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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Inside Out Apple Cobbler

There are lots of games out there. TONS even. And we're not just talking computer games either. Consoles games too! But today's post I wanted to take yet another angle that sometimes I think us nerds and geeks out there forget about from time to time. The ever-humble board game.

Indeed without board games there'd be no evolution into electronic games. You could even go so far as to say Dungeons & Dragons is the founding father of all fantasy genre techy games. But it seems like many board games follow particular patterns. It's hard to think outside the box and come up with a new board game. (And it's starting to get that way with electronic games too.) Especially one that will draw the attention away from the Wii/360/PS. And yet, occasionally, someone does come up with something awesome!

Apples to Apples has become one of my all-time favorite board games. It's not even really an original idea. Just a new twist on a classic. It's a word game, mixed with poker, mixed with chance, mixed with a dictionary and topped with hilarity! Part of the fun is playing with people you know really well and guessing what they'll guess! It brings a whole new level of fun to the table.

So I figured a fitting tribute to this game would be exactly like it. A new twist on some classic games. This is apple cobbler. Tastes very much like it but certainly doesn't look like apple cobbler. It's fun and different and oh-so decadent! It's awesome by itself, for a snack or as the perfect finishing dessert to a lovely meal.

Inside Out Apple Cobbler

2 Servings | Total Time: 30 min | Apprentice

  • 2 Large Apple
  • 1 Tbl Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbl Butter
  • 4 Tbl Old Fashioned Oats
Craft: Wash apples and scoop out the core, being careful not to go through the bottom of the apple. Mix cinnamon, oats, and brown sugar then stuff it inside the apples. Top with butter. Pour about a half cup of water into a pot with lid. Gently place apples in the water. Cover and turn heat to medium. Bring water just to boiling then lower heat and cook apples until tender, about 20 minutes.

Strategies: This is such an easy and delectable dessert you can just put them in the water, cover and leave it until the timer goes off. Plenty of time to get that class quest done.

LFM: This dessert compliment any dish.

  • Large Apple | $1.00
  • Brown Sugar | $1.00
  • Old Fashioned Oats | $1.00
Total Cost: $3.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.50

Category: Phat Loot

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fancy Pants Caesar Salad

You know that guy. The one who's always got the strategy and who's always trying to get people to follow the strategy and berates them for not following the strategy and blames other people for failure of said strategy? The guy who some dolt made raid leader and now that guy insists on different ranks for the elite and privileged raiders that he deems smart enough or dedicated enough to get first pick of loot. The guy who demands you have all the approved addons installed or you won't do it right. The guy who has to make a rule for everything so no one can exploit 'the system'. He doesn't trust anyone to behave honorably so he's got his guild laws and raid laws and a different punishment for every law to make sure you feel punished for breaking a law.

I have dubbed that guy Mr Fancy Pants. Because he's that guy who can't keep things simple and straight forward. I have also named a salad after him. I mean sure, you can have a perfectly workable Caesar salad for dinner. The salad part is probably the easiest, simplest part. You could even add some chicken and it'd still be a straightforward salad. But this salad is just going overboard. A plain ol' salad is just too simple. It's not fancy enough! You need more crunch, more juicy tomato, more creamy avocado! More, I tell you! More!

Fancy Pants Caesar Salad

2 Servings | Total Time: 8 min | Apprentice

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 1 bag Caesar Salad Kit (with croutons, cheese, bacon bits & dressing)
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • 1 Avocado
Craft: Place the chicken breast on a well oiled indoor appliance grill. Close the lid and let cook for 6 minutes. When done let rest for 1 minute then dice. Meanwhile, dice the celery and carrot. Chop the tomato and slice the avocado. Open your salad kit. Divide the lettuce into two large bowls, top with remaining ingredients and drizzle with dressing.

Strategies: You certainly don't have to have all the extra toppings but it adds a lot more healthiness, deliciousness, and umph to it!

LFM: Serve with any kind of fruit or rolls.

  • Chicken Breast | $1.00
  • Caesar Salad Kit | $3.00
  • Celery | $1.25
  • Carrot | $1.25
  • Roma Tomato | $0.50
  • Avocado | $0.75
Total Cost: $7.75
Cost Per Serving: $3.88

Category: Raid Night, Critical Hits

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Chilinator

I grew up in southern California around lots of Mexican and Latino folks. I had my fair share, and then some, of Mexican foods. Did you know there are three basic food groups in Mexican cuisine? Corn, Chili Peppers and Beans. If it doesn't have those, it's not Mexican food. So naturally when I moved out of California I had a hard time adjusting to what the rest of the country perceives as Mexican food. Especially Chili.

Some people argue that chili isn't Mexican food. Bullhonkery! Chili, as most people know it, has just been Americanized so that it's barely a shadow of what it used to be. Trust me, if you want some real, true roots, chili, you need to try this recipe.

The focus of flavor in this recipe is in the chilies. That's why it's called chili after all. Not this blended meat and tomato soup that you threw some hot sauce into. Bleh. You'll never go back to that again after eating this explosion of flavor. The great thing about chilies is there are all different kinds so you can make this hot and spicy or mild and succulent.

And don't tell anyone but...



This chili has no meat. *GASP!*

Meat is expensive. And honestly, most Mexican families would much rather have a milk cow or goats and sheep that are alive and productive. Not just butchered for food. For much of the world, meat is a flavoring ingredient, not the main course as it traditionally is here in America. You can certainly add ground beef or chicken to this recipe if you so desire it but trust me, it doesn't need it. (I have nothing against meat. I'm no vegan. I love a good steak now and then.)

Instead we have beans. Two kinds here. The traditional Red Kidney Bean and a couple cans of chickpeas. You want chili to have good texture as well as flavor. That's part of the reason people started adding meat to chili in ye olden days (called Chili con Carne for a reason after that. Chilies with meat!). To keep it meatless but still get that fabulous texture we pulse the chickpeas in a blender until it's coarsely chopped. After cooking for a couple hours in the deliciousness that is real, whole, chilies, you won't notice the missing meat at all.

By the way, big thanks to my brother for deciding the name of this chili. It was so delicious, so epic, so legendary that I couldn't think of a name. My mind was thoroughly blown after tasting it and it wasn't coming back. Unlike this chili, which now has a tag line "I'll be back." *ba-dum ching!*

The Chilinator

6 Servings | Prep Time: 30 Min ; Total Time: 2.5 hours | Journeyman

  • 9 Dried New Mexico Chilies
  • 1 Vegetable or Beef Bullion Cube
  • 2 can Red Kidney Beans, rinsed
  • 2 can Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbl Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbl Cumin
  • 1 Tbl Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 Tbl Corn Meal or Masa

Craft: Remove the stems from the chilies (and seeds if you don't want your chili spicy at all). Combine all chilies in a medium saucepan with water and bullion. Simmer over medium high heat until chilies are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving water separately. Transfer chilies to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add chickpeas to the blender and pulse until roughly chopped. Put the chickpeas with the chilies. Blend the diced tomatoes and add to the chilies and chickpeas. Heat oil/butter in a pot or dutch oven. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent. Add garlic, cumin and oregano then cook 1 minute more. Add all ingredients to the pot, including reserved liquids and excepting the masa/corn meal. Mix well. Add more water if needed to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring occasionally, adding more liquid as needed to prevent sticking. Add masa/cornmeal and mix well. Cook 5 minutes more to thicken.

Strategies: To get different flavors and temperatures try different chilies or combinations of different chilies.

LFM: Garnish with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, chopped green onions, avocado, lime wedges or tortilla chips. Serve ice cream for dessert to cool off!

  • New Mexico Chilies | $6.00
  • Red Kidney Beans | $1.00
  • Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans |$1.00
  • Diced Tomatoes | $0.50
  • Onion | $0.50
Total Cost: $9.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.50

Category: Hardcore, Critical Hits, LFG

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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Southern California Fruit Wrap

Southern California has many appealing attractions. Warm weather and the center of everything interesting, SoCal is the place where it's all at. Hollywood. Universal Studios. Disneyland. Knotts Berry Farm. Warner Brothers Studios. Six Flags Magic Mountain. Sea World. Chinatown. Catalina Islands. Little Tokyo. Beverly Hills. LA and San Diego Zoo. Museums and Beaches as far as the eye can see. Not to mention every game development company based in Cali. (The best part IMO!)

And farms full of delicious, succulent, foods. These fruit wraps are the a pinnacle of everything awesome about Southern California. Juicy, sweet, a little tart and smooth.
They're beautiful too. Perfect colors, all arranged neatly and perfectly visible through the simple rice wraps.

Southern California Fruit Wrap

6 Servings | Total Time: 10 min | Apprentice

  • 6 Rice Papers
  • 1 Medium Banana, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Pineapple, thinly sliced
  • 3 large Strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Spinach, sliced thinly
Craft: Take a rice paper sheet and put it in a shallow dish of warm water. After about 10-20 seconds, depending on temp, it should be soft and pliable. It will be sticky once wet so be careful not to let it touch itself or fold. Carefully take it out and put it on a plate. Place 1/6th of all the fruit and spinach in the center, facing the same direction. Roll up the rice paper burrito style. Repeat for remaining. Let dry on a ceramic or glass plate.

Strategies: Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or eat immediately. You can find rice paper sheets at any oriental market and sometime in the oriental section of your local grocery store.

LFM: Serve as dessert or with a big breakfast.

  • Rice Papers | $1.00
  • Medium Banana | $0.50
  • Pineapple | $1.50
  • Strawberries | $1.50
  • Spinach | $1.00
Total Cost: $5.50
Cost Per Serving: $0.92

Category: Rez Plz, Expansions

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ghostcrawler Stuffed Wontons

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is the lead dev for World of Warcraft. He's prominent depicted by his avatar, a red crab. He has his own 'Dev Watercooler' blog and enjoys speaking about designs and intentions for WoW. Because he's so highly placed and so interactive with the community it brings both good and bad attention to him. He has his fans and his critics. I've been a little of both, I'll freely admit.

GC, as he is known, is in an unenviable position. He likes to interact with the community. Which most would say is a good thing. But that exposes him too. He'll never appease everyone so he'll always have frothing, maddened fans who think he's ruining the game. And he'll also always have 'fanbois' who support him and say he can do no wrong.

As for me, I find myself in-between opinions. I understand that he's just trying to figure out a good, fun, balance for the game and it's classes. But I am certainly irritated that he continues to nerf my favorite class and has turned it into a weak specter of what it once was. I've played a Retribution Paladin since Day 1. Even vanilla paladining wasn't as painful as it's been during the Cataclysm expansion. Though I'd never get into a fight (verbal or otherwise) with GC but it's made me so mad and frustrated that I went crab hunting for a good long while. And you know what I do with excessive amounts of crab meat? Make food!

Ghostcrawler Stuffed Wontons

6 Servings | Total Time: 35 min | Journeyman

  • 30 Wonton Wrappers
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 Green Onion
  • 1 large Celery Stalk
  • 1 medium Carrot
  • 1 can Lump Crab Meat, drained
  • 1 Tbl Canola Oil
  • Kitchen Weapon Proficiency: Food Processor
Craft:Combine all ingredients except wrappers in a large bowl. Place 1 tsp of the mixture inside each wonton wrapper. Use folding instructions on wonton package. Place on an oiled baking sheet, brush with oil and bake for 6-8 minutes or until edges are browned.

Strategies: Try to get as much air out of the wontons as possible while folding but don't fuss if the seams break open a little during baking. You can make a big batch and freeze them before or after baking for fast meals in the future.

LFM: Serve with salad, or chinese style noodles, or fried rice, or roasted vegetables.

  • Wonton Wrappers | $2.50
  • Cream Cheese | $1.25
  • Green Onion | $1.00
  • Celery | $1.25
  • Carrot | $1.00
  • Lump Crab Meat | $2.00
Total Cost: $9.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.50

Category: Casual, Critical Hits

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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shyvana Jumbalaya

I tried to think of a fitting introduction to this fiery, tasty, dish. It's fast and simple but oh-so-tasty. It's got a punch of heat if you want it but it can be as mild as ketchup if you don't. When I sat down to ponder what to call it, my thoughts turned to League of Legends.

I like the game. I don't participate in the PvP since that aspect of any game doesn't appeal to me very much. But I do enjoy the simple Co-op vs. Bots. It fulfills that need for something simple, quick and easy to play. Just like this dish fulfills the occasional need for something simple, quick and filling.

As I started to think about each of my favorite champions, one in particular came to mind. The colors and heat of this dish pointed me at one of the more devastatingly powerful champions. Shyvana, the Half-Dragon.

Her short story intrigues me as much as her abilities and fighting capabilities do. I will willingly admit to being something of a lore junkie. Not quite a nerd. I don't know everything. But I love to learn more and always enjoy a good story. Shyvana's story is one of those that I wish there was more to read. It sounds so fascinating. How does a female dragon come to fall in love with a male human? And then give birth to a forbidden half-dragon child, knowing the consequences would go badly for herself and her lover? It makes a lore-junkie-wannabe-writer's mind turn! Turn I tell you!

Can I also mention that this being a dragon-related post feels highly appropriate for the Chinese New Year? Happy Dragony New Year!

Shyvana Jumbalaya

4 Servings | Total Time: 15 min | Apprentice

  • 1 Tbl Butter
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper
  • 4 Green Onions
  • 1/2 Kielbasa Sausage
  • 1/2 can Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tsp Hot Sauce, optional
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes, more if desired, optional
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 4 cups Brown Rice, cooked
Craft: Dice onion, bell peppers, green onion and sausage. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Add onion and bell pepper. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, hot sauce, red pepper flakes and pepper. Stir until combined. Add rice and green onions. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes.

Strategies: Anytime you cook rice, cook an extra couple cups and refrigerate or freeze it for meals just like this one.

LFM: Serve with salad and fresh fruit.

  • Onion | $0.50
  • Green Bell Pepper | $1.50
  • Green Onions | $1.00
  • Kielbasa Sausage | $2.50
  • Tomato Paste | $0.25
  • Tomato Sauce | $0.25
  • Brown Rice | $0.50
Total Cost: $6.50
Cost Per Serving: $1.63

Category: Casual

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

Monday, January 16, 2012

1UP Quesadillas

I got the best Christmas present ever. I know everyone says that but I really did. I also have the best younger sister in the world for giving this present to me. A genuine, original, trusty-but-dusty, Nintendo. Yes, one of these:

I know you're probably thinking that isn't exactly the best Christmas present you've ever seen. But it is for me. So many memories of learning to play my first video games on this baby. Learning cuss words I wasn't supposed to know at 5 years old from my babysitter when she kept trying to shoot that laughing dog on Duck Hunt. Zelda was too expensive but my cousins had it so I got to play that sometimes too.

But most of my time was spent on Super Mario Brothers. My older sister figured out a trick to get infinite lives. I never could do it so I had to depend on collecting those handy green 1 UP mushrooms. So getting my hands on a Nintendo again had me thinking about mushrooms and their many delicious uses. Not to mention health benefits for a longer gaming life of your own!

By the way...I don't recommend collecting green mushrooms to use in this dish. Bella mushrooms will do just fine. These are perfect to have when you want a quesadilla but you're kinda tired of the same ol' same ol' mexican flavors. This is stuffed full of carmalized onions, mushrooms, tangy swiss cheese and the most perfect steak sauce ever created. Your mouth will be watering before they've even finished cooking. I promise!

1UP Quesadillas
4 Servings | Total Time: 20 min | Apprentice

  • 8 Corn Tortillas
  • 10 tsp Butter, unsalted
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, diced
  • 1 Tbl A1 Steak Sauce
  • 4 Slices Swiss Cheese
Craft: Melt 2 tsp of butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until carmalized. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Remove from heat, add A1 sauce and toss to combine. Butter one side of each tortilla. Place, butter side down in a pan over medium-low heat. Add ¼ of the mushroom filling and ¼ of the cheese. Place another tortilla on top, butter side up. Cover and let cook 1-2 minutes until browned on bottom then flip and cook uncovered 1-2 min more. Repeat for remaining tortillas.

Strategies: You can replace the swiss with cheddar if desired. Also, speed things up using a food processor to dice your mushrooms and onions.

LFM: Serve with a green garden salad and apples!

  • Corn Tortillas | $1.00
  • Onion | $1.00
  • Baby Bella Mushrooms | $1.75
  • Sliced Swiss Cheese | $2.25
Total Cost: $6.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.50

Category: Raid Night, Troll Fuel

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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taris Flatbread Pizza

Taris used to be a planet full of cities. Apparently they got on the Empire's bad side and got themselves infested with a plague of Rakghouls. And bombarded to ruins and rubble. The Republic just the left the place alone for a good long while but now it's time to go try and re-inhabit the place. Why? I have no clue. Unfortunately the rakghouls are running wild and so is the plant life. It makes for epic scenery but it's bad for civilization. I couldn't tell you what to do about the rakghouls but I do have some ideas for the plants! Just hang with me for a moment of reflecting ranting.

Did you notice how Taris just goes on and on and on and on! I've never encountered so many quest hubs before Taris and not after Taris either! Don't get me wrong. I like questing. Love it even. But Taris doesn't change much from hub to hub. It's the same thing over and over. Fight the rakghouls, over and over. It just wears on a person! For those of you who are on Taris right now, my sympathies. But take heart, there is an end to the madness.....eventually. And at the end you'll find the bonus quest chain. And then it'll end too. And you'll never have to go back! ....except maybe once or twice for class quests. I'm doing a terrible job of reassuring you aren't I? Moving on!

The abundance of plant life on Taris had me craving some cheese covered veggies. And what better excuse to get it than to put it on a pizza! Pizza is one of those classic foods that crosses over the stereotyping lines. Pizza is a favorite of nerds and jocks alike. No one can resist the call of pizza. The gooey cheese. The crispy crust. The hot, cooked-to-perfection toppings. I've showed you before how to make quick Poor Man's Pizza. But here's another version that takes just a tad longer but keeps truer form to the classic pizza. Except for maybe the toppings because everyone needs variety. And honestly, where are you going to find pepperoni on a force-forsaken planet like Taris?

Taris Flatbread Pizza

8 Servings | Total Time: 15 min | Apprentice

  • 8 Flour Tortillas
  • 4 Tbl Pesto
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 can Great Northern White Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Roma Tomato, finely diced
  • 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup Broccoli Florets
  • 8 Mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 Zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Mozzerella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Feta Cheese
  • 8 Tbl Parmesan Cheese
Craft: Preheat oven to 450° F. Place the tortillas on two greased baking sheets. Spread pesto on each tortilla then layer veggies/beans and top with cheese. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until tortillas are brown and crunchy and cheese is melted.

Strategies: You can slice it pizza style like the picture above or you can fold it in half  and eat it taco style! And if you lack pesto, tomato sauce works just fine.

LFM: This is an all in one meal but I recommend any kind of fruit for dessert!

  • Flour Tortillas | $1.25
  • Spinach | $2.00
  • Great Northern White Beans | $0.50
  • Roma Tomato | $0.75
  • Red Onion | $0.75
  • Red Bell Pepper | $1.50
  • Broccoli Florets | $1.00
  • Mushrooms | $1.00
  • Zucchini | $1.00
  • Mozzerella Cheese | $2.00
  • Feta Cheese | $2.50
Total Cost: $14.25
Cost Per Serving: $1.79

Category: Raid Night, Critical Hits

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

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kira Carsen's Chickpea Paddys

SWTOR Knight Spoiler Warning! Proceed directly to recipe and skip the story if you're not level 35 yet and don't want the storyline spoiled for you!

When you first acquire a companion you think, how neat, how handy! Go, my minion and do my bidding and get my slicing up to 400 in the first week and make me lots of credits! But as you get higher level, your companions start to become more involved in your storyline. You find out things about them that you never even suspected. LIKE YOUR PADAWAN IS A FREAKIN' SITH!

Kira Carsen was born sith and ran away. She was caught trying to steal from a Jedi Master who sensed the force in her and decided to train her. Later she becomes your padawan. She was amsuing to me. Snarky but insightful. Always has something to say in battle like "Eat lightsaber, jerk!" Her attitude and take on life actually reminds me of the very few people I know who are vegans. So I thought to myself, what if Kira was a vegetarian and I never knew! What would she eat?

This is my take on a Kira Carsen-esque vegetarian recipe. So in a roundabout way I decided to name these chickpea paddys after my pattywan! (hyuck, hyuck) I didn't intend for it to be vegetarian when I started to make them up but they just turned out that way. This is one of those recipes where I went through my fridge, grabbed random things that needed to be used or sounded good, threw them in the food processor and fried them. They were really delish, especially with ranch dressing for sauce.

Kira Carsen's Chickpea Paddys

4 Servings | Total Time: 15 min | Apprentice

  • 1 can Chickpeas
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 Lemon, peeled, seeded
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 4 Mushrooms
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Basil
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbl Butter
  • 2 Tbl Ranch Dressing
  • Kitchen Weapon Proficiency: Food Processor
Craft: Add all ingredients except egg, butter, breadcrumbs and ranch to a food processor and pulse until well minced. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add egg and breadcrumbs then mix well. Melt 1 Tbl of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Form patties from the mixture and gently fry until golden brown on each side. Repeat, using more butter to grease the pan as needed. Serve with Ranch Dressing for sauce.

Strategies: Keep a close eye on these so they don't burn and turn them carefully so they don't fall apart.

LFM: Serve with dipping veggies like celery, carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers and extra ranch dressing.

  • Chickpeas | $0.50
  • Mushrooms | $1.00
  • Spinach | $2.00
  • Eggs | $1.50
Total Cost: $5.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.25

Category: Troll Fuel, Raid Night

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

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Alderaan Appleflax Waffles

Poor Alderaan. Even in the past they can't catch a break. In the future they get blown up by the wanna-be-a-moon Deathstar. In the time frame of ToR Alderaan is literally a warzone. The Sith Empire trying to take it over and the Republic fighting to keep it. Either way, lots of explosives involved. And explosives are only fun for the people lobbing them. Unless you're suicidal like the trooper in the vid. Course it's hard to tell if he's really having fun with that...

Anyway! It occurred to me that peeps on both sides of the conflict could use some cheering up. And what better way to cheer up the blown up than with waffles! Everyone loves waffles. Some people love them more than life itself.

These particular waffles are delectable. Like having apple pie for breakfast. And healthy too! Low sugar, whole wheat and they'll be sure to fill you up for hours and hours. Especially if you keep munching on them like I'm prone to do.

Alderaan Appleflax Waffles

4 Servings | Total Time: 35 min | Journeyman

  • 1 1/4 cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 Tbl Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Apple Pulp (from juicing apples, no seeds/peel/stem) or 2/3 cup Applesauce
Craft: Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Pour 1/3 cup of batter per square onto a greased waffle iron. Cook until well browned. Repeat until batter is gone.

Strategies: Use low sugar or sugar free syrup. Or use fruit as a topping instead of syrup.

LFM: Serve with fruit or fruit juice and bacon or sausage.

  • Unbleached All Purpose Flour | $2.00
  • Ground Flaxseed | $3.00
  • Eggs | $1.00
  • Milk | $2.00
  • Applesauce | $1.25
Total Cost: $9.25
Cost Per Serving: $2.32

Category: Rez Plz

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

Monday, January 2, 2012

Greench's Split Pea Soup

The Feast of Winter Veil is over but we have fresh memories of new foes faced to keep us warm throughout the rest of the wintery months. And soup! Yes, after the Greench retreated to the furthermost databanks of the server (he got tired of getting ganked), adventurers discovered he had hidden more than just holiday treats and a lost reindeer in his cave.

There was a large pot of what looked like split pea soup. It was utter delishness! Spotting a cookbook nearby, the adventurers decided to see what was actually in the soup they had eaten. To their surprise, it was full of more than just split peas and ham. Leave it to the Greench to 'ruin' a perfectly good soup by making it healthy! Hmmph!

Greench's Split Pea Soup

8 Servings | Total Time: 45 min | Journeyman

  • 2 cups Dried Split Peas
  • 1/2 cup Dried Lentils
  • 4 cups/1 carton Vegetable Stock
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 1 cup Ham, diced
  • 1/4 Bunch of Asparagus
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, fresh (plus more for garnish)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, for garnish
  • Salt & Pepper if desired
  • Kitchen Weapon Proficiency: Food Processor
Craft: Add split peas, lentils and stock to a large pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Meanwhile, remove the tough ends from the asparagus. Thinly slice so the asparagus pieces are roughly the size of the peas. Add to the pot and stir. Roughly dice onion, celery and carrot. Add to a food processor with garlic cloves and pulse until well minced. Add the vegetables to the pot and stir to combine. Add spinach and parsley to the food processor and pulse until minced. Add to the pot and stir again. Let the soup simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Season to taste. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and parsley sprigs if desired.

Strategies: You hide nearly any vegetable in this soup. Just try to stick with the green colored onces and make sure they're well minced! If you want to add a kick to the soup toss in some hot sauce and/or red pepper flakes. This soup makes a relatively big batch but it also freezes well to make a quick reheat meal when needed.

LFM: Serve with rolls or cornbread.

  • Dried Split Peas | $0.30
  • Dried Lentils | $0.30
  • Vegetable Stock | $2.00
  • Onion | $0.50
  • Celery | $1.00
  • Carrot | $1.00
  • Ham | $2.00
  • Asparagus | $2.50
  • Spinach | $2.00
Total Cost: $11.60
Cost Per Serving: $1.45

Category: Casual

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