Thursday, June 30, 2011

A day in the garden

Don't tell people where your goat is tied up --- then they can never get your goat

I like to keep hubby's life interesting.  After all, I don't want him thinking he's missing out on anything.  One thing I like to do to keep the pot stirred up is to goad him and try to get his goat.  Aw . . . don't feel bad for him.  He likes the attention.  Really he does!

Everyone knows what a goat is . . . if you torment it enough it's going to get pissed off and retaliate. 

To "get one's goat" is to stimulate one into a state of great irritation . . . stimulation is good, right?  Who doesn't like to be stimulated? 

There are several different references as to the origination of this phrase . . . typical.

Two similar unsubstantiated possibilities are the first is from American horse racing. Trainers would put a goat in a racing horse's stall to calm it; if the goat was removed, the horse would likely become agitated and not run well.  The other a reference to an old English belief that keeping a goat in the barn would have a calming effect on the cows, hence producing more milk; an aggravated cow will produce less milk.

In keeping with the milk theme, there is an old French phrase that translates to approximately "to get your goat".  In the olden days goats and their milk were a person's only source of income.

and as far as thievery goats goes . . . if someone steals a shepherd's goat  so it would be understandable if they got somewhat annoyed if someone took it.  Again there's no firm evidence to support this or the other origin.
Per chance it's a mispronunciation of "get your goad". A goad is a pointed rod used to urge on livestock . . . you know, a cattle prod?

Or maybe even . . . it’s a bastardization of "get your gut" wherein gut over time was altered to goat. When something gets your gut, it upsets you and ties your stomach in knots.

I'm going with this one . . . King Saul once proclaimed that he had taken no man's goat . . . that he hadn't angered anyone.  I like it . . . 


Rigatoni Casserole

  •  1 Pounds Mozzarella Cheese
  •  1 Pounds Swiss Cheese
  •  1 lb Beef - Ground
  •  1 lb Sausage (Italian)
  •  1 - 32 Ounce Jar Spaghetti Sauce
  •  1 Pound Noodles - Rigatoni
  •  30 slices Pepperoni
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Pour in rigatoni, and cook about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set pasta aside.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef and sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. With a slotted spoon, remove beef and sausage to a baking dish. 

Stir spaghetti sauce, and cooked pasta into the baking dish. Sprinkle cheese and pepperoni over the top.

Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The great toilet paper debate

As I see it, one of my duties of wife and life-partner is to annoy the bajoopies out of my beloved hubby.  It is a job I take quite seriously, as I’m sure he would freely attest to.  I’ve instigated a silent battle to which he falls prey to and is helpless to ignore.    It is the contentious over versus under conundrum.

It started a few years ago.  We were on vacation and I hit the potty as soon as we got to the motel.   For some reason I got it into my head that putting the toilet paper roll on backwards, so the loose end would come from the back, would be amusing.  That whole trip every time I went to use the bathroom the toilet paper would be turned back around . . . of course I would flip it back.  Neither one of us mentioned it but on and on it went. 

At home, if I happen to be using “his” bathroom and I have to change the roll, I’ll put it on backwards.  Sometimes to be especially evil I’ll even press the loose edge to the back of the toilet paper holder so it doesn’t show and it’s harder to find . . . why?  Because picturing him spinning and groping the roll looking for the loose end makes me chuckle.  It’s the little things in life that amuse me.

So, who’s to say I’m wrong?  Maybe the wrong way is the right way?  Who decided that the paper has to hang down in the front? 

It’s arguable that the toilet paper hanging over is superior because it’s easier to grab the end piece and to count out number of tiles.  This is especially important if you’re following Sheryl Crow’s train of thought on the subject of toilet paper in general.  According to the Green Queen (Sheryl Crow) “a limitation should be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting”.  She thinks we are “industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.”  Uh, yeah . . . that would never work in my bathroom.  Either she’s an extraordinarily neat pooper or I’m an extraordinarily messy one. 

Besides the obvious fact that it looks neater and it’s less tempting for kitty, from a scientific perspective the toilet paper hanging under is a more betterer way.  When force is applied to the roll in the "over" position the roll is pressed downward and towards the wall. This causes friction between the tissue and the wall, which can add enough strain to cause the tissue to tear, leaving the user with less than required . . . unless you’re Sheryl Crow, that is.  With the toilet paper in the "under" position, when pulling on the tissue in this position it is pulled slightly upward and away from the wall, avoiding friction from the wall completely. This method allows the roll to spin freely, and the user is better able to control how much tissue to use and when to tear it.  The scientific proof is indubitable . . . physics is boss!

That being said, the manufacturers of Cottonelle toilet tissue have recently vowed to recall defective toilet paper that rolls 'under'. 

Yeah . . . whatever. 


Thousand Island Dressing

  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup
  • 1 Cup Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 Pinch Ground Black Pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined, and serve.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cheating is often more efficient

I admit it . . . I cheat sometimes. When I’m cooking, that is. For the most part, I try really hard to cook with whole, unprocessed ingredients. But sometimes I run short of time or I’m just plain lazy . . . ya, it happens occasionally. So what do I do when I don’t overly feel like cooking and don’t necessarily feel like getting take-out? I use a cheater recipe. “What’s that?”, you ask . . . it’s a way to end up with a delicious home cooked meal without spending lots of time to get there. I’ll look around the pantry, in the freeze and the fridge to figure out what I’ve got that I can throw together into something quick and yummy.

This is one of those. This dish goes together quick and tastes phenomenal . . . good for any meal, any time and it’s great left over, too! Yum!

Cheesy Meaty Potato Pie

  • 1 20 Oz Packageshredded Hash Browns (Thawed)
  • 1/3 Cup Butter, Melted
  • 1 Tsp Chicken Bouillon
  • 1/2 Lb Bacon
  • 1 Lb. Ground Pork Sausage
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 Cup Cottage Cheese
  • 3 Eggs, Slightly Beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Swiss
  • 1/2 Cup Cubed Cheddar
  • 3 Eggs

In a large bowl, combine hash browns, butter and bouillon.

Press into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 10″ pie plate. Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook sausage. bacon and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and the bacon is crispy; drain.  In the skillet, combine the cooked sausage mixture, cheeses, and eggs.

Pour into hash brown crust.

Bake at 350 for 40 – 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How my garden grows - Natural abilities are like natural plants; they need pruning by study

Generally speaking, when it comes to our vegetable garden I prefer to let Mother Nature take her course.  After all, she’s been growing plants a lot longer than I have.  The exception being that we put up a trellis for our pea plants to climb and put in cages to support our tomato plants.  Of course, I weed and water and fertilize regularly to help ol’ Mom out.

However, when our tomato plants started to blossom while also looking a bit spindly and straggly, we decided to take a more hands-on approach.

Many of the “experts” advice that I’ve read say that if a healthy plant is between 1.5 and 2 feet tall that you should let the plants flower and begin to set fruit.  They say that the first fruit to form is always the largest and earliest. And that your yield will be better if you let them produce.

Our plants fit right into the 1.5 and 2 feet tall category except that they’re not looking all that happy.   
Experts also say that sickly plants should be given the opportunity to get healthy before allowing them to begin the sexual cycle.  This can be done by pinching off the first blossoms to allow all the nutrients to flow into the growth of the plant.  Obviously, we don't want our plant’s energy going into making fruit before energy has been devoted solely to forming strong stems and healthy foliage.  In my opinion, a larger more robust plant can better support the fruits to come.

All of our plants had one tier of flowers . . . one even had a tiny green tomato . . .  so I pinched off the blossoms on each of them.  By doing this, all the nutrients that would have been directed to the production of tomatoes will go back into the plant and help it to grow big and strong. 

Some other worthwhile advice is to prune the lowest leaves off the plant . . . those that are touching the ground or within a few inches of the ground.  This will prevent them from touching the ground and coming in contact with pests and diseases that may infect the plant.

I also gently move growing stems up and out of the cage to maximize sunlight exposure, air circulation and  provide maximum support for the growing plant

Saturday, June 25, 2011

At least I'm going into the job with clean hands

I once worked with a guy who was an obsessive compulsive germaphobe.  For the purposes of this story I'll call him Deric.    He cleaned his desk every day and everything on his desk had to be positioned in just the right way.  Seriously, if you moved his mouse a fraction of an inch or touched his keyboard he’d know.  I don’t know how he knew but he did.  He would have to completely disinfect his desk if even thought someone had touched it.  In stark contrast was my desk . . . papers strewn everywhere, computer parts all over the place . . . maybe it’s because I actually did work, I don’t know.   Either that or I'm a slob.  Or both.   Anyhoo . . . literally, every hour on the hour I would catch a whiff of hand sanitizer wafting over the top of my cubicle.  It smelled nice and all that, but really.  Like mama used to say, I little dirt never hurt.

When I was a kid, I ate dirt and played in the toilet . . . and look at me now, I’m alright!  Okay . . . bad example . . . don’t look at me. 

The point is . . . well there isn’t really a point . . . I just think that Deric’s neat-nick-i-ness was hysterical and I loved to torture him.

I’m such a dirty girl.

So, this one's for Deric.   Peace, man!

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

1/3 cup of aloe Vera gel
2/3 cup rubbing alcohol
8-10 drops of essential oil

Pour the mixed ingredients into the pump bottle . . . now you're ready to battle those germs with your own fragrant hand sanitizer!  :)


Friday, June 24, 2011

Firewater Friday . . . Mommy Dearest!

Do you know what’s really cool?  I’ve met Joan Crawford  . . .  and have my picture taken with  . . . um . . . her.  (S)he’s even my friend on Facebook!  No really!    Yeah, I know Joan Crawford died when I was nothing but a wee snip of a girl in pigtails . . . I’m talking about the other Joan Crawford.  What?  You don’t know who I’m talking about?  Why (s)he’s almost famous!

Alright . . . now I know you want to know what in the heck I’m rambling on about. 

Bingomania . . . yep . . . bingo. 

Heh, now I’ll bet you’re really confused.

To the uninitiated, Joan Crawford is a character of the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus and she hosts Bingomania once a month.  It’s laugh riot.  The turnout for these bingo evens is amazing . . . the doors open at 6:00 PM and there is a line around the corner by 5:30.  It’s so much more than bingo.  There are jokes, contests and so much more.  Each month there is a different theme and bingo-ees are encouraged to dress up for the theme . . . Joan and her cast & crew do and they play it up to the hilt.  Like I said . . . it’s hilarious.

I can’t seem to drag hubby to one but that’s his problem . . . he’s totally missing out!


Homemade Kahlua From Coffee Beans

1/2 Lb. Dark Roast Coffee Beans
4 Cups Distilled Water
3-Quart Saucepan
2 Cups Brown Sugar
Dash Salt
Dash White Pepper
Dash Cinnamon
4 Oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
2 Vanilla Beans
1 Pint Vodka
1 Pint Brandy

Divide the coffee beans into two equal portions. Use the coffee grinder to grind half the beans very fine.

Place a coffee filter in the basket of the coffeemaker and add half of the ground coffee beans. Pour in 2 cups of water and let it drip through the grounds.

Pour this strong coffee into the saucepan. Repeat with a fresh coffee filter, the other half of the ground coffee beans and the remaining 2 cups of water. Add this coffee to the saucepan---this is the base for your homemade Kahlua.

Add the brown sugar, salt, pepper and cinnamon, and the remaining whole coffee beans to the saucepan. Stir gently over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. 

Pour the mixture, with the whole coffee beans, into the two glass quart canning jars, dividing it evenly.

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan or microwave oven. Using a rubber spatula, pour half of the chocolate into each canning jar with the coffee.

Slice each vanilla bean diagonally into three pieces and divide the pieces between the two canning jars. Add the vodka and brandy in equal measure to the jars, pouring slowly until the jars are filled to within 1/8 inch of the top---you may not need the full two pints of liquor.

Seal the jars tightly and set them in a cupboard where it's dark and cool. Shake the homemade Kahlua jars gently each day for a month.  For extra flavor, let the Kahlua age for another month.
Strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into a clean vessel. Use like you would Kahlua or any other coffee liquor.