Month: December 2015

Holiday Season Madness

Is it just me, or is this a super stressful time of year?  I’ve been running around trying to complete my Christmas shopping, all while trying to get some reading done, and keep up with my new gym routine– spin Tuesday and Friday, body pump Wednesday and Saturday!

Although the season’s a bit crazy, I’m excited to show you Boston Public Market, my awesome Pokémon Gym t-shirts via weheartgeeks.com, the new Gwen Stefani Urban Decay palette, and my favorite YA series, Zodiac!

How’s everyone else doing lately?

MasterChef Junior: Lemons & Lobster

Last week’s MasterChef Junior had yet another team challenge in store for the young home cooks.  Graham unveils a lemonade stand, from which Christina will blind taste test raspberry mint lemonade prepared by the Red and Blue teams.

Gordon has the kids pull straws to choose teams.  Tae-Ho, Zac, Mia, Corey, Kaitlyn, Addison, and Amaya pull long straws and become the Blue Team.  Jesse, Kya, Kamily, Sam, Avery, Ian, and JJ pull short straws and become the Red Team.  The losing team faces a looming balloon full of lemonade.

When Christina announces the Red Team as the winners, the balloon above the Blue Team bursts, dowsing the kids in lemonade!  To keep things fair, Red’s balloon bursts too.  After a quick costume change, the winners head up to the balcony, and the losing team face a time warp challenge.

Groovy Gordon comes out, reppin’ the 1960’s and suggesting the kids make duck l’orange.  Graham does a little disco reppin’ the 1970’s and suggests the kids make chicken kiev.  Finally, Christina rollerskates out (promptly falling, but recovering!) representing the 1980’s and finally declaring the challenge: surf and turf.

Here’s what the kids make:

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In an episode that makes me feel so old, it’s kind of hilarious that Addison (born in 2005) makes steak Diane, but her dish is exceptionally well-received.  Tae-Ho’s use of sriracha on lobster is not to be forgiven.  Zac’s filet & lobster goes over well, especially considering he burn himself while cooking.  Amaya’s garlic sauce might have over-powered Graham’s palate, but the rest of her fish impresses.  Mia doesn’t cook her steak or lobster correctly, due to the fact that she’s a vegetarian and eats neither.  Kaitlyn’s beurre blanc sauce may not be “as good as her mom’s,” but it sure impresses Christina.  Corey’s New York Strip and lobster doesn’t shine, but is a good idea.

Kaitlyn is declared the winner!

Addison, Zac, and Amaya are all safe.

Corey is spared, and Mia and Tae-Ho are sent home.

I’m waiting to see all the kids cook again!  I’m still loving Sam and Kya, and we didn’t get a dish out of either of them this time around.  Addison is another one of my front-runners.  There are still a few that probably are a cut below the rest… thoughts?!

Top Chef: Kwame for President

Top Chef is taking their California road trip very seriously and takes the show from LA to Santa Barbara.  Amidst a vineyard, the 15 remaining chefs find themselves in a Sudden Death Quickfire.

If you’re new here, a Sudden Death Quickfire means the loser is in danger of being eliminated.  I’ll explain when we get there.  The Quickfire is a cool one– the chefs are to pair a wine with an uni (sea urchin) dish.  Guest judge Dana Cowan of Food & Wine magazine tastes with Padma.  The top dishes from the Quickfire are Grayson, Wesley, and Carl, with Grayson declared the ultimate winner and securing immunity.  The bottom dishes are Angelina, who kept it too simple, Karen, who’s uni ribbon idea didn’t pan out, and Giselle, who couldn’t find eggs to make the dish she wanted.  Giselle is the loser, thus she must pick a chef she thinks she can beat one-on-one and fight for her place in the competition.  If she wins, she stays.  If she loses, she goes.

Giselle picks Angelina and they cook again.  Giselle wins, meaning no one goes home this time.

The elimination challenge is supposedly about surf & turf.  The chefs pair up, pick proteins, and have to collaborate on a dish.  Grayson gets to work alone because she won.  After shopping, Tom drops a bomb on them– it’s not a surf & turf dish, it’s surf vs. turf and they’re not partners, they’re competitors.  Again, Grayson’s win gives her an advantage.  She can choose surf or turf and also the pair she’s competing against.

Here’s what the chefs make:

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Grayson chose to battle Amar and Wesley.  Her dish beat both of theirs!

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Jeremy faced off against Phillip and won.  Angelina and Giselle faced off again, and Giselle won again.  Kwame and Chad had a tight match, but Tom broke the tie with, “Kwame for president.”

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Isaac battled Carl, and Cambridge Carl won!  Karen and Marjorie faced off, and despite Karen forgetting to cook a piece of fish, (poor Padma got this sad dish,) she still won.  Jason and Frances were another tiebreaker situation, but for the opposite reason… Jason won.

The top three for the week are Jeremy, Kwame, and Karen.  Kwame takes the win!  The kid is on a roll!

The bottom three for the week are Frances, Angelina, and Wesley.  Sadly, Frances is eliminated.  She seemed so well liked by everyone– her presence will be missed!

Thoughts on who will be next to pack their knives?!

 

Scream Queens Finale

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Well, I’ve sat with the Scream Queens finale for a day now, and I must say, my current feelings are the same as my initial thoughts: I hated the ending.  I want those 13 hours of my life back.

I mean, it’s kind of cool that the killer won.  I can support the bad guy winning.  What I can’t support is so blatantly having the most loved characters lose and ultimately, the story feeling so unfinished.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the real stars of this show were the Chanels.  We loved Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, and Abigail Breslin even though we suspected that one of them might be the killer at times.

The first episode of the finale was fine.  Grace almost died so we all cheered.  We found out the truth about Pete which we probably all suspected from the beginning.  I loved Chanel’s missive.  Loose ends were being tied up, but we waited until the last second to find out who the mastermind was.  Then, the second episode started and the rage set in.

Even as Hester explained her backstory, I maintained hope for what could turn out to be amazing Chanel revenge for an ending.  She pulled a twist, but I was expecting an even bigger twist to turn the story around.

Number Five’s parents disowning her felt unnecessarily harsh, but it really fell apart with the undeserved guilty verdict at the trial.  Grace and Zayday are apparently too stupid to see they’ve been tricked… only Dean Munsch gets it, but she’s a killer too.  The only saving grace seemed to be that the Chanels enjoyed the psychiatric hospital life.  The ending itself was perhaps a huge cliffhanger, but honestly, we don’t care by then.

What I want to know is: what was the story Scream Queens was trying to tell us?  Was this a twisted morality tale about mean girls?  If so, then why were the Chanels the likeable characters?

Simply, I don’t get the point.  I’m never upset I watched something, but this comes close.  Could a second season even save this for me? I’m not yet convinced.

Help me out, guys, what did I just watch?

And what did you think of the Scream Queens finale?

 

Fitness, Festivity, Fantasy Football

Okay, I’m literally going to address each of these topics:

Fitness | It’s been so long since I updated you on my fitness progress, but this week went well!  I went to spin on Tuesday, and somehow, my bestie convinced me to go to body pump on Wednesday.  I liked it so much I went back on Saturday, as you can see in the vlog!

Festivity | Stay turned tomorrow for more on this 🙂

Fantasy Football | My first Fantasy Football season has come swimmingly!  My team, Last of the Mohegan Suns, (or LOMS,) is first in the league!  We’re 11-2 and headed to the playoffs.  If I could pull off a win, I’d just be so happy!

How was everyone else’s weekend?!

Birthday & ‘Bouche

Last week’s MasterChef Junior started outside of the kitchen.  The 16 young home cooks, driven by Christina Tosi, take a tractor ride to the coolest kids’ birthday party– there are carnival games, a bounce house, and a ferris wheel ridden by Gordon Ramsay & Graham Elliot!

It’s the first team challenge, and the MasterChef Junior contestants will be providing the food.  It’s not just one birthday party– it’s 6!  Since the home cooks are ages 8 – 13, there are birthday parties for each of the ages represented.  In addition to the 48 guests, there’s one more table with Gordon’s 4 children and Graham’s 3.  The cuteness!

Addison and Nate had the best two dishes from the previous week, so they’re the team captains.  Addison had the best dish, so she picks for her Blue Team first.  Her first pick is the best decision: Kya!  She also drafts Mia, Kaitlyn, Corey, Zac, Kamily, and Tae-Ho.  Nate’s first pick for his Red Team is Derek.  If you ask me, it should’ve been Sam… who he picked second, followed by JJ, Amaya, Jesse, Avery, and Ian.

They’ll be making fish tacos, chicken wings, and a turkey burger.  The losing team faces, as Kya notes, the first ever pressure test in MasterChef Junior!

Here’s what the teams come up with:

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There are hiccups on either end.  The Blue Team goes too flavor-aggressive at first, forgetting they need to adjust to kids’ palates, but from the start, Addison knew what she wanted and how to delegate.  Blue was organized where Red was not, and Blue takes the win!

To celebrate, Gordon orders the winners and the judges into the bounce house!  Christina beats some of the kids there.  Gordon & Graham’s kids join in too.

The Red Team faces the pressure test, and it’s a tall order: a croque-en-bouche!  While they’re shown one so tall that Gordon has to get a piggyback from Graham to pull a profiterole down, they only have to make a little one.  Results vary:

  • Sam’s is beautiful and perfectly filled.  Christina is pretty floored and offers him a job.
  • Nate’s is more a pile of cream puffs than a croque-en-bouche.  The caramel is burnt, pastry undercooked, and there’s not enough filling.
  • Jesse’s are well-shaped, but the caramel is too dark.
  • JJ presents his as “the leaning tower of croque-en-bouche.”  The taste is good!
  • Avery’s tower is not quite shaped right, but her tasty profiteroles save her.
  • Amaya’s is a little stout and the cream puffs needed a bit more time, but it’s tasty!
  • Ian’s is called a croque-en-mess and the shapes of the profiteroles are sufficiently mocked by Gordon.  They’re cooked right and the filling is sufficient, but Gordon straight up tells him he’s in the bottom.

Sam wins and impresses all!  ‘Atta boy, Boston!  Avery, Jesse, and JJ are declared safe.  Ian, Amaya, Nate, and Derek are left in the bottom.  Ian and Amaya stay, and Nate and Derek go.

I’m glad to see Amaya still in it, but I’m not seeing the potential in Ian… I guess we’ll see what they cook up next!  Thoughts?!

Top Chef: Pop Up Problems

Oh hey, a two part Top Chef premiere is worth of two posts!  The 16 remaining chefs are tasked with opening 4 Pop Ups across Los Angeles… on the very day Padma tells them this.

They are split into four teams and go to four different places, each highlighting a different cuisine:

  • The Orange team consists of Frances, Grayson, Phillip, and Renee.  They are to make vegan food.
  • The Grey team is Amar, Angelina, Isaac, and Marjorie.  They’re making Persian food.
  • The Purple team is Carl, Giselle, Jason, and Karen.  They’re to make Korean food.
  • The Blue team consists of Chad, Jeremy, Kwame, and Wesley.  They’re making Mexican food.

Ludo Lefebvre appropriately guest judges– I’ll never forget LudoBites for the name alone!  Each team goes to a restaurant to reflect their cuisine and can pick the brain of the chef there to ensure success… some teams do this better than others.

Here is what they make:

Persian and Korean go well, Mexican is saved by Kwame (who was the least confident about Mexican cuisine) and vegan… well, they’re the losing team.

The winning team is Persian!  Only one chef can win and it’s Marjorie for her killer dessert which the Taste of Tehran’s chef decides to add to her menu.

From the losing team, Renee is eliminated.

My two Bostonians were safely on the Korean team.  I’m looking forward to seeing what else they make!  Who do you have your eye on?

Top Chef California

Top Chef is back on my tv (finally!) and back where it all began– California!

It’s season 13, and 17 chefs (mostly executive, some James Beard nominees) gather to compete for the title of Top Chef.  There are not one, but TWO Boston chefs representin’ this season!  They’ll have to impress Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons, and Emeril Lagasse.

The seventeen gather for Tom & Padma for their first ever Quickfire, and it’s a classic– the mise en place race!  It’s not a relay, but a competition to be one of the first nine to complete their mise.  Those nine move onto part 2 of the Quickfire, where immunity is up for grabs.

Five different ~California~ ingredients feature in the race; they could: break down chicken, supreme oranges, separate eggs, turn artichokes, or prep asparagus.  The choice was theirs, but the tasks were on a first come, first served basis.

The chicken people seemed to finish fastest, some egg folks… I don’t think a single orange-supremer made it in.  The top 9 split themselves into 3 teams:

  • The Blue Team: Renee, Frances, and Amar
  • The Green Team: Isaac, Grayson, and Carl
  • The Red Team: Jason, Jeremy, and Wesley

The relay part comes in here for part 2.  They have to make a dish featuring one of these California ingredients, but only one can cook at a time.  In fact, each chef only gets 10 minutes to cook before handing it off to their teammate.  Their teammates wait blindfolded and they cannot communicate with them.

Mostly, this goes well (with the exception of the team who pretty much never found their chicken cooking) and the Blue Team– all three members– win immunity!

For the elimination challenge, the chefs can make anything they want, as long as its enough for 200 LA foodies.

Here’s what they do:

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The food bloggers and critics actually voted for the top and bottom dishes, and the judges decided from there.  Amar, Carl, (yeah Cambridge!) and Jeremy took the top spots, with Jeremy taking the first win!

This left Angelina, Grayson, and Garrett on the bottom.  Grayson gets a little sassy but Emeril is having none of it.  Because Garrett made the real technical mistake, he unfortunately is sent home first.  But there’s always Last Chance Kitchen!

Guys, I promised you a double recap, as this was a two-night, two-episode premiere!  Come back tomorrow for Pop Up Pandemonium!

Are you all as excited as I am to have Top Chef back on?!

Scream Queens: Black Friday

To be honest, Pete straight up told us he’s a murderer in this episode and I’m not sure I even know who the murderer is.  He doesn’t fit the profile!  It’s got to be a girl… right?!  Basically, I still have no idea.

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What I do know is what I liked:

  • The Chanels back together – so cute to watch them shop together, Chanel no. 6 in her bedazzled neck brace and all.  Even Chanel Oberlin seems to be into the sisterhood planning on buying them all matching pink jeeps.
  • Chanel has grown a lot!  She chooses the face the remaining Red Devil in the mall that night.  A little crossbow wound won’t stop her.
  • Denise Hemphil gets a gun!  Great choice for new chief of police right there.  Love her; missed her over Thanksgiving!
  • Munsch:Rasputin is literally the perfect comparison.  She can guzzle poison and have her body temperature dropped below zero for extended periods of time.  Jamie Lee Curtis is just great.
  • Of course Chanel has a gold Macbook! ♡

I still hate Grace.  Any chance she’s actually the killer?  Have you guys figured it out yet?!  Please; help a sister out!  Leave your theories in the comments!