Oscars 2013: Zero Dark Thirty




Well, here it is! The final Best Picture nominee of the Oscar themed food posts, Zero Dark Thirty. I have been putting it out there what a hard time I’ve had coming up with fun food for this movie. I’ve loved all the ideas many of you have emailed me! Zero Dark Thirsty, Zero Dark Thirtini, Gyro Dark Thirty, Zero Dark Chocolate Cake and what I think is my favorite, Hot on the Trail Mix! I promised a $10 coffee gift card to any reader who sent in an idea which would inspire a post on Food It Forward. So, Cara, I am sending a Starbucks card your way!

Thank you all for such great ideas! The hot on the trail mix helped me think outside the box of the movie title. Ready for it?

Osama Bin Hidin’ (In Yo’ Dessert)

I’m kind of hoping I have some readers who read the title with the word desert, instead of dessert. Anyhow, here’s how it goes.

Step One: Gather your ingredients. I have chosen a dark chocolate brownie mix, dark chocolate ice cream and a dark salted flavor caramel sauce and chocolate covered cherries. Remember, think dark. You know I am usually not a fan of boxed stuff, but Ghiradelli brownies are always an exception in my world.


Step Two: Hide Osama at the bottom of your dessert dish. Please don’t think I mean anything by Osama being a chocolate covered cherry. The cherry inside is more about blood than a sweet heart. Do you feel sad for OBL, all alone in that dark dish? Me neither.


I didn’t do this the first go around, but I’d suggest melting your chocolate covered cherry for 10-15 seconds in the microwave. He’ll be easier to kill that way. I over did it at about 25 seconds.


Step Three: Hide Bin Laden in a cave of ice cream. Cover that ice cream with rocky  mounds of brownie. Drizzle your dark topping of choice.

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It’s hunting time! You and your crew can each go searching for the Target. No torture involved.


Now, you and your guests go in for the kill!

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Like I said before, Osama will be easier to kill and a bit bloodier if you melt him in the hot Middle Eastern microwave first.


This is all in the name of the Oscars and the movie, Zero Dark Thirty. I have not seen the movie. I don’t condone killing anyone. Hey, Al Qaeda, I’m sure Osama was nice to some of you. In other words, although I am 35, I’m still to young to die. Please don’t come find me and kill me.

This fear has probably come from the old neighbors I just ran into at Target. They told me a story of how Homeland Security now uses their old phone number to catch a Terrorist, who….GET THIS….still lives about 50 yards from me. Huh?! They had to flee the country, but came back for the daughter’s medical needs. These ladies either have a serious exaggeration problem, or I need to buy an attack dog. Not sure which one. They would always bring Dallas cute gifts and love on him when he was a baby. So, I kind of believe them out of guilt. How’s that for movie-style drama?


Oscars 2013: Django Unchained

The next Oscar nominated movie of the series is Django Unchained, a Southern style Spaghetti Western from Quentin Tarantino. And it’s a tasty one!


I am seriously hurting for ideas on how to incorporate Zero Dark Thirty into SOME kind of food. If you have any crafty thoughts you’d like to share, please do! If I use your idea, I will send you a $10 Starbucks card. Free coffee for your brainpower, it’s easy.

Are you ready for it? Straight out of Candie Land and topped with Django’s signature…


If you haven’t seen the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a sadistic plantation owner, who offers Django and his travelling partner some white cake at a crucial moment in the film. This next statement shouldn’t surprise you. Quentin Tarantino often incorporates guns and blood into his films. Alas, Django Unchained is too, a bloody flick.

The strawberry sauce (do I have to tell you it’s supposed to be blood?), which drips over and puddles under the Django White Cake, is simply sugared up strawberries with a bit of cocoa powder for depth. You can easily change the flavor with any berry you choose and same goes for the cake. To keep your cake white-ish, be sure to use clear extract. This recipe calls for whole eggs, leaving you with an almost white cake. The almond flavor lends itself well, but vanilla would work perfectly too.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but there is a white layer of cream cheese frosting between the layers and on the top of the cake, it helps mask the tint of the cake, holds it together and gives it an extra layer of flavor.

How does it taste? It tastes “You better hide this cake from me, because I WILL find it in the middle of the night and eat 3 pieces” good. It tastes, “I am going to hide in the bathroom with the shower running and eat another piece” good.

The (Kinda) White Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (make sure it’s clear!)
  • 2 cup cake flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare chosen cake or cupcake pans with spray or butter and a sprinkling of flour.
  2. In medium bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in almond extract.
  3. In separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder.
  4. Gently mix dry ingredients in with the wet.
  5. Stir in milk until batter is smooth and pour into pans.
  6. Bake 30 minutes or 25 for cupcakes.
  7. Let cake cook before icing.

Strawberry Sauce and White Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 brick cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup milk
  1.  In a medium saucepot, bring berries, water and sugar to the point of boiling. 
  2. Lower heat and stir sauce until it thickens a bit and sugar is melted.
  3. Mix in cocoa powder and set aside to cool.

(You can also use a Vitamix or Blendtec to make the sauce if you have one!)

  1. Blend together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add milk slowly and only if mixture is too dry. That’s it!

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Now, gotta go pay the bills. I know you may not believe this, but I don’t actually get paid for being wife and mother of the year. No one has actually ever accused me of being wife or mother of the year, but I totally know lots of people are just thinking it, so it must be true.

Oscars 2012: Midnight In Paris (With California Croque Madame)

Until February 26th, Movies & Munchies is taking on Academy Award nominated films and proposing food to eat while viewing. Midnight in Paris was a tough one. First, I don’t want to cook French food, it seems hard. I just watched Julia & Julia again and it still seems hard. Second, the most popular item I found from the Parisian world of 1920 was the Mimosa. While it was seriously tempting to mix myself a cocktail, photograph the drink and call it a day, I knew that would be cheating. Before I show you what I made, let’s read a bit about Woody Allen’s Oscar nominated flick.

Midnight in Paris

 Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard

Directed by: Woody Allen

Have you ever daydreamed or pined for the ability to live in another era?  Convinced, that the time you would like to be transported back to was THE “golden age?” Maybe your ideal time would have been the 1960’s, a decade where the ideals of the 1940’s and 50’s were questioned and historical changes in the United States happened faster than any decade before. Where music, free love and an open door to recreational drugs ruled the world. 

In contrast, that decade included many assassinations of notable figures, a terrible and questionable war and set the tone for some major social and family deconstruction that the country is still recovering from 50 years later.  Needless to say, for every golden age, there are a few blemishes.  

Midnight in Paris is set in modern day Paris, where a vacationing couple from Los Angeles, who are engaged to be married, are both looking for something more.  The main character Gil, played by Wilson, as a more likeable, enthusiastic and less whiney version of Woody Allen, is a writer obsessed with the 1920’s, a decade when he believes writers and artists were kings.  For reasons I won’t divulge, Gil gets to visit his idealized time and based on the who’s who of  legendary characters he meets; Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali (to name a few), he may be right about his assertions!  While the characters aren’t left with a lot to do, it is exciting to watch them come in and out of the film, the whole time you are wondering, who will be next?  This is a film about romance or more specifically, the romanticized gesture that a life different than our own would somehow be better.

Woody Allen’s films tend to be very polarizing; people either love them or hate them.  Whether this means they are really good or really bad or just that he makes films with narrow appeal, the jury is still out.  The last Woody Allen film I thoroughly enjoyed was Match Point.  The clever plot and unassuming storyline of that film built up perfectly into a tense crescendo of disbelief and uneasy excitement; completely not something I would expect Allen could accomplish based on his past filmography.  Match Point was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2005.  Midnight in Paris, has been nominated for four Academy Awards including, Best Picture, Best Director as well as Best Original Screenplay.  The similarities of the two films is subtle but apparent; both are set in European countries, both have despicable characters that reflect modern thinking and behavior and both center around a search for fleeting happiness.   The biggest difference between the two is how the main characters carry themselves and the means in which they use to find their way through what is before them.


Midnight in Paris is beautifully shot on location and the supporting staff combined with the set pieces, costumes and incredible jazz-infused soundtrack will easily transport you to another time and place.  By the time the credits roll, you will be calling your travel agent, visiting a local museum, or at the very least heading to your local bookstore for some literary classics.  Hopefully you will come out of the film realizing that, while the past is a grand place to visit, we shouldn’t underestimate the moments in front of us or under appreciate the time we live in now, because it is all what you make of it.


 California Croque Madame

As you will see, I went for California invading France (without wine). The fatty Croque Madame is typically a melted ham sandwich with Gruyère oozing over the bread and covered with a fried or poached egg. I first learned about the Croque Madame at my favorite local breakfast spot, Sideboard. There is an eggless version, called the Croque Monsieur. I was given the lowdown on both sandwiches by my dear friend with the double-threat English major/Lawyer Juliet. I’m always learning new words from her, she’s awesome.

So, to add a bit of Hollywood to the Croque Madame, I tossed in some spinach and avocado. Nothing says California like green produce, I guess! The best way to create a melted cheese and ham opened face sandwich, is in the broiler. Just don’t go do a load of laundry while you wait, you will end up burning your food to a crisp. Every single time. Mom, are you reading this?

So, that’s what to eat while you get cozy on the couch and watch Midnight in Paris. Juliet, you would love this movie. She loves all things British, and France is close to England, so I’m gonna go out on a limb with the recommendation. Happy Friday Eve!