David Lynch, Lindsey Stirling, and Cola Carnitas (Or How to Make Slow Cooker Cola Carnitas)

Guys! Exciting things are happening!

First of all, I’m almost done with season 4 of Game of Thrones, and I got HBO back yesterday — just in time for the April 12 premiere of season 5.

So this is all terribly exciting in a nerdy kind of way….

Also? I saw Blue Velvet for free at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood last night. The movie is beyond super messed up, and I wrote my honors thesis on it when I was a wee one in undergrad. (Another nerdy thing.) Seeing it again all these years later I was like, “Wow. I should not have watched that movie when I was 12. No wonder I had to write 75 pages about it in college. I was probably trying to heal my adolescent trauma through academia.”

David Lynch?

Is not for kids.

Who knew?

ANYWAY…

In other news, I finished yet another pass of my script last night before watching Dennis Hopper torment Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan for two hours. I can’t REALLY say the fourth draft is done because I know I have messy bits that I still need to tie together, but it’s CLOSE to being a fourth draft. This makes me SMILE.

Do you know what else makes me smile?

Carnitas.

True story.

I made cola carnitas in the slow cooker for my cousin Maddie on Tuesday, and it was so delicious we almost died.

More pig. Duh.

More pig. Duh.

I did a whole taco spread with gluten free chips, corn tortillas, cotija cheese, salsa verde, and black bean dip. We talked about boys, I gave her half of the clothes in my closet, and we laughed our heads off while we stuffed our faces with piggy goodness.

It was beyond.

If you want to make some cola carnitas yourself, here’s the recipe.

Slow Cooker Cola Carnitas

4 Pound Pork Shoulder
1 Medium Onion, sliced
4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
2, 12 oz Bottles of Mexican Coca Cola*
1 7 oz Can of Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce**

Put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker on low and allow the pork shoulder to simmer all day. If you’re in a rush, you can put it on high for about 4 or 5 hours.

Once the pork is cooked thoroughly, take it out of the slow cooker, remove the fat, and shred the pork with a fork. I discard the other ingredients, but you could use the onions if you’d like. They’re really tender and sweet.

After you eat the carnitas, try not to dance like a lunatic like my family does when we have Mexican food.

My family is super fun.

We are mentally ill for Mexican food.

(We are also super fun.)

And because I’m into spreading fun, here’s a song I’m way into right now. It’s Lindsey Stirling, and the video has a whole M.C. Escher thing going.

<3 I LOVE Lindsey Stirling. And M.C. Escher. <3

*Mexican Coca Cola is made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup. I’ve never tried it with traditional cola, but I’m sure it would be fine if you can’t find Mexican Coke.

**Sometimes I only use half the can if I want it less spicy.

OK, I’m done rambling now. I’m off to USC to handle some bizznass.

Mint Chocolate for My Mouth (Or Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls)

Remember how I was all into the Cookie Dough Protein Balls from PaleOMG a few weeks ago? (If not, you can find the Balls for Breakfast post here.)

Well, I am still into them. WAY into them. Only, I was eating a handful one day and thought, “What if I put MINT in here?”

If you’re thinking, “Mint with almonds? Have you taken leave of your senses, woman?” I understand.

But go with me for a moment here because it’ll be worth it.

I promise.

Spence the Spinosauraus Can't STOP with these things.

Even Trudy the Triceratops can’t STOP with these things.

If you think Trudy and I are on to something with the mint in our mouths, here’s the recipe.

Mint Chocolate Cookie Dough Protein Balls

1/2 C Trader Joe’s Vanilla Hemp Protein*
2 T Coconut Flour
1 T Coconut Sugar
pinch of salt
1 T Almond Butter
2 T Almond Milk
1 1/2 T Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 tsp Pure Mint Extract
2 T Miniature Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet

Mix the first four ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix the almond butter, almond milk, coconut oil, and mint extract together in another bowl and stir to create uniform consistency. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to blend. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and allow them to firm up in the refrigerator.

Try not to eat them before they set up….

Oh, and the other thing I’m into right now?

Is this song by Thomas Jack.

Please don’t get all uppity about the Chaplin film that contains this speech and give me a lecture on sensitivity. I just like the words in the context of the song.

*Trader Joe’s also makes a chocolate hemp protein. That would probably be good as well. 

Healthy Strawberry Banana Mousse (Or Fluffy Goodness for Your Mouth)

Wanna know something?

Ice cream is hands down my favorite dessert on the planet.

Hands down.

But if I’m being really honest with you, it hasn’t always been an easy relationship. I had an eating disorder in college that left me with some really bad feelings about my favorite dessert. We made up last year, which was kind of spectacular and uh-mazing, but that’s a better story for my other blog ‘cuz it’s kinda long.

Anyway…

Even though ice cream and I are playing nicely now, I don’t indulge every day. I prefer to save it for a special occasion.

If I want something with a creamy texture that isn’t off the charts sweet for a regular day I make this.

So fluffy.

Get in my mouth, fluffy goodness!

“What is that?” You ask.

It’s a strawberry banana mousse, and it’s super light and satisfying. It gives me a taste of something sweet and also satisfies my desire for a smooth, soothing texture without being bonkers on fat and sugar.

Here’s the recipe in case you wanna make your own.

Strawberry Banana Mousse

1/2 C Frozen Strawberries, Sliced
1/2 C Frozen Bananas, Sliced
1 C Whole Milk
2 T Coconut Sugar*

Place the bananas and the milk in the food processor, and combine until blended completely. (You have to use a food processor to achieve the fluffy consistency; a blender will make a smoothie instead.) Add the strawberries and the coconut sugar, and whip until fully combined.

It makes about 1 1/2 – 2 C.

You have to serve it immediately otherwise the airiness will diminish if you put it in the refrigerator or let it sit out too long.

*If you have sweet, organic frozen strawberries, you can get away with 1 T of coconut sugar. If you’re using the cheaper frozen kind you’ll probably need the full 2 T of coconut sugar.

OK, that’s all.

I’m off to write my football script for a while.

XOXO

More Peter Rabbit for My Purse! (Or Easter Cupcake Inspiration)

It’s another sunny Friday in SoCal, which is a reason to smile even if Buzz Feed says we’re three years into a vile drought.

This drought's for real. Source.

This shit’s for real. Source.

So, that is all terribly sad.

Wanna talk about bunnies instead?

Good, so do I.

I happened upon this darling Peter Rabbit cupcake kit when I was wandering around Pasadena yesterday, and it cried out for me to buy it.

I mean, who could blame me?

Williams Sonoma KNEW I needed a little more Peter Rabbit in my life.

More Peter Rabbit for my purse! Thank you, Williams Sonoma!

I’m going use them for the Easter beach picnic I’m planning with my friend Nicole. It’s her sister Elle’s birthday that day so we’re having an intimate gathering of close friends that will serve dual functions.

When I asked Nicole what flavors should fill my darling find, she requested lemon curd and chocolate peanut butter. (Not together. OBVIOUSLY.)

She loves the lemon curd cupcakes I made for my grandma’s birthday (you can find the recipe here), but I don’t have a go-to recipe for chocolate peanut butter, so I’m doing some research.

See, I’m trying to decide if I want to do peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate filling or chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.

What do you think?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Albus and I are heading out for a walk while our spicy maple ribs slowly get amazing in our oven.

XOXO

P.S. If you want to buy the cupcake kit but don’t want to leave your house, you can find it here.

P.P.S. I do actually care about the planet and if you do too, you should check out Chef Nathan Lyon’s article on the impact of California’s drought on the rest of the country here.

‘Cuz Candied Bacon (Or Kinda Low Carb Maple Candied Bacon with Cayenne)

Last week I candied bacon because… well, bacon + maple syrup + maple sugar + cayenne = SUPERFREAKINGAMAZING in Your Mouth.

If the idea of candied bacon makes you like this:

IMG_1465

There’s maple sugar and cayenne on this?

You need to trust me and make some anyway because, eating it made me do this in my kitchen.

I am not mentally ill. I swear.

I am not mentally ill. I swear.

It also converted this guy into a carnivore.

It was so good it converted this guy into a carnivore.

So long leafy plants!

I have my writers’ group tonight, so I think I’m going to make another batch. (The first one didn’t last long.)

If you want to make some yourself, here’s how I did it:

SPICY MAPLE CANDIED BACON

1/2 C Maple Syrup, Grade B
2 tsp Dijon Mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
4 tsp Maple Sugar*
1/2 tsp Cayenne
16 oz Bacon, Thick Cut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a metal drying rack on top of the foil.

Mix the first four ingredients together. Place the bacon strips on top of the drying rack. Using a pastry brush, paint each strip of bacon with the glaze.

Place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Using tongs, flip the bacon over and paint on the remaining glaze. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until you achieve desired crispiness.

Try not to burn your fingers by eating it while it’s still hot. You need to allow it to cool on the rack, but it’s hard to wait!!!

*Maple sugar is lower on the glycemic index than regular brown sugar and can be found at specialty stores. If you can’t find maple sugar you can substitute coconut sugar. If you don’t care about the glycemic stuff, it’ll work with brown sugar for sure.

Blame It On the Leprechauns (Or a Super Fun St. Paddy’s Day Idea for Kids)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and even though I’m not Irish, I’m ALL about any holiday that celebrates the sanctity of corned beef. But before I run off and stuff my face full of it…

My friend Kelley has a darling St. Patrick’s Day tradition for her kids that I absolutely have to tell you about.

Kelley and I met in the Pi Phi chapter room 17 years ago when we were supposed to be studying. We talked all night instead, and have basically never stopped.

I do not have words for how much I love her.

Here we are with a lobster's butt in Naperville.

Here we are with a lobster’s head on a platter.

(You may remember her from the Rosemary Meyer Lemonade with Vodka post if you were around in the old days of the blog.)

She lives in a fancy suburb outside of Chicago, and I don’t get to see her nearly enough.

ANYWAY, the thing she does for her kids:

She and her husband came up with it a few years ago, and it’s so great I want to steal it for my own kids some day.

The night before St. Patrick’s day, they stage a treasure hunt that looks a lot like a leprechaun invasion. When the kids wake up in the morning, she tells them that leprechauns vandalized the house while they were sleeping, and they have to follow the trail of mayhem looking for clues.

When she told me about it, I made her send me photos because I am bossy.

The first photo arrived with the following caption, “It’s 11:15 here and I am like a lunatic, literally teepeeing my own house. I am a suburban weirdo.”

Fun, right?

Fun, right?

She is NOT a suburban weirdo; she is an excellent mom who happens to be very creative.

IMG_1568

She also has a kitchen I would kill for.

I am so overdue for a weekend visit so we can cook something exquisite together. I digress…

FullSizeRender-3

Here’s some more of the leprechauns’ handiwork.

The trail goes all throughout the house with the final clue in the bathroom.

IMG_1572

The green water is not the result of one of those 80s toilet tank thingies. The leprechauns did that too.

After taking in this year’s mayhem, her six year old son Blake told his sister Audrey, “Leprechauns should be covered by insurance.”

I am not making this up.

See why I love Kelley and her family?

I did not vandalize my own house because my dog seems to do that pretty well on his own, but I did accidentally end up at St. Patrick’s Day mass this afternoon. That is a very long story that belongs on my other blog.

Before I write that story, I’m off pay homage to the saint who sent the snakes away by stuffing my face with corned beef.

See ya!

Friday I’m in Love (Or Three Things I’m Into)

It’s FRIDAY!!!!

And I’m in LOVE. <3 <3 <3

But not in the way you think I mean. I’m in love with my life, and I want to tell you about a few things that are making me happy right now because I’m all about spreading love and happiness. <3

MY FAVORITE GLUTEN FREE CRACKERS:

They’re the Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers by Food Should Taste Good, but a better name might be Crack in a Box.

The government should require a warning label for these things.

I mean…

Monica loves them so much, I think she might fight me for them.

Monica loves them so much, she snuggles with the box. 

They used to carry them at Costco, and I got ADDICTED. They stopped stocking them last year, and I nearly had to go to therapy.

I recently found them at the high end market on my street for 6x the price I paid at Costco. I only let myself buy them as a special treat because I’m not trying to be homeless because I’m addicted to amaranth and rice crackers.

Today felt like the right day to splurge, so I bought a box.

You probably should too, but please don’t blame me if you end up living in your car because of your addiction.

WALKING THE DOG WHILE LISTENING TO SCREENWRITING PODCASTS: 

I’m ALL about maximizing efficiency, so I get excited when I can do two things at once. Yesterday, I found a way to do THREE things at once, which was so fabulous it was almost like having an orgasm.

See, I figured out how to work out, tire out my enormous dog, AND solve some script problems all at once.

The solution?

Walking the dog while listening to screenwriting podcasts.

Genius, right?

I decided to make it an extra relaxing time for us, so we even lay in the park for a while as I listened to smart and famey writers talk about writing.

See?

Aren't you glad I showed you my armpit?

Aren’t you glad I showed you my armpit?

Nature + Learning = <3

Plus a humming bird joined us for a while.

It was awesome.

That's not dirt. It's a bird.

That’s not dirt. It’s a bad photo of a little bird. I promise.

Time with my dog + birds + learning = <3 <3 <3

If you’re into this sort of movie madness, you can check out Scriptnotes here.

And last but not least….

WRITING TO YOUTUBE MIX TAPES:

I started doing it this week, and it’s uh-mazing. Most of the mix tapes run about an hour, so you get uninterrupted beats without having to deal with ads.

True story.

I put one of my favorites below. This one happens to be all Kygo tracks, but I’m not mad about it. It includes remixes of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”

Plus Owly, the genius who created it, even lists the tracks on the playlist so you don’t have to interrupt your writing flow to shazaam a song when you like it.

OK, I’m off to implement some of the screenwriting tips from yesterday before going to dinner with my adorable aunt and cousin.

We’re going to listen to country music while eating our favorite burritos.

It’s going to be beyond.

XOXO

<3 <3 <3