Author Archives: ashley

About ashley

Hi I'm Ashley, Promotions Manager for Fox 28, Fox 11, and Fox 41! Creativity is the air I breathe!!! I love learning new crafts and sharing them with others. In my spare time I am an avid gardener in a tiny apartment. It requires more ingenuity and imagination than you think. ;)

Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13)

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy...Milano..Ph: Film Frame..?Marvel 2014

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WARNING: Plot Spoilers Ahead!!!

Greetings Fans of Fox, I’m Dan, the new movie review blogger on this little chunk of the Interwebs. Full disclosure: this is actually the second movie I’ve gone to see for the sake of reviewing, the first was Lucy and that didn’t go so well. Suffice it to say that I didn’t enjoy it and I strongly suggest watching something like Hercules instead.

Today we have better fare: Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie that made it completely clear in the trailers that it doesn’t take itself seriously. That’s an important trait in an action movie where two of the leads are a talking raccoon demolitionist and a sentient tree that only speaks three words. After a brief intro scene of dramatic back-story that makes you wonder if you’re watching the wrong film we’re launched forward 26 years to the present day to see what’s become of Peter Quill, our protagonist. What follows is something I’ve never actually seen on the big screen that completely destroys any lingering melancholy from the intro.

Guardians is not a complicated movie. Scrappy outlaws band together to fight a big bad. The motivations and personalities of every character is clearly established early on: Quill is essentially Han Solo and every scoundrel hero you’ve ever seen, Gamorra is the femme fatalle badass with a tortured past she’s bottled up, Rocket is the victim of inhumane experiments that left him with a huge chip on his shoulder and a bit of an inferiority complex, Drax is a musclebound wrecking ball who takes every sentence literally, and Groot is Groot. Much like The Avengers, Guardians spends much of the early acts having the characters spend more time fighting each other instead of working against the actual genocidal fanatic reaping a swathe of destruction in his hunt for them and the mystic mcguffin they’re carrying (spoiler to pretty much no one: it’s an Infinity Stone).

Also standing out is Michael Rooker as Yondu, Quill’s abductor/surrogate father/secondary antagonist for much of the movie. He’s a sort of pirate king running a band called Ravagers that’s apparently large enough to be known to the galaxy as a whole yet small enough that the entire fleet can spend its time running after a single renegade member. The relationship between Yondu and Quill is hilariously twisted, with Yondu repeatedly bragging about how he didn’t let his men eat the younger Quill when they first picked him up (though it’s revealed that they were actually there because they’d been hired to abduct him as cargo for his father).

I’ve spent four paragraphs avoiding talking about much of the plot because, honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of it. Good guys acquire the mcguffin, they figure out what it is, bad guy gets the mcguffin and gains phenomenal cosmic powers, good guys band together to get the mcguffin back, save the day and kill the bad guy. Along the way we get some fantastic set pieces, ridiculous outfits, and hilarious one-liners, as well as a jaw-dropping after credits cameo that’ll probably leave half the viewers scratching their heads in confusion as to who the character is, and the other half simply confused that they chose to have him show up.

All told, this movie is 121 minutes of ridiculous fun with one of the better soundtracks I’ve ever heard. It gets my full approval and you should go watch it. Also, it has Karen Gillan, which is more than motivation enough to see it in my book.

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Pinterest Impossible: The Pasta Strikes Back!

Source: http://www.yellowblissroad.com/one-pot-cheesy-smoked-sausage-pasta-skillet/

 

THE PASTA STRIKES BACK

I am a huge fan of all things easy, tasty, and cheesy. When I found Pinterest, recipe books that I had so carefully collected over the years have sat forlornly on the shelf collecting dust and watched jealously as I poured over pins looking for my next meal inspiration. I stumbled across this particular recipe when struggling to find something easy for dinner one night that fit all my necessary criteria. Most importantly I already had ingredients on hand to make it.

However, my victory was short lived. Making the creation as it was written in the recipe was edible to be sure, but terribly bland severely not attractive. When reading the description, the writer claimed savory sausage and fragrant garlic, onion, and tomatoes would draw the family in… It certainly did smell good while cooking, but when eating I mostly just tasted cheese and watery tomatoes in the finished product. I decided to undergo the process a second time with some slight alteration to see if the result would be better.

My apologies that I neglected to document the result the first time, but honestly you didn’t miss THAT much. Just look at my pictures and imagine them looking washed out and less appetizing. It will be hard work I know, but I believe in you!

The name of the recipe, One-Pot Cheesy Pasta, screams simplicity and few dirty dishes. Everything you could want when cooking! And true to its name, I only had to utilize one pot for the process. All told, cooking took me about 20 minutes but I did linger on cooking a few ingredients a little longer than recommended.

My first alteration for the second round was to change the kind of sausage I used. The recipe calls for Smoked Turkey Sausage, which was ok but the smoked flavor was lost and it just became an incomprehensible mess of cheese and chunks of meat product. I substituted for some Andouille Sausage I had left over from making Jambalaya last week, and boy did that make a difference! Andouille Sausage is pretty comparable price-wise to regular smoked sausage, but it has just the right amount of spice in it to shine above the cheese and tomatoes without adding overwhelming heat. It is by far a more flavorful option, but if you have issues with using any spice when cooking then stick with the Turkey.

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Cooking the onion and sausage together works fine, and saves time, but I also added the garlic sooner than what the recipe suggested. By adding a little more garlic and cooking it longer the finished product had a more pronounced roasted garlicky taste than when I had just cooked it for the 30 seconds recommended.

An issue I had with the first round was how watery it turned out (which prompted this to be a Pintrest Impossible entry). It was a combination of two things: using fat free milk instead of half-n-half or cream, and not draining the can of tomatoes before adding it in. I would like to make clear that the recipe does not call for you to drain the can of tomatoes before you add it! I can hear all of you reaching for your keyboards… You can totally make the argument that I should have known to do that in the first place. But, considering how much pasta goes into this concoction the amount of liquid when I added the pasta seemed completely reasonable to me… Until the finished product reared its malformed and juicy head that is. So please, do yourself a favor, use cream (which thickens better than milk) and drain the tomatoes. The noodles won’t come out too soft and the “sauce” as it were will be nice and thick and flavorful!

The scallions were the one ingredient I did NOT have the first time around, and really do help with taste and curb appeal. I made sure to have scallions on hand the second round… it was SUCH an improvement. Please don’t neglect the scallions; it adds to the texture and the green really pops making the dish look so much better in my honest opinion. In this image I added the scallions directly to the pot to show how cool I am in making something that resembles a pretty picture from Pinterest… but next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time), I’ll just add them to the bowl right before serving. A minor nit-pick, but I think leftovers will taste better with fresh instead of mushy scallions when it gets re-heated.

All in all my verdict for second time around was a resounding SUCCESS!

Live long and cheese in peace viewers.

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