Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Ode to The Life of Paul William Walker IV

I was actually planning on writing about something else tonight, when  he tragic news came across my news feed that a

wonderful man, Mr. Paul William Walker IV had passed away.  With all of the internet death hoaxes I immediately wanted to wish that away and have it turn out to be another scam, but it is with heavy heart that I read confirmation from his publicist see news footage and pictures of the wreckage for confirmation.  I haev grown up as an avid fan and with a girlish crush on Paul Walker since I first saw him in Varsity Blues, I remember watching Pleasant Ville repeatedly for him in color.  Back before any of them (he was also with Reese Witherspoon and Tobey macguire) would come near the fame that they ended up with.

Paul Walker was born on September 12th 1973 in Glendale California.  He was raised int he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and majored in Marine Biology in college.  His first film was in 1986 as a role in Monsters in the Closet.  But it wasn't until 1998 that his career really took off.

This was the year of Meet the Deedles and Pleasantville first came out, leading to the 1999 hits Varsity Blues, She's All That, Brokedown Palace and The Skulls in 2000.
2001 was the start of his franchise career as Brian O'Conner in The Fast and the Furious.   and also the Horror film Joy Ride (which was actually quite good) that came out this year.  This really cemented his fame in Hollywood.  And it wasn't long before the sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious came out in 2003 adding some more standards to the franchise.
We have countless other movies within this time some good and some bad with Noel, Eight Below, Timeline, Into the Blue, Running Scared, Flags of Our Fathers, Death and Life of Bobby Z, and my personal favorite: The Lazarus Project.
It wasn't until 2009 that he would reprise his role in the fast and furious franchise under the same title as the original dropping "THE" with Fast & Furious.  Takers in 2010
Fast Five in 2011 Vehicle 19, Hours and Fast & Furious 6 in 2013.    With Fast 7 in production, who knows what will become of this.

But enough of his movie career, let's talk about the man.  As a fan that has grown up with him, I feel like I have in someway lost a friend, or a classmate, someone you have known and cared for and been involved in their life for years, even without knowing them.  Now not like a close friends mind you more of an acquaintance but I feel the loss all the same.  He had taken on a much stronger role as a father with his now 15 year old daughter Meadow coming to live with him and being a full time father.  Now this is a fairly recent transition and now I can't imagine the emotional toll this must have on her.  Skeptics will say that she is financially set for life, but with him she would have been the same, he has had immensive success in his career, and nothing can replace a father in yoru life, especially when you have made the move to live with him during your teenage years.

There is so much irony in him dying in a car crash after so many car movies and stunts.  And that he was not even the driver makes it even more sad.  I hope that alcohol was not a factor in this crash because that would be very tragic indeed and something that could have been easily avoidable.

At the time of his death Paul Walker resided in Santa Barbara (I knew I should have visited again sooner) with his dogs.  He was reportedly an avid surfer and had a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  In 2010 he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of marine biology study inspired by his idol Jacques Cousteau when he was a part of a National Geographic Wildlife Expedition Great White.  (I also had a dream to be a part of National geopgraphic wildlife).

He also had a big role in Charitable organizations and events and had his own humanitrian aid team"Reach Out worldwide"

He reportedly died at 3:30 pm in Santa Clarita/Valencia, California (Outside of LA)  while attending a Reach Out charitable event.  He was a passenger in a red Porsche and the driver lost control of the car and hit a light pole bursting into flames, later exploding and killing both occupants inside.

CNN report

NY Daily News Report

E Online report

Fox News Report

People Magazine online Report

US Weekly Report

RIP Dear Soul, You will be missed by many.  May your journey continue ever onward. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Forest Cheesecake Recipe

Here is my Thanksgiving Black Forest Cheesecake Recipe and pics of baking with Liam :)  Enjoy!

1 1/2 Cup Chocolate Wafer Crumbs
5 Tbsp Butter (softneed)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 8-oz packages Cream Cheese (softened)
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
6 oz Semi-sweet Chocolate Pieces (melted)
1 tsp almond extract
To Top:
21 oz Can Cherry Pie Filling
Whipped Topping

Combine all ingredients and mix, press into the bottom of 9-inch springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Combine Cream Cheese and sugar, mixing at medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each egg.  Blend in the chocolate and almond extract.  Pour filling over the crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Loosen cake from rib of pan, cool and chill.  
Top cheesecake with pie filling and whipped topping just before serving. 

Crumbling the wafers
Combine all ingredients and mix
Press into pan
My sous chef helping
Combine cream cheese & sugar
Mixing ingredients
Remove the crust from the oven
Add the chocolate and almond extract
Tasting the mix
Pour the filling over the crust

Remove from oven and chill
Add the cherry pie filling
Serve with whipped topping

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Dinner

Well it was definitely a lot of work, but luckily everything turned out very delicious :)  Happy Thanksgiving and thank you to everyone that supports me.  

Deviled Eggs
7 Eggs
2 Tbsp Milk
1 Tbsp Dill
1 tsp Lemon Juice

Boil the egg until down (about 8 minutes).  Douse them in ice cold water to make them easier to peel.  Peel the eggs.  Cut in half length-wise and scoop the yolk out into a bowl.  Add equal amount of mayonnaise as the yolk.  Add the Milk, Lemon Juice & Dill.  Mix together thoroughly.  Add the mixture into the empty yolk hole of the eggs and top with a dash of Paprika.  

Boil the eggs
Peel the eggs
Scoop the yolks out and the ingredients into the bowl
My little helper
Fill with the mixture and top with a dash of paprika
Tasting the eggs
Fresh Rolls out of the oven

Prime Rib
3-4 lb Prime Rib Bone In
Seasoning (Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt, Alpine Touch,  Mediterranean Basil Leaves, Rosemary Leaves, Garlic Powder)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Rub the seasoning on the Prime Rib.  Cook for about half an hour a lb or until Internal Temperature is 130 degrees for medium rare.  Cut the twine and serve. 

Get the seasoning out and get the prime rib ready
Rub the seasoning onto the prime rib
Remove from the oven when cooked thoroughly

Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
8 Tbsp of Butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
2 Cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange potatoes in 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish. Combine sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over potatoes; toss to coat. Cover dish tightly with foil.
Bake potatoes 50 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and syrup thickens slightly, basting occasionally, about 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Top potatoes with marshmallows. Return to oven; bake until marshmallows begin to brown, watch carefully should take about 2 minutes.  Remove, serve and enjoy.

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes
Melt the better, sugar and spices in a pan
Add to the dish and toss to coat
Add the marshmallows
Taking a break from cooking for a picture with my boy :)

Loaded Mashed Red Potatoes
3-4 Red Potatoes (Chopped, leave skin on)
1 Cup Half & Half
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Cup Cheddar Cheese
Garlic Powder
Alpine Touch
Mediterranean Basil

Add the potatoes to a pot and cover with water.  Boil until water is gone and add the cream and butter.  Whisk the cream and butter in to get the lumps out.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Serve & Enjoy.

Cover the potatoes with water and boil
Add the cream and butter and whisk
Add the seasoning
Add the cheese and mix thoroughly
Yummy warm up snacks
The final delicious meal, needing a bigger plate :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I have spent a lot of time this year, and especially today thinking about all of the things in my life that I am thankful for.  I wanted to share some of those precious things with you and let you know all that I am in gratitude for that have made an big impact on my 2013.
First and foremost Liam, my son, my #1 man, my rock, my heart, my world.  I never knew what love was until he came into my life.  I never knew for sure what my purpose was until I became his mother.  To love something completely before you even get to see it is amazing.  Watching him grow up into such a character with so much personality, and energy  but also compassion for others.  I am so proud to be Liam's mommy, and very blessed to have him brought into my life.
Then we come to my mother.  I am so happy that you were a young mother, that you were such an unselfish mother the whole time I was growing up even to your own detriment at times.  That you taught me kindness and love and showed me how to be a good mother.  That you have been able to be the type of mother that I consider to be my best friend, that we have been blessed to be such a big part of one anothers' lives.  I regret that we do not live closer, because I hate not being able to see you all of the time.  I am so happy that I get to see you next week, because we are too close to not see one another, and I want Liam to know his grandmother.
I am so very thankful for my daddy.  You can be a hard man to live with, but I would not choose any single other person in this world to call my father.  You have been in my life from the beginning.  You are an amazing and honorable man to love me as your own and to continue to love me regardless of divorce from mom.  You have always been my hero in life, from fireman, to green beret to grandfather.  You have made the 20+ hour trek to Texas at least once a year to spend time with us and it does not go unnoticed.  I have always had you to look up to, and many of my major decisions in life I have made based off of your intelligence and your example.  I remember you being worried that I wouldn't love you anymore when you and mom got divorced and I could not fathom how you could even ask me that question.  You are the only father my heart ever has and ever will love.  I always loved you and appreciated all that you have done for me, but it wasn't until becoming a single mother and dating and seeing the way men would interact with Liam or tell me their stance on "someone else's child" that I truly found appreciation in the selfless love that you and all of that side of the family has always shown me.  I have NEVER felt like I didn't belong with you all and I am so thankful for the closeness and love that I have known because I have had you in my life.  I will not EVER get married unless I can find someone who can love Liam and I the way that  you loved us.  
Of course my dear sister.  The only person that can drive my emotions onto a roller-coaster in mere seconds.  The friend I always wanted to be closer to, the sister I always worried about.  The person who has pushed every single limit and boundary I have and then tested them again.  I am thankful that we find a way to live close to one another even if we are far from home.  I am thankful for you being there for me and helping me with Liam when I was all alone.  I honestly don't know how I would have survived those first few months without you.  You have taught me so many lessons about life and I only ever hope to see you happy.  I know I am overprotective at times and worry too much and get constantly told to quit acting like your mother, but you are my dear sister and I would not be who I am in life without you to push me past my comfort zone.  You are my polar opposite in life, and I would not chose you to be another way.  I am thankful that no matter how mad you can make me, that I still love you.  Sometimes I wish that I could live life as freely as you do, but ultimately I am thankful for the moments when we can laugh and protect one another and I miss spending time together, the fleeting moments in recent times makes me miss my sister even when we live in the same city.  
My dog Kiri, I named you aptly for in many a dark time, you have been the sunlight that has shown through.  Before Liam, you helped me through very dark times in life.  You gave me purpose and reason.  Your ability to accommodate and become the 2nd best in life, is amazing.  I am thankful for your loyalty and your intelligence and that you are more bear than dog.  You make me smile and give me love all the time, unconditionally, and I am happy to be able to come home and always be loved no matter what has happened in life.  
My grandma Shirley, YOU ARE MY SALVATION.  Truly I cannot say anything deeper than that.  You have rescued me when I was drowning.  When I was at my lowest low, you were my anchor to help me come back to the surface.  You are the most selfless person I have and probably ever will meet in this life.  I live my life always hoping to repay you for all that you have done for me.  You are my example of what a true saint in life really is.  There truly are no words that can express the gratitude I feel in my heart, and I am so blessed to have you in my life, I love you so much.
My mentor, Bunny.  You have always shown me what a true example of self power can be.  The calm that is felt just in entering your house.  The way that a short talk with you can seem to solve so many unresolved issues is amazing.  You are so talented and gifted and caring.  I have learned so many amazing things from you, and I am sad that I do not get to feel the peace that I find in your presence more often.  I miss your energy in person and wish that I was closer to do more things like bring you flowers and drink tea and soak in the sunlight and bask in your wisdom.  You are such an amazing being.  
My cousins Savannah & Marie, I am so thankful that we are so close in age and got to grow up knowing one another.  I have recently been very sad that Liam does not have that, and does not know people in the family and be close like we were.  We have experienced things in life that no one ever will.  I don't think I have ever laughed as hard as I have in the presence of you both.  You have both taught me what being the short non-artistic cousin is like and how I can excel in other ways ;)  I will never know another driver quite like Marie, and never will I know another laugh as full of happiness as yours either.  With Savannah I will never be able to share a quirky humor that could be understand outside of us, or the love of dogs, and I am so thankful that we live within driving distance.  You have helped me escape and have been a wonderful :auntie: to Liam :)
I am so thankful for each and every family member in one way or another, I could write an entire book.  But I will be here all night.... to be continued...
My job, I am so thankful to have been lucky enough to stay within the same line of work for over 11 years now.  I have somehow escaped my degree thus far, but I do hope to return to school in 2014.  Even when I have a hard time going, it gives me the security that helps me to be the best mother that I can to Liam.  I am also very thankful for an amazing boss who has stood by me and fought for me when he didn't have to.  Who has helped me more than he will ever know and is a truly good person.  I am thankful for the timing of this job when I needed quickly out of a desperate situation and that I had a quick and easy transition to the other side of my office :)
I am thankful for the military for giving me skills and experiences that I would not have otherwise ever encountered in any other way.  And for life-changing people who have taught me many lessons in life good and bad.  I would not be me without those people.
I am thankful for my friends far and wide and never fully realized just HOW amazing and special my friends in life have been and how blessed I was until I moved here.  I wish I lived closer to at least one of you, because life is lonely without my amazing bonds.
I am thankful for the internet and social media to allow me to easily continue friendships from afar and to make new ones.
I am thankful for a car that gets me to work and where I need to go, and for the ability to have a roof over my head.  
I am thankful for music, that my music tastes are so wide and that I can listen to a vast amount of different things and not be so limited by a narrow mind.
I am thankful for books, that help me escape and teach me so many things, and give me things to look forward to.  
My sense of humor and the ability to find humor in SO many different things, and those few friend that I can share the worst of jokes with and know that you will laugh with me.
Netflix, which has been a savior in many ways.  
Movies: My love and obsession.
But most of all, I am thankful for the little things in life, I could be here all night.  But let me close with saying that I am thankful for opportunities that can somehow appear to be horrible disasters that are life changing and eye opening and really ways of saving yourself in a way that you would have never encountered before.  But really I am just THANKFUL to be alive and to have this opportunity at life.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cheese Stuffed BBQ Guacamole Burgers

Simple and delicious, a great twist to an old classic, enjoy!

1 lb Hamburger
Cheese Cubed (I made 6 burgers so I had 6 cubes each of smoked butterkase and mild cheddar)
Seasoning (BBQ & Alpine Touch)
Guacamole (store bought or home made)
BBQ Sauce
1-2 Pickles (Sliced)
Hamburger Buns (I had forgotten mine so you wont see any pictured here

Make 6 balls and flatten them out.  Season both sides.  Add 1 cube of each kind of cheese to each burger.  Rewrap around the cheese to ensure that none is showing.  Cook 3 at a time in a drying pan and flatten with the spatula.  Serve by add a generous amount of guacamole, placing the pickles on top and adding BBQ sauce, enjoy!

Make 6 balls and flatten
Add your seasoning
Place the cubes of cheese on the burgers
Rewrap the burger around the cheese
A smile from my sous chef with his turkey hat on
Place in a frying pan and flatten with the spatula
Add Guacamole pickles and BBQ sauce, enjoy!