Blueberry Buckle feat. The Beast

July 30, 2008 at 3:30 am (Recipes)

So today I realised that the blueberries in my fridge weren’t making any progress on baking themselves into something considerably more interesting than a bunch of blueberries in a bowl. Thought about making another blueberry pie and thought that would be kinda gross, considering how recently I made the last one. 

Soooooo… with the support of my Beast I set out to make something new, something yummy, something…fast. Yep, once again, fast and simple is the winner in the great competition of What To Make. 

Here’s a nice little recipe for Blueberry Buckle.  Don’t ask my why it’s named Blueberry Buckle; I have no idea. I do know that people far more experienced and learned than myself have been making variations of this recipe for longer than I’ve been alive, so I’ll stick to using the name they think appropriate. It’s only respectful after all.

 

Blueberry Buckle

 

Ingredients:

1 1/4 C all purpose flour

1/4 C granulated sugar

1/4 C brown sugar

1/2 C butter, softened

1/3 C milk

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 1/2 C fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen thaw slightly)

Crumb topping:

1/2 C granulated sugar

1/3 C all purpose flour

1/4 butter, softened

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugars, egg, vanilla, butter, and milk. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add flour mixture to larger bowl, using wooden spoon to mix well.  Gently fold in blueberries (if you’re too rough you’ll pop the poor little things and then the buckle just won’t be the same). Spread in a greased 8 inch square pan ( I prefer glass ones but you could use metal) and top with prepared crumb topping (see below). Bake for 40-45 minutes. 

Crumb topping directions:

Combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter and then blend using a pastry cutter (or the good ol’ two-knife method) until mixture resembles a coarse oatmeal. 

This is what my wee Beastie thinks of his first Blueberry Buckle.

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My girl

July 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm (My family)

Look how grown up she is!

 I swear she was a baby the last time I turned around!!! And then all of a sudden…. BOOM! She’s 10! A young lady, brimming with sophistication and grace, giving her nutritious sandwich uncertain looks.

Wasn’t too long ago that I was looking at scenes like this:

Now I imagine she’ll be too ladylike and grown up for such frivolities. Her time will be eaten up with glitter, cotton-candy body spray, and Hannah Montana

I’ll be looking back on pictures like this ^^^^^^^

Pictures from a time when she tolerated her little brother, nay, genuinely liked her little brother, and had time to goof off in the pool. 

Now, however, now she is 10. Growing up and doing her own thing, chilling with her friends, yowling along with her iPod and beating PS2 games with the skill of a pro. 

Stinkerbelle… stop growing up so fast! There’s no rush!

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The Birthday Girl

July 29, 2008 at 2:22 am (My family)

This here is my best friend: Despite the tone of this photo she spends much of her time smiling. Has a BEAUTIFUL smile, although it was hiding the moment this picture was taken. ***well, she’s smiling in this picture cuz she got mad about the other one and requested this one instead. See her smile?*** I’m proud to say that Jazzie and I, as of today, are the same age! Yes, that’s correct, the gorgeous bad-ass in that there picture is no longer younger than me; oh no, HELL no, she’s now 31 as well. 

Which would mean we’ve been friends for…

Wow.

14 years! Pretty nifty, I think. Almost as nifty as the fact that 14 years in and she still has the ability to put me on my knees laughing myself sick. Add to that her amazing ability to make some extremely pretty babies (although I produced the boy hahahaha) and know a home remedy for every malady know to man and you have one hell of an slammin’ woman. 

My best friend. 

Who is 31!

Happy Birthday Jazzie!

I love you, you dork.

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Mmmmm…Sonic Death Monkey…

July 29, 2008 at 2:02 am (My favourite things)

So I want to share something fantastic that I have LOVED for a very long time.

This gorgeous stuff is called Sonic Death Monkey and is just one of the insanely unique products offered by LUSH. Likely the best shower gel I have ever used, and I freely admit to being a shower gel slut. Someone recently called me a font dork too, but that’s a WHOLE other story. 

SDM has a number of things going for it: it’s named after Barry’s band in High Fidelity; smells of chocolate, coffee, orange, and just a little lime; can be used as both a body wash AND shampoo! 

A little goes a long way and I must warn you: you will smell good. Really good.

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Last Minute Banana Cream Pie

July 29, 2008 at 1:48 am (Recipes)

Here’s an extremely simple and straightforward recipe for Banana Cream Pie. This recipe is geared toward producing a fairly tasty yet fast and economical dessert. This one goes extremely fast in my neck of the woods. This pie  was made with a pre-baked single pie crust. You can do that if you want; I like going all out and slapping one of these bad-boys together with a graham crust.  It’s just far more sinful.

Last Minute Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas (they gotta be nice and ripe otherwise the flavour won’t come through the same way)

1 prepared graham cracker crust (you can buy these in a pinch; I often make a few in advance to have on hand)

1 1/2 C instant vanilla pudding

1/2 C Dream Whip or other equally ‘nutritious’ brand

2 1/3 cup 2% milk 

Directions:

Slice bananas into rounds and lay in bottom of pie crust. Try to make it reasonably uniform but perfection would be wrong, here. Trust me. 

Now, some of us are fortunate enough to have stand mixers. Some of us aren’t, and I’m sorry. 

Combine pudding, Dream Whip and milk in a large bowl (or mixer) and beat on high speed for 4-7 minutes. Pour over the banana slices and using a rubber spatula, smoosh the pudding mixture down gently so that it sinks into any gaps between the bananas.

Cover, chill and serve with whipped cream. 

Not gourmet but damned good.

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The Art of the Power-Trip

July 28, 2008 at 4:24 pm (Rant)

It really needs to be acknowledged that moderating or running a forum takes oodles of patience and dedication. The level of maturity necessary to perform such a task and perform it WELL far exceeds any benefits that the innocent may imagine are integrated with such a responsibility. 

I think this is why borderline psychotic mods who go on a power trip and make their rather unappetizing insecurities evident to the hapless souls who frequent forums piss me RIGHT the hell off. 

Case in point: the one-time WB message boards.

It was a time of fun, it was a time of serenity, it was a time when the WB both still existed AND laid claim to decent programming. Aaah, the good old days of a zillion posts regarding who Joey Potter should choose and whether or not Buffy was a total skank. I posted there with enthusiasm, youthful vigor, and occasional venom. 

It’s true… I was guilty of being a bit of a bitch. I DID pick fights on my bad days, but in my defense I only picked on people who were either complete idiots or so puffed up with the knowledge of their own superiority they were clearly begging to be taken down a peg or two. I threw the word ‘pedomorph’ around with laughable frequency, giggling over the outraged comebacks ‘yeah, well your a cow’ (sic) and wondering aloud what it would take to get Gilbore Girls off the air. 

Would like to note that as of 2007 that crap was STILL on the flippin air, but that’s a whole other topic. 

Not surprisingly, once the boards became moderated, I slowly became aware that my worthier adversaries were dropping like flies. The only people with the vocabulary and nerve to face me head on, as it were, were disappearing almost as soon as they made me double over in outrage and glee. Yeah folks, I LIKE a challenge, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good debate. 

Where were they going? Surely they weren’t running away; these kids were hard-core. 

And then it all became clear.

They were being BANNED.

That’s right, BANNED. 

Somehow they were offending the gods known as MODS and getting their wonderfully aggressive little arses tossed from the boards. 

I did a lot of head-scratching on that; looked for examples of my friendly foes being more offensive or abrasive than myself and finding none. It began to look as if anyone who opposed me would find that oh-so-scary email waiting in their inbox informing them that their presence was no longer wanted at the good ol’ WB.

Didn’t make much sense; as far as I knew I had no friends among the MODS. They had their groupies and I had my coterie of adversaries. 

There was clearly nothing to be done but try to get myself banned too. I wanted to see what it would take to get booted off the boards. I picked fights with more enthusiasm than I had ever displayed before in an effort to get that email. I wanted that email; I earned that email. 

And would you believe I never got one? Never. The only other bickering bastard who managed to maintain that status was my most excellent adversary: BobsMyUncle. To this day I must yield to his superior intellect if inferior taste in television programming. He was also a lot meaner than I was. Bob…wherever you are, I miss you man. You made me throw things across the room, coming up with truly creative profanity in YOUR HONOUR.

Long after I left the WB boards I remembered my magical ability to do or say anything and remain unbanned there. It was a curse or something.

Two days ago I was reminded that we all grow, we all change, and message boards, no matter how different they may SEEM at first, well kids, they’re all the same. For some reason, I can’t get banned and a number of Admin are complete assclowns. Now, however, I don’t pick fights. I somehow stumble into them, look for whomever seems to be the underdog, and wade on in. 

Which brings me to the original point of this post. Forum Admins have a responsibility to behave in an even more mature manner than the people who frequent their boards. 

Picking on teenaged girls and locking every freaking thread they start is NOT appropriate use of power. Going into people’s posts and sneakily, and ever so psychotically editing said post so as to warp the ENTIRE meaning, well, again: INAPPROPRIATE use of power. Playing favourites and calling decent people cheats just because there are obvious feelings of insecurity and inferiority, well, say it with me kiddies: NOT APPROPRIATE.

That would be why there’s gonna be a blue-haired bug squashed under my ever-so-sexy heel right quick here. 

Either that or there will be iridescent fairy wings hitting the blender.

And I betcha I won’t get banned.

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Wickedly Simple Meatloaf

July 26, 2008 at 4:29 am (Recipes)

Since everyone who knows me knows that I love not only cooking but sharing my creations with anyone who will listen, here’s an offering for those of you short on time but looking for something a bit better than Hamburger Helper (not that I’m knocking HH; we’ve all had those nights where nothing else will do). The picture is NOT the finest example of my culinary abilites (or photographic for that matter) but this Wickedly Simple Meatloaf is both tasty and budget- friendly. 

Frosted with mashed potatos and flavoured with basic staples in most Canuck kitchens, this will do the trick if you need to whip something up on the fly. It has received the thumbs-up from both my Spawn, both of whom happen to be fairly picky eaters. 

Enjoy

  Wickedly Simple Meatloaf

Ingredients:

Loaf:

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

1 large egg

1/3 cup prepared barbecue sauce

1 packet dry onion soup mix 

 

Potatos:

6 medium potatos, peeled and halved

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup shredded cheddar/ monterey jack blend cheese

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350 C. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil; add potatos and cook over med-high heat until soft and ready to mash. I like my potatos well cooked; the only part of a potato I like crunchy is the skin and those are looong gone at this point in the recipe.

Drain and add butter or margarine and salt; mash well and set aside. 

In a medium mixing bowl combine egg, dry soup mix and barbecue sauce. Mix well, and then add ground beef. Using a wooden spoon mix until well blended. What I like to is just dump the whole mess into a loaf pan; I find it makes draining the fat off later on much easier. But if you like, you can line a shallow baking dish with foil and shape your meat into a loaf. It’s totally up to you. 

Once you figure out which way to go the next step is to frost the meatloaf with the mashed potatos.

Pop into the preheated oven for one hour; remove and sprinkle with cheese. Place back in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. 

I served mine with a green salad (not pictured; will do better next time) and corn on the cob. 

Served 2 adults and 2 children

***before you scoff at me posting a meatloaf recipe as my first example of the thrilling skill I display in the kitchen, try it out. It’s tasty and delicious according to the Spawn.

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The Dark Knight

July 25, 2008 at 10:44 pm (Reviews)

 

By now I’m sure EVERYONE and his cat has either seen this film or heard waaaaay too much about it.

Tough luck. I’m about to add my opinion to the zillions flooding the internet. Because I can, and because this film is worthy.

Let me begin by stating that Batman Begins was not my favourite of the franchise. No, it took me several tries to truly appreciate it for what it was (and is): a completely fresh take on the Batman mythology. I really have always been partial to Batman Returns; maybe it’s Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, maybe it’s Michael Keaton’s last go at the role, maybe it’s the really superb compositions of Danny Elfman. Whatever the reasons, that movie has long been my favourite in the series.

All that changed last Tuesday night. With more than a little trepidation and excitement I sat down to watch Christopher Nolan’s latest offering; would it be dark enough, could Heath Ledger’s Joker live up to the hype, did I care that Rachel Dawes had been recast?

In short, yes, yes, and YES!

Not only was TDK plenty dark enough, with enough gritty realism tossed into the mix to make Mark Burnett stand up and salute, but it was, in my opinion, more of a ‘real’ film than a comic book one. This all ‘could’ happen. Gotham became as real of a city to me as Vancouver, New York, Montreal, etc. I believed in what I was watching, believed that if I went online when I got home, I could book a flight to Gotham and wander the streets, hoping for a glimpse of the world’s most famous vigilante. TDK drew me in and kept me captivated, not only for the duration of the film, but for several hours afterward. My hat’s off to Mr. Nolan; I haven’t had my imagination stirred by a movie like this in years. YEARS. 

The question of whether Heath Ledger’s performance can live up to the hype, well, that really depends on what kind of a viewer you are. Me, I’m a fan of Batman, but not rabidly so. I’m also a fan of Mr. Ledger’s work, also not rabidly so. 

This performance changed all of that for me. For the first time in my LIFE (well, okay, there was this one time when I was little and saw Poltergeist…) I was terrified of a character in a movie. I cringed away from Ledger’s Joker; I didn’t cheer him on, didn’t have a perverse desire to see the villain win. I wanted him put away, locked up, prevented from hurting ANYONE, because you’ve got to know that anyone he hurts is gonna be hurt in a bad way. Ledger nailed it, plain and simple. He made Nicholson’s Joker look like a buffoon by showing us what the Joker was meant to be. He was everything dark and frightening that made me keep the closet door closed at night and fear what might be lurking under my bed as a child. The fact that we will never, ever see what else Ledger was capable of is just another of the tragedies associated with his heartbreaking death just a few months ago. 

It will be a real shame if the undeniably brilliant work of Heath Ledger overshadows the rest of the cast. Christian Bale once again shines as Bruce Wayne; he’s just beginning to come into his own as an actor and I believe that we are in for a real treat when his incarnation of John Connor hits the theatres. 

Aaron Eckhart is a superb Harvey Dent; hardly surprising, since he’s proven himself a highly versatile actorover the years. 

Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine are, as always, flawless. If there is another movie and these three don’t return I will have a very hard time going to see it. One quick note about Gary Oldman: in all the years he has been my favourite actor (oh so many) it has never been clearer to me that this man is one of the legends of this era. It’s really lovely to see him in the role of a good guy after soooo many ‘baddies’.

The real shocker for me was Maggie Gyllenthal. I knew she was a good actress; I’ve seen some her work. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that she stands out from the crowd and isn’t yet another vapid Hollywood It Girl. None of that prepared me for the fact that she took a role that Katie Holmes DESTROYED (and not in a good way) and created a character I cared about. I wanted her to get her happy ending, I feared for her when she shared the screen with the Joker. 

She made me like Rachel Dawes! She made me incredibly happy that the role was re-cast! Maggie Gyllenthal utterly rocked my socks and I can’t wait to see what she does next. 

So, in closing, I am urging everyone I know to go see this movie. Pay the $12 and get thee to the theatre because it is THAT GOOD. 

And then call me so we can dish.

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My partners in crime…

July 25, 2008 at 9:01 pm (My family)

I realised that it is completely wrong to post pics of my spawn without posting pics of my co-parents and friends. I also feel the need to show off their baby, who is a baby NO MORE *sniffles* and a big boy in his own right.

I really have to hand it to my ex, Trucker Man:

Not only did he display remarkable taste by dating me 11 or so years ago, but he then went on to find this beautiful lady  and somehow convince her that he’s good enough for her (he is, of course, but I’m very picky in regards to my friends). I like to call her The StepMama, but she deserves a better nic. Will have to mull that one over til I find something worthy. See that gorgeous big boy snuggled up to her? That’s the King, also known as Stinkerbelle’s baby brother. Of course, Beast lays claim to him as well, because we’re a very close family and it’s totally unfair for one Spawn to have a baby brother but not the other.

Sadly they live over *8* hours away which means we don’t get to spend much physical time together, but I lurve them all very much.

And I will, yes WILL, find a way to fully spoil that boy. Another couple years and he’ll be fully under my evil influence. 

It’s only fair, considering all the miniskirts and lipgloss that have found their way into my home courtesy of StepMama.

I’m thinking THIS perhaps for the next birthday vvv

They’ll NEVER get all that Moon Sand out of the carpet hehehe

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My Spawn

July 25, 2008 at 6:20 pm (My family)

This is my eldest spawn, hereafter referred to as Stinkerbelle for reasons I’d rather not get into prematurely. Much to my constant amazement she will be turning 10 tomorrow. As far as I can tell she’s not TRYING to be my Mini Me, but somehow  manages to make me scratch my head and wonder just how certain traits are passed on when there’s no known genetic propensity for some of our shared quirks. In any case, she’s my pride and joy, the one person I can credit for my rapid transformation from selfish youth to reasonably ‘together’ adult. Stinkerbelle very much enjoys all things pink, fluffy, candy-scented, and dance-themed. Because I love her I swallow the protests and curb my ‘great’ ideas that include dying one’s hair black and wearing torn fishnets with some clunky old steeltoes. Stink’s a top 40 bubblegum pop princess and That’s Okay.

 

Now THIS little guy, often referred to as The Beast, is my baby boy. Not much of a baby anymore at 5 years old, but a mom can look back fondly and sniffle.

Not surprisingly, he spends a good deal of time figuring out how to drive his sister batty and his mom loony. He has a talent for such things. Beast is currently very much fascinated by Spiderman, although Batman is beginning to catch his interest. Beast believes that no movie is too scary for him and yearns for The Dark Knight, but alas, I am not quite THAT relaxed in terms of what he watches. 

So these are my kids. I’m pretty pleased with them and dare anyone to suggest that they are in any way less than perfectly behaved devil spawn. They ARE mine, after all.

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