13 Days of Christmas: Target Hot Sauce Challenge!

Holy crap I am late but I am here! Apparently Final Cut wanted to be a real asshat and wouldn’t render this video unless I talked to it in baby-talk. Weird, I know.

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The first episode of the 13 Day Christmas Countdown we discuss novelty gifts. You know, the under $20 gifts that you have to bring to holiday parties for dumb games like “Dirty Santa” or “White Elephant”? The type of gifts that twelve-year olds give their siblings who they can’t stand? The crap that is re-gifted nine times until finally someone gets the motivation to throw it away? Ah yes, the Christmas novelty gifts that makes up for 14% of annual Christmas sales.

But there is one gift I might be able to dance with and that is Target’s Hot Sauce Challenge set that ranges from mild to “Blazing Butthole”. (Just kidding about the butthole) Still, unlike 2013’s disappointment of hot sauces I reviewed, this promises something different. A challenge, so to speak. And I accept.

Lucky for me, I enlisted the help of Laura who is by far one of the most easygoing people you will ever meet. What better person than to help me do a hot sauce challenge because those who get upset easily probably shouldn’t be forced to ingest acid and asked how they feel on camera.

Watch and see how this $13.99 pack of ten hot sauce challenge gift compares to the gourmet versions I have come to love. And stay till the end because we do one bonus hot sauce that DJ D almost died over. I will say, that kinda upset Laura. Ah, she’s a trooper.

ALSO! Be sure to like this review, comment below or hashtag #13daysofchristmas and I’ll toss your name in the hat for one of 13 boxes of neat stuff and send it right to you! FREE AWESOME PRESENTS!

13 Days Of Christmas

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It’s 13 days till Christmas! It’s practically here!

That’s right, you freaks, we are creeping our way down to the day of Christmas when we get loaded on eggnog, open gifts and watch The Christmas Story 12 times in a row and smash the hand of anyone who dares change the channel. (Sorry about last year, Grandma) With the busy life and time of your’s truly and the crash landing of the Halloween Hell Show, I figured committing 13 days is way more doable than an entire month. But don’t fret, we have lots in store and 13 videos too! I can say that with certainty since most are already shot.

OH! I am also doing a few horror gift giveaways to brighten your Christmas season. Each will be different and announced on Twitter so if you don’t follow me, you might want to. Details will follow on the first prize announced tomorrow.

So, get ready for the unholy number of days as we countdown to Christmas day and have the time of our life doing it. Bring it in. I have hugs for you.

Until the official start (late tonight) spread your love of the holiday and checkout Matt’s annual holiday fantasmo over at DinosaurDracula. It’s tradition, mang.

 

 

The Damn Double Down Is Back

I know it’s been a while since I have done another installment of “For A Limited Time Only” and for good reason. Between travel and the awful situation with my little dog buddy, there hasn’t been too much time for anything. But I am not going to let this one escape the vault of limited time items just because it’s too ridiculous not to include. The infamous KFC “Double Down” is back for a short time and it wants to kill you.

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I am not going to lie to you, I was a little embarrassed ordering this thing. I’ll explain what it is in a minute, just incase you are unfamiliar, but I almost wanted to ask for a vegetable to balance out the order. KFC, however, scoffs at the thought of anything good for you so I was forced to look like the guy who just doesn’t give a shit. (I also had a Texas Pete stain on my shirt which I found later this evening. Class act)

The Double Down is the fast food’s middle finger to the FDA, American Heart Association and Surgeon General. Since its inception back in 2010, it’s been called everything from the “Fankensandwich” to “the worst thing freedom has to offer”. Personally, I find it fascinating. Not because it has an entire days worth of sodium and weeks worth of saturated fat, but because there are people out there who will eat this as a low carb option. You know, to lose weight?

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“Jesus wept”

There she is. All 580 calories and it’s packed in a cute little box. Deconstructing the “sandwich” you have two fried chicken breasts, two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese and the Colonel’s secret sauce. Alone, these items seem harmless but when their forces combine they become the Double Down, champion of a fat ass.

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This is what it looks like to laugh in the face of danger. I tried it and I am still here. No better; no worse. The taste is exactly what I expected given the nutritional facts before hand. Just one bite (and I only had one bite) required a bottle of water from the sodium shock. And believe it or not, this comes in a grilled version however it has more sodium than the abomination you see above. That’s right, the Colonel has a plan of doom for everyone. Even the delusional who think they are healthier going the grilled route.

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I didn’t think eating a bite would harm me but I have heard the mere sight of this sandwich causes a rare form of sudden obesity. I don’t believe any of tha-

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Aw shit…

PETER LOOK AWAY!

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Sorry, man. Looks like the urban legend is true.

 

 

McBoo Pails…Sort Of.

As a kid nothing signified that Halloween was truly here like the launch of the McDonald’s Boo Pales. I am guessing the first ones came out around 1986 which carried strong all the way through the 90’s and then something happened. Maybe kids got fat and Burger University did a study and came to the conclusion that tradition and awesomeness was to blame? Whatever the reason, the Boo Pails disappeared for a few years leaving me sad and broken with nowhere to put candy that it can marinate in french fry smell. But luckily for us nostalgia nuts, they brought them back in the mid-2000’s. Happy days were had by all until now, 2013.

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What the Hell is this? What does this have to do with Halloween? WHO SOLD THEIR SOUL TO DISNEY AND….GIRL TOY MAKER? You can actually hear the boardroom conversation where McDonald executives laugh evilly as they award contracts to Monster High, Star Wars, Lucas Film Ltd and Angry Birds. This sucks and I hate it.

And that is when I need to remind myself I am in my mid-30’s and what is neat to a six-year-old is probably total dog shit to me. I just hate when companies like these ride on the Halloween wave with no intention of giving a nod to the holiday. Or the people who made them a success.

Well, since I bought two of them I might as well see what they are all about.

Let us start with the girl bucket. (Or boy bucket if they so choose. I wouldn’t but that’s me.) From the Monster High toy line we see Frankie Stein and her diva face performing a hip 1960’s dance with a severed arm. Okay, I guess that is a little Halloween but it’s also clearly a year-round toy line so, I am sorry, it does not count.

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Inside the bucket we have the same old Happy Meal that you can get in April; a tiny french fry, burger or chicken nugget, apples and small drink. McDonald’s cuts a corner with the toy but does provide stickers which I am sure all parents will be chiseling off the TV and a link to a phone app where kids can play a game. This will make parents even happier. RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE SARCASM RABBLE RABBLE.

The Angry Bird Star Wars  bucket is exactly the same; stickers to be stuck somewhere and phone apps to smudge apple-sticky fingers on mom and dad’s iPhone screen. I don’t feel I need to give a side by side comparison.

 

The app is the only real Halloween themed part of the pails this year. I guess I am okay with this but McDonald’s really doesn’t hide the fact it’s all about low overhead. It’s as if the entire American society blamed little Fat Fatty Kevin’s obesity on puppet McNuggets dressed in Halloween costumes and demanded McDonald’s be lame and provide fruit.

Oh…wait. They actually did.

Let’s take a look at the app. Maybe there is some soul preserving qualities here.

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“Hey kids, this is advertising!”

Noooo shit, McDonald’s. I guess it’s just a little funny to see them state that in such a way. It’s even funnier that they are addressing kids when clearly it’s meant for adults (with no life) who care.

Okay, I feel the spooky vibe they are giving here. It’s very much like an Angry Bird skill where you pull the ball back and try to land it in the cauldron using trajectory and a bit of gentle skill. The hilarity begins when you have to collect vegetables, protein and fruit. Notice how the protein is a fish?

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Who does McDonalds think they are? I bought two buckets to write this review and Lord knows I don’t have any self-control so I ate two tiny fries, a hamburger, four chicken nuggets, two sprites and half an apple that I am sure is 40% preserves. Absolutely nothing in this meal is good for me or for my diet (yes, I am on a diet) so to have a game where you need to collect a carrot, a fish and a pear gives me the giggles. Sorry McD’s, you ain’t health no matter what you shove at kids. Sure, deep-fried meat pellets have protein but they also have fat-butt.

In conclusion I will say, I looked forward to what McDonalds was going to bring to the season since August. Not that I feel good about buying kids meals at 11pm and getting the weird eye from the McDonalds employee who HAS ONLY ONE EYE but I feel that a bit of my childhood is alive in Boo Pales and kids of today should experience them without having shit they already enjoy everyday plastered all over it. LET IT BE HALLOWEEN AND UNHEALTHY! IT WON’T KILL ANYONE!

D Minus. Try again next year.

 

 

 

Four Drinks That Are Terrible For You. But Fun.

I think this is a good time to write this particular post since I am beyond exhausted after a hellish trip to nowhere. Literally, I ended up nowhere only to come into work destroyed and ready for another weekend. I half blame US Air and half blame the fucking asshole who took my briefcase when I was shutting my eyes after not sleeping for a day. But that is history and now I want to tell you about themed energy drinks from pop culture gold. Ba-zing.

I found these tucked in the far back aisle of the Five Below store. If you are unfamiliar with the Five Below store, it’s like a general store but specifically for an eleven-year-old girl. Why was I there, you ask? I needed 3 foot long Twizzlers and I heard they sold them. They did. But in that endeavor, I also found these.

Okay, let’s get this one out-of-the-way. I know almost nothing about My Little Ponies and to be honest, I needed a tough and macabre background just to save a little dignity for this site. But who am I kidding, I kissed dignity bye-bye a long time ago. You will notice the Famous Monsters magazine from an older post as the backdrop and 3-D Monster dot com’s art in sticker form below the can. I say that makes up for a girl toy.

Anyway, Rainbow Dash’s Fizzy Cherry Splash energy drink is something you never want to feed a kid. Why it exists at all, I have no idea. It is a pink sour drink that only has a purpose to quickly transport 28 grams of sugar into the veins for an instant up and a terrible crash. If you give this to an eight year old girl she will grow a beard, jump on the roof and start singing “Strange Love” by Depeche Mode until the high disappears leaving her trapped on the roof. Then you will need to throw up another can but she will only be chasing the dragon, much like what Rainbow Dash is appeared to be doing. It’s a sad and twisted cycle. But what do you expect when you read “Hasbro” on the side of an edible product?

To sum this up, take a cherry Otter Pop and melt it. Then add a wee little bit of carbonation and ta-da, you have Fizzy Cherry Splash. And it will kill you.

Here we are! Pac-Man will always save the day when it comes to weird novelty items. There is something that is timeless about the big ol’ wheel of ghost eating cheese. I never got into the spinoff cartoon or future video games that expanded on the Pac-Man universe so it’s hard for me to really understand his diet. I guess it was primarily ghost sheets, an occasional cherry and a lot of Kix cereal? But we are drifting from the drink.

It’s not quiet as in-your-face-terrible-for-you like the My Little Pony energy drink because this one actually has vitamin B and B12. Not a lot but hey, even 1% is better than none. The flavor is pretty tough to put a finger on especially when the color hints at cherry but it’s not. The can doesn’t even help. The closest guess I had was either cyanocobalamin or hydrochloride. HYDROCHLORIDE??? What the fuck am I drinking? Isn’t that what takes the algae off house siding? What ever it is, the taste is closest to Juicy Fruit. Poisonous, poisonous Juicy Fruit.

Power up with Nintendo Power! Boy, if there is something that will get me to look away from a burning car for a second it’s a glimpse of Nintendo nostalgia. It’s not that I was really into Nintendo growing up all that much (unless you are talking about Super Mario 2) but it’s just gets me warm and fuzzy. And the thought of getting a real 1up in a can from Mario makes me warmer.

God, that last sentence doesn’t sound good.

Upon tasting this Power Up energy drink it was equally mysterious in flavor. So I compared the Pac-Man drink against this one and it was like comparing two blank sheets of paper. Then I realized I am an idiot and confirmed both energy drinks are the exact same. I felt like I had been looking for my sunglasses in the house and being pissed off at how dark things are only to find them. On my face.

Yes folks, it’s all in the packaging so if you want to know how this energy drink tastes, try to remember what you just read above.

This next drink deserves a little more attention. So I shot a video.

Well folks, there you have it. A few energy drinks from iconic 80’s and 90’s pop culture and it only cost me a year off my life and possible tooth abrasion. I do it all for you.

The evil geniuses behind these drinks are the good people of Boston America Corp. I guess I should thank them.

Goodbye

Well, I guess this was coming. I mean, I post about as regular as Jamie Lee Curtis. (Activia joke) I need to get a different forum and narrow the topic to a specific direction. While Veggiemacabre has been great, I am a different person than 2007. Maybe better or maybe worse but not the same. I loved this place and the people I have met through it.

I know Matt ended X-E and started DinosaurDracula. This is sort of the same thing but going forward you will see more of a media side since I have invested so much into software. I have a vision and as soon as the know-how happens you’ll see. Thank you for a wonderful five years. Watch below to get the skinny.

By the way, Veggiemacabre.tv will still be here. Just leaving this blog.

Good Journey!

Comfort Holiday Food or CHF For Short

Wow, I never thought a title could be so stupid until I actually saw it typed. And yes, it is amazingly bad so I will leave it. Then again, it does cut to the point of this pointless blog and today I am writing about an easy concoction that any dude can follow. Seriously, if you can’t make this I…I just feel for you. Turn your kitchen into an indoor pool or something because you are obviously like Ozzy Osbourne trying to make breakfast. So let’s get started on this holiday-cold weather-need a sweater-don’t care about calorie CHF for the season: Will-Bill’s take on Shepard’s Pie.

Have you ever had truly authentic Irish food? Not what you were thinking, was it? No, these folks are great at whiskey but when it comes to food in Ireland, I can say from experience, you need an unassuming tongue. But what do I know? I hail from the land of Cheeseburgers. And that being said I have turned Shepard’s Pie into just that…a mashed-up cheeseburger.

First on the list of list is to brown the meat. I always go with the 80/20 because I saw Alton Brown cooking with it on TV and if it’s on TV it has to be right. With the meat I usually add a table-spoon of salt and pepper but thanks to the good people at McCormick, they have their own version that I add to almost everything now.

McCormick’s Grill Mates have a Montreal Steak seasoning that is good on almost everything. If you are worried about your sodium level, they boast to have 20% less salt but lets face it, it’s still a shit load of salt. THIS IS COMFORT FOOD! Read about seaweed and poached kale diets on some other blog. Douse this seasoning liberally to your meat and continue to brown.

Ah, nature’s flavor sponges. I take a package of mushrooms and quarter them. Why do quarter them and not slice, you ask? I really think they are better this way. Don’t worry, mushrooms absorb everything so they shrink. They’ll still fit.

No dinner that I cook is void of these three ingredients: jalapeno, garlic and onion. I chop the jalapeno into halves and add them to the meat right away. (Don’t forget the seeds!) Next I slap-chop the garlic and onion to oblivion. God I love the SlapChop. The only thing I hate though is removing the damn skins from the garlic. But there is no way around it so I guess I will always have to do the whole smash, cuss and peel method. See below.

Alright, the meat is drained (often), and the garlic, pepper, onion and ‘shooms are added. I reduce the heat, cover  and let the mix…mix. Now go to the fridge and get a second beer. GO TO THE FRIDGE AND GET A SECOND BEER!!!

While you are giving the mushrooms time to simmer and soak in the jalapeno and garlic, it’s time to bring out the second phase. I call it “Phase Two”. We are adding one and a half cans of cream of mushroom soup (fat-full kind) and one can of drained whole corn. Usually peas are added too but a certain someone who will be eating this hates peas. I can’t think of a substitute so corn is going solo.

When you feel that the mushrooms have taken in all flavor they can we add the soup and corn, cover and let simmer for about five minutes or so on low heat. By now the smell of garlic should be chasing all vampires out of you attic. I assume that your beer is almost done so head over to the fridge and get another. If I have to say it one more time….IF I HAVE TO SAY IT ONE MORE TIME!!!!!!

We are almost there so next comes the third phase or as I like to call it, “Alpha one”. You need to bring four cups of water to a boil in a medium size pot. Once you have achieved a boil, remove the pot from the heat and pour in two bags of Idahoan instant potatoes and whip with a fork until firm. Why instant and not real? Because I’m not a real cook. These potatoes take less time than Kraft Mac&Cheeze so be ready for them. And by read I mean you need to pour the meat’n-stuff into a cooking pan like so…

God, that looks like the worst brownie in the world, doesn’t it? I looks like you invited an old Eastern Euro-Bloc guy to a holiday office party an assigned him deserts to bring. He would say, “I vill bring brownies for holiday party and you vill like!”. I imagine he would look like this.

I forgot what we were doing. How’s your beer?

Now we pour the potatoes over the Bosnia Brownie (I served 3 consecutive years over there. Let me have that joke!) and spread them over the top much as you would ice a cake.

For the final phase or Phase “I don’t know, Margo” we will add an entire bag of cheese. Generally I use cheddar but when I see the word “new” on a bag I buy it immediately. Now, I forgot to tell you to preheat the oven to 375 but I assume you aren’t reading this in realtime as you cook. If you are, then I love you. But sorry, you need to preheat the oven to 375. Time for another beer or SO HELP ME! Cover the whole…casserole(?) with aluminum foil and bake this masterpiece for 25 minutes.

After all that work you should be looking at something similar to this. Wait till it cools before digging in. I feel like I have to say that for some reason. This is an easy dinner that most anyone will like unless they hate beef, mushrooms, garlic, cheese, potatoes, onions, jalapenos or life. In that case there are TV dinners.

ANNOUNCEMENT! The Practical Cook and I are challenging each other to a video review where we assign one another to holiday items to, well, review. Later today I take on that challenge and it will be posted right here. Rock on and be merry, Harry!

You Eat It

Not so long ago I was cruising around the word of  Wordpess looking at all the different food blogs with personally posted recipes while Man vs Food on The Travel Channel created the perfect background noise. It was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening and tonight, I think I will share one of my own. A word of warning though, I am not the greatest cook. In fact, when I cook meatloaf it never loafs. So I just call it “meat’n stuff”. But I will say this dish I am sharing is pretty damn good.

So let’s begin. I just came back from the store and when I decide to cook this particular dish, I really look for the freshest stuff and even go as far as organic. Though, sometimes organic just means paying 2 bucks for an apple that tastes like it has been bobbed out of the toilet.

Here’s what to get:

  • 3lbs of Italian sausage (I get hot but sweet works as well)
  • 2lbs of broccoli
  • 1.5lbs of bowtie pasta
  • Small container of parmesan cheese
  • Two packages of sliced mushrooms
  • Whole garlic
  • 2tbs of salt
  • 2tbs of parsley
  • 1tbs of garlic powder

Here we are browning the hot sausage. Whoohoo! Look at it go. Actually this dish requires multitasking so I brown it on medium high heat with a tablespoon of garlic powder added and drain every few minutes.

While the sausage is browning I dice up a few garlic cloves and place them in a medium sauce pan with extra virgin olive oil (E.V.O.O as Mega-Mouth says) and let it sizzle for a few minutes on high. I love this part because it smells up the whole house and people who don’t know better believe I am a great chef.

After the garlic permeates the air…and clothes, it’s time to add the mushrooms and cover them with a thin layer on E.V.O.O.. I usually add a tablespoon of salt and parsley but that is just me. I’ve learned in life that people are particular with their mushrooms and I would hate to upset the balance of nature pushing people to salt them unneccesarily. So, up to you.

Now that we have two items cooking a way I take the time to prep the broccoli. I basically chop it into florets and ditch any stem that is longer than a half inch. And I do so sing this:

After the meat is browned and the ‘shooms are all marinated in the EVOO and garlic, it’s time to combine the two!

Make sure to drain the meat but not the mushrooms. We need that juice to mix with the parmesan cheese later. I usually let these two mix on low heat and let it stand uncovered. Now lets boil some water and watch it!

You’re going to need about a pound and a half of bowtie pasta so this is how I eyeball it. Still, to this day, the art of boiling many types of noodles to that perfect consistency eludes me. This particular noodle, however, I have mastered. It takes 13 minutes.

I couldn’t find the bottom of my steam pan so I needed to get a little creative. This is me steaming the broccoli over the boiling noodle water in a plastic drainer. Not ideal but when broccoli needs to be steamed, you do what you have to.

So here we are. Everything is cooked and ready to be combined. All I need is a bigger pot but I guess I can use two. It’s nice to have enough to drop off to a busy friend or neighbor.

The last thing to do is to add a lot of parmesan. Remember how we kept all the mushroom sauce? Yeah, the cheese acts as sort of a corn starch and it creates an amazing garlic-y sauce that sets this dish apart. Behold, the glory of cooking for yourself for around $20. And it lasts for a long time.

Halloween Came…and Left. Turkey

Well, all the October hype for a pretty uneventful Halloween. But isn’t that the way it always goes? I never know what I am really expecting to have happen each year but when November first arrives, I have a little bit left to be desired. Next year I think I may just sit in the most sincere pumpkin patch I can find and wait for…November first.

I did manage to dress up this year and go to a couple of parties with friends. (yes, I have them) Still recovering from a pneumonia bout, I really wasn’t my usual self and going crazy wasn’t really in the cards. Too bad too because everyone else was. Check out the costume I made for $10! If I ever have kids, this is the type of costumes they are going as.

So now that this Halloween business is over it’s time to press ahead to what is rapidly becoming my favorite holiday; Thanksgiving. This is a perfect holiday. There are no expectation, just friends and family. Oh and turkey, beer, eggnog, football, putting up the tree, pumpkin pie, stuffing, Macy’s Day Parade, the annual showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a morning marathon and beer. Did I already mention beer? Of course I did and to press ahead with Fall to Winter here is another beer review. These are getting spaced out and we still have the Tumble on-board but just wait for the winter selection! We have one “on scene” too!

So, I am still pretty ill in this one and while drinking beer isn’t the best idea, I sacrifice for you. Sorry I look like h double hockey sticks. Oh and the creepy beginning and end. Thanks for watching and please, try a few of these if you can find them. We wouldn’t steer you wrong. Unless you don’t like beer then we will steer you into a tree.

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