Articles by " Athena Flint"
1 Apr
2015

Happy Birthday to the Mother of Pern

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The word-smith herself.

When I was young, I spent a very large portion of my life living in Pern.
Clearly, I mean that I read Anne McCaffrey books a lot. I do not mean that I actually owned dragons. You would be reading that from a Newspaper, not our blog, if that were the case.

My first ever Pern book was Dragonsong. I remember finding it on a dark corner shelf in my school library. There were dragons, and there was music, so I was sold just based on the title. What I didn't realize at the time was that I was about to dive head and heart first into my very favorite imaginary world.

Anne McCaffrey set quite a bold path for women writers in Science Fiction. She was the first woman to win the Hugo award as well as the Nebula Award. And just as she was a strong woman in her field, her female characters had the same strength. When she wrote Restoree, a book that features an amazing woman who is hell bent on surviving being abducted by an alien race, McCaffrey explained: "I was so tired of all the weak women screaming eicher001ain the corner while their boyfriends were beating off the aliens. I wouldn't have been—I'd've been in there swinging with something or kicking them as hard as I could."

You Go, Anne McCaffrey. You kick those Alien Butts. <3

In honor of Anne McCaffrey's Birthday, I suggest you take a trip to Pern and find your own dragon.

26 Mar
2015

Cooking with Kards: 50 Shades of Kale

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That's my "50 shades of what now?" face.

Well, since the world has just finished reeling from the whole 50 shades of Grey moving THING that happened, I figured now was the perfect time for me to review 50 shades of Kale. Kale is in now, guys. And this cookbook is all about teaching you how to treat it right.

Seriously. the first chapter, Submit to Her Charms, includes a section called "How to Treat Her Right". They weren't messing around with the whole 50 shades theme. This books is strangely.... sexual? about Kale. but like, not in a scary way.

For real though, if you know someone who is obsessed with Kale and has a sense of humor, this is like the perfect gift for them. because it's yeah. you love kale. You love her hard. and fresh. and wet. It's funny, guys.

So there are over 50 recipes in this book, and I was tempted by a lot of them. I mean, there's Kale omelets, energy drinks, ramen, bloody marys, sorbet, steak fajitas, SO MANY THINGS. with Kale.

I actually chose two recipes to try, but was only able to make one of them, do to a fruit incident. (The Kiwis were like rock hard for a week and then they were still rock hard and I gave up on them) So, for your reading pleasure, I have reviewed the wonderful yumtastic mushroom and kale risotto.

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mmmmm cooking.

So. I'm going to be honest, this recipe had one (pretty significant) flaw that I didn't notice until it was too late. The instructions call for 5 cups of thinly chopped Kale. because, you know it's a Kale recipe book. Problem is, after the ingredients list, kale is never mentioned again.

Yeah. That's right. In the KALE cookbook, they forgot to include the KALE.

So, I didn't figure this out until I was most of the way done making the risotto. My decision was to throw the kale in with the rice to cook down. and it was successful. but I have no idea what was ACTUALLY supposed to happen with it. whatevs.

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a somewhat fuzzy picture of the final product. I should have taken another one but then my food was gone. Because I ate it.

The risotto was SO YUMMY guys. it was a really nice earthy, filling, fantastic hot meal of goodness. The flavor of mushroom was not at all overwhelming, it was nice and subtle, and I mean, you couldn't really taste the kale at all. For those of you who think they don't like Kale, you should just pretend that there is no Kale and you will still love it. And get lots of vitamins and stuff because Kale is a superfood or something like that. Even Ellen says so.

Anyway, I seriously recommend this book, for multiple reasons.

1. The recipes look amazing, and the one that I tried was FOR SURE amazing.
2. Just think of all the people who will get a kick out of seeing this in your Kitchen. "50 shades of KALE? whaaaat?" And then you can be like, right? it's cray. *cue giggles*
3. Imagine how fun it will be to drink that Kalejito while reading the other recipes out loud in your sexy voice. Go ahead. try some of this quotes out. You know you want to: "melted cheese and golden onions in this omelette are guaranteed to induce lust, but it's the mushrooms that will bring you to your knees." Not convinced?  Stop by the store. I'll read some of it FOR you. in my sexy voice. And if you're lucky, I'll break out 50 shades of Chicken too.

 

Mushroom and Kale Risotto

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound assorted mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion or 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or rosemary
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup risotto rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano. (Or, just regular rice.)
1 cup dry white wine
5 ounces kale, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
½ cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon cracked lack pepper

Place the broth in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme and salt. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid and the onion starts to soften. Add the rice and cook 1 minute more, stirring once or twice.

Add the wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until the liquid is completely absorbed. Add the Kale! Continue to add ½-cup amounts of the broth as the rice cooks, for a total of about 30 minutes, until the rice is softened but still al dente. Stir in half of the cheese and the butter. Sprinkle with the black pepper. Serve immediately with the remaining cheese.

 

 

22 Mar
2015

Happy Birthday, Wonder Woman!

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Wonder Woman: As beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury

If there is one thing I have learned (YET AGAIN) from following the news on the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, it is this: DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS. *sigh*

So in case you don't know, Wonder Woman's first live action, solo film will be out in 2017.
I am already anxious. and excited. And the rest of the internet has all the other emotions in the world as well.

So let me be completely upfront with y'all. Yesterday I knew next to nothing about Wonder Woman. But I volunteered to write this blog because I wanted to learn some things about her. And I have!

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This lady will totes kick the bad guy's butt.

Here are some of the fun things I learned:

- Wonder Woman is FREAKING AWESOME. nuff said about that one.

- The creator of Wonder Woman was William Moulton Marston, the same guy who invented the polygraph! (Hence WW's Magic Lasso of Truth!) Marston's wife suggested that he make a female super hero, and he took that and ran with it. Fun fact, Marston and his wife were polyamorous, and he based Wonder Woman's character on the best features of his wife AND his girlfriend lover. Apparently they were super rad gals.

-  Marston created Wonder Woman partly because he thought women were way better at things than men. This apparently stemmed from his research for the polygraph he was inventing... In his experience, women were far less likely to lie.  I could tell you lots more about Marston and Wonder Woman's creation process because it's really really interesting, but you should probably go read things directly from experts that are not me.

But here is a really great quote from Marston: "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."

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Wonder Woman will be played by Gal Gadot, an Israeli actress who isn't known for much just yet, but hopefully they know what they're doing.

- Because DC did a number of reboots, Wonder Woman has multiple 'canon' backstories. (In one of them, she was made of clay and breathed to life, because she don't need no daddy) Her die-hard fans don't all agree on which one is the 'Real' backstory, which is partly why this upcoming movie is already causing drama. The movie makers have chosen to run with Wonder Woman's ties to Greek Gods, and some people reallllly don't like that. But maybe it will be okay. Maybe the movie will be so awesome that all the fans will be like, oh okay. that's cool. But who am I kidding. Everyone knows how popular rioting is. Sigh.

- Wonder woman has been around for about 80 years, but aside from like one or two comics,  it wasn't until recently that she had any female writers! Here is a fanTAStic article by Jodi Picoult, one of Wonder Woman's writers. 

So, I'm going to leave it at that. Hopefully, now you're all super interested about Wonder Woman and want to go read even more about her! I know I do. Seriously. I'm a fan now. Which makes sense because my name is Athena.

18 Mar
2015

Cue the Cringing! It’s Awkward Moments Day!

I am the queen of awkward moments.

The other day (Once upon a time) I was working at the store, and someone decided to make me use a ladder. All was going well until I decided that I would just.... step backwards off the ladder. From NOT the bottom step. CUE VERY LOUD FALLING NOISE!

So that's like a level one cringe. the part that made it a level five cringe is that as I'm there, laying on the floor in the silence that has dropped over the whole store, my gut instinct was NOT to laugh and be like, It's cool guys. I'm alive.

No. My gut instinct was to let out a guttural ROAR.

AUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHGHHHGHGHGH!

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I'M SCREAMING

So just imagine, you're shopping at Kards. It's a lovely weekend day, and you're giggling to yourself about the instant underpants we sell (one of the TWO varieties we have in stock). And then you hear a large crash of doom. And then, a SCREAM THAT SOUNDS LIKE DEAMONS ARE COMING OUT OF SOMEONE'S THROAT.

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Cas thinks I'm a little crazy. But he'd never tell me. He's too nice.

Yeah. That's awkward. and possibly scary. But mostly awkward, because some girl just stopped the whole store in their tracks by Rage Roaring.

This is just one VERY SMALL instance of me being an awkward person. I have many MANY stories. In fact, sometimes, in my darkest moments I sit in a dark corner and think of all the very painfully awkward things I have done. The good news is that my life is not a Will Ferrell movie yet. But it might be a little Zoolander.... :/ Yeah. That's a little awkward.

But you know what? I'm okay with that.
We're all a little awkward, aren't we?
Right?
Guys. Right?
Oh. It's just me? Well..... that's awkward.

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11 Mar
2015

Raise a glass to Johnny Appleseed!

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Johnny Appleseed didn't need shoes.

Bonus points if it's a glass of crisp apple cider!

You remember Johnny Appleseed, right? He was this super rad guy who decided to roam the wilderness with nothing but a tin cup for a hat and a bag full of apples. He roamed the great land of America eating apples and planting the seeds wherever he went. He didn't wear shoes, and was one with nature. He had feet so durable that he was once bitten on the foot by a rattlesnake and just shrugged it off.

Johnny Appleseed was the Father Christmas of the frontier. Except instead of presents, he just gave out apple seeds. And also he didn't just come one night a year. And also, he didn't really wear a red coat or anything. Okay, so maybe not Father Christmas.

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There was at one time a real Johnny Appleseed Stamp!

The very best part about the legend of Johnny Appleseed is that it is a story about a real person. John Chapman started his journey at age 18 (around 1790!). He would collect appleseeds for free from cider houses and plant nurseries of apple trees in the wilderness so that when the pioneers arrived they wouldn't have to wait ten years for their first harvest. (Because it takes Apple trees about 10 years to produce fruit.) He spent about 50 years traveling the northeastern and midwestern United States. (they weren't quite united at the time, clearly.)

There is, of course, one VERY big difference between the myth and the truth: The apples trees that John Chapman planted were not for producing delicious crisp apples for eating. No. At the time, apple's main purpose was to form the hard cider that was the most common drink at the time. you know... instead of water. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a time where you just drank hard cider all the time?? YUM.

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John Chapman's memorial in Johnny Appleseed Park, IN

 

According to some, there is one tree left alive that was planted by John Chapman. The tree is about 180 years old and lives in Nova, Ohio. Sadly, many of the other apple trees from Chapman's time were cut down during Prohibition. The FBI was like, what? These apples aren't for eating? they're just for alcohol? Well I guess we'll have to destroy this whole acre to keep you all from breaking the law. Jerks.

 

 

When I was young, we celebrated Johnny Appleseed day at school buy bringing apples to eat for lunch. Now that I'm older, I get to celebrate the REAL way: with a cold glass of Hard Cider.

Celebrate responsibly, folks! No Rattlesnake bites are necessary! 

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Cheers!

 

4 Mar
2015

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

american-gods-1Okay, I'll be brutally honest. Sometimes I'm a skimmer. Sometimes I just really get so invested in a book that I skip paragraphs so that I can learn what happens next. It's a really bad habit that I'm trying to fix.

There is one book that I've read, however, that sucked me in so solidly that I read every sing word and lingered on all of them. This is that book. In fact, when I read this book, instead of rushing through it eagerly, I was so invested and interested and everything that I would put the book down for days after each chapter because I just really really didn't want it to end. To some people it might sound a little backwards that the book that I love the most is one that took ages to read. But it's how it happened.

I have read American Gods three times now. And each time, it was even better, and more full of hidden bits of truth and secrets.  The very first time I read American Gods, I was in Ireland for six months. I was already surrounded by this feeling of magic behind the leaves of the world, and the hope that maybe I would see a fairy over the next hill. Reading a tale of Gods in our world while living in a place where there were surely fairies was intense. Magical. Wonderful.

But you don't have to be in Ireland to feel the magic in this book. Okay, maybe magic is a strange word.... Power? Mysticism? It definitely instills a sense of mystery, of pondering. It is not a happy magic. It's a magic that drinks your darkness and eats you up in the night.

I highly recommend this book. In fact, if someone comes into the store and asks for a book recommendation, this is my second choice. (My first is Good Omens, because it's lighter, and sometimes people just don't have energy for a book that pulls you alllll the way in.) But if you are a fan of Neil Gaiman at ALL, you must read this book.

Also, side note, if you read this book once and liked it, you should probably read it again. It's now available in the 'Author's Preferred Text' version, which is how Neil wishes it had be done the first time around. So you should read that version for sure!!

 

 

27 Feb
2015

Cooking with Kards: True Blood Holy Hoecakes

Here at Kards, we love good food. We are pretty proud of our interesting selection of cookbooks. I mean, if you don't know already, we are the #1 go to spot to get any books by Jamie Oliver or the Barefoot Contessa. We are the fans.

Recently, I thought it would be a fun idea to try to learn how to cook things. And of course, I turned to the cookbook section here at KU. I mean, where else can I find a whole book full of recipes that all use Heinz ketchup AND  50 Shades of Chicken. (or Kale! 50 shades of Kale. Who wrote these things???)

Now, the people who work here all have varied opinions about the 'best' cookbook, but in the interest of starting a really awesome conversation with you, our lovely readers. I've decided to try out some recipes and tell you how they went. And also hope that you all share your favorite recipes with us!! Spread the food love! Bring Samples! ... Okay, well you don't have to bring us samples, but we would totally eat the heck out of them...

This brings us to my first recipe review/ discussion!!! Are you ready for it? Truebloodcover
DUN DUN DUNNNN
True Blood; Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps. 

If you are a fan of True Blood, you should probably check this thing out. It has recipes from like all the main characters, and they all have blurbs written in the character's voice. It's pretty dang cool.

Also, the food looks pretty NOM worthy. And the drinks are totally fun things to get you in the Vamp mood.  There is a basic recipe for a "Ruby mixer" which is supposed to be just like Trueblood. ...you know. Without the blood.

For my first Recipe I chose Letie Mae Davis' Holy Hoecakes. (It comes right before the recipe for Stake and Eggs. Get it?)

Holy Hoecakes are basically a corn meal pancake. The secret is that you cook them in bacon grease. YEAH BACON.

These things are ridiculously easy to make, and they have only like 4 ingredients. I used regular yellow cornmeal instead of the white cornmeal it asked for, mostly because I couldn't find white corn meal at the grocery store. And it took me like 10 minutes to make them. (not including bacon cooking time....)

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This was my final product! So good! So easy!

The end result was pretty delish. They're kind of like pancakes, but dense. But hot diggity dog, put some maple syrup on them and they were like way good to go. YUM!

So if any of you lovely people own the Trueblood cookbook, or any other cookbook, we would really like to hear all about your delish (or not so?) meals! Send pictures! We will make you famous.

Peace Out, Kard-lovers!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white (or yellow) cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (rendered from about 4 slices bacon), plus more as needed
  • Maple syrup or cane syrup, for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine the cornmeal and salt in medium bowl. While stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, pour in the boiling water in a steady stream. Beat until smooth. Let stand a few minutes.
  2. Heat the bacon fat in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot (but not smoking), reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. For each hoecake, drop about 2 tablespoons of the cornmeal mixture into the skillet and pat gently into a flat circle, about 4 inches in diameter. Cook several hoecakes at a time until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side, turning with a wide spatula. Transfer to a plate. If needed, add more bacon fat to the skillet to make the remaining hoecakes.
  4. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve.
22 Feb
2015

Curling is Cool! (February 23rd! It’s a National Holiday, guys!)

....no I don't mean curling your hair. If anything, that's hot. (ba-dum-shhhh) get it?

 

I first fell in love with curling, not through watching the sport itself, but because I was in love with the Canadian actor Paul Gross. I decided to watch all the movies he had ever made (all of which are pretty damn good, even the weird ones!). The movie that made me fall in love with curling, the sport, is called Men With Brooms.

That tag line, guys. Also, yes. Leslie Nielsen. Sometimes he's even a serious person in this movie.

Okay, so this movie is a Rom Com, but it is also a heartfelt story about adults finally growing up and overcoming their fears. It features this curling team that reunites on a day long past their prime, solely because their former coach died and asked in his will that the team play (and win) with the rock (curling stone, for those of you who need translation) that now contains his ashes. Yes, that's what I meant.

Through the movie's exploration of curling, I found myself absolutely falling in love with the sport. And I'm not a sport person. (When I was young, I told my teachers that my favorite sport was reading. Seriously.) They talk about the sport with such reverence that it is almost impossible to not feel your whole world shifting a little. Suddenly that shot of a guy sliding down the ice, gently but forcefully convincing a giant rock to land right on the button is just magical.

And of course, the movie is just chalk full of the strangest humor.... I mean it has Leslie Nielsen in it. He plays a former curling champion who now lives on his farm growing mushrooms. (The special kind, duh.)

So, I seriously recommend celebrating today's holiday, Curling is Cool Day, by finding a copy of this wonderful movie and falling in love with the sport.

Oh, and if you know someone who is a Die-hard curling fan, don't forget to stop by and get one of our Curling is Cool greeting cards! (We have cards for everything, don't you know.)