The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 74 recaps the last two weeks, including our trip to New Hampshire (Jack’s first long car ride), a solid house update and a special appearance from this week’s co-host, Lucy.
I should note that when I said I was thinking of going to the store on Tuesday, I said “alone,” but meant “with the kids.”
If you’re in the area, keep an eye out for Tumblebus.
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince is fantastic. A funny, witty, clever and emotional personal story that I think all parents should read. It gives an interesting look behind the curtain of a young woman dealing with gender issues.
When I got an email asking if I wanted to review the Blu-ray of Pixar and Disney’s Toy Story of Terror I digitally leapt at the chance. On one hand, it’s a delightful Halloween-themed TV special that we enjoyed this past October and on the other, it’s another Toy Story film that can be added to the rotation. One of the reasons I spent so much time thinking about the mythology of the series is because my 3-year-old daughter is a gigantic fan of the three features and I’ve seen them all about 30 times each.
This Blu-ray not only includes the Toy Story Of Terror special, but also a trio of shorts, fake toy commercials, commentaries, deleted scenes and a few behind-the-scenes featurettes, so there’s plenty of new material to add to your collection.
When it comes to the main feature here, Toy Story Of Terror really is a wonderful, kid-appropriate scare film that knows its horror history. We kick off with a campy black and white vampire film that’s supposed to look like something Ed Wood would have made — you can see the strings the bats hang from — and then the movie gets into haunted house territory as the toys go missing one by one in a creepy motel. Halfway through, our heroes find out what’s really going on, meet a new group of toys and from there it’s an escape film. This special balances all of that out incredibly well, which is all the more impressive when you think about the fact that it’s only a half hour long. Plus, as far as my three-year-old is concerned, it’s a tiny bit scary without hitting the “turn it of now!” threshold.
In addition to being the kind of high quality story and production you expect from Pixar, TSOT is also just plain fun. I’m a big fan of the genres touched on here, but obviously there’s very little crossover between that world and my daughter’s preferred entertainment. So, it’s cool to see elements that I really enjoy — and are thematically spot-on — in the shows she does watch. Also, it’s impressive that Pixar added in a whole new group of toys here that are just as fascinating and interesting as the stalwarts we’ve grown to know and love. The Combat Carls are fantastic and I pretty much squealed when I saw the LEGO Rabbit and Transitron do their things.
From there we moved on to the three shorts called Toy Story Toons: “Hawaiian Vacation,” “Small Fry” and “Partysaurus Rex,” each of which is set after the events of Toy Story 3. As with TSOT, all three of these not only fit right in with the look and feel of the Toy Story films, but also the quality. Shorts are the kinds of things that could be easily toss off, but these feel like they were crafted instead of churned out.
Speaking of the continuity of quality, how great is it that all of these new Toy Story cartoons feature the original voice cast? Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, Kristen Schaal and Timothy Dalton all show up along with the other recurring and new voice actors like Carl Weathers, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ken Marino and Kate McKinnon. Everyone’s there to have fun, do their thing and it all just works out so well.
I haven’t made it through the commentaries just yet, but I have checked out the spoof commercials for the Combat Carl PSA, Old Timer and Transitron. As a longtime toy fan and someone who writes about toy commercials on a regular basis, these tickled my fancy. I was also surprised to find my daughter interested in watching the behind-the-scenes video called “Team Of Specialists” which not only tipped me off to the bat-string I mentioned above, but also how they studied a lizard for a major character.
All-in-all, if you or your kid(s) are Toy Story fans, you can’t go wrong picking this up and adding it to your collection.
Not long ago I tried making Alton Brown’s recipe for homemade chunky peanut butter in the wok. The big problem I had making it that way was getting a lot of burnt nuts thanks to the circular shape of the wok. I made more the other week and decided to use a high-sided pan and I was able to get a much more even brown on them.
This time around I also added a bit more peanut oil during the food processor portion of the procedure and got a peanut butter that’s still super thick and chunky, but spreads a bit better. I don’t eat it nearly as much as my wife who has it on an English muffin just about every day, but I like the flavor this time around a lot better without those overly-roasted notes.
Oh, one other thing I changed this time around was that I cracked the peanuts out of the shells while watching TV the night before. I was feeling a little restless, but not very energized, so this was the perfect mindless thing to do while sitting on the couch.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 73 gives a few house updates and gets into important subjects like Plastic Man cartoons, the state of Scooby-Doo and how I turned a laundry basket into a baby bathtub.
Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost, Scooby Doo and the Weird Water Park and Scooby-Doo and Aliens, Too! aren’t the best Scooby-Doo offerings ever, but Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is pretty fantastic. Check it out on Netflix.
Here you can see my makeshift kitchen sink baby bath. It’s just a smaller laundry basket with an inflatable, waterproof back rest. It won’t work once he’s a bit taller, but for now, it’s just the ticket. Also if you check out the Photo Diary from April 6th, 2011 you can see the pool noodle tub solution I mentioned.
Last week I came across Soup Addict’s Smoky Vegetable Mac and Cheese and just had to try it. While looking through the Hannaford circular I saw that London broil was on sale, so I decided to try Food Network’s Grilled Marinated London Broil and serve the two together along with some steamed corn on the cob.
Since the beef marinates for a few hours, I got that together around 1 or 2 PM, but it can sit for up to 24 hours if you don’t work from home. Later, when I focused on the main part of dinner, I popped the peppers — I went with a red bell and a poblano — on my gas stovetop and let them char. Once I got some good darkness on there, I put them in a bowl and covered to help sweat off the skin.
As is my custom, I cubed my cheese and tossed it in the food processor. The only other major change I made was including about half a cup of sour cream after enjoying the flavor it brought to the last mac and cheese I made to replace some of the milk. Aside from that, i followed the recipe.
While the mac and cheese cooked in the oven, I put my room temperature London broil on the cast iron skillet and cooked it to a nice medium rare (it was out for about 30 minutes before going in the pan).
To serve, I simply sliced the meat across the grain and served with the mac and cheese and ears of corn. The meal worked really well together, the meat was nice and tender with a nice flavor from the marinade.
I was surprised to see how much our three-year-old daughter liked the beef. I figured she’d be all over the cheesy mac, but instead the corn (which she calls a corn stick) and beef were the stars for her which is fine by me. Unfortunately, grilled meat tends to be one of the leftovers that winds up getting tossed, but in this case, she ate it all up within a few days while I finished off the mac and cheese.
You know a recipe must be good if I not only make it twice in the span of 30 days, but also prepare it for a parent visit. That was the case with Closet Cooking’s Roasted Asparagus & Mushroom Carbonara. I saw this recipe while trying to figure out my menu a few weeks back and it jumped right off the page. I love bacon. I love carbonara. I loved mushrooms and I’m pretty alright with asparagus. It also doesn’t use a full package of bacon, which is kind of nice, especially when you’re looking to make that particular protein work for a few different meals.
The prep for this dish is also super simple. You wash, then cut the mushrooms and asparagus, mix them with some olive oil, salt and pepper before putting them in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Since I chopped my veggies into smaller bits than suggested, I kept them in the oven for a bit less time than recommended. With that doing it’s thing, I got my pasta going and cut up the garlic followed by the bacon. While the pork sizzled, I shredded the cheese and combined it with the two beaten eggs plus salt and pepper. Once the bacon is done, you toss in the garlic (I did this instead of removing the bacon as suggested in the main recipe), cook for 30 seconds and then mix with the cooked pasta, roasted veggies and cheese-egg mix.
When I made this the first time, I used boxed pasta, but last night I went full-out and made my own. The only other change I made was throwing in some chopped shallot I had lying around. Either way, you’ve got this great mix of fresh vegetables, smoky bacon and that salty carbonara goodness that solidifies as you mix. Making this meal even better is that fact that it tastes just as good reheated as it did the first day.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 72 gets into our new house, my three worst days as a dad and a scary encounter on the train tracks. Also, I’m joined by my recent co-host Jack who grunts and snorts his way through the episode.
The post I wrote about colic her on PopPoppa can be found here.