Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From the Kitchen: Fry Bread

Being born and raised in Oklahoma, Indian Tacos are an essential part of life. You can't go one summer without seeing at least one Indian Taco fundraiser. So, what are Indian Tacos? Other than amazing, they are chili, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream piled on top of fry bread. What's that last bit? I had some trouble explaining this to my husband. The closest I got was "Like a pita, but fried." That's not that close, really, but it's the closest I could get. It should be crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Here's my recipe. It's fast, easy, saves well, and you can top it with honey or butter and cinnamon sugar or make breakfast tacos with eggs and sausage on top or something. My favorite's the one with honey.

Indian Fry Bread
You will need:
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
vegetable oil for frying

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the water and milk and mix until it starts to ball up. Turn it out on a heavily floured surface, and with very floured hands, kneed lightly. If you kneed too long, it gets dense, and we're not going for that. Refrigerate it for thirty minutes. While it's chilling, pour about an inch and a half of vegetable oil into a cast iron skillet and heat it up to at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotter the oil, the faster it cooks. The faster it cooks, the crispier it will be on the outside and the lighter it will be on the inside. Divide the dough up into four equal portions. Again with the flour, flatten each ball out into a disk about 8 inches across. CAREFULLY (I use a wide spatula and a fork) slide one disk into your heated grease. Like frying anything else, this gets noisy and dangerous. Watch out for grease splatters. After about a minute, check the underside. If it's golden brown, flip your disk over. When the "top" is golden to match the "bottom," take it out. I put mine on a plate with paper towels to suck up some of the grease. Repeat for the other three disks, and you've got a wonderful base for an Indian Taco.

This recipe doubles nicely, too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

World of Warcraft: Vashj'ir

Wow. It's been a while. I've had work and Josh and I had a friend over for the weekend and all sorts of other nonsense. Working in the morning is not conducive to blogging in the morning. This nightmare of a job should be over soon, though. I'm trying to get a different job.

So what happened to getting to see something I'm working on? I haven't had time to work on anything. The last thing I made was the start of the Sarah dress. I'll have to try to finish that this week. I did get a hot glue gun, though, so I'm going to try and make a top hat for my upcoming Steampunk costume. We'll see how that goes.

Now... On to World of Warcraft. I knew there was a reason I chose Tuesdays as WoW blog days. Patch day! I am WoW-less today. Is it 4.1 patch day? I kinda hope so. Us 'locks don't get a lot of changes, but the ones we do get look pretty sweet. Rain of Fire does 25% more damage, and Mana Feed give back more mana when you're using a Felguard or Felhunter. Another useful feature they're throwing in goes with Dungeon Finder. That system will try not to put two DPS of the same armor type (cloth, leather, etc.) together. Loot will become much easier!

And now... The moment you've all been waiting for... My thoughts on the underwater Cataclysm zone of Vashj'ir! In short, this is my favorite zone from the new content. I thought Hyjal was good, and I really liked Twilight Highlands, but oh my. Vashj'ir was wonderful! I waited until I had done everything else to do this one and I kinda wish I hadn't. Being underwater for 140+ quests did not sound like my cup of tea. It's really not that bad, though. You get "Sea Legs" pretty close to the start, so you can run along the floor and you get a movement speed increase. After a few quests of that, you get your seahorse. It's an underwater only mount that you can only use in Vashj'ir, but it makes the whole thing go by faster. I was lucky and started out with my Turtle mount (from fishing). He's not as fast as the seahorse, but he's a whole lot cuter.

Vashj'ir's main faction is Earthen Ring. The first guy you talk to down there is in the ER, and most of the people you will quest for are also part of it. I like Earthen Ring a lot. Sometimes I wonder if I should be a Shaman instead of a Warlock. Enough of that, though. If you need gear and you are a healer, I suggest getting your reputation up with these guys. They've got a ton of it.

Your primary enemy is not the Twilight's Hammer. No, you get to slaughter a ton of Naga, who have teamed up with the TH. The foul creatures are sinking ships and carrying off the passengers to mine pearls inside an old clam-god named Nespirah. There's some cultists in there that you get to mess up as you save Nespirah from becoming a weapon of destruction. After that you get the shard of a broken trident. One of the shaman sends you on a few quests to attune yourself with it. I turned into a Battlemaiden of Naz'jar and helped ward off an invasion of Kvaldir, found an important artifact for a summoning ritual, and otherwise helped in the miserable end of the quest-line in Vashj'ir. Of course, these were things that the Battlemaiden had already done and I was "reliving" them.

Long story short, the Naga summoned the Kraken that sunk the ship you were on at the very beginning of the quest-line. The Kraken is some sort of horrible enemy of Neptulon. The Naga aren't content with ruling Vashj'ir; they want the realm of the Tidehunter, too. All of the things you did as the Battlemaiden are now coming to fruition. You go to the big purple swirly vortex of terror with Captain Taylor and the shaman that picked you up at the beginning. Neptulon shows up. And then Naz'jar shows up with a bunch of Naga and her new pet Kraken. I will leave the rest for you to figure out. Needless to say, I almost cried. Seriously.

Some time tomorrow I will post a recipe for Fry Bread. If you've not had it before, you're in for a real treat. I was thinking about making another batch today.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From the Kitchen: Red Beans and Rice

I love this dish. It is amazing! If you want to make me happy, make me red beans and rice. WARNING: It does take a while. Quite a while. Up to 60 hours, really.

You Will Need:
1 pound red kidney beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4-5 ribs celery, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ham hock (or a slice of ham, diced)
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced diagonally
3/4 t. thyme
2 bay leaves
4-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 dash Worcestershire sauce 
1 t Creole seasoning
Salt to taste

How to do it:
If you want, soak the beans overnight. Then drain them, cover with twice as much water as you have beans, bring them to be a rolling boil. Boil them for an hour. While they're happily bubbling away, work on the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Once they're chopped, saute them until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and saute two minutes more. Drain the beans, put them back in the pot, and add everything else. Everything. From onion to salt. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to (preferably) 3 hours. When it starts getting creamy, adjust the seasonings to your liking. Serve over rice. Or, cool it, refrigerate it overnight, reheat it, and serve it for dinner the next day. It's even better, trust me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WoW: Planning a Wedding

I'm back on that wonderfully addictive Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG for short), World of Warcraft! Things started looking up and now I'm back to being Phwoosh, the cuddly little fire-throwing gnome.

Most of my time the last three days has been spent in Twilight Highlands, and it's my favorite content for Cataclysm. I haven't done the underwater zone yet. Deepholm was a little boring. Mount Hyjal was fun, but I got bored with it pretty quickly. Twilight Highlands, on the other hand, has a lot of little things that I like. The first to come to mind is the reference to one of my favorite books. You're sent to kill a couple two-headed ogres named Za'brox and Beeble'phod. Rearrange that and you get the name of a two-headed man from Betelgeuse: Zaphod Beeblebrox.

I loved it.

Another part I loved about that quest was that you didn't actually "need" to pick up the heads. The quest giver thinks it's odd and tells you that he would have believed you if you'd just said you'd killed the ogres. It brought back memories of "Go kill this guy and bring back his [body part]" quests.

Earlier in the zone, you get to plan a dwarfish wedding. You have to find "something bold, something brewed, something stolen," and  "something stewed." It makes me wish a little bit that Josh and I had done a Wildhammer wedding. Then again, Cataclysm wasn't out when we got married. It was fun anyway. You get to write a song and make a headdress and even walk the bride down the aisle! Even the part where the preacher turns into a giant tentacle-dwarf-man is fun... If you didn't change out of your armor and into something presentable for the wedding...

Yeah. Don't do that. Just stay in your miss-matched armor.

I have a feeling I'm almost finished with this zone, and then I'm backtracking to the underwater place. I should have Loremaster of Cataclysm by the end of the week. Then it's off to Westfall! I'm going to get the Loremaster title. Might as well start somewhere fun.

Well, I'm off. It's really late, and I have to wake up tomorrow to give you all a recipe. I think it's going to be red beans and rice, since that's the best thing I've made in a few days.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rare Sunday Update: Wedding Photos

I'm posting this to link to somewhere else. These are pictures taken on November 20, 2010... The day I got married!

Here's my dress. Ok, next!
Ok. I'm kidding. This is the dress I bought when my mom, sister, and I left to get some graham crackers. It was in the bottom of a box of evening dresses the thrift store owners brought down because they wanted the fashion show my sister was giving them to continue. It was a whole $45. I had a $50 in my wallet from selling back text books the day before.

Here's a better one of the dress. You get a train shot in this one. You also get to see the shirts I made for the groomsmen.

Here's one of the whole party. From left to right: Amanda (roommate from OCU), Kenzie (the girl I adopted as my sister), Sarah (my sister and maid of honor), Me, Josh, Thommeh (Josh's best man), Jake, and Cameron (all three were roommates from OCU). The two little ones are Brooklynn and Taya, girls I've known since their mamas were pregnant with them.

I made all the purple dresses and the guys' shirts. The dresses were an experience. I learned a lot with them on basic dress construction and linings and trim. The guys shirts taught me about hand sewing and gathering, mostly.

This one's just cute and I want to post it. Also, yes. I am barefoot. I didn't wear shoes when I got married.

This is one of my favorite photos from that day. Yeah, I'm all sorts of different colors where the tan is concerned, but you know what, it's fine. I'm freaking beautiful.

I'll put the bouquets and table toppers and everything else up later. My laptop is freaking out.


Friday, March 4, 2011

The Sarah Dress

Hello, new followers! It made my day to see your names on my Following list. It really did.

On to the post! This is for my sister, Sarah. I changed some numbers in the Princess Seam Bodice Generator and then didn't make a new pattern to fit myself... So the dress won't fit me. Rawr.

It's made out of an old skirt I bought while out with my mom five or six years ago. We were looking for something I could cut up and make into a fairy outfit. This wasn't used. I just cut the bottom of the skirt off at about the length I wanted it to be and used the cut-off part to make the bodice. I'll make straps and ties for it out of that, too.

It's fully lined and will have a zipper in the back.

Here's a detail of the waist, where I attached the made-by-me bodice and the ready-made skirt:

To do this, all I did was line up the bodice seams with the pleats in the skirt, put the blue right sides together, the lining right sides together (to make a big fabric sandwich), and sew it all around.

I'm waiting for light blue thread to finish it, since I can't very well do anything without it at this point. My husband and I are mostly out of the hole now, though, so I should be able to get that, no problem!

I'll post the completed dress when I can get it on Sarah and make sure it fits. Then there will be action shots of her in her new dress with her awesome hair.

There might be a late update tomorrow since I got to go see Megamind and Deathly Hallows again the other night. If not... Well... I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From the Kitchen: Irish Soda Bread

I guess this counts as a quick bread since it doesn't need to rise at all. It's really good and takes about an hour from start to finish. You can swirl in some other stuff like garlic or cinnamon sugar, too, making it really versatile. When I made it pre-marriage, my sister would eat it all before anyone else got a chance. Now, as with all bread I make, my husband devours it in all of about thirty minutes. He especially likes the garlic version.

You Will Need:
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 T lemon juice topped off to two cups and left for 5 minutes)
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Sift together (or mix well with fork) flour, salt, and soda. If you want, add 1 T granulated garlic, dill, or whatever. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Turn out onto a floured surface and kneed until smooth. Grease two round cake pans. Place the lump in one and cover it with the other. Bake for thirty minutes. Remove the top cake pan. Bake for fifteen minutes more. Remove and turn out onto a plate. Cover with a towel and sprinkle with water.

Ta da! You've just made the second most wonderful bread in the world, next to French bread.