Saturday, January 26, 2013
1 Large Spaghetti Squash (or 2 small/medium)
1 pkg 'Italian' Veggie Ground Round (or other fake burger crumble *some types of TVP will make it gluten-free)
1 Tomato, diced.
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Pasta Sauce (I use arabiatta or other simple tomato-based sauce)
3 slices Bread, torn into 1-inch chunks (slightly stale works best, can use gluten-free)
1/2 cup Flaked Nutritional Yeast
1 tbsp Oregano
2 tsp Basil
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out seeds. Lay skin side up on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum, add some water to prevent burning. Poke with a fork to release steam and bake for 30-40 minutes, until soft.
With about 10 minutes left on the squash, fry the ground round in a pan with the minced garlic until lightly browned (2-3 minutes). Add the tomato and stir until soft, set heat to low. Remove the squash from the oven and use a fork to pull out the 'spaghetti' strands. Add all of the strands to the pan and coat with just enough pasta sauce to mix in all ingredients, simmer for 5 minutes then pour into a casserole dish.
Using a food processor, blend together the bread, nutritional yeast and spices until it resembles bread crumbs. Spread the crumbs evenly over squash mix, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
WANNA BE STARTIN' SOMETHING
BABY BE MINE
THE GIRL IS MINE
P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
THE LADY IN MY LIFE
Yowza, it's no wonder this record is the top-selling album of all-time (reportedly). I myself have 2 or 3 copies I have accumulated through various collection dumps/bulk box buys. Many artists would be ecstatic to have their best-of albums amount to a group of songs this good at the end of their career, yet Jackson had this all on one album. He was already a seasoned veteran, having started singing with Jackson 5 almost 20 years beforehand. This album came out a year before I was born, but I remember it through all my childhood and onward.
One of my finest memories of this album came from my wedding, where an impromptu (well, sort of*) zombie dance broke out spanning the entire dance floor. Not the only impromptu dance of the night and perhaps not even the best, but certainly had the widest berth.
I didn't have to listen to this record by any stretch, I've heard it so many times. However, I certainly never pass up an opportunity to throw it on.
*Some attendees of the wedding had done the first (and THAT was totally impromptu) version at my mother's wedding a couple years previously.
THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL
JUST GOOD FRIENDS
ANOTHER PART OF ME
MAN IN THE MIRROR
I JUST CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU
Well, how many artists can put out back-to-back albums like these two? I guess he had to earn the name King of Pop somehow. Interesting fact: the tour from this album was my first concert experience, though I don't remember it.
I think I let this album pass by me when I was younger and favoured Thriller, like i did with the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's and that was a mistake. Songs like Bad and Dirty Diana always were on my radar, but songs like Liberian Girl, Smooth Criminal and Man in the Mirror have come up more in my rotation in the last few years. Man in the Mirror is probably in my top 2 or 3 MJ songs. Even though it wasn't a song Penned by Jackson, the lyrics are less love song (like many of the non-Jackson-written ones) and more a cry for help or cry for change. Perhaps it took me being older, or seeing it as a reflection on him post-mordem to have the lyrics have more meaning.
Definitely a great hour and a bit listening to these two back-to-back. I had been waiting on them for a while and glad I finally got to them.
OLD DEVIL MOON
OPUS DE FUNK
I must admit, jumping straight from two Michael Jackson records to this was a touch of a letdown. Maybe not a letdown, but a total switch of gears. This record is smooth Jazz, which while full of talent, is not as in your face as MJ (the other MJ I guess, since this is MJ too).
This music sounds either like something from the better selection of hold music or perhaps something that the band would be playing in the background at a bar in Mad Men or other such show.
Usually I like to do something else while listening to records in the basement; play a video game or build lincoln logs with my daughter or such. My major knock with this album is that, since it fits in as hold music/background music, the music drifts by without any parts that jump out and grab you. Nothing specifically bad, but nothing that jumps out. I guess that's generally my problem with the smooth Jazz genre. I don't not want to hear it, I just don't reach for it as a thing to listen to.
THE BLUE ROOM
A FINE ROMANCE
LOVE IS HERE TO STAY
PICK YOURSELF UP
NIGHT AND DAY
I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH ME
THESE FOOLISH THINGS
OH, LADY BE COOL!
CHEEK TO CHEEK
THE LADY IS A TRAMP
The music was instantly familiar to me and at first, I couldn't figure out why. The style is a little out of my wheelhouse, being 1930's fiddle and piano Jazz/Pop. Then it hit me - the songs sound like the interstitials played by John Sheard and Dennis Pendrith play at the live Vinyl Cafe shows. Heck, I've never sourced those songs, they could very well be the same ones on this record. That tie made it an enjoyable and comfortable listen to me. I just imagined stories layered over top and I was good to go. It's definitely head-bob-finger-snap-inducing music that's sweet on the ears and completely inoffensive. Not going to get you up and dancing necessarily, but certainly a fun listen.
Note: Jalousie is french for jealousy and there is a version of this album that goes by the English name.
NO TURNING BACK
THE '60S SONG
It's funny to think about, but when this record came out, these guys were like my idols. I was 15 at the time of this release, so they couldn't have been more than 20. When I first saw them, they were probably 17-18 and I was 12 or 13. Now, it might be the fact that ska was in style at the time, or that it was 15 years ago and current me is years older than the members of the band were at the time, but this record sounds WAY out of date.
There was a popular hardcore band called Grade in Burlington when I was a teenager. They started as a metal-ish band and became more melodic over time. It was Greg Taylor's presence in the band that added that melodic tone. He started Jersey as a side project, but it eventually became his main priority, at which time he left Grade to pursue it full time. This record has the original formation with a female vocalist and horns included. The next record left behind the horns and got more of a rock-punk feel to it and eventually, the female singer left to get married and the band was significantly smaller than when they began.
The album's opening and closing songs are ones that have stuck with me over the years, even though I rarely listen to this album anymore. It was a nice piece of nostalgia to hear this after so many years and also nice to see how my tastes have changed. This band was definitely part of my formative music years and they were amongst the bands that allowed Burlington to become the thriving music scene it did over the following decade.
I'VE FOUND A NEW BABY
THERE'S A SMALL HOTEL
MY ONE AND ONLY ONE
THE WILD CAT
IT'S THE GIRL
OH, LADY BE GOOD
C JAM BLUES
Well, I've come to learn that my stepfather certainly has an interest in dixieland Jazz, or he at least did at some point. This record covers some jazz standards from that era and does so with great understanding and emotion. It's the coming together on the first of three records by Joe Venuti and Zoot Sims, both masters of their own instruments. They mesh very well and the result is a great record that is very cohesive and well executed.
I find it funny that on the same sequence of records there is both Oh, Lady be Cool! (Jalousie) and Oh, Lady be good. Makes me wonder if they are different versions or takes on the same song or just a coincidence? They both fall into the same sort of style, but to be honest there was a bit of a gap between the two and I don't remember specific songs. I wouldn't mind checking out the other two records they did together, but I don't believe I have any of them and lots of time they can be super hard to come by. Perhaps I'll stumble upon one or both at some garage sales this coming season.
Well. That's it to wrap up the holiday season 2012-2013. Hope everyone had a good break, whatever of it you got!
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
In football, sometimes they say 'throw the kitchen sink at them', which means a bunch of different defensive looks. I call these 'The Kitchen Cupboard Breakfast Cookies' because everything is closed today and so I was relegated to throwing in whatever was in my kitchen cupboards and I used as much of it as possible to make this (relatively) healthy cookie. On a coincidental note, the pictures on this entry were img2012 and img2013 - your fun new years day fact. Happy 2013!
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Instant Oats
1 cup Mixed Seeds & Nuts (I used Chia, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Hemp)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg Replacer (Ener-G)
1/4 cup Oil (appr)
1/4 cup Soy Milk (appr)
1 Mango, peeled and chopped
Handful of Raisins (Chocolate Chips would work, but I was trying to limit sugar)
In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, seeds/nuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a separate bowl, mash bananas and cream with sugar. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the egg replacer (should be just shy of 1/4 cup on the marker). Pour oil to bring it just short of 1/2 cup mark, then soy milk to just short of the 3/4 cup mark. Combine with banana mixture and then add wet and dry together. If mixture is too wet (think pancake batter), then dust in a little WW flour until it thickens (think muffin batter).