Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scientific Procrastination


I should really be working on my novel in my spare time, but Zooniverse has sucked me in again. I used to be obsessed with classifying galaxies on galaxyzoo and now I am all about Snapshot Serengeti, wherein the collective power of human brains is captured to produce scientific research. You look through automatic camera captures of animals in a preserve in Africa and help identify what they are and what they are doing so the researchers have a better idea of how the animals behave without humans around affecting the outcome.
Many of the photos are just blurry or leaves or things but when you find a golden shot like this
it's all worthwhile. No one has seen these pics. You are discovering them for the scientists, just like the galaxies on galaxy zoo and all the other sites they have.
Once you get started you'll be hooked. You won't want to stop classifying the animals. Not when there are things that will make you giggle and brighten your day like this surprised gazelle.

If you want to safari with me my handle is lindarinya, as ever, your female bard.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Meri's Low Carb Chicken Fingers


So my chicken finger recipe is getting solid raves from my Low carb group friends. I want to share it and my tips for the best roast cauliflower. Seriously, Josh hardly ever finishes his veggies and he ate of all them.

Chicken Fingers Recipe
Ingredients
1 Large chicken breast per person, this recipe is enough for 3 hungry adults, adjust accordingly, so we went with it.
1 c almond meal (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fresh and Easy, etc.)
1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne powder (less of the last if you don't like hot.
1 large egg
1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot
Cut the chicken into 1 inch wide strips. Set the oven to 350.
Mix the egg and Frank's together. Mix the spices in with the almond meal.
Dip the chicken strips in the egg/Frank's mixture then coat in your "breading".
Arrange on cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping them once in the middle until both sides are a nice golden brown.
You won't miss the breadcrumbs. I promise.

Meri's Roast Cauliflower
Ingredients
1 Head cauliflower
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
4-5 tbsp. Shredded Asiago or parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
Set the oven to 400, toss your cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper, then lay on a cookie sheet.
Cook for 20-25 minutes in the oven, until cauliflower is browned and carmelized on the edges.
Take it out and toss with lemon juice, and your cheese, serve hot. See if any lasts more than 5 minutes!

Content Dump!


Sorry for the delay in new posts. I have been so busy the past two weeks. The reasons are included in this post, along with some interesting tidbits.

I have been spending my last few Sunday mornings getting my ass kicked at Aerial Silks class, thanks to a groupon. This place is amazing. Lisa and Kaitlyn are sweet and nice and help my big giant body do things I never thought possible. I mean check me out compared to a few months ago! Aerial is amazing. I hurt after in places I didn't know existed. If you want a new kind of fitness that will challenge you while making you feel feminine and really good check it out. Fembody Fitness


Then on Saturday we took our friends' kids to Disneyland for the day. There is nothing funnier than a toddler running from Eeyore in terror. We had a great time. I won't post their pics on here without permission so here is a picture of an amazing caramel apple that I fell in love with and had to have while the kids had cotton candy.



Then, while trying not to buy more yarn I decided to make a "Scrap" granny square blanket of every yarn I had of the same type of yarn, I think the results are interesting. It definitely has cat approval- sorry Rebecca! It's one of the quickest and easiest ways to knit up a blanket while sitting around bored.
And just because I can't leave you without recipes for the week stay tuned for one more post.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meri's Stuffed Portabella Caps


I threw together some stuffed portabella mushroom caps tonight and they turned out better than I could have expected. So I wanted to share before I forget what I put in there!

Ingredients
2 large portabella caps
1 shallot, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (trust me on the fire roasted kind)
1 Tablespoon balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 c Shredded Parmesan cheese. (The good kind, not the jar)

Set the oven to 350. Clean the gills out of your mushroom caps. Drizzle the olive oil in a small saute pan, and add the shallot and garlic.

Saute till soft, then add your tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid has evaporated then transfer the mixture to your mushroom caps.

Sprinkle the Parmesan over the caps, until there is a layer over each.

Cook approximately 30-35 minutes, until the cheese is browned and the mushrooms are soft. Serve immediately! (We had pork loin and asparagus on the side.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Turkey Watermelon


We had our third Thanksgiving this weekend so I decided to do something different than I usually do.
I made a watermelon turkey! To do this you need to have watermelon that sits well on its’ long side. Once it is clean make two cuts near the ends and then cut long ways around the middle so you have a section on either end to carve. Create the head by making it round with a neck using a paring knife. Then create some eyes by carving to the white. I created the beak from scraps from the head. Then I cut a small rectangle in the head and inserted the beak. I made the waddle with a bit of the pink and white with the green cut off and used half a toothpick to hold it in.
The tail was made by cut cutting small V’s out and making them a little rounded. Then I cut the watermelon into squares and scooped it out. I mixed it with the watermelon from the “top” of the watermelon we took off at the beginning. Make sure to dump all the watermelon juice out or else the fruit you put in will get mushy.
I added berries to my watermelon for a pretty pink color palette.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The End?



It is officially the last day of Nanowrimo and I am pleased to announce I am a "Winner" in that I completed the task of writing 50k words of a novel in 30 days. I am nowhere near the end of my novel, but that's not the point. I want to share with you, dear readers, what I have discovered over the last thirty days that I missed last year when I gave up after 18k words.

It is not enough to like your story, you need to love it. You need to be maddened with not knowing how things turns out for your characters. It will drive you from one word to the next when you have no idea what's going on.

You need to create a writing space. With whatever relaxes you and helps you focus. For me it was candles and a Pandora station full of Qntal and Loreena McKennitt. When I had both of those I found I could write for hours.

Set aside time. Since I recently moved and realized that with an added 1 1/2 hours to my daily commute I had to be more strict with my time in order to fit in the things I was used to. Scheduling was the key. I schedule workouts into my days, and time to cook dinner so adding writing time became one of those things I scheduled.

Having support is crucial. My fiance made sure to be busy when I wanted to write so I wasn't tempted to join him in other activities. He also cooked me breakfast one morning when I was writing. The best support came from him when I was stuck and needed to talk out the next section of the book. I was lucky to have a great source of trivia in him that I utilized the utmost.

Reminding yourself the backspace and erase button do not exist at all during nanowrimo. What backspace? Forward, forward. Something I hope I can keep up in the coming weeks as I try to find the same motivation to finish.

Lastly, is simply wanting to. No amount of prep and planning with help if you don't really want to be writing. If there are other things you want to be doing more, you will never write. You might become a great musician or basketball player instead. Nothing wrong with that. But if you don't have the burning desire to chain yourself to a computer then don't do it because it's dragging yourself through emotions and feelings, dredging up your past to understand your characters and it's hard work.

So before I embark on Part two of my book I am rewarding myself. I threw together a bottle of garlic infused vodka earlier tonight that I will enjoy next week, hopefully after I have completed another couple thousand words on my novel.


Happy Writing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lower Carb Whiskey & Whole Cranberry Sauce


So here's a grown up cranberry sauce recipe that's both fun and a bit lower carb than regular recipes, based upon other recipes I have seen and wanted the best of both worlds.
1 12-16 oz bag of whole cranberries.
3/4 c xylitol
1/4 c coconut sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c whiskey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss your cranberries with the sugars, zest and cinnamon in a casserole dish then cover with foil.
Bake for 1 hour.
When you take it out of the oven let it cool for five minutes then add the whiskey. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
Put on turkey or cheesecake.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meri's Quick Cabbage Side



Welcome to the middle of nanowrimo. Last night I hit 20k words and the closure of act one of my story. I am trying not to panic as I launch into act 2 as I don't exactly know where I am going from here. I am going into the great unknown with my main character! Exciting!

So in the meantime my cooking has been of the quick and dirty variety with a lack of exciting cocktails and events to share.But I can give you this. It's a play on the North Woods Cabbage salad for those in a hurry.

Ingredients
Red Cabbage (about 1 shredded head)
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/8 c olive oil (ish)
2/3 ish tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or just save time and use garlic salt. I am all about combining steps!
about 6-8 squirts Bragg's Amino Acids (Or roughly 1 Tbsp.
Cut up your cabbage
Mix your dressing
Put on cabbage and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or overnight to let the flavors sink in and give it a really pretty pink hue. Enjoy.
PS: It's addicting. We eat it at least once a week in my house. It's along the lines of cheap, quick kimchi.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Tuesday Post



I'm not going to be posting much. Today is all the election. I hope you voted. Even if you are not in a swing state, casting a vote is sending a message. We are so lucky in America. We do not have to be afraid of getting hit by bombs, or shot or anything else awful that happens to voters in less fortunate countries. We need to vote for all the voices that get silenced.

To quote one of my favorite comedy film characters "Speak up, America, speak up!" Elle Woods had it right. I spoke up, for better or worse.

I voted for my uterus, my health, the civil rights of my fellow citizens, the students of California, the consensual adults of California and the taxpayers of California, burdened by a ridiculous capital punishment system.

I voted because my family motto is "Esperance" which means hope. I voted so I can look my future children in the eyes and feel that I have done my civic duty as an American, voted with the morals I hold, and tried to make a difference.

If you couldn't make time to vote, then don't complain to me. If your life and your country mean less to you than an hour one day, every other year I don't want to know, I don't want to hear.

Thank you

We will be back to regularly scheduled blog posts tomorrow.

Low Carb Pumpkin Pie



I really wanted pumpkin pie this week. So I was trying to find a good recipe for my low carb lifestyle. I started with this recipe here Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free Pumpkin Pie and made my low carb twists to it.

In place of the 1/2 c brown sugar I used 1/2 c coconut sugar. In the place of the white sugar I used Xylitol . In place of the coconut milk (I realized when baking I had the thin coconut milk, not the thick) so I subbed in a tub of the Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese (A tiny cheat). That stuff is crack. I also just threw in 3 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual ones. (I would use 4 next time, I really like those flavors.)

Verdict: It was a little hard to get out of the pie tin, the almond meal crust kind of stuck to the bottom, and it crumbled a bit when trying to plate it, but the flavor was great, subtle and sweet. I would probably add a bit more sweetener to the crust since it was very nutty and not very sweet. But you live and you learn.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beer Love Affair

Apparently, despite my best efforts, my love affair with beer continues. I blame it on

the Untappd app and my friend Jes. And the fact there are beers out there like this Banana Bread Beer


It is so goddamn hard to be low carb when I know this is around. Their Double Chocolate Stout already has a place in my heart.

Nanowrimo is already affecting my brain, weakening my will not to drink. What is it about writing and a frosty cold beverage? Or even a hot one? Why do they go together so well?

If I ever get the chance to ask Steven King you bet I'm taking it.
Cheers to your adventures this weekend.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo! x 2


It's here! At last. Are you ready? Anyone in the LA area want to get together to write in the next month? Send me an e-mail @ lindarinya@gmail.com.
That's all for now, there is writing to be done!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Untitled Horror Story


Hi Guys, welcome to my story workshop. I figured why not post a story here? All the greats do it. I am in no way a writer in any sphere near Neil Gaimain except by following him on Twitter. And lucky you, I can't afford an editor. So please give me some idea. It's just a rough draft, nothing more.

Happy Halloween

It’s not that I don’t like animals, I do. I had many pets growing up. I donate every year to the ASPCA, receive my wrapping paper, or stationery stickers in appreciation. No wonder they always need money, they are always giving stuff away. It’s a bad business model.

Anyway, it started on a Tuesday night. I remember, because Ginny, the house was dark when I returned home from work. Ginny and Cara were at Zumba, a mother-daughter bonding group or something. I’m sure they’ve told me and I’ve forgotten.

I headed to the kitchen to look for something for dinner. On occasion Ginny would leave something, if she had enough time after work to cook, and I was hopeful. There were lingering traces of cooked meat in the air. I searched high and low, nary a scrap of aluminum foil to signal leftovers wrapped up. The freezer lacked any frozen meals as well, a fact to which my stomach protested in a deep caveman guttural tone.

Muttering to myself I picked up my keys and left the house to go to the supermarket a few miles away. As I emerged fat raindrops began plopping down on the shoulders of my coat, adding to my irritation. My approach to the car was announced by the neighbors’ dog, a whining Chihuahua mix that pranced anxiously along the edge of the fence. As I slid into the driver’s seat it began alternating jumping and digging as it watched me.

I backed out of the driveway, leaving it behind, quickly arriving at the grocery store, the evening crowd of after work shoppers almost gone. Good. A handful of frozen dinners and I was out again, my mood lifting at the prospect, only a ten minute car ride, and a few minutes pacing in front of the microwave away. Perhaps I would make two, since one of them never seemed to be enough, I thought as I drove, the windshield wipers gently whooshing in a hypnotic rhythm. The girls wouldn’t be home for a few more hours, maybe a whiskey to go along with it.

I admit I wasn’t paying much attention as I drove down my street. Didn’t notice the gate was open next door, didn’t see the small dog, in the headlights, running around on the wet asphalt. Maybe if I had I couldn’t have helped it anyway, with the roads being so slick. Maybe I would have spun out and died myself.

It was a soft thump, but it woke me from my trance. Echoes of the last bark translated themselves into thoughts in my brain. The dog. Was out. I hit it. I slid into the driveway, putting the car into park, on autopilot. Shaking, I got out of the car. There were clumps of tissue and fur in the treads of the front tire by my door. A trail leading out to the street.

The house next door was dark. I looked up and down the street, didn’t see anyone, any other cars. We weren’t exactly off a main road so it made sense. And why would anyone hang outside voluntarily in this weather?

I nodded to myself, following the trail to the lump in the street. It was hard to tell what it was, really. Squinting it just looked like meat. I expected to feel more revulsion at it than I did. I nudged it with the toe of my dress shoe. I have no idea what I expected from it, but it was satisfying.

So was the silence. The lack of barking, just the gentle pitter patter of the rain. I could hear it without the yapping. The tires would probably be clean by morning, with the rain, but the pile in the street looked obvious. I walked to the garage, punched in the code and pulled out the snow shovel leaning against the wall. I walked back out to the street, ignoring the fact I was getting drenched. I scooped up the pile, it fit into the shovel easily and dumped it down the storm drain. I put the shovel back, retrieved my grocery bag and went inside to fix dinner. Maybe I would make it a double whiskey.

I slept well that night, Ginny by my side, the rain on the windows, a small dog’s keening mysteriously absent.

Ginny informed me the next night that the neighbors’ dog had gotten loose during the rainstorm. They were going to put up posters if it didn’t come back by the next day. I assured her I thought it would. I was surprised how easily the lie came. I wasn’t in a habit of doing it.

The dog never returned home. What a surprise.

I think the squirrel had rabies. You don’t often see them as roadkill. Raccoons, sure, but not squirrels. Too smart, too wily. The way that sucker was crossing the road was a sign, like he’d had one too many at the bar and the barkeep made him walk home. I figured I was helping out society when my wheels rolled over it and I felt the thump. I glanced back in my review, but didn’t stop. I was late for work.

The evening news had a story about spreading rabies in the wild animal population. Ginny said she thought she’d seen a raccoon with a suspicious gait and snuggled closer to me on the couch. I felt like a hero for a moment, maybe I had saved a kid’s life by running that thing over.

So the next one, the skunk, I saw, and I didn’t try to put on my brakes, in fact I swerved slightly towards it, without realizing I was doing so. I would save people from the offense of being sprayed by a skunk.

Don’t run over skunks. Not worth the smell. It goes off when it dies. How awful. Why wouldn’t it? Animals piss and shit themselves, why wouldn’t the glands go off?

At least it made a more satisfying sound than the dog. Made me wonder what it would be like to hit something even bigger. People hit deer all the time. Did it pop, crunch, thump? I started to get distracted at work thinking about it. Ginny asked why I was being so different. I told her I wanted to take a vacation. Somewhere cold for Christmas.

I added a better front bumper to my car before we went on our road trip. I cross referenced indexes on deer population late into the night. I found an alley where strays liked to hang. It was behind an seafood restaurant. Easy pickings, not much of a challenge. Stinky little animals, breeding incessantly. Not much will stop them. Should we spay and neuter them all?

My tally book added up quickly. I thumbed through it constantly. Cats-27, dogs- 3, skunks-1, raccoons-4, squirrels-1, crows-1, possums-11. I was ready for some fair game. But I wasn’t ready for the ice.

Unless you’ve been in a car accident it is hard to understand the eerie stillness of time as the scene unravels around, chaos spinning outward, uncontrolled, and you really are just a passenger to fate.

The doe lay bleating in the road, a sound not much different than the one my wife was making from under the dent in the passenger side door. Didn’t you see him? Ginny had screamed after, once the shock had worn off. None of us had been seriously injured but the car was totaled, and the deer was put down by the animal control officer who came to the scene. It was an overall disappointing vacation.

You’d think that would have been that, curbed my obsession, ended it. But cars were easy to replace.

Wives not so much.

It didn’t surprise me when Ginny left. It was the night she found the ones that didn’t go down the drain. My trophies. She said there was something wrong with me. I had changed. And she was going before it got worse.

There was nothing for me to do anymore but drive. Every night, in my new car, I would prowl the streets, eyes open wide, ready for the slightest moment that wasn’t metal. Then one night a bicyclist, out late for a joyride one abnormally warm winter evening, hit a pothole caused by caused by all the recent rains. He flew out right in front of my car, a sign from the universe.

Any witnesses would say it wasn’t my fault. I had no time to brake. Truthfully I had become one with my car and probably could have done something. But he was put in my path. Maybe he was a serial killer or something. But how gentle it was, no more than a large dog. I was around the corner and out of sight moments after, calmly parking my car and walking around the corner to see what I had wrought.

So much sympathy from those collected. Did they know what it felt like? The joy, the power? For a moment I was ready to burst with my experiences to share. But looking closer I could see in their eyes it was the discomfort of understanding, the revulsion. Why was I the only one?

I backed away from the scene, no longer wishing to be part of it. As I stepped away I slipped in something.

I looked down. Guts, of some sort? I tried to shake it off. I took another step, my foot falling into more of the stuff. I kept backing up, trying to scrap it off my shoe. I noticed a paw in the muck. Its’ fingers clenched around the hem of my pants. I screamed, trying to back away. I was firmly held by the small fist. In my struggle to get free I didn’t notice the police car careening around the corner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finn Hat Pattern


Hello Ladies and Gents.
We are switching things up this week. Today I will be giving you a crafting blog and tomorrow with be your lit related blog. I am finishing up a short horror piece that I would like to share with you for Halloween.

This is a super cute, last minute idea for a costume for anyone. I made this one for a coworker's baby daughter. I used the Adventuretime Finn Hat Pattern found Here.

To get the correct size for the pattern I printed out the picture, and used the diameter of the person's head I was trying to make the pattern for, divided that by 2, and then blew up the pattern so the side pieces were that length.

I used fleece from Joann Fabrics, and white quilting thread with with a quilting needle since the fleece was thick and I knew in some spots would be four layers thick. I picked up a big snap, since I knew it would be on a baby and her mom would appreciate not having to fiddle with small buttons, or the like.

I cut out doubles of all the pieces (4 of the side pieces.) Then I pinned them together to create the 5 main pieces of the hat. (Sides, top, ears). Once those were sewn inside out and turned around and finished stitching, I pinned the 3 big pieces together and sewed those inside out. Then I added the ears. Then went the snap on the bottom, to snap the two sides together.
Voila!



A special thanks to the Jaramillo family for this excellent photo of "Finn" in her hat.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Low Carb Scotch Eggs


Also known as the best quick breakfast ever. It's really easy to do.
Ingredients
5-6 Hardboiled Eggs (Go here for a fool proof egg timer for your hardboiled egg. Mike always come out just right, though you do have to look at the colors from time to time.
1 package of Jimmy Dean's sausage, we liked the hot kind (Thawed if it was frozen)
1/4 c parmesan cheese
Thyme, salt and pepper
Optional: Worcester sauce (I put it all over my egg when it was done because it's one of my go to condiments.
Glass casserole dish

Set the oven to 375
While the oven is warming peel your eggs (if you haven't).
Crack open your Jimmy Dean sausage, take out a handful of sausage goop and flatten it in your palms, until you have a circle about 4 inches wide, 1/3 inch thick. Wrap this around the egg, rolling it around in your hand like you would dough, until it covers the entire surface.
Repeat with the rest of the eggs.
Shake thyme, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese over your eggs, rolling them around in the excess to cover them.
Pop them all in your dish (foil lined if you want to keep cleanup simple) and toss into your warmed oven.
Depending on the size of you eggs they will be done anywhere between 30-35 minutes. (If you poke them they shouldn't be red in the middle anymore.)
Pair it with whatever other items you want, but 1 of these was enough for each of us for breakfast.
Bon apetit!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Happenings



It's getting close to Halloween again! My favorite holiday! (Though this year I am more psyched for the other two ones left, on account of getting to see family this year.) But I am interested in sharing with you guys some neat events going on.

Tomorrow night (Friday. Oct. 26th) Bootlegger's Brewery in Fullerton will be hosting their third Halloween party. Bootlegger's Brewery Website They have really great beer, so don't forget to come by and enjoy a pint and wear your costume!

On Saturday Long Beach will be hosting Long Beach Zombie Walk for those of you not yet bored with Zombies. (I do like Shoreline village, so it might be worth checking out.

The Porticos Theater in Pasadena is doing one of my favorite plays Sweeney Todd If you have never seen it, or have only seen the Johnny Depp version, do yourself a favor and check it out. Goldstar has some tickets left for the Friday and Saturday performances.

See you at the aftermath! Peace!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random



Long day today. Not much to share. Been enjoying the Mercedes Lackey book from the Humble Bundle I got recently. I have to download the rest before I forget.

Dinner tonight was a modified Octoberfest. Beer brats in mustard, red cabbage and apple in balsamic and coconut brown sugar, mushrooms cooked in garlic and butter (Or in my case garlic, and garlic butter!) Made up for the kind of sad pork chops, kale and cauliflower I made last night. (Though the cauliflower was roasted and not half bad.)

I am finding myself constantly frustrated since moving close to an hour from work. It's nearly impossible to feel I fit in everything I need to fit into a day. And I don't even have kids! I need to find a good life hack that will give me more time. For example:

Today I woke up at 6:55, was in the car at 7:05, drove an hour, worked 8 1/2, grocery shopped, drove an hour, did yoga, made dinner, ate dinner, now it's already 10 pm and I still need a shower. No time for reading, crafting, or getting more than 7 hours of sleep.
Help!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Egyptian Celebration



The Egyptian Anniversary Event was amazing. The food was great, the orchestra was fabulous, the dancing fun, even with my graceless feet. We taught the guy running the roulette table how to play roulette! He was giving us some big payments, we didn't tell him it was too much, though! (Only fake money anyway.)

The drinks were quite strong, a little too sweet for my tastes, but luckily they had really good gin and tonics to the rescue.

Here are some photos of the outfit I put together. I forgot the earrings but you couldn't see my ears anyway! Josh looked fabulous in his tux. We even got to make little movie flip books.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Story, Update, Thoughts


It's been a crazy week. Not the most spectacular one, but a learning experience. I am digging my low carb diet, but I am not a fan of cat litter in my toothbrush. (Kitty revenge for Josh leaving for a week, along with some nasty surprises.)

That's taken a lot of my attention. I have also been digging on Rings of Orbis The Neato RPG based on a book series I downloaded on my kindle a year ago and haven't had a chance to read. (Guess what I just started reading?) I admit I tried it because Nathan Fillion endorsed it and I do value Whedonite opinions on nerd things.

Tomorrow is the Egyptian Ball. Got almost all my costume pieces ready. Need a few more items. Like a clutch.

I do want to provide you with another quick recipe as an apology. Josh brought me back garlic form Gilroy (Yay!) So I of course immediately roasted a good chunk of it using This Site!. Mine needed an extra 1/2 hour btw, it all depends on the type of garlic.

Then when I whipped up some spaghetti squash I also tossed together some low carb meatballs! I used 1 head of the roasted garlic, 1 lb. ground angus, 1/2 c parmesan (from the plastic can), 2 eggs, 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning. Squish it all together, roll into balls, bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Ridiculously good, you won't miss the breadcrumbs and the roasted garlic makes them indescribably good. I will definitely make a double batch next time and freeze some.

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Low Carb Stuffed Peppers


Honey pie came home Monday so I was too busy to update. I do have a belated recipe for you I made last night. I don't have a pic unfortunately.

I have started a ketogenic diet to help with my fatty liver issue so most of my recipes from now on will focus on low carb, low sugar alternatives as I delve into this realm. Do there is trial and error to follow, but hopefully success in the long run.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
Pack of hot italian sausage
2 Decent sized peppers, sweet or green
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 c shredded asiago
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While doing that preheat a non stick skillet on the stove.
Once the skillet is preheated I added the olive oil, peeped the skin form the sausage, added that, added the garlic and onions.
I let that cook till the sausage was brown and the onions translucent, then added in the tomatoes and spices, letting it simmer for 5 minutes.
Arrange the peppers in a loaf pan (or a bigger pan if doubling) then add the filling. Cover with the asiago.
Seal it with foil and cook for about 30 minutes, until the peppers look nice and soft.
Take off the foil and let the cheese brown for about 5 minutes.
LEt sit about 5 minutes to cool, then serve.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sinister



I wasn't home last night to blog and I don't have a cocktail recipe either, but I do have a recommendation.
Go see Sinister if you like horror movies. It's a fun little flick, different than the generic Paranormal, Saw or exorcism movies. Ethan Hawke was great as always. A few moments actually did give me a jump, not normal for me.

Tomorrow I will be checking out LA Decom, an LA based Burning Man Event. LA Burning Man Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shameless Self Promotion



I am a finalist on a divinecaroline.com essay contest. I would really like to win. I need your votes. Please hop onto facebook and vote. Please, please!!!!! Here is the link to the essay.The Essay Finalist Home Page

Click LIKE at the top of the story to vote.
I should have more chain mail to show you tonight and possibly some persimmon cookies! Whooo! Sure made my day better!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Confession


I have an addiction to kindle books. I am always taking off what I have read just to try and keep it from getting overwhelmed. But since I moved I have not had even half the time to read but I still keep buying/(scoring free) books.

Be that as it may I recommend checking out the following link. Humble Bundle is a great place to help support authors, charities and drm free e-books. The current package is a fantastic collection of sci-fi and fantasy authors. I spent 15 for all. I thought it was fair. What a great way to represent your bibliophileness.

Anyone want to have a read along with any of these?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Quick Chili


You guys will definitely get more updates this week since Josh is out of town. Today I want to share my go to quick chili recipe for weeknights.

Ingredients
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1 packet McCormick's lower sodium chili seasoning
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can no added salt kidney beans
1 can no added salt black beans
1/4 c dark beer
Secret Ingredient: Dried Dill Weed
Optional Toppings: Sour Cream, cheddar cheese, jalepenos

Dice your onion and mince your garlic. Saute with the ground beef, pouring off the fat if you have a 85/15 type. You probably won't need to if it's real lean.
After the meat is browned and the onions are translucent toss in your beans, tomatoes, seasoning mix dill weed and beer.
Let simmer 10-15 minutes then mix in the red wine vinegar.
Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yule Ball



Working on a couple things to show you guys soon. A Finn from Adventuretime baby hat and also my outfit for the Egyptian ball.

We are already gearing up for our second ball of the year (second ball of all time,) the Yule Ball at Whimsic Alley on December 8th, the great Harry Potter themed place here in LA. Josh and I are gonna scope it out for a wedding potentially. Who wouldn't want a great hall to have an HP wedding at? Whimsic Alley

Here's the website for the info, but I recommend buying tickets through goldstar.com since it's a pretty penny.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Promethea



A friend lent me Promethea so I have been reading that. I love a good Alan Moore comic book.It's a great meditation on so many topics with an interesting mashup of styles.


Still reading IT,about 2/3s through. I hope to finish next week when Josh goes away. The Last Romanov is what I am reading on my kindle. What are you reading?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Coconut Oil



Coconut oil is amazing. And if you aren't incorporating it into your daily life what are you waiting for? Here's a link to get you started. 80 Uses for Coconut Oil.

I like to use it in my baking. It gives brownies a really gooey fudgy quality. A little goes a long way though! If you use too much it ends up oily. Most places recommend 1:1 ratio for butters and oils, but I find slightly less works just as well.

There are plenty of uses that have nothing to do with consuming for those who don't like the taste. I also recommend it for your scalp instead of head and shoulders. Who needs all those chemicals to get less dandruff? And it's good for a lot of baby issues where you don't want weird chemicals.

Are you a convert? Are you skeptic? A lifelong user? I want to know!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Winter Is Coming



Sorry for missing Thursday. I was busy deck building for the Game of Thrones Card Game.

Being part of a giant group of geeky friends is a beautiful and frustrating thing. For one we will never solve who is a better superhero, and two, we do all kinds of things without any shame at all.

Like most people in the world we are currently addicted to Game of Thrones. We fell in love with the card game because as magic players it was a similar game without having to constantly shell out tons of money for the latest and greatest cards. the GoT game is pretty equal about cards. Each set comes with the same thing, always. And new cards and mechanics aren't being churned out as fast as humanly possible so a couple trips to the store should cover you for quite some time.

The other aspect I like is that it plays well with more people, the one on one games are okay, but it' the big messy ones that are great. You can make a night of it with a bunch of people.

Tomorrow we are having our first 6 person game, up till now we have only attempted 4. I am really psyched. To get into the mood I am going to be making Arya's Snitched Tarts from the Feast of Fire and Ice cookbook. If you don't have the cookbook I recommend checking out Inn at the Crossroads site. The ladies who run it helped create the cookbook. It will give you an idea whether or not you should purchase the book.

It will be good practice for when we have our official Winter Game of Thrones Feast as a pre Christmas event for all our friends before they go off and do family things. Everyone is coming dressed as a character. I will keep you guys posted on the menu and hopefully add photos from the event itself.

Meanwhile I am off again. Almost time to leave work and go enjoy National Drink Beer Day! We will be going to the Congregation Ale House as they have delicious food and a phenomenal beer list.

Huzzah!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chainmaille x 2



My new walking regiment involves trips to Disneyland where I use as much willpower as possible to ignore the smells of caramel popcorn, churros, and funnel cakes, and walk my butt off all over Fantasyland to California Adventure. The reward for walking is a ride instead of food or a drink. What better reward for exercise?

So as a result I have slacked on my crafting somewhat. (Wouldn't you?) But I did complete a Captive Inverted Round Chainmaille necklace which looks really cool in person. It's got a nice heavy weight and the chunkyness gives it a modern twist.

The picture shows it somewhat but the lighting doesn't give the silver the right gleam.


I have also made a delicate looking bracelet with what I have dubbed The Planet Pattern since "Rhinos Snorting Drano" is not a very good name for what looks very lovely and nothing like a rhino. I will post that soon as well.

Is anyone out there trying out any of the other patterns from CGMaille? Any success, failures? I won't be showing you my attempt at ruffles, it was just sad. I definitely need to use smaller rings for the smaller rings, mine flopped around unattractively.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fallen London



Reading doesn't always have to be thought of as something linear. And shouldn't have to be. One of my favorite forms of reading is actually narrative gaming.

One of the best examples is Fallen London. You enter a world that is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. In it you use action points to interact with devils, rubbery men and shadowy figures. The world slowly unfurls in snippets of story, as you gain levels in danger, shadow, watchfulness and persuasion. Other strange qualities some negative, some helpful can also be acquired.

It launches your mind into new realms and you will thirst for more, anxiously awaiting a new action point to continue to discover things about the Masters of the Bazaar, the revolutionists, the Universities and then sail to the other corners of the world that have yet to be revealed.

Content is always being added to the game and if you enjoy casual gaming and are not that great with your thumbs on a joystick I would give Fallen London a try. It's free for the most part unless you want to access special content.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Leafy Greens with Bacon and Onions



I had this delicious side to some chicken this weekend at Stone Brewery and I wanted to try to recreate it. It included kale but I figured since I already had spinach I would substitute that.

Ingredients
Bag of fresh spinach
4 slices bacon
Onion (your choice, diced)
Pinch of brown sugar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray
Salt and Pepper
Optional: Bragg's Amino Acids. (Has a soyish flavor, really good for you if you are trying to lose weight.)
You need a decent sized pan, at least 12 inches around.

I used evoo spray to save on calories and spritzed my pan. Then I tossed in the onions. I cooked them at low-medium heat. After about a minute I added the brown sugar.
While the onions were caramelizing in the pan I placed the bacon in the microwave between sheets of paper towels. I let them cook about 6 minutes then took it out. I broke the slices into small pieces.
I let the onions cook until translucent, occasionally stirring. Then I folded in the spinach and the bacon, letting the spinach cook until wilted.
Add a few shakes of salt and pepper and a couple Sprays of your Bragg's if you are using it and toss one final time before turning off the stove.
Serve immediately.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Garlic Infused Vodka


I love savory drinks, as I have mentioned. So when I got a giant bag of garlic I had to try and recreate the garlic martini from the Stinking Rose.



That's my giant bag of garlicI fell in love with driving through Gilroy. I love that Gilroy smells like roasting garlic. It's amazing. I am afraid I don't have a picture of the infused vodka right now but my first attempt wasn't that pretty anyway. I used the recipe from Pop Diva for my infused vodka. I got some glass flasks at Ross but you can find the same ones at The Container Store.

What I learned from my first attempt is that after about a week it's perfect, any longer and it's too much. And straining it is a must. If anyone out there has any suggestions for clarifying the resulting vodka please let me know, because it took on an ugly yellow color from the garlic.

I am a huge fan of making your own flavored vodka. Makes a great present. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Walk Like an ...


Egyptian Theater. Lesser well known the The Grauman's Chinese Theater, but just as cool. Next month it will be celebrating its' 90th Anniversary and if you haven't gotten tickets yet there are still some left for this 90th Anniversary Ball on October 20th.

How could I not want to go after this season's opener to Boardwalk Empire.
Not sure if I will be wearing beads on my head but I am damn excited to get a 20's beaded dress.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cabin in the Woods


Here's the close to being done cross stitch. I like the way it uses negative space and the blue cloth to define some of the areas. I just need to finish the backstitching, add the date of the wedding and then mail it. Better late than never! Then back to the epic Thomas Kincade Beauty and the Beast cross stitch, which I took a break on about 6 months into.

I use The Stitchery for my cross stitch supplies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Revolution


Don't have anything new about books to offer but is anyone watching Revolution or Alphas? Revolution reminds me a ton of Jericho. Alphas is following in the footsteps of the 4400.

Where is my new television? Where is my Pushing Daisies type of shows? Everything feels the same. Thank goodness Boardwalk Empire rocked this week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

In a Pickle



I am a lover of all things pickled. In my fridge there are currently jars of olives, pickled garlic, regular pickles, pickled green beans and carrots... you get the idea.

This year I have really gotten into making my own. (Like the cherries) it is simpler than you think! We aren't talking end of the world, pickling for the masses or for long term storage. I am rather impatient and I want a quick turn around. These are the quick pickle variety, made to be enjoyed sooner rather than later, without all the fuss of immersion and vacuums sealing. (Though sterilized jars are still important.)

And as an old New Englander I am fond of pickled green beans. Whole Foods has a great recipe for cajun pickled green beans and carrots that's a great beginner recipe. Pickled Cajun Green Beans and Carrots

Instead of using all white vinegar I went ahead and did half apple cider vinegar, I think all white is too harsh and I didn't mind that it wasn't as clear. I cared more about the taste. And because of this I found I could use closer to 1/4 c sugar instead of 1/3 c. I also cheated by buying prepackaged pickling spices in the International Foods section. Each packet makes two jars and costs about $1.30. So I just threw that in with some cayenne powder.

The picture below is of the jar without any carrots. I also made one with baby carrots because I had those laying around a day I wanted to make them. I think the baby carrots work really well.

About three days is when I find they are at the perfect stage to be debuted.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Unhand Me Villain!


Friday led into a surprise visit to Disneyland to have dinner with my fiance's parents, and by proxy new Disneyland passes for the year. So I did not get a chance to post, on account of running around Disneyland all evening, trying out the new Carthay Circle lounge.

I enjoyed a really good Manhattan and Josh had the dill gin and tonic. The dill went really well with the tonic. I plan on experimenting with dill pickle brine now, and look forward to sharing that with you. I will also share the infusion tips for making garlic vodka (I am the geeky garlic girl!) with tomorrow as penance for having such a late Friday post.

But what I really want to share with you is my experience today at Villains.

After an afternoon fraught with crowds and insane temperatures, at Comikaze we abandoned any attempts to stick around and subject ourselves further to it we hightailed it to visit our friend in another part of downtown and experience the mythic Villains bar.

Between the gothic mirrors and stained glass windows we found one of the most thorough and precise bartenders I have ever had the pleasure of receiving a drink from.

There are drinks and theere are Drinks. They can't be described in flavors, but in memories and experiences. This is that kind of place.

I started with the Inigo Montoya, a wild blend of fruits, cucumber and jalepeno that jumped across the tongue, both cooling and firing at the same time. The drinks are on the pricier side between 12-15, but no other bar has ever seemed worthy of that kind of price, except for Seta in Whittier.

The second drink I had was the Belladona, a Whiskey, mint and blackberry preserves drink that was spicy and refreshing. Each drink has ice either hand crushed or shaved, depending on what the mixologist decided upon creating the drink.


Watching the bartender making the drinks was half the pleasure, each nuanced movement, from the peeling of a lemon and using the juice from the rind, to the shaking.

Since it was named one of the best bars in LA recently I would recommend going during the day like we did, or be prepared to wait quite while for a drink, but it is worth both the price and the wait.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Come One Comikaze All!


This week is the second annual Comikaze event here in los Angeles. The inaugural event was last November. It had some really great aspects and some not very good aspects.

Comikaze

Pros: Really neat vendors, great guests, really neat panels. Great cosplayers.

Cons: All the panels were in tiny curtained off areas, with barely any chairs. The All That Cast Reunion turned into a nightmare mosh pit of people. Most chairs seemed to have been dumped in the ghostly gaming area.

I am hoping with Stan Lee's name attached they will have more space, and some actual rooms for panels this year. I am excited for the Quidditch Tournament and the indie spirit involved in this one. I am a little disappointed that they raised the prices, even though they tout it as being so cheap, the prices were comprable to Anaheim Comic Con, run with Wizard.

I definitely think it warrants a second chance. So if you are around Los Angeles this weekend and want to have a nerdy adventure come to Comikaze. I will be sporting my Captain Hammer shirt (Like usual.) The Hammer is My Boobies.

Naturally Wednesday is Thursday


I can't seem to get these days right.

Last night I found out that my best friend Teri and I are Lucy and Ethel when it comes to making smoothies. A leaking blender, an overfull food processor resulted in a shiny clean kitchen (thanks honey!) turning into a sticky mess. We made beautiful passionfruit-strawberry-dragonfruit seed water. Yup.

I did finish the bracelet I was working on that I wanted to share with you. I have recently gotten back into chainmaille. Been messing with it using jump loops from Michael's for now until I order some online. Forgot how bad the blisters can be in weird places! Made some jump loops as well but I need better wire cutters. The ones I got cut at a weird angle, so I won't be showing you that.
It's not the best picture, but you get the idea.



Here's a better picture.

This one is called Inverted Round using the great tutorial on CG Maille. (Which is the link) It's a great pattern to start with and makes a great bracelet. I used a standard clasp with a larger jump ring on each end to close it.

I started a second project last night, it remains to be seen if it is going to be a smart idea or not.

I am hoping to finish the much belated cross stitch for my cousin's wedding back in July to show you next week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NanoWriMo!


Another late post. Two years and migraines are not the best companions together. Other than that yesterday I wanted to talk to you about National Novel Writing Month. It's almost that time of year again!

Otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, this challenge is put out there by authors for authors to get them up and moving, to stomp writer's block out for once and for all. It's a month of daily writing, with no apologies and no backspaces.

The goal is to have a first draft of a novel by the end of the month. And even if you don't make it that far it is an amazing learning experience. Just remember to forgive yourself on days you don't make your quota and take days off to renew yourself.

If anyone in the Los Angeles area is interested in doing a writer's meet up during November I want to put that out there so we can begin planning.

I am also telling you over a month in advance so you can get your brain churning for your idea.
Here's the link to the website to get you started. NaNoWriMo

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Late Monday- Or Is it?


It's still Monday in some parts of the world, right? Well, poo, maybe I just time traveled and am actually blogging from Monday.



McKayla is definitely not impressed with my late post.

Your recipe for the week is from another blog with my added twists. Cosita Bella has a really great super quick healthy recipe that includes lots of fresh veggies and kicking flavors. Tomato, Zucchini, Feta & Dill Chicken
My own twists on the recipe included adding yellow bell peppers, portobella mushrooms, using poultry seasoning on the veggies before cooking and a splash of seasoned rice vinegar.
I cooked the mushrooms with the chicken, then added the splash of vinegar, then the rest of the veggies for about 5 minutes.
Since we are on a veggie heavy diet as a side we put a delicious red cabbage salad. (So easy to make.)
Red Cabbage Salad: 1 head shredded red cabbage, 1/2 c apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, 1 teaspoon Braggs amino acids, 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic and granulated onion all put in a zliploc bag and left in the fridge for a couple days. (The longer the better!) I eat this as a snack. It's ridiculous.


Stay tuned for your Tuesday post.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hide and Go Beer



Hide and Go Beer is a game a bunch of us made up in college, but is still fun to this day. I was explaining it to my friend this evening and thought it would be a great thing thing to share with you all.
All you need to play is friends, a large room or house and a six pack of different beer for each friend, (Preferably ones you think they have tasted before, or else the game is much harder,) and a blindfold.

Gameplay
Each round is played the same until you get bored, run out of beer, or someone is declared the winner.
One person is taken out of the game room and blindfolded. The other players each hide 1 of each different kind of beer in the game somewhere in the room. (Be creative! In a plant! Next to a pet! In someone’s crotch!) This depends on how well you know and trust your friends.
The person who has been blindfolded is led back into the room. Their job is to now search for a beer. It is up to the other players to declare whether the seeker is ‘hot’ or ‘cold’. When a beer is found by the seeker someone opens the beer for them. They take a sip of the beer and try to guess which beer it was.
If the seeker guesses right then they keep the cap. The cap symbolizes a point for them. Each player then does the same until all plays have had a turn. This is round 1. Round 2 is the exact same.
If you want to tell the players to bring 2 (6) packs each, the winner can earn 2/3 of the booty left and the runner up the last 1/3 of the prizes.
It’s my favorite kind of game. Everyone wins, (you would be drinking together anyway, admit it) and everyone has fun.
Let me know if you try it this weekend and if you come up with any twists or have another similar game to share with me

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hunger? Where?


I am not the biggest fan of Gary Ross's version of the Hunger Games. There are some great moments, but he fails to capture the essence of the story. It ringa hollow. So I am way more excited for Catching Fire.

I love Francis Lawrence's adaptation of 'Water for Elephants' even though I didn't think the actors had much chemistry. We already know that the entire cast of Hunger Games has great chemistry. Combine that with someone like Lawrence's understanding of how to adapt a story to satisfy the audience will make Catching Fire so much better than The Hunger Games.

With the rise in youtube and fan trailers and videos we can see what other people are thinking when they picture the story. giant Robot had a really interesting cut together fan trailer from Kevin Tancharoen, made of many of our favorite sci fi movies. You can catch it here Kevin's Hunger Games Pitch

I like Kevin's darker and more twisted take on the story. It's not necessarily what I pictured with the first movie, but it feels much more like the scenes at the end of Mockingjay, and I think he would do a good job exploring Katniss's twisted headspace in that book.

Some other fan videos are actual scenes filmed by people who love the books. My two favorites follow.

This first one is a fan's version of Haymitch in the second Quarter Quell from Catching Fire.

The second one I offer you is an extremely well acted (and 10 times better than the movie) version of the cave scene from Hunger Games. You'll want these two to star in the movie instead.
That's your geek rambling for the day. Feel free to comment. I want to hear your opinions! Did you like the movies? Did you hope for something different? What kind of fan trailer would you make?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Yoda?


So I am a rogue knitter and crocheter. I find patterns and then attempt to nerdify them. To mixed results. (My Star Trek Red Shirt sweater for an elephant. Oof...) So when I saw facebook promoting Bernat's Baby Kitty Hat I instantly saw Yoda in it.
Baby Kitty Hat
Who wouldn't right? So I grabbed some Vanna White Baby Yarn in Sweet Pea. (t looked like a similar yarn to what was in the pattern. And I figured I would use the hat portion and just embellish the ears.
Vanna White's baby yarn is a lot thicker and my crocheting is 10 years of practice behind my knitting.
Here's the result.

So I ended up with an adult sized hat. Be forewarned! Check your gauges. (Luckily my best friend Teri will be taking the hat. A picture of her modeling it will soon be up when I use some wire to make the ears still out.

To modify the pattern to get Yoda shaped ears after about the 5th row of 12 stitches I added a second sc in the first stitch. I did it again on the 7th row. After about the 9th row I began a decrease on the same side, decreasing a stitch every odd row until I bound off the last 3. I made 4 of those, sewing 2 together for each side (The inner and outer ears.)
Then I just sewed them on. Was hoping the double sided ear would make it stiff enough on it's own. Sadly, no.
My consolation is the purple basil at the farmer's market this week. I was late making you a post because I will busy falling in love with the following recipe. Farm Girl's Purple Basil Pesto You understand right?
Goodnight!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Late Tuesday Night


Got distracted playing the Game of Thones Card Game. I am a geek girl and these things happen. So your post is a little late and short but I promise much better tomorrow!
Anyway you know what I am reading for books, but I can't overlook the comics! After all I am co-owner of Versus Comics & Games, a soon to be retail store here in CA.
If you read one comic book this year (or if you are sick of Marvel and DC superheroes) check out Joe Hill's Locke and Key series. Epic mythology and luscious artwork by Gabriel Rodriguez. I love his art in the 'The Great and secret Show' an adaptation of Clive Barker's great and wonderfully weird book.
So go out and get lost in it. Become a kid again!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Laziness

Okay, I admit it. I am feeling lazy today because I get a day off. (I hardly ever do.) So I am not giving you an original recipe. I am sharing a recipe from a fabulous site that I like that has been helping inspire me for recipes for weight loss. You won't miss the carbs in this one, I promise!!! Poor Girl Eat's Well's Caribbean Jerk Chicken Mango Stuffed Avocados
My own special twist on the recipe is one that will save you time. Instead of getting all those individual spices I used cajun + chinese 5 spice. Voila! You cover all your bases!
This is another great one to use avocados while they are still in season!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hurry! It's the End of Cherry Season

Happy Friday! You made it through the week! Are you ready for a cocktail?
I am a huge fan of cocktails and experimenting and creating. I love going to bars with creative mixologists. So I want to share that love with you with the following link and story.

I have been crazy about Manhattans and whiskey lately. I think it's because my grandmother is very sick and things are not looking well. Her and my grandfather love Manhattans, as many of their generation do, it's one of those classic cocktails. And I like the feelings of being less than the 3000 miles away from them that I am by enjoying one.

But plain maraschino cherries are boring. They are lazy, like a premixed mixer for your margarita. Full of unhealthy dyes and preservatives. (I am not a full on health nut, don't worry that I will nag you about that constantly, but I try to eat fairly healthy. Damn egg Mcmuffins...) Anyway this recipe is so easy, better for you and tastes so much better in your Manhattan. Why ruin a Manhattan made with good whiskey with crappy cherries?

Since I made my blog late in the summer you are gonna have to hurry for this one. Cherry season is almost over and it's an irresistible thing to make when cherries are $1/lb. They even make nice gifts!

Here's the link to the recipe. Brandied Cocktail Cherries
I like yummly's recipe more than some others because you get a great finished product with less ingredients. I use a small hand pitting gadget that I picked up at Walmart to pit the cherries before making the recipe. It makes it much more pleasant when you want to pop a handful of these suckers in your mouth. (You will, don't deny it.)

The other great thing is that like non-vacuum canned items it can be enjoyed a couple days after making it.

So here's a picture of my final product about to be enjoyed.


Cheers!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pirate Geek!

Argh! Mateys!

This weekend is my birthday. It was hard picking an event. I finally settled on mini golf and Rocky Horror, with a round of Cards Against Humanity thrown in the middle.

That being said, my other pick was going to be this, The Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Irvine, performing the score to Pirates of the Carribean on September 1st. Bring some friend and a picnic basket and go grab a ticket! (Then tell me all about it!)
http://www.pacificsymphony.org/main.taf?p=9,5,6,6&productionID=8861

But before you do, I would recommend trying goldstar.com or travelzoo.com because I think they had some cheap tickets to score, if you like that sort of thing. (What person doesn't like a discount?)

We recently used Goldstar to get tickets to Spamalot and we will be doing it again soon for tickets to Comikaze!!!

Also, if you haven't watched this, watch it! I think it's gonna be a great webseries, even if the Buffy is pretty mediocre.





Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pumpkin Love

So your craft inspiration for Wednesday is using a pattern for a regular baby sweater and turning it into cute fall pumpkin sweaters. It's a super simple change that will help you create some adorable sweaters. I apologize for the horrendous lighting quality of the picture, but at least you will get the idea.



This is the modified text from bernat.com Titled "Striped Hoodie" The Original picture can be viewed on the site.
http://www.bernat.com/pattern.php?PID=4129
SIZES: 3 (6-12-18) mos
Chest measurement: 16 (17-18-20) ins [40.5 (43-45.5-51) cm].
Finished chest: 19 (20-22-24) ins [48 (51-56-61) cm].
MATERIALS
Bernat® Softee Baby (Solids: 140 g / 5 oz)
3 balls Tangerine (Sweater)
1 ball Fresh Green (Stem)
Sizes 3.5 mm (U.S. 4) and 4 mm (U.S. 6) knitting needles or size needed to obtain gauge. 3 st holders.
GAUGE
22 sts and 30 rows = 4 ins [10 cm] with larger needles in stocking st.
ABBREVIATIONS
www.bernat.com/glossary
INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions are written for smallest size. If changes are necessary for larger sizes the instructions will be written thus ( ).
BACK: **With smaller needles and MC, cast on 50 (54- 58-66) sts.
Work 8 rows of (K2. P2) ribbing, inc 2 (0-2-0) sts evenly across last row. 52 (54-60-66) sts.
Change to larger needles and proceed in stocking st** until 11 (12½-13-14) ins [28 (32-33-35.5) cm] total length, ending with a purl row.
Shoulders: Cast off 9 (10-13-16) sts beg next 2 rows.
Leave rem 34 sts on a st holder.
FRONT: Work from ** to ** as given for Back until 8 (9- 9-10) ins [20.5 (23-23-25.5) cm] total length, ending with a purl row.
Divide for Front opening: 1st row: (RS). K26 (27- 30-33). Turn. Leave rem sts on a spare needle.
2nd row: K2. Purl to end of row.
3rd row: Knit.
Rep last 2 rows until Front measures same length as Back to shoulder, ending with a purl row. Cast off 9 (10- 13-16) sts. Leave rem 17 sts on a st holder.
With RS facing, join MC to sts on a spare needle and work to correspond to right side, reversing position of front garter edge.
SLEEVES: With smaller needles and MC, cast on 34 (34-38-38) sts.
Work 8 rows in (K2. P2) ribbing.
Change to larger needles and proceed in stocking st, inc 1 st each end of needle on 3rd row and every following alt row to 50 (52-48-48) sts, then every following 4th row to 52 (56-60-62) sts. Cont even for 4½ (-6½-7) ins [11.5 (14-16.5-18) cm] total length, ending with a purl row. Cast off.
FINISHING
Pin garment pieces to measurements. Cover with a damp cloth, leaving cloth to dry.

Hood: Sew shoulder seams. With RS facing, B and larger needles, knit sts from all 3 st holders, inc 20 sts evenly across. 88 sts. Knit to 7½ (- 9½-) ins [19 (21.5-24-24) cm], ending with WS row.
Cast off. Fold hood in half. Sew top seam.
Place markers 4¾ (5-5¼-) ins [12 (12.5-13-14) cm] on Front and Back down from shoulders. Sew in sleeves between markers. Sew side and sleeve seams.

*****Additonal******
Once the sweater portion is finished, chain a circle of sc stitches of the color Fresh Green into the peak of the hood. (Around 20 should do. Connect with a slip stitch.
Crochet 2 rounds in sc.
Decrease by half and continue for 4 more rounds.
Decrease by half again, then bind off. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reading Rundown- Kindle Tips

I am a voracious reader. And now with the kindle it has gotten even more out of hand. It is less obvious because most books I purchase are digital now, but I regularly clean out my kindle selections using http://calibre-ebook.com/ or else it would take over my life.

I highly recommend using this program if you want to be able to find things on your kindle,  take things off your kindle (like the stupid lending notices), convert books to different formats, and other useful services amazon doesn't provide.

And if you don't have a lot of money to spend on books I recommend the following sites for great cheap/free reads that aren't your standard books past copywright.

http://www.freebooksy.com/
http://www.ereaderdailynews.com/
http://www.pixelofink.com/

What am I reading?
I usually have a different book going on every platform. Why? Because I can.
My Phone: The Gate: 13 Dark and Odd Tales (fun horror short stories)

My Kindle: My Clockwork Muse (A fictional book about Poe getting caught up in a series of murders.)

In the Tub: Wildwood Dancing (Juliet Marillier's take on the 12 Dancing Princesses. One of my favorite authors.)

Comfort Reread: Thursday Next: Lost in a Good Book (No reader should miss this series. The funniest and wittiest writer that I have ever come across.)



On the Couch: IT by Stephen King. (I regret not getting this in kindle format since it is over 1000 pages and quite heavy. But it was $1.00 at the used bookstore, I couldn't resist.)

On My Work Computer: Help! Wanted: Tales of on the Job Terror (Brilliant horror short stories with an appropriate theme.) I like reading short stories when on the go or at work, because picking up and putting down a book infrequently makes me want to go back and reread a few pages.

Listening in the Car on the Way to Work: Ravens of Avalon (I like really fun, dramatic books that keep me awake. Jane Austen would not be the best choice for stuck in traffic. Can you imagine?) I am super excited because Aloha from Hell should be arriving this week to listen to.

Do yourself a favor, do not read the Sandman Slim series, listen to them. Amazing voice actor work.

See you tomorrow on crafting day!

The Villain's Plan Laid Out for You

Truthfully, now that I have actually started the blog I need to establish what you should expect. I will try to update daily, and each day you can expect a certain type of post. That way if there is something that doesn't interest you then you needn't bother to check that day, you'll know which days to check.

Mondays will be the day I post new recipes. Some will be my own tried and true, some will be others that I love dearly.

Tuesdays will be the day for book discussions. My friends and I have a book club called B3. (Books, boobs and beers!) And I will try to incorporate some of things we discuss if you are interested in following along long distance.

Wednesday is crafts day. Because- why not? I will post pictures and try to post links to different patterns, some I have tried, some I have not. Some are my own adventures that I will try to explain so you can make them too If you try them and want to send in pictures, I would love to post and share with others.

Thursday is nerd news and geekery. Part of why I am making this blog is because I am an uber nerd and love having uber nerd adventures. I will only post what I think is the most relevant stories and events for the week. If you are a Los Angelino I will be posting links to interesting events around the area you might want to check out.

Friday will be cocktail recipes and ideas. I love making up cocktails, learning new ones, and experimenting with various results.

Weekends will be free of posts. (We all have lives!) Unless there is urgent news I need to share. (Finnick was already cast, so we can check that one off.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Crafting Time

Okay, I have not tried this yet, but I really want to make some of these bracelets. They are absolutely gorgeous. I need to grab a large crochet hook to try it on, I already have plenty of cotton yarn I need to use up. Anyone want to do a crotchet-along and see how each compares? Let me know! http://cultofcrochet.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/broomstick-lace-bracelet/

Garlic Shepherd's Pie

Garlic Shepherd's Pie
Bare with me as I am not the best at describing recipe ingredient amounts. (Something I will be learning a.s I go! I am an intuition cook when I am not going by recipes.)

Potato Topping
8-10 red potatoes
1/4 c milk (I like 1%, feel free to use what you like.)
1 tsp granulated garlic
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tbsp sour cream (or to taste, I use fat free)
salt and pepper
1/2 c mozzarella.

Filling
1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
1- to 1 1/.2 c mixed veggies 
1 diced onion
1 bulb minced garlic (I am the garlic girl)
1 can tomato paste (use 2 if you like it more tomatoey)
1 bottle good beer (I used Fat Fire. Ale or Stout, your preference.)
3 tbsp worchester sauce (use less if you don't care for it as much as I do.)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp thyme

1.) Turn oven on to 375.
2.) Heat a large pot of water on the stove to boiling,. After scrubbing the potatoes boil for 25-30 minutes (until soft.) Drain into a big bowl and add milk, granulated garlic, parmesan, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mash away then set aside.
3.) While potatoes are boiling brown the ground beef  with the diced onions and minced garlic until onion is soft. Add in the veggies, beer, tomato paste, worchester, vinegar and thyme. Simmer for 10 minutes until the beer has reduced.
4.) Put your filling in a 9x9 pan (or a 9 inch round casserole dish)
5.) Spread the mashed potato mixture on top of the filling. Sprinkle your mozzarella cheese on top.
6.) Put in oven for 25-30 minutes (or until the top of the potatoes peaks have begun to brown.)
7.) Let sit for 5 minutes, then enjoy.

Welcome

Welcome to the lair of the Geeky Garlic Girl! I am a huge geek who is in love with garlic, hosting parties and crafting. I hope you enjoy my links, recipes, and crafting ideas!