Tuesday, February 08, 2011

2.8.11 Ten on Tuesday

Ten favorite Oscar winning movies.


I rarely pay attention to the Oscars. I've almost never seen the nominees before they get voted on. I usually don't get around to seeing the winners or the rest of the nominees until three or four (or more? ETA: apparently "mostly more", given how few winners I've actually seen!) years later.

I wasn't even sure which movies I had seen were actually Oscar winners.

Google to the rescue on the innernets: Best Pictures

Well, running through the list, I've actually seen 14 of them. I disliked Rocky and Gone with the Wind, leaving me with 12. Ben-Hur was ok, but nothing I'll watch again. The Sound of Music is in the peculiar position of being a movie I liked enough that I watched it over and over, to the point where the music and the movie affect me like nails on a chalkboard. I'll probably never see it again and I switch stations if any of the music ever pops up.

So... My top 10 Oscar Winners:
  1. It Happened One Night
  2. Rebecca
  3. Casablanca
  4. West Side Story
  5. My Fair Lady
  6. Oliver!
  7. The Sting
  8. Amadeus
  9. Forrest Gump
  10. A Beautiful Mind

Sunday, February 06, 2011

2.6.11 Birdfeeder

The birdfeeder in the back yard attracts a variety of birds at this time of year - dark eyed juncos, cardinals, the occasional chickadee, and a flock of mourning doves. Since the dog died last year, we've had crows and squirrels raiding more often; the cats just don't have quite the same effect.

This visitor was a new one:


The best I've been able to figure out, it's a kestrel. They eat rodents and small birds - I'm only surprised I've never seen one at the birdfeeder before.


It stayed for about 20 minutes, and then was gone as suddenly as it arrived.

Friday, February 04, 2011

2.4.11 Apricot Bread

I finally amassed all the ingredients to make one of my favorite breads:

Apricot Bread (based on the version in Beard on Bread)

Preheat oven to 350F.

2 cups [loosely packed] dried California apricots (on the east coast these are harder to find - most everyone carries the Mediterranean which won't make the bread I like).
1 cup boiling water, poured over the apricots to soften them. Wait about 30 seconds and then start pulling the apricots out of the water and start chopping them. I usually just pull a few at a time out, but if they are getting mushy, go ahead and fish them all out at once. Save the water.

Measure the water - add enough to have a full cup of water again.
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c sugar
2 eggs

Mix water, soda, sugar and eggs together.

2-3/4 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 c black walnuts (As with the California apricots, the black walnuts are needed for the proper taste. They're somewhat hard to find around here, but my sister gave me a package for Christmas. )

Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. Divide batter into pans equally. Bake for 45 minutes (until risen and dark golden). Let cool on a rack and enjoy.