The Hobbit through the eyes of a non-Lord of the Rings fan. At all.

Let me start off by saying that I’m really not a big Lord of the Rings fan. I watched the movies a while ago and I might have read one of the books. I enjoy them, but I’m no diehard fan. So, I saw The Hobbit last Friday night. I was invited by a friend of the family, JJR, and his friend, The Brit. We decided to go to the 9:30 showing (totally not my idea. I’m not party animal and that was past my bedtime anyway.) and it didn’t get out until almost 1am. I even stayed awake the whole time. I’m growing up, guys.

cooked ground beef

On the way there, we were discussing what we thought our expectations were for it. I was going into it thinking that it would be like The Avengers: dumb but entertaining. Beforehand the Brit and JJR both thought it was going to be a 6 out of 10, and I gave it a zero. I figure if you have absolutely no expectations for things you’ll never be disappointed. That’s my motto. This has been life lessons with Picco. Apparently The Brit thought that I always have interesting critiques, and I wouldn’t want to let him down, so here are my thoughts.

First off, the previews were HILARIOUS. There were two for little kid movies, one for a rated R Al Pacino movie, a twilight wanna-be, and a transformers wanna-be. All looked incredibly stupid. During the movie all I could think about was Friday Night Boredom. The entire time I kept snickering to myself at totally inappropriate times because I was reciting lines from it to myself. Oh hey, you’re dying? Guess what I’m thinking? “I’m a woman. I like boys.” Also their hair was so voluptuous and perfect, and it made me jealous. Now for the non-superficial comments.

ground beef in crescent rolls

The violence was incredibly graphic. There was a lot of implied violence in the other 3 movies, but this one had up close beheadings and nasty stomach slicing.  The special effects were amazing, but I’m pretty sure they knew that because there were a lot of fast sweeping shots that almost made me feel sick. I also feel like they made it about an 45 minutes-an hour too long. Since there are going to be 2 other parts that I’m assuming are also going to be about 3 hours long, the whole Hobbit movie is going to be 9-10 hours long. Since the book isn’t that long, it seemed like they stretched the plot as thinly as possible so it could last longer. The movie seemed to drag on, but I couldn’t place why exactly. Parts of it felt like they were talking really slowly, but maybe it was just because I was getting sidetracked thinking about Friday Night Boredom and how earlier I successfully ripped a hole in my only pair of jeans. On the ride home, The Brit (being British) was talking about how he thought it was weird there were so many different accents in the movie. Apparently there were Hobbits with Welsh accents and some with Cockney accents. I told him, “Honestly, all I noticed was that they weren’t American.” Can people from other parts of the world not differentiate between the different American accents? Or am I just dumb…?

Although there was a lot I wasn’t too fond of, I really enjoyed it.  I really can’t critique the storyline much since I haven’t read the book, but I liked it. I don’t want to get shot-down like I was when I said I didn’t like Matthew from Downton Abbey. Actually, that was pretty funny… I do enjoy Matthew now, no worries.

ground beef and cream cheese in crescent rolls

I’m not entirely sure what to call these

The recipe can be found on Delena’s blog. I added cheese to the ground beef, in case you were wondering.

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My uneventful last day on the earth. Thank you, doomsday, for making me seem incredibly boring.

As of right now it’s 10:04pm on Tuesday, December 20, 2012. Although by the time I actually post this it’ll probably be like midnight because I always reread my posts between 1 and 57 times so I can fix the typos. Also because I make myself laugh with my writing. Sorry for tooting my own horn. I’ll counter it by pointing out that I have officially failed the whole December photo challenge. See? Look how humble I am.

chopped onions

So, what did you all do on this fine last day on the planet? Here’s a list of things I accomplished today:

Slept in until almost 10am.

Finished some data entry I was doing for my aunt.

Realized that I never, ever want to be an accountant.

Helped my brother stir the chocolate chip cookie batter he made. So. Exciting.

Played Hay Day on my mom’s iPad. I’m ashamed that I’m addicted to that game, and I’m even more ashamed that Sister Celiac keeps going on it and using up all my money. ALL I WANT TO DO IS SAVE UP TO BUY A STUPID BOAT.

Recreated the food I made with my friend the first time I ever went to her house. It was about 3 years ago and her family completely intimidated me (not sure why…). I was so nervous, but right when I got there my friend was like let’s go to the store and get some broccoli. So she and I made these broccoli cheese meat things wrapped up in crescent rolls. I’m pretty sure it was at that moment that I realized our love of weird food would make us inseparable. Wasn’t that a beautiful story? Anyway, I left out the broccoli part tonight because I was too lazy to see if we had any frozen broccoli in the basement.

mmm...butter...

Rehearsed for midnight mass. The orchestra I’m in at church is pretty lame. There are 3 violinist (two of which are Sister Celiac and I), and two cellists (one of whom is Future Chef). My mom used to play in it too, so it was pretty much the Italiana Family Orchestra. But for the mass, the choir director hired 3 more violinists, a violist, a cellist, a double bass..ist? trumpeter..ists, and there might have been drums. I don’t know. It was so cold in the church that I think my brain froze. It was absolutely beautiful with the whole choir singing and the orchestra playing, and I think I have frostbite.

Also, here are some conversations I’ve had with various siblings lately. I really have nothing to talk about here, but I figured I’d blog one last time before, you know, we all die and stuff.

Brute Sister: haha, JK.
Me: Do you even know what JK stands for?
Brute: Uh, yeah. Joe Kelly. (In case you were wondering, along with Yadier Molina, Joe Kelly is my favorite baseball player. I may or may not have a picture of him as the background for my laptop. And phone. And I wrote him a love letter that I’m going to send. And we wonder why I scare people…)
Me: …uhhh…?
Brute: Speaking of Joe Kelly, what would you do if he came up to you and was like “Hey, you’re gorgeous. Let’s get married.”

And then she walked away. It was the weirdest 15 seconds of my life.

quiche filling

Me: Goodnight, Corrupted Brother.
CB: Goodnight… Hey, Picco?
Me: Yes?
CB: Am I from Canada?
Me: No…
CB: Oooohhhh. That’s weird. Let’s shake hands and I’ll go to sleep.

Ok, I lied. That was the weirdest 15 seconds of my life.

spinache quiche

Hey, it’s only 11:34. I got this done quicker than I thought, and I even got sidetracked looking at pictures of Joe Kelly. But I’d better get to sleep because I’m waking up tomorrow at 5 so I can witness the end of the world at 5:11. I’ll take a picture for you guys of the meteor or Planet X or whatever that’s supposed to crash into earth. Honestly, I’m not worried about the world ending tomorrow. I’ve lived through 28 doomsday predictions so far, and that’s not even counting the zombie apocalypse that was supposed to happen last year. Besides, the world isn’t allowed to end yet. At least not until I watch season 3 of Downton Abbey. Then it has my permission to end. Because not only do I make myself laugh, but I also control the fate of the earth. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with me? Exactly.

crustless spinache mushroom quiche

Gluten-free Crustless Spinach+Bacon Quiche

Adapted from a recipe on AllRecipes

1/2 cup butter (One. Whole. Stick)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound bacon, thawed, cooked, and chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in bacon, spinach, mushrooms, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a pie dish and stir to thoroughly combine the egg mixture with the spinach mixture.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

5. Just kidding. Eat immediately and happily suffer through the 3rd degree burns you’ll get in your mouth, because this recipe is so dang delicious.

There’s never a dull moment when you have little brothers

Being the oldest of 6 (soon to be 7), I have a lot of odd things said to me on a daily basis, especially from my brothers. I obviously feel the need to tell you about them, so prepare to be amused/weirded out.

A few days ago I was just sitting on my bed when my engineer-brained freaky genius slightly evil scientist-like brother came in. This brother is known for pondering things and saying stuff that makes you go, “…wait, what?” He explained light refraction the other day. And he’s half my age. I’m not sure why my siblings feel like they can just barge into my room, but they do. So anyway, he looked at my wall and saw all the concert tickets I have taped to it. He asked, “Have you been to all of those concerts?” When I said yes, he exclaimed, “WOW! You’re the most interesting person I know! You sure know how to brighten up a room.” I just sat there dumbfounded while he turned to leave. On his way out he looked at my money jar labeled Ireland Fund and said, “You really think you’re gonna go to Ireland, huh? Because I don’t.” And walked out. I don’t even know where to begin with this…

Speaking of weird, let me give you the down-low of the conversation that went on in my head the other day:

Dum dee dum dum dum. I’m hungry. Ha, when am I not hungry? Exactly. I need to go scout out some food. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller…NO. That song will never get out of my head. Oooo, maybe I’ll have a peach. You’re insecure, don’t know what for…HEY, I JUST MET YOU, AND THIS IS CRAZY. Ugh. Why does my brain have it’s own soundtrack…? Gross, this peach has a rotten part on it. I need to cut it off. I think sodas need to come with a straw so when you’re trying to sip the last bit of it you don’t have to do an awkward backbend to get it. Yeah, that’s a great idea that I may or may not have stolen from Marie. I guess while I’m cutting off the gross part, I should just slice up the whole thing. Whoops, text from Kait. Must. Ignore. It. Well…ok, I have to respond. Oh, she’s just quoting Napoleon Dynamite. Never mind. Back to the peach. *slice slice slice* Wait, what the…HOLY ASTRINGENT PEACH-LIKE FRUIT, BATMAN. THAT’S A WORM.*

Yes, there was a disgusting worm in my peach. Worm. In something I was about to devour. Saying I was traumatized is an understatement. I still feel like I have bugs crawling on me.

*Side note, “Holy Astringent Plum-like Fruit, Batman” was actually a phrase uttered by Robin in the old Batman tv show. The writers on that show had serious issues.

Evil scientist brother explained to me the difference between cupcakes and muffins. “Cupcakes are just cake with frosting on top, while muffins are delicious pastries filled with fruit or chocolate.” Thanks for clearing that up.

Corrupted brother was looking at my dog Gemma and said to me, “When mommy’s new baby, Spiderbaby, is born, I think we need to shoot Gemma because she bites people.” I explained to him that he was insane and she’s never bitten anyone. After thinking about it for a second he said, “Maybe at Christmas after Santa gives us presents he’ll go STICK YOUR HANDS UP, GEMMA, shoot her, and leave.”

I could continue, but this post is getting long.

I love having brothers.

Ground Beef+Vegetable Casserole

Adapted from here

1lb ground beef
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup (I used cream of mushroom and the world didn’t explode, so don’t feel confined to only using cream of chicken.)
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can milk
1 (8 ounce) package of noodles. The original recipe called for egg noodles, but the only noodles we have in this house are spaghetti and penne. Obviously, I used penne.
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheese

Brown ground beef in a large pot. I really hate cooking with meat because I’m always scared it’s not going to be cooked all the way and I’m going to poison my family. Valid fear…right?

Drain fat off and season meat with onion powder, salt, and pepper. After browning, add cream of chicken soup; mix well. Add one soup can full of milk and mix well.

Simmer on low 25 minutes.

Mix in cooked and drained noodles and transfer this to a baking dish.

Top with shredded cheese.

Bake the casserole covered in 325° oven for 25 to 30 minutes, and uncover for the last 10 minutes.

Enjoy.

Oh, and I just threw in some random frozen vegetables. You pretty much have to sneak vegetables into foods around here. Even with me…

Getting to know you, putting it my way, but nicely, you are precisely my cup of tea.

I’ve done this blog for a year and a half and just realized that unless you are one of my readers who knows me personally (hi mom), you probably know absolutely nothing about me. So since I have no witty story to write about today, let’s go ahead with semi-pointless facts about the famous (?) Piccola Italiana, shall we?

Contrary to my about me picture, I don’t have a rectangular body, I don’t walk around with a spoon in one hand and an Italian flag in the other, and I stay away from high heels, especially bright red ones. I am pretty average, to tell you the truth. Brown hair, brown eyes, kinda short, and according to Wii Fit I’m at risk of being obese. Unfortunately, the Wii lies. I’m a perfectly normal weight, you wonky electronic stupid technology thing.

I still am and forever will be scared of the dark. If I stay the night at a friend’s house I’m always like “Hey, could we leave on a light…or 5?” Once when I was little I got so scared that in the middle of the night I put on my friend’s winter coat and snow boots, thinking they would protect me from whatever Norman Bates was hiding in her closet. Needless to say weird looks were exchanged that morning. Oh and when I say I was little I mean it was about 2 years ago.

I pass out when I get my blood drawn. Well actually, I don’t pass out pass out. I just feel sick and I go all pale…aannnddd last time it happened I couldn’t see or hear anything and fell to the ground. It’s a wonderful characteristic I possess. Ha.

You could put Toy Story or the Disney version of Robin Hood on repeat, stick me in front of the tv, and I’d be watching it all day.

I’ve played violin since I was 3 1/2, piano since I was 7, and I took organ lessons for about a year. I also really don’t like Mozart or boy bands. Just in case you were wondering…

I’m homeschooled. When I tell people that, I quickly follow it up with BUT I’M NOT A DORK. I’m one of those rare homeschoolers who actually has social skills. And, no, I don’t do school in my pajamas and I do have friends. Shocker, right?

Once I get out of highschool my plan is to major in Philosophy, then do a 1 year nursing program to get my BSN. Afterwards, I want to move to New York and work in the emergency room of a pediatric hospital. Because kids are adorable and adults aren’t.

And those are pretty much all the important facts about me. I’m much more interesting on the internet. Although, aren’t we all?

Spicy Tequila Lime Marinated Chicken

Adapted from tastykitchen

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 Limes). I made the mistake of using key limes and had to juice 21 itty bitty limes just to get 1/2 cup of juice. NEVER AGAIN…
1/2 cup Tequilla
2 ounce, fluid Triple Sec
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Serrano pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
8 chicken thighs

Combine all ingredients listed (except chicken, obviously?) into a food processor, or if you’re too lazy to lug out your food processor, use a blender. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixture is smooth.
Pour marinade into a shallow dish and place chicken in dish to marinate for a 3-4 hours. Flip the chicken once about halfway through the marinade time.

Place a grill pan over medium high heat and sear the chicken on each side. It should take about 4-5 minutes per side. Reserve excess marinade.

After both sides are golden brown, remove chicken from pan. Put the chicken onto a cutting board and slice chicken into strips, about 1/2 inch thick.

Return chicken to a sauce pan type thing. I’m not sure what they’re called…I used a wok…and add the excess marinade. Stir everything to combine, cover, and let simmer for another 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

I served the chicken in tortillas with lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade guacamole. I don’t use measurements in my guacamole – just avocados, lime juice, and sea salt. Just experiment with the ingredients until you want to eat the entire bowl right then and there.

I’m too hilarious for my own good.

The problem with having sarcasm as advanced as mine is that sometimes quite often people think I’m a total dumbo. Seriously. The other day I was with a few people, and I was reading the back of a bottle of bleach (I’m not even going to go into the backstory…). Half of the instructions (or whatever they are) on the back were written in English, and the other half was in Spanish. So me, being the oddball I am, decided to use that moment to be funny. I proclaimed, “Hey, I can’t read Mexican!” One of the people I was with looked at me like I was totally mental, gave me the evil eye, and said, “Um, It’s Spanish.” At that point I’m pretty sure I audibly rolled my eyes and said, “I know…” Moral of the story? Always surround yourself with people who appreciate how funny you are. The end. That was a great story. And that previous sentence was a prime example of sarcasm. Work on it, people.

In other news, I’m made some food. Delicious food. Do I ever make anything else? Actually, yes, I make a lot of gross stuff…but that’s besides the point. I made crepes. Delish.

My camera was being weird tonight, so the pictures are kind of wonky. And when I say my camera, I mean my mom’s nice camera that she lets me use. And when I say wonky, I mean wonky might be my new favorite word and I’m pretty sure I’ve already used it 478 times today alone. For example:
“Hey, look at that wonky giraffe!”
“Oh no, people don’t appreciate my witty humor. They’re so wonky.”
“Hey Picco, I hear you’ve recently started watching White Collar. What do you think of it?” “It’s totally wonky! And Matt Bomer is totally attractive. Fact.”

Not so fast, mister. Scroll back up and admire that picture. That stupid picture took me forever to take. Not only because the lighting was all wonky (see? you can use it everywhere.), but because the crepes cook in about 2.7 seconds so by the time I was about to get a good picture, I had to flip the crepe over or take it off the stove. You have no idea how nerve wracking it was. Food, done right, really is a work of art. You know what else is a work of art? Matt Bomer’s eyes. I love blue eyes. Seriously, if you have blue eyes, you’re automatically that much cooler in my book. And actually, looking back, every single best friend I had as a child had blue eyes. Coincidence? I think not. Can I say the words “blue eyes” anymore in one paragraph? Again, I think not. Wonky.

I have to trick myself into eating vegetables. I hate them. And I’m not trying to be a cute and dumb (when is dumb ever cute? Seriously.) girl and be like, “Heehee, I hate veggies! They’re grrrrooossssssss. And now I shall throw myself at every guy within a 100 foot radius of myself.” No. I take pride in the fact that I’m pretty intelligent, I’m not desperate for attention, and I seriously hate vegetables. But smother them with cheese and I’ll eat them. So I put extra cheese in the scrambled eggs and guess who ate all her veggies tonight? Me! Who’s impressed?

If you haven’t made crepes before, do it. I triple dog dare you. They’re actually much easier than you’d think. It’s the whole quickly-swirling-the-batter-in-the-pan-to-evenly-coat-and-if-it-isn’t-even-it’ll-cook-all-wonkishly part that gives me a small heart attack. But once you’re on your 3rd crepe or so, things get easier. Scouts honor.

Wonky wonky wonky. Ok, now it doesn’t even sound like a word anymore. I need a new adjective.

Crepes

Adapted from allrecipes.com

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and water. Slowly add the flour/salt mixture to the milk/water mixture. Add in the butter, and beat until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Quickly swirl the batter in the pan to coat it evenly. *insert slight panic attack here*

Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown and no longer wonky. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.