Friday, July 23, 2010

Shaking off the dust...

Sometimes, there's a hobby you really love.  So you start to do it more and more, maybe even doing it in exchange for goods - that's called work.  This blog started to feel less like fun, and a place to vent, and more like a job that I had to do.  I found myself struggling to find anything to post.  I found myself writing in a journal, and ignoring this blog.

Until yesterday, that is.

In the past week, I'd been getting flooded with comments from Chinese spammers, and I logged in to the blog yesterday to do some clean-up and changing comment settings.

Suddenly, I found that I missed this blog.  So, I'm dusting it off, and hopefully, will begin writing again.  It's been almost 2 years since I've posted here.  Kicker will be starting preschool in a month (in the 2 year old program).  Hubby and I live in a new state, in our first home.  My father is having surgery on Monday to remove a tumor. My in-laws are moving to this state to a house 2 streets over.  In short, I should have plenty of things to write about. 

Now I just have to remember - the only person I *need* to write for is me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TT: Oven Fried Chicken

It's that time again. Time to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with all the food in my freezer. I got emailed this recipe a while back from a friend of mine, and it looks pretty good. I have to giggle at the use of both oil and butter, but I bet that makes this really tasty - this friend has yet to send me a bum-recipe. She uses chicken pieces with the skin still on, but says that it's
'still good' with skinless chicken pieces.

Oven Fried Chicken

  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder (optional)
  • approx. 9 pieces chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place oil and butter in a shallow oven-safe cooking pan (such as cast-iron) and place in 375 degree oven to melt butter, set aside.
  3. In a large paper sack, combine dry ingredients.
  4. Roll the chicken pieces 3 at a time in butter and oil, then drop into a sack and shake to cover. Place on a plate until all pieces are coated.
  5. Leave any excess butter and oil in pan. Place chicken in the pan skin side down or its just as good if you remove all the skin first.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
  7. Turn chicken pieces over, and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until crust begins to bubble.
  8. Serve with corn bread or biscuits, and your favorite veggie.

This sounds so good! Dinner seems too far away!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TT: Baked Brie en Croute

The first Friday of every month, my friends and I all gather together to have dinner together. This month's theme is appetizers. Hubby and I were discussing what to bring last night, and he reminded me of this recipe I used to make years back. It's really elegant looking, and incredibly simple, as well as delicious.

I use Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets because they're easy to find, but you can use any brand. Sometimes I used to get creative, and cut out shapes with the remaining dough to decorate the top of the brie.

Baked Brie en Croute

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup apricot or raspberry preserves or jam (I have boysenberry in my cupboard right now, so I'm debating using that)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (my sister once suggested using diced dried figs, but I'd soak those first to soften them)
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almond (I have a ton of pine nuts right now, so I'm going to substitute those)
  • 1 (13.2 ounces) Brie cheese round (Costco has these for a good price)
  • crackers

  1. Thaw the pastry sheet until it's easy to work with - about 30-40 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Mix the egg and water in a small bowl.
  4. Unfoldthe pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Cut off the corners of the sheet to make a circle, and save scraps.
  5. Spread preserves on the dough to within 1-inch of the edge. Sprinkle the cranberries and nuts over the preserves.
  6. Place the cheese in the center of the dough. Brush the edge of the dough with the egg mixture.
  7. Fold 2 opposite sides over the cheese. Trim the remaining 2 sides to 2-inches from the edge of the cheese and fold them up onto the cheese. Press the edges to seal.
  8. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Decorate the top with the pastry scraps, if desired. Brush with the egg mixture.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Let stand for 40 minutes - 1 hour.
  10. Serve with the crackers.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Today is Kicker's first Halloween. I'm so excited!

Last night, we met up with some other moms at a local farmer's market, where there was a special Octoboofest event (get it - Octo'boo'fest?). It was so neat, seeing all the little kids wandering around in their costumes. Kicker is too little to get into the trick-or-treating part, but he really liked watching all the kids in their bright costumes running around. He also loved animal crackers, which a little girl shared with him last night. It was so sweet - Supergirl came over and handed him an animal cracker, and then they both shared a really adorable smile. It made me sad that I'd forgotten my camera.

Tonight, before Shabbat service, Hubby and I are going to quickly take Kicker to a few houses for trick-or-treating. Since Kicker can't eat the candy, we're doing it mostly for the photo opportunity. Though if someone's handing out good chocolate, then I'm willing to eat Kicker's spoils of war. Kicker will be dressed up like a dragon. A very ferocious baby dragon.

So, what are your memories of your childrens' first Halloweens?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miss me?

Well, I had a great time in Albuquerque.

Kicker flew wonderfully. Well, on the trip there, that is. On the trip back, he wanted to crawl around, and was mighty annoyed that I made him stay in the seat. Luckily, it was a short flight.

It was great seeing my family. My dad and stepmother got to hang out with their grandbaby, and I got to see my new nephew! He's adorable (not as adorable as Kicker, but awful cute). My uncle and aunt also were in town, coincidentally, so we got to see them.

Anyone ever tried pinon picking before? It's really fun. Pine cones blossom open, and the pinon or pine nut will just fall out. There are two ways to get the pinons - one is to pick up the pine cones and take them out, or the other is to pick up the pinons that have fallen all over the ground, either from wind, or from shaking the tree. So, we spent all day Saturday pinon picking in the Cibola National Forest. Only in the desert will a National Forest have pine trees with cactus all over the ground. Needless to say, I didn't get to pick a whole lot of pinon, since I was holding Kicker the whole time. Every time I tried reaching for some pinon, he'd try reaching for the nearest cactus. So he and I just spent most of the time exploring, while the rest of the family picked pinon.

I miss my chile. Chile in New Mexico is more than just a condiment - it's a way of life, almost an art form. While I was back there, I tried to make sure I had chile with almost every meal, even breakfast. I had this great dish at Flying Star Cafe called a Southwest Bennie, which is amazing. They make their own english muffins, and their own turkey green chile sausage. Over which, they put two over medium eggs, which are then covered in this plate-licking-good green chile cheese sauce. Yeah - I fit in my new size 6 jeans for a couple of days, and of course, after eating like that all trip long, they no longer fit.

So, now that I'm back home, I'm trying to figure out how to work green chile into some non-traditional menu items, so I can ease back into all this 'normal' cooking. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to combine my favorite soup recipe - green chile stew - with matzo ball soup. I'm thinking I'll make a normal chicken soup, with just a touch of green chile, and then work some green chile into the matzo balls.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's always funny when Bugs Bunny says it.

Albuquerque. I still have an image of Bugs Bunny saying it whenever I read that word, and a slight urge to giggle. Which is odd, considering I used to live there, and all.

Anyways, we're leaving for a few days to the Albuquerque, NM, area to go visit my family. While we're there, I plan to eat lots of red and green chile, because no one in California really understands how to make spicy food.

Okay, I exaggerate. But until you've tried New Mexico green or red chile, you don't understand how good chile is. Honest. Heck, I have to replace my keyboard now, just from the drool caused by thinking of it.

And for those of you that ask, New Mexico is a state. One of the United States. Albuquerque is not near Mexico city. I do not need a passport to get there. It is not a foreign country. UPS and FedEx do deliver there. Yes, dang it - I can get my cable and DSL there - you do service that area, since it is not MEXICO. I do not need special auto insurance to go there. There is no exchange rate. NM is that state between Arizona and Texas. How the heck did all these people who have asked these questions ever graduate grade school?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kahlua Fudge Brownies

Every now and then, you get sent a recipe that sounds so good, you have to clean drool out of your keyboard. For me, folks, this is that recipe.

Kahlua Fudge Brownies recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil (or walnut oil - heck, use whatever you've got, if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup espresso powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (though, wouldn't pine nuts be great in this recipe?)
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Heat the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over low heat until blended, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Combine sugar, peanut oil, espresso, and eggs in a bowl, beating for 5 minutes and occasionally scraping sides of bowl.
  5. Add chocolate mixture and beat until just blended, then add flour mixture and beat again.
  6. Stir in pecans. Spoon batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges pull from the side of the pan. Cool until lukewarm on a wire rack.
  7. Pour Kahlua into a spray bottle and spray onto warm brownies. Let stand until completely cool.
  8. To serve, cut into 3 x 4-inch brownies and microwave until just warm. Split each bar horizontally into halves and sandwich with a scoop of ice cream. Top with whipped cream and/or fresh strawberries or raspberries.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Was it or wasn't it?

I was trying to clear off some TV off of my DVR while Kicker napped. I began watching a new show called "Easy Money." In the show, the main characters run a paycheck-advance money lending company.
Part way through the episode, the lead character referred to themselves as "shylocks." Another character admonished him for using an "ugly, racist" term, but then, not two sentences later, used the same term herself.
So the question is: was it racist, or wasn't it? Is the TV show off the hook for using a racist epithet simply by acknowledging that it is one? If that isn't enough to make it okay, how and why did it get past the censors?
I tried mentioning this to someone else, and they shrugged it off, saying that the show didn't mean anything by it. Okay, so let's pretend that's fine - the show's writers didn't mean anything by it. But if you start using terms like that in every day speech, you're giving them meaning, new life and power. You're teaching people and new generations that this kind of language and behavior is acceptable.
Frankly, as far I'm concerned, it was a racist term, and shouldn't have been used. Period. But it was - so, now what? How do we address these issues?

Monday, October 13, 2008

When did he swallow the lead bricks?

I've had a wonderful, but very long, weekend.

Friday night, we went to Disney's California Adventure, for Mickey's Halloween Trick-or-Treat party. That was so much fun! There'll be another post, with pictures, but for now, take my word for it. Kicker was dressed as a Dragon, and had a great time, holding on to his trick-or-treat bag. We even rode some rides! There were lots of candy opportunities, with healthy snacks also being passed out. All in all, it was a wonderful time, and I think we'll have to be back next year.

Saturday morning, Grandma, Hubby, Kicker and I went out for breakfast at Mimi's (mmm... pumpkin pancakes), then off to the park! We rode rides in Fantasyland, attended a Disney media event with lots of baked goods and characters, and then met up with my sister and her new boyfriend. I learned that it's very important to know where the Mother's room at Disneyland is - otherwise there is way too much going on for Kicker to nap. Also, Rancho Del Zocalo serves a toddler menu in addition to their kid's menu - good to know for when Kicker gets a bit older! It was a wonderful day, and became an even more wonderful evening, as two very good friends of ours joined us because they had some very important news they needed to share - details forthcoming in another post.

Sunday, Kicker slept in until almost 11am. Poor thing - he was just exhausted, and so was I! Man that kid is heavy! I love every moment of carrying him, because I know all too soon he won't want to be carried as much, but WOW! My back is killing me!

Anyways, it was a great weekend, and I promise I'll post pictures of Disneyland, along with Kicker in his costume.

Friday, October 10, 2008

AF: Halloween Candy?

It's almost Halloween! I've already bought my Halloween candy (I bought it in September), and wisely, I didn't buy chocolate. That's why the package is still unopened. Otherwise, I'd probably be doing a last minute candy-run to the store.
This year, I bought Florida's Natural Fruit Nuggets from Costco. So, on this Aloha Friday, where we kick back and take life easy, I ask: what kind of Halloween candy are you stocking this year?