mixed, but his interpretation of Holmes as abrupt and eccentric but brilliant is right in line with modern interpretations of the role, and in my opinion Cushing does a fine job.  The character of Watson is also spot on -- he is solid and dependable but not a fool.  A young Christopher Lee is dashing and handsome as Sir Henry.  The hound is not especially scary, but it is not prominently featured and only makes a brief appearance near the end of the film.  Other than this minor criticism, this version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is quite decent and well worth watching.

Interesting Facts:  Poor Christopher Lee had a rough time making this movie.  The dog used to play the hound was reluctant to jump on him at first, so the crew tried to prod him into action.  Just as the actor was about to give up, the dog decided to lunge and ended up biting through one of his arms.  Also, the actor has a phobia about spiders, and the fear on his face when the tarantula is crawling up his arm in the movie has nothing to do with acting!

Tarantula scene from "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (from Las Cronicas de Tino)
   

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Holiday Hits: National Nachos Day

From Tresch's Kitchen

Today is National Nachos Day, and I felt the need to at least mention one of my favorite appetizers before day's end!  I prefer a simpler version than the one pictured above -- just lots of cheese melted over a big pile of tortilla chips, topped with salsa and served with guacamole on the side.  A pitcher of sangria as an accompaniment wouldn't hurt either, and a group of friends to share the bounty would make this the perfect treat.  Muy bueno!
 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Pumpkin Biscuits

From Friends Drift Inn

One of my biggest pet peeves is recipes that call for only half of an ingredient -- half of an onion, egg yolks or whites only, half a can of tomato paste, etc.  I am just not creative enough to find a use for the other half, and despite my best intentions to finish off the leftovers in another recipe I invariably end up throwing them out.  Sometimes I just ignore the recipe and use the whole ingredient -- a whole onion instead of half makes meatloaf moist and it tastes even better, in my opinion, and a whole can of tomato paste instead of half in my spaghetti sauce does not change the flavor.  Or I look for an alternative recipe that does not call for part of an ingredient -- I found an excellent bread pudding recipe that uses all of the egg instead of mostly yolks and I find it to be just as tasty.

Much as I love the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe I posted last week, it calls for only half a can of pumpkin.  I often make the recipe a second time just to finish off the pumpkin, but recently I found an even better way to use that leftover purée -- Pumpkin Biscuits!  They are just as easy to make as the muffins, and are equally delicious.  In fact, my husband raved about them and would have polished them all off if I had not hidden a few away!  From now on every time we have the muffins we will have the biscuits as well -- an added bonus is that both will freeze well, so you can save some for a later date and they will be just as good the second time around!

Pumpkin Biscuits

1 1/4 C. flour
2 T. plus 2 tsp. sugar
1 T. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 C. pumpkin purée
1/4 C. butter, melted

Sift together first six ingredients in a large bowl.  Add pumpkin and butter, stirring well.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 6 to 8 times.  Roll or pat out dough to 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch round cutter, rerolling scraps once.  Place on parchment or sil-pat lined baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden.  Serve warm.  Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.
   

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: Color Block Interior Design


From Sweet Dreams

Color blocking is a popular fashion trend at the moment, and this juxtaposition of large blocks of bright colors is also showing up in the world of interior design.

From DesignTeaParty

The minute I saw this delightful kitchen I knew I had to investigate this trend further!  Rugs are a natural for color blocking:

From BuyAreaRugs.com

This one also comes in pastel color blocks, but I prefer the bright squares.  Artwork also lends itself to this design style:

From Rosemary Pierce

At four feet wide this piece is substantial enough to hang as a focal point over a living room sofa or a dining room credenza.  Furniture has also been treated to this color craze:

From Dan Bleier Studio
From Dan Bleier Studio
From Inhabitots
From Homegue.com
From Matter
From Jabuhu

There are also color-blocked small home accessories:

From Sparkling Up!
From Pier 1 Imports
From Chiasso
From Etsy

Add blocks of color to your home with a glass block window:

From Eastern Glass Block

Or mat a series of framed pictures with different-colored mats for a color block arrangement:

From InteriorDesignPro

Here are a few more examples of color-blocked rooms:

From Design Hole
From loving. living. small
From Mel Mobili
From IMshopping
From decorateyourhouses.com
From Apartment Therapy
From Inspired to Share

And for those who find that this color trend is exactly to their liking, there are entire apartment complexes done in this fashion:

From Best Home and Interior Design

How could anyone ever be sad when surrounded by so much cheerful color?