Friday, August 28, 2009

Naturally Healthy Leftovers

Since it's been difficult for Jake and I to get back into the healthy eating routine while being on a tight budget, we have been incorporating leftovers into the equation. It's awesome, because we haven't had to spend ANY money the past few days. There are times that it really helps to work in the restaurant industry, and most of those times revolve around food.

Two days ago we were running a fish special at the inn that had a piquillo Hollandaise sauce. Piquillos are a Spanish red pepper that we get for specific dishes because they are certainly not cheap. I like to think of it as the saffron of peppers. I also like to think that maybe that wasn't the most absurd statement I've made in a long time. Anyways, the sauce was left over and used in staff meal. Since it was about to be thrown out at the end of staff meal, I decided to take it home. That same day, one of the servers had brought in fresh veggies from his garden. He offered me some of them, so I gratefully snagged some Swiss Chard and a squash. The next morning I poached some eggs, and served them over the sauteed chard and topped it with Hollandaise.

I then used the leftover chicken and tomatoes I had brought home from Back Bay Grill on Monday, some pasta, the squash, and some fresh herbs to make a hearty lunch pasta (no Hollandaise on that one!). It was SO good and so incredibly easy.

I'm more proud of this morning though. We were getting rid of old mashed potatoes at the end of the night, so I packed them up to bring home. I already knew my mission, but I only fear was that I would forget about it the next day. Luckily, I woke up this morning rearing to go, and spent the next two hours making potato bread. I loosely followed a recipe, but had to change a few things to make it turn out right. First, I gathered my ingredients:

1 pkg. (7g) Dry Yeast
6oz. Lukewarm Water
2c. Mashed Potatoes (I used leftovers, but you can make some if you want!)
2 T. Butter
4 1/2 c. King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
3/4 c. King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
2t. Salt

I bloomed my yeast in the lukewarm water (make sure the water is not hot enough to kill the yeast, but not so cold that it doesn't react). Then I added the potatoes, butter, flour, and lastly salt. Salt should always be added last because it kills yeast. You want your bread to rise, no? I let it go in the mixer for about 3-4min. My KitchenAid is incredibly old, and practically falls apart whenever I demand more of it than it's daily display of antiquity, so it wasn't horrible efficient in terms of dough creation.

Once the ingredients were at least incorporated, I removed them from the bowl and kneaded the dough for about a minute. I then wrapped it in a plastic freezer bag to let it proof. Problem #1? I don't have a proof box. Problem #2? Despite it being AUGUST and hot as hell last week, my kitchen was freezing so I could not count on the humidity to assist me. Instead, I set my oven to what I could only guess was 75*. It was below 200* (the lowest number on the dial), but was definitely still producing heat. I then put a bowl of water in the oven to keep it moist and steamy in there.

Once the bread was about 2x it's original size, I rounded it and popped it in the oven. 375* for about 45 min. I lost my thermometer so I had to resort to Morse Code in order to figure out if it was done. Sure enough, knocking on the bottom made the same hollow noise that I had hoped for, so I melted some butter over the top, and let the loaf cool.

For lunch we used my bread and some leftover chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches. Free, natural, creative food has never tasted so good. For real.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It happens to be Thursday...

This is probably the first time in months I have realized it was Thursday and thought, "Why not do a Thursday Tea?" As of late, I've been forcing myself to complete them...but not today! Today I am going to talk about Death's Daughter by Amber Benson (yes, "Tara" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Homegrown's Blueberry Cooler.

Thursday Tea was a little thing brought to you by BirdBrain(ed) Book Blog and my inspiration was drawn from Jupiter Sinclair. Here is the schpeal:

Tell us what tea you are drinking (and if you like it). And then tell us what book are you reading (and if you like it). Finally, tell us if they go together.

Meeting Amber Benson at New York Comic Con was amazing. It wasn't until that point that I truly began to understood how diverse her talents are. Sure, acting and directing aren't quite the same cup of tea, but they're similar enough that one could say, "Huh...yeah, I could see that." Writing your own fictional trilogy? Well...let's just say I didn't have the same prior reaction.

The book wasn't at all expensive ($10 I believe), so Jake and I each purchased one for her to sign. We both began reading on the bus ride home, and it was a lot better than I expected (not that I, in any way, doubted her!). While I can still picture Amber Benson narrating the story, herself, Death's Daughter has a style that I have not quite experienced. I think what I enjoy most about the writing is that the main character, Calliope, speaks the same way I do. She uses weird sentence structure while kind of becoming consumed in her own rants, and making up words when none can accurately describe what she's trying to say.

I know a lot of people have been upset about her "destruction of English prose," but I think that every author has the right to creative license. If the character would use that particular wording or "slang," then I think it would be a shame if the reader weren't given the opportunity to experience that.

The premise?:
Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig’s List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss...But when her father—who happens to be Death himself—is kidnapped, and the Devil’s Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle— only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first.

The tea?:
Not available on her website, Sarah of Homegrown Herb and Tea has a special summer blend called Blueberry Cooler. It is absolutely scrumptious. No joke. Steeped with mint, lemon verbena, cinnamon sticks, a hint of honey, and fresh blueberries, I am FAR from hell when sipping on this chilled beverage. It is absolutely perfect for these deathly hot summer days we've been having.

I think that these two are a perfect pairing. With the heat wave flashing through Amber Benson's tale, and chilly effects of the Blueberry Cooler, you are left with a very satisfying temperature. What better way to pass a nice summer day then to engulf yourself in an urban fantasy while cooling yourself down with a delicious, all-natural tea?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Dream Comic Con.

I've never been to San Diego Comic Con. Heck, I've never been to San Diego...EVEN HECKER...I've never been to California! With all the other adventures Jake and I have been planning, SDCC is probably the biggest and most desired (at least for me). The New York Comic Con left me craving more, and my expectations for San Diego are quite high.

Unfortunately, they have not announced any ticket information for next year, so I am clueless about how much to start saving or even what will be happening at the event. I'm sure everyone who attended 2009 SDCC is still trying to recover, but I have too many dreams about this! I decided that I would create my dream list. Probably the furthest from realistic, but it's my dream so STFU.

I'll tell ya what I want, what I really really want (and it's NOT a zigazig-ha)

#1: Buffy Cast Reunion Panel
This would include Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendan, Alyson Hannigan, Amber Benson, James Marsters, Anthony Stewart Head, Seth Green, and Emma Caulfield. There would be a meet and greet afterwards where I could talk with all of them.

No, I do not want David Boreanaz, Charisma Carpentar, or Michelle Trachtenberg to be there. kthx.

#2: Dollhouse Panel
Obviously this would include Joss Whedon Eliza Dushku, and the regulars. I would then get to meet Eliza.

#3: Firefly Panel
Everyone would discuss what they're doing now, as well as the future of Firefly. What's to come?

#4: Bioshock 2

Because we all know it will probably be bumped back to some obscure 2010 date, it should be a preview game at SDCC where Juliet Landau (voice of the Little Sisters aka Drusilla) would casually be observing to see how the game turned out.

#5: Jo Chen Signing
Who knows what future projects she has, but I want this girl to sign every copy of my Season 8 Buffy comics.

#6: Casually Bumping Into Dan Trachtenberg
TRS would be shooting their SDCC podcast, and I would casually bump into the three of them because I would be too busy being hysterical with excitement about the rest of the event. Then they would use the embarrassing footage in the episode, and Dan would accidently tweet his phone number again, and I could call him, and we would become great friends and he would help me with job placement for the rest of my life. (I said unrealistic, okay!? MY DREAMS! MINE!)

#7: Dr. Horrible Signing & Sing-Along

I could awkwardly introduce myself to Felicia Day, and we could awkwardly get out picture taken together, and then awkwardly fumble around as she signs whatever I have handy...awkwardly. She, and the rest of the cast would lead the group in a theatrical performance of Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

#8: Joss Whedon signing
They would hold a lottery like they did at NYCC, except THIS TIME Jake or I would win. Well, hopefully in my dream I win...but I'd settle for it being Jake. If I won, I would be super excited and get like 17 things autographed, and show him my tattoo and ask to shake his hand and/or hug him.

#9: Free Sushi & Tea
Everyone who attends would receive free tea and bento box. Not some cheap, nasty crap either. It would be sponsered by a well-respected company. MMMmmm. Because starving all day sucks.

#10: Harrison Ford, IRL, as Han Solo...just trying to blend in.
Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bioshock 2 Wine Bottle?! What?

So I am torn. The outrageous fangirl in me is all "omfg! I want ANYTHING with ANY kind of Bioshock reference IN MY HANDS NOW. Kay, thanks." But the slightly rational side of me is saying, "...really people?" I mean, I would probably considering purchasing one of the toys NECA displayed at Comic Con, but this seems kind of outrageous.

For those who don't already know, the release date for Bioshock 2 has been pushed into sometime next year. I'm not fretting much, because thanks to Twitter I know that my beloved Juliet Landau (Drusilla of BTVS) is doing the voices of the Little Sisters again. The one thing that bothered me about the Bioshock trailer was that the voice of the Little Sister in the end was NOT the same as the ones in the original Bioshock. I am very weird about stuff like that..if something I am used to is even an octave off of what it has always been, I have issues with it. Anyways, in my mind they had to push the release date because Juliet Landau is just now able to do the voice work for the project, and 2k cares so much about the quality of the game that they are willing to postpone in order to make it perfect. Whether that is true or not is a completely separate story, but that is what keeps me at bay.

So this wine bottle. It's a Rapture related bottle containing promotional posters for Bioshock 2. Various amounts of bottles were found on ten beaches throughout the world (that part impresses me), and now someone is selling theirs on Ebay. Sure, if I were the lucky gal to stumble across one of them beauties I would probably pee myself, hell, I might even sell it myself, but there is no way in hell I would pay $70+ for a free advertisement. If I were going to purchase Bioshock related goodness, it would probably be this:

Because I have never seen anything so metal in my life.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Music Related Youtube Videos You Must See

Nirvana vs. Rick Astley
This video is amazing. I have pretty much told everyone I know about this. It is the ultimate Rick-roll...

Chocolate Rain
I sang this at work last week and was told by many that they had no idea what I was talking about. That is absolute blasphemy. Watch it.

Linkin Park Parody
Jake actually just showed me this today, and it is actually so true that it hurts a little

Little Boy Singing "Hey Jude"
I actually get this version of the song stuck in my head more often than the original

Sunday Afternoon

I couldn't post this without a Jon Lajoie video...however, I wanted to make this entry appropriate for all so I figured "Show me your gentials" and "E=MC Vagina" were probably not the best ones to add.

FAVA episode 3!

Where are Episodes 1 and 2 you ask? Well, as with Star Wars, they just weren't up to par...but unlike the movie industry we know when to count our losses. Yeah, sure, episode 3 wasn't that great, but I'm pretty sure Anakin rolling around in molten whatsit was far more badass than anything that CG asshole Jar Jar Binks ever did. Just sayin'. Well...anyways...Episode 3! I finally came up with the most brilliant of plans, even if it was with a little guidance from all you folks out in the interwebs ;) . I took the .wmv file that the Flip HD editing program had created, dragged it into Windows Media Player, and compressed it to 500mb. BAM! Goes the la-dy...all complete, all gorgeous, all 100% FAVA-licious.

So to enjoy our third official, first completed episode...check out The Official FAVA Blog for more! TELL US WHAT YOU THINK :) :) :)