This is Halloween & Top 5 Spooky Podcasts!

This is Halloween & Top 5 Spooky Podcasts!

Hey, everyone!  Thanks for putting up with my short hiatus.  Guys, I’m really hoping that time was enough to get things back on track for this blog.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start posting weekly again, as well as include more “thoughts” posts about gaming and myself!

But first, I promised you all some very special stuff for October.  And that starts with this post right here.  You see, I may seem like a cute little food blogger with a nerdy twist and an extremely geeky lifestyle.  And you would be right.  But I also have a pretty strong dark side.  I love to be afraid.  I’m addicted (in a good, non-harmful way) to the thrill and adrenaline rush that comes with being scared.  I love reading, watching, and listening to horror.  I love haunted houses, both real and the ones created for entertainment.  I enjoy dark, slightly twisted tabletop games and have even dabbled slightly in horror video games.

This is halloween

But, in tandem with my very eclectic tastes in desserts (for example, I don’t like frosting… or cake, really), I’m pretty picky about what I like to scare me.  I’m not a fan of slasher films or games.  Not a huge fan of violence for violence’s sake or sexual violence as a medium for horror.  And definitely don’t enjoy things that play around with demons and demonic possession.  So, you ask, what does a girl who doesn’t enjoy half the horror genre actually like?  That’s easy.  It’s ghosts, paranormal activity, unexplained disappearances in mysterious circumstances, haunted houses, graveyards and crypts, the dark, monsters, and just about everything else.

As a lover of Halloween and this spooky time of year, I’m going to release a Top Spooky Things list each week until Halloween!  Each week will have a theme: movies, books, podcasts, songs, and games. I’ll also be posting one of the 5 Monster recipes from Breath of the Wild each week.  There may also be, thanks to some encouragement from Kim over at Later Levels, be a special fiction short story released on Halloween!  I’ve never tried a short story before, but I’m genuinely curious if I can do it.  Guys, this October is going to be amazing!

And now, without further ado, let’s talk about my Top 5 Spooky Podcasts.

I’m actually kinda picky about my podcasts, and particularly from the horror genre.  Those “call in” podcasts where people tell their own stories don’t always seem believable to me and usually have a hodge-podge format I struggle to pay attention to.  And, as a bit of a skeptic, I don’t always enjoy “tell your own paranormal encounter” stories.  I’m also pretty picky about the quality of the story.  Even Lore nearly didn’t make the cut because I’ve started to hate shows that sound too fabricated; puns that feel too forced, writing that seems too obvious, and podcasts that don’t understand how to tell a story without being overly descriptive, a quality that diminishes my immersion in the horror.

The magnus archives

The Magnus Archives: Rusty Quill

This is easily the best horror podcast on the market.  And, in my opinion, one of the best podcasts ever!  Writer Jonny Simms and producer Alexander Newell, are a dynamic duo who understand writing for an audio audience, allowing the listening to fully immerse without falling into so many of the mistakes other podcasts don’t even understand they’re making.  Combine that with an intriguing overarching story and genuinely frightening episodes, The Magnus Archives is my favorite podcast to date and well worth listening to, even if you don’t love horror.  Definitely start from the beginning on this one, as the story unfolds over the course of the 3 seasons currently available!

unexplainedUnexplained: Richard MacLean Smith

Unexplained is, by far, my favorite non-fiction horror podcast.  Delving not only into scary stories, this podcast explores any event without any final explanation, including treasure hunting and reincarnation.  Richard MacLean Smith has thoroughly researched each story he tells, with a wealth of information and un-embellished details that help you understand the truth of what really happened and what we really don’t know.  Some of his episodes are interesting and some just downright frightening.  Go ahead and listen to this one out of order, but some stories are broken up over several episodes, so make sure to hear those in order!

spookedSpooked: Snap Judgment and WNYC

Spooked is my favorite of the “real life” horror podcasts.  The stories aren’t simply “call in”, with terrible quality and no editing to ensure they make sense.  They are people sharing real stories in a documentary format, which means the stories are rounded and coherent, putting this podcast number one in this genre.  Some of the stories aren’t frightening, merely interesting.  Some are downright unbelievable.  But then you get the few that are genuinely terrifying.  Definitely worth a listen to if you’re into that kind of thing!  The biggest downside is the long, overly-dramatic introduction.  The host, though possessing a nice, smooth voice, is a bit over-the-top for me.  It definitely detracts from the podcast for me, so I usually just skip forward to the stories.

loreLore: Aaron Mahnke

As the podcast that introduced me to audio horror, Lore will always be on my list, and I’ll probably always listen to it.  The stories are interesting, most of them stories I’ve never heard before.  Some are funny, others interesting, and the rare episode a bit frightening.  This podcast focuses on legends, even the legends surrounding true historical events.  And while this gives him an enormous amount of creative license, which enhances some aspects of the stories, it can be a bit distracting when he’s telling a story you actually know and gets some of the facts wrong… His way of storytelling can also be a bit off-putting, with seriously forced puns that he pretends aren’t and a stilted way of speaking that can, on occasion, grate on your nerves.  In general, however, I’ve listened to every single one of Lore’s episodes, and I do enjoy them.  So if terrifying isn’t your thing, gives this podcast a listen to!  It’s spooky without being frightening.

the horrorThe Horror: Relic Radio

This podcast makes the list, but it’s definitely last on it.  In The Horror, host Jim Paul releases actual radio show epsidoes from the 1920s-1960s, the golden age of radio.  Each episode is, essentially, a rebroadcast of a stand-alone radio show episode.  The quality, because these are digital copies of recorded radio, can sometimes make it difficult to understand the show, and the content can sometimes be more funny than scary, and the episodes are definitely hit and miss.  Some are well worth your time, others are just… not.  So while I enjoy this one, it’s hard to say definitively that I recommend it.  But, if you’re ever in the mood for some “old-fashioned horror”, it’s worth a shot!

 

 

 

Blogger Blitz Finale: One Thousand Strong

Blogger Blitz Finale: One Thousand Strong

Okay, folks.  This is it – the Blogger Blitz Finale.  And after some intense writing, researching, and last-minute editing, I actually have a story I’m really proud of.  Is that weird to say?  I’m not sure I’ve ever truly been proud of something I’ve written, but this time I really am!  I can’t believe that this challenge is almost over.  I’ve learned so much through this.  Ian, as always, blows me away with his creativity and his ability to push boundaries, and, with the help of the other guest bloggers, of course, really brought out my creativity.  These last challenges have been harder than I thought I was capable of accomplishing and yet, I’ve been able to do it.  So thanks to Ian and his magnificent competition for helping me stretch myself a little bit and open up to a world I wasn’t sure I was capable of being a part of!

And, with that emotional introspection, let’s get on with the show!  As always, I want to acknowledge my challenger, Michael over at Git Gud at Life.  His submission to this post can be found here.  And if you haven’t read his past submissions, go do it.  They’ll blow you away with their unique writing!

And then a HUGE thank you to Ian at Adventure Rules, where the results of this competition can be found on Friday!

Here is the prompt for the final:

Anyone can take on a single enemy. Taking on a dozen or so enemies isn’t really that tough either. But fighting an army of 1000 monsters born of the darkness left behind when a human body is deprived of its heart – now THAT’s scary! But that’s exactly what our lovely antagonists will have to do in this event if they plan to make it somewhere very important – the venue for their best friend’s wedding.

Villains keep strange company, so really it’s only natural that they would hang out with someone who thought a monster-infested canyon would be a cool place to tie the knot. As the best friend, your chosen bad guy (or gal, or gender-non-binary person) is obviously expected to be in the wedding. But to get to the front of the crowd, you’ll have to fight your way through one thousand Heartless, beings that feed on the darkness inside of hearts – and there’s a whole lot of dark hearts at this wedding!

Luckily, you’re not alone. One of the most iconic parts of the Battle of the 1000 Heartless in Kingdom Hearts II is the series of cameos from previous allies who show up to kick some tail and help you make your way through the Heartless army. In the Blogger Blitz championship, these partners are the characters you’ve defeated in battle! You can include in your post cameos from the two opponents you defeated directly, as well as the character your semifinal opponent defeated, giving you a total of three characters to partner with when taking on the Heartless menace.

And, without further ado, let’s get on with the show…


Ugh.  If he weren’t my most faithful servant, the actualization of my precious sword, I wouldn’t bother with this stupid wedding.  I need to focus on the death of the boy called Link.  Even now, years after my last setback, I feel my hatred and malice for him growing, becoming more refined.  That boy, who has overthrown my plans again and again!  HOW?!  He, the holder of the most worthless piece of the Triforce?  Power and Wisdom, and then “Courage”.  That simple brat continues to best me with courage…

I need a new strategy.  I need to focus, not gallivant off into the sunset to watch Ghirahim marry himself.  The invitation was ridiculous. 

Please, my Master, attend this precious moment, where pure beauty and finesse shall marry the only possible match – itself.  I, Ghirahim, request the presence of Ganon, the reincarnation of Demise, at this joyful union of me to myself, at the Breach of Demise Canyon at sunset.

ghirahim

How could anyone possibly take seriously the sharing of power in some kind of “union”.

Sigh

And yet… he is my most faithful of servants, the very blade I wield in the fight against the goddess.  I must attend.  His deference for me, even the place he has chosen, in homage to me.  I suppose I can give him a few moments of my time.  Especially if it means he will be better focused in the future.

I stand, stretching to relieve the cramping in my muscles that remain from a night of plotting.

It feels like a few weeks only have passed since I reveled in the Forbidden Fortress, enjoying an evening of my triumph.  And yet, years have passed.  Enough time to have been defeated again and again by that brat.  No… never defeated.  Merely slowed down.  He is simply putting off the inevitable.

I quickly dress in my best robes and, as I pass the dresser, hesitate slightly, my eyes passing over the cards of all the previous villains I’ve recently been in contact with.  I quickly pocket all three, knowing that, if any problems arose, I could easily call on those pathetic weaklings to take the brunt of the issues.

After all, there’s no one better at manipulation than Ganondorf, wielder of the Triforce of Power.

I release a shrieking call and a gargantuan black stallion comes whipping up the trail to my hiding place.  I mount, and with another shriek, send the stallion along the way to the canyon known as the Breach of Demise.

breach of demise

Mere hours later I slow to a trot, suddenly wary of the unnatural darkness settling in.  The canyon is within sight, but, with an hour left till sunset, the shadows playing across the land are unsettling.  I know that my own creatures, the Bokoblins, Moblins, even Lynels, wouldn’t dare harm their King.  So what is making that soft scratching noise where the shadows are deepest?

I dismount, creeping closer to the nearest rocky shadow, and am surprised.  A creature unlike any I’ve ever seen crouches, half-hidden in shadow.  His yellow eyes shine bright and the antennae which are just visible wave slightly as it shudders.

heartless

Is this some new being I can harness to my will?  Something that will give me an edge in the fight against Link?

The creature shifts its weight, making a soft padding sound.  I stiffen and quickly glance around as I hear that same noise echoed countless times.  Peering into the darkness settling around me I see hundreds… no, at least one thousand of these creatures, their strange yellow eyes glinting in the shadows they’re hiding in.  I throw my hands to my side, calling my purple ball lightening and ready to attack when I pause.

Yes, I could defeat this swam myself.  I am Ganondorf, the most powerful being to ever live.  But when have I ever been the first to take the brunt of an attack?

I slowly back into the light, hand slipping into a small pocket, and bring out the cards I so brilliantly brought along.  Each card bears a single name: Sigma, Marjolaine, and Xehanort.  Selecting the first of the cards I use my considerable skill to summon the first of my opponents to my side.

Let’s see how these creatures of darkness handle a man of metal and code.

As an arc of purple lightning flashes across the sky Sigma, the enemy of Mega Man, appears at my side.

sigma

“Ah, Sigma.  Delighted you could join me” I say, a slight smirk on my lips

“Ganondorf.” Sigma says dispassionately, “Why have you brought me here?”

“You see, Sigma, knowing how… desperately you enjoy researching new, insidious ways to bring down your robot friends I thought I’d invite you to share with me the discovery of a new species.  And look,” I gesture around the landscape, “there’s plenty for the both of us.”

I fold my arms and watch as Sigma stares me down, wary of any help.

“What could possibly be in this for me?”

“Oh, Sigma, I thought you were more intelligent than that” I see his eyes narrow at the insult.  “You see, I don’t know these creatures.  They are completely new to this land.  And you, Sigma, you can interface… compute… even understand animals.  If you do this for me I’ll ensure that, when you share your knowledge, I send you back home with a few of these monsters.  You can utilize them in your next fight against your nemesis.  If they’re new to him, won’t they be more difficult to defeat?”

I see Sigma processing this information.  After a moment he nods once and begins to tread softly toward the darkness.  I continue to watch, but as I do so I notice something slightly disconcerting.  As the shadows lengthen the creatures move from their hiding places, keeping to the darkness, moving slowly toward Sigma and myself.

I see Sigma pause, just slightly out of reach of the nearest creature, then see his hands whip out, attaching long metal cords to the creature.

“They are searching for… hearts.  They consume hearts, breeding from the darkness found within them.  I cannot see where they originate from.  Some land full of anthropomorphic animals dressed in ridiculous clothes.  But I… I cannot… I…”

Sigma’s voice slowly fades away and he begins convulsing slightly.

“Sigma?” I shout.  “Sigma, what’s going on?”

There’s no response.  He slowly turns to looks at me, eyes changing to a luminescent yellow.

“I have no heart” he dispassionately intones.  “But I do have a body.  Easier… to… possess”

I quickly summon a ball of lightning as Sigma throws himself at me and blast him to the ground.  He shakes and sputters, the electricity frying his circuits.

Useless…

With a simple incantation and another flash of purple lightning I send him home.  Quickly removing the next card, noticing that the shadows are deepening, I summon Marjolaine.

marjolaine

“Yes?” her sultry tones echo slightly as she materializes.

“Marjolaine, I bested you in the last competition.  You know what I’m capable of.  Together we can destroy these monsters, keeping just one or two for ourselves.  Apparently they consume hearts.  I’m sure you’ve got plenty of hearts in your world just itching to be destroyed for the… well, the fun of it.”

“I do enjoy games” she croons, finally turning to face the swarm of monsters straining to reach us.

I hear her gasp.

“So many…”

“I would have thought someone like you would be itching for a fair fight?”

“I can only destroy so many with a bow” she spits at me.  She pauses.  “There may be a way.  I can stun them.  Every one of the enemies within the sound of my voice, for a short period of time.”

“So what are you waiting for?”

She glares at me, venom in her eyes.  Then she opens her mouth and begins to sing.  The song is haunting and as the shadows finally reach where we stand the creatures, running at us, are frozen.  I laugh.  It’s so much easier to defeat an enemy when someone else does all the difficult work.  I begin blasting the creatures with my ball lightning, turning and spinning to reach all I can see.  After several seconds I pause, looking back, waiting for the woman to spring into action and join me.  But she merely continues to stand, singing her song.

Wait…  In performing her best ability against a swarm of monsters she’s… completely useless herself?  What a worthless companion.  Do I have to do everything myself?

I let out an angry roar, lightning arcing from my fingers, stretching out and destroying the remaining creatures within my vision, their bodies vanishing into puffs of smoke.  I hear the padding of hundreds of feet as more creatures attempt to take their places.

Turning swiftly to Majorlaine I snap my fingers.  Her voice cuts off and she vanishes back into the useless world I stole her from.  Chest heaving with frustrated breaths I pull out the last card.  With an angry bellow and one last arc of lightning I summon the man to my side.

xehanort

He appears, looks calmly around him, and his face cracks into an evil grin.

What?

“I see my plan worked… This world, so full of people with so many hearts and so much light, was just itching for a cleansing.  A balance, if you will…”

My eyes narrow as the realization hits me.  This man planned this attack.  He wanted me to invite him here… to MY realm?!

“Do you truly think you can take over my kingdom?  Steal from me what I’ve earned, what I deserve!?  DO YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE A FOOL OUT OF ME?” I shout, my rage building inside.

“Of course.  Sending one thousand of my Heartless to your kingdom, on the eve of your pathetic puppet’s wedding?  Why, this worked out better than I could have imagined.  You fell for my plan.  Like the simpleton I always thought you were.”

I scream in rage, malice building inside me as he lets out a cold, mirthless laugh and his minions begin to surround me.  As I glance around me, preparing for battle, I notice that several have stopped stalking me and have, instead, merely sat upon the ground.  Odd…

“I am Ganondorf, the most powerful, the most evil of all beings.  I, the reincarnation of Demise the Demon himself, can NOT be overruled by a worthless, pathetic master of a simple sword.  I cannot be defeated!”

As my echoes die out the creatures, Heartless, Xehanort called them, all stop and slowly turn away from me and toward their master.

“Enough of this!  Attack!”  Xehanort cries, pointing the tip of a long key at me.  I brace myself but the attack never comes.  I see my enemy glance around, a look of fear replacing the triumph.

“NO!” he cries “I am most evil.  You bow down to me!  I am your master!”

“Most evil, you say?”  I chuckle.  It has finally dawned on me that these Heartless, born from darkness, must gravitate toward true evil.  And I know exactly whose heart contains the most evil.  “It seems that your gamble was… mistaken.  You should have known better than to mess with a Demon King.”  I lift a finger and point at the trembling form of my adversary.  The Heartless begin padding toward him at a run, rushing to consume the man they once served.  Xehanort lets out a shriek of terror before raising his Keyblade and vanishing, like a coward.

I chuckle again, triumphant in the knowledge that I have a new monster to let loose on the world.  What is the goddesses chosen hero to a swarm of creatures born from darkness?  I call my noble steed and set off toward the canyon and my servant’s wedding, my horde of Heartless trailing behind me, confident that I, Ganondorf, will soon conquer this world.

ganondorf

Hiatus

Hey guys!  Sorry for the delays in posts recently.  I’ve decided to redo a few recipes to fit better with the food you can actually collect in BotW instead of posting mediocre recipes.  On top of that I’m working on Blogger Blitz, which, if you haven’t checked out the results yet, see them here!  And finally, I’ve got a giant collaboration I’m working on for November (yes, It’ll feature an extra special surprise recipe from a different Zelda game)!  So between now and October I may be a bit sporadic.

But to get your hype on, I’ve got something really special planned for October, something really special planned for November, and something extra fun for December.  Sound like it’s worth the wait?  I hope so!

Blogger Blitz Semifinals: Movie Marauders

Blogger Blitz Semifinals: Movie Marauders

Well, everyone.  I can’t believe it happened, but happen it did.  I actually won the Blogger Blitz Round 1!  I honestly don’t know how this keeps happening.  The other competitors are so good I could swear I won’t make it out alive.  And yet, I do… Somehow I do.

But while I may have been excited at my last triumph this next one scares me to death.  Not only is the prompt incredibly vague and difficult, but my competition is out of the this world!  Athena, over at AmbiGaming, will be pitting her villain Marjolaine, against me and Ganondorf in the weirdest challenge of them all.

It’s Friday and work this week has been pretty hectic – another upstart hero tried to stop your tyrannical rise to power, the royal heir escaped your wicked clutches, and cosmetic microtransactions were just announced for your favorite video game franchise. Luckily, you’ve got a relaxing weekend planned with your buddies, a movie night complete with snacks, decorations, and total surround sound. At least, that was the plan.

Just as movie night is about to get started, your villain realizes discovers that a pack of wererats broke into the cupboard and ruined all the snacks! Now you have to figure out where to quickly obtain more snack food before your friends arrive. Panicking, you look out the window of your beachside castle and see a faint ray of hope: a beach party taking place right outside! All you have to do is steal all their party stuff and bring it to your own party and the night is saved.

Bloggers have a lot of creative freedom with this event. Who’s throwing the beach party? How will the villain approach the party to steal the goods? Will the wererats just let this slide? With so many options available, there’s no telling what will happen in this kooky Blogger Blitz event!

Guys, I didn’t even know where to begin with this one.  I really had zero ideas until very, very recently.  I’m still not even sure how I feel about my response.  But sometimes you just have to push Publish and hope for the best.  And with Ganondorf’s amazingly complex, roundabout way of thinking, what could possibly go wrong?

Rules, as always, can be found at the site of our wonderful host, Ian, at Adventure Rules, and the results of today’s challenge can be found there on Friday!


… and yet, I wonder if the problem really was Link, this hero of the winds.  Perhaps the elements and waves themselves rose against my ascent.  It’s the only thing that makes sense, after all.  Link, an upstart nobody from that tiny island, could never have bested the great Ganondorf, without help from a power nearly as great as me.  I’ll ensure that my next attack is more carefully planned.  Perhaps a foray into a realm where I control the elements, somewhere Dark, will ensure victory.

Ganondorf looked up from his post, stretching, and clicked “Publish”.  Without those pesky monkeys to thwart him, publishing his memoirs had become significantly easier.  It’s always the same, he thought, if I want something done correctly, it must be done myself.  He stood and strode through his personal sanctum and into the drawing room, mindlessly glancing out the windows at the rocky shores of his Forsaken Fortress beachside castle.

forbidden fortress

“I suppose I have the consolation of uninviting those pesky Moblins who failed me from tonight’s party.  How disappointed they’ll be to know that I and my faithful servants will be watching past highlights of my rise to power and fame without them.  While all have failed me in the past, some have, at least, died for me.  Those few souls, the ones who deserved reincarnation through my mighty power, shall be there.  Now, let’s see… food, prepared by my hands, and four hours of film should be enough to throw the best party this forsaken land has ever seen.  Muwahahahaha!”

As he continued to pace Ganondorf glanced out the furthest window, and paused.  There were lights on the beaches visible through that window.  He strode over, fury building inside him.

“The audacity!  Throwing a party on my beach mere days after destroying my plans.  Who could possibly be so bold?”

Ganonforf squinted, straining his eyes.  He let out a frustrated growl.  It was impossible to tell at this distance.  He let out a wild screech, calling his faithful Helmaroc King to his side.

“Go!” he said. “Bring me news of those invaders on my privacy.”

helmorac king

In a burst of wind and wings the Helmaroc King took flight, streaking into the distance to reconnoiter the pinpricks of dancing firelight.  In his rage, Ganondorf paced through the drawing room and into the kitchens, venting his anger with well-placed kicks at the furniture.

As he entered the kitchen a flurry of activity caught his attention and drew his focus.  Large, black figures scattered into the shadows.  Ganondorf lit the candles with a burst of magic.  He gasped in horror.  It was gone.  All of it was gone.  The monster cakes, monster curry, and monster stew – all vanished with the black shapes, only purple crumbs and grains of rice remaining.  At the sound of his gasp wererats poked their noses back into the kitchen, creeping from their hiding places in triumph.  Letting out a scream of frustration, Ganondorf threw his arms forward, purple arcs of lightening shooting from his hands, scattering the wererats like leaves in a wind.

“I WILL NOT HAVE THIS PARTY RUINED!”

With his outburst of energy he began to calm.  As his chest heaved and his breathing slowly became controlled he could feel the formation of a plan beginning.  To punish all those who threatened his night of wallowing in past successes was utmost on his mind.  As he stood, wheels turning, grasping for a plan to bring vengeance and destruction to his enemies a fell call rang out above him.  His faithful bird, the Helmaroc King, was swiftly descending toward the castle.  Ganondorf swept out onto the ledge and waited, patience an attribute well-developed through centuries of being sealed in the Sacred Realm.

“Kaw, KAWWW kkkaw, screech, kaaw cacaww”

“I see…” mused Ganondorf.  “Those fools truly believed I had gone.  Me.  The most powerful sorcerer Hyrule has ever known…  This affront deserves a special punishment.  No, no, death is too good for these miscreants.  I’ll have to think of something truly clever for this… Oh, and there are some wererats around the castle, attempting to destroy my evening.  Dispose of them.  They should make an adequate dinner for a keen, clever beast like you.”

ganondorf

And as Ganondorf trailed off into silent thought an ingenious plan, fully formed, broke through.  He smiled and chuckled.  Yes.  Yes!  This will gain me all I deserve – their food and the ruin of their party! Hmhahaha…

***

Out along the beaches the party was raging.  Pirates, Koroks, and Rito were all present, reveling in the demise of their hated enemy.  Cakes, pies, and tarts stood in a long array at a table near the fire.  The Koroks and Rito had even brought along harps and violins and music and laughter echoed across the beach.  The Evil King was gone!  Their homes and friends were safe!  What could possibly be go wrong?

All at once the sound of oars sound brought the music to a screeching halt.  A large raft was winding its way across the shores, dragging behind it a massive form.  Everyone huddled together, fear rushing across their faces, a few screams erupting.  Could he possibly be back?  Could he have escaped the doom the Hero of Winds had inflicted?  They watched with baited breath as the shape loomed closer, hardly daring to move.  When it finally touched ground near their fire a gasp went up from them.  A man lumbered out, tall and menacing in the half-light.  He moved into the firelight and a collective sigh of relief escaped the group.  It was only the Traveling Merchant.

“My friends!  Don’t be afraid.  It is I, Munfrnmahan, and I’m merely your humble, traveling merchant.  As I was searching the castle of the Evil King for trinkets to sell I heard the festivities from your party.  I’ve come to help brighten it.  As I was searching I found a machine that’s beyond compare.  A puppet used by Ganon in his evil attempt to destroy our very own Hero of Winds.  Seeing, with your own eyes, the scars and wounds of its battle with that… great… hero, is truly magnificent.  I’d love to share with you the experience of standing within the beast and beholding the awesome power of the Hero of Winds.  However, such a long journey has exhausted me beyond compare, and in my career food can be scarce and difficult to come by.  If you would be willing to give me, say, one pie, cake or tart, in exchange for each person entering the marionette I could say that my time was well spent in search of such treasures of victory!  What say you?”

puppet ganon

As he had slinked closer to the firelight a few partygoers noticed some strange differences between the Traveling Merchant they had known and this new merchant.  But as he pulled Puppet Ganon into the light all eyes were on it, and even those predisposed to be suspicious gave way to the awe of witnessing the might of their hero.  A murmur of agreement rippled through the crowd and, as the Merchant quickly set up the marionette to its full towering height, a rush of grabbing hands flew to the food table and began shoving every last treat in the direction of the Merchant.  To have a chance to view the beast Link had destroyed first-hand?  That was something no one could pass up.  As the merchant slowly placed pie after tart after pie onto his raft he chuckled quietly, mirthlessly, to himself.

After a few moments of shoving nearly every partygoer was inside the puppet, touching the gaping holes left by the Master Sword and scrambling over each other to see through the puppet’s eyes.  When the very last Rito feather and pirate cutlass were inside a sudden blaze of purple light blinded the horizon.  A deep, cold laugh sounded and a scream of panic erupted from the party.

wind waker ganon

“You fools!  Did you truly think I was gone?  The great, powerful Ganondorf?  I not only have your food, but I now have you, trapped inside this massive, disappointing servant.  In fact, so disappointing, I had no problem doing this!” And with a snap of his fingers the outer layer of the puppet disappeared, leaving behind a towering, puppet-shaped cage, locking every person inside.

“And now, for the greatest revenge of all.  You, and your miserable band of revelers, will join me at the most incredible party of all time.  A memoir to me and my unspeakable triumphs, 4 hours of food and film showing my rise to victory and Hyrule under my rule.  And thanks to you, I know this party will be a success.”

***

Sometime later, after using his considerable magic to move the cage across the beach and into the castle, he sat back and laughed.  Ah, yes, he thought.  His enemies forced to witness his triumphs from their self-inflicted cage while his sycophants witness his triumph!  What could possibly be better than this…

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

When I was a kid my cousins lived within a few blocks from us and nearly every Sunday was spent with them at our house or us at theirs for dinner.  And my very favorite thing my cousin made was homemade teriyaki chicken.  Delicious, incredible teriyaki chicken.  It was so good, and so special to her, that we called it Brenda-yaki chicken in honor of her.  Seriously.  It even says Brenda-yaki Chicken on my recipe card.  And I’m thrilled to share it with you because you’re going to love it, too!  You’ll like it.  So much that maybe you’ll call it *pause for dramatic effect* Teri-yaki chicken…

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl
time and difficulty

So lets start with the rice.  Honestly, this takes the longest, so lets get it going!  It’s just like the way we make rice in the Meat and Rice Bowl.  Simply add rice to the rice cooker, rinse several times, and add water until it covers up to the first joint in your pointer finger over the rice.  Turn it on.  And leave.  I really don’t know what I’d do without a rice cooker.

Next we need to cut the green onions into 1 inch-long strips.  Doesn’t have to be pretty, but it does need to come first.  You see, you could cut the chicken first and then cut the green onions, but you’d have to either dirty another knife and cutting board OR wash this one in between.  Let’s get real, folks, dishes are the worst.  So instead of taking all those extra steps (and in the name of food safety and Salmonella-less summers) we cut the onions and then the chicken!

Third, trim the excess fat off the chicken then slice it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and any length long.  That one’s a personal preference.  Now, let’s get real, I’m using boneless chicken thighs not because I prefer them, but because they’re what the recipe calls for.  You want it to be prime?  Gotta be chicken thighs.  So if you’d like to use chicken breasts, be my guest!  Though, now that I’ve used it, I may never go back – they were absolutely juicy and delicious!  I think I understand now why people sing the praises of thigh meat…

Okay – Focus!  Fourth is make the sauce.  Its pretty easy.  Measure out the sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder into a container.  Stir until combined, taste for garlic adjustments (I like my garlic to be strong!) and allow to sit, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugars.

all the ingredients

And now, once the rice is done and on the “warm” setting, of course, we cook.  Why do we wait until the rice is done?  Because this takes about 6-7 minutes to cook and you don’t want to wait for your rice to finish while your chicken is getting cold.

Remember that wok I told you to buy?  Well it would sure come in handy about now!  Let’s pull it out, shall we?… Oh wait… you didn’t buy it?… Fine.  Be that way.  Well you can easily make this recipe in a pan.  Would it be better in a wok?  Of course, don’t be ridiculous.  But you can do it in a pan just fine.  Just follow all the steps like normal, then sit in a corner and think about what you’ve done.

boiling sauceAdd oil to the pan/wok and half the green onions.  Turn the heat on high, as high as it’ll go (for a wok) or medium high (for a pan) and wait until the onions start popping.  Add the chicken, sprinkle on the salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until they’re no longer pink on the outside.  Add the remainder of the green onions and all of the teriyaki sauce (which, if you kept stirring it, should have all the sugar dissolved).  Stir until everything is coated and allow to boil and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.  Be warned, if you cook this in a pan, you’ll want to do it in a tall pan (maybe even a pot).  The sauce foams like crazy when it boils and it’ll grow to about double it’s height.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the photo.

teriyaki chicken detail

When the sauce is thickened turn off the heat, serve over rice, and enjoy!

Link’s Prime Meat and Rice Bowl recipe:

        • Raw Prime Meat or Raw Bird Thigh
        • Hylian Rice
        • Rock Salt

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chicken Teriyaki with homemade sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 bunch (5-6) green onions
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sushi (Calrose) rice
  • enough water to cover the rice

Directions

  1. Rinse 2 cups of rice several times and then add to a rice cooker. Add water until the level is up to your first knuckle on your pointer finger when your finger is resting on top of the rice.
  2. Start the rice cooker
  3. Cut the green onions into 1 inch-long strips.
  4. Trim the excess fat from the chicken then it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and any length long. I prefer 2 inches long.
  5. Make the sauce by adding the sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a container.  Stir until combined, taste for garlic adjustments and allow to sit, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugars.
  6. When the rice is cooked heat a wok on high or a pan/pot on medium high.
  7. Add oil to the pan/wok and half the green onions.
  8. Add the chicken, sprinkle on the salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until they’re no longer pink on the outside.
  9. Add the remainder of the green onions and all of the teriyaki sauce (which, if you kept stirring it, should have all the sugar dissolved).
  10. Stir until everything is coated and allow to boil and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.  Be warned, if you cook this in a pan, you’ll want to do it in a tall pan or pot as the sauce foams like crazy when it boils and it’ll double it’s height.
  11. When the sauce is thickened turn off the heat, serve over rice, and enjoy!

Blogger Blitz Round 1: Blogger Blitzception

Blogger Blitz Round 1: Blogger Blitzception

Hey everyone!  By some unexpected chance, and though I hadn’t planned on participating this year, I am yet again a competitor in the coolest competition around!  For those of you who missed it the first time check out Ian, at Adventure Rules, blog.  He not only lists the round challenges and the overall rules, but that’s also where we will find the results!  Yay!  If you want to skip that article (BOO!  Shame on you!) then here’s a little explanation of the rules:

  • Each round of the competition has a 1000 word limit for round 1. There are no limitations on writing style.  Remember to pack your 1000 words with content that helps to prove why your character is the best at the event!
  • Within your own post, you define the circumstances and how difficult it is for your character to overcome the event. So be sure to craft circumstances which portray your character as overcoming odds that only they could possibly surmount. If the challenge is too easy, it takes some of the impact away from your argument. Judges like to see clever solutions!
  • Get ahead of the game and cover your weak points so that when the judges have to consider the negatives of each approach, you’ve already anticipated it and come up with a solution!

Who is my competition, you ask?  Flame Flash who will be sponsoring Sigma, the antagonist from the Mega Man series.  And who had loads more time than me to prepare.  And who is an incredible writer.  Guys… it may be my first and last round in the Blogger Blitz challenge this year…

And what is the challenge?  Oh you know, only something so complex I had to read it 4 times before I even understood what they were asking for…

In a competition where bloggers submit blog posts about their favorite characters for a panel of judges to determine which is the best, they’ll be challenged to write a blog post about their favorite character writing a blog post. Then the post within the post will be judged by the judges to determine which blogger wins, which by extension will determine which blogger wins. What? As if that’s not complicated enough, each villain has been sent a nefarious “helper” by their rivals – a three-headed monkey! The monkey does all the typing for them, so how can each villain use their abilities to influence the monkey to write rightly? It’s the blogger blitz within the Blogger Blitz – it’s Blogger Blitzception!

So without further ado, my blog within a blog (and my word count) starts below this line.


Oh the aklnm;slkdf ;jp[aje

ganondorf triumphant

NO! Stop it, monkey.  I am Ganon, the holder of the Goddess Din’s Triforce of Power, reincarnation of the Demon Demise himself.  You WILL obey me.  Now…. Write this:

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is ittt ttttthatttt pppsppdpdmmvvlcxle

ganondorf frustrated

NO!  This post, monkey, will be the inspiration of generations to come!  I am the master of all dark powers and, King of the Gerudo, and the rightful King of Hyrule.  All who wish to bow down before me must understand me.  This wisdom will be sought through the end of time.  And through it I will choose lesser minions to serve beneath my hand, for when I am King I will be King forever! Mwahahahaha.

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is it that people continnu to opose mme?  I, wwwwhoooo ams;lk the rigj ;lkdtful ruulelsller

Ganondorf

*sigh*.  I suppose this will take more effort than I originally thought.  Who knew a three-headed monkey, that cursed gift from that idiot sympathizer from Faron, would be this troublesome?  How could he be manipulated to obey?  It’s quite simple.  That’s all I ask.  Complete and blind obedience to my every need.  As the conqueror of Hyrule it should be given to me.  Hmmmm….

A banana.  Is that what you want, you good, kind, helpful monkey?  I’ll give you a banana every time you type a correct sentence.  Deal? Then let’s get moving…

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is it that people continue to oppose me?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination?

angry ganondorf

STOP!  That is NOT what I wanted.  That is NOT what I meant.  You are willfully disobeying me!

*Leaves to play the organ for several minutes*

*deep breaths* Now that my calm has been restored I have an idea, an improvement, if you will.  Utilizing the dark magic at which I am so adept I’ll simply bend your minds to my will.  Force you to become the mindless minion you are to simply do as I ask.  Oh, don’t worry, monkey, you won’t notice a thing.

O the struggle the turmoil y is it that people continue 2 oppose me I who am the rightful ruler of all hyrule I demise himself who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination its… that… night…  the… socalled… hero… of… hyrule… its… his… fault… my… slaves… continue… 2… rise…….. up……….

NOOOOO!  Mindless!  Stupid. Idiot. Monkey!

ganondorf sword

*In a fit of rage he raises his sword and chops off two of the monkey’s heads.  Cauterizes wounds with dark magic.  Lifts spell from third head.*

There.  No more mistakes, no more fooling around.  You, monkey, WILL do my bidding or the same fate awaits your final head.  NOW, TYPE!

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is it that people continue to oppose me?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination? 

It’s that knight.  The so-called “Hero of Hyrule”.  It’s his fault my slaves continue to rise up.  It’s HIS fault my plans fail.  I am thwarted at every turn because of this… man-child.  This Link.  I am the great, powerful Ganon!  How can a simple, small boy continue to overthrow my best-laid plans?  First it was my attempt to rise as myself with the help of my faithful demon Ghirahim.  And my reincarnation, this powerful, debonair Ganondorf, with so much promise, continually thrown down.  Is it him, this Link?  Or is it simply my incompetent belief in those I manipulate?  Agahnim, Yuga, Zant, all failures.  Perhaps that is my true downfall.  Perhaps my manipulations of these minions was never strong enough, my… faith… was misplaced.  This newest attempt may need a different strategy.  Something to counter the nuisance of the “Goddess’s chosen hero”.  Something to finally squash him like the insect he is so that I, Ganondorf, the most powerful being ever, can reign victorious at last!

You, the mindless rabble who WILL obey me, cannot know the strain of such a brat, always snapping at my heels.  You think this is easy, laying plans, always subverting Hyrule to my whim.  But the thought of that boy eats away at my peace.  He fills me with pure Malice, and slowly gnaws away my incredible intellect to the point that I struggle to foresee mistakes.  Oh the agony of my minion’s mistakes that have allowed that… boy… to defeat me!  It should never have happened.  It will not happen again.  I, Ganondorf, am more than capable of crushing him without any effort.  Perhaps it will take all my cunning, without the use of a mindless puppet, to overcome the Triforce of Courage.  And perhaps this blog will be my greatest form of brainstorming.  The place where all my best-laid plans will finally be perfected and find fruition in the defeat of that whelp.  Perhaps this next time I’ll use a new set of minions… One made entirely of metal…

Prime Poultry Pilaf

Prime Poultry Pilaf

As a working mom I am incredibly fond of easy make, easy clean up meals.  While I wish I could spend 5 hours making dinner every night, with fantastic results, I usually only have about an hour MAX to throw toward my favorite meal of the day.  And this recipe was so easy, and had so little hands-on time, it may become a new mid-week staple at our house.  Hey, if it’s good enough for Link, it’s good enough for me!

Prime Poultry PilafHeader and Meter

Start by taking the chicken out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook it.  Frankly, as a microbiologist, I cannot condone taking chicken out any earlier than that.  If you wanna know how I feel about poultry, as a microbiologist, find me on the twitter or the instagram…   But we do want to take the chill off the chicken before we cook it.  So 10 minutes is probably good.

seasoned chicken

Now here’s the normal drill: pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, rub with spices, and get ready for the most chill and delicious meal I’ve posted in a long, llloonnngggg time.

First and foremost, the easiest way to make this recipe is with a pan that can be used both on the stove and in the oven.  Cast iron, enameled cast iron, even some stainless steel pans can be used on the stove and in the oven.  I use an enameled cast iron pan for this and it made both making it and cleaning up a piece of cake.  If you don’t have anything that’ll work for both simply use a pan on the stove for the first part and we will get to the second part later.  But if you can possibly invest in an enameled cast iron braiser or pan, trust me, it’s worth it.

Second and secondmost, you’ll want to use a long grain, non-sticky rice for this recipe.  While I pledge my heart and soul to calrose sushi rice it simply doesn’t work for rice pilaf.  Jasmine rice or even long grain brown rice would work really well in this particular recipe.

Heat the oil in your chosen pan on medium.  When the oil is hot gently add the chicken by laying it away from you to prevent splashes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the thigh.  Turn the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Using the side of your pan, lay the thighs up on each side for 1-2 minutes to sear in all the liquid.  You can do this by leaning them against each other and the side of the pan, then switching sides and repeating until all 6 sides (4 edges, 2 big sides) are seared.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.

Add the chopped onion to the oil in the pan and cook until it begins to sweat, about 2-3 minutes.  At that point add the orzo pasta and continue stirring and cooking until the pasta begins to change color to a light brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the rice and cook until the rice is glistening, about 2-3 minutes.  Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of the chicken stock  and scrape hard at the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.  This will ensure all the delicious flavor (called fond) stuck at the bottom will be in your broth.  Add the remaining chicken stock and spices and stir.  Heat until simmering, stirring periodically.

add the chicken to the rice

Once the liquid is simmering gently lay the chicken on top of the rice mixture.  You want the chicken to rest on top of the rice, so gently is the key here.  Place the lid on the pan and put in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  If you’re one of the poor, unfortunate souls (in pain, in need) who doesn’t have a pan that can transition between the stove and the oven oil an oven-safe pan that has a lid and transfer the liquid and rice to the pan.  Lay the chicken on top of the rice, cover, and place in the oven to bake.  This method may take 35-40 minutes to cook, because the pan isn’t hot going into the oven.  But don’t check the rice until 30 minutes.  At that point, if there is still liquid left, simply bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes until the liquid is gone.

check the rice

While the rice is cooking scramble an egg or two.  It’s as easy as heating up a small pan with the butter, adding two eggs, and pushing the eggs around until they’re set but not overcooked.  You got this.

After 30 minutes open the lid and check the rice for done-ness.  There should be no more liquid remaining and the rice should be nice and fluffy.  If you are worried about the chicken being cooked all the way through simply test it using an instant read thermometer.  The thighs should be at 165°F.  Add the eggs to the rice, mix, and fluff.  Serve with a side of veggies and enjoy!

chicken close up

Link’s Prime Poultry Pilaf recipe:

      • Raw Bird Thigh
      • Hylian Rice
      • Bird Egg
      • Goat Butter

Prime Poultry Pilaf

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

One-pot chicken thighs with rice pilaf

Chicken

  • 5 chicken thighs, can be with or without bones
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Rice

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 3/4 cup long grain rice, such as Jasmine rice
  • 3.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook it.
  3. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and rub with the spice rub.
  4. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan, or any pan that can be placed in the oven with a lid.
  5. When the oil is hot gently add the chicken by laying it away from you to prevent splashes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the thigh.  Turn the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Using the side of your pan, lay the thighs up on each side for 1-2 minutes to sear in all the liquid.  You can do this by leaning them against each other and the side of the pan, then switching sides and repeating until all 6 sides (4 edges, 2 big sides) are seared.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.
  6. Add the chopped onion to the oil in the pan and cook until it begins to sweat, about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the orzo pasta and continue stirring and cooking until the pasta begins to change color to a light brown, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the rice and cook until the rice is glistening, about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of the chicken stock and scrape hard at the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.  Add the remaining chicken stock and spices and stir.  Heat until simmering, stirring periodically.
  10. Once the liquid is simmering gently lay the chicken on top of the rice mixture. Place the lid on the pan and put in the oven.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes.
  12. While the rice is cooking heat up a small pan with the butter. When the butter begins bubbling add the two eggs and cook, stirring continually until they’re set but not overcooked.
  13. After 30 minutes open the lid and check the rice for done-ness.  There should be no more liquid remaining and the rice should be nice and fluffy.  If you are worried about the chicken being cooked all the way through simply test it using an instant read thermometer.  The thighs should be at 165°F.  Serve with a side of veggies and enjoy!