Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lu's Gig'em Dip


College football starts this week and any fan worth their salt (Kosher, please) knows that this can't officially happen without dip.

Here's a great hot bean dip that I know you'll love.


First, the recipe. Then an exciting play-by-play follows!



Lu’s Gig’em Dip


1 (14.5 oz) can Pinto Beans
3 T. finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic (finely diced)
1 finely diced Jalapeno pepper (adjust amount to your taste, my jalapenos were mild!)
1 whole roasted Hatch chile (finely diced) or substitute Poblano
½ t. Pinto Beano seasoning
1 small jar chopped pimentos (undrained
2 ½ cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar, or a combination)
½ t. Chipotle Chili Powder (or just regular chili powder)
2 green onion chopped finely
1 T. butter
1 T. vegetable oil

Heat the butter and oil over medium  heat.  Add the garlic and onion and stir until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  Do not let the garlic brown or it will be bitter. Add the Pinto Beano seasoning.  Drain most of the liquid from the beans (reserving the liquid) and add about 1/2 of the beans to the garlic and onion.  With a wooden spoon, mash up most of the beans.  Stir well.  Add the Jalapeno, the Hatch Chile, the pimentos (with the liquid) , the remainder of the beans and a generous pinch of salt.  Mix well and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Add the cheese and  chile powder and stir well.  Reduce heat to simmer (or very low) and stir until all the cheese is melted. Stir in the green onions.
Add some of the reserved liquid from the beans  if mixture is too thick.

Enjoy with chips! And Fightin' Texas Aggie Football!

Whoop!




Here's the play-by-play:
If you've never had Hatch chiles, throw on your shoes and go to Santa Fe, Albuquerque, any little town in New Mexico or just your local HEB and get your hands on some.

To roast them, just place them right on the flames of a gas burner or throw them on your grill.  Today's temperature was around 107, so I chose to roast mine in the air-conditioned comfort of the INSIDE OF MY HOUSE.


I always roast more than I actually need for the dip - just roast, peel, and put them in the freezer to use another time.

After they are nicely charred,

Put them into a paper bag and close it tightly allowing them to sweat for about 10 minutes.  This makes the skin easy to pull off.

Here's one after peeling.
Chop it finely and set aside.



First, cook the garlic and onion in the oil and butter until soft and translucent (you'll notice a little jalapeno jumped in early!)

Drain and reserve most of the liquid from the beans.


Add 1/2 of the beans, and the seasoning, and mash the beans roughly with a wooden spoon.


Then add the jalapeno, Hatch chile, pimentos, and the rest of the beans and salt...

Cook for about 4 minutes. 

Add the cheese and the chile powder and reduce the heat to very low (simmer).  



Heat until the cheese is melted.  Stir in the green onions, and additional liquid reserved from the beans if the mixture is too thick.


A definite score!


Enjoy with your favorite team!

Lu

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well Chief, It's Certainly Cheaper Than The Alternative

During our recent trip to New Mexico we enjoyed looking at a few homes for sale in the Ruidoso area.  Now there is nothing The Chief and I like better than looking at homes.  He loves to see all of the possibilities for remodeling and/or improvements, and I like to look at people's stuff and how they've decorated.
Don't worry.  I don't (usually) touch any of their belongings or anything - just look.

One of the homes that we toured was a quaint cabin tucked into a hillside.  The architecture was great - pride of ownership was immediately evident.  The decor was woodsy and comfortable, yet fresh and sophisticated.  It was quite obvious that the occupants were active, busy, and creative. We happened to meet one of the owners (the husband of the retired couple) and he was great to share with us a little history of his home.  As a long-time employee of the oil business, they had lived all over the world, collected art pieces and objects from across the globe and tastefully displayed all of these things in their home.  What caught my eye immediately was the kitchen.  A high-end stove got me excited right off the bat.  Then I almost swooned when I saw her collection of Le Creuset cookware.  I'm telling you the lady had more pieces of it than I've EVER seen displayed in Sur la Table!

All colors - just beautiful!

I immediately liked this lady.

Then I noticed her plants.  She had houseplants everywhere.  And not just houseplants stuck on windowsills in little plastic pots.  Not plants that looked droopy and neglected.  Each one of the plants was in an earthenware or ceramic pot that were art pieces themselves.  Each plant appeared to have been groomed and care for that very morning.  And these were not plants recently purchased to improve the "sellability" of this house.  These were unusual species, collector plants, and display specimen.  Many of them were succulents (after all, we were in New Mexico!) with unusual shapes, intriguing textures and bright blooms.

I was smitten.

I found an area near the garage where she obviously did most of her work on the plants - there was compost and buckets of water with egg-shells steeping for a "compost tea" fertilizer.  There were cuttings being rooted and all sorts of new little sprouts coming up.  I loved all the shapes and unusual forms of the cacti.

I wanted some.

I even went so far as to ask the owner if the house was being sold with the plants (oh, and the Le Creuset, by the way) - he chuckled and told me I'd have to ask "the wife" and then The Chief elbowed me hard in the ribs...

Anyway, last week I started missing that ladies' plants.  And her cookware.  And since I quickly deduced that it would be easier to start out by buying a few plants similar to hers (the Le Creuset would immediately and dangerously register on The Chief's radar), I decided to start my own little succulent "garden."


I mean 'what the hey'- it hasn't rained around here in years, right?

We're practically smack dab in the middle of a desert.


I planted:

Baby Toes (Fenestraria aurantiaca) -  from the deserts of South Africa.  Each "toe" has a translucent window on the end through which sunlight is filtered.



Split Rock (Pleiospilos nelii) - Also native to Africa, the succulent leaves form a clefted "egg-shape".




Green Coral (Euphorbia flanaganii cristata) - This African native is a "medusoid" type plant which has a central base with arms arising from that base.

And pretty yellow blooms!



Rainbow Elephant Bush (Portulacaria afra "Variegata") - a drought tolerant relative of our common Moss Rose.



Zebra Plant (Haworthia fasciata) - an upright grower with leaves covered with white raised "pearls" that connect to form bands similar to zebra stripes.  It's completely dormant in summer and does it's growing in winter.

If we ever have a winter, that is.



 Anacampseros rufescens - a plant with fleshy leaves that turn purple in bright light.  It has pink flowers on the end of long stalks.



Old Lady Cactus (Mammillaria hahniana) - Appropriately named, I think, this Mexican native grows globular stems that can be up to 6 inches in diameter.  The stems are densely covered with short white hair and short white spines.  I think any women over say, 45 can relate when looking in a magnifying mirror...

:(

And by the way - the spines are quite prickly and painful.

I wore gloves, but somehow ended up with some of the spines in my abdomen - long story...


I've placed them all in a shallow pot and used potting soil recommended for cacti.

I'll let you know how they're getting along.



Does anyone else out there like succulents?
Or for that matter Le Creuset?

Will you sell them to me with your house?

Lu

Oh, and P.S. - You don't want to miss tomorrow- all about the start of college football and dip.

It's gonna be DipTacular.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Lu's Cooking School and Tortoise Restoration Services

Hello.

I send you greetings from THE SURFACE OF THE SUN.

But don't despair and think that this post is going to be another in which I yammer on and on about how hot it is.  No, I will not give the heat the satisfaction, the delight in knowing it consumes my every thought.

I diss the heat.




Just a little catch-up.  A re-cap.  An update.

Friday night was the big Cooking Class.  It was so fun, y'all.  I had such a good time, and I think the participants enjoyed it too!  It was a trip having almost 20 cooks in the kitchen.  And with the exception of me forgetting the green onions (Thanks J for running to the store!) and the eggs(and J, I suppose it would have been more convenient if I had realized the whole egg issue at the same time as the green onions - but anyway, thanks for the second trip!) and the problem with the huge commercial oven, you know, NOT GETTING HOT, everything went swimmingly.

As a matter of fact, I've been thinking of starting a business where you invite some of your friends to your house for a little party, then you hire me to come over and forget the green onions and also the eggs, and then we have just a big time cooking and eating the fruits of our labor.

Oh and did I mention that I was also thinking that you would probably want to pay me an exorbitant amount of money for my services and also my forgetfulness?

I'm writing up a business plan as we speak.

Oh, I kid.


Saturday I went with The Chief to work on the rent house.

Because I owed him.

He came to the cooking class Friday to "lend support" but also to eat and make fun of my forgetfulness.  And so I felt obliged to help him over at the rent house although to be perfectly honest I would have to say that I did not go with a 'spirit of helpfulness'.

But I did. Go, that is.  And that's all I'm gonna say about it, except that it was hot and tiring and now he owes me for the next 10 years or so, or until I break something else around here, which come to think of it, I happened to do yesterday.

(And oh yes, I also should probably mention that the first 3 people that looked at the rent house on Sunday after we listed it, submitted an application and contract to rent it?  Mainly because The Chief made it look immaculate and brand new.  Amen.)

You see, the garbage disposal broke yesterday and although I provided The Chief with at least 3 plausible explanations and also alibis on my part, he refused to accept the validity of any of them.  He's a doubter.

And I would like to publicly apologize to The Weege for throwing his name in the "suspect" hat because The Chief figured out with just a little bit of investigation that Weegie is too short to reach the switch.

I'm sorry Weege, Mom was desperate.

And generally speaking, what with the HUGE ANT INVASION we had in the house Sunday morning and the whole garbage disposal thing, Sunday was not our best day ever.  But it was still, in fact, The Lord's Day, so it was good in that sense, if not in a "Gee I hope we can do THIS DAY again real soon" sense.

And now that you're thoroughly caught-up on the excitement and yee-haw around here, I'm going to go clean these up.




















Last year at Round Top I saw several of these that had been cleaned and shellacked, and then mounted on little stands and used as rustic-like decorative accents for the home.

I figured that  since the lake is drying up at the farm and we're finding them in abundance, I may as well try my hand at it.

And I should mention that they were fetching some pretty high prices too.

But I have decided that I will charge myself no more than 99 American Dollars.

I'm just really sick of anything that has three digits.



I repeat.  I diss the heat.

Please feel free to join me.

Lu

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The "P" Word

Some of you have inquired as to  how you can be notified of a new posting here at Mudpuddle.  If you aren't on Facebook where I post that I've posted, (??) you'd like to be able to figure out a way to know when I have posted something new.

Post. Post. Post.

OK.  Enough of that word.

You may have noticed that over in the right hand column of the blog, just under the Blog-her feed, and just above my picture is a "Subscribe by E-mail" option.  This is a handy little gadget that allows you to receive my posts (sorry, last time) in your e-mail.  You don't even have to go to the blog to read them - pictures and all.


Now I was a little leery of the whole thing, but I can GUAR-AN-TEE you that it all works just like it's supposed to, and doesn't put you on a list somewhere and send you all kinds of spam.

Promise.

I even subscribed myself to test it out.  Yes, I Guinea Pigged myself out for all of you.

Each day that I, you know, "the P word" something new, you will get one little e-mail that contains the ....well, you know.

It's not real fast - usually I don't get the e-mail until several hours after I add something new, but it works just fine.

So, I thought this might be a handy option for some of you, and besides, chances are I'm my only e-mail subscriber.

And that's just sad and pathetic.


OK, well, thanks and please feel free to go on about your day.

Lu

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Saw The Future and It Was Out of Cream Cheese

Hello Internets.

Well, it's Friday, and it's just possible I may have had nightmares last night about the whole cooking class tonight.  It's not that I'm not excited about it.  The problem is that we're going to make all these dishes and then turn right around and well, HAVE TO EAT THEM.  It's not as if I'll be able to leisurely cook and then taste and then run by the HEB to replace any disasters with something from Sarah Lee.

Or Keebler.

Which just makes me think.  I'm sure that Rachael and Giada, and Guy, and Bobby, and Ina probably know how to cook just fine. I mean most of them look like they know what they're doing there on their fancy TV shows. But the dishes that they actually prepare under pressure on their shows? They might taste like paste.  Who's to know?

It could all be a sham.

I mean really?  Have you ever seen Giada with grease spots all over her blouse?  Or Ina with cake batter in her eyebrows?

I didn't think so.

If everything turns out a disaster I suppose I'll just get The Chief to take us all to Sonic.  That will still provide a nice time for fellowship.  Well, except for the separate car thing.

And am I the only one who has ever had a bad experience trying to get out of a car on the driver's side while parked in a space at Sonic??

I think not.


When I wasn't having nightmares about potential disaster tonight, I was dreaming about my favorite orange and yellow patent leather shoes that I had in 5th grade.  Those shoes were a BIG DEAL, I'll tell you.  Typically, I only had practical, utilitarian-type shoes. You know the kind that were OK for school or church or riding your bike or whatever.  But I had somehow convinced my Mom that I absolutely NEEDED these shoes that matched my Easter dress just perfectly.  I loved them.

I think I must have dreamed about them because my mind was attempting to harken back to a day when my left foot wasn't swollen and my left knee wasn't killing me - you know, back before MAMAW HERE BECAME A ORTHOPEDIC TRAIN WRECK.


But right now I have things to do.  I have cheese to grate and pecans to toast and Advil to take.

Oh.

And I have to weed eat.  Use the weedeater.  Whatever the proper verbage.  It's a long story, but it has to do with The Chief getting home well after dark all this week and the fact that I am  WEEDEATER INCOMPETENT. I mowed the yard earlier in the week, and assumed that The Chief would have an opportunity at some point to do the weedeating.  That's usually how we roll.
But because The Chief is re-building the entire rent house from the ground up in his spare time - he hasn't actually seen our own yard during daylight hours all week.  It's looking pretty shabby.  So I have a date with the weedeater - and I should probably just admit that I think this particular weedeater that we own?

Straight from the devil.

I should probably go and re-read the entire Book of Job before I go outside.

Amen.

And now I just panicked.  I just remembered that I FORGOT (is that possible? to remember that you forgot?) TO BUY THE CREAM CHEESE.

It is the VERY BASIS for tonight's dessert.



I'm pretty sure all the stores will be out.

THEY DON'T EVEN MANUFACTURE CREAM CHEESE ANYMORE YOU SAY?

Something about a dictate from The Surgeon General?


I knew it.  I just knew it.

You may as well have given me a cape, a crystal ball and called me Madame.



Lu
















Thursday, August 25, 2011

Now Where Did I Put Those Roll-y Eyes?

I'm what you might call out of sorts today.

Conflicted, so to speak.



There are people out there today who will make things like this...


So cute and I suppose, perfectly doable for the average baker...





Strawberry ghosts!  Cute for Halloween.  Also doable.




Or, you know this...


Uh.  Maybe if I was slightly medicated.


and


Little turkey cookies.
Ummm... I'd also need assistance for that one.  But still.  Adorable.





This, though?






or this?





If I spent the time and the brain cells pulling off something like either of those, I guarantee you no one would be allowed close to it, much less be invited to eat it.



And finally, I suppose if I had multiple episodes of uncontrollable creative energy?

Maybe this.


Uh, no.



But if you like to look at cool stuff that creative people well, create... - I suggest you check out Pinterest.



Such  fun stuff there - and not just food, it's everything!  Clothes, home decor, etc...




Excuse me now while I go search the pantry for my bag of roll-y eyes.

Lu





P.S.  Pinterest has never heard of me and I am not being compensated for this little shout out!

Just wanted to share!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'll Have All My Necessary Paperwork in Order

I think I may have mentioned once or 14 times that The Chief is a teensy bit of a perfectionist.

Oh, the Gods of The Understatement.  They are laughing.


Anyway, we own a rental property.  The family that has lived there for the past year just purchased their own home, and vacated our little house.  They had a maid service come in and do the final clean-up.  I thought it looked pretty good with the exception of some very obvious stains on several of the walls and a few other little minor things.

Well, excuse me.  No.  Not according to The Chief.

He, of course, told them it was fine and has every intention of returning their full deposit - he is nothing if not extremely kind and fair.

But.

It will be nothing short of a miracle if he doesn't end up re-painting every square inch, re-grouting every tile, re-sodding the entire yard,  and just for fun, re-wiring the electrical system of the entire subdivision.

Please, please, please, don't get me wrong- I love it that he's a worker. I'm telling you the man lives and breathes GET 'ER DONE.

But you see I get sucked into the whole process.  It's kind of like a black hole of constant activity in which I get up each morning and there is a list of things I need to do on the breakfast bar.  Remember I hate lists. And on my breakfast bar?  I would prefer to find, you know, something along the lines of BREAKFAST.

So, I'm just sayin'.  It's hard to tell The Chief that I have OTHER VERY IMPORTANT things to do like worry about which cheeses to choose for Friday Night's Mac and Cheese, or fret over whether to use the food processor or the blender to make the Rosemary Vinaigrette for the salad.  I mean SOMEONE needs to think about these things.

But instead, I'll be lugging a half-empty 5 gallon bucket of paint to Home Depot to see if they can match the color because somehow the little color code thingie disappeared, attempting to cram a 10 foot ladder into my 8 ft. car, and trying to think of a way to convince The Chief that "No, I really don't think we need to re-landscape the yard, add on to the garage, and do an attractive color-stain on the driveway."

God has placed me on this earth for a purpose.

And oh yes.  The Weege has an appointment with the surgeon at 2:00.  It's a pre-procedure evaluation, and we will schedule the big surgery today.

















Bless his little CRIPPLED HEART.



So.  Chances are, if any of you run out to Home Depot, or Lowe's or you know, YOUR GARAGE later today,  you'll find me there searching desperately for door hinges, or 1 1/2 inch flat-head screws, or linen-colored grout.

Probably also putty. Of the wood variety.




And possibly political asylum.

Please be kind.

Lu




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If I Could Sew, I Would Fashion Myself a Cape.

Good Morning and Hello!

I really hope you'll follow this all the way to the very end because I feel sure that by that point I will feel led to include some type of MENTAL HEALTH DISCLAIMER, and for legal purposes I'll probably need all of you to sign some kind of form or something.

Please use black or blue ink.

That being said, this morning on my walk ALL I could think about is what could possibly go wrong Friday Night when I teach this little cooking class I've been asked to do.

Well, OK, I did spend a little bit of time thinking about the man I saw on the path who evidently trains for some type of hiking expeditions by carrying a 50 lb. bag of dog food strapped to a very large metal backpack while wearing heavy hiking boots and thick woolen socks.  I've seen him several times before, but this time he was with whom I assume is his wife who was running BACKWARDS in front of him as he ran in a normal forward position, so that, you know, they were facing each other, and as far as I could tell they were carrying on what seemed (to them at least) to be a perfectly normal conversation about the merits of different types of lettuce.

So there was that.

And then there was a short period of time that I actually contemplated jumping into the car of a very fancily dressed businessman who had left his equally fancy JAG-U-AR running and the AC on while he stood in the yard of a house under construction talking to a builder or someone of that nature.  I mean it was 102 degrees outside and that AC was just going to waste, but then I thought that maybe my sweaty legs might stick to the leather, you know, really bad, and when he would eventually turn around and see me and I would have to jump out and run, it's possible the skin on the back of my legs just might be ripped off, and The Chief made a point to ask me especially politely this week to "Please Lu, try to stay out of trouble." 

So I quickly and logically concluded that the necessity of skin grafts, or the leaving behind of any sort of DNA evidence might just possibly fall under The Chief's definition of trouble.

But other than that, and the brief tussle I had with some yard workers over their Igloo cooler, I spent the whole walk thinking about cooking class.


It's  a class of about 10 young married couples, and will take place in our church's kitchen.  I will demonstrate the techniques for several recipes, provide the ingredients and the recipes, divide the tasks up among the participants, and supervise the preparation and cooking of the dishes.  Then and finally we will enjoy the meal that they have expertly prepared.


But.



Should I wear my apron with my name on it? Or is that too arrogant?

What if I forget to bring one of the main ingredients like, let's say, the CHICKEN for the chicken main course?

What if they see right through my facade?  I've never officially been to cooking school.  I'm not a chef, for Pete's sake.  What if they catch on right off the bat that I just make things up as I go along?

SWEET MERCY what if, at the young age of 16 or so, one of them was a cooking prodigy, has studied for years in France, and was close family friends with Miss Julia Childs?

What will I do then?

What if I forget and wear open-toed shoes and spill hot "Makes You Swoon" Mac and Cheese all over my foot?  Then I believe we're right back to same old horrible skin graft scenario.

Help me.

What if some of them HATE BLUE CHEESE?  The Neuvo Texas Waldorf Salad is nothing without the blue cheese.  

Worse yet, what if someone is ALLERGIC TO SOMETHING??

Should I ask all of them to go be tested and then bring in a doctor's note?

What ON EARTH WILL I DO if sometime before now and Friday all the manufacturers of white balsamic vinegar actually shut down???  I CAN'T use regular balsamic.  It makes the salad look dirty.

And worse yet, what if one of them has some type of HEART-RELATED issues in their mid-fifties and it is traced back to my over-zealous use of butter?  Will I be held liable?  Taken to court?

Imprisoned?


So.  You can see.  I have a lot on my mind.

Just call me




I need a cape.

But I can't sew.  WHY, OH SWEET MERCY WHY,  DID I NEVER LEARN TO SEW?



Lu




Monday, August 22, 2011

It Was Kind Of Like A Garden Gnome. Only Bigger.

We got back home last night after a week in New Mexico.  And out of respect for my Texas brethren, I'm not going to talk about the weather.

Except one teensy thing.  When we were driving around in the mountains I kept asking The Chief what the temperature was.  "Lu, you can see the temperature on the dashboard just like I can," he finally said.

"But I like it when you say the numbers...you know the sixes and sevens...."  I admitted.

No nines or hundredy's in sight.

OK.  I'm done.



Anyway, I can't possibly share everything about the trip in just one post, so I'll throw out a few tidbits and then get busy because NEWSFLASH:  IT IS APPARENTLY A WASTE OF TIME TO HOPE THAT THE YARD SERVICE THAT MOWS THE NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS' YARD WILL SOMEHOW GET CONFUSED AND MOW YOURS ALSO WHILE YOU ARE GONE.

I also have lots of laundry to do, and an entire house to put back in order.  Remember, the main reason for this trip was to help both sons move to their respective universities in New Mexico where they will begin their Graduate work this week.  We took a trailer of their stuff that had been stored in our house for the last few years, and against all logic and my better judgement, I left the house a mess.

A huge mess.

But enough of my moaning.




Here are a few pics.

Really, everything about New Mexico is just about the same as here a wee bit North of Houston.  
Except in the morning when we walked outside our cabin, this is what we saw.

 

And by golly if he (?) didn't bring a friend once or twice.

















They were just delightful.

Weegie only tried to herd them once.  They don't herd well.

















We took some neat hikes in Ruidoso.  I shared with some of you that I didn't sweat!  Not a bit!  Of course I suppose this was pretty much overshadowed by the fact that I also couldn't breathe!  Not a bit!  The air.  It is thin.

But cool my friends, oh so cool...

Sorry.



And finally, The Chief and Weegie allowed me to take this picture at the end of one of our little jaunts.


You can see in the picture that Weegie is focused on getting back on the trail that we came up - he preferred going down toward the truck.  He could most likely spot The Chief's truck from the top of Mt. Everest.  It's a gift.

I hope you all had a good week last week - I missed you.

Tomorrow I'll share a little about something that is making me INCREDIBLY NERVOUS.

I'm teaching a little cooking class Friday Night at our church for about 10 young couples.
The Chief has already suggested that I not drone on and on and talk incessantly and say EVOO like Rachael Ray.


But If I wanted to be like Giada deLaurentis?  Well, that would be just mighty fine.

Glad to be back!



Lu




Friday, August 19, 2011

I Have Not Perspired in Several Days

I'm in Ruidoso, New Mexico not sweating.

It is lovely.  Both the non-sweatiness, and the beauty of the area.  The high yesterday was 80 Fahrenheit Degrees.  I KNOW.

We did a little hiking today and I believe it was around 72-73 degrees during most of the hike.  I'm taking lots of pictures and was just thinking how nice it would have been if I had remembered to bring my little cord thingie that allows me to upload the pictures to the blog.

Then they would be the kind of pictures that all of you could, you know, SEE.

But that would be totally out of character for me - the remembering...


We head back to the heat of Texas tomorrow. 

Thanks to everyone who has given me a shout to say you're still checking in here.

You're all the best.

Weegie says" Hey".  He's outside scouting for elk and bears.  Well, actually he's laying on a lounge chair on the porch of the cabin.  But he's still scouting, so to speak. 

He's trying to earn a badge I think.


I'll see you all Monday!  Try to stay cool.

Lu

Friday, August 12, 2011

Right Now Would Be An Excellent Time For Jesus To Come

Of course, I'm ready anytime and hope you are too, but in just a few, short, minutes I have to go out and mow the yard.
And pardon me for trying to manage things and all, but  I'm thinking that I'd rather be swept up with the saints before I get the lawnmower out as opposed to after.

But, really, anytime is fine.

I'm good with whatever.



I just wanted to let you know that I'll be on the road for a few days and it's possible that the pickin's may be slim around here for a day or two, but I'll do my best to keep you all in the loop.

I know how you simply can't get enough of me and MY LOOP.

 So please, stay cool and feel free to just talk among yourselves.

Lu

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Change is Good. My Bill is in the Mail.

Do you ever get the nagging feeling you need to re-prioritize your daily schedule?

Typically at this time of the day I would be dreading anticipating my morning walk.  You know, the regular stuff.  Wondering how far I will make it before I CURSE THE SUN.  Before I start to formulate a plan to tackle the construction workers and steal their BIG HUGE IGLOO COOLERS FULL OF COLD WATER. Or for that matter, beg one of them to just shoot me with one of their industrial strength staple guns and put me out of my misery.


The stuff everyone contemplates while exercising.

But today I might have to re-think my whole routine.

I'm an ignorer.  And I know that's not a word because it now has a squiggly red line underneath it, and the spelling alarms are going off in my head, but I'm going to ignore those too.

See I told you.

Anyway, I have a foot problem.  My left foot and ankle are so not right and they've been that way for a couple of months.  Swollen.  All the time.  And I don't like to self-diagnose (well actually I LOVE TO - sometimes I even charge myself $46.12 for a band-aid and recommend all kinds of superfluous tests when I get a hangnail...)

But anyway.  I'm pretty sure I have some kind of neuroma on the bottom of my foot which could have possibly led to a stress fracture at some point, and while I'm at it it's possible I also suffer from HIGHLY CONFUSED EYELASH SYNDROME.

I like to get my money's worth during an intensive self-diagnosis.

I guess what I'm saying is that my foot and ankle hurt - and might I add LIKE THE DICKENS?  And it's just possible I may need to not walk for a day or two to see if perhaps they will deflate all on their own.

Please pay your bill on the way out the door.



I was going to show you a picture of my foot, and then I thought

1) yuck

and

2) Uh, NO.




And it's possible I also might need to consider spending a little more quality time with The Weege.


 The heat has quite obviously gotten the best of him.  







































He seems content to rarely ever step foot outside.






So today I think it might be wise for me to suggest some alternative indoor activities.







I don't know, like maybe calisthenics.


 


Or you know,  getting up.


I would gladly hear any suggestions from you on indoor (non sweat-inducing) type activities.

Oh and don't bother throwing out the possibility of Jeopardy re-runs.



We are already SO ALL OVER THAT.


Lu



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Well, It Just Had To Be Done.



I've been making a conscious effort lately to make sure that nothing in my fridge goes bad before I have a chance to use it in some way.  I don't know about you, but it's fairly common around here for oranges to grow beards in the bottom produce drawer or for potato vines to actually grow and then lose their leaves in my pantry. And let me tell you, those potato beetles can grow to the size of your thumb when amply supplied with a variety of diet staples like Cheez-its and also brown sugar.

So, in my produce drawer monitoring yesterday I discovered a bag of cherries that had already started the death march.  I quickly determined that in order to save their little souls I could either 1) eat them one by one or 2) put them lovingly in a baked good.

I decided to make a cherry crisp because basically it was the good and right thing to do.

First, I picked out all the cherries that were too sick to go on.

Then I removed the stems from the survivors.




Then I realized I had to take every pit out of every cherry by hand.

Drat.








But I had already made the critical decision to SAVE THE CHERRIES so there was no turning back.



On a cutting mat I gently pressed each cherry one by one with the heel of my hand on my chef's knife.  Before I got the hang of it I shot cherry juice all over the counter, the floor (which Squeegums appreciated) my new black shirt, and the refrigerator.

This makes the pit separate from the fruit and easy to just pull out with your fingers.


It's a dangerous job.  Look Away!  Look Away!





I'm kidding.  I'm such a kidder... it's just cherry juice.  It does a number on your manicure, by the way.


So here's what you end up with.  Pitted cherries.

Oh yes, and a mess.




The first thing I did was squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the cherries.  Lemon juice brightens up the flavor of any fruit.  And of course, for some fruits (peaches, apples, etc...) it helps to keep the fruit from oxidizing and turning brown so quickly.

But I just thought the cherries needed some zip.


Then I added one cup of sugar and 1 T. of cornstarch and stirred all this in well.

Oh!  And a pinch of salt.

Then I spooned the cherry concoction into two little retro Corning Ware dishes.





I think they look very nice.








But not good enough.  Of course we're missing the crisp part!  The part that makes every crisp worth eating.


So I cut up 6 T. of butter





And cut that into 3/4 cup flour.


Then I mixed the flour and the butter together with 3/4 cup oats, 1/2 c. sugar, and 1/4 c. brown sugar and a pinch of salt.

I used my hands.  I apologize.






I evenly spooned the mixture over the cherry filling.  And yes, ate a little in the process.





They are now ready to go in the oven.





I like the way things are lookin'.


Bake at 350 for about 45-55 minutes.







They come out beautiful and bubbly. 





It simply begs to be served with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.

Do you hear the pleading?

Enjoy my friends!

Lu