This week, I decided to kick it up a notch. I made a batch of cookies last week. I figured I could step it up and do not just one but TWO cooking adventures this week! Albeit one was more of a “cooking frolic” than the other (and NO, it’s not the one you think!) Never the less, I’ve discovered two incredible recipes that I intend to remember for the future. Plus, there was enough of each that I could eat/drink them for multiple meals. Score! Although, I will point out that this wonderful food (or any food for that matter) isn’t quite as enjoyable when you have a giant, stinging canker sore on the inside of your bottom lip…which I’m pretty sure was caused by the smoothie. Ulcers abound in my life, I swear…
Sometimes, I’m glad that I don’t have an infinite amount of money. There are so many brilliantly scored soundtracks out there by composers that should be given more credit than they receive. And I want to own most all of them. There are at the moment over ten that I have listed on my cork board over my desk that are “must haves”. Having been introduced to Spotify over a year ago, I’ve discovered more wonderful composers that I’d never heard of before because of their “related artists” box. One of these is Max Richter.
I don’t remember what I was listening to at the time, but it suddenly didn’t matter anymore when compared to Richter’s minimalist and yet startlingly emotive compositions. The first soundtrack I listened to by him? One for a masterfully created animated film called “Waltz with Bashir”. Since discovering Richter, I’ve listened to him for nearly every project I’ve worked on, the latest being my apocalyptic work-in-progress, Cold Walls, and the upcoming Memento Mori: Book 3 of The Monstrum Chronicles. I find that I’m inspired to write about characters who are forced to do something because of a particularly strong motivation. It pushes them to do things that they normally wouldn’t do but suddenly find an inner courage or impulse that pushes them in a different direction. I’m excited today to share five of his pieces with you and describe to you what I see when I listen to them.
COOKING ADVENTURE # 82: White Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies
Let’s admit it. In winter, especially one as bitterly cold as the one we’ve experienced in Maine, we instinctually gravitate toward foods that make us feel comfortable, warm, and wonderful. This tends to be things like tea, hot chocolate, cake, lasagna, and, of course, cookies. I found myself with a particular hankering for something different than the average chocolate chip or peanut butter styles. I had a bag of white chocolate chips just sitting on my shelf and an almost forgotten bottle of peppermint extract sitting high upon my spice shelf. I knew such combinations were bound to produce beautiful results. That is…until I looked at my brown sugar and discovered it wasn’t about to make anything easy for me.
First time I’ve ever cried during a video game. Absolutely bawling my eyes out right now. Damn. The feels. Not only was the story gripping from the get go, the music connected me to this game in a way that brought it to life. It somehow interwove with the characters and the emotions they experienced on their quest to save their father. The game is a one of a kind piece of art, wherein you use the left and right sides of the controller to control both characters. And for anyone who has ever tried to pat their stomach while rubbing the top of their head, you’ll know that it can be kind of tough to multi-task. “Damn motor-skills,” is something that Let’s Player Cryaotic frequently rages about during his walkthrough of this game.
COOKING ADVENTURE #81: Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
You’re probably not going to believe me when I say this but…it actually looks better than it tastes. To most of you, this just crushed some kind of pasta food-baby you were hoping to nurture in the future and I apologize for that. I should also add that I didn’t exactly follow the directions to the letter. I have a feeling though (and this is just my opinion) that this recipe would have turned out badly even if I had followed them. It’s one of those recipes that you desperately don’t want to mess up because it looks so scrumptious…and also because you’re making so damn much of it. End result: I have a ton of this stuff and I can barely force it past my lips half the time. Still probably have enough for two meals in my fridge. Urgh…
Several of you know that I have a soft spot for video game music, particularly well-composed music from indie games. I’ve done several Inspiration Through Music blogs for game soundtracks such as “Limbo”, “Journey”, “Heavy Rain”, and “The Walking Dead”. Now, I’ve found another that has once again shattered my expectations of video game scoring. This soundtrack is phenomenal in the way each instrument is characterized and the range of emotions that can be felt while listening to the various tracks.
Ah, 2014! Another prospective year for Cooking Adventures. I got way off base last year and didn’t keep up with my expected blog posts; one new recipe a week. I’m hoping to keep myself up to my first year’s standards of telling entertaining kitchen stories as I learn to cook and bake on my own. This week, my challenge was to tackle a trifle. Not literally. That would be rather messy. Now, I’m all for layering desserts. They just mean some of the best little desserts being combined together into a mega dessert. This time, I decided I was going to make almost everything from scratch (with exception of the blueberry muffins–I’ll explain why). This means homemade lemon custard and whipped cream. Devilish and delicious, those two are… Never did I think I’d spend my evening saving drowning egg yolks and wrangling with a possessed hand-mixer. Every day is a new adventure in the kitchen…
As I sit here on the couch enduring a terrible cold and wishing for the life of me that I had some cough drops, I find myself reflecting back on the books that inspired me to write. Over the last several weeks, I’ve noticed that I am naturally drawn to writing and reading dark fiction, fantasy, and monster genres. Perhaps it is an unconscious desire because that is the kind of fiction I grew up with, the kind of writing that I wanted to be able to imitate but also make my own some day. And while the Monstrum Chronicles and my other projects do have more adult themes, I can’t help but realize now that my inspiration to write these is drawn from five very important authors and their works that I read in my youth. So today, instead of music, I will be sharing with you my top five favorite books from my young adulthood and what it was about them that inspired my current writing style. Enjoy!