Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

Tomorrow is Halloween, and typically my favorite holiday of the year. It’s better than Festivus, New Year, Beltane, and Labor Day! It doesn’t require me to cook an elaborate meal that no one will eat, and there’s none of that awkward “did they really like their gift?” bits.

It’s all magic and mayhem.

But I have the plague.

 

So I am to be left at home with my hot cuppa (gin) and made to make merry all on my very own.

Alas, I am not of a mind to make merry as I seem to have fallen into a hole of fever and palsy, where tiny smears of putrifactive bits of my innermost anatomy are forcing their way out of my body in great heaving feats of expectoration, thus leaving me highly unsettled, and decidedly unmerry.

So I am clinging to the runner-up holiday of political insanity election day. I shall sit back in my fuzzy slipper boots, sip my hot gin and lemon sugar (or wassail), and binge watch political shows, movies, and the most-recent bad lip reading, which features the Democratic Debate.

It shall be glorious.

Though, it will still be difficult not to lament my lack of fancy dress or the ability to use my “these people will give out good candy” radar. I mean, it’s so well honed! I can spot a full-bar house from fifty paces.

I also wish full-bar meant “full bar” in the sense of more wassail for me.

Because I am a plague carrier, and have my weekend all planned out, I made y’all a top ten list.

The Top Ten Political Films on Netflix (right meow!)

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

The Top Ten Political Films on Netflix right now. #StreamTeam #Netflix #bipartisan Click To Tweet

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

If you don’t love Harrison Ford, we can’t be friends.

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

Election made my month when I saw it was available.

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

For school, I’ve been reading a fuck ton of Victorian literature. So, why not a movie about Victoria?

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

Meryl Streep.

house of cards

This Netflix series makes me bite my nails, swear at the tv, and get really ragey that I must wait for the next season after I gorge myself on an entire season in a day.

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

I’m noticing a Spacey theme.

This mini-series made me inexplicably happy.

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

Remember when John Oliver subbed for Jon Stewart? This is why.

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

How I love this movie. It’s so poignant given the current political climate.

Top Ten Political Films on Netflix

I LOVE AMERICAN HISTORY. Wait, that sounded bad. I am driven to learn American History so that I may have an impact on its future, because, we fucked up all the things.

I also made a yummy, snackable recipe for you to enjoy with these. I took a classic southern dish, the corn fritter, and gave it a bit of flair.

Tex-Mex Corn Fritters

Tex-Mex Corn Fritters Tex-Mex Corn Fritters Tex-Mex Corn Fritters

Tex-Mex Corn Fritters

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes of frying time if y

Keywords: fry vegan vegetarian

Ingredients

  • OIL FOR FRYING. I used coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 stalks of scallions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

optional

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Instructions

honestly, it doesn’t matter how you mix these up.

Just get them combined.

Get your oil hot in a deep fryer or saucepan or deep skillet.

375F hot.

*if you need to guess the temp, when it starts to ripple, stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if the spoon looks like it’s frying–you’re gtg. Turn the heat to medium at this point.

Using a 1/2 oz cookie scoop, scoop balls into the oil. Don’t crowd the pan, that’ll make the oil get cold and the fritters get greasy. You don’t want a greasy ball. (today–I mean, I’m not judging your personal life.)

flip them after 2 minutes, or if you’re using a deep fryer, just take them out after they are golden brown and delish.

salt again IMMEDIATELY after you take them out and put them on a strainer or paper-lined plate.

If you want to go wild, DIP IN GUAC! (YES, I KNOW IT’S EXTRA.)

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Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Magic Mushrooms.

Have you ever wanted to throw something out the window just to watch the whole thing shatter and die?

That’s how I feel about Clash of Clans right now. I want to go all Office Space on the ipad, and dance around it as I set fire to it, sing chants–possibly in costume–and cackle loudly.

kill it with fire.

Ok, so that was apropos of NOTHING, but I needed to get that off my chest. The Captain keeps hijacking my apple tv to play it on the “big screen,” and I’m about to pelt him with bananas or applesauce, or something.

moving on….

Two weeks ago, I teased The Brush of Black Wings by one of my favorite authors, Grace Draven, while reviewing its predecessor Master of Crows. We laughed, we drank, it was better than the last day of school and the first day of school all rolled into one, right? Of course right.

Well, after waiting FOREVER for one of my favorite ingredients to come in at the grocers, I can finally review the fuck out of it.

First, let me say this: Grace Draven writes fantasy romance with such skill and confidence, that I am consistently marveled by the depth of her imagination, and the quality of her prose. At times it feels as though Grace Draven is channeling her writing through some long-forgotten Chaucerian or Marie de France tale, given voice through distinctly modern language. It’s shocking in its complexity and addictive qualities.

The Brush of Black Wings is no different. Decidedly shorter, and more fantasy than romance, it feels like a departure from her previous books, while remaining utterly engaged in her genre. There is quite a bit of action, with less action than Master of Crows–but it suffers not at all for the lack of it. In this installment, Silhara of Neith and Martise (now also of Neith) are married and living at the ruined keep. He’s still sexy, she still drives him into the fits with her blunt sexiness.

The Brush of Black Wings

They are living their lives as simply as The Master of Crows and his wife can possibly live, until their servant-friend, Gurn decides he wants fancy mushrooms.

Martise the ever awesome, goes to collect the mushrooms like some damned truffle sniffing pig. It’s cold, her fingers are freezing, and then SHE FALLS INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION.

All is not lost, but man alive are there some tough scrapes for her in this gray place! Silhara is properly terrified and rage-beast as fuck about this predicament, and does his magey-magic to go forth and retrieve his wife! (Go back and retrieve? Sideways? It’s a place out of time, so he basically needs a magical cross between the Wonkavator and the standing stones of Outlander.)

Silhara: “Charlie, I feel you. I just do.”

The beauty of the relationship between Silhara and Martise is that Grace Draven uses their magic as a metaphor for a strong marriage. It’s not one person doing all the heavy lifting and sacrifice. Playing up one another’s strengths, and sharing sacrifice, is the only way to create a lasting union. The communication between the magic of the pair is open and fulfilling–just as it (communication) is in ANY good marriage.

The book concludes with some foreshadowing to the next installment which I found delightfully intriguing, and the epilogue gave me the brain tingles. Not like syphilis, that would be bad brain tingling.

The Brush of Black Wings by Grace DravenTo me, this novella felt like a delicious appetizer which served to whet my appetite for the main course in a most delectable way. Like French Onion soup before a plate full of mashed potatoes. (now I want both.) I plan on re-reading this several times before the next book is released.

Five magical mushrooms.

mushroom

 Of COURSE I had to do a mushroom recipe. This one is delicious and satisfying, and LOOKS really difficult and impressive. It’s easy peasy. I swear.

Mushroom Miso Soba Noodles

It’s not a soup, but it’s reminiscent of the miso soup or miso ramen you get at Japanese restaurants. It’s the perfect summer dish because it can be served hot or cold, and you DO NOT HAVE TO TURN ON THE OVEN. Also, it calls for dried shiitake mushrooms. I prefer bulk, flat packed, dried shrooms, but really, ANY dried mushrooms will work. Also, I specify Wakame flakes, but Korean dried seaweed flakes will also work. The one thing I’m REALLY going to stress to you is to use UNSALTED stock. Miso, soy sauce, wakame, and even tofu can be heavily salted, and you don’t want to burn your tongue on the salinity of the dish.

Ready? Ready.

mushroom miso soba noodles mushroom miso soba noodles

 REVIEW: The Brush of Black Wings by @GraceDraven and RECIPE: Mushroom Miso Soba Noodles #review… Click To Tweet mushroom miso soba noodles

Mushroom Miso Soba Noodles

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: stir-fry entree side snack vegan vegetarian

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

    for the sauce

    • 2 cups UNSALTED stock. (I used veg, you could use chicken or veg)
    • 3 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
    • 2 tbsp WHITE miso
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp Mirin
    • 1/4 cup wakame flakes
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp rayu or sriracha or ONE thai chili, stemmed, ribbed, and seeded.
    • 12 oz fresh soba noodles

    for the noodles

    • 12 oz FRESH or frozen and thawed soba noodles. (buckwheat or white–matters not.)
    • 1, 12 oz block of extra-firm tofu, cubed into 1″ cubes or 12 oz stemmed and de-veined shrimp (or combo)
    • 2 big red bell peppers, sliced into ribbons
    • 6-8 oz halved and cleaned baby bok choy or Shanghai choy, lightly steamed. (2-4 minutes) barring that–broccoli or Napa
    • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
    • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
    • 2 tbsp neutral oil
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp Mirin
    • 1 tsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup vegetable stock

    Garnish

    • chopped cilantro
    • chopped scallion
    • additional wakame flakes
    • hot sauce
    • soft-boiled egg (optional.)

    Instructions

    the base sauce

    In a saucepan, combine the sesame oil, mirin, miso, sriracha, and stock and bring it to a simmer, stirring slowly

    add wakame and mushrooms, turn to low, let simmer 30 minutes

    pull out mushrooms and slice.

    the noodles

    in a WOK or really big fecking skillet, heat the oils until rippling

    add ginger and garlic

    stir in bell pepper and tofu/shrimp–toss and cook until either warmed or cooked through

    add in noodles, stock, Mirin, and soy sauce and toss

    add in remaining ingredients, toss

    add mushrooms back to stock and pour over noodle mix.

    again, toss.

    cook until tender

    plate.

    If serving cold, you may wish to add a bit of soy sauce or Yuzu to the noodles as you eat them,

    garnish and eat

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    Orange is the New Blackberry Vinaigrette

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve paced myself. I’ve been running (watching) a very slow marathon, because I didn’t want to finish. It was very much like delayed sexual gratification, only, you know, solo (which I guess could be done, but WHY?), and without any sort of peculiar (to me) rope-tying incidents.  I found myself parceling out my viewings as I did with “Daredevil” and every TED talk that I may want to absorb. I spread the episodes out like legs on a prison bunk.

    I think you know where I’m going here.

    AHHHHHHH!!!!! THEY’RE BACK!!!

     

    Thirteen episodes of “OMG” no, “really?” and “could that happen?” or “I know Ruby Rose must be the BEST way to discuss sexual identity and gender binaries at the moment, but really, I just want to know who does her brows and does she polish her skin with diamond dust, because, REALLY!”

    Sure, watching 13 episodes over a couple of weeks may seem an otiose activity to many, (not people who read B2B, obvie. Because, we have, like, goals and shit. Most which involve combining books and Netflix reading/watching on the elliptical. You multi-tasking scamps, you!) but, to those who do….

    I mostly wanted a reason to use that image. Also, my son, when at his teeny-tiny Buddhist class/Tai Chi class he heard the Dalai Lama speak, he thought it was Yoda. Unrelated, but adorable.

    “Orange is the New Black” just keeps getting better every season. Part of me gets claustrophobic just watching it, but a part of me can’t help but wonder what I’d do in Piper’s position. (not THAT position, you dirty-minded scamps. I think we can all agree I’d be AWESOME at THAT position, regardless of my sexual orientation. ;))

    I’m sure, if I found myself in prison, I’d be the worst inmate ever. I wouldn’t stop crying because, obvie, I WAS FRAMED!! I AM INNOCENT!! I’d hate not having my regular routine, and the lack of family–or dudes–would prove overwhelming.

    One may think I’m arbitrarily hyper-sexualizing this show. I’m not. The physical connections in “Orange is the New Black” become essential to each of the characters. They are the corollary of the isolation and denial. The fascinating system of hierarchies, favors, and a-typical gender roles in the show are balanced with humor, humanity, and heart. The show is ever-interesting, and ever fresh.

    What recipe could I possibly pair with it? I’m obviously NOT making prison food. But, I can play-on words like whoa.

    Orange is the New Blackberry vinaigrette.

    It’s tangy, it’s seasonal, it’s yum.

    orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette

    Orange is the New Blackberry Vinaigrette. Delicious, seasonal, and healthy. #StreamTeam @Netflix… Click To Tweet orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette orange is the new blackberry vinaigrette

     

     

    Orange is the New Blackberry Vinaigrette

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Keywords: appetizer condiment

    Ingredients (one jar.)

    • 1/3 cup blackberries
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
    • 2 tbsp mayonnaise (I use Hampton Creek Just Mayo)
    • 1/2 cup evoo
    • 1/4 cup loose basil leaves, chopped
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 4 tbsp champagne vinegar
    • 1 tbsp honey

    Instructions

    combine all ingredients and puree in a food processor.

    store in an airtight jar.

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    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

    Auralgasms #5

    Auralgasms.

     

    It is no secret that I have mostly reserved my audiobook enjoyment to works of fiction. There is just something about layered voices telling a gripping tale that fills me with a pregnancy of want. Simply put–tell me a story.

    ready for my bedtime story. get to it.

    However, in the last month, I’ve been absurdly busy with my personal scholarship, and desirous of the words held in the books I wanted to re-read, but my time was limited. My recent conversion to a fully plant-based diet made me want to read the books that held this conviction in my mind.

    The Omnivore’s Dilemma

    In Defense of Food

    Salt Sugar Fat

    So I decided to throw caution to the wind, and listen to a non-fiction audiobook. I’ve done it before and enjoyed it, with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and The Devil in the White City, but those books are so…gah…not typical–different–almost fiction in the manner in which they’re told. I never really placed those in the same category as other non-fic books.

    When I purchased the books I wanted to re-read on audible/scribd, I paid no attention to the narrator. For me, this is akin to Sarah Jessica Parker just “throwing something on” to go to a premiere. I’m fucking picky with my narrators. A bad narrator can RUIN a book for me. I’ll either stop the story and never pick it up again, or I’ll switch to the words on pages version so fast it’ll make your head spin.

    The first book I queued up was Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s an old favorite of mine. I’ve read and re-read it several times over. It’s one of those books that is the perfect sort of splint for your backbone. It is the gird for my plant-based loins. It answers a simple question: “If I can eat virtually anything, what should I eat?” That’s a BFD.

    I downloaded the book and went about preparing dinner. (because, meta-life, yo.) I quietly chopped vegetables as I the words soothed me.

    About fifteen minutes into my dinner preparation and reading/listening, I thought to myself homeboy sounds just like Leto Atreideswtf?! Sure enough, scrolling through my library, separated by narrator, I realize HOMEBOY IS LETO ATREIDES. That moment led me to scroll through, and realize he’s also Larson’s narrator, and Moss’s, and damn it all to hell, he’s the narrator of the book I’ve been putting off, (which was hugely and highly rec’d to me by a close friend) The Doll Maker

    BTW, I’ve started The Doll Maker, and it’s scaring the fuck out of me–as expected. THANKS FOR THAT.

    Who is the narrator?

    Scott Brick.

    He’s won a few audies, and racked up a fuckton of articles on sites like Audiofile, and the WSJ.

    But the real reason to listen to him?

    BECAUSE YOU WANT HIM TO READ TO YOU. This is the prevailing theme in my auralgasms posts. Do you want this narrator to read to you, and why?

    Obviously, the answer (for me) is yes, or he’d not be featured, but it’s for very specific reasons. To me, Scott Brick’s style of narration harkens back to the golden age of radio. That of Orson Welles and “The War of the Worlds.”  It’s fantastical melodrama. It’s gripping and damn fun. When he narrates nonfic, it’s relaxed and easy to listen to. Even with challenging subject matter–it’s easy to listen to.

    I am truly enjoying listening to a book about how we’ve been completely fucked sideways by the tenets of capitalism; and about how big agri-business does not give a single fuck that they put profit above everything–even sick children.  Sure, I’m getting fist-smashingly angry all over again, but not at the narrator or the author–at fucking Cargill and General Mills.

    His voice is alarmingly disarming. You just kind of sit back and say, “well, huh. how about that?” Then you keep listening. You’re absolutely compelled to keep listening.

    When I was doing research into his narrating life, so that I could design a recipe for this post, I found out something interesting: his partner is THE FUCKING BLENDER GIRL. I mean, I’m a food blogger, of COURSE I follow the blender girl. More than that, he’s FUCKING PLANT-BASED. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! KISMET! It was totally the universe telling me to write this post! 

    The recipe was easy to think about after that. I give you the recipe inspired by this narrator:

    Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Burgers

    (ok, he’s not Cuban, but still…)

    Listen to your gut. #Auralgasms and Cuban Chickpea-Plantain burgers. #Audiobooks #vegan #FitFluential Click To Tweet

     

     

    Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Veggie Burgers

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Keywords: bake entree sandwich gluten-free kosher vegan vegetarian

    Ingredients (9 patties)

    • 1 very ripe plantain
    • 1, 15.5 oz can chickpeas-drained
    • 1/2 ripe avocado
    • 4 scallions, chopped
    • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
    • juice of half of a lime
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1/4 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 3/4-1 cup binder of your choice–breadcrumbs, tortilla crumbs, coconut flour, dry puffed amaranth–ground, etc etc etc

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350

    puree plantain with spices in a food processor

    add remaining ingredients and pulse until just a bit smoother than very chunky slowly add in binder of your choice, until it looks like you could form it into balls

    form into baseball sized balls

    flatten into 3/4″ thick patties

    place on cookie sheet lined with parchment

    bake for 10-15 minutes

    serve as you would a traditional burger or in a lettuce wrap

    to freeze leftover patties, wrap first in plastic wrap, and then foil, and then place in a ziptop bag.

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    Run By Fruiting

    Over a month ago, I switched my diet to an entirely whole-foods, plant-based diet. I was not strict, had dairy at times, and just yesterday I had a piece of sashimi, I have not yet started truly scrutinizing labels, but there it is.

    And–dear G-d do I feel better. I’m not anti-meat. But, BUT, I know the way most Westernized societies consume animal products, and the quality of products they consume, is not sustainable.  It’s also unkind. I don’t want to be unkind. Not to the animals, not to the planet.

    I was a vegetarian for ten years, I did it all wrong. I ate a fast-food diet of fries and junk. I ate a fuckton of processed foods. Macaroni and Cheese, canned soups, bottled salad dressing. I gained weight, looked like crap, broke out all of the time. My hormones were INSANE. My PCOS went off the charts. My endometriosis was insanely painful. Again, hormones.

    The last few months, I was eating a lot more meat. I was convincing myself that I needed more meat because I was preparing for the Boston Marathon, and damnit, I needed meat, right? Sure, I was feeling more sluggish, but HEY! Training for a marathon, here! Completely normal to feel tired! About three weeks before the marathon, ovary pain kept me up all night. It’s happened before, I know what’s going on when it does.

    About a week before Boston, I had one of the worst lady months of my life. Severe pain, nausea, migraines, shaking instability, weakness. I started feeling really, really bad (passing-out, bad) about 3 days before Marathon Monday, so I went to get some blood work done.  My hemoglobin was so low I needed to get a blood transfusion. My hematocrit was pathetic.

    Or in my lady basket. Whatevs.

    I couldn’t run. I was depressed. My PCOS had robbed me of the chance by deciding that April was cyst-rupture month.

    Enter Rebekah Borucki and Danielle Diamond. *at once, a meditative three-way. 😉 They were starting a vegetarian challenge the very day I was supposed to run the Boston Marathon. It felt like as good a time as any. As good an idea as any. So I joined the #XenBliss challenge, and I am so glad I did.

    In the group, there was a lot of talk about going completely vegan. While I’m about 90% vegan, I don’t foresee myself being 100% vegan. Occasional sustainable sushi, vegetarian-rennet based cheese, and humanely raised eggs/milk will probably remain in very small ways in my diet. Mostly in baking, let’s be honest.

    While I previously watched many documentaries and read a lot of literature on the benefits of a plant-based diet, I never took it seriously for me. I mean, I didn’t eat much meat to begin with. I wasn’t being so bad on the environment–on myself.

    40 days meat-free has me re-thinking my thinking. And I’m back to Michael Pollan’s famous quote “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

    Also, plantain chips are from G-d, and serve as proof that he loves us.

    How’s my health now?

    I’m back at the gym. My doctor is superduper impressed, and I feel AMAZING.

    So I re-watched some documentaries, watched some new ones, read some new literature, and I’m educating myself. I’m not a nutritionist, and this is entirely anecdotal, but the environmental impacts are real, and I really want my kids to have a great earth to grow up in.

    Plus, my favorite vampire was a vegetarian.

    Just to let you guys in on what I’ve been watching, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites that are available to stream on Netflix.

    For the recipe to go with this overly-preachy post? A salad that you WGAF that it’s vegan, because it tastes like a miracle.

    Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad.

    Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

    Why plant powered is working for me and Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad. #StreamTeam #Vegan #fitfluential… Click To Tweet Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

    Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: marinate/chill/6 hours

    Keywords: vegan vegetarian

    Ingredients (serves 8-12)

    • 1 can rinsed kidney beans
    • 1 can rinsed chickpeas
    • 1 cup frozen, thawed peas
    • 2 avocados, cubed
    • 2 mangos, cubed
    • 5 scallions, chopped (the whole thing, save the root)
    • 5 roma tomatoes, chopped
    • 5 stalks celery, chopped

    for the dressing

    • juice of one lime
    • 3 tbsp recaito
    • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or more evoo)
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
    • 1 tsp chopped garlic
    • 1/2 tsp hot sauce of your choice

    Instructions

    whisk together dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl

    add all remaining chopped veg and beans to the bowl

    toss and marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight.

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    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.