Monthly Archives: January 2012

A1 Beef and Noodles

This meal is a combination of households. A marriage of recipes if you will. My husbands favorite “everyday” family meal is a little thing we like to call “Beef and Noodles”. My family doesn’t really have a favorite meal, but we have a favorite condiment, and thy name is A1. We put it on everything we can. Burgers, potatoes, anything we think will taste delicious, and for the record, it usually does.

The first time my husband made me his version of beef and noodles, I thought to myself, Man, this is pretty good… but there’s something that would make this better… A1!!

And thus, A1 beef and noodles was born! It’s super easy and a great winter meal. Hearty and delicious. So without further ado, here’s the deets…

Ingredients: 

2 packages of gravy (either brown or onion gravy will do. I like one of each)
3 shallots
1/2 cup of A1 deliciousness
2 1/4 cups water
1 lb stew beef (I’ve done it with filet too and it was equally delicious)
1 bag egg noodles
1 cup peas (or corn, or peppers, or green beans)
Vegetable oil

Directions:

Grab your favorite skillet, pour in about a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and while it’s heating up, chop up your shallots. Toss them into the heated skillet with a little salt and pepper and get them nice and golden brown. Then add the stew beef and get it browned as well. Then you want to add half the A1 (a quarter cup) and a quarter cup of water. Then lower the heat and let that simmah while you cook up your noodles (as directed on the packaging).

When the noodles are cooked, set them aside and get back to the meat. You want to add the remaining 2 cups of water, the 2 packages of gravy, the remaining A1 and the peas*, and bring it to a boil. Once its been boiling for a solid 30 seconds, add the noodles and stir. And then you’re done!

Sometimes, when I have them, I like to add a few of those delicious French’s fried onions on the top just for fun. And because, as previously mentioned, they’re delicious.

When you’re done, you’ll have a beauty that looks a little like this:

*If you’re using something other than peas or corn, pre-cook them in the microwave before you add them to the mixture

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Categories: Recipes, Sunday Dinner | 4 Comments

Cheesy Spinach Pasta

My husband is one of those people who isn’t the biggest fan of vegetables, so I try to sneak them in wherever I possibly can. And this was one of those magic recipes. Magic recipes are what I like to call “I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner and it’s already 7:30”. I’ve definitely had my share of dinner failures, so when something actually works, it makes me extra happy! I’ve seen a few recipes like the one I made, on other various blogs, mostly via Pinterest (aka – the greatest place on Earth). Unfortunately I never seem to have all the necessary ingredients. So this was kind of an amalgamation of various recipes. The good thing is that being Italian, pasta dishes come naturally to me. And most of my more successful dishes have an Italian base to them. So with that, I present to you, my  Cheesy Spinach Pasta.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb elbow macaroni (but any little pasta will do)
1 1/2 cups of spinach (cooked and drained)
8 slices of pancetta (aka, Italian bacon. Regular bacon will do, I’m sure but pancetta is so so yummy because it’s really thin and seasoned with delicious Italian things!)
10 slices of provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 wheel of Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
2 tablespoons margarine
1 cup skim milk (I think creme might’ve been better but I only had skim so it had to do, and we can always say we did it because it’s healthier)
1 egg
Panko bread crumbs
Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Directions:

First and foremost, you want have your oven pre-heated to 375.

There’s 3 things you want to do at the same time, which is to cook the pasta, spinach and pancetta.

For the pasta, bring your water to a boil (with a pinch of salt and some olive oil). You want to put the pasta in right after you put your pancetta in the oven, because they take the same amount of time to cook (about 8 minutes).

For the pancetta, just throw it on a non-stick pan (I line mine with aluminum foil) and throw it in the oven.

For the spinach, I cook it in the microwave as directed on the packaging.

The spinach will be done first and the pasta and pancetta will be ready soon thereafter.

Once those three tasks are done, you want to take out a BIG bowl (microwave safe). Open all the mini packages of the laughing cow cheese (there’s 8 mini-packages in each wheel), the 2 tablespoons of margarine and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Melt these in the microwave in 30 second increments. If it’s not totally melted, it’s ok. You just want it mostly melted. Then add your cup of milk and 1 egg, and stir.

Once this is mixed together, add the spinach, then the pasta and stir it all up.

Then you want to pour half of this mixture into a pam-sprayed glass pie dish (and 8×8 pyrex would probably be fine too). Then put down the first layer of pancetta (4 slices) and provolone (5 slices). Then repeat. Once that’s done, throw it in your oven for about 20 minutes.

I know you’re wondering, what about that extra mozzarella and those panko breadcrumbs? And didn’t you mention garlic? Yes. I did. But we wait on those beauties until round 2 of baking.

Once your 20 minutes has passed, you want to take it out of the oven, and that’s when we add all the extras. No measurements here really, just “sprinkle measurements”. You want to sprinkle down the mozzarella first, then the panko breadcrumbs, and then just a light dusting of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Put it back in the oven and let it go for another 10 minutes, and you’re good to go.

I paired it with a little filet (which I only ever season with a little bit of salt and pepper, and some olive oil). And it looks a little something like this…

and here’s another little looksee

It was so cheesy, just the right amount of garlicy, and overally the right amount of delicious! I hope you all like it!

Mangia!

Categories: Recipes, Sunday Dinner | Tags: | Leave a comment

American Idol – Galveston

First and foremost, a shout out to my husband who thoughtfully let me watch American Idol over his favorite show, Wipeout. It’s a great show, don’t get me wrong. I think everyone is well aware of my love of watching Zack watch Wipeout. It combines a lot of my favorite things. People falling, people getting hit in the head, and Zack laughing so hard he can barely breath, tears streaming down his face. It’s a beautiful thing. One day I’ll get a video and everyone will understand. But when it’s on at the same time as Idol AND NBC Thursday night, it loses. Until it moves times, it’s American Idol/NBC night in the Baccala household.

The only thing I know about Galveston, is that it’s one of the places NASA is located at, and it was the location of the deadlieset natural disaster in US history. Until last night. I’m pretty sure America witnessed the death of many things… Randy’s common sense (if he ever had any to begin with), me thinking that Randy and Steven know what their talking about… the dreams of legitimately good singers because Randy and Steven are idiots… Let us delve into the spacetrip that was Galveston. Seriously Galveston, you crazy. This episode takes the cake for all kind of crazy things. Who was smoking the magic mushrooms in Galveston? Or maybe it was heroin? I just don’t even know what this episode was. I feel like I didn’t even take notes because I just kept looking at the TV with my mouth agape, wondering what the hell was going on in front of me.

Remember yesterday when I talked about how much I hate Randy? Well I’m glad to have a new member on my team. Jennifer darling, welcome to the dark side. Usually I think that Jennifer is the weakest when it comes to picking talent but tonight, I definitely agreed with her WAY more than I would ever in a million years agree with the dawg. I don’t even want to use his name anymore. I’m going to go with exactly what I wrote in my notes because I think it expresses my most true feelings towards the episode. Totally in order, changing only the tenses of words so it looks like I am writing this today, instead of last night in the heat of my anger…

Phon Vu, I love you. The energy, the emotion, the sympathy (your words, not mine)… I feel like you might have a lot of internet girlfriends… or boyfriends. I don’t discriminate. And dare I say, you may have more of them after tonight. You were so bad you were good and I thank you for that. I did love your emotion, and your Rachel Berryesque single tear while you were singing. Magical.

I enjoyed the “Baby Lock Them Doors” montage. It makes me laugh that all those country boys thought to turn out because in my head they were saying to themselves “Man, I sound better than Scotty McCreery, I should audition for that Idol thing”. Texas, you may be bigger than the rest of us but you haven’t proven anything as far as having any more measurable talent than anyone else.

And that’s when my DVR locked up… and apparently I missed the only valid person to get a golden ticket? I don’t know. I tried to go back and watch it and the DVR kept going black because it apparently doesn’t want me to see good talent? I don’t know. All I saw was a girl on a 4 wheeler with a deer head in her bedroom, that loved her Pop-pop. I don’t know if she got the golden ticket or not.

 Baylie Brown – Did I remember you from 5 years ago? No. But I do remember those two best friend Jersey bitches. And I remember feeling bad for you. That’s really all I remember though. Seeing you from 5 years ago though, I like your hair a lot more now. You definitely looked more mature last night so I hope you do better than you did previously. I think you have potential to compete in Hollywood week this time. Just don’t forget the lyrics. Talk about a pet peeve of mine! Just pick a song you know! And never trust anyone from New Jersey. I have family from there so I can say that.

Kristine Osorio – I’m gonna tell you what bad choices look like. Not to jump up on a high horse, but buying a plane ticket instead of getting your divorce lawyer? No, that wasn’t your bad choice… it was the part about having to take out a loan to do that. How big was the loan? That was either a cheap lawyer or a very expensive plane ticket. You’re lucky that you’re pretty good. Good enough? I don’t think so. I genuinely don’t see you going past Hollywood week. I just don’t… but I am glad you made it because I hate when people do stupid thing and end up sucking, With the way this show is going, I’m sure I’ll see one or two of those by the end of the night.

This is the point where my handwriting gets hard to read. I’m gonna call it my blind rage mixed with my new favorite wine, sweet Moscato… that made my handwriting became borderline illegible. I guess I’ll just have to write what I think I was trying to say, for this part. I definitely remember the emotions…

So this group of ladies that started the whole “Boys vs. Jennifer” montage weren’t that great. The last one with the feather in her hair, I got that they didn’t want her in and I was really fine with it. But that chick Regan (she sang At Last),  how could you say no to her? May I remind you of the crap you let through in Pittsburgh? What were you thinking??? She was REALLY good. Very rarely, and I mean, this is incredibly rare, that you guys give a NO to someone, and I don’t agree with you, but this was just beyond a bad call. I hope that girl comes back, that you don’t remember her and you let her through on her amazing voice, and then she glitterbombs you. Or something to that effect. I’ll be flexible with her method of assault. And if I wasn’t mad enough with who you didn’t let through, you bring me Linda Williams.

You’ll remember her as the one who was so excited  she was about to pee herself… this was really when I began questioning where they get their idea of what is good because ohemgeeeeeeee how are you going to keep her and not keep Regan? I just do not understand. I genuinely believed the dawg and gramma Steven were just messing with Jennifer when they said they liked Linda. When she told Randy to wake up I thought, ok he’s gonna admit he was joking, except that wasn’t what he did at all. Were you blinded by her looks? I did notice that none of the girls you said NO to were very attractive. And I’m actually fine with that. I totally get the vanity side of the business. Was Lindas look a little model-ish that you thought you had a chance? Do you need a chance with this girl? Don’t you guys have wives? girlfriends? fiances? something? I couldn’t agree more with J.Lo that that was awful. Magic Cyclops was better than that woman. The only part of the whole argument I enjoyed was when Steven said “Say you’re sorry,” and JLo said “for what?” I couldn’t agree more! The whole scene where they were getting their make up touched up and Jennifer couldn’t let it go, I wouldn’t have let it go either. I would’ve been furious. They’re going to be apologizing to YOU, Jennifer, when they have to listen to Linda again in Hollywood week. I mean, if you’re going to let Linda through, why not let Alejandro through while you’re at it??? I think they put him in there just to have someone all the judges had no choice but to agree on.

Alejandro was beyond bizarre, but with the way this episode was going, I’m surprised Randy wasn’t singing his praises. Is this who Lady Gaga was singing about? Oh wow, and then they play Gaga. It’s like I can read the producers mind. I just wish Randy could read mine before he speaks. Anyone else think when Alejandro was screaming “I AM THE REVOLUTION! Grant me the power to bring revolution to the world” before the commercial break, that he was some kind of cult leader and not just a “leader of the underdogs”– I also liked, as I think Steven pointed out, when he said underdogs needed to succeed, and then named truly successful underdogs (although I don’t think Obama was ever an underdog). His best line though, and really a true telling of how good his audition would be:

“I have a girlfriend <pause> I shouldn’t even call her my girlfriend (does that mean you’re just her stalker?) said ‘I can’t wish you luck in something I don’t believe in’.”

And finally, why the hell was his tongue blue? I couldn’t even see passed that. Ok that’s a lie, I saw all the horrible things about him. He’s definitely a TOUCH creepy, funny stalker creepy. The only thing I agreed with Randy on from this whole episode was when he told dear Alejandro “Vocally, never”.

I briefly stopped drinking the Jennifer Lopez kool-aid on Day 2. What was that shirt? Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got the body. I can’t fault you for that. You are super hot. And you looked fine, sitting. Standing, you looked like a fly girl. Didn’t they stop making belly shirts in 1996.

It was contestant #19003, whose name I tried to get but couldn’t when I realized just how much I hate Randy SSSOOOOOOOOOOO very much. Why would you tell him to stop or sing another song? He was 10x’s better than stupid Linda McSuckbag. Why we can’t vote him off I’ll never know (also I googled to find #19003’s name is Cortez Shaw. And he’s super cute).

And then, because this whole episode was like a montage of horribles, karma gets me back. All I can say is, ask and you shall receive – people ruining Adele songs! That’s probably the worst rendition of Rolling in the Deep I’ve ever heard. She definitely belonged in that episode.

And finally, there was Ramiro Garcia, with your quite unique story of your missing ear. What a medically crazy thing that is. And people wonder why I’m scared to have kids. Because crazy things like this happen! At least he’s ok though. His family was definitely cute. I loved his dad crying when he came out of the audition. His Amazing Grace – good job buddy. Me gusto mucho! And with that, the night was over. Thank Jebus.

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

American Idol – Where the Women Instinctively Flock Like the Salmon of Capistrano

Minus the cold and all that white stuff on the ground that I claim to hate (really I just hate having to drive to and from work in it), all the stuff I see just makes me think, I have got to go to Aspen. It looks soooo pretty! Although I know it’s a celebrity haven which probably means it’s out of my price range. I’m glad that Idol went there though. The talent was just unusual enough to be enjoyable, but overall, this episode didn’t really do anything for me. When I was writing my notes I noticed I said that about 3 of the contestants. Which in an hour long show is practically half.

Let’s start with the 3 aforementioned “didn’t do anything for me” people… I’ll try to keep it brief.

Jenny Schick – Hello Ms. Music Teacher. I wanted to like you when you said you hated recorders. I’ve always hated recorders. True story, in 3rd grade I was kicked out of recorder for not paying attention. Bitch. Me? Not pay attention? Come on! I can’t put my finger on why but this chick just wasn’t doing anything for me (1). Actually I can, it’s that tattoo on her leg. That’s it. After hearing her sing, I like her song choice, I thought she was pretty good but I’m guessing when Steven was writing his notes afterwards they didn’t include anything about her being the next American Idol. I’m guessing it was more along the lines of “Rhyming with Schick”. Has anyone else noticed how many notes he takes? It’s a lot. More than the other two that I’m aware of. Unless maybe he’s just doodling. I would need to have a doodle pad for sure if I was one of those judges.

Jairon Jackson – He’s got some issues in his upper register but wow was he so much better than I thought he’d be. His original song didn’t really do anything for me (2) and I can’t see him making it passed Hollywood week but I think he’s good enough to go there. I guess…

Angie Zeiderman… Angie Angie Angie… I think she’s one of those “love her or hate her” kind of people…  and for me it’s almost some kind of moral dilemma here. She’s got a great voice, but she’s so weird. She reminds me of that weird girl that kept auditioning (until she got hit by a truck). I feel bad saying that because of my Ali Shields love. Ali isn’t as good a singer as this girl, but her weirdness was quirky and adorable. This girl is like a terrifying Gaga wannabe, and just… it seems like more of a gimmick than anything else where Ali’s weirdness seems more authentic. I guess if you are going to let one in, you have to let both in, but she definitely doesn’t do anything for me (3), and the Swedish accent thing she was doing When You Got It, Flaunt It… I’m with J.Lo, I like a showtune as much as the next girl, but she was just a mess. And the second song she sang did her no favors.

Let’s move on to the rough ones… which will not include Magic Cyclops because he belongs in his own very special category all by himself. Nope, I’m actually only going to mention one person here. And her name is Tealana. Sweet ugly duckling Tealana. Let me just get it out there – I hate your nose ring so so much. There is no visible piercing in the world worse than that bull ring thing. I wonder why you live in your sisters shadow? Allow me to take a few guesses… is it round, silver, and stuck in your nose? Is it yellow, in one piece and reminiscent of Big Bird? Is it the wretched sounds that came out of your mouth? Is it because you’re a bitch to your sister who loves you and tries to make you feel better after getting voted off? Let’s go with D, all of the above.

I don’t know if I’ve been missing the horribles but I have to say the montage of them was pretty good. I laughed so hard with that beatboxing girl.

Ok now to the good stuff… from bottom to top…

Curtis Gray – Hello sleepy face. Are you sure you’re from Florida? I feel like I heard South Boston. Seriously, you could’ve been in Good Will Hunting. I wanted to like him but I really thought his voice sounded kind of nasaly. To be honest when he was just play singing outside before he went up to audition, he sounded so much better. It’s really the only reason I think you should go through. I checked out a few youtube videos of him singing in what looked like random bars, and I liked his song selection there, a lot more (ie – play that funky music).

Shelby – ok I get that bi-polar is a problem, but in Hollywood, trust me kid, you’ll be amongst your people. I’m pretty sure you can’t be famous unless you’ve suffered some kind of bi-polar disorder at some point in your life. The good thing is, she’s got a great voice, she seems super sweet and a little Taylor Swift-esque (I feel like she may’ve had a few bullying problems in her past that she could write her feelings about in song), and she’s really pretty. I hope she does well, and I hope she continues to take her medicine.

And my favorite of the night, Haley Smith. I love a free spirit (ala Brooke White) and her little line about the 70’s, “I really do enjoy that era of music” – what an adorable little hippy. I wasn’t sure about her voice though. Hearing it made me really question if I liked her. I rewound and listened again, and then again and I have to say it, I really like her. I thought her yelling was weird at first but upon the second and third listen, I kind of love it. She looks like some kind of Steven Tyler/Janis Joplin lovechild. It’s funny how J.Lo said she looks more comfortable with music around her. Remember Sunday, when I said Steven Tyler wouldn’t have sounded terrible if his band was with him, I totally feel that way about this girl too, except that I already think this girl sounds better than Steven. She was born to be in front of a band. Final verdict – I like you chickey poo.

Finally, I’d be remiss to not mention Magic Cyclops.

“There’s a Storm-a-brewin and it’s Magic Cyclops”

Indeed.

“Nobody talks to me because I’m frightening and look homeless”

Yup.

He definitely created this magical creature, right? I mean, he’s given this a lot of thought, this isn’t just how he is. This is like, a guy in character. I have to believe that. It was just too weird to be natural. If anything I think he was on the show to get his face out there, more than anything else. I mean, James Buffet? I love it. At least J.Lo got it. Randy, you’re an idiot. I hope you stay in the freaking bathroom for the rest of the audition process. I will always have more bad things to say about you than anyone that will ever try out on this show… except maybe Sanjaya. I have to say though, I think during his audition, I could see Steven Tyler thinking, this guy could be pretty fun best friend. And then it kind of looked like they were walking out together… possibly to venture back to Magic’s VW van? He was almost like a Scooby Doo character or something. It was a great way to end the night for sure.

All in all a good episode and like always, I’m looking forward to the next city!

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

I Hate Leftovers

But they have to be eaten, because well, the only thing I hate more than leftovers is wasting money. Throwing food away is like throwing dollar bills away to me. So as a result, I have to dress up leftovers to make them look like some brand new thing. It’s a little difficult but I’m getting better at it. The best way to dress up leftovers? Let me introduce you to a little thing my neighbors and I (and by my neighbors and I, I really mean that’s what my neighbors call them and I liked it so now it’s what I call them)

Forgotten Potatoes

They’re a beautiful thing. A beautiful, very easy thing. My favorite 🙂

I know what you’re thinking, why call them “Forgotten Potatoes”? Aren’t they just roasted potatoes? Shut up. Yes. They are roasted potatoes. BUT, they are called forgotten potatoes because their best when they’re forgotten about in the oven and left to brown and get nice a crispy. Almost burned but not quite. Just nice and toasty brown. Usually around 40 minutes but going an hour is totally fine. I’ve gone longer but then you’re really playing with fire. Well, not fire, just burnt potatoes. My trick is, throw them in the oven, watch something on bravo, and they’re done!

The great thing about them is that you can make them with so many things, you just change up the seasoning. I’ve made an Italian version, a garlic version, a thai-ish version, and today, a Mexican version. Inspired by Rick Bayless, who taught me the beauty of potatoes being combined with Mexican food. His potato and chorizo tacos are phenomenal.

So here’s how we made the potatoes today.

Onion mix is one of those things that just makes everything better. I use it a lot. I mean, you can see on the box, it’s great in the slow cooker. What I did was opened the package of onion mix, and dumped roughly a tablespoon of cumin in there and mixed it up.

Then I chopped up a bag of red potatoes (probably around 6-8?) and an onion. I put them in a bowl, added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and my cumin/onion mixture. Then I got my hands dirty and tossed it all up. It turned out to look a little something like this…

Then I sprinkled a little more cumin on, because really you can never have enough. Then you just throw it in the oven as I mentioned above…. anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, at 400.

Now I know this whole title was about leftovers so you’re probably wondering what I mixed these potatoes up with… Well, to everyones shock and surprise, it was my mexican stew. I also added some peas for a little more nutrition, and for some color. It was delicious. And just different enough to trick my mind into not remembering that I ate a similar dish a mere 3 days ago.

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American Idol – San Diego

So for all you East Coasters, Idol may have been on WELL past your bedtime thanks to overtime playoff games with teams we Baltimore folks couldn’t have cared less about after the Ravens game, but you’re in luck! I was able to at least stay up to make sure I recorded the show as it was starting. Then the crappy weather made it the perfect “work from home” day, aka the “watch American Idol while working on spreadsheets” day. I wasn’t gonna miss the Idol from my favorite city. I love San Diego. Greatest city in world. I wonder why? Well my mom is kind of from there, it has an amazing zoo, seals on the beaches and then there’s the best reason to love the city… I’ll give you a little hint…

I got engaged there! Yey for me! But even more reasons to love the episode, I love the Navy (thank you for your service, Pop). And more than that, I loved seeing people jump for excitement in the very low ceilinged aircraft carrier. I’ve never seen so many people get their heads smacked. People who know me, know that there’s nothing I love more than people that get hit in the head accidentally. It’s hilarious. Thusly, I was sure this would be the greatest episode of idol ever! And with a lot to live up to, I believe whole heartedly that it succeeded. At least, as far as the greatest episodes of the season.

It’s kind of ironic. With Pittsburgh, I know I moaned on and on about how they could only show a single person not making it onto the show and how angry I was with the entire hour. Funny what not liking a city will do to you. haha. There were more reasons though. I think you remember how mad I was when they kept letting crappy 15 year olds through. The same thing happened in this episode, in that they let everyone through, but there’s a big difference. See, on this episode, the bad one they showed was pretty bad (yes I’m looking at you Miss Bikini-bod), and those that were good, were REALLY good. There were two people that I loved so so much that I was blinded to anything I may have even remotely hated about the episode.

The only thing I kind of wish I would’ve seen, I didn’t even know I missed. Maybe it’s just me but throughout the year I hear new songs and think “I can’t wait to see the people on American Idol try this song”. Especially when it’s a difficult song, like “Set Fire to the Rain”, “Someone Like You” or any song Lea Michele or Amber Riley sing on Glee. And then Steven goes and says he couldn’t wait to hear 40 people sing the same Adele song. They must have all sucked super duper bad because I haven’t heard anyone sing any Adele songs this season and while I thought it was a bit weird, the producers are right. I don’t want to hear a crappy version of an amazing song. No one wants their favorite song ruined by someone trying out for Idol. I’ll take a single great version of a diva song, over 20 horrible versions of a diva song (I’ve changed so much since seasons passed).

Let’s start out with that great diva song… I Will Always Love You (a Whitney/Dolly Parton classic) This is one of those Idol “could be a disaster” songs. Not to mention, if you don’t remember Syesha Mercado’s version, I can at least guarantee Randy does and I’m sure that’s a bar he has set for the song. Not to mention all the times it’s been ruined. Luckily for all of us, Ashley was along the likes of Syesha, rather than the nameless horribles. Man can she carry a tune. She’s got the power that bikini-bod only packed in her top. I also loved that they just let her sing. That’s how you really know someone is good, when they don’t get cut off. It’s always a good sign. Hopefully she won’t be the Pia Toscano of this season, only singing ballads and being forgotten sooner than she should be. Hopefully her DJing background will help her let her funky out. Check out this youtube video I found of her as well, which proves that not only can she sing, but she can play piano (my secret weakness for liking contestants, yes, even Scotty McIntyre). Hopefully we get to see that on the big stage.

I liked Aubrey Deckmeyer and Jim Carrey’s daughter whose name escapes me, who were not fantastic but worthy of a pass through. Ok I’m lying. I really didn’t like Jim Carrey’s daughter. She was ok but she wasn’t any kind of wow. I’m glad she doesn’t seem to rely on her dads success to get her places but that doesn’t mean you deserve to go to those places, specifically, Hollywood. As for boys, I really liked Jayrah for his funness and Kyle Cruz, the frat boy I wanted to hate but couldn’t because his voice was pretty stellar. At least the judges told him to change his look. I think that’ll help. You can’t rely on kind of looking like Jason Segal. None of these were my faves though, which bring me to my best of the night.

You may not know this about me but I love CCR. I looooove CCR. By far one of my favorite bands. So, obviously, I wanted to like the Wolfman right off the bat. Knowing he was the last of the night I was pretty sure he’d be awesome (seems to be a trend for the “last of the night”). He didn’t disappoint me in the slightest. And then to play some Johnny Cash right after, I’m sold. And then he breaks the set dancing… I was smitten. Not AS smitten as I was with my favorite though, because I’m hook line and sinker for her! (oh and one more thing Mr. Wolfman, can you please, please stop using the word “git-fiddle”? I’m already over it).

Finally , I have saved the best, for last. My best anyway.

Ali Sheilds. Dear sweet Ellen loving Ali Shields. How can anyone that’s appeared on Ellen for writing a song to her, be bad? The answer, is no one. Ellen is synonymous with awesome things.  It’s a proven FACT. She’s adorable and is instantly my favorite. Before I even heard her sing (which is a bit of a lie because I saw her on Ellen. And trust me Ali, Ellen is right, anything IS possible… when you know Ellen. I’m pretty sure that’s guaranteed). I loved your rap, I loved you singing Corinne Bailey Rae (albeit not AS good as the rapping). I love you! I love your excitement and your dancing and your face. The only thing that bothered me a little, were you wearing the same thing that you wore on Ellen? That’s a little weird. I don’t care though. I still love you. You’re instantly my favorite, no matter how far you end up getting. Call it the Ellen factor but your attitude is infectious. I could watch you for hours. Can she just have her own show? She doesn’t even need Idol. How can anyone have not liked the episode after seeing Ali? It’s pretty much impossible so I’ll just assume you all loved it too.

**sidenote** Steven Tyler singing the national anthem… I don’t know if any of you are on twitter and more specifically, were on twitter when Steven was singing but the 140 character jabs were coming fast and furious, and they were hilarious. And really was he that bad? To me, if you ask for Steven Tyler (sans band of course), you know what you’re going to get and I don’t think it was any shocker that it sounded the way it did. He has sounded that way for 40 years. You just get blinded by his not great voice when he’s singing a song with the band. I think had the band been there, it could’ve been way more awesome.

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

Mexican Stew and Rice

My husband and I tried a new recipe tonight and I thought I’d share it with you lovely people. It’s a crock-pot recipe which in my language means “super-easy”.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2-3 lbs of London Broil (although I’m gonna experiment with some other meats because this was a little on the tough side. I wish it would’ve been able to be shredded)
2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 large can of stewed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup of water
2 regular sized cans of pinto beans, rinsed (black beans would also work)
1 package of yellow rice… or “Arroz Amarillo” if you’re Goya

And here’s how you make it:

You start by rubbing the meat in one of the tablespoons of taco seasoning.  Put it in a skillet and brown the outside of the meat for a minute or two. Trust me when I say, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. It really locks in the flavor into the meat. You’ll regret it if you skip this step I promise.

Once the meat is browned on all sides, stick it to the side and get out your crock pot. Put in the  water first, and half the stewed tomatoes. Then add the meat, the rest of the tomatoes, and onion. Finally toss in the extra taco seasoning and put a lid on it and let it cook on high heat for around 3 hours. You can let it go longer but I wouldn’t go any longer than 4 depending on the type of meat you use.

At this point you want to take out your roast and chop it up into bite-sized pieces. While the meat is out, add the pinto beans, and the tomato paste. Stir everything up, and put the meat back in and give it one final stir to coat the meat in the sauce. Then let it cook another 30 minutes.

Finally, cook the rice as directed on the packaging. When the rice is done, the stew will be too. Heap a big pile of rice in the middle of a shallow bowl and then throw the stew on top.

Hope you like it!


 

Categories: Recipes, Sunday Dinner | Tags: | 3 Comments

American Idol – Pittsburgh

I’m not going to lie. This was one of the most disappointing episodes of American Idol I have ever watched. What has this show come to?

After watching Steven Tyler on Oprah’s Next Chapter (a fantastic show that I highly recommend), I’m beginning to think his hippy self is full of crap. You told Oprah that while you don’t like to be mean, some of these kids just need a few years at some dive bars to perfect their craft, the way it used to be pre-reality tv show days. Then I watch this episode and it’s all too clear that he doesn’t want to tell people how unprepared they are for the limelight. J.Lo probably has something to do with it too. I thought Ellen was bad but these two just take the cake. It drives me nuts that they don’t tell these little 15 year olds that they aren’t good enough yet. THEY ARE 15. It’s ok to not be good enough yet. They can’t just expect to get to Hollywood. Hollywood is for grown-ups. Ok, grown-ups and Disney stars. Are you worried with all this bullying nonsense that they’re gonna go home and do something destructive? They aren’t. You’re only making it worse letting them come out to Hollywood only to crush their even higher dreams there. People need to know that not everyone can get on the show, and you have to show people not getting onto the show ON THE SHOW. And yet all we got as far as negative comments was towards the coal miner who “just wasn’t ready yet” and a bunch of kind of crying but not really that upset contestants walking outside talking about how they’d be back next year.

I was ok with the positivity yesterday because all but 2 of the people chosen, were most likely ready for Hollywood week; but to only show a single person in an entire HOUR worth of show that doesn’t make it in, poor kid. They couldn’t show anyone worse than him? I’m sure they existed. This is Pittsburgh we’re talking about here. Last time I checked, Pittsburgh is the worst (sorry, I’m from Baltimore, they breed us to think like that). Speaking of which, I did secretly love that a girl from Baltimore was called the best of the night (even if she wasn’t the best of the night… sorry Holly). Now she’s a perfect example of the judges hearing a story, knowing she was good enough for a girl group some odd years ago, and letting her through on that alone. Nevertheless, the fact that she’s a local was a little icing on my cupcake of a horrible, horrible episode.

While yesterday I only talked about the kids I like, I have to talk about the people that just shouldn’t have been given the golden tickets because they stick out in my mind more than anything else.

Evan, dear Evan. I loved how much your Momma loved you and how proud she was of you no matter what happened. It made me feel good for what I believed was your inevitable “no vote” because you aren’t good enough yet. Momma Bear would be there to protect you and tell you that it’s ok. Boy was I wrong. So, so wrong. And you do NOT look like Justin Beiber. Do celebrities think you just have to be a white kid with dirty blonde hair and look too young for your age to be called a Beiber look-a-like on this show? The Ryan Seacrest look-a-like, now THAT was a look-a-like. Evan is no such thing.

And the “planking sister” – if I could’ve reached through my television and grabbed her off the show myself, I would’ve. Your sister was great. She didn’t need you and she will never need you there, planking. It was pathetic. Pathetic and unnecessary. And not funny. Did I mention it was not funny? It was terribly not funny.

Finally, and I promise this will be my last rant and then I’ll try to be more positive. The kid who wrote his own song (which was awful but I think he knew that so I won’t hold that against him) was not that good. He was ok. I don’t hate them for allowing him through. But I think he should’ve had to beg, or sing another song, something. For Randy to say 1 million percent yes, was 1 million percent more wrong. And then to have J.Lo and Steven go even higher… ugh. To be soooo overly positive about his performance was wholly unnecessary.

Man it feels good to let that out. Let me try and make the best of what I at least liked about the episode. There were definitely a rare few that I did enjoy. Reed, hello there dear Reed. You rocked my world. You had me at the Family Matters theme song. Yeah baby! First of all, a classic, and I love people who take a song you would never think would make sense and just blow it out of the water. I loved it! **sidenote** can someone do either the Full House theme song or the Who’s the Boss? theme song next? Thanks! And Reed, I hope you go far because your originality in song choice makes me hope for top 12 when you can really bring that originality and wow some people.

I also liked the guy who went first, Heejun Han. He was also one of those, “Oh wow you can kind of sing” and I love a diamond in the rough quality ala Casey Abrams 🙂 Especially since I think if there’s one group that always gets bashed on in the show it’s foreigners. I mean, you can tell by the people they show why they get bashed, but I’m glad they finally found someone to prove those haters wrong.

I kind of liked the Baltimore girl (Holly) as I said above but if I had a favorite girl it was definitely the wedding singer, Erica Van Pelt. I agreed that her voice fit her look and I hope she does well. I feel like wedding singers have definitely been on the show before but I like that she seems to actually like what she does because it’s another outlet and she didn’t say that she does it just for a paycheck. It’s nice to hear.

So that’s all I’ve got for this episode. I have higher hopes for St.Louis since it’s on after the football game. It’s GOT to be better than last night. Right? Hopefully? How can anything be worse than last night… please don’t make me bite my tongue American Idol, or we’re going to have words.

Categories: American Idol, Television | 1 Comment

American Idol – Savannah

Is it just me or would it have been completely more convenient of them to start this show in 2000? I really think it should be AI 12. I feel like it’s been on 20 years anyway. haha. All those damn kids saying they’ve watched since they were in the womb… jerks.

Being that we aren’t to Hollywood week and we get to see so many contestants, I only wrote down my favorite people and some observations. I think it was quite a nice change of pace that they kept most of the horribles in a few sweet little montage packages instead of making that the entire show like days of yore, where you didn’t meet the good contestants until what seemed like the middle of Hollywood week. I hate getting that far and thinking “Who are these people and where have they been all my life?” Personally, I think they do this because Simon isn’t on anymore and no one is funny/mean enough to show (RIP Idol Simon). I believe they had bad enough contestants but really the meanest thing they said to anyone was when that girl from Ohio who had allegedly sang the national anthem at games (little league games? nursing homes? schools for the deaf? LIES!). It was just crickets and then Randy blurts out “Awful” – couldn’t have said it better myself, sir. I definitely didn’t hear any “Liddy, go jump back up your mother” 

And speaking of Randy, props to him and his lack of “yo yo yo dawg”. Far be it from me to believe he won’t bring it back, because I know he will (I think he saves those gems for the live show), but I can appreciate a “dawg” free show as much as the next girl! Keep ’em coming!

So as far as favorites, I had 4 from this episode.

Let’s start with Ashlee “joy hopper” Altise – talk about fun! I love a little crazy in my contestants! And I thought she quasi-killed “Come Together”. I always think the Doors sing that song and then my husband gets mad at me because we have the Beatles Rock Band and we always laugh at how bizarre the lyrics actually are and you don’t really realize it until you play rock band. At least we didn’t. Maybe that’s why I forget the Beatles sang it… do yourselves a favor though and google those lyrics. **sidenote**Here’s a little Wikipedia gem about the song that make the lyrics seem a little less crazy – It has been speculated that each verse refers cryptically to each of The Beatles (e.g. “he’s one holy roller” allegedly refers to the spiritually inclined George Harrison; “he got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola” to Ringo, the funny Beatle; “he got Ono sideboard, he one spinal cracker” to Lennon himself; and “got to be good-looking ’cause he’s so hard to see” to Paul) But I digress… back to Ashlee, I like you chicka. Let’s hope that you’re legitimately the right kind of crazy like the judges think you are.

Third place for my favorite was the girl whose dad was a baseball player… Shannon Magrane (thanks Google!) That guy must have an interesting life. I bet him and Bruce Jenner have a lot in common what with all those girls in the house! And all under 15. ugh. Her tryout reminded me of Lauren Alaina’s tryout last year without the obsessive flirting (she left that to Crazy Eyes that was on later). Unfortunately for Shannon she wasn’t the best of my favorites. Not to say she won’t be able to make it but I already believe there are people better than her. She does have the confidence that others might not have so maybe she can push past the others.

So moving on to my favorite lady of the evening, Lauren Mink. I hate hearing backstories sometimes because really I don’t think how they are raised, what they do, or how poor they are, should have anything to do with whether they can sing, but her job is one of those that I genuinely admire. Working withe special needs adults can be a difficult job but to me it seems like one of the most rewarding difficult jobs that’s out there. She seems to have the spirit in her that I love about genuine people. That all being said, I do believe her voice was good enough no matter her backstory, so in that regard I’m ok with knowing where she comes from. I’m definitely a sucker for a female country singer as one can tell by my ipod but to me she had it all. At least tonight.

Finally, and I think we can all agree, the guy with one of the worst names in the world (because really who does that to their children, besides someone whose parent did it to them…) Phillip Phillips, Jr. killed Thriller. Ah-mazing. Saving the best for last was an understatement for this episode. I actually thought by the commercials he was going to be terrible and when I heard his name well, forgive me but I judged the book by its horribly named cover… my nose dived back into my computer thinking listening would be bad enough and watching was barely worth it… but then I heard the guitar… my ears perked… I heard the intro lyrics… what pinterest? Later, later…  I was mesmerized. A new Dave Matthews to love and adore? Yes please! I can’t even remember the other song he sang because once he took that guitar out, well folks, that’s what the French call Le Panty Melter. God he was so good. So good. I just hope he’s not a one trick pony with Thriller. Fingers crossed!

Way to end the show and start the season Mr. Faceless Producers. Way to go.

So what did everyone else think??  If you’re looking for more examples of some of the favorites, I found this on USAToday. Enjoy!

Categories: American Idol, Television | Leave a comment

The Baccala Bloggala Begins

How’s that for alliteration?

I’ll begin with saying that this is new for me. I used to have this blog that was updated… I’ll say 3 times a year? It’s not something I’m really good at. I’m great at starting things… after that it’s usually downhill. Quickly. My other bloy was specifically for recipes of things I was trying but that got old because I’m not good with this whole formatting thing and I would get frustrated and mad and end up not posting anything. I’m hoping this WordPress deal will be easier, and I decided it might be worth having a more generic blog where I could write about whatever the hell I want to, and not have to worry about only posting recipes with pictures that took me 3 hours to figure out how to post.

I’m hoping this can be a place for random thoughts, the American Idol emails I send to my friends, more recipes I’m trying out, things I’m crafting, my adventures in learning to sew, hilarious things I see… you know, the usual.

I can’t think of anything else to write so I’ll just move on and post my American Idol email blog and be ashamed that that will be my first real post.

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