Sunday, May 3, 2015


I mentioned in my last post how the same thing can be good. Well it can also be boring. Take food. You eat the same things all the time and they become less appealing. They're not less good, just you become tired of them. Most of the time there isn't much choice if you're on a limited budget, like me. But sometimes you just want to fix something different.

Last night, I did. My son in law sent me a recipe for a healthy Mexican lasagna. Now, I had a lot of the stuff needed, but I couldn't go out and get ground turkey, canned green chilies, bell peppers and fat free refried beans. So I improvised.

I used lean ground beef for the turkey. The husband can't eat poultry of any kind anyway, so regardless, I would have to use ground beef. I didn't have any bell peppers, so I used a whole fresh jalapeno, which added a nice bit of spice. You can take out the seeds and membranes for less heat, I left them in because I only used one. I didn't have any Southwest Seasoning, so I looked it up and I had most of what was supposed to be in it, so I just sprinkled some of this n that in it.

I also fried the tortillas till they were almost crispy. I know from experience that using them out of the package will have them disintegrating into the sauce. Plus it added body to the finished dish

So, what did I substitute for the refried beans? Creamy New Orleans style red beans that I had in the cupboard. They were almost as thick and creamy as refried beans.

So while I didn't make it as healthy as it was supposed to be, it was absolutely delicious. Smear some of the beans on a tortilla and layer half the tortillas in the bottom of the dish, then top with half the meat mixture and half the cheese. Repeat layers, except for cheese, then bake until nice and bubbly. Add rest of cheese and bake a couple more minutes to melt it. Truthfully, the red beans didn't taste that different from refried beans. The casserole was absolutely delicious.

My husband made some salsa up the next day to have with the leftovers. Yummy!

I have no idea what the color codes were supposed to be, such as the two blue containers worth of shredded cheese. I assume that it was something to do with portion control in some diet plan, as it tells you how many red, yellow, blue, whatever that the dish was worth. You know, sort of like a points system. Whatever, I just enjoyed the concoction that I came up with and would make it again if I had the ingredients. Perhaps we can pick up an ingredient or two when we're shopping and I can make it again when I get all the stuff together. I think I prefer using the jalapeno over the sweet bell peppers. After all, most Mexican dishes do have some spice to them.

My husband said it reminded him of enchiladas.

Hello there

Haven't posted in this thing for a long time, so I thought I'd dust it off.

Not much has happened, you know how it goes. Years go by and it's the same old thing. Not that the same old thing is bad, on the contrary, it can be good.

I've been through several computers, and this latest one is great. It plays my games very well, though my vid card started giving me fits. A few weeks ago, when I would start playing Oblivion, the card would inexplicably fail just a few minutes into the game and I would have to hard-restart my computer. After that, it would play fine.

Then last week the card would fail every time I tried to play a graphic-intensive game like Oblivion or Star Trek Online. I allowed my son in law to access my computer from his computer (via LogMeIn), and he installed a program on it called Afterburner, which is a graphics card monitor and over/underclocking tool. It monitors the speed of the card, as well as the temperature. Using that tool, we narrowed the problem down to the card overheating and shutting down. We tried underclocking it and turning the fan speed up, but nothing we tried would work. Then my son came by after work and pulled the card and opened the fan. That was when the problem was found. The fan on my card had a broken blade.

Thankfully they were able to find another fan for it in Gregg's pile of computer parts, so I didn't have to replace the card, as it was practically brand new (it's just a few months old). Now it's working great again and I'm keeping Afterburner and I run it to keep a close check on the card while I'm playing games. I also underclocked it about 20%, which keeps the temp of the card within acceptable limits, even when I'm playing in the afternoon, since we haven't started running the A/C yet. Yeah, the temp was still in acceptable limits with the card not underclocked, but underclocking brought the temp down about nine or ten degrees and there is no loss of performance that I can tell when playing. My son moved the slider back up when he saw I'd underclocked it, but instead of fussing about it, I just waited till he left and put it back where I wanted it. Perhaps I'll return it to its normal setting when we start running the air, but I'm a bit jumpy about the card getting too hot again right now.

Speaking of which, I've gotten back into Dragon Age. Rozz, a casteless Dwarf file that was one I completed the game with, wanted me to redo his file. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because I messed up in the way I did the DLC. So, I'm running Rozz again. I believe he's already made some different dialogue choices so far. I've just gotten him out of Lothering and into camp for the first time. So, next time I play he'll have a lot of catching up to do with the companions he's acquired. I'm still not sure what he's going to do regarding Morrigan and her ritual, nor if he's going to romance Leliana this time around. Perhaps he wanted to romance Morrigan and I stubbornly wouldn't allow it. We'll have to see. He may decide to do Morrigan's ritual (whether he romances her or not) and execute Loghain this time around as well. Not sure whether he'll still get Alistair to marry Anora or put him on the throne by himself. We'll see. I don't want to overanalyze his motives for wanting a second run, I'll just try to listen to him whenever he has choices to make.

Also regarding Dragon Age, I want to do as my friend did a year or so ago and make a file of every possible Origin. Rozz is my Dwarf Commoner origin. I may be redoing Olivia as my Human Mage Origin or I may run her brother Taeon through instead. We'll see. I may do both for a male-female perspective. Hell, I may just do male-female on all of them. Yes, I know, that's a huge undertaking, but since this computer plays the game much better than any other computer I ever played it on, this goal is not so unreachable. The game plays as it should instead of everything going in slow motion. I mean it, it used to take me an hour or more to get through the Wilds and this time I was through in no time, and I did it as I always did it by doing every possible quest I could find, from the Chasind Trail to the last wishes of the dead priest. Yes, I never open the box, I take it to his widow in Redcliffe. Perhaps one of my other files will open the box and take what's inside, but I haven't done it yet in any file, completed or deleted. Perhaps it's time to explore different things since I'll be running so many files. It's just hard for me not to want to fulfill the last wish of a dead man, even though he was stupid to go into the Wilds alone. His son was even more stupid for following him. But I get a pretty decent sword out of it, and a nice assortment of other stuff from the Chasind Trail.

So I bet you're asking who Taeon is. He's Olivia's brother in the Amell Origin (after all, we learned in DAII that there were Amell children and not just one child [and they were all mage children and taken to the Circle], so we can make all the siblings we want). I actually made him up to use in a fanfic that I and that same friend started working on. I've never completed the game with him though and actually deleted him. But he's persistent and wants to be created. So does Peteir, a Dalish rogue I created as another character in the same story. This story incorporated both DAO and DAII, but now we're redoing it again to incorporate Inquisition. We started this last night and added in a new character. He's the twin brother of Daveth, who dies during the Joining. Since we really wished Daveth could have survived to become a Warden we decided to honor him by creating a twin brother for him, and so Damien was born. Well, we don't know much about Daveth, except that he used to live at the edge of the Wilds and had an abusive father he ran away from. Just because he doesn't tell you whether he has any other family doesn't mean he didn't have any, so we took creative license to bring Daveth back to life (sort of) in the form of Damien. I just hope I can do him justice. He may have been a thief and cutpurse, but he had a very sensible philosophy about the Joining when Jory was in a panic. This supposed 'knight' from Highever just about wet his armor anytime things got just a little bit dangerous. At first he about wet himself in joy at winning a tourney to become a Warden recruit, and then when he found out that wasn't the end of it, that there was the secret Joining next, he wasn't so eager. Then when they found a wounded soldier in the Wilds who said their scouting band was attacked, he wanted to turn back. At the Joining, when he found out the blood they collected was now part of a cocktail they had to drink, he wanted to back out, even though he was warned that he couldn't back out.

Daveth, on the other hand, was very sensible and courageous. While Jory was whining that he'd left his heavily-pregnant wife to do this (why did he leave his pregnant wife?), and moaned about the Wardens sacrificing them, Daveth stated "I'd sacrifice a lot more if it would end the Blight." and "Maybe you'll die. Maybe we'll all die. If no one stops the Darkspawn we'll die for sure."

Then Daveth willingly swallows the vile blood concoction and it kills him (that's why the Joining is secret and dangerous). Jory panics and draws his blade on Duncan when it's his turn. Now most of the time my Wardens don't care one way or another that Jory died at Duncan's hand when he could have easily just disarmed him and poured the stuff in his mouth. But then, would you want a Warden who whined every time he perceived danger? Yeah, Jory could have survived the blood. But then again, there were also other options. Such as pretending to make him a Warden and then giving him a menial job with them later (under guard of course to keep him from running off and exposing their secret). Others thought he shouldn't have been killed and still others thought he deserved it. It's up to your Warden how s/he felt about that.

So, now you know why we wanted to honor Daveth. Sure, we could have headcanoned that he survived and helped at the battle, but we figured this was better. And we're having fun with it. An untainted, exact copy of Daveth.