Monday, August 22, 2016

Richard Armitage

Guys. I have been looking forward to today for a year. No joke. Last yea
r around this time I finally gave in to peer pressure and watched BBC's North And South. People had been telling me to watch it for about seven years. And I kept finding other things to do and I thought it was based on that Civil War book of the same title. Oh, how wrong I was. It has nothing to do with America and everything to do with the character named John Thornton played by Richard Armitage. I fell IN LOVE with the story and watched it on repeat for, like, a month or something. Crazy/ridiculous/awesome.

And then, after my marathoning of the mini series, I decided to
look up who played Mr. Thornton because he did a really good job and I was curious if I'd seen him in anything else. I was surprised when I discovered that I had in fact seen him in a couple of different things. The Hobbit being one of them. Which is hilarious because I remember watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on New Years Eve with a guy friend and at the end I remember telling him, "You know, that main dwarf was almost attractive. I wonder if I've seen him in anything else." And my guy friend just rolled his eyes and we went about the rest of our day. And I forgot about the almost attractive dwarf. And I didn't watch the rest of the Hobbit movies until last year.

So yeah, Richard Armitage. I read on Pinterest somewhere that he doesn't like being reminded of his age on his birthday, is that a real thing? I have no idea. Sometimes Pinterest lies. But if so, that's funny. Hence why I just put the number 5 on his birthday cake that I will go into later. I also read on Pinterest that he is a huge anti bullying advocate, which I greatly respect. And he's a bit of an introvert which I TOTALLY relate to. He gre
w up in Leicester, which is in northern England and joined the circus in Budapest when he was 17 to get his equity card. He has such a rich, deep voice and sounds amazing when he sings. He also plays the guitar, flute and cello.

I barely missed his birthday last year because I didn't know who he was yet and I was so mad that I missed it that we had a Richard Armitage marathon in September when I discovered who he was. He currently holds the #1 spot on my Top 5. He knocked Tom Hiddleston off last September and has maintained the #1 spot ever since. I would LOVE to work with him at some future date. I think he is a phenomenal actor.
If you don't know this for yourself, I highly recommend watching North and South, BBC's Robin Hood series (even though the costuming is abominable the first three seasons and it's trying so hard to be as great as Merlin, but it's not. Watch it for Richard and nothing else), The Hobbit movies, the second half of the last season of Hannibal. His role is mostly silent in that, and he plays a killer, but if you want to see his acting ability, he is so amazingly good. Also, you should watch him in The Vicar of Dibley. I think that is one of my favorite roles of his. I love the character and he has mentioned that his character, Harry Kennedy, is probably the most like him in real life. Which is wonderful because his character was so awesome on that show. You also need to find a copy of The Crucible from The Old Vic theater in London in 2014. Richard plays John Proctor and Oh. My. Gosh. He is phenomenal. I know I already used that word, but I felt stupid saying that he's really really really really really really good in it. Because he is. Holy cow. He's amazing. Go watch it. Or, if we're friends in real life let me know because I have a copy of it. And I'll gladly watch it again.

Because he is at the very top of my Top 5, I decided to make an AMAZING birthday cake for Richard even though he may not ever see it. Which would be sad. But I'm the one who is going to eat it with some friends during my Richard Armitage marathon, so it had to be good, and I think this is the most amazing cake I've ever made. No joke. It's a triple chocolate cake because I read on Pinterest somewhere that Richard loves chocolate and I'd like to think that if he were actually here to celebrate his birthday he'd enjoy the amazing cake I made. So, here's the recipe!!

The original recipe comes from Recipe Girl's blog HERE.

Triple Chocolate Cake

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2/3 cup + 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons light (white or golden) corn syrup

For the cheesecake layer, which you will want to make first, preheat the oven to 325. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and then set aside to cool a little before adding it to the cheesecake batter. While that is cooling down, cream the cream cheese until it's nice and soft. Then add the sugar and the cocoa. I use a rich, fancy cocoa and it actually does make a difference. This cake is amazing and I recommend going all out for it. Buy the expensive 70% cocoa chocolate bar. Buy the fancy cocoa for the cake. It will be the most amazing cake you've ever tried in all your life. I promise.

Any way, once you add the cocoa and sugar, add the eggs one at a time mixing it thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.  Then, slowly pour in the chocolate. Mix until just combined. Pour into a 9 inch springform pan. This batter will be thick, so be aware of that. Then, pop it in the oven for 45 minutes. You can bake it in a water bath, but I have found it still works either way.

Once the cheesecake is done, you want to cool it down before you use it. This can take a couple of hours, so plan accordingly.

While the cheesecake layer is baking, you're going to mix up the cake itself. Start by grease and flouring two 9 inch round pans. This is essential so that you can get the cakes out perfectly. Once the pans are prepared, set them aside. Then, in a stand mixer combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda and wisk them together. Then add the eggs, butter, 1/4 cup of buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix on a low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, then turn the mixer to high for 2-3 minutes to get the batter nice and fluffy. Once the batter is well mixed, slowly add the remaining buttermilk. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then mix for 30 more seconds to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed. Pour into your prepared pans and turn the oven up to 350 degrees after the cheesecake layer is finished baking. Bake these cakes for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn them onto a cooling rack to finish cooling outside the pan.

Once you are ready to assemble your cake, you are going to melt the 2 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips and the butter in the microwave melting in 30 second spurts until it is completely melted. Once melted, add the corn syrup and sour cream and stir until well combined. Then, let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes until it is to a consistency that you can spread it on the cake. Frost the cake and then viola! You'r ready to curl up on your amazingly comfortable couch and watch this youtube video of Richard reading you a bedtime story!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sebastian Stan

Okay, I'ma be straight with you guys. I didn't actually know who Sebastian Stan was before I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I was sad when he died in the first one, but mostly because then Cap was sad and Captain America is my favorite Marvel superhero. That's also why I started with Chris Evans' birthday back in June. Because he's my favorite.

So, after I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I thought that maybe I should look up The Winter Soldier because he was sad. Because he didn't actually want to be the bad guy. And then I realized that I HAD seen him before. He's the Mad Hatter.

Have I mentioned yet that I kind of LOVE Once Upon A Time? Like, I have seen every season at least three times. Including the season that just ended in May.
I'm a total #captainswan shipper. That's the nerdiest thing I've ever written on a blog before.  Do I have a problem? Maybe. Do I want to fix it? No. I digress, SO, Sebastian Stan shows up a few times in the first two season of Once Upon A Time and does a magnificent job as the Mad Hatter. A completely different style of Hatter than Johnny Depp's, but brilliant none the less.

He was also on Gossip Girls for about 11 episodes. He was also on The Martian, which was a really good movie! He was in The Covenant, which I haven't seen but have heard a lot about.

So, I've actually met Sebastian Stan. See how long my hair was? Sometimes I really miss having long hair. It was so pretty. sigh.
I met him at Salt Lake Comic Con, and so far I've only met him and Chris Evans of the people I've featured on here.
And they both signed this poster. And Sebastian spelled my name wrong. How do you spell a name as crazy as mine wrong? You forget one of the Es. *shakes fist at the sky* but he was really really nice, so I'll forgive him. More so than Manu Bennett who signed the cover of my Arrow graphic novel and now it's coming off. grrr.

Sorry. Let's get back to the point. Sebastian Stan. He's been on so so many things. Check out his IMDb profile HERE. He's a really nice person in real life. I didn't know I was starting this blog when I met him or I would have asked what his favorite dessert is, so since I don't actually know, I made Margarita Cupcakes. Yes, I know what you're thinking, and I assure you they are as delicious as they sound.

Also, I haven't mentioned this before, because there was no reason to, but these cupcakes have no alcohol in them as I don't drink alcohol, so if you're thinking that maybe I've just become a drinker, I haven't. It's cool. Just try them out.

Margarita Cupcakes
This recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker and can be found HERE (her recipe does include tequila). I made a couple of changes for the cupcakes I made and have included them below:

For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
5 Tbs. lime juice
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

For the Lime Frosting:
½ cup butter, at room temperature
¼ cup shortening
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
Pinch of coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pull out your liners and line a regular 12 count muffin tin. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy. This takes about 5 minutes. It IS worth it. Completely worth it, trust me. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime juice, and vanilla. Mix until combined. It will look curdled at this point, which is totally normal. Don't even worry about it.

Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix only until incorporated. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. The original recipe says it makes 12 cupcakes, but I got 12 cupcakes and then 12 mini cupcakes. Bake for 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Be sure and rotate the pan half way through.

For the frosting, I combined the shortening and butter and whipped them on medium high speed in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment until they were well combined. Then I added the salt, vanilla, and lime juice and mixed until combined.
I add powdered sugar last so that I can stop when I get the right consistency. I add it slowly and then mix until well combined so that I don't get too stiff of frosting. When you do hit the consistency you're looking for (I need a frosting that will hold it's shape, but not be too stiff), stop mixing and frost those cupcakes!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chris Hemsworth

A number of years ago everyone was talking about how much they disliked this movie that wasn't as good as Iron Man and that Marvel was very hit and miss with their movies. Their last movie, The Incredible Hulk, had not done so well. And now they gave us this new movie with this new actor that no one in America had ever heard of and it was full of Norse mythology and what was Marvel thinking?
This is what Marvel was thinking:
And I think they were geniuses. Because Thor was actually a really good movie. I remember seeing it the first time. My best friend and I went to see it in 3D at the cheap theater. Because I hadn't heard anything about it. I wasn't a comic book reader yet and knew literally nothing about Thor. BUT, after watching the movie, I quickly learned. Haha. I think I stopped at Barnes and Noble on my way home from the theater to pick up a Thor comic book. And then looked up the animated Avengers series. AND I even learned how to pronounce the name of Thor's Hammer, Miljnor, though I love Kat Denning's pronunciation in the movies (mil-mya!). And then, I had to know who played Thor. Chris Hemsworth. Never heard of him before. But he is super attractive. And then I saw a picture of him and his wife! And they're so cute! See:
And they have three kids that are also so cute!!
And then a bunch of other movies came out with him in them and I was like, 
"thank you, Hollywood. You are very smart!" 
And then I saw his brother, Liam, in the Hunger Games and I was like "their whole family must just be beautiful people" and they are. And the world has been blessed because of them. 
I'm pretty sure he has prettier hair than
me in this picture.
Any way, Chris Hemsworth has been on my future BFF list for a long time and I would love to work with him one day if I ever make a movie with the most ridiculous budget so that I can afford to hire him. But that's neither here nor there. We'll take it one day at a time, you know? 

Any way, in honor of his birthday I'll be watching all both of the Thor movies, all both of the Avengers movies. I'm definitely watching The Huntsman: Winter's War because it was better than the original. The first 10 minutes of Star Trek (you know, until he dies, then I turn it off. haha), and if you want to know what else he's in, check out his IMDb page HERE!

Any way, I have so much respect for the Hemsworths and think they are the most amazing people. 

And to celebrate Chris's 33rd birthday today, I made a classic treat, because he has become one of my favorite actors that I will always go back and watch his movies, making him a classic. So, without further ado, I give you.....Rice Crispy Treats!!!

Rice Crispy Treats

1/2 cup butter
8 cups miniature marshmallows
9 cups Rice Crispy Cereal
1 Tsp. Vanilla
A pinch of Salt

I took my old family recipe and a few other ideas I got from Pinterest and kind of created my own. So, they are the classic recipe, but with a little bit more flavor. The vanilla just adds this little extra umph that is so so good. 
So, grab a 9x13 inch pan and lightly spray it with non stick spray. Some people line theirs with tinfoil and then spray the tinfoil, I say do whatever you like best. 
Then, melt the butter in a big pan on your stove. Once the butter is melted, add the marshmallows and stir them until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the cereal. Mix until well combined and then pour into your prepared pan. Press into pan and then wait for them to cool. Once ready, cut and serve!! Yuuummmmm!!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sam Worthington

Once upon a time I started writing a book. The book was called Changing Tyde. Technically, I'm still writing it. But that's neither here nor there. 
Now, when I write a story, especially one I've been working in as long as Changing  Tyde, I tend to cast the roles as if it were a movie because I see all of my stories as movies in my head. The main character in Changing Tyde is a very attractive actor named Jason Tyde (hence the title.... See what I did there?) so, I had thought about a number of actors that I thought would do a good job, but no one was really sticking out to me until I watched Terminator Salvation. Odd, I know, and I was most of the way through the movie when there was this scene and Sam Worthington's character is looking directly at the camera and I paused the movie and walked up to my TV and just thought 'Oh my gosh. There's Jason Tyde. Right there. He's him.' no joke, that'd what happened. So, of course I had to go look him up. And then watch everything he's ever been in. because that's how  I roll. 
So. Sam Worthington. He is 5'10" born in the UK, but raised in Australia. He has dark hair and blue eyes, which I am a total sucker for. I see a guy with dark and blue eyes and almost swoon every time. I wish that was a joke, but it's not. 
He was the first actor to claim the #1 spot on my top 5. What is my tip 5, you ask? Well, its basically just my top 5 favorite actors. Over the years I added some rules to it that I can't explain. Like, no one in my top 5 can be married because I think that's disrespectful. I don't know why. So, Sam held the #1 spot for years until I found out who Zachary Levi was. No joke. Of he's not married, because I honestly don't know, but if he's not, he's got the #4 spot.
I think he will always be who I think of when I am writing Changing Tyde. He has also appeared in a lot of action movies such as Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, Avatar, Man on a Ledge, and of course, Terminator Salvation. I feel like he's rather under rated, but I love his movies. 
He's very good at beating people up and being awesome and I highly recommend giving some of those movies a watch. Because I know most of you haven't seen them all. You could even play a drinking game with Man on a Ledge. Everyone takes a shot whenever they say "man on a ledge". Haha. I don't drink alcohol, so I'd have to come up with something else, but you get the point. 
You can check out his IMDB credits here
He's got some new stuff coming out that I will definitely be seeing. And not just because he's in it... Probably... 
And so, on to our delicious dessert for Sam's fantastic birthday. He's 40 today, btw. In case you were curious. But yeah, so I made these AMAZING Brownie Chocolate Chip Thumbprint cookies. I found the recipe on Chelsea's Messy Apron blog. And I'm definitely going to suggest you go check out the recipe HERE because she's AMAZING and has a very fun post about them. And I know that it's awful to just post these pictures and not just put the recipe below like I always do, but seriously, peeps. Just go the Chelsea's blog. You'll thank me. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

JK Rowling

Today is a double whamy. Sort of. Because I don't normally celebrate fictional character's birthdays, but it's Harry Freaking Potter. AND, it's JK Rowling's birthday. And she created Harry Potter, so I feel like celebrating both of them today is important.

Also, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play came out at midnight....I might have gotten it at midnight...and I might have finished it.....but in my defense, it was a play. And, in general, a play should take as long to read as it would to watch. Did you guys know that? I learned that in my first screenwriting class where we wrote a bunch of plays. And for that reason I actually really enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Also, it was a lot of fun to enjoy one last adventure with Harry. 
Cupcakes I made for a class
project a few years back.
I grew up with him. I related to him along the way. That is, until there started to be years and years in between releases and then I was 23 and Harry was 17 and I had to wait a year after it's release to read it. That was a little bit difficult. BUT, I still loved it. I still love all the books. I love them so much that when the actors from the movies come to Salt Lake Comic Con, I go. And I have them sign Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite book). 

I kind of offended Lucious Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) when I met him and it was hilarious. That was not Harry Potter related. But it was still funny. I told him Colin O'Donoghue was my favorite Capt. Hook. And he responded with "Why would you ever tell someone that?!" and then we both laughed. It was funny. 

Any way, back to the subject at hand. JK Rowling. She inspired me to reach for my dreams and become a writer. She showed me that I can create a new world on a page and share that new world with everyone. She reminded me that it's okay to dream. And for that, I will always be grateful. 

In honor of her birthday, and Harry Potter's, I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I also read part of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Because it's still my favorite. And I'm going to fall asleep watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, because it's awesome. 

And I'm going to eat these delicious Lime Tartlets!! 

Lime Tartlets

1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups flour


2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs. butter melted and then cooled
3 Tbs. Lime Juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a couple of mini muffin tins (makes 24, so plan accordingly) with non stick cooking spray. For the crust, combine butter and sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Then add egg and flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Divide into 24 pieces and drop into the sprayed mini muffin tins. I use a tart press to press the dough into a tart shell. You can also use the lid of a 2-liter of soda. Once that is done, gently wisk the eggs and then add sugar, butter and lime juice. Then, pour into the tart shells. Bake for 20-22 minutes. After they bake, Let them set for about 5 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, store them in an air tight container in the fridge. When you're ready to serve, I usually sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top of them to finish them off. They taste delicious! Enjoy!!