Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tarragon Chicken Recipe

A delicious standby, which never disappoints.

6 Chicken Tenderloins
Alpine Touch
2 Tbsp Tarragon 
3/4 Cup Dry White Wine 
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Garlic Clove, Finely Chopped
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream

Season the chicken with some Alpine Touch (Salt & Pepper) and Tarragon and place in a heavy bottom skillet.  Pour in the wine and the chicken stock.  Add the garlic and 1 Tbsp of the Tarragon.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, cook for 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked thoroughly.   
Remove the chicken and store in the microwave on a plate to keep warm.  Bring the remaining sauce to a boil and cook for 12-15 minutes or until reduced by about two-thirds.
Stir in the cream and return to a boil.  Cook until reduced by half.  Stir in the remaining tarragon.  I suggest serving over rice and spooning the sauce over the top.  I like to return the chicken tot he sauce to help lock moisture in before serving.  Enjoy!

Season the chicken
Add the wine and chicken stock
Add the tarragon and bring to a boil
Cook for 10 minutes after boiling.
Remove the chicken and boil for 12-15 minutes
Return the chicken to the sauce
Serve over rice with sauce spooned over. 

The Butler Movie Review

I apologize for not blogging last night, I was actually able to get out for once and have a date night.  I went to the movies and saw The Butler. 
I had heard so much about the movie before going to see it, but the overall consensus was that the movie was great and that Ronald Reagan was wrongly depicted. 
I thought that it was a really interesting inside look at the white house presidents and how a lot of the staff stayed the same as the presidents changed frequently.  There were a ton of people in the movie, but the number one shocker was Nelsan Ellis  (True Blood's Lafayette) being cast as Martin Luther King, Jr.  We could stop laughing about imagining him dressed in drag for that part. 
The Butler is about a man names Cecil Gaines who works his way from a cotton picker, to a house slave to a hotel butler.  From hotel Butlery he is called personally to work as a Butler for the white house.  The movie stretched from the Eisenhower to the Reagan administration and ends with the Obama administration. 
Overall the movie was definitely worth seeing, there was definitely a lot of work put into the casting and with so many different characters.  I think that Lee Butler did a really great job of showing things from the Butler's perspective.  I did feel a lot of immense sadness of the hatred that was felt during this time.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone with an interest in this time period, as well as anyone interested in some really great acting.

Here is the trailer, enjoy!

Here is a spoiler link to 10 secrets of the Butler
10 Secrets

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chicken Avocado Enchiladas

I was inspired to make these from a recipe I saw on facebook, but of course I had to put my own twist on it and make it even more delicious!

Enchilada Sauce:
2Tbsp Butter
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Alpine Touch (Salt & Pepper)
1 Red Pepper Chopped
1 Cup Mild Salsa
1 1/2 Cup Sour Cream

6 Chicken Tenderloins (1 Tbsp Oil)
2 Cups Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
2 Large Avocados (3 small)
6 Large flour tortillas (8 small)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop the chicken into small pieces.  Pour 1 Tbsp of oil into a skillet, add the chopped chicken and thoroughly brown.  Set aside.
To make the enchilada sauce: in a medium sauce pan saute' the garlic and the butter for about 1 minute on med-high heat.  Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Turn heat down to medium and add the chicken stock, red pepper and seasonings, stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and mix in the sour cream and salsa.  
Prepare a 9x13 or similar size pan by spraying dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the enchilada sauce to the bottom of the pan.
To make the enchiladas lay out a tortilla and add some of the chicken, cheese and avocodo to fill the inside, roll and place the seam side down in the pan.  Repeat until the pan is full.  
Pour the remaining sauce over top of the enchiladas and add 1 Cup cheese.  Cook for 10 minutes or until cheese bubbles then turn the oven off.  Leave the pan for another 10 minutes.  Remove and serve with dollops of sour cream on top. Enjoy!

6 Chicken tenderloins about to be chopped
Thoroughly cook the chopped chicken
Saute' the garlic in butter in a sauce pan
Once smooth, add the sour cream and salsa to the sauce
Pour 1 1/2 Cups of the sauce into the bottom of the pan
Place the rolled up ingredient filled enchiladas in the pan over the sauce
Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas and cover with a cup of cheese
Cook until the cheese starts bubbling
Serve with dollops of sour cream and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Loki's Wolves Review

I finished reading an unexpectedly great book the other day.  I was doing so much cooking lately that I had to post the recipes first.  Now I am finally getting around to this book review that I have been meaning to write.

Let me start by saying that Kelly Armstrong (or K. L. Armstrong) as she goes by for this book is one of my top 3 favorite female authors of ALL time!  She is most known for her Women of the Otherworld series which has sucked me in and is actually being made into a Canadian television show which I am praying will also air in the US.  When I saw that there was a book coming out by K. L. Armstrong I immediately knew it had to be her and did the research to make sure it wasn't someone else trying not to be associated.  I guess in my total excitement in another world and book series by Kelly that I read what the book was about.  It focuses around Norse Mythology, I had just gotten done reading Jacqueline Carey's Agent of Hel which was also amazing, and so I was thinking that it must be a Norse Mythology kick going on in my amazing women authors.  Beyond the description of the book I was just so excited to read it that some of the surround details seemed to escape me. 

One day in a Amazon browsing sort of day where I make wishlists and add dreams to my cart I went to check on my cart items (where I store all of my pre-order books desperately awaiting their release so that I can finally read them) I discovered that Loki's Wolves was FINALLY released.  I immediately got it to read and was so excited for it to come. 

FINALLY it arrives in the mail (ok it wasn't really that long, as I have Amazon Prime and next day mail for free).  I excitedly rip open the box with some assistance from Liam and I pull the book out of the box.  Initially I kind of had my excitement bubble lose a bit of air.  I was thinking what the heck IS this book, it is really small for a Kelly Armstrong book and I open it up and the writing is enormous and I thumb through and there are some drawings.  My enthusiasm drains away and I think NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  I accidentally bought a young adult novel.  I was utterly disappointed.  Anyone that knows me knows that I do not really get into young adult series, I prefer the vocabulary and visualization (and the romanticism and sex of course) of a more adult novel.  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the stories within young adult novels, I have all the Twilight movies (although I just recently got all of the books for $10 so I can finally read them, I wanted the movies to be over first). 

Unfortunately I didn't pay as close attention as I could have to the book description which done in conjunction with another normally adult author Melissa Marr (writing as M. A. Marr) goes on to explain that they wanted to work together to create a world for their teen-aged children, as their other novels were a bit too old for them at this point.  I spent over a week really angry at myself and just feeling my heart drop as I thought about this being a young adult novel. 

Finally I decided, what the heck I will just take it to work and it can be a quick read in my down time.  I figured that I was into Holly Black's young adult atmosphere and I had to remind myself that after all this WAS the amazing Kelly Armstrong and she makes you forget that you are merely reading her stories and not living inside of them. 

There I was giving it a try, admittedly a little embarrassed that my book that I had at work had some picture drawings in it.  Needless to say I got over my pride and dove in.  I read about 1/3 of the book in the first sitting.  I was thinking wow this has a really great set up, and I was looking forward to more. 

By the time I started on the 2/3 I was totally immersed into the story the lead up was a little slow, but I felt it did a great job of filling in the back story of the Norse Mythology and the town Blackwell South Dakota.  How the people there actually live like they are descendants of the gods Thor & Loki.  Of course the descendants of Loki can be werewolves or shape-shifters, whereas the descendants of Thor get insane strength.   The three main characters are Matt Thorsen  (yep you guessed it, he's a descendant of Thor).  He just turned 13 and is now considered a man, and has just found out that it will be his duty to fight against the serpent at Ragnarok (the end of the world).  Then we have Laurie & Fen, cousins and 2 of Loki's descendants.  Fen has inherited the ability to take wolf farm, but Laurie has her own unique set of powers.  Matt does not get along well with Fen.  So we have some conflict here but they end up being thrown in together and have decided that they will not allow the end of the world to come to pass and will instead work with one another instead of against one another to try to prevent the myths from coming to pass the way that is has been historically written (which would ultimately resort in Matt's death). 

The rest of the book really picks up speed and the trio of 13 year old soon discover that in order to stop Ragnarok from happening that they will need the help of others.  They begin their journey as runaways and go in search of the rest of the descendants of associated god's to help them along the way.  There is intrigue and deception, courage, and the hesitant learning of an early teen.  I love that there is no sexual tension and that the story carries itself without that being necessary.   There is slight flirtation, but this book was truly intended for the younger young adult reader, and any parent could feel comfortable allowing their teen or pre-teen to read this. 

I also recommend this to anyone not of the young adult persuasion.  Armstrong and Marr do an amazing job of telling this story and I my main complaint was that I wished the book was longer.  I cannot wait for the next book to be released (Odin's Ravens).  This book started a little slow but quickly picked up pace and stayed there full steam through the end!  It is definitely one that I would suggest and pass along as an all around great story!  Especially if you are interested in Norse Mythology! 

*I feel like I couldn't tell the transition between where Kelly ended and Melissa began, this definitely means that I need to check out Melissa Marr's more adult novels, I can't wait to read them!

You can check out the entire Blackwell Pages series at

You can check out Kelly Armstrong's website at

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BBQ Spare Ribs

These ribs turns out very juicy and delicious!  I definitely think you should give them a try and see what kind of twist of your own that you can add to it.  I love cooking with flavored beer, it always adds a nice accent to the meat.  Enjoy!

1 Rack St Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs 2.5-3lbs
Seasoning: Grill Mates Barbeque, Tarragon, Dash of Cinnamon, Garlic Salt, Dash of Grill Mates Spicy Montreal Steak
1 Beer ( I used Sam Adams White Water IPA) I also love a nice apple or raspberry beer
1/4 bottle of BBQ sauce (I used New England Apple Maple)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Cut the rack in between the bones so that the ribs are separated to cook.   Season both sides of the ribs in the deep dish you are going to use for cooking.  Pour 1 full beer over the top to tenderize the meat while cooking.  This should cover about 3/4 of the ribs.  Make sure that the ribs are bone side down and cook int he over for about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven, bast with the liquid in the pan and drizzle some BBQ sauce on top of the ribs to let the flavor soak in a little bit.  Return to the oven and cook for another 30 minutes.  The ribs should be finished cooking and you can serve them with additional BBQ sauce drizzled or smothered on top depending on your preference.  Enjoy!

Season both sides of the ribs
Pour 1 beer over the ribs
Bone side down cook in the oven for 45 minutes
Turn the ribs, baste and drizzle BBQ sauce over top and continue cooking for about 30 minutes
Remove from the oven
Serve with additional BBQ sauce on top

Monday, August 26, 2013

Roasted Garlic Rosemary Leg of Lamb with Mashed Red Potatoes

I just love lamb, and when it goes on sale, I can't help but buy some to make a delicious meal out of :)

Ingredients: (Lamb)
3 lb Leg of Lamb
Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup White Wine ( I used Viognier)
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Mediterranean Basil
1Tbsp Thyme
1/2 Tbsp Alpine Touch
1/2 Cup Orange Liquor
1 Cup Chicken Stock

Ingredients: (Mashed Red Potatoes)
3-4 Red Potatoes
Sea Salt
1 Cup Half & Half
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese
Alpine Touch
Mediterranean Basil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
Marinade: Mix Garlic, Orange Juice, White Wine, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, and Alpine Touch in Blender.  Add the Orange Liquor and the Chicken Stock, blend together. 
Put Leg of Lamb into pan and pat with sea salt.  Pour Marinade over the lamb (you will have some left over).  Put into oven and cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.  Pour extra marinade over lamb if needed.  Cook for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.  At internal temperature of 150 degrees (using a meat thermometer) the lamb will be medium-rare, cook longer for more thoroughly browned lamb.

When there are 20 minutes left on the lamb cut the red potatoes and put into a pan.  Cover with water and add a dash of sea salt.  Bring to a boil on high.  Reduce heat to medium high and continue boiling until potatoes are soft (about 15-20 minutes).  Turn to low-med and add the Half & Half. 

Remove the lamb from the oven and place on a plate and store on teh microwave to keep warm, add all remaining marinade to a sauce pan to simmer.  Simmer to reduce.  
 Use a whisk and whisk the potatoes until smooth.  Turn heat to low and add the remaining ingredients.  Serve with a dash of Basil on top

Serve the lamb with some marinade spooned over top.  Store any remaining lamb soaking into the remaining marinade to ensure moistness for leftovers.  Enjoy!

Blend the Orange Juice, Wine, and Seasonings together
Blend the chicken stock and orange Liquor into the marinade
Pat the lamb with sea salt
Pour the marinade over the lamb and stick into oven
Chop the potatoes and place into a pan
Cover the potatoes with water
Boil the potatoes until soft
Add the half and half to the potatoes
Remove the lamb from the oven
Whisk the potatoes and simmer the marinade
Add the seasoning to the potatoes and continue to simmer the marinade
Add remaining ingredients to the potatoes and finish simmering the marinade
Serve by pouring marinade on the lamb and a dash of Basil on the potatoes

Sunday, August 25, 2013

In Need

I would like to share another throwback poem since I haven't done that in awhile.  This one is from March of 2001.  I wrote a lot of poetry around this time...  Enjoy

It's for you my heart yearns
Don't deprive me your love
Fire inside me burns
Away flies the white dove
Does love come and go
Has it decided to stay
How do I show 
What I'm feeling today
Words cannot grasp
My emotions inside
Feelings growing so fast
Taking me for a ride
Will you catch me if I fall
I'd reach out for you
Do you even care at all
My love is so true
To you, I'll never lie
I know you'd be mad
And I'd rather die
Than see you sad
I let out my pleas
I see you smile
Timeless ease
I'll have you for awhile
Amazing spark in your eyes
As I wish on a star
Looking tot he skies
In my heart you aren't far
Please listen to my words
They represent me
Carrying my heart like a bird
Together forever we can be
Don't refuse me now
I don't know what I'd do
Love reached down a bough
Now I hear a dove's coo
For you I'll always be there
You reach me even in my dreams
For you I will always care
Love can be gentle and serene
Hold me tonight
I need you near me
Did the love bug bite
Setting my heart free
It has chosen you
And I don't mind
I promise to be true
In your eyes, Love I find
I'm giving you me
Forever to stay
Together we can be free
If you'll hear what I say

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cheesy Italian Meatloaf

This was the first time that I had ever tried this recipe out and it turned out incredibly delicious.  I would ask that those that are not fans of meatloaf revisit it and give it another chance with this recipe.  For those of you who are fans already, this is a great take on an old recipe.  Enjoy!

3 Eggs
1 Cup Breadcrumbs (Tightly Packed)
Seasoning (Alpine Touch, Garlic Salt, Mediterranean Oregano, Mediterranean Basil, a couple of dashes of red pepper flakes)
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 lb Ground Italian Sausage
1 Cup Colby Jack Cheese (grated)
1/2 Cup Smoked Butterkase (grated) (or another smoked cheese)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the eggs, bread crumbs and seasoning.  Mix thoroughly.  Crumple the meat over the mixture and mix all together.   Press half of the meat mixture into a loaf pan.  Sprinkle 3/4 of the cheese over the top of the meat.  Pat the remaining meat mixture on top of the cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  Meat thermometer should read about 160 degrees.  Turn off the oven.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and let sit in the warm oven for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  Remove the meat loaf from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.  Serve & Enjoy!

Combine the eggs, bread crumbs and seasoning
Crumple the meat over the top
Mix thoroughly
Press half of the meat mixture into the loaf pan.
Add 3/4 of the grated cheese on top of the meat
Press the remaining meat on top of the cheese
Cook at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes
Add the remaining cheese on top
Return to the over for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese on top
Serve & Enjoy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Weird Things for Sale on Amazon Part 2

Good evening on this wonderful Friday night!  I thought it was a great time to share with you some more weird things that you can buy on Amazon.

Big Mouth Toilet Mug
Let me just say that I won't be drinking out of this mug.  It looks like someone had an intense case of diarrhea....  Just eww.  However serving this to someone could be very awesome. On the plus side, it is advertised as being dishwasher safe.  You can't go wrong with that.  In the product description it tempts you with the ability to also be able to drink out of the toilet just like you dog :)

Top Reviews:
"Product is advertised as dishwasher safe. After one time in dishwasher, ALL of the white is gone and I'm left with a beige, old lady's underwear color and a big frown."-Mr. Cheeseburger.
*Well there does the dishwasher safe claim.  However I find it interesting that it was old ladies' underwear that he chose to compare the color too.  This makes me wonder why he is so familiar with the colors that old ladies generally wear in underwear....  On second thought I really don't want to wonder about that.

"The mug caused quite polemic opinions on my work office. Some people said I was crazy, some girls said "gross, I wouldn't drink from that thing". Some other laughed a lot. All in all I love it. It has a lot of coffee capacity since it's quite big! I don't use it on my boss meetings though, He may not take me very serious. The power of the mug toilet is not to play with." -the urelita 
*I have to admit that I am cracking up at "The power of the mug toilet is not to play with."

Big Mouth Toilet Mug

Bacon Mints
I can definitely see the appeal in bacon mints.  It won't freshen your breath in any way, but it could still be delicious.  The greater appeal for me would be to put them into an Altoids or a related tin and watch people's reaction when they are expecting a minty flavor.    According to Amazon:Each one of these mints tastes like a delicious slice of crispy bacon with just a hint of mint flavor to give it that extra punch! You'll see that mint and bacon is a match made in heaven

Top Reviews:
"I used to eat 2 packages of bacon a week. I was up to 400 pounds and looking into buying a pig farm. I came across these bacon mints and the bacon dental floss. Now when I need some bacon I pop a mouthful of these mints and I can get through the day. What I really need is some bacon mouthwash. Good Evening." -William F Desmond
*Now here is an unexpected twist to the bacon mints, that they can actually be used for weight loss!

"I love the packaging and the concept, but the flavor of the mints warrants less than 5 star rating.
The flavor is a very light hint of the small breakfast sausages, unlike any bacon I have ever tasted. Said light hint of flavor is soon overwhelmed by the sugar of the mint." Its8up

 *Another selling point, they can also taste like small breakfast sausages, sounds like a win to me.

 Bacon Flavored Mints

The Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have
I think the title pretty much covers all of it.  In our WebMD generation where any symptom you enter into the computer can give you a possible cancer outcome, I think this is very fitting.  It is advertised
to cover 50 of the most disgusting, painful, and life-threatening diseases. 

Top Reviews
"Medical editor and improvisational humorist Dennis DiClaudio has written an amazing book. It is essentially a pocket guide to selected horrible, scary, and interesting diseases presented in a quirky, humorous way. These diseases are neatly organized by categories (autoimmune, fungal, genetic, etc.) and cover only the most unusual of dread diseases. Sure, the book covers some more commonly known diseases like leprosy, acromegaly, and furious rabies, but it really shines when discussing truly obscure maladies such as fatal familial insomnia, cyclic vomiting syndrome (which, while it may not kill you, will make you wish it had,) alien hand syndrome (which gets my vote for most unusual neurological condition of all time,) and amnesic shellfish poisoning, which will make you forget all about the prawns you just ate (as well as everything else, for that matter.)
While all of these diseases are horrible in their own way, the one I find to be the most singularly scary is candiru infestation. This is the nastiest thing I have ever heard of: if you swim in the Amazon or Orinoco rivers a small, slender species of catfish called the candiru, but better known as the vampire fish, likes to swim up your urethra and lodge itself in your urinary tract. This hurts a lot. Do not try to pull it out because (surprise!) it has rearward pointing barbs that unfurl like an umbrella that will make it more firmly ensconced in its new home, where it spends its hours running sharp grating teeth all over your most sensitive parts to make a meal of your blood. (Some men have decided to have an otherwise unthinkable type of surgical amputation to make the pain stop.) As a side note, DiClaudio points out that there is legislation pending to outlaw importing candiru into the US, a measure that will, no doubt, get wide bipartisan support.
Even the more conventional diseases like bubonic plague and encephalitis are examined in a new and eerily entertaining light. I noted with a bit of trepidation that encephalitis can be caused by many, many other diseases, which DiClaudio helpfully lists in part; these include, but are not limited to: chicken pox, monkey pox, camel pox, canary pox, mollusci pox, sheep pox, vole pox, Aleutian mink disease, Andean potato mottle virus, hem-agglutinating virus of Japan, O'Nyong-Nyong, coital exanthema virus, Kyzylagach virus, yug bogdanovac virus, and mumps, just to name a few. Clearly you need to have an encephalitis contingency plan in place.
This book is actually full of good information, though I advise true hypochondriacs not even be allowed in the same room as this book. These diseases are scary, sure, but through DiClaudio's masterful prose and dry sense of humor, medical education actually becomes enjoyable with this book.
I highly recommend this to anyone with a good (if slightly warped) sense of humor, but the medically squeamish need not apply." -Robert I Hedges

*This has to be one of the more thorough definitions that I have come across, I love that he gives an example.  However, it is the last part that makes me actually want to buy this book when he recommends it to a good slightly warped sense of humor person as an audience. 

"Very humorous and well-written. Though I was disappointed that there weren't more illnesses that were less exotic so I could have imagined myself having contracted them..." -Jennifer P Snyder 
*I find it hilarious that she is sad that she can't imagine having contracted the illnesses within the book.  My response is that she let her imagination wander more...  

Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide

 Pee Pee Bib
I still can't stop laughing at the thought of someone wearing this.  It is essentially a bib for your male
member.  Advertised as flannel bibs for your winky.  I love the advertising photo about what a man's pants look like with and without the pee pee bib.  It is described as catching the drips like a male pantyliner.  Unfortunately there are not any reviews yet :(

Pee Pee Bib

Obsessive Compulsive Action Figure
This action figure is a hilarious concept.  He is advertised as be worried about whether or not you washed your hands after going to the bathroom.  he comes with a sterile surgical mask and a moist
towelette to wash him off before you play with him.

Top Reviews:
There were only 6 reviews to chose from so I will just summarize them for you.  Overall it has great reception and makes people laugh :)  Seems like a great gag gift.

OCD Action Figure