Blue Apron: Week 28

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Provençal Chicken & Potato Stew with Aioli & Garlic Toasts
Sort of a moderately successful Blue Apron week. This Provençal Chicken & Potato Stew with Aioli & Garlic Toasts was nice and filling. It froze and defrosted well, and was great for lunch...which I generally eat outside, because, California.

Mushroom & Collard Green Calzones with Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Dipping Sauce
The Mushroom & Collard Green Calzones with Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Dipping Sauce were fine as well. I always find the calzones to be a pinch effortful. Rolling out the dough onto the countertops tends to make a mess, but they are tasty and not too common, so it's fine. Makes three calzones.

Hoisin & Shiitake Burgers with Miso Mayonnaise & Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
Don't even care what this burger is. Hate Blue Apron burders. Need to remember to cancel weeks that have a burger in it.

New Zealand: Around Auckland

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Rainbow Over New Zealand Countryside
We were only in New Zealand two days, but we packed 'em with hobbits and boiling mud. Auckland was our base, in the north island of New Zealand. It was a charming little city with a lovely harbor, good shopping, and a fantastic war museum.

It's odd to realize you have absolutely no knowledge of a country's history. It's even odder when you're standing inside the country. However, the Auckland War Museum was able to help with some of that. Each floor had a theme: Maori history, NZ involvement in wars, natural history, and earth sciences/volcanoes.

There's also a LOTR Dwarf statue in the airport, so that's always handy.

On our way back from the magical day of hobbits and boiling mud, we even saw a rainbow! Then we topped off our day with delicious steaks. All in all, I'd say the Auckland area is super amazingly wonderful.

Cows at Sunset
A Rainbow Over New Zealand Countryside
A Rainbow Over New Zealand Countryside
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland War Museum
Auckland War Museum
Cafe in Auckland Dwarf Sculpture in NZ Airport
Sydney from the Plane

New Zealand: Rotorua

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Boiling Mud, Natch
Part 1 of the most epic day ever was in Hobbiton. Part 2 was in...Rotorua! A large swathe of land an hour from Hobbiton with lots of active geysers, boiling sulfurous mud pits, and other exciting gaseous hobgoblinery!! BOILING MUD, guys!

Sulfurous mud pits usually yields a pretty alien landscape, which is one hundred percent the case with Rotorua. I've just never seen so many geysers, boiling mud, and steam escapes in one place. The park is massive, and the landscape dotted with boiling steam escaping from hot water collected beneath the ground. It was really cool.

Awhile back the Maori would steam their food at Rotorua, which is a resourceful approach. Many of the geysers have become inactive due to earlier tapping into the ground for the water supply, but by closing many of those up, some of the geysers have gradually become active again.

Te Puia Geyser
Te Puia Geyser
Alien Scenery Geyser HDR
Steamy Landscape
Sulfur Close Up
Rotorua Hot Springs
Te Puia Geyser Boiling Mud, Natch
Steamy Landscape
Rotorua Hot Springs
Hot Springs. Super Hot. Too hot.
Steamy Landscape

Success: Chocolate Cake with Almond Roux Icing

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Chocolate Cake with Almond Roux Icing
This birthday cake for Jim came out pretty well. Although, I'd recommend halving the amount of almond extract (or replacing with vanilla extract) in the icing. So much almond! It also is a half-day recipe, as the milk/flour mixture for the icing needs about 2 hours to cool down. The recipe is from Posie Gets Cozy and it's a bit intense, but pretty good.

Chocolate Cake with Almond Roux Icing
Chocolate Cake with Almond Roux Icing

New Zealand: HOBBITON

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bilbo's House
OFMGROTFLMAOWTFBBQIwenttotheShire.

We left the boys, and mom, my sister, and I headed to New Zealand for yet another surreal trip - to the movie set of the Shire from Lord of the Rings in Matamata, New Zealand!! This is pretty much the main reason why we went to New Zealand so it didn't really matter that tickets cost a fortune. Worth.every.penny.

But then again, I'm a total LOTR fan girl. I had a life size Gandalf cardboard cutout in college. I own the LOTR Atlas. This is my place (although, admittedly, the hobbits aren't exactly my people).

Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
Hobbit Holes
Dirt pathways worn down by crew's specially designated pathways. Green Dragon Tavern
Tourists in Gandalf's Cut.
Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit) Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
44 hobbit homes were built for the original LOTR trilogy. Although, really they're all just facades. The chimneys just props stuck into the ground; doors just attached to door frames that lead to a pile of dirt. Interior filming took place on sound stages in Wellington, so no need to dig out the actual hobbit holes. Some of the homes were built extra small to make Gandalf appear larger, while others were smaller to make the hobbit actors appear smaller. Our tour guide explained that plum trees were planted and just before filming, their leaves were picked and replaced with apple leaves and fruit, to make the trees the right scale next to the hobbits.

The level of detail on the homes was pretty impressive. Real vegetables growing in real vegetable gardens. Flowering bushes everywhere. Butterflies. Beehives on hills, cheeses aging in the window, abandoned fishing poles on the dock, etc. etc. The weather was lovely, too. Nice blue skies with puffy clouds. It felt just like being in the Shire. It was pretty lovely.

As part of the ticket price, you get to enter the only building with an interior - the Green Dragon tavern - and have a free drink!

Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
Party Tree Tourists Partying
Manually-worn dirt paths
The only Hobbiton door that opens
GIRLS WEEKEND AT THE SHIRE.

Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
Green Dragon Tavern
Butterflies flying everywhere!
Green Dragon Tavern
Hobbiton Movie Set (The Shire from LOTR and The Hobbit)
Fancy drains!
The original LOTR movie contract stipulated that after filming, the farm had to be returned to its previous state. All but 17 of the original hobbit homes were destroyed before the farm owners realized that LOTR tourism might be a lucrative side business. When the Hobbit films preparations were underway, the contract instead required that the Shire sets be built with permanent materials! The Hobbiton movie set currently employs about ~150 people.

Back onto the bus!
View from the bus.
Tourist gathering point.


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