Monday, July 25, 2011

Dinner in 30 minutes: Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork

It tastes soooo much better than it looks! My cute neighbor was asking me about this recipe and instead of making her a copy, I told her I'd post it on my blog. I'm always shamelessly trying to get people to read it :)

Ingredients: 2T cornstarch, divided (if you run out like I did, just use flour - it worked fine)
                    1 lb. pork tenderloin or boneless pork chops
                    1/3c water
                    1/4c sugar
                    1/4c cider vinegar (I just used white and it tasted great)
                    3T soy sauce
                    3T ketchup
                    1T oil
                    1/2c chopped cashews (or more or less, depending on your taste)
                    1/4c green onions
                    2T finely chopped ginger root (if you don't want to cut it up, just sub 2t ginger spice)
                    2t minced garlic
                    6-8 oz snow peas, trimmed
                    8-12 oz pineapple chunks, drained

1. Slice pork into super thin strips.

2. Coat pork with 1T cornstarch (just stick in a baggy together, and shake) :)
3. Combine 1T cornstarch, water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and ketchup. Stir with whisk until there are no clumps.
4. Collect everything you'll need next to the stove.

Don't you wich you could smell this right now? Trust me, you do!

5. Heat 1-2T oil in large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork and stir-fry 3 minutes.
6. Add onions, ginger, and garlice. Stir-fry 1 minute.
7. Add snow peas and pineapple. Stir-fry 3 minutes.
8. Whisk sauce ingredients again and pour into pan. Bring to a boil, then cook 1 minute while stirring frequently.
9. Stir in cashew and serve over hot rice.

*The pork should be slightly frozen so you can get it into super thin strips.
*Trimming the snow peas just means to snap off the ends and the stringy parts.
*Do yourself a favor and get unsalted cashews, there's already enough salt from the soy sauce and ketchup!
*Start the rice cooking BEFORE you start cutting up stuff, that way they'll get done around the same time.


p.s. The good news is this makes 4-6 servings and (not including rice) is only 184-275 calories per serving and 5-7 grams of fat per serving! Healthy and scrumptous?! How can you beat that?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"

When has there ever been a movie franchise (let alone one that's based on books) as successful as Harry Potter? I remember when the books were super popular when I was in high school and I refused to read them (mainly because they were super popular). I can't remember exactly why I decided to read them, I think curiosity finally won out. The books don't get any good until book 3 (movies are the same, in my opinion) - and then they continually get better with each book (and again with each movie).
Who could have known those kids cast as the leads those many years ago would actually grow into very credible actors? Anyhow, the movie...
It has all built up to these 2 hours and 20 minutes and what a climax it is. Now, I'm usually not a big book vs. movie person - they're such different mediums that I don't think comparison is really fair. However, there were some things I missed: the timing of Neville's heroism (I know why they did it, to build up tension, but I feel like it's a bigger moment for Neville in the book), and going back into the headmaster's office after it's all done and the reaction Potter gets from all the old headmasters).
Other than those two things though, it was SUPERB!!!! I balled like a baby, I'll admit it. A few times. The music is perfectly intense where it needs to be. The "last stand" at Hogwarts is fantastic! The break-in to Gringott's had me on the edge of my seat. The two things with the most emotional resonance were the Resurrection Stone with his family (though his poor dad didn't get much of a moment with him) and Snape's memories. Gah! Alan Rickman is one of the most talented actors out there, and I always thought he was oddly sexy. But I digress. The way the imagry combines with the acting and just the revelation of the truth is overwhelming! LOVE IT!
So, if you actually haven't seen it yet, get a babysitter if needed and go!
I only wish I could have seen it in a full theatre (we went to a matinee) - I'm sure there was much clapping and whooping (especially when Mrs. Weasley calls Bellatrix a B****!), but when there's only 10-15 people in a huge theatre, there isn't usually too much vocalized reaction :)

I feel the same was about the movie as I did about the last book:
This is soooo much better than a Harry Potter movie/book deserves to be!

By that I just mean that it excedes all previous installments by so much that it really is only bound to them by the material of the story and not by the calibur of presentation.

9/10 Stars

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A good intro to Sondheim's music

There are some shows by Stephen Sondheim that I don't like the music ("Sunday in the Park with George" being one), but overall, I really love that his songs sound like conversations that just happen to be sung. If you want a good introduction to some of his best music performed by an uncomparable cast (Ruthie Henshall, George Hearn, John Barrowman, Bronson Pinchot, and Carol Burnett) then you need to get the DVD of "Putting it Together." It's a musical review with a very flimsy storyline only meant to provide some sort of excuse for the next song. But, they wink at that fact.
The songs are taken out of their original context, obviously, and modernized a bit - I personlly like it!
I seriously cannot say enough good things about it! Here are a few of my most favorites that I could find on YouTube (be aware there is some language and suggestiveness, moderate PG-13 stuff, but just so you're aware):

This first one is Carol and Ruthie killing it on "There's Always a Woman" - comic genius:

And how do you not put the next vid of Bronson Pinchot after that entrance! This is "Buddy's Blue's" - a hilarious look at someone who always wants what they can't have and never wants what they can:

This is possibly the best rendition of "Hello Little Girl," originally from "Into the Woods," where the wolf sings to Little Red Riding Hood. George Hearne plays it like a dirty old man and his voice is pure perfection!

Gah! How do I only choose a few?! Okay only 3 more. I wanted to put in "A country House," which is the perfect example of his songs sounding like a conversation, but whoever had it on YouTube before took it down :(
So, once you get past the fact that Ruthie sings through her teeth sometimes, her control over her voice is inhuman! As evidenced in her rendition of "More" (originally from the motion picture "Dick Tracy," and makes Madonna look like the ametuer singer she really is)And pardon the quality of the picture, it's the only posting of this:

Speaking of inhuman control (and inhumanly good looking!) John Barrowman could sing the telephone book and I think I would still want to listen. Here he's singing "Marry Me a Little" (a completely immature look at marriage)

And lastly, one of the great group numbers. A fast paced one with insane harmony (as befitting Sondheim!):

And there are many many many more gems! I rented it from the library, so you should be able to get it from there. But, I definitely want to own this at some point in the future!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A link to "Snide Remarks:Positive Buzz"

The video of Buzz Aldrin (at 72!) socking a harrassing pest alone is worth clicking on the link below. But, click now and you'll also receive a hilarious perspective on what anyone who's ever walked on the moon should be able to get away with.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wanna see my new Undiez... for my feet?

I came THIS close to putting the second half of that in the body of this post, but I didn't want to scare people too much :) I'm so excited to try these out at my ballet class this week! Why weren't these around when I was doing dance all the time? It's great because you can still get traction (full shoes can be slippery), but you can turn without tearing up your feet. Just imagine the song "I'm so excited!" playing in the background right now :)

Other randomness:

Totally enjoyed doing Yoga with my husband last night. Not sure trash talking is usually done during Yoga, but it was fun anyway :) Which, by the way, I obviously dominated :)

My good friend Rebecca Mckinnon just self-published her first novel!!! I'm attaching links on here and will now, of course, urge all of you to purchase it. Amazon was selling it for only $9!!! And it's eligible for Free Super Shipping. You can also order it in ebook/kindle format.
It's actually really good! It's a cute romance story and quite the page turner. It's the first in a trilogy. I can't wait to get my copy and read her final version! (I had read the rough draft and several versions since).

Her little blurb says:

"Friends or family?
Desire or responsibility?
She thought she’d made her choice.

Now, finding herself trapped in a world splintered from her own, Narissa is determined to return home. Learning that the means of crossing between realities has been lost, she vows to find the elusive gateway.

Narissa doesn’t plan to make friends. She certainly doesn’t intend to fall in love.

Faced with the decision, will she choose the life she wants, or return to the world where she belongs?"

You can buy it here:

you can also enter to win a free copy of it on Goodreads here:

There's only 13 days left to enter - so head over there. Or, just buy it! It's a fast read and you'll love it!
There's my randomness for today :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fantastic fantasy novel...

Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2)Eona: The Last Dragoneye by Alison Goodman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the sequel to "Eon: Dragoneye Reborn," and while you could probably read this without having read the first - I would still recommend reading "Eon" and then "Eona." This is just as fast-paced (well, perhaps a little bit slower) as the first and such a page-turner!

The summary on Goodreads is as follows:

"Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon's army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona's power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the selfstyled "Emperor" Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power-and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans. . . .

Things I love about it:

A love triangle, but it isn't really a choice between two people she loves.

That all parties involved are powerful - no one is on unequal ground.

The characters are sometimes petty, obtuse, greedy, untrusting. Yes, that's on my list of things I like.

The characters also take big leaps of faith in each other, overcome selfishness (sometimes unintentionally) to protect one another.

The dragon storyline and the twist at the end are fantasticly surprising and yet feel inevitable because she set it up so well.

The intrigue and betrayels.

The pull of power on Eona and that it's truly a tempting god-like power.

Both "Eon" and "Eona" are in my top ten favorite fantasy (I count series as one entry) and are next to "Bitterwood" and sequels for dragon stories. Even if you don't like dragons, these are wonderful books!

View all my reviews