Friday, August 31, 2012

The First (and maybe Final) Food Forum Friday




I'm pretty busy this weekend, so could one of you please come organize my seasonings and spices alphabetically?


It's total chaos....

We'd be friends forever!




Anyway.

Thanks to all my FB friends for throwing out a few intriguing questions for FFF!

Neveryoumind that the whole conversation got completely out of hand with things nosediving quickly from talk of SPAM to disturbing queries about cooking and eating mammals.

Small mammals that crawl on fences with names like Rocky The Flying.

Or marsupials even.

It was a sad, sad thing.


Anyway we did manage to capture a few appropriate, and even down-right normal type questions so here goes.


From Kendra: Lu, do you have a vegetable garden? Ever tried canning? Do you use a crockpot? Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?

Like I've said before, she's inquisitive.

I don't have a garden (well, I have a small herb garden) but I wish I did. Over the years I've planted and produced some pretty good tomatoes and peppers right in my flower beds, does that count? I'd love to have a big garden and would especially like to grow a variety of lettuces. But then again, I'd also love to have a gardener who would take on the task of all the sweating and work involved. Typically, when dreaming of my garden, I tend to leave out the heat,
the manual labor and the weeds.

(Oh, and I should mention that one time I had a very unpleasant experience that involved 103 degree temperatures and out-of-control cucumbers.)

Don't make me talk about it.

Canning? Um. I'm embarrassed to say no. I still remember when I was a girl and my Mom would can all sorts of things. Tomatoes, peas, beans. There was lots of steam and heat. I was honestly terrified of that pressure cooker and still have never used one myself. I know. I know. They're not dangerous and it's easy and all.
You tell that to The Chief when he comes home and I've blown a hole through the ceiling.

The crockpot. I'm not the biggest fan. (Kendra mentioned that her husband thinks everything cooked in a crockpot tastes like a crockpot...any agreement amongst the masses??)
My problem with the crockpot is that I tend to decide what I want to cook approximately 6 minutes before I need to start cooking in order to throw it on the table. To me, a crockpot screams preparation and planning.
Color me paralyzed.

And besides. Just because I put meat and veggies and a can of mushroom soup in a pot in the morning doesn't mean that's what I'll be hungry for at 6 pm.
Fickle is as fickle does.

And I guess it might make a difference if I actually owned a crockpot built in this (or the 20th) century...
Mine is ancient.

And finally K, I do have 2 favorite cookie recipes. One is this one for soft and irresistible Ginger cookies. I usually start making them in Nov. and can't stop. They make the most wonderful ice cream sandwiches too, by the way...




Giant Ginger Cookies
Better Homes and Gardens, November 1998


4 ½ cups flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ c. molasses
¾ c. coarse sugar or granulated sugar

1.       Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl stir together the flour ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and ¼ tsp. salt.  Set aside.
2.      In a large bowl beat the shortening for 30 seconds.  Add the 2 cups granulated sugar; beat until combined.  Beat in eggs and molasses until combines.  Beat in half of the flour mixture.  Stir in the remaining flour mixture.  Using a ¼ cup ice cream scoop, shape dough into 2-inch balls; roll in the coarse or granulated sugar.  Place the balls 2 ½ in ches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3.      Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are light brown and puffed.  (Do not overbake, as cookies will not be chewy.) Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.  Cool.  Makes 25 (4-inch) cookies.




Now from Sara. 
She needs help baking for her husband who's a diabetic. She says her baked goods come out dry and tasteless when she uses Splenda.

Oh Sara, I am totally clueless. Years ago, I remember my Dad was told to severely limit his sugar intake for an extended time. My Mom (an awesome baker) struggled with baking without sugar. Of course, at the time there were just little packets of pink stuff or tiny white pills in a bottle!

I know there are websites and forums devoted to this. I will defer to the experts. Bless you.



Kristy asks if I really feel that Le Crueset cookware is worth the extra cost and if I find it to be better than other brands.

Honestly, it's probably not worth the cost for everyone. Kind of like I probably don't need a high-end sewing machine when I only pull mine out once every 3 years and then can't remember how to thread it...

True story.

I cook every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. I love the heavy feel of the Le Crueset, the durability of the finish, and the ability to go from stovetop to oven. It's pretty funny (or awful) that you asked this question just yesterday as I may or may not have bought another piece of the stuff yesterday afternoon.

I replaced a Le Crueset pot (I gave my old one to my son) that I use for rice cooking. Seriously, I've been cooking rice for a lot of years and until I got this particular pot I never knew how perfect it could turn out.

Perfect.

From Lori - she wonders how you know when your Meyer lemons are ripe and ready to pick.
Before I became a well-known citrus farmer (I kid) , I always thought lemons were a summer thing. You know lemonade stands and all. But most of my Meyers aren't ripe until after it gets pretty cold. Sometimes I leave mine on until January or February! I never pick them if there is any green at all still on the skin, and if the lemon doesn't almost fall off by itself when you try to pluck it, it's not ready. Unless there's a chance of a bitter freeze (Ha. Houston) I just leave mine on the tree until I want to use them.

Here's how mine look this morning...
























I have about 22 total and they're all looking pretty good.

Of course, I can't say the same for the leaves. Every year I seem to get a new disease that makes the leaves look just awful. I treated it a couple of weeks ago and it looks a bit better.



Where in The World is Weegie?


My friend Diana had a couple of questions:

The first one, concerning SPAM, is worthy of it's own post, so look for that soon. I want to honor the pork product as it deserves...

Secondly, she asked what my favorite kind of cookie sheet is.

Well. This is my fav...

























Shameful, isn't it? But what can I say? It's the best.

Otherwise I do love these Calphalon ones with a khaki-colored finish.

























I have them in a variety of sizes and like them all. I don't like insulated cookie sheets  - I don't think they brown the bottoms of cookies well, and I don't use cookie sheets with dark finishes (I'm a burner).

I do love my Silpat, though. It can turn a lousy cookie sheet into a good one!


Thanks for the questions! It's been fun. Anyone else?


PS. You can message me and let me know when you'll be here to do that pantry organization work!


Lu


Friday, August 24, 2012

Please Meet Stu Everyone!

I didn't plan to post anything this morning because, well, I had all kinds of weird dreams last night and I woke up suddenly from the last one which involved me living in a small dorm room with about 7 girls and never remembering each day which of the numerous tiny and uncomfortable beds in the place was mine.

And there was also no oscillating fan in the room.

So obviously we're dealing with a nightmare.

Anyway, after I got up and schlepped myself over to the computer to check my e-mail (I continue to hold out hope that one day I'll have something more exciting than sales announcements from Coldwater Creek and Lumber Liquidators) I saw that the Chief had sent me a message.

He sent the message at 7:10 am which means he had already been at work for an hour or so and probably already had three meetings and produced a thousand of barrels of oil or something.

I had brushed my teeth and poured a TAB.

Anyway, I think from what he sent me it's clear that 1) he loves me and 2) he knows me well!


This video was taken by a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) while exploring the ocean bottom-a fairly commonplace kind of thing in Deepwater production.

Watch this!

video


It's a sea cucumber! Genus Enypniastes to be exact! 

I want one! It can be Weegie's playmate.


Now typically sea cucumbers are like big slugs or gigantor hot dog buns and just kind of roll around on the bottom of the ocean. But this awesome one has developed nifty legs and crawls!

I'll name him Stu! I'll let you know when he gets settled in...

Have a great weekend!

Lu







Thursday, August 23, 2012

Walk With Me




Just a few I-phone photos from my morning walk.

The sky was pretty and blue this morning. I left before it got blazing hot.


The Beautyberries are full of berries. A nice fuchsia color.


The berries are a last resort food for birds and can actually be eaten by humans but are extremely astringent! They are occasionally made into wines and jellies though.

As a result of last year's horrible drought there are many trees of varying sizes along the pathway that have died.


They are identified then tagged for removal. Because of the sheer number of dead trees, some are marked for months before they are removed.


Whenever feasible the trees are cut and left to decay in their native habitat. This returns nutrients to  the soil and provides habitat for insects and other small wildlife.


Sometimes the dead trees simply break off and fall and some of the limbs must be removed from the walkway or private areas.






































I noticed that the holly bushes and the yaupons are both putting on berries. A sure sign that we are approaching the end of summer.





































Both types of berries will eventually be a brilliant red to reddish-orange.

































Thankfully there are still tons of beautiful trees to enjoy.





































Kind of blurry, but damage this extensive to the bark of a pine tree many times spells doom for the tree. Wounds like this allow all kinds of pests into the tree making it especially susceptible to things like Pine Bark Beetles.





































There are still a few wildflowers hanging on this late in the season. Most have already released their seed pods and completed their brief life cycles.





































The pond by my house is gloriously full right now. A stark contrast to the low water level this time last year.






























This shot is a little blurry too, but I thought it almost looked like a watercolor...





































Here's my Daddy's tree. It was planted by my most wonderful girlfriends (Hey Lady B's!) in his memory after he passed away last summer. It struggled to survive the first few months, but I think it's doing much better now.

He would like it.


Thanks for joining me on my walk! Aren't you glad we got some exercise?


Lu

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One of My Least Awful Traits (AKA The Hatch Chile Guacamole Post)



I've always enjoyed hearing people's answers in interviews to the question
"What is your best, and worst character trait?"

Sweet mercy Moses.

All kinds of bumbling, half-truths, self ego-inflation, and general goober-y-ness is likely to be coming next.

Oh people don't seem to mind at all listing the fact that they are: (in no particular order)

innovative
a leader
kind
organized
an "outside the box" thinker

and many more wonderful qualities that an employer/judge might deem worthy.
But they always seem to stumble over, come up short, be bumfuzzled, so to speak, by the whole worst characteristic part.

I mean, do you tell the absolute and total HEAVEN HELP US truth?

"Um. I am a horrible procrastinator. I would totally wait to the very last minute to work on any project you might assign me. You'd likely lose millions of dollars in sales because of me."

or

"I have the patience of a gnat. It's horrible, really. You'd hate it."

or maybe

"I don't get along well at all with others. Not. at. all."



No. What typically happens is something more like this:

"Well, gosh, that's tough. If I just have to come up with something I guess it would probably be that I am such an overachiever."

or

"Gee, I don't know. People always say what a perfectionist I am. Is that kind of what you mean?"

or

"Oh, goodness yes! I have the awful trait of always wanting to work too hard. I never want to take a break. It's just the way I am. I'm trying to monitor it better. For my health."




My guacamole has always been one of my least terrible traits.

I rarely hear "gosh Lu, I really love your sassy sense of style" or your wonderful singing voice, or your awesome self-starter-ness (don't ask)."

BUT I can't count the number of times I've heard "Lu, I love your guacamole."

I know. I should run for office or something.


The key to good guacamole is two-fold.

1.The avocados must be absolutely, perfectly ripe
and
2. the amount of salt must be perfect.

Perfect.


Here's a new recipe I came up with when I noticed that the HEB was getting all innovative and such and serving a seasonally appropriate Hatch Chile Guacamole.

I didn't taste theirs, but I did decide I needed to make one myself.




Hatch Chile Guacamole
Lu

(Serves 3-4)
2 large (or three small-ish) ripe avocados
*1/3-1/2 cup roasted and peeled Hatch chiles (Finely chopped) (about 3 med. sized chiles)
1/3 c fresh tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 T. white onion, finely minced
Juice of ½ lime
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Mash everything together!

* Keep in mind that Hatch chiles usually come in a mild or hot variety. For this recipe I would suggest at least one hot chile... I'm not a big lover of too much heat, but even with 2  of the hot variety this, is great!


Remember how easy it is to roast those chiles! Just place them directly on the burner of a gas stove, turning with tongs until blackened on all sides then place in paper bag to sweat. After a few minutes peel off the charred skin!








What could be easier?

Serve with chips!

Or your finger!


You'll love it so much that the next time you're in an interview and get that "worst trait" question your answer will be "I am occasionally too boastful of my guacamole-making skills. It's shameful, honestly."

Enjoy!

Lu










Friday, August 17, 2012

A Lesson In Friendship



























This is me and a friend of mine. Let's call her K.

No, let's just call her Kendra. Because that's her name.

I haven't ask her permission or anything to post her picture or talk about her, but I'm counting on her not hating me for it, or at the very least not initiating any kind of legal action.

K and I have known each other since the 4th grade. Since we were 10-ish. It's been a long, long time since we were 10-ish, so let's just say we've been buds more than a few years.

And I'd like to take this time to ask K a question. "K, why the heck don't we have any more recent photos of just the two of us?"

This picture was taken two years ago at our High School Reunion and it's the only one I could find that didn't highlight one of us putting food into our mouths or talking.

Hmm.

Anyway, as things happen, after High School we lost touch for many years and it's only through the wonders of Facebook and High School Reunion Planning that we were reunited.

It's like we were never separated. If we were in a class together today, the teacher would go to great lengths to make an assigned seating chart that placed K and I on opposite sides of the classroom.

It's true.



K is inquisitive and witty and funny.

And a good, good friend.

Not very long ago in an e-mail I told her that I was feeling down and rather "blue", you know, out of sorts, and just generally not-at-all-'me-like'.

And do you know what she did?

Instead of replying that well that's too bad Lu, or I'm so sorry that's just the pits, Lu, or Gosh Lu I'll pray for you (although she would and I'm sure she did),


No, my sweet friend replied with a list. A list of suggestions of things that I could do to pull myself up out of the dumps so to speak.

Things like:

1. Sign you and The Chief up for a dance class.
2. Design and build a fish pond.
3. Ask Weegie to write a blog post.
4. Bake something for someone.


It was a long list. I can't recall all her suggestions and I have since, of course, deleted the message.

If something is important or sentimental or meaningful, something I really want to keep forever, or if it's legally or financially significant, like something we need  to complete our taxes?

Quite obviously I CANNOT DELETE IT FAST ENOUGH.

But if it's information on the sale items at Chico's from August of 2010? I've got it. The link to a cat video someone sent me in 2008? Right there in my inbox. The directions to a meeting I forgot to attend at Texas A&M in January of this last year? I'm your girl...

I just so hate that I somehow went all crazy with the delete button and her reply is gone.

But still.

K took the time to think about things that she knows I like, things that would likely interest me. Practical, easy ideas that not only made me smile, but let me know that she had really put some thought into her response.

I can't tell you how much it meant.

And although I've only actually done maybe one or two of the things she listed, just thinking about them made me realize how very much control I had over my own feelings at that time and that by golly, I had some choices.

Do you need to be a friend like K today?

Trust me. It might make all the difference in the world to someone who needs a lift.

I love you K!


Lu


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Because I Like You

Today I'm cleaning out my closet and mourning the clothes I can no longer wear.

It's a sad, sad day.



But this cheered me up a bit and I hope it gives you a boost too!

The 21 Absolute Worst Things


You're Welcome.


Lu


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Welcome To The Jungle

























What just a few weeks ago was a well-tended, neat garden is now a jungle.  The courtyard is officially overgrown.

The palm has recovered nicely from last summer's terrible heat, and has outgrown it's tidy place in the corner.The red and orange Bat-faced Cuphea seems to really like hanging out in here, but the poor zinnias have about had it! They're now too shaded by the other plants.


























The wonderful rains that we had in July, paired with not too many days over 100 (yet) has created some pretty good growing conditions for all my plants. The Plumbago, the Shrimp Plant, and the coleus have all kind of "become one" here on this side of the courtyard.

























The lemon tree has been doing well and all 20 or so lemons seem to be maturing nicely. But the coleus is seriously just too much.

Coleus overload.

























On this side we have a vine issue. It's everywhere. I can't stop it.

(Does anyone have a good suggestion for cleaning my beloved copper rain pot? I've tried the salt and lemon scrub thing and that just made it streaky.)





















If I don't cut this voracious vine back every three or four days it ends up all over the porch and around the side of the house. It's Sweet Potato Vine and frankly, if you can't grow sweet potato vine you're a horticultural failure. I know that's strong language, but I think it would grow anywhere. In any soil. With absolutely no care. With abandon.

























It all started when I decided that the base of my new little orange tree looked too bare. "I will plant something around the tree that will cascade attractively down the sides of the pot..." I believe were my very last words.

It doesn't just cascade. More like avalanches.

The Chief calls it The Devil Plant.

























I've noticed that even Weegie has started keeping an eye on it when he walks by. It's really aggressive and with his gimpy leg right now he can't be too careful!


I'll have free cuttings available at noon!

(Uh, that's of the plant. Not Weegie.)


Lu

Monday, August 13, 2012

Always Look On The Bright Side

Well y'all, I'm feeling a bit antsy and out-of-sorts this morning because I don't know if you heard or not but, the Olympics, they are over.

I'm going to have to come up with a whole new life routine.

I've enjoyed them so much. Sometimes they've inspired me to set a goal to become a World-Class athlete and other days they've just worn me out with all the jumping, twisting, stretching, running and lifting. I mean I don't know if many of you realize it, but some of those participants practice a good bit before they actually show up to the Big Games.

And you know what they most likely don't do before the Olympics?


Drink a bunch of TAB.

Eat a boatload of Cheez-its.

Go for over two weeks without exercise of any sort because it is so dang hot and humid outside.

Decide what to wear in the morning based solely on how much the fabric breathes and how little it actually touches their bodies.

Spend an entire day researching dips and accompanying dip-ee's.

Or dip-ers.

I'm just not sure.



Anyway, the athletes are amazing, their stories inspiring, and their enthusiasm infectious.

The whole Olympic experience led to some great conversations between me and The Chief.


TC: "Why are you watching this Rhythmic Gymnastic stuff? That's not a sport."

Me: "Leave me alone."



Me: "Oh hey Chief, I see you're watching basketball. Oh look, I think I've seen some of the players on the USA team before. Do you think I might have seen them before Chief."

TC: "Well, it's possible Lu. I mean that one you're looking at is Lebron James and that other one there is Kobe Bryant. You could possibly have seen or heard of them before. But I can never be sure."

Me: "Leave me alone."


So we'll definitely have to put a little more effort into our conversation starters this week without all the you know, titillating "sport talk" openers.


I, for one, even enjoyed the opening and closing ceremonies. Now I know I saw some less than complimentary comments on the FB last night about the closing ceremonies, but I kind of got a kick out of the crazy, theatrical-y, hodge-podge-iness of it all.


I mean honestly.

It's probably safe to say that if I had been in charge of the whole production I would have spent the entire budget on TAB and cheese crackers for everyone and then just had big ginormous screens with The Food Network blaring (you know, a few of those chefs are British).

And then maybe ended with some sparklers or something.


So I say kudooz!! to London!



I had to keep the Google going because I'm not really up on all of the British music artists of either past or present. Even with the periodic name flashing at the bottom of the screen I was a little behind and confused. Were any of those people actually in Queen?

And the octopus? That made all kinds of sense.


Overall it was a little higgledy. And also (for me, at least) delightfully piggledy.


My very favorite part, though, was when Jessie J (I Googled, who knew?) came out wearing the exact same thing that I was planning to wear today. Can you believe?

There aren't many of us who can totally rock the flesh-colored unitard.

Just sayin'.



I hope you loved it too!

Have a great day!

Lu






Friday, August 10, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever "Ate"

You may have noticed that I kind of like to cook.
I've almost decided that it's my love language.

There's nothing that makes my heart sing more than knowing that someone has enjoyed some little something that I've prepared for them. Whether it's a Luscious Banana Roll Cake for one of the boys' birthdays, or just a special meal for The Chief on a weekend, I like to think I'm giving a little of myself each time.

Feeding someone starts with a thought. An idea. A desire.

We all have a need to be fed and to have the privilege of feeding someone else. Not just to nourish and fuel our bodies, but also our souls.

In many a sermon over the years I've heard something similar to the following.

We all have three kinds of people in our lives:

1. People who feed us. These are the people we trust the most to fill us with encouragement and love. People who have walked the path before us and that we look to for advice. Those we might consider mentors or advisors. Someone who cares enough to guide us when we're not even aware that we're off track. They know how to fill up our hearts. We need them.

2. People we feed. These are the ones we nurture through life. Not just our children. Other people whom we care for and advise. People who look up to us and come to us when they have an empty spot that needs to be filled. They want to bounce ideas off us and hear what we have to say about a certain situation. They aren't necessarily always younger than ourselves, but at the time they seek us out, they are hungrier... They think they need us (but we know we need them too!)

3. People we eat with. These are our buddies. Our comrades. The folks we likely spend the most time with. We enjoy the same "foods" (read activities or social events). We have the most in common with these people and we look to them for sharing life and our everyday selves. They are our daily fill of nutrients. They're breakfast and lunch and maybe a fun snack! Boy, do we need them.



Honestly, you don't need to be a cook to feed people. You don't need to be like me and lay in bed wondering what on earth you're going to do to use up those 8 heads of Romaine lettuce you bought at SAM'S. Or trying to decide if Rosemary and lime would taste as good in the dressing as Rosemary and lemon. Or orange. It's a little sweeter. Less acidic. Ah Ha!

You don't even need to be physically hungry to need some nourishment. Nourishment to our soul can quiet a lot of grumbling!


So. Think about who these people are in your life. Do you need to feed someone today? Do you need a deep, loving "meal" from someone you trust?


Bon Appetit!

and

Have a great weekend!!

Lu


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Evidently, this one deserves no title...


Well it was quite the busy day around here yesterday. You'll see that I started 'er out by single-handedly cutting down a 75 foot pine tree which was violently struck by lightning back in May.

What you say? That doesn't look like me? You say the person looks like a male with a tan and a total lack of concern that he is over 50 ft. off the ground held to a gigantor tree with only a little safety strap? You don't think I'd do that?

Maybe you're right. Maybe I forgot. Maybe I was in the courtyard with the camera just taking pictures of the whole thing. Yes, come to think of it that's how it all went down. That's not me at all. 
But I do like to think I could rock a hard hat and some nifty spiked boots if circumstances required.

It was nice to see the tree come down after months of phone calls to the responsible party. Let's just say I finally had to use my "stern voice" when leaving messages with the assistant to the secretary of the deputy administrator of the corporation. The tree was just about 6 ft. from our driveway yet not on our property and let's just say that the "party" concerned did not seem as worried as myself that most of the 75 feet of the giant might end up in my kitchen.

Go figure.

But anyway it's down, with only minimal damage to the wooden fence below. The Chief says he'll just fix it himself. The tree guys of course just take down trees. They don't fix the fences they mess up in the process. That would require more phone calls to my buddy the assistant/secretary/deputy/sheriff/ambassador to Zimbabwe, and frankly, ummm NO.

Later in the morning my neighbor and friend JB and I went out to lunch and shopping and kind of almost died in the heat. We were at Arbor Gate  (a great garden and outdoors place) for a while and noticed that we were pretty much the only humans there. Of course it was around 2 in the afternoon and about 102 degrees. 

Word on the street is that most people were inside.

But we had a great time and bought some things that we didn't need because isn't that the whole point of going shopping with a friend?

Later, after we got back home and I had a chance to stop sweating and sit on the couch and spend some time admiring all of advantages of conditioned air in the indoors, The Chief called and said he was on his way home (early) and "by the way, Lu, what's for dinner?"

I really must investigate this whole phenomenon in more detail because he never, ever, comes home early unless of course 1) I've been gone all day 2) I'm sitting down admiring the indoors and  my totally unnecessary purchases, and 3) I have absolutely nothing to cook.

Because it's just really uncanny.

But I dragged myself into the kitchen and made some Monterey Chicken/Hatch Chile Quesadillas and all was right with the world. And to be perfectly honest, The Chief would have been just fine if I had suggested he just pick something up on his way home because I was so exhausted... but me slaving over a hot stove just makes for such a better ending to my sad story.

I don't like to disappoint.

So.

I'm planning on roasting a large quantity of chiles here this afternoon. You are welcome to come observe. Sometimes it gets a little smoky. You might want to bring a mask.

And a fire extinguisher.

Lu

















Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's a Plan: We shall Medicate and Eat Dip.

I have a lot to do today and so right now I'm sitting in a chair and drinking TAB. It's just how I choose to deal with a packed schedule. Later today I'll begrudge the whole leisurely thing, but currently? It just seems like the right thing to do.

Weege had a vet visit yesterday and just as we suspected he appears to have the beginnings of a tear in his ACL. It's not yet a complete tear, so we're treating it with anti-inflammatory drugs and a little rest. Honestly, the drug thing is a lot easier than the rest thing. Hopefully it will heal up enough that he doesn't require another surgery...yet.

The vet showed me the Weegster's x-rays and don't tell the little guy I said so, but he kind of looks like a platypus or something in x-ray form. The vet said he's always amazed to look at Corgi bone structure-it just doesn't seem possible somehow. Kind of like the whole bumble bee wing/body proportion wonder.

It's true. Weegie is a miracle.

But he appreciates all the messages and cards and flowers sent on his behalf. So he sends a big shout out.

I've got to gear up and run out to the HEB in a bit. I went yesterday too and that just goes to show that I'm a big organizational loser as far as shopping and planning ahead is concerned. And just an observation, but I was the only female there yesterday that wasn't 1) in her early-mid thirties 2) wearing a form-fitting workout suit and 3) talking on the phone the entire time.

I'm not envious or anything.

Observation 2: The Hatch Chile Peppers are here.

(!!)

I've droned on before about my love of being in Santa Fe when it's chile-roasting time. You simply can't beat the aroma. Or the taste, for that matter. And since I can't be there this year I fully intend to roast a few right here in my kitchen.

First recipe: Hatch Guacamole.
I noticed HEB was whipping up some of it's own yesterday. I'm more than ready for a little avocado/chile-related research and product development.

Recipe coming soon.


Oh and the season also begs for Lu's Gig-em Dip (click on it for the recipe link!)

I swoon.


May your ACL be healthy, your work-out gear fashionable, and your chiles fresh!

Lu




Monday, August 6, 2012

Everything's a Cycle

Just a quick update before the whirlwind of this week begins.

And when I say whirlwind I mean I have more than two things to do. Exhausting.

1. Weegie - We have a medical problem. Some of you may remember the whole saga of Weegie tearing his ACL and then having corrective surgery about this time last year. It was sad and painful and he milked the whole situation for all it was worth. The recovery was long and difficult, but he has taken to his bionic leg well and can still roll in cow poop and ride in the Mule with the best of them.
Well, unfortunately when we were at the farm on Saturday he started limping on his only good back leg. I think he may have torn the ACL on that one. (By the way, he only has two. Legs, I mean. In the back. My wording kind of makes it sound like he has a whole herd of legs back there.) We go to the vet today to get it checked out.
He looks alternately sad and delirious. But he seems to perk up a lot at the prospect of a dog treat. Y'all please keep him in your prayers.

2. The Olympics - I tell you I am just worn out. The Chief gets the biggest kick out of me jumping up and down for EVERY SINGLE COMPETITION. Men's rowing? The long jump? Cycling? It doesn't matter. All it takes is for me to see one of the competitor's faces right before the race/event and I'm hooked. I may have no idea who they are or what country they represent but in their face I can see the years of training and "wanting" and I become their biggest fan.
Now I know where Eritrea is.

3. August - Did y'all notice that it's August? Seriously, who told July to be over? There's just something about August that makes me sweat. August seems to last forever. Why can't October last forever?

I mean October usually only lasts for about 2 days. And then it's August again.

4. I feel a fall fashion post coming on. I know you've been holding your collective breath and waiting for me to post what's in and what's not. Me being a big fashion icon and all. I'll get to work on that.

In the meantime just let me make a blanket statement. When it's "fall" here in Texas and you are tempted to wrap 6 brightly hued thick scarves around your neck for just that "pop" of color and maybe add a wool poncho because it looks chic... don't. It's just embarrassing.
Especially if you choose to wear flip-flops with the whole ensemble because of the heat.

It just needs to be said.


Lu


Friday, August 3, 2012

If I Were an Olympic Champion

If I were an Olympic athlete
I guess I'd constantly train.
Probably if I didn't
A muscle, I would strain.

If I were an Olympic swimmer
I'd kick and float and stroke.
Nike or someone might like my medal
and then, I'd never go broke.

If I were an Olympic diver
straight into the water I'd go.
I'd worry about my swimsuit though,
have you seen what those cameras can show?

If I were an Olympic gymnast
I'd flip and turn and stretch.
The balance beam would be my fear,
it's likely I would retch.

If I were an Olympic beach volleyball girl
I hope I'd be tall and tan.
If I was just dumpy and pale you know,
I doubt you'd be a big fan.

If I were an Olympic champion
I'd sing my country's song.
I'd hold on tight to my medal,
the taxes might take it 'fore long.



I'm loving the Olympics! How about you?

Lu





Thursday, August 2, 2012

Authority

Well. Several of my friends asked me if I went to Chick-fil-A yesterday. I didn't.

Not because I don't love the restaurant. I do. Not because I don't totally support the owners and their beliefs. I do.

And I love the fact that they are closed on Sundays to allow their employees to worship with their families.

(But come to think of it I don't ever refuse to patronize those restaurants who do, on the other hand, choose to stay open on Sundays)

And I support all of you who went and waited in line and bought some chicken and enjoyed it. (hopefully, someone ate a Chicken Salad sandwich for me)

But no waffle fries.
I'm trying to cut down.

I guess I didn't go or not go on purpose.

Does that make any sense at all?

Those of you who know me well know that I'm basically a wimp. At least when it comes to verbally expressing my opinion on anything political, controversial, or outside the realm of baked goods or the quality of various brands of canned tomato products.

I just don't like to speak much on topics in which I feel I have no authority. But I realized while I lay in bed last night that as much as I forget about it, fail to appreciate it, and generally try to hide behind it, I am an authority on one thing.

God's love.

You are too. If you know Jesus and he's come into your life and changed you and every single thing about you.

An authority on how much he loves me despite the fact that I am a sinner. Plain and simple, every day a repeat sinner. I'm a certified authority on forgiveness and grace and loving people.

An authority on mercy.

And I just hope that over my lifetime the things I do and say reflect the fact that I know that I am also one of the "unlovable". One of those that Jesus loved (and continues to love) in spite of my sins. I hope that each and every day I choose to do the things that support my beliefs in an incredible God.

And if one day that means eating a lot of chicken then well,  that's fine.

But it also might just mean me telling all of you today how much I love you and how much you mean to me.

Have a great day!

Lu





Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This May "A-peel" To You. Yes, Sometimes I Crack Myself Up.



OK, so it's a bad title. And I'm not even a little funny

.

But don't let that deter you from making this Banana Walnut Coffee Cake. Puh-leez.

It's really good.

Promise.

I found the original recipe in A Taste of the South Magazine but changed it just a teensy bit.

Here are some step- by- step directions and then the full recipe at the end.





This recipe is written to be made in a cast iron skillet. This is my very favorite one.

























It has the greatest seasoning on it and nothing ever, ever sticks to the bottom.



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spray a cast iron skillet (10-10 1/2 in.) with baking spray.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese (amen) and the butter
























Any recipe that starts with cream cheese and butter is bound to be good.

Clap your hands for cream cheese and butter!

























Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl. Don't be a slacker.

3. Add the brown sugar and beat until creamy

























4. Then add the eggs one at a time (although I forgot and threw them both in at the same time) and beat until creamy.

























Yes, the shirt I'm wearing in the above photo was made in 1975. Why do you ask?



5. Now combine the bananas, sour cream, and vanilla extract (or paste, which is what I used)

























Now stir it all together.

























6. Add the banana mixture to the butter mixture. Don't go crazy. Just beat until it's all incorporated.































7. In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and then gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

























8. Spread the batter in the skillet.

























9. In a small bowl combine one cup chopped walnuts with sugar
























Please wear a psychedelic shirt from 1975 while you do this.


























10. And sprinkle on top of batter
























































Yum!

Wait. We need to bake it...

























OK! Now!

Here's the whole recipe!

                                                Banana Walnut Coffee Cake

Ingredients
  1. 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  2. ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1 ¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  6. ½ cup sour cream
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  8. 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  9. 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  10. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  11. ½ teaspoon salt
  12. 1 cup chopped walnuts
  13. 2 tablespoons sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 10 1/2-inch square cast-iron skillet with baking spray with flour. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy, approximately 3 minutes. Add brown sugar, and beat until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a small bowl, combine bananas, sour cream, and extract, whisking to combine. Add banana mixture to butter mixture, beating to combine.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture. In a small bowl, combine walnuts and sugar. Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle nut mixture over batter.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.