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Music To My Ears: The Voice Teams Complete!

Hey Party People,

I figured that I would follow-up my earlier post about my new favorite show, The Voice, with a summation of the teams that they’ve compiled. I know I’m not exactly a professional singer by any stretch, however I do love music a lot and years of choirs helped that love as well. 🙂

I am completely stoked to see the Battle Rounds come Monday – though I am definitely anxious to see what the results are since I really like quite a few of the contestants! I am also interested to see what the ‘guest coaches’ do with everyone for each of the teams. I am so in love with this show, haha, and I am driving my brother nuts (and my coworkers too, I’m sure) with talking about all the performances that I’ve loved. Luckily everyone knows and loves me (hehehe) and expects this of me. So we’re all good. But it is a fantastic show, which I am really hoping to share the love about, so take a look, and see if you like any of the performances from these super talented peeps, and maybe you’ll get as addicted to this show as I have been. Also, the judges interactions and fighting over contestants is absolutely hilarious. So this is just a complete and utter feel-good show to me, and hope you all enjoy it too!

So Team Adam consists of the following people, of whom my favorites by far are Pip, Mathai, Whitney, Tony and Orlando:

Team Blake consists of the following people, of whom my favorites are Jordis, Gwen, Jermaine and Naia:

Team Cee-Lo consists of the following people, of whom my favorites are Jamar, Juliette, Wade, Sarah and Tony:

Team Christina consists of the following people, of whom my favorites are Chris, Jesse, Lindsey and The Line:

So check it out Monday night and until next time…

Craft You Later,
Beth

Music To My Ears: The Voice


So I started watching the show The Voice, along with many other music fans, following the Superbowl (yeah, that kinda big football game with a lot of hype, that game!)… I have to say I am completely in love with this show. Completely.


So Sunday, Part 1 of the Blind Auditions aired directly after the Superbowl, and then on Monday Part 2 aired, a 2 hour special, during the normal time the show will be airing. I have completely fallen in love with a few of the singers’ voices already, and wanted to share with you all. And in the interest of playing fair, I am also going to post a link after my faves with the original renditions of the songs. Hope you enjoy!

Night 1:

Chris singing Because We Believe (just beautifully done!) and the song as Originally done by Andrea Bocelli

Juliet singing Oh! Darling (looove that voice!) and the song as Originally done by Paul McCartney

Tony singing Trouble (looove those blues!) and the song as Originally done by Ray LaMontagne

Night 2:

Jermaine singing Complicated (oh that was just puurty!) and the song as Originally done by Avril Lavine

Lindsey singing Say Aah (holy awesome remastering of a sing!) and the song as Originally done by Trey Songz

The Line singing American Girl (now that was just fun) and the song as
Originally done by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Kim singing Tell Me Something Good (Adam’s reaction just made it that much better for me, so hilarious) and the song as Originally done by Chaka Khan

Gwen singing Stay (just adorable!) and the song as Originally done by Sugarland

All I know is that I absolutely love and adore this show so far, and you guys can definitely expect to see occasional posts about it from me – so you are now forewarned! Music is life! as the Hot Topic stuff says… and this is some good life! 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Banana-Ganache Cupcakes

Hi Everyone, it’s been almost a week since my last post. I have been bad, and not done much crafty or cook/bake-y in the last few days. Okay, wow, that was shades of a Catholic confession there, ha-whoops! Anyways, I was looking around my kitchen Tuesday morning for breakfast and saw I had one banana left from the bunch. That one banana was in the stage of either-make-me-into-banana-bread-or-throw-me-out mushiness, and I really didn’t want to make a loaf of banana bread. Because then I have to eat it. And while I adore banana bread, I didn’t think I’d eat an entire loaf by myself this week. Plus I am trying (emphasis on that word, please) to eat healthier. Though I will say, personally I believe if it has banana in it, and not more sugar in ounces than your personal weight in pounds, then it has to be healthy….right?!? Okay, fine, WORK with me here people, just nod and smile and let me believe it, okay?!?!

Alright, moving along from my healthy-banana delusion… Upon further review of my fridge, I saw that I had some eggs, heavy cream, and a whole bunch (and I do mean a LOT) of  chocolate ganache left over from my Salted Caramel Lava Macchiatto Cupcakes last week. Hmmm, those ingredients plus one lonely aging banana?!? That seems obvious, does it not: BANANA-GANACHE CUPCAKES!!!! Okay, I’m chilling out, I promise. I just got super excited though. I looked up some basic cupcake recipes, just to see what all was used most commonly proportion wise. Then I pretty much used those as the thinnest-veiled-reference imagineable and made up my own recipe. I am sure you are shocked, really.

So here we go, with pictures illustrating the steps:

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Cream that butter!

1) Cream 2 sticks unsalted butter with 1 cup sugar. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Continue to cream them, and sometimes it helps to sing Prince’s “Cream” along with the mixer just to get your boogie on (quick soundbite here)!

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Creamed Egged Banana

2) In a small bowl (or if you want to cheat like me and use a cup, that is fine too!), beat together 2 eggs, 1 mashed banana (must be uber-ripe), 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 tspn vanilla extract. Make sure it is smooth.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Flour Power

3) In another small bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, 1/2 tspn salt, 1 tspn baking powder and 1/2 tspn baking soda.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Mix It On Up

4) In the creamed butter mixture, turn the beaters back on to low, and gradually add in half of the egg mixture, then half of the flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream to the remaining egg mixture (in the cup) and mix well. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture to the creamed butter, and then finally the remaining flour.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Make It Creamy

5) Once this is done mixing it was a bit dry-looking, so I added 1/4 cup of skim milk, just to moisten it up some. Make sure this gets mixed completely, no lumps, totally smooth. You will also smell banana strongly enough you will not believe you just used one banana!

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Pour It On Out

6) Now pour batter to about 3/4 full into your greasedcupcakes – either tin or the individual silicone cups like I used here. I also used cupcake papers because these are going to a group of people that don’t know me well enough to want my germs all over their cupcakes. Plus it keeps the frosting in better (later step, yes I’m getting ahead, but jeez hang with me!)… 🙂

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Baking Strong

7) Bake cupcakes about 20 minutes at 350 F, until tops start to lightly brown.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Fully Cooked!

8) Remove and let cool on top of oven for about 5 minutes before removing from silicone or cupcake pans.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Top It Off!

9) Once cupcakes have cooled significantly, top with the Chocolate Ganache we made last week that has been sitting in your fridge (covered) just waiting for the next project! Microwave the ganache about 80 seconds, and stir until evenly softened. I use a normal teaspoon to spread this, but I spray it with Pam first, and that works wonders for going on smoothly! Oh and if you didn’t make ganache with me last week (shame on you, I hate to bake alone!), then I would just make a 1/3 or 1/2 batch unless you really want a surplus of ganache.But let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a surplus of ganache?!?

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Voilà

10) Voilà we have a lovely batch of Banana-Ganache Cupcakes to Enjoy! 🙂

So that is it for today, I hope you all enjoy these. Side Note: I also toyed with topping each cupcake with a dried banana chip, however wasn’t sure how banana-y that would make it, so left that for another attempt. I’m sure this will be something I do weekly in some variation, so I have faith my ideas will all be implemented…..eventually. 😉

Please let me know if you try these and how you like them. I love feedback – lets me know that a) I’m not just talking to the internet-ether, and b) whether I need to improve or change anything for public consumption. I also like guinea pigs, and you guys make perfect ones, muahahaha! Okay enough with the creepy self-sound-effects. Until next time!

Craft You Later,
Beth

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet…

So I typically get songs stuck in my head. Randomly, with full orchestra or band support in the background, background singers (if any) included. It is both awesome and awful at the same time. Awesome because I don’t always need an iPod or Radio or CD. Awful because I don’t actually PICK the songs that get stuck, they just magically appear in my head and stay for the long haul. Sometimes, the haul is longer than others, too. Yeesh.

So this morning I woke up, was thinking about New Year’s Eve plans, and then **POP** all of a sudden I have Freddy Mercury singing Somebody To Love for all he is worth in my head. Full-on background vocal & instrument support from the rest of Queen included. It was awesome, because that is just a great song, plus Queen is great Rock, however I have no clue what prompted it. Then about 2 hours later, I am still thinking of New Year’s Eve plans, interspersed with work of course, and then I start humming Auld Lang Syne in my head. Only I cannot remember all the lyrics, in the right order at least. So I go look them up and find some interesting information.

Did you know that Auld Lang Syne is based off of a Poem by Robert Burns in 1788? Or that it is a traditional Scottish ballad for saying farewell? And that “my dear” was actually “my Jo”? Or that ending the chorus with “and days of auld lang syne” is not the original way the chorus ended?!? Amazing what you find out when you get a song stuck in your head, isn’t it?!

Next song to get stuck in my head (again, about 2 hours later, yes, apparently my song-brain is on a clock!), was the song “Tonight” by Seether, interspersed with “Dark Horses” by Switchfoot. Now, this is where it gets fun. My mind will be humming along with one tune, then switch mid word to the other. Does anyone else do this, or am I just lyrically special?!? Because some days I wonder… 😉 Either way, I really really enjoy both of these songs, and if you haven’t heard them, I highly recommend checking them out. Something about “Hey you can’t count us out… Wait! It’s not over now, We’ve been down but we’ve never been out” just grabs me. I looooove the melody for it, but the lyrics are just great. Then intertwine in “I feel so alive tonight, You got me feeling submile, I want to yell it from the rooftops down” and it’s just a really happy feel-good in-your-mind-remix of some good new rock. And of course, Somebody To Love keeps making an appearance every so often, which just means that I am rocking to my own beat, literally, all day long.

And this is just today. This is pretty much daily, as my coworkers can attest, and luckily it’s usually not awful songs that get stuck in my head. Usually. Every so often I will get one I cannot stand stuck – like (sorry for any fans but it really gets under my skin something fierce & scratchy) Pumped Up Kicks. I really, REALLY do not like that song, and I’m not sure why. There aren’t many songs I really REALLY do not like. But that graces the list. And if you are a fan and reading this, I’m glad you like it, because I think every song should be liked by someone, somewhere. Just doesn’t always have to be me, haha… 😉 Thanks for representing it, though! 😉

So since this weekend is New Year’s Eve/Day weekend, I am also planning to go out and do something (the plans and cohorts are still in progress, but something will be done!), and in the meantime, I am trying to think up resolutions.

The thing with resolutions and me is they usually fail. Why? Because I am an over-achiever and procrastinator. Which sounds complicated, yes. And is, in cases like this. It means I am going to go all out on the making-resolutions and my choices therein, and then I’m going to keep putting off doing them. Sound familiar? YAY I am not alone in this, you say?!? WOOHOO! Welcome to the club! Or thanks for the welcome into your club, if that’s the case… Either way HELLO FELLOW! Now that that is out of the way…

New Year’s Resolutions That May Actually Be Achieved:
1) Lose the drama-only-friends (you know the ones, they only talk to you when they have something major happen, you’re supposed to fix their life, and then you don’t hear from them again until the next issue — and I better not be the only one with them!).
2) Stop avoiding the gym. It is there, I pay for it, and if I want to lose this 20 pounds, I need to befriend it and realize it’s not a snake that is waiting to bite me. ohmmmmm!
3) Start making more dinners at home, and leftovers for lunch. (This seems easy, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Then I realized it is not easy.)
4) Meet one new person a week, by name not just having a conversation.
5) Do one new ‘adventure’ each month. Even if it scares me. As much does!
6) Go on a date or four throughout the year, take a chance!
7) Do one thing each week JUST for me. No one else, just me. Even just a walk or a movie.
8) Stop being so critical of myself and those around me. This is my ‘overachiever goal’. Hmmm. We shall see. But that is my resolution extraordinaire for 2012.

Well I think that is a good & sufficient list for 2012, stuff that will help me be a better person, be happy, and most of all – be me! I hope you guys are able to produce some resolutions (or even one) for yourselves that are attainable. And I wish you loads of success in obtaining your resolutions throughout the year!

Happy New Year’s Eve’s Eve Everyone! 🙂 Stay safe, be smart (NO drinking & driving, we would like to see you in 2012!), and have a wonderful & fun weekend! 🙂

Craft You Later,
Beth

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