Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year - Champagne Punch

Tiffany, her mom and I went shopping at the Premium Outlets Mall in Orlando.  Seemed like a good idea.  Apparently, everyone else in the Continental United States who was visiting Florida had the same idea.  It was packed.  It was like the world wrestling federation version of shopping.  Getting a parking spot was cut throat.  Tiffany wanted to go for these very specific shoes.  Shoes, it turned out, that were not at the Premium Outlets Mall in Orlando.  Even with all the craziness and massive amount of stupid people surrounding us…we managed to still have a good time.  Which leads me to this picture:

2011 has been a pretty good year.  I always like those 'best of' shows that happen at the end of the year.  That being said, I thought I would give you my blog’s top five entries of 2011.  This is just based on which entries had the most page views.  Go figure.

#3 – Tomatoes

I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  Champagne gives me the worst hangover…probably because I drink several bottles by myself.  This recipe actually makes things a little easier the next day…plus citrus keeps the scurvy away.

Champagne Punch

1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
1 (12 fluid once) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 (6 fluid once) can frozen limeade concentrate
1 (750 milliliter) bottle white wine, chilled
1 liter club soda, chilled
2 (750 milliliter) bottles champagne, chilled
1 lemon – sliced, for garnish
½ cup fresh mint, garnish

In large punch bowl, combine the cranberry juice concentrate, pink lemonade concentrate, limeade concentrate, white wine, club soda and champagne.  Garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint leaves.

Recipe Source

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prank Calls

Tiffany’s mom has a group of ladies that she plays golf with on Wednesdays.  We ate lunch before we teed off for the day.  The ladies were a lot of fun and very nice.  One of them began talking about never really using a cell phone because she had a land line.  We got rid of our land line years ago.  At any rate, the mention of a land line got me to thinking of the lost art of the prank call.  Remember the days before cell phones, before caller ID and before *69?  It was the heyday of anonymous phone tomfoolery.  I felt like if I had actually stayed with Girl Scouting…I could have earned a badge in this skill…a big badge, on the front of my sash.

My gift was in my ability to create voices.  I’m sure, in hindsight, my other voices sounded just like me pretending to be someone else, but whatever.  In my mind, I was a nameless, possibly foreign, phone high-jinks aficionado.  This was in the days way before Bart Simpson’s calls to Moe’s Bar.  With a group of friends at the Aquatic Center, I was the master of the pay phone paging call.  This is where you call a place and ask for someone to be paged over the intercom.  The fun and hilarity are ratcheted up when you are actually at the place that is doing the paging when the shenanigans are afoot.   Nevermind, that the people doing the paging could probably see us on the pay phone, hanging up, listening and then laughing hysterically, it was still top secret and fancy.  “Could you please page Michael Hock…he goes by Mike.”  Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.  “MIKE HOCK, PLEASE COME TO THE FRONT DESK, MIKE HOCK.”  Laughing. Laughing. Laughing. Dialing. Dialing. Dialing.  “Could you please page Seymour Buts.”  Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.  “SEYMOUR BUTS, PLEASE COME TO THE FRONT DESK, SEYMOUR BUTS.” Laughing. Laughing. Laughing. Dialing. Dialing. Dialing.  “Could you please page Mike Rotch.”  Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.  “MIKE ROTCH, PLEASE COME TO THE FRONT DESK, MIKE ROTCH.”  Laughing. Laughing. Laughing.  Swimming. Swimming. Swimming.  And then the cycle of antics resume.  Those were the good old days.  Good times.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Turkey Beer Chili - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday

Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

1 ¼ pound lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1.25 oz) envelope chili seasoning mix
1 (12 oz) can/bottle beer
1 ½ cups frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (I just used two red peppers instead)
I (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
¾ teaspoon salt

Toppings:  shredded cheddar cheese, finely chopped red onion, sliced jalapenos

When serving, I also added crushed tortilla chips to chili

Cook first 4 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 8 minutes or until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink.  Stir in beer, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Spoon mixture into at least a 5 quart cooker; stir in corn and next 7 ingredients until well blended.  Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours.  Serve with desired toppings.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today is the One Year Anniversary of My Blog

I made myself a promise on this day last year.  The promise was to start a blog and have one entry a day for one year.  And now here we are…365 consecutive entries.  A lot has happened this year and I’m a much happier person from the one who wrote this last year (click here for first entry).  No longer do I feel defined by being laid-off.  I’ll always cherish the memories and friends I made at my former job, but life continues.  I like where my life is headed, and where it has been. 

Thank you for sharing the last year with me.  I hope I made you laugh.  I hope the food and cocktail recipes made you want to cook and drink…preferably at the same time.  I gained strength and comfort by knowing I had a place to express myself.  I hope you’ll want to keep reading next year.  I plan to keep cooking, cleaning, drinking, laughing and writing.  Cheers to the next 365 entries.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Drunk Santa and Magnetic Silly Putty

I spent the morning doing some general house-keeping things to my blog.  One of the things I hope you will appreciate is I properly labeled my entries.  After doing this, I added a gadget to the right showing you the labels.  This should help if you are looking for something specific.  If I annoyed myself trying to find a past recipe entry, it must have been really irritating for you.  Check it out!

I still can’t believe Christmas was yesterday.  Time flies and so does Santa in his sleigh.  Even Santa needs to celebrate getting the job done.  Here is some footage of him leaving his celebratory job well-done party.  

Magnetic Silly Putty (

Silly Putty
Ferric Iron Oxide Powder (artist supply stores or online)
Neodymium Magnet
Paper or Paper Plate

What To Do:
Open the silly putty and remove from the container.  Work the putty in your hands a little to warm it up, then stretch it out like a sheet and lay it on a sheet of paper or paper plate.  Carefully spoon about a tablespoon of iron oxide into the center of the putty and gently fold the edges of the putty into the center and work the powder into the putty.  Go slow, the powder produces a lot of dust.  After a minute or so of massaging the putty will loose its color and begin to look black.  Keep massaging for about 3 to 4 minutes.

You can also save yourself the mess and trouble by ordering the putty already prepared.  Click here to do that

Either way – here are the results.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rotel Chicken Spaghetti

I made this last night for dinner.  It was easy to make and very tasty.  In fact, I had leftovers for lunch, too. 

Rotel Chicken Spaghetti (
3-4 large boneless chicken breasts (or rotisserie chicken)
1 can (10 3/4 ounce) Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can (10 ounce) Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tablespoon Margarine or butter
1 – 8 ounce Velveeta cheese, cubed
8 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained

Cut up chicken into bite size pieces. In a large skillet melt butter or margarine. Add cubed chicken, garlic & onion. Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink and no liquid is left in skillet. Stir in soup, cheese and Rotel Tomatoes. Reduce heat to low, and cook until the cheese melts, stirring constantly. Stir in spaghetti and pour into a lightly greased 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Merry Christmas Eve from our dogs!  This is what happened when we took pictures for your cards this year…