Sunday, July 31, 2011

Planking on the Dark Side


Sadly, after the second blowing up of the Death Star things have been slow on the Dark Side of the Force. I discovered these images of planking and owling.  Really unfortunate, for such a formerly scary imperial power to be engaging in such trendy, stupid behavior. 


Planking






Owling


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dolly's Recipes and Countdown to Dolly Parton

I’m going to see Dolly Parton in Atlanta on Wednesday.  I saw her several years ago and it was a great show.  I have no doubt Wednesdays show will be just as good.  I’m super excited.  It will be a great time with great friends.  As part of the countdown, I thought it would be fitting to include a recipe for one of Dolly’s favorite drinks as well as a recipe for the Parton Family Black Raspberry Pie.  In addition, I plan to watch 9 to 5 today and then Steel Magnolias tomorrow.  Additionally, at some point before Wednesday Tiffany and I will go karaoke and sing Islands in the Stream.  We will fight over who will sing the Kenny Rogers’ part of the song.



The Nomad Drink Recipe (www.drinkswap.com)
Ingredients
1 oz Vodka
1 oz Fresca
1 dash Grenadine
4 oz Lemonade
Preparation
Mix vodka, lemonade and fresco and serve over ice.  Add a dash of grenadine.


Family Black Raspberry Pie (www.food.com)
Ingredients
5 cups black raspberries
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pie crusts, unbaked
Milk for garnish
Granulated sugar for garnish

Preparation
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place one of the unbaked pie shells in a lightly oiled pie plate.  In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour and salt.  In a large bowl, gently toss the raspberries with orange juice and the sugar/flour/salt mix.  Black raspberries are fragile, so be careful or you’ll break them up.  Place the pie filling in the unbaked pie shell in the pie plate, heaping them in the center.  Put the top crust on, fold the edges under, and crimp them with your fingers or a fork to seal the edges.  Prick (har har) the top crust to let some of the heat and juices escape.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until done.  Brush the top of the crust with milk and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

I should start off today’s blog with a disclaimer about yesterday’s blog.  Pickles Imes would not ever nor never use sausage in her Goat Cheese Pizza.  That was my modification.  My suggestion is to try the pizza both ways and then make another one and jazz it up with whatever you like as a pizza topping.  The dough comes in packs of three, making this suggestion easier. This concludes the disclaimer.  I had a leftover cold chicken enchilada and coffee for breakfast this morning.  It wasn’t too bad. I just figured this might be something you’d want to know. 


Lastly, I’m super excited about the movie Cowboys and Aliens.  I can’t wait to see it.  I’m a big Harrison Ford fan.  I used to pretend I was Han Solo when I was little (or last week).  I would swagger around, blast things with my plastic blaster and dish out perfectly-timed sarcastic remarks.  My dog Baron was just like Chewbacca, only he didn’t walk upright and he was a small dog.  I would also pretend to be Indiana Jones.  I cut a rope and would snap it around like a whip.  I broke a few things and my mom took my whip rope away.  Sometimes I would merge the characters and pretend to be Han Jones or Indiana Solo depending on the imaginary storyline I had created in my head.  I stole my dad’s fedora hat.  I wore it everywhere.  I also took a large box and “froze” myself in carbonite.  I was really good at imitating Han Solo’s frozen in carbonite face.  If I wasn’t just standing in a box, you might have believed I was truly frozen and headed to Jabba’s palace to be put on display.  I also have to admit, I have always loved the movie Regarding Henry.  It is amazing how getting shot in the head can make you way less of a douche bag.  That is just good acting.  At any rate, did I mention I was excited to see Cowboys and Aliens?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goat Cheese Pizza - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday




Goat Cheese Pizza (Recipe from Pickles Imes)

Ingredients
One loaf frozen white ready-dough (thaw and rise)
*Chunky marinara sauce
Handful or so of diced ham
Handful or so Jimmy Dean hearty sausage crumbles
Handful or so sliced mushrooms (canned are best)
Fresh Mozzarella
Fresh Goat Cheese

Preparation
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shape dough in your preferred pizza shape.  I tried tossing it around like the professionals do…I don’t recommend that.  Put ham and sausage in skillet and heat up, set aside. Put your homemade chunky marinara on dough and then add ham, sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella and goat cheese.  Cook pizza for 15 to 20 minutes. 

*Chunky Marinara Sauce
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

Preparation
Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook 2 to 4 minutes until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.  Mix in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until flavors are blended, stirring frequently.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – Joan of Arc and the Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwich

We all know the story of Saint Joan of Arc.  She was a peasant from France and martyr for the Catholic Church.  She actually led the French army in several battles and victories during the Hundred Years’ War.  She was eventually captured, tried by the English and burned at the stake when she was 19.  The Pope later proclaimed her innocent and she was canonized in 1920.  Her life was certainly inspirational and sad.  What has been lost to history was her amazing ability to smoke meats.  Her slow cooker style no doubt energized her troops and played a key role in several of her impressive military victories. 
Joan of Arc learned her “low and slow” smoker style from her father.  When she heard from God and went off to lead the army with her divine message, she took her Smokey Joe Smoker with her.  In between important battles she would hunt wild boar and other meaty creatures wandering the French countryside.  The animals she killed were not considered delicacies, which was tough because she was French and they are kind of snobby about their food.  Joan’s style, however, tenderized the tough meat by breaking down the connective tissues and rendering out the fat.  Her pulled pork would literally melt in your mouth.  Her meat “low and slow” cooking style only reinforced her troop’s belief that she was led by divine intervention.  The irony of her death was not lost on her troops and in her memory; her Smokey Joe Smoker was retired, but still rolled into battle a full 125 years after her death.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Walking the Dogs with Supertramp

It isn’t easy to walk four dogs.  It is especially difficult to walk four dogs that are crazy.  My smallest and bossiest dog, Celie, woke me up at 7:00am.  She does this by either barking in your face or scratching at your face and arm.  Sometimes, she does both.  She has a blood-curdling bark and can make it especially loud and high-pitched when it involves waking up her human.  Once she is up…everybody is up.  Once they are up and I am vertical, the dogs begin running in all different directions.  They are everywhere.  I then have to line them up (I say this loosely because it isn’t really a line at all).  The boys, Harpo and Cujo, must wear harnesses.  If they don’t, they pull you like a Siberian Husky race team.  They are always in a hurry to get where they are going…although they don’t really know where they are going, at all.  The girls patrol and guard the pack while we walk.  Any movement causes them to sound off.  It is completely embarrassing.  My neighbors know us.  My neighbors avoid us. 
I usually found my happy place on our walks by listening to music on my phone.  This morning Supertramp’s Goodbye Stranger came on the radio.  Is there anybody who does not sing the falsetto part of that song?  Is there anybody who truly knows how loudly they are singing when they have their music turned up and ear buds in your ears?  So, this morning my neighbors didn’t just get the crazy dog antics, they got me singing Supertramp…at 7:00am.  I’m thinking the chances are low of us getting some baked good around the holidays from the neighbors.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake and Being Happy

As a kid, I was always weirdly happy.  I scanned a few of my baby pictures while I was at my parent’s house.  All of them looked like these pictures…stupid shit-eating grins. 





I would get really moody and sad as a teenager and still do sometimes today, but more often than not, I’m happy.  Maybe this is a simple philosophy, but I don’t care.  You have so little control over anything, but the one thing you can control is your attitude.  You can actually choose it.  You can’t always stick with having a good attitude, but more often than not if you tell yourself it will be a good day - it can be.  It isn’t like stupid stuff does not bother me, it does, but I can choose the level of how much I let things annoy me.  It makes me happy to make those around me happy.  I know it is kind of corny (popcorn makes me happy, too btw) but it works for me and it keeps me smiling just like I did when I was a baby.  Another thing that keeps me smiling is this cake.  Give it a try!

Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake (www.betsylife.com)
Ingredients - cake
1 ½ cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Wooden skewer

Ingredients – strawberry glaze
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons strawberry jell-o, dry
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Preparation
Mix together and bring to a boil.  Let it thicken slightly, it gets thicker as it cools. 

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add cream cheese, beating until creamy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.  Gradually add flour to butter mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape bowl as needed.  Stir in almond and vanilla extracts.  Pour one-third of batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (14 cup) tube pan (about 2/3 cups batter).  Dollop 8 rounded teaspoonfuls strawberry glaze over batter, and swirl with wooden skewer.  Repeat procedure once, and top with remaining third of batter.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Lists

This morning when I got up at 8, I made a list of the things I wanted to get done today.  I was feeling ambitious.  Here is that list:
1.      Go to grocery store
2.      Clean bathrooms
3.      Clean kitchen
4.      Dust
5.      Do floors
6.      Windex all windexable surfaces
7.      give the dogs baths
8.      start laundry
9.      mow the backyard
10.  write blog
It is now nearly 1 and I’ve amended my list.  Here is that new list:
1.       grocery store – DONE!
2.      Clean one sink and then walk away leaving sponge in sink
3.      Turn complete circle in kitchen, grab a beer from fridge and walk out
4.      lie on couch and blow in the general direction of the coffee table to remove dust
5.      sit on couch, stare at floors, drink beer
6.      lie on bed and think about who came up with the name Windex
7.      from sitting position, spray Bath and Body Works Moonlight Path fragrance mist on dogs as they walk by
8.      stub toe on laundry basket, curse
9.      look out window to backyard, think about heat, open another beer
10.  just put today’s lists up on blog

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Feeling Old

If you ever want to make yourself feel really old…pull lots of weeds.  My mom turns 80 in August and she was whizzing by me this morning as I hobbled down the hallway.  I really love to do yard work and I do have ibuprofen, so death is not imminent.  Just like Gloria Gaynor, I will survive.  In the meantime though, I will get up slowly, move deliberately and use a walker with tennis balls at the ends of the legs.  Then…when I’m feeling livelier, I’m going to Pizza Hut and dancing like this as I wait for my pizza pie:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Green Chili Rellenos - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday



Grilled Chile Rellenos (www.bushbeans.com)
Ingredients
6 large poblano chiles*
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 (28 ounce) can BUSH'S(R) Vegetarian Baked Beans, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
12 ounces Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack, coarsely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preparation
Cut poblano chiles in half lengthwise to create a boat for filling; scrape out seeds.* Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add onion, garlic, jalapenos, red bell pepper, cilantro and cumin and cook over medium heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in BUSH'S Vegetarian Baked Beans, hot sauce and 8 ounces cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed chiles and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Preheat grill to medium. Arrange chiles on grill away from heat. Cook until chiles are tender and cheese is browned and bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from grill and serve at once.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – The Awkward Sideways Hug, Fried Pickles and Blue Waffles

Howard Hughes is remembered for his wealth, his work in movies, his contributions to aviation and for going completely bonkers the last thirty years of his life.  Hughes suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Although his behavior could be erratic, the tycoon was able to conduct business and successfully build and fly around in planes.  Early in his life, he also invented the awkward sideways hug.  Being obsessive-compulsive can often prohibit one from doing a full-on-frontal hug.  Hughes changed all that by just going in from the side to hug. So, crazy, but not all the way crazy.

The crazy level completely changed in December of 1947 when Hughes ate a meal of fried pickles and blue waffles.  Something snapped in his brain and he locked himself in his movie studio’s screening room.  He stayed there eating chocolate bars and drinking milk.  He didn’t even leave to go to the bathroom.  He just used the empty milk bottles and discarded candy wrappers. He also became obsessed with Kleenex and would only touch things with the protection of a Kleenex tissue.  His hygiene also took a nose dive (see how I just did a polysemy and sort of a double entendre sans the risqué, there?  Nose dive because he was a pilot and nose dive because he was stinky.  This is a fancy pants blog entry.)  Hughes downward spiral (I sort of just did it again, btw) continued and progressed really deep into bizarre territory.  The last years of his life were spent as a dirty, stinky recluse who only trusted the Mormans.

This “true” history Tuesday edition is really more of a warning:  sideways hugs will always be awkward and never…and I mean NEVER, eat fried pickles and blue waffles together.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Still Waiting on a Congratulations on Your 16-Year-Anniversary Card from Marcus Bachmann


I’ve been with my partner for 16 years today.  Our relationship is real, legitimate and as binding as any relationship.  We don’t need a state-issued certificate that proves we are a couple.  However, the choice to have it would be nice.  That would be one other significant choice in our lives.  The first was our choice to live our lives openly and out of the closet; the next would be our choice to be married, when that option becomes legal in our state…and it will, some day.  There was no choice about being who we are…we just were. 
Which makes people, like the Bachmann’s, all the more irritating to me.  If your chance at the presidency increases because you have a husband who runs a clinic that claims to “cure” gay people…than the more I think things change the more they actually stay the same.  Mr. Bachmann needs to spend some time addressing the reasons why he struggles with such high levels of homophobia and stop calling us barbarians.  If you really want to do something valuable with your clinic, teach tolerance and acceptance.  I’d imagine that would be a significantly more Christian way to spend your time.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dropping the Fried Chicken

I was telling a friend this story the other day and figured I’d share it here, too.  When I was growing up my mom was really picky about her house and things.  She’s mellowed considerably in her older age, but back then you didn’t make messes or you suffered the consequences.  Examples include:  you had to take your shoes off before you walked in the house, there was plastic on the living room sofa and she actually mopped the garage floor.   It was vital that you not spill, drop or make messy anything. 
When I was six, just before starting kindergarten, we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken (it was called that then, none of this KFC crap).  My dad was out of town so mom was treating us to fast food chicken.  It was a rarity.  I was totally excited.  I had a pivotal role in our adventure.  I had to hold the chicken in my lap for the ride home.  My arms encircled the bucket.  I gripped it as if it was a precious artifact from ancient times.  There was no way I was going to mess up mom’s car.  When we got back home, mom pulled into the garage.  I gingerly stepped out of the car with my very important cargo.  I carefully shut the door using my backside and then immediately fell over, tossing the chicken out of the bucket and all over the garage floor.  I felt my heart sink and the panic rising.  Wide-eyed and holding back tears, I looked at mom and prepared to get in all sorts of holy hell trouble.  She turned around, looked down at the chicken and then back up at me.  My lip was quivering.  Then completely out of left field, she smiled and said, “It’s ok…we all make mistakes with chicken.” We picked up the chicken together and when it was all back in the bucket she said, “This is our little secret.”  And it was.  My sister got home from school and we had that chicken for dinner.  It was so good, but what was really special was as we ate the chicken my mom smiled at me.  I love her for that moment and to this day never get upset when I make mistakes with chicken.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Don’t Have a Twin

This morning I took a stroll down memory lane.  Well actually down Mistletoe Lane, but after walking the dog, I looked through my mom’s old photo albums.  From time to time, I do that when I’m in Oklahoma for a visit and this time I had an added advantage…a scanner.  I’m sure my older sister will kill me, but she’ll have to catch me first.  The way our mother dressed us you’d think we were twins.  I’m actually quite sad we still don’t have some of these outfits.  I’m particularly disappointed that I do not have adult-sized boots just like the ones in the first photo.  Those boots are spectacular and damn near superhero costume worthy.  There were so many great things about growing up in the seventies.  It was just such a weird decade and no better way to illustrate that than through the clothing styles.  Additionally, my sister and I were not twins…we just were dressed that way.