Has being late to work due to dancing clowns ever been a problem for you? Have you ever had to defend yourself against a giant iguana? Does the overture to The Music Man make you violently twitch? In Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus readers are immersed into what it would be like to live every day as if a herd of ballerinas were chasing you, without the inconvenience of actually having to run. This collection of truly bizarre short stories taken from the author, Allison Hawn’s, life takes one across the world and into the strangest crevices of civilization. The lessons learned through her adventures might very well save the reader if they too ever have to face birthing a cow, calming distraught technical support or death by furniture.
I loved this funny and quirky collection of short stories. The book takes normal life events that could happen in just about any part of the world and adds a touch of humor and unexpected turns. A good read when you need a good laugh. Remember, don't take life too seriously, and to always have some fun This book made me thankful I've never had to babysit a dog with diarrhea.
I give this a 3.5 out of 5.
Once upon a time a young man traveled from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole and finds his true love. But that's not where their story ends, because the young couple quickly learns that their love is fighting its own polarity, and things won't be easy for them.
This story was beautifully written and illustrated. I really enjoyed the story being conveyed in the form of Native American oral history.
I give this a 4 out of 5.
I owe my blog a few recipes from this past week, and I am here to deliver them (finally). I forgot to take pictures for this round, so we'll just have to use our imaginations.
Blueberry Breakfast Grilled Cheese: I loved this! It was super easy to make, and was very delicious. I wouldn't alter this a bit. The recipe below is good for two sandwiches, and would probably be even better when served with a side of hash-browns and scrambled eggs (be your own IHOP). I could make this every weekend. 5 out of 5
Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells w/ Sage Browned Butter: I had high hopes for this because I really love butternut squash, and unlike most recipes this did not call for the squash to be sweetened; something I am not a fan of. When everything was said and done my kitchen looked like a disaster, the shells were not that great, and I was left with so many left overs, even after cutting this in fourths. The flavors seemed to battle with each other, and the shell stuffing had a gritty texture to it. It wasn't awful, it's just not worth the mess and I won't ever make this again. 2 out of 5
Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Lemon Juice: The stuffed shells were not that great, but this was the star of the night. The cauliflower was cooked just right and had a great flavor. This will be something I will make on a regular basis. 4 out of 5
Broccoli, Ham, and Cheddar Quiche with a Brown rice Crust: This was adequate. The quiche itself was not bad, but I did not particularly care for the crust. I thought this would be a nice, healthier alternative, but it was just so flavorless and had the texture of baked cardboard. I would make the quiche again but use a regular pie crust. 2 out of 5
Now, recipe time .....
Blueberry Breakfast Grilled Cheese:
Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells w/ Sage Browned Butter
Oven-Roasted Cauliflower w/ Garlic & Lemon Juice:
Broccoli, Ham, & Cheddar Quiche w/ Brown Rice Crust:
If you remember, less than a week ago I was all excited about my cooking experiment. Well, that hasn't gone as planned. There were a few factors I had not planned for, and one factor I had, but not expected as bad as it would be.
The thing I had sort of expected were leftovers. There have been a lot. And I mean A LOT! Even with cutting recipes in half and sometimes into fourths, I still have leftovers for days! I have frozen some, and enjoyed some of the other left overs, but mostly I am sick of them, especially if it wasn't a good recipe to begin with.
Other things I wasn't quite expecting, though I should have were how unpredictable my nights can be, especially when I am on-call for work. Every night since I started the experiment I have been interrupted while making dinner and have had to take care of something. This can be difficult when cooking at home because usually it means turning off the oven/stove and moving on to take care of the issue. The other thing is I have found myself not to be hungry after cooking. The first night I thought it was because I was tasting things as I went, or would grad a bite of this or a bite of that as I was chopping veggies. The next two nights I paid more attention to this and would not allow myself to snack while cooking, and only doing 2 taste tests. That still didn't make a difference. When I made the quiche (no snacking or tasting at all) I was still not hungry after cooking it. So after it cooled it was wrapped and promptly put into the fridge. I do wonder how much of the on-call interruptions play into not hungry aspect. Hmmmm.
So to compensate, primarily for the left over issue, I have decided that I am only going to be cooking on the weekends and once (most likely on Wednesdays) during the week. So this will drop me from 7 days of cooking to 3. I did some altering to the meals I had planned for this current week. Tonight and tomorrow I will have leftover quiche, but over the weekend and next week there will a different schedule. So here is what you can expect over the next week:
One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese
Skinny Mexican Pizza
Biscuits & Gravy Hot Dish
Crock-Pot Thai Chicken
Banana Cream Cake
This seems more manageable and allows me to factor in leftovers for some meals, as well as eating with students in the commons on some nights. Probably tonight or tomorrow I will post the recipes and reviews for the last few meals I have made.
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
You are the dead.
Winston is a lowly clerk who works in the records department in the Ministry of Truth in Oceana. The year is 1984, and everything Wintson thinks he knows and thinks he believes is not so. Big Brother controls all industry. Big Brother controls the records and media. Big Brother controls the humans. Big Brother controls the world. Winston knows he does not agree with Big Brother. in fact, Winston hates Big Brother. People go missing all the time, but nobody says anything because everyone forgets about these people as if they never existed to begin with. Winston remembers. Along with his new lover Julia, Winston wants the status quo to change.
I never read this book in high school. My high school wasn't the greatest in the English/reading comprehension of scholastic, but that's a story for another day. I was a bit worried about reading this. I don't know why exactly, but something about it had me always putting it aside to read it another time. That time was now. I am so happy I finally read this, and am a bit disappointed in myself for putting it off for so long. I have read a lot of dystopian fantasy, but nothing has ever compared to what this is. Admittedly it took me a bot to really find this book interesting, but once I had my catch I realized how beautiful Orwell's story is, and how terrifying at the same time. I was not expecting the ending that Orwell gave us, and I am really happy it ended the way it did. Though it is fantasy this book does a good job of bringing us down to Earth that life is not perfect and things don't always work out the way we want them to, especially when Big Brother is involved. I highly recommend reading this book, if you haven't yet. It is one that I will most likely reread every few years.
I give this a 4.5 out of 5.
Remember, Big Brother is always watching. ALWAYS.
The Kitchen Disaster, Night 1: Bang Bang Shrimp with Coconut Rice and Roasted Cabbage Steaks + Bonus: Beer Cheese Dip
Tonight was my first night of my cooking challenge; #5MillionDaysOfKitchenDisasters. Tonight I decided on Bang Bang Shrimp, with Coconut Rice, and Roasted Cabbage Steaks. I also made Beer Cheese Dip earlier in the day in preparation of tomorrow's game day. I'm going to review each of these and give you some of my thoughts; take them for what they're worth. Afterwards I'll give you the recipes for each of these.
Bang bang Shrimp: This was really good. I'm glad that I didn't mix the shrimp into the sauce after it was fried though. The sauce was very flavorful and spicy (which I like), but I am not a huge fan of Mayo, especially Mayo heavy sauces, and this was basically Sriracha Mayo. Overall, I liked the shrimp and in the future I will probably try to find a different sauce to go with these little guys. Though I do realize that this sauce is what makes it "Bang Bang". This recipe was supposed to be just an appetizer, but I thought I'd turn it into a meal, and I think it worked out well. I did not cut down the recipes, but I could of halfed it. 4 out of 5
Coconut Rice: This was pretty decent. It wasn't as coconuty (Is that a word? If not, it is now.) as I would have liked. I'll make this again at some other point, but when I do I'll replace the cup of water with an extra cup of coconut milk. Basically I'll boil the rice in pure coconut milk. I'll also add more green onions and probably take out the ginger and lemon juice; they seemed pointless for this recipe. I did like the use of coconut oil to help prevent the rice from sticking during the simmering process. It was a brilliant! Overall, this was a good call. I cut the recipe in half, but I could have even quartered it. That's definitely what I'll do next time. 3 out of 5
Roasted Cabbage Steaks: This was my favorite recipe of the night. I was a little worried when they came out of the oven because the smaller pieces looked burned. They were pretty brown (not burned) and these had a great flavor. The cabbage was very tender and seasoned just perfectly for me. This was super simple and will be a go to veggie dish in the future. I used the smallest cabbage I could find, and I think it worked out well for me, as there were only a few left over. 5 out of 5
Beer Cheese Dip: I only tasted this enough to make sure the flavors and the mixture were just right. I added twice as much beer than what the recipe calls for to thin it down (it was really thick), and also to give it a bit more of a kick. Based on what I tried I really liked it, but we'll see how it does after sitting overnight in the fridge. I have high hopes for this. I did not cut down this recipe. 4 out of 5
Now, time for the recipes .....
Bang Bang Shrimp:
Roasted Cabbage Steaks:
Beer Cheese Dip:
Another Bonus: Beer Bread Mix
My father gave me this last year for Christmas and I'm just now getting around to making it. It's a bread mix, so all I had to do was add some beer and butter, pop it in the oven, and it was good to go. I didn't have any Budweiser on hand so I substituted with a beer from Montana called Moose Drool. It worked out well for this. The bread was delicious! I normally make all my bread from scratch, but if I ever need a fun flavorful bread quickly (without buying a pre-made loaf) I would totally buy more of these and make them. Two thumbs up for the fathers awesome and delicious gift!
So a few weeks ago my boss introduced me to the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. As a fan of Gaiman's work I was very intrigued. As with his other works, it was far from disappointing. The Sandman series follows Dream (an Endless being in charge of the dreams and nightmares of humans). It starts off with Dream being kidnapped while some silly humans were trying to trap Dreams' sister, Death. Something went wrong and they ended up with Dream being trapped instead. The first part of Volume 1 follows Dream as he bides his time to escape from the human world and return to his realm. After the conclusion of Dream's capture we journey through many different intertwining stories that revolve around Dream, his family (Death, Destiny, Desire, Despair, and Delirium), other Endless beings, and mortals.
The first volume is outstanding. I read it in one day because I couldn't put it down. Volume 2 took me a bit longer, partially because I am reading so many different things at the moment, but it was still good. Volume 2 wasn't as great as 1, but I still recommend that you read both of them. I cannot wait to read the other 3 .... It's a huge series. But they're just so good! The stories Gaiman tells are classic, and the art work is beautiful.
The Absolute Sandman Volume 1 is a 5 out of 5
The Absolute Sandman Volume 2 is a 3.5 out of 5