Lights! Camera! Vegan!

Halloween movies, ready to go!

I do have some posts planned for this month*, but until then here are horror movies I have posts for that are currently available to stream somewhere online. Obviously you can also check out the horror section in the categories menu to the right, but these are movies that you can watch right away if you go to the site mentioned and look it up.

The Addams Family (Netflix, Amazon)
Carrie (Netflix, Amazon)
Children of the Corn (Netflix, Hulu)
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (Netflix, Hulu)
Hellraiser (Netflix [all of them], Hulu [I and II])
Night of the Demons (Hulu)
The Stuff (Netflix)

*how time flies when you’ve been sucked into Hearthstone!

posted: October 13, 2014
under: informational post
1 Comment on Halloween movies, ready to go!

The Jerk

It happens twice a year. I hear a thump at the door, and the dogs start barking. I shuffle to the door, open it, and see it lying there. I reach down, pick it up, and start hopping up and down and exclaiming “The new phone book is here, the new phone book is here!”

I have been quoting The Jerk for at least 25 years, getting excited about the phone book, describing the only things I need, talking about my special purpose, singing about thermoses so much that my husband actually bought me a vinyl striped thermos off of ebay…I better stop now before this entire post is just quotes and a recipe link.

Navin R. Johnson is a bum who wants to tell us his life story, starting with him being abandoned on the doorstep of a family in Mississippi. Navin isn’t a ‘jerk’ because he’s mean, but because he’s really naive. He’s so naive that he has to be told he’s adopted by his mom, even though he’s the only white person in the family. Later that night, he hears a song on the radio that compels him to leave home and strike out on his own. After acquiring a dog named Shithead, he ends up with a job at a gas station, where many wacky hijinks ensue, causing him to join a carnival where he meets the girl of his dreams, and loses her…then gets her again…then loses her…it’s a little tiring but at least there’s a sweet ukelele duet involved. Despite the fact that he’s incredibly dumb, Navin manages to strike it rich and everything works out okay in the end!

The Jerk is often put on ‘funniest movies evar’ lists, for a good reason. I think it holds up better than a lot of movies from this era and is just as funny today as it was when it came out.

Starring Steve Martin (who?), and Bernadette Peters (Annie, Broadway, Smash).

I’ll confess, I was going to do this movie two years ago. I found two oven-safe ‘cups’ (stoneware bowls with handles) and made two layer pizzas in them, but the top layer came out un-cooked and gross and I couldn’t put up a Cup O’ Pizza recipe that didn’t work. When I say the Maximum Salad video for the vegan pizza cake, I was like ‘ohhhhhh, of course you would pre-bake the inside crust’. So thanks, Wes and Jessica!

If you don’t have oven-safe cups or don’t want to put the effort in, try this easy recipe: buy a frozen vegan pizza, heat it up, cut it, and place the slices in a cup. DONEZO.

Don’t forget your twinkies, and a Tab to wash them down.

posted: September 30, 2014
under: 70s, comedy
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History of the World, Part I

What, is that painting not accurate?

Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.” Which explains why he made a comedy about people suffering throughout history, some much more than others. The title is a joke, there was no planned sequel despite the ‘coming attractions’ skit at the end. The movie is comprised of five segments set throughout history, told with your typical Mel Brooks humor and offensiveness. It takes balls for anyone, even a Jewish man, to do a cheerful musical segment about the Spanish Inquisition complete with synchronized swimming nuns who end up being the candles on a large menorah…it’s pretty ridiculous. Other than that there is a segment on cavemen, a short segment of Moses bringing the 15 10 Commandments down from the mountain, the Roman Empire, and the French Revolution.

My personal favorite is the segment on the Roman Empire, Empress Nympho has long been my favorite character of the movie, even when I was too young to know what a nympho was. My brother and I also used to often try to act out the ‘count the money’ flipping the bird scene, the problem was neither of us could flip the other off before they turned around so it just resulted in a lot of laughing-until-you-cry rolling around on the floor and asking what fool put a carpet on the wall.

Mel Brooks movies are definitely a relic of a time in cinema that has passed, so if you are easily offended I don’t recommend you watch this or Blazing Saddles (but his other stuff might be okay).

Narrated by Orson Welles and starring Mel Brooks in five roles, and frequent collaborators Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, and Cloris Leachman.

For the menu, I wanted to go with something from each time period, except the cavemen because i’m not doing paleo anything (feel free to harvest wild berries, I guess). After spending 30 minutes finding out that ancient Roman recipes all include honey, fish sauce, both, and ingredients that we do not use in the modern world, I gave up on being that specific.

Entree: During my headache-inducing search, I read that minestrone has roots in ancient Rome, which is good enough for me! This Farro Minestrone works well because Farro is an ancient grain.
Side: I thought this Tortilla Española would go good with the soup, you can call it Torquemada Española.
Dessert: Make this Peach Napoleon while talking like Maurice Chevalier. Au haw haw!
Drink: Miriam, wine!

posted: September 25, 2014
under: 80s, comedy, period piece
1 Comment on History of the World, Part I

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

It’s really hard to forget someone when you’re standing in a group that’s all eyeballing each other.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the movie where Jason Segel is completely naked. The End.

Just kidding! Not about the nudity, about the…whatever.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is about a guy, Peter, whose famous girlfriend ,Sarah, dumps him, and when he takes a vacation to Hawaii…she’s staying at the same hotel. With Russell Brand. It’s basically hell on earth and Peter wants to flee badly, but the hotel’s hostess convinces him to stay and enjoy himself, and even hooks him up with a fancy suite. At first, Peter pines for Sarah but eventually he realizes that she wasn’t that great of a girlfriend and starts hanging out with the cute hostess and having fun. In the meantime, Sarah is realizing that her rocker boyfriend is a huge knob and that Peter was a great boyfriend.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a standard Judd Apatow raunchy comedy, with a lot of his standard players. But there is one thing this movie has that none of his other works have. PUPPETS.

The Dracula rock opera is a real thing that Jason Segel had written at some point, and the fact that it hasn’t become a real thing is greatly disappointing. The puppets in the movie were made by Jim Henson’s Creature Studio, hence their authentic Muppet look.

Starring Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Freaks and Geeks), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars [sad fact, Kristen Bell found out the show was cancelled while filming this], House of Cards), Russell Brand (stand up, being married to Katy Perry for a minute), Mila Kunis (That 70’s Show, Black Swan), Bill Hader (SNL, Adventureland), and smaller parts played by Jonah Hill, Jack McBrayer, Jason Bateman, William Baldwin, and Paul Rudd with the best line of the movie: “When life gives you lemons, just say ‘fuck the lemons’ and bail.” And that’s why there are no lemons in the menu!

One obvious option is: sweatpants, mixing bowl, and cereal. Channel your inner Peter, if you’re like me you won’t have to dig very deep.

Entree: B (your) L (all over someone’s) T(s). Sorry, everyone.
Side: A traditional Hawaiian snack, veganized Lau Lau.
Dessert: If you like Pina Coladas…and eating cake.
Mocktail: I think straight up cranberry juice is gross, but let’s still celebrate Aldous’ sobriety with a Cranberry Kiss.

posted: September 19, 2014
under: 2000s, comedy
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Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks is probably tied with My So-Called Life for ‘most beloved one season show of the 90’s’. There isn’t really one specific reason why it’s so great, it’s got everything going for it: the acting is good, the writing is good, the characters are relatable, the situations are realistic, and it takes place in 1980 so there’s lots of clothing choices to laugh at. And unlike a lot of movies or tv shows that are modern period pieces, they don’t go out of their way to smack you over the head with pop culture references. And even though it’s mostly regarded as a comedy, the overall feel of the show is very muted. The crew actually lit the scenes with green tinted lights to give them a muted, ‘midwestern’ look and they avoided shooting outside as much as possible so the sunny California weather didn’t contrast with it too much.

Freaks and Geeks is about the lives of two groups of students at a high school in a small town in Michigan. Lindsay is a girl who has gone from geek to wanna-be freak, and her brother Sam is a total geek. The show mostly centers around them, but it is an ensemble cast so we get plenty of back story on the other kids. Lindsay has the hots for the cute freak, and even though she clearly struggles with being ‘bad’ she goes along with a lot of stuff to impress him. Which is weird because he has a girlfriend. Sam is in love with a cheerleader and also tries to impress her, but that just ends in him being embarrassed repeatedly.

One episode that I really relate to is the episode where Sam freaks out because his gym class is told that after class showers are now mandatory. he’s a really short, skinny kid so of course he’s self-conscious about getting naked in front of the other guys. I remember when we did the tour of my junior high and I saw the showers, I thought of every embarrassing high school shower scene i’d ever seen a movie and started freaking out. Luckily, I quickly found out that no one showered after gym and even if we wanted to, the teacher gave us less than ten minutes to change. And no one ever ripped off my clothes and pushed me out into the hall!

My favorite character is Nick, because look at this guy. Jason Segel plays obsessive characters a lot and he does it really well, and he’s nice at the same time so you kind of want to root for him to get the girl even though he’s kind of creepy about it.

Freaks and Geeks never stood a chance, it started out on Saturday nights and was often preempted for other programming. They actually shot the finale halfway through the season because they didn’t even expect to get past the original 13 episodes, but NBC ordered another five before cancelling it. They received lots of critical acclaim and even won an Emmy, and the show has a huge following. The only thing I find disappointing is that there wasn’t a ten year reunion movie! What the hell! Judd Apatow is rich, everyone on the show got really famous, they totally could’ve gotten the money to make it!

In case you don’t recognize the people above, starring Linda Cardellini (ER, Scooby Doo, Mad Men), John Francis Daley (Bones, Waiting), James Franco (Spiderman, Milk, General Hospital), Busy Philipps (Dawson’s Creek, ER, Cougar Town), Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Slackers), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Zack and Miri, The League), Samm Levine (Inglorious Basterds, Not Another Teen Movie), Martin Starr (Adventureland, Party Down, Veronica Mars movie), plus cameos from everyone to Joel Hodgson (MST3k) to Ben Stiller.

Menu time! Lindsay’s mom is such a good cook that it’s hard to choose one entree, so take your pick. No peanuts are present anywhere!

Entree: Skip the three way date and go straight for the ribs, comfort a hysterical teenage girl with seitan (not veal, ew) piccata, invite your mom over for some Monster Mash shepherd’s pie and maybe to help her hand out candy in dorky costumes, or enjoy Bill’s mom’s pot roast.
Side dish: relive the 80’s by boiling the shit out of any vegetable you want!
Dessert: make some vegan donuts for your French class, and then let people eat them off the floor. Or just make the donuts.

posted: September 16, 2014
under: 90s, comedy, kid friendly, period piece, teen, tv shows
6 Comments on Freaks and Geeks

Inglorious Basterds

Say it with me: Naatzees.

Inglorious Basterds is a cross between a war movie and a spaghetti western, and like all Tarantino movies, it’s filled with action and violence, and it’s pretty long. There are two main story lines that meet: A German Colonel dubbed ‘The Jew Hunter’ doing his job and the woman who got away from him, and her cinema being used to show a Nazi film; and the Basterds, a group of American soldiers who are known for ambushing and killing Nazis. It’s historically accurate up to a certain point, and then it is delightfully not. It’s really hard to talk about this movie without giving away major plot points and twists, so bear with me.

Hans Landa, the hunter, arrives on the screen and seems downright pleasant. He charms the people he’s interviewing, makes them feel at ease, and then drops the bomb on them that he knows that they’re hiding something and they crumble. Which is why he is one of the most terrifying villains you will ever see on the screen, that and the fact that he REALLY enjoys his job. I mean, just look at him.

We flash forward three years, to the Basterds being formed by Aldo Raine, and then to them earning their reputation in Germany. We also meet the woman who escaped from the hunter in the previous chapter, quietly living in Paris and running a cinema under a new name. Unfortunately, she catches the eye of a famous German soldier who does not take her polite rebuffs as a hint, and ends up convincing the Minister of Propaganda to host the premiere for his film in her cinema. Emmanuelle literally cannot refuse, and is subjected to an interview with the hunter, who thankfully does not recognize her.

Both Emmanuelle and the Basterds see the premiere as an opportunity to do some damage to the Nazi party, but will they succeed? You have to watch to find out!

I know some people dislike Tarantino movies for a variety of reasons, but no one can argue that his casting is always impeccable. Brad Pitt is a wonderful actor, I never see Brad Pitt in his characters and he provides the comic relief needed to make this movie less intense. Christoph Waltz is amazingly articulate and rightly won several ‘best actor’ awards for his portrayal of Hans Landa.

Starring Brad Pitt (who?), Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Water For Elephants) Eli Roth (Death Proof, director of Hosteland Cabin Fever), Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, X-Men: First Class), Diane Kruger (The Bridge, Troy), and many other talented bilingual actors.

Since almost the entire movie takes place in France, our menu is French.  Also I think it would be just a tad insensitive to feature German food.  Just a tad.

Appetizer:  France is known for its variety of cheeses, and there are a ton of of fancy nut based cheeses on the internet, so here’s a Buzzfeed list of a good selection.
Entree:  Pot-au-feu is a classic French dish and very simple and easily open to vegan interpretation.
Dessert:  Strudel, of course.  Give Hans the finger and eat it without cream, but you may wash it down with a big glass of (non-dairy, obviously) milk.

P.S. I am sorry for the gap in posts, I made the mistake of watching a lot of movies that I hadn’t seen in a long time a month ago, and now I don’t know what half of my notes mean so there was a bit of a struggle in there. Also video games.

posted: September 12, 2014
under: 2000s, action, comedy, period piece
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Citizen Ruth

I actually wanted to do Citizen Ruth two years ago, but I watched it and really couldn’t find much inspiration for a menu. I mean, it’s a satirical movie about a drug addict caught in the middle of a war between anti-choice and pro-choice groups. But today, while I was eating a taco I thought of the movie and it all became clear.

Citizen Ruth is one of my favorite ‘no one else has heard of it’ movies. It has an amazing cast, it’s funny but not slapstick-y, and it addresses a real issue. Ruth is a homeless woman who bounces from place to place, trading sex in hopes for a place to crash, and huffing paint is her drug of choice. She lands in jail again and is pregnant, after having multiple children that she does not have custody of, so she’s charged with endangering her fetus. She ends up sharing a cell with some anti-choice protesters, who decide that they need to help her get out of her serious charge and get her life back into shape.

Unfortunately for them, Ruth is a giant child and a serious addict, she’s nice and saying she wants to change one minute, but any chance she gets to sniff or smoke or drink, she takes it. When people challenge her, she immediately calls them names and resorts to violence. She is definitely not a hero in this story, there really isn’t one. There’s also no side that comes out looking good, this movie is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of abortion. The overall lesson of the movie is that when opposing sides of an issue start to rally around a person as their cause, they often lose sight of the person totally. The two sides are so caught up in their fight that in the end, they don’t even notice Ruth. And she notices them not noticing, and takes advantage of it.

Starring Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, Enlightened), Swoosie Kurtz (Pushing Daises, Mike & Molly), Kurtwood Smith (That 70’s Show, Robocop), Mary Kay Place (Big Love, My So-Called Life), Kelly Preston (Jerry McGuire, married to scientology), M.C. Gainey (Lost, Django Unchained, Justified) with cameos from Tippi Hedren (The Birds), Burt Reynolds (hairy chested 70’s sex symbol), David Graf (Tackleberry from Police Academy), and Diane Ladd, Dern’s real life mother, plays her mother.

So like I said, there is little food inspiration in the movie besides some steaks on a grill, but today I did the Taco Or Beer Challenge and while I was eating I thought of the movie and it was like a lightbulb. Citizen Ruth is currently available on Netflix streaming, so challenge or not I hope you check it out. Here is a recipe for steak tacos, and at one point in the movie Diane mentions that she and Rachel had brought a lot of the clothing that they give to Ruth back from Guatemala, and wikipedia informs me that Guatemalan cuisine “prominently feature[s] corn, chilis and beans as key ingredients” so tacos work perfectly anyway!

posted: September 7, 2014
under: 90s, comedy, drama
2 Comments on Citizen Ruth

Don’t Trust the B (seasons 1 & 2)

Don’t Trust the B is in my top five ‘how dare they fucking cancel this show’ of the past few years.  I get angry just thinking about it.  I want to shake everyone and say ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU WATCH THIS’.

June moves to NYC after getting her MBA, she has a beautiful apartment and a brand new job as a somethingsomethingfancybusinessperson.  But on her first day, she arrives to find that the company is being shut down.  Since her apartment is owned by the company, she has to find a new place ASAP – AKA apartment 23.  She moves in and quickly discovers that her new roomie, Chloe, is a lying, stealing bitch who is trying to fleece a sweet midwestern girl out of her money and then drive her out of the apartment.  But June stands up to Chloe, and they become BEST FRIENDS.  Kind of.  It’s another odd couple situation, Chloe likes to drink and con her way through life, and June is the nice girl who wants to earn her way through life.  What kind of game is that?

The best part of the show is that Chloe’s best friend is James Van Der Beek, playing a ridiculous version of himself.  James stars in Japanese drink commercials, has his own line of jeans, and a main part of the storyline for the first half of the show is him getting on Dancing with the Stars.  I never watched Dawson’s Creek, but I am a fan of his many other works.  And with the Beeks comes a bunch of Dawson jokes and other former teen idols.  There’s also Eli, the pervert neighbor and city health inspector; Luther, James’ gay assistant; and Robin, Chloe’s stalker ex-roommate. Everyone is a caricature of a stereotype, but here it works and you will love them all. Except Mark, he’s pretty boring.

Sadly, Don’t Trust the B was canceled after two short seasons, I think part of it was the name. The fact that ABC took half of the episodes from season one and stuck them in season two, and then jumbled them all around, didn’t help things. But it’s on Netflix, and the nice thing about short shows is that you can plow through them in a single weekend.

Starring Kristen Ritter (Veronica Mars, Breaking Bad, best bangs ever), Dreama Walker (Gossip Girl, The Good Wife), the Beek, Ray Ford (Grey’s Anatomy), and Liza Lapira who has managed to get work every season for the past five years on a show that was quickly canceled: Dollhouse, Traffic Light, this show, and Super Fun Night. Plus there are guest spots from people like Thomas Lennon, Missi Pyle, Thomas Lennon, Daviz Krumholtz, Richard Dean Anderson, Mark Paul Gosselaar, and Charo. That’s right. Motherfucking CHARO and she brought her guitar. Rosalind Chao, Keiko from Star Trek TNG/DS9, has a small part as a pastor.

Appetizer: “Who wants a welcome soup shot in their tummy?” “Shut your face, mom!”
Entree: June really likes her Korean Baptist Church, and you will really like these Korean BBQ Seitan Tacos.
Dessert: Dawson is the MOOOOOOOOON pies.
Snack: Since it’s going to take you more than one meal to watch, salute June’s barista career with Coffee Roasted Almond + Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Bark.
Cocktail: Further proof that any recipe you can imagine is already on the internet, a sexy Lemon Verbena & Raspberry Jamtini.

posted: September 4, 2014
under: 2010s, comedy, tv shows
2 Comments on Don’t Trust the B (seasons 1 & 2)

Johnny Mnemonic

Today is my husband’s birthday, and I promised he could post this. Whenever I mention looking for movie ideas, he tells me to do Johnny Mnemonic as a joke and finally I said, “Why don’t YOU do it?!” And that is why you should never blurt things out in the heat of the moment.

William Gibson is a fantastic author. He’s practically the creator of the cyberpunk genre. Neuromancer is one of my favorite books of all time, and William Gibson wrote it, and he wrote the screenplay for Johnny Mnemonic. In many ways, Johnny Mnemonic does not do William Gibson justice. However, I can’t help but appreciate the many ways that it tried.


Johnny Pizza

“Double cheese, anchovies?”

The world is run by giant megacorporations, constantly fighting each other for world domination. Johnny is a mnemonic courier, a human with a hard drive in their brain who is hired to smuggle sensitive data.  Johnny is played by Keanu Reeves, four years before he found serious commercial success in the cyberpunk genre for his role in The Matrix. Johnny’s in deep crap. He’s forgotten all of his memories, and he wants out of the courier game, but he can’t afford the surgery to get the hard drive taken out. He takes one more big-risk job to try to get out for good. There’s just one problem: his hard drive is overloaded by the data and will kill him if he can’t get it out soon. And then the Yakuza massacre his clients and destroy the key to getting the data out of Johnny’s brain. From there, he’s off to Newark to find out what’s inside his head, and how he can get it out.


Snatch back your brain, zombie, and hold it!

“Snatch back your brain, zombie, and hold it!”

This movie’s got Keanu Reeves. It’s got Ice-T, Henry Rollins, and Dolph Lundgren. It’s got Yakuza, low-tech hackers, cyborg street preachers, and cyberspace. None of those things can save this movie. The dialog is bad, and it’s delivered poorly. Some characters are changed from the original short story and they’re not improvements. Jane, in Dina Meyer’s first role, is particularly bad in performance and in poor story adaptation. But it gets so much right, like the set design, and the pace. It’s constantly moving, and it nails the cyberpunk atmosphere.


"I need to go online"

“I need to go online!”

So what do you eat when you watch Johnny Mnemonic? There are a number of bad options, but at one point Johnny shouts, “I want the club sandwich, I want the cold Mexican beer, I want a $10,000-a-night hooker!” And that made my job dead simple. So here’s a recipe for a vegan club sandwich, featuring chicken-style seitan and tempeh bacon. I’m not a beer person, but according to Barnivore, Grupo Modelo beers are vegan, so grab a Corona and you’re good!

posted: September 3, 2014
under: 90s, sci-fi, so bad it's good
7 Comments on Johnny Mnemonic

Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle

That wallpaper is SCARY, dudes.

Harold and Kumar is definitely one of those movies where I said, “That movie sounds stupid.  I’m never watching that.”  And it is pretty stupid – stupidly FUNNY.  It’s a stoner comedy that purposely adds elements to mess with anyone who is watching the movie stoned.   Like them riding a cheetah through the forest on the most blatant green screen ever and a two minute fantasy montage about Kumar marrying a giant bag of weed.

Harold and Kumar are odd couple roomies who love pot and fast food.  Harold is an uptight investment banker who lets his co-workers walk all over him and can’t even say hi to the cute girl in the elevator, while Kumar is goofing his way through med school interviews so his dad will keep paying for his apartment and, presumably, his weed.  One night, they get high and decide to go to White Castle.  MOVIE OVER.  j/k, j/k, obviously there are obstacles in their way, adventures, more weed, extreme bros, Freakshow, Neil Patrick Harris…


Yeah, that’s right.  If anything, you should watch the movie to see NPH play a fictionalized, womanizing, ball-tripping version of himself.  This was the beginning of people realizing that NPH is a badass.  Also be prepared to sing along to Wilson Phillips without shame because Hold On is a straight JAM.

Starring John Cho (American Pie, Star Trek reboot), Kal Penn (House, HIMYM), and cameos from a ton of people:  Christopher Meloni, David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Ryan Reynolds, Fred Willard, Anthony Anderson, Mailn Akerman, and Jamie Kennedy.

Entree:  Sliders, but probably not 30 of them.  You can make your own (and make buns if needed), but I feel this is a time when it’s appropriate to pop open a box of the Gardein sliders.

Side:  White Castle serves crinkle cut fries, which give me flashbacks to grade school and make me want to dry heave, but to each their own.  If you want crinkle fries, get a bag!  If you want to make weed jokes, herbed sweet potato fries fit the bill.

Dessert/drink: A curry slushie sounds awful (and racist), but a matcha slushie sounds delightful.  And it’s green, too!

posted: September 2, 2014
under: 2000s, comedy
7 Comments on Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle

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