Chickadoodle’s dinner for two… er, a small army #5

So, I’ve been wanting to make something healthy and delicious lately. Too much in the way of carbs; not enough in the way of veggies.

The thing is, I also wanted something with meat. I’d been seriously craving sausage lately, so that was my springboard.

I first found some recipes for baked ziti with sausage and broccoli rabe, but the bechamel sauce… well, let’s just say I was too lazy.

And I wanted something more vegetable-y.

I searched again, this time specifically for a sausage and veggie bake. One of the search results turned up with this.

I would have been happy with it, but the boyfriend is not a fan of bell peppers. (The only time I got him to have anything with bell pepper in it was when it was so cooked into spaghetti sauce that the flavor and texture just weren’t there.)

Instead, what I wound up with was this:

  • a 4-pack of aidelle’s aundouille cajun sausage
  • a small yellow squash
  • a small zucchini
  • a small red onion
  • about 3-4 cups of pre-cut broccoli/cauliflower florets
  • 3 red potatoes and one large yukon gold potato
  • 2 medium carrots
  • varying amounts of salt, pepper, thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, basil, sage, oregano, parsley and rosemary
  • the barest hint of crushed red pepper
  • olive oil

I washed the veggies as needed (a little bit hindered by a small gouge I somehow managed to put in my thumb with my other thumbnail and was trying to keep bandaged and dry) and cut all of them into less-than-bitesize chunks. The onion, I went so far as to dice. I cut the sausages into halves length-wize, and then 1/4-inch wide chunks after that.

I split that between two casserole dishes, and sprinkled on the olive oil and spices/herbs/whatever they are and tossed them in the dishes. The oven had been pre-heating to 400F during this time.

I wound up baking the dishes for about 50 minutes instead of 25, the last 15 of which were done at 375F.

And then I ate it, as you do. Except not all of it, because that would be a hell of a lot of food. Like I said, there was enough for a small army. A very small army. Of maybe 6-8 people.

It was delicious.

Warehouse 13: a primer of seasons 3 and 4

First, it was Haven.

Now, Warehouse 13.

I am actually sort of okay with this show toying with my emotions these past two seasons. Season 3 made me want to curl up in a little ball and hide in a corner, though. Jeez, it was dark! And seriously… killing Steve was… ugh. Didn’t see it coming quite like I should have, and then, they set it to Track and Field’s cover of “Running Up That Hill”, and I wanted to bawl my eyes out.

Now, time for a confession that might earn me some enemies. As much as I really enjoyed Steve, and loved the role he was playing in Claudia’s life, I was kind of disappointed when Claudia made the choice to bring him back. A dark core of me sort of resonated with her rebellion, and I was torn up about Steve being dead, but Claudia was not thinking rationally at that point, and while I’m glad it’s okay now (especially with Steve off the metronome—YAY!), it was just kind of “meh” to have him brought back in the first place, because Claudia Can’t Have Friends. (Yes, this is a thing, as much as it pains me.)

So, after a whirlwind season opener in which pretty much everything is fixed (but not before everyone dies fixing it before Artie can turn back time—Myka is ostensibly beaten by police if she survives the riots, Claudia’s buried alive, Pete gets stabbed, and, well, Steve’s still dead—seriously, Warehouse 13 writers, are you TRYING to make me hate you?!), things seem to be going… eh. Kind of okay. And then, things take a turn for the spooky. Artie starts having “visions” of Claudia stabbing him. Brother Adrian of the Brotherhood of the Black Diamond, from whom Artie stole the artifact that helped him turn back time and pretty much save the world, shows up and starts cryptically threatening Artie (and then later on, not so cryptically threatening him) and mysteriously snatching artifacts—specifically, those that Artie collected—from the warehouse and sending them out into the world to wreak havoc. Steve learns that any injury he sustains is actually transferred to Claudia because of the connection the metronome created between them. All in all, things seem pretty grim.

And then, there’s Pete and Myka. They’re usually my bright spot in the show, and I kind of like them for a couple. They’d do okay, at least, if Pete would stop sleeping around (if they were to actually get together, anyway—the guy’s single; he’s allowed if the relationship is consensual) and Myka would get over her intellectual crush on H.G. (Though, I’m actually kind of okay with the latter sticking around because their dynamic is fascinating.) And then episode 5 (“No Pain, No Gain”) rolls around, and PETE GETS MYKA PREGNANT. Except not really. Sort of. It’s complicated. Pete unknowingly picks up the artifact he’s searching for, sees a little kid, and wishes for one of his own, and BAM! Preggo Myka. Later on, he explains that he wants kids of his own, but that he’d have no idea who to share that life with except someone who knows him as well as Myka, but SHE TURNS HIM DOWN. MYKA. WAT R U DOIN.

They seem to have recovered from this shock in the next episode (“Fractures”), and anyway, they’ve got bigger fish to fry. Specifically, finding Alice Liddell and containing her before she kills Artie. Except, this time, Alice’s mirror is broken and, as Pete so aptly puts it, “Girlfriend can body-hop”. (Side note: Pete has some killer lines in this episode. I also loved the bit about how Pete doesn’t think psychopathic nutjob is in his wheelhouse, but jumps on being a little child as totally in his wheelhouse.) Meanwhile, while searching for an artifact to contain Alice, Leena learns the truth about Steve and Claudia’s new connection, and Steve implores her to keep quiet. Artie learns about Alice’s escape on a date with Vanessa (OMG! ADORBZ!) and everyone basically races to save each other from being Alice’s next victim, ending with Steve telling Alice to “get out of [Claudia], you bitch” (cue me fist-pumping because it’s such a powerful moment) and Alice being sucked into a hookah for good! Artie, however, not done being angsty, basically pushes Vanessa away, but not before she reads him the riot act for it. You go, girl!

The next two episodes really don’t have much worth mentioning in terms of major storyline except for Steve coming to forgive his mother for not taking action against his sister’s murderer and thus, freeing himself and Claudia of the metronome. Don’t get me wrong—that was a huge moment and I loved it, but it was nothing compared to what would come next.

Let it be known that I kind of have a girl-crush on Jeri Ryan. Or, at least, on the character she plays (Pete’s ex-wife Amanda, who kind of knows how the warehouse works). So, when she falls ill due to an artifact, I was totally fangirling over her and Pete trying to save each other, and ultimately, her distress when she locks Pete in a blast shield and begins crying, telling Pete she never stopped loving him. My heartstrings were sufficiently tugged. Myka’s battles with her pregnant younger sister were a little more amusing, if slightly scary because Tracy, in an artifact-induced sibling rivalry rage, tries to murder Myka, which devolves into her hurling insults and bad memories at Myka after Myka immobilizes her. Claudia must rescue her brother, Josh, but not much happens there. Artie is busy trying to keep brother Adrian out of the warehouse (almost at the expense of his team’s lives when they try to call him for help and he’s too distracted, which is when you really get the hint that something is seriously wrong), and Steve and Mrs. Frederic go to investigate the Brotherhood of the Black Diamond.

OH, THE PLOT TWISTS! Turns out that SOMEONE trapped the brotherhood in a Rembrandt frame artifact and has been impersonating Brother Adrian in order to blackmail Artie, and that person is… Artie himself. Oh, dear God, that terrified me. And then, things get about a bajillion times worse. Mrs. F calls Leena to tell her to stay the heck away from Artie, because Artie’s having a psychotic break, realizing he hasn’t been fighting Brother Adrian all this time—he’s BEEN Brother Adrian. Leena, however, offers to help him before she realizes that aura isn’t Artie’s. The episode ends with Pete’s bad vibe and a shot of Leena, dead on the warehouse floor.

Now, a little interjection—I missed a lot of the major Leena story arcs, but I really liked her. So much that I almost cried when I realized just how much danger she was in, and Artie’s shooting her had tears in my eyes.

In the final episode before the first half of the season draws to a close, Pete and Myka return to find Leena dead, and are told by Mrs. F that Artie killed her. Claudia, too, hears the news, and saying that this does not sit well with her is the understatement of the year. They quickly figure out what Not-Artie (because it’s not Artie—it’s a dark part of him that the astrolabe created via a schism of… his spirit, maybe?) is after with the help of Leena’s ghost, who guides Pete (who is the only one who can see her, I suspect because of his being in-tune with vibes and Leena’s gift with auras) to H.G.’s research on the dagger Claudia will supposedly stab Artie with. They race against the clock to get both the dagger and the Chinese Orchid that would kill half the world’s population with English sweating sickness before Not-Artie can obtain them himself in order to bargain for the astrolabe.

And it wouldn’t be a half-season finale if that turned out well! Claudia winds up stabbing Artie in order to cast out Not-Artie, the sweating sickness is released, and… fade to black. Yeah. That’s where we’re left. Not unlike the Pandora’s Box episode (the season opener) it seems as though all hope has been sucked from the world. Again.

Of course, I’m sure all of this will be resolved in the next half of the season, but at what price? What are they going to do? I’m not sure I can wait until January (my bad—it’s actually April. *cries*) to find out.

The above was written about a year ago.

Spoilers: I cried.

You would, too!

First, we’ve got Pete and Myka struggling against the sweating sickness (and oh, hello James Marsters as yet another immortal). Artie lives, but (thankfully actually quite realistically), pulling him out of his comatose state is just the beginning of the battle. He has to learn to live with himself, and he’s still struggling with that by the end of the season. On top of everything else he has to worry about.

So, how exactly do we get there?

We pretty much begin in Artie’s comatose state, with Leena admonishing him for eating all the oatmeal scotchies.

I told you I cried.

It’s up to Claudia to save him, and she does in typical fashion, though not without running into a deranged Mrs. Frederic, and an even more deranged MacPherson (but that’s a bit more typical). Before that, though, while being briefed on the sweating sickness that is set to be pretty much the worst thing since the last pandemic that wiped out 50 plus percent of the world’s population, Pete does manage to get a good one out. “It’s always ‘ultimately, death’; I mean, artifacts never release a plague of tickles, or an epidemic of kittens.” His mom, a regent, and played by Kate Mulgrew (Warehouse 13 loves its Star Trek and Buffy alums in seasons 3 and 4. In season 2, they loved the Firefly alums. We had Badger—also a Dr. Who alum, I might add!—and Simon and Kaylee pretty much reprising their roles. Only with a lot more spandex on Simon’s part. Don’t ask.) walks in and quips “Some do—they end badly, too.”

There’s always a downside. *sigh*…

Claudia barely manages to pull Artie from his coma, and definitely not without a fight. Artie remembers every one of Leena’s last seconds, despite trying not to, and he is absolutely broken. But Claudia convinces him that he is needed, and, more than that, that he is loved, and that’s what works.

There are a couple of fluff episodes, and then we start getting into the meat of this second half of season four. Polly Walker reprises her brief cameo as James Marsters’ wife… and then we throw Josh Blaylock (who mysteriously gains a semi-convincing accent that sounds rather vaguely like a cross between RP and Manchester) into the mix as bait to win the trust of our lovely Warehouse workers. (There’s also one last appearance of H.G. Wells. And many, many longing looks between her and Myka. Not my OTP, but they’d have worked.)

We also have Claudia learning to be caretaker, including a moment where we meet Mrs. Frederic’s grandson, who is older than Mrs. F. herself appears, and she, with a slightly sad smile (and some very bittersweet background music) tells Claudia that “not all wonder is endless”. Claudia has a moment of her own later when she saves the warehouse from breaking its expansion joints.

And… the big bad. Anthony Stewart Head. Imagine Giles, but immortal and neutral evil masquerading as true neutral, and believing himself to be neutral good. Holy hell. (And he does a chillingly good job of it.) Dude is working on a philosopher’s stone. Or rather, he’s achieved it, but to keep it going, he needs energy. So, he cures entire hospital wards of their illness… only to kill them all when he beefs up the philosopher’s stone again.

And, like that wasn’t enough (oh no!) he was the previous caretaker of one of the warehouses. This, as you can probably imagine, is Very Not Good. He schemes to get “imprisoned” in the Warehouse, makes a bargain with Pete to cure Myka of cancer (oh yeah, Myka has malignant ovarian cancer! SURPRISE!), and makes a bid to kill Mrs. Frederic and usurp the warehouse. He fails in the first only because Claudia takes over as current caretaker… and gets sealed in the warehouse with the mad, cold, brilliant Paracelsus after learning that her sister is alive… and bad, apparently, and Artie’s known this since, like, forever… and things just don’t look good. A terrified Steve, a bewildered Artie, a brought-down-to-normal Mrs. Frederic, and a guilty-as-all-effin’-hell Pete are shielded out of the warehouse, Claudia is left to face Paracelsus from the inside, and Myka’s fate is uncertain.

And they’re supposed to wrap this up in 6 episodes.

*cries*

This show, unlike Haven, probably could get another 13-episode season or two out of it after the next (and final) six episodes, but it’s probably for the best that it end with a real bang. I’m sure it will be amazing.

I’m sure I will cry.

Again.

Damn you, Warehouse 13, you wonderful, wonderful show!

I’d love to work there, I really would. All the people… aside from the show alums, we have Kelly Hu (who I, somewhat embarrassingly, really only remember from the great B-movie “Surf Ninjas”) and Paula Garcés, who starred in another movie from my childhood: “Clockstoppers”.

The warehouse itself really speaks to endless wonder. It’s the show’s key idea, I think. There’s so much to explore and learn, and to someone like me, that’s a dream job. It’s a mad, terrifying, thrilling, beautiful, devastating, wonderful, mysterious world out there, and in some ways, Warehouse 13 helps me to make a little more sense of it.

Duke Crocker is not a punching bag!

So, around the middle of season 3 of Haven, I wrote this, mostly as an exercise in restraint from punching walls every time I watched a new episode.

Dear writers of Haven,

SERIOUSLY?! What happened between season 2 and season 3? Like, one minute passes, and suddenly, all the characters have changed, and most for the worse! Audrey’s freaking out and pushing everyone away and breaking Duke’s heart—or rather, slowly shattering it into a million pieces and then grinding those pieces into dust. The look on his face when he sees her calling Nathan at the beginning of “Last Goodbye” seriously made me want to huggle the poor guy! And half the time, she’s just mope-y and wanting to surrender to her fate. NO! Audrey/Lucy/Sarah is a fighter! Get it right!

And what the heck are you doing with Nathan? I mean, yeah, the guy is supposed to be stoic yet madly in love with Audrey, and he’s not very good about the whole feelings thing, but he was a piece of work most of this season, and he knowingly toys with Jordan’s emotions! (Yes, I get why, but, having been toyed with in a relationship, myself, that just infuriates me.) And then suddenly, everything’s like, almost okay between Nathan and Audrey again! I don’t get it! Angst does not go away overnight!

So, those two gave me whiplash, but Duke… he’s a different story. I used to really not like Duke. He was kind of a jerk. Okay, he was a huge jerk, but he had his reasons. He kind of grew on me in season two. And then this season… Oh my lord, have I come to sympathize with the guy! He is easily my favorite character of season 3. I don’t know quite what it is, but I think a lot of it is his desperation not to become a cold-blooded killer AND to not screw things up for Audrey and Nathan (even though they’ve lost their Haven OTP status with me now). He’s really a good guy! And he’s smart—he really knows what’s going on, and he’s determined to do what he can to help. Seems like he’s got more brains than Audrey and Nathan put together half the time, which is just weird. Finally, he’s random and hilarious, which has always earned some of my respect.

Also, moar Dwight pls. He is a huge teddy bear wrapped in a steel jacket, and he is amazing for it.

</Haven rant>

Since then, it’s only gotten worse. I mean, Nathan’s gotten better (I kind of squee’d a lot when he reacted to seeing Duke in front of him and alive at the beginning of season 4) and Audrey’s made her way back into my good graces for the most part (and OTP status with Nathan has been reaffirmed… curse you, emotional heart!) and my request for moar Dwight pls was granted.

But none of this makes up for the gigantic game of “Break the Cutie” that the writers and producers started playing with Duke in season 2, built up over season 3, and cranked it up way past 11 in season 4. Poor guy emerges from the barn after, like, 5 minutes to see that 6 months have passed, he’s trying to help Jennifer with her trouble, he convinces the Guard (out for his blood as well as Nathan’s) to keep Nathan alive once Lexie shows up, he gets body-jacked, he’s genre-savvy enough to figure out that Audrey’s back (and it hits him hard), his older half-brother is in town and power tripping on the family Trouble until Duke is forced to kill him in self-defense (well, defense of Jennifer…), he seems to have a thing with Jennifer going that keeps on getting interrupted… Yeah. Basically, the guy’s figured it all out, but he’s struggling to tread water.

At this point, it seems like the only shining ray of hope in his life is Jennifer, and God only knows how the season is going to end with that. (I hope with them together, especially now that Duke is a normal, non-Trouble’d guy, but you never know…)

And now that I’ve seen the end of season 4…

Aaaaauuuuugggggghhhh…

A super-sized season 5 (though hopefully, it will be the last—there’s just not much more they can do with it, and it would be far better to end with a bang) is about the only thing that keeps me going.

That, and this adorably pitch-shifted-Taylor-Swift video of Nathan and Duke. If they both swung that way, it’d probably work. For a little while, anyway.