Tuesday, May 1, 2012

GW2 Roasted Dragon Haunch & Root Vegetables

Guild Wars 2 recently had a weekend beta event and I was able to participate since I've pre-purchased the game already. It took a little warming up to but once I got the hang of the awesome play style, I was in love.

When you talk about MMOs it's hard to avoid comparing it to World of Warcraft. It's the biggest MMO in the industry. It has a lot of clones. And it has very little competition. No one has been able to compete with might of Blizzard's biggest game. A lot of games get hype, have some promising things...and then inevitably flop for one reason or another. But of all the past games that were supposed to be 'wow-killers', I think only Guild Wars 2 actually has a really good chance.

There's tons of info about GW2 out there on the intarwebs now so you can find out a lot about it. I did my best to ignore it. My husband has been frothing at the mouth over this game but I wanted to  remain aloof. I didn't want to expose myself to too much about the game. I wanted to explore it for myself. It was epic! If you want more of my personal review information you can find it in a day or two here.

I really hoped this game would suck me in (and it did!) so I setup a crockpot to take care of dinner. Less time in the kitchen, more time playing. And I named dinner in honor of this awesome game. Oh and before I forget, I made a quick, how-to video for it too! Enjoy!

GW2 Roasted Dragon Haunch & Root Vegetables

6 Servings | Prep Time: 10 min; Cook Time: 6-8 hours | Apprentice

  • 3 lb Dragon Haunch (or Beef Chuck Roast if you're out)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 2 tsp Thyme
  • 1 8oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 Potato
  • 1 Turnip
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Parsnips
  • 2 Carrots
  • Kitchen Weapon Requirement: Crockpot/Slow Cooker
Craft:Mix together all the spices and rub most of them all over the roast. Place the roast in a crockpot on low. Chop the veggies into bite-size pieces and add to the crockpot atop the meat. Top with remaining spices and toss the veggies to coat. Pour tomato sauce over the veggies. Pour water over that. Cover and let cook on low for 6-8 hours. It's done when you can cut off a piece of dragon with a spoon.

Strategies: You can add whatever other veggies you also enjoy like celery and/or garlic.

LFM: Biscuits or Rolls

  • Beef Chuck Roast | $11.47
  • Tomato Sauce | $0.33
  • Potato | $0.65
  • Turnip | $0.65
  • Onion | $0.30
  • Parsnip | $0.50
  • Carrot | $0.20
Total Cost: $14.10
Cost Per Serving: $2.35

Category: Hardcore

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dreamy Tomato Soup

Deviant Art - Saehral
I had the most epic dream. Yeah, I dream a lot. And yeah, they're usually pretty geeky dreams. My dreams seem to be affected by what game I played last or what series of books I read recently. Whenever I tell my husband about my geek dreams, he gives me that sly look and says "You've been playing too much <insert latest game addiction> lately." That's when I roll my eyes and tell him I'm not sharing my epic dreams with him anymore.

Anyway, I think my dream was inspired by a mix between Codex Alera, D&D, and SWTOR. It was freakin' awesome. I could fly, I had force powers, there was an large-scale battle going on with a big bad boss and his cronies that I was fighting my way through. There were close calls and bad falls. There were triumphs and lots of butt-kicking-for-goodness! But, like all dreams, when you start explaining it to someone else, it just can't compare to experiencing it yourself. It's all a confused jumble to try and sort out and tell someone else about. Words just don't suffice.

Now I'll bet you're wondering what all this has to do with tomato soup. I'm getting there. I love Campbell's tomato soup. I figured if you're going to have tomato soup, that's the best way you could have it. However, canned soup doesn't fit my into my diet very often anymore. (If you want to learn more about what I'm doing you can check out RillsMenu.com) But, I can make my own soups!

Do you know how hard it is to find a tomato soup recipe that tastes like my favorite canned soup? HARD! I've tried recipe after recipe. But the effort was worth it because I have success. This tomato soup is not only simple to make but it's epic-ly delish. DREAMWORTHY! It's seriously like something I dreamed about that I can't describe to you! You have to experience it! You will not believe how good this tastes. It's not just like Campbell's....it's better than!

Dreamy Tomato Soup

4 Servings | Total Time: 35 min | Journeyman

  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbl Unsalted Butter
  • 1 can Tomato Puree (not paste)
  • 1/2 can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Craft: In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil or butter on medium-heat for 1 to 2 minutes just until the garlic has softened, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the basil, tomato puree and the crushed tomatoes, adding all juice. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add the stock, salt, sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes if using. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes to cool a bit. Puree the soup in 3-4 batches in a blender. (If you lack a blender, leave the soup slightly chunky for a ‘rustic’ version. Personally, I prefer pureed, silky tomato soup.) Return the pureed soup to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring back to a simmer over medium-heat. Stir in the heavy cream.

Strategies: You can top this with cheddar, pepperoni, crackers, bread...whatever suits your fancy. I personally love it with just a little cheese and some crumbled saltines.

LFM: Biscuits and/or salad!

  • Tomato Puree | $0.75
  • Crushed Tomatoes | $1.50
  • Vegetable Stock | $1.00
  • Heavy Cream | $1.25
Total Cost: $4.50
Cost Per Serving: $1.13

Category: Critical Hits, Casual, Troll Fuel

Monday, April 2, 2012

GLaDOS' Chocolate Mug Cake

I have something to confess. I'd never played Portal until this last month.

/hang head in shame

Sometimes I just don't get the itch to follow a trendy game. It actually took my brother who talked to my husband who talked to me...to finally get me to take a look at the game. Conveniently it was on sale at Steam. So I gave it a try.

I was hooked. Simple introductions to the mechanics and easy puzzles that gradually got more difficult. It was really fun! I could see why a lot of people liked it. And I had a really good laugh (at myself) when I finally really understood the "cake is a lie" references. /facepalm@self. I have to say though, my favorite part was at the end of the testing when GLaDOS pulls the bait and switch. Talk about getting an emotional vested interest in a game! Then she cracked up me later with this comment that I'll never forget:

Didn't we have some fun, though? Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said "Goodbye", and you were like, "No way!" And then I was all, "We pretended we were going to murder you." That was great.

But I'm no GLaDOS. I promise that this cake is no lie. You can make your own personal chocolate cake in less than 5 minutes. Which is good because that's all the time you have before you die from my neurotoxin. Then the cake will be all mine.

You will be missed. Goodbye.

P.S. (My other favorite quote from Portal2)

It's been a long time. How have you been? I've been really busy being dead. You know, after you murdered me. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster.

GLaDOS' Chocolate Mug Cake

2 Servings | Total Time: 6 min | Apprentice

  • 8 Tbl Flour
  • 4 Tbl Sugar
  • 3 Tbl Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 6 Tbl Milk
  • 6 Tbl Canola Oil
  • Splash of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbl Chocolate Chips
  • 3 Strawberries
  • Powdered Sugar
Craft: Mix together all ingredients. Divide and pour into 2 microwave proof coffee mugs. Microwave one at a time for two minutes. Remove the tops from the strawberries and slice in half. When the cakes are done, remove from microwave with pot holders, they're hot! Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with strawberries. This can be eaten from the mug or tipped out onto a plate.

Strategies:The cake will rise above the edge of the coffee mug. Don't panic! It simply does that while it's cooking. It'll go back down when it's done or when the heat stops.

LFM: The perfect dessert to compliment any meal.

Total Cost: < $1.00
Cost Per Serving: < $0.50

Category: Critical Hits, Cheat Codes, Phat Loot, Snackage

Monday, March 26, 2012

PvZ Skilletini

When I play my video games, I sometimes get struck by inspiration for a dish. Sometimes I make the dish, then get inspired what to name it after. But, it's like the chicken and the egg dilemma most times. Which inspired what and when?

But this dish actually did get inspired by the game first. Plants vs Zombies! It's an excellent game, full of strategy and fun but not too hard or mind-numbing. I hate to take the zombies side but...How can you stare at that lawn full of vegetables and not think they'd make a great meal! And there's meaty brains on the other side too!

I decided to try something new. Recipes in How-To-Video style! I won't have a video all the time but I'm aiming for twice a month. I'm also sharing some recipes with myself on my other blog. Feel free to visit! 

Another change to this blog that you may notice is in the ingredients cost. I'm breaking it down by measurements. For example 1 head of cabbage will cost you $1.00 but if you're only using 1 cup of shredded cabbage that will be more like $0.20.

PvZ Skilletini

2 Servings | Total Time: 20 min | Journeyman

  • 1/2 lb Ground Brains (or beef if you're out)
  • 1/4 Onion, minced
  • 2 Mushrooms, minced
  • 1 Tbl Butter
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup Cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • 1/2 cup Whole Kernel Corn
  • 1 Small Yellow Summer Squash, diced
Craft: Mix together ground beef, mushroom and onion. Form into small meatballs. Cook in a large pan over medium heat. When browned on all sides, remove from pan and set aside. Melt butter in the pan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add peas, squash and corn. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce, oregano, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well then add cabbage and cook until cabbage is wilted. Add meatballs and cook a few minutes more. Serve hot.

Strategies: Be gentle when turning the meatballs! They have no binding breadcrumbs or eggs! You can certainly add some binding agent to it if you want but it's not necessary if you're gentle.

LFM: It's really a one-dish meal but if you're hankerin' for something more try some garlic bread!

  • Ground Beef | $2.00
  • Onion | $0.30
  • Mushrooms | $0.25
  • Tomato Sauce | $0.33
  • Cabbage | $0.20
  • Peas | $0.25
  • Whole Kernel Corn | $0.25
  • Yellow Summer Squash | $0.50
Total Cost: $4.08
Cost Per Serving: $2.04

Category: Raid Night, Critical Hits

Monday, February 27, 2012

Loaded Farmville Hash Browns

Horses and cows and watermelon and corn! Acres and acres of land, plotted out to my specific desire! .....oh my!

What have I gotten myself into. I'm pretty good at staying away from the short, repetitive, addicting games. You know, games like Plants vs Zombies and Bejeweled and facebook games. I treat myself to one every once in a while but I have to be careful. They are addicting! That's not a bad thing if you...say...own stock in the company that made the game. But I don't! I know myself too well by now to think that I can stay away from the siren's call of every little popular game that catches my eye.

So, after years of avoiding it, I loaded up Farmville on my fb account. What have I done!! Now I'm spending at least an hour every day trying to beat the unbeatable game! But I can't help it! I must have more! More animals! More produce! And I want to figure out how to make a cool design out of plots...

Anyway! I am shamed to have fallen into the trap...again....(when will I learn!) but at least it's gotten me thinking about farm foods and all the delicious and nutritious things you can do with them!

Loaded Farmville Hash Browns

4 Servings | Total Time: 15 min | Journeyman

  • 1 large Potato, diced small
  • 1 cup Spinach, diced
  • 1/2 medium Red Bell Pepper, minced
  • 3 Green Onions, diced
  • 4 Bacon Slices
  • 1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbl Parsley, minced
  • 2 Tbl Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  • Butter
Craft: Cook bacon in a large pan over medium heat. When cooked, set aside. Add a little butter (more if needed) to the bacon grease and scrape up the browned bits. Add potatoes, garlic salt and parsley. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper and cook 5 minutes more or until potatoes are fully cooked and crispy. Serve over a bed of diced spinach and top with crumbled bacon, cheese, and sour cream.

Strategies: You make this into a hearty hash by adding any veggies you'd like. Just make sure they're diced small so they all cook evenly. Try onions, mushrooms, zucchini and/or celery.

LFM: Serve with eggs and fresh fruit.
  • Potato | $1.00
  • Spinach | $1.00
  • Red Bell Pepper | $2.00
  • Green Onions | $1.00
  • Bacon Slices | $2.50
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese | $2.50
Total Cost: $10.00
Cost Per Serving: $2.50

Category: Expansions

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.