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Saturday, April 30, 2016

5 Tampopo-inspired Dishes—a #FoodnFlix Roundup

5 Tampopo-inspired Dishes - a #FoodnFlix Roundup
At the beginning of the month, I announced that I would be hosting the April edition of Food 'n Flix with my choice, one of the most celebrated food movies in the past 30 years, the first (and only?) "Ramen Western"—Tampopo. I actually watched it for the first time myself this month, and while ashamed to admit that fact, am so happy that I finally did. There's not a moment in the film that doesn't center around food and its relationship to life.

That said, we had a small turnout this month, and the participants other than myself, were split evenly down the middle in terms of liking and not liking the film. It is a real Japanese comedy with subtitles, and that particular style is not for everybody. If you find yourself wanting to know more before you go in, or just wanting a bit of a break-down, I hope you'll take a few minutes to read my overview of Tampopo (because I often think it's helpful to go in with a bit of background).
Friday, April 29, 2016

Cherry Pie Milkshake inspired by The Outsiders | #FridayPieDay

Cherry Pie Milkshake inspired by The Outsiders
I'm stepping outside of the box today and sharing a derivative of pie for this month's edition of FridayPieDay. I originally made this with the intention of sharing for a "favorite '80's movie-inspired" post I did earlier this month with Kimberly from Coffee and Casseroles, but I watched a couple and wound up sharing something inspired by License to Drive instead. Fortunately that means I can share this Cherry Pie Milkshake that was inspired by one of my favorite '80's movies (and books), The Outsiders, with you today!

If by some chance you're not familiar with The Outsiders, it's a story set in Oklahoma in the mid '60's—a time when "class wars" were a pretty big problem. It revolves around a lovable (and super cute*) group of "Greasers" from the north (poor) side of town and the "Socs" [pronounced: soh-shis] from the south (rich) side of town.

Food & Drink Quiz Friday #14

Food & Drink Quiz Friday #14
Used to make all sorts of different foods like tapioca, flour, and chips, this root must be cooked properly before consuming in order to destroy the cyanide compounds found naturally in its raw form. And apparently a small number of people, especially those with latex rubber allergies, are also allergic to this plant.

If you have a fun or interesting food or drink related trivia question that you'd like me to feature, send me an email with the words "Food and Drink Quiz Friday" in the subject line to!
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Omurice (Japanese Rice Omelet) inspired by Tampopo | #FoodnFlix

Omurice (Japanese Rice Omelet)
There are movies that contain food, and there are movies that celebrate food—this month's Food 'n Flix pick is one of the latter. Touted as the first-ever "Japanese Noodle Western", the 1985 film Tampopo has topped the list of "best food movies" for the past 30 years. But the crazy thing is that I—the person who started this movie-inspired food club almost 6 years ago—had never seen it before this month. I'm ashamed, but I finally righted that wrong by choosing it as our featured film in April.

Okay, so here's the thing...this is a Japanese comedy that might seem strange and disconnected to some. And it is, but in the most brilliant way. Because when you really look at it and really think about it, that seeming disconnect is actually the thread that binds everything together. It's an exploration of the role that food plays in life and all of its aspects: love, sex, happiness, simplicity, the pecking order, generosity, culture, and death.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

HUGE Instax Mini Prize Pack Giveaway!

HUGE Instax Mini Prize Pack #Giveaway!
 It's time for another awesome group giveaway organized by Angie of My So Called Chaos. This month we've got a HUGE Instax Mini Prize Pack up for grabs—and it's pretty freaking awesome! Although I love all of the prizes I've joined with these other bloggers to give away, this may be the one that I want for myself the most.

If you've seen Angie's previous monthly giveaways, you'll know that she likes to ask all the sponsors who helped contribute to the prize to answer a question, and then she likes to share that answer with you so you can get to know them better. April is Angie's birthday month, and she just turned thirty years old (oh, to be thirty again...). Here's what she asked her Sponsors this month...

Chocolate and Vanilla Egg Creams inspired by The Decent Proposal

Chocolate & Vanilla Syrup for Egg Creams and Beyond
What would you do if a private benefactor offered to give you $500,000 if, after 1  year's time, you've spent 2 hours a week for the entire year meeting and getting to know a person (of their choosing) that you'd never met before? That is the situation in which Richard and Elizabeth find themselves, two entirely different people with no obvious connection, in The Decent Proposal.

Richard is a handsome 29-year old producer dealing with the fact that the business he started with a buddy several years ago just isn't making any money. He's considering getting a job...anywhere...just to pay his bills.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding | #ProgressiveEats

Almond Pretzel Bread Pudding
Welcome to this month's edition of Progressive Eats, which I am very happy to be hosting this month! Since today just so happens to be National Pretzel Day, I invited everybody to share a recipe featuring pretzels as an ingredient, a recipe for pretzels (or using pretzel dough), or a condiment that went perfectly with pretzels—and boy did they deliver!

My love for pretzels has never been a secret, I've shared everything from regular homemade soft pretzels and pretzel sticks to homemade pretzel dogs to cinnamon-sugar pretzels, pretzel bites to pretzel pockets, and even pretzel crackers and pretzel croissants! Initially I planned on trying my hand at homemade pretzel rods to share today, but time got away from me and I had to push that endeavor back...but only temporarily.
Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rock and Roll Sangria inspired by Vampire$

Rock and Roll Sangria inspired by Vampire$
Here we are, the final Sunday of the month already, and that means it's time to share another all vampire book and a movie challenge post. Kimberly's April selections were Vampire$ by John Steakley (book) and John Carpenter's Vampires (movie). And once again, the movie, while based on a really good book, was crap. Talk about taking away every thing that made the story interesting and intriguing! The only thing that really stayed the same was the name of the main character, Jack Crow and the name of one of the priests, Adam. But the names were the only similarities, as the "character of each character" was not.

The book (1990):

Jack Crow is the leader of a Vatican-sanctioned team of vampire slayers. They are the only ones. The average person does not know about the existence of vampires...until it is too late. From the outside, this team of hardened men appear a motley crue of trouble makers. But when you get an insider's glimpse, you realize that they are a devoted bunch of smart, funny, rough-around-the-edges guys with the biggest hearts. But they're not only guys, because they also have a mama bear who takes care of not only the behind-the-scenes aspects of their team, but of the actual men themselves. They save the world over and over again, while losing those dearest to them.
Saturday, April 23, 2016


It's pretty amazing how something as humble as a potato can produce one of the most beloved side dishes in the world. Who else lists mashed potatoes in their all-time favorite comfort foods? Served plain with butter and salt, enriched with cheese and cream, strewn with greens, punched with roasted garlic, or spread thick on top of minced meat—I love it all.
Friday, April 22, 2016

Books 'N' Bloggers Swap Reveal: April 2016

Books 'N' Bloggers Swap Reveal: April 2016
Several months ago, I stumbled on a site run by Angie of My So Called Chaos (who you often see me join for awesome monthly giveaways) and Beth of Printcess (where she makes her own cruelty-free mineral eye shadows—inspired by novels!) called Chaotic Goddess Swaps. The site was born out of their mutual obsession for swapping. They hold all sorts of fun swaps throughout the year, including a Homelovin' Swap, a Geekgasm Swap, Swapoween, a 12 Days of Christmas Swap, and the one I'm participating in this time, the Books  'N' Bloggers Swap!

Regular friends and readers know how much of a bookworm I am, so this swap was all kinds of fun for me.  The objective of this swap is to send (and receive) a thoughtful package that you think your assigned partner for the swap will love. The best way to do that is by digging through their blog a bit, reading their "about" page, checking them out on social media, and generally chatting with them a bit.

Food & Drink Quiz Friday #13

Food and Drink Quiz Friday #13: Which country produces Jarlsberg cheese?
The recipe for Jarlsberg was developed using a formula that originated with Swiss cheesemakers who moved to this country during the early 1800's and was named for nobleman Count Wedel Jarlsberg who owned land in the area where they were making it. 

If you have a fun or interesting food or drink related trivia question that you'd like me to feature, send me an email with the words "Food and Drink Quiz Friday" in the subject line to!
Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chicken Marsala inspired by #CaughtUpinRaine

Chicken Marsala
I'm so exciting to be hosting a book tour stop for L.G. O'Connor's newest release, Caught Up In Raine, today! I was first introduced to O'Connor and a category of books that I'd never looked twice at before when I was a part of her Trinity Stones book tour just over two years ago. The term "paranormal romance" is what drew me in. And then I didn't want to leave. I'm sure the paranormal part has something to do with that, but after reading CUIR, my sneaking suspicion that it was L.G.'s fun, fresh, contemporary writing that really held me captive, was confirmed.

Considered romantic women's fiction (nothing paranormal going on in this series), Caught Up In Raine features a seemingly unlikely May-December romance and is told from two points of view: 40-something Jillian's and 20-something Raine's. So, here's the thing—this book will resonate most with women who have already hit that 40-mark.  You know, women like me (I'm right on the dot). I have a sneaking suspicion that any ladies younger than that might not be in the right place to make a connection. I mean, if somebody had told me that I wouldn't feel any (okay, much) older at 40 than I did at 25, I wouldn't have believed them.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Matcha Marshmallow Corn Flakes Squares inspired by Saving Grace

Matcha Marshmallow Corn Flakes Squares inspired by Saving Grace
Aaaaaah, April 20th...aka the day when pot smokers around the world (or maybe it's just the country?) raise their buds high as a nod to the fact that it's 420 ALL DAY LONG. If you're not familiar with the history, there are all sorts of 420 origins stories. The one that I heard back in the days was that 420 was the police code for "marijuana smoking in progress" in California, so as a way of sticking it to the man, the date has blossomed into a day to salute the herb.

Those were the days before Google, so I figured I'd google it to see if that was true. Well, to some people it is, but I did find some other supposed roots in the number. Maybe that's part of its appeal? Anyway, since the day is upon us, my f'ing fab friend Sophia from NY Foodgasm suggested we make some 4/20-inspired food. With so many fun ideas floating around in my head, I happily agreed.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Best Banana Bread inspired by Jessica Jones

The Best Banana Bread inspired by Jessica Jones
A while I ago, Netflix "recommended" the show Jessica Jones as something I might like. At first, I didn't listen. As much as I love comics-turned-movies-and-television-shows, I've never actually been a comic book reader myself. All this to say that I wasn't really sure who this Jessica Jones was and what she was about. But I did add it to "My List" know, just in case.

Fast forward to the release of season 2 of Daredevil—which I do watch and had been anxiously awaiting. As per my m.o., I immediately binge-watched it (something I equally love and loathe about the way Netflix simultaneously releases an entire season of their original programming).
Friday, April 15, 2016

Food & Drink Quiz Friday #12

Food and Drink Quiz Friday #12
Native to the rainforests of Africa, the Kola is an evergreen tree that reaches about 20-25 meters in height and has long, leathery ovoid leaves that are pointed at both ends. The trees have yellow flowers with purple spots, a star-shaped fruit and a nut. The portion used to flavor beverages also contains caffeine.

If you have a fun or interesting food or drink related trivia question that you'd like me to feature, send me an email with the words "Food and Drink Quiz Friday" in the subject line to!
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mahi Mahi Burgers Glazed with IPA-Hoisin Barbecue Sauce | #BeerMonth

Mahi Mahi Burgers Glazed with IPA-Hoisin Barbecue Sauce
Although I don't limit cooking with beer to once a year, I always look forward to April when Sophia from NY Foodgasm holds her annual #BeerMonth event! There are so many varieties and producers of beer, from big box to the small artisan, that I love seeing which one everybody cooking along will choose to use and what flavors they will be paired with.

I chose a hoppy Lagunitas IPA to cook with today. For anytime drinking, I normally gravitate towards stouts, porters, or dark ales, but when I'm in the mood, I can drink the heck out of something really hoppy and "bitter". This particular IPA, made with 43 different hops and 65 various malts, is a bit carmely and very easy to drink. It cuts fatty or heavy components of a meal easily, making it a nice accompaniment to a meal.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate with Liquefied Prom Queen Brains inspired by iZombie

Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate with Liquefied Prom Queen Brains inspired by iZombie
I've been wanting to do an iZombie-inspired post for quite some time now, and with tonight being the 2-hour season two finale, I figured there was no time like the present. If you're not familiar with iZombie, you might be thinking "oh no, not another zombie show". But it's so different from all of the others out there right now, that I recommend not dismissing it before you've watched a couple of episodes (because then you hopefully won't want to).

iZombie airs on The CW and is based on the DC Comics' Vertigo imprint I, Zombie that was created in 2010. I've ever read the comics, but the title sequence and some scene openers throughout each show are in "comic form". Our lead character, Liv is scratched at a party in the first episode and wakes up a zombie. In this show you can recognize zombies by their white hair and skin—initially, as some choose to die their hair and visit a tanning bed.
Monday, April 11, 2016

Yogurt Chia Pancakes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Greek Gods® Yogurt. All opinions are my own.
Yogurt Chia Pancakes
If I ask my kids what they want for breakfast, 9 times out of 10, their answer will be (or include) pancakes. It was probably the same in my household when I was kid. Perhaps pancakes are the universal language of love. It's not difficult, but to see mom in the kitchen scooping, measuring, and stirring ingredients together means something.

I'm not sure if this extends beyond American households (since pancakes differ across the globe), but I know that the pancake process is a rite of passage in these parts. It starts with the small, neatly cut squares of pancakes scattered on the tray of a highchair. As a toddler, you want to drag a chair up to the stove while you watch the bubbles burst on the pancake dough and then help mom by flipping each and every pancake in the batch.
Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sardine & Pickle Sandwiches inspired by License to Drive

Sardine & Pickle Sandwiches inspired by License to Drive
80's movies...full of cheese and corn and cussing children...and I'm a living, breathing testament to what they produced. But seriously, as a child of the 80's, I have tons of fond memories and movie lines forever engraved in my psyche. I had a (few) handful(s) of favorites that I watched so many times my parents can probably recite them word for word, as well. So, when Kimberly from Coffee and Casseroles asked me if I wanted to do an 80's Movie-inspired post, I couldn't refuse.

There was a single rule going into this post—we had to choose an 80's movie that we already owned. Fortunately I love my movies, and while I may not have all of my favorites from back in the day, I do have a stack that would carry me through a couple years of monthly posts with this requirement. I contemplated so many, but I wound up choosing the 1988 film License to Drive, starring "the two Coreys" (and yes, I loved the two Coreys as much as any other 12 or 13 year old girl of the time).
Friday, April 8, 2016

Food & Drink Quiz Friday #11

Food & Drink Quiz Friday #11
This co-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein comes in a couple of different types. The sweet variety comes from the making of cheeses that use rennet to produce them, like Swiss and Cheddar. The sour (or acid) variety is produced when making softer cheeses that use acidic products like vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid in their production, like ricotta and cottage cheese. Both varieties of this co-product have many uses and benefits.

If you have a fun or interesting food or drink related trivia question that you'd like me to feature, send me an email with the words "Food and Drink Quiz Friday" in the subject line to!
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pineapple Tarts inspired by Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge

Pineapple Tarts inspired by Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge
Today I'm happy to be hosting a book tour stop for the third book in the Singaporean Mystery series by Ovidia Yu called Aunty Lee's Chilled Revenge. I mention all the time that I prefer to start a series from book 1, but I jumped in right at book 3 due to time constraints...and the fact that I forgot it was a series until I picked this book up to read. I will say that while I was entirely able to get into the story and understand this book without having read the previous two, there were times I'd wished I'd read them first because the characters referred back to what happened in them.

Culinary mysteries are pretty much my favorite kind of book to read, so Aunty Lee and her escapades are right up my alley. A widow who is known throughout Singapore for her amazing food and the fact that she's helped the local police solve some murders, she thrives on being both nosey and nurturing.
Sunday, April 3, 2016

"Shag Apple" Pie for Two inspired by The Walking Dead

"Shag Apple" Pie for Two inspired by The Walking Dead
Tonight is the night! Season 6 of The Walking Dead was packed with so much good stuff. Lots of story development, lots of action, lots of suspense, and lots of food! I think food has been much more visible this season since we're further into the apocalypse and "stores" are dwindling. I'm guessing that tonight's focus won't be on food, it'll be on finally interacting with Negan face to face. Which means that months of waiting to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan's beautiful face on Sunday nights will finally come to fruition. Even though I'll probably hate him.

A few other things that I'm hoping will be at least somewhat covered are *SPOILER*:
  • Tara coming back to Alexandria and finding out that Denise was killed.
  • Finding out the fate of Daryl (please be okay...please be okay...please be okay...) and the rest of the group being held by Dwight and buddies. 
  • Maggie's agony (again, please be okay...please be okay...please be okay...).
Saturday, April 2, 2016

Orange Crush Oatmeal (for Denise) inspired by The Walking Dead

Orange Crush Oatmeal
I swear it seems like I was just talking about the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead and the season 6 finale is TOMORROW already! TWD always concludes way to fast for me. Fortunately, it's one of the few shows that I can watch endless reruns of and still want more. So, in honor of the close of another amazing season and countless months of waiting for the new season, I'll be sharing a couple of recipes inspired by the show today and tomorrow.

It's always a tough decision deciding which scene and/or character to pull my inspiration from (because I have SO MANY ideas written down), but *SPOILER* I knew I'd be making something for Denise the minute that arrow poked through her beautiful face. Which I'm so bummed about; her character really started to blossom over the second half of season 6 and she was quickly inching her way closer to my favorites list. And who else can't stop thinking about Tara and how she's going to react when she gets back to Alexandria?
Friday, April 1, 2016

Wii U Bundle #Giveaway!

Wii U Bundle Giveaway
It's time for another group giveaway organized by Angie of My So-Called Chaos. I'm super excited to share this fun giveawa for a Wii U prize pack today. One lucky winner will take this home!

Angie talks about how some of her fond memories revolve around playing Nintendo, so we're thinking that you can make your own memories with Nintendo if you win this Wii U! Or you can just take the cash, we wont judge. Since we're on the topic of childhood memories, Angie asked us all to share some of our fond ones. Here's what we came up with...

Join the #FoodnFlix club in the kitchen with Tampopo!

Join the #FoodnFlix club in the kitchen with Tampopo this month!
The little club that I started over 5 1/2 years ago to explore and celebrate food in movies has come home this month. I'm hosting the April edition of Food 'n Flix with a movie that I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've never seen (but have meant to watch for years)—Tampopo!

Tampopo is a food-centric 1985 Japanese comedy whose publicity dubbed it the first "Ramen Western" as a play on the popular Spaghetti Western. Apparently there are now a bunch of ramen restaurants around the world that bear the name Tampopo (which means dandelion seed).

Food & Drink Quiz Friday #10

Food and Drink Quiz Friday 10: What is the name of the fruit produced by the Blackthorn shrub?
This thin-fleshed black fruit with a purplish-blue waxy bloom resembles a plum and has a highly astringent flavor if eaten raw. It is most often used in different sorts of alcoholic beverages like "mock" port wine, Pacharan, and Bargnolino, although you probably know it best by its inclusion in a certain type of gin liqueur (which bears the name of the fruit). It is also delicious made into jams and pies, and can be preserved in vinegar. 

If you have a fun or interesting food or drink related trivia question that you'd like me to feature, send me an email with the words "Food and Drink Quiz Friday" in the subject line to!