Your new favorite IP dinner

A friend turned me onto a popular Instant Pot butter chicken recipe. With a few tweaks, it became a huge hit in my house! So I’m posting it here to share. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Eight servings

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
6 cloves to a whole head of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. grated ginger (keep it frozen for easy grating with your Microplane)
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (more if you roll that way)
1 Tbsp. ground sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 pounds chicken thighs (you can use skinless/boneless and/or breasts if you prefer; frozen is OK)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
Chopped fresh cilantro
Plain yogurt

  1. In your Instant Pot, on Saute, melt the butter and coconut oil. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, garam masala, cumin, and salt, and let bloom for a minute. Add canned tomatoes and mix thoroughly. Place the chicken pieces on top of the sauce.
  2. Lock the lid into place. Select Manual, and adjust the pressure to High. Cook for ten minutes (12 minutes if using frozen chicken pieces).
  3. Let the pressure release naturally. Unlock the lid. Carefully remove the chicken and chop into cubes.
  4. Add the coconut milk. Using an immersion blender, whizz the contents of the pot into a smooth sauce.
  5. Add the chopped chicken back to the sauce. You can rewarm it if needed.
  6. Serve over rice (or, if you are low-carb like me, shirataki noodles. My current fave is Miracle Noodles.) Top with chopped cilantro and a scoop of plain thick yogurt.

(By the way, the links on my blog are Amazon Affiliate links. I use Amazon to obtain each of those tools and ingredients, and I offer the links to you as a convenient way to do the same.)

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Pestorama!

The earthy morning scent of fall is getting stronger, so even though I’m not ready for summer to end yet, it’s clearly time to yank the basil. I had four Genovese plants that were big and bushy, all trying their best to sneak their flowers under my nose. I pulled ’em out whole, and stuck their roots into a bucket of water. The fragrant bouquet graced my back porch for a few days, until I made it to Costco for the rest of the supplies. Tonight was the big Pestoing!

The first step was to pick the leaves off of the plants:IMG_20170831_202507.jpg

My biggest Tupperware bowl, filled with leaves:IMG_20170831_205404.jpg

Gather up all our ingredients:IMG_20170831_210556.jpg

Pulse the garlic, pine nuts, and salt:IMG_20170831_210709.jpg

Add the leaves:IMG_20170831_210803.jpg

It smells better than it looks, and tastes even better than it smells!IMG_20170831_210839.jpg

Linc gives it a go:IMG_20170831_211621.jpg

Pesto is the besto!IMG_20170831_211835.jpg

We got seven bags, each about 12.5-13 ounces! That’s over FIVE POUNDS of goodness:IMG_20170831_214408.jpg

Now some folks insist you need to break out the mortar and pestle (after all, the fact that the words “pesto” and “pestle” are so similar isn’t an accident). But if you have a LOT of basil to process, and your kitchen assistants have limited attention spans, you’ve got to call in the big guns sometimes.

Pesto In Bulk

In a food processor with a large bowl, pulse together:
• 2/3 cup pine nuts (no need to toast them)
• 1 tsp. Kosher salt
• 6-8 cloves of peeled garlic, depending on the size

Add to the bowl and process until all the leaves are worked in (but not totally obliterated):
• 4 cups fresh basil leaves (rinsed, dried, all garden stowaways shaken off, and picked from the main woody stems… don’t use the flowers, they are bitter)

Remove the lid and blade, and use a flexible spatula to gently mix in:
• 2/3 cup grated Pecorino/Romano cheese
• 1/2 cup of the best olive oil you can afford

Makes about 12.5 oz. of pesto sauce, which should be plenty for about 3 pounds of cooked pasta. You can freeze it if you’re not going to use it in the next day or two, but be sure to leave plenty of time for your pesto to defrost… do NOT warm it up or use the microwave to defrost it! Heat will destroy your bright, beautiful flavors. When you want to use it, add it directly to the cooked, drained pasta, adding a quarter cup or so of reserved pasta water to help distribute the pesto evenly.

Mangia!

 

 

 

 

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Enchilasagna

What’s the saying? “Fast, good, cheap… pick two.” But I still like to go for the trifecta where I can, and this recipe nails it! I first had green chili enchiladas at a friend’s wedding, and didn’t stop pestering her until she gave me the recipe. I altered it a bit (because I’m lazy!) and now you can have it, too…

Green Chili Enchilasagna

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 T olive oil
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. salt
1-2 cups leftover chicken, shredded (a great use for the rest of that rotisserie bird, but not a good place for canned chicken. If you MUST, poach and shred a couple of breasts, but I much prefer leftover roasted chicken for this kind of hearty dish)
Small can of mild green chilis
8 oz. brick of cream cheese
1 large (28 oz.) can of green chili enchilada sauce
2-3 cups shredded quesadilla cheese (like Supremo Queso Chihuahua)
1 doz. fresh corn tortillas

Optional add-ins: cup of frozen corn, can of drained black beans, a chopped jalapeño, a diced zucchini, a can of drained black olives, a couple cloves of crushed garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, substitute pulled pork for the chicken… whatever sounds good to you! Enchiladas are less of a recipe than a technique. Feel free to be creative and try something offbeat!

Spray a 9″x13″ baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°.

Sauté onions and bell pepper in olive oil in a large skillet until soft. Add cumin and salt, stir. (Now would be a good time to incorporate any of the suggested add-ins, if you like, or just keep it simple.) Add chopped chicken and canned green chilis, and heat through. Add the entire brick of cream cheese, cover with the hot mixture, turn heat to low and let melt. Once it’s all gooey, turn off the heat and mix well.

Open your can of sauce and get a small ladle. Ladle a few spoonfuls of sauce into the baking pan and tip to let the sauce more or less cover the bottom.

Now it’s assembly time! Lay four corn tortillas to cover the bottom (I usually lay out three and break up the fourth to cover the open spaces, but don’t stress if it’s not a perfect layer). Scoop half the warm chicken mixture on top of the tortillas and spread. Sprinkle half of your quesadilla cheese over the meat. Pour about a third of your can of sauce over the cheese. Lay out four more tortillas, then the other half of the meat mixture, the rest of the cheese, and another third of the sauce. Lay out the final four tortillas, and pour the rest of the sauce over the top (try to make sure all of the tortillas get at least a little sauce on them).

Bake for half an hour, remove and let cool for about 10 minutes. I like to serve this with cilantro lime rice, shredded lettuce tossed with lime juice and salt and olive oil, sour cream, and some pickled jalapeños. (Please comment if you want instructions for any of those things, as well!)

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Misen Unboxing

One year and one day ago, I plunked down $60 for a Kickstarter campaign for a knife that Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats called “the holy grail” of kitchen cutlery: “Incredible quality and design, high-end materials, perfect balance, and a razor-sharp edge.” Swoon… I was hooked.

I’ve been working with my beloved Cooks Illustrated-recommended 8″ Victorinox chef’s knife for over eight years, but it’s had a few misadventures and been chipped and bent along the way. It’s still a fantastic deal at $45, but Kenji’s gushing and my desire for a grown-up knife pushed me over the edge and I took the plunge. I became a Misen backer.

Now, I’ve done enough Kickstarters to know how this goes. You pays your money and you takes your chances. My strategy is to mostly try to forget about the project, though I do take a peek at the emailed updates that are sent out. The less anxious I am about whether I threw away my money, the happier (and more pleasantly surprised) I am when the object actually arrives. This one was supposedly due in May; five months isn’t all THAT bad a delay. I figure I’m investing in someone learning a LOT about business, production, and customer relations in a short amount of time, so I wasn’t really all that worried. But still… I was curious, and when I got my notice telling me my knife was on the way, I admit that I started stalking the tracking page.

Today, the box arrived!

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The box arrives, a year and a day after pledging.

Snazzy, innit? One of the production issues that held up the delivery of the knife was the packaging, so since they went to all the trouble of redoing the packing materials, I figured I do a series of unboxing photos to properly appreciate their efforts.

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Opening the outer box…

Inside was a little shrinkwrapped packet that held the plastic knife guard that was a perk for Kickstarter supporters.

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Knife sheath

It’s plastic with some soft stuff inside. Nothing special, but yay for a free knife cover!

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Box (below) and slip cover

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. There’s a paperboard slipcover over the main box, which feels very solid and rigid. I was a little puzzled as to why they spent a nontrivial amount of money on the box presentation (I mean, you don’t have to convince us, we’ve already bought the darned thing, right?), until I remembered that our knives come with a lifetime sharpening service. So we’ll need a sturdy safe box to transport the knife back and forth… guess I’m going to hang on to the old Victorinox for the week or so that the Misen is out for her spa days!

img_20161021_190458

The Misen

There she is! Nestled in a bed of soft and sturdy foam, the Misen shines invitingly. There was a protective card that had some tips on how to hold and clean the knife on one side (they urge you to use the pinch method for better control and power)…

 

img_20161021_190510

Seven ways to cut a carrot…

and on the other side, some carrot bits for inspiration.

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A tale of two knives

I pulled out my Victorinox to compare the two. The biggest difference that I noticed immediately was the balance of the weight. I can balance the Misen with my finger right where the blade meets the handle, but if I put my Victorinox on my finger the same way, it pitches forward… this means I am always spending at least a little energy pushing down on the handle in an effort to keep the tip of the knife up, whereas with the Misen it sort of hovers in my hand effortlessly. I know it sounds kind of dumb now as I’m writing it, but it really does feel different. How much that extra effort spent to deny gravity costs me in wrist/arm fatigue, I have no idea. But it’s not nothing.

img_20161021_191208

Trial run

I would guess that, by far, the thing I chop the most with my chef knife is veggies, and the veggie I chop almost daily is onions. So I put the Misen through its paces, and found it to be very nice to use. I mean, it’s brand new and razor sharp, so I didn’t expect anything less. But there was no awkwardness or skipping, nothing felt strange, and the knife felt controlled and precise.

img_20161021_191340

The Victorinox

After I chopped half an onion, I tried the Victorinox to compare. It’s not at it’s sharpest right now, and it skipped along the surface of the onion a bit, but the biggest difference between it and the Misen was the height of the blade. The Victorinox has a taller blade, and it was definitely most noticeable when I was slicing the onion held between the thumb and fingers of my left hand… it was definitely harder to manipulate the knife because I had to tent my palm high over the cutting surface to make enough room for the knife to maneuver. The shorter knife was more nimble; it was easier to hold the onion, more stable, and closer to the cutting surface. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this feature will make the Misen a safer knife, as well.

 

If the Misen sounds like something you’d be interested in, the company is taking names for a waitlist for the second production run. If you’re wavering between the Victorinox or the Misen, I’d urge you to go with the Misen. But the company definitely has issues with their production times, so if you need a knife to work with right now, you will not be at all sorry to have the Victorinox in your hands. Still, I’m very happy with my Misen so far, and I’d love to hear from others who got one as well.

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Stick-to-your-ribs dinner

img_20160301_183318_24797134563_o

This is one of my go-to back-pocket wintertime dinners. So quick and easy, so delicious, and it’s even good for you! I’m posting it as part of my very slow-going project to create an online collection of my favorite recipes for my kids to have access to in case they ever have a hankerin’ for Mom’s cooking. (Vegetarians and vegans can just leave out the meat and up the beans for an additional protein boost.)

2 T. olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4-6 big cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
2-4 kielbasa sausages, cut in quarters lengthwise and then sliced
1 bunch of kale, chopped into bite-size bits (include the stems, they’re good too!)
2 cans of black beans (don’t need to drain)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Heat the oil in a big, heavy-bottomed pot. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft.

Add the sausage and kale, keep stirring until the kale wilts a bit.

Add in the beans, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and stir until combined. Add a little water if it seems too dry, and let it simmer a bit to let everyone get comfy with each other, maybe 10 minutes or so. You can also add a cup or two of broth to make it more soupy if you like.

If you don’t have tomatoes on hand, you can add a shot of balsamic vinegar to get the touch of acid. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe, just use what you have and it will be great!

Everytime I eat this, I feel like a swarthy Eastern European peasant who just finished clearing rocks out of the field. Hope you enjoy it, too!

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The Most Beautiful Animated Movies

thiefcobbler

So CineFix posted a video listing their top ten choices for most beautiful animated films of all time, along with mentions of a couple dozen runner-ups. I thought they were missing a few, and so did some of the commenters. In a surprisingly civil discussion (for YouTube, at any rate), I read many suggestions for other people’s top picks. I thought it would be nice to have the whole thing compiled into a single list, so I could quickly find a movie to watch when I had some downtime… and I figured someone else might like to see it as well, so I’m posting it to my (sadly neglected) blog.

Many commenters joined me in expressing great surprise that Richard Williams’ The Thief and The Cobbler (pictured above) had not made it onto the list. if you are any fan of animation history whatsoever, you MUST go watch the Recobbled Cut as soon as possible (link in the list below).

As of today, I’ve seen 62 of the 142 films listed below… I’d love to hear if you thought we missed one of your own favorites!

Enjoy!

CineFix’s Top Ten Most Beautiful Animated Films

Including directors, studio, country of origin, and year released

(plus 132 runner-ups and honorable mentions from the comments as of 9/3/2015)

(Compiled by me, the sole person to blame for errors)

  1. The Lion King (Roger Allers/Rob Minkoff Disney, USA 1994)

Runner-ups:

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Clyde Geronimi/Hamilton Luske/Wolfgang Reitherman, Disney, USA 1961)

Bambi (David Hand, Disney, USA 1942)

Sleeping Beauty (Les Clark/Eric Larson/Wolfgang Reitherman, Disney, USA 1959)

Treasure Planet (Ron Clements/John Musker, Disney, USA 2002)

The Prince of Egypt (Brenda Chapman/Simon Wells/Steve Hickner, DreamWorks, USA 1998)

Pocahontas (Mike Gabriel/Eric Goldberg, Disney, USA 1995)

Fantasia (Multiple segment directors, Disney, USA 1940)

Fantasia 2000 (Multiple segment directors, Disney, USA 1999)

  1. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, Pixar, USA 2008)

Runner-ups:

Ratatouille (Brad Bird, Pixar, USA 2007)

How to Train Your Dragon (Chris Sanders/Dean DeBlois, DreamWorks, USA 2010)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Dean DeBlois, DreamWorks, USA 2014)

Tangled (Nathan Greno/Byron Howard, Disney, USA 2010)

  1. The Boxtrolls (Graham Annable/Anthony Stacchi, Laika, USA 2014)

Runner-ups:

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick/Tim Burton, Touchstone, USA 1993)

Mary and Max (Adam Elliot, Melodrama Pictures, Australia 2009)

ParaNorman (Sam Fell/Chris Butler, Laika, USA 2012)

Coraline (Henry Selick, Laika, USA 2009)

  1. The Adventures of Prince Achmed/Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (Lotte Reiniger/Carl Koch [uncredited], Germany 1926)

Runner-up:

The Tale of the Fox (Irene Starevich/Ladislas Starevich, France, 1937)

  1. The Lego Movie (Phil Lord/Christopher Miller, USA 2014)

Runner-ups:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Phil Lord/Christopher Miller, Sony, USA 2009)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Cody Cameron/Kris Pearn, Sony, USA 2013)

  1. Waltz with Bashir/Vals Im Bashir (Ari Folman, Israel, 2008)

Runner-ups:

Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore, Cartoon Saloon, Ireland 2014)

The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore/Nora Twomey, Cartoon Saloon, Ireland 2009)

The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet, France 2010)

The Triplets of Belleville (Sylvain Chomet, France 2003)

Ernest & Celestine (Stephane Aubier/Vincent Patar/Benjamin Renner, France 2012)

  1. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya/Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2013)

Runner ups:

Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2001)

The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2013)

Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1997)

Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1988)

  1. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, USA 2009)

Runner-up:

$9.99 (Tatia Rosenthal, Australia/Israel 2008)

  1. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (Zack Snyder, Australia 2010)

Runner-ups:

Rango (Gore Verbinski, Nickelodeon, USA 2011)

The Book of Life (Jorge R. Gutierrez, USA 2014)

Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror (Shinsuke Sato, Japan 2009)

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (Stéphane Berla/Mathias Malzieu, France, 2013)

  1. The Garden of Words/Kotonoha no Niwa (Makoto Shinkai, CoMix Wave, Japan 2013)

Runner-ups:

Redline (Takeshi Koike, Madhouse, Japan 2009)

Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, Tokyo Movie Shinsha, Japan 1988)

Metropolis (Rintaro, Madhouse, Japan 2001)

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (Shinichiro Watanabe, Japan 2001)

Tekkonkinkreet (Michael Arias, Studio 4°C, Japan 2006)

Tokyo Godfathers (Satoshi Kon, Madhouse, Japan 2003)

Paprika (Satoshi Kon, Madhouse, Japan 2006)

5 Centimeters Per Second (Makoto Shinkai, CoMix Wave, Japan 2007)

Children Who Chase Lost Voices (Mokoto Shinkai, CoMix Wave, Japan 2011)

Other films with multiple mentions in the comments:

The Thief and the Cobbler (Richard Williams [Recobbled Cut by Garrett Gilchrist], USA 2013)

Angel’s Egg/Tenshi no Tamago (Mamoru Oshii, Studio Deen, Japan 1985)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1984)

Castle in the Sky (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1986)

My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1988)

Howl’s Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2004),

Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2008)

Whisper of the Heart (Yoshifumi Kondo, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1995)

Summer Wars (Mamoru Hosoda, Madhouse, Japan 2009)

Wolf Children/Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Mamoru Hosoda, Studio Chizu/Madhouse, Japan 2012)

Wizards (Ralph Bakshi, Bakshi Productions, USA 1977)

American Pop (Ralph Bakshi, Bakshi Productions, USA 1981)

Fire and Ice (Ralph Bakshi, Producers Sales Organization, USA 1983)

Waking Life (Richard Linklater, Thousand Words, USA 2001)

A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater, Thousand Words, USA 2006)

Secret of NIMH (Don Bluth, USA 1982)

Land Before Time (Don Bluth, USA 1988)

Titan A.E. (Don Bluth/Gary Goldman, Fox Animation Studios, USA 2000)

The Last Unicorn (Jules Bass/Arthur Rankin, Jr., Rankin/Bass Productions, USA 1982)

Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi/Vincent Paronnaud, France/USA/Iran 2007)

Fantastic Planet/La Planéte Sauvage (Rene Laloux, France/Czechoslovakia 1973)

End of Evangelion (Hideaki Anno/Kazuya Tsurumaki, Japan 1997)

Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, Production I.G., Japan 1995, rereleased as GITS2.0 in 2008)

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Mamoru Oshii, Production I.G., Japan 2004)

Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton/Lee Unkrich, Pixar, USA 2003)

Up (Pete Docter/Bob Peterson, Pixar, USA 2009)

Monsters University (Dan Scanlon, Pixar, USA 2013)

Other films with fewer mentions (some might not strictly be animation, or full-length feature films):

Renaissance (Christian Volckman, France 2005)

Corpse Bride (Tim Burton/Mike Johnson, Laika, USA 2005)

Yellow Submarine (George Dunning, Apple Films, USA 1968)

Fear(s) of the Dark/Peur(s) du noir (Horror anthology; many segment directors, France 2007)

Tree of Palme/Parumu no Ki (Takashi Nakamura, Palm Studio, Japan 2002)

Belladonna/Kanashimi no Beradonna (Eiichi Yamamoto, Mushi Production, Japan 1973)

Steamboy (Katsuhiro Otomo, Sunrise, Japan 2004)

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (Hiroyuki Okiura, Production I.G., Japan 2000)

Son of the White Mare/Fehérlófia (Marcell Jankovics, PannoniaFilm, Hungary 1981)

Heavy Metal (Gerald Potterton, Columbia Pictures, Canada 1981)

Tale of Tales/Skazka Skazok (Yuriy Norshteyn, Soviet Union 1979)

Kiki’s Delivery Service (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1989)

Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1992)

My Neighbors the Yamadas (Isao Takahata, Studio Ghibli, Japan 1999)

The Cat Returns (Hiroyuki Morita, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2002)

Tales from Earthsea (Goro Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2006)

From Up on Poppy Hill (Goro Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2011),

Arrietty (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2010)

When Marnie Was There (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Studio Ghibli, Japan 2014)

Voice of a Distant Star (Makoto Shinkai, CoMix Wave, Japan 2002)

The Place Promised in our Early Days (Makoto Shinkai, CoMix Wave, Japan 2004)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Mamoru Hosoda, Madhouse, Japan 2006)

The Whale/Kujira (Noburo Ofuji, Japan 1927)

The Man Who Planted Trees (Frederic Back, Canada 1988)

The Old Man and The Sea (Aleksander Petrov, Russia/Canada/Japan 1999)

Watership Down (Martin Rosen/John Hubley [uncredited], Nepenthe Productions, UK 1978)

Tintin (Steven Spielberg, USA/New Zealand 2011)

Azur and Asmer (Michel Ocelot, All Production Companies, France/Belgium/Spain/Italy 2006)

Kirikou and the Sorceress/Kirikou et la Sourciere (Michel Ocelot, France/Belgium/Luxembourge 1998)

Sword of a Stranger (Masahiro Ando, Bones, Japan 2007)

Kung Fu Panda (John Stevenson/Mark Osborne, DreamWorks, USA 2008)

Kung Fu Panda 2 (Jennifer Yuh Nelson, DreamWorks, USA 2011)

The King and The Mockingbird (Paul Grimault, France 1952)

Chicken Run (Peter Lord/Nick Park, Aardman Studios/DreamWorks, UK/USA 2000)

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Nick Park/Steve Box, Aardman Studios/DreamWorks, UK/USA 2005)

The Rabbi’s Cat (Joann Sfar/Antoine Delesvaux, Autochenille Production, France 2011)

Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (Hiroyuki Yamaga, Gainax/Bandai, Japan 1987)

Long Way North/Tout en haut du monde (Remi Chaye, France 2015)

Mind Game (Masaaki Yuasa, Studio 4°C, Japan 2004)

Cat Soup (Tatsuo Sato, J.C. Staff, Japan 2001)

Patema Inverted/Sakasama no Patema (Yasuhiro Yoshiura, Purple Cow Studios, Japan 2012)

Sita Sings the Blues (Nina Paley, USA 2008)

Allegro Non Troppo (Bruno Bozzetto, Italy 1976)

Shrek (Andrew Adamson/Vicky Jenson, Pacific Data Images/DreamWorks, USA 2001)

Rise of the Guardians (Peter Ramsey, DreamWorks, USA 2012)

The Croods (Kirk DeMicco/Chris Sanders, DreamWorks, USA 2013)

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (Roger Allers, with many segment directors, Ventanarosa, Canada/France/Lebanon/Qatar/USA 2014)

Nocturna (Adrià García/Víctor Maldonado, Filmax Animation, Spain/France/UK 2007)

The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix/Flåklypa Grand Prix (Ivo Caprino, Norway 1975)

It’s Such a Beautiful Day (Don Hertzfeldt, Bitter Films, USA 2012)

The Snowman (Dianne Jackson, UK 2982)

The Snowman and the Snowdog (Hilary Audus, Lupus Films, UK 2012)

Atlantis (Gary Trousdale/Kirk Wise, Disney, USA 2001)

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Hironobu Sakaguchi, Square Pictures, USA 2001)

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (Tetsuya Nomura, Square Enix, Japan 2005)

The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Bear/Drenger der ville gore det umulige (Jannik Hastrup, France 2002)

Spirit Stallion of Cimarron (Kelly Asbury/Lorna Cook, DreamWorks, USA 2002)

Pinocchio (Ben Sharpsteen/Hamilton Luske and sequence directors, Disney, USA 1940)

Hakujaden/The Tale of the White Serpent (Taiji Yabushita/Kazuhiko Okabe, Japan 1958)

Nerawareta Gakuen (Ryosuke Nakamura, Sunrise/Madman, Japan 2012)

Genius Party (Anthology with many segment directors, Studio 4°C, Japan 2007)

Tarzan (Kevin Lima/Chris Buck, Disney, USA 1999)

Neo Tokyo/Meikyū Monogatari (Anthology with many segment directors, Project Team Argos/Madhouse, Japan 1976)

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Almond Joy Body Butter

I wanted to find a way to make a nourishing, succulent, moisturizing hand lotion or cream at home, mostly as a holiday gift but also for myself. I found lots of ideas, and finally settled on this version. I did the original from Rawmazing with the shea butter, and it indeed felt absolutely silky and rich, but I think the stuff I got was heading into rancid and the resulting butter wasn’t as delicious-smelling as I’d hoped. So I changed it up a bit, and am now using this formula.

I was fixing another batch tonight and thought I should share it with you all… it’s SO easy and it feels SO good! I bring a little Tupperware container of it with me to use after I do my deep water therapy (followed by the jacuzzi, the wet and dry saunas, and a long hot shower)… after all that water, my skin is really stripped and needs a little pampering. This stuff does the trick, and smells so delicious!

Almond Joy Body Butter
(based on a recipe from Rawmazing)

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups whipped butter.

  • 1 cup cocoa butter (I got mine from Amazon)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (Costco or Amazon)
  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Melt cocoa butter and coconut oil together on low heat or in a double boiler. Let cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Stir in almond oil and vanilla.
  3. Place oil mixture in freezer until oils partially solidify (about 20 or 30 minutes).
  4. Whip with the whisk attachment on your kitchen mixer until you get a creamy butter-like consistency.
  5. Store in clean jar and enjoy!

Feel free to swap other oils, but remember to keep the ratio 75% solid to 25% liquid.

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