Big Hero 6** 2014

BIG HERO 6
The full line up: Wasabi, Go Go, Honey Lemon, Fred, Hiro, Baymax, Cass, Tadashi, Robert Callaghan and unnamed villain/image: http://www.belifenet.com

Since the empty nest syndrome has taken place in my immediate family, kid movies have all but ceased, except on occasion. However any animated Disney movie is worth going to see with or without a little one and wow, this one did not disappoint! I really enjoyed this movie, not because it had a great unusual story but because the characters were very likable and the way the character’s were introduced helped the story stay interesting. As well as the voice actor’s being very good at what they do.

The Premise…

Hiro, Ryan Potteris a 14-year-old gifted wiz kid who is going through puberty as he is moody, uninspired, and starting to get into trouble since already completing high school. At, his older brother Tadashi’s, Daniel Henney, bidding, he decides to apply to the same nerd university his brother goes too. And to be admitted in, he has to come up with an interesting innovative invention. So as Hiro attempts to create a prototype, he accidentally stumbles upon his brother’s cool invention named, Baymax.

So as we get to know Baymax and what he’s all about, Hiro, is busy concocting his own invention for his hopeful admittance to school. Which is where we meet the rest of the gang of misfit nerds who go on an adventure with Baymax leading the way. The cast of misfits: Baymax (Voiced by Scott Adsit), Go Go Tomago (Voiced by Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Voiced by Damon Wayans Jr.), Fred (Voiced by T.J. Miller), Honey Lemon (Voiced by Genesis Rodriguez). 

The Sum Up…

This story really had legs, mostly because the voice acting was exceptional. Also with really good animation and great character development of Baymax, you really got to connect with the main characters. This movie had everything from a good non annoying music score to funny humor, with very clever dialog and a good story, the movie ends with you wanting more. Especially more Baymax, so my score for this flick is A ~ THEATER WORTHY, see this in theaters it’s that good. Kids, 4 and up can see this one and will love it. With only a slight SAFETY ALERT, for one scary villian mask, and a little violence. This movie is rated PG and great family fun.

Nightcrawler** 2014

J. Gyllenhaal as L. Bloom/image: huffingtonpost.com
J. Gyllenhaal as L. Bloom/image: huffingtonpost.com

Jake Gyllenhaal has been type cast to play creepy withdrawn characters, and for the last several years he’s been predictable and uninspiring. Until this creepy withdrawn character, where his acting scale has gone up double fold and has shown off why they keep giving him leading roles. Finally, he got a role of a life time up to now since he’s fairly young and not only was he exceptional in the film but every cast member was, right down to the newscasters!!!

The Premise…

Louis Bloom, Gyllenhaal, is an awkward loner who is a thief and a con man, but recently decides to go somewhat legit and looks to reinvent himself and his career choices. He also appears to have a mental disorder, that’s never mentioned in the movie by name but resembles a mild case of autism. Louis also does a lot of internet surfing and has educated himself about this new-found profession he’s fixated on and decides to buy a camera and become a freelance news cameraman. So with his already questionable moral compass, the story takes off with a bang and never looks back.

Most movies with the writer and director as the same person gives a movie a definite edge and makes a movie better and translates to the audience clearly. And here is the perfect example of this. Gyllenhaal’s character was clearly defined, you knew right away he wasn’t the warmest fella in Los Angeles, as he get’s progressively colder and more detached as the story develops. Gyllenhaal, is flawless here, with his very slim frame, and big sunken in eyes, so he looks the part, and he’s very convincing as a man with a mental issue. There is no question about why he’s a loner and what that means to people who he comes into contact with.

With his skewed philosophy, he does make a lot of sense about certain things, but it doesn’t help you empathize with him, and Gyllenhaal’s acting never lets the audience get in Louis’ corner. As there is something else very clear, the TV news business is a very dirty business, and morally what people do to get breaking news is extremely crass, and nasty, from the producer right down to the cameramen.

The Sum Up…

What I really loved about this movie was how well it articulated the story. Here’s a guy with a problem, which escalates him into a monster, who are all over the place, with very little morality and don’t care who is affected by what they do. And it’s really like this, right now in our society. Lot’s of sociopathic, unscrupulous people, who are then driven by money, what a terrible mix. So, this movie gets an A+ ~ THEATER WORTHY, see this in theaters it’s that good, for writing, directing, and acting. With a SAFETY ALERT for language, subject matter, and content. With an honorable mention of Rene Russo who’s character goes from one person to another by movies end. This movie is rated R.

WPC: Finding The Toilet & Turning On Water

Minimalist ~ This week, show us your minimalist photos.

I went looking for the toilet in the bathroom and this is what I found, I was at my friend’s house and he has a amazing place, so I got my camera phone out and snap a pic of this. It made me laugh and was interesting. I thought it was a trash can, the flusher is the sliver button on the side, and I guess the toilet is something like a trash can…

 

 

Calvin's Modern toilet
The toilet found!!!

So the sink was a little easier to identify, but learning how to turn it on was a puzzle!!!!!

Finding running water was strange too.
Finding running water was strange.

Going On My PK Walk

Pk looking for a place to mark her territory as she traipsed through the Perennial Geraniums.
Pk looking for a place to mark her territory as she traipsed through the Perennial Geraniums.

So yesterday I went on my walk with Mormor’s dog PK, we went all around the gated community. When I walk, I try to find fun things to take pics of as I go because it makes the walks fun. So here’s what I saw yesterday in God’s wonderful creation…

First, a festive tree fruit, called Yangmei or Myrica rubra an Asian fruit which is indigenous to China and Japan and you can make juice with it. There are two types one is sweet and one is sour. I however didn’t taste this so I’m not sure which one is in the community I live in but it’s very festive and the color is vibrant and perfect for fall.

Yangmei Fruit or Myrica Rubra.
Yangmei Fruit or Myrica Rubra.
Fuchsia Tea Rose.
Fuchsia Tea Rose.

Then Tea Roses, are blooming now like dandelions and are just gorgeous to gaze at. Here is one bush I always go back to because it produces some of the prettiest colored roses. And this bush never disappoints.

 

Also, the Heirloom Rose is a beauty, it looked like it had just been washed and made camera ready. Fall is just as beautiful as summer but in a somber way.

Heirloom Rose.
Heirloom Rose.

Then I wait all year for these lovely Maple Trees to start turning yellow and red and even a bit purple in places, it’s an amazing site to see these trees turn into gold and red light. Just brilliant, and to know these trees are actually dying makes it kind of bittersweet to watch this transformation happen.

Maple Trees in their beautiful decline.
Maple Trees in their beautiful decline.
Maple Blaze Tree.
Maple Blaze Tree.

 

 

Lastly, the Maple Blaze Tree, it has a bit smaller leaf but is just as beautiful as the Maple Tree. These trees are all over Sacramento, and brighten up the city in fall. It’s such a pretty contrast against the pretty blue sky. Happy November.

Easy Sweet Potato Kale Soup

Sweet Potato Kale Soup Dish/my image
Sweet Potato Kale Soup Dish/my image

From: Babble
vegan, makes 6-8 cups

Ingredients

1 extra large sweet potato, baked, or boiled, skin removed (or two medium potatoes)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup sweet onion
2 cups kale, chopped
1/2 tsp chipotle spice (or another favorite spice to season)
salt/pepper to taste
1/4 – 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional) I don’t use this.
1-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional) I don’t use this.

Directions:

1. Bake and remove skin, if boiled peel skin and cut into chunks let cook for 30 minutes.
2. Add the potato and all ingredients (except the kale) to a high speed blender or food processor – puree until smooth.
3. Transfer to soup pot. Add kale and allow the hot soup to wilt the kale leaves. The kale will also help to thicken the soup. Simmer on low heat until ready to serve depending on how done you like your kale, at least 20 minutes, I go a good 35 minutes, and then let sit for 10 more. Note: You could also use an immersion blender to puree ingredients.

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

From: Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Raw kale is an acquired taste, so if you’re not a fan, try steaming the kale for a few minutes instead of massaging it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed very well (I used a combo of red and white quinoa)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds or ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or other pure chile powder, not a blend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste (optional)
  • 4 – 6 cups chopped kale leaves (about 4-5 ounces)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced or cubed (optional)
  • additional lemon juice and seasonings, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a saucepan. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa and the garlic and toast it until almost dry. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing in a small bowl or measuring cup: whisk together the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons broth, chia/flax seeds, chile powders, cumin, and salt. Allow to stand until the chia seeds start to thicken the dressing.
  3. Place the kale in a large serving bowl. Add half of the dressing and massage it into the kale using a wringing motion until the kale is very tender. Two minutes of massaging should do it, but the longer, the better. Add the quinoa, black beans, carrot, and bell pepper, along with the remaining dressing. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Just before serving, check the seasoning and add more lemon juice, chile powder, cumin, and salt, as needed. Stir in chopped avocado, if desired, or serve with slices of avocado on the side.

Preparation time: 25 minute(s) | Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6. Makes about 8 cups.

Nutrition (per serving, no avocado): 206 calories, 22 calories from fat, 2.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 509.8mg sodium, 535.9mg potassium, 37.3g carbohydrates, 8.1g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 10.3g protein.

Nutrition (per serving, with avocado): 254 calories, 59 calories from fat, 6.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 512.1mg sodium, 682mg potassium, 39.8g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 10.9g protein.

International Quinoa Salad

From: Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Ingredients
Quinoa:

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed very well
2 1/4 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

Vegetables:

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 medium-large tomatoes, finely chopped
kernels of 2 ears of cooked corn (about 1 cup), optional, this corn is a NO for me.I replace with sweet peas.
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced or for a milder version, green, yellow or red pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup parsley — minced
1/3 cup fresh mint — minced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced (reserve a few slices for garnish)

Dressing:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (NOT lemon)
3 tablespoons vegetable broth or bean cooking liquid
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper


 Instructions

To cook the quinoa in a pressure cooker, place it and the water, garlic, and salt in the cooker and lock the lid. Over high heat, bring to high pressure and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Fluff the quinoa and allow it to cool. (To cook it on the stove, use 2 1/2 cups of water. Rinse the quinoa and toast it in a saucepan over medium heat. Add water, garlic, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, reduce heat, and cook until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff and cool.)

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the quinoa and mix well. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Mix well and refrigerate until chilled. Taste before serving, and add more lime juice as necessary (you want it to be tangy). Garnish with avocado slices and serve. Makes about 8 servings.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Nutrition (per serving): 239 calories, 55 calories from fat, 6.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 366.2mg sodium, 627.7mg potassium, 38.8g carbohydrates, 7.7g fiber, 4g sugar, 9.1g protein.

Gluten ~ Free Meatless Chickpea Ragu Recipe

Another gluten free option for making a tomato dish, without meat.

Food Fanatic

 Ingredients

Meatless Chickpea Ragu/my image
Meatless Chickpea Ragu/my image

8 ounces Brown Rice penne or rotini pasta
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
10 ounces crimini mushrooms, stems removed and diced
15 ounces chickpeas, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons herbes de provence, optional
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup red wine, dry
20 ounces tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, optional
salt and freshly ground black pepper

*You can also add a half a bunch of cilantro, diced very fine for extra added flavor*


 

Directions

  1. Boil a large pot of water. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until just al dente, about 7 minutes, and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times, just until beans are roughly chopped (stop before beans are pureed into a smooth and creamy texture).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the crimini mushrooms and chopped chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic powder, herbes de provence, and (optional) crushed red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the red wine and cook until wine is reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree, stir until well combined, and season with additional salt and pepper.
  6. Allow sauce to simmer and cook about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and immediately stir in cooked pasta.
  7. Top with fresh chopped parsley (optional), and serve.

As, The Raven, and The Pearl…Are AMAZING!!!

By Heart ~ You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?


the pearl
Characters from the short story, The Pearl/image: glogstar.com

The first song that comes to my mind is As, By Stevie Wonder 1976, and the poem that comes to mind is The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe 1845, and the story is the short story by John Steinbeck, called The Pearl 1947. These three classics made me as child catch my breath and effected me deeply. So much so that when I think about them now I get goose bumps. The poem, just seemed so sad, and yet so emotional, and the short story seemed like I was watching a movie as I listened to the teacher in 10th grade English read it. With each, it really shaped my life about what art was, and how important the written word is to the mind and how it affects us as we read or listen to someone sing it. These three, make me happy to be an American because all three are by very gifted American men from very different times.