Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The land of embarrassment and breakfast.

Oh, you know how your parents can do all sorts of things to embarrass you when you're a kid.  Hell, I embarrass my kid all the time . . . sometimes even on purpose.  What can I say?  It's fun.

Can I remember the single most embarrassing moment of my youth that involved my mother?  You can bet your sweet bippy!  

Here's the situation.  We were at a banquet to honor my mother.  In attendance were a couple of a hundred of my mom's closest friend’s and associates . . . plus a few of my own.  There was a lovely meal, much cocktailing and even more schmoozing.  Finally, she get's up in front of the room of people to make her speech, to give her thanks and to accept her award.  She spoke eloquently . . . graciously acknowledging her helplings and those who “were wind beneath her wings” and whatnot.  As her speech wound down she said that there could never be any greater honor than this and   . . . I quote . . . "I shot my load.”

Silence.  Someone cleared their throat.  Someone stifled laughter.  I almost died.

You know, I don’t think she ever realized what she said.  And, even if she did would she even know what it was she said?  Oy.

Parents . . . gotta love ‘em.

Eggs Benedict
4 Egg Yolks
3 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Pinch Ground White Pepper
1/8 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Water
1 Cup Butter, Melted
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
8 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Distilled White Vinegar
8 Strips Canadian-Style Bacon
4 English Muffins, Split
2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened

To Make Hollandaise: Fill the bottom of a double boiler part-way with water. Make sure that water does not touch the top pan. Bring water to a gentle simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, white pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon water.

Add the melted butter to egg yolk mixture 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time while whisking yolks constantly. If hollandaise begins to get too thick, add a teaspoon or two of hot water. Continue whisking until all butter is incorporated. Whisk in salt, then remove from heat. Place a lid on pan to keep sauce warm.

Preheat oven on broiler setting. To Poach Eggs: Fill a large saucepan with 3 inches of water. Bring water to a gentle simmer, then add vinegar. Carefully break eggs into simmering water, and allow to cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Yolks should still be soft in center. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and set on a warm plate

While eggs are poaching, brown the bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and toast the English muffins on a baking sheet under the broiler.

Spread toasted muffins with softened butter, and top each one with a slice of bacon, followed by one poached egg. Place 2 muffins on each plate and drizzle with hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve immediately.

The land of embarrassment and breakfast.
--Julian Barnes

Monday, January 30, 2012

Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-o to a tree

One of my duties as mother and parent to a teenage boy is to torture him.  It's a right and privilege earned by having to put up with his angstiness.  And it's fun.

My primary fodder is girls.  When I ask him if he has a girlfriend, which is fairly often, the typical reply is “moooooooooooooooooom”.

The kid is kinda cute . . . in a moppy haired, Shaggy Doo bearded kind of way.  So, I don’t see any reason why some girl wouldn’t think he’s appealing.

He says he’s not interested in the girls he knows.  He says that they’re annoying.  All they do is talk, talk, talk and giggle, giggle.  Yeah, well, that’s what teenage girls do.  Especially around boys they like. 

Normally he doesn’t like to talk to me about girls . . . or anything else for that matter; you know how kids are.  But he just so happened to broach the subject, so I let him talk. 

He said there was this one girl who came running down the hall at him . . . arms wide open and on a collision course for a full frontal tackling hug.  He avoided the attack by turning to the side and deflecting her with his arm.  He escaped, sans hug, with the girl staring at him all goofy-like.

Yep, the chicks dig my boy. 

He then went on to tell me that girls only want to use boys to get other boys jealous.  That’s remarkably perceptive and, sadly, true a lot of the time.

He said that just the other day a girl walked up to him and straight up asked him if she could be his girlfriend.  Just like that, right out of the blue.  He said, “Uh no.”  She was all like, “Come ooooooon be my boyfriend.” He said, “Uhm . . . uh . . . no thanks.”  Then she was all like, “Puhleeeeease?  My boyfriend just broke up with me.”  And my boy replied, “No way!”  And made a hasty retreat.
I know that his hormones will eventually drown out the girly background noise but for now I’m kinda glad he has yet to submit to their feminine wiles.  He’ll be my boy for a while longer.

Homemade Chicken with Root Vegetable Soup

1 (3 Pound) Whole Chicken
4 Carrots
4 Stalks Celery
1 Large Onion, Halved
4 Parsnips
2 Potatoes
Egg Noodles (Optional)
Water to Cover
Salt And Pepper To Taste

Put the chicken, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 parsnip and onion in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken meat falls off of the bones (skim off foam every so often).

In the meantime peel and chop the remaining vegetables.  Set aside.

Take everything out of the pot, discard the vegetables (they’ll be smooshy).
Add the reserved vegetables to the broth and bring to a boil.  Turn off  the heat.

Pick the meat off of the bones. Season the broth with salt, pepper. Add the egg noodles at this time.

I pack into individual servings and freeze them for lunches.  Take them out, pop them in the microwave and you have fresh, homemade soup whenever you want it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.

So there I was flexing my coffee muscles with a co-worker discussing whose coffee is better . . . he had some bitter dark brewed winter blend and I had nicely balanced fresh ground apple dumpling.  Clearly, I had the superior cup o’ joe.


Until he said, “that’s girlie coffee.”

Wait  . . . what?? 

I never really thought about it, but I would assume that coffee was gender neutral.  I mean, okay, you can have some hipster barista whip up a floofy concoction that could lean maybe kinda towards the feminine.  Maybe.

So, I asked him, “What would you define as ‘girlie’ coffee?”

He said, “you know, those flavored ones; hazelnut, vanilla.  I want to taste coffee when I drink my coffee.”

Of course now I’m offended.  Yes, I’m a girl . . . but, dammit, I like my golden French toast brew!  And, now I have to worry weather or not someone will think I’m a frilly pretty-in-pink sorority chick just because of my coffee.

Thinking I might be able to snag him with the condiments he added to his java . . .  you know, like, sugar, syrups . . . whipped cream.  So, I asked him, “What’s your favorite way to drink coffee.”

Him, “I love a good Latte`”

Him . . . snagged!

“Oh, yeah and that’s not girlie”, says I.

“I’m French.  Of course I like latte.”

French . . .

. . . man . . .  

. . . latte.


If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.

Mae West

Friday, January 27, 2012

Firewater Friday - Yodel-Le-He-Hoo!

Yodeling . . . I get visions dancing in my head of Heidi in pig tails frolicking through the Swiss Alps with her grand-pappy and a plethora of goats.
In fact, yodeling comes in many forms 
. . .

Used by shepherds as calls to round up their livestock, in African tribal songs, by Tarzan as he swung from vine to vine, and a tasty cream filled snack cake.

I was recently introduced to a new and entertaining form of yodeling . . . cat yodeling.  Also known as . . . playing the Angry Bagpipes.

Depending on your instrument . . . engaging in cat yodeling is not for the faint of heart . . . painful in many instances.  For me . . . by invoking this soulful sound I am taking my life into my own hands.  My cat . . . clearly not amused.  Protective gear . . . totally recommended.


A margarita with orange juice . . . yums!

1/2 Cup Ice
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1 Fluid Ounce Tequila
1/2 Fluid Ounce Triple Sec
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Dash Fresh Lime Juice

Fill a glass with ice. Pour the orange juice, tequila, triple sec, sugar, and lime juice over the ice; stir.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I like breaking the rules

A cardinal rule . . . what kind of rule?  An angry bird rule?  God forbid you disobey an angry bird!!

Seriously, though, I always thought the term ‘cardinal rule’ referred to some sort of religious tenet that morphed into an everyday saying about an all important directive that must be obeyed.

Well . . . suffice to say, I was wrong.  Shocking, I know.  But, it happens now and again.

The word ‘cardinal’ comes from the root word 
‘cardo’, which in Latin translates to ‘hinge’ or ‘that on which something turns or depends’.  Therefore, something cardinal is important because all else hinges upon it.  It is a fundamental rule . . . something that is essential that cannot be deterred from.
A cardinal rule could be: Isn't it the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance that you are forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate? 

Back to the church . . . before it was all powerful and had such a grand hierarchy and far reaching authority on everything and everyone . . . a cardinal was simply a clergyman being that he was attached to the church . . . much like a door is attached by a hinge to  a building.  

And back to that angry bird . . . why is it red?  Well, because somehow the name cardinal went from being a simple man to a prince (of the church) and was clad all in red . . . the bird was thusly name because it was all red much likes the robes of churchly princes.

No, he was not red because he was angry; you people and your imaginations.  Sheesh!

Grilled Cheese Cheese Stuffed Cheeseburger

Two Slices of Bread
Two Slices American Cheese
One Slice Swiss Cheese
One Half Pound of Lean Hamburger
Sliced Tomatoes
3 Slices Crisp Bacon

Divide the hamburger into two patties.  Fold the Swiss cheese into a square and press into the center of one of the patties.  Top with the second patty and press to seal edges. 

Grill or fry hamburger, until done.

In the meantime butter two slices of bread, and lay on frying pan, add cheese to the slices of bread and grill till cheese melts and crispy brown on the other side.

Lay cooked hamburger on one of the bread and cheese slices.  

Top with tomato slices and bacon. 

Serve your amazing creation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason.

Yeah, well, if  wishes were fishes we'd all be eatin' sushi.  Sadly . . . perplexingly . . . it's a true story.

A man walked into a store whips out a bullet and says "this is a stick-up" . . . not in those exact words but that's the gist of what happened.     You can't make this stuff up.  

And to further prove that fact is often stranger than fiction . . . there is a Wisconsin man who had his name legally changed to . . . wait for it . . . . wait for it . . . Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-bop-bop.  Is Mr.  Zopittybop-bop-bop an upstanding, responsible citizen?  Of course not . . . he's got a rap-sheet a mile and a half long.  Perhaps he changed his name to gain some anonymity so he could go on the straight and narrow.  Uhm . . . right!  Not.  He was arrested just two months after he went from Jeffrey Drew to Beezow Doo-Doo for drug possession and carrying a knife.

And then there's the brainiac who stole an airplane, took off and then realized he didn't know how to fly or . . . . more importantly . . . land the thing.  

and the Darwin award goes to . . . 

Gravy from Turkey Stock

1 Turkey Bones
2 Teaspoons Salt
Dash Pepper
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
Add bones to pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 to 4 hours. Cool slightly; strain broth into a bowl. Refrigerate then remove fat from top of broth.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; gradually add flour and stir until golden brown.

Slowly whisk in stock until blended and smooth. Stir in giblets, and season with pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz; oh what a relief it is!

Oh, Alka-Seltzer . . . how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  It's good for what ails you . . . aches and pains?  headache?  upset stomach?  and at one time its ads even suggested taking it for "the blahs."  I'm jiggy wit dat!

The lemon-lime variation has a salty-sweet thing going on.  I'd drink it all day long if it wasn't for the whole overdosing-on-medication thing.

Seriously,  it's the best invention since cheesy-poofs.

Alka-Seltzer has been around since 1931 and is simply a combination of aspirin, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid all compacted into a fizzy tablet.  drop into a glass of water and watch it go.  It's like magic!  But watch out because if you have the glass on top of a pile of papers the effervescence will effervesce all over your papers and make a mess.  Don't ask how I know this . . . but there's a reason that Speedy uses an umbrella in the commercial.

It's not only good at curing the icks, but it also can be used as an effective cleaner for your coffee pot, glassware and jewelry  . . . all those bubbles cut through grease and grime.  Don't mock me before you try it . . . it works!

Anyhoo . . . I'm not suggesting that anyone run out and buy this wonder of all wonders, because it's not necessarily good for everyone, I'm just saying that *I* like it.  

Ploppity, ploppity . . . fizzity, fizzity . . . 

Creamy Cabbage with Apples and Bacon

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
6 Slices Bacon, Chopped
1 Large Onion, Chopped
Salt And Pepper To Taste
1 Tablespoon White Sugar 
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1 Head Green Cabbage, Cored And Chopped
2 Large Granny Smith Apples - Peeled, Cored and Thickly Sliced
1/2 Cup Chicken Stock, Or As Needed
1/2 Teaspoon Coriander Seeds
1 Pinch Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Sour Cream

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook and stir until most of the fat is rendered, and the bacon is lightly browned but still slightly limp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a small bowl; do not drain. Pour off any excess bacon fat in the pan, according to your taste.

Stir the onion into the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook and stir over medium-high heat until onion is translucent. Sprinkle in the sugar, then stir in the vinegar-stand back or you'll get a nose full! Scrape up the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cabbage, stirring well to combine.

Cook, uncovered, until cabbage is reduced and starts to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in apples, stock, and coriander seeds. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more stock as needed, and continue cooking until the cabbage is soft, but not falling apart.

Just before serving, remove the cover and stir in the bacon with its juices. Cook over medium-high heat until any remaining liquid is reduced to a syrup and the mixture is piping hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in nutmeg, and fold in the sour cream.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Go sit down and look pale.

I find the intense abhorrence of all things Twilight amusing if not perplexing.  I mean, people are literally slamming the teen vamp trilogy as if it sucked as bad as the Carter presidential administration.  Really!

And then, on the flipside, people that so are infatuated with the story that they cry, scream and worship the characters; much like the teenagers of the 60's with their adoration of Beatles.

Complete devotion . . . concentrated loathing.  How can one story be so very polarizing?  It’s quite compelling and, frankly, I don’t get it.

Curiosity beset me.  I had to find out what all the hubbub and hullabaloo was about.  I read the books.  Nay, I devoured them.  I thought they were well written and fun.  While the characters were not entirely believable the storyline was fascinating.  And besides, who cares, its fiction.  It was entertaining and that's what it's all about.  Anybody who takes this kind of storyline seriously has bigger problems

That being said . . .  I like the books but I wouldn't . . . say . . . go out and get a tattoo of Edward and Bella in the throes of a passionate moment.  
Admittedly these vampires aren’t at sexual as Anne Rice's or as vicious as Larry Correia’s or as singularly evil as Bram Stoker’s.  But give them a break, they’re just kids.

Here’s the gist . . . the books are suspenseful and romantic with a little blood letting thrown in.  Oh, and because they are geared towards teenagers there is no swearing or explicit sexuality.

So, if romance isn’t your thing or horror isn’t your thing or you just can’t read a book without someone cursing . . . cursing not curses, there are plenty of those . . . or folks getting laid every five seconds then this is not for you so stop bitching.  No one is forcing anyone to read it.

Let the fans enjoy themselves and allow Stephenie Meyer have her moment sparkly in the sun.

Ranch Pork Chops

1 Packet (1 Ounce) Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
6 Pork Loin Rib Chops About 1-Inch Thick
Dash Of Paprika (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

In a small bowl, add the Seasoning mix, together with the salt, pepper, and paprika and mix well. Liberally sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with the seasoning mixture.

Arrange the chops on a baking sheet or try with a rack. Bake the pork chops for 20 minutes, turning once until browned or an internal temperature of 160ºF is reached. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One day I fell asleep in the library. When I woke up, a blind man was reading my face.

Sometimes a thought or a question just pops into my head and I have to investigate it or know the answer or find a solution.  And you, dear reader, are the benefactor of the whims of my brain farts and the resulting researches . . . aren’t you the lucky one!  I wish I was as awesome as you!

Today’s random inspiration . . . pimples.  Not just any kind of pimple but the kind that consistently return to the same location with similar resulting ickiness.

I have one . . . it’s not painful, it doesn’t appear to be in ingrown hair and it’s not particularly disfiguring but it shows up fairly regularly in the same exact spot. 

I know it’s kind of a gross topic but albeit from me to deprive you, my dear reader, of the knowledge I’ve gained from looking into the topic.

First of all the most controversial advice . . . pop it, don’t pop it . . . with all kinds of substantiating information as to why or why not.  Yeah, that helps.  Not.

From what I was able to glean from the voluminous amount of information out there, the most plausible causes for a pimple popping up in the same place seem to be:

1.  This spot on my face may have increased and sustained release of hormones responsible for acne (meh)


2.  Improper hygiene (uhm, I don’t think so)


3.  Since I go along with the pop-it recommendation . . . that there is still some gunk left underneath the skin that hasn’t been "processed" yet so another pimple comes up in the exact same place. They eventually go once that area has been completely drained. (hmmm)


4.  Constant touching of the same part . . . it’s possible that this area is being irritated by the protective glasses I wear, both at work and at the shooting range.  That fits. (aha!

And as long as we’re talking about pimples . . . the word “zit” came into poplular usage in the 1960’s.  the term may be related to the German "Zitze", which means teat, nipple.

There you go.  Now you know.

I had plenty of pimples as a kid. One day I fell asleep in the library. When I woke up, a blind man was reading my face.

Rodney Dangerfield