Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arugula, Bacon & Gruyere Bread Pudding - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday

Arugula, Bacon & Gruyere Bread Pudding (

1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
5 large eggs
6 bacon slices
1 large shallot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 oz baby arugula or baby spinach (6 cups)
6 cups cubed (1-inch) country-style bread (1 pound)
5 ½ oz Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated (1 ½ cups)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in the middle.  Butter a 2-qt shallow baking dish.  Whisk together milk, cream, eggs and ¼ tsp each of salt and black pepper in a large bowl.  Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp.  Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain, then coarsely crumble.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat from skillet.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook shallot and garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute.  Gradually add arugula and cook, stirring, until it wilts.  Stir arugula mixture, bacon, bread and cheese into custard.  Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until golden in spots, about 10 minutes more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – Disturbing Information Regarding H.R. Pufnstuf

If you are terrified by life-sized puppets, you should stop reading now.  This will only intensify your fear.  H.R. Pufnstuf was a character on a show of the same name in the late sixties and early seventies.  The show aired on Saturday mornings and unless you were a tiny child or completely high, the show made little to no sense.  There was a shipwreck, flutes, dancing and lots of colors and large puppets. We always believed the Witchiepoo were something to fear…turns out we really needed to be paying closer attention to H.R. Pufnstuf’s off-air antics.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, therefore, I will stop typing words and let these horrific pictures speak for themselves.

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Wi-Fi WTF?!

The thing I like most about nature, is the fact that you can now find Wi-Fi nearly everywhere.  I’m trolling the internets with a pleasant view of the lake and the soothing sounds of nature in the background.  Imagine if I hadn’t been able to find the awesome video below.  How tragic would that be

P.S.  I did not break the zipline with my fat ass.  It was super fun.  In fact, I got a t-shirt that reads “Supafly” with someone ziplining across my chest.  It wasn’t really scary at all and the harnesses you had to wear were somewhat slenderizing and flattering.  I’d wear them to a lesbian bar.  The part that was not so fun was the jumping 100 feet straight down from a platform.  That sort of sucked until it was over and you could run away and say you had done it and lived. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grandma’s Peach French Toast

Last night we drove the main drag of Branson.  Looks pretty much like it did when I was a kid, only more touristy shit, lights, and a giant King Kong climbing up the Empire State Building and the Titanic Museum; which is a giant building shaped just like the Titanic running into an iceberg.  Coming off the highway, you immediately get hit by the smell of funnel cake and the vroom vroom sounds of go-carts and clink clink echoes of putt putt golf.  I’m pretty sure there is an ordinance in Branson that states you must have a minimum of 25 different shows that involve families, musical instruments and “hilarious comedy” (Branson likes to be redundant in its signage, btw).  Additionally, every 500 foot you must have a show sign and or building with the word Jubilee in it.  Branson is all about the jubilee as well as old men in those stupid fake (or maybe not fake) hillbilly teeth.  Additionally, the ordinance includes by each jubilee there must be a pancake house and Elvis tribute…sometimes the Elvis tribute will actually be in the pancake house.  Branson, to me, is just further proof that white people are weird. 

This is an entrance to a restaurant in Branson.  I'm going out on a limb and saying they sell chicken.  I'm sure this is not at all terrifying if you are a hungry child.

This was a billboard we saw.  I'm a total dog lover, but this is just weird.  Please note that the dogs are both wearing that damn necklace from the movie Titanic. 

Grandma’s Peach French Toast (

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons water
1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained
12 (3/4 inch thick) slices day-old French bread
5 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 pinch ground cinnamon, or to taste

In a saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, butter and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Pour the brown sugar mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish, and tilt the dish to cover the entire bottom.  Place peaches in a layer over the sugar coating, then top with slices of French bread.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.  Slowly pour over the bread slices to coat evenly.  Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hour or overnight.  Remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.  Spoon out portions to serve.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Relaxing at the Lake

There is something so relaxing about a trip to the lake, as long as you can completely ignore all the other vacationers and their children.  We are relaxing in Branson this weekend.  We are staying in an A-frame cabin like the Fisher Price Play Family. 

Apparently just before we got here there was a horrible stench under the cabin…turns out, it was a dead, rotting possum.  These things happen in the wilderness with the lights of Silver Dollar City and the sweet sounds of the Presley’s Mountain Country Mountain Music Jubilee streaming in the background. 

I’m not going to lie, I’m excited about going to the lake today and waverunnering (is that the right verb?).  Tomorrow we will zipline.  I’m certain my fat ass will completely break the line and knock down every single one of the ziplining towers, but still I’m excited.  Additionally, I’m over the moon with the potential for ridiculous pictures of signs and other doo-dads the “natives” have constructed!  What is the point of a vacation, if you can’t find things and people to make fun of??  I’ve also mentioned before my fascination with finding Bigfoot.  That search will continue around Table Rock Lake.  This seems a perfect hideout of Sasquatch.  We even had a Bigfoot movie watching party last night.  Is there anything better than completely cheesy seventies Bigfoot movies and good company.  Probably not.  I’ll conclude today with some photos from the drive here.  I’m certain there will be more to come!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

As The World Turns…According to My Mother

My mom is a complete gossip.  She has a circle of friends and they burn up the phone lines every morning.  I can’t imagine there is ever that much to discuss.  My mom just turned eighty and stays pretty close to the house; the same is true of her friends.  But even still, every morning they run down who did what to whom and why.  It usually is fairly mundane, but sometimes a real juicy bit like a mental breakdown, broken hip, returned item to Kohl’s, too much to drink at the Indian casino or a fender bender at the Homeland will rock their world.  Recently, my mom’s pharmacist of 20 years “disappeared” from behind the counter.  He just doesn’t work there anymore.  My mom just knows he must have been fired.  She went to pick up a prescription, he wasn’t there, she asked why, and in her mind all she got were shady and guarded responses.  She went home and called her friends.  Each friend then called up to the pharmacy and asked where he was…same guarded responses.  This confirmed, to my mother, that there must be more to the story.  My mom then called me.  My partner is a pharmacist, too, so she assumed she would know something; doesn’t matter that we live 800 miles away.  Obviously, Tiffany knew nothing.  My mom has continued her investigation for three days now.  She said this morning, “someone will crack and talk.”  She just can’t stand that she doesn’t know what happened.  I can only imagine how the employees there must scatter when they see her coming.  Our phone conversation this morning was brief; it was limited to the weather and the missing pharmacist.  She repeated everything she had already told me then added her new information…which to my untrained ear sounded like no new information.  She had to go because she was headed up to the store again.  She didn’t really need anything, but she and Lucille were going to patrol the area plus they both cut out a coupon for Pepto Bismol to not seem too suspicious.  It would not surprise me if they wore sunglasses and floppy hats to the store.  Such is my mother’s hobby.

My mom as her 80th birthday party.  She is no doubt thinking about the pharmacist.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake (
Cream Cheese Filling
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Apple Cake Batter
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about ½ pound)

Praline Frosting
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup butter
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Prepare filling:  beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth.  Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended. 
Prepare batter:  preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.  Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in apples and pecans.  Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14 cup Bundt pan.  Spoon cream cheese filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan.  Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife.  Spoon remaining apple mixture over cream cheese filling.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack; and cool completely (about 2 hours).
Prepare frosting:  bring ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup butter, and 3 Tbsp milk to a boil in a 2-qt sauce pan over medium heat, whisking constantly, boil 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly.  Pour immediately over cooled cake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"True" History Tuesday - Beaker Invented the Beaker

Richard Conderbnerellos is credited with the invention of the beaker, but in reality the beaker was invented by Beaker in 1846.  Prior to his career as Beaker on The Muppet Show, Beaker was actually a scientist doing groundbreaking scientific work in the production of glassware designed to assist with doing groundbreaking scientific work.  Unfortunately, Beaker was quite clumsy and his glassware often ended up broken and useless.  Naturally, this was more than a little frustrating for a puppet with nervous tendencies.  His maladroit ways left him with several disciplinary write-ups from his boss, Dr. Bunsun Honeydew.  However, one of his designs did survive.  It was a round glass container that could be used to hold, stir and heat liquids.  Beaker added units of measurement.  His excited beeping and screaming could be heard throughout the lab.  He was so proud he used his own name to name his invention.  Ultimately, he retired to a large traveling trunk until someone new put their hand up his ass and reinvented him as the actor Beaker.  He made his first appearance in 1977 on season 2 of The Muppet Show.  His popularity has grown ever since and Beaker’s invention of the beaker is still in use today.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Drama That is Harpo

In my house if anything is ripped, missing or chewed, we always look to one dog, Harpo.  As I’ve mentioned, he is a mess.  He is high energy, needy, does not listen, causes trouble and always leaves drama in his wake.  He is sweet though, and of course we love him and all his crazy faults.  Last night, however, I nearly murdered him.  He went outside to play and pee in the backyard before bed.  Tiffany had already left for work and my plan was to read and fall asleep.  Harpo came back inside and all the other dogs got settled in their places.  If you have dogs, you know what I mean…everyone has their place where they sleep.  Harpo decided, instead, to lay his head on the side of the bed by my face, whine and use his beefy paw to push on my book.  He acted like he couldn’t jump up on the bed.  This is crazy, since he has been known to jump over your head while you are sitting on the couch.  I patted the bed and told him to get up, but still, he whined.  I finally picked him up and put him on the bed.  He kept sighing heavily and trying to lean up against my face.  I finally put my book down and looked at him.  He kept looking at his tail.  I checked it and it seemed fine…although he wasn’t wagging it.  The drama continued all night with me and him getting absolutely no sleep.  We tossed, we turned, he pushed and he whined.  He was everywhere, but sleeping like he should have been. Turns out, he sprained his tail somehow in the backyard.  The way he acted last night was as if his tail had been completely cut off and blood was gushing everywhere.  He is all about the drama.  I feel bad that his tail is bothering him, but the fact that he is now sleeping with ease on the couch makes me want to whine loudly and push on his face.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creamy Chicken and Potatoes - Taking Care of My To-Do List

It is a nice feeling to check things off the to-do list you made last night.  So far today, I’ve made breakfast, gone to the gym, done two loads of laundry, put dinner in the crock-pot, mowed the yard, cleaned the bird cages, gave all the dogs a bath and put the pool up.  I still have some cleaning to do and some lesson planning for work, but mostly my list is complete.  I’d high five myself if it weren’t such a gay thing to do.  I decided instead to check things off my list with a bright red Sharpie.  I like Sharpies.  It seems so permanent and real when you mark things off with a Sharpie…especially on your enemies clothing.  I’m not ashamed to line my various colors of Sharpies in a row from brightest to darkest and touch them a little too much.  I’m proud of them.  In fact, I just may add “buy more Sharpies” to my list.  There, I just did. I bet I have more Sharpies than you. 

The dinner, I put together in the crock-pot, smells really good (BTW when I text my phone changes crock-pot to cock-pot…which is odd and sometimes embarrassing).  Here’s what we are having for dinner.
Creamy Chicken and Potatoes (from Fast Weeknight Favorites for Good Housekeeping)

2 cups peeled baby carrots
1 pound red potatoes, not peeled, cut into quarters
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed with garlic press
1 chicken cut into 8 pieces and skin removed from all but the wings
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
½ cup heavy or whipping cream

In 5 to 6 quart crock-pot, combine carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic.  Arrange chicken pieces on top of vegetables.  In 2 cup liquid measuring cup, with fork, mix chicken broth, cornstarch, thyme, salt and pepper; pour mixture over chicken and vegetables.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook for 8 hours on low.  With slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to deep platter.  Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.  Stir in peas and cream into cooking liquid; heat through.  To serve, spoon sauce over chicken and vegetables.  (only has about 380 calories per serving…so you can have pie with this!)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beyond Scared Straight is Back!!

I just watched the new Beyond Scared Straight.  Oh my…it is back and louder and scarier than ever.  I like the show mostly for the quotes you can get from it.  Things like:  “Let’s go to the Garden of Eden because they know they apples,”  “Swing if you want to!”  and “When I’m done with your bitch ass, I’m gonna auction you off.  I like chocolate and DADDY’S GOT A SWEET TOOTH TONIGHT!”  We learned duck walking down the hall in the cell block is hard, rolling your eyes is bad, don’t be eyeballing people and you only have one mama. We also get to meet interesting guards and prisoners.  Like the prisoner “Tweet from the Street” and Sergeant Garrett.  Sergeant Garrett reminded me of a thinner Nell Carter and Minnie from the movie The Help .