Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cherry-Almond Biscones

Yup. I made it up. Biscones...

You can't decide can you? I'm either brilliantly creative or a great big dork. And while I have no intention of conducting any kind of poll here to take your votes either way, I just bet most of you are wishing right now that you had thought of it first.

I made some yummy Buttermilk Biscuits at the farm over the weekend and this morning I woke up wishing that Weegie hadn't eaten all of the leftovers. Well, in his defense I may have eaten all the leftovers, but he's a dog and easy to blame.

He also broke The Chief's power washer.

Anyway, I wanted something "bready" for breakfast and not granola and yogurt or sprouts or fruit or mostly not anything that had any kind of positive nutritional value.

I wanted something tasty.

So I made some Cherry-Almond Biscones. (Where is that darn little trademark symbol key thingie on this keyboard anyway??) A combination of all that is good about a biscuit (fast, comforting, crumbly) and a scone (sweet and a little prissy).

Who can resist a little snooty downhome-ness?

I cleaned out my pantry yesterday and noticed I had three or twelve bottles of red and white sprinkles because I physically cannot not buy them when I see them in the store. Occasionally The Chief will make some strong managerial-type comment about the overabundance of superfluous sprinkles in my pantry and then for the next day or two I sprinkle them on everything (like his tacos) and that shuts him up pretty quick.

I thought that something scone-y and biscuit-y would be the perfect place to ditch a few sprinkles and I figured at the same time I would throw in some almonds and dried cherries and make it look kind of Valentine-ish because it's never too early around here to get the word out about the fast-approaching "Love Holiday". The Chief has been highly distracted with some major offshore thingamajiggy and it's possible he MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN SPENDING MUCH TIME THINKING ABOUT WHAT HE'S GOING TO BUY ME.

Or remember who I am.

So anything helps.

Cherry Almond Biscones

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 c. vegetable shortening and 1/4 c.butter chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp.almond extract
  • 1/2 c. chopped dried cherries
  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds, toasted


In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients together with a fork. Cut in the shortening and butter using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk, almond extract, cherries, and almonds. Quickly fold dry ingredients into wet mixture with your hands until a sticky dough forms.
Turn dough out onto floured surface. Gently fold the dough over itself 3 or 4 times to create layers. Roll dough out to 3/4-inch thick. Cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter. (I used a heart) Transfer dough to a sheet pan. Gather scraps and repeat. Make a dimple in the center to help the top rise evenly. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with sprinkles!! Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown.

Hope you like them!!!!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sometimes It Requires The Big Tractor

You know how when you're driving along by the lake in The Chief's truck and you drive a teensy bit closer to the lake than you know you probably should but you want to see if that turtle shell washed up on the shore is worth picking up and then you feel the tires sink down in the mud and start to spin but you're pretty sure that if you just keep doing the same thing (pressing on the accelerator) that surely to goodness and mercy you can dig yourself out of the cavern-like ruts you've just made when in reality all you're doing is SINKING DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO THE CHASM OF YOUR TROUBLES?

You don't?

Then me either. That of course, was purely a hypothetical scenario. A literary device for purposes of illustration only.

I mean that would require that The Chief use The Big Tractor (heretofore known as TBT) to pull you out and in order for him to use TBT he would need the key  to said TBT and the last person to be handed the key to put back in it's regular storage place forgot where she they actually put it but the facts are pretty clear that they didn't put it back in it's regular storage place 'cause it's not stinkin' there and Oh My Gosh MAKE THE WHOLE NIGHTMARE STOP.

No. I've certainly never experienced anything like that. Who would be stupid enough to do that anyway?


I guess what I'm saying is do you ever find yourself in a rut? A same old routine rut? And you just keep doing the same thing, all the while expecting to somehow pull yourself out and then you are so terribly mired in that rut that you don't think you'll ever find the key to The Big Tractor?

I remember when I was teaching everyday that sometimes I would be staring into the mirror in the morning as I was drying my hair and I couldn't remember if it was still yesterday or if it was already tomorrow. You know everything was so much the same day in and day out that you get lost in the sameness of it all?

(Please just indulge my mental instability if you have never in your life felt this way and have absolutely no earthly idea what I'm talking about.) 

(Or go get yourself a snack to help you through the remainder of the post.)

But if you do know this feeling, and you've experienced a time when you found yourself in a deep "Grand Canyon-ish" type rut, you might be interested in some really, really easy things you can do to kind of change things up that don't require a lot of money, a drastic change of lifestyle, a divorce, or checking yourself into any type of institution.

Heaven forbid.

I'm talking little things. Things that might seem insignificant in the scheme of things but that can work wonders. Like The Big Tractor. If you could only, you know, find the pesky key.

Things like:

1.Take a new route to work. Or school. Or the gym. Sometimes there are new and interesting things to look at right around the block.

2. Shop at a different grocery store or drive-thru a different McDonalds. Who knows, the other HEB may have a better TAB display or carry ALL the varieties of Cheez-its. Or the poor service at the new McD's might just make you appreciate the guy with the crazy eye at your regular drive-thru that always winks at you when he gives you your Diet Coke. Or it might just be a tic.

3Wear a different perfume.  This works wonders. I am such a "wear the same scent all the time person" that on the days that I pull out some of my old stuff or venture out and spray on something completely new I ALMOST DON'T KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE! I can be exciting or daring or indomitable. (But before I'm that last thing, I should probably look it up...)

4. Part your hair on the opposite side. Seriously. I did this one day and was never once during the day able to hold my head perfectly straight. But it WAS different.

5. Try a new restaurant. Or a new cuisine. My life changed forever the first time I had Indian Food.

6. Buy and read a magazine about some interest or craft with which you are unfamiliar. Like knitting. Or wrestling. It's a great big world out there.

7. Get up earlier or later (if you can).

8. While you're doing things around the house or running errands in your car put the radio on a station you never listen to. Unless all you can find is hard rock or rap. Then feel free to stick with your same old same old...

9. Send an old (or new) friend a message. Better yet, write a letter. It's cathartic for you and a pleasant surprise for them. I can't tell you how much I miss receiving personal letters in the mail. And just think, you might prolong the life of the US Postal Service.

10. Stop and say a quick prayer of thanks for your life. Even it's monotony and sameness. Ask God to send some reminders of everything you really do love about your day to day. The security of a job, the comfort and safety of your home, the predictability of your schedule.

It could be worse. The turtle shell may not have been worth picking up.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Meadow

You might be surprised today to find me reviewing a book.

It's literary Tuesday. I know last time it was literary Thursday, but look, I'm a wildly creative, totally out of the box thinker and you know it.

Literary Tuesday.

It's likely you're thinking "She's no book reviewer. She lolligags around her house cooking and taking pictures. She spends hours boiling chicken for that crazy dog of hers, and occasionally writes something that may include the phrase you know at least three or five times."

(But certainly not four, because evidently that is an extremely unlucky number for the Chinese and their New Year was just yesterday so I don't feel like we can risk it yet.)

You know, sayonara and all...

But I googled exactly what a book reviewer is, and lo and behold I'm actually highly qualified. A person who reads a book and tells what they think about it.  You can't argue with The Google.

So I'm a professional so to speak.

Don't question me.

Anyway I love to have long literary discussions with my oldest son the writer. He's the real thing. He uses words like plot and persona and genre with such flair it will make your head spin. He's teaching college students how to write.  They probably don't realize how lucky they are right now. But they will. When we have these discussions he says lots of smart and insightful things while I nod my head and pretend I understand what we're talking about, but mostly I'm just trying to figure out how I gave birth to someone so terribly talented.

For Christmas he gave me two books.

The Meadow by James Galvin was the one I read first.  I believe one of his professors had recommended it. And my son said that it made him think of his Granddaddy (my sweet Daddy who passed away just a few months ago).

Here's the back cover endorsement...

In discreet disclosures joined with the intricacy of a spider's web, James Galvin depicts the hundred-year history of a meadow in the arid mountains of the Colorado/Wyoming border. Galvin describes the seasons, the weather, the wildlife, and the few people who do not possess but are themselves possessed by this terrain. In doing so he reveals an experience that is part of our heritage and mythology. For Lyle, Ray, Clara, and App, the struggle to survive on an independent family ranch is a series of blameless failures and unacclaimed successes that illuminate the Western character. The Meadow evokes a sense of place that can be achieved only by someone that knows it intimately.

I was immediately struck by the phrase "the few people who do not possess but are themselves possessed by this terrain."

This perfectly describes my Dad's relationship with this place I call "the farm". It possessed him. It was him. His birth, his family, his struggles and his memories were the farm. Every time I'm there, even if I'm isolated in the middle of hundreds of acres of trees I know without a doubt that chances are, at one time or another over his almost one hundred years of life, my Daddy stood in that exact spot. He likely leaned against this very tree or stopped to rest on this same square foot of earth. He may have been 7 years old and playing chase with one of his twelve siblings or age 40 and repairing the fence that runs along that field or perhaps even 95 and slowly walking with The Chief through this spot just because he still could.

I didn't immediately understand everything I read right at the moment I read it, but that's the whole "intricacy of a spider's web" part. You live Lyle's (and Ray and Clara and App's) life in short bits and pieces that eventually fall together in a tapestry of time and experience and feeling.

Place is a strong thing. If you or someone you love is inexplicably drawn to "a place", you'll love reading this book. It is powerful and sometimes haunting, but always beautiful.

The Meadow  makes you think. And I believe that's what a good book is supposed to do.


Monday, January 23, 2012

The Post Without a Plan

I know how much y'all love a good winging it 
post from me.

You're all free-wheelers. Admit it.

You love the danger. I am your wild-thang.

May this post satisfy your rebellious soul...

(Remember, I always make a list when I am without a plan.)

1.  Some of you are aware (well, probably most of you since I've complained about all the work), that The Chief and I (mostly, The Chief, but still, this story wouldn't mean much without my participation) have been finishing the work on a house that we are getting ready to put up for lease. Last night after 3 straight days of back-breaking labor I announced:

"Chief, I think that it's obvious, after all this you know, torture, that the depth of my love for you is you know...deep. But I'm afraid at this point, we may be pretty close to discovering the limits of its depth. What I'm saying Chief is that the love gauge is dangerously low."

I always think it's wise to be honest about my feelings and most especially any feelings that might involve physical pain on my part.

And you know what The Chief said?  He said "OK Lu, but before it totally bottoms out would you make sure you finish scraping that caulk around the bathtub so I can replace it?"

He is hilarious.

2.  Today is Chinese New Year. I'm not really sure why I know this since I'm not Chinese, but maybe it's because I do love a good Hot and Sour Soup. Anyhoo, apparently we are supposed to clean our homes to rid ourselves of last year's bad luck and make room for this year's good luck and then put away all our brooms to make sure the good luck is not swept away. I'm all about the putting away of the brooms part.
And maybe celebrating the year of the Water Dragon with a crispy egg roll or four.

3. This year I promise I'm going to make a King Cake for Mardi Gras from scratch. I pitifully announce that I plan to do this every single year and then fail to do so. Let's see if I can pull through just this once. If I do I will proudly feature photos of the masterpiece right here and tell you how it tastes.

Because that's what I need to be doing with my healthy eating initiative and all...

4. I could absolutely not be more excited to announce that I am going to New York City at the end of March with a group of my High School girlfriends! I'm not sure if anyone has officially told NYC that we are coming, but let me tell you we plan to STAKE A CLAIM. The fun will be non-stop, never-ending, and dare I say contagious. We have planned for every contingency (of course, I'm not one of the "planners" but I do encourage them with things like Yes! and This will be so awesome!), even what we will do if we get arrested by some handsome policemen resembling those on one of the many COMPLETELY TRUE-TO-LIFE TELEVISION COP SHOWS.

We want to be prepared.

Should we be arrested in our snazzy/fashionable pumps, or would our spiffy walking boots be more practical for incarceration?

There's just so much to think about.

I will try to blog nightly while we're there. I know you won't want to miss the fun.

5. Now I'm off to decide upon a menu for Super Bowl. Any suggestions?

Sayonara, (I know, I know)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Haiku For You By Lu: Angst Edition

Tired. No sleep for Lu
The Chief pulling covers. Bad.
Revenge will be mine.

Weegie, smelly dog.
Farm substance rolling gags me.
Wash with soap, I must.

Long-haired, bearded boys.
Momma loves you even so.
Remember shaving?

Blueberries. Round orbs.
Clumsy. Rolling across floor.
Weegie vacuum, nice...

Donuts you haunt me.
Painful jeans squeezing. I die.
Salad for lunch. Crap.

Quite obviously a mess,


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Don't Be A Wallflower.

This is my lunch.

You'll never know if I follow it up with something not quite so nutritious, but like I said:

I'm trying.

A recent dinner guest to my home commented on how much they love the various salads I like to serve.
I do particularly appreciate a well thought-out salad and often base my opinion of a restaurant on the freshness and quality of their salads, as opposed to just their main course offerings.

Oh. And where they choose to seat me in their little establishment. I don't give a whit what their fancy salad looks like if they seat me near the restrooms or the swinging door to the kitchen.

If they do that they are dead to me.


A really good salad takes little thought, but it does take a very well-stocked produce drawer. Since I've been making an effort to eat healthier this year I've attempted to keep mine full to the brim with all the necessary makings for a variety of wonderful salads.

The yummiest salads start with the best base. The greens. So today I thought I'd share my favorite base materials which make for the most interesting and necessary part of the salad. You can have all kinds of exotic and luscious toppings and mix-ins for a salad, but without the right greens you'll strike out every time.

I hate to strike out.

I'm more of a home-run lover.

I would not hate it if you called me Ms. Pujols.

1.  Love the Iceberg.
It's gotten such a bad rap! Now I would never serve it looking sad and lonely like it does above, but nothing beats its texture and crunch. Granted, as a non-dark green, it lacks a lot of the nutrients and health benefits of it's darker cousins, but sometimes it's just the ticket for a hearty, full-bodied salad. It holds up well to thicker dressings and nothing beats an old-school wedge of Iceberg with Blue cheese dressing and a few fresh bacon bits.

Granted, my shoe looks tasty with a few fresh bacon bits. But still.

It's also great to mix with other greens to provide a little volume pump-up and color variation.

And basically it's just crunchy and fun to eat.

2. Red Leaf Lettuce
Also nicely textured, red leafed lettuce adds a punch of color and healthful vitamins. It's tricky to keep fresh, so I use my salad spinner (my secret love) to store it.  If you don't have a salad spinner please immediately drop everything you're doing and run out and buy one. Just a cheap one with a pull-cord will do fine. Nothing dries and stores delicate greens better. Moisture is the kiss of death to fragile leafy greens. If you don't have a spinner yet, make sure you thoroughly wash and dry each leaf and place in a zip-top plastic bag with several layers of paper towels. You'll be glad you did, and it will cut down significantly on wasted, soggy, brown, yuckiness.

But back to the red-leaf. It's also pretty. And nothing helps my attitude about eating more salads than eating something beautiful. Amen.

Please don't bother adjusting your eyeballs. It's a bad picture. Apologies.

3. Spinach
Now typically I don't buy pre-packaged/pre-washed greens. But the fresh spinach looked a little iffy last week at the store so I came home with this. Spinach, with it's slightly bitter bite is a great foundation for a salad with an addition of tart fruit, tangy cheese, and a sweet dressing.
You can also saute some of the spinach with a little butter for a quick side dish. But be prepared of course, to only get about two tablespoons of sauteed spinach from a bag.

For a spinach saute try frozen spinach. It's economical and nothing could be easier...

4. Boston Lettuce
Also called butter lettuce (and sometimes "living lettuce") Boston lettuce is typically hydroponically grown (in water, instead of in soil) and comes with the root ball still attached. It's always fresh and crunchy, and if you periodically put a few drops of water on the root ball, it stays appealing for days and days.

It's perfectly complemented by crispy red or orange pepper strips and ripe, red tomatoes.

Lately, I've been using it in place of tortillas (the leaves are large, sturdy, and slightly cupped). It's the perfect vehicle for a little pulled pork and tomatillo salsa or just some juicy ground beef and whatever suits your fancy.

We all enjoy a suited fancy, now don't we?

Those are my favs.

With the addition of cherry tomatoes, carrots, red, yellow, and orange peppers, avocado, some tangy cheese, toasted nuts, green and red onions, and maybe some cilantro and parsley (oh and rosemary!) we're on the road to some mighty fine salad-makin'.

Wait. And some crusty croutons.
They are my life.

What have I left out? What are your salad must-haves?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'd Like to Give Myself a Little Credit. At Least I'm Trying.

I have a problem. A breakfast problem.
I've really been making an effort to eat healthier and lighter. I'm not dieting exactly, because Heaven Knows I've dieted before and disappointed myself in too many ways to count. No, I'm just eating a lot more veggies and fruits and a lot less meat and sugar. Oh and fat. Less fat.

Don't be fooled by what looks like butter on my knife in the photo above. It only LOOKS like a tiny bit of butter.
(And if you believe that, then you've got your own problems.)

Anyway, here's the issue. When I get up in the mornings I don't really want to eat. Believe me. I get over this just fine as the day wears on, but I'm just not an early eater which leads me to put off breakfast to Oh About 11:30 or 12 which we all know is officially lunch time which just throws off my whole eating schedule and generally creates what we all now recognize as a THIRD WORLD PROBLEM.

And you were wondering where all these things started.

I apologize.

So I've been making an effort to eat earlier. I mean I'm smart enough to know that the body needs fuel to get going and breakfast is the most important meal of the day and yada yada yada and all that. As a former Biology teacher I'm aware of the chemical processes and such that start your engine in the morning and give you enough energy to get through Zumba without flopping onto the floor in a middle-aged heap and weeping for most of the class while all those tight-bodied little 20 year olds prance around you in their matching workout outfits and perky ponytails. I understand the science.

So here's what I'm doing. As soon as I get up I eat a bit of cereal (I'm into Special K) (but only because some genius at General Mills or Kellogs or somewhere chose to quit making my beloved Product 19) with a tiny bit of 2% milk and maybe some blueberries or raspberries if I can get to them before The Weege.
Then mid-morning I have a snack-y kind of thing which could be almost anything, you know snack-ish. And to make sure I had something fairly healthy for the snack this week I made Healthy Apple Oat Scones.

And keep in mind I made up the name myself because you might tend to wonder about the "healthy" part when you see that there is some butter in the recipe. I might be unable to fit in my jeans, but I am also not stupid. I know what makes a scone a scone and it's not good intentions. It's butter.

Look, I'm not trying to deceive myself or anyone else. They are healthier than the cheesecake in my freezer and half a jar of Nutella. So there.

And for Pete's sake (and yours) you don't eat three of them at a time like in the picture (remember the odd number photographic rule) and although one is odd, it mostly just looks lonely in a picture.

I thought you might like to try them yourself.

Here's the recipe. No pictures this time. I was in a hurry to get to the snacking part of the process.

Healthy Apple Oat Scones
(adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)

1 cup flour
½ c. whole wheat flour
1 c. quick cook oats
½ c. steel cut oats
¼ c. light brown sugar
2 T. honey
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ sticks cold butter (cut in small pieces)
1 ½ c. diced Honeycrisp apple (one med. apple)
2/3 c. cold buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the flours, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, soda, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers.
Mix together the honey, apples and buttermilk.
Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pat dough out on floured surface until about ½ inch thick. Cut into small squares with a knife or use a biscuit cutter. Sprinkle each scone with some extra oats and a little coarse sugar. Bake on parchment lined (or sprayed) baking sheet for about 23-25 minutes. Make sure they are nicely browned.

What's everyone else out there doing to get healthy healthier?????


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Counseling Will Be Of No Use


I am certainly no stranger to Physical Labor. I'm not. We've hung out together on many occasions.  I daresay, some of them were even almost pleasant.

But I am quite obviously totally estranged from Physical Labor All Day Long For Three Straight Days.
In fact, Me and the Physical Labor All Day Long For Three Straight Days could not have a more dysfunctional relationship.

At this very moment, in fact, I am having less than positive thoughts about the possibility that there ever in this lifetime will be a reconciliation between us.


There has been scraping and painting and ladder climbing and bending. There have been innumerable trips to Home Depot (shout out to Jim! You're the best!) and incorrect measurements and WHY THE HECK DIDN'T YOU BOTHER TO TELL ME IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ENAMEL PAINT?
There's also been a great deal of carpet removal and grout grinding. Yes, grout grinding. 2 whole rooms of it.

But now mostly there's just pain. And the inability to use my limbs in any kind of normal way.

So I decided  that I would just share a couple of recent pictures instead of having to take any powerful narcotics just to be able to type a long post.

I know you understand.

This photo shows one of my sons (on the left) hitting a tree we were trying to burn at the farm. I thought the effect was kind of cool.  You know, the Lu has no clue whatsoever how to use her camera in the dark effect.  

This is what we did New Year's Eve.

I know. Exciting.

And this is my new Texas Ware Bowl.

You all knew I bought it.

I think I loved it before I saw it.
I think I dreamed it into life...

There's a song.

No really. It's in mint condition. And a great color.

And I have no self control.

Hope you're all having a great day!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Trendy End

Yesterday we looked at 5 food trends mentioned last week in the Houston Chronicle. Here's the last five.

6. Southern-grown ingredients - Don't look now, but I may be "in". Seriously, who knew that I would ever be on the front edge of a trend? Fried chicken, biscuits, cornbread, barbecue, it's all hot for 2012. Color me thrilled. And also another 15 pounds heavier.

Prepare yourself for the next one

7. Blood - Evidently blood is becoming a more common offering on hip restaurant menus. Another "natural"(?) step in the nose-to-tail movement.  Count me so far out. Blood pancakes are becoming popular as are sauces thickened with blood. And apparently there's a recipe for Chocolate-Blood Ice Cream making the chic restaurant rounds.

I'm not sure what to say. I'll stick with YUCK.

8. Peruvian food - Considered one of the most varied and richest cuisines in the world, Peruvians cook with  Incan, Spanish, African, Chinese, Japanese, and Italian influences.

And did I mention rich? I could get on board this train.

9.  New flavor boosts from condiment-type foods - Yuzou kosho, the juice of finger limes, amaranth, and just some very flavor- packed foods like mackeral are going to be big.  Move over hot sauce and salt and pepper.

10. Cheese - Now it's supposedly hip and hot to be a cheesemonger. It's no longer cool to be a bartender or a butcher. Cheese guy is the job. And I just want to say that I was SO ahead of this trend. I told The Chief last year that I wanted to own a cheese shop and be a cheese expert. He did not take me seriously. I never knew why.

Now I bet he's sorry.

I could be famous.

And trendy.

Not just cheesy.

So there's the top 10. Are you ready to experiment? Are you already on board with some of the trends? Do you staunchly rebuke some of them?

Let us know.


Friday, January 6, 2012

One Man's Trend is Another Man's "No Thank You, I'll Have A Cheeseburger"

Last week the Houston Chronicle Flavor section printed a list of predicted food trends for 2012. You know, what's in, what's out, what's cool to eat. I mean who wants to be caught eating a Twinkie if someone has dubbed this the year of the Zinger?

Certainly not me.

So listen up folks and learn.

1.  Fin-to-tail eating - This I suppose is just a natural progression from the nose-to-tail movement (which of course, just means eating the whole of an animal, no waste) but in this case they're talking fish skin crisps and barbecued fish bones. I'm talking no.

2.  Round food - Italian Rice Balls, fried goat cheese balls, crispy risotto oxtail balls - that kind of thing.
I'm not sure what happened to plain old meatballs, or the Peanut M&M for heavens sake, but apparently they didn't make the cut.

3.  Honey- It's the big, new, "in" sweetener. It's also going in cough treatments, scar reducers and products to combat aging skin. Excuse me while I go smear some on my face. But don't go near my precious TAB with it. I like the fake, chemically stuff just fine.

4.  The Beer Garden - Supposedly the new alternative to indoor bars and lounges, these outdoor venues offer cheap, "unchallenging" snacks and affordable beverages. I'm not a beer drinker, so you won't find me at one, and I doubt you'll find much of anyone at one here in the Houston area in August when it's hot enough to make any good beer maiden want to die or move to Milwaukee.

5. Heirloom foods/ingredients - Well, I'm certainly no brainiac, but my guess is that SOMEBODY is trying to fancify "older varieties of veggies and fruits" that most of us grew up eating. I'm pretty sure the tomatoes and green beans that my Granddaddy grew for years behind his house were what you'd now call heirloom. I know that technically an heirloom designation also means "genetically" distinct, but what I'm thinking is how is the typical Joe going to know?
I'll tell you how he'll know. He'll pay 3 dollars more per pound for them.

That's how.

So that's the first 5. There are 5 more to come. I thought I'd let you ruminate, cogitate and maybe even vegetate on those a while...

(Really I just have a date with The Chief for some exciting PAINTING, and goodness knows, I do not want to be late...)

What are your Food Trends for 2012?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Loose Ends. For Safety's Sake They Really Should Be Tied

I've had a few thoughts floating around in my mind and occasionally one pops up rather violently and I think My WordI really must share that with the internets! So here I am sharing a few pop-ups with you.

1.  Since, as evidenced by yesterday's post, I am practically fluent in Spanish, I thought it would be fun to have a little Mexican feast last night.

I made Posole Rojo and it was a hit!

I think I've mentioned that I am becoming increasingly enamored with all things New Mexican. I got to serve it in my little Mexican casseroles which I just love.
I tried to get The Chief to wear a serape of sorts during the meal, but that did not go as planned. He's really not as easy-going as you'd imagine.

And speaking of New Mexico.

I really need to do a little photographic update on my succulent dish garden. We can have a moment of silence in honor and memoriam of a couple of the cacti that have gone on before us. Bless their little dried-up hearts.

The posole was ever so good, and I did make an effort to photograph the steps (albeit I did get a little distracted here and there with all the fainting, etc. brought on by working with the hot chiles) and I promise one day soon I will sit down and try to put it all in order and make some sense of the whole wonderful thing.

It was warm and comforting and spicy and good.


2. The Chief has mentioned a time or two lately that he thought we needed to rotate the mattress.

Yes, the new mattress.

No, I don't know what is wrong with us and why we continue to have what you might call mattress trauma.  

I will politely spare you the long version, but last night after I had already turned-down the bed, he decided it was time for the rotation. In my mind this meant that we would rotate it, then I would neatly rearrange and re-tuck the top sheet and quilts as due to the rotation the bottoms would now be the tops and the tops would be the bottom and HOW ON EARTH COULD WE SLEEP IF THE TOP HEM OF THE SHEET WAS DOWN AT OUR FEET?
Well, The Chief, being slightly less OCD about how a bed is made got right into the rotated bed and pulled the UPSIDE DOWN COVERS up and said he was going to sleep and I could fix the bed in the morning.

The top hem of the sheet was at the foot of the bed.


I thought about dragging him out of the bed and fixing the whole awful mess, but at almost 6'4" and a little over 200 pounds (him, not me) he wouldn't budge.

I barely slept a wink. It was all so wrong.

3.  I may or may not have bought a new Texas Ware bowl. If I did, you'll all have to agree (in writing, of course) not to mention it to a CERTAIN SOMEONE who thinks my obsession with Texas Ware is a little, well, obsessive.

But if I did it's the greatest color ever. Perhaps I could post a picture.

Of the arbitrary bowl.

In the most wonderful arbitrary copper-ish orange-y color.

But, that's only if I bought it.

I'll have the forms ready for you to sign tomorrow.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Like A Bean Doctor

Y'all know that commercial on TV? The one where the people are singing along to Elton John's Rocket Man and everyone has their own "version" of the lyrics? I think it might be for some type of radio sound?
But I'm not sure.

It might be a car commercial. Although I think at some point someone is in the shower, so probably not a car...

Now in my defense, I rarely just sit and watch TV. I'm almost always doing something else, especially during commercials, and I am quite well-known for just catching bits and pieces of commercials which lends itself, in many cases, to me being totally clueless about the product being advertised. As a matter of fact the commercial to which I refer had me bumfuzzled for a while-I thought at the end when the guy finally hears "burning out his fuse up here alone", the girl mocks him for being wrong.

Who knew it wasn't "Turning our infusion chromosomes"???

What can I say? It's the biology teacher in me.

So let me review 1) I rarely pay attention to commercials  2) I seem to be confused a lot 3) the guy is right after all about the whole "burning the fuse alone" thing.

Anyway, this entire rambling introductory tale is just to say that I am one of those people that sing a song for years without ever knowing the words. There are simply too many instances for me to even begin to share. I'm not sure if during my formative teenage music years I was too concerned about my aqua blue eyeshadow, my Farrah Fawcett hairstyle, or looking cute in my drill team uniform, but SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY I decided that learning the actual lyrics to songs was completely optional.

I liked the beat and the sound of a song, and that was all I needed.

I had the rhythm.  Yes indeedy.

In fact I still do. And I still have the pesky lyric problem.

And that my friends brings us to my point (if The Chief were here he would now be able to quit twirling his hand around in the classic oh my gosh Lu please hurry and get to the point rotation signal).

Have I mentioned before just how much The Chief loves my stories?

But, back to the point.

Yesterday, at gunpoint, I forced myself to go back to Zumba class. I had taken an extended Holiday Hiatus because during the Christmas season of chocolate, sweets of all sorts, and high caloric foods no one wants to see me walking around looking all buff and in shape. It's just too depressing for other people. So in the spirit of cooperation I slacked off. It's all about being a good neighbor.

So I go back for the first time in a while, and at this very moment, in fact, can barely stand upright from you know, all the pain.

Anyway, while driving home from class yesterday I realized that the Zumba song that FOREVER STAYS STUCK IN MY MIND is most likely not "Like a Bean Doctor" (although that phrase is repeated several times at intervals throughout the song leading me to surmise that it is not only the chorus, but also the title).

I'm logical and methodical like that.

But now that I think about it, the song is in Spanish, and "like a bean doctor" is likely not a common Spanish phrase.

Or common. Or even Spanish.

So I'm thinking it might be something more along the lines of "hike a spleen doctor" or maybe "Mike, the Mean Doctor",

Because that actually makes a lot more sense.

Thanks for listening. Sometimes I just need to talk it out.