a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

OK, on this Sunday morning the con is not officially over but basically over for me. I’ve been in my hotel room in bed sick since Saturday AM. I don’t think I’ve been sick in like..3 years so naturally I get it while at Comic Con. NOOOOOOOOO!! Seriously sick, like it hurt to get out of bed to get water sick.

BUT…my trip/Con from Tuesday – Friday was AMAZING! And really I mean Friday was AMAZING! Sat in line from noon Thursday till about 10pm to get wristbands for Friday’s Hall H. My con partner, Sonya, and I were in line Thursday for The Last Ship panel around 11:15am. And we looked at each other at the same time and said “I think we should get in line now for Hall H.” We had planned on getting in line right after The Last Ship panel but we both had this feeling. So we got out of line and went down there. The line seemed to be about 500-750 people. Now more people would joining all of those people but we felt secure in not being 6500 people before us.

Sat in the sun all day long and waited. Made new friends in line :) Around 7pm, the line got quite hectic (and the twitter drama following it all!) as there were line cutters and security had to be called and, once again, SDCC was unprepared to handle these issues. So we were starting to get stressed that we wouldn’t actually make it in. But we did – got B wristbands and we were allowed to leave the line and sleep in our rooms and shower (I *really* wish everyone would take advantage of that…)

Got back in line at 6am and waited some more. Got to see some line cutters get removed from the line – that was fun! We all yelled SHAME at them as they were escorted past us. LoL.

Anyway – got in and saw everything I love: The Walking Dead panel (OMG trailer for season 6 is INTENSE!) and Game of Thrones panel (quite obvious they went out of their way to avoid the Is Jon Really Dead question.) Plus a panel for Fear the Walking Dead which looks GREAT! The Entertainment Weekly panel after GoT was full of hero hotties who were hysterical!!! :) And then STAR WARS!

Obviously happy to see everyone but let’s be real – I was out of my mind to see Harrison Ford! :) SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!! I had just seen the rest of the cast at Star Wars Celebration in April but no Mr Ford (who was still recovering from his plane crash.) The place was bonkers when he came out. Bonkers.

And THEN after the panel we got treated to a special Hall H attendee only Star Wars concert with fireworks! We all walked from Hall H to the San Diego Symphony music center down on the water. Mark Hamill drove by us and was talking to fans and waving. Daisy Ridley did the same and was high-fiving as they drove by.

We got light sabers and the music was played to footage (the previous 6 movies, not new footage) and the fireworks display was FANTASTIC. And everyone there loves Star Wars and the energy was just awesome.

My throat had been dry all day but I assumed it was just because I was so exhausted. But when I woke up Saturday AM to try and get ready for the day – I could barely move. Getting out of bed for water hurt. And my throat was on fire. So I’d like to thank whoever came to SDCC fully infected with sickness. I hope you still feel sick for weeks.

As sad as it made me to not get out there on Saturday, I knew I a) felt too horrible and b) didn’t want to be that person who was germy everywhere. I missed out on a lot but 99% of my excitement for this year’s con was for Star Wars. So I got my fill and more. Best Con Day Ever – Friday 7/10/15.

You can see the panel here:

You can see the Behind the Scene footage here:

And then ME in a video down by Verizon (for Facebook). In the same vide as Harrison Ford – ARGH!!!! (I’m about 35 seconds in waving with my Chewie backpack on :) :) :) ) This was Thursday night while we were in line for wristbands to Hall H…for Friday…

Check out what #StarWars brought to #SDCC2015. We’re excited for December 18th!

Posted by Verizon Wireless on Saturday, July 11, 2015

I took a bazillion pics but these are a few of my favorites:

The Legacy trio!

The Legacy trio!

I love you. I know. :)

I love you. I know. :)

Star Wars panel 3

Star Wars panel 4

I found this recipe in a Williams Sonoma catalog (catalogs ARE good for something!) and it’s actually what made me want to buy the Paderno Spiralizer. I changed the recipe a bit from the original for my taste:

Ingredients:
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 zucchini – spiralized!
1/4 cup pine nuts

Directions:
To make the pesto, combine the garlic, almonds, Parmesan, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Add the basil, parsley, mint, 3/4 cup olive oil and the lemon juice; process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in small pan and brown the pine nuts. Remove from heat after browned so they don’t burn. Then add to pesto when stirring in with the noodles.

Preheat a pan over medium-high heat until smoking. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté until just cooked through, about 5 mins. Transfer to a plate.

Toss the zucchini noodles with the pesto (not all at the same time) until evenly coated. Divide the zucchini among 4 bowls and arrange the shrimp on top. Drizzle more pesto on the shrimp and sprinkle with parmesan. Serve immediately.

This was SO delicious. Actually better than I expected. Will definitely make again! And honestly, it didn’t take that long which I like :)

TOTAL last minute party. Decided on some favorites of mine that would also be kind of easy to make Sunday AM. #1 is a dip I had at a cooking class called Bubbles and Bites. It was actually already made when we arrived for the class (so I’ve never tried making it) and we got the recipe to try at home. I did change it a bit for me (noted). This is my first time not just using Lipton for my sour cream dip!

Caramelized Shallot and Bacon Dip aka A More Time Consuming Onion Dip So You Can Feel Better About Not Using A Processed Packet (that is still delicious, don’t get me wrong) :)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (original recipe is for vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (original recipe called for 1.5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt(I added this)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 strips thick sliced, cooked bacon, crumbled (make sure cooled before stirring in) (original recipe is for 4 but MOAR BACON)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (original recipe is for 3/4 cup)
  •  1 cup sour cream (original recipe called for 3/4 cup)

 

  • Heat a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the shallots, cover and cook for 10 minutes and then add balsamic vinegar and salt. Continue to cook (covered) until the shallots are deep golden brown in color, stirring to make sure not burning, about 20 minutes or so. Let cool.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream in a medium bowl to blend. Add shallots and bacon. Season dip to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cover dip and refrigerate until flavors blend, about 2 hours, or even overnight (I did mine early in the AM of Superbowl Sunday.)
  • Serve with thick potato chips (YAY!) or veggies (for that 1 weird healthy-eating person at every SB party.)

    YUM!

    Dip

    It’s been 1 year since I adopted Smokey. He has 2 different birthdays (Feb and April) on his old vet records so we don’t know when his actual birthday is or his age (2 different years). So this means I am using his adoption date as his birthday and I decided on his age (6) :)

    On January 27th 2014, my ex and I went to look at 4 dogs, all available through NorSled (where we adopted Shadow.) I brought them with me so we could see how Shadow interacted with the dogs. He was going to have to be friends with him (or her) so best to have him help interview too!

    Smokey was the first dog we met as he was in the Woodland area and the rest were in the bay area. So we met him on the way down. When I walked in and met him and hung out with him for a short time, I instantly loved him. He was not black & white, like all of the others I was going to see that day and he was not as fluffy as Angelus and Storm or Shadow and we had no idea of his mix beyond husky and/or malamute mix. But he was the sweetest guy ever. I left there to go look at the others to make sure I wasn’t just taking the 1st dog I met since losing Stormy in August but I knew I loved him.

    Met 3 other fantastic dogs who were all gorgeous, lovable, sweet and needed homes but Smokey stayed in my mind. So after all day of driving and meeting dogs and foster moms and dads (and frankly I think Shadow was getting stressed thinking he was being dropped off somewhere!), we decided to stop and eat for the 1st time that day. Buffalo Wild Wings. Mmmmm.

    I sat there thinking how would I feel if I drove home and didn’t get Smokey – and I felt immediately sad. So we called the foster mom and told her we were coming back to see him again – this time letting Shadow have more time with him. We took Smokey and Shadow for a walk along with the foster mom – who I think was sad to lose Smokey (she was originally going to keep him but that didn’t work out for non-Smokey reasons).

    That was it – I decided then to do it. Signed all of the paperwork, wrote a check and loaded him in the car. Had Shadow in the backseat and Smokey in the back back. I think Shadow was starting to wonder what the heck. But he did get along best with Smokey as well. I think he was most happy I didn’t get the girl husky as she was half his size but kept kicking his butt as female huskies are likely to do!

    First night in his new home!

    First night in his new home!

    Got home around 11pm. Smokey was pretty stressed – obviously. New house after stranger took him away from his mom of 11 months. We woke up 3 or 4 times during the night. I was worried he had to go potty, but I think he just wanted to walk back to his old house.

    It took a few days for him to calm down a little and settle into a routine but I’m good at routines :) Angelus and Storm trained me. He still gets stressed when his routine changes. But he has settled into a pretty darn calm and happy guy :) And honestly, he has been a dream. How anyone could have not wanted to keep him (and hurt and abandon him) is beyond me. He had gone through several homes and all this proves to me is that people generally suck and most probably have no business being responsible for a pet rock. But I’m a wee bit cynical.

    After losing Angelus and then Storm, I was pretty sad for a time there. Now, I am happy literally every day. And I hope he feels the same way. I’m pretty sure he does. :)

    His 1st snow! 1/30/14

    His 1st snow! 1/30/14

    1st beach visit at Mavericks! 2/14

    1st beach visit at Mavericks! 2/14

    Full of smiles :)

    Full of smiles :)

    Snow fun with Shadow 1/15

    Snow fun with Shadow 1/15

    Happy Birthday Smokey Dokey :)

    His daily adventures can be followed at http://packdog.com/smokeydokey

    And anyone can donate to NorSled. These people work endlessly to find northern breeds homes from bad (and sometimes VERY bad) situations and need every penny: http://www.norsled.org/how-to-help/

    Another yummy sounding winter recipe that I found after digging through my big box of recipes (that I really need to get sorted out.) Plus it sounded like a fairly easy one and I like those :) I did change it to suit my tastes AS USUAL!

    INGREDIENTS:

    4 (to 6) boneless chops about 1″ thick
    1/2 cup flour, divided
    1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
    10 ounces sliced mushrooms (original recipe called for 8oz and I say the more mushrooms, the better!)
    6 tablespoons butter, divided (I used unsalted)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped onion (I used a whole small shallot)
    1/2 cup thinly sliced celery (I did not use, but did mic in about 1/4 teaspoon of celery seed)
    1 cup chicken broth
    1 cup milk (I used non-fat as that’s what in my house…probably even creamier with whole milk)
    salt and pepper, to taste
    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Preheat the oven to 350°.

    In a wide, shallow bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the flour, the paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper; Stir to blend well. Dredge the chops lightly to coat all sides.

    In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter; add the mushrooms and cook until tender and golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.

    Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and brown the pork chops on both sides, for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the pork chops to a baking dish and set aside.

    Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and add the onion and celery (seed). Cook, stirring, until onion is tender. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the skillet and stir to blend into the onion mixture. Add the chicken broth and milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the mushrooms and add salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice.

    Pour the sauce mixture over the chops in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.

    Mmmmmm

    I served over Jasmine rice because I could live off of the saucy white rice combo :) This was DELICIOUS. It was like a homemade cream of mushroom recipe. So, less people (yes..talking to you pretentious foodies) might not be AS condescending about using not an actual can of cream of mushroom soup in a recipe. Maybe. But probably not. But then, if I cared about that, I’d probably not have a #zombiepocolypse supply of blue box mac and cheese in my pantry. :)

    We feasted on pea risotto and Hunters chicken, both from the Cipriani cookbook, plus some roasted Brussell sprouts with maple and bacon on Christmas Eve.

    Then the hashed brown sausage scramble casserole Christmas morning.

    Then some neighbors came over and we had champagne, cheese and an amazing homemade antipasti they brought over around 3. So by the time Christmas dinner time came around, we felt some more cheese and a few bites of leftover chicken and risotto was sufficient while we watch a great Christmas classic, Trading Places :)

    So December 26th became the planned Christmas dinner time! On the menu was Caramel Apple Pork Chops with au gratin potatoes, green bean casserole (because I need this at least once between Thanksgiving and New Years and had not yet had it!!) plus apple sauce.

    Ingredients:

    4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tart apples – peeled, cored and sliced
    3 tablespoons pecans

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F. Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.

    2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. The original recipe said to cook the chops for 5 to 6 minutes but I found they took about 8-9 minutes but they were probably 1″ chops. Turn the chops every couple minutes to cook evenly. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.

    3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.

    4. Now, according to the original recipe there should be some sauce to continue cooking sauce but we found there was almost none so added some butter and brown sugar and spices to create a little more. Cook this uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops.

    5. The recipe called to just sprinkle pecans on at the end and serve. But next time, I will roast or brown the pecans first (perhaps in the sauce at the very end) as they seemed bland. Although the tastes combined were good. I just think the pecans needed something.

    Yum

    I would make it again for sure but would use thinner chops and dress up the pecans. But very yum!

    Brown Butter Blondies with Cherries, Chocolate, Cashews & Pecans

    Found this recipe on Williams Sonoma. First time trying it so who knows but let’s face it…how can it possibly taste bad??

    Ingredients:

    16 Tbs. (8 oz.) unsalted butter
    3 cups (21 oz.) firmly packed dark brown sugar
    4 eggs
    1 Tbs. vanilla extract
    2 Tbs. bourbon
    2 tsp. salt
    2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
    3/4 tsp. baking powder
    1 cup (4 oz.) coarsely chopped cashews
    1 cup (4 oz.) coarsely chopped pecans
    1/2 cup (2 oz.) dried tart cherries
    2 cups (12 oz.) chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil and grease well. I melted a bit of butter and spread it in there.

    In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter, stirring constantly, until it turn golden and the butter has a nutty fragrance. Be careful not to let the butter burn. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar. Set aside and let cool slightly.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, bourbon and salt. Whisk in the cooled butter mixture, then fold in the flour and baking powder.

    Making sure that the mixture is almost at room temperature (to prevent the chocolate from melting), stir in the nuts, cherries and chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top is shiny, set and slightly cracked around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

    IMG_5429

    IMG_6007

    We just “tested” these. WOW!!!! SO GOOD!!!!!

    Mmmmmmm

    Merry Christmas!!

    It’s cold & snowing outside and my 49ers just lost and got booted out of play-off contention so comfort food is needed. Stat.

    First. Put this on.

    :)

    Then….

    Slice up spicy Italian sausage (I used 5)
    Slice up some mushrooms (I used a package of mushrooms – 10 oz)

    Brown them in some olive oil

    Meanwhile, boil some water

    Make some pasta – I used a box of Gluten-free, non-GMO Quinoa rotini (yeah…we’ll see…)

    Once both are done, mix in a baking dish, pour in a jar of sauce (or gravy if you prefer Corleones) and a few handfuls (big giant football player handfuls) of mozzarella. Make sure mixed well and bake at 350 (oh yeah…preheat your oven) for 25 minutes or so. FYI – I used “Rao’s Homemade Arrabbiata” sauce to keep with the spicy theme.

    Then sprinkle Parmesan on it and bake a few more minutes.

    Mmmmmmm

    Eat.

    Simple.

    And if your team lost and you are out of play-off contention, pour a glass of red too :)

    It’s unofficially winter so I thought it was time to break out 1 of my big Staub pans and make something winterey! Decided on soup for this weekend since it has been snowing and raining all week…literally all week…today was the first day it stopped raining for more than a few minutes. #notcomplainingthough #drought #wouldprefersnow

    Dug through my box of recipes as I knew I had a good one (well, sounded good on paper) for chicken and rice soup. Found it!

    INGREDIENTS:

    6 cups of chicken stock
    2 cups of shredded chicken breats (I actually used both light and dark)
    1/4 c up Vermouth
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 carrots – peeled and chopped
    2-3 garlic cloves – minced
    2 cups white rice, cooked
    1 cup wild rice, uncooked
    1/4 cup flour
    1 cup chicken broth
    4-5 basil leaves, minced
    Several dashes of celery seed (since I didn’t use celery)
    handful of fresh parsley, minced
    salt and pepper
    (original recipe also had 4-5 green onions and 3 celery stalks – blech)

    Prepare white rice according to the package directions and set aside

    In a large, heavy-bottomed pot add 2 tbsp olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots (and celery and green onion if using) and saute for about 5 minutes.

    Add 6 cups of chicken stock, uncooked wild rice, cooked white rice, chicken and herbs and simmer for at least 20-30 minutes.

    In a small bowl mix the flour in the 1 cup of chicken broth making sure the flour is thoroughly blended with no lumps. Slowly add the flour/broth mixture to the soup. Simmer until soup thickens (about 15 mins or so.) If it does not thicken enough, take a little broth out of the pot and mix in another tbsp of flour and slowly add back to soup. Keep simmering until soup reaches desired consistency.

    Add the heavy cream and vermouth. Season with salt (I used Himalayan pink salt because duh…pink!) and pepper and add minced parsley. Simmer 10 minutes and serve!!

    Mmmmmmm….

    Creamy Chicken Rice soup

    p.s. I tasted the Vermouth….GAH! Don’t think I could channel Robin channeling Mork channeling Julia with that….

    p.p.s I paired my soup with a glass of Piper Sonoma Rose Brut – Delicious! (obvs)

    I finally listened to the entire new album (1989 in case you live under a rock) by Taylor Swift. I like it. I think my favorite song (at least after my first 2 run-thrus) is “How You Get the Girl”.

    But honestly, I miss this Taylor…

    She was never super duper country, but I think she did what she did well. And I can only listen to pure pop for a short time before I can’t take it. Maybe 1989 will change that? #doubtit