Football Foods!

Football is here!!

This means it’s not only time to watch our favorite teams kick off, but also time for those special foods that we make specifically for football games.  Today, I’ve decided to share three of our household’s must-haves!

But first, I thought I’d share what football season means to me—and that’s friends and family.  Enjoy!

Me and my girls…
Red Raiders who keep Austin, Texas in check…
Me and my guy… we’re not afraid to wear matching shirts.
Representing the Red Raiders in Dallas…

*****

Now, let’s talk food!

The first two recipes were passed on to me from my mother, and I have enjoyed them both since I was a little girl.  The last one comes courtesy of a former co-worker (thanks, Amy!), and it is now a household favorite.

*****

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

Peel hard-boiled eggs and cut in half (see my easy oven-baked hard-boiled egg trick)
Carefully remove egg yolk and place in a mixing bowl
Add 2 tablespoons of mayo
Add 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
Mix together with a fork
Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
Mix again until smooth
Add salt and pepper to taste
Scoop the yolk mixture back into the egg halves
Sprinkle with paprika

**These measurements work for six hard-boiled eggs…

*****

Mom’s Holiday Queso

Mom’s Holiday Queso

¾ cup of chopped onion
2 tablespoons of butter
1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilis
1 package of 8 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup of milk

In a sauce pan, sauté onion in butter until soft.  Add tomatoes and chilies and cook over medium heat.  Gradually blend in the cubes of cream cheese, stirring until it is completely melted.  Slowly add milk.  Mix well, heat through, and serve.

**Brown hamburger meat with the onions if you want to add a little flare to the queso…

*****

Sausage Balls

Sausage Balls

1 package of hot, ground sausage (Jimmy Dean is great!)
1 cup of Heart Healthy Bisquick (or regular Bisquick, it really doesn’t matter; I just try to add little bits of “health” where I can)
1 cup of grated, sharp cheese

Mix all ingredients together.  Pinch off 1-2 inch sections of the meat mixture and roll into balls.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for thirty minutes at 350.

**Once I have all of the mixture rolled into balls, I like to pat each of them in the extra Bisquick in the bowl before I throw it out.  This gives the outside a nice crispy texture after baking.

*****

Do you make anything special during football season?  If so, please share!  I’d love to hear from you.

And since it’s football season, remember to check out my YA Mystery novel, Football Sweetheart… available on Kindle and Nook!

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Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – “Ion Television – Positively Entertaining”

I usually dedicate each Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday post to a particular television show.  But not today.  Today, I want to feature an entire channel.  A channel that has dubbed itself, “positively entertaining.”   And they’re right.

IonBorn as PAX TV in 1998, Ion Television has since rebranded and changed its name twice.  But the programming has remained the same—reruns and mini-marathons of some of our favorite older series.

I started frequenting Ion Television about a year ago.  When I found a “new” channel airing reruns of one of my favorite shows, Criminal Minds, I kept an eye on the network’s TV schedule.  Between CBS, A&E, and Ion, I can pretty much watch the BAU Team solve cases any night of the week.

But Criminal Minds isn’t the only show the channel airs.  Every day/night of the week, Ion plays a different series from my past… sometimes two episodes, sometimes four, and sometimes as many as fifteen.  A few of those programs include:

Flashpoint

Law & Order: Criminal Intent 

Without a Trace

House

Up until recently, I would flip the TV to Ion on Saturday afternoons and leave it there until around three in the morning.  Why?  A Psych all day marathon.  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen Shawn and Gus solve a crime, I can watch those episodes over and over again.  And what made it even better was the fact Ion aired the series in order, one episode sequentially followed by the next, without jumping around like other channels do.

Psych’s Saturday marathons are over now, and I can’t help but hope they return to Ion soon.  But in the meantime, the day now belongs to Monk.  I loved the obsessive-compulsive detective when USA aired new episodes years ago; but surprisingly, I don’t find myself tuning in as much on Saturdays to watch him as I did Shawn and Gus.

Now I’m glued to Ion on Fridays.  Why?  Cold Case.

I watched this series on CBS (its original home) from pretty much the beginning… 2003-2010.  Cold Case wasn’t the average police procedural.  Instead of solving a crime that recently occurred, the team of detectives took on cold cases from before their time, sometimes decades earlier, and solved the cases, bringing closure to any living friends and family members today.  The show featured a series of flashbacks, showing viewers the days leading up to the victim’s death, and oftentimes the motives.

But perhaps my favorite part of Cold Case, and the reason I tune in to Ion every Friday from noon until 2AM, is the music.  The series featured tunes specific to the decade and year of the cold case the detectives were working, making the music a big part of the series.  And for me, it still is today, particularly the episodes solving murders from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

So, if anyone is lying around the house with nothing to do or watch, search the TV guide for Ion.  It is “positively entertaining,” any night of the week.

Do you watch Ion?  What other channels do you love that air reruns of older TV series?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Ten Memorable TV Theme Songs – Part Two

I started this post a few weeks ago, and no sooner had I hit publish, more TV Theme Songs immediately came to mind.  So, I’ve decided to continue the post…

Writing and creativity are two very important aspects of a successful television show.  As is the cast.  But storylines and characters are not the only facets that excite someone like me.

A TV series’ theme song is a lot like hype music.  Simply hearing the opening tunes of certain television shows sends shivers down my spine, in a good way, whether I am remembering an older series that I enjoyed as a child, or getting ready to watch programs I follow nowadays.  And sometimes, theme songs are just catchy.

So today, I’m sharing ten theme songs that bring back fond memories or intensify my excitement to watch a new episode.  Heck, some of these are listed because I just can’t help myself from singing along or dancing every time I hear them.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I don’t know about anyone else, but Buffy’s opening always made me wish I had her mad slayer skills… or at least jump around.

Charmed

Not only did “How Soon is Now?” play during the opening credits of my favorite TV show about three (and eventually four) sisters/witches, but also during a few ‘90s movies I have seen numerous times—The Craft and The Crow.  I love when I hear the tune on the radio… it takes me back.

Psych

Every once in a while, Psych likes to change the opening credits to honor whichever movie, TV show, or pop culture reference they are paying homage to in the current week’s episode.  I always like to watch the opening theme song just to see how the creative writers have tweaked the song.  The changes may be subtle, but they are always appreciated (just a little fun-Psych-”I Know You Know”-fact).

Magnum P.I.

The music, the show, and the man himself are all just awesome.  Plain and simple.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

I didn’t know Will Smith prior to The Fresh Prince, but because of this TV show and the theme song, I quickly learned.  He hasn’t stopped making music, but this song still remains as one of my favorites of his.

X-Files

I don’t want to call the X-Files instrumental creepy, but let’s be honest… it kind of is.  Is it just me, or does it make anyone else think aliens are coming?

Dukes of Hazard

Good Ol’, Waylon… enough said.  Be honest, has anyone ever slid into their car via the window?  I have.  LOL.

Facts of Life

“You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.”  Truer words have never been spoken…

Happy Days

Who can listen to the Happy Days theme song and not want to Jitterbug?  Or wear a Poodle Skirt and/or leather jacket?  C’mon… we all do.  Right?

Charlie’s Angels

Personally, I was glad to see the Charlie’s Angels movie use the TV series opening theme.  It just wouldn’t have been the same otherwise.

Your turn.  What are some of your favorite TV theme songs?  I’d love to hear from you!

Original Vs. Remake – A Kiss Before Dying (1991)

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the noir film, A Kiss Before Dying.

First, let’s take a look at Catie’s summary that applies to both films:

A money-obsessed college student murders his pregnant girlfriend out of fear her rich father will disinherit her.  Then, he goes on to woo her sister, still in hopes of infiltrating the same wealthy family.

I didn’t realize that the 1991 film starring Matt Dillon and Sean Young was a remake until Catie suggested we add A Kiss Before Dying to our Original Vs. Remake series.  So, after a little teamwork, with the two of us researching and seeing which of the two movies we could actually get our hands on, Catie agreed to cover the original and I ordered up my usual—the reboot.

I remembered seeing the remake years ago, probably close to when it first aired on the cable movie channels.  But I hadn’t seen it since and couldn’t remember the details.  I knew the gist—poor boy wants desperately to inch his way into the wealthy family he has kept his eye on his entire life.  Literally.  From watching the copper trains pass behind his house as a small boy, to following the family in the news over the years.  So, I set my DVR and watched it again, ready to take notes.

A Kiss Before Dying is classified as a noir film.  According to Webster, a noir film is a type of crime film featuring cynical, malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music.  And like Catie said, sometimes that background music is a bit much…

The 1991 version has been called a neo-noir, a modernized film that uses elements of the film noir genre but with updated themes (music, cinematography, style, visual elements, etc…).  It was all there.  The orchestra music, camera angles, dark shadows, and some things we don’t see as much in films anymore—boobs, sex, and a lot of smoking.  Granted, this film was shot back in the early ‘90s when smoking wasn’t as much a taboo like it is today, but still.  When watching today, in 2013, the smoking stands out.  As does the nudity and sex.  Films today have sexual encounters, but many of these scenes are not shown in detail.  At least in my opinion…

Anyway, the remake stars Matt Dillon as Jonathan Corliss/Jay Faraday, a guy from a not-so-wealthy town ready to get out and never come back, whatever it takes… and Sean Young as twin sisters Ellen and Dorothy Carlsson, heirs to the Carlsson Copper company, who find themselves stuck in a Corliss/Faraday web.  I’ve never been a big fan of Sean Young, unless you count her role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (LOL), but I’ve liked Matt Dillon since the first time I saw him in The Outsiders.  Perhaps his movie selections don’t land him a lot of award nominations, but let me just say this, he nailed the role of a sociopath in A Kiss Before Dying.  Nailed it.

The character of Jonathon is very calculating, controlled, and purely evil.  He takes risks but minimizes his chances of being caught.  And man, he is violent… he’ll push a pregnant woman from atop a building, strangle a man equal to his size or bigger without breaking a sweat, and he doesn’t hesitate to watch the life drain from anyone.  Yet, he’s superficially normal in social settings.  Matt Dillon may be cute, but he is uber-creepy in this film.

Like I said earlier, I had seen this movie before.  And despite not remembering much about it, I didn’t find it at all suspenseful.  Perhaps that’s the noir aspect… the music just gives too much away in my opinion.  I knew something bad was about to happen or someone was about to bite it before it actually aired on the television screen.  Plus, when the mystery begins to unravel, it does so very quickly.

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy this film.  Take for instance the story… I truly appreciate how everything comes full circle, from the opening scenes of the small boy watching the trains pass by, to the very end when Dorothy is running for her life.  I haven’t read the book by Ira Levin, but I have to assume he deserves the credit for this.

So how does the 1991 version compare to the original?  I can’t tell you… but I can say that I want to watch the 1956 film for one reason—Robert Wagner.  I’ve had a crush on him since I was a little girl.  Hart to Hart was one of my favorites growing up.  He was such a beautiful man back in the day; heck, he’s still not so bad… I simply must see him play Jonathon/Jay.

But back to the remake… I think the 1991 film is worth watching for Matt Dillon.  His performance surprised me the most.  I just wouldn’t expect to be clinging to the edge of your seat in suspense.  Other psychological thrillers have gotten me a lot more than A Kiss Before Dying did.

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or remake of A Kiss Before Dying?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Mysteries of Under the Dome

After my second DVR crash since March, I found myself scurrying around, trying to recover the 200+ recordings I lost.  Amongst those so inconveniently deleted was CBS’s new science fiction drama, Under the Dome.

When we were finally ready to sit down and watch Under the Dome, we couldn’t find the first episode.  The pilot wasn’t available for viewing on the CBS website, or via OnDemand, prompting us to try something we’d never done before—watch TV via our Amazon Prime account.  For free.  Yeah, I was a happy camper…

Anyway, what would happen if we were cut off from the world?  If we couldn’t leave our city or county lines?  If we were imprisoned by an impenetrable barrier?

Based on the science fiction novel by Stephen King, Under the Dome follows the residents of Chester’s Mill after they are cut off from the world by an invisible, impenetrable barrier—a dome.  Will they uncover the truth in time to save their small town?

Let’s talk about this “wall” for a second… This “wall” sliced a cow in half, which was not at all appetizing to watch while eating dinner.  And for about a span of three to five minutes, although it felt longer, the cameras kept showing the darn cow.  Yuck.  Trust me.

But back to the story…

Not knowing whether or not this is an act of terror, or an act of God, the town’s people scurry around, trying to make heads or tails out of the situation.  And when government agencies show up on the outside, wearing full-on Hazmat Gear, those trapped know that something is terribly wrong.

Recognizing that something has them “stuck in a fish bowl,” the mayor hops on a public radio access channel and instructs all vehicles to stop moving, but not before a couple of cars crash into the invisible “wall.”  A few witnesses even watch as a small prop plane smashes into what appears to be nothing up in the sky and burst into flames.

Completely dumbfounded, friends and family, separated by the “wall,” stare at each other… scream at each other.  But nothing carries across the electrical field.  The only way we know it’s electrical is because it’s shocking to the touch and even prompted someone with a pace maker’s chest to explode.

As one can imagine, some panic, others keep calmer heads and hope to plan an escape, while others just go plain bonkers.

The new horror/mystery series stars: Mike Vogel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre circa 2003), Rachelle Lefevre (the Twilight saga), Colin Ford (Supernatural), Natalie Martinez (Detroit 1-8-7 and CSI: NY), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle), Aisha Hinds (Detroit 1-8-7, True Blood, and Cult), and many other familiar faces in recurring roles (like Jeff Fahey from Lost).

Bottom line?  At the end of the pilot, I was ready to watch another episode.  In addition to the dome, there were a ton of characters to get to know better, and even a few mysteries with the townsfolk (like the stockpiling of propane, a kidnapping, a murder, etc).  But my guy was ready to watch the Falling Skies season finale, so Under the Dome had to wait.

We still haven’t gotten back to it, but I want to.  It definitely left me wanting more.  For that reason, I must award the new CBS sci-fi drama with the JFTV rating.  Perhaps after we catch a few more episodes, the ranking will rise…

Have you watched Under the Dome?  How do you feel it ranks compared to the other Stephen King made-for-TV adaptations, series, and/or movies?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Ten Memorable TV Theme Songs

Writing and creativity are two very important aspects of a successful television show.  As is the cast.  But storylines and characters are not the only facets that excite someone like me.

A TV series’ theme song is a lot like hype music.  Simply hearing the opening tunes of certain television shows sends shivers down my spine, in a good way, whether I am remembering an older series that I enjoyed as a child, or getting ready to watch programs I follow nowadays.  And sometimes, theme songs are just catchy.

So today, I’m sharing ten theme songs that bring back fond memories or intensify my excitement to watch a new episode.  Heck, some of these are listed because I just can’t help myself from singing along or dancing every time I hear them.

Crime Story

If I’m in a piano bar, I will request the artist play “Runaway” every single time…

Miami Vice

With Miami Vice, it wasn’t just the theme song.  The series’ soundtrack featured a ton of songs that I still love to hear today… especially “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins.

The Greatest American Hero

Ah, the memories of Ralph.  I watched House, the horror movie from the ‘80s, not the TV show—although I watched that too—just because William Katt was in it.  Maybe I expected him to fly around in a red leotard and cape?

Dallas

Hearing this music still gives me chills.  I’m so glad the TNT reboot kept the opening theme.

Hawaii Five-0

Just like Dallas, I am so very glad CBS kept the original theme music for the 5-0 reboot. I fast forward through the opening credits of so many TV shows, but not this one.

Friends

Man, what a staple of the ‘90s, huh?

The Sopranos

“You woke up this morning, got yourself a gun…” My guy never watched The Sopranos.  We need to have a marathon.  He doesn’t know what he missed!

RIP Mr. Gandolfini.

Weeds

“Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky, little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same.”  I particularly loved how the style of the “Little Boxes” song changed, depending on the episode’s and/or season’s theme.  This is one catchy song…

Pretty Little Liars

“Got a secret, can you keep it?”  So very fitting for our Pretty Little Liars

The Walking Dead

It’s just an instrumental, but The Walking Dead theme music fits the series perfectly.  I’ve even recognized bits and pieces of it playing in other TV shows… and you know when it does, the “stuff” is going to hit the fan.

Your turn.  What are some of your favorite TV theme songs?  I’d love to hear from you!

Multipurpose Products and Neat Tricks for Around the House

It’s time for a new kind of Friday FabOoolousness post… my Friday Favorites.

My Friday Favorites will include any products that make me say Ooo, ranging from multipurpose household products (like today), to kitchen gadgets, to my favorite candles, etc,  and the reasons why I love them.  I hope you enjoy!

For years, I have received interesting emails and seen numerous informative sites that list inexpensive, everyday products that can be used for more than what we originally purchased them for in the first place.  I have been using some of these tips since college, and I wish I had saved the original sources for referencing today.  Unfortunately, I did not.

So we’re clear, I’m in no way implying that these brilliant ideas were my own—I’m no Martha Stewart.  However, with all of the neat tricks for around the house floating around Pinterest, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites here at The Ooo Factor.  Because let’s face it, these multipurpose products make me say Ooo.

Favorite Multipurpose Household Products

Vinegar

  • Bathing in vinegar helps remove the heat/sting from sunburns.  It may stink; it may even be an old wives’ tale, but it has worked for me in the past.  Maybe it’s psychological?
  • Using vinegar in the rinse cycle of the wash helps keep the whites white, the colors bright, and the fabrics soft.  And no, the clothes do not come out smelling like vinegar.
  • Using vinegar in the rinse cycle of the dish washer helps remove water stains from the dishes and glasses.
  • When mixed with water, vinegar cleans your fruits and vegetables.  And with the cyclospora scare in multiple states right now, we need to be washing our fruits and vegetables.
  • When mixed with water, vinegar acts as a conditioner for your hair.  I still need to try this one and plan to soon.  I’ll report back as soon as I do.
  • Vinegar also shines silver; I learned this trick while working in the food and beverage industry.
  • AND last but not least, vinegar tastes good in deviled eggs and potato salad.

Apple Cider Vinegar

While many uses of apple cider vinegar mirror that of regular vinegar, it also has many health benefits.  Simply mix with water and/or tea, and apple cider vinegar can aid with stomach issues, sore throats, weight loss, heartburn (which sounds crazy, since it’s acidic, but it does work when diluted), and even teeth whitening (I still need to try this one).

Dryer Sheets

  • Fresh and crisp (unused) dryer sheets repel mosquitoes and other bugs.
  • Lightly used dryer sheets eliminate dust and static electricity from televisions and computer screens AND are safe to use on these surfaces.
  • Lightly used dryer sheets are also perfect to use as a dust rag around the house.
  • And since air fresheners are so expensive, try laying dryer sheets around the house for that fresh smell, replacing every so often.  This works when traveling, too… to keep suitcases smelling like a warm batch of clean clothes.

Pillow Cases

Besides the obvious… pillow cases, particularly the king sized ones, can be used to cleanse delicates in the normal wash cycle in lieu of hand washing.  Hand washing instructions can’t be avoided on some clothing, particular women’s clothing.  If you’re anything like me, you look at the wash care instructions before buying clothes.  But sometimes, we can’t resist the urge to buy it anyway, even if we hate using our sinks for clothes.  Simply throw the hand-wash item in the pillow case, tie the open end in a knot, and throw in with the rest of the load.  This may be one of my favorite tricks ever.

Your turn…

What multipurpose products do you love to have around the house?  Have any neat tricks you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear from you!