Monday, August 20

The Last Samurai

Happy Monday guys and dolls! I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend. I know I did! I got to spend some much needed quality time with Wilfred. But play time is over as today is the return of the fall semester. My days will no longer be filled with lounging around by the pool, rather lectures and books.

But I digress. Today's Monday movie is a good one. I'm a huge fan of war movies, and Edward Zwick is one of the kings of the great genre. He does a perfect job of blending war, history, action, adventure, drama and romance into a thrilling roller coaster ride that will have you on the edge of your seat. Some of his great films include Defiance, Blood Diamond, and Glory.

Today's Movie, The Last Samurai, follows the story of an American military advisor who decides to embrace the Samurai culture he had been hired to help destroy after being captured in battle. Captain Nathan Algren, a veteran of the American Civil War who suffers from PTSD. He lives out his days drinking himself into stupors and performing gun shows until he is hired for a handsome price by Americans who want lucrative contracts with the Emperor of Japan to train the peasant conscripts for the first standing imperial army in modern warfare using firearms. The cabinet's first order of business is to suppress a coup from the Samauri, who have maintained a traditional way of living, and refuse to conform to the new Western-style imperial Japanese army Mr. Omura have been building.

Although Algren does the best he can with the "soldiers" he has been given they are eventually commanded to strike against the Samurai army too soon, and during battle Algren is captured. The leader of the Samurai, Katsumoto sees something in the captain and decides to spare his life. He soon learns the way of the mysterious people, and finds himself learning his mission in life in a place he never thought expected. Check out the trailer for The Last Samurai below:

The Last Samurai is an amazingly heartfelt film about more than just war. It delves deep into the heart of honor, tradition, pride, and discipline. Tom Cruise does a brilliant job of bringing emotion and depth to the character of Captain Algren, and Ken Watanabe's performace as Katsumoto earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. It's a wonderful film and I'd definitely recommend it!

The Last Samurai is available on blu-ray and DVD

Courtesy to imp awards for the movie poster and YouTube for the movie trailer.

Wednesday, August 15

2010 Folonari Moscato

Photo courtesy of Why Go Italy?

A native of the Piedmont region of Italy in the town of d'Asti, the Moscato grape is one of, if not the most popular wine in Italy. If you're new to the wine drinking game, or if you just enjoy a lighter, fruitier wine, a Moscato would be a perfect start for you.

Most commonly known for it's straw-like color, fragrant aromas and light, almost sparkling taste, the Moscato wine tends to be characterized by it's delicate fruity tastes like orange, apple, pear, peach, and even apricot. Best served chilled, this is the perfect summertime staple for picnics consisting of summer salads, lemon breads and cakes, and apple desserts.

Photo courtesy of Fredrick Wildman
Folonari is a historic name in the world wine, dating all the way back to 1825 when Francesco Folonari founded the firm in the Valcamonican alps in the region of Venteto, Italy. Fun fact: later on in the 19th century he and his sons moved to Bresscia, Italy and established one of the first winemaking facilities, where they pioneered and mass produced the wine bottle. This made it possible for the general population to indulge their wine fantasies on an everyday basis while still maintaining the quality and integrity of the wine.

Folonari's Moscato wine is just one brilliant example of the amazing wine quality of wine they produce to this very day. With a subtle combination of sour red pear, apple, melon, honey, and white grape juice it does a great job of combining the sweetness of the fruit with a natural, although slightly overdone, acidic finish. This wine is delicious with a mid afternoon brunch, dessert, or even as a predecessor to the main entree in it's own right. Maybe one of the best parts about this wine is that it's easily accessible and very affordable. At around ten dollars a bottle this wine could certainly be yours tonight!

Got the wine, but all you need is the glass? Kaylee Mendoza of Sweet & Sassy Sips makes darling customized, hand-painted wine glasses. Not only does her etsy shop include wine glasses, but water bottles, coffee cups, and more. And in honor of shark week, use the coupon code SHARK, you will receive 15% off your order. So head on over and check out her adorable selection!
Thank you to Kaylee Mendoza of Sweet & Sassy Sips for allowing me to use her image.

Tuesday, August 14

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Have I ever told y'all how much I love doing my own twist to recipes? Well, if I haven't already now you know. I took a turn for the interesting when I turned a recipe for a simple fettuccine Alfredo into something completely extraordinary.

1½ cups chopped cooked chicken
8 ounces dried fettuccine
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces cream of mushroom
¼ cup drained oil-packed snipped dried tomatoes
½ teaspoon creole seasoning
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook chicken. Season with ⅛  teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne respectively.
cooking chicken
2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt butter. Add cream, cream of mushroom, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in 1½ cups chopped cooked chicken and ¼ cup drained oil-packed snipped dried tomatoes. Add Parmesan cheese. Drain pasta. Add pasta to hot sauce. Toss to combine. Transfer to warm serving dish. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
Alfredo sauce

A classic Italian dish with a little Matilda flair! Hopefully I did Mr. Di Lelio proud.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Monday, August 13

The Prestige

Movie poster courtesy of Imp Awards
After a very much extended break from blogging, I'm feeling refreshed and better than ever. I'm back with today's Monday movie, The Prestige. This is such a great movie from the brilliant mind of Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception) set in the dazzling and often confusing world of magic.

Two young magicians, vastly different but equally talented work together and are very close friends until a trick goes terribly awry and someone ends up dead because of it. Now mortal enemies, they each will stop at nothing to learn the other's secrets, outdo each other, and prove who is the best magician. Soon however, their rivalry turns into a full scale obsession, and much more is at stake than just their reputations as they do everything they can to surpass the other and live in infamy as the greatest magician to ever live. Nothing is ever as it seems, but believing makes it so, so be prepared to watch closely. You're almost certain to miss a thing or two.

Check out the trailer for The Prestige below:

Christopher Nolan is one of my absolute favorite directors, and this movie is just another one of his masterpieces. There's so much packed into one movie that it's almost guaranteed that you'll have to watch it twice just to make sure you've absorbed it all. This movie is dirty, gritty, with amazingly developed characters that have you pulled in from the very beginning. And with an all-star cast including Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie you'll never want the magic to end.

The Prestige is now available on blu-ray and DVD.

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