Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hawaiian Chicken

Here begins the 30 recipes in 30 days project. Be advised that this cook (and I use that term loosely) is a strong Southern Belle and therefore will be posting a small number of recipes with (brace yourself) Jello in them. One cannot have a recipe collection without congealed salads. So, on those days, if you really can't stomach (yes, there may be puns) the thought of food that jiggles, go read this or this and come back on a non-J-E-L-L-O day. I'll leave the light on for ya.


2 8-ounce cans pineapple slices in pineapple juice
1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
1 TBS salad oil
1 TBS honey
1 TBS teriyaki sauce
2 tsp dried, chopped chives
1/4 tsp pepper
fresh chives for garnish

About 20 minutes before serving:

Drain pineapple slices, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Cut pineapple slices into quarters; set pineapple juice aside.

On waxed paper, mix flour and salt, use to coat chicken breasts.

In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, in hot salad oil, cook chicken breasts until golden and fork-tender, about 10 minutes, turning once. Remove the chicken breasts to a warm platter; keep warm.

Into drippings in skillet stir honey, teriyaki sauce, dried chives, pepper, and reserved pineapple juice. Over high heat, heat to boiling; boil 30 seconds. Add pineapple; heat through. Pour sauce over chicken; garnish with fresh chives. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving: About 240 calories, 5 mg fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 515 mg sodium.

This goes nicely with rice pilaf, steamed broccoli, and whole wheat biscuits.

Thanks to my friend Donna Linkfield for making this for us MANY years ago in Clearwater, FL.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's Not Coke Zero but...

Today I'm drinking this,

which was also part of my breakfast of champions in 1980 when size 5 was starting to look a lot like size 13.

BUT this is my breakfast beverage of choice currently (no, they don't sell these at Starbucks)

HOWEVER, when it's $2 a 12-pack and three days until payday, this is actually a very reasonable facsimile

Being from the South means never having to drink coffee in the morning...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fun Times

We're not big board game players at our house, but thanks to our new darling in-law we have a new card game we like:

Made by the same people who made UNO, it's easy to learn and fun for all ages.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What the Well-Dressed Germophobe is Wearing This Halloween

Who would want to wear this mask for Halloween

when EVERYONE knows the best-dressed goblins will be wearing this

Did you get your vaccine yet?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Labors of Like

Last night I made buns to go with my Derby City chicken salad (payday lunch!). I used my bread machine to make the dough before I baked it in the oven; hence a labor of like as opposed to a labor of love.

Here's the finished product. I used more sugar than the recipe called for but added a little whole wheat flour, so yeah, totally evened out on the healthometer.

The recipe was designed to be baked in a bread machine, but my machine turns perfectly good bread dough into a semi-baked load of crap. So, using the dough setting on the machine (Many thanks to my McKids' late grandmother for giving me a top-of-the-line machine back in 1992 that still makes great dough), here's how it goes:

Homemade Hamburger Buns

1-1/4 cups milk, slightly warmed to around 80 degrees
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cups sugar up to 1/3 cup
2 tbs butter, softened
3/4 tsp salt
3-3/4 cup bread flour (I used 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
1-1/2 tsp yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine in order of list. Set bread machine to dough setting, then check your facebook status, have a nice cocktail, or sort your sock drawer.

When dough cycle is finished, knead the dough on a slightly floured surface a few times, basically to coat the outside of the dough with flour. Separate into 12 pieces (or in the case of yesterday, 11, since one went on the floor, which was not clean enough for the 5-second rule). Shape pieces into rolls, brush the top with some milk or butter (either is good) and let rise on the top of the stove for 30 minutes. Bake ABOUT 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven until tops are brown. YMMV on length of baking. Check after 10 minutes, then every minute or so after.

Cool, hide rolls from bread thieves until dinner, and serve with hamburgers or any sandwich filling of your choice.

PS. If you want to make these the old-fashioned way, try this. It's harder, but your family may love you more and be ever the more thankful. (Sure, get back to me on that)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Liveblogging Top Chef Las Vegas

The Thursday Night Smackdown Lady is liveblogging Top Chef Las Vegas. Read about it here.

You will need a legend for the cheftestants as she (and I) could not remember any of their names until just recently.

Shiv = Jennifer (the tightly wound blonde)
Robin = Robin (she's the sympathy chef "I beat cancer twice" blah blah blah)
Brothers Michael and Brian = one's an a-hole, one's cuter and nicer.
Weed = that other Mike with the bad tan
Beardie = Kevin (just give the title to him already)
Not Jonah Hill = Eli

Her blog is not family friendly.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Stuff I Like

This album (back in the vinyl days),

a lovely bottle of wine,

and some long-forgotten, man-cooked dinner made for a very romantic evening.

Stuff I Like

Many years ago, some friends of mine served this snack at a gathering, and I've been eating it ever since. Somewhere in the healthy spectrum closer to crudités than chip and dip, and who doesn't get tired of eating carrot sticks dipped in ranch dressing?

Slice the pickles and cheese and arrange on a platter with the Triscuits. Farmer's cheese is pretty bland on its own but works well with the pickles and crackers.

Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Donuts in my day

Someone from a research study here in the hospital kindly brought in Dunkin Donuts this morning. I wished immediately they had been Krispy Kremes, ingrate that I tend to be.

But as I sat licking the glaze off my fingers, it occurred to me that when I was a child, getting donuts was a big dang deal, not an entitlement, and happened only occasionally. Donut magic for me was Delta Donut in my hometown, Clarksdale, and because it's now the Blues Mecca (who knew?!), Urbanspoon has been there, eaten that, and written a review. Read about it here.

I think it looked like this 30 years ago too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Napoleon Dynamite

Happy Birthday to a guy with skills. Jon Heder is 32 today. What's he going to do on his birthday? Whatever he feels like he wants to do, gosh!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Liveblogging Top Chef Masters

The Thursday Night Smackdown Lady is back, and this time she's liveblogging the Top Chef Masters. Read about it here.

Living Behind the Library

The only thing better than living behind the library would be living behind the library with a snowcone stand next door.

This is the library I live behind. On a street appropriately named "Literary Circle."

These are the books I have on hold there right now:

Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
The Lovers by John Connolly
Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
Wicked Prey by John Sandford
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

The Elizabeth Berg novel has arrived so I'll just throw on my Birks and stroll over to pick it up. I love being the library's neighbor.

Happy Flag Day!

Flag Day has always been MY favorite holiday of the year. It's not much of a holiday you might think, sandwiched there somewhere between the mega three-day weekends of Independence Day and Memorial Day, but important to our country nevertheless. You won't even get a day off unless you live in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is the only state which recognizes it as a state holiday.

So, what is Flag Day? Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, ich happened on June 14 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. I believe there was no bailout money that year.

President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation naming June 14 Flag Day in 1916, and National Flag Day was established in 1949 by an Act of Congress (no bailout money here either).

If I could find a copy of this poster I think I'd buy it.

Which reminds me. We need to hang our flag pole bracket up on the new rental dwelling.

Happy Flag Day!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Devil in the Details

I posted yesterday the "post mortem" of my move from one rental house to another. I used what I thought was an analogy to Twitter to sum up the experience. But here's the thing: Twitter allows 140 characters, NOT 140 words as I thought. So I guess I should edit my last post to follow the Twitter rule. So, here goes:

Not enough paper boxes. Not enough walkthrough. Put boxes in garage and basement on shuffle, then randomize. Move couches. Sit. Order takeout.

Twitter sucks.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Moving Post-Mortem, Twitter Style

Twitter only gives you 140 words or fewer to express your most wondrous thoughts. I don't tweet but I think I can sum up the move in the same number of words...

More paper boxes than fewer. Don't discard all the box lids, just most. If you have a staging area for things you don't need THAT DAY, use that. We put "I'll need this next week" boxes in the garage. But they have to come out of there eventually so we can put actual cars there. We haven't made our kitchen totally functional yet, not good. Too much take out food money down the drain. My pre-move-in walkthrough skills could use some work. No upstairs A/C for a week sucks. I've found most everything that was "misplaced" in the move and nothing much got destroyed from there to here. All in all, I just hope we get our deposit back from the other place. And now my un-tweet is done.

My childhood librarian would be so happy that I've moved myself and my girls (and yes, Rick too) into the library's back yard. I know I am.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mammoth Cave - Sort of

Took the family to Mammoth Cave yesterday. Here's what I thought we'd see:

Here's what we actually saw:

It's what happens when YOU DON'T MAKE RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME. So then, this happened:

It didn't matter. We had a great day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Mother of All Moves

The family is on the move, time is short, and there's no time for elegance. Here's my recipe for a quickie in-town move when you absolutely, positively have to be out by the end of the month. This also works if, like me, you are temporarily restricted to lifting no more than 5 pounds at a time.

Gather these things:

Any version clothes basket will do as long as it is fairly heavy-duty.

With or without tops - just for transport, remember.


Everything can be moved in a clothes basket, file box, black bag, or carried to your new place in the hatchback or trunk of your car except the larger items that you will need movers or a moving truck for.

Sometimes the moves that seem the MOST chaotic cause the least amount of stress. Maybe I could get some bailout money to do a research study.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back to Blogging

It's been busy around the ranch. I'm still convalescing from an interesting health adventure, I've started a new job, and we're moving to a new rental house where we can actually unpack all the boxes that have been packed up since the summer of 2005. I think I'll call this the Perfect Storm.

So, I'm letting the emergency brake off and once I can get a friend to give me a push, I'll pop the clutch, and get this blog rolling down the hill and running once again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Adding Another New Address to the List

Now that I'm marginally back in the saddle (still no driving, but back to raising hell), it's time to find a new rental house.

This is Coach Calipari's new house (yes, the University of Kentucky's Coach Calipari) here in Lexington. I didn't care for the tile in the 6th bathroom so I decided to keep looking.

We are happy that we are not apartment hunting in Hong Kong where this actual apartment complex exists. Click here for pictures of 100 apartments, each one containing only 100 sq ft.

Here's potential lease number 1. Let the games begin.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Closed for Renovations

Watch this space for reopening later on this April 2009.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Who needs Molly Maids?

The slacker in me loves loves loves this video. But I keep losing my laundry baskets...

How To Tidy Up in Three Minutes - video powered by Metacafe

Thanks to Paul Michael of, a favorite blog of mine.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Who do you think I am anyway, the Shell Answer Man?"

A question my children have heard me say a thousand times in response to another unanswerable demand for information...

Well, little darlings, and anyone who wasn't around in the 70s...

From the, February 22, 2007

(He) was part of a television advertising campaign by Shell Oil Co. back in the 1970s, in reaction to the oil shocks and gasoline shortages of that era. The Shell Answer Man was a nice-looking, pleasant-sounding fellow who would appear on the TV screen to ask and answer basic questions about driving in general and gasoline in particular.

With simple language, and in a disarming and folksy manner, the man from Shell would explain things that related to fuel usage, like how proper tire inflation was good for your gas mileage. Or he would discuss how “jackrabbit starts” wasted gasoline. Over a period of time, there were a variety of topical ads along those lines. If you were somewhat savvy about driving an automobile, there was nothing particularly new or revealing in the message. But if you were what we might characterize, with all due respect, as the “average consumer,” blissfully dwelling in energy La-La Land, then the Shell Answer Man offered some good advice. Well, it was good advice if you followed it.

This is the Shell Answer Man (but not as I remember him!)

I want some of this

I saw this street snack being scarfed up by Anthony Bourdain in Cairo on one of his episodes recently, and as I am a big fan of one-bowl meals, I want some of this. It is called kushari and this photo sort of looks like it:

It is made of lentils, rice, pasta, onions, tomato paste, hot paste (hot peppers), and vinegar. All social classes enjoy this street food. It looks a bit like Skyline chili to me, the 5-way.

No recipe yet, but I met an Egyptian physician recently whom I hope will share his (or his wife's) recipe.

No Skyline Chili here in Lexington, but the Gold Star is a reasonable facsimile.

Coming tomorrow: Who is the Shell Answer Man anyway?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chocolate Eclair Cake

This recipe came from one of my favorite caregivers from the big kids' day care back in the day. Her name was Miss Cindy and we've always loved this "cake."

Gather up these ingredients:

Chocolate Eclair Cake

3 Cups milk (2% works best)
2 small packages instant pudding - chocolate or french vanilla. (french vanilla if you want the real "chocolate eclair" effect)
1 tub cool whip, thawed.
1 box graham crackers
1 can chocolate frosting
1 shaker sprinkles, optional.

Mix milk and pudding with whisk until thick, about 2 minutes. Pour in cool whip and stir well.
In a 13x9" pan, place a layer of whole graham crackers, half the pudding/cool whip mixture, another layer of graham crackers, the other half of the pudding mixture, another layer of graham crackers. Then warm up the frosting in the microwave (about three 10-second bursts) until it just barely pours out of the can onto the top layer of graham crackers. Smooth it over the top and shake on as many sprinkles as you like. Refrigerate for 12 hours before serving or until you can't stand it and have to eat it.

Then it looks like this

This is going over to Aunt Shirley's for Palm Sunday Eve dinner. I'll try to get a photo of a piece "on the plate" and post later.

The recipe says it should be refrigerated for 12 hours before eating. Hah. Who can wait that long.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Recipe and pictures coming up directly. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Return to Sender

When I was living in Knoxville a couple of years ago, I applied for a job as a transcriptionist for the sheriff's department. I probably would have gotten the job, being an awesome transcriptionist and all; however, one of the requirements on the application was that you had to list every address at which you had lived since the age of 18, and you must include the entire address including the zip code. WELL. I had a clear visual of each and every place but as to the address...

Here's what my application would have looked like, in reverse order starting with the address where I was at the time I would have applied for the job:

  1. 400 Hitchcock Way, Knoxville, Apt. No. Kill Me Now. No one should put 2 adults and 4 children and one 90-pound dog in 1100 sq. ft.
  2. 3xx3 San Pedro St., Paradise, FL. 2-1/2 blocks from Tampa Bay.
  3. 2409 Old Coach Trail, Paradise, FL. Gillian's first home.
  4. Sean, Mollie, Shannon, and my favorite apt, NE Coachman Rd, Paradise FL.
  5. 4th at 4th, Safety Harbor, FL. Close to the Christmas Parade!
  6. Shannon's Birthplace Condo, St. Pete. FL.
  7. Feather Sound Apt., St. Pete, FL.
  8. Shamrock House, Tampa, FL. Mollie's first home.
  9. House on Tampa side of Tampa Bay off Bayshore.
  10. Royal Oak, MI house. Sean's first home. The "Levittown House"
  11. Hideous Estrella St. apartment, Tampa.
  12. Barton House, Nashville.
  13. Belle Meade duplex, Nashville. Governor of TN and Minnie Pearl were neighbors.
  14. Murfreesboro Road apartment.
  15. Woodmont Blvd. duplex - now an office building...
  16. Metairie, LA apartment - victim of Katrina.
  17. New Orleans duplex close to City Park - victim of Katrina.
  18. East New Orleans apartment - victim of Katrina.
  19. College apartment across from Bolivar County Hospital, Cleveland, MS
  20. College apartment in former church.
  21. First ever home of my own: tiny, furnished apartment near Delta State University.
Since then, I've added 3 more addresses to that list, with yet a 4th soon to come. One learns to pick and choose one's treasures carefully when you move them around frequently. I'm moving china around I picked out at 16 that I don't really love any more, but my daughter does, so that matters. I off loaded a bunch of books that I love but are replaceable. My granny quilts and my photographs get packed up first, kitchen appliances and cooking implements last. (priorities, priorities).

When my family left Florida for new adventures in more northern latitudes, we left with our things in a tractor trailer jammed full, our vehicles full with pull behind trailers. My own comfort level for how much stuff to own is somewhere between Gandhi and that.

I like to live by the rule that one should be able to throw everything they can't do without into their car within 10 minutes and run for their life if they have to. Obviously, this has more practical application in places with volcanoes, tsunamis, wild fires, and hurricanes. But it does give you something to think about.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Breakfast Squirrel for the TNS Lady

I've mentioned Michelle from Thursday Night Smackdown before. She has a cookbook collection from which she makes delicious-y sounding food, which I will probably never cook because my recipe dance card of 12 things is as full as it has always been, but I do love to eat vicariously so I tend to tune in to check on what she's doing.

Her latest post mentions chocolate cookies, her dogs, squirrels, Tyra Banks, and seems to convey the idea that happiness is indeed not a warm gun. She never reads my blog so I'm going to offer her this recipe (she will never see it) which would solve her dogs vs squirrels vs chocolate cookies predicament. I would say anyone who has had squirrel for breakfast would tend to think happiness starts with a warm gun and ends with breakfast served over grits. But what do I know...

This recipe is courtesy of the Vashti Auxiliary in Thomasville Georgia

Breakfast Squirrel

2 Squirrels - you must find someone to skin and clean these if you don't know how
Cooking Oil
Worcestershire Sauce
Milk or Water

Salt, pepper, and generously flour pieces. Preheat 1/4 inch cooking oil in heavy cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Fry until golden brown or about 10-15 minutes, usually turning once. Remove and drain on paper towels. Brown equal amounts of flour and pan drippings in skillet, stirring constantly to prevent lumping. Add 1 cup water or milk very gradually to each 2 tablespoons of flour used. Cook until thickened. Make enough to cover game. Correct seasonings with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Add game and simmer 1 hour or more, especially for squirrel. Serve over grits.

6 quail, 6 doves, or any combination can be substituted.

I recommend a 20-gauge shotgun with large game (6 shot) shells.

Two Things I Love About Knoxville*

M and M Catering and Bar-B-Que Carryout. Second ONLY to Abe's Barbeque in Clarksdale, Mississippi, my hometown, this is the next best barbeque I have ever put in my mouth. Ribs, chicken, pulled pork, catfish on Fridays, they've got it. Their sides are great: Coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, even mac and cheese and green beans. 1039 Summerwood Rd, off Middlebrook Pike. 865-692-1003. Do NOT drive through Knoxville without checking this out.

Salon Visage Hair Salon. I would fly from Fiji to get my hair done here. Expensive. Worth it. Pictures to follow when I figure out how to use a flat iron. The hair style I want requires it. I bow to the superior intellect of the Drs. of Style-ology, Steve and Dustin. 865-694-4000.

*My precious niece Sara and her family lives in Knoxville. They of course do not figure into a post starting out with "two things."

Luddites of the World, Unite

This is reportedly one of the best GPS navigator units out there:

It's a Garmin Nuvi and goes for around $539.

Here's my navigation device:

I paid $7 for it and I never accidentally drive into a lake or take a wrong turn at Albuquerque. If only I still had that built in compass in my car, I'd have it made.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mac and Cheese: Two Ways

Somehow tonight we ended up with bag o'Caesar salad for dinner (not pictured) and

This, which the 9-year-old scarfed up (no salad)


This, compliments of Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network.

You can put ham in this if you want, but really, it is quite perfect and totally decadent as an ovo-lacto vegetarian delight.

Here's the recipe. It goes great with any movie on AMC on Friday night. This feeds 4 very generously with plenty of leftovers for Saturday morning breakfast. Come on. You can't always eat cold pizza.

Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
10 min
Cook Time:
25 min
6 servings


  • Butter, for greasing dish
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (packed) grated Fontina
  • 3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
  • 4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.

Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham, if using, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cars I Have Loved

I realized recently that I didn't really take "full body shots" (to quote Kip from "Napoleon Dynamite") of the cars of my youth. Still, I paid for these with my very own money and were picked out by me (or in the case of the Cougar and Datsun, FOR me by my daddy). I crammed as many as 3 children into the Honda Civic and it was with great regret that I gave it up for a huge monster truck that was great fun but not exactly practical for the 3 children and the honeymoon baby which followed.

Thanks to Google Images for getting my motor running one more time.

1974 Mercury Couger - Bucket seats, Floor shifter, so pretty! Used my life savings for the down payment. $2300

1981 Datsun 210 - baby blue. My daddy picked out a stick shift - what a trip that was. about $6000

1983 Honda Accord Hatchback - the first car to haul children around. This car was approximately the same size as the current 2009 Civic, maybe smaller. $8000 used

1992 Honda Civic - during a period of particular financial embarrassment, I bought this Civic which was the absolute bottom of the line. Who knew you could get a car with no radio? I drove it for over a year that way. I think I paid about $8000 brand new (no radio).

After a long hiatus of driving monster trucks and minivans, I'm back in a Honda, this time a Fit, the new incarnation of the subcompact offering from Honda. This one does have a radio (and cruise control), and according to the advertisements, I can haul a llama around in the back if I configure the seats in a certain way. Most likely, I'll just be coming back from Sam's after stocking up on canned tuna and bottled water for the coming Hard Times.

And here's the llama/alpaca:

I'm pretty sure they spit on your shoulder if you let them take a ride. Ewww.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What I learned today

Sometimes it is better to buy some quarters and schlep clothes to the laundromat for a 2-hour laundry sprint than to spend 12 hours slogging through 26.2 loads...

Maybe tomorrow.

Also, homemade bread and butter makes a damn tasty supper.

Power Point Lesson at the Library

The Lexington Public Library offers free computer courses several times a month. Today I am taking a refresher Power Point course, which is being covered in 2 days, this morning and tomorrow. This was felt to be a good idea as I was reminded by a "friend" that the last time I used Power Point it was on a "coal-fired" PC.

I'll share any goodies I learn for the similarly unenlightened. (see yesterday's post for my obtuse pun)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What I learned today

Kentucky has an economy equal to that of Portugal.
California's economy is equal to that of France.

Falling off the wagon

Not enough going on around here to post I guess. No. 2 daughter and I saw "Know1ng" on Friday because if you're going to see an understated (and aren't they all) Nicolas Cage movie, you ought to see it the very first day it's released. It was awesome if you like apocalyptic movies. I do.

There's a "Twin Peaks" marathon on the Chiller network this weekend. Didn't get it back in the 90s. Still don't but I love it anyway.

Looking for a new house to rent. Still cannot get over that 5 families lived in this house simultaneously before us. Actually, considering the state of the dwelling upon our arrival, I can.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Did I Learn This Week?

I like Joe Scarborough's show on MSNBC. He may be a mainstream media hack but his voting record while he was a Congressman from Florida from 1995-2001 placed him squarely in a Libertarian state of mind (be still my beating heart).

But I digress. My favorite part of his show is at the end where he and his posse stand around and talk about what they learned that day on the show. Yeah, I'm easily amused while I'm having my Raisin Bran and bananas.

This week I learned (but not from Joe or from MSNBC) that the Palisades on the Hudson River outside New York City are one of the results of what happened when Pangaea split up about 200 trillion years ago (or ??? depending on who you ask) and formed the continents we are familiar with today.

So this

Became, among other things, this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Actual Recipe

This is an actual recipe circa 1980 that I got from my friend Geoff Davis whom I knew when I lived in New Orleans.

I think I can still cobble this together, although I believe today I would put some other sort of meat in it and some cajun spices, but in 1980 I was just barely out of the Mississippi Delta. Change comes hard for southern girls.

Red beans and rice are traditionally served on Mondays in New Orleans because that was laundry day and since beans took a long time to cook, they could be left to themselves while the laundry was being done. This is how I remember it anyway.

I'll see if I can jog my memory and post the 2.0 version real soon.

In 1997, my little Shannon fell off a wrought iron railing in a video store in Clearwater Florida and smacked the back of her head on the concrete tile floor. I called her doctor who didn't seem particularly worried but said watch her and if she vomits, bring her to the ER. She did vomit, I did take her, they did a head CT, and she was fine with a mild concussion, something a lot of little kids end up with at one time or another. But this week's tragedy with Natasha Richardson is a warning that head injuries can be sneaky. They can be nothing or they can be everything.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Blog I Read Every Day

Yesterday at SXSW, the 2009 Bloggies were announced. The blog of the year was, of course, The Pioneer Woman, she deserves it, she's the goddess of mommy blogs, all hail Ree Drummond. I like her blog but she scares me a little. Her recipe section is great, however. I kinda think she believes she is (wink, wink) just like us. Plus I guess I was a little naive to think she actually designed and coded up her own blog. Doesn't everyone use Blogger or Wordpress? Spoken by a true amateur I guess.

Anyway...the ones I was personally watching was the blog from the category Best-Kept Secret Weblog. The winner was a nice little tight blog called Pistols and Popcorn, ANOTHER mommy blog about a backslud (backslidden, backslided?) Mormon lady with an interesting history living in an interesting neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, with an interesting and precious (he really is) child and husband, you get it. Sort of a less foul-mouthed Dooce. Surely you've read Dooce. She got bupkis this year, but it was her turn since she's got books and the Today show and a baby on the way and a precious 5-year-old, etc. I DON't READ EITHER OF THESE. MOMMY BLOGS sort of make me nauseous. I don't think I'll ever past the mustard (I know it's muster, it's funner to say mustard).

The one I DO READ every day that was nominated but didn't win is a wonderful, profane little blog called Thursday Night Smackdown. Michelle, the lady who writes this blog defies description except to say that she makes me want to cook from pretty cookbooks (and not the ones from the church ladies), she liveblogged Top Chef and made me almost pee my pants, and she makes me laugh out loud with almost every single post. Only Cakewrecks (Best Food Blog) also wins that distinction. And who doesn't want to laugh OUT LOUD every day!

BIG CAVEAT: Michelle curses. A LOT. I overlook this easily because she is amusing and entertaining and is someone I wish I knew in real life. Maybe not everyone would think so. Don't read her blog if your sensibilities are easily offended. But if you watched this season's Top Chef thinking FABIO!! every time he came on screen (this was how she referred to him in her live blog), and if you want to at least watch her cook beautiful, delicious-sounding food, and have a great time even when she's not cooking, give her a read.

I had to look up SXSW. Pretentious pricks. Sorry.

Maybe a recipe from a church ladies' cookbook soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Corned Beef and Rutabagas - The Crock Pot Way

Yesterday was my birthday, and I didn't get the crock pot going until about 2 PM. So, we didn't have corned beef last night, but we did eat up the homemade bread that was supposed to go with it. The corned beef and rutabagas went into the refrigerator to be heated up and joined by more homemade bread tonight.

The sequence of events:

I started with a 3-pound corned beef brisket. It's full of "juice" and has a spice packet that you open up and throw in.

Cut up about 6 carrots (I peel mine cause they look purtier) and throw 'em in.

This is a rutabaga. It is a root vegetable. Sort of looks like a turnip but that is where all resemblance ends. Boiled up either in pot roast or by itself with butter and salt, this little baby is a taste treat. And CHEAP, wait, I mean FRUGAL. Throw those in on top of the carrots.

Not pictured in the class picture here are 6 medium large Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cubed up. I threw those in on top of the rutabagas.

Add enough water. How much is enough water? Leave a couple of inches or so from the top. I overfilled mine and had to mop juice up off the counter. Oops.

Here's what it looked like in the Crock Pot.

And here's what it looked like this morning.

Crockpot Corned Beef and Rutabagas

1 Corned Beef, about 3 pounds
6 scrubbed and cubed gold or white potatoes
6 carrots cut into pieces
1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed

Layer ingredients in Crock Pot in this order: beef with juice and spices from package, carrots, rutabagas, potatoes. Add enough water to cover up to about 2 inches from top. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours or as indicated by your Crock Pot instructions.

IF YOU MUST, you can substitute cabbage for rutabagas, but I would remove the meat and enough of the vegetables to make room in the Crock Pot to cook the cabbage and add the cabbage about an hour before serving, keeping the Crock Pot on high.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Born On This Date

In no particular order of significance:

Bret Michaels
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Eva Longoria Parker
Mike Tomlin
Alan Bean
Bobby Bonds

My best friend from childhood's sister

And, me.

Friday, March 13, 2009

When Life Gives you Lemon Yogurt...

I did not learn to eat healthy growing up. I learned to eat deliciously growing up. I learned that adding salt pork and/or bacon to everything was essential to life itself. But I digress. I learned just out of college from a co-worker who never ate anything except the lemon twists out of vodka martinis that lemon yogurt with Grape Nuts was an acceptable breakfast/lunch on the go. I grew up thinking eggs, bacon, and biscuits was an acceptable breakfast on the go and a BLT was an acceptable lunch on the go. Dannon lemon yogurt was the yogurt of choice, Grape Nuts the Grape Nuts of choice. Recently, given the mandate of eating more judiciously, I went searching for Dannon yogurt and was left wanting. I did find that yogurt that makes you poop (Gee thanks, Jamie Lee Curtis) and 20 kinds of baby yogurt but no Dannon lemon. In a curious marketing strategy, Yoplait had three choices of lemon yogurt.

And only the one kind of Grape Nuts, the original.

When I was eating them in the 80s, the box looked like this

and was much smaller. Anyway, you tore off the top of the yogurt cup, licked the top and ate a couple of spoonfuls to make a dent and then dumped in about a tablespoon of Grape Nuts or however much would fit before it spilled out and stirred it up. Then you had to eat it before the Grape Nuts got soggy in the yogurt. Tasty and healthy, I guess. Better than a mid-morning vodka martini with lemon twist or the ever-popular bacon with whatever else is lying around.

My taste test coincided with cooking dinner so in a nutshell (or custard cup, as shown here), the results were:

Yoplait Light - No fat, 110 calories, NO lemon of any kind in the actual yogurt. Citrus-y flavor derived from ascorbic acid. OK, not great. Consistency runny. Grade after adding the Grape Nuts: B-

Yoplait Whips - First of all, Yoplait's website says eating this is an extraordinary experience and it certainly was. I spit this crapola out into my sink right on top of a bowl of froot loops one of my little darlings had not emptied out (you know who you are). The website would not give me any nutritional facts and I threw the cup away but there was actual LEMON JUICE in the yogurt, which might sound like a good thing except it tasted like a big squirt of that nasty bottled lemon juice we all hide in our refrigerator went in there yesterday. Also, "Whips" means there are 4 ounces in this, not 6, to lessen the agony for the same cost. Consistency: Floating in the froot loops milk. Grade: F.

And the winner

Yoplait Thick & Creamy - Fat 3.5 gm, 190 calories, lemon puree in the yogurt. It had a nice creamy, pudding-like consistency and held the Grape Nuts in place as if they had been in the yogurt to begin with.
Everything melded together nicely. Consistency very good. Grade A-

Yes, I know there are yogurt cups out there now with mix-ins already packaged up nicely. I am an old-fashioned girl, and doing it this way takes me back to 1980 when I wanted to be that girl who drank vodka martinis for breakfast and being very glad now that I ate lemon yogurt and Grape Nuts instead.

Update: I sort of remember eating lemon yogurt recently from Walmart that had actual lemon pulp in it, but since I technically don't eat lemon yogurt without Grape Nuts, I can't really disclose this until I formally taste test this with the Grape Nuts. I'll try it again this weekend and let you know how it stands up against the Yoplait.

Also, stay tuned for corned beef and rutabagas