Yep, it's not Tuesday. My bad. But I am too excited about this UI to wait until next week! I wanted to share it with y'all, so here's a day-late post. haha

I had the urge again the other day -- the urge to be the UI nerd I am. :B So I downloaded a few addons and began making my own UI from the ground up. I wanted something "purply" because I really love the aesthetics of my shadow priest's abilities. I wanted MOAR PURPLE. I've been tweaking it over the past few days because I keep seeing things I can do better. The eternal "work in progress." :)

Here are some screenshots:

Out of combat:


In combat:


Other shots:
(Fixed the unit frame positioning by the time I took the last screenshot shhhh >.>)





Addons used:
Bartender
Shadowed Unit Frames
Masque (using the Zoomed theme)
Skada Damage Meters
Deadly Boss Mods
Grid
SexyMap
kgPanels
eAlign
Prat
Weak Auras
Affdots + Affdots Priest
Tiptac
SLDT
MikScrollingBattleText
TidyPlates + ThreatPlates

I started out with kgpanels since I knew that addon would be providing the bulk of the "purply" part of the UI. I've seen lots of UIs where the action bars are "contained" within a box and I like the way that looks. It looks neat and tidy. Right up my alley. So I set up a kgpanel that has a gradient background from a dark grey to a shadow priest purple. I think it turned out pretty nice.

Next, I wanted to have some symmetry because... well... it looks good! So I set up two Skada windows: one for Threat and one for Damage. I then setup two kgpanels and tied them to those Skada windows. The panels have the same textures and colors as the action bar panel to maintain visual consistency. Tying the panel to the Skada window gives me two benefits: 1) the panels line up really nicely with the Skada windows and 2) if I want to hide those windows, the panels also get hidden. Ehhh ehhhh :D? Pretty neat!

Also using kgpanels, I created two more panels to be "containers" for the SLDT pieces on the left and right bottoms of my screen. These little data text bits always seem to just "hang" there, so kgpanels gives them a bit more substance.

I added Prat for handling my chatbox because it has that nifty Sounds module and can hide the chat tabs and background pretty efficiently. Sexymap was added because I'm most familiar with its features and like its theme for the thin square line border.

Overall, I like the look so far. Everything appears to line up nicely for combat purposes and still looks good. No doubt I will still find things to move, adjust, add or remove. That's part of the fun of playing around with interface design!

P.S. In case anyone out there is counting, yes, I *do* have more priests than shamans at this point. I think I need a new 'thing' to associate with myself haha

I bought a couple cans of Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup the other week. I don't even know why -- my husband and I hate mushrooms! I think I was hoping I could somehow use it in a recipe somewhere. Well, today is the day to find out if my intentions were good! I also bought a few cans of beef broth months ago and need to use it up! AND I bought a canister of French's Cheddar Fried Onions -- another "what the heck were you thinking?" purchase because I usually only buy the regular and then only for green bean casserole at Thanksgiving.

Whoabuddy the pregnancy brain is in warp speed, y'all!

All snuggled into the crock pot ready for cooking!
So, to use up these "weird to me" purchases, I decided to make a pseudo-Swedish meatball recipe. It's not a Swedish meatball recipe at all, but the basic concepts of a beef meatball in a savory sauce over noodles is about as close as it's going to get.

This recipe is really simple -- and even more so if you don't mind the mushrooms in the soup! Yes, I really did take the time (~4 minutes total) to strain out the mushrooms from the soup. I'd rather just spend the time than watch my husband nitpick an experimental meal. /shrug

In the end, the meatballs taste a little like Salisbury steak which was a nice surprise! The sauce was a little thin, but I think that's okay. I tried to thicken it a little by adding flour, but the sauce was too hot, so the flour just clumped. I ended up straining it out haha. Learn from my mistake! Just use the sauce as is from the slow cooker! :)

Golden Meatballs & Noodles
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 4-4.5 Hours on LOW; 1.5-2 Hours on HIGH
Serves: 4-6, depending on who you're feeding haha

Ingredients:
For meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
½ cup French's Cheddar Fried Onions, chopped (to reduce big chunks!)
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp seasoning mix (I used a Monterey mix from Mr. Pig, but use whatever seasoning mix you have or like. If you don't have a seasoning mix, see mini-recipe here.)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

For crockpot sauce:
2 cans Golden Mushroom condensed soup, strained
1 can beef broth
½ onion, coarsely chopped (I use sweet onions)

For egg noodles:
1 cup low sodium beef or chicken broth OR water
Egg noodles

Directions:
1.) Put ground beef into large bowl.
2.) Add egg, soy sauce, chopped fried onions, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, pinch of salt and black pepper, and seasoning mix.
3.) Mix with hands to combine well. Form into meatballs. (Note, this will be a sloppy mess!)
4.) Pour beef broth into crock pot.
5.) Add strained soup to crock pot and stir well.
6.) Heat vegetable oil in skillet until it is shimmery (but not smoking!)
7.) Carefully place formed meatballs in skillet.
8.) Cook for 2-3 mins then turn over and cook additional 2 mins
9.) Transfer meatballs to crock pot and nestle into soup/broth mix. Do not stir!
10.) Add chopped onions on top.
11.) Add pinch of salt and black pepper.
12.) Cook on LOW for 4-4.5 Hours or HIGH for 1.5-2 Hours
13.) When 20 mins left on slow cooker time, bring chicken broth to boil in pot.
14.) Add egg noodles, cover and simmer 8 mins.
15.) To serve: Plate noodles, then top with meatballs and spoon sauce from slow cooker on top.

Enjoy!



This post is serving as my "in-raid blog post" because Dee said I couldn't do a blog post about her.

Welp.


Also:

And:

BlizzCon!! BlizzCon!! BlizzCon!!


BlizzCon was this past weekend and man, what a whirlwind of information! We found out the new expansion title (and some of the features) for World of Warcraft -- Warlords of Draenor! Exciting news!



Highlights of the new expansion: - NEW CHARACTER MODELS
- Level cap increased to 100
- New continent of Draenor
- New player housing in the form of Garrisons
- Stat changes including removal of hit & expertise
- Reforging will be GONE
- Item stats will be "squished" to make sure the game's databases don't crap themselves
- Lots more stuff -- just go check out the official announcement website plus WoW Insider and Wowhead

I bought a virtual ticket and live tweeted some of the events. Some of the people I follow were doing the same, so Twitter was a fun place to be on Friday and Saturday. For the most part.

I am writing this blog post entirely to put this thought out there because apparently some people need to read it (frequently):

THE EXPANSION IS NOT DONE. THE INFORMATION WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN IS NOT FINISHED. THE ART IS NOT DONE. THINGS ARE NOT READY FOR RELEASE.

Please, for the love of Ghostcrawler, stop complaining about stuff you saw at BlizzCon!

I've seen people complain about things not being finished (It's called a DEMONSTRATION for a reason and that reason is it's not finished!). I've seen people complain about tentative information given out in panels -- please just hold your complaints until the game is shipped and you have *actually logged in*. And even then? Just wait.

We all know how this goes, subconsciously. Seriously. You do. They announce the expansion. Eventually, expansion is released. Then come the patches. What are patches for? Fixing things!

If it's not obvious by now, let me reiterate: THIS KIND OF GAME IS A LIVING THING. That means that it will evolve and change periodically to address issues. Nothing is ever final* and most actual issues will be addressed.

*Forgive me hunters. Blizzard acknowledged that Eyes of the Beast was a boo boo.

I realize lots of people just like to complain. That's fine, but I *will* unfollow you. I don't care who you are. I'm tired of seemingly intelligent people getting all bent out of shape over some BETA INFORMATION.

No, Blizzard does not "owe" us anything because we pay a subscription -- Your subscription fee covers access to the servers to play the game and nothing more. Being a paying customer does put our desires for the game higher than non-subscribers for sure, but paying a subscription fee does not entitle you to anything beyond access. Read the Terms of Service. Get a lawyer to read them to you if needed. And then get over yourself.

And give the game developers A) A break! and B) A freaking chance to put the new expansion into your greedy, entitled little hands.

These game developers are always faced with a catch-22 in situations like this: One side is present some tentative information and beta graphics which people will complain about not being done OR give no information which people will complain about anyway. What are they supposed to do?

Also, you really cannot compare previous BlizzCon announcements and expansions' production timelines because each expansion is different in terms of:
- The content being created (new races, new classes, new features like pet battles, etc)
- The background technology of previous expansions was different (thereby making the actual programming different than it is today)

Comparing Warlords of Draenor to, say, Mists of Pandaria is really comparing apples to oranges. Different features, different content, different schedules. Just because one expansion was released within a specific timeframe does not mean that subsequent expansions will also be released in that exact same timeframe -- you really do need to include the human variable!

Human variable? What does that mean?

It's simple: World of Warcraft is not being produced by robots. It is being created by real, living, breathing, schlepping the kids off somewhere, human beings. And as a fellow human being with your own needs and wants, you should be able to easily empathize with Blizzard staff and acknowledge that people are people. Sometimes work things get pushed back because of real life. Give them a break.

I think that's enough ranting for now. #UnpopularOpinion and all that.~
Yes, it does smell as good as it looks!
**UPDATED: So the rice got overblown after cooking for so long. Tasted fine, but made the texture of this dish very thick. I've adjusted the recipe below to replace the rice with potatoes. You may also want to add more broth -- probably about another ½ cup**

It's starting to get chilly outside and my pregnant belly is only getting bigger. These two factors really pushed me into using my slow cooker a lot more. The ease of having the slow cooker do 90% of the work to prepare a hearty meal when it's cold outside as well as when I'm exhausted* is just too good to pass up!

Lately, I've been relying on seasoning packets I found at Kroger to make a few meals for my husband and myself. These packets are actually really good! I've made a roast, pulled pork BBQ and pulled chicken BBQ over the past year with these packets and the meal always turns out great.

One thing I've wanted to do, however, was make my own slow cooker food -- you know what I'm talking about. You have celery, carrots, and onion, some meat, maybe some broth... and some other ingredient you know you need to use up before it goes south. Slow cookers are great for turning almost-goners into second helpings!

The meal I've got cooking today is my own take on chicken and dumplings. I bought a can of Pillsbury Grands biscuits last weekend with the intent of throwing a bunch of stuff into the slow cooker to make chicken and dumplings. Except school and work have been a bit demanding of my time, so it's only now that I've been able to pull it together. The following "recipe" contains rice in addition to the biscuits, but there's a reason for that: my husband. ;) Seriously, he eats one meal a day and that's dinner. I try to make sure he's getting as much proper nutrition as I can in that one meal, so in goes the rice! Plus, the rice will (hopefully) make the "chicken" part of the meal more substantial in case I don't want any biscuits.

Whew. That's enough rambling!

Slow Cooker Chicken & Veggies

Ingredients
  • Finely chopped celery
  • Finely chopped sweet onion
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Frozen sweet corn
  • Frozen green peas
  • 16 oz Low sodium chicken broth + more as needed
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken with Herbs condensed soup
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted butter, each Tbsp cut into fourths (8 pieces total)
  • 3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • All purpose (non-salt!) seasoning*
  • 1-2 lbs potatoes (should be roughly 1-3 medium sized potatoes)
  • 1 cup Uncooked white rice
  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands biscuits, cut into 1.5"-2" pieces
Directions:
  1. Add the celery, onion, and vegetables to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the butter to the slow cooker and evenly distribute.
  3. Add the cream of chicken soup and broth. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
  5. Make sure the butter is still evenly distributed.
  6. Slightly submerge the chicken into the vegetable mixture.
  7. Sprinkle the all purpose seasoning on the visible tops of the chicken.
  8. Set the slow cooker to LOW for 6-8 hours.
  9. About 30 minutes before serving, add the biscuit pieces. Continue cooking until the biscuits are dry in the center.
*If you do not have a non-salt all purpose seasoning, use the following quick recipe (adjusting for your preferences and recipe needs):
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp paprika
Stir to combine and use as you would a premade seasoning mix!
**Note: The amounts for the veggies, broth and rice are approximations. Please use your best judgment for determining if these ingredient amounts will fit in your slow cooker and adjust as necessary!

Recipe by Elizabeth Gossett
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 hours
Total time: 8 hours
Yield: 6-8 servings
Coins were tossed and Prat3.0 is the winner for this week's Tuesday UI Special! Grab some popcorn and a drink (and a notepad?) -- it's time to learns some things about this robust addon!

**Sorry about the delay in publishing this post. Real life things have happened, but I should be back to posting normallyish (for me) again**

What is Prat3.0?
Prat3.0 (aka Prat) is a chat modification addon that provides some extensive features to change your chat settings. It allows for basic modification such as resizing and relocating* the chat box, changing textures, fonts and opacities*, and a whole bunch of other things.

*You can actually resize and relocate the default chat box, but only so much and so far. You can also change the opacity of the chat box background in the default UI, but you cannot change the texture or font without changing/adding files to your WoW directory.

Display settings tab shown. It's the default tab you'll see when you open Prat's config.
When you first install Prat, your chat box may look completely normal, or somewhat shoved off to one side. Prat is a good addon in that it doesn't completely overhaul the UI component it modifies, so making changes to that UI component can be done incrementally. This method is good for people new to UI modifications or those who would prefer to not be overwhelmed by an addon's options (which Prat has many!).

Installation Notes
When you first download Prat, you'll see that there are three additions to your AddOns list in-game. I would recommend leaving the High CPU Usage module turned off.


Little Known Features
Did you know you can do things like change channel name abbreviations or channel font colors? Yep! Prat provides options for these adjustments on the Display tab. You can really customize your chat window to your liking or to the needs of your UI.

Another neat feature is the ability to show AltNames. What this means is you can "assign" a main character to someone's alt in your guild. Don't worry -- there is a button to make this streamlined. It can be relatively good information to have if you're not familiar with the names in your guild.




Another feature I like about Prat that may not be so well-known (or most obvious) is that it will remember the last few lines of chat history between logout/login. If you're used to alt-hopping a lot, this feature is super useful, especially if you're in the middle of talking to someone while doing to the alt dance.

My Favorite Features
By far, my favorite feature of Prat is the Sounds module. It is disabled by default, so you will need to go to the Module Control tab, scroll down and select Enable. This module will be turned on instantly and you will have access to its options through the Extra Stuff tab. What the Sounds module does is add sounds to chat messages. Never miss hearing when your guild comedian lays another doozy on you ever again xD The Sounds module is also good for when you're in a raid and someone types something into /raid chat -- you won't miss it anymore! (Unless there is a whole lot of sound already going on and/or you play with your game sound on and high).

Enable that Sounds module!
Note that you an adjust the default sounds in this module by selecting new ones. There are quite a few included in Prat by default, so there is sure to be one you will enjoy.

Some Forewarning
Prat can be a HUGE memory hog of an addon. As such, I don't recommend turning on all of the features it comes with. Which is sad because it can do so much!

Fin
I hope this post helps provide some insight into a really popular addon. I know I haven't covered all of Prat's features, but many of the features are self-explainable (just read the configuration panels and click around!). If you have any questions about Prat (or another addon!), please drop me a line.


I swear I'm still here and I *do* have a draft for a Tuesday UI Special, I promise! The past couple of weeks have been rough, but I'm slowly getting back into my groove. Schoolwork piled up and so did some hard life things. Plus I have a conference presentation next week, so still freaking out about that.

Wish me luck and I'll see you on the other side xD