Oscars & Artichokes

Who watched the Oscars?! I did, I did! Of all the nerdy things I did this weekend, watching the Oscars is the most noteworthy among the general public. It was an interesting night, full of ups and downs, and some big wins, and some disappointments.

ten_by_carolinexpaigeBut first things first, I have an announcement.

For anyone reading this, you may have noticed that I only post on Mondays & Thursdays, and so far it’s worked fairly well. However, it’s made it difficult when I want to write a review in addition to other material. So I’ve decided to introduce Reading Wednesday, where I will be posting a book review that day. If there’s a book in particular you’d like me to review, contact me about it. In the meantime, let’s try this out and see how it goes.

It was a night to remember as far as the food went. ABC covered the menu of the Academy dinner, which looked delicious, but we had a little Oscar feast of our own: salmon, sautéed asparagus, baked potato. Holding to tradition, for our appetizer, I made delicious spinach & artichoke dip. I make it every Oscars night and will share the recipe below. It is award-worthy!

We watched the red carpet interviews, rolling our eyes every time the Oscars are so white 803controversy came up. Many of the actors pointed out that Chris Rock, as the host this year, was going to have to address it. And boy, did he. He not only addressed it, but put it right in the spotlight and kicked it in the butt. I laughed through his whole opening monologue as he basically said this whole thing is ridiculous and trivial. I’m pleased that as I’m reading reviews of his hosting that he hasn’t been slammed for it, but annoyed that most of the major names out there are infusing a sobriety into his remarks that simply weren’t there. I’ll probably get flack for saying this, but the controversy is petty. It sounds to me like a couple of actors are butt hurt that they didn’t get nominated and have decided to turn this into a racial issue. Many people from many ethnic groups have won major awards, and last night, we had Hispanic and Asian nominees and winners.  The Oscars aren’t about race at all, but about excellence and achievement, period.

All in all, I appreciated Chris Rock’s job at hosting, but I wish he would’ve come up with some more material besides the “Oscar’s race issue.” I did miss the musical numbers that usually open the ceremony, but here’s to next year.

mv5bmtuymte0odcxnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwode4ndqznte-_v1_sx640_sy720_Mad Max: Fury Road took a number of awards last night, especially in the technical aspects of film, which I think surprised a lot of people. It didn’t garner much favor with the general public, but was popular amongst critics. The general sense I got from it was gimmicky and lobbying for Oscars, but hey, it worked so what do I know. Let’s be fair, it does have some technical achievements even if the rest of the movie is a bit hokey.

Spotlight surprisingly won Best Picture, which I think was a let down for pretty much everyone except Spotlight’s cast & crew. It wasn’t the frontrunner at all. Most predictions were for Room and The Revenant, leaving a lot of people feeling robbed this morning.

Everyone except Leonardo DiCaprio! Screams could be heard all around the country as leonardo-dicaprio-oscars-win-2016Team Leo finally took the gold! The whole audience stood in applause, and it was well deserved. Leo, we’re proud of you. And it was about time, Academy. I was so scared for him the whole night because I was dreading that he wasn’t going to get it, and I felt disheartened for him. It was clear though that a lot of his fellow nominees, such as Matt Damon and Kate Winslet, were rooting for him. Here’s to more Oscars to come for one of the most talented actors of our generation.

I was also extremely pleased with the wins for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Out of all the nominees, I think Brie Larson was the most deserving as she had the most challenging role and the character work she put into it was amazing, including locking herself up in isolation for a month prior to shooting. Mark Rylance was also superb in Bridge of Spies, which was my favorite movie of the year, and was tasked with the difficult job of making a convicted foreign spy human, likeable, and even loveable. He was one of the best parts of that incredible movie.  

 All in all, I’m pleased with the outcome and had a jolly good time watching it. Did you? What were your favorite parts? What were you happy or disappointed about? Which movie do you think deserved Best Picture?

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe! It’s so delicious; I promise that you will not be disappointed. I doubled the recipe last night, but we were all left wishing that I had tripled it. I made my recipe in a Crockpot so that I could keep it warm longer with the amount I made and the people going back and forth to eat it. I will provide alternative instructions though if you want to make yours in an oven.

 

Bailey’s Oscar Artichoke Dip

  • 10oz bag of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can (14oz) of artichoke hearts
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise
  • 10oz of cream cheese cubed (8oz equals a package of cream cheese, which you can use, but when it comes to cheese my philosophy is the more the merrier so I always add 2-4oz extra)
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon of dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic salt
  • Salt & pepper

 

  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick spray, and prep the ingredients as described above.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the spinach, artichoke, sour cream, mayonnaise, ¾ of your mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, & garlic salt. Add salt & pepper as desired. Dump into your slow cooker.
  3. Spread the remained of the mozzarella cheese over the top of the mixture.
  4. Then place your cubed cream cheese on top of the spread mozzarella as evenly as possible.
  5. Cook on high for 2-21/2 hours, or until the cream cheese has melted.
  6. Turn your cooker down to warm, mix in the cream cheese, and voila, you’re done! Serve with chips, crackers, veggies, or bread.

 

Hope you try it and enjoy it! Now alternatively, if you don’t want to use a slow cooker, you can bake it in the oven. Simply make the mixture as you would above but add the cream cheese into it before you spread the mozzarella over the top. Place it in an oven safe dish and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I would use the oven method if you aren’t going to multiply the recipe to make bigger portions.

 

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