We’re playing those blog games together. Pushing the barriers, planting seeds/ideas in your mind like Inception. You’re actually asleep right now.

Dr. Pepper, how I love you so. Don’t tell bacon, but you might be my favorite thing on the planet…

Oh, umm, hello. I didn’t see you there. How much of that did you hear…? I guess I should blog now or something. Awkward.

My interwebs friend, Tia, tagged me a while back in a blogging game. Apparently I’m supposed to list 11 random things about myself, answer Tia’s 11 questions, tag 4 other bloggers, and ask them 11 questions, which they then answer in their own post. And then they’re supposed to do exactly what I did. I get tagged in these games all the time, and I never actually do them. But I am now, and that’s all that matters, right? Right. Lovely.

1. My life goal at the moment is to learn how to play Stairway to Heaven on the guitar. I feel like I need to set higher goals…

2. I secretly despise Christian Bale.

3. “Fact #2 is true,” said the liar.

4. I openly despise Leonardo DiCaprio, and that’s not a lie. Well, honestly, don’t despise him THAT much. He’s a relatively ok actor, but I know a few people who adore him, and it’s fun to annoy them.

5. What’s your favorite symbol on the keyboard? Mine’s the squiggle ~ Isn’t it cute? But it’s so hard to reach. Stupid squiggle…all the way in the top left corner. AND I have to push the shift key.

6. Back to Christian Bale, my favorite movie ever is Newsies. That was the movie that really sparked my Christian Bale obsession. So naturally I’ve watched it…a lot, and I have the entire thing memorized word for word.

7. I have an irrational fear of flying bugs. I think this is because a few years ago a praying mantis flew into my hair and got stuck. Talk about traumatizing.

8. I hate when people ask me what my favorite kind of music is, because when I answer 40’s jazz, house, and random indie boy bands, I get some raised eyebrows.

9. Speaking of eyebrows, I once (ONCE. NEVER AGAIN.) went to go get my eyebrows done, and the lady who did it took one look at me and said “Well…they’re your signature style.” That basically translates into I have Audrey Hepburn-esque eyebrows that you really can’t do much with. I think I frustrated her.

10. I’m obsessed with Pinterest. It’s an unhealthy obsession and a bit of a self-esteem killer. After I pin things, I realize that I’ll never own any of those clothes, make food that looks that good, and that DIY chalkboard paint? Fugetaboutit.

11.  Although my name is Piccola Italiana (which means Little Italian in Italian), I’m hardly Italian. I’m a quarter Italian, a quarter Norwegian, and half everything else (there is a little British in there…*wink*). But Little Norwegian translates into Lite Norsk, which, uhhh, sounds awful? I guess if I did go by Like Norsk, you could call me Norsky. And if that isn’t catchy, I don’t know what is.

And here are the questions Tia asked me:

What is your all-time favorite book?
The Giver. I had to loan that book to someone just so I would stop constantly rereading.
Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester?
Well, seeing as I just had to google Mr. Rochester (Yes, I do live under a rock.), Mr. Darcy?
Converse or Vans?
Um, Converse. I have 7 pairs and counting. I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent on them.
Favorite dessert?
Oh, don’t do this to me. Uhhhh, rum cake? Or really really good raspberry cheesecake.
Favorite superhero?
Batman. Maybe just because Christian Bale plays him. Everything in my entire life goes back to him. What’s wrong with me?
If you could play any instrument, regardless of your skills or lifestyle, what would it be?
My sisters and I all play violin, and my brothers play cello. If my parents hadn’t started me on violin when I was 3 and I would have actually had a say in which instrument I was going to play, I would have definitely chosen cello. Way cooler, and you get to sit down when you play. Maybe I’m lazy.
In general, do you gravitate more towards books or movies?
Movies. Again, lazy.
If you could meet any artist (singer – past or present), who would it be?
Either Ella Fitzgerald or George Harrison.
Favorite T.V. show?
Psych or Downton Abbey or House. Psych and Downton aren’t airing new episodes for months, and House is over. I’m pretty much distraught.
If you could have the wildest phrase for your epitaph, what would it be?
I’d definitely go for Henry the second’s epitaph:

“I was Henry the King. To me Diverse realms were subject, I was duke and count of many provinces. Eight feet of ground is now enough for me, whom many kingdoms failed to satisfy. Who reads these lines, let him reflect, upon the narrowness of death. And in my case behold, the image of our mortal lot. This scanty tomb doth now suffice, For whom the Earth was not enough.”

Ha, just kidding. I’d say “I told you I was sick.”
What day do you look forward to most in a week?
Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Ha, now that song’s stuck in your head. You’re welcome.

So now I tag people, I guess…? You know what, I’m tired. I ate so much junk food last night at my friends house, and I’m still in a food coma.

Marie over at Adventures in a Grown-up World (Tia already tagged you, Marie. DO. IT.)
Kait over at Kaitlynology
Arnel Gonce at AllThingsBoys. I pretty much feel like she’s my second mom. Although if I was given the option, I’d want Amy Adams to be my 2nd mom. She can be my 3rd.
Avra-Sha Faohla at Red Twilight

So if I’ve tagged you, please answer these questions. Have fun.

1. What was the first CD/record you bought?

2. Christian Bale or Leonardo DiCaprio? Choose wisely…

3. If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out? I was Googling weird interview questions and that actually was one of them.

4.What was your first word?

5. Pepsi or Coke?

6. If you had a million dollars how would you spend it?

7. What’s your favorite breakfast food?

8. Do you think we’ve really been to the moon?

9. What’s the deal with “I before E?”

10. Deaf or blind?

11. So no one told you life was gonna be this way?

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You say Michael, I say Caine. You say Bruce, I say Wayne. Hot dog, I say cool it man. I don’t wanna be the Mayor of Gotham.

I hate Dark Knight Rises.

You have no idea how much it pains me to say that. No, really. All I want to say is THAT WAS THE MOST AWESOMEST THING IN THE WORLD. I HEART CHRISTIAN BALE. THE ONLY WAY IT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IS IF LEONARDO DICAPRIO WAS CATWOMAN AND WAS KILLED. But I can’t, especially since Leo wasn’t in it (thank goodness). So here are my thoughts on the movie…

First, lets talk about the things I liked. Um, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gorgeous, much?

And now for the things I didn’t like. *SPOILER ALERT* If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go find a picture of a cute bunny to look at or something. Wonderful idea, Picco. Oh thank you. And now I’m going to stop talking to myself.

Before I go into details about the characters, let’s talk about the plot. Or lack thereof. What exactly was the plot? No really, I’m not even sure what the point of the movie was. Batman Begins was about how Bruce Wayne became Batman. Ok, good. Dark Knight was about how there are some crazies in the world that wear purple suits and are actually gorgeous Australian men. Acceptable. Dark Knight Rises? *silence* Please help me out here, guys.

So, Bane. Uhhh, who is he? Had anyone ever heard of him before? Even my little brother who is OBSESSED with superheros, and can name almost every single one of them, didn’t know who Bane was. Since Chris Nolan gave us absolutely none of his back story, I’m just going to assume he was unloved as a child, then got beaten up in that prison pit where people speak alien instead of English and pass their time climbing up the wall and trying to jump onto a ledge, and then somehow he fashioned himself that mask. What’s the purpose of the mask? Is he like a diehard Darth Vader fan or something? That dude’s got more issues than Vogue.

Catwoman. Don’t even get me started. I didn’t like Anne Hathaway to begin with, and now I REALLY don’t like her. Again, thanks Chris for no back story for her either. At least Michelle Pfeiffer got her weird powers from cats. So maybe Selena whats-her-face lives alone with her cats and decided to become like them, aaannndddd steal stuff? Yeah, that’s logical. I also thought that all of her “action scenes” were awkward. It’s hard to attack people when you’re wearing stilettos, sweetie. So maybe next time opt for a more casual shoe, such as converse? Just a thought. I should totally go into costume design.

Dear Christian Bale, WHY ARE YOU SO OLD?! Time (and his lack of sanity) has not been good to him. Batman was just annoying in this movie, which is sad since he was so cool in the other two. Why was Bruce a gimp at the beginning? I get that he’s an angsty hermit and such, but can’t he hire a physical therapist or something? And every time people spoke to him, it was all motivational speeches. And there was a lot of crying, even from tough guy Bane. What was this, The Notebook?

I’d go into detail about all the other characters, but I’d bore myself. Even Commissioner Gordon was disappointing. And every time someone said his name, all I could think of was Heath Ledger as the Joker saying “Evening, Commissioner…” and I got sad. Random trivia time: Did anyone else notice that the guy with the super long eyelashes was the same guy that dated Juliet on Psych for like 4 episodes? I really liked how Gordon-Levitt turned out to be Robin at the end, but the whole movie he’s like I’m a cop, I’m a cop, I’m a detective? I’m a cop again, I’m yelling at kids to get back on the bus, I’m a cop, BOOM, I’m Batman’s sidekick. Ummm…

And finally, the end. Worst. Ending. Ever. And not even kind of probable. So since the bomb had a 6 mile kill radius, it had to be flown at least 6 miles away, right? And luckily, Batman was able to fly it 6+ miles away in less than a minute, drop it in the ocean, and then it went all mushroom-cloud like, and no one died. Um, radiation? Debris? Tsunami? Nope, just happiness. Surprise! It was a bomb filled with food, shelter, and love.

So anyway, those are my thoughts on the movie. Anyone who has ever read my blog knows that I absolutely adore Christian Bale and Batman more than anything else in the world (next to bacon…), so it was really depressing that I had to write this, but it had to be said. Why do you build me up, Christopher Nolan baby, just to let me down? Seriously that song’s been stuck in my head for days.

Oh, and here’s a picture of a Build-a-Bear koala in an Iron Man suit.  So many superheros in one day.

And there needs to be a new superhero named Baconman. Just saying.

Mid-week Crisis: Happy birthday, my unphotogenic dog.

1. July 23rd was my dog Gemma’s 2nd birthday. I know there aren’t any pictures of me on this blog, but if you were wondering just how photogenic I am, take a look at her. We’re both equally as attractive on camera. And yes, that is an “I am 1” party hat. Yeah.

2. It’s always nice to be told you’re awesome by Mitchell Davis

3. Did you hear that Christian Bale went to go visit the victims of the Colorado shooting? He stopped by a hospital that some of the people were at and, you know, was just generally amazing. That’s all I wanted to say. That man is my idol.

4. Remember Heelys, the shoes with the wheels on the back that were super popular like 5-10 years ago? I just found my old pair. Back in the day, my best friend had some and I would get super jealous when she was rolling around in them, being super cool. Looking back, they really weren’t that cool, but that didn’t stop me from relentlessly begging my mom to get me a pair. And then the first (maybe second?) day of having them, I proceeded to test them out in the basement, fall, and break my wrist. My mom LOVED that.

5. Batman themed wedding? WHAT IS THIS INSANITY?!

6. You know what song’s been going through my head for the past 3 days? Why do you build me up buttercup baby just to let me down? And the worst part is that I only know like two lines of that song, so I just keep repeating them. I need you, more than anyone darling…and that’s all I know. Just FYI.

7. Five Words: Grilled. Mozzarella. Sandwich. With. Pesto. It’s pretty much the most delicious food ever? And I dipped it in marinara sauce. Drool drool. And I took that picture with my phone in horrible lighting. And then I tried to fix it, aaannnddd…exhibit A why I should never go into photoshopping professionally. I also shouldn’t professionally go into never professing my love for Christian Bale…does that make sense? No? You know what, it’s been a long day…

Happy Wednesday?

Rum cake or death? Ummm, rum cake, please.

Once upon a time, there was a fair maiden named Picco. Now Picco had a bit of an obsession with alcohol in her food, but don’t be so fast to ship her off to AA, for said alcoholic beverages were always cooked and therefore wouldn’t make her tipsy. With that in mind, she felt less guilty making and devouring dishes with rum and kahlua in them. And then she married Joseph Gordon-Levitt and they lived happily ever after. The end.

Wasn’t that a great story? I’ll tell it again later.

I guess the real story that goes along with this cake is that I had a friend who was absolutely obsessed with it. We made it together all the time, and she demanded that it be her 17th birthday cake. It’s that good. But then life got in the way of things. We stopped being friends, I stopped making this cake, and my jeans started fitting again. So the recipe went back in the front of my mom’s Joy of Cooking with all the other random recipes, and I forgot all about it.

Then the other day, my sister with Celiac was craving cake, and I was about to make her a sour cream coffee cake, when my subconscious said, “Hey, Picco, I have two things to tell you. First, remember that delicious cake with booze in it? And also, what the heck are you wearing? As attractive as those unflattering tan capris (that make you look even shorter than you already are) look with that boys v-neck shirt and your purple hightops, please never wear them together. Ever again.” I pretty much hate my subconscious. And then I remembered rum cake. So I quickly ran over to the Joy of Cooking, grabbed the recipe, and proceeded to weep over it and begged its forgiveness because I had neglected it for far too long. That’s pretty much how things went down.

My favorite part about this cake is that you get to poke a bunch of holes in it. It’s quite entertaining, actually. It really doesn’t take much to entertain me.

If I had to pick one dessert to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it. I’m not sure what makes it so good. I think it’s the rum. Or maybe it’s the extra love I put into it…nope, it’s the rum. Because not only is there rum in the batter, but the glaze is made out of (wait for it) sugar, rum, maybe a little water?, and butter. Why is the rum always gone? (Tia, that one’s for you.)

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat some rum cake for breakfast, and then cry into it (I do a lot of crying into/over food…) because I have to wait another 31 hours until I see Dark Knight Rises. It’s times like these that makes me wish the alcohol didn’t cook off. Ok, not really. There’s something seriously wrong with me. I’m so sorry you have to put up with me…

Rum Cake

I attempted to make this gluten-free and it turned out…ok. My sister loved it, but it was a little denser than it usually is with regular flour. Next time I’ll mess with the proportions a bit. Whoops, guess I’ll have to make it again. Darn. So here’s the recipe with regular flour. If you want my gluten-free version, email me. True story.

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package (I think it was about 5 ounces) instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup water+1/2 cup rum (I usually do 1/4 water+3/4 rum, because that makes it that much more delicious).
Touch of orange juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 water (or rum)
1 tablespoon butter

Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease and flour and 10″ Bundt pan. Who came up with the word Bundt? I seriously can never get any baking done because I just sit back and laugh at the word Bundt.

Combine all ingredients and beat for 2 minutes (this is seriously the easiest recipe ever). Pour batter into pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, checking at 45 minutes. Cake is done with tooth pick inserted about 2 inches from edge comes out cleaner than a Raffi song. Does that even make any sense? Why did I just mention Raffi?

Cool in pan for about 20-30 minutes. Take a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, and then transfer to a plate.

Glaze:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup rum (or water) in a small pot. Boil for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Seriously, don’t let this stuff burn. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the hot syrup and stir to combine.

Poke holes in the top of the cake so glaze can run into it. Drizzle over cake.

Enjoy immensely.

Oh, you aren’t seeing Batman tonight either? Let’s drown our sorrows in buffalo cheese dip together.

If I had a list of things I’d avoid in a dark alley, at the top of the list would be rabid dogs, creepy dudes, and people who actually enjoy boiled chicken.

This is my attempt at making boiled chicken look appetizing. I took about 20 pictures of it, and this was the only one that didn’t make me want to upchuck. After you boil it, not only do you end up with chicken whiter than…ummm…something white? but the water you boil it in has fat and chicken flakes floating in it. And if you don’t know what chicken flakes are, go boil some chicken. I can’t describe it, but they’re disgusting.

A word of warning: this dip is addicting. It’s just the right amount of party food+comfort food. So, if you’re beyond sad that you can’t go see Dark Knight Rises tonight at the midnight premiere, you’ll eat a lot of it. Which is exactly what I’m doing. If only I didn’t have that writing and logic class thing at 9am tomorrow.  As much as I’m learning from it (we worked on syllogisms for 2 hours today. God is good. Poptarts are good. Therefore, God is poptarts. Ok, we didn’t do that one…), it’s totally ruining my life. Every day I come home exhausted from so much thinking, AND it makes me not able to see my beloved Batman movie. Batman>learning. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Whoever decided to have the premiere of Dark Knight Rises be on one of the few days of the summer I have to wake up early is obviously the same person who decided to let babies grow up, put so many calories in moose tracks ice cream, and thought it would be a good idea for all clothes in the 90’s to be made out of denim. That person has serious issues.

So anyway, for all of you going tonight, have fun. Meanwhile, I’m going to pretend I’m having just as much fun as you are by having a Chris Nolan/superhero marathon. “Because Toby McGuire is just as awesome as Christian Bale,” said no one ever.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

From How Sweet It Is

2-8 0z blocks of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup of ranch dressing
1 cup of buffalo wing sauce. We use Sweet Baby Ray’s since it’s gluten free, but you can use whatever sauce your little heart desires.
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

To boil the chicken, wash the defrosted thighs and place in a sauce pan. Fill the pan with enough water to cover the chicken by several inches. Set your stovetop burner to high and maintain a rapid boil while the chicken cooks for 20 minutes. Set the chicken aside until cool, then shred with a fork.

For the sauce, in a large bowl combine softened cream cheese, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, and buffalo wing sauce. Using a mixer, mix until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Resist the urge to eat all of it right then and there. I mean, you can have a little taste or 5, but save some room for when there’s chicken involved. Fold in shredded chicken and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Pour into a baking dish. Top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until dip is warmed through. Now you may eat all of it.