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.