Monday, December 23, 2013

I Believe in Christmas Eve Eve

Merry Christmas!!!

Ok, it's a couple days early.... Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

I am so excited for Christmas this year. It's the first year without my Grandma, which is definitely going to be different, but we are having it at her house, which will be such a great way to remember her.

I am working today and tomorrow, picking up my brother and his girlfriend, and driving down to the coast to be with everyone.

Mr. OU and I exchanged big gifts last night, just to have a nice date-like Christmas, and he spoiled me with a new Kindle Fire, which I love. I gave him a digital camera to replace the one that broke on our trip to Disney World last January.

Speaking of Disney, we are currently talking about our Honeymoon, and it looks like we are leaning toward a SoCal Amusement Park trip. Initially, we wanted to go to Ireland, and still do, but it's just so darned expensive. I put together a SoCal trip for a week, with 3 parks, and 3 days at Disneyland for just around $2000. Airfare included. We had so much fun last winter, that it just seems like a wonderful vacation.
However, if any of my readers have recommendations, I am all ears!

There is my late Wedding update.

Here is our menu:

Prime Rib
Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Prepared by Mr. OU himself)
Brussel Sprouts with Prosciutto 
Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry Sauce (Just the "relish")
Dessert will be:

Low-Sugar New York Cheesecake

I am pretty excited to get this all together. Maybe I'll even post Pictures of the spread with our new camera!!

Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Christmas Cold Can't Stop Cheer!

I love Christmas!! I'm not sure you could have gathered this from previous posts... I do though. It's been so great listening to Carols on the radio (106.9, my Seattle friends!), decorating the house, and saying "Happy Holidays" to all of my guest interactions at work. People are nicer, the weather is cooler (29 Degrees, burrr), and everything sparkles.

I had plans all week last week to get my Christmas tree on Saturday, and I was really looking forward to it. I grew up in Nevada, and we have only really had artificial trees... for practical reasons. This year Mr. OC insisted we go to a "U-Cut" farm to get a real tree. I was so excited. He knows his way around a saw, and is used to the fresh tree thing, so what could go wrong, right?

I got sick on Friday.

I mean, disgusting, dripping, sneezing, awful sick.

Saturday morning I woke up raring to go! "Woo, lebs do dis".... (that's what I sound like when I am sick). I was met with some resistance. "No, honey, let's go tomorrow, when you feel better". "No! I neeb my Christmas tree! We are so Scroogy ib our houbs."..... this went on and on until:

The stuffy nose voice always wins.
So, I may still be disgusting today, but it's so jolly in our house that I call it a win!

Worth it.

While we are talking about Christmas, here is a nifty make ahead recipe that I made a few years back:

Make-Ahead Melts

They are really yummy, but can be heavy first thing in the morning. My recommendation would be to have your first cup of coffee a while before, so your stomach is ready for the full meal that this little muffin turns out to be.

Of course, if you're anything like me, you're useless without that first cup anyway!

So with that, I leave you!

Happy Holidays, my dear friends :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gratefulness and Goodbyes

Turkey day has come and gone, and I didn't really follow up on my promise to do the weekly "I am thankful for...", but I will say this:

I am thankful for a juicy turkey two years running!
- This year I put a few small pads of butter under the skin, with a thyme-rosemary rub. I "stuffed" it with a quartered onion, and orange, and salted the skin. Roasted for 20 min per pound, and viola! Beautiful.

I am thankful for a harmonious gathering of some of the most important people in the world to me. It's a rare occasion anymore for all of us to be in one place, and I was so happy to be able to host them.

I am thankful for my health. This is a hard thing for me to say, because I have had some struggles this year. I got news on Wednesday that I have pre-cancer, and I am going to need a minor surgery. It's pretty terrifying, but it could be a lot worse. I don't have cancer, and if these cells weren't found, I would have. I am thankful that I have people that are taking care of me, and I know that no matter how scary this gets, I am fully supported by everyone in my life.

I am very thankful.

I am also thankful that I have friends that are so generous. Last night I was able to attend a charity event called Child's Play. It was a really amazing black-tie event, and I had the most amazing night. If it wasn't for very dear friends of mine donating their tickets to us, I would not have been able to go. Thank you Amanda and Andrew.

One last thing. My Grandmother on my dad's side passed away Wednesday night. It was very sudden. She was a very loving and kind woman, and will be dearly missed.

It has been an intense and long week, but all we can do from these experiences is grow. It's times like these where we have to change our perspective in order to survive. The last few years of my life I have said goodbye to four of my family members, and I have watched my own body begin to mutate. It's a fairly dramatic way to put it, but I like to think of my self as an X-Man now, I mean I've earned my patch.

I guess the way I feel about everything right now is simply this:

I can deal with anything.

That's right, Cancer.... Bring It.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Time for Turkey!!!

It's been so busy lately in the Grown-Up house! I had a little medical thing on Monday, and had to have a biopsy! Very interesting. Kind of painful, but I was pampered all day with comfort food, cuddles, and a mini Harry Potter Marathon.

Tuesday was full of cleaning the house and prepping for company for tomorrow! My father passed away in May of 2012, and I inherited his cookbooks. He used to throw the most elaborate parties, complete with cocktails, full meals, and lots of laughter. This year I get to host Thanksgiving, and as I was thumbing through his cookbooks, I came across a handwritten recipe for my father's fudge.

This is no ordinary fudge. It's amazing. It's life altering. It's my Dad's fudge.

Unfortunately, this is what the recipe said:

3/4 Cup Butter
3 Cups Sugar
2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk
12 Oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

7oz Marshmallow Cream

That was it. No instructions... nothing more than a shopping list.

BUT, I improvised. Me, be discouraged by a lack of directions? Never. I am am actor after all, I create all the time.

So, I melted everything together and put it in the fridge. ( I may have cut the butter by 1/2 cup... and maybe I cut the sugar in half.... it just seemed excessive).

Guess what. Guess what, guys! It's wonderful. Tastes like Holidays with my Daddy!

I have so much to do tomorrow.

20lb Turkey
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Last years mini's

Pumpkin Bread (to honor my Grandma)
Green Bean Casserole
Ambrosia Salad
2 Stuffings (neither of which I am making, thank god)
Sweet Potatoes (again, not making)
Roasted Garlic Chevre Spread with Crostini
Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Baby Carrots, and Purple Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes (Provided by my sister)

That may be all.... there are 8 of us, think there will be enough ;)?

Also, if you don't do the whole holiday thing, check out this recipe. It's worth OM NOM NOM, and nothing about it says Thanksgiving.

For those that are curious, I will be posting about tomorrow next week!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tantalizing Tacos... and Wedding Wednesday

I just realized that my last post, which was supposed to be a link to my wedding website, is very odd.
In fact, I may just delete it. If anyone saw it, you can count yourself as lucky. You are one of the few people who actually read this blog often enough to catch the poorly promoted website attached to my wedding. Here is the real website for those who are interested:

I wonder how I should refer to him here once we are married.... it'll probably stay Mr. Occasionally Updated, you know, shameless promotion :)

Wedding planning is really picking up! It's kind of amazing, all of the sudden I have stuff to do!!

I have picked out my cake:
Pumpkin with Cream Cheese Frosting (perfect for a November Wedding)

We have a menu:
Garlic Herb Chicken
Steak with a Molasses Porter Sauce

I have even started on decorations! I found this wonderful site. It's like craigslist for your wedding. There are so many things that would work on that for us!

Originally our wedding was going to be a big DIY thing, but, though I love to think of myself as crafty, I am afraid I'm not to the caliber I would like to do a wedding. Especially a formal wedding.

For example, this is the latest thing I have created:

Just the banner. Clearly I have not built a  fireplace.

And, where I have a deep love for craft paper, I simply don't think my skills will cut it.

So there is your Wedding Wednesday update!

Food wise, I think I will talk about  Oven Tacos

I made these a while ago, and they were delicious. Mr. Occasionally Updated ate until he almost popped. There are a few steps, but it's pretty simple, just an extra pan to clean at the end of the night. They actually heat up pretty well too.

I served these with my shortcut Guacamole (which is super awesome amazing):

1 Ripe Avocado
1/2 cup fresh Pico de Gallo
Lotsa (technical measurement) Cumin (*note: cumin is the thing that makes mexican food mexican)
Lotsa Garlic Powder
Salt to taste

I love a good recipe that I don't have to adjust. I had one last night that was good, but there were definitely things to do. Luckily this is not like that at all. 

I would say out of a scale of *Ew to OM NOM NOM, this would get a solid OM NOM!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Genuinely Geeky ^-^

I just bought my tickets to go see Catching Fire, which is going to be so awesome. Even though there is some casting I'm not thrilled over (c'mon, Sam Claflin as the most irresistible tribute ever... please). Oh! Speaking of movies, Mr. Occasionally Updated and I saw Thor on Sunday. So good! We both like nerdy comic book things (for more information on the extent of the nerd, click on the first link).

I have never been a Thor fan. Ever. I had thought it was just a horrible retelling of Norse mythology, and to an extent I was right. I was informed... but not well. I read a few, but never really enough to get myself wrapped up in their universe. So, when the first film came out, I had no real desire to see it. That, and everyone kept talking about how hunky Thor is.... a hair blonde guy, who always kind of looked like an 80's-frat-boy-douche in my childhood? No thank you. So I didn't see it.

For those of you who know me know that it's a rare day when I won't get amped about a comic book movie.

It wasn't until I went to an event where they showed all Avengers prequel films before the midnight release of the Avengers movie that I actually saw the first Thor. I sat there all day long, through 2 Iron Men, 2 Hulks, Captain America, and got to Thor.... and by the end of it, I understood.


I understand why there is a fandom, and I understand the sexy Thor thing... but what made the film for me, like so many others, was Loki. It takes a really amazing actor to make you sympathize with the antagonist of a comic book. Everything was clear, and beautifully conveyed. Let me just take a moment to fangirl over Tom Hiddleston:

Also, this was him at comicon this year (he inturrupted a panel as Loki, in complete costume, unannounced):


So, we went to the sequel the opening weekend. It was even better than the first... of course you have a new film, with my new favorite (and current talent crush) actor, and the film (subtle spoiler) begins, and ends with him. I was happy. Very happy.

Oh, also, I guess the plot's pretty good, too ;) (thought the Dark Elves were a bit Romulan if you ask me).

Wow... that was a very geeky post....I had intended to talk about wedding stuff!

Quick wedding update:

1. I changed my colors from pewter and plum, to gold and black
2. We are officially passed the year point, and I couldn't be more excited!
3. We have our first meeting with out cater on 11/30
4. Our saving is coming along.
5. I made this:

It's not exactly the same one we will use, but it's pretty close!

To end this long and geeky post with a recipe, I will leave you with one I did last night (it's Disney, so it fits the geek theme!)

The only thing I did differently was I used fat free half and half instead of cream and nixed  the flour. This is perfect for a cold and stormy day. I will warn you: IT IS FILLING!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thanksgiving is the Middle-Child of the Holiday Season

It is so stormy today! Seattle is on high-wind advisory all day long, and I get to sit in a glass booth downtown and watch the leaves fly by.

I am really fighting off getting in the Christmas spirit. I want to so much! It's so hard when it's in every store and all the streets are lit up. I work next to the PNW Ballet as well, so I have been watching dancers come and go to Nutcracker rehearsals (BTW, if you are unfamiliar with PNW Ballet's The Nutcracker, you should see it. It's our very own little piece of Christmas).

I am doing my best to redirect my temptations to Thanksgiving, the most overlooked holiday of the season. I have been pinning my inspirations for our meal (which will be a challenge with a diabetic mother, and lactose intolerant sister), decorations I can craft, since I don't own any of my own, and I will post one thing I am thankful for on this blog with each post.

Today I am thankful that people are teaching their children manners. I work with kids everyday. I work at a museum, and where we aren't quite a "childrens" museum, we pander quite a bit to youth. Even though I have to deal with rude people from time to time, the kids are always wonderful. They are so excited, and sweet, and want to share their adventures.

People have adventures all the time. Life can be exciting. Why don't we share our excitement like that anymore? Sometimes people just want something to be excited about. I think it would be good to help them remember.

Like my stormy Thanksgiving day. I am thankful for today. (Ok, that's two, but who's counting?)

Also, for good food (3). Like today's recipe.

Italian Chicken was a quick dinner decision on a whim. I needed something quick and cheap, and this fit the bill.... but oh how good it ended up being!

This recipe has become a staple in my household. It is just too darned good. Plus it's so quick, and we usually have all the ingredients on hand. Slice up some tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and fresh mozzerella, and bake. Good to go. We don't usually add the basil. Not for any reason other than we forgot about it, and love it without.

It's actually hard to "critique" this. I have had it with garlic bread. I have had it with pasta (it's INCREDIBLE with Angel Hair).

This is a very good meal.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pathetic Friend Public Shame Blog

Yesterday, I made a terrible mistake.

In my defense, I will tell you about my weekend, and maybe then you can at least feel sympathy... or something of the sort... maybe.

Thursday night was mine and Mr.Occasionally Updated's 2 year anniversary. We went out for an absolutely amazing dinner. Calamari, table-side carve service (if you've never experienced it, you need to... save up, it gets spendy, but oh so worth it), and an on-the-house creme brulee. Seriously, if you are in Seattle and want to have a romantic dinner, this is your place.

After dinner, we came home and hit they hay. It was late, and a work night... oh, yeah, and we're old.

The next morning, my mother came and got me, and we drove 3 hours south to spend the night. We went  through my late-grandmother's massive closet filled with goodies (she knew how to shop... must be genetic). We then went to an amazing production of one of my favorite musicals, Next to Normal, if you can see it... do. It's amazing. The next morning went to a holiday open house at the best little shop in Grayland, Wa. Shortly thereafter she drove me home.

I arrived back at my house at 10pm, and found that my wonderful fiance had spent his weekend away from me putting together a wonderful gift... I came home to a brand new (to me) gaming desktop.

I love this man.

Busy few days, right? Things could slip your mind... right??

In all of the excitement that was my amazing-being-spoiled weekend.... I forgot my best friend's birthday.

Horrible person.

I have a party that is planned for next weekend, because she had to work this weekend, but in all the fuss, I totally forgot to call her.

Tonight I am going to make her an I'm-sorry-I'm-so-self-involved dinner tonight, and we will do whatever she wants.

I am soooooo sorry!!!!!!

I am making her  Mi Madre's Enchiladas, and am trying my hand at Red Velvet Cake.. but I may just use a box mix, because I have no flour... it went the way of Weevils. Yeah Gross.

Happy happy happy happy happy birthday! I love you!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monstrous Mongolian Beef

I missed a fairly large event that happened in my life withing the last year. I reread my last post and realized I skipped right over the fact that I got engaged! Ms. Grown-up Life will be marrying Mr. Occasionally Updated on November 8, 2014.

Wedding plans keep me occupied, but not busy yet. We have a  year... however, 6 months of an engagement already down, I have a fair bit planned out. It is kind of frustrating, honestly, because I have the dress, venue, date, officiant, photographer, bridal party, hotel... and we are a year and a week out still. What can I do at this point? Well, I will soon be sending out my save the dates (which will be early, but I want to do something!)... Long story long, I am getting married, and I forgot to list it among the things that happened to me last year. Oops :/

The review for today is WW Mongolian Beef

Originally, the recipe I had pinned was a PF Chang's knock off recipe and it looked amazing, but it stupidly had put a calorie count on the site, and at 800 cals per serving, my pre-wedding body didn't think it was the best decision. Instead, I went with this WW recipe. Don't get me wrong, most WW recipes are pretty good. This is not the first one featured on this blog... however, this one was really not very good.

The flavor was fine. It tasted like any typical Asian inspired beef dish. The onions were soggy and tame, and the heat from the pepper flakes were almost non-existent (even though the recipe claimed it would be too hot. And I am not a person who likes spicy food, typically).

The texture is what really got me. When I think Mongolian Beef, I think almost spicy BBQ in texture. It should be dark, and rich in color... and you don't have to deep fry anything to get that. That should be in the sauce... this was... well... gray. It was what I imagine in Gruel would be colored in a Dickens novel. It was gray, gelatinous, goop.

I follow these recipes to a T, so I can properly recreate them, and there are quite a few things that could be done differently to improve this recipe. I would nix the corn starch and focus on grilling that meat as dry as possible... get a glaze going with the drippings, and wait to add the onions til last.

I will be back with more... looks like I'll be doing a Diabetes friendly Pumpkin Pie soon. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, October 28, 2013

No Longer Neglected Blog!

It's been almost a year... I could have had a baby, or bought a house, or... I don't know... done something impressive in the time it's been since I've posted last. The truth is... I'm just lazy. I'm like, the laziest person
I know. But since my last post, I have gone through 3 jobs, and 2 shows, plus a major professional audition, and a move from the 'burbs to the city... again.

My journeys have shown me a few things:

1. I hate not acting. I feel useless and blob-like.
2. I still have a child-like tendency to defy any rules put in front of me.
3. I have a handful a friends, and a lot of friend-like acquaintances.
4. Turns out, I hate playing league sports.
5. I am kick ass with customer service.
(...I suppose you can say that this makes me a tolerant person... and I am. Professionally. In my personal life, I use to be, but man... I'm feeling too old for other people's drama!)

I have been cooking. A lot. I just haven't been posting it.
What I've been doing is pinning recipes that look good, and then trying a few each week... and pinning the one's I've tried to another board... with the intent on reviewing each one. I didn't do that either... so I figured, the best way to get rid of two unfinished projects is to combine them.

Neglected Blog, meet Unfinished Recipe Reviews.

There have been some that were simply amazing... and then, well, not so much as well.

So, to kick off this whole shebang, and re-christen my long neglected blog, I give you the first review of the series:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

For those of you who know me on a personal level, you will know I love this soup. Even better if it's in a bread bowl.
I am picky about this soup.
Very picky.

I loved this. There was none left. It was absolutely amazing. I mean, if you are clueless about what you want for dinner tonight, do this. Do it. You won't be sorry. It was really simple to make, and very quick. I made the soup, combined the ingredients, and let it simmer while I baked rolls (no bread bowl, but hey, it filled the void), and it was perfect when everything was done.

The only criticism I would give this recipe is that it didn't make very much. I fed three people one medium bowl, and though the soup is filling, it wouldn't go very far in a group setting.

So, now you should all be set for dinner tonight.

You're welcome.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Good Morning Grilled Cheese

As I am such a dedicated blogger, I will do 2 in one day!!!


This is what I ate for breakfast, and no, it's not crazy healthy. BUT I never eat breakfast, so this is a good step, I swear!

Good Morning Grilled Cheese:

What you'll need:
Cheese (sliced or shredded. I like sharp cheddar, but you can use whatever you'd like)
2 Slices of Bread
1 Egg
Butter or Margarine

In a non-stick pan, fry an egg over medium heat.
Once yolk has reached desired consistency (I like em runny), remove an set aside.
Butter each slice of bread on one side and place one piece butter side down in same pan over medium heat.
Cover bread in pan with cheese.
When cheese begins to melt, place egg on cheese and cover with remaining piece of bread.
Flip sandwich to new bread side and keep on heat until both pieces are toasted.

 Soooo yummmy!!!!

Phenom Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers!

Oh my has it been a while!

Since my last post I have moved back up to Bellingham, started 2 new jobs, began rehearsing a play, and have become more than fully immersed in my geek culture.

As I type, I am fully engaged in a Doctor Who marathon. I have fully assembled my Comic Con Cosplay (Zatanna, if you're curious), and am gazing at my Star Wars souvenirs from my recent trip to Disney World. Sometimes life can be hard, and sometimes I am completely happy.

Like now.

Being completely happy is great, but there is a drawback. When I am happy, I like to eat. A LOT.

Sooooo, now I have to be really healthy while being happy :) Hopefully my newest posts will be a reflection of that. I have a hard time being completely committed to a new diet.... :/

So, with that brief catch-up, here we go:

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

What you'll need:

2 Large Peppers
8 oz Sliced Roast Beef
8 Slices Provolone Cheese
10 Crimini Mushrooms
1 Small Onion

Slice the mushrooms and onion.
 Set aside.and saute in pan over medium heat until onions become translucent.

Slice peppers in half, and scoop out the seeds.

Preheat oven to 400, and add roast beef to the mushrooms and onions. Saute for 3 mins.
Turn off heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Line pepper halves with 1 slice of cheese, and fill to the top with beef and mushroom filling.

Cover filled pepper with last slices of cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is golden.

There you have it, a bun free Cheese Steak with all the flavor!

This was a big hit with my honey last night, and would be a wonderfully fun dinner party food!