Sunday, December 19, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Tron Legacy

GRADE: A

The hubby and I went to see Tron-Legacy this weekend.
Let me tell you, this movie was fantastic! We saw it at the Imax and had the full "3-D experience". I am now a firm believer that the original Tron was made before its time. The computer graphics were top notch as the main characters merged from the "real world" which showed in regular 2-D cinematics to the Tron world which showed amazingly in 3-D.


For those of you who remember, the original Tron movie was made in 1982. So, it did not come as a surprise to us that the movie theater was packed with viewers in the 30+ range. I don't think I saw a single teeny-bopper at the 7:00 Saturday night showing! Trust me when I say that I was not upset by the lack of adolescent hormones in the theater. [LOL!] Most of the teeny-bopper nation probably couldn't truly appreciate the evolution of the new movie from the old anyway.

The movie was full of beautiful graphics and was jam-packed with lots of action. We thought that the story flowed well from the old to the new and the actors did a superb job of keeping our interest without seeming too trite or overplayed.

All in all, both the hubby and I give this movie two thumbs up. As a matter of fact, we are trying to figure out a way to go see it again! [LOL!] I say that if you even vaguely remember the original movie and would like to see a good futuristic movie full of action and great CGI, then I recommend going to see this movie. Don't be afraid to spend the extra money to see it in 3-D and if your city has an IMAX theater nearby, go go go!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Chicken Alfredo Pizza



MIDWEEK FEAST: Chicken Alfredo Pizza

One of the blogs that I follow is named "Cooking with Cynthia". I have been eyeballing one of her recipes for a homemade pizza and I finally decided to make it tonight.

Of course, I had to change and adapt the recipe just a little bit (that's what I do). Let me tell you, I think that Cynthia has made me a convert from the store-bought and restaurant pizza lover to a home-made pizza lover. On top of knowing exactly what is going on my pizza, the amount of salt, etc., I feel like it is a lot healthier. That is probably just a delusion considering the amount of cheese I layered on this thing, but at least I did good and only ate one slice. Hmm, as of this exact moment, I have only had one slice... [LOL]

This pizza is really easy to make and let me tell you, it was delicious! Cynthia's original version can be found here on her Chicken Alfredo Pizza page. For my version of her recipe, here are the ingredients and directions:

Ingredients
4-5 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins (thawed, cleaned, and cut into chunks)
1 can Pillsbury pizza crust
8 oz. bag of shredded cheese (I used the mixed Pizza blend)
1/2 cup Ragu Alfredo sauce
1/2 package frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pam cooking spray
Seasoning - to taste
(I used Tony Chachere's creole seasoning, Italian seasonings, black pepper, garlic powder, & onion powder - approximately 1/2 to 1 tsp each.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Directions
  1. Place chopped spinach in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 4 minutes.
  2. Season chicken with whatever seasonings you prefer.
  3. Saute onion and garlic in vegetable oil until soft and tender.
  4. Add chicken and saute in skillet until lightly browned.
  5. While chicken, onion, and garlic are cooking, hand roll pizza crust into pizza pan.
  6. (Optional) Spray pizza crust lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle a light dusting of garlic salt & Italian seasonings onto pizza crust.
  7. Poke holes in pizza crust with fork.
  8. Spread the alfredo sauce on pizza crust evenly.
  9. Add 1/2 bag of cheese (approximately 1 cup).
  10. Squeeze moisture out of chopped spinach and use approximately 1/2 of package. Place onto pizza.
  11. Add onion, garlic, and chicken mixture to pizza, spreading evenly.
  12. Add remaining cheese to pizza (approximately 1 cup).
  13. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese has melted.
  14. Enjoy!
Again, I repeat, this was super easy to make and came out delicious. Disclaimer: if you aren't a garlic lover, feel free to decrease the amount or omit it all together. My happily-stuffed lab rat (aka my dear hubby) gives this two thumbs and a big toe up! LOL
Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Midweek Music Blast: Beyoncé - All I Could Do Was Cry



For whatever reason, I woke up this morning with this song in my head.
I could literally hear Beyonce pouring her heart out in song and so I had to post this.

Here are a few lyrics:
I heard, church bells ringing
I heard, a choir singing
I saw my love walk down the aisle
On her finger, he placed a ring
Ohhh

I saw them, holding hands
She was standing there, with my man
I heard them promise, til death do us part
Each word was a pain in my heart.

Now aren't those some painful words? This song was from the movie, Cadillac Records, and showcases the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists. The movie featured Beyonce Knowles as Etta James, and I have to say I was truly impressed by how her acting skills are evolving and getting better. I thought she played a very earthy and "real" Etta James and I highly recommend seeing this movie if you haven't seen it already.
Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

KITCHEN KREATIONS: Gingerbread Cheesecake Dessert

ginger cheesecake

I found this recipe on the back of the Gingerbread Cookie mix. It can also be found on the Betty Crocker website.
Let me tell you, if you are a fan of gingerbread, either as a cookie or in cake form and you love cheesecake like I do, then you will LOVE LOVE LOVE this dessert! It is so yummy. I give it a definite two thumbs up and will definitely be making it again.

Ingredients

1 pouch Betty Crocker gingerbread cookie mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 Tbsp water
1 egg

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

  1. Heat oven to 375°. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, water and egg until soft dough forms.
  2. Make 5 cookies by shaping dough into 5 (1-inch) balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
  3. Meanwhile, press remaining dough in pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. In large bowl, beat milk, cream cheese and lemon juice with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cooled cookie base.
  5. Crumble 5 baked cookies; sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Cover; refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.

DSC00278

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    KITCHEN KREATIONS: Crock pot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce

    bbq-meatballs2

    The other night the hubby and I were talking about our Superbowl menu. I told him that I had been thinking about making meatballs but I wanted to try this sauce that I found online. The sauce uses chili sauce and grape jelly. Sounds gross, right? That's what he thought too, but I had already tried it before so I knew that as disgusting a combination as that sounds, it actually makes for a really good sauce. Of course I had to modify the recipe a little bit because I am big on seasoning everything, but I have to say it came out really good. For the actual Superbowl party, I plan on making my own meatballs, but since we were mainly trying out the sauce, we used frozen ones that were already cooked. Here is the recipe, hope you enjoy!


    Ingredients
    1 bag frozen “home-style” beef meatballs
    12 oz. bottle chili sauce
    1 cup grape jelly
    ½ cup barbecue sauce
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    1 Tbsp soy sauce
    2 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 tsp garlic powder


    Directions
    1. Place frozen meatballs in crock pot on high.
    2. Combine all remaining ingredients in pot and bring to boil.
    3. Pour over meatballs and let cook in crock pot for 2-3 hours on low to incorporate flavors.
    4. Enjoy!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    TGIF Music Blast: Willow Smith - Whip My Hair


    Ok, so this has got to be one of the catchiest songs out right now. I can't seem to get the little refrain out of my head. Last night this song came on and I tried to "whip my hair". LOL!
    Let me just say that my neck has gotten old and the hair? Yeah, it didn't whip...
    So, I'll leave this new craze to the youngsters with good joints and I'll just enjoy the beat.
    Happy Friday, everyone!

    Here's one of my favorite parts:
    Don't let haters keep me off my grind
    Keep my head up, I know I'll be fine
    Keep fighting until I get there
    When I'm down and I feel like giving up
    I think again.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    KITCHEN KREATIONS: Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice


    MIDWEEK FEAST: Chicken & Vegetable Stir-Fry with Rice

    So today, I was in the mood to try my hand at making my own Chinese food again. So, off to Youtube I went to search for the perfect recipe. I found one with my girl Lila from AsianCookingMadeEasy. I actually combined her Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry recipe with her Chicken in Garlic Sauce recipe. Let me tell you, it came out really good. You should try it. Here’s my recipe.



    Ingredients
    2-3 chicken breasts
    Frozen stir-fry vegetables
    ½ medium onion
    ½ tsp garlic salt
    2 tsp cornstarch
    4 cloves garlic
    2 Tbsp cooking oil

    Sauce Ingredients
    1 cup chicken broth
    4 Tbsp soy sauce
    4 Tbsp oyster sauce
    2 Tbsp sugar
    2 tsp cornstarch with water (thickener)

    Directions:

    1. Remove all of the fat from the chicken and then cut each breast into 1 inch pieces.
    2. Sprinkle these pieces with the garlic salt and cornstarch and mix it in thoroughly. Then set the pieces aside while preparing the other ingredients.
    3. In a large cup, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set this mixture aside.
    4. In a small cup, make the thickener by mixing the cornstarch with a little water just until it dissolves and set it aside.
    5. Heat a non stick wok on high. Once the wok is hot add the cooking oil and let it get hot.
    6. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes to soften.
    7. Add the chicken and stir fry it until it browns, about 6 to 8 minutes. To help the chicken brown quickly, let it sit for about 2 minutes on one side, then stir it, flipping it over. Let it sit again for another 2 minutes before stirring once more.
    8. Once the chicken browns, add in the vegetables and saute until tender.
    9. Add the sauce mixture. Mix everything up together and let the sauce come to a boil.
    10. Once the sauce boils, add in the cornstarch mixture and stir until it becomes thick.
    11. Then remove it from the heat and serve. This is great with both fried rice and white steamed rice.
    12. Eat and enjoy!

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    KITCHEN KREATIONS: Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches with Coleslaw

    WEEKEND FEAST: Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches with coleslaw

    So this morning I was messing around on foodnetwork.com's website and came across a Bobby Flay Throw Down video. He was making pulled pork sandwiches in this episode. Hmmm...
    I've been on this mission for the hubby and I to start eating healthier by making more things at home and limiting ourselves to only going out to eat once per week. I watched the video and thought, I can do that. Then, I went to my 2nd favorite cooking site, Youtube, and typed in slow cooker pulled pork. You wouldn't believe the number of people with videos on how to cook pulled pork in a crock pot. So, I watched a few videos and dashed off to the grocery store. The results were amazing. Don't try this recipe if you are in a hurry or are starving. The pork cooks for hours on high in the crock pot, so we left to run some errands and when we got back, the house smelled heavenly. Hope you enjoy!

    Ingredients
    :
    Slow cooker and disposable liner (works wonderfully!)
    Cooking spray
    Pork tenderloin
    Meat rub seasoning (your preference - we used the Sweet and Spicy flavor)
    1/2 cup apple juice
    cole slaw package mix

    Sauce: (I haven't learned how to make my own from scratch yet, so bear with me...)
    2 bottles of BBQ sauce (again, the flavor is your preference - we used Sweet Baby Rays, Regular
    & Honey BBQ)
    2 Tbs brown sugar
    1 Tbs ketchup
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp garlic salt
    1 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1 tsp yellow mustard
    2 Tbs olive oil
    1 cap full of Apple Cider vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    1. Line slow cooker with disposable liner and spray with cooking spray.
    2. Rinse pork tenderloin well with water and place in slow cooker
    3. Apply rub seasonings to meat. Coat well.
    4. Pour apple juice into crock pot around the meat being careful to not pour over the meat and rinse the seasoning off.
    5. Cover and cook pork in crock pot on high for 5 hours.
    6. Make cole slaw according to package directions. Refrigerate while meat is cooking.
    7. (If applicable) After cooked, pull pork from bone. Discard bone.
    8. Make BBQ sauce.

    a. Mix all sauce ingredients in a pot and bring to boil.

    b. Let boil for 2-3 minutes, then simmer on low heat until meat is ready.

    9. Pour in BBQ sauce. Cook meat and sauce in crock pot for an additional hour to let flavors
    integrate.
    10. Make sandwich being sure to place coleslaw on top.

    Enjoy!!!


    Thanks for the inspiration, Bobby!!!

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    TGIF Music Blast: Cee Lo Green 'Bright Lights Bigger City'



    So, this was my song of the week, family.
    This is Bright Lights, Bigger City by Cee Lo Green from the LadyKiller album.
    Here are just a few of the lyrics from this cool song:
    Yes I need it
    Everybody does
    Cocktails and conversation
    Music and making love

    And it's alright
    It's alright [x5]
    Bright lights and the big city
    It belongs to us tonight

    I don't know why, but this is just such a feel good song to me. I just can't listen to it without bobbing my head or swaying to the beat or something. I seriously listened to this song at least 5 times today. [LOL - obsessive much???]
    So anyway, just take a listen to Cee Lo. This is a great song. I'm thinking it is now my favorite song from his LadyKiller album. Hope you enjoy!
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