Monday, January 31, 2011

Inquiring Minds

Let me just get this out of the way.

When you take a bath, how much water do you put in the tub?  I mean if we were to take a ruler and take a measurement (kind of like a rain gauge)  what would it read?

I'm not usually quite this abrupt.

On a more typical day I would say, "Hi and Hello,  My name is Lu."

It is ever so nice to meet you.  How much water do you put in your tub for a bath?"

Usually, you see,  I'm all about the pleasantries.

Keep in mind that I have a goal, my webby friends. 

The bolder and more daring Lu.

I think that it is very clear that I am diving in headfirst.

Now I'm sure you're dying to hear about my weekend.

I had just a delightful time.

I graduated from high school with these beautiful ladies.

We met for lunch and a winery tour and had such a great time.  They are such fun and so lovely to be with, and I'm so very grateful for our friendship!

I'm sorry about the green.  I didn't realize I looked exactly like a VERY LARGE TUFT OF EASTER BASKET GRASS until seeing the pictures.

I suppose my "Baptist" attempt to blend in with all the other more wine-savvy denominations probably failed.

My quite obvious lack of expertise with the "trilling" (or was it "twiddling") and "clucking", combined with the poor fashion color choice, probably shouted

"Do you have something in a Cran-Grape?"  "Oceanspray, 2009?"

Rest assured I'm going to practice.  The trilling and clucking thing though, is not the same with TAB.  I believe it may be a combination of the carbonation and a little aspiration.

But really, I was just fine after the paramedics left.

The Weege seems to be a little better.

He wanted to give everyone a shout-out for all of the "Get Well Soons" and othersuchstuff.  He faithfully takes his medication (wrapped ever-so-carefully in Velveeta) and is trying not to do too much in the way of squirrel herding.

We might have some Weegie running issues soon though, as The Chief and I installed landscape lighting in the backyard this weekend.  I was concerned, I suppose, that the Skunk was having a difficult time finding his way over to the birdseed, so I wanted to light his way.  I try to always be helpful.

I mean, it simply cannot hurt to be in the Skunk's good graces, you know.


Themes are good - they help me focus.  And besides, I have 2 very large, very prolific Rosemary bushes in my "Dead Bed".

So, here's what you need to do if you don't have large, prolific Rosemary of your own.

1) Run over here and take a nice cutting,
2) Buy a little packet of it at the HEB
3) Buy a Rosemary plant at let's say, Home Depot, and use some of that for the recipe then plant it!

I promise.  You're going to want to make the salad dressing  I'll share with you.

And the cake with Rosemary and Orange.  Yum.

Now please excuse me while I go to HEB for more TAB, baking soda, and Dawn dishwashing detergent.
And maybe some Tomato juice.

I like to be prepared.

Oh.  And don't forget my bath question.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Please Tell Me They Still Have The Little Flags

I know y'all are sick of me complaining about it, so I have this one last thing to say.

I may very well at some point today accidentally light that God-forsaken bed afire and burn it to the ground.

It's gotten so bad, made me so miserable that The Chief has suggested that we turn it back like it was.  Bless His Heart, he is willing to endure the "awful" side just so I'll shut up.

For the approximately 17 minutes that I slept last night I dreamed

1) That I was sun bathing on a large wooden deck when a nuclear device of some sort was launched directly overhead killing MILLIONS of ducks (I think) which fell like a nasty poultry rain all over and around me.
Why didn't I just GET UP AND MOVE?  Well, because logically it was one of those awful frozen-in-place kind of dreams, OF COURSE.

2) That I was attempting to traverse a rather large yard literally SWARMING with big red ants and every time my foot would actually touch the ground thousands of the things covered my feet and legs.

3) That someone (a man with a small flashlight) broke into the house and entered the bedroom.  This is the one that finally woke me with a scream.  The Chief did open one eye and ask if I was OK.  Then he got up and went to the bathroom.

All in All, I'm on the verge of collapse.


Until I solve the whole bed issue, I vow that I won't mention it again.

Pinkie Swear.

No, today I want to say how EVER SO GRATEFUL I am for all of you who gave me some great ideas for things we could talk about here in the blog.

I was out of ideas, y'all.  Dried up, so to speak.

You have so adequately provided me with blogging fodder that I want to CLAP MY HANDS, SING A HYMN OF PRAISE, and RUN DIRECTLY UP TO MY LOCAL PANCHO'S MEXICAN BUFFET AND DIRECT ALL THE DINERS TO SIMULTANEOUSLY RAISE THEIR FLAGS in a celebratory salute.

The Chief did suggest that I might want to rethink that last part, well, because of the "harassment laws" and such, but he's all about letting me fight my own battles, and I DO LIKE THAT ABOUT THE MAN.

Some of your ideas were just absolute jewels, and I have made a list. Y'ALL A LIST! of all of them so I will think to touch on each and every idea sometime in the near future.

I do have to say though, that some of them (those which made me absolutely HEADY WITH DELIGHT)
were SO "not up my alley", so "not my thang",  that the fact that you would entrust me to speak upon such topics brought me unparalleled  JOY.

I think I may have even gotten the slightest bit lightheaded.

1) Kendra suggested I might want to discuss any of the Best Picture Nominees.

I hate to disappoint, really I do, but I am not a moviegoer AT ALL.  The Chief and I put our collective heads together and decided that the last movie we saw in a theater was UP! and the last one we watched at home was Toy Story 3.  You might notice a theme.  I get distracted very easily and have a hard time making it through a film over about 90 minutes.  I still bear the scars from the EPICALLY LONG
Lord of the Rings movie that almost caused me to gouge my own eyes out after HOUR #3.

So I will wisely leave the movie reviews to Ebert and Siskel or Roeper, or whoever it may be.

2)  Gayla, Bless her Sweet Heart, thought I might like to discuss how to choose paint colors.  For me, that's unfortunately kind of like ASTROPHYSICS with a side of  FOOTBALL STRATEGY.

I can't do it.

However, in an ironic twist, the paint color I did select for our Master Bedroom (a lovely Saddle Brown) has been quite the SCORE! as it makes the room quiet, slightly dark, and conducive to sleep (of course if NOT for the LARGE DEVICE OF TORTURE CURRENTLY SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM).

But I pinkie swore, didn't I?

and finally

3.  Cindy suggested I do a tour of homes (including the farm house) with commentary.  I am currently working on the script for the tour of the farmhouse.  Here's what I have so far.

"Upon entering the door of the quaint and secluded  farmhouse you are greeted by 12 scorpions.  Let's find something to squash those with before we continue... Oh no, not that boot. I believe it's still covered in cow poop..."

Riveting?  No?

All in all you more than pulled through in the TOPICS department!

While I was hanging onto the edge of the bed last night I came up with all sorts of things we can do with your ideas.

So prepare yourself.

It will be so VERY, VERY much fun that we most likely will not be able to stand ourselves.

Sweet Dreams to you all.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

What to say, What to say

I would like to pre-apologize for the complete lack of substance in this post.

I'm having a bad day.

Nothing awful has happened.  Nothing really disturbing (well, aside from the fact that I noticed that my whisk had a piece missing off of it and pretty much the only place it could have ended up was in the batter for the cake I  shared with some friends a few days ago- you know who you are friends - that really sharp metal thing was probably not a pecan half...just sayin' )  nothing sad or frightening, just a day that's not well, very good.

Do you ever have those days?

I think it's clear, I need some love here.

I racked my brain all morning for something riveting, delightful, or even vaguely interesting, and I got nada.

I thought a little about discussing some plans for a potential book club here on the blog, but to be honest, I have formulated no such plan.

Would you be interested?  Would you participate?  Would you even trust me to choose a book?

I thought for a minute I would compose an ode to the beautiful weather, but I searched myself and I am without the ability.

I was going to try a new recipe and photograph it, but just couldn't get interested.

I'm so sorry if I'm depressing you, because I'm doing a pretty darn good job on myself.

Please remember, I already politely pre-apologized...

So, I guess I'm asking for some ideas.

Some topics. 

Some profundities you want me to ponder. 

Some recipes you want me to share?


I'm at your mercy.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This Post is Brought to you by the Letter "W"

Hi There and Hello.

It's Wednesday, folks, and I suppose that about the only thing significant there is that it is not Saturday or Monday, or Thursday or any of the other days that are not in fact Wednesday.  I've always been kind of fond of Wednesday, to tell you the truth.  I think of it as "even" or "balanced" like my favorite number, the 8. 
You know, the same on the top and bottom. 

Because, you realize of course that I so very much like to think of myself as even-keeled and balanced and honestly, I'm afraid nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Chief would perhaps use as an illustration of this point the following:  Monday evening when he came home I had carefully positioned one of his large building levels on the (previously aforementioned unlevel) bed in an attempt to prove that " I really am going to fall off of this horribly uneven thing" and "it's really not all in my head, Chief, really."

And while I could see a flicker of concern in his eyes, he felt led to school me on the fact that I had really chosen the wrong level for this particular instance, and I would be much more convincing if I had set up the laser level and shot little lines all over the room, and then called in the guys from NASA to consult, and maybe written up some kind of proposal, and included perhaps a flow chart and definitely some spreadsheets.

The Chief loves a good spreadsheet.

Anyhoo. Me? Balanced?  Probably, ummmm... NO.

But my favorite number will remain The 8, and I will continue my good relationship with Wednesday,

Thank You.

Let's move on to Weegie.  Bless his little Gimp-Legged heart.

He has a torn ACL, y'all.  

An injury wrought from either his obsessive football play, or perhaps too much snowboarding.  
I mean, It is just so very hard to tell

The Vet gave us (well, him) some Anti-inflammatory medication along with some pain pills.  And we will try that for ten days or so before determining if he needs to have surgery.

If, in fact, he does need surgery, I may have to slack up considerably on the blogging as I will immediately have to begin robbing banks or other types of financial institutions that, you know, have LARGE QUANTITIES of money on hand.

And just a heads up - I will be taking applications and conducting interviews for my Get-Away Driver soon.

I really can't be expected to do everything myself, now can I?

And finally, The Whoopie Pie.

It's a long story.  But I'll be brief.

It starts with me thinking that I really needed a new blouse or two.

And, I told myself, I have been very disciplined with my spending for the last month or so.

SO if I HAPPENED to drive up to Market Street, and there HAPPENED to be a convenient parking spot near one of my favorite little stores it would be a sign.  A sign, of course, straight from God that the little shopping trip was actually ordained by The Almighty, and who am I to ignore an ordained shopping excursion?


Anyway, I found what I thought was the most lovely blouse.  A perfect color, perfect fit, perfect everything, except I noticed that I thought the price tag said $117.00, and since I was wearing my new spiffy glasses which actually allow me to, you know, SEE, I was pretty darn sure that I was clear on the price.

So I simultaneously laughed and cried and carefully placed that lovely teal blue blouse with the awesome embroidery around the neck back on the rack and went down to Sur la Table and bought myself a Whoopie Pie baking pan on sale for $9.95.

I am nothing if not totally practical.

I then came home and made Whoopie Pies.

And I learned a few Whoopie Pie lessons, y'all.

1.  No one, I repeat, no one needs a Whoopie Pie baking pan.  Even if you feel justified buying it at a sale price, because you would never, never in The Chief's wildest dreams spend $117.00 on a blouse you really didn't need even though it was PERFECT.  

If you want to make Whoopie Pies, you can just use a regular baking sheet.  Please trust me on this.

2.  If you are nonetheless convinced that you  do need a Whoopie Pie pan, then buy yourself two.  You'll thank me in the long run.

3. The Whoopie Pies you make will probably be lumpy and ugly, not at all like the ones on the pan. 

And finally

#4.  Even though God is always watching out for me and you during these "annointed shopping trips",  he does expect a little common sense on our part.  I noticed He had gone to the trouble to include a little "disclaimer" on the pan...

So again I say, Please Don't Be Me.

Have nothing other than a lovely day.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Have Seen the Light

Well, I just had the very best time yesterday.

Nevermind that it was rainy and cold and just generally yucky.

No, neveryoumind any of that.

After years and years of trying to deal with my waning vision issues by just wearing "readers" from Walmart (or sometimes from the generous 4-packs at Sam's)  I picked up my special MADE JUST FOR ME spectacles yesterday.

And you will never guess what!


And I tell you it is nothing short of a DELIGHT.

The vegetables at the HEB were amazing.  Some of the BIGGEST tomatoes I have ever been privileged to witness.  And the seafood section, well, it just blew me away.  Shrimp.  They have eyes! and long whiskers!

And you know when you are seeing such beauty for the first time, you want to touch it of course, which garnered a few questionable looks from people when I was in the Pork and Poultry section, but rest assured that them hurriedly shuffling their children away from me did not bother me in the least.


I believe what I most enjoyed were the EDGES.  Did y'all know that all things (well, mostly all, I suppose) have EDGES?  I'm talking CLEARLY DEFINED places where things begin and end.  It is nothing short of a wonder of  God's design.

It was all I could do not to just continually CLAP MY HANDS WITH JOY.

Hallelujah and Amen.

And The Chief!  Have you seen him?  He's so TALL!
And he has the most attractive gray hairs in his goatee!  Yes ma'am and sir he does!

And The Weege?  Well, I tell you right now the little Weegster's legs are only about 3 or 4 inches long!

And did you know that salt is actually NOT invisible?  You can SEE IT, I tell you.  And pepper too.  And they just sit there on top of your food until you tell them to just jump right in with the rest!

Overall I had almost TOO MUCH FUN with all the SEEING!

The only downside was when I looked into the bathroom mirror.

But on the other hand,  I was THRILLED! to discover that I could SEE! to look up the phone numbers for the WAXING SALON! and the GIRL THAT DOES MY HIGHLIGHTS!

Because I need to CALL! THEM! IMMEDIATELY!

(And I know that in my excitement I have overused the CAPS! and the EXCLAMATIONS!, but it is from my heart I tell you)

Anyway, this is kind of what I look like now - in case you see me out in this GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

Honestly though, I'll probably just kind of hunker down for a while until after those aforementioned appointments.
If you know what I mean.

But it will be such a THRILL!  to SEE! some of you SOON!

I highly recommend the vision enhancement.

Thank you Dr. Matthew McCauley.

Now everyone please go enjoy your day.


Monday, January 24, 2011

You May Need to Breathe Into A Paper Bag After Reading This

I'm not much of a goal-setter y'all.

I know I should be, and OH MY WORD The Chief would simply be delivered straight into Euphoria if I was.

The problem is,  I feel like setting goals might involve making to-do lists, and to those I am vehemently opposed.
I have no problem whatsoever with a nice shopping list or even a list of things that I might want to communicate right here on this very blog, but The To-Do List?

Makes me break out in hives.

And being bloated, red, and itchy is a look that I try to avoid.

I'm sure you understand.

So although I'm not one to make your typical New Year's Resolutions (I prefer just to pull out a copy of those I made in 1972 which started with #1.  Learn to look cool while chewing gum with braces) I do on occasion find myself kind of, in a round-about way making a decision that might in a convoluted and confusing manner be considered some type of well, life-plan step.

Which I suppose could be translated in the loosest sense of the term to be akin to a goal.

But I exhaust you.  Let me just Get Down To It.


I may or may not have kind of decided that I need to be more, well, risky.

Dangerous.  Daredevilish.

Let's say Bolder.

And since I woke up this morning feeling particularly Sassy, I figure today is just as good a time as any to add some real depth, some real Hard Core topics to our little forum we call Mudpuddle.

I mean a puddle of mud, it is  messy, No?


So today I'm introducing a topic of discussion that some of y'all might be very uncomfortable with - so just prepare yourself.

Personal Hygiene and Laundry.

There.  I said it.

I feel Surprisingly Wicked.

I understand if you can't take anymore and if you must at this VERY JUNCTURE forget you ever knew me.

I have SO VERY MUCH enjoyed being friends.  :)

A year or so ago I was watching Oprah. While I am typically not an Oprah watcher,  the show came on and I was hooked immediately at the mention of 

An Upcoming Discussion about "What is Normal When it Comes to Personal Hygiene-Type Things".

And while I'd never really doubted myself in this area, I always like to see where I fall on the Normalcy Scale.

I think we are all curious.

First Topic:  How Often Do You Change the Sheets on Your Bed

Oprah jumped right in and began this fascinating discussion  stating that she can't stand to sleep on sheets that are more than 2 days old.  She changes her sheets every 2-3 days.

My first thought was, Well, Miss Oprah, Sweetie,  I doubt seriously if YOU EVER PERSONALLY CHANGE YOUR SHEETS, and if I had someone whose sole duty it was to care for all my linen needs, I might just change mine that often too.

No. I'm not at all bitter.  Why do you ask?

But then several people from the audience piped up and agreed with her and, of course, even though I consider it all CRAZY TALK, I immediately felt below normal in this area.

Even gross and disgusting.

Because as you can guess, mine do not typically get changed with such frequent regularity.

But I'd like to throw in here that this is a Bathe/Shower Before Bed Household and I think that gives us 1 or 4 more days to spare...

Topic #2:  How Many Times Do You Use a Disposable Razor?

I should have been mentally prepared when Oprah said, ONCE.
But, alas, it still bothered me.

And all I can think to say about that is" PUH-LEEZ Miss Winfrey."

I've been known to get two weeks or more out of one and I am a Daily Leg Shaver.  But, I suppose, in all honesty that might explain the frequent painful gouges I get around my knees.

Go figure.

Topic Three:  How Many Times Do You Use a Bath Towel?

You won't be surprised to know that Oprah was a hearty proponent of The Single Use Towel.  As were many audience members.  Can we just talk about how much laundry would have to be done if I washed every towel after just one use? 

I also classify Single Use Towels as CRAZY TALK.

Topic Four:  Do you Wear Your Pajamas/Nightgown/Sleep T-Shirt/Unmentionables  Night after Night or Just Once?


We are going to keep this very Proprietous (I surely do not think that is a word) and all.

So, in the interest of modesty let's forget that I even mentioned the aforementioned unmentionables.

What you do or don't wear to sleep in is Nobody's Business, but I think what we're trying to get at here is - let's say you are a Nightgown Wearer, do you wear it just once then pitch it in the dirty clothes, or do you wear it several nights in a row before it hits the washer?

And let me just tell you there was quite the lively discussion on this topic with Miss O ,of course, weighing in with the fact that she might on occasion wear the same thing two nights in a row, but HEAVEN FORBID she certainly washes the garment before the second night, followed by several people in the audience who stood up in front of God and Everybody and said pretty boldly that  THANKYOUVERYMUCH, they wear the same thing for two weeks or more before washing it.

Let's just say I fall somewhere in between Oprah and the Fortnight Washers,
and I remind you all again that I am a Before Bed Bather.

So, because clearly - CLEARLY- I was somewhat disturbed by my feelings of sub-normalcy, and because I  have kept these feelings hidden, yes suppressed let's say for Oh-So-Very-Long, I'm asking I suppose for some support.

I know I've taken a chance with this bold yet delicate topic, and if you believe it is too risky a departure from my typical 'light news', I'll certainly understand because, well, I very rarely have ANY IDEA AT ALL WHAT I AM DOING.

I await your response,

And bid you Good Day.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Don't Miss Out. Celebrate As You See Fit

To be honest I had no intention of writing anything this morning.

I've been on quite the blogging roll lately, and I really thought that y'all could use a break.  I mean I know that you put off  all kind of important life things just to read a new post when you see one pop up.

You skip breakfast, you put your boss on hold, neglect to shower...

I'm sorry.

I know how riveting most of my news is.  I can imagine it's hard to resist.

But, let me tell you, you're going to be glad you DID NOT MISS THIS.

Leave it to me to tease you with the ALL-CAPS.


It also is National Hugging Day, and I think it might be Hat Day too.

But The Squirrels.  Today they must be appreciated.

And I'll have you know that I did not make this up.  It is on the Internet, AND EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET IS COMPLETELY FACTUAL.

So celebrate!  Give them the love they deserve!

Please feel free to share your plans, party theme ideas, etc. with the rest of us.

You know you want to.

P.S.  Weegie plans to wear a hat AND hug a squirrel.  Or, if things go his way, hug a squirrel that is wearing a hat.

Needless to say, he's totally pumped.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

If I Knew What I Was Doing, I'd Be Doing It Right Now

Seriously now, could there be any more profound words?

I heard this Country song a week or so ago, and my only thought was BRILLIANT!

I don't know the name of the artist who sings it, don't know the writer of the lyrics, but mark my words, they are destined for FAME AND FORTUNE.

I know these things.

And FYI, my boys get a kick out of quizzing me on who sings famous songs.  My pat answer?
Three Dog Night.  Thank you.

I don't even have a clue what Three Dog Night sings (sang? sung?).

So, as you've probably been able to piece together over the last year or so - I occasionally miss a detail here and there.

And since I woke up this morning without a clue in the world what I wanted to write about today, I
thought we'd talk about this.

Ever so often I like to torture myself by vowing that I CANNOT buy another beauty/cleansing/moisturizing product until I use up ABSOLUTELY EVERY LAST DROP of the myriad products that I have already purchased.

Please raise you hand if you have done this.

Thank you and You Are Welcome.

Not that I buy really expensive stuff.  Most of the time I get things from the Wal-Marts (heh-heh) or even HEB.  But I cannot stop myself. 

It's a sickness.

This time I've been doing great, though!  I find that if I wash, exfoliate, and moisturize my skin at least 8 times a day and spray something on myself at least hourly,  I can make quite a dent in the volume of excess product.

Please feel free to stop by and help me out.

I'd be obliged.

You all complete me.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

'What Up' from The Weege

Yo, all.

Thanks for all the inquiries about my leg.  It's still not right, and Mom has plans for another trip to the Vet next week.
The real kicker for the last two weeks, though, has been Mom getting it in her head that I need to "lose a few" pounds to help with my whole leg issue and all.

And can I say OH MY WORD I am near starved to death.

Please send help immediately.

I have had not one Cheez-It for 14 days.
No cheese made special by the students at Washington State University.
No chicken, people, NO CHICKEN.

I believe with that single statement alone you can see how dire my circumstances are.


I'll just leave it to each of you individually to examine your heart and HELP ME in whatever way you feel led.

Just remember:  Narrow is the "chicken" road.  And wide is your love for me.

That's not all.

I know. How can I bear anymore, you say?

Mom posted the other day that she had been watching some weird stuff on TV.

Well, I believe she neglected to tell you that Sunday night she watched something called  "Hogs Gone Wild" and another little gem called "Pig Bomb".

And really, who names these things?

But, more disturbingly, she apparently had some kind of idea about a new career for the two of us.  Her and Me, Me and Her, She and I, whatever.

I call it Project Insanity.

You remember the problem that we have with THESE at the farm?

Ha.  I couldn't find the pictures of the Wild Hogs, so I used this one.

I crack myself up.

Anyway pretend that you just saw a picture of the Wild Hogs at the Farm.

Pretend you are highly disturbed about it.

And try to pretend (like I am desperately trying to do ) that Mom HAS NOT come up with the following plan.

1.  Instead of "Hogs Gone Wild", Mom wants to start a pig eradication company called
get this - "Wild Hogs Gone".  The woman.  She is a genius.

2.  Apparently only she and I will be involved in this, because well, The Chief, he likes to avoid THE CRAZY.

3.  We will hire ourselves out all over Texas to eradicate the wild hogs.

4.  We will come to your land (in the MULE, y'all)  That's how she sucked me in.

5.  I will be fitted with a custom-made BREASTPLATE to protect my "vital parts" as I will be the one to initially flush the pigs out and hold them down until Mom gets there.  It's kind of hard to chuckle and type at the same time- try it with a bum leg, people.

And well, I'm thinking if I have to have a breastplate, then it's gonna have a big "W" printed on the front.

Amen, my brothers and sisters?

6.  I will apparently "Yelp" just once to lead Mom to where I have the pig pinned down.

7.  Mom will then arrive on the scene. Oh yea, she'll be wearing jeans with a heavily starched crease tucked into fanciful but rugged work boots, a short-sleeved khaki shirt with our logo, and very large gold hoop earrings.  Anyway, she'll also carry a custom-made "Big Honkin' Knife" in a hot-pink sheath.

8.  Anyway, she will sit upon the pig, tie the pigs legs and gently hoist it into the back of the Mule.

9.  Then, we'll probably just drive a short distance and release the pig onto the neighboring property, 'cause Mom, she's not much on the ERADICATION part, if you know what I mean.

So you can call us at 1-800-TWH-GONE to schedule an appointment, y'all.

And we'll just zip on over there and do our "thang".

I can receive any sympathy related cards or gifts of food at the regular address.

Peace Out.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Me and The Television. We Are Somewhat on the Outs.

The T.V. rarely comes on around here until early evening when I start to prepare dinner.  It's not hard to feel pretty darn good about what I'm cooking if I watch Paula Deen fry some Butter Cakes and serve them topped with a nice Butter Gravy, y'all.

I  mean we might as well be vegan.

But if I don't have Dancing with the Stars (Amen) or Amazing Race (Amen again)  well then I really struggle with the show selection.

Now tonight I do have NCIS which brings me UNTOLD delight.  I will take me some Leroy Jethro Gibbs anytime.  It's his aloofness, I tell you.  His stinkin' aloofness that makes him SO DARN attractive.
And how much do I love Tony DiNozzo?  He makes me absolutely giddy, that's how much. How can you not love a guy so completely full of himself that he KNOWS IT?
And McGee?  The most lovable Geek ever. (Well, maybe along with Big Bang Theory's Sheldon). McGee is cool though.  Very cool.  I've recently been somewhat concerned about his health, what with the very obvious weight loss and all. Have you noticed?  I have invented all manner of physical ailment with which he might be afflicted.

Then The Chief will say something like "Lu, you do realize that McGee is a fictional character, and that an actor is PLAYING THE ROLE of McGee, don't you?"

And then I will reply something like, "Please stop saying that."

And then there's Ziva. I've got to tell you she just makes me plain nervous.  I'm not sure if it's her inablity/refusal to use the occasional contraction when she talks, or her mysterious and somewhat confusing past as a liason officer for The Mossad.  She's a conundrum, that girl. Yes Ma'am she is.

But anyway, If I don't have a new episode of NCIS, and if all the reruns are those I've seen so many times that the The Chief makes me turn off the T.V. when I actually begin to warn the characters of the upcoming danger and how they can avoid it...

Well, then I'm stuck.

Because OH MY WORD I simply cannot abide things like the Bachelor which just upsets me to no end.  I can't stand to watch shows where "supposedly real people" make such consistently stupid decisions, and embarrass themselves on a REGULAR WEEKLY SCHEDULE just to be seen.

Can't do it.

And, of course, there's kind of a lull here in the football games to watch.  I am certainly not opposed to watching a lively gridiron game.  Especially one where I choose the team I will support based on either

1) How much the coach's sideline behavior bothers me


2) Who the quarterback is, and if I feel any connection to him through his wife whom I may or may not have seen on a talk show.

So, in my "season of television drought"  I've become desperate.

Which brings us to Infested.

Now if you're like me, just reading that word and knowing that it is the name of a show, and knowing Lu like you do, your first thought is probably


Well THANKYOUVERYMUCH, you're too late with the warning.  Because last night I watched 2 full hours of all manner of infestation.  I could not stop with the WATCHING.

And please do not kid yourself and think for one minute that I am going to discuss the details of what I saw, because it is too dark, too deep, for words.

And yes, it did have an effect on the quality of my sleep last night EVEN THOUGH I made some substantial improvements yesterday afternoon to the state of our mattress by using a VERY LARGE WOODEN GAVEL to pound it into shape.

Typically I use it on chicken breasts.

Anyway, I suppose one good thing did come from my watching Infested.

I'm feeling much better about my scorpion issues.


They're not so bad.

Please help.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Things. They Are Not Always Greener On The Other Side

Last week I mentioned to The Chief, just casually mind you, that I thought we might want to consider turning the mattress on our bed.  And when I 'just casually mention something' it means that I am ready to start maybe, perhaps, thinking about it being done sometime in the distant future. You know, when I've had a long time to cogitate over it, weigh the various options, and generally just put it off indefinitely.

I mean I need to think about things for a while.  Especially really important things like the turning of a mattress or changing! shampoo! brands!, or any kind of decision that requires math.

But when The Chief gets an idea in his head, Katie Bar the Door, we cannot get it done fast enough.

Please excuse us, Katie.


Saturday morning The Chief announced it was time. Neveryoumind that it was immediately after I finished the bed making and artful pillow arranging.  And let me just tell you, although a decorator I most ASSUREDLY AM NOT, I can throw down some fayn-cee bed pillows with the best of them.

But since it was The Time, I had no option but to just destroy the aforementioned painstakingly arranged pillowage.

Oh.  The struggles.  They are many.

Our mattress of choice is a pillowtop and cannot be flipped to the other side.  So we just have to switch the head-end to the foot-end, you understand.  There may be some technical mattress-turning terminology of which I am ignorant, but I think you get my drift.

Over the last few months, there have been several mornings upon awakening when I actually WANTED to extract my still sleepy body from the bed just to get over The Aching Back.  I've even recently set some personal best times for rising early due to said Aching Back.

So understandably I was almost giddy what with the prospect of a good night's sleep, but also the end of the record-setting early risings.  I was just sure this was the answer.

Giddy, I was.

But y'all.

Now there's a new problem.  I feel it's highly likely that I may roll off of the bed onto the floor.  I mean APPARENTLY I had made for myself a cozy little ( and I use 'little' in a very polite, gentle way)  body indentation in the mattress before we turned it, which is now OBVIOUSLY UPSIDE DOWN AND ON THE CHIEF'S SIDE,  and it's very, very, scary to be unsure whether or not you are going to remain in the bed should you happen to, you know, do something CRAAZZY like, um... FALL ASLEEP.

Hello, my name is Lu and I am guilty of the occasional run-on sentence.  It's lovely to meet you.

And so on that first night not only did I not sleep well, but when I WAS sleeping I had never-ending dreams about the Scorpions.

Did I mention they were non-stop?

Someone, evidently, had heard through the Arachnid Hotline that I REALLY LIKED the creatures, and had gifted me with a large plastic container holding quite a few.  Like, say 62 dozen.  And of course,as is the case in all of The Dreams You Wish You'd Never Had, they mysteriously escaped from the container and proceeded to torment my fragile psyche.

But in an effort to move this whole spell-binding post along, and to preserve what little normalcy I may still possess, I'll refrain from sharing the details of the dreams and just state that they were uncategorically AWFUL. And did I say how NEVER-ENDING they were?

Sometimes I just feel better sharing my issues.

I Sincerely Thank You.

And I feel especially proud that I was able to provide so many of you out there in The Internet a quality, high-level type reading experience such as this.

I hope you'll come back again and again.

I'll try to dial down the boring a notch or 8.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tomato Basil Soup

If you are reading this from anywhere near my 'neck of the woods', you've been a little cold the last few days. 
It's perfect soup weather.

A sweet friend of mine (Hi Gayla!) was looking for a recipe for Tomato-Basil soup, and I decided to help her out by attempting to come up with an acceptable one.  For years I've wanted to try to replicate the version served at Panera, and this was my chance to kill two birds with one stone.

And before I get terribly wordy and go chasing all kind of details that you may not care anything about, let me say that the condensed recipe is at the end of the post.

I started with fresh tomatoes (well, as fresh as one can get in January).  I'm sure the flavor would be much more intense when good tomatoes were in season, but unfortunately I don't crave hot soup a lot in the summer.

 I cut 8 Roma tomatoes in half and put them on a baking sheet with olive oil.  After I took this picture I decided to add the onion and the garlic to the mix and roast it as well.  The oven was pretty hot - 450, and I left the veggies in for about 40 minutes.

Note:  I forgot to put the salt, pepper, and red pepper on the veggies before I roasted them and just threw them in later, but I highly recommend that you do it the way I suggest in the recipe.

Basically, don't be me.

 You may need to pour off some liquid during the roasting process, just make sure to save it all.  The longer you roast the veggies, the more intense the flavor and the more the natural sugars will develop to really give your soup a 'long-cooked' taste.

Put the whole mix (including all the olive oil and juice) into the food processor and blend until almost smooth.  You can do this in a blender as well, but my blender is broken, and so far I have been unsuccessful in convincing The Chief that he needs to buy me a Vitamix.

But he does.

And I would certainly appreciate any help moving that whole thing along.

Thank You.

I like a little texture to my soup and left it a little bit chunky.

Rustic, I like to call it.

Rustic is always a great excuse for not having something perfect.

For example, several days last week my hairstyle was 'rustic'.

It's about art and personal expression.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Here's what I had when I processed the veggies along with the Better than Bouillon.

Dump all of this into a Dutch oven along with the chicken broth.

Next, process the canned tomatoes along with the sugar in the food processor and pour this mixture into the Dutch oven along with everything else.

You'll notice that the canned tomatoes are a much brighter red.  This is because canned veggies (and frozen) are usually picked when they are ripe and purty...

Cook for a bit and then throw in the basil.

You must use fresh basil - not dried.

It won't bother me at all if you hereafter refer to me as the Basil Police.

I kind of like the authority it implies.

Please Note!  When the above photo was taken I had not yet added the cream.  When The Chief got home from work I asked him to taste test it, and he thought it needed a little "somethin-somethin" so I tried adding the cream and we both thought it was the perfect addition.

Just make sure that when you add the cream it is either OFF the heat source, or on very, very low heat as you don't want the cream to separate.

And I'm not whining or anything, but I really think it would have been even better if it had been Vitamix'ed a little while.  But I suppose I shall live with it the way it is.


Tomato-Basil Soup
Luann Dolan

8 Roma tomatoes
½ large, yellow onion
4-6 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
¼ t. red pepper flakes
1 t. Better than Bouillon (chicken)
3-4 c. Chicken broth
2 cans (14.5) oz. fire roasted, diced (or whole) tomatoes
2 t. sugar
¼ c. fresh Basil, finely diced
¼ c. heavy cream

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Spread a baking sheet with 2 T. olive oil.  Halve the tomatoes and cut the onion into large chunks. Place the tomatoes (cut side down) and the onion and garlic (still in the skin) on the baking sheet.  Over the top pour 2 more T. olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Place in preheated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables are brown and crinkly.  (It may be necessary to pour off some liquid while the vegetables are roasting-make sure to save it!)

2.  Put the roasted vegetables and the Better than B into the food processor and process until almost smooth. Don't forget to remove the skin from the garlic cloves.

3.  Transfer into a Dutch oven and add chicken broth.

4.  Process the 2 cans of tomatoes and 2 t. sugar in the food processor until almost smooth.  Add to the mixture in the Dutch oven.

5.  Cook over med-low heat about 10 minutes until in begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook about 15 minutes.

6.  Add the basil and simmer about 10 more minutes.

7.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Add additional salt to taste.

Note:  If you desire a smoother texture, you can process the finished soup again in processor, or for a finer texture, a blender.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yes, It's Possible, I Might Be a Tad Behind the Times

Brrrr, and a Hearty Hello to you all.

It's what we call Darn CHILLY around here, and I have been inspired to pull out the fuzzy socks.  I'll just go ahead and confess right this very second that I have Absolutely No Intention of going on my daily walk today.

Because, the sun?  He is gone.
Me and a cold, sunny day, we do just fine, thank you.  But me and the cold, dreary day, we're not what you'd consider homeboys.

So I plan to stay in, think about soup, practice with my camera, and ignore the myriad of things that I could probably accomplish.  Because, honestly, who wants to ruin the excuse of a dreary, cold day by actually getting anything done?

Note:  If you are a professional photographer, or even a pretty fair photographer, please do not glance upon the following photo.

Thank you.

I took this in my living room yesterday with the new camera, and just particularly like it.  It might be in part because it is only one of two (out of about 75) that is actually in focus.

You might notice that our decorating touches around here are a bit "sparse", and in response I'd just like to say:

"Excuse me, but haven't you heard of minimalism?"

Which would of course, be a a sad attempt to divert you from the fact that well, I'm just such a poor decorator that I simply adopt the minimalistic idea out of desperation and maybe a little rebellion.

I AM without a cause.

But, really.  The whole "decor debacle" deserves it's own post, and today, of course, I want to talk about:

XM Everything Plus The Best of Sirius.

I've just recently been introduced to the whole Sirius /Satellite /XM Radio concept, and let me tell you what I know.

OK, I don't know a lot.

I'm just assuming Sirius/Satellite/XM  all means the same thing, and if, in fact it doesn't, I kindly ask for your help in understanding the difference.

With the following stipulations:

Please don't bother trying to explain it to me if the explanation will involve

1)  mathematical formulas

2) vectors

3) X-rays

4) or anything that I am supposed to understand without actually being able to SEE.

But, I'm a fan of this intergalactic radio listening.

Yes ma'am I AM.

I love the fact that at anytime of the day or night I could chill to 'B.B. King's Blues',

groove to '50's Pop Hits'

or Break it Down  to 'Old Skool Rap'.

I could listen to 'Movie Soundtracks' or 'Gospel', 'Tropical/Latin Pop'

or in a pinch be 'First in Business Worldwide' or

I'm telling you right now pretty much anything (and maybe more) than I could imagine.

Of course, I have yet to figure out how to set any of the stations and constantly have to look in the "Quick Reference Guide to actually FIND 24/7 NFL talk because you can imagine how deprived I've felt without THAT all these many years...

There plainly is just no telling what I might learn.

And I say that in the most apprehensive way.

Of course I won't be learning anything, I've discovered, under an overpass, in the garage, or in the drive-thru at McDonald's.

I leave you with these weighty thoughts.

Please Carry On.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is What You Get

And while, yes, I realize that all of you would prefer to be hearing something profound from The Weege right about now, I'm going to try to do my absolute best to fill his shoes today.

In light of his injury, I'll be the pinch hitter.  Which could get sticky because JUST FOR THE LIFE OF ME I've never been able to remember the difference between the pinch hitter and the designated hitter, so if truth be told, it's highly possible that I may be the designated hitter without actually being aware of it.

Which is kind of like the fact that I am forever getting the words toothpick and clothespin confused.  I assure you that I am more than aware of the difference between the two, and have never actually tried to use one in the place of the other, but it is the WORDS that I always use in the wrong context, not the item.

(Insert deep breath here)

For instance, I might say "Where are the toothpicks?  I need to hang some laundry on the line..."

or  "Would you like a clothespin to remove that spinach from between your front teeth?"

I tell you it has been a life-long struggle.

Along with the VERY OBVIOUS fact that I tend to overshare /overexplain /overcomplicate things.

Clearly, I have heretofore failed to introduce a specific topic for today's post, and so I will predictably fall back on the age-old standby, The List.

Today's list will be about scents I like.  Smells I love.  Olfactory sensations that either bring back special memories, or that just make me happy.

It is a widely accepted scientific fact that: When you first smell a new scent, you link it to an event, a person, a thing or even a moment. Your brain forges a link between the smell and a memory.

And although my brain (especially the section in charge of  "keeping small wooden household items straight") has it's challenges, I am (I'm not bragging, mind you. Just stating the facts.) quite highly developed in the scents/memory area.

Here goes. (In no particular order)
And without giving away too much that will have you screaming TMI!  TMI!, I'll just list the item and a few remarks.

1.  Clinique Happy

2.  Estee Lauder Pleasures

3.  Nina Ricci l'air du Temps-1976

4.  Herbal Essence (ORIGINAL GREEN) Shampoo

5.  Noxema (ORIGINAL) skin cleanser- in the blue plastic jar, of course.I bought some recently at     Wal-Mart just to sniff.

6.  Rosemary (the herb)

7.  Basil (the herb)

8.  Body on Tap Shampoo (Gone forever)

9.  A real wood fire.

10.  Slatkin's Original Holiday scent candle - you seriously HAVE NOT lived (olfactorily speaking) if you've missed this

11. Vick's Vapo-rub - reminds me of my Mom taking care of me when I was sick as a kid

12.  Mentholatum Ointment (same as above)

13.  Beer Bread baking

14.  Johnson's Baby Shampoo ( my babies after a bath)

15.  Freshly mown hay

16.  Fresh cut cedar fenceposts (my apologies to you that are currently suffering with allergies and "Cedar Fever!")

17. L'Occitane Citrus Verbena Summer fragrance

18.  Aveda Hand Relief

19.  Coffee when I wake up and am still in bed (this never happens around here since we don't drink it), but I remember as a kid how wonderful it was when my Mom made an early morning pot of coffee...

20.  Bacon cooking-anytime

I'll end it there, although I know I'll think of more...

I haven't heard from some of you in a while - let's remedy that tout de suite!

How about you?  Any to add to the list?

Now I shall  go tend to Weegie's chicken needs...

Love Ya!

Weegie on Injured Reserve

It pains me (no pun intended) to pass along the following report.

The Weege is hurting ya'll.

He has a problem with his back leg.  The Vet checked it out a couple of weeks ago and couldn't find anything.  He suggested we just watch it for a while - X-rays will be our next step.

He's asked me to step-in (again, unintended pun) and write a Wednesday post for him (I'll try to get one posted later this P.M.)

In the meantime he plans to rest and maybe partake of some finely diced chicken later this afternoon -

He believes it's good to have recovery goals.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hullabaloo Minus The Caneck Caneck

I mentioned in another post that we had some stuff, some excitement go on around here the other night.

Now I think it goes without saying that I am not the cruel type that would 'tease' you with SUCH intriguing, dare I say, tantalizing, information and not carry through with the story.  So, this morning at about 3 in the A.M. when I was laying wide awake trying to decide with how much force I needed to yank on the covers to at LEAST COVER HALF OF MY BODY, I realized that I had, in fact,  left all of you in the proverbial lurch, so to speak.

You should know, too, that I was never able to go back to sleep, because as I mentioned I started THINKING at 3 in the A.M.  which apparently sets off some kind of complex and mysterious chemical reaction in my brain that you just have to believe is not good.

Anyway, the other night I was doing something of vital importance on my computer (there are blogs to read and FB to check, you know - and they're certainly not going to read/check themselves).  My computer is in the sunroom which is just off the kitchen.  The Chief was sequestered in his study (down the back bedroom hall) really and truly doing things of vital importance (like calculating how much money I spent last month on TAB).

I'm painting a mental picture for you here.  Setting the scene.

When all of a sudden what sounded exactly like a gunshot (The Glock 27, I believe) rang through the kitchen area.

It was loud.  I had all manner of a rapid heartbeat and some kind of palpitations.

THANK GOODNESS The Weege was outside at the time, because gunshots, thunder, cardboard, and white plastic bags are his biggest personal fears.

I was just about to drop to the ground on my belly and crawl on my elbows to safety, when The Chief SAUNTERED around the corner and said (not "OH MY GOSH ARE YOU OK, MY PRECIOUSNESS!?") but instead he said

and I quote

"What did you break now, Lu"?

Well, Thank You.

Apparently I am, in a word, RELENTLESS IN MY DESTRUCTION.

What had actually happened was this.

That's my breakfast room table (the very same table where just an hour before The Chief and I had enjoyed a delightful Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Soup and Shrimp Quesadillas with a Mango Salsa...)  littered with the remains of the glass bottom that fell from one of my very favorite lighting fixtures.

And lest I become somewhat sarcastic and go on about The Chief''s OBVIOUS concern about my welfare, I'll just say that we spent the next few hours cleaning up glass from THE ENTIRE HOUSE, and admiring the additional "distressing" that now graces the top of my table.  Had I known it was this easy I wouldn't have paid extra for the 'antique' look when I ordered the table in the first place.

Clearly my work here is done.

Just remember if you come by my house you'll need to keep your shoes on for the next few weeks.


P.S. I apologize for the unnecessary wordiness of this post.  Evidently this is a result of sleep deprivation.  Because, you know, I'm hardly ever wordy.  Ever.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Farm Doin's: Drought = Fence Repair

Lake Limestone, located on the upper Navasota River in Limestone, Robertson and Leon Counties, is a water supply reservoir built by the Brazos River Authority in 1978. The project was authorized through a permit issued by the State of Texas in 1974.

Construction of the reservoir was made possible through the sale of water to Texas Electric Utilities for "cooling water" to be used by their lignite-burning electric plants in the area.
Water from the lake is supplied for similar use at a NRG steam-electric plant just east of the lake and a Texas Municipal Power Agency power plant located near the Navasota River 50 miles downstream.

When full, the lake covers a surface area of 12,680 acres and holds back 225,440 acre feet or 73.5 billion gallons of water.

I include the above information so you can understand a little bit about my family's farm.  You see the long skinny arm at the north end of the lake?  That goes right across the middle of the farm. And while my family has owned the land for generations, and was understandably opposed to the creation of the lake, (since we now have to travel over 15 miles to reach our land on the other side) we have grown to appreciate its' beauty and enjoy the opportunities it affords.

Problem is, when there is a drought and you're missing millions of gallons of the water that typically make the lake a beautiful place, you sometimes have this...

or this...

That's The Chief and Weegie checking things out when we arrived there Friday afternoon.  Not only does a lack of water make things look sad and dismal, but it also creates all kind of issues for landowners.  Especially for those who run cattle on their land.

Most of the cattle were gathered around the house to welcome us when we arrived.  They always associate The Chief's truck with being fed their favorite cubes.  And while I've said  many times that cows are not the smartest of God's creatures, they can be like Rocket Scientists when it comes to finding their way around a fence.

If you look closely, you can see a fence that ends at the stump that is directly in the center of the photo.  Typically, that stump is well out in the lake, therefore, the cattle can't get around it and onto the neighboring land.  The receding water, though, exposes more and more land until eventually the cattle can just walk around the end of the fence and wander pell-mell , willy-nilly all over the county.

Which, as you can guess, we really like to avoid.

So it was just shortly after I baked and we enjoyed some lovely from scratch Blueberry Muffins on Saturday Morning,

 that The Chief announced that we needed to go extend the fence.

He likes to announce things like that.

And while I really didn't have any other plans for the morning (at least none that didn't include more Blueberry Muffins and The Food Network) I wasn't necessarily prepared to go out in the cold and fix fence.

And when I use the words 'I' and 'fix fence' in the same sentence I feel like I'm being just a tad deceptive. I'm pretty much the pack mule.  The 'Carrier of the Fencing Repair Supplies' or you could also probably call me 'The Chief's fetch girl'.

Let's Git 'er Done.

The tricky part of fence repair is usually not the actual repair,


1.  getting the equipment to the site, and

2.  the devil's barbed wire.

We drove the Mule with all of the supplies as close as we could get, but still had to manuever through this.

And while I really wanted to document with photographs the whole process of getting the stuff through this sticky thicket, The Chief politely suggested that I put the camera away and HELP.

Eventually we got everything where it needed to be. The Chief put on his waders to slog out into the mud to check out what he could 'tie' the extension of the fence onto.

For those of you not acquainted with "quicksand" I suggest you talk to Weegie...

The Weege is usually reluctant to let The Chief get even three or four feet away from him at the farm.  He's  afraid The Chief will hop in The Mule or into the tractor and he'll miss a ride.

But even The Weege had to turn back when his legs disappeared and he bottomed out not far away from where I was stationed with the supplies.

One of The Chief's most useful tools for fencing is the gold apparatus above.  It's a splicer.  You can use it to repair a spot in the fence that is broken, and he also uses a stretcher or "come along" to pull the wire taut.  The barbed wire we used this time was a particularly heavy gauge (which means it's thick and heavy duty) and very difficult to handle.

But no matter what type of wire you use, the water will eventually corrode and rust it,

and it will be in need of repair or replacement AGAIN.

And while The Chief quickly and efficiently got the job done,

I took a few more pictures...

And spent quite a bit of time reassuring Weegie that the gunshots from the duck hunters on the opposite shore were not directed toward him.

He WAS NOT easily convinced.

Hope you enjoyed a little Farm Work!

Did you have an equally fun weekend?


P.S.  I should add that the rains came (finally) Saturday night, and by the time we left to come home the area had received 2 1/2 blessed inches of rain!

Friday, January 7, 2011

That Stuff I Promised

Let me tell you something.

Yesterday morning BUSY knocked on my door, pushed his way in, grabbed a TAB right out of the fridge and decided to hang around awhile.

I've just had a heck of a time trying to get rid of him.

I finally ushered him to the door this afternoon, handed him the to-do-list I done did, and kicked him to the curb.

All that to say I'm sorry that I didn't get the soup recipe up yesterday.

AND PARDON ME BUT SPEAKING OF YESTERDAY, just wait 'til you hear about the hullabaloo that we had around here last night.

I daresay the excitement never ends.

The Hullabaloo must wait, though.

It's time for the soup.


Puh-leez keep in mind the i.s.s.u.e.s. I had with the Spiffy Camera.
The photographs. Some. They are missing.

This soup is good.  You'll think you're at a really great restaurant when you taste it.

It's very possible that this will change your life in the Tortilla Soup Area.

Don't wait.
Make it this weekend.

Here's what you need:

Lu's Restaurant Tortilla Soup

8 plum or Roma tomatoes
5 (or so) T. olive oil
1/2 a large yellow or white onion, diced
4-6 cloves of garlic, diced ( just depends on the size of the cloves and your personal taste for garlic)
1 red (or orange) bell pepper, diced
1 T. Better than Bouillon (chicken flavor)
2 1/2 t. chili powder
2 1/2 t. ground cumin
6 cups chicken broth or stock
1 dried ancho chile
1 (28 oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes
3 c. chopped, shredded chicken breasts, or 1/2 of a deli chicken shredded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice tomatoes in half.  Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil on a baking sheet, place tomatoes cut side down on the sheet, and drizzle another 2 T. oil over the tomatoes.

Roast the tomatoes for 30 to 40 minutes until the skins are wrinkled and the edges are a little brown.
(Above photo is before roasting)

Brown edges are tasty.  Set the tomatoes aside.

2.  Heat the remaining oil in a dutch oven.  Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and Better than B. and saute on medium-low heat about 7 to 10 minutes, just until the veggies are soft.  You don't want to brown the vegetables at all.

3.  Stir in the chili powder and cumin, and cook for about 3 or four minutes.

4.  Add the chicken stock or broth and the ancho chile (whole).

If you're not familiar with our friend the ancho - this here's what it looks like.

Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the chile softens.

5.  Remove the chile from the pot, cut off the stem, cut in half, and remove the seeds.  (Or if you want a little more of a spicy kick, leave the seeds in)

Note:  I decided I was just all the spicy ANYONE needed around here, so I took the seeds out!

Heh Heh.

6.  Put the chile, the canned tomatoes (with juice), and the roasted tomatoes (with all the yummy juice off the baking sheet) into a food processor and puree for about 1 minute.

Note:  I actually prefer to leave a few little chunks of tomato in it, so just puree at will, or with caution.

7.  Put the blended mixture into the dutch oven with the other mixture, and add chicken and S&P to taste.

Let it simmer for a bit longer- and you're done!

I like to garnish with crumbled or shredded Monterey Jack (or Feta!), diced avocado, and fried flour tortilla strips (but Doritos or Tostitos work just fine in a pinch).

I just know you're going to love it.

The Chief does.

Promise you'll let me know if you make the soup and how it turns out.

Send me a picture!  I'll showcase your culinary talent right here for all 3 of us to see!


and GIG 'EM!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Weege Unleashed

Hey All, The Weege here.

I'm not saying anything most of you don't already know, but the truth of the matter is Mom Does Not Enjoy The Controversy.

To say that she would prefer to hide her head in the sand rather than confront someone would in most cases hold true.  And that's just kind of strange, you know, since she seems to have some kind of weird obsession with keeping her hair really clean.  Go figure.

I'm different though.  I'm tough.  A confrontational professional, so to speak.

Just a few days ago Mom and I went for a little walk around the neighborhood.   Although I'm a farm dog at heart and love the open spaces and running free, I am certainly not opposed to a nice little jaunt on the leash since it allows me to monitor the surrounding streets and all the comingsandgoings of the local canine crowd, but also because BY JIGGEDY, THE LEASH THING,  IT'S A LAW.

Well, Mom and I were just having a big time on our walk, and I was especially getting a kick out of WEARING ON  her very last nerve by 'needing' to stop every three or four feet to either smell something or relieve myself, when we happened upon a rather ginormous dog (Newton) and his owner (Newton's Mom).

I ask you, Who names a dog Newton?  I'm surprised he wasn't at home working a crossword puzzle.

Now Newton's Mom had Newton's spiffy green plaid (excuse me but, gag!) leash in her hand, but Newton's leash was not attached to Newton's collar because apparently Newton and his Mom felt that they were somehow ABOVE THE LAW OF RESIDENTIAL DOG-WALKING.

And in his cockiness,  Newton took it upon himself to sashay right on over my way and SNARL like some kind of wild  beast which I understandably found to be right unfriendly.  The only logical thing for me to do was to QUITE LITERALLY TAKE HIM DOWN.

Teach him a Weegie Lesson in Civility, if you will.

Newton needed to learn.

Had not Newton's Mom been pretty quick on her feet and had she taken much longer to snap that leash onto Mr. 'No Leash'  Newton and pull him to safety, I'll just tell you right now that WE DO NOT KNOW what kind of carnage might have ensued.

We shall never know.

What we do know is that Mom, I kid you not, almost passed out RIGHT THERE.

She's not one to regularly enjoy the carnage-viewing.

I hope all of you have learned a critical lesson from this potentially tragic tale.

I know Newton has.

Meanwhile, call me if you need a 'front man'.

Fear the Weege.

Peace Out and Yo on 2011.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tortilla Soup and Girl Stuff

I fully intended to post a step-by-step recipe today for one of the most wonderful Tortilla Soup recipes ever.  Of course I also intended to lose 15 pounds by last Friday, walk four miles yesterday, and organize the receipts that have taken over my purse.  I have the best of intentions, darn it.

I did make the soup last night and took some photos with the Spiffy Camera - but the light was all wrong and I am a BIG GOOBER and the pictures are less than stellar - although I did particularly enjoy this one

which I think perfectly captures the ripe colors of the tomatoes (to be roasted) and the awful gunkiness of my beloved cookie sheet.

Please don't judge me.

I may just post the recipe tonight or in the morning (with Weegie's post) without the pictures and be done with it.  At least you would have the recipe.  It's the perfect thing for a cold, damp, dreary evening.

But now I need to talk about Girl Stuff.

Not anything REALLY GIRLY or anything.  Just things that seem to be much more interesting to those of us female-types.
And I should probably just state for the record again that I DO LOVE THE MEN.

As the only female in a family, you really appreciate the little things that the men can teach you.  Like where else in the world would I have received the quality instruction on the intricacies of holding a video game controller were I not always surrounded by boys?  Nowhere I tell you.  And lest this becomes a post completely devoted to what I've learned from the men, I'll just stop there.

Sometimes I need to talk about girl things.  Things that I've learned apparently don't even make a blip on the radar of our Y-chromosome compadres.

Things like:

1.  Is it not just fascinating what an good haircut can do for one's ATTITUDE?  At the beginning of last week I was feeling particularly out-of-sorts.  It could possibly have been related to my confinement for 5 days in a small farmhouse with a bunch of males, or the stresses of the Christmas season in general, but I think it was mostly about my HAIR.  Before Christmas I had reached that point where I really NEEDED a haircut but it wasn't quite TIME for one and I had reached the point where my bangs were too long and always in my face, and the point where I had this little flippy-uppey thing that just WOULD NOT STOP on the left in the back, and TELL ME PLEASE HAVE YOU EVER REACHED THAT POINT?  I called in desperation at the beginning of last week to make an appointment, and I was trying not to cry when I dialed the number for the salon, and even thought about just SHOWING UP THERE UNANNOUNCED thinking that the state of my hair combined with the obviously 'delicate' state of my mind would garner enough sympathy to get me an emergency 'we'll try to work you in', but anyway you know what happened????

God graced me ya'll.

He graced me with the 'Official Last Available Appointment' of the week, that's what he did.  And to make the miracle even bigger listen to this...My hairstylist was leaving town the day after my appointment for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

I'm just gonna let ya'll soak in the AWESOMENESS of that whole situation.

2.  I need to know.  Do the rest of you give your toes a break from the polish during the winter?  My pedicure was looking really bad two weeks ago, so I just decided it was time to go natural again.  I generally do this in the winter for a couple of months because I just have the sneaking suspicion that I'm somehow suffocating my nails, and I need to have a heart and give them a breather.  Of course this leads directly into...

3.  Let's say it's January 4th and the weather turns unseasonably warm (which here in the Houston area means that instead of our typical winter temps in the high 70's/low 80's), let's say on January 4th you wake up and it is 92.  Do you get out your flip-flops/other open- toed shoes?  Or do you, like me, have some kind of inbred belief that it is WINTER and therefore people should not see your toes? So do you, like me, put on your socks and cowboy boots and just let your feet sweat all day LIKE A BIG DOG?

Once again I need to know.

I feel sure that this post was everything and more than you expected/hoped/dreaded it would be.
And for that I say You Are Welcome.

I'll leave you with this: