Monday, June 29, 2015

Dessert Grilled Cheese?

When my mother was pregnant with me, she and my father went on a long trip through France.  Each evening my father and grandfather would sit down to this huge "menu gastronomique" and my mother would spot the first course and head for her room, telling my father to send up a grilled cheese in about an hour.  So I had a lot of grilled cheese in utero, which is why it's not on my favorites list of comfort foods.

Until this.  Via Spoon University

Dark Chocolate, Raspberry and Brie Grilled Cheese

There’s no denying it — everyone loves cheese. Gooey Brie, sweet dark chocolate and tart raspberries take this grilled cheese from "drunchie" to dessert. Now you can have cheese for every meal, and really, who doesn’t want that?

Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 4 ounces Brie 
  • 6-8 raspberries, mashed 
  • 1½ ounces dark chocolate 
  • 2 slices crusty bread 
  • 1 tablespoon butter 

  1. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. 
  2. Stack Brie, raspberries and chocolate onto unbuttered side of bread. Top with the other slice.
  3. Heat in a frying pan over medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip carefully and heat other side for another 4 minutes.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

"I cannot live without books." - Thomas Jefferson

Recently I came across this list (from Amazon, via kottke) of the 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.  I've got some work to do yet.
  • 1984, by George Orwell - READ
  • A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking - NOT READ
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers - NOT READ
  • A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah - NOT READ
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: The Short-Lived Edition by Lemony Snicket - NOT READ
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle - NOT READ
  • Alice Munro: Selected Stories, by Alice Munro - NOT READ
  • Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll - READ
  • All the President's Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein - NOT READ, but I did see the movie.
  • Angela's Ashes: A Memoir, by Frank McCourt - NOT READ
  • Are You There, God? It's me, Margaret, by Judy Blume - READ (there's not much in the Blume oeuvre that I haven't read
  • Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett - NOT READ
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison - READ
  • Born to Run - A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall - NOT READ
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwidge Danticat - NOT READ
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller - NOT READ
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl - NOT READ, but I saw the movie
  • Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White - READ
  • Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese - NOT READ
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brene Brown - NOT READ
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1, by Jeff Kinney - NOT READ, but the series is popular with both LBA and SoBA
  • Dune, by Frank Herbert - NOT READ, was never a big fan of the sci-fi, fantasy genre
  • Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury - I want to say READ, I feel like it made an appearance in HS English.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, by Hunter S. Thompson - NOT READ
  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn - NOT READ
  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown - around since 1947, I only have the memory of reading this to LBA and SoBA.
  • Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens - NOT READ
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared M. Diamond - NOT READ
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling - haven't read any of them, but Mrs. BA has, as has LBA.
  • In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote - one of the first non-fiction books I read was Fatal Vision, about the Ft. Bragg Murders of Jeffrey McDonald, but this one is NOT READ
  • Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri - NOT READ
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison - NOT READ
  • Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth, by Chris Ware - NOT READ
  • Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain - I like to eat out, so I will keep this one as NOT READ
  • Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson - NOT READ
  • Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Mrs. BA owns the series and has read them and now LBA has started reading them too.
  • Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov - NOT READ
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - as with Bradbury, I feel like this appeared on a syllabus at some point in my life.
  • Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich - NOT READ
  • Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl - NOT READ
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris - Mrs. BA has read this, and a copy is in the Launchpad, maybe I should pick it up.
  • Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides - NOT READ
  • Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie - NOT READ
  • Moneyball, by Michael Lewis - NOT READ but I did see the movie.
  • Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham - NOT READ
  • On the Road, by Jack Kerouac - NOT READ
  • Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen - NOT READ
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi - NOT READ
  • Portnoy's Complaint, by Philip Roth - NOT READ
  • Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen - NOT READ
  • Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson - NOT READ
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut - NOT READ
  • Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin - READ
  • The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton - NOT READ
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon - NOT READ
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley - NOT READ
  • The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak - NOT READ
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz - NOT READ
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger - NOT READ, HA! Just Kidding, READ, more than once.
  • The Color of Water, by James McBride - NOT READ
  • The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen - NOT READ
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson - READ
  • The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank - READ
  • The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green - NOT READ
  • The Giver, by Lois Lowry - NOT READ
  • The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman - NOT READ
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald - NOT READ
  • The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood - NOT READ
  • The House At Pooh Corner, by A. A. Milne - READ
  • The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins - NOT READ
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot - NOT READ
  • The Liars' Club: A Memoir, by Mary Karr - NOT READ
  • The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1), by Rick Riordan - NOT READ
  • The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry - READ (in both English and French!)
  • The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler - NOT READ
  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, by Lawrence Wright - NOT READ
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien - NOT READ
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales, by Oliver Sacks - NOT READ
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan - NOT READ
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster - READ
  • The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel, by Barbara Kingsolver - NOT READ
  • The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro - READ (you could lose your NYS residency if you don't read this one)
  • The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe - NOT READ, but I did see the movie.
  • The Road, by Cormac McCarthy - as opposed to, ON the Road, - READ
  • The Secret History, by Donna Tartt - NOT READ
  • The Shining, by Stephen King - Finally, a King Book, READ!
  • The Stranger, by Albert Camus - READ
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway - not this one but other Hemingway stuff was READ
  • The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien - NOT READ
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle - READ, c'mon, who can name all the things the caterpillar eats?
  • The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame - NOT READ
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel, by Haruki Murakami - NOT READ
  • The World According to Garp, by John Irving - NOT READ
  • The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion - NOT READ
  • Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe - NOT READ
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee - READ and saw the movie
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand - I read some of this and want to go back and finish AND see the movie
  • Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann - NOT READ
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein - READ
  • Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak - READ

Monday, June 22, 2015

Baked White Cheddar and Leek Dip

When Mr. and Mrs. BA get back to having parties - hopefully coming soon - this could definitely make an appearance.  Via Simply Scratch

Baked White Cheddar + Leek Dip

This warm dip is so addictive! Leeks, beer and white cheddar... OH MY!

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25
Total Time: 45 minutes approximately

  • 1 Leek, trimmed {keep white and light green parts only} 
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper 
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened 
  • 7 ounces Sharp White Cheddar, grated and divided 
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise 
  • 4 tablespoons of your favorite Dark Beer 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Trim, halve and slice the leek into half moons. Place the leek slices in a bowl of water and swish them around, breaking them up with your fingers. The sandy dirt will fall to the bottom. Remove the leeks, drain and pat dry.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted add in the clean leeks. Cook until softened about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove the skillet off of the heat.

In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, two-thirds of the grated cheddar and the beer. Add in the cooked leaks and stir until smooth.

Spread the leek dip into the same small oven-safe skillet {or a 1-1/2 to 2 quart baking dish) and top with the remaining grated cheese.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minute or until bubbly and lightly golden.

Let the dip cool before serving.... enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


It has been forty years since the release of the above movie, the one that kept me out of Long Island waters for most of the summer of 1975.  Go ahead, hit play above and read this list (from CNN) about the first, real summer blockbuster.
  1. Stephen Spielberg, whose first film, "Duel," was about a highway motorist being menaced by a mysterious tanker truck, was afraid of being typecast if he took the "Jaws" job. "Who wants to be known as a shark-and-truck director?" he complained. 
  2. None of the three main actors - Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss - was the producers' first choice for the parts. Robert Duvall and Charlton Heston were among those considered for Chief Brody, while Lee Marvin and Sterling Hayden were initially sought for Captain Quint, and Jeff Bridges was discussed for Matt Hooper, the marine biologist. 
  3. The movie's script eliminated several subplots from Peter Benchley's novel that Spielberg considered distracting, including an affair between Chief Brody's wife, Ellen, and Hooper (Dreyfuss). 
  4. Location scouts considered filming locales across the United States but chose Martha's Vineyard because they needed a summer beach resort town with a sheltered bay, manageable tides and shallow waters to make filming easier.
  5. Although the movie is set in midsummer, producers began filming in early May 1974 to avoid an actors' strike that was scheduled to begin July 1. If you look closely in the background of some scenes, you can see trees with no leaves. 
  6. The movie's 25-foot great white shark was played by three full-scale mechanical models towed by submerged "sleds" or guided by hidden scuba divers. The crew nicknamed the shark "Bruce" after Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Ramer. 
  7. Spielberg, frustrated by the shark's frequent malfunctions, had another name for it: "the great white turd." The movie triggered a wave of interest in great white sharks and other predatory sea creatures. The Discovery Channel's long-running "Shark Week" has spawned such DVD titles as "Ocean of Fear" and "Fins Of Fury." 
  8. British actor Robert Shaw was so concerned about owing taxes to the IRS on his income that he flew to Bermuda or Canada on almost all his days off to limit his work hours in the United States. 
  9. The grieving mother who slapped Chief Brody in the movie was played by actress Lee Fierro. She had a difficult time faking the slap and instead walloped Scheider over and over during the many takes needed to get the scene right. 
  10. At one point, Quint's boat, the Orca, sank unexpectedly during filming, soaking cameras and threatening to ruin the day's completed footage. The waterlogged film was flown to a lab in New York, where technicians were able to save it. 
  11. When composer John Williams first played his ominous two-note "shark theme" score for Spielberg on a piano, the director thought it was a joke. Later Spielberg would say, "The score was clearly responsible for half of the success of that movie." 
  12. Local fishermen were unable to catch a big enough shark to use in the scene in which town officials prematurely celebrate a large shark that's been caught and strung up on a dock. So the film's producers located a freshly caught 13-foot tiger shark in Florida and flew it up to Massachusetts on a private plane. By the time the cameras rolled, however, the shark was decomposing and smelled awful. 
  13. The movie's protracted shoot was so troubled by mishaps that some crew members privately began calling the film "Flaws." 
  14. Brody's famous line upon first encountering the shark, "We're gonna need a bigger boat," was ad-libbed by Scheider. At test screenings, the audience's screams drowned out the line, so Spielberg re-edited the scene to make it more audible.
  15. A young filmmaker named John Landis was visiting the set when he was pressed into duty to help build the rickety wooden pier used in the scene where two men try to catch the shark with a hook and chain, baited with a roast. Landis went on to direct "Animal House" and "An American Werewolf in London." 
  16. For the famous scene in which Quint recounts the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, Shaw persuaded Spielberg to let him have a few drinks before the cameras started rolling. But Shaw got so drunk, he had to be carried to the set and couldn't get through his lines. He later called Spielberg and apologized; they shot the scene again the next day, and Shaw nailed it. 
  17. To add authenticity to the scene in which Hooper goes underwater in the shark cage, a second unit shot footage of real sharks in Australia. To make the sharks appear bigger, the filmmakers used a shrunken shark cage and a Hooper stunt double played by a 4-foot-9 ex-jockey in a wetsuit. 
  18. The original script, like the novel, called for Hooper to be killed when the shark bites through the cage. But the Australia crew had captured spectacular footage of a great white attacking an empty shark cage, and Spielberg wanted to use it. So the scene was rewritten to let Hooper escape, sparing Dreyfuss' character. 
  19. After principal filming wrapped, Spielberg decided he needed one more big scare. He wasn't satisfied with the scene in which Hooper investigates a fisherman's sunken boat and is jolted when the man's disembodied head floats out of the hull. So Spielberg recruited a small crew and reshot the scene in film editor Verna Fields' backyard swimming pool in Encino, California. To make the clear, chlorinated water match the murkier look of the ocean, crew members poured a gallon of milk into the pool. 
  20. Test screenings revealed that the audience's loudest screams were for the severed-head scene -- even louder than when the shark first rises out of the water behind Brody. After the movie opened, Spielberg and screenwriter Gottlieb would sneak into screenings in Los Angeles and stand in the back of the theater "just to watch the sold-out audience visibly rise out of their seats with a collective shriek." 
  21. John Williams conducted the orchestra during the 1976 Academy Awards, so when he won the Oscar for best score, he had to dash up to the podium to accept his Oscar and then run back down to continue conducting.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cake Milkshakes? I'm In.

At the launchpad, we've been giving the blender a workout of late - Mrs. BA will look at me and say, "know what would taste good right about now?"  A little whole milk, some ice cream (chocolate for her, coffee or strawberry for me) - pulse, pulse, pulse and serve.

Then again, the other evening, I was feeling productive around the kitchen and made brownies.  Maybe I could substitute brownie batter for the recipe below - as there is really never a time when there is boxed cake mix in the house. Via Spoon University

Cake Batter Milkshake

If you’re looking for dessert on the go, this milkshake is your ticket. Here’s a one-step recipe that transforms your typical milkshake into a richer, thicker dessert.

Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 2 cups chocolate, vanilla or cookie dough ice cream 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • ½ cup cake mix in flavor of choice 
  • Whipped cream or dash of cocoa powder 

  1. Blend milk, ice cream and cake mix in a Magic Bullet or blender until smooth and creamy. Or whisk this together by hand.
  2. Serve with whipped cream or sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Vacation Cereal Ahead!

Today was the last day of school for LBA and SoBA.  In August, the Brave Astronaut clan will head north to the wilds of Maine for our first real summer vacation in some time.  A while back, LBA and SoBA asked for some sugary, cereal at the grocery store (yet another reason why I don't like to go to the store with them).  I explained that we tend to eat just a few cereals on a regular basis and that cereals like Cap'n Crunch and Fruit Loops were clearly considered "Vacation Cereal" and not to be consumed except on special occasions.

So, there is certain to be the purchase of a "vacation" pack of small cereal boxes in the near future.

To help with the selection process, BuzzFeed very kindly rated 27 cereals from worst to first. My comments in italics.

27. Grape-Nuts - Post
Cerious talk: What is there to say about Grape-Nuts? You don’t even go into eating Grape-Nuts thinking that it’s a good idea. You know from the get-go that it’s not going to be pretty. I mean you’re basically spooning ROCKS into your mouth. But we all make mistakes, and we’ve all made the mistake of eating Grape-Nuts. Sure it has “100% of your day’s whole grain” and sure grapes are good, and maybe nuts are good, too. But TOGETHER? No. No, Post. This is where we draw the DAMN LINE. You eat Grape-Nuts when you literally have nothing else to eat and even then you STILL regret it.
Never a cereal I would willingly eat

26. Wheaties - General Mills
Cerious talk: Anyone who has ever eaten Wheaties has probably questioned why the HELL this is the food choice of Olympians everywhere. Let’s be honest, Wheaties are wack. They are plain as hell. You might as well eat cardboard for breakfast, it would probably taste the same. And I think we’ve ALL felt the disappointment after eating a box of Wheaties, not suddenly turning into an Olympian, and realizing we just ate cardboard for breakfast.
I am the Brave Astronaut - not the Brave Athlete. I never was into the Wheatie.

25. Raisin Bran - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: Like WHO THE HELL at Kellogg’s thought to take BRAN FLAKES and throw raisins in them? Like TWO WHOLE SCOOPS OF THEM!? The only redeeming quality about this cereal is the fact the raisins are covered in sugar. At least this cereal promotes bowel movements so you can get it out of your body as fast as possible.
Um, I admit to liking Raisin Bran.  So do the boys. We just don't talk about the fact that they're bran flakes - or that I put sugar on the cereal. and use whole milk.

24. Special K - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: Special K is the equivalent of a wet blanket… in your mouth. You eat it thinking it’s going to be great because of all the commercials and then you find yourself thinking, “This is it???!!!!” It’s a major letdown and no amount of freeze-dried strawberries could make up for it. And to make matters WORSE, you’re hungry again in 20 minutes. NO THANKS, SPECIAL K.
Not one I'm interested in either.

23. Rice Krispies - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: Eating Rice Krispies is what we imagine eating air to feel like. It’s nothing. These little rice krisps dissolve in your mouth leaving you with the flavor of sour milk and broken promises. They draw you in with their cute mascots, but that’s about all they have going for them. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact that these little babies can be turned into Rice Kripsie treats, they might’ve been dead last.
A popular selection at the Launchpad, this one deserves better.

22. Cheerios - General Mills
Cerious talk: You know what doesn’t taste good? Baby food. You know what babies eat a lot of? Cheerios. Cheerios are the cereal you mundanely eat over and over again hoping that the next handful will somehow taste better than the last. But the problem is that it never does. It never tastes better. It always tastes the same. And it always tastes like a letdown.
Still used daily at the Launchpad in snacks for LBA and SoBA

21. Corn Pops - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: Have you ever been eating an ear of corn and thought, “Wow, I would love some of this with milk.” If you have, maybe Corn Pops is for you. As far as cereals go, this is subpar AT BEST. Little to no flavor, weird texture, and no sense of fulfillment after eating. Basically, it’s not the WORST but it’s certainly not the best.
Corn for me, is savory, breakfast cereal, it's not.

20. Chex - General Mills
Cerious talk: Chex is gluten-free. That’s all it has going for itself. If you’re on that paleo diet, eat this. If you aren’t, UPGRADE YOUR BREAKFAST.
Chex is what you eat when you don't have Life. And it makes a fine snack mix.

19. Trix - General Mills
Cerious talk: Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids with low standards. There’s nothing quite fulfilling about this cereal. You have so many expectations when it pours out into your bowl, but those damn flowers and watermelons (I don’t even know if that’s what those are) are a cerious letdown. You can have ‘em, rabbit.
The lowest on the list of the vacation cereals.

18. Honeycomb - Post
Cerious talk: How true is this statement: “Me want Honeycomb”? Because sure, it seems appealing, but this fluffy comb-shaped cereal falls flat when it hits the milk, just like it does when you put it in your mouth. It’s good if it’s all you have, but you don’t ever want this to be all you have.
I went to C.W. Post University and still am not interested in this cereal.  I'm pretty much a Kellogg's man.

17. Cookie Crisp - General Mills
Cerious talk: Listen. We’re all here for a sugary cereal. BUT SOMETIMES, it can be taken too far. Cookie Crisp is what your mom let you eat when she finally gave up. If you have Coooooookie Crisp for breakfast, you should’ve just eaten an actual damn cookie.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I've eaten cookies for breakfast.

16. Cocoa Pebbles - Post
Cerious talk: Cocoa Pebbles are fine. Like whatever. They get super soggy real quick, and let’s face it, you’re just trying to get to the chocolate milk. If you’re in the market for a chocolate cereal, it’s better to go with Cocoa Puffs.

15. Apple Jacks - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: Apple Jacks is what happened when Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch had a baby and it came out looking like neither of them. Sure, it has its moments of deliciousness, but overall, the flavor gets boring after a while and the colors are ANYTHING but appetizing.
Eat an apple before the Jacks

14. Quaker Oatmeal Squares - Quaker
Cerious talk: Oatmeal Squares is what happens when your dad starts dating again and his new girlfriend starts infiltrating your cereal cabinet. We get that oatmeal helps reduce cholesterol, but if you have bad cholesterol, you probably shouldn’t be in the cereal game. NEXT.
This has also appeared at the launchpad - we don't mention that it's good for you.

13. Honey Nut Cheerios - General Mills
Cerious talk: Honey Nut Cheerios is the hotter, younger sibling of the Cheerios family. It tastes way better than the cardboard alternative, and it *can* help lower cholesterol. With that said, it’s still a little plain and is a cereal for those who can’t afford another cavity. Bee happy, bee healthy.
We tend to stay with the original - though the multi-grain Cheerios have appeared of late.

12. Honey Bunches of Oats - Post
Cerious talk: Honey Bunches of OHMYGOD why does this taste so good? This cereal is unexpected. We’ve all seen the commercials and thought, “Yeah, they pay those people to say it’s good.” But do they? DO THEY? After eating HBOO, you might not think so anymore. Shit is GOOD. The only way it could be better is if the crispy flakes didn’t get soggy within four minutes. Post, work on this will ya?

11. Fruit Loops - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: This bright ring-shaped cereal is a little on the basic side, but it’s a classic cereal that isn’t going anywhere. It’s the Julia Stiles of cereal: No one has a strong opinion about them, but no one hates them.
Another prime vacation cereal candidate

10. Krave - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: Although this is a newer cereal to enter the breakfast game, it’s one we don’t ever want to be without again. Sure, it has a dog food appearance, but once you put it in your mouth, you’re transported to chocolate euphoria.
I've seen it in the grocery store, I've contemplated buying it, but haven't pulled the trigger, yet.

9. Frosted Flakes - Kellogg's
Cerious talk: Like that anthropomorphic tiger says, this cereal is pretty damn gr-r-reat. Like whoever at Kellogg’s thought to just dip corn flakes into frosted sugar deserves a Nobel Prize. Breakfast game-changer-r-rrr.
The original vacation cereal.

8. Cocoa Puffs - General Mills
Cerious talk: Cocoa Puffs is the supreme chocolate cereal. Its chocolaty puff balls are seriously addicting and when you’re finished, you have a whole FUCKING BOWL of chocolate milk. You know it’s an addicting cereal when you have a crazed bird as your mascot who needs just one more bowl to survive.

7. Lucky Charms - General Mills
Cerious talk: Lucky is pretty damn lucky he added those charms to his cereal, or else it wouldn’t have even made this list. The dried marshmallows are what MAKE the cereal so enjoyable. Let’s just cut to the chase and make the entire cereal ALL marshmallows so we don’t have to manually pick them out ourselves.

6. Cap’N Crunch - Quaker Oats
Cerious talk: If you start your morning off with Cap’n Crunch, you’re doing something right. It’s fuckin tasty and when you add those berries to the mix, you’re going to have the best day of your lif — OH WAIT, NEVER MIND BECAUSE YOUR MOUTH IS NOW FUCKED WITH SCRATCHES. Would’ve been in the top five, but your palate never fails to bleed when you eat this one. Thanks Cap’n.
Possibly the #1 "vacation cereal" for LBA

5. Frosted Mini-Wheats
Cerious talk: Frosted Mini-Wheats is THE cereal you’d wanna settle down and start a family with. It has a sweet side but is also loaded with fiber and whole wheat — BEST OF BOTH CEREAL WORLDS. Oh, and don’t even get me STARTED on the other flavors. Omg.
Another cereal that is part of the regular Launchpad lineup

4. Cinnamon Toast Crunch - General Mills
Cerious talk: It’s the taste and orgasm you can see. This cereal is basically wheat rectangles covered in cinnamon-flavored sugar. If you want more from a cereal, you’re pretty fuckin' ungrateful.
This is in the top five of LBA's Vacation Cereals and it has crossover appeal, it has appeared at the launchpad.

3. Reese’s Puffs - General Mills
Cerious Talk: Not only is Reese’s the best candy like, ever, Reese’s Puffs is just as equally mind-blowing. It’s exactly what you think it is: candy for breakfast. You were the popular kid if you pulled this bad boy out of your cabinet the morning after a sleepover.
Nope.  If I'm going to eat peanut butter cups, I'm eating peanut butter cups.

2. Life - Quaker
Cerious talk: Life is LIFE. Not only does this Quaker dude make BOMB oatmeal, he magically found a way to make such a simple cereal into a tasty DELICACY. Not to mention every flavor of this cereal is the shit.
I'm moved that possibly my most favorite cereal in the world is #2 on this list.

1. Fruity Pebbles - Post
Cerious talk: Of course Fred gets fucking pissed whenever Barney steals his Pebbles. These colored rice flakes are THE BEST it gets when it comes to cereal, not to mention the greenish HEAVENLY milk you get to reward yourself with once you’re done. One cereal to rule them all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Roy Rides Again!

I have always been a big fan of Roy Rogers.  For some reason the pickles on the fixins bar are irresistible. And the fried chicken is really, really good.

There used to be a lot more of them around.  In fact as the number of stores began to dwindle - I wrote to the corporate offices to find out what was going on.  I came home from work one evening to find a message on my answering machine, with a long apology from someone in the corporate office.  It was a bit surreal.

My Roy Rogers intake these days is mostly limited to the rest areas on the New Jersey Turnpike.  But evidently, according to this story, the chain is trying to claw its way back.  I look forward to its triumphant return.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Marinara Sauce

Normally I wholeheartedly endorse the recipes of the Pioneer Woman.  But I would put Mrs BA's homemade sauce against the Pioneer Woman's this time.  Mrs. BA's is a whole lot easier.

Marinara Sauce
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 6

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil 
  • 1 whole Yellow Or White Onion, Diced 
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced 
  • 2 whole Large Carrots, Peeled And Finely Diced 
  • 2 cans (28 Ounces Each) Whole Tomatoes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar (more To Taste) 
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Oregano (optional; Use Whatever Dried Or Fresh Herbs You Like) 
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley, Plus More For Serving 
  • Cooked Pasta, For Serving 
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese, For Serving 
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional) 
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the tomatoes and juice in a large bowl and use your hands to gently squish/smush the tomatoes so that the juices are released and they are all broken up. Add the contents of the bowl to the pot and stir. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and oregano (or other dried or fresh herbs). Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add minced fresh parsley at the end and taste/adjust the sauce for seasonings.

Toss with pasta, then serve on top of the pasta with Parmesan and more parsley (or fresh basil if you have it!)

(Note: If you like a slightly deeper flavor, add the optional tomato paste when you add the tomatoes.)