Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other

Ah, the last day of the year.  For many people a night to go out and party, get drunk and rowdy, and whatnot.  A night that a lot of people who hardly ever go out, hardly ever drink and hardly ever party are out and about and set loose on the world.  In other words . . . it's amateur night.

Hubby and I?  We are crashing at home . . . we will have a nice relaxing evening at home.  It's a special night so we will be nomming on fine steaks, dipping fresh bread in gooey cheese fondue, indulging in chocolate mousse with strawberries and, of course, imbibing cocktails.

A departure from the norm is that we will not be toasting with champagne, sparkling wine or spumante.  We will be ringing in the new year with Samuel

Adams Infinium.  Yes, we will be raising our glasses to the new year with . . . *gasp* . . . beer.

Infinium is a very, very special beer.  It is brewed using very special method in very limited batches.

Infinium was first brewed in 2010   . . . guess what we toasted 2011 with?  It is an amazing beer . . . I've never experienced anything quite like it.  It is light, effervescent and champagne-like.  Forget Miller High Life . . . Infinium is truly the champagne of beers.

It is made in the German style following the strict purity laws used for thousands of years. Infinium is dry-hopped with Bavarian Noble hops for a light citrus flavor. Its then bottle-conditioned with a traditional Belgian yeast and fermented in the champagne-method.

From Samuel Adams . . .

Our brewers worked for two years with the world’s oldest brewery, Germany’s Weihenstephan, to create this unique new beer style. A groundbreaking brew, made with only the four traditional ingredients: malted barley, hops, water and yeast, Infinium™ is a crisp champagne-like beer with fine bubbles and a fruity, spicy aroma. The crisp clean malt character and delicate fruit notes in this beer are complemented by a slight citrus flavor from dry hopping with Bavarian Noble hops. Bottle conditioning adds another layer of complexity and light spice notes.

We have bottle of 2010 left over from last year and a couple bottles from this years' batch.  I'm looking forward to bring in the new year in Sam Adams style!

Have fun and be safe . . . Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Firewater Friday - A man who exposes himself when he is intoxicated, has not the art of getting drunk.

I’ve played drinking games  . . . but not for a looooong time.  I learned my lesson pretty early on that playing a game to drink as much as you can to get drunk as fast as possible is just silly . . . and painful the next day.

The last time a participated in a drinking game I’m sure I got alcohol poisoning because I was brutally sick for literally three days . . . I thought I would die.  That was a goodly long time ago. 

The game we were playing was based on the board game Scattergories.  For the uninitiated the objective is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit. Actually, it had nothing to do with the actually game but we used the game cube in our little diversion.  It was at a New Year’s Eve party with family and close friends. 

In our version of the game, you rolled the multifaceted dice which has different letters on each face.   Whoever rolled the cube got to call the alcohol that everyone else had to do a shot of that started with the letter that came up on top.  If you couldn’t think of one or if the booze wasn’t available then no one drank.  That’s it . . . stupid but effective.

As we all know drinking alcohol diminishes judgment and decreases inhibition.  Yeah, I lost both.  I ended up running around the all over the place flashing people and being exceptionally obnoxious.  And if you know me . . . I can be fairly annoying with very little effort.   So, everyone got to see my ta-tas and annoyed all at the same time. 

The only thing that gives me any comfort is that everyone else at that party was also pretty drunk . . . at least, I think they were.  And, if they weren’t I don’t want to know.

The moral . . . drink responsibly and don’t be stupid.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Know your limits

Know your limits.  Whatever ever you're doing in life, that's pretty solid advice.

When it comes to drinking alcohol, I usually know mine . . . depending on whatever it is that I am imbibing.  For example, I know how many beers I can drink before I've had to many . . . it's the safest thing for me to drink.  Wine . . . I love it and therein lies the problem . . . I can drink a whole bottle by myself before i know what's happened and by then I'm stupid drunk and a big sloppy mess.  Hard liquor . . . I adore martini's, not your floofy girly concoctions that are popping up everywhere, but a classic gin martini with half a drop of dry vermouth and olives; one and I'm pleasantly buzzed, two and I'm drunk, three and I'm a big mess.   That being said, just because I know my limitations doesn't mean that I observe them . . . stuff happens.

How much you can drink before it affects you depends on a lot of factors.  How much you should drink is something else entirely.  It depends on where you are and what you’re doing, whether you’re staying or going, empty stomach or not, you physical make up, etc.

Keep in mind that 1.5 ounces of liquor has roughly the same amount of alcohol as 12 ounces of beer. Shots may be small but they still contain a lot of alcohol.  It doesn't take much booze to make you legally drunk, and alcohol stays in your system for hours before it is all gone . . . figure two drinks in an hour for someone who weighs 150 pounds.  That being said, it usually takes more then 2 drinks to get drunk. It will most likely take 7 or 8 beers to get you drunk if your 150lbs.

Personally, I don’t care if you get drunk, act stupid and embarrass yourself in front of a roomful of people . . . so long as you’re staying put.   I do care if you get drunk and do something that will affect me or someone else . . . like driving. 

So, again, know you’re limitations.  Be safe and don’t be stupid.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth

I have a friend, for the purposes of this blog I’ll call Parker, who partied hard, drank copiously and had a tendency towards raucousness.  One of the things Parker and his pals did in their off-time was to go four-wheeling in their monster trucks with their big knobby tires through the muddy trails.   Afterwards, they would often build raging bonfires and hang out with their hot girly friends deep in the wilderness . . . you guessed it . . . drinking and partying and getting rowdy. 

One time, in the midst of the merrymaking, Parker was sitting on the tailgate of a truck swilling beer . . . no doubt with a min-skirt clad, big-haired babe hanging on his arm . . . when all of a sudden the tailgate broke off . . . a practical joke from one of his good buddies perhaps?  It wouldn’t surprise me.  Anyhoo, Parker bashed his head on the way to the ground and wound up with a huge gash on the back of his head.

Head wounds bleed profusely, as this one no doubt did, and there was blood pouring down Parker’s face and all over the place. Instead of taking their good friend to the nearest hospital or walk-in medical center for treatment the good ol’ boys decided to treat the wound themselves.   The first step in their treatment plan was to dump beer on his head.   Well, they had to disinfect the wound, didn’t they?  Beer is alcohol . . . alcohol kills germs . . . thus disinfecting.  Duh!  Then they dressed the wound with a hot babe’s panties . . . okay, I made that last part up but it wouldn’t have surprised me in the slightest.

The best course of action probably would have been to visit a doctor . . . even if it was after the partying was done, the beer consumed and the chicks ravaged . . . but, of course, that didn’t happen.  To this day, Parker has a pretty thick scar on the back of his head as a reminder of his foolishness.  But he lived . . . no sepsis or brain loss . . . as far as we can tell, although the latter is in question.  Parker is a pretty smart dude but not always the brightest beer in the six pack.

The moral of this story . . . don’t be a dumb ass.  

It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.

George Burns

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.

No matter how well mom and dad attempt to hide the liquor stash the kids always find it.  It just so happens that my mom didn't try hard at all to hide it . . . it was in a skinny cabinet in the corner of the kitchen by the fridge.  That being said we also knew that going into that cabinet was off-limits and punishment could potentially be the loss of a limb or possibly even death.  Who knows if the threat was valid . . . but who would risk it?  My mom was a scary woman when she got pissed off.  I, for one, wasn't going to mess with her.

My big sister was either braver  . . . or stupider . . . than me.  Maybe a little bit of both.  

Anyhoo . . . the point is the booze was there and easily accessible for anyone eager to face the wrath of mom.

I recollect that at least on one occasion my sister and one of her friends . . . for the purposes of this blog I'll call him Tim (psst that's actually his name) . . . were feeling dangerous or just thirsty.  I remember them sitting in front of the cabinet taking nips here and there out of bottles.  The clear ones because those could be topped off with water with mom being none the wiser.  The chances were pretty darn good that she'd never notice because she didn't drink.  Unless little sister told.  But that wasn't happening . . . talk about threat of death?  My sister was just as scary as mom.  Eviiiiiiiiil.

The fact is, my mom never found out.  When we moved from that house those bottles got tossed in the trash . . . sis' secret's safe with me . . . 

. . . or it was.  I'm pretty sure mom doesn't read my blog so . . .  here's to you, sis!

Pork Roast with Hard Cider Gravy

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Plus 1 Tablespoon Cold
2 1/2 Pound Pork Loin Roast, Trimmed And Tied
Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 Onion, Peeled and Sliced
2 Granny Smith Apples, Cored and Sliced
1 Bottle, (12 Ounces) Hard Cider, Plus More as Necessary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper, to taste, and sear on all sides in the hot pan until golden brown; set aside.

Add the onions and apples and season again with salt and pepper. Cook until they begin to caramelize, then pour in the hard cider and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and nestle the browned pork roast back into the pan. Cover with a lid and put in the oven to braise until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the pork roast from the pot and transfer to a carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Transfer the contents of the pot to a food processor or blender and puree, and then return the puree to the pan. Or use a hand masher for a chunkier puree.

Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, to taste, then reduce the heat to low and add more cider if gravy is too thick. Add the remaining tablespoon of cold butter, whisking constantly as it melts. Remove from heat when the gravy is smooth and shiny and the butter is completely melted.

Slice pork loin roast and arrange on a serving platter. Serve with sauce and enjoy!

Prohibition is better than no liquor at all - 
 Will Rogers 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Away in the manger . . .

I'm not a particularly religious person and consequently do not attend church.  My sister and her family worship regularly and are very active in their religious community.  Consequently, my little niece is involved in the Christmas pageant.  Last year she was an angel . . . yeah right!  Hehe.  This year she was promoted to Mary.  So, like a good auntie I went to church to watch the pageant with my sister, brother-in-law and Mom.  
There was much joking around about lightening striking and foundations crumbling and whatnot but even though I don't hold the same beliefs as they do I'm not uncomfortable entering the house of God.  

So, on the way to the church my mother . . . blesses her insane heart . . . turns to me in the car and says with all sincerity and seriousness, "don't be nervous.  All you have to do is sit in the pew and follow the service.  Nothing is going to happen."

My reply . . . "Moooooooooooooom".

Really??  Yeah, really. 

We enter the church, sit in a pew and, miraculously, no wrath of good occurred.  A true Christmas miracle.

The pageant was incorporated into the regular service . . . there was lots of singing of Christmas songs, reading of scripture, the pageant, followed by prayers and communion. 

The pageant went well. The story of the birth of Jesus was read by the children of the parish.  The baby Jesus was played by a little baby girl in a sparkly red dress.  My niece needed to practice her role a little better . . . when she was supposed to be sleeping in the stable, "Joseph" was sleeping in the hay while she was propped up on one elbow surveying her adoring audience with a goofy grin on her face.   

However, the highlight of the event was when "Mary" and "Joseph" attempted to put "Jesus" into the manger.   The sequin clad savior wanted no part of it.  Watching them attempt to put the baby in the manger was like watching someone put a cat into a tub of water . . . feet flailing and arms blocking . . . it was quite funny.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for a happy New Year!

Okay . . . the Christmas rush is through.  Now we can all sit back and relax into the piles of empty boxes,  carelessly discarded wrapping paper and ribbons.  So, now what?   365 shopping days until next Christmas  . . . that's what!

Now, don't let me hear another word about Christmas for the next 11 months.  


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas

Every family has their holiday traditions.  When I was growing up we had a strict standard operating procedure that was to be followed for opening Christmas presents.  I know that sounds rigid . . . it wasn’t really that stringent.  There was no mad dash to the tree where it was everyone for themselves, paper and ribbons flying, piles of gifts everywhere.  There most certainly was a specific order to the way we did things.

Of course, us kids were up at o'dark-thirty  . . . that is to say, a ridiculously early hour in the morning.  We would bounce around with excitement trying to wake our mother up without making it seem like we were trying to wake her up.    we had to be careful because if she woke up on the wrong side of the bed that would only delay opening of the gifts.  It was bad enough that she had to have a cup of coffee before the melee began . . . and we had to wait until she finished it to start.  It was pure unadulterated torture. 

When she was good and ready, my sister and I would sit in front of the tree barely containing our enthusiasm while mom sat on the couch.  First we would get to open our stockings.  

Mom always filled them with all sorts of fun little things like miniature Slinkies, Silly Putty, Mad Libs, playing cards and that sort of thing.  And then we had to put everything back in the stockings before we moved on to the main pile of loot.

One of us would play Santa and pass around one gift per person.  We would take turns.  First we would have to guess what was inside, then we could open the present.  We would have to say who it was from and then after it was opened display it so that everyone could see what it was.  Then “Santa” would pass out the next round of gifts and on and on until they were all opened.

As we’ve grown older things have changed we’ve tried to keep the traditions.  But with the addition of spouses and our own children it becomes a really lengthy process; one year it took several hours.  So, we’ve had to modify the way we open our gifts so it doesn’t take all day, but we still try to make sure everyone knows who gave what to whom and gets to see what everyone else got.

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas." -- Peg Bracken 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Firewater Friday - I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it

I don’t need to tell you how excited kids get at Christmas-time.  The decorations, the cookies, the presents . . . it pretty much freakin’ rocks!

Putting up the decorations was a big deal.  As a family we would pick out a live tree.  Together we would put on the lights, the shiny glass balls and a plethora of ornaments.

I love helping my mom bake the Christmas cookies; dozens and dozens of them baking in the oven and cooling on every available surface.

When I was little I wasn’t any different than your average spastic child seeing all those brightly wrapped gifts having to know . . . nay . . . needing to know what was contained under all that pretty paper and those perfect bows.

After my belief and Santa Claus had waned my mother dispensed with the pretense of the jolly old elf delivering presents to all the good little children on Christmas Eve and started placing the gifts under the tree in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas as she wrapped them.  They were so pretty . . . sooooo tempting.

So, when no one was around I would sneak up to the presents and ever so carefully peel back the tape and peek under the wrapping.  And thusly I would know everything I got for Christmas before the big day. 

That in itself, however, caused a conundrum.  I knew all the goodies I was going to get and I couldn’t play with them. 

I had already taken a huge risk.  If my mother ever found out that I had peeked at the presents then there would surely be no presents.  
There was absolutely no way I could get away with fully unwrapping and rewrapping the gifts without her knowing . . . so I had to wait.  Tickety Tockety . . .

Finally, Christmas morning would come and we’d go through the ritual of passing out the gifts, the guessing, the opening, etc.

The guessing . . . therein lay the problem.  Being a stupid little kid I just couldn’t guess wrong and I didn’t.  I’d blurt out what was under the tampered with covering.

My mom finally got to what was going on.  In the years that followed she started hiding the presents.  I knew that if I peeked again and guessed right again I’d be in big trouble . . . probably to the pain of no presents maybe ever again.  My mom didn’t screw around. 

When Christmas came around again so did the tradition of passing out the gifts, the guessing, the opening, etc.
When it was my turn I actually guessed what was in the package without having sneaked.  Go figure . . . that’s karma for ya!  I even remember what it was . . . a jewelry box.

I swore up and down and all around that I hadn’t looked . . . and I really and truly hadn’t.  I must have been so adamant and distraught that somehow she believed me and Christmas came every year thereafter and there were presents every year thereafter, as well.

Truly a Christmas miracle.

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.