Tuesday, May 31, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – Xanadu

Roller skates were invented by Thomas Edison in 1879.  This was right around the time he invented the light bulb.  The issue with the invention of the light bulb is that he failed to invent the light switch.  The constant walking back and forth to the light bulb became very tedious and exhausting.  Edison’s assistant was named Olivia Newton-John.  She got very tired of walking the distance of Edison’s lab, called Xanadu, to turn the light bulb on and then again, when work was done, to turn it off.  She finally, dramatically, put her foot down and said, “Tell me about it, stud.”  Edison said, “What did you just say?”  Olivia replied, “Sorry wrong movie.  What I meant to say was, I’m really tired from all this walking to turn on the light bulb.  Isn’t there something you can invent to make the walking less tiring and more fun and funky?”  She stomped off in her black satin skin tight pants to tidy up the lab and dust the light bulb.

Olivia’s outburst got Edison to thinking.  He imagined shoes with wheels.  Undoubtedly, this would be a fun as well as funky solution to his assistant’s exhaustion.  That night Edison took a pair of wrestling shoes and used crazy glue to stick wheels on the shoes.  He rearranged his lab in a circular fashion with shiny floors, installed special lighting, a disco ball and played You Dropped a Bomb on Me by the Gap Band and Swingin’ by John Anderson over and over and over again.  Edison put on his new shoes with wheels and took them for a test spin around Xanadu.  He felt free and eventually learned to go around the lab backwards.  After eating a cheap piece of pizza from the snack bar and receiving his first kiss, Edison made a smaller pair of wheeled shoes for Olivia.  

The next morning, Edison presented Olivia with her new shoes.  He told her to close her eyes first.  Edison said, “And now, open your eyes and see.  What we have made is real.  We are in Xanadu.” Once he presented her with the wheeled shoes, she was elated and exclaimed, “Xanadu, your incandescent light bulb will shine…for you, Xanadu!”  And thus, the roller skate was invented.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bigfoot, Beer Braised Cowboy Beans and Beer Wench Bacon Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

I thought this summer would be my first summer in twelve years to not be teaching a summer camp.  Then I got my part-time job and guess what…I started teaching camp today.  I’m glad.  I know it would be something I would miss.  I’m never totally sure of things I’m good at, but I know I’m good at summer camps.  That is one thing my former job might be coming to realize.  At any rate, the camp I’m teaching now is out in the woods.  This video came out a few days ago.  I’ve always been obsessed with Bigfoot.  My goal, along with having a lot of fun with camps this summer, is to see Bigfoot.  I will keep you posted. 

I like beer.  Beer is good.  You should try drinking beer and cooking with it, too.  Here a few of my favorite recipes that include cooking with beer as you drink beer.  Enjoy!
Beer-Braised Cowboy Beans (www.girlsatthegrill.com/foodanddrink/)

12 slices lean bacon, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
6 cups cooked pinto beans, rinsed
12 ounce beer, such as Tecate
2 cups water plus more as needed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile
2 teaspoons McCormick chili powder
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
10 scallions, trimmed and sliced

Set a heavy-bottomed 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the bacon to the pan and fry until lightly crisp, about 5 minutes.  Add green peppers and garlic; mix well.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes until garlic is soft.  Add the cooked beans, beer and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the coriander, ancho chile, chili powder and salt.  Add more water if necessary.  Simmer gently for 40-50 minutes to blend flavors.  Ladle into bowls and serve topped with generous spoonful of sliced scallions

Beer Wench Bacon Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (www.drinkwiththewench.com)

1 box of brownie mix
3 eggs
Vegetable oil (whatever amount indicated on brownie mix)
1/3 cup chocolate, oatmeal or regular stout
1 package of bacon
6 whole peanut butter cups – chilled
2 tbsp butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease pan with butter. Yes, butter. Because butter makes everything better.  Cook entire package of bacon to desired consistency.  I like a combination of crispy bacon and chewy bacon.  They both add an interesting texture to the end product.  Allow the bacon to cool and then dice it.  Chop the peanut butter cups into small pieces.  Melt the butter and mix with the bacon.  Combine the eggs, oil, stout and bacon butter with the box brownie mix in a large bowl.  Do not over mix.   After all ingredients are combined, fold in the peanut butter cups.  Pour the mix into the greased pan and spread it evenly.  Bake according to mix directions.  Obviously, serve with the rest of the stout. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Plant Sex and Good Wieners

I just spent the morning hand pollinating my zucchini and squash plants.  I feel dirty.  I didn’t ever think I would have to help my plants have sex, but alas I did.  I’m sure there were plenty of pollinators hanging out in my yard, but clearly they wanted to watch me do their job.  I suspect the bees were laughing at me.  Bastards.  I kept noticing an overabundance of male flowers in the garden box (which we will call the “bar” for this post).  The male flowers at the “bar” looked really pretty, but basically did nothing.  The poor female flowers got so bombarded by the male flowers that they ended up just dying.  The females could not stand all the attention, drink buying, staring and ridiculous dancing with bad out-of-date moves and constant biting of the lower lip in an attempt to look sexy.  I watched the goings on in the “bar” for a few weeks.  I waited patiently for some actual fruit.  Nothing.  Finally, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands…literally.  I changed the music at the “bar” to Barry White.  I told those men to basically just shut up and listen.  Stop talking, stop dancing…just stop doing anything at all.  After dinner with a nice wine followed by a cheesy chick flick movie, I took the male’s anther and touched it to the female’s stigma a couple of times.  We then all went back to the “bar” for a cigarette.  I’m thinking, finally, these fools will produce actual squash and zucchini.  We shall see.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.  How do we honor those who have died for our country?  We cook out, of course.  This is America and America = food. Hamburgers are always good.  The only advice I can give on those is ONLY FLIP ONCE.  Hot dogs are often just an after-thought.  If you are looking for a little more spice or even to only cook hot dogs this Memorial Day, check out these yummy wiener recipes. 

Fireside Hot Dogs with Spicy Chips (www.foodnetwork.com)

Spicy Chips
I cup of tortilla chips
Nonstick cooking spray
Chili-lime powder

Hot Dogs
Olive oil
½ onion, thinly sliced
4 strips of bacon
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 beef hot dogs
8 hot dog buns

For the spicy chips:  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray tortilla chips with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with the chili-lime powder and toss to combine.  Transfer the chips to a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes.

For hot dogs:  heat a medium, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon and cook until all the fat has rendered, about five minutes.  Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the soy sauce, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce, stirring to combine.  Cook for 30 seconds and turn off heat.  Transfer the mixture to medium bowl and set aside.  Using the same pan, cook the hot dogs over medium heat until golden brown and cooked through, about five minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and wrap tightly with aluminum foil to keep warm.  To assemble each hot dog, spread some mayonnaise on each bun.  Put a hot dog in each bun, top with the onion mixture and crumbled spicy chips and serve with ketchup and mustard.

Tummy Dogs (www.tasteofhome.com)

8 bacon strips
8 hot dogs
4 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese, cut into strips
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup Dijon mustard
8 hot dog buns
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies

Partially cook bacon; drain on paper towels.  Cut a ¼ inch lengthwise slit in each hot dog; place cheese in each slit.  Starting at one end, wrap bacon in a spiral around hot dog; secure with toothpicks.  Split buns just halfway.  Combine butter and mustard; spread inside buns.  Set aside.  On a covered grill over medium heat, cook hot dogs with cheese side down for two minutes.  Place bun on grill with cut side down; grill until lightly toasted.  Remove toothpicks from the hot dogs; serve in buns with onions and chilies. 

Hot Sweet Vidalia Onion Relish (www.razzledazzlerecipes.com)

1 tablespoon oil
1 Vidalia onion, diced
¼ red and green bell peppers, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh mint
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon salt and cayenne pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high setting.  Sauté the peppers and onion; remove from the heat when the onions are translucent and the peppers have wilted slightly.  Stir in the ingredients that remain and serve while warm.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper and Spelunking

I saw this commercial the other night.  I sprang up from the recliner causing two dogs to fly up off my lap.  This naturally inspired all four dogs to start barking and running around in circles.  I don’t spring out of the recliner too often.  They were on point for whatever might be happening.  Floor cleaning is a big part of my world.  It is a never ending cycle of dog hair sweeping, mopping, swiffering, vacuuming, etc.  I have all the best stuff for the floor…in fact, I have all the stuff ever created for floor care.  It takes a lot to get my attention.  I feel like I am an expert in this area.  But seeing this Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper in action on the commercial was very exciting.  It flips up to clean the baseboards for Christ sake!  Naturally, I got one immediately.  I’m taking it for a test run later today.  I’m very excited.

Last night I had a strange dream about spelunking.  It isn’t like I actually go caving or anything.  Dreams can be so weird.  Anyway, I find myself walking into this large smelly cave.  The walls were really sticky and appeared to be oozing.  Thankfully, I had a flashlight.  I kept noticing all these people walking in and out of the cave, too.  They looked dazed, confused and in a hurry to leave.  They were all carrying snacks.
I also saw bats everywhere.  It made me regret not bringing watermelon.  Have you seen fruit bats eating watermelon at the zoo?  They are actually pretty cute.  These bats weren’t cute.  They looked diseased.  Did I mention it really smelled bad? (Sidebar – often dreams with bad smells are actually the result of one of the dogs having bad gas – end of sidebar)  In the dream, I had to keep going.  I carefully got deeper in the cave and finally found what I was looking for…a vending machine.  It was the cheapest vending machine this side of 1974.  You could get sodas and snacks for 10 cents each.  What a deal!  No wonder so many people were going in the cave.  I ran out with my cheap snacks.  I decided never to go back…cheap snacks are not worth going into a disgusting cave. 
Weird, huh?  I checked out a dream interpretation website and this is what it said about dreaming of spelunking:  “Caves are not fully understood in dreams. They may stand for some deep hidden link. But they tend to be strongly associated with meditation, deep mind exploration, unusual sleep phenoma and dreams. So look for links to premonitions and unusual strange feelings.”  Gee thanks…that was a bunch of words to tell me absolutely nothing.  I think the dream just means I want some cheap cheetos.  I’ve been craving them for awhile.  My dreams tend to have everything to do with food and canine gas.  Ok then...off to flip clean my floors!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Freaky Friday Favorites

If you don't have a beach nearby...just sun yourself in a public parking area. A wonderful photo find posted on a friend's facebook (thanks Jenn!).


Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's Growing in my Garden

Is there anything creepier than a close-up picture of a doll face?

My first foray into gardening is still progressing nicely…are at least, I think, it is progressing nicely.  I’m growing stuff, so that seems like I’m doing something right.  The one thing that has definitely been an ongoing battle would be growing strawberries.  After planting them, I soon discovered I had a yard full of gangsta squirrels.  I tried a plastic owl, Cayenne pepper, pepper spray stuff from Home Depot, lights, rubber snakes, the coon dogs from Where the Red Fern Grows, Vatican guards, fireworks and a Nicaraguan death squad.  Nothing worked.  I finally just dug up the strawberries and put them in pots.  I moved the pots by the windows in the garage.  All this work and Tiffany and I have eaten one strawberry.  We cut it in four pieces.  It was a really good, but a very brief strawberry eating experience.   I replaced the strawberries with squash and zucchini.  I grew them from seeds.  At this point, I feel like they are about to graduate from middle school…actual grown up zucchini and squash will not be far behind.  I also planted a pumpkin plant.  I gift from a friend (thanks Colt!).  We are hoping we’ll have pumpkins to carve for Halloween.  I also grew potatoes and broccoli! Sure they may be the smallest potatoes and broccoli florets in the world…but still, I grew them. Hands down, however, the thing I am most excited about are my tomato plants.  Jodie Foster is the cherry tomato plant and Mariska Hargitay and Marg Helgenberger are my big boy tomato plants.  I put my hands on their tomatoes as much as possible.  Jodie Foster has been giving us lots of cherry tomatoes and Mariska and Marg are growing tomatoes now, too. 

Click here for how to building garden boxes, click here for a past update and check out new update pictures below.

A salad made from romaine lettuce grown in my garden.

I open the garage door to let the strawberries sun themselves.  I suspect moments after this picture was taken a squirrel stole any berries growing on the plants.

squash and zucchini

small, but tasty

Jodie Foster

Touching one of Markisa's tomatoes.

Mariska and Marg

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crawfish Enchiladas and Raisin-Studded Apple Bread Pudding - WTF and WOW Recipes Wednesday

Crawfish Enchilidas (www.nolafoodie.com)
1 pound boiled crawfish tails (seasoned)
2 Pablano Peppers
1 white onion
Green onions
4 cloves of Garlic
1 can of white queso cheese dip
Shredded cheese (Mexican blend)
1 jar of pace (medium) enchilada sauce with green chilis
10 large wheat tortillas
Sour cream
Cajun seasoning

Dice onion.  Roast Pablano Peppers over an open flame and peal off skins.  Season crawfish tails (if not already seasoned – use Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper).  Chop green onion. 

In a sauté pan or fry pan, sauté chopped white onion until soft.  Add chopped green peppers, then add chopped garlic and sauté.  In a large mixing bowl, mix crawfish, onion and pepper sauté mixture and queso cheese.  Fold all ingredients together until mixed thoroughly.  In a small saucepan, heat the enchilada sauce, then coat the bottom of casserole pan with sauce.  Heat tortillas; then in each tortilla fill the middle with crawfish mixture, then place seam down in the casserole pan.  After the dish is full, pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchilidas and then cover with shredded cheese.  Place in oven at 300 degrees and bake until cheese is melted (10-15 minutes).  Garnish with green onions and sour cream.

Raisin-Studded Apple Bread Pudding (http://www.smittenkitten.com/)

1 pound bakery white or challah bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup (6 ounces) golden raisins, plumped in hot water for 15 minutes
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 6 minutes, until crisp. Transfer to a bowl and add the apple and raisins.
Generously butter either a 9×13-inch deep baking dish or six 8-ounce ramekins. If using ramekins, set them on the baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer or whisk, beat the eggs with the sugar. Beat in the ground spices, vanilla and salt.
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with the molasses until just warm to the touch. Gradually beat the warm milk into the egg mixture, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl.
Spread bread mixture out in your large baking dish, or distribute it among ramekins. Pour the custard over the bread mixture, nudging the bread around a bit to make sure it soaks all of the pieces. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, until puffed and set, with the tops lightly browned. Let the bread pudding(s) rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – The Invention of Annoying

Being annoying was invented early in the 20th Century.  The Pillsbury Dough Boy and Snuggle Bear lived in a log cabin in 1915.  All they ever did was walk around laughing, tickling each other, rolling in blankets fresh out of the dryer, and trying to be cute.  Nobody liked them.  Around this time, the Jolly Green Giant accidently stepped on their log cabin.  He was looking for green beans.  He didn’t find any in their cabin.  The three of them decided to walk the earth and be annoying together. 

Eventually, they came upon Mrs. Butterworth.  She was on a giant table gliding around and talking about pancakes.  She opted to join them.  She was not only annoying…she was also sticky.  Onward the four of them went.  At some point, they were even skipping.  One day, late in 1917 they found Elsie the Cow.  She was squirting milk at them and laughing.  She was cute and annoying.  She joined them immediately.  A few weeks later, they found the Marlboro Man smoking behind a school’s gym.  He joined them and rode around on Elsie the Cow. 

Skipping through Italy, they found Chef Boyardee.  He smelled of cheap meatballs and ravioli.  He joined them on the path of annoyance.  On they went…all of them trying to outdo each other on the annoying scale.  All the while, being cute and talking only about themselves.  Out of nowhere, appeared the Energizer Bunny.  This cranked the annoying up really high.  He banged his extra large drum as he turned circles around the whole group of annoying annoyers.  Tony the Tiger heard the drum from the forest.  He thought it was GGGGRREEEAAAT!  He joined them, too.

The annoying was becoming so loud that Charlie the Tuna heard them from the sea.  He jumped out and was suddenly able to breathe outside the water.  He perched himself on top of the Jolly Green Giant’s head.  Ronald McDonald eventually saw Charlie the Tuna and knew he had to jump right on this annoying train.  On and on they went.  Finally, Mr. Peanut joined them and the circle was complete and thus, being annoying was invented.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What the What and A Beer Cocktail

It is amazing the amount of what the what stuff you can find on the internettes.  I’m a huge Star Wars fan.  There is a lot of what the what stuff about Star Wars.  I found this particular video last night.  I can’t even remember what I was originally looking for after I watched the video.  I’m a huge beer fan, too.  My suggestion is to mix up the beer cocktail below, have a seat, click on this video and see if you, too forget what you were originally doing before you clicked and watched this.  Enjoy.

Acapulco Twister Ingredients (http://www.drunkdrinks.com/)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch black pepper
3 drops Tabasco sauce
½ oz Clamato juice
1 ½ Bacardi Limon rum
4 oz Corona

Mix the lemon, Tabasco sauce, Clamato juice, salt and pepper.  Fill the glass with some ice, add the rum and fill with Corona beer.

Retro Laundry

Today is laundry day, time to get caught up on these dirty clothes.  Have you ever noticed in laundry detergent commercials from the sixties and seventies people were severely accident prone?  It wasn’t like you were going to get a small stain on the front of your shirt…no you’d drop an entire can of blueberry pie filling, just before sliding into home base on your stomach and then cutting your neck open causing blood to seep into the blueberry/dirt stain.  Plus ring around the collar was like the bubonic plague of the 1970s…only without all the death. 

I found three retro commercials to illustrate my point about the serious stain problems of earlier decades.  In the first commercial, I think the gentleman should worry more about that awful hat instead of the stain on his shirt.  This commercial also shows that stains were so large at that time that they actually had their own shadows. In the second commercial, if Tiffany did that while watching a sporting event, I might kill her.  Not even drunk off my ass, have I ever unintentionally thrown a plate of food up in the air?  Its food for God’s sake!  Watching that also makes me glad I have dogs…that would be cleaned up in seconds by the stampede of four always hungry dogs.  The last commercial illustrates the ring around the collar dilemma.  Plus watching a woman’s slip into insanity is just fun to watch.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Post Rapture Hangover

Our Rapture Crawfish boil was a success!  Maybe too much of a success…my post Rapture hangover is a killer.  One thing I learned in New Orleans is not to drink Hurricanes.  It just takes one night of too many of them to figure it out.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that lesson also applies when not in New Orleans.  Now I’ve learned that, too.  Hurricanes are bad for you, regardless of your location.  I’m passing this on to you, because I’m generous like that.  You’re welcome.  Another lesson I learned is that 40 pounds of crawfish is a shitload lot of crawfish.  I will be putting crawfish in everything I cook for the next 3 years.  I think my Christmas crawfish sugar cookies will be a real hit.  I should also tell you that I took a nap after writing the first two sentences of this blog.  I feel another nap coming on, so I’ll just leave you with this video.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of Days

Nothing like the threat of the Rapture to really spice up a Crawfish Boil!  Guests at our party tonight will have a nice unobscured view of the sky as well as a delicious meal of crawfish, dirty rice and hurricane cocktails.  The beauty of the unobscured view is that we live in a mostly gay neighborhood…which means similar parties will be going on within walking distance.  We are hoping for a homo Rapture party crawl.  Should be an interesting evening.  Naturally, I found some Rapture pics to also spice up today’s blog entry.

I ordered the Crawfish from Louisiana Crawfish Company.  They Fed Ex live crawfish right to your door.  Plus you get bibs and beads!  It was very exciting to receive the delivery this morning.  I keep going to the garage and talking to the crawfish.  I really want to let them out of their bag to walk around a bit.  I figure that might get me in a bit of trouble with my partner, but surely I can quickly wrangle 40 pounds worth of crawfish back in the big sack before she notices.  I also bought booze.  Lots of booze.  It would be wrong to not drink hurricanes while eating crawfish.  It would also be wrong to not go ahead and mix the hurricanes and sample before guests arrive in 7 hours.  Here’s the recipe.  Enjoy!!!

1 oz vodka
¼ oz grenadine
1 oz gin
1 oz light rum
½ oz Bacardi 151 rum
1 oz triple sec
Grapefruit juice
Pineapple juice

Fill a hurricane glass (or plastic cup har har) with ¾ ice.  Pour all alcohols in first, then follow with equal parts of grapefruit and pineapple juice.  Serve and enjoy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Freaky Friday Favorites

Not only is it Friday, but it is also my partner’s birthday!!!  So I’ll start off this week’s Freaky Friday Favorites with a picture for her!