Prosciutto, leek, and gruyere quiche

Happy Monday! Holiday Recovery and Resolutions

Prosciutto, leek, and gruyere quiche

Prosciutto, leek, and gruyere quiche–so good I forgot to take a pic before we ate.

Happy Monday! How were your holidays? Mine were busy, fun, and full of mishaps. Case in point: I stumbled on the stairs and hurt my (already injured) wrist/thumb severely, which makes it super hard to type. I’ve been dealing with “Mommy thumb” (tendon lining inflammation) and this is finally pushing me to make a doctor’s appointment. You know, after being in pain for 10 months. I’m a genius.

But! Links!

Entertainment

I finally got to watch Fargo Season 2, and oh wow. It was amazing. I was a pretty spotty watcher of Season 1–I followed recaps and watched the occasional episode–but Season 2 was instantly addictive. Kirsten Dunst was incredible. All the actors were. But the writing and plotting were right there with them, and the balance of menace, absurdity, humor, and pathos was perfectly Fargo.

And the soundtrack. Here’s my favorite song from this season, Blitzen Trapper’s cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” which brings me right back to my early childhood in Southern California:

This trailer for Fargo Season 2 gives me the shivers:

Cooking

We actually got snow in Portland! Well, maybe an inch of snow, but enough to stick and freeze, turning our neighborhood into an ice skating rink. So I’ve been going through our cupboards and using up holiday leftovers to feed us:

Prosciutto, Leek, and Gruyere Quiche. I used Julia Child’s base recipe for Quiche Lorraine (this one’s from The Foodies’ Kitchen), except I made a 9″ crust and used 2 cups of heavy cream and 4 eggs. To make: split two medium leeks in half and slice the white and light-green parts. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and add the leeks and one clove garlic, minced. Stir and cook until leeks are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add 3 oz chopped prosciutto and cook 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle 3 oz grated gruyere in a partially baked pie crust. Add sauteed veggies and meat, top with custard, and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Eat warm or cold!

Spinach and White Bean Soup. I basically followed the recipe, except I used 10 oz frozen spinach, chicken broth (instead of veggie), and about 2/3 cup of ditalini pasta. It was satisfying, tasty, and made me feel healthy.

Resolutions

I’m serious! For sure. Here they are:

  1. Create an editorial calendar for my blog–I’d like to blog more regularly, which means for planning!
  2. Get back to planning meals on a monthly basis–not only does this usually save me time, but it saves money, and I generate less garbage. I’ll put it on the calendar and blog about it (see resolution #1).
  3. Spend less time on my phone. I’m going to keep library books at close hand. And oh yeah, the faces of my children. Of course!
  4. Paint my kitchen!

So what are your resolutions? Favorite TV shows? Clean-the-kitchen recipes? Don’t leave me hanging!

 

Advertisements

Six Christmas TV Episodes to Watch on Netflix

Hey folks! Merry Christmas, and sorry my blogging has been so sporadic (TM Clueless). I totally underestimated how difficult it would be to blog about Christmas while getting ready for Christmas. Live and learn. But I’ll be sharing some posts later this year that I’ll reshare early next year! Ha.

You know I love Christmas–and Christmas movies! But I tend to watch the same ones every year. So I decided to do a little digging and find some Christmas TV episodes that you can stream on Netflix right now. Get yourself some sparkling fresh Christmas cheer, in less time to boot!

ChristmasTV1

Andy, Opie, and Aunt Bea bring Christmas to the pokey. Photo from BasementRejects.com.

The Andy Griffith Show Season 1, Episode 11, “Christmas Story”: This is old-fashioned sweetness done right. Resident “Scrooge” Ben Weaver insists Andy arrest an amateur moonshiner on Christmas Eve–separating him from his family, and marooning Barney at the jail for the holiday. When Andy “arrests” the man’s family and brings Christmas to them, will ol’ Ben realize the true meaning of Christmas? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

The Office

Michael’s weird man-crush on Ryan . . . so icky. Photo from CrushtheBlog.com.

The Office Season 2, Episode 10, “Christmas Party”: This is the episode when I fully fell in love with Jim and Pam. Michael throws an office Christmas party that is both cringingly inappropriate and rage-inducing, and then tries to fix it with unsanctioned booze. Meanwhile, Jim tries to rescue the sweet, personal present he made for Pam (with a note confessing his feelings) when the gift exchange abruptly becomes a Yankee Swap (note: I hate Yankee Swaps, they stress me out). This is a classic episode that perfectly captures the best elements of this show.

ChristmasTV3

“Jessica. We need to talk about that sweater.” Photo from Cabot Cove Gazette.

Murder, She Wrote Season 9, Episode 9, “A Christmas Secret”: I looooove Murder, She Wrote so much–and this is a great Christmas episode in that it takes place in Cabot Cove, it includes plenty of Seth, and–wonder of wonders–it does not have a murder (just an attempted one). But still: it’s weird. Seth spends the episode whining about the time he didn’t get a toy train for Christmas, spoiling his enjoyment of the holiday for the next 60 years (wha??). And the secret? A new resident–who just got engaged and is working for his fiancee’s family business–is hiding the fact that he has a child from a previous relationship. Like, he moves, gets engaged, accepts a job, and foists his daughter on his sister because he’s afraid his fiancee (who is named Elizabeth Forsythe–practically my maiden name!!!!!!) will have issues with being a stepmother? Worst dad ever, AND worst fiance ever. Still a fun episode.

ChristmasTV4

This episode is probably extra affecting if you have a baby. Sob!

Ally McBeal Season 3, Episode 8, “Blue Christmas”: This is when Ally McBeal was starting to get insufferable, but still had a lot of charm. Elaine finds a baby in a nativity scene and wants to adopt, but has to contend with a lot of flack about her–gasp–promiscuous, unconventional lifestyle. Surprisingly sweet, mostly thanks to an amazing performance by Jane Krakowski. WARNING: I got major secondhand embarrassment when Ally sings a “sexy” version of “Santa Baby.” And Billy bleached his head. ACK.

ChristmasTV5

THIS PICTURE. Tears. Photo from PopOptiq.com.

The Twilight Zone Season 2, Episode 11, “The Night of the Meek”: Here’s your ugly cry for the holiday. I usually watch The Twilight Zone with a feeling of impending dread–okay, when will this poor schmuck realize he’s trapped in a hell of his own making? But this one is different. After a drunk is fired from his job as “Santa,” he finds a mysterious bag that gives everyone exactly what they want for Christmas. I won’t say anymore–just watch it.

ChristmasTV6

I ain’t gonna lie. I kind of want this dress. Photo from Disney.

Jessie Season 3, Episode 7: “Good Luck Jessie: New York City Christmas”: Listen, I have a 10-year-old son. I’ve watched a lot of bad tween TV, and Jessie is actually better than most–the dialogue is sharp, and Debby Ryan (nanny Jessie) and Kevin Chamberlin (butler Bertram) give it their all. This G-rated homage to The Hangover is energetic and fast-paced–and ends with a musical number. Of course.

I’m sure there are dozens and dozens of awesome Christmas TV episodes I’ve missed–what are your favorites?

Goodbye to a Magnificent Bastard: R.I.P. David Canary

David Canary Adam Chandler

Adam Chandler, silver fox. Swoon!

Even as a child, I had no taste for pretty boys–give me your intense, misunderstood miscreants, your dark and complicated antiheroes. Give me Adam Chandler from the dearly departed All My Children, masterfully portrayed by David Canary, who passed away yesterday at age 77 from natural causes.

Adam was introduced as a wealthy businessman who financed Erica Kane’s autobiographical movie (titled Raising Kane, natch) and married her, to boot. Over the 27 years he spent on All My Children, he married (or was known to have married) 10 women (several of them twice or more), introduced a sweet, sensitive twin named Stuart, and fathered or adopted eight children.

He behaved like a total bastard to all of them. And yet you loved him anyway! That was due to the skill and charisma of five-time Daytime Emmy Award-winner Canary, who drew a portrait of a power-hungry man who clawed his way up from poverty to protect his loved ones–and yet ultimately didn’t believe he was worthy of love.

I mean, just look at some of the things he pulled (from Soap Central):

  • Had his brother Stuart locked up in the west wing of the Chandler mansion for years
  • Faked his own death to test wife Erica Kane
  • Illegally divorced Erica; had Stuart stand in for him
  • Cheated on wife Brooke English with their maid, Dixie Cooney, after learning Brooke was infertile and couldn’t produce a male heir (in his defense, Brooke told him the marriage was over and Dixie was hot to trot!)
  • Tried to drive wife Dixie crazy, in order to get custody of their son, Adam Jr. (okay that was bad)
  • Hired a thug to shoot lifelong rival Palmer Cortlandt
  • Blackmailed Erica into marrying him again
  • Kidnapped Erica and took her to Canada
  • Staged his own kidnapping to test wife Gloria Marsh’s loyalty (I see a pattern here . . . )
  • Swapped Jake Martin’s sperm specimen with his own so that wife Liza Colby would have his child
  • Tossed Arlene Vaughn’s lifeless body overboard from the Fidelity after believing that his daughter Hayley had killed her (Arlene sucked)
  • Kidnapped wife Krystal Carey’s baby and planned to sell it on the black market (what, the baby was Tad Martin’s!)

My favorite Adam pairing was of course, levelheaded former wild child/magazine journalist/Erica Kane’s rival Brooke English. Theirs was a sexy, mature romance between intellectual equals that just crackled with chemistry–even when Brooke knew being with Adam was a bad idea (especially when it was a bad idea). The silver lining of the demise of All My Children is that they looked like they were finally gonna make it work!

Here’s a great, hilarious clip of their 2002 affair:

I enjoyed Canary’s portrayal of sweet, sensitive Stuart as well–although that got a little weird in the later years. When Stuart was first introduced, he was clearly meant to be somewhat mentally disabled, and yet they eventually featured him in a romance and marriage with the very adult Marian Colby (mother of Adam’s then-wife Liza Colby–soaps!). So that was kind of Big for me. But whatever.

So goodbye, David Canary, and goodbye, Adam Chandler, you magnificent bastard! The world is a little less entertaining without you.

Xena: Warrior Princess Is the Best and Why Didn’t I Know This

 

I’m pretty psyched you’re here too, Xena!

 I was battling the wilds of Netflix and Hulu, desperately seeking a show that my husband and I could watch with our 10-year-old son without wanting to tear our hair out. Murder, She Wrote was now only a treasured memory–after watching all 12 seasons, Sid requested a break. Seinfeld, while initially promising, was somehow declared both “too boring” and “weird” (aka too much adult content–you got me there).

“Back!” I said to horrible Disney and Nickelodeon “tween” shows. “I must defeat your simplistic characters, wafer-thin plotlines, and offensive gender portrayals!” 

But just as I was about to be engulfed by swarms of tweens who are inexplicably famous/rich/cyborgs, I heard a cry: “Ay yi yi yi yiiiii!” That’s right–Xena: Warrior Princess rode to our rescue.

I’d never really watched the show, other than idly catching an episode or two when I was too lazy to turn the channel. But we’ve watched three episodes now and it. Is. Great. And it’s all on Netflix!

If you’ve never watched the show, a brief thumbnail: produced by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, the good Spider-Man movies) Xena: Warrior Princess was a syndicated television show spun off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

Filmed in New Zealand and set in “Ancient Greece,” it centers on the adventures of Xena, played by the athletic, expressive Lucy Lawless (she was actually the fifth choice to play the character, which seems inconceivable because she was born for the role). While Xena started out as an evil warlord in Hercules, she’s had a change of heart and is seeking redemption by defending the innocent.

 

Xena and Gabrielle: a very special friendship begins!

 
While she starts out burying her (amazing) leather outfit, armor, and weapons in the dirt, Xena quickly takes them up again to defend a small village, earning the admiration of Gabrielle, a young innocent girl who longs to leave her home (and an upcoming marriage) for a life of adventure!

While the hard-bitten Xena rebuffs her, Gabrielle perserves, following Xena and proving her worth: while she has no fighting skills, Gabrielle is clever and smart, talking her way in and out of danger.

So that’s the setup: two independent and very different women partnering up to complete their individual personal journeys, while learning from–and leaning on–each other. Did I mention Xena is a 20-year-old show?

In case you were worried that the show is all about feelings, rest assured: this is Sam Raimi. The action and fight scenes are gloriously ludicrous, and Lawless glows with savagery and humor as she battles thugs and warlords alike. In fact, everyone looks like they’re having a hell of a time!

 

This is going somewhere good, right?

 
And the costumes! As my husband noted, if cosplay had been as popular 20 years ago as it is now, we’d have seen hundreds of Xenas and Gabrielles. I caught myself thinking, hmm

So yes, three episodes in, I love it! But let’s get to the important part: yes, Sid’s loving it too. Whew. 

I hope all six seasons are good. Tell me they’re good. They don’t add some tween pop star, do they?!?

Maureen O'Hara

Happy Monday! Horror Movies and Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O'Hara

Don’t tell me what to do, Mitch!

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was relaxing and/or productive. I spent mine finally slipcovering the post in our basement (I’ll post photos when it’s finished). My folks covered it in foam to baby proof it oh, about . . . six months ago? Yes, I suck. But I suck more because I put the batting on it a month ago, so baby Sarah has been trying to grab handfuls of it for months while I kept forgetting to go buy an upholstery needle. Today is the day, my friends!

Are you ready for Halloween? I have two costumes half finished, both of which are halfway inappropriate for a 40-year-old woman, but I’ve decided this might be my last hurrah: nursing has left me skinny with boobs, I’ll surely never look like this again.

On to our links!

Movies

Looking to watch some horror flicks to get into the Halloween spirit? Check out 20 Netflix Horror Movies Worth Watching.

Want to experience a different type of horror? Maureen O’Hara, an amazing, spirited actress, died this week, so I wanted to watch one of her movies. I found McLintock! on Hulu, and holy father of the patriarchy! That is an unpleasant film, especially the end, where O’Hara’s character–a women who left her husband because he cheated on her–is chased through town while her dress ripped off, while the whole town cheers (including her daughter), until her husband catches her and spanks her! In public! With a coal shovel! And then she has to chase him down and hop on the back of his buggy to get home. Yeahhhh. I should’ve broken my rule and watched A Miracle on 34th Street instead.

I wanted to watch the original Parent Trap, but it’s not available for streaming anywhere–yet, that is. Turns out Disney will launch their own subscription-based service (in Europe, but likely also in the US), and yes, I’ll probably pony up!

How Not to Behave

If you want to learn how not to behave in a restaurant, or want to commiserate with fellow restaurant employees, make sure to read Behind Closed Ovens on Kitchenette every Monday morning. This week’s entry, More of the World’s Worst Restaurant Customers, Part 2, made my blood boil in a satisfying way.

In honor of fall and delicious cold-weather food, I’ll be posting my Grandma Forsythe’s famous spaghetti sauce recipe later today–keep your eyes peeled!

Twin Peaks Dinner Party

Happy Monday*! Clown Motels, Donut Bread Pudding, #SCOIP & More

Donut Bread Pudding with chocolate sauce. Serve it warm topped with vanilla ice cream and life your best life. Oprah approves.

Happy Monday*! I’m writing this post now because I had a rough night with Sarah. She’s been sleeping through the night for the past four-plus months (yes, I’m spoiled), but with her top two teeth coming in, she’s been waking up in the middle of the night crying–she didn’t get back to sleep for two hours last night, so she slept in, and so she missed her morning nap (Mommy Writing Time), and so here we are. Wow, that was a fascinating story. Next: would you like to see the 5,000 pictures of my kids that I took in the past two days?

*This was then bumped to Tuesday after I got sidetracked by sewing questions and started researching ribbed trim. I am a laugh a minute!

Moving right along:

Clown Motel

This gets its own subheading because it is one of the coolest projects I have ever seen. Let me explain: No, there is too much. Let me sum up–my friend and comic book writer Christopher Sebela (We(lcome Back, High Crimes) created a Kickstarter to live at a Clown Motel for a month. It was funded in four hours. Here’s the video:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1196365711/i-live-in-a-clown-motel-a-journey-into-the-heart-o/widget/video.html

Tonopah, NV is an incredibly long drive from Portland (12 and a half hours), and the hotel is weirdly amazing. It’s adjacent to a pioneer cemetery full of miners, there are dozens of feral cats, and actual clowns showed up the other night. Sebela’s updates are priceless–there’s a week left for you to follow him on Twitter and experience living in a Clown Motel for yourself.

#SCOIP

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men podcast–and not just because I got to guest host once! This is an excellent, fast-moving, action-packed podcast that effortlessly takes all the ins and outs of the X-Men (and related superhero entities) and makes them accessible–and entertaining–for both diehard fans and newbies alike. Trust me, you’ll feel both geekier and smarter after you listen.

So I was incredibly excited when they announced SECRET CONVERGENCE ON INFINITE PODCASTS, a nine-episode crossover event combining more than 15 hosts from Fan Bros Show; Into It; SILENCE!; Less than Live; Journey into Misery; Wait, What?; House to Astonish, War Rocket Ajax, and Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, airing October 29-November 29.

While I’ve been aware of War Rocket Ajax, I haven’t listened to any of the other podcasts–I might go through and select an episode from each before #SCOIP begins. I’ll let you know!

Twin Peaks: Fun Donut Times

After the fun and excitement of our Twin Peaks dinner party, we threw a Twin Peaks brunch this past weekend! I’ll have a separate post on that later, but in the meantime, I found a recipe to use up leftover donuts when your husband buys way too many donuts for a brunch: this Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding was amazing. I just used plain glazed donuts from the grocery store.

That’s all I have for now–as usual, I have a million posts running through my head (Star Wars!) and I can only hope to catch them and type them up.

Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men Meetup ECCC 2015

Happy Monday! Rose City Comic Con and Nasal Aspiration

Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men Meetup ECCC 2015Happy Monday! How was your weekend? We had a last gasp of hot weather, but my plans to take advantage of this and read Archie Digests while eating Dairy Queen soft serve (two summer activities I had not partaken of this year) were derailed by multiple birthday parties. However, both birthday parties were fun, and one had a dinosaur cake. So there.

Let’s get it going!

Babies

First: I don’t think I’ve talked about it much here, but my brother Beej is having a baby with his girlfriend this week and I am so excited. This reminds me that I never posted pictures of their baby shower, which I will rectify this week. So . . . this isn’t a link at present, more like a promise of a future link. That’s silly. Okay, here’s a picture of some of the favors my mom and I made!

Boy Baby Shower Mustache Tiffany Theme

Blue nail polish, mustache chocolates, and mustache soap!

In useful-yet-gross parenting skills, I learned how to use a nasal aspirator today. Sarah’s had a horrific runny nose and was snorting (and having trouble sleeping), so I watched the following video:

The verdict: Sarah hated it, it was incredibly gross, and . . . it worked! Oh my god so much snot. It was pretty funny. But don’t do it more that two or three times a day.

Comics

This weekend is Rose City Comic Con, one of my favorite comic book conventions–and it just happens to take place right here in Portland!

I cannot recommend this convention enough, as both an attendee and exhibitor. It’s been so fun to watch it grow over the past three years. It has a lot of things for kids and mainstream comics and pop culture fans, but it’s also a great place to meet local creators and publishers. Guests this year include Carrie Fisher (Leia from Star Wars, in case you just left a bomb shelter), Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols from Star Trek, Wil Wheaton, Caroll Spinney (Big Bird!!!!), and many more.

My previous employer, Things From Another World, will be throwing a gigantic Rose City Comic Con Kickoff Party this Friday with complimentary food and beer! This is always a really fun event, plus you can skip the lines at the convention and turn in your tickets for badges at the party. While drinking beer! Win-win.

Also: the hosts of my favorite podcast, Rachel & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, will both be conducting a live episode at the convention, and hosting an after-hours meetup away from the Convention Center. Their last meetup at Emerald City Comicon was so much fun (I’ve posted a picture of me and Sarah, above), so I’m really hoping I can get over there.

Finally, I spotted this amazing comic about LEGOs and gender by M. Patrinos of Seasonal Depression on Facebook and it really spoke to me:

lego-girls-comic-01I have a longer rant about LEGOs in me somewhere, stay tuned . . .