Sunday, July 31, 2005

50 Things Every Foodie Should Try

I came across this while browsing through some food blogs (when I should be working on a final--darn that attention span of mine.) Thanks to Owen at Tomatilla for compiling the list. The top 16 come from Nigel Slater of the Observer (UK Daily). The others come from various food bloggers.

I was surprised to see that there are several I have done. As much as I like to think I'm a foodie, I'm more of a wanna-be. I don't have the time, motivation, or budget to really become a die-hard foodie.
There are some I have no desire to do. And others I may try for in the next year.

Of the first 25 listed, I have done 10 of them (11 if I substitute cooking for the families at Ronald McDonald house for working in a soup kitchen). Some I never want to do--shuck a fresh oyster? No thanks. However, I do someday want to make fresh pasta. And it would be wonderful to eat the first asparagus-I love asparagus and I'm sure the freshest I've had came on a truck from some distant land. And I don't really care to dismember a chicken. No thanks, that's just not my thing!

Moving on to the next 25, I've only done 8. I have some work to do! Some that I have no desire to try from that group: roast a suckling pig--this would probably turn me off of eating it! Now it it were at a luau in Hawaii, maybe..., learning to make the 5 'mother' sauces also isn't appealing because I don't like most of them. I also don't want to breed my own animal to eat. I get too attached.

Those I would like to try include making my own sausage, drying my own (something), building my own backyard wood oven-if I ever get to live somewhere with a backyard bigger than a postage stamp, and making vinegar. Sharing the ripe mango sounds interesting, but currently isn't an option. Maybe in the future.

Go check out the top 50 and see what you have done, and maybe find some inspiration to try something new. Good luck!

July Supper Club

My supper club met last night, after a long break with everyone's busy schedules. We welcomed two new members. RangerGrrl hosted, and as always the food was wonderful! We cooked from the July issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Here was what was on store for us. We had Shrimp-Filled Piquillo Peppers in Sherry Vinaigrette (Pimientos del Piquillo con Tartar de Langostinos) for an appetizer. These were really tasty and made a very nice presentation. I would make them again for a party or group dinner.

We followed this up with Tossed Greens and Beets with Pistachio Dressing. I made the salad. I'd never eaten beets before, so decided to try something new. I didn't like them and wasn't crazy about the dressing on the salad. One or two people said they would make the salad again, but I'm not one of them! Oh well. At least I can say I've tried beets the next time I say I don't like them.

We then had Apricot Pork Chops, Asparagus Salad with Piquillo Peppers and Capers (Ensalada de Espárragos con Alcaparras), Pizza Margherita, and Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits.

The Apricot Pork Chops were very tasty-we were all clamoring for the leftovers. They weren't overly sweet from the apricots. The soy sauce really balanced out the flavors. Definitely a repeater! I love asparagus, and the salad did not disappoint. Equally good were the peppers and capers. We did decide that the egg whites didn't add anything to them, so when I make this I will omit them. How can you go wrong with basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes? The pizza was also very tasty. The biscuits were slightly sweet, so we all ate them with honey.

Finally, for dessert we had Orange Yogurt Cake (Bizcocho de Naranja), made by our hostess. It was a beautiful presentation and very tasty. It had a touch of saffron in it, which surprised me.

All in all, this was a wonderful dinner. It was our first time to cook exclusively from Cooking Light, and everything turned out great. I need motivation to cook from CL more often, and this was a step in that direction.

(btw, the code to access the cooking light recipes posted above is FITHOUSE, but you didn't hear it from me!)

Salad and shrimp stuffed peppers

Asparagus, biscuits, pizza, and pork chops

Yummy dessert!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Quote of the Day

During a sunrise walk, a person was seen dancing through the waves in the sand. Every now and then the person would bend over and pick up a starfish and toss it back into the ocean. I asked the person, "Why?" He said, "The tide is going out, if I don't throw them in, they will die." I said, "Since there are so many starfish laying on this huge beach, you can't make a difference." Bending over and picking up another starfish, the person stated, as he threw it into the ocean, "It made a difference to that one."

Friday, July 29, 2005

OK, this IS my last camp post! And it's a humorous one!

Tsooner70's post regarding her boys and poop compelled me to share this picture.
At camp, we decorate cabins before the campers get there. THe girls spend lots of time thinking of fun themes and make nice elaborate signs to greet our girls when they arrive. The boys? Well, the Tonkawas (middle boys cabin, 11-12 year olds) always seem to have a poop related theme. Actually, it's the adults that make this stuff up. Anyhow, this was their creative sign that greeted their campers. They were proud. You may have to click the picture to be able to see the fine details.

Plating is not my thing!

After seeing some of the stuff Kayaksoup posts on her blog, I'm somewhat embarassed to post my creations. Granted, I'm not attending culinary school or anything, but still! To be fair, I do just serve myself, and so don't bother with the trouble of making it all look pretty. Also realized that tonight's dinner (the roasted chicken) was missing some green to go along with it. Oops!

My favorites: The lemon spaghetti--I'm normally not a fan of savory dishes with lemon, but am slowly changing my ways. This had great reviews on the Cooking Light BB and on Sweetnicks Blog. It was good and came together very easily (Jackie, if you're reading this, you should try it. This is one you can manage just fine).
Also, the chicken salad (made with the leftover greek chicken) was my normal 'formula' plus some feta cheese. It was tasty and something I will repeat.
The roast chicken was just OK. Not bad, but not worth repeating. The carcass is on the stove, stewing away so I can have some homemade chicken broth! The leftover chicken will probably become enchiladas in the next few days.
btw, the green beans were a bit discolored. My timing was off and they were done a bit early. Easy recipe, but I've certainly made better.

Top, L-R: Lemony garlic green beans, greek chicken with grape tomatoes, and lemon spaghetti (recipe follows); Greek chicken salad, spiced sweet potato rounds, leftover lemon spaghetti; Chili-roasted chicken with roasted garlic gravy , roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes; The whole chicken and veggies.

Giada DeLaurentiis' Lemon Spaghetti
(I only made 1/2 of this recipe and it was plenty for me to make 4 side servings out of)

1 pound spaghetti
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Quotables, etc.

Some more quotables from the week at Camp E.:

Amidst all the tears after graduation (we had one of the most drama filled cabins), one little girls pipes out, "Sometimes bubble gum helps."

Said one girl on the last night: "Well, I'm ready to get back to the big city life."
(You'd probably have to know this girl to appreciate this comment. Funny thing is, I recall her saying the exact same thing 2 years ago during her first year of camp.)

Said several other counselors throughout the week, "Aaaghhhh! Spider!!! Jennifer, come get it!!!"
I was asked if this big 2 inch spider was a brown recluse. No, they're small. THat's a good spider. I rescused several from the cabin and put them outside where they could eat the bad bugs.

"What the ?"--Said a camper from a boy's cabin when they came to hug raid us and we were all hiding in the shower.

"Geronimo!" said a camper as she went off the diving board (again, you'd have to know her)

"Ohhhhh, I'm scared to dance in front of all these people. Oooohhh, booooohooooo", said the 7 year old boy camper I was dancing with. He was kidding. He was a hoot.

"I can't believe he lets his wife dress him. He's crazy!" said the young boy about the skit character out of Napoleon Dynamite. I was then treated to a running commentary of what was going on on the 'stage'. I was difficult to keep a straight face!

"I can't wait until I'm all better so I can go back to Mexico. I miss it there but I can't go back until I'm not sick anymore", said a little camper (my little swimmer) to me.

And then there was the story about the youngest girl cabin. One first time camper just took in camp with all she had. Homesick at first, she soon realized what a blast camp could be. One night during a group hug in her cabin, she got out of the shower to realize she was missing out. So, she took her nekked little self and joined in the group hug, sliming all over everyone. Note: This is secondhand. I didn't witness this one!

This same girl was talking to a fellow counselor about her port being sore. This counselor was smiling as she was listening, just to show that she was attentive. Well, 7 year olds aren't too in touch with non-verbal cues and such. She stopped what she was saying and asked, "Are you laughing at me? Because if you are, I'm going to have to kill you."

This same girl, bald from chemo, had little pipe cleaners tied on to the sides of her headband her cabin wore during skit night. She wanted ponytails like the other girls.
While at Children's on Monday night (my normal volunteer night), I saw some of the campers in my 'job' as a greeter. I was talking to the mom of a first year camper, asking her how her week was and telling her of my few encounters with her son. She said that he made it home w/ a pair of Sponge Bob underwear that weren't his. He said they were on his bed so he wore them, not realizing they weren't his! We were laughing at this, but he didn't think it was too funny. :)

OK, this is a quote from a previous year, but one Tuesday, a first time camper said, "Wow! It's only Tuesday and I've already done so many new things. I zipped down the zip line, jumped off a diving board, slept outside, and helped cook my meal over a campfire. I love this place!"

Finally, the last graduating senior to speak his words: I was doing fine, not getting teared up until this point. He proceeded to say what camp met to him, how much fun he had there, and then he thanked all of the counselors, that we might give up a week of our lives, away from families, work, etc. to come and help make this such a great week for the campers. He said he that meant alot to him that we would do that.
The point he missed was that it is an honor for us to be there. Spending a week with these kids helps all of us so much more. It gives us a break from the real world (not to imply that what these kids are going through isn't real). It gives us perspective. It makes us thankful for our own health. It makes the troubling things in our own lives much less so. We are the priveleged ones--to have this experience and to have our lives touched so dramatically by these kids and young adults. They are a blessing to us.

So, as another sun has set on a week of Camp Esperanza, I hope I've left any of you reading this a taste of what a special week this is. It's something that I find really hard to convey to friends--you just have to experience it yourself. Maybe one day some of you will!


Taken from the Sports Barn
July 20, 2005

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

And another...

This will be short and quick...(so I said before I got off on a tangent. Or two.)

One of our graduating Seniors, I'll call him Alf, sang the following song at graduation. He's a great kid, not the best singer, but when you have the emotion behind the words that he did, who cares how one sings! He also played a pretty decent guitar.
I remember Alf from the past several years. He's grown up and matured--he even brought dress slacks and shoes for his graduation, to wear with his Dance Night T-shirt. How's that for a 15 year old?

A story about Alf. Last year, the camper I mention below that I just love was all upset about not having a 'date' for dance night. At Camp E., this is a big deal. This year, there was a date made within hours of the campers getting off the bus--these kids are serious about dates for the dance (The date was made by Alf, but I digress)!

So, back to my camper. It's the day of the dance, 2004. The previous year-her first year at camp, she had a date, but sort of got dumped at the ball and ended up in tears at the end of the night. This was devastating for me as well, because I hate to see my campers upset! I explained to her that at the ripe old age of 13, this would be the first of many heartbreaks (yeah, aren't I the sympathetic one?) and that while I knew it hurt, she'd be OK and have many more dances in front of her.

So, back to that day at dinner. She was interested in Alf and asked would I please ask him to the dance for her? I just love playing this role. So, I approached Alf and explained the situation. He said he had a few dates already (quite the player, this Alf) but when I found out that it was the nurses, I let him have it. Nicely. He decided that this girl should be properly asked and said he would ask her in a bit. I reminded him of what would happen if he broke her heart (not suitable for print here) and off I went. I told her and she was beaming. About that time, Alf came and went down on one knee and asked her to the dance. Of course she said yes! So, arrangements were made and he went back to his meal. My camper looked at me w/ tears in her eyes and a beautiful smile and said thanks. She was beaming. I might add that she was at an uncomfortable part of her treatment. While her hair was growing back, she was on steroids and had put on weight and stretchmarks. She wasn't happy w/ how she looked and needed a good confidence boost.

Alf was true to his word and treated her like a queen. He even gave her a corsage he made in the art barn! That night after the dance, she whispered to me that he kissed her. She again had tears in her eyes. I think this may have been her first kiss. I was happy to know that she would get back on that bus the next morning with some of her confidence restored and still with that huge beautiful smile on her face.(Disclaimer: we do keep a close eye on these kids--supervision at all times, but they can be sneaky when the sun goes down.)

This year, since Alf found another date, this camper said she didn't care about the dance. She wasn't all emotional. She just found herself another date, who is also handsome and a great kid! She also looks great--no more steroids! Next year she'll be a graduating camp senior and will be one of those who helps lead the younger ones. I'm proud to say that maybe I played just a teensy weensy part in helping her restore some of her lost confidence at a time when she really needed it. She's a beautiful girl inside and out and I think she's finally realizing that herself.

So, my short post that began about Alf turned into a novella about this special girl. I think she would also say she's had the Time of Her Life at Camp E. these past few summers.

Green Day
Time of Your Life

Another turning point;
a fork stuck in the road.

Time grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.

So make the best of this test
and don't ask why.

It's not a question
but a lesson learned in time.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind.

Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time.

Tattoos of memories
and dead skin on trial.

For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

(music break)

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Okay, here is another picture of my wall where you can actually see the texture. I like it.

Deep Thoughts and Other Comments

One of our camp features was "Deep Thoughts", written by a fellow counselor. The only one I can remember is: "A can't remember anything that happened yesterday. I do know what I ate. Corn."

I was getting near the last of my laundry out a bit ago. This load was mostly bandanas and scarves and such. I noticed a dried leaf among them sitting on top of the washer. Imagine my surprise when I reached for it only to find it was actually part of a dead baby lizard (gecko)! Ewwwwww. Poor thing.

Other camp highlights:
Getting dumped from my cozy kayak into the lake while playing the duct tape game. Twice. Five minutes apart. Yuummmmm, lake water! The lifeguard wasn't very happy with me and my enthusiastic camper.

Being part of the basketball team (Camp Esperanza Staff) that beat the Camp John Marc staff for something like the 15th time out of the last 16 years. CJM staff is made up of young college students. Camp E. staff is made up of mostly people a bit older, many dads, working people. I may be out-of-shape, but I can still play w/ the big guys. Defense, that is. I don't get much chance to shoot which is probably for the best.

After the lunch where the middle boy cabin "eats like pirates" (i.e. no hands, no utensils) I took a picture of one of the little girls who had to jump in. Her face was covered with lasagna sauce. Then one of her little friends walked by with a clean face. I asked her why she didn't eat like a pirate. "Because, it's not lady-like" was her answer. Too cute!

Campers get to choose a project that they do every day of the week. This can be something artsy like pottery or painting, or something outdoorsy like rappelling, outdoor experience, or horses. Counselors also get to choose and some of us are lucky enough to get a project that we like. For the 3rd year, I choose swim lessons. My little girl turned out to be quite a fish. It was quite amazing seeing her go from dog paddling on day one to free-styling on day four. Yes, this little 8-year-old learned how to freestyle in just four days! She was awesome, as was the whole class. The Camp Director, Vance, teaches the class with counselors as one-on-one helpers. Vance is nothing short of amazing. Some call him the Kid Whisperer, as he knows what to say to get the kids to react. He's also a huge OU fan, so he gets extra points from me for that.

The many hugs I received from new campers, returning campers, and counselors.

Hearing one of my campers volunteer to sing the National Anthem for our cabin. Three years with her and who knew she could sing? She is shy so we were all impressed with her volunteering and doing it.

Hearing another counselor belt out Amazing Grace for our cabin and a boy's cabin during a hug raid. She was amazing.

Kissing a fish for the first time. (Yes, I really did.) Unfortunately, the camper I was trying to get to do the same thing just looked at me like I was crazy and still didn't kiss the fish.

Seeing the compassion some of the healthy campers exhibit to those who are struggling. These kids never cease to amaze me.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

While I Was Out

While I was at camp, my house/dog sitter for half the week (and long time friend) painted my kitchen for me. It's not quite done, thanks to me failing to inform him that all I have is a step ladder which is no match for the 10 ft. ceiling in my kitchen. Anyhow, here is what it looks like. It still needs another coat. However, I'm really happy with this shade of yellow. It's soothing and not blinding. Here are before/after pictures. He'll be here tomorrow to finish it up for me.

Before: BRIGHT yellow paint covered with a red colorwash. My painter-uncle described this as 'makes me want to eat a burrito.' Not quite the look I was going for. In retrospect, I should have used a darker red and diluted it much more with the glaze. Oh well, next time I'll know! My dad did the texture, which I think looks great.

After: You can't see the texture as much in the picture, but here is the color it is now. I may try and get a picture in the daylight that is clearer tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Rainbow at Camp Esperanza

The definition of cancer the disease is Any of various malignant neoplasms characterized by the proliferation of anaplastic cells that tend to invade surrounding tissue and metastasize to new body sites. However, I like this one better: A pernicious, spreading evil. It is evil, and that is probably too kind a word.

I just had the pleasure of spending the last week at a camp for kids with or in remission from cancer, ages 7-15 (Camp Esperanza--which is spanish for Hope). Many are healthy and doing well. Many are currently in treatment, as evidenced by their bald heads. Still many others are off of treatment, but will forever bear the effects of the treatment it took to hopefully heal them so that they can live long and productive lives.

Cancer is cruel. Why does any child have to deal with myriad needle pokes, treatments, physical scarring, stunted growth, and the many other side effects? One girl who I just love--she's been to camp for 3 years now and in my cabin for 2, will somday have to undergo a hip replacement. Athletic by nature, she can no longer particpate due to her hip problems from chemo. Thankfully, she is in remission. That is minor compared to the scars some of these kids have.

We remembered 4 campers who have passed away over the past year. One was in my cabin her last 2 years she attended camp. She was an awesome girl who will always hold a place in my heart. We called her counselor #7 because she kept us in line (there are 6 counselors per cabin). Her presence was missed. After our remembrance ceremony the first night of camp, we had some rain (first time in my 4 years of going here for camp that it has rained). Then there was the most beautiful rainbow (see picture above--it's faint but look closely and you will see). We took that as a sign from K. and the others that have passed on. They were most definitely with us at camp this week and wanted to let us know that.

Some of the best stories from the week at camp involve boys and bodily functions. Go figure.

--One of the younger boys (8 or so) was in the bathroom. He came out and asked his counselor for help. Turns out the boy, whose mother is apparantly obsessive-compulsive about the teeth he loses, was sitting on the pot playing with his lose tooth. Oops, out it came and into the toilet it went. Where he had just gone #2. Well, he asked his counselor if he would get it out. The counselor donned some rubber gloves (which are apparantly on the list of things to bring for the boy cabins. Thankfully that's not the case for the girls) and fished around and found the prized tooth. It was removed, lysoled, and put into a ziploc baggy. The boy was told that he better be sure it makes it home and that his mom knows what it took for that tooth to get home. I think that counselor should get counselor of the year!!

--One of the older graduating boys (15) has a history of finding other boys' cabins to do his #2 business in. Secretly. And enjoys leaving his mark. So, this year his target was the 2nd youngest boy cabin. One day during nap time, he snuck in while the boys were sleeping. One little boy heard him and notified the counselors, who were on the patio meeting. The counselors then ambushed the guilty party, who took off out of the cabin. He was chased by a counselor with a super sonic water gun. Said counselor wasn't about to let him get away and then realized he was chasing this camper in nothing but his boxers.

OK, so it's not just the boys!
--My cabin consisted of 13-14 year old girls. They are a hoot--boy crazy, obsessed with how they look, but not at all girly-girly. One night, the counselors were meeting on the breezeway that seperates the 2 sides of the cabin while the girls were getting ready for bed. One girls opens the door and asks if there is any air freshener beacuse "three of us just took a dump and it stinks bad."

--This same girl was with us in the band-aid box getting some medicine. As we were about to leave, she said "Hurry, let's go. I've gotta fart. Haha-just kidding. Oops, I did fart when I laughed. Let's get out of here!" This was said loud and clear for anyone to hear. No modesty in this girl!

As much as I love this week spent at camp--it is one of my favorite times of the year, I hope the day comes that there no longer needs to be a camp for kids with cancer. I hope that the cures for these kids will some day be much simpler, sparing them the effects that many now have to live with. I hope that next year we don't have a need for a remembrance ceremony. I hope.

On another sad note about the evils of cancer, my friend's FIL (see July 8th entry) passed away this past Wednesday from pancreatic cancer. Rest in peace, B.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Tribute To A Full But Short Life: My Nephew Dakota


It's been 3 years. It's hard to believe we've been without you that long. Three Christmases, three birthdays, three Easters, and many other memories made without you there. Your much-loved Uncle Bobby has joined you since you left us. So has Sassy cat and Aspen.

Your Gramma and Papaw miss you very much. Their life hasn't been the same since you left. They are contemplating selling their house and moving, but then don't want to leave the last place you lived. If they do leave, they'll be taking several trees that were planted in your memory with them. I would expect you'll still have your yellow bedroom in their new house, wherever they end up building.

You will always be our sunshine. You taught us so much and left such a strong impression on everyone who met you. Your innocence, your pure spirit and old man's soul, your happiness, your sweet personality...I still don't understand why you had to leave us so soon and probably never will. I do cherish the time we did have you--and am so thankful that I was able to live close enough to be a part of your life. I know you are in a happier place--one where your belly doesn't hurt and your legs can carry you around and you can do all the things that your couldn't do here. That makes me happy. But I still wish I could feel your sweet little arms giving me a hug. Those were the best. I still try and remember ever little detail of that last full day I got to spend with you. I remember you saying "What's dat smell?" in your cute little voice as we crossed the Canadian River on our way to OKC. I remember your silly poses when I asked you to pose for the camera--thankfully I took all of those pictures that day!

Precious memories, how they linger.

Let's play ball!


Harley and Dakota--don't they look cozy?

He loved The Crocodile Hunter--Steve Irwin

Yum! Chicken!

Number #1!

Chubby phase!

Number #1!


Anastasia Island, FL

Look at him go!

Colorado Mountains

Wichita Mountains, OK with Papaw and Gramma

Colorado Mountains

Just hanging out in the bedroom

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln

Friday, July 15, 2005

Junk Food

Well, I've made 2 batches of Mixed-Nut Spiced Toffee and a double batch of Goalpost Crunch (Recipe follows) to take to Camp Esperanza on Saturday. The food there leaves much to be desired, and the counselors like to sit around and gourge ourselves after the young'uns go to bed. The Goalpost Crunch is a tradition. My cabin mates would probably kick me out if I didn't bring it! I generally only make the toffee at Christmas, but thought it sounded good so made some up.
This is also the only time of the year I allow myself to buy Oreos--the double stuff kind. Yum! They'll be gone by Monday night.

OK, sort of a funny story about the Goalpost Crunch. As I was buying the cereal, I noticed there was a new kind of Chex--whole wheat. You know, higher fiber, healthier, etc. So I got it. I noticed by the size/weight of the box that it was much more dense, and made a mental note that this is a good thing. So here I am planning on making this fat and calorie laden snack, and I'm concerned with getting the cereal with the hightest fiber. Well, I might add that for those of us adults at camp, fiber is an important thing. You know, you're eating food that you normally wouldn't touch, you're body is thrown into a funky schedule, you never have any private time-->it can really throw your body's natural cycle into disarray! Yep, fiber is good. Even if it comes amidst more sugar, butter, and salty pretzels than one normally eats.

So, with running around picking up last minute things, making the above, showing my house/dog sitters what to do when I'm gone, and catching up with a few long distance friends, I had no time to cook dinner. I splurged on an iFratelli's pizza. Yum.

Tomorrow is full of last minute errands, a $100 market research interview for an hour of my time, a back-to-school party at my principal's house (already???), and a visit with friends who recently had twin girls. Maybe I'll get to hold them this time!

Until next time...

Goalpost Crunch

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
6 cups mini pretzels
6 cups Rice Chex® -- or Corn Chex, Crispix, etc.
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup brown sugar -- packed (I used light brown sugar)
1/2 cup butter -- no substitutes
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Baking soda

Combine pretzels, cereal, and pecans in 4 qt. bowl and set aside.

In a 2 qt. Glass bowl (I used my Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup), mix together the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup.
Microwave mixture on HIGH until mixture boils (about 3 minutes); stirring once to dissolve sugar. Microwave on 30% power for 4 minutes or until mixture is golden brown. (I did 2 min. on low and 2 min. on med-low)
Stir in vanilla and baking soda.

Pour over dry cereal/pretzel mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Microwave on HIGH uncovered 4 to 4-1/2 minutes, or until lightly glossed (don't over-cook or it will scorch). Stir twice. Spoon onto large cookie sheets that have been covered with greased foil or parchment paper. Cool and break into pieces or chunks. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

How did this happen?

Once upon a time, I could go outside, play all day, and the only physical thing I would feel at the end of the day was tiredness. I would wake up the next morning and do it all over again. What happened to that person? Where did she go? How come now, after a day of swimming, of swinging on a trapeze into the water, of diving off a high dive, does my body feel like it's been picked up and thrown in front of a semi-truck? From swimming??? The joys of growing up and becoming an adult.

Very Cool Photo

APOD: 2005 July 11 - Sunrise Over Kilimanjaro

Do you Sudoku?

Check it out-- Sudoku

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dinner Tonight

Spinach salad with tomatoes, onions, radishes, brown sugar butter pecans, feta cheese, and marinated grilled portobellos. After a tiring day swimming at Burger's Lake , I didn't want to put much effort into dinner. I had salad left over from the weekend, and the rest came together in no time.

Monday, July 11, 2005

On kitchens...

Well, I learned a new game this weekend. It's called Kitchen Twister. The point is see who can get frustrated first and leave the kitchen, thus leaving more room for the remaining people to get something done! I hate my kitchen! My mom, dad, and I were all trying to use the same work space (i.e. only work space) while cooking dinner the other night. It was quite comical.

We had a nice weekend. Dad some some 'daddy dos' for me--namely, fixed the sagging, leaking roof over my patio that it turns out was made with cheap, paper based crap rather than real wood. No wonder it sags! He also fixed the back door lock that he (and everyone else but me) had trouble using.

They are planning on building their 'last hurrah' house in the coming year, so of course we had to go to The Great Indoors and The Viking Store. Mom is finally going to get her designer kitchen, possibliy with a double oven. Yippee! Not that I live there, but I do help cook there come holidays and other events. Fun fun. Of course, this will likely just serve to make me insanely jealous when I have to come back to my above-mentioned kitchen! OK, so I'll get over it. They've lived a lot longer and worked a lot harder than I have, so they deserve it.

I can't help but cuss the designer who designed my kitchen and only made 2 drawers and wasted 2 whole walls--one for a big window and the other is just blank! The window is nice, but I'd prefer the kitchen sink looking over the window. Of course, I was stupid enough to buy the place over 5 years ago. Now I know to count kitchen drawers next time I am in the market (hopefully in the next year). Live and learn...

Weekend project

I'm not crafty, so these swarovski crystal iron-ons were the perfect (easy) way to jazz up my camo shorts. I needed some camos for a dance next week, so found an Army/Navy store near here. I kinda want some pants come winter. They were really comfortable!

Women over 30

A friend emailed the following gem to me. If you don't want to read the whole thing, at least read the last few lines. Enjoy. :)

This is for all you girls 30 years and over.... and for those who are turning 30, and for those who are scared of moving into their 30's...AND for guys who are scared of girls over 30!!!!...

This was written by Andy Rooney from CBS 60 Minutes. Andy Rooney

As I grow in age, I value women who are over 30 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 30 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, "What are you thinking?" She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 30 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting.

A woman over 30 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 30 give a damn what you might think about her or what she's doing.

Women over 30 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

A woman over 30 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women. Women over 30 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 30. They always know.

A woman over 30 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 30 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one! You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 30 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of 30+, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year-old waitress.

and my personal favorite! - .........

Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free". Here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire Pig, just to get a little sausage.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I'll start by saying my parents think I am nuts, taking pictures of all of this food! Then, my mom came in and saw what I was doing and just started laughing. I was trying to show her how Picasa can create collages and she just shook her head. I guess one must have to be a foodie to understand (or have too much time on one's hands!)

Fresh tomatoes from the garden and some lemons my friend (Thanks Amber!) brought back from California. The Dr. Pepper can is to show just how big those babies are! By tomorrow, they will be fresh lemonade.

Dinner Tonight

Fresh veggies from the garden (mom and dad's garden in OK), marinated steaks (and 1 pork chop)--all thrown on the grill, and homemade strawberry shortcakes. Yum!

Mi Padre

Friday, July 08, 2005

Happy and Sad

I'm happy because my parents are here. We went shopping at
Sam Moon, which was a madhouse. I'll be happy if I never go back! I did buy some cute bandanas and scarves for Camp Esperanza (see link at right), as well as a new toiletry/overnight bag.
Then it was on to dinner at
Babe's Chicken Dinner House, and now we are all miserably full. That place is the best for good 'ole home cookin.

Now for the sad. When I got home, I had a message from one of my very best friends. Her FIL had exploratory surgery today, and the news wasn't good. He has pancreatic cancer that is advanced. I called my friend back, but she was on the phone. I left a message...but what really can you say to someone when they find out such devastating news? My heart breaks for her and her husband, who I also consider a very good friend, as well as the rest of their family. So, please think warm thoughts and send prayers to Tulsa, OK for this family.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


So, I've been on this pizza kick. I purchased Peter Reinhart's American Pie a few weeks ago. I love pizza. Thick crust used to be my preference. Then I visited Rome. I love their thin crust pizzas there. I've made pizza dough in the bread machine before, but never will again. After taking a week or so to peruse the beginning of the book where Reinhart visited places and tried their pizzas (oi, how I would love to have that job), I took a stab at my own. Based on the dough ingredients I had on hand, I made the Neo-neopolitan dough. I froze 3/4 of the dough and used the remaining to make this pizza. Can you say HEAVEN??? It was wonderful. The dough was the best I've ever made (no more bread machine). It was easily workable-I could almost imagine myself in a rustic pizzarria tossing it up amid an audience of spectators and admirers. (Notice I said almost--I still need lots of practice!) It was light and airy with just the right amount of crisp. Oh, and the toppings: carmelized onions, fontina cheese, garlic, with fresh parmesan and rosemary added as it came out of the oven. My first really big pizza success...more to follow.

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Posting from email

Wow, this blogger thing is fun. I'm stalling from working on my Applied Behavior Analysis homework. It's interesting stuff, I'm just sick of all the questions! Anyhow, you can supposedly post to your blog via email, so I'm just trying it out.  
Anyone care to explain "differential reinforcement of successive approximations to a specificed targe behavior?" I have a textbook version, but need to rephrase it a bit. 
Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Dinner Tonight

This was just OK. Not a repeater. I did halve the amount of potatoes and broth, but left everything else the same. Wait, I did double the amount of cayenne. Anyhow who knows me won't be surprised by that. :) Sweet potatoes are a recent new like of mine, but this just didn't do much for me. There is another soup recipe I've seen that has black beans and chipotle in it. I may try that next time I'm in a sweet potato mood.
Oh, and the dogs liked the leftovers. Sweet potatoes are good for me; they are good for them too. I hate for food to go to waste.

"Sweet potatoes off the grill make a soup beyond compare, particularly if you use the Asian custom of also cooking a whole piece of ginger over the grill's fire," writes Jennifer Bushman, the expert behind Weber's Girls' Guide to Grilling. "This spicy root takes on a smoky quality that plays off the sweetness of the potatoes."

Ginger's Grilled Sweet Potato-and-Ginger Soup


2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
1 medium red onion, cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
1 ounce fresh ginger (about 1 square inch), peeled
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
¼teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
¼cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


Lightly brush or spray the sweet potatoes, onion slices and ginger on all sides with oil. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over direct medium heat until the vegetables are well marked, about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time.

Finely chop the ginger. Place the sweet potatoes, onions and ginger in a large saucepan. Add the chicken stock, allspice and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Puree the soup in a food processor or blender (in 2 batches if necessary). Return the soup to the pan. Add the half-and-half, parsley and lime juice. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 small servings.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 192 Calories; 6g Fat (23.8% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 4mg Cholesterol; 60mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat.

What kind of girl am I? According to the quiz, I am the following. LOL.


Peanut at my parent's house. I missed the best part of the sunset by just a few minutes.

Fourth of July Posted by Picasa

New at this

Hmmmm. So I'm joining the blogging bandwagon. Not sure why, or what I have to write here. I'm still thinking about that.