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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Blast from My Past

When I was a little girl I really loved the library a lot. My daddy took me there every Saturday. They let me check out four books at a time. Our library, as well as many others in small towns and cities around the country, was made possible by a gift from Andrew Carnegie. This is what our library looked like.

I have lived in a lot of places in my adult life, but the one constant has always been one of the very first things I do when I move to a new place is go and get a library card. I never met a library I didn't like, but I've got a truly sweet space in my heart for this one and for my favorite librarian of all time, Miss Trosclair.

The Word is Out

There's a new blogger in town, and her name is ME. Sooo, now all 17 of my Facebook friends know. Have a great day and stay tuned this weekend for my crockpot corned beef and cabbage - if I can find the recipe since I've moved probably about 12 times since I made it. Last time, as I recall, I substituted rutabagas for the cabbage and it turned out great. If I can't find the recipe, we'll do something else.

HEY! I saw you un-friend me! Put me back!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

90 Posts in 90 Days

Hello, my name is Trish, and I'm a new blogger. I do love to hear myself talk. I never got that check mark in the column "uses good self-control" on my elementary school report card, and I have talked my way into and out of trouble all my life.

That being said and with all apologies to Maurice Sendak, let the wild rumpus start.

Happy Birthday, Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is 69 today.

Doesn't he look good? (Chuck will know if you don't nod enthusiastically.)

Just for funsies, go to Google and type in "google chuck norris" and click on I'm Feeling Lucky. Don't worry. He's mellowed with age, right?