Happy Monday! Shameless Self Promotion Edition

New Mutants Forever #1 Bill Sienkiewicz

New Mutants Forever #1, cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Happy Monday, you guys! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I had a very full weekend. On Saturday, Sarah went to Sid’s mom’s house for the day, so Scott and I could celebrate our anniversary by walking at least eight miles, visiting the Portland Art Museum, and seeing Star Trek Beyond (we accidentally saw it in 3-D, but really enjoyed it–it’s like a giant-sized Trek episode on steroids). On Sunday, we went to the Washington County Fair and I broke my cardinal rule: I bought unlimited ride bracelets before checking the lines for the rides. I lived to regret this purchase, because it was super crowded.

But enough about me, what about . . . me? Yes, the first link is something I helped make. Love me! Listen to me talk about comics!

Geekery

I was so fortunate to be asked back to my favorite podcast, Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men, for the third time! In episode #119, Red Night of the Soul, Miles and I discuss the 2010 limited series New Mutants Forever, by Chris Claremont, Bob McLeod, and Al Rio.

The Doubleclicks, Portland’s beloved geek-folk sister band, will be playing Gen Con in Indianapolis August 6!

Plus, September 2-5, the Doubleclicks will have 10 (10!) performances in Atlanta for Dragon*Con!

Live in Portland? Don’t worry–you can catch the The Doubleclicks Variety Show August 25 and September 29 at Kickstand Comedy Space.

Wow. You will have a whole new appreciation for Scooby Doo after you check out these 50 background paintings over at the Secret Fun Blog.

Cooking

Oh my god, this Secret Buckeye Bundt Cake was soooo good. And soooo filling. Eat a salad for dinner and eat the cake with a large glass of milk.

Actually, make this Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad from Martha Stewart. It was easy, tasty, and perfect for hot weather.

How’s your life going? I can’t believe summer is almost over! Post your doings below.

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Highlander

Happy–Oh Golly–THURSDAY?!?

Highlander

There can be only one! Christopher Lambert. Waa waa waa! (Say it like Chachi.)

Hey guys! I’m so sorry for the radio silence on my end. I’ve been getting busier and busier and it’s cutting into the limited time I have to write undisturbed (a.k.a. Sarah’s nap). But at least I have plenty of stuff to share!

Links:

Geek Tomfoolery

Aaron Duran of the excellent Geek in the City podcast had me on his show to talk about GeekCraft Expo PDX! We chatted about the curated nature of the show, which naturally turned into a lengthy discussion about Highlander (there can be only one!), and then he, Beanerita, and Kaebel Hashitani continued their Women in Horror Month by talking about The Descent. Good stuff. Aaron is my former co-worker at Things From Another World and the writer of La Brujeria, a hilarious supernatural comic, so he showed me a good time.

Good news for Portland! The amazing, one-of-a-kind Ground Kontrol Retro Arcade is expanding into the former Backspace Cafe, doubling its square footage and adding a custom bar. Ground Kontrol is a fantastic arcade with all kinds of awesome vintage and new video games, including a great pinball collection, and they serve food, and alcohol.

Even more geeky news for Portland! The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is moving here and opening their office June 1. This is a fantastic organization that protects free speech for everyone in the comic book industry and beyond, and I’m excited to see what the CBLDF will get up to here in the Pacific Northwest.

Back to Highlander! Man, I really need to watch this again:

Food & Such

I’ve started month two of my Monthly Meal Planning 2-16. I’ll be doing an actual post on this tomorrow! I saved 25% last month, and I’m gunning for at least 30% this time around.

I’ve been trying to use up all of the excess dry bulk goods I’ve had on hand after making Mason jar gifts this Christmas. I cooked up Martha Stewart’s Black Beans with Rice and Avocado (subbing in couscous for rice) last night and it was tasty!

Baby

I realize I haven’t posted about Sarah lately. At 16 months, she is a happy little dream, but she doesn’t pose for pictures that often–she is on the move, running running everywhere! She’s our little comedienne, always delighting in getting a laugh out of us, and she’s finally cutting another tooth. That brings her to seven. Seven! She still eats a lot.

That’s what I’ve got so far–what’s new with you? Post below!

Happy Monday! Easy Dinners & What Do You Do With an Elf on the Shelf

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Glitter houses!

Happy Monday! Sarah is napping and I’m toasting panko in the oven, so I have a few minutes to chat. Yay! Hope your holiday season is going well. I’m less stressed compared to last week: my folks are coming to help with the back yard, I was able to put our community garden to bed yesterday, and we got our Christmas tree! Sid wants to help put the lights on, so I will try my best not to swear.

Links!

Easy Dinners

These last couple weeks leading up to Christmas are jam-packed: shopping, meetups with friends, some new work responsibilities (I’ll announce that shortly), getting ready for a holiday party–the works!

I thought you guys might be busy, too, so I thought I’d share my secret weapon: Martha Stewart’s Breaded Chicken Cutlets. These are delicious: crispy, quick to bake, and good either by themselves or tossed into chicken parm. I actually call these “Sid’s Chicken” in our house because they’re my son’s favorite. It takes about an hour to put four pounds of cutlets together–freeze them uncooked, and it takes about 15 minutes to get them ready. They’re coated in toasted panko (so you can guess what I’m doing between keystrokes), which gives them a great crunch.

Here’s my other go-to, a one-pan meal which is more of a rule of thumb than anything: Kielbasa with Roasted Vegetables. One 12-ounce package of kielbasa and an equal amount of red potatoes feeds three:

Preheat your oven to 425. Cut your potatoes into quarters or sixths, depending on size and personal taste. Spread on a cookie sheet, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for 15 minutes. While the potatoes roast, cut your kielbasa into six pieces and chop or slice vegetables of your choice into strips or chunks. Popular at our house: peppers and onions, zucchini, or broccoli. When 15 minutes are up, spread the kielbasa and vegetables on top of the potatoes; stir, and add a little more salt and pepper, as well as any fresh or dried herbs you may desire (rosemary, basil, oregano). Roast another 15 minutes, then remove and serve!

Crafting

I giveth, and then I taketh away: I gave you a time saver, above, and now I’m introducing you to a time waster. Ha! I finally glittered some paper houses I made ten-plus years ago (from a Martha by Mail kit–sigh, remember Martha by Mail?) and now I’m obsessed. The kits are no more, but she has a Winter Village template and instructions online.

Do you love making geeky crafts? Or buying geeky crafts? I’d like to introduce you to GeekCraft Expo, a curated craft market created by comics writer Daniel Way (Deadpool, Gun Theory) specializing in handmade, “geek”-themed crafts like clothing, accessories, toys, home decoration, furniture, art, and more! There are sixteen Expos taking place across the US and Canada, including (drum roll please) a new Portland show June 11-12! This might be connected to my upcoming announcement. Ahem.

Finally, not exactly crafty, but . . . my lovely, thoughtful mother-in-law sent us an Elf on the Shelf. I’m not sure what to do with it, but I did enjoy The Best Time I Got That Goddamn Elf Off My Goddamn Shelf over on Jezebel. Ha!

That’s what I’ve got, and now I need advice: after several months of sleeping through the night, 14-month-old Sarah has started waking up to nurse once a night. I thought it was a temporary phase, but it’s been a few months now, and I’m worried it’s a habit. How do I put a stop to this?!? Wahhh.

The Five Cookies You Meet at Christmas

Christmas is coming, and you know what that means: Christmas cookies! Whether you plan to make them or just eat them, I’ve put together a list of what I consider to be the five main types of cookies you meet (and eat) during the holidays. Enjoy!

The Spectacular Slice-and-Bake

Southern Living‘s Cranberry-Orange Slice and Bake Shortbread is the perfect Christmas cookie: it is delicious, it is easy, and it is ready when you are. Have you never made Christmas cookies before? Are you worried you don’t have time? These are great because you can make a couple logs in less than 30 minutes (four dozen cookies!), throw them in the freezer, and bake them off just when you need them!

shortbread-cookies-m

Photo from Southern Living. Pictured (clockwise from top left): cranberry-orange, pecan, coconut-macadamia, and toffee-espresso.

There are other variations listed, but the cranberry-orange version is ideal for Christmas: light, crispy, sweet, and tangy. But you could make a plain version and press the slices into sanding sugar (a type of decorative sugar), or dip them half into dark chocolate after baking and sprinkle them with crushed peppermint candies . . . the possibilities are endless. And easy! And if you use margarine (real margarine, not cooking oil spreads), they’re vegan!

The Retro Spritz

I appreciate Classic Spritz Cookies for what they are: a classic butter cookie that’s sweet and easy to do with the kids. My dad inherited his mom’s cookie press and made them for a few years and it was the cutest. Delicious!

Classic Spritz Cookies

Photo from Betty Crocker.

The Gingerbread Man

I could eat an army of gingerbread men. But there are so many recipes to choose from! I like Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Cookie recipe: it makes a lot of cookies, and the black pepper gives it a nice sharp edge.

Gingerbread Men Martha Stewart

Oh Martha. You’re so crazy. Photo from Martha Stewart.

The Pain-in-the Ass (That Is Totally Worth It)

These cookies. These cookies. These Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies (another Martha Stewart recipe) are soooooo good. Chocolate-peppermint cookies wrapped in luscious white chocolate (I recommend Ghirardelli) and topped with crushed candy canes? These are so f*cking good. They’re like Thin Mints that died and went to Santa’s workshop.

chocolatepeppermintcookies (1)

(Kinda crappy) photo from Martha Stewart.

I’m not going to lie. These cookies are work. Make the dough! Chill the dough! Roll the dough! Freeze the dough! Cut the cookies! Freeze the cookies (I’m not kidding)! Bake the cookies! Dip the cookies! Top the cookies! But then. You can eat these cookies. If I didn’t make them every year my family would cry.

The No-Bake Retro Gem

I saved the best for last. But first: let me tell you about my good friend Melissa. She’s smart, funny, and stylish. She spent a year of college in France. She worked for a major financial company in London. She’s the perfect dinner party guest, because she can talk to anyone about anything. Years ago, she bought a shirt for my husband that he still tries to wear every day (he will never wear anything I buy him).

But! She’s also from Illinois, home to the best, down-home, retro Christmas cookie classics (see the spritz cookie, above–my dad is also from Illinois). Melissa makes the greatest Christmas cookies and delivers them to her friends every year, and her Special K bars–an old family recipe–are the best. I hoarded most of them for myself last year and I didn’t even feel guilty: they’re crispy and peanutty and chocolate-y and glorious. And she shared the recipe, with her alterations, below!

Moser Family Special K Bars (Updated by Melissa)

You need:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
3 cup Special K cereal
6 oz chocolate chips
6 oz butterscotch chips

Bring sugar and Karo to a medium boil. Take off heat and add peanut butter, vanilla, and Special K. Press into a buttered 9″ x 13″ cake pan.
Melt chips on very low heat or using a double boiler. Spread on top of bars.

Melissa’s Notes:
Alterations that I usually do:

  • Golden syrup instead of Karo
  • Whatever gluten-free organic-ish cereal that’s on sale at New Seasons
  • I double the bar portion of the batch (not the topping) and put it in a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet) to make more, but I don’t like too much chocolate
  • Add a bit of sea salt flakes to the top!

Unfortunately, there are no known pictures of these bars, because they are immediately inhaled.

Phew! So what are your Christmas cookie plans? I’m making the Slice-and-Bakes, Chocolate-Peppermints, and Gingerbread Men (Melissa has promised me extra Special K bars).