Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cranberry Walnut Brownies

Cranberry Walnut Brownies

1 1/3 C. Unbleached Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 C Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Butter, Room Temperature
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 3/4 C. White Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Butter an 8 x 8 baking pan.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl cream together softened butter and cocoa.  Mix in the sugar, eggs and vanilla.  

Slowly add the dry ingredients.  Fold in cranberries, walnuts and chips.  

Pour into the baking dish, and spread until even.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, or the brownies start to pull away from the edges of the pan.  

Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.  Sprinkly with confectioner's sugar, if desired.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mixed Pepper Hot Sauce

We like spicy food.  In fact, we put hot sauce or hot peppers in almost everything.  I grew and harvested a lot of hot peppers this year . . . jalapenos, habaneros and Hungarian wax peppers.  Plus a friend was generous to give us cherry peppers from their garden.  

This season I've pickled peppers, stuffed peppers, water canned peppers . . . so much good hot stuff!

This year I decided to make and can my own hot sauce.  And, because I had such a mixture of peppers ripen all at the same time I wanted to utilize all of them in making the sauce.  The result was a spicy, flavorful sauce that wasn't over-the-top but indeed very spicy!

Mixed Pepper Hot Sauce (15 Pints)

8 Whole Habanero Peppers
8 Whole Jalapeño Peppers
8 Whole Cherry Peppers
10 Whole Hungarian Wax Peppers
3 Tablespoon Salt
4 Medium Onion, Halved
8 Cloves Garlic, Smashed
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Medium Tomatoes, Quartered
4 Cups Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

Wash peppers in cold water.  Remove the stems but leave whole.

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Grease or line a couple of cookie sheets.  

Distribute the onion, garlic and tomatoes in a single layer on the cookie sheets. 

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cookie sheet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until the onion pieces are well roasted.

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and place the roasted vegetables in a blender along with the rest of the ingredients on the list.   You’ll need to do this in 2 or 3 batches.

Blend until the mixture is pureed.  Pour into a sauce pan and heat to a high simmer.

While the sauce is heating up get the canning jars, lids and rings ready.  I used pint sized jars for the hot sauce.   The jars should be either sterilized in a high temperature wash dishwasher cycle or in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.  In a separate pot, the lids should be boiled for at least five minutes, as well.  

For processing the filled jars, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  

Fill the sanitized jars within a 1/4 inch of the top with the hot sauce. Wipe the lips of the jar with a clean dry cloth or paper towel. Then put the lids and rings on.  Screw on the rings finger tight only.

Put the jars in the canner then put the lid on.  When the pot has reached a full boil set the time to process the sauce for 15 minutes (sea level).

When the processing time is up lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight).  I normally let them sit for at least 12 hours.   You can then remove the rings if you like to reuse.

Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. 

Finally, store them in a cool, dark place.  Enjoy all year!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A smelly smell

I’m not stinky . . . at least I don’t think I am.  I shower everyday and make sure to wash very well the parts that are prone to stinkiness . . . you know which parts I’m referring to.  

The point is, a recent conversation and it got me thinking.  Some people do smell.  I’m not talking about those unhygienic people who neglect to bathe.  You know what I’m talking about . . . some people just seem to have a certain odor about them. 

Take Indians for example . . . I've worked with many folks from India and a lot of them have an odor about them . . . well . . . like curry.  Obviously, it has something to do with their diet. 

One of the people I was chatting with said that when she was in Korea everyone smelled like garlic and it was pretty overwhelming.   But she was surprised to discover that the Koreans thought that she smelled  . . . uhm . . . off, as well.  Apparently we  . . . westerners, specifically Americans . . . smell pretty sickening to Asians.

The supposition is because of our diets . . . our carnivorous ways . . . all the meat and fatty foods we eat.


Well, gee willikers!  I never thought of that. Me?  Stinky?  No way!  Mmm . . . it seems that maybe I do . . . to some people.

So, I decided to investigate this stinkiness phenomena. 

I have an acquaintance who is a vegan and who also happens to live in Israel.  So, I asked her “Do you think us meat eaters smell funny??”

Her reply,” I haven't noticed, but I’ll pay more attention now.  Maybe you do, but I've lived among you people all my life so that's the norm.”  (I love the ‘you people’ part. )

After a few days she reported back, “Cher, I have to say, I didn't notice anything special, some people do smell, but you know, some people just smell . . .sorry.”

Okay . . . maybe it’s just that we smell funny to Asian folks.  

I have another acquaintance that lives in Japan.  I asked her a similar question, “Do you think Westerners smell funny to you?”

“You mean the perfumes that kill me if I go on a same elevator?”

“No, not exactly.”

“Oh  . . .  the natural thing?   Occasionally some people have strong smell that is different from sweat.”

HA!  It’s true.  It seems that, something about us (Westerners) make us smell a little something like spoiled milk.  

So there it is.  I stink.  

Tropical Peach

Tropical Peach

1 1/2  oz. Vanilla Liqueur
1 1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps
3 oz. Pineapple Juice 
3 oz. Orange Juice

Combine all ingredients in a glass full of ice.  Stir until combined.  Enjoy!

Print Recipe

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Brew Thursday - Pyramid Thunderhead

It's been a few years since I visited the Seattle area, but when I was there I met some friends at Pyramid Brewing Company.  As I recall it was a great beer drinking experience.   

It wasn't until very recently that I've been able to buy Pyramid beer all the way here on the east coast.  When I spotted it, I picked up a six pack of Pyramid Thunderhead IPA at my local beer store.  Happily it's as good as I remember it being, if not better.

Thunderhead is a hearty 6.7% ABV.  It pours a rich golden color with a fluffy quickly dissipating head that leaves behind lots of lacing with every sip. It has all the elements of  an IPA that makes me love them so much . . . a sharp citrus bite, a bit of floral and hoppy bitterness.  It's not super hoppy but the hops are definitely IT with this beer.  But hops are not all there is to Thunderhead . . . the malt lends a light caramelly sweetness that adds balance and character to the beer.  Overall this is a fairly mild IPA as compared to a lot of the other West Coast IPAs I've had that go for BIG, HUGE and sometimes ENORMOUS amounts of hoppiness.  

This is right in the middle . . . somewhere between mellow and big . . . and I like it.  I like it because when combined the relatively light mouthfeel it is an very drinkable beer that goes down easy.

The six pack didn't last very long, I can tell you that!  I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!


Visit Pyramid's website or check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When is a door not a door?

When i was a kid my mom had no-nonsense utilitarian mom-mobiles.  They got us where we had to go with no bells, whistles or other fancy shmanciness.

No her fiancé, on the other hand  . . . well, he had the coolest car EVER.  It talked!  Just like Kitt in Nightrider . .. which, I might add, was the coolest show ever  (at least I thought so when I was a kid . . . I know better now)!

Unlike Kitt who tended to be a little snobby and excitable, the car’s voice was all business but he told the funniest jokes; except after a while they started to get old.

When you opened the door he’d say, “A door is a jar.”  How silly is that? 

The car was a Chrysler E-class, which was only manufactured for two years in 1983 and 1984.  It was discontinued due to poor sales.  Maybe it wasn’t that great of a car . . . what did I know?  I was just a dumb, easily impressed kid.  But Ricardo Montalbán made it sound awfully sexy.

Now, if Ricardo was the voice of any car . . . ROWR!

I mean, think about I, I thought David Hasselhoff was hot . . . what was I thinking??

Slovak Stuffed Cabbage

One of many comfort foods from my youth is stuffed cabbage . . . such warm good memories of family dinner with saucy cabbages stuffed with meat and rice and served with a big pile of mashed potatoes.  Mmmm  . . . so good!

There are, of course, many ways to make this dish depending on the culture where the recipe originates.  Due to my Slovak heritage, I am inclined to make halupki . . . Slovak Stuffed Cabbage.

You can cook the stuffed cabbage leaves using a stove top or slow cooker method . . . I do both . . . it depends on what you prefer.

Slovak Stuffed Cabbage

1 (4-Pound) Whole Head Of Cabbage
1/2 Cup Raw Rice
1/2 Cup Water
1 Finely Chopped Medium Onion 
1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef Chuck
1/2 Pound Lean Ground Pork
Salt And Pepper
1 Large Egg
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Sweet Or Hot Paprika
1 Pound Drained (Reserve Juices) Sauerkraut (Rinsing Optional)
1 (26-Ounce) Can Tomato Soup (Or Two Small Cans)
1 (14-Ounce) Can Tomato Sauce
1 (14-Ounce) Can Crushed Tomatoes
8 Ounces Sour Cream

Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.

When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf.

Chop the remaining cabbage and mix with the can of tomato sauce.  Place it in the bottom of a large greased pot or slow cooker.

Rinse rice and cook it in 1/2 cup water until water is abosrbed. Remove from heat and let cool. 

In a large bowl, mix cooled rice, onions, beef, pork, salt and pepper to taste, egg, garlic, paprika, reserved sauerkraut juices and 1/4 cup of the tomato soup, and blend thoroughly.  

Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Wrap the leaf around the meat mixture to make a neat little package.

Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in a large pot or slow cooker. If you have any meat left over, form into meatballs and place on top of rolls.

Top with all the crushed tomatoes, remaining sauerkraut and tomato soup. 

If cooking on the stove top, bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer 3 to 4 hours.  If cooking in a slow cooker cook on high for 3 or 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

When cabbages are cooked, remove from pot.  Remove about a cup of the pan juices and allow to cool.  Once cool enough to comfortable touch with finger stir in the sour cream.  When completely combined stir mixture in with the rest of the pan juices and server over the cabbages.  Excellent with mashed potatoes!

Print Recipe

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

24-Ounce Jar Medium Salsa
Juice From One Lime
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
1.25-Oz. Package Taco Seasoning
2 Jalapeno Peppers, Finely Chopped (Optional)
1 Large Tomato, Chopped
6 Boneless Chicken Breast Halves, Defrosted
In a slow cooker, mix together the salsa, lime juice, cilantro, taco seasoning, tomato and jalapenos.

Add the chicken and coat with the salsa mixture. Allow the chicken to cook, covered, in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours.

Shred chicken.  Serve over rice, as a taco filling or in a wrap.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Howdy . . . I said this as a greeting to an associate from London and it got me thinking.

I love finding out about words and origins of such.  If I had to guess I would expect is a uniquely American word.

I would also venture to postulate that ‘howdy’ is a condensed version of ‘How do you do’.  

A little research shows that I’m right on the money.

Segue . . . ‘on the money’ is an archery term.   In the olden days during competitions a coin was set at the middle of the target and the archer whose arrow lands the closest to the coin would take the coin as the prize.

Anyhoo . . . howdy originates in the American south.  It is a contraction for ‘how do ye’ which is an earlier form of ‘how do you do’.  

Howdy used now interchangeably with ‘hello’  . . . as opposed to an inquiry as to one’s health.

So there ya have it!  

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

1 Lb Large Strawberries
8 Oz. Cream Cheese, Softened  
3-4 Tbsp Powdered Sugar  
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Wash the strawberries in cold water and cut the top off of the strawberry.  

Carefully slice the strawberries in quarters without cutting all the way through.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. 

Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Print Recipe

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Zucchini Walnut Bread

Zucchini Walnut Bread

1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
4 Eggs
2 Cups White Sugar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Cups Grated Zucchini
1 Cup Raisins
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually beat in sugar, then oil. Add flour mixture alternately with zucchini into the egg mixture. Stir in the raisins, walnuts, and vanilla. Pour batter into two 9 x 5 inch greased and lightly floured loaf pans.


Bake on lowest rack of the oven at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Naturally Fermented Dill Pickles

There is a little bakery (Vintage Baking Co.) in Glen NH that sells the most amazing bread.  They also have available a wonderful selection of cheese, wine, and other things to compliment said bread.  One thing they almost always have are jars of the most delicious pickles; they aren’t cheap but we always get at least one jar when we visit.

These pickles aren’t anything like the ones you get at the grocery store.  These are naturally fermented pickles  . . . i.e. lacto-fermented pickles.  And they are as close to a perfect pickle as I’ve ever tasted.

Lacto-fermentation is an ancient form of preserving foods . . . think sauerkraut, kim-chi, and yes . . . pickles (among many other things). 

All you need is salt, water, spices and the naturally occurring yeast spores floating around in the air.

So, I wanted to learn how to make these mouth watering wonders.  And I did!  This is how . . .

Naturally Fermented Dill Pickles
(Lacto-Fermented Pickles)

6-8 small (3-4 inches long) un-waxed cucumbers. I used pickles fresh from my garden but you can find pickling or “Kirby” cucumbers in your grocery store that will work just as well.
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons sea, kosher or any salt without additives
4 - 8 sprigs of fresh dill
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
1 Tablespoon Mustard seeds
1 -2 Grape, Oak or Cherry Leaves

This recipe makes 1 quart sized canning jar of pickles.  I made more than that by multiplying the ingredients accordingly.

Sterilize your jar or jars in boiling water and allow to dry.

Combine salt and water in a saucepan.  Heat on stove, stirring until salt dissolves then cool.

After washing cucumbers, cut the tips off on both ends.  It is especially important to remove the blossom end as the blossom contains enzymes that will soften your pickles.  You can leave the cucumbers whole or cut them depending on how you like your pickles.

Arrange a washed grape leaf (oak or cherry) on the bottom of the jar.  Why the leaf?  Because the tannins found in these leaves inhibit the enzymes that cause the cucumber to soften . . . thus crunchier pickles!

On top of the leaf place sprigs of dill.

Without crushing them, tightly pack the cucumbers in the jar. Add remaining dill, garlic cloves, mustard seeds and peppercorns.  I cut a cucumber in half and pushed it under the curved top of the jar to keep the other cucumbers submerged in the brine.  You can also top with an additional grape leaf.

Another method is to place a boiled stone on top to keep your pickles from floating up above the water when the pickling process causes them to shrink.

Pour the salt water into the jar; completely covering the cucumbers.

Cover the top of the jar with cheese cloth or similar to allow the yeast spores to enter the jar that aid in fermentation.  I use an ankle stocking and slip it over the top . . . its elastic so it stays in place.

Let the jar sit undisturbed at room temperature. In a few days you will notice the brine start to get cloudy and bubbles will begin to form.  You may also notice a thin white layer forming . . . this is natural.

The fermentation will take from three to ten days.  Mine took ten days, but I was using a ½ gallon jar.  Start sampling around three days.  When they taste the way you like them then put a lid on them and place them in the fridge.  They will continue to ferment but at a slower rate.  After a month in the fridge they tasted very close to the pickles we were paying a premium for at the bakery.

Pickles will keep for several months in the refrigerator.  Just be sure to keep them submerged in the brine.

These pickles are perfect for a Dill Thrill!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Firewater Friday - Guinness Cream Soda

I found a recipe for a cocktail using Guinness.  It's called "Guinness Cream Soda".  I don't know if that's what *I* would have named it because it tastes more like a ginger beer, but who am I to criticize.    I've altered the recipe somewhat . . . basically because the original recipe called for Navan Vanilla Liquor which is extremely expensive and not easily acquired in the US and Domaine De Canton Ginger Liquer which is also expense.  I wouldn't consider either of these suitable mixers for mixing with beer.  Let's face it . . . this isn't a high-end fancy-shmancy high-class cocktail.  My results were delicious!  

Also, I recommend using the Guinness Draught from the can as opposed to Guinness Extra Stout in the bottle.  You will have better results . . . basically because the bottled version is meant to be drank straight from the bottle and not poured (see this blog post for more information)

It's interesting to note that you can have two distinctly different drinking experiences with this cocktail.  You can float the Guinness much like is done with a Black and Tan.  Or, you can mix it all together with a gentle stir.  Either way is good . . . just different.

Guinness Cream Soda 

2 Ounces Ginger Liqueur
2 Ounces Vanilla Liqueur
1 (12-ounce) Can Club Soda, Chilled
1 (14.9-ounce) Can Guinness Draught, Chilled

Combine the liqueurs in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to chill then mix with club soda, stir gently to combine.

Fill a chilled pint glass halfway with the club soda mixture. 

If floating the Guinness, hold a spoon over the glass, slowly pour the Guinness over the back of the spoon until the glass is full. 

Otherwise combine half the club soda mixture with half the can of Guinness.  Stir gently if.

Serve immediately.

Makes two cocktails

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Brew Thursday - Portsmouth Brew Pub

Over the summer hubby and I were on vacation in the beautiful state of New Hampshire.  On the one rainy day we had during the week we took a drive to Portsmouth to check out of a couple of the local breweries.  

A must visit on the list was none other than Portsmouth Brewery.  The brewpub is cozy with a very pleasant waitstaff and you can watch the brewers work as you enjoy your food and drink.  

Since this wasn't the only stop on our little beer tour we decided to get a sampler . . . mmmm, okay we both got a sampler.  I have to say of all the places where I've gotten a beer sampler Portsmouth, by far, has the most generous sample pallet . . . ten beers, all told.  A mix of beers from Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose (a sister brewery) and an odd man out from Tuckermans.

The first on the pallet was the Dirty Blond Ale (4.5% ABV).  A bright lemon color with a frothy white head.  A light, sessionable brew.  Citrussy, a little sweet with a touch of hoppiness.  Refreshing and exceptionally drinkable . . . a very nice summer beer.   Overall . . . very good.

Onward and forward . . . Belgian Wit (4.5% ABV).  A hazy golden color with a fluffy white head.    A lot over wheat beers that's all you can taste . . . wheat.  But this a nice wheaty beer with distinctive floral notes.  Interesting and tasty.  Overall . . . very good.

Ah the dark beer,  Black Cat Stout (5.5% ABV).  I'm not a big stout drinker but I can appreciate a good one.  This is one of those.  This beer is dark, smooth, creamy and a little bitter. The best part?  Black Cat is chock full of coffee flavor . . . uhm, drooooool. Overall . . . very good.

Saison (6% ABV).  A hazy golden beer . . . it tastes like it looks.  Slightly sweet honey, some pineapple and a touch of citrus.  It tastes like summer and is very refreshing.  Delish!  Overall . . . very good.

Rye?  Rye Not (5.5% ABV).  The rye is evident in the aroma . . . along with some malty goodness.  Another good summery beer with refreshing hops and citrus.  In fact, to me, this was more IPAish; something you won't here me complain about.  There was a bit of fruitiness that balanced out the beer quite nicely.  I liked it.  Overall . . . pretty good.

Smuttynose Finest Kind (6.9% ABV).  Another American IPA . . . another one tops on my favorite list here.  What can I say? I'm an IPA kinda girl.  This beer starts out a with a malty caramel sweetness the morphs into something in between floral and citrus then  ends with a crisp hoppiness.  A wonderfully complex and delicious beer.  Overall . . . awesome!

Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale (5.5% ABV).  This is an American Pale Ale.  A lovely coppery red color  . . . definitely the prettiest beer in the bunch. It tastes like it looks.  That is, toasty caramel maltiness which compliments something subtle and fruity . . . hmmm, apple maybe?  It finishes crisp and clean with a touch of hoppy bitterness.  Yummy!  Overall . . . nearly awesome!

Smuttynose Star Island Single (5% ABV).  A Belgian Pale Ale.  A hazy straw color with a poof of foam on top.  It's like drinking fresh bread and a touch of jam . . . yeasty, fruity . . . mmm.  It finishes crisp and clean with bitter notes.  Goes down easy, very tasty, easily sessionable.  Overall . . . very good.

Last but nowhere near least . . . Tuckerman's Pale Ale (4.75% ABV).   What can I say about this beer?  I can tell you it's made by one of my favorite New Hampshire micro-breweries!  And also that this is my favorite of their offerings.  An American Pale Ale that is light and refreshing with citrus and bitter hops but not quite IPAish.  It's lightly carbonated and exceedingly drinkable!  So good!  Overall . . . nearly awesome!

Visit the websites for Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose and Tuckermans.  Or, check them out on Facebook herehere and here respectively.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cowboy Meatloaf

Cowboy Meatloaf  

3 Cups Mashed Potatoes
1 Pound Ground Beef
3/4 Cup Onion Finely Chopped
1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs Seasoned
1 Cup Brown Gravy
1 Egg Lightly Beaten
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Crisp Bacon, Crumbled
1/2 Cup Crispy Fried Onions Canned
2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shredded

Note: Any mashed potato recipe will work but I used this recipe for the mashed potatoes and this one would be awesome, too!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 9x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, breadcrumbs, ½ cup gravy, egg, and salt until well mixed. Gently press into bottom of baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Carefully pour off any excess fat.

In a large bowl, mix together hot mashed potatoes with bacon, 1 cup of cheese and ¼ cup fried onions. Spread evenly on top of beef mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese and fried onions.

Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned. Serve hot with top with additional brown gravy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chillin' with Chelada

Have you ever seen anything so terribly compelling that you couldn’t turn away . . . say like a train wreck?

Well, while I was in my local beer store I was poking around looking for something new and interesting to try.  For me that means a new micro brewery or something seasonal.  You know . . . something good!

What I hadn’t ever remotely  anticipated purchasing was an Anhueser Busch product.  And certainly not of the Budweiser variety.  Least of all a Budweiser with . . . dare I say . . . clamato juice. 

Ack!  I said it!  Yes, I bought it.

The 16 ounce can sat in my refrigerator for weeks.  Looking me square in the face every time I opened the door.  Mocking me.  Taunting me to try it.  For the longest time, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Hell, I wasn’t even sure why I bought the thing in the first place.  Talk about buyer’s remorse!  Not that it cost all that much money; it was the principle of the thing!

Last night . . . in a moment of awful weakness, I gave in and broke down an popped open that wretched can of . . . *gulp* . . . beer.

It poured a sickish kind of pink color.  As the can emptied out more of the reddish clamato juice poured out.  I swished the can a bit to get as much of the stuff out as I could . . . if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right!

Mmmm . . . clamato juice.

I’ve never actually purchased Clamato juice.   It  is a drink made of reconstituted tomato juice concentrate flavored with spices and clam broth.  My only recollection of ever seeing this product in someone's home was my grandmother who used it to mix up her bloody mary’s.

Anyhoo . . . 

So, the glass of Chelada . . . that’s what they call it . . . sat on my counter as I contemplated drinking this concoction of beer, tomato / clam juice with a supposed splash of lime.  I finally mustered the courage and took a sip.

Hmmm . . . 

And to my complete and utter horror I actually liked it.  For shame . . . it is a pretty tasty train wreck.

Shocking, I know . . . I have nothing more to say for myself.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

These are different regular mashed potatoes. . . not in a bad way, just different, kind of like scalloped potatoes.  This is a great recipe for a holiday when the stove is being consumed by other things . . . you can set this up on the side and let ‘er rip.  Good, creamy and delish!

5 Lbs Russet Potatoes
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Butter, Cut Into Chunks
1 Tablespoon Salt, Plus
¾ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 1/3 Cups Milk, Warmed

Peel and cut up potatoes into 1-inch cubes.  Place them in crockpot with water and butter then season with salt and pepper.

Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours.

When potatoes are done, mash with a masher or electric beater.   Do not remove the excess water from slow cooker. Add warm milk to potatoes until desired consistency and texture is reached.

Keep warm on low until serving.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I can't find it!

Do you believe in gremlins, brownies or bogies?  I don't want to but I don't really have much choice.  Because either there's a prankster spirit in our home or my husband is totally screwing with me.  I'm leaning towards option number one because it would be very bad for hubby if I found out he was trying to make me crazy . . . very bad indeed . . . and he knows it.

Every so often something disappears only to reappear days, weeks or even months later either exactly where it should be and where we looked over and over again or somewhere where the thing has no business being, someplace we wouldn't have put it.

It's really freaky.

Three recent examples . . .  

When I do laundry I make sure hubby removes all the stuff from his pockets . . . he carries more crap around in his pockets than I do in my purse.  I make sure he takes everything out so that I'm not responsible for accidentally washing something he doesn't want washed . . . like his phone or flashlight.  A couple weeks ago we did the emptying of the pockets routine and he put his stuff in a pile off on the side of the bed where he normally puts his things.  On the same day I was washing sheets so I gathered those up as well and put on fresh ones.  The next day he was loading up his clean shorts and couldn't find his flashlight.  He had everything else including the holster for the flashlight . . . but no flashlight.  He looked all around in his piles of crap on his side of the bed.  I looked in the dirty sheets and laundry in the the basement, just in case they got caught up in those.  The flashlight was nowhere.  For a week he poked around for the flashlight.  For a week he swore up and down that I had somehow managed to get the thing wrapped up in the old sheets and that it had to be in the laundry pile.  I looked three times . . . it wasn't there.

Keep in mind that this is a $130+ pocket flashlight that is extra bright, extra durable and has weapon potential. . . not something simply replaceable by a trip to the local Walmart.

A week later he decided to plow through his stacks and piles and bags of stuff.  The flashlight had to be there somewhere.  He picked through junk that he hadn't touched in years . . . no flashlight.  

The week before when I changed the sheets, I took the clean ones out of the closet and made up the bed.  Somehow I ended up with a spare sheet that I left draped over a suitcase at the end of the bed.  For whatever reason when he was going through his stuff he shook out the sheet and out fell his flashlight.  This was after literally hours of sorting through his things. That  flashlight couldn't have been there because where he emptied his pockets wasn't anywhere near this spot.  But there it was.  Weird.

Another such incident was last December.  A gun cleaning kit went missing . . . something we use all the time and I ended up getting another one because we really did need it..  Hubby thought I threw it out with the Christmas wrapping paper and boxes.  I know I didn't throw it away but I thought that maybe I packed it up with the Christmas decorations and that we'd find it when we decorated this year.  So, this past weekend hubby was cleaning a rifle and was going through the bin of cleaning supplies . . . I bin I have taken every single thing out of and he has taken every thing out of several times looking for the kit and other cleaning supplies.  It wasn't there and hasn't been there for months.  Guess where the cleaning kit was?  In the bottom of that bin . . . exactly where it should have been but hasn't been for months and months.   The cleaning kt was visible from the outside of the bin . . . a milk crate . . . in a spot I look at probably a half a dozen times a week or more.  Plain as day . . . in our faces . . . right there.  Crazy.

One other thing . . . or several things . . . went missing last November.  Some papers that I needed but were replaceable so it wasn't a huge deal that they were gone . . . it was just weird that they simply disappeared from a spot where I knew . . . absolutely knew . . . that I had placed them but not to be found again until 6 months later.  The papers are kept in an envelope inside box on top of a bookshelf in the living room.  I found them at the bottom of a bin full of motorcycle gear in the basement.  There is no conceivable reason why those papers should have been where I found them . . . randomly found them because I was looking for a jacket.

There's one other thing that's been missing for several months . . . a controller for my Wii . . . let's see if that happens to turn up or if hubby is right in thinking my son "borrowed" it.

So . . . I need to appease whatever creature this is that's playing tricks on us.  I just don't know what it wants or I'd happily give it him!  

Check out this post and this post for previous disappearances and recoveries.