Archive for August 2008
Just because you plop a man in front of a bbq grill, stick tongs in his hand, and slap some meat on the surface, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows what he is doing.
This was never more evident than last Sunday when we went to the picnic.
There was chicken and hot dogs on the grill, and we were kinda excited about the chicken.
We know that even if you slap chicken on the grill, sans seasoning, if it is cooked right, it can be juicy and delicious.
The picnic might be saved after all.
As the chips and I sat watching “Mr. BBQ” grill the meat, the girl pipes up and says to us “Mom, should he be jabbing the chicken like that?” and we watched in horror, yes Internet, horror as he mutilated the boneless, skinless, defenseless, chicken breast. Was he trying to kill it again? or did he enjoy eating something that resembled chicken, but tasted more like shoe leather?
It also became very evident to me, at that very moment, that I am a food snob.
A shallow food snob.
When it was time to eat, we got in line and right in front of me, “Mrs. BBQ” dumped a fresh plate of meat onto the platter.
Not only was I going to get hot meat, but low and behold there was a piece of chicken that didn’t have any black on it.
God has a lovely sense of humor, and always knows how to bring down those who are shallow and snobbish.
I balanced my plate on the edge of the table to reach for some chips (’cause you can’t ruin store bought chips) and the weight of that lovely piece of hot chicken shoe leather without any char caused my plate to fall. to. the. ground.
I was brought low, Internet. Low, and humbled.
Lord, I’m sorry that I dissed the hot dogs. Sorry that I grumbled about the heat, and sorry that I made a small dessert, chopped tit into tiny bits, and put them in tiny cup cake liners to make it look like I brought more.
For dessert, Stuffmart provided a huge sheet cake.
It was really cute. It was decorated like a picnic blanket with these little 2 inch ants all over it.
My family, knowing my abhorrence for all things creepy and crawly, thought they’d have some fun.
At my expense.
And they brought them home.
To stick them in places where I wouldn’t expect, (like icing I was putting on a birthday cake, or on my mouse, or under my napkin) to scare me.
Lord, I said I was sorry, already.
One of the blogs I read daily, Quiet Life, challenged us readers to take pictures of ourselves with our children.
She said “I wish, wish, wish I had more pictures of myself with our children. It is one of my few regrets.
So here’s the deal…
In five years you will look five years older….you WILL look young in the pictures you take today!
Ten years ago I thought I was fat. Oh my goodness….I should have taken pictures THEN.
So do it for me.
Do it for yourself and for your children.”
I gave excuse. I am the one taking pictures. Who is going to take them? yadda…yadda….I don’t wanna….
So a day or so later, she came back with a picture of herself and her children saying “Your children look at you all day long. THEY know what you look like. They are not surprised by how you look in the picture. I still want to look like I did when I was 25 years old. And really I’m shocked that I don’t.
You know, if you stay away from mirrors and cameras you can kind of fool yourself. But, seriously, I’m not fooling anyone. My children love me just the way I am. Chins and all.”
And I can not help but agree. I don’t want pictures of me now. blech…
But the chips did.
I told them all about her blog post, and asked them what they thought. They were both extremely enthusiastic about the whole idea.
I figured out how to use my timer, set up my tripod and took a quick picture to see if it would work.
But it was blurry, I had never been so excited about a blurry picture.
I deleted it.
I just love that delete button.
Then last week, while we were out picnicking, I had Superman take our picture.
It, too, is blurry, but I didn’t delete this one.
My son wants an 8×10 of this for his room. He wants to hang it on the wall.
I see flaws, but he sees love.
So, I will continue to take pictures of myself and the chips.
I will also issue the challenge to you.
Take pictures of yourself with your children.
Tomorrow isn’t promised.
It’s Friday, and I am nosy.
Today I want to know all about board games.
What is your favorite?
What one do you play all the time and win?
Which one do you like the least?
If you were going to go purchase a brand new board game, that you have never played before, which one would you choose and why?
Remember this old girl?
She got a face lift.
I like to think that I am fairly calm in a crisis. Cool and collected. Clear headed. Knowing what must be done. Getting busy and doing it.
And for the most part, I am. Except for this once.
About 10 years ago, we lived out in the country. Superman worked 3rd shift and was in bed sleeping.
I was making lunch. I don’t remember what I was cooking, but I do remember that flames sprung up from the drip pans, that I hadn’t cleaned in forever, because who wants to clean those nasty things?
So, I did what any calm, cool, collected person does. I stood there screaming “Fire…fire…fire” at the top of my lungs like a lunatic.
Superman came running out of the bedroom, grabbed the fire extinguisher that was on the wall right. beside. me. and put it out.
Yep. I was cool as a cucumber.
Superman bought me new drip pans and washed them for me once a month. I guess he didn’t like being woken up from a sound sleep by a crazy woman.
Yesterday, I had only turned away from the stove for a minute.
I swear, it was only a minute.
Maybe I should purchase a fire extinguisher.
The first time I remember having an ice cream cake was when I was in my twenties.
I had always wanted to try one.
They always looked so good, and when I finally tried one, I was terribly disappointed.
There is just way to much ice cream and not nearly enough hot fudge and crunchy things in the middle. Can I get an ‘amen’?
I would be totally happy with just the bottom half of the cake.
Today’s TWD that Amy from Food, Family, and Fun solves this problem for me.
Chocolate-banded Ice Cream Torte.
Thick layers of chocolate ganache with teeny-tiny layers of ice cream.
Ice cream of your choice.
I really wanted peanut butter or caramel, because nothing goes so well with chocolate as peanut butter or caramel.
I searched high and low for plain old peanut butter or caramel ice cream.
Plain old peanut butter or caramel ice cream doesn’t exist.
I stood in the ice cream isle for 20 minutes looking.
Many people came up and down the isle, getting ice cream. People that I knew.
They were staring at me, wondering why I was just standing there…eyes glued to the ice cream, muttering under my breath about peanut butter and ice cream moguls, and half a gallon isn’t 1.5 quarts, now is it?
I can’t say for sure, but I think security might have been alerted.
No peanut butter or caramel ice cream was to be had, so I had to go with my fourth choice.
You are to whiz your vanilla peanut butter caramel mocha coffee ice cream, fruit liqueur vanilla, and fruit toffee bits in your food processor.
Freeze 1/3 of your ganache in a spring form pan.
Add half the ice cream.
Add some more ganache.
Add the rest of the ice cream.
Add the last of the ganache. (if you haven’t already devoured it whilst waiting on all the freezing and waiting going on)
I was made aware of something really important while making this dessert.
My refrigerator isn’t level. An unlevel freezer makes for wonky, uneven layers.
I didn’t really care…much.
Do you see how thick that ganache is?
Oh…it is oh. so. wonderful.
You really can not go wrong with peanut butter, caramel, or coffee, toffee and chocolate.
If you would like to see the original recipe, check out Amy’s blog.
Thanks Amy for picking this recipe.
If you hadn’t, I would have never known my refrigerator is tilting toward the back.
Oooooooooh…Superman…it’s time to find your level……
I know you are here somewhere.
Yesterday, Stuffmart had a picnic for their employees.
It was 99º outside, with a ‘real feel’ of 372º.
We went anyway.
We didn’t go because it was mandatory.
We didn’t go for fellowship.
We went for free food and prizes.
We are shallow.
Yesterday morning I got up early, as is my custom, came downstairs, blogged, perused other blogs, read the news, and decided it was high time I took a shower.
I do not like clutter. I don’t really care if everything is dusty, I don’t mind seeing other peoples clutter, but clutter in my house…drives me nearly insane.
I am always telling the chips “a place for everything, and everything in its place”, and as I was going upstairs, I turned to look and saw a mess on the table.
I began to get frustrated.
I paused to see who’s mess it actually was. The boy’s 2 drinking glasses, receipt from a pair of exchanged dress pants, and his fair book, the girls book, her reading glasses, some lip balm and my Netflix envelope.
As I was standing there, it occurred to me that, all the clutter on that table signified that there was life in this house. Someone lives here. The people leaving those things on my table create noise, they create laughter, they create a purpose, and they help turn a house into a home.
It struck me then, that in not the so distant future the only thing that will be on that table will be droopy flowers and dust.
Dust from unuse.
There will be no one living here to sit at the table and read, or put on lip balm. No pants to be bought and returned, no fair entries to be looked over and decided upon. No library books that need to be returned, and no one for me to say to “put your glasses on while your reading, you’ll ruin your eyes”.
Nope…the clutter doesn’t bother me quite so much anymore.
A doe a deer, a female deer….
That is one of Superman’s favorite songs.
I think deer are his favorite animal.
I also think that they sense this, and they love him too.
They love him so much that they chase after him.
They chase after him, and heave themselves at his car.
Deer are just drawn to him.
Not only do they heave themselves at his car, they also leave a bit of themselves behind.
Just so Superman will remember them, and so Chocolatechic can rummage around junk yards looking for replacement parts.
This makes number 5 in the last 10 years.
It’s Friday and I am nosy.
What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?
It really depends on the mood I am in, and who is in the car with me.
If I am driving long distances, I must have something with a beat. A strong beat. A fast beat. You see, the faster the music, the faster the vehicle goes, and I want to get the driving portion of the trip over with. I am not a traveler.
The chips know this and insist on listening to the heaviest music they have.
When I am alone in the car, which is rarely, I generally listen to Yo Yo Ma or something similar. I need something calm and soothing so that I don’t speed.
So, what kind of music do you listen to when you drive? When you drive around town? When you drive long distances?
The house stood quiet for the rest of last week.
I knew that they weren’t finished.
I just knew that they ~~please, please, please~~couldn’t be finished fixing the house up.
Mr. and Mrs. Fixit didn’t fail me.
Sunday morning at 7:07am I heard cordless drills, drilling and hammers whacking.
At 8 am, (I know it was 8, because my camera says so) the house looked like this.
By Sunday evening, new windows appeared.
Hallelujah. Property values will go up $2 soar!
By Monday afternoon, old windows were gone, and you can see in the left bottom corner, a delivery truck appeared, and the gas department showed up and began digging a new gas line, subsequently blocking my view of any other activities I could see.
When I am 80, I will be the little old woman with the binoculars.
Tuesday, new windows went in, and the gas people finally left.
By the end of yesterday, I was doing a jig.
Which brings me to my poll.
What color of siding will they be putting on?
Last Saturday was a bloggie day.
A bloggie day indeed.
Julie Beth and her husband M. came over for a visit.
I made a peach galette with some totally marvelous ginger preserves.
But we didn’t get to the galette because these were just coming out of the oven when they arrived.
I had been reading all about these wonderful cookies, and I wasn’t sure if Julie Beth was going to be bringing her kiddos or not, and I wanted them to have something fun too.
These cookies are everything that the article said they would be. I found some Merkens dark chocolate disks to use in them, but they weren’t dark enough. You really, really, really need to have some semi-sweet chocolate in these cookies. I let them set for almost 30 hours. Next time they get the full 36 hour wait.
They are the perfect cookie. Crisp on the outside edge, and they get softer and chewier the more you get to the middle of the cookie.
We all had such a lovely time.
I shared with them my absolute devotion to Apologia Science, and the boy shared his love for LOTR with Julie Beth. She knows as much if not more than the boy does about J. R. R. Tolkein and all his works.
Me, I didn’t even know that there was a LOTR till the movie came out.
Even Superman was all “have you never read The Hobbit?” And I’m all “pshhhhhh… If it wasn’t a Harlequin romance, then I didn’t even bother” ‘Cause what do shallow teen-age girls in the ’80s read but Harlequin romance???
M and Julie Beth, thanks for sharing your afternoon with us, and Julie Beth thanks for filling that obvious void in my sons life.
When I was a little girl, my uncle became very serious about his health. He began to take herbs and vitamins, and tell my parents the virtues of eating healthier.
They (the parental units) decided that they, too, needed to eat healthier.
Thus began what I refer to as the ‘yucky poo’ stage of my growing up.
Sweets became very scarce. Bottles upon bottles of pills showed up on the counter. (I thought that one of my parents had cancer) And the most horrific of horrors happened.
My parents began putting wheat germ in everything. They even laced our orange juice with the nasty stuff. To this day, if someone mentions wheat germ, my throat begins to close off.
So when I saw wheat germ as an ingredient today’s TWD recipe for Granola Grabbers, I began to whimper.
How could I make cookies, with that…that…stuff in it. I even went so far as to wait till the very last minute to make the cookies.
Because of my little internal temper tantrum, I ended up making cookies on the hottest day of this month.
It was like 228º in my kitchen, and it seriously took about 5-7 minutes for my butter to come to room temperature. (I refuse to have my AC and oven on at the same time)
Rarely ever do I tweak a recipe the first around. I generally follow the recipe to the letter the first time (cause I’m a rule follower) then I put my own spin on it the next time.
This time, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just couldn’t.
I absolutely refuse to purchase that…stuff.
I figured that I would just substitute oat bran. I am not a huge fan of raisins(which it called for) nor a huge fan of coconut(also in the recipe).
Since I was already tweaking the recipe, I figured I would go all the way and make them totally mine.
I made my own granola,(recipe on the side bar) which already had oat bran, and slivered almonds in it.
Oat bran is just really to close to wheat germ and healthiness for me, so I left it out of the recipe entirely.
I used dried cranberries in place of the raisins, and white chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips in place of the coconut and slivered almonds.
One other tweaker I did, was I added a blurb of vanilla. I don’t like to make cookies without vanilla. It’s just unAmerican!
This recipe is so full of chunks and hunks that there is hardly enough dough to coat it all, and I was concerned that they wouldn’t spread, or be cohesive, but let me tell you, they are super.
I definately will be making these again.
Check out Michelle’s blog for the recipe. She picked a winner. Thanks Michelle.
Show of hands…who ate more cookie dough than cookies….anyone? hello???
When I was pregnant with my sweet baby girl, I prayed that her hair would be a specific color, and totally gorgeous.
Thank you Lord, for answered prayer.
Unfortunately, I didn’t specify whether I wanted it thick or thin.
She got the thin variety, and while it is soft as silk, it is straight as a board.
When she was about 3 I began doing the sponge curler thing.
She hated it.
The sponge curlers produced great results, for all of 3 hours.
Then, because her hair was so soft, so baby fine, and so long, it would begin to straighten. And by the end of the day, you couldn’t tell that I had spent almost an hour the night before rolling it in sponge curlers, telling her to sit still, almost finished baby, turn your head this way, no sweetie~~ya gotta sit still so mommy can finish.
I gave up.
Till last week.
Last week the girl brought down the big sponge curlers and with her brownish-green eyes all sad, she begged me to ‘do her hair’.
What is a mother to do when those eyes are all sad and pleading?
I cautioned her that it most likely would all fall out.
And I thought I’d photograph the evidence, because I just knew that the Internet would want to see pictures of my girls curls.
If you are not remotely interested in curls and the falling out, thereof, ya just might want to move on. Find something else to do. Eat some chocolate. Text someone. Or bake a cake. Mop a floor. Do some laundry, or clean out your fridge.
If you are just killing time, then this is your blog.
Here is her hair right out of the curls, finger combed and kinky.
She is not pleased with the kink, do not let that smile fool you for one minute.
After about 3 hours, gravity has begun to do its thing.
See…see…look at those eyes.
I just can’t say no.
Around 4, it still had some curl.
We were amazed, and now she wants me to do it all. the. time.
If only she would sit still.
Internet, I am so sorry.
I have nothing for you today. You see I had all these plans of photoshopping pictures, and writing such a lovely post about my visit with Julie Beth and her husband yesterday, but something happened.
You see I married a man with a special talent. A most particular, special talent. Superman is the King of picking out the weirdest movies made, and bringing them home for us to watch. He presents these little treasures to us with such eagerness, such hope, such joy on his face that we just can not say no. Heaven help us…we can not say no.
Last night was no different. Superman and the boy had gone out to investigate the festivities going on here in Pothole (Canal Days). To do this, they had to walk past the library.
Superman rushed inside, because he hasn’t watched every. single. ‘B’. movie. ever. made., and maybe, just maybe he might have missed one. He did.
He came home and presented me with “The Librarian: Quest For The Spear”. It was Indiana Jones, meets National Treasure on a very, very, very tiny budget. The only redeeming qualities of this movie was that it starred Noah Wyle, and Bob Newheart.
So, dear Internet, my brain cells were sucked dry. I had nothing left in me to remotely think about uploading, photoshopping, and trying to type. It was futile.
I think after last night, Superman’s library card will mysteriously disappear.
If you have been reading here long, you will remember me bemoaning the fact that Pothole, Ohio does not have Ginger Preserves. A most compelling ingredient for my Peach Galette.
Well, Eckmama from This Place Looks Familiar found some and sent me a jar. From 1,500 miles away. What a sweetie.
I couldn’t wait to open it up and give it a taste.
Ginger preserves is more like a ginger marmalade. It has these beautiful hunks of ginger, surrounded by a wonderful ginger jelly. I am already thinking of all sorts of things I can make with this.
I plan on using it today because Julie Beth from Expatriate Buckeyes is popping over for a visit.
I had better get moving, she will be here soon.
How would you use Ginger marmalade preserves?
It’s Friday and I am nosy.
If you learned today, that you were going to die tomorrow, what 3 things would you do?
- I’d visit everyone that I loved and tell them.
- I’d eat chocolate till I was sick, then…
- I’d eat fried chicken skin till I was sick.
For months I have been going almost insane with the craving of stromboli, craving it like I was 8 months pregnant.
I have been Googling recipes like a mad woman.
In my researching, I found that the process is basically the same, but the fillings were all slightly different.
This is the one that I liked the best. It had the most detailed instructions, and the best looking picture. So I followed it…loosely.
Here is my process.
First ya gotta make the dough. Now you can use frozen bread dough, store bought pizza dough, or your own home made version.
I totally love Pizza Hut’s dough, so I found a copy cat recipe, dumped everything in my bread machine and let it do its thing.
Then I began to prepare the filling.
The recipe suggested hot Italian sausage. I’m not fond of hot Italian sausage, so I used just regular Italian sausage that had been mouldering in my freezer. You could use regular sausage, or maple sausage, or hamburger. It really doesn’t matter.
It looks like it is going to be way to much meat, but it is the perfect amount.
After you fry the sausage, drain all but about a tbsp. of oil from the pan. I didn’t have any oil left in the pan, so I had to add some.
Add a cup of sliced onion, ½ a cup of green pepper, and ½ a cup of yellow pepper. You could use red pepper, or all yellow, or all green. It really doesn’t matter.
After about 4 minutes, add a healthy amount of garlic and a tsp. of Italian seasoning. Take off the heat and cool.
By that time, your dough has done its thing, and is ready to be used.
Cut it in half, setting one half to the side.
Let the dough rest while you order your photographer to get all your toppings out of the fridge. He’s closer to the fridge, anyway.
Divide your meat in half.
Roll out your dough.
Spread ½ your meat/pepper mixture onto your dough leaving a 1 inch border.
Now it looks like there isn’t enough filling.
Grab your provolone. Having never purchased provolone before, I thought that a quarter of a pound of cheese would total a bit more than 3 slices. Silly me.
Note to self, next time get more than a quarter pound of provolone.
Next is the pepperoni.
And the ham.
A healthy dose of mozzarella and some parm.
Egg wash all round your 1 inch border, and roll up jelly roll style.
I tried to make a little animation, didn’t work.
I asked a friend for help. She did a wonderful job, but it wouldn’t upload, (Sorry Donna) so you are just going to have to imagine me rolling it up.
It will be heavy and unwieldy, so you will need some help getting it to your parchmented pan.
Repeat with your other dough.
Egg wash the tops, and bake for 20 minutes at 375º. Pull them out, and sprinkle the tops with some parm, and bake for another 10 minutes.
It would be right around this moment that your photographer will point out to you that you had forgotten to put on an apron. Please don’t make this mistake.
Stromboli was everything that I had hoped it would be, and more.
Go make some, then come back and tell me what you put inside of yours.
Pizza Dough Recipe~~
Pizza Hut Pizza Dough
- 1 1/3 c. hot water
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. corn meal
- 3 c. unbleached flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- 1 ½ tsp. instant or bread machine yeast
Add your ingredients to your bread machine in the order of the manufacturer. Set to ‘dough’ cycle.
Several of you have asked for an update the house across from me, and I refuse to disappoint.
After the roof was finished, the house sat silent for almost a week.
Well over a week.
I was getting worried that I would have to look at that awful porch and peeling paint for the rest of my days.
Then last Thursday, I heard this awful banging. It had been going on for some time, but I was totally unaware of my surroundings, engrossed in blog reading.
Once I came out of my internet hole, the noise was quite loud and obnoxious, and being the nosy one I am, I went out to investigate.
Mr. Owner and his wife had pulled the railing off.
I was so happy…noise? what noise?
By the end of the day, they had ripped off the flooring, pulled off screen doors, and had gutted the underside of the porch roof.
I love seeing the old foundation.
I wonder who laid the brick. Was he nice, was he old, was he happy to have a job, what year was it, did his wife make him a sandwich to take to work, did he wear old baggy pants with suspenders, did he have 8 children, what kind of sandwich did his wife send him?
Mr. and Mrs. Owner worked steadily over the weekend, and the house again stands silent.
One can only hope that they side it.
Maybe I could start a petition.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not really a fan of fruit desserts, unless it is apple pie. (My mother makes the best apple pie I have ever had)
So, when I joined up with TWD, all I could envision was 465 different ways to make some sort of chocolate dessert.
I was wrong. Oh. so. wonderfully. wrong.
I have made more with fruit in the last 2 months than I have in the last 20 years, and I am loving it.
Way to much.
When I saw the recipe for this weeks recipe, of Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, all I could think was 1. where is the chocolate, and 2. sour cream? in ice cream?…uhhh…alrightythen.
One cup of blueberries, some lemon, sugar, a shattered glass blender jar, a messy food processor, sour cream, heavy cream and some time spent in the freezer later, I had THE most wondrous ice cream.
Blueberry cheese cake flavored ice cream.
I love me some good cheese cake, and the part that I love the most on cheese cake is a nice thick graham cracker crust.
So I made some up and topped the ice cream with it.
I think I need to invest in a stair master.
Thank you Dolores of Chrinicles in Culinary Curiosity. If you want to eat some amazing ice cream and invest in a stair master along with me, check out her blog. She has the recipe.