Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's Literary Thursday. But I Guess You Knew That.

I don't want to shock anyone, but I have a little secret.  Sometimes when I sit down here to write a blog post (with a TAB and some BIG Cheez-It's, of course) I don't always have what you might call a plan.

I KNOW.  Just breathe deeply and stick your head down between your knees if you need to.

I don't consider myself a writer.  I'm a blogger, plain and simple.  My son Ben is a writer.  A real legitimate literary person.  I asked him one time what he would call my "style" of writing.  

"Well Mom, he said with a polite smile, I believe I'd call it "stream of consciousness". 

Now, I don't think I have to tell most of you that when your 22 year old son (at the time) says anything to you with a polite smile, you're most likely not getting the whole story.  But I didn't question him about it, mainly because I was THRILLED TO DEATH to know that there was a term to describe this little activity of mine.

I thought for a while that I might even start signing my name with SOC after my signature, but figured that people might mistake me for some sort of special osteopathic chiropractor or something and ask me a question about their sciatic nerve or tell me how they needed their shoulder "manipulated", and well we all know how I would have probably responded to such information as I am prone to an easy faint.

So, as much as I would like to think I might one day win a Pulitzer or Emmy or Heisman or something, I am completely aware that I am missing what you might be correct in calling "any kind of proper writing knowledge".  I mean, I made A's in High School English - I did, really.  Probably because I was always nice to the teachers and did what I was told and tried not to disrupt the class too often with excessive talking.  Unless Kendra was in my class.

K, you know it's true.

And in college I breezed right through all the required English classes with a B or maybe once a C.  But that professor was just a scary, mean man.

Chances are, therefore, that I will never write a book, publish a poem, or compose a sonnet.  Can one still compose a sonnet, or are they all already done?  I will Google it.

I'm pleased to tell you though, that I know someone (besides Ben) who is a real-life wonderful, published author.

Bev Nault was a High School classmate of mine, and is now a cherished  friend.

She does know how to turn a phrase, develop a character, plot a story and rustle up some action.  She has all the skills to touch your heart, make you cry, roll your eyes, and double you over with laughter.

You see, she's written this book


And although I don't feature just anything in the same picture with my beloveds,
I feel like it deserves a solo shot...

The book is Fresh Start Summer,  The Seasons of Cherryvale:  Book 1

Which makes me so excited, because I believe that hints at a 2! and maybe a 3!

You'll love the book, the characters, the story, the meaning behind  it all.  If you're like me (I saw you cringe...) you'll see yourself in the characters.  The good and the bad. You'll recognize your friends and your relatives and you'll ponder what community and family really means.

You'll be glad you read it.  I promise.

When you visit her website, you can check out her OTHER BOOK - two in the same year!  She is the co-author of  Lessons from the Mountain, What I Learned from Erin Walton.
The book describes Mary McDonough's memories playing Erin on the award winning television drama, "The Waltons."  And although I haven't read that one yet - I can't wait to crack open my copy!

Please visit Bev at her website (just click on her name in green earlier in this post)  and tell her I said Hey!

Happy Literary Thursday to you!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

And On A Tuesday (!!)

Most evenings around here you'll perhaps find me cleaning the kitchen and The Chief working in his office.  Or maybe if it's a particularly wild night, the both of us will be sprawled on the couch  with The Weege watching a re-run of House Hunters. (We are such avid HH fans that we frequently decide whether or not to watch based on the number of times we've already seen that particular episode - NOW WE DO HAVE OUR STANDARDS - our personal limit is four.)

Basically, you see, we are a highly cultured and socially hip household if ever there was one.

So I was a little taken aback when my nephew called me yesterday, around say noon-ish, to tell me that his girlfriend 
Debbie (click to visit her website) was playing at a little place just down the street from us called Dosey Doe.  She had sung there before and I had asked him to make sure to let us know if she was ever going to be featured there again.

But it was Tuesday.  Do people go places and get out of the house on a TUESDAY?  Frankly, I just wasn't sure.

But Debbie is a sweetheart and I thought, as the opener for another act, she would probably appreciate having someone she knew there in the audience, and The Chief and I , we could clap and wave at her and enjoy her beautiful voice for a few minutes and then leave before the main performer (someone we'd never heard of...) started his thing, and perhaps get away before we were forced to DRIVE IN THE DARK, and maybe even make it home in time to catch the last of the 6 House Hunter shows in a row.

When I looked at it all that way, it didn't seem so particularly daunting or scary.

So we went y'all.  I mean The Chief was OK with the whole plan.  It was really close to home, there was the potential for a pretty good meal (included with the show) and really and truly and honestly?  The Chief?  A whirlwind and buzz of social activity he is.

It did take me a few moments to explain to Weegie that we were leaving the house in the evening for a while.  After all, he kept reminding me, it was a TUESDAY, and that was just weird and all.  And I considered just leaving HGTV on for him in hopes that he would perhaps not miss us too much, but decided in the end, to just make him tough it out.



It was memorable. And at the very same time a delight.

Dosey Doe is a wonderful old barn from Kentucky that was dismantled and moved here to be rebuilt into the neatest live music venue.  The food is great. I had something called Pork Three Ways, the absolute glory of which is revealed even in it's name. And can I tell you?  The pastry on the Apple Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream??  The best.  Ever. Amen.

And Debbie was SO, SO good.  She sat with us before her "set" and then sang her heart out to a very appreciative audience and you know,  personally I think that someday all of you are going to want to know ME because I have raced her in a kayak.
Her voice is soulful and her songs meaningful, and I should also and probably mention that she can rock a cute summer sundress with cowboy boots like nobody's business.

But the surprise of the evening?  The main act that we had never heard of.


Chuck Cannon was incredible.

Absolutely incredible. He's a songwriter with Mega Hits by Toby Keith and John Micheal Montgomery.  Mr George Strait recently recorded one of his songs, Poison, and it should come out soon.  But the most wonderful thing was this.  Because of the small venue (and might I add THE INCREDIBLE ACOUSTICS of the building) and the charm and honesty of Chuck Cannon himself, it will be a night I'll remember always.  And besides, I could almost touch his leg.

Not that I would do that, of course.

The show was a part of the Real Life, Real Music series.  Kyle Hutton acted as host.  He shared a corner of the stage with the artist asking questions about the songs and the events and stories behind their creation and release.  We enjoyed hearing about the creative process that produced the music, and learned why the very obvious threads of spirituality weave themselves through most of his songs.

I really can't describe his voice.  Deep.  Soulful.  Southern.  Intoxicating.

I may have fainted once or twice.

He told us the story about how he wrote Bet Yo Mama- one of his, ahem, more feisty songs, and I like to think he was probably really thinking about me when he wrote it... except that the girl he was really thinking about was young, and tall, and blonde and tan... and Australian.

But anyway, I dream.

And you know what?  We drove home in the dark, missed every single House Hunters episode, and Weegie was quite obviously miffed, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

And on a Tuesday...


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Joy of a Good Bath: Part Deux

I know I've mentioned once or maybe seven times that I love a good bath.  I find it essential to my mental well-being.

I grew up taking baths as opposed to showers.

Why even in college I made an effort as often as possible to load up all my bath essentials and make the long trek down the hall of the dorm to the "private bath" fitted with a bathtub.  Of course, I usually had to spend the first 15 minutes cleaning the tub, because, well, it was always a mystery as to what had taken place in there before I arrived.  I lived in a suite-type dorm (a big shout-out to my Krueger and Mosher pals!!!) where two rooms were joined by a shared bathroom.  The bathroom was decked out with a toilet, 2 sinks and a shower.  The shower was fine in a pinch, but if you've ever shared a shower with 3 other girls (not at the same time, of course) you know how many bottles of hair and skin product (both full and completely empty) find their way and remain in the shower stall. Sometimes you were lucky to find a place to stand.

Anyhoo.  A bath.  It is good.

Even The Weege loves a bath.  As he speaks and understands English about as well as I do, he is all over it when I tell him it's time to take a bath.  He trots his short little self into the hall guest bath, waits until I open the walk-in shower door, scoots himself in, and waits for me to turn the water on.  The problem is, his fur is so thick and dense that it takes me forever and a day of rinsing to get the shampoo out.  At some point, usually about halfway through, he finds himself completely unable to stand anymore, and promptly lays or sits down, never to arise for the duration.

As a result, I'm sorry to report, most of the time his buttocks are never completely soap-free.

So.  As an active and passionate advocate of "the bath" I have been compelled lately to find a lovely and utilitarian bath vessel for the residents of my backyard.  You know, a birdbath.

Birds, squirrels and other Woodland Creatures need to maintain proper hygiene.  Am I wrong?  Therefore and furthermore on Sunday afternoon I asked The Chief if he would like to accompany me to  where I had seen some birdbaths that particularly floated my boat so to speak.

Well, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of  127 degrees outside while we were there, and luckily for me (oh, and I mean this in the nicest way) The Chief was close to having a heat stroke so when I finally decided on one of the" not least expensive" ones, he was more than willing to just throw it in the back of the truck, not argue about it, and make a beeline to Sonic for a drink.

This is it.

Martha Stewart would call it faux bois.  The Chief calls it "plain old concrete cast to look like wood with a jacked-up price".

I just love the engineering mind.  Black and white.  No in between room for novelty, allure, or whimsy.

The Chief.  He does not do whimsy.

I love the detail and the "rustic" feel.  It was fun to watch a few raindrops fall in it yesterday.

I'm sure the creatures will be all abuzz about this addition to the backyard.
If the bathing line gets too long, I will establish some sort of number/ticket system for the creatures. 

And I suppose it's possible that one morning I will wake up at the crack of "way too early" look out the window and see Mephitis mephitis with a back brush and a rubber duckie enjoying a bubble bath...

But that's OK.  The joy of the bath is for all...


Monday, July 25, 2011

Well, He Is Obviously Just Wrong In This

I am so over this heat.  Really.  Over it.

Oh, I suppose it won't be official until I complain about it non-stop in this post, but when I wrap this up?  Totally over it.  At least until Wednesday or so.

My frustration is probably related to the fact that The Chief likes to keep the house at tropical temperatures during the night.  Tropical.  I may as well slap on a bikini and slather myself with some type of coconut-smelling oil at about 10 pm, because, OH the heat.

I won't bore you with all the juicy details of the long-standing feud we have involving the thermostat - suffice it to say that The Chief does not "feel heat" in the same way I "feel heat".

Or in other words, I insist on having 1) an oscillating fan, and 2) the ceiling fan going in the bedroom both for the soothing noise and the constant airflow and he insists on setting the thermostat so high that for the first 30 minutes after I get in bed I lay perfectly still with absolutely no cover at all and pray that I will not perish from the sweating.


The Chief insists that if you get "cold" enough to cover yourself with anything other than the sheet then it is "too" cold.  He calls the bedroom the "wind vortex" after I get all the fans on, and occasionally threatens to get up and put a wool cap on.  And has, once or twice, done just that.

I lay in bed, close to delirium, and am reminded of all the summer nights I spent as a kid sleeping on the front porch of the old farmhouse in the sweltering heat and watching the fireflies (we called them lightnin' bugs) actually land and crawl around on my legs and sometimes my stomach and chest, which was delightful fun when I was 9 but now?

Not so much.

Remember, The Chief is an engineer.

He looks at temperature this way: "Lu, temperature is absolute.  If the thermostat says it is 75, then it is 75.  Do you remember when we were in Colorado and it was 75 during the day and you were absolutely euphoric and said that it was the best weather EVER and you wanted it to stay like that forever?  Well, it's 75.  You are living your dream."

I guess it doesn't help that the absolute joy of my day is the bath I take each and every night before I get in bed.  The hot, steamy bath.  Which I'm sure raises my body temperature to a toasty 104 for about an hour or so...
Or, the fact that I was SO HOT after I went walking last evening that I made frozen  (sugar-free) lemonade and had like four glasses of it in an attempt to lower my body temperature right before my bath.
Then I had to get up 16 times during the night to go to the bathroom.

OH, and just so you know, this argument has nothing whatsoever to do with the energy bill.  When our house was built we had it "wrapped" in some kind of high tech energy-saving shield, and our bills are so incredibly low that I won't even tell you what they are because I'm afraid you all might be tempted to go out in the heat and try to wrap your own houses in aluminum foil or something, and I feel sure it just wouldn't be the same. And you might have a heat stroke in the process.

So no, the whole argument is more of a "principle" thing.  And yes, to be perfectly honest, it's a little bit fun.

And don't tell The Chief I said this, but I bet if I tried hard enough I could talk him into putting it on 60 if that's what I wanted...

But like I said, please don't mention that to him.  It's a little, what we'll term, insider information.

So, I'm off now to turn all the fans on!!really high and the thermostat down!! really low while the big man is at work.

But you must be sworn to secrecy.

I'm absolutely sure he has no idea I do this...



Friday, July 22, 2011

I Am Evidently Missing That Gene

Ohhh! It just makes me laugh.  Even the thought. 

I am a dismal decorator.  Dismal.  I know what I like, but my ability to envision that in a vacant space?


So I was SO THRILLED when several people asked me about the light fixture above my breakfast table that showed up in a picture from yesterday's post.

I picked it out.  I did.  After looking for almost 2 yrs.!!  I am nothing if not a quick decision-maker.

Here's a close-up.

It was just the right mix of contemporary/funky.  And in case you decide to Google the contemporary/funky genre of decor?  Don't.  I made it up.

I also searched forever and a day for this one in the dining room

I especially liked the way it was suspended from the ceiling

Here's it's counterpart in the entryway

I think they still have a bit of a rustic/outdoorsy feel.  So make my decor officially contemporary/funky/rustic/outdoorsy...

Or let's just go with the old stand-by, mish-mash.

Oh, and while we're at it, I thought you might like my favorite fan

And a little more of the detail

And no, I wasn't smart enough to turn it off for this picture.  Why do you ask?

It's pretty large - but the room is fairly wide open.

All of the fixtures shown came from Carol's Lighting.  Tell them I sent you.

Of course they will have absolutely no idea who you're talking about.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm Groovin' On These

First, I love this Bromeliad given to me by my friend and neighbor JoBeth just after my Daddy passed away.  I love the colors and the almost NO care it needs...

Someone sent me a similar one (although more pinky) when Ben was born and the beautiful bloom stayed on it for months and months.

Thanks JoBeth!!

I also love my dear group of High School girlfriends!  We're currently working on a little project together, and I feel sure that we will all soon be celebrities or stars or maybe just notorious.  At the very least we will all just be closer than ever and have more fun than most people can imagine!

And Spanx.. I love Spanx.

If you don't have one of these (I love it!)

you must go get one.

This one happens to be the Griddler Junior by Cuisinart, but there are tons of brands and sizes.  I put EVERYTHING in it now.  Sandwiches, chicken breasts, bacon.

And sweet mercy, the quesadillas it turns out. Just the right crispiness to the tortilla and just the right meltiness to the cheese.

And proper cheese meltiness is critical I tell you.

And speaking of quesadillas, I have a friend who e-mails me almost every day and asks what I'm making for supper (dinner).  I don't know why, just curious I suppose.  Here's the last couple of days

Tuesday- I baked up the nicest little Rosemary Biscuits (just  4 ingredients!!) and made little sandwiches using the biscuits and some thinly sliced pork roast I had left from another meal.  I also made a great little side/salad/dip from canned black-eyed peas, tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, bell pepper seasonings, and a quick vinaigrette.  We ate it with chips!  Everything is good with chips!

Wednesday - Jambalaya made with some leftover rice (from the same meal as the pork roast), roasted corn on the cob with Lime Parmesan Butter (yum) and guacamole. 


I know I jumped ethnicity there, but I had some avocados that just couldn't be trusted to hold out much longer.

It was an international meal.  Yes, we traveled the world.   In the middle of the week.

The flights are less crowded then.

What do you love these days?


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

High Tops, Low Riders, and Other Assorted Shenanigans

 There's not a lot going on around here today, so I thought I would get a little funky in the kitchen.

For years, as a novice cook, I by-passed many  interesting and delicious sounding recipes because basically I was a wimp .  If the recipe called for a 8"x8" square pan and I didn't have one, I flipped the page of the cookbook or clicked over to another recipe online.

But then several glorious years ago I decided to go rogue, and I've never looked back.


Let's look at it another way.

Just because you're supposed to use a Philips head screwdriver to remove a particular screw, doesn't necessarily mean that you can't (with a bit of effort) remove said screw with a flathead screwdriver, or even in a pinch, with a butter knife.

(Please excuse me one little minute)

Dear Chief:

Please forgive me for stripping out all the heads of those screws and the minor damage I did to the sheetrock.  I really don't think it will be that difficult for you to repair... after all, you are the most awesome man ever in the Annals of Handymen!  Now, the wiring?  Um, I just felt sure I could strip those electrical wires with the vegetable peeler.  Sorry.


Well, so perhaps that's not the best analogy.

Back to the matter at hand.  It's pretty safe to say that not all of us have every pan size and shape available to us in our kitchen.  We may not have popover cups, tart pans, or quiche rings.  Well I say Who Cares?  With a little creativity and some careful tweaking, I think it's possible to pull off anything you want in the kitchen.  Even some things you never thought you were capable of.

Frequently, I'll even switch things up just because of personal preference. It's good and healthy to switch things up on occasion, don't you think?

Let's take muffins for example.

I'm a muffin maven.  Really.  And what's the best part of a muffin?  The top of course.  Especially when crowned with some sort of crunchy or crumbly topping.

I figure therefore, that any muffin with a topping will benefit from, well, the largest topping surface area available.

Case in point:  Dried Cherry-Berry Crumb Buns


High Top Style:

Low Rider Style:

Both delicious, but the Low Rider just offers up the most topping area possible.

I got these great little muffin cups at The Container Store,

but you can find all shapes and sizes of them at lots of stores.

Just remember you may need to adjust the cooking time and temperature to accommodate the larger/smaller surface area and batter volume.

If you don't want to use the little cups, there are all kinds of muffin tins for every size and shape you'd ever desire.

So please, be bold.  Be spontaneous.  Go rogue.

The Weege is definitely thinking about it..

Have a great day!


Monday, July 18, 2011

That is All

Well, I really didn't feel like I necessarily had much to say this morning - at least nothing of much consequence or anything.  Don't you just get sucked in when I start out with such anticipation and promise?

Perhaps I'lll tell you later this week about the two (yes, I said TWO) mornings that I just spent extending fence out into the dry lake bed.  There was danger and heat stroke and bleeding.  The stuff of real drama.  You'll hear words like come-along, barbed wire, and maybe even (excuse me) crap.
But I know that the sheer anticipation of hearing something so exhilarating and provocative will take a little emotional prep on your part, if not some meditation and perhaps even some Advil, so I'll give you a couple of days to prepare.

Umm.. other than that I've been trying to come up with a title for a post I'm writing on how to "Improve Your Muffin Tops", but somehow, and frankly, that just doesn't sound right.  I will keep working on it.  The Creative Process.  It does require some contemplation and sometimes, on occasion, a 6-pack of TAB.

I did just get the most delightful surprise when I glanced outside and noticed that it was getting, I believe they call it, cloudy - like in days of yore when it was not SO VERY HOT EVERY MINUTE, and then rain actually fell out of the sky.  I mean enough precipitation fell in the 5 minute shower to, I kid you not,  GET SOME OF THE OUT OF DOORS WET.

And I feel that the whole situation might require a little personal celebration on my part which might include a TAB and maybe a pedicure, or if I'm particularly giddy, maybe both at the same time.

I do hope your Monday turns out to be more than you ever hoped.  Our Monday expectations are sometimes disappointingly low, aren't they?  Let's make a pact to exceed those expectations, shall we?

(Fist pump) 

Let me know what excitement is to be yours today.  I say the apprehension is almost too much for me to bear.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Didn't Really Care About The Grass Back In December

"I'm cancelling the yard guys, Lu".

The Chief made this casual announcement sometime back in December when it was cold, the grass wasn't growing, and I was much too busy wondering why I didn't fit the same in my favorite jeans as I did the last winter to really care one single smidge about the grass/yard.
Or who was going to mow it.

We'd had a yard service for a while because frankly we were never here to mow the grass.  We were always at the farm on the weekends where we have a lot more than just one yard's worth of grass to mow.  And remember I used to have a job, which in retrospect, was well worth it's weight in excuses not to have to participate in yard work.

So, back in the coldness (yes, they tell me it's true) of winter The Chief decided that paying the service to continue to mow our yard even every other week was wasteful.

He had all kinds of reasons: 

The grass didn't even NEED mowing he said.

They were massacring butchering the grass anyway by cutting it too short.

Something was wrong with their mowers and it always looked uneven.

He didn't like the way they trimmed the flower beds.

The edging was not right.

So, "OK Chief, cancel them.  I don't care..."

And I didn't.  Not at the time.

It wasn't 104 degrees every single day.  The humidity wasn't so stinkin' high.  THE GRASS WASN'T GROWING 2" PER DAY FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

Somehow, The Chief has so finely tuned the efficiency of our sprinkler system that our grass is growing like gangbusters.  GANG. BUSTERS.

Darn and Blast his engineering mind.

But here's the bottom line.  Way back in the spring I was feeling all lovey-dovey and such and I told him that I would take care of mowing the yard during the summer because, well, I don't have a job anymore, I can do it for exercise, AND BASICALLY I AM AN IDIOT.

And plus, when I made this proclamation it was a tepid 74 degrees.

So now.  Now I suffer.

It's not like he EXPECTS me to do it or anything (sometimes, Bless Him  I look outside and he's done it all before I even knew he started, especially if I put in ear plugs to drown out the sounds of the mower, the weed eater, and the blower) - it's just that I said I would, and I'm a sucker for doing what I said I'd do...


So, today's the day.

Here's a quick synopsis of what happened the last time I mowed:

-the "cord thingie" on the self-propelled mower broke, and I had to use the really old mower that is all manual push.

-I had let the grass get a little long (The Chief was in New York) and I was leaving long rows of stacked grass (you know, like when you bale hay) so I had to use the mulcher bag thing and then STOP AND DUMP IT EVERY FOUR MINUTES, because did I mention that I let the grass get too long?

-I ran out of gas after 7 minutes.

-I had to text Rich (who happened at that very moment to be at CitiField watching the Mets play The Yankees, thank you ma'am) to ask him which gas container had the right gas in it, and can I just say that the boy was apparently a little more interested in the game than PROMPT RESPONSES TO MY TEXTS ABOUT GASOLINE.

-And as it turned out, we were out of gas and I had to go to the gas station and I almost got diesel by mistake and I would have been forced to leave the country immediately if I had made that costly mistake, just like the time years earlier when I tried to re-spackle and float the wall in the living room before The Chief came in from offshore because I had allowed the dog (not Weegie of course) to eat a huge hole in the wall behind the couch.

-And I HATE those stupid gas cans that have some kind of tricky spout-type thingie that literally make it impossible to put the gas in.  Literally Impossible.

-Oh. And I fell into one of the flower beds while I was mowing.  Please do not ask.

SO.  ANYWAY.  I'm getting ready to mow.

And to top things off, I have blisters on both of my heels that hurt from the stupid socks I wore yesterday during my 4 mile walk in the burning heat because my hips are too big.

Stupid socks.

Stupid hips.

Stupid grass.

Y'all have a great day, OK?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yes, I Said Boom-Boom

The heat.  Oh my gosh, the heat.

I don't even know what to say about it really.  

Let's distract ourselves by talking about Mexican Food instead.

Don't you simply love a good distraction?

Now I do love me some Mexican flavor, and over the years I have worked hard to find the very best recipes to make here in my very own casa, so to speak.

I'm still working on reproducing the Tres Leches from Chuy's.  Please join me in a moment of reverential silence...

Uh.  Speaking of Chuy's.  In the last month or so I've been there twice (in two different towns - I KNOW - I am so cosmopolitan and all) and both times I've somehow ordered something off the menu that was too spicy for me to even eat.  The first time I ordered something that had "Boom-Boom" in the name, and in retrospect (and even with a little common sense, according to The Chief) I probably should have been forewarned by the whole Boom-Boom part.

He tries to let me make my own entree mistakes. 

The second time (just yesterday) I ordered some Southwestern Chicken Enchiladas that by the description were in no way supposed to be spicy - but HELLO!  The sweet waiter re-filled my Diet Coke so many times in a five minute span that he finally asked me if he could get me something else. 

Bless Him.

Let me tell you what I DID so enjoy on those Southwestern Enchiladas though.

The perfectly cooked fried egg on top.  Luscious.  And when the cook re-mastered my enchiladas with a cooled-down sauce the whole dish was perfection.

So I've had Mexican Food on the brain and last night, to keep the theme alive, I made Mexican Rice and Pork Tacos with a spicy sour cream sauce for The Chief.

Now for years I waffled back and forth trying one Mexican Rice recipe after another - I am nothing if not a rice waffler.

But no more I tell you.

This recipe.  This one is the best.  And the easiest.  And I share it with you my bloggy friends.

Here goes.

In a heavy stockpot heat about 4 T. veg. oil over med. heat.  Add 1/3 c. diced onion (don't use red onion) and about 2 chopped garlic cloves.  Saute for about 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup long grain rice (I love Tex-Mati) and stir for about 5 minutes until rice is light brown.  Add 1/2 c. finely chopped carrot, 1/3 c. tomato sauce, and about 1 3/4 c. chicken stock, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. ground cumin.  Stir once then bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to med-low and add 1/2 c. frozen peas. Cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Remove rice from heat and let sit about 10 minutes.  Stir and serve.

Do not panic over the peas.  The Chief hates peas.  But in this recipe the peas and carrots add a touch of sweetness that is essential to the lovely blend of flavors, and there's just not enough peas in there to really fret about.

Please do not fret the peas.

I do so hope you like it.

Now on to the Tres Leches.


Monday, July 11, 2011

At The Very Least We made A Memory?

Weegie was not at all pleased that I carried out my threat of making him wear a life jacket when we went kayaking.  This is his angry face.

I called him Junior Ranger for the rest of the night.

He decided it just wasn't at all the appropriate attire for herding the cows.  Besides, they all looked at him funny.
And it made him sweat.

I reminded him that he would appreciate the safety gear once we got in the kayak.  If he fell out, or jumped out, it would keep him afloat for a while.  Even after his short stubby legs tired of paddling.  He was quite eager to get down to the water.

"OK Mom, stop the lecture and let's go."

The single kayak that Ben was going to use.

The Weege is always on alert for dead fish, etc... to roll in.

The Chief and Ben putting in the double kayak.

Sadly, I don't have any pictures of the actual kayaking "experience".  The Chief politely suggested that I not take my nice camera in the boat.
As I've shared before, he's very logical and forward-thinking.  I like that about him.

Opposites attract, you know.  Apparently The Chief is very attracted to wishy-washy-ness, scatterbrained-ness, and a clear lack of logical thinking...

Go figure.

Anyway, everything went well with the kayaking except for The Weege.  He was in the double kayak with me and The Chief.  He sat in back with The Chief and we began to take in a little water.

I was high and dry.

He did have a little trouble sitting still.  As a herding dog, his desire was for Ben's kayak to be right next to ours where he could crawl back and forth between the two.  If Ben got too far away he went into herding/conniption mode.

The life jacket came in quite handy a couple of times.  The little suitcase type handle on the top made it easier to pull The Weege back in the boat. But honestly, him losing about 5 pounds wouldn't hurt either.

By the time we finished it was getting pretty dark.  We loaded one of the kayaks on the truck to drive back to the house.

The Person Chosen To Drive the Truck (hereafter known as The Person) was the only one who wasn't dripping wet.

I assure you that The Person had absolutely no intention of getting the truck stuck in the mud.  I mean The Person is an excellent driver, and by the way,  I The Person used to teach Driver's Ed. Hundreds of excellent young drivers learned all of their road skills from The Person.  You're Welcome.

 While Ben ran back up the hill to fetch the tractor to pull the truck out of the mud, The Chief Politely shared some truck driving tips with The Person. The Person tried to explain how they really didn't do anything unusual, and that apparently the truck had been parked in some "freak of nature quicksand pit".  The Chief wasn't buying it.

See those lights up the hill?  That's Ben on the tractor.  Clearly, I have no clue how to take photographs without light.


There are no more pictures.  It was suggested that I might want to put away my camera and, you know, help...

The Person staunchly maintains their innocence.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Everybody's OK. Really.

Well, not REALLY, really.

Only one slightly sluggish blogger was injured during this feeding frenzy/stampede.

I knew I should have worn my faster shoes...

"Mountain, get out of her way..."

One or two did show some concern for my welfare.  To a point.

And without naming any names or anything, SOMEBODY needs to fess up and take responsibility for the whole hoopla.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ideas. I Am Fresh Out.

I've been contemplating writing a picture-laden post, but I'm having COMPUTER ISSUES again, and my ability to download pictures to the blog is currently challenged.  I did manage this nice one of the donkey, but during the time it took to download, I took a shower, ate some granola, and thought a lot about how much better Big Cheez-It's are than the little ones.

At least I did not waste my time.

So, let's see.

We bought two more kayaks over the weekend.  Just call us outfitters.  OH. And we bought a life jacket for Weegie.  But the size medium proved to be too small, and I can't find a large.  Bless his heart, he's a jumbo dog body with REALLY low rider legs.  I told him if he was going to continue with his kayaking ways, then by golly Momma says he's going to wear a life jacket.  End of discussion.
According to my nephew though, the lake water levels are so low that you can practically walk all the way across.
Still.  The Weege will be properly outfitted in safety gear.  He is not happy.

One of the new kayaks is a two-person craft.  Me and The Chief, The Chief and The Weege, there are endless possibilities.  If we can convince Weegie to sit in the 'dry hold' compartment, we could all go together.  The fun possibilities are endless, I tell you.
You might even enjoy some pictures of the madness.

What would you do without the hubbub that is my life? To what standard would you compare all other excitement?

I've also been thinking about telling you my lawn mowing story and the trauma/danger/saga that ensued from that whole thing.  One day soon, if I think you might be incredibly bored already, I will spin that tale.  You will be nothing short of riveted.

I've also considered posts about pantyhose, gopher vs. moles, mid and late summer fashions, my new hot pink walking shoes, and cookie sheets.  IT IS JUST SO HARD TO CHOOSE.

So, once again I am at your mercy.  Your creative suggestion mercy.

I humbly ask for your 'blog post topic' help.

Forever your servant,


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's a Summer Fuzzy Thing

Please try to imagine the above dessert fresh out of the oven with a huge scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla on top.

Thank you. I know it would have been easier (the imagining, and all) if I had,in fact, taken the picture when it was  hot from the oven and I had gone to the trouble of actually slapping the ice cream on it, but I can't be expected to do absolutely ALL the work around here, now can I?

It is good to burden some of the load, don't you think?

I do so enjoy this creative collaboration we all share.
Now where was I?

Oh, yes.

I just love peaches, don't you?

But they have to be REAL peaches.  Peaches bought at a farm stand or orchard, or if you're really lucky, picked off the tree yourself.  The next couple of weeks are prime peach season.  I snagged some last week from Cooper Farms in Fairfield, and decided on Saturday to use the remaining ones for a Peach Crisp. And because I was under great pressure to get it made  I didn't have time to take pictures.

Not really, I just forgot.

But I believe we can all agree,  being under great pressure just sounds more interesting.

So, as is my usual way,  I began by standing in the kitchen, staring at the peaches, and trying to remember what I did with them the last time I made a Peach Crisp.

And since I had absolutely no recollection at all, this is what I did this time...

To make the Topping:

Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 T. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 cup oatmeal.  Stir well.  To this mixture add 2 sticks melted butter and  about 4 drops Almond extract.

*OH.  Do be careful.  Almond extract is really strong, and too much will make the dish taste artificial and icky.

Now add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix together with your hands until big crumbs form. Spread out on a cookie sheet while you make the filling.

To make the Filling:

Peel and slice 6-8 peaches (depending on size).  I'm guessing I ended up with about 4 cups sliced peaches.  To the peaches add (in this order) the juice of one whole lemon, 3/4 c. sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 T flour and stir well.

Spray a 9x9 inch (or 8x8) baking pan with cooking spray, then dump in the peach mixture.  Try to spread it out pretty evenly.  Then with your hands, crumble the topping all over the peaches.  There will be a lot of topping!!!

Bake for about 50 minutes at 350.

This is SO GOOD.

It might just be one of my Top Ten Recipes ever.  


And it couldn't be easier.  

OH, and I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that it only contains two sticks of butter. 


*I have about a serving and a half leftover in the refrigerator at this point.  First one here gets it.

But please bring your own Blue Bell.

I'm out.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chocolate Cicada.I Wonder if That's a Blue Bell Product?

I was telling some friends at church this morning that I noticed a couple of days ago that it was "National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day".

Really,  if you look hard enough, every day is some kind of day. 

Please just call me Plato.

Anyway we started talking about interesting/ odd ice cream flavors that we'd either enjoyed or at least heard of.  Hands down, the weirdest one was Chocolate Covered Cicada Ice Cream.  Now had this revelation not come from someone of the absolute highest integrity, I wouldn't have believed it.

All I could think of was how very plump and fleshy cicadas are...

And although I think I would have to take a pass on that one, I am open to experimentation.

And since it's the July 4th weekend, and there's hardly anything more American than ice cream (except maybe baseball and apple pie and a hotdog here or there...), I thought we might take a little  casual poll of your favorite flavors.  Are you a chocoholic?  Do you go fruity with Strawberries or Cherry or Banana?

Me, I like Mocha Almond Fudge and sometimes Peppermint, especially if it's really hot outside. And of course there's nothing more purely wonderful than Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.

So what's your pleasure?

Happy Fourth!