Friday, August 30, 2013

Faux Kitchen Diva: Banana Bread


This banana bread recipe is actually super easy.  I promise.  Just remember that when dealing with banana bread you want the bananas that look like they are starting to turn.  Most grocery stores can't/won't sell bananas in that condition.  That means you will have to plan a little in advance and buy the bananas early so you can let them sit and turn brown.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe/brown bananas
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter (softened not melted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pro tip: Divide up your ingredients by steps to make it quicker.

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your pan(s).
  • Mash bananas and set aside.  There are a few ways to mash, but I find putting them in a plastic reseal bag and using your hands is quick, easy, and clean.
  • Place brown sugar and butter in the bowl and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  This may take a minute or two.

Notice the difference in consistency?
  • Add the mushed bananas and beat.  The mixture will look soupy and that is okay.
  • Add the eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and mix until blended.


  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt slowly.  Make sure your mixer is on the lowest to second lowest setting.  If you add too much or mix too fast you will make a mess.  Once the batter is smooth you are good.


  • Pour the batter into your pan(s) and cook for 40-60 minutes.  If unsure, a knife in the center is a great way to check.
  • Congrats.  Once you pull it out of the oven, you are done!



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wish List Wednesday: Sonic Screwdriver

11th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver ($34.19)

This is a simple want.  I want the Sonic Screwdriver of the 11th Doctor.  It doesn't have to be a super fancy replica, just one that won't break easily.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: The Miley Cyrus VMA Wreck



I woke up Monday morning and decided to check Reddit, because I am a bit of an addict when it comes to that site.  The top post was a picture of George Michael in a suite worn by Beetlejuice insinuating that he was Beetlejuice's father.  Rather confused, I click on the comments.  More confusion settled in because all the comments were about Miley Cyrus.  I really had no idea what was going on.  After about five minutes I was finally able to figure out what was going on.  And yes, I confused Robin Thicke for George Michael.  I think I may be officially old.

Anyway, I eventually popped on to Youtube to see what everyone was talking about.  My very first reaction when I saw Miley come out of the big bear was a fit of laughter.  The whole thing just looked so silly.  I got about half way through Robin Thicke's entrance before I stopped watching, mostly because I personally can't stand Miley Cyrus's voice.  This is just my opinion, but the whole thing was a giant train wreck.

Despite the whole performance being bad, I do empathize with Miley.  When she is dancing in that one piece swim suite she looked so gangly and awkward.  The shoes were a poor choice, she was just flailing, and the random tongue faces were not helping, either.  BUT she looked like any other awkward kid who thinks they are being so sexy, when they could not be farther from it.  I won't say that we have all been there, but I am sure many of us have.  I am sure I looked a fool "dancing" in the club after a few drinks, thinking I am the ultimate seductress. 

Do I think Miley Cyrus made a mistake with the performance?  Most definitely.  Do I think she should be held to a higher standard than the average teenager/young adult?  To a point because she is in the public eye, but at the same time whoever was in charge of her act should have done a better job in creating it.  Why post it instead of an actual song?  Because Blurred Lines is a catchy tune when Miley isn't butchering it.


Monday, August 26, 2013

A Walk Around Jamestown

Admission Stickers
This past Sunday the Jamestowne settlement had free admission, so my mother and I decided to check it out.  If you are not sure what/where Jamestowne is, then go watch Disney's Pocahontas.  It may not be very historically accurate (or realistic in general due to the talking tree), but you can get the gist it.  The weather was sunny and gorgeous, which translated into beautiful scenery.  There is not a lot to see outside the two museums on site because the settlement is an active dig site.  What is available is an neat look into that part of American history.

As expected, there was no shortage of Pocahontas.  I was rather amused that the statue pictured above and the placard thing pictured below look quite different, despite that both are supposed to be Pocahontas.  Did you know that she changed her name to Rebecca and married a guy named John Rolfe?  In fact, there are no romantic links between Pocahontas and John Smith past fiction?

At first, my mom thought the picture was of Pocahontas's father and not her.
 I think that if I ever traveled to England, outside of an airport pit stop, that I would like to see the burial of Pocahontas.  She was a rather important person in American history.  According to John Smith, she saved his life and kept the settlement from starving on more than one occasion.

This is the original layout of Jamestowne.
Colonial water fountain for people and horses.

You cannot see because of the angle, but this is a sundial.

A pretty building hiding behind the greenery.

I have no idea what is going on.  I should have gone up and read the inscription.
It was a good visit, all and all.  We only saw one memorial for any Civil War battles in the area.  There may have been more, but we only spent an hour looking around.  PenPen got fussy once she woke up and her stroller was hard to push on the gravel.  If I get the opportunity to go back, then I will try and see if there are any more markers like that.  A lot of Virginia battlefields have markers for both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  My understanding is that a few of the original colonies are like that.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Nail in the Coffin (Or Why I Won't being Seeing Batman vs. Superman)



Many people are unhappy with the casting news for the upcoming Batman and Superman movie.  Many others are pleased.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion in this matter, and mine is one of dissent.  This is not because of some blind hatred for Ben Affleck.  On the contrary, I like him as an actor.  I even enjoyed Dare Devil.  (Pro Tip: The director's cut is much better.)  I personally feel he is not the right actor to play the Caped Crusader.

I was really hoping deep down that they would get someone who is not very established to play the part.  Aside from George Clooney, I have not known the actors who have played Batman before having seen them in the roles.  With that said, I was definitely not a Clooney as Batman fan.  I didn't realize Val Kilmer was the guy from Willow until after the fact and I had never seen a Christian Bale movie before.  As for Michael Keaton, do you have any idea how young I was when those came out.  To be fair, though, the Burton Batman movies were more about the villains for me.

As of right now, I can honestly say I have no plans to see this movie in theaters.  Maybe not ever, who knows.  I am already not a big Superman fan.  I will say that the most recent movie was fun, but it didn't feel like a Superman movie/story to me.  That was probably a big factor.  Zack Snyder is pretty hit or miss for me as a director.  Looking at his IMDB page, then only two movies outside of Superman that I really enjoyed were Dawn of the Dead and The Watchmen.  I had high hopes for Sucker Punch, but the theater experience was not the best and tainted my view a little.  The whole Ben Affleck thing is more of a final straw than anything.

You can read people's responses to my comment here.
Of course, having a dissenting opinion on Reddit is not allowed.  A few posts/comments have made the comparison to the outcry over Heath Ledger as the Joker.  I mentioned that while I was one of them and I was wrong, I was still willing to go see that movie and give it a chance.  This time I am not.  The downvote brigade soon followed.  I guess I don't see why choosing not to spend my money on a leisure activity if I don't feel I will enjoy it would cause strangers to be up in arms.  Maybe I am wrong and I will be missing out on a great movie.  Maybe, but that would really only effect me.  I have every right to not like something or not wish to invest money into an activity I think I may not enjoy.  If someone out their thinks Ben Affleck will make a good Batman, then this is great news for them.  I do not feel the same way, so I am choosing to abstain.

This would not be the first time I refused to partake an incarnation of Batman.  There is a clip from The Batman that I saw on Youtube of the Joker and Harley Quinn.  It completely turned me off of the series.  Take a look for yourselves.  Leave a comment as to why you think I dislike this clip so much.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wish List Wednesday: MLP Vinyls

Dr. Whooves vinyl by Funko ($11.57)
Funko, who is probably best know for their Pop! vinyl toys, has released a line normal looking vinyls for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  What makes this toy line super exciting for me is that they have Dr. Whooves!  He is easily my favorite background pony, and second favorite of all time.  (Princess Luna > Dr. Whooves > Pinkie Pie)  Don't get me wrong, though, I  do love the Pop! series.  It is just really nice to see some legit looking ponies for the more adult fans of the show.  Since collecting vinyls is one of the hobbies I am still passionate about, I really hope to collect these beauties.
Derpy vinyl by Funko ($13.99)

Rainbow Dash vinyl by Funko ($12.36)

Fluttershy vinyl by Funko ($12.37)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: I Feel Better by Hot Chip


This week's song is less about the song and more about the music video.  Don't get me wrong, I like the song too.  Chances are high that you have probably seen the video for I Feel Better floating around online before.  If note, then watch the entire thing from beginning to end right now.  It is not a long song and the video is hilarious.  After you watch it, leave a comment with your reaction.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bejeweled Blitz Easter Eggs


I was teasing my husband yesterday that he only had two of the three challenges unlocked on Bejeweled Blitz.  You have to be level 20 to unlock the third, which he should have been to by now as much as he plays lately.  When he asked how to check his level, I pulled up my game on Facebook and showed him.  In doing so I noticed two things I never knew about.  The Meaning of Life, which is an homage to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, doesn't really do anything.  The cat button, however, makes a meow sound and increases your Meows.  Try getting to 1,000 Meows

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wish List Wednesday: Build A Pony

Pretty in Purple Pinkie Pie ($56)

 It is no secret that I love My Little Pony in all of its forms.  Friendship is Magic is no exception, as you can tell from my previous cosplay participation.  One thing I had been waiting for, as a fan, was quality and affordable plushies.  There have been some fantastic fan made stuffed ponies, but the price has always been too steep.  Build A Bear has come to the rescue.  They do not have all the main ponies, yet, but I am hoping that changes in the future.  (Maybe even throw in some of the background favorites?)  In the mean time, I would love to scoop up what is available so far.  Starting with my home filly,  Pinkie Pie.
 
Spike the Dragon ($10)

Rainbow Dash ($25)

Twilight Sparkle ($25)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: Everyone's A Little Bit Racist


Avenue Q is a fascinating musical.  If you have somehow never heard of it until now, then you are really missing out.  Puppets sing along side people about internet porn, how it is okay to be gay, and loud sex.  One of my favorites is Everyone's A Little Bit Racist.  Just listen to the lyrics.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wish List Wednesday: ThinkGeek Kitchen

I love being in the kitchen. . . usually.  Anyone who loves to bake and cook knows how essential kitchen gadgets can be.  Here are some items, that while not needed for heavy cooking, that I find to be fun and a great addition to any geek home.

Doctor Who TARDIS and Dalek salt and pepper shakers. ($17.99)

Zombie cookie jar. ($29.99)

Star Trek pizza cutter. ($29.99)

Star Trek bottle opener. ($19.99)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: Take On Me by Aha


Take On Me by Aha was one of my favorite songs growing up.  It still is to this day, but for a whole different reason.  My parents were big MTV fans when I was little, so I grew up watching it a lot at an early age.  My mom loves to tell the story of how anytime this video came on I would get super excited.  Who wouldn't at my age?  She goes inside a comic and hangs out with cartoons!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Faux Kitchen Diva: Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes


I recently purchased a new electric hand mixer and I was just dying to try it out.  I chose a recipe for and orange creamsicle cake recipe I found on the Duncan Hines website.  I did tweak the recipe a little, though.


Ingredients List

Orange Creamsicle Cake:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix  (The original recipe says an 18.25 oz box, but I could only find a 16.25 oz box.)
  • 1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of oil  I used olive oil, since it is healthier.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 of the 3 oz boxes of orange Jell-O



Orange Creamsicle Frosting:

  • 1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract
  • 8 oz of thawed Cool Whip topping 

Directions

Orange Creamsicle Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prep your cupcake pan.
  • Blend the eggs, oil, and water on low.
  • Add the pudding mix and Jell-O mix, then mix well.
  • Slowly add the cake mix while blending the batter.
  • Bakes 24 cupcakes for 15-18 minutes.

Your batter should look like this when done.
Orange Creamsicle Frosting:

  • Combine the vanilla pudding mix and milk. Mix well.
  • Blend in the orange and vanilla extracts until the mixture becomes thick.

The frosting should look like this before you add the whipped topping.

  • Fold in the whipped topping.  You can use as much or little as you want to get the taste/consistency you desire.
  • Frost the cupcakes.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Frosting once whipped topping has been added.