Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What's Cooking Wednesday

Natasha's Kitchen Banana Bread

As a change from pumpkin bread this week, a hearty banana bread that looks all golden and has raisins and walnuts, making it extra rich.

Brown Eyed Baker's   Chocolate Dump-It Cake

As always I'm lured by a chocolate cake recipe.  Good thing I don't make and eat all the ones I bookmark.    The whole "dump-it" cake concept rather than calling it a single bowl recipe is slightly off putting.   We're talking chocolate cake with lots of frosting though, so away we do dump.

Food 52's Best Chocolate Cake Recipes and Other Desserts

More chocolate, you say?    I liked the looks of most of the recipes on the list.   I was relieved to see a few I wasn't interested in.   Even your imaginary stomach hasn't room for all of this.  There's even another dump cake, but made in an angel food cake pan rather than a 9x13 pan.
19 Deeply Chocolate-y Desserts, Because It's Been a Long Day
Give yourself a giant hug, in dessert form.

From Parade Magazine, and gathered by Facebook's Noble Pig, take a look at   25 Christmas Cookies you need to bake this year

I do try some new recipes each year.   They are sometimes wonderful, sometimes there's no resemblance to the pretty cookie pictures.   The Grinch Cookies come to mind (sigh).

From the list, Mom on Timeout's Chocolate Mint Cream Cheese Buttons looked like a really nice addtion to a holiday display.   The recipe makes six dozen, so I'd at least halve the recipe.

From 12 Tomatoes, a Caramel Apple Dump Cake, for fans of Caramel Apples.  That would be me!

Another sweet treat from Brown Eyed Baker, Poppy Chow

I love popcorn, and like Muddy Buddies.   These "chocolate and peanut butter popcorn"   snacks seem pretty perfect.

From King Arthur Flour, a recipe for Peanut Brittle, which should really be made and eaten year round.     The Best Nut Brittle You'll Ever Make

Grandma's Cooking

32 degrees.  Aerna wrote she may be here tomorrow, I'm baking buns and bread.

 Grandma would have made a plain loaf of white bread.

For rolls, simple pans rolls are likely, since that's what my mom always, always made.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018




The episode "Connecting Flights" explored what it was like for the people left behind when Flight 828 disappeared.

6 months after the event,  Grace isn't coping, and goes to grief counseling where she was immediately leached onto by Danny.    Not the time, not the place, guy.    Jared and Lourdes are sharing memories of Michaela.

Two years after, Danny's over for dinner (I guess his smooth moves didn't pan out so quickly), and Lourdes congratulates Jared for making detective with a smooch at a bar.

Everyone's all settled into their new lives at the 5 1/2 year mark when unexpectedly the flight returns, upending the lives they've made.

It turns out that icky Danny was essentially living with Grace and Olive, and had taken on a role of a father to Olive, and had to awkwardly back out of his cozy nest once Ben, the actual husband and father came home.  We can see I don't like Danny.

As of this episode, it has only been two weeks since the return of the flight.  It seems longer, but given that timeline maybe some things are a bit more understandable.

Except Danny the slimeball wails that he can lose Grace, just as (sniff) he lost his wife, but (sniff) don't take Olive away.  Just back out that door, creepy guy.

In today's timeline Ben and Cal have a day out at Coney Island, flipping a coin to decide what they'll do, what they'll eat, etc.   As they're heading home on the subway, Cal, who has seemed like a nice little kid, suddenly hops off the subway at a stop that isn't home, and he runs away from his father, leading him on a hectic chase into the bowels of the station, where he somehow finds Thomas, the stowaway, in his lair.   This is such odd behavior for any kid, let this one.   Then he has a seemingly clairvoyant knowledge that someone is coming down the hall to the room where they're hiding.

For the first time, he's exhibiting powers of some sort that aren't like those experienced by any of the others.   A final scene back in the aircraft has everyone sleeping but Cal, who sees something in a bright light outside the plane window.  He intones "it's all Connected."

No episode tonight, the 29th, but back next week.


Flash The Death of Vibe

Cisco didn't die at all, though he was attacked by Cicada (chirp, chirp).   Any episode with lots of Cisco is a good one.

A new version of Wells enters the scene, a "brilliant detective" who has tracked Cicada in numerous incarnations named Sherloque Wells.    He's a seedy Poirot clone with a supposed French accent.   Luckily I always end up liking Wells in all his alternate Earth forms.   Predictably, Cisco pretends to hate the new Wells and wants nothing to do with him, but of course they'll end up fast friends.

I like a side mystery with Caitlin and Ralph trying to find Caitlin's father who may not be dead after all.

This Is Us

A packed episode that showed Toby's childhood and lifelong battle with depression.   He's trying to get back on his anti-depression pills without Kate knowing he went off them, but his behavior is becoming erratic.

Kate had a gig dressed as Adele, and belted out a song.  She looked and sounded amazing.   And she's pregnant!

Teen Kate had a glowering episode as Miguel brought in a piano for the Peason's apartment.  Her dress made her look pregnant...eerily mirroring adult Kate's story.

Kevin and Zoe traveled to see an old war buddy of Jack's to try to unravel Jack's war time story.  Kevin did not notice a clerk's rude treatment of Zoe at all, so absorbed was he.   Kevin has improved greatly, but I don't think he's good enough for Zoe.

Randall's prom was ruined when his date's father couldn't tolerate his daughter dating a young black man.  His sweet face, poor Randall.

A bit of softening toward Miguel, who is shown promising Jack he'll look after his family if anything ever happens to him.   So, Miguel bringing over the used piano and fixing the Pearson's fridge was him honoring Jack.

Jack's war buddy shows up at Kevin's hotel as he's checking out to hand him several letters he received from Jack while Jack was still in Vietnam.

In one is a picture of Jack and the woman from the Vietnamese village talking to one another.  The woman is wearing Jack's necklace, which Kevin now has.

The woman was wearing the necklace in the first episode she was in, while Jack's troop was just moving into the village.  So somewhere along the line, Jack befriended her, and I think just friends, and he ended up with the necklace.

My theory is the woman was previously involved with either one of the Viet Cong tied to the village, or another serviceman.   I think Viet Cong is most likely and somehow Jack saves him, let's him escape, or tries to help in some way as he is prone to doing.   Perhaps she gives Jack the necklace to honor his assistance to the ones she loves.  That sounds like Jack.


Breathe a sigh of relief, Natalie got ousted at tribal.   I've never seen anyone try harder to be disliked, yet be more impervious to everything around them than Natalie.   She's fascinating, yet painful to watch.

Meet the Brochachos!   Swat cop Dan and wrestler John take Christian the robotics scientist into the fold and call themselves the Brochachos.   May be spelled differently.

This worries Gabby of course who is once again shown moaning off to the side.   Dan and John do indeed thinks she's a weak link and want to boot her when the chance arrives.   SwatDan found his second idol of the game.   Lots of folk know he has the first one, but hopefully he'll not tell anyone about the second, particularly with Carl's game advantage in play.

Dirt Move of the Day:   Angelina decides she's cold and wants Lyrsa's jacket.  She decides to talk Natalie into getting it for her, so she doesn't have to get her hands dirty.  What?  Unbelievably, Natalie goes right for it and asks for it, when turned down, she tries to bully attorney Nick into giving her his.

Possible Tribal Targets Gabby, Kara, Natalie    Natalie was voted, both because she was painful to be around, but she took a lot of bad pub for trying to get the jackets.   It must have appeared to the others that she'd gone mad.  She never said Angelina put her up to trying to get the jackets, and Angelina never confessed.

Unbelievably, Angelina kept asking Natalie for her jacket as she was heading out, in increasing louder and whinier tones.   So much for the thin veneer of civilization.


The Good Place   The Ballad of Donkey Doug

It appears the crew is going to try to save those they know best first.  So we meet at last Donkey Doug and Pillboi.   OMG.  Donkey Doug turns out to be Jason's father.  Pillboi dispenses meds in a nursing home.   The two are planning to steal the ingredients to make some odd concoction they think will make them rich.

The Team tries to get Donkey to go back to Electrician's school to save his soul, but Douggie Daddy is having none of it.

Not a great episode.  Jason's character needs to be dispensed in tiny doses.  Having three of him---oh, the horrors!

Murphy Brown

Murphy had a line on a whistle blower, but had to wait for approval from above to fly the guy in for the show.

Although this was all supposed to be super secret,  everyone from the copier guy to the group at Phil's seemed savvy to the story.

When the Wolf Network had the man on their show the very next morning, a round of finger pointing made for hard feelings.

It turned out a piece of tech that was Murphy's new assistant was misinterpreting voice commands and was sending all the info from the newsroom right over to Wolf.


Van Helsing

After the two great episodes the previous weeks, the show returned to the "current day" and a painful to watch story line with Sam (awful serial killer turned vampire) hunting down victims and trying to teach Mohamed to be a nasty serial killing vampire like himself.

Sam was a good character early on when you didn't realize he was a serial killer since childhood.  Horribly, the episode showed some of Sam's early days.   He was never anything but a real monster.

I actually turned the sound down and browsed the Net in the scenes with Sam, of which there were quite a few.

Looking up reviews after the show, as I do, I saw there was a big Twitter campaign to encourage people to watch Friday's episode because the show is struggling in the ratings.   And then it's the worst episode ever for the series.


Doctor Who   Arachnids In the UK

Why did it have to be spiders?   After getting the companions home to Sheffield, The Doctor is reluctant to say goodbye, so she takes the invite to tea at Yaz's place in a flash.

There's a neighbor encased in spider's webbing.

There's a newly built luxury hotel Yaz's mom was going to manage before being summarily fired by the big ugly American businessman who owns the place.

It's turns out the place is Spider Central, with literally the Mother Of All Spider's nesting below the building.

Despite the fact that the big momma had encased at least two, maybe more people in the underground mines beneath the hotel, the Doctor was sympathetic with it's situation and wanted to offer some solution where it could live peaceably.  Eeww, eeww.

In the end, Ryan, Yaz, and Graham decided they'd like to keep traveling with the Doctor, because, who wouldn't?

Friday, October 26, 2018

October's Cryptogram Answer

Here's the answer to last week's Cryptogram:

The servant trembled in front of the grand fireplace that had never been lit and never would be.


This is the first line from Blood Rights by Kristin Painter.

Note: I used to look at new paperbacks and hardcovers that came in looking for useful first lines for my puzzles.   This one is from an older notebook of mine.  Ha!  There are still three more there I can use.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

DOA In The Virtual Garden

I was all ready to get a leaf blower this year, to save hours of backbreaking raking.  Maybe not.

From the Saturday Evening Post September/October 2002 issue:

From The Empress of Dirt, advice on repotting African Violets.   I have one which has miraculously lived several years.   It is this big odd floaty umbrella shaped plant which flowers periodically.  I don't think it's supposed to be that way but I'm just impressed it's still alive.   Mine has the coloring of the one pictured, but not the shape or size.

From Wayside Gardens, a Blue Parrot Tulip.  Somehow, I've never tried Parrot type tulips at all.

Also from Wayside Gardens, a beautiful tulip called Double Dream Touch.

The perfect rose?   From Heirloom Roses, Fragrant Masterpiece.

From Avant Gardens, a Strangler Tree.   Though it sort of looks like a "Hug Tree", if the hug were by a giant claw...

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What's Cooking Wednesday

Kentucky Butter Cake from Plain Chicken Via Chocolate, Chocolate and More

 I'm not a fan of cake without a lot of frosting, let alone none, but Butter Cake...butter, butter, butter.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread from Two Peas and Their Pod

I love my Betty Crocker Recipe for Pumpkin Bread, with Raisins, but I might be tempted with bits of chocolate as an alternative.

22 Kiss Cookies to Bake for Christmas    Parade Magazine via Recipe Girl

 There are so many fun flavors of "Hershey's Kisses" now!    This makes for many variations on the classic Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies.

Crockpot Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I like the idea of cooking the potatoes separately and having them done when you're ready, and saving a burner.   I'm not sure about mashing them right in the pot, it seems like it would scrape the sides undesirably.

Kiss From a Vampire Cookies

I like the cookie and filling but would make mine not look so vampire-y.

BBQ Porcupine Meatballs from The English Kitchen

I like meatballs, and rice.   The recipe makes 12 so I'd want to cut it in half.   It's a bit tricky because Mr. DOA intoned one day that "meatballs are a waste of meat".   Where does he get this stuff?   He also would not eat the peas Marie shows with it, but he'd eat 20 baked potatoes.  Balance, balance.   It all looks wonderful to me.

Grandma's Cooking

As a little add on to What's cooking Wednesday, I have an old daily calendar from my grandma, and she would note if she baked something for visitors, or if she went visiting.   She noted many tiny things, including who she talked to on the phone, and big events like garbage day.   I thought I'd look through and find baked goods she mentions, then see if I could find recipes that might match.

An entry for March 1974

Garbage day---  It's beautiful and mild 53 degrees.  I baked oatmeal cookies and angel food cake for the children.

Quaker's Best Oatmeal Cookies

Traditional Angel Food Cake Recipe  King Arthur Flower

Monday, October 22, 2018




The main mysteries connected with Flight 828 are in the background this week.  Ben meets his "replacement" in the hearts of Grace and Olive, a scraggly fellow named Danny.  Betrayal city, Olive gets caught shoplifting and calls Danny to break her out instead of her dad who has been working so hard to be her dad again.  Ouch.

Michaela is side-winded by her partner and ex-love Jared tricking some extra time with her on a stakeout so he can figure out what is going on with her.   She was soooo close to telling him everything when he said she'd end up in a psychiatric facility if she kept acting as she was.   Close call!   Zipped lips, I got nothing, la la.

Saanvi works with the stewardess from the aircraft to help a stowaway(! ) from Flight 828 find his old love, the stewardesses' nephew, in New York.  The NSA is right on their tail, looking for that stowaway.


This Is Us

A completely Jack-centric episode that shows his life over time, from his meeting up with his brother Nick in Vietnam, all the way back to Nick's birth in 1948.   Given the family's terrible life, the drunken, abusive father, it was a rough episode.  I think it would have been better spread out over the season.

It was promoted as the episode that shows how Jack became Jack, but I don't think it did at all. Nor did it give any real personality to his brother Nick.

The only good thing I took from the episode was that there was a time, way back at Nick's birth, when Jack's father was a good guy who didn't drink.   For a time.   Jack's grandfather visited the hospital, providing a mirror of what Jack's father would become.  Poor little Jack, his face when his grandfather came in.   Then to have his father turn into that man and worse.

The Flash

Yikes, I missed the first return episode Nora the previous week.   I want to like the girl, but I don't think I do.   She's a big fan girl of Barry's and is really just cold and dismissive to Iris, who I love, and who you don't treat that way, kid or not.

I think it would be awful to meet your child who's in their mid-late twenties and you missed all the dreaming of what they might be.  All those sweet baby moments and the wonderful years of childhood.

Barry apparently disappears forever, is the excuse, and she wanted to see him for herself.   That I can understand, but she's just not very nice.

Blocked was the episode of the week, with more Nora, and trying to train her in the speed force, trying to slow down her enthusiasm and thoughtlessness.

Enter a new villain called Cicada who makes cicada noises (really) while killing people.  Chirp, chirp, you're dead!

The interesting thing there is that he and Nora seem to know each other.



They could call this the Twist Episode.

Bi who has torn her MCL (? ) voluntarily leaves the game so she doesn't injure it further and put her career in jeopardy.

Planned anyway, they say, was a split of the tribe into three new tribes.  The twist here is one person (Carl) got no tribe, and he'd go to Exile Island for now, then at Tribal he'd get the spot of whoever got popped.

While at Exile he found an intriguing new advantage in a coconut that will allow him to block immunity for a player who is going to play it at tribal.  So he needs to be sure the person has an Immunity Necklace, then has to vote against its use on his voting turn at tribal.   If he's wrong and none are played or a different person plays theirs, it's gone.

Not Cut Out For This Game:    Gabby

Tossed Opportunity In the Dumper With An All New Tribe and New Start:  Natalie

Favorite:  Christian

Most Likely to Go:    I could not decide between Gabby, Natalie and Elizabeth.   Shocker:  Natalia of Mean Girls International got the boot.   An understandable but stupid move that means the former David tribe members now have the voting numbers to control the vote in their tribe.


The Good Place

Michael and Janet,  caught red handed with the inter-dimensional doorway, go ahead and explain everything to the four erstwhile unsaveable humans.

Eleanor, who is most on top of things with ideas to salvage the situation in every incarnation of their Good Place/Bad Place scenarios, decides that since they are busted and they can't even get points anymore to ever get to the Good Place, they'll use their time on earth to help others make it to the Good Place.  Kinda touching.

Chidi with no shirt on!  Holy moleans, Rocky.   

Murphy Brown

Murphy's station wants her to interview an extremist politico who wants to go head to head on her show.   The ratings will be great, but Murphy decides giving him airtime would be a mistake and she declines the interview.

He waylays her at Phil's bar and has the conversation he wanted to have.  I was all admiration for the way she handled it.  She told him exactly what she thought of him and his ideas, in calm voice, very smooth.  Off he went, steaming.

At home, her son is watching a video someone at the bar captured on their phone of the confrontation.


Van Helsing

Vanessa is in 1896 Hong Kong, trying to find out why the East India Company is involved with vampires and the B'ah Elder herself. 

The episode has rare light moments as Vanessa walks through the ancient streets, actually smiling as she takes it all in.   Seeing her in Victorian dress, and fussing uncomfortably with her pinned up hair, was such fun.

I loved the Governor's helpful wife, a Seward by birth.

Master Tsui, who tried to help Vanessa train to fight the B'ah in the short time they had was patient yet blunt with her.  She countered with withering remarks about Yoda and "wax on, wax off".

Lilly's husband, who seemed supportive in the previous episode, was completely different here, having no patience with any talk of vampires.  Until he was surrounded by them.


Doctor Who     "Rosa"

The Tardis directs the Doctor and her companions to Montgomery, Alabama in 1955.   There are some mysterious signatures/readings that shouldn't exist until the far future in the town, so they decide to see what the cause is since the Tardis won't return them to Sheffield, England, their home.

The villain is some prisoner from the future who decides that the Montgomery Bus Boycott is where the timeline started to go bad.   He can't harm Rosa because of restraints in his brain, but he plans to force small changes that will undo the event.

The Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz work to find Rosa's schedule, where she works, and what bus she'd be taking, so they can be there to make sure history isn't changed.

Rosa Parks as played by Vinette Robinson was so smart, dignified and elegant.  How could anyone stand up against such a lady?

I've liked Ryan's character from the start, and I loved that he got to meet Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.   I think he's a really thoughtful young man, and his experiences on the Tardis are really going to shape him into a remarkable person.

Friday, October 19, 2018

An October Cryptogram

Here's the Cryptogram for October.   As usual, it's the first line from a book.
Look for the Answer on Friday, October 26.