Friday, September 30, 2011

Freaky Friday Favorites

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weird Kids, Slippers and a Nap

Kids are weirdos.  I’ve come to this conclusion based upon years and years of teaching them.  If you want a case study of their weirdness, give one of them a band-aid.  I guarantee you others will come up to you asking for a band-aid, as well.  They will show you their “damaged” finger with no visible injuries to speak of and try to convince you that they must cover the “wound” with a band-aid before death overtakes them.  There will be drama.  There will be a line of them near the band-aid box.  This same outcome will happen if one of them needs an ice-pack.  Injuries are real popular with little kids.  I had one ask me for an ice-pack yesterday because, “You know the cheek on your butt?  I might have hurt mine on the slide.”  I’ve also noticed if one child takes their shoes off, they all must remove their shoes.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  Shoes never came off in the seventies.  Why must they take their shoes off now?!  Speaking of shoes...look at these slippers.

I found these slippers on Zappos.  I like them, but they are $70.  I’d rather buy $70 worth of beer and pretzels than have beer and pretzels on my slippers.  I just saved lots of money and took the slippers I already have and made some adjustments.

I am also going to include this next picture to show that I did, in fact, purchase my first pumpkin of the season.  It also highlights how much my dog Celie likes her comfort and makes me think I should take a nap.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chicken-Parmesan Bundles - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday

Chicken-Parmesan Bundles (
4 oz (1/2 of 8 ounce package) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained
1 ¼ cups Kraft Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
6 tbsp. Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 egg
10 Ritz Crackers, crushed (about ½ cup)
1 ½ cups spaghetti sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup Mozzarella and 3 tbsp. Parmesan until well blended; spread onto chicken breasts.  Starting at one short end of each breast, roll up chicken tightly.  Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired.  Beat egg in shallow dish.  Mix remaining Parmesan and cracker crumbs in separate shallow dish.  Dip chicken in egg, then roll in crumb mixture to evenly coat.  Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done (165 degrees).  Remove and discard toothpicks, if using.  Serve chicken topped with spaghetti sauce and remaining Mozzarella.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“True” History Tuesday – The Bee Gees Were Actually the Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas’ novel, The Three Musketeers was actually based on the disco group The Bee Gees.  It is irrelevant that the novel came out in 1844 in France and The Bee Gees were from Australia and popular in the 1970s.  Athos (Barry), Porthos (Robin) and Aramis (Maurice) were three jive talkin’ friends who were actually brothers.  They had another brother friend named d’Artagnan (Andy).  d’Artandy made sporadic appearances with the group, but mostly had a solo career and dated (Constance) Victoria Principle. The brothers said Victoriance was more than a woman.  It was a tragedy that d’Artandy died before his time.  Barathos, Rorthos and Mauricamis ended up stayin’ alive and making more music. 

The Three Discoteers had a saying, “all for one, one for all should be dancing, yeah.”  This slogan was emblazoned on satin jackets and ironed-on t-shirts all over the world.  They finally headed toward the lights on Broadway, but Hollywood was where they found more success.  Saturday Night Fever became a huge hit, plus The Three Musketeers movie has been made and remade over 350 times.  Sadly, disco eventually died and all the brothers came down with night fever.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jacked Up Teeth and Blackberry Cobbler

I noticed today that Shane MacGowan from the Pogues has some seriously jacked up teeth.  I noticed his mouth looks almost exactly like a camel’s mouth.  One thing I never want my mouth to look like is a camel’s mouth.  My parent’s spent too much on braces for that kind of insanity.  In fact, I think I’ll go brush my teeth now because I likely still have some blackberry shrapnel lodged in my teeth.  The Pioneer Woman is the shit and this cobbler recipe does not disappoint.

Blackberry Cobber (

1 stick butter
1-1/4 cup sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 cups blackberries (frozen or fresh)

Melt butter in a microwave dish.   Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk.  Mix well.    Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together.  Butter a baking dish.  Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries.  Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish.  Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly.  Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly.  If you desire, sprinkle and additional teaspoon of sugar over cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carmelized Pumpkin Seeds

Look at this kick ass pumpkin!

I have a varied history with pumpkins.  I love them, but maybe a little too much.  The second they become available in the store I want them…lots of them.  Tiffany always says, “It is too early for pumpkins,” or “See, I told you those pumpkins would rot,” or “Why do we need 18 pumpkins on the front porch?” or “How did another pumpkin get in our shopping cart?” or “I found the pumpkins you hid in the trunk.”  I can’t help it.  There is just something so great about fall and Halloween.  Pumpkins are like the glue of the season, without them it would just be all leaves, hay bales and tears. 

Real pumpkins were not a big part of my childhood, but we did have one big plastic one.  I felt completely denied as a child.  I would trick or treat and walk to the neighbor’s porches and have extreme pumpkin envy.  One time, I even secretly kicked our big plastic pumpkin hoping to damage it so we’d replace it with a real pumpkin.  It hurt my foot and remained undamaged.  Plastic was just different in the seventies.  I moved out when I was 18 to my own apartment.  The first Halloween I was there I bought 11 pumpkins and put them all around my efficiency apartment.  It was pumpkinelicious up in that place.   The problem was I was in school, busy working and a complete 18 year-old moron.  After Halloween, I forgot one of the pumpkins.  It rotted into my $3 garage sale end table.  I only noticed it because of the influx of insects to the area.  I had yet to hone my house cleaning skills.  This was my first and only brush with food hoarding. 

I few years ago, I also clogged the drain with pumpkin seeds.  I went on a carving binge.  I got lazy after hours of carving and thought, “I’m sure that is a myth about pumpkin seeds clogging up your disposal.”  It isn’t a myth.  It took all of three minutes to completely screw up the drain.  I lined up all the pumpkins on the porch and put candles in them so they’d look really cool for when Tiffany got home.  This wasn’t my first rodeo.  I felt it was important to showcase my work before showcasing the drain I had clogged with the seeds.  The outcome was as expected.  The plumber came the next morning and said, “Wow, you really did a number on this!” 

I’m telling you all this because I want pumpkins now.  I saw them in the store yesterday.  I dreamed about them last night.  It is time.

Picture of my front yard and the plumber who came to unclog the drain.  Funky Plumbers is the best.

Better use of pumpkin seeds then putting them down the drain:

Carmelized Pumpkin Seeds  (Sandra Lee

½ cup butterscotch caramel sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon extract
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups pumpkin seeds, roasted 
1 cup almonds, crushed

Lightly coat baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large skillet, slowly melt the caramel sauce and sugar.  When melted stir in cinnamon extract and cayenne.  Continue cooking until mixture reaches a temperature of 310 degrees.  Stir in pumpkin seeds until completely coated.  Spread caramelized seeds onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with crushed almonds.  Separate seeds with wooden spoon until cooled.

Cook’s Note
Melted sugar is very hot.  Please use extreme caution when handling and pouring.  Jack-o-lantern seeds should be rinsed and cleaned.  To roast seeds, place on a baking sheet, lightly coated with cooking spray, in a preheated 250 degree oven.  Roast seeds for about 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.  The actual seed of the pumpkin is inside the hull.  The hull is edible.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yummy Mexican Cheesecake Dip - Hot Flashes Are Not Hawt

It isn’t that I was really bothered when I turned 40.  It certainly isn’t as old as I used to think it was when I was a kid.  It is a good age.  What I am bothered by though is the switch that suddenly turned on in my body telling me to start losing hormones.  I talked this over with my mom and she said, “Oh, I started menopause at 38 and it went on for 15 years.”  WTF?!  15 YEARS!  Are you kidding me?  What has been going on with me are intense hot flashes.  It basically feels like the inside of your body is on fire.  It is really delightful, plus you get the added bonus of sweating profusely for no apparent reason.  I’ve seen people recoil when they talk to me while I’m having a hot flash.  

My mom said, “You just have to deal with it.  It is what we women go through.”  Screw that shit, I want some drugs. Luckily, I live with a pharmacist.  She said I should just make an appointment with my doctor.  Which, of course, is good advice, but I wanted something right then.  I hate waiting.  I hate waiting even more when I’m having a hot flash.  She said, “Fine let’s go find you some Estroven.”  If you are imagining her dragging me along like a child, you’d have the proper visual.  We found it and I took it right when we got in the car yesterday and holy crap, I feel better.  No hot flashes yesterday, last night or this morning.  It is like a heat haze has been lifted.  It might be completely mental on my part, but I don’t care.  If I feel this good after taking a dietary supplement imagine what will happen when I get an actual prescription for a hormone replacement.  Losing estrogen has made me feel so giddy and girly.   I might even paint my nails today!  Actually, I won’t because I have football to watch.  Speaking of football, here’s a good recipe to enjoy while watching the game.

Yummy Mexican Cheesecake Dip (


1 cup tortilla chips, finely crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 eggs
2 cups cheddar, shredded
½ cup thick and chunky salsa
1 cup sour cream

Green onion; chopped
Ripe olives; sliced
Tomatoes; chopped
Tortilla chips

In small bowl, stir together crushed tortilla chips and butter.  Press onto bottom of 9 inch springform pan.  Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes.  Cool slightly.  In large bowl, combine cream cheese and taco seasoning mix.  Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed, about 1-2 minutes.  Add eggs.  Continue to beat until smooth.  Stir in cheese and salsa.  Carefully spoon cream cheese mixture over crust spreading to smooth.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until edges are set (center of cheesecake will be slightly soft.)  Top with sour cream.  Cool completely.  Cover, refrigerate until serving time (overnight is ideal).  Just before serving, remove sides of springform pan; garnish with green onions, ripe olives and tomatoes.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wine and Painting

Last night I went to dinner and then Sips and Strokes with a friend.    I realize that sounds dirty, but it is just drinking and painting a picture.  We had a great time.  The really good thing about it was we did it for cheap by buying a Groupon.  We sipped and stroked on the cheap.  I realize that sounds even dirtier, but that was totally on purpose.  I do have some artistic ability, not very much, but enough that I can stay in the lines when I color.  Does anyone else still like to color in coloring books?  I find it really relaxing, but only if there are absolutely no children around when you color.  You really don’t need any artistic ability for Sips and Strokes, because it is sort of like paint by number…only with no numbers.  You are guided through the process and I found, at times, I could continue drinking my wine while I painted.  This was of some importance to me.

I think my painting came out pretty good.  I completely messed it up though when penmanship was required.  I truly have the worst handwriting.  I get the comment a lot about how I should have been a doctor.  I suppose if messy handwriting were the only requirement, I might have been a doctor.  I look pretty good in white coats.  This is the part of the class where my friend, Miranda, and I went rogue.  We both did not write the suggested script on our paintings.  We were like Ponyboy and Sodapop.  We were outsiders.  We were rebels.  I look good in black leather while cheaply sipping and stroking.  I realize that sounded dirty.  I have absolutely no idea where I will hang this painting, but I do know where I will store the memory - under good times.  

Why am I holding my painting like a shield?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar - WTF and WOW Recipe Wednesday

Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar (

3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or ¼ teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon (or more to taste) dried crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Soup Lid
16 1-inch slices from a baguette, toasted until hard and lightly buttered on one side
1 tablespoon grated raw onion
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar (or more to taste…which means, yes, more)

Soup – preheat oven to 400.  Wrap garlic cloves in a tight foil packet.  Place tomatoes, cut side up, on large baking sheet.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil.  Add foil packet of garlic to tray.  Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender (garlic will be very tender), about 1 hour.  Cool slightly.  Unwrap garlic packet and peel cloves.  Transfer cloves, tomatoes and any accumulated juices to a blender or food processor and pulse machine on and off until tomatoes are a chunky puree.  Transfer tomatoes to medium pot and add thyme, crushed red pepper and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste.
Cheddar lid – Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange four ovenproof large mugs on a large, foil-lined baking sheet.  Stir grated onion into the warm soup.  Float baguette slices in each mug, buttered side up and divide grated cheese generously over top.  Bake soups on tray for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese on top is bubbling and brown at the edges.  If you’d like it even more bronzed on top, preheat your boiler and finish soups for a minute or two under it.  Serve immediately.