Monday, March 31, 2014

Destination pigs & bunnies

We had too much going on this winter, Aaron's classes & new job, my volunteer work, to take a vacation. I started thinking though... if I could go anywhere where would it be? Bunnies and pigs.

A short while ago I saw this video about Ōkunoshima Island off of Japan. Turns out it is full of rabbits!

Rabbits were brought to the island in the 1920's for chemical weapon tests. Years later, they have multiplied and tourists come to the island to feed them.

I want to visit the island pretty badly. Swarms of rabbits. Heaven. (photo credit: Jeffrey Friedl)

Right after visiting bunny island, I want to go swimming at Big Major Cay, an island in the Bahamas. Swimming with pigs!

This pig beach is occupied by feral swimming pigs. There are different stories about how the pigs ended up there - sailors dropped them off planning on coming back and eating them later, they survived a shipwreck...

Now you can feed and swim with these pigs. Two perfect vacations... right there.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring snow

I heard we were expecting some snow this weekend but I figured it was just flurries. My eyes popped out of my head when I woke up to find six to eight inches of snow!

March is supposed to coming in like a lion and go out like a lamb. At this rate it came in like a lion and is going out like a Tauntuan. This is Hothchester, you know. #hothchester background here...

We decided to make lemons into lemonade and had the pugs pull Aaron down the sidewalk on his cross-country skiis. Sled pugs!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning... on everything

Facebook advertising actually worked on me again. I kept seeing ads for Hidden Valley Ranch recipes and especially the popcorn looked so good to me.

I love popcorn and this is super easy. Just sprinkle a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning on buttered popcorn.

I love using our glass microwave popcorn popper. I ate the entire batch in one sitting by the way.

Yup. I was hooked. I picked up several packets when I was at Wegmans.

Then I went to the Hidden Valley website and checkout the recipes there. Ranch guacamole!

Hidden Valley Ranch oyster crackers! (someone mentioned on Instagram how they loved these growing up)

Hidden Valley Ranch Mac and Cheese!

Ranch mashed potatoes.

Ranch biscuits.

Ranch burgers.

At this point I'm wondering what CAN'T I put Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning in?!

UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only one obsessed with ranch dressing. I heard a story on NPR about how people in the US are putting ranch dressing on everything. A pizzeria in Dallas is so tired/insulted by people dipping their pizza in ranch, that they are charging $1000 for a side of ranch. I had no idea I was being sucked into such a craze.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Standing at work

When I moved my office from State Street to Building 205, there were two or three people that had standing desks. I thought it was intriguing.

After reading article after article about how sitting all day could be killing me, I boosted my laptop with a monitor stand so when I want to use it I have to stand. I'm short enough that it was all I needed... no special standing desk.

When I use my iMac however, I sit down. I have stood all day before... at tradeshows especially and my lower back starts to hurt from my college waitressing days. I read another article that suggests that part standing and part sitting might be the better way to go anyhow. It's only been one week, but so far so good!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Muppets Most Wanted

Both Aaron and I are life-long Muppet fans. We were going to go see Monument Men, and somehow ended up going to see Muppets Most Wanted.

Is it awful that Constantine, the evil frog was our favorite character.

I mean... I love Kermit but an evil frog is hilarious. (Notice how Constantine not only has a mole but his collar is shorter?)

Some of my favorite parts...

"It's not easy being mean."

"Thee louvers, thee dreemers and chee-e-e-e-e-se! Nailed it."

"My name first, then spacebar, spacebar, spacebar... your name."

"You wacka'd your last wacka, bear!"

Plus Aaron and I have the "I'm number one! You're number twoooooo" song stuck in our heads.

I noticed that the Muppets were guest deejays on iTunes. They had some funny picks like Miss Piggy featuring "Maneater" and Animal playing "Wild Thing".

Oh and the Muppets Most Wanted website has desktop wallpaper downloads!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blue and Green Ball Mason Jar Lids!

My shopping cart came to a grinding halt in Wegmans when I spotted these colored Ball Mason Jar lids and bands!

Pop, pop they went into my cart. Mix and match and have some fun! Color options for all your creations.

Look how perrrrrrfectly they go with the blue and green Ball Heritage jars!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hill’s® Science Diet® Grain Free dry pet food Klout Perk

Oscar and Hugo got a Klout perk in the mail! They were very excited to get a bag of Hill’s® Science Diet® Grain Free dry pet food.

Did they like it? The proof is right here. I was really interested in the fact that this Hill’s® Science Diet® Grain Free dry dog food is grain free. I have had suspicions that wheat is making the pugs skin itchy... seems like they lick their paws obessively when they have too much.

The size of the Hill’s® Science Diet® kibble is perfect for the pugs.

This is a small detail about the Hills dog food that I really appreciated... the dog food bag closed with a velcro seal. So nice!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cuba Cheese Shoppe Goodies

It is tradition to stop at Cuba Cheese Shoppe on our way to Maple Weekend. Cuba Cheese Shoppe has been in business in Cuba, New York since 1976 and making cheese since 1871! Cuba was once considered the "Cheese Center of the World!" when they were shipping cheese to New York City via canal and the railroad.

I love poking around the shop. Besides cheese they have a lot of interesting food like canned goods. Cinnamon candy apple butter! Watermelon pickles!

There was so much to choose from but I settled on the pickled baby corn.

I almost passed out when I saw this 2 pound roll of butter! Aaron humored me and we bought one to take home! I just enjoy looking at it.

We also couldn't leave without our usual 2.5 pounds of extra sharp cheddar cheese, their specialty!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Maple Weekend 2014

It's hard to believe with the weather still feeling like winter, but it's time for Maple Weekend. Maple producers across the state open their doors to show how they make maple syrup and other related products.

Time for a roadtrip to Spragues Maple Farm for maple syrup tasting and pancakes with our buddies.

We spent some time learning about tapping maple trees and checking out the sugar house.

Then it was time for maple milkshakes, maple fudge, maple cotton candy and...

... and stacks of pancakes with all the maple syrup we want!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Homemade pug sweet potato treats

We have been buying the pugs bags of dried sweet potatoes which they just love. I was looking at the ingredients and saw that it listed "sweet potatoes". That was all. I started thinking... "I could do that!". So I bought some sweet potatoes, cut them up and Aaron brought the food dehydrator down from the attic.

I think we may have dried them a little too much, as they are crunchy and not chewy. The next batch I might try pulling them sooner. I nibbled on one and they are nice and sweet!

Of course the pugs don't seem to mind.

Crunch, crunch, crunch. I love when they hold things with their front paws.


The pugs call it a success.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Breakfast on the newstand

I couldn't pass up this magazine when I saw it. A magazine all about my favorite weekend meal - breakfast/brunch!

There are lots of tasty looking recipes, but I really love this super simple suggestion of Nutella on toast. The photos in this magazine are mouthwatering.

Mmm-mmm eggs! I have a porcelain egg holder like that so I feel I am well on my way to mastering these recipes.

One thing I haven't tried is making biscuits from scratch. I love this picture too. I wish my countertop looked this picturesque when I baked!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Deep dish surprise from Chicago

Aaron was in Chicago for work for a couple days and surprised me by bringing home a frozen Giordano's deep dish pizza!

Chicago is famous for it's deep dish pizza. Legend is that deep dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno, but I gotta say, having eaten at both I feel like Giordano's is more authentic. I've even brought it home for Aaron before!

Aaron brought home a frozen one, which I didn't know they offered, and we baked it at home. Much better than toting an already baked pizza home on the plane.