Monday Movie Marathon: Halloween Treats

This week’s movie marathon features the films I like to watch around Halloween. I’ve learned that marathoning scary movies never goes over well for me, so I try to stick to the humorously scary.

1. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (Mel Brooks, 1974): This is actually my favourite movie of all time. No joke. It’s amazing. But I warn you, don’t ask me to watch it with you, I might start inadvertently reciting the entire screenplay (with accents). I can honestly watch this movie at anytime of the year, but Halloween is always a good way to introduce it to a new audience. Envoy!

2. THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (George Miller, 1987): We’ve got Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. Probably not their proudest cinematic experience (for Cher perhaps), but this film is quite the entertainment. This over-the-top, eccentric and  slightly disturbing movie is perfect for this time of year!

3. BEETLEJUICE (Tim Burton, 1988): It’s a Burton film pre-Johnny Depp! And it might take you a while to recognize Alec Baldwin. This is the perfect Halloween movie; and it’s just creepy enough to fill my scare quota.

4. PRACTICAL MAGIC (Griffin Dunne, 1998): Come on; a running scene to Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” deserves some love. No? In any case, this magical chick flick is quite close to my heart. Don’t blame me if “Put a Lime in the Coconut” stays stuck in your head after.

That’s it for this week’s Monday Movie Marathon. My apologies if these were not the scary movies you were expecting; that’s what happens when you’re a big wuss like me. Although I do watch shows like American Horror Story just before I go to bed. Not too sure what my problem is. I highly recommend that one by the way. Maybe this is the beginning of “Television Tuesdays”?

What would your picks be? Tweet me @warriorrenaud or use the hashtag #mondaymoviemarathon!

Friday Food Fight: Guinness & Beef Stew or Irish Nachos?

Welcome to Friday Food Fight, where two recipes duke it out to become my supper.

This week’s contenders:

GUINNESS BEEF STEW: Who doesn’t love to cook with beer? Especially Guinness; a bit for the stew, a bit for me…This hearty and delicious meal is perfect for the changing Canadian weather.
*Mum’s tip: You can add whichever vegetables you want, try potatoes and celery. Cooking the potatoes with the stew will make it a full meal, no need for a side (except for bread and butter, yum). You can also add some chili powder if you want an extra kick!

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds braising beef, excess fat trimmed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 11.5-ounce Guinness Stout beer
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups beef stock (we like to use the Kitchen Basics brand)
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 275 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. While the oil heats, pat the beef dry, season with 1 teaspoon of salt, and then roll in flour so that all sides are lightly dusted.
Working in batches and adding additional oil as needed, add beef in one layer to the hot oil and brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve for later. Add onions, carrots and celery to the same Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until the onion just begin to sweat and soften. Add garlic and cook another minute.
Pour in Guinness and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to get up any brown bits left over from cooking the beef and vegetables. Add the reserved beef, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, beef stock and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir then cover with lid and place into oven. Cook 1 hour then check on the stew. If the top of the stew is dry, add some extra beef stock or water. Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed then cover again and cook another 30 minutes to an hour until the beef is tender and can easily be pulled apart with a fork.

Recipe courtesy of inspired taste.

IRISH NACHOS: I was looking around for some fun ways of making nachos, and fell on this recipe. It looked too good not to pass!
*Mum’s tip: Mum doesn’t really make nachos, but maybe this is a good time to get those dips out of the fridge and see what’s still good. Right Mum?

1 large russet potato [add a few extra if feeding a crowd]
your favorite healthy oil
dried parsley, cayenne, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, to taste
and all your favorite nachos toppings!
t-rex chefs add some shredded chicken or pork and have at it
vegansaurus chefs skip the cheese or add some daiya instead — this dish is easily veganized and oh-so flavorful either way. You can also make these with butternut squash!

cheese [I grated two cheddar/mozzarella string cheeses]
fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers
greek yogurt
black beans
black olives
chopped green onion
bell peppers or sweet mini peppers
dried parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, to taste

Set your oven to BROIL on high. Wash and peel your potatoes [or leave the skin on for extra nutrients!] and cut into discs. I like mine the same thickness and texture as steak fries. Crunchy, crust-like outside and a fluffy mashed potato-like center. It makes me weak in the knees.
Spritz or rub with your favorite oil [olive, coconut, etc…] and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, dried parsley, and a little salt and pepper if you’d like! Lay flat on a wire cooling rack or grilling rack and set atop a reflective baking sheet. This will allow both sides to cook evenly and prevent mushiness.

Recipe courtesy of Peas and Crayons.

*VERDICT*: Not too sure how I ended up with 2 Irish recipes. I know I’m extremely late for St-Patty’s day, but hey, Canada is getting cold and these recipes are delicious. Which also means I will have some Irish nacho appetizers before my Guinness Stew. Shucks.

What are you making for supper? Tweet me @warriorrenaud, or use the hashtag #fridayfoodfight.

Monday Movie Marathon: So. Freaking. Cool.

This week’s movie marathon features those films that have such amazing concepts, they blow your mind. Not only have these films inspired me to create outside-the-box projects, but they also help me see the world in many different ways. These filmmakers have such great imagination, it’s always a pleasure to enter their reality.

1. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Stanley Kubrick, 1971): Despite this movie being completely and utterly creepy, it is truly amazing. Kubrick so thoughtfully created a world where everything is as dysfunctional as it is intriguing. Although I am glad that Kubrick’s predictions of 1995 were slightly off…milk anyone?

2. BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (Spike Jonze, 1999): This is probably the coolest concept for a film. Ever. Maybe I’m a bit over-enthusiastic. But it really is that good. First off, you will never see Camero Diaz looking so unglamorous. And then you might just have to do a marathon of all John Malkovich films…just saying.

3. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (Michel Gondry, 2004): It was hard to believe that Jim Carey almost made it twice in this list, if you have a chance, check out “The Truman Show”. But back to the point, I love this film. It’s like inception without the constant low drone sounds and slow motion shots. It’s such a lovely story, told in such an interesting way.

4. FANTASTIC MR. FOX (Wes Anderson, 2009): I could have put all of Wes Anderson’s movies in this list, that man has the imagination of a…wow, see? But to mix Roald Dahl and Anderson together…can you say dream-team much? This film is so lovely, you will giggle the whole way through. And then perhaps try your hand at claymation. (I really should not attempt that again).

That’s it for this week’s Monday Movie Marathon. If you’ve suffered from writer’s block lately, I’m sure these will clear up those imagination vessels. Or you might turn into a psycho-stalker with short-term memory-loss, who dresses up like a fox. Hmmm.

What would your picks be? Tweet me @warriorrenaud or use the hashtag #mondaymoviemarathon!