Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Supernatural 11x12 "Don't You Forget About Me"

Kim Rhodes as Jody Mills and Kathryn Love Newton as Claire Novak in Supernatural 11x12 "Don't You Forget About Me"I suppose it shouldn't really come as a surprise anymore, but I feel like I end up loving any episode that involves everyone's favorite erstwhile sheriff, Jody Mills. I know I've made it no secret that I think the show isn't as good as it used to be, but at least there are a few gems every now and then. I laughed quite a bit throughout this one, particularly during one scene that I'm sure everyone loved.

Anyway! On to the recap. Claire's been hunting down leads on supposed supernatural creatures in Sioux Falls, and calls up Dean and Sam for their help, unbeknownst to Jody, who, along with Alex, the other wayward teenager living with her, think Claire is looking for bad where there isn't any. Which leads to the most awkward family dinner ever, the above mentioned scene. Great for so many reasons, not least of which is how much the boys were eating, and how much they did not want to be around for any and all girl talk. Basically, Alex is doing great in school, dating the most popular guy, while Claire is too into hunting, and Jody isn't sure how to handle it all since she's not their real mother.

It soon becomes clear, though, that something is decidedly not quite right in town after all when Alex's favorite math teacher ends up dead and strung up the flag pole. That immediately made me think her boyfriend must've had something to do with it, like he was jealous of her liking him so much or something. In the end, I wasn't so far off. Of course, the squirrely janitor also seems rather suspect, particularly since he's being played by an actor I've seen on a bunch of stuff.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural 11x12 "Don't You Forget About Me" Said squirrely janitor is definitely involved, particularly since the SSN he used for his custodian job belonged to someone else, and the fact that he showed up in town right when all of the people started disappearing. Claire is quick to say she was right all along, as teenagers are wont to do. More importantly, though, she and Jody get attacked by the janitor while heading to a meeting with her school registrar (though why would this meeting be at night, I must ask), who turns out to be a vampire. Luckily, Jody gets a call off to Dean, but they are taken nonetheless.

Turns out, janitor and pretty boy are working together, as Mr. Popular brings Alex to the abandoned pool where the janitor has brought the other two as well. In her past life, Alex had brought the janitor to her vampires, who killed him and made him one of them. So, he's out for revenge, ready to kill her family and make her feel the same pain. The three ladies have to fend for themselves a bit before the Winchesters can get there (not sure how they arrive at the same time when Sam seemed closer, but whatever), which leads to Claire being bitten and much fighting. Luckily, the girls are quite adept themselves and join in on the fighting against the vamps, who both get dispatched, like duh.

Of course, all of this makes Claire appreciate what she has much more than she was before, which is to say, not much. And also brings Claire and Alex closer, making them feel more like a family with Jody. In the end, Claire wants to keep hunting, but Alex thinks she wants to get away from it all. Both valid options to be explored later!

Random Thoughts:

- The guy in the opening looks waaaay too much like the guy who plays young Dean; that so confusing.

- Seeing the boys love a home-cooked meal was both hilarious and kind of sad. Loved that whole dinner scene in general.

- Do people really leave their keys in their car sun visors? I swear it happens all the time on TV and in movies, but is that a real thing?

- There has been a lot of talk about the Wayward Daughters concept for a spinoff show, and to me this only confirmed that it would totally work. I would've totally bought something like this as a backdoor pilot as compared to that crap they shilled before. I don't know that it would ever happen because it's such a fan thing at this point, but I would totally watch it.

Quotes:

Sam: Dude, I'm not gonna survive hundreds of monster attacks to get flatlined by some double donut monstrosity.
Dean: The Elvis!
Sam: Whatever. How many calories are in that thing?

Claire: I've been hunting.
Jody: AKA menacing innocent people.

Claire: I don't want to go to school.
Dean: Nobody wants to go to school, Claire. It's school.

Jody: It had to be the leg. I'm gonna need bionics.

Claire: I solemnly swear not to hunt like a dumbass.

Jody: As long as everyone wears a condom, we'll be fine.
Dean: I want that bumper sticker.

Previous Episode

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Classic Lemon Bars

Classic Lemon Bars by freshfromthe.com

A not so secret thing about me: I'm not a huge lemon fan. Invariably, I would never pick lemon bars as my dessert of choice. So why the heck did I make them, then, you wonder? Well, I had a couple lemons sitting around, about ready to go to waste, and no, I was not going to stand for that! And, since certain people around here like shortbread and lemon, voila!

The craziest thing? I kind of like them! In small doses, ha. I mean eating a huge chunk of it is a little bit tart and whoa. Nonetheless, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed these. The lemon flavor is really determined by your lemons. I would definitely recommend making sure they are nice and ripe and, if you can, organic is definitely best. Whatever you can get the most juice out of, for sure. 

Classic Lemon Bars by freshfromthe.com

Next confession: I kind of messed these up the first time I made them! Yes, it happens to everyone. The recipe I was following didn't say when exactly to pour the lemon topping onto the bars, just when they were warm out of the oven. Well, I did it too quickly!

Don't do it right when the crust gets out of the oven. I mean, you can, but the weirdest thing happened - my topping ended up being on the bottom. This seems like it would defy the laws of physics, but it happened. The lemon was on the bottom, the shortbread was on the top, and I was very confused. I assume it must've been able to pour straight through the shortbread while it was still very hot and not completely cooked together. So, I reflect this in my directions - let the crust sit for 5 minutes when you take it out of the oven, then pour your topping on before you put it back in the oven again. Got it? Good!

I definitely recommend these if you are a lemon fan. And even if you're a bit on the fence, you may give them a try, because I unexpectedly like them and am decidedly not a lemon fan at all! Also, they're really pretty easy. The only thing is that you do dirty a lot of utensils and whatnot with all of the zesting and juicing and whatnot. But so worth it.

Classic Lemon Bars by freshfromthe.com


Classic Lemon Bars
Printable Version

Ingredients
  • For the Crust:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • For the Topping:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • zest and juice from two medium lemons
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cooking Directions
  1. Place your oven rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 350F. Grease an 8x8 baking pan and set aside for now.
  2. To make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in your flour and salt. Beat until it's incorporated, then press it down into your prepared pan. Pro Tip: get your hand wet so the dough doesn't stick to you. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the edges have just browned.
  3. While that's baking, make your topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until nicely combined and thick. Add in the flour, zest, and juice, and whisk until blended.
  4. When the crust is done baking, let it sit for five minutes. Then, pour your topping on there. Stick that back in the oven and bake for another 18-20 minutes, until the edges have browned a tiny bit and it doesn't jiggle in the center when you move it.
  5. Allow to cool completely in the pan. Slice into squares, and go to town. You can get fancy and dust with some powdered sugar if you like as well, but it's totally not necessary! 
Recipe adapted very slightly from Joy the Baker 

Classic Lemon Bars by freshfromthe.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Supernatural 11x11 "Into the Mystic"

This week's episode was structured pretty classically. Supernatural death in the opening. Brothers investigate (although this time the first death was from years ago instead of the actual death they're investigating), they think they've found the thing and killed it, then whoops, another death, it's something else after all! If you look back on past episodes, this sort of thing happens a lot.

Misha Collins as Casifer in Supernatural 11x11 "Into the Mystic"The monster in question for this week is an evil banshee. It was pretty obvious based on the screaming tendencies; I'm just surprised they haven't done a banshee on this show before. Unless they covered one of the non-evil ones they mentioned and I'm just not remembering it. This one looked a bit like a floating medusa. Anywayz, the banshee in question brings them to Oak Park, a senior community. They meet Mildred, a flirty resident, and a supposed maid named Marlene, who wasn't actually around for any of the deaths, but looks gosh dark suspicious, so she must be related somehow.

Turns out, she's not Marlene, but rather Eileen, the daughter of the couple who died in the opener, out for hunter revenge on the banshee that killed her parents. Boy, Sam does some serious heart-to-hearting with her while they wait for Dean to go get some gold blades to help kill the evil banshee. Oh, and apparently her dad was part of the Men of Letters, because it's easy to have them pop up all over the place even though there were no hints at their existence until a few years ago. Yeah, yeah.

So, yes, Dean goes back to the bunker to get the gold blades, because apparently that's not something they usually carry around in the trunk. There, he runs into Casifer (I believe this is the moniker that everyone has pretty much decided on), who is in the bunker supposedly looking for information on Amara, but who knows what he's really up to. Instead, he gets an unexpected heart-to-heart from Dean. It's just heart-to-heart city this week on Supernatural! Dean tells him all about his odd attraction to Amara, and how he's not sure he can fight it. Oh gosh, give Lucifer some good intel, why don't you? I guess Cas is one of the only people Dean ever seems to confide in.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, Dee Wallace, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 11x11 "Into the Mystic"Back to the banshee! They're going to use Mildred as bait since she has a bad ticker and they come after people with weaknesses. But, when the banshee shows up, she actually goes for Dean instead. So Dean starts bleeding from many places, and banging his head against the wall, until Mildred traps the thing and Eileen stabs it. Bye bye, banshee! Does this mean Eileen will go off and study law like her mom was doing before she died? Nope, she's a hunter, it's what they do. Does it mean Dean will get himself some Golden Girls-style lady action? Nope, because Mildred suspects his heart belongs to another. Dun dun dun!

Sam wonders why the banshee went after Dean. Like, why would he be weak? Weak in the heart? Lots of heart stuff happening this week, so it must be. Just what will Dean do about this attraction? And why, again, does he feel the need to hide it from his brother? Sheesh, with the man drama already. They're always hiding stuff from each other, and it never ends well.

Random Thoughts:

- I didn't really talk about it above because it's more of a tidbit than a plot point, but Eileen was not only a hunter, but a deaf hunter. It was fun to see her and Mildred signing about the boys being hot. Like, why don't more people talk about that?

- Casifer killed a fellow angel at the beginning of the episode, too. Angels can see that he's actually Lucifer inside. But, still no indication whether Castiel is still in there too, or if he's stuck down in the cage.

- What is Crowley going to do with this information about Lucifer? He doesn't seem to be a big fan, so not sure what he's doing right now. Suppose we'll find that out soon enough.

- The real question is what does Lucifer actually want? Does he want to get rid of Amara? And if he does, what does he want after that? And can he? All questions to be solved later.

Quotes:

Casifer: I'm here to save you all. Lucifer Ex Machina.

Dean: Maybe we should make a reservation.
Sam: Ha. We should be so lucky to live long enough.

Sam: Turns out Harold was stealing the other residents' Viagra.
Dean: I know. Real dick move, huh?

Mildred: You two are too cute to be FBI.

Mildred: Not bad. Honey, it's almost as gorgeous as you are.

Dean: Your hand is still on my knee.
Mildred: I could move it up.

Previous Episode -- Next Episode

Monday, January 25, 2016

Baked French Toast Casserole

Recipe for Baked French Toast Casserole by freshfromthe.com.

I don't know about you, but if given the choice, I will almost always choose French Toast over Pancakes or Waffles. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it must have something to do with the bread-y nature of French Toast?

What can make French Toast even more decadent? Making it into a rich casserole dish that is, let's face it, easier to do overall. No having to cook individual slices of bread on your frying pan. Instead, it's all in a nice casserole dish, ready to head into the oven after some preparation and sitting. Yes, you do have to let this sit for a while to allow the bread to soak up all of the eggy mixture. But is it worth it? Um, duh.

Recipe for Baked French Toast Casserole by freshfromthe.com.

Now, if you know Paula Deen (whose recipe this originates from), you know she doesn't skimp on the heavy ingredients. This has not only half and half, but also a whole stick of butter and a cup of brown sugar. Yeah, it's not for those on a diet. That said, it's rich enough that you can be pretty satisfied by just having a small amount rather than eating up huge swaths of it. I did omit the corn syrup called for in the topping, and actually reduced the butter a bit, and it still turned out rich and decadent anyway.

One thing I would also recommend is perhaps using Challah bread or even a Texas Toast bread. I used a regular French loaf from the grocery store, and while it certainly worked, it didn't soak up as much of the egg as I would've liked, and I think a thicker bread like one of those two might work a bit better, personally. Speaking of soaking up the egg, this will have almost a bread pudding consistency. If you don't like that, you can probably reduce the amount of eggs and dairy mixture and get it how you like it. I think this is probably a fairly adaptable recipe for whatever you like best!


Recipe for Baked French Toast Casserole by freshfromthe.com.


Baked French Toast Casserole

Ingredients
  • 1 loaf (13-16 ounces) French bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • For the Praline Topping:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice French bread into about 20 slices, close to 1-inch each. Arrange the slices in a 9x13 baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and whisk until blended but not overly bubbly.
  3. Pour the mixture over the bread slices, making sure they're all evenly covered. You can spoon some in between the slices to double check.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours/overnight.
  5. When it's ready (when the bread has soaked up most of the egg mixture), preheat your oven to 350F and make your praline topping.
  6. Combine the butter, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix together well. I just used a fork.
  7. Spread your praline topping evenly over your bread and bake for about 40 minutes, until puffed and golden. 
Adapted from Paula Deen
Recipe for Baked French Toast Casserole by freshfromthe.com.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Supernatural 11x10 "The Devil in the Details"

Winter hiatus is over already? Man. I remember when they used to feel long, and now they just whiz on by as if there was no break at all. As you may recall from last time, Sam got trapped down in the cage with Lucifer after he went there to ask him how to beat Amara, thinking it was God who sent him there. Meanwhile, Dean was up with Amara, who the angels tried to smite.
Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural 11x10 "The Devil in the Details"
First off - did said smiting work? In a word - no. Duh. Obviously. That would get rid of the big bad at the midseason mark, and not once has this show ever done that. So, no, she's still around, gobbling up paper-pushing angels with names that rhyme with Castiel. Which gives Cas a chance to chat with her for a few moments. Instead of eating up his grace as she did the other aforementioned angel, she instead does a silly little thing to make sure Cas is in the same location as Sam and Dean - namely, in Hell - to "send a message." I Am Coming. Oh good. We didn't know.

Meanwhile, down in the cage, Lucifer is basically trying to mind game Sam into saying yes to him again, to be his vessel again. So I guess even though he said yes once, he has to say it again now that he's not possessing him anymore? Boy do these possession rules get hazy, which we'll talk about more later. So, Lucifer is showing Sam some of his past memories, which is the best thing about the episode. Because, one, we get to see Teen Sam in the guise of Colin Ford again, which we haven't seen in a long while, and two, we get to have to show at least acknowledge that Sam was not the only one to fall into the pit. Oh poor Adam, we see you, yet only Michael gets mentioned by Lucifer. You just never get any respect.

Misha Collins as Castiel, Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer in Supernatural 11x10 "The Devil in the Details"
Anyhow, Lucifer is basically telling Sam that he's lost his spark and/or mojo, in that in the past he would have been all up for sacrificing himself or others for the greater good, but now all he cares about is saving his brother. Which, he's not wrong there, Sammy. In the end, though, Sam does NOT say yes, for once doing a smart thing, we think. Which means Lucifer will just beat him to death, right?

Wrong-o, duh! You know Dean's found out where he is by now, and he's found his way into Hell after a brief chat with Billie the Reaper, who gives him a witch neck brace thingamajig that basically will make Rowena Crowley's slave. Which it does, just in time for her to do a spell to lock Lucifer back up in the cage. Oh, but only if he doesn't have a vessel first. We must say that loud and clear for all to hear. Dean and Castiel end up in the cage with ole Luci as well, just as Rowena says the spell and the go kapoof out of there. All seems to be well!

Or does it? Because it turns out Castiel is not the one who came back out of the cage. Rather, it was Lucifer inhabiting Castiel's body/vessel/wait whaaaaat? I'm going to rant about this in the random thoughts section, so go there for more detailed thoughts on this. While Dean and Sam ride off none the wiser, CasLuci or whatever people will be calling this new thing goes to chat with Rowena, supposedly to thank her, but really to snap her neck since she's apparently the only one who knows how to open the cage again. Really? She's the only witch in the entire world who can figure this out? Okay. Whatever. And whatever again. Goodbye Rowena, I wish I cared more about your death, but I don't. And is it really your permanent death, anyway? People never stay dead on this show.

Random Thoughts:

- Aw, Colin Ford! I was wondering if they'd ever be able to use him again. Alas, I don't think they'd use him with Dylan Everett, because he looks older than him. Which is a shame because they're the two best young versions of the Winchester brothers.

- Okay. We need to talk about this. Just how in hell can Castiel say yes to Lucifer? He's an angel. Already in a vessel, no? I know that it was sort of created for him, or something, because Jimmy died, and I don't even know anymore. The rules are so fast and loose now, it's just like they wanted to give Misha a chance to play Mark Pellegrino's version of Lucifer. And whatever happened to Lucifer needing a perfect vessel? Now anyone can just go around saying yes? Why not have Rowena get some other schmuck down in there and be done with it already? It just does not make any sense to me, and it will still seem like a cop out no matter what reasoning may or may not be given.

- I did like the trips down memory lane. And the subtle nod to the Amelia storyline being a bad idea with Lucifer saying it was Sam's biggest mistake. Touche, touche.

- Seriously, though, with the mentions of Michael and no Adam being tortured? Come on, now. Come on.

Quotes:

Castiel: You're suffering from smiting sickness.
Dean: That's a thing?

Lucifer: Assbutt. I still don't get that.

Lucifer: Snappin' necks and cashin' checks, it's what I do.

Crowley: Don't worry about Sam.
Dean: Oh I'm sorry have you met me?

Sam: Let's say you gank her, then what?
Lucifer: Move to LA, solve crimes.

Rowena: You're welcome. Anyone?
Dean: Bite me.
Crowley: I can make her do that.

Previous Episode -- Next Episode