Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tom Hiddleston

I daresay Tom Hiddleston was probably the first actor I genuinely wanted to meet in real life. Not just as a fan, but as an equal. I have always felt like Tom was rather down to Earth and just charming. I am not alone in this thinking. MANY woman love and adore Mr. Hiddleston. And who can blame them, really? I mean, everything he does is with such grace and humility that you can't help but love him. And with the accent, I mean, come on! I could literally listen to him all day long. He could read a phone book and I'd melt into a puddle on the floor. And so would everyone else.

He's everyone's favorite 'bad guy' as Loki in Marvel's THOR series alongside Chris Hemsworth. Though I was never a huge Loki fan. I have loved his portrayal of nice and kind characters. Cranford, for example. Even though he's so blonde in that one, it's a little weird. Here is Tom Hiddleston at Nerd HQ this last
summer. It's a half hour well spent (there may be some swearing, I can't remember):

And here he is doing an impersonation of a velociraptor:

He held the #1 spot for a good long while. And he only lost it after a fall from my good graces after I watched him in Only Lovers Left Alive. I get that it's an artsy movie, but the language was atrocious and the content left so much to be desired and after it was over I remember thinking to myself "What even was the point of that movie. AND, why did Tom do it? Didn't he read the script beforehand? WHY DID TOM DO THAT MOVIE?!" and he slipped a little then. And he did a number of projects that, while artistic, left me wondering why he chose that role. But, I am a bit of a traditionalist. I don't usually go to a movie because it's artistic or unique. I don't write those things either. So, I found myself parting ways with Tom and accidentally fell into the abyss of Richard Armitage that replaced Tom.

And, I don't think we need to talk about the crushing, heartbreaking time last summer when I had to take him entirely off the Top 5 list because of a girl that will remain nameless, but none of us really liked her before, and them together made us like her less, am I right? I am. I totally am. And it wasn't because she was dating him. It was because when she was dating him we saw her for what she really is. Because next to him, there was a difference. He is a genuinely good person. I think he would try and save the world if he could. Because that's the type of person he is. He goes to Africa to help the poor and needy. He'd probably give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it. I'm assuming. Because I don't actually know him. But, I like thinking of him that way. I like thinking of him as the charming and sweet guy that spends his free time helping those less fortunate than himself.

 So. Tom Hiddleston. Have you read the GQ article that was just barely written about him? If not, read it HERE. It's worth it, believe me. It reminded me of why I gave him the #1 spot to begin with. It reacquainted me with Tom and made me want to meet him all over again. I would love to sit down and just chat with him for a while. I feel like we'd be friends.

And, it gave me hope that Tom will be in movies that I can watch and not wonder what he was possibly thinking. Plus, he's coming back this November as Loki in Thor:Ragnorok. Can we be excited for that? ABSOLUTELY. I think it will be a fantastic film. And his portrayal of Loki is just beyond stellar. He does such a good job as an actor and gives so much to each role. It's phenomenal.

Have you guys seen him in The Hollow Crown? GO CHECK IT OUT. Also, his portrayal of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris is so great. And, let's not forget his role in Cranford. It was brilliant. For all of his many roles, check out his iMDB profile.

He loves to sing and dance wherever he goes. He is always seen talking to everyone he can and just being a genuinely good person. The world needs more people like Tom Hiddleston in it. And I need to be friends with him. Just saying.

And, in honor of his birthday, just a few days after my own, we have made this amazing Lemon Loaf. I adapted the recipe from Averie Cooks. Check it out HERE.

Lemon Loaf

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon extract, to taste (MUST be lemon EXTRACT. It won't work the same with lemon oil or lemon juice!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency

For the loaf, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Averie makes one big 9x5 inch loaf, I make 3 smaller loafs instead. You want to prepare the pans by either spraying them with a cooking oil with flour, or by greasing and flouring your pans. Then set them aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and sour cream until smooth. Then, slowly stream in the oil while whisking. Don't over mix your batter. Mix until just combined and then add the lemon extract and zest. Then, add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined. There may be lumps, but it'll be fine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake in the oven for 50-52 minutes if making just one loaf, or about 35-38 minutes for three smaller loaves. Check after 35 minutes. They should be lightly browned with a toothpick coming out clean from the center.

Once the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans before removing them. Once cooled, remove from the pans and prepare the glaze.

For the glaze, mix the lemon juice slowly into the powdered sugar in a bowl until the desired consistency is reached. You don't want it too thin, so don't add all the lemon juice at once and then stir. Add it slowly, stirring constantly so it doesn't get too thin. Then, once the desired consistency is reached, drizzle the glaze over the bread. It will taste so amazing, I promise. And then you can go watch a Tom Hiddleston movie and people won't be sure if you're drooling over him or the bread. In reality, it'll be both. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! Enjoy!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Orlando Bloom

Have you ever watched a movie and realized that someone in that movie was, like, super attractive. And you've seen them in other things, but for some reason this movie and this time just clicked for you? And even if all your friends thought this actor was attractive before, suddenly, somehow, you got thrown on the bandwagon. Yeah, that's what happened to me when I saw Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

I was never a fan of Legolas when the Lord of the Rings movies were coming out. I was always a much bigger fan of Viggo Mortenson's Aragorn. I think I am more of a sucker for dark hair, which would also explain why I didn't notice Orlando until Pirates of the Caribbean. Makes sense, right? Right.

I think I saw Pirates of the Caribbean about 10-12 times in the theater when it came out. I don't actually even want to think about how much money that was. Especially since I didn't have a job for half of that time. It was my freshman year of college! Time to party! Learn to stay awake all night and still make it to classes the next day...or not.... I may or may not have almost failed out my first semester. BUT, my roommate's very kind boyfriend bought me a copy of Pirates the day it came out as an early Christmas present. Because he knew of my obsession. And that same roommate bought me a poster that hung above my bed the remainder of the year. And maybe even on my wall after I moved, I honestly can't remember. But if Orlando Bloom was in the cast, I watched it. At least, that was my motto for the next several years. I thought he as an AMAZING actor. I thought everything he did was just stellar. And then I went on a mission for my church. I spent a year and a half in North Carolina not watching TV or movies. And talking to people in the south about Jesus. I did realize the irony of my mission while I was there. But while I was gone, I forgot about Orlando. Mostly.

A friend sent me an action figure as a joke, but it was really funny. That action figure sat on my desk the remainder of my time in North Carolina. I think it's still in a box somewhere. When I got home, things were different. I was different. I had learned a lot about myself over those eighteen months away from my friends, family, and the life I knew. Don't get me wrong, I still watched movies. Oh, and I have not stopped since. But I had become a little bit pickier about what I watched. And how many times I watched it. And somewhere along the way Orlando slipped into oblivion. It also could be because he hadn't done a whole lot over the course of several years.

He did show up in The Musketeers as the villain, and if you need a good laugh GO WATCH THAT MOVIE. It's not as bad as you're thinking. It's actually pretty fantastic. AND, Orlando is a villain. With a ridiculous wardrobe. And a blimp. No joke. Just go watch the movie. It prob
ably won't be a waste of time for you.

And then he disappeared again. Until the Hobbit movies came out and he reprised Legolas again. This time, I felt so sad for his character. It was heartbreaking to watch him lose hope. But, it was also kind of cool to see his character again. And, if any of you are purists of the books, I know he wasn't in them. I know, I know. BUT, it was still great.

To check out all of his movies and stuff, check out iMDB HERE.

So, in honor of his birthday today, I have made eclairs!! They're fancy and look really cool BUT, they also taste AMAZING. Here's the run down on how to make them!!

Homemade Eclairs

CHOUX PASTRY: (pronounced Shoe Pastry, it took me WAY to long to learn that!)

½ cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup all purpose
¼ tsp salt
4 large eggs


1 (4 serving size) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt


1/3 Cup chocolate chips
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp hot water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet, and I would not recommend using a cooking spray. Pull out the shortening and a paper towel and actually grease the pan. The dough won't stick otherwise. And you don't want your choux sliding around!!

In a medium saucepan add the butter and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the flour and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a stiff ball.

Remove from heat and add the eggs one at a time. This is tricky because you don't want the eggs to become scrambled eggs in the pan. I usually make a little indent in the ball and add the egg, then stir it gently, but quickly, until the egg is mixed in. Then, I repeat until all the eggs have been mixed in.

Spoon the dough into a pastry bag with a star tip. You can also form them without a tip in your pastry bag. Pipe the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. They will expand a bit, so don't put them less than an inch apart.

Bake for fifteen minutes at 425, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes. You want them puffy, golden, and hollow sounding when you tap on them. As soon as you take them out of the oven, insert a knife into the end of each to release the heat inside and to keep them puffed and hollow. You will also be using this whole to fill each eclair. Let them cool completely before filling.

You can make the filling while the shells cool. Firstly, beat the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla and salt to stiff peaks and set aside. Hint: You can also use cool whip. Don't tell the hard core chefs that spend forever making everything. Then combine the pudding mix and milk together. Let it set for a minute or two. Then, fold in the whipping cream. Pour into a pastry bag that's either been fitted with a filling tip, or with a small hole in the pastry bag. fill each shell until they feel filled. It takes a little practice, but you'll get the hang of it, I promise.

Then, once the shells are filled, make the icing by melting the chocolate chips and the butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Then, beat the chocolate, powdered sugar and water together. I usually pipe the chocolate on the top, but you can spread it with a knife as well. Then, enjoy!!