March 31, 2011

things i should have taught my children, but didn't

wow! did i really let a whole week go by without posting? i posted so many things in my head, but didn't put them down in writing. so my m o.
i always have all these plans in my mind and then i fritter it all away, doing other stuff (reading other people's blogs, facebook, sudoku, tv). right now, all i can think about is how delicious a nap would be right now.

but first a post.

this is something that i got from do it delicious, a blog by jessica seinfeld. i don't remember how she got added to my blog roll any more than i can remember how GOOP got added. however, i like do it delicious because there are some really good basic things that i never knew and i should have taught my children them. although, how can one teach one's children something one does not know? on this link about calibrating the cooking thermometer. this is a great idea. it may be something that others know all about, but i didn't. i use one for meat all the time. sometimes, i would forget what temperature chicken and pork should be when done. i, now, have a thermometer that labels the temperature with 'chicken' and 'pork' like my candy thermometer label 'soft ball' (not the sport).

so, children, here is something i should have taught you, but didn't (of course, i just learned how myself).

i will be calibrating my cooking thermometers...after a leetle nap.

p s here is a sidebar. go to my daughter's blog and watch her posted video of her time in sxsw. it will make you smile. it made me smile. i am totally envious of people who can do this (make a video not have fun...although, i am envious of people who are having fun without me).

March 24, 2011

things i should have taught my children, but didn't

well, it's thursday. i feel much better now and i will be my regular self, randomly posting stuff that comes to mind - still working on my disappearing act.

so here is something that i should have taught my children, but didn't...

it is another dad thing. we always drained extra fat from cooking, like when cooking bacon, ground beef or my favorite - frying up some okra, into a jar and stored it in the refrigerator. dad says one should never pour excess fat down the kitchen drain. sometimes, if some ended up in the sink, we had to run the disposal with cold water so that it would solidify before it clogged the drain.

now, someone could say, "that is a little too much extra work. it's pointless."

so NOT true.

this is what was on our fort worth water website:

Sewer backups and overflows are frequently caused by fats, oils and grease being placed into the sewer system by customers. Because these items are lighter than water, they accumulate in the sewer pipes, similar to how cholesterol builds up in the body’s blood stream and arteries until a blockage occurs. The backup could result in damage to your property or it could overflow into the storm drain causing environmental damage to our rivers and streams.
Tips for preventing sewer backup
  • Don’t put greasy food scraps down the kitchen sink or garbage disposal. Instead, always use a paper towel or rubber spatula to thoroughly scrape and swipe plates and pans into the garbage can before washing.
  • Don’t pour melted oils used for cooking down the sink or garbage disposal. Let them solidify in a container on the counter or in the refrigerator. Then place them into the garbage.
my dad was right. it is bad to pour fat down the drain. after reading the very descriptive and somewhat gross reason by the water department, it makes me want to be more diligent and to check my blood for cholesterol levels.

what i don't like is putting it in the garbage. i wish that there was a neighborhood oil pickup like the big commercial oil pick up for restaurants and fast food places have. i don't like the idea of having all that show up in a landfill. i guess i could cook with less oil, but without fried okra? not possible.

i have 2 jars in the refrigerator: one for bacon grease (on the right) and one for all other fats (left). my grandmother fried chicken in half Crisco and half bacon grease for the most delicious fried chicken in the world. i have never been able to replicate it exactly the way that she did, but it is still pretty tasty. the best thing to do with the bacon grease is to make the old fashioned version of Party Chex Mix.

Party Chex Mix (from

1 1/2 c real butter                                     10 oz box Cheerios
1/2 c bacon grease*                                   1/2 16 oz box Wheat Chex
1 T Worcestershire sauce                           1/2 16 oz box Corn or Rice Chex (i LOVE Rice Chex)
2 t seasoned salt                                       4 c thin, salty pretzel sticks
1 t garlic salt                                            12 oz can cocktail peanuts - optional (so NOT optional, but i use half because...)
1 t celery salt                                            9.25 oz can cashews - optional (...i use a much bigger can of mixed roasted nuts
1 t hot sauce (i use Tabasco sauce)               instead of just plain cashews)

melt butter and bacon grease in a saucepan
stir in seasonings until salts (mmmmmmm salt) have dissolved
pour cereal, pretzels and nuts in a large bowl (a very very large bowl)
pour hot mixture over and stir to coat well
divide mixture into 2 - 3 13"x9"x2" baking pans
bake in 200 degree oven for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes
allow to cool 4 hours before serving
*if you don't have enough bacon grease, you may substitute necessary amount with more real butter.

so...michelle and jason, always drain your fats from cooking into a jar and put in the frig till filled then throw away in the garbage. separately store the bacon grease, be a good citizen and recycle it into the recipe above and invite me over to help you eat it.

and that's another thing i should have taught my children, but didn't.

March 22, 2011

mean little post

so...this is the time that i wish that i had the great apathy lounge prose. this is going to be a mean and catty post, so stop reading right now if you think i am a nice person because i am not and those who think i am nice, i want them to continue to think that. so stop....don't read anymore. read something fun and cheerful like oh joy!

so now...conundrum: do you seek revenge or do you just suck it up and do what is best for you?

i had a pretty good day a point.

work was okay, then off to workout with the best and nicest person in the world, kelly, my friend, then a pretend wipe off of the sweat and straight to the museum to hear a lecture with another good friend, ingrid, then straight to my mom and dad's to help my dad wash the top of his car and lastly, to the grocery store to pick up some stuff for dinner. pretty nice, hunh? got to spend some time with friends and parents. nice.

then, a comment...asking me if i really was out and about with my shirt unbuttoned, showing my big fat stomach. if so (and i didn't, the button unbuttoned itself when i was unloading my car...most likely), that was pretty disgusting.

so what would you do? seek revenge or just suck it up? i, personally, wanted to get even with an even bigger, grotesque-r stomach, but what would THAT do? i mean, do i really want to pack on more pounds when i really want to take them off (hence the workout today)? but...if i start a diet, watch what i eat, exercise and start to losing the poundage, would that give that person the satisfaction of saying that that person was right, since that person would consider it the push to get serious about dieting?

i don't want that person to get that satisfaction.

so what would you do?              get even?
(biscuits with chocolate gravy...a mountain view, arkansas breakfast item)

i chose to ignore that person and not talk to that person for the rest of the day.

and another thing, i stumbled across this blog... amid privilege

is she serious? i read her post about buying steve madden shoes, a first for her since all she wears are ferragamos...and the dilution of automatic admittance to harvard when one has 'pull'. i am soooooo hoping that she is writing with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, but i have a feeling she is writing, instead, with a stick firmly stuck up her............ (meow)

there is a skit on SNL - ooooooooooo weeeeeeeeeeeeee! what up w' dat?

March 21, 2011

bone tired

i was going to post about dieting and getting ready for spring and summer, being that the first day of spring was yesterday and although i have set my clocks to spring forward the weekend before, i have yet to spring forward and take the diet plunge. i have been packing in the pounds and i need to post a before and after photo of me on this post to commit myself to it. there is even a category on this blog called 'me - a disappearing act' that i cannot use, yet.

but, i am bone tired. spent the whole weekend and all day to day with husband scott taking up all the sod to create some new planting beds for our landscaping project. we are doing it ourselves and i think we have gotten too old for all the physical labor. we got one quote (too high) and one refusal (we didn't want to get rid of 2 trees...although we are talking about getting rid of on of them), so we decided to do it ourselves. between 3 back surgeries and 2 knee surgeries each knee (all this is husband scott) and fat, overweight and sluggish me, i am pretty proud of ourselves. we have completely scalped up the grass and will be composting and mulching next.

then, come borders, a flagstone footpath, one raised bed, sprinkler system update, awning over the patio and we haven't gotten to planting......too tired to think about it anymore today.

March 17, 2011

donating to japan through the red cross

tomorrow, march 18th, some of the blogs that i follow will not be posting any blogs as a day of silence and reverence. although, i am going to do the same, it doesn't have the same affect or effect since i am not a daily blogger.

however, it is a gesture that will remind us that what is happening there right now is awful and really scary.

also, if you want to donate to the red cross, just click on the link below:

things i should have taught my children, but didn't

when i read a recipe for chinese food, it will often preface that the vegetables (not including the garlic and ginger) should be cut up in about the same size to insure that it all cooks up at the same time and it just looks more appetizing.

i think that this is good advice and it can also be used for other recipes, too. for instance, when i make a corn salad or a pea salad, i like my ingredients to be about the same size as the peas or corn especially things like celery and onion. same with salsa, i think it looks nicer when the pieces are uniformly sized. AND when it looks nicer, it tastes better. it really does.

there are exceptions to the rule. like, for saint patrick's day, i like to make corned beef with potatoes, carrots and cabbage and the cabbage must be cut in nice big wedges so it stays together, but not so much the rest of the ingredients.

the way i make spaghetti sauce with ground beef, italian sausage, onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms, i like it all to be diced really small, so it blends in with the ground beef and sausage, but sometimes i like the mushrooms to be bigger.

but i never taught my children how to make a decision on when things should be uniformly cut. yes, a lot of recipes will indicate the size as in small dice or cubed, but a lot of the time, it really isn't mentioned that each ingredient that is cubed should be the same size cube. do you think that i am being picky?

take for instance meatloaf. i LOVE meatloaf and have the best recipe for it. i am sure people like to see the vegetables used in meatloaf to be seen, but i like it when it all blends in together. i must admit that i sometimes will not eat the big pieces of onion or bell pepper chunks when it is in meatloaf. i don't know why, but i am very particular about that.

it kind of reminds me of the episode of 'friends' where monica makes several dishes of mashed potatoes: smooth, lumpy and lumpy with carrots and peas in it.

anyway.....the best recipe for meatloaf is from Marion Cunningham's The Supper Book. i have her breakfast book, too (her last word on nutmeg muffins are to die for). here is the recipe:

2 T butter                                                                                               3 cloves garlic, minced or garlic pressed
1 lg onion, finely chopped                                                                 (i usually use the cuisinart & whirr it with the bread
2 - 3 medium carrots, finely chopped                                                while i am making the bread crumbs)
2 - 3 celery stalks, finely chopped                                                    11/4 c fresh bread crumbs
(i use my trusty cuisinart for this...must be finely chopped)        salt, at least 1 t, or to taste
1 lb ground beef (round or chuck - i used extra lean)                    pepper to taste
2 boneless pork chops (about 1/2lb), ground                                  3/4 t nutmeg (secret ingredient)
(i just get ground pork)                                                                        1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 1/2 t Worcestershire sauce                                                               1/4 c tomato ketchup (it says that...not just ketchup....
2/3 c water                                                                                              i thought all ketchup was with tomatoes)

preheat oven to 350.
melt butter in large skillet. add onion, carrots and celery, and over medium-low heat, cook until softened, stirring often, about 5-6 minutes.
in large bowl, add beef, pork, sauteed vegetables and all the other ingredients. mix thoroughly with your hands. gently pat meatloaf into an oval-shaped mound in an 11"x7" baking dish. (if pressed together too firmly, the meatloaf won't remain moist and tender.) bake for 45-50 minutes.

since i like ketchup on top of my meatloaf, i squirt it on about 15-20 minutes before it is ready. according to the preface, Marion Cunningham likes to bake a few potatoes, carrots and onions in the pan with the meatloaf. i have to have mashed potatoes (smooth, not lumpy and especially not with peas and carrots).

(why does ketchup look so shiny when photographed?)

always make enough for leftover meatloaf sandwiches the next day which are better without visible chunks in it.

so...children, most recipes look, taste and cook better when the ingredients are cut in the same size. this is not an "always" case, but one should care about how the food will look as well as taste. and that is something i didn't teach my children but should have.

also to daughter michelle who hates meatloaf, but married a meatloaf-loving man...........ha ha ;-)

March 14, 2011

hope this isn't ooooky

i have not blogged lately. haven't really felt like it. it's hard to do when i don't know what to say about what has happened to japan. i feel that i should do or say something to see if i can help.
when i was watching footage on the news, the scariest part was watching the tsunami just sweep over everything, uprooting houses as if the houses were not anchored down at all. i don't know how high it was compared to the one in thailand. how anyone survived is a miracle. i hope people are reaching out and helping. i hope to donate to red cross and hope that it helps in a very small way.

in the meantime, i needed a distraction and this is where the ooookiness comes in. daughter michelle's last issues of teen vogue still come to the house as well as son jason's men's health. i don't really read them, but i do flip through it and see if anything catches my eye.

well, in teen vogue, april's issue - the prom issue (which i am totally not needing any information on), there was a spread on prom dresses. the models are being photographed with some of the glee guys. i must confess that i LOVE glee. i love broadway tunes in particular. so, one of the guys is darren criss and the article mentions that he was in a very potter musical. i don't know if i should continue.............i am starting to sound really really stupid, but i also LOVE harry potter. so, naturally, i youtubed the musical and up came another youtube video of this darren criss playing 'part of your world'. at first i thought it was just a regular song. it never occurred to me he was singing a song from the little mermaid. it made me smile.

i hope it isn't oooky to blog about, but it did make me smile and it brought back memories of michelle and i singing this song as loud as we could when she was little.

March 03, 2011

things i should have taught my children, but didn't

now this post should really be called "my children know better, but apparently some people don't know this". here it is:

wash reds separately from the rest of the wash.

if anyone is reading this, you are probably saying right now, "durh". son jason owns a pair of boxer shorts that are very very light pink and when he wore them in the locker room, the rest of the basketball team would say, "looks like your mom washed them with something red." and jason would say that they came that way (and they did), and the guys would say, "uh hunh, sure they did".

so you see, even your average basketball team knows what happens when something red gets mixed in with the rest of the non-red wash.

i have even washed a load of whites, AFTER a load of reds had been washed and the load comes out pink. so, i always do a rinse/spin cycle before i put in another load after washing the reds - that would be a thing i haven't taught my children.

so, don't you think that everyone knows not to put other colors in with your reds? (and sometimes pinks and purples)

apparently not.

husband scott put his green shirt into my reds and purples pile...why? to match my ugly wallpaper? 

it's a mystery to me.

so, things that i should have taught my children, but didn't:

if you wash a load of reds and are going to follow with a load of whites, rinse and spin between the 2 loads.

and, things husbands don't know, but should:

reds are washed separately from the rest of the colors!!!

March 02, 2011

another test

when i click on the photo after selecting it, i can choose small, medium, large, x-large or original. this is the x-large.

this is husband scott who always denies receiving anything, especially when given to him while distracted at work.

so...when i say that he has the parking pass and he denies ever receiving it, i have proof. i took his photo. of course, he can always say that i took it back once i took the photo...

he knows that i am too inept to photoshop it...

he was very accommodating when i told him that i was going to take a photo to prove that i had given the pass to him, don't you think?

i am testing my new blog site

so, here i am rambling randomly about something, ranting or just thinking out loud. 
now, i want to add a photo here:

this is a 'little gem' magnolia tree that i am trying to convince husband scott to plant in our going-to-be-landscaped-soon yard. it looks pixelated from here. hope it isn't.

we are also considering these knock out roses, but must be careful where planted since they can get really large...or at least the ones i've seen were large...i tend to kill plants so it might stay on the small side:

but, it sure is pretty, hunh?
which font will i use? can't far out of my choices, i like times. i know, i know, it's boring, but will see if michelle ;) can fix that for me.
she, again, has set me up on this new site. yea! for daughter michelle!