Thursday, May 31, 2012

Zombies Or Just Annoying Television Hosts


There is obviously some really bizarre stuff going on in Florida and I’m not talking about Jeb Bush.  At this point, nearly everyone has heard about a naked Rudy Eugene chewing off the face of a homeless man near a Florida highway and subsequently getting shot by police when he wouldn't stop the face chewing.  But did you also know that Haz Mat teams have been called to several places in Florida regarding a “mysterious” substance and that another man was charged with felony battery charges for spitting blood in a policeman’s face.  But don’t just think this all a Florida issue.  In Hackensack, New Jersey, Wayne Carter stabbed himself, cut out his own intestines and then threw them at police.  A lot of people are placing the blame on the expected and anticipated Zombie Apocalypse.  Now don’t get me wrong…I’m prepared for the zombies, but I think these recent events are more easily explained.  I think people are finally losing their minds over the stupidity of the Bachelor and Bachelorette shows on ABC.   The show’s host, Chris Harrison, finally just said, “the most shocking what the whatever,” one too many times.



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Apple Pie Cupcakes - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday




Apple Pie Cupcakes

3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbsp. sugar
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
Vanilla buttercream (Iused this recipe)

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3-3/4 full. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the apple filling, heat the butter a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples. Mix well. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake. Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture. To decorate, top each cupcake with a swirl of vanilla buttercream.

Recipe Source

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Gardening

Back from the front in 1918

Happy Memorial Day!!  I decided today, of course, I would cook out, spend the day in the sun and drink, but that I would also tune in to the History Channel to watch programming honoring those who have served our country in battle.  Sadly, I discovered that the History Channel had opted to show a Pawn Stars marathon.  I’m not sure why the History Channel would chose to ignore a day that could have been a good teaching opportunity…but, I suppose, I will just have to further lower my programming expectations for that channel.  Thankfully, the History Channel 2 is showing WWII and then the Vietnam War in HD all day.   I’ll keep my channel tuned to that instead of Pawn Stars.

I spent the morning gardening.  Part of my cookout later will include fish tacos.  I’m not in any way a fan of guacamole.  It is purely a texture thing with me, but Tiffany loves it.  It isn’t fair for me to deny her guacamole so I made some earlier.  The beauty of making it (aside from the gag reflex of removing the “meat” from the avacado) was that I got to use an onion and a tomato from my own garden.  I used to think people were crazy when they said, “food you make just tastes better,” but truly it does.  I tried the tomato and onion prior to combining them with the avocado.  They were delicious!!  I took up gardening to keep myself busy after getting laid off and now it is a legitimate way for me to provide fresh food for my family.  Here’s a look at what my garden yielded this morning, plus the way I prepared Tiff’s guacamole.


This is the first pepper from one of my red pepper plants.  I used red peppers all the time.  I'm anxiously awaiting for this pepper to turn red!

Super Easy Guacamole

2 Avocados
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
1 tablepoons fresh lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 ripe tomato, pulp removed and chopped

Cut avocados in half and scoop avocado from peel.  Save the seeds if you'd like to try to grow an avocado tree.  See picture below to see how to start it.  Leave the seed end in the water for three to six weeks prior to planting.  I'll keep you posted as to how my avocado tree project is coming along.  Use a fork to mash avocado.  Add onion, parsley, lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper and tomato.  Combine completely with fork.  Cover with plastic wrap completely to prevent oxidation  from air reaching guac and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Want a Farm and Martha Stewart's Fried Chicken

I want a farm.   Nearly every summer, when I was a kid, we would visit my Mom’s parents for a week.  They were pig farmers.  I was always fascinated by their way of life.  Particularly interested in the facts that lunch was called dinner and that it always involved fried chicken (killed personally by my Grandma), you only “went into town” twice a month, my Grandma had kittens living under her house and that my Grandpa used a spittoon in the living room and drank moonshine “secretly” in his tool shed.  The desire to have a farm somewhat died in me for a number of years (when I was working full-time or rather all-the-time), but now it is back in full-force.  My partner is behind this idea and even seems pretty adamant about us raising Alpaca, too.  Who knows if this will ever happen, but it seems logical that one day we could be the lesbian Fabulous Beekman Boys...only not boys.  Until that time, in honor of my Grandma Wall (her first name was Clover…for real), I made fried chicken last night.  It was delicious.  I should have made it for lunch which would be called dinner instead of lunch.  This isn’t her recipe, but it is Martha Stewart’s…sorry to say Martha, but my Grandma Clover’s chicken was better.  I would suggest trying this recipe though because it was pretty freaking good nonetheless.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Patriotic Jell-O Shots

This picture sums up my weekend...


I’m pretty sure your Memorial Day cookout plans will be incomplete if you don’t make these Patriotic Jell-O shots.

Patriotic Jell-O Shots

Red Layer
1 pack red raspberry Jell-O
1 ½ cups water
½ cup Pomegranate Vodka
White Layer
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups water
2 packs Knox Gelatin
Blue Layer
1 pack berry blue Jell-O
1 ½ cups water
½ cup Blue Curacao

Red Layer:  Boil 1 cup water.  Add the Jell-O to the boiling water, stir until dissolved.  Mix the vodka with ½ cup cold water, stir slightly.  Wait for the Jell-O mixture to cool slightly, and then stir in the cold water and vodka mixture.  Pour into 1 oz Jell shot cups (portion cups or Dixie cups will do), about 1/3 the way full.  Chill in the fridge.

White Layer:  Boil 1 cup water, mix in the milk, and then set aside.  Sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup cold water, let stand for a few minutes.  Boil ½ cup water, and then blend into the gelatin mixture.  Stir until dissolved.  Blend the milk and gelatin mixtures and let cool to room temp.  Once the red layer has set, carefully pour this onto the shot for another 1/3 height.  Place in the fridge.

Blue Layer:  Boil 1 cup water.   Add the Jell-O to the boiling water, stir until dissolved.  Mix the Curacao with ½ cup cold water, stir slightly.  Wait for the Jell-O mixture to cool slightly, and then stir in the cold water and Curacao mixture.  Once the previous layers have set add and this mixture cools a bit, pour on top of the other layers about 1/3 height or until the top of the shot is reached.  Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

No Smoking and Lipton Honey and Tea Lady Antebellum Commercials

Am I the only one who is really sick of the latest series of no smoking commercials?  I stopped smoking 15 years ago, but those damn commercials make me want to smoke a pack-a-day just to kill the pain.  The message is certainly compelling, but must we air the commercials on every channel 50 times a day?  I’ll admit initially it was fun to imitate the ads, but even the joy has gone out of that.  That is when you know you’ve hit rock bottom.

Another commercial that really chaps my ass is the Lipton Honey and Tea ad featuring Lady Antebellum.  I mean really…REALLY?  It is just all-around stupid, but I think what really bothers me is not when Hillary Scott throws down packets of the tea to random people having a picnic or even the impromptu concert on the top of a table…no, what really bothers me is that you hear drums, yet there is nobody playing the drums.  WTF, LIPTON?! DO YOU THINK WE ARE STUPID? The entire commercial might have been believable if a drummer had actually set up their drum set in the hot sun prior to the free picnic table performance.  Jeez. The only thing this commercial makes me want to do is add vodka to the Lipton Honey and Tea packets and drink myself into a rabid stupor.  The only way this ad could be less stupid is if Terrie from the No Smoking commercial climbed up on the table and sang with Lady Antebellum.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Grands Biscuit Mini Pies - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday




Grands Little Pies

¾ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup of butter
½ cup chopped nuts (if desired)
1 can (16.3 oz) Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits
1 can (21 oz) apple, blueberry or cherry pie filling
Whipping cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Stir in nuts. 

Separate dough into 8 biscuits.  Split each biscuit in half to make 16 rounds.  With floured fingers, flatten each to form 4-inch round.  Press each biscuit round in ungreased muffin cup pan.  Spoon 2 tablespoons pie filling into each biscuit-lined cup.  Sprinkle each with about 2 tablespoons flour mixture (cups will be full). 

Bake 15 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes.  Remove from muffin cups; place on cooling rack.  Cool 10 minutes.  Top each serving with whipped cream; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Oregon Trail - "True" History Tuesday

On this day in 1843, around a thousand people (including children) in Elm Grove, Missouri got on their covered wagons, horses, skateboards and DeLorean DMC-12s and headed west.  The train was led by Diana Prince (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) and Steve Austin (a.k.a. The Six Million Dollar Man) and consisted of over 100 wagons, 5,000 herd cattle and one invisible airplane.

Prior to heading out, the brave travelers had planned their journey by playing the online game Oregon Trail.  The settlers were unnecessarily concerned about Indian attacks and believed they could protect themselves by putting their wagons in two giant circles when sleeping.  Wonder Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man slept in the center of each circle because they were superheroes.  Ultimately, the settlers learned that the real threat was falling off horses, drowning in rivers, falling rocks, disease and Bigfoot.  Thankfully, Steve Austin utilized his powerful bionic implants to personally take care of the Bigfoot issue. 

Surprisingly or not really surprisingly because they had Wonder Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man with them, nearly all the settlers arrived in western Oregon safe and sound.  There they prospered.  Diana Prince and Steve Austin went on to have lucrative careers in television.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Contents of My Mom's Purse, Midnight at the Oasis and A Homemade "Bomb"

It was odd taking the weekend off from my blog.  I kept thinking I needed to write something and then remembered I was on “holiday.”  It also kept us from having to pause from our 12-hour drive home to go to a McDonald’s, use their Wi-Fi and post my blog.  If you aren’t aware of this, every McDonald’s is equipped with Wi-Fi.  It is good information to know if you are taking a road trip.  In other news, my mom pronounces The Muppets as The Moffets.  This is a picture of my mom and Tiffany at my nephew’s graduation.  It should also be said that she had three granola bars, four peanut butter and saltine crackers and a frozen sandwich in her purse to for a two hour graduation ceremony.  I suppose you never know when you might get hungry.

A couple of really funny things happened while we were visiting family and friends last week.  One was when we were enjoying daiquiris my sister was making with her new Ninja Blender.  They were delicious and perfectly strong.  I was cooking dinner, we were listening to classic rock and just overall having a good time.  I did my rendition of Brian Johnson from AC/DC singing Back in Black.  I’ve worked on it over the years.  I think it is pretty spot-on and I’m proud of my imitation.  Anyway, Maria Muldaur’s Midnight at the Oasis came on next.  We all cheered because who doesn’t like a cheesy 1970s song?  I started singing and got to the part where Muldaur mentions sending her camel to bed.  This started a lively discussion about the sleep patterns of camels.  Do you read it stories, does it need warm milk and can a camel sleep soundly with the impediment of a hump or humps?  My sister finally exclaimed, “Wouldn’t a camel just send itself to bed?  This makes no sense! Why would anyone send their camel to bed?!”  Her boyfriend, Bo, said, “Well…it is the Oasis and it is midnight.  The camel was tired.”  We all cracked up, the blender was fired up again and our daiquiris were re-filled.  It was a good time!  On a side note – a brief read of all the lyrics for Midnight at the Oasis will show that sending your camel to bed is perhaps the least weird thing about this song and that the author was more than likely completely high while writing the song

Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Shadows paintin' our faces
Traces of romance in our heads
Heaven's holdin' a half-moon
Shinin' just for us
Let's slip off to a sand dune, real soon
And kick up a little dust
Come on, Cactus is our friend
He'll point out the way
Come on, 'til the evenin' ends
'Til the evenin' ends
You don't have to answer
There's no need to speak
I'll be your belly dancer, prancer
And you can be my sheik
[Instrumental Interlude]
I know your Daddy's a sultan
A nomad known to all
With fifty girls to attend him, they all send him
Jump at his beck and call
But you won't need no harem, honey
When I'm by your side
And you won't need no camel, no no
When I take you for a ride
Come on, Cactus is our friend
He'll point out the way
Come on, 'til the evenin' ends
'Til the evenin' ends
Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Got shadows paintin' our faces
And traces of romance in our heads
Oh, come on...

Another funny time was visiting one of my friends.  Her son likes science.  I like science.  So I usually try to bring an experiment of some sort for him.  This time I decided we’d make a “bomb.”  Time got away from us throughout the course of the day and ultimately I didn’t get to make my “bomb” until around 11:00pm.  First rule of thumb when making a “bomb” in a residential area = make it during the day and not at night.  I decided to test out my “bomb” and make one before calling her son out to make his own.  These “bombs” are quite easy to make.  You need a 12 ounce empty bottle (I find Dasani water bottles are the best), vinegar, baking soda, saran wrap and a hard surface like the street.  You just fill the bottle about half-way with vinegar, put some baking soda in a small piece of saran wrap, stuff the baking soda and saran wrap in the bottle, put the lid back on, shake up and throw the bottle with violence and gusto into the street (making sure to throw it down on one of the sides or bottom and not the top of the bottle).  My first “bomb” was a dud.  My friends and Tiffany were basically paying all this no attention.  Second rule of making a “bomb” = pay attention when someone says they are making a “bomb.”  I loaded up my second “bomb” and headed to the street.  This one was not a dud.  The super load BOOM caused porch lights to flick on all down the street.  Thankfully, no car alarms went off…I’ve had that happen before.  Third rule of making a “bomb” – stay away from cars.  My friend jumped up from her porch swing and started running in small defensive circles on her porch.  I calmly walked back to the porch.  My plan was to act like one of the confused neighbors trying to figure out what the loud BOOM was...history has taught me that blending can be the best camouflage of wrong doing.  Instead my friend began waving and saying, “Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.”  Once the excitement calmed down, we heard police sirens.  This started another series of defensive porch laps.  Thankfully, the sirens were not for us.  Fourth rule of making a “bomb” – don’t be surprised when it sounds like a “bomb.”

This video will give you an idea of the sound that rang through my friend’s neighborhood at 11:00pm. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Taking the Weekend Off

I haven't really given myself any time off from blogging in 511 days.  I decided that since my nephew is graduating from high school today that I would give myself the weekend.  Which technically I haven't really done because I'm writing this right now, but you get the idea.  I promise I'll be back on Monday to resume my regularly scheduled blogging.  Cheers and have a good weekend!