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Friday, October 21, 2011

BLESSINGS

(From somewhere on Pinterest).




I found the above "poster" on Pinterest awhile back.  This morning, I don't know if it was the cool morning or the prospect of a good weekend that put pep in my step and a fullness, yet lightness, in my heart, but as the dog licked my had I realized that I have more than plenty to be thankful for, to be grateful for, to treasure.  I am blessed.

Not only do I have food in my fridge, clothes on my back, and a warm bed to sleep in at night...my cup over flows with family and friends (although not near) and experiences that I wouldn't trade. 

I may never see the castles in Ireland, but I've seen...
  • the St. Louis Arch (even went to the top in the tiny elevator)
  • the Golden Gate bridge (been across it in a 15 passenger rental van, can you say that??)
  • the "Faces" a.k.a. Mt. Rushmore
  • the Alamo
  • both the Atlantic and the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico (and the North Platte River, but who's counting?)...I've dipped my toes in the Atlantic and the Gulf
  • the Most Southern Point of the U.S.
  • the National Championship football game (the Orange Bowl to be exact, Tom Osborne's last game as head coach of the Cornhuskers to be more specific, and they won...take that Payton Manning and Tennessee)
I had all four of my grandparents until I was a freshman in college.

I was fortunate to go to college and onto graduate school.

I am the proud owner of the best dog ever, who happens to be my best pal and completely ruined.  I ask myself often how that happened.  I have no good explanation, other than supporting evidence that most of my show cattle and hogs were very much the same way. OOPS.

I am also very proud and extremely fortunate to say that my family has helped (and continues) to contribute to our Nation's (and our World's) food supply for 4 generations.

Although, I...
  • cannot swim
  • did not learn to ride a bike without training wheels until I was 8
  • made a near perfect lay-up at the wrong basket during a Jr. High basketball game
  • have never shot a golf game under 100 on 18
  • have lived in Texas for 10+ years and do not prefer Pecan Pie
  • do not like white gravy.
 Someday I will..
  • make it to Yellowstone
  • see the Northern Lights
  • visit Alaska
  • tour the lighthouses in Maine
  • see the castles in Ireland.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

'80s Ladies

I apologize for my absence, but we'll cover that later.

On a recent road trip (day trip), for work, I made a little list in my head, let's see if I can recall the jist of it all. I worked up a list of things that we should all have in our memory books, and on my list, thanks to my iPod, I have the '80s ladies. No, not the great friends from the dorm and I that re-worked the K.T. Oslin's hit from the '80s. That is definitely another story for another time.

As I was cruising across the Lone Star State in my Gold Lincoln Town Car on Friday of last week, I spent a lot of time being thankful that it was a solo mission---I did a lot of singing and dancing in that car that day. Some of the favorite stops made by my iPod were on the Ladies of the 80s. Let me just share with you right now that my musical stylings were utterly amazing and a force to be reckoned with, not to mention the moves that accompanied them.


Tell me, who doesn't know their way through "My Arms Stay Open All Night" and "Just Another Love"...

Likewise, raise your hand if you are unfamiliar with "18 Wheels and A Dozen Roses".






Notice, I tried hard to find images that represent the era...yes I did.

Although I don't remember any "Chains" or "Timber I'm Falling in Love" from my little escape, it doesn't mean that it didn't happen.


I may have put "Heart Over Mind" on the journey, although I don't recall.



And there were others. Look up Lacy J. Dalton. She and I shared "Black Coffee" on "16th Avenue". Do it.

I do recall some timeless classics.


I was at work from "9 to 5" (and maybe an hour or two either side of that) and maybe I did a little "Hard Candy Christmas" shopping...I was definitely no where near "Islands in the Stream", no water for miles around.

Questions such as "What am I Going to Do About You?" may have crossed my mind.  I didn't exactly declare that "I'm a New Fool at an Old Game", although "You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving" and "You Lift Me Up".

Maybe, just maybe I should have stuck with the original plan of sharing things like

  • Catching fireflies in beer bottles
  • Wading in the mud
  • Eating sugar cereal at Grandma's house
  • Not learning how to ride a bike until the first grade due to the lack of sidewalks until then...sand and training wheels do not mesh well, FYI

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday

Friday, August 26, 2011

TGIF

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Casual

Untitled

Ralph Lauren Childrenswear vest
$100 - lordandtaylor.com

Current/Elliott distressing jeans
$229 - saksfifthavenue.com

Old Gringo mid heels
$490 - infinityshoes.com

Michael Kors sports jewelry
$225 - net-a-porter.com

rings - Dos Piedras Ring
$260 - crowsnesttrading.com

Fern's Feelin' Fancy

Fern's Feelin' Fancy


Long sleeve t shirt
$235 - barneys.com

Alice by Temperley faux fur jacket
$487 - my-wardrobe.com

Denim jeans
£14 - peacocks.co.uk

Frye boots
$348 - zappos.com

Roberto Cavalli leather tote
$1,060 - net-a-porter.com

Yves Saint Laurent snap bracelet
$895 - net-a-porter.com

Dannijo 18k gold ring
$183 - my-wardrobe.com

ASOS turquoise necklace
$31 - asos.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Little Something Sweet

Awhile back, a friend of mine was traveling in the Midwest and ended up at the Ghyslain Chocolatier.  She was so sweet to bring me back a sampling of their goodies. Now, I've never been one of those "I need chocolate" or "Chocolate fixes everything people".  Personally, I'd rather have a plate of cheese fries on a bad day, but that's me, and I do march to my own drum.  However, the small blue box she brought me contained six little pieces of beauty.  Each was a different flavor and shape, and the remarkable thing to me is that each was HAND PAINTED.  They were little tiny works of art.  I have to be honest, they sat untouched in the box for a couple of days before I could bring myself to eat one.  The were so pretty!  Were being the operative word...they were also tasty!!

To find the image this morning, I found their website.  Their story is interesting, the things that they can do with chocolate are amazing, and there are pastries....

Day 6: Anything that tickles your fancy

To Laugh Often and Much

http://emerson.tamu.edu/ephemera/success.html

Favorite Quote (day 5).

The Book is Better Than the Movie...and the Movie Rocks



Day 4: (I know I'm a few days behind. I'll post this weekend as to why I've been so out of pocket, so to speak)

This should be no surprise. Favorite book: Lonesome Dove.

If you have NEVER seen the movie, stop what you are doing and devote 6 hours to watching it. If you have NEVER read the book (even if you have seen the movie), STOP RIGHT NOW, go to amazon.com, and buy the book!!! As soon as UPS drops it off, STOP, tear into that box and get to reading. It will consume you, wear comfy sweats, make a pot of great coffee, curl up. DO IT.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You Make a Better Door than a Window

Day 3: Favorite TV Show

This like the favorite song goes in waves...

Shows I really, really like...This by the way is like admitting to guilty pleasures...(in no particular order)

Beverly Hills 90210 (the original, not the remake)

M*A*S*H

Dallas (love the theme song!!)

Sex and the City (I will have the little pink box of DVDs, someday)

I've also been known to tune into Little House on the Prairie from time to time...

Lately, I've really gotten into Army Wives, The Good Wife, Grays Anatomy, Private Practice, Bones, and Castle. I'm also REALLY, into Food Network this summer. The Next Food Network Star and Diners, Drive Inns, & Dives are topping the charts there.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Complete No Brainer

Day 2 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge is "Your favorite movie".  Unlike yesterday's terrible post about my inability to pick one favorite song, my favorite movie can be summed up in 2 words: LONESOME DOVE.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

2 New Dip Recipes

I recently found 2 new dip recipes.  One is road tested and crowd approved.  It will be made again! The other is low in WW points and is on the "things to try" list.

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip
1 16 oz carton of sour cream
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
2 jalapenos seeded and diced
Cilantro
Garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and dive in!!

There were both pita chips and tortilla chips present when I served this dip.  It was great with either.  It was also tasty on celery sticks.  This dip is fabulous, fast, and terribly easy.  It's a great spin on the traditional go-to ranch dip.  Make it! And then, make it again.


Spinach and Artichoke Dip
I found this dip on the WW web site and have yet to try it, but it's going to happen soon!  According to the recipe it makes 12 servings that are 2 WW PP each.

2 sprays of cooking spray
1/2 lb of spinach, baby leaves, washed and dried (I would use frozen!! It would be easier!!)
1 1/2 c canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained
1 clove of garlic, minced (how handy, I use minced garlic in the jar ALL OF THE TIME!)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c reduced-fat sour cream
4 oz low fat cream cheese, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 7 1/2 inch deep dish glass or ceramic pie plate (or oven-proof dish) with cooking spray.

In a food processor, combine spinach, artichokes, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, Parmesan, sour cream and cream cheese.  Puree until smooth.  Scrape dip into prepared dish; smooth top into an even layer. Bake until golden brown on tip, about 20-30 minutes.  Serve warm. Yields about 1/4 c per serving.

Good luck with this second one! Sounds good to me.  Let me know how it is!

30 Day Blog Challenge

I had a great blogging streak going there for a while, and then, I fell of the wagon.  Well, this girl is picking herself up off of the blogging trail and getting back on that wagon.  I have several ideas up my sleeve to share, I just hope I can keep up!  I found this "30 Day Blog Challenge" at www.robynbeazley.com. (A site I stumbled upon through www.crystalcattle.com.) Her site is titled "Live An Amazing Life".  She's wrote a book with the same title.  I've bought it.  I started reading it and cannot find where I laid it down...that doesn't mean it isn't good, it is. I enjoy reading it.  I think that it's helped jump start me back to my old self.  Trust me, I have strayed away from her, and I've missed her.  Don't worry, she's on a come back!!


The 30-Day Challenge TOPICS:

•Day 01 — Your favorite song
•Day 02 — Your favorite movie
•Day 03 — Your favorite television program
•Day 04 — Your favorite book
•Day 05 — Your favorite quote
•Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
•Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
•Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
•Day 09 — A photo you took
•Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
•Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
•Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
•Day 13 — A fictional book
•Day 14 — A non-fictional book
•Day 15 — A fanfic
•Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
•Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
•Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
•Day 19 — A talent of yours
•Day 20 — A hobby of yours
•Day 21 — A recipe
•Day 22 — A website
•Day 23 — A YouTube video
•Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
•Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
•Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
•Day 27 — This month, in great detail
•Day 28 — This year, in great detail
•Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
•Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy


Day 1-- My favorite song....
Really? Just one? Um, I don't know if I can.  Favorite "getcha up and getcha going" song: "Don't Stop Belivin'" by Journey. Favorite Christmas song: "Christmas to Remember" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (don't judge).  Favorite Hymns: "I'll Fly Away", "On Eagle's Wings", "Amazing Grace".  Favorite George Strait tune(s): "The Chair", "Ocean Front Property", "Baby Blue".  I have lots of songs. Its a day to day thing, heck, it may change by lunch time! I love "Proud Souls" by Jason Boland, " Tennessee Whiskey" by George Jones, "Silver Wings" by Merle Haggard, "Rock Springs to Cheyenne" by Micky & the Motorcars...I like the Dallas theme song. 

Again, Fern has made the easy thing hard. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Friday. Grill Something this Weekend.

It's Friday! I have big plans to attend the Ft. Griffin Fandangle tonight.  Stay tuned.  My good friends Jeff and Cori are cast members.

Tomorrow, I have big plans to do chores around the house and work on the blasted dissertation.  More importantly, I have big plans to grill tomorrow evening.  I have steak on the brain, so I have beef in my not too distant future. I encourage everyone to do the same.  For some inspiration, look towards the 29 Ways to Love Lean Beef and get to grilling.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Have a Blessed Wednesday


It's Wednesday! I've been working on left overs from my busy weekend in the kitchen.  Mom sent pics from home yesterday, and I just love this little guy!  Hoping to try a new stuffed portabella 'shroom recipe, maybe this evening.   

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Grilled Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak


















What you will need:
2 tsp Chili Powder
3/4 tsp Ground Cumin
3/4 tsp Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 (1-lb) Flank Steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
4 Lime Wedges (optional)

What you need to do:
Combine the first 5 ingredients.  Rub spice mixture over steak. Place steak in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal bag.  Refrigerate 8 hours or over night.
Preheat grill.
Place steak on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill steak 5 min each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove from grill rack.  Cover and let stand 5 min. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.  Serve with lime wedges, if desired.  Should yield 4 servings.

Fern's Recipe Ammendments:
I followed the recipe up until the grill for 5 min each side.  I didn't time each side of the steak, and I should have to share.  I left each side of the steak on the lower grill rack for 3 or so minutes, and I then moved the steak to the upper grill rack for a couple of minutes before removing the steak from the grill and letting it stand inside.  I did end up with a perfect Medium Rare steak this way.  Note, I have never before, in my life, grilled this particular cut of meat.

Before putting my steak on the grill I created a salad to serve it on. I made a bed of mixed green (spinach, romaine, and spring mix).  To that I added a variety of veggies: carrots, celery, radish, purple onion, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, sugar snap peas, and tomato.  I also made a cilantro lime vinaigrette dressing.  When I lived in College Station, there was a restaurant that had a Southwestern Steak Salad that was one of my favorite meals.  Lettuce and veggies topped with a small sirloin and corn tortilla strips and choice of dressing. They had a cilantro lime dressing that was SO GOOD.  I think that I have found one that is very close to that.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
1 Jalapeno, seeded
1 Clove of Garlic
Zest of 1 Lime
Juice of 1 Lime
1/3 c Cilantro Leaves
1/4 c Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pulse all in blender to desired consistency.

Fern's Recipe Ammendments:
I made mine in my Cuisinart Food Processor.  If you don't have one, please get one.  It will change your life. Anyway...I also added some ground coriander for a little more flavor.  Another side note: I have found a great tool for seeding jalapenos! Its a sharp, jagged edged, V-shaped deal on the other end of my melon baller.  Cut the top of the pepper off and stick that in there, run it around the outside, dump the seeds and veins, rinse the pepper, and viola! you are done!

Fern's Steak Salad:
I sliced my Grilled Spice Rubbed Flank Steak against the grain in thin strips.  I laid a serving of steak (1/4 of the grilled steak) on the bed of greens and veggies and sprinkled some feta on top.  I served the dressing on the side. (another random tip: to get the flavor of the dressing but not all of the fat/calories and soggy salad, dip your fork in the dressing before spearing each bite with your fork)

Note:
Flank steak is one of the 29 lean cuts of beef. Because it is so lean and it is often a very thin cut of meat, it is recommended to marinate it to promote flavor and tenderness. Grilling is also the recommended cooking method for this particular cut of meat, so summer is the perfect season to enjoy it!

Breakfast Berry Cornbread

What you will need:
1 c Yellow Cornmeal
1/2 c Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 c Fat Free Sour Cream
1 Large Egg
1 Large Egg White
1 tsp Grated Lemon Zest
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 6 oz container Fresh Raspberries or 3/4 c frozen unsweetened rasberries

What you need to do:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray 9 in pie plate with non stick spray.
Whisk together cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg, egg white, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Add sour cream mixture to cornmeal mixture and stir just until cornmeal mixture is moistened.  Spoon into prepared pie plate.  Sprinkle evenly with raspberries.
Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack 5 minutes.  Cut into eight wedges.  Serve warm.  (it's also great cold out of the fridge with a glass of iced tea for an afternoon snack, just saying)

Fern's Recipe Ammendments: 
I have used Splenda rather than Sugar, as well, I used Light Sour Cream rather than Fat Free.  I also used Egg Beaters (egg substitute) in place of both the egg and the egg white.  I don't have raspberries on hand, but I have used blueberries and frozen mixed berries.  I think that I prefer the blueberries.

Note: This is a Weight Watchers recipe that has found its way to my go to's.  I have modified it slightly to fit what might be in my pantry, but the WW PP values have stayed the same (near as I can tell)

A Weekend of Recipes

Father's Day weekend found me hundreds of miles south of my Dad, and at least 40 degrees hotter outside than my Dad on Saturday.  My folks traveled to Wyoming for a cousin's wedding. Congratulations Johanna!! I hear that it was a beautiful ceremony, a wonderful day, and that you were a pretty bride.  Who could want more, right?!

I found myself home for the entire weekend with no obligations filling my calendar.  Saturday, I putzed around the house--cleaned, washed laundry, found new recipes to try, worked on a dissertation, you know anything NOT OUTSIDE in the blistering 112 degree heat.  Yes, I said 112!!  Newton has come to believe that he is now a house dog.  "Hi, my name is Fern and I have turned my blue heeler into a grouchy show heifer.  All he has done for 2 days is eat, want to stay inside, and lay under the fan."

Friday afternoon I had laid a Beef Flank Steak out to thaw.  When using this particular cut of meat, please be sure to give it plenty of time to "soak up" the seasoning or marinade and do not over cook, otherwise, a less than tender eating experience will likely result.  Friday evening I mixed up a rub recipe that I had found and stashed the seasoned steak in a gallon ziploc bag in the fridge. Friday night, I threw together some fish tacos that turned out great.  They definitely will get repeated! Saturday Morning I threw together LemonBerry Cornbread.  I've done it before, and I will likely do it again.  I served it with 2 precooked sausage patties.  The 2 together were filling and a moderate weight watchers points plus expenditure, which is a big deal to me these days.  Saturday night I grilled my flank steak and served it over a salad. I made a cilantro lime vinaigrette to go with it, and paired the entire meal with a Becker Vineyards Malbec.  It was a delicious dinner.  The taste made up for the fact that I dined alone.  I have found that dining alone isn't so bad if one makes the same effort for herself that I would make for guests.  No, I didn't get the living room vacuumed, but I served on pretty plates and used a tall stemmed glass, for instance.  I also FINALLY watched Crazy Heart.  I've had the movie in hand since it came out on DVD.  Since it came out in theaters after I had moved to the middle of nowhere, I waited for DVD release (and apparently then some since I haven't watched until now).  I was okay buying this movie without seeing it before.  It stars none other than Robert Duvall, how bad could it be?? And, I have the sound track and think it's great. 

As I have worked on this post, I have decided to add pages to my blog.  Therefore, please stay tuned.  I think that I'm going to add a page just for recipes to maybe add some flair and simplicity at the same time.  I hope everyone had a blessed Father's Day weekend!  I cannot wait for my dad to get his gift in the mail!!  Sorry folks, work didn't allow me to get to the post office during window open hours early enough in the week for him to get it by last Friday.

Have a great week!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Horseradish Dipping Sauce

I found this recipe the other day on http://neo-homesteading.blogspot.com. I don't even remember what chain of events got me there.  That ever happen to you??  It's a common occurrence to me, and lately I've realized it's not just pertinent to web browsing, but life.

Bringing the rabbit back around the tree....

Last night in the search for something different, something un-heavy, something delicious for dinner (or supper, however you want to think about it), I looked through a couple of cookbooks and remembered this recipe that I'd emailed to myself earlier this week.  I do that a lot, email recipes to myself from sites I find.  The recipes end up in my email, consequently on my phone.  My phone later ends up on the counter with smudges on it due to my using it as a recipe card.  This practice needs to stop.  It's probably not sanitary and it's definitely not good for my phone.~~~~sorry, rabbit must have taken a left to get to the pond~~~heading him back down the bunny trail.....

I pulled up the recipe and realized that I had most of the ingredients in the pantry.  Stroke of luck!  I'm living remotely these days. The small town grocery store closes at 6.  It's 7:30 by this point.  It's too hot to eat before then, even if I haven't been working outside.  The heat and the late eating have got to stop.  It's not good for me. (off track again, sorry about that...)

The Recipe (finally):
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Horseradish Dipping Sauce

6 medium sized portobello mushrooms about 2" in diameter
4-6 button mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

8 ounces crab meat

2-3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
2-3 tablespoons chopped chives
1 egg
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons mayo
1/2-1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
*fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


In a bowl combine crab meat, pepper, chives, egg, mustard, mayo, old bay (I use a good deal of old bay). Stir to mix and add panko, do not add too much you just want enough for the mixture to bind together. 

remove stems from the mushrooms, using a spoon hollow out the centers and then toss mushrooms with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Using about 1-2 tablespoons of filling stuff crab filling into the mushrooms. Place on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is golden. You don't want to over cook the mushrooms or they will be too moist and the filling will become soggy.

The above is the recipe as published on the above blog address.  Fern am mended it slightly to make it happen.


I had 3 portobello mushrooms about 4" in diameter, so I used them.  I sprayed the shrooms with Olive Oil cooking spray and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (I was saving on the Weight Watchers Points Plus with this move).  I drained and rinsed 2 6 oz cans of crab meat.  One was lump and the other was just white crab meat.  Probably not ideal, but it's what I had on hand.  I didn't have a red pepper, but I had a yellow one.  I used it.  My chives in the herb "garden" aren't very plentiful, so I used green onion.  Again, to save on the WWPP, I used 1/4 c of Egg Beaters rather than an egg.  I also used Light Mayo.  I thought I had Old Bay Seasoning.  I didn't.  I Googled how to improvise some at home.  I learned that Emeril's Essence is a good substitute.  I tried that.


Horseradish Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2-3 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon horseradish (or to taste, but I use A LOT)
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce 

Stir to combine. For a fuller fat version you can use more mayo or substitute the mayo in this recipe for horseradish cream.

Again, Fern am mended the dipping sauce....
I did use Greek Yogurt.  It was good.  I also used Light Mayo like I did with the crab mixture.  I used just over a tablespoon of horseradish.  I tasted it after 1 Tbsp and decided it needed more.  I also went for the full teaspoon of hot sauce.

I served a stuffed shroom with a salad of mixed greens and veggies (cucumber, radish, onion, bell pepper, carrots) topped with blue cheese crumbles and croutons and light blue cheese dressing.  I paired my summery supper with a glass of Llano Sweet Red wine.

It was good.  I'm thinking if I ever re-make the recipe, I'll definitely use the Old Bay that the recipe calls for.  I also think that it needs a little something, although I'm unsure what that might be at the moment.  Let me know what you think, please.  That is if you try it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just a quick note

Just a quick note because it's Monday. It was a great weekend! Patio sitting with friends on a Friday evening with some great Sangria wine. A BEAUTIFUL wedding on Saturday evening. They are sooo cute and one of my favorite couples! So happy for them! I caught the bouquet. Don't hold your breath. This has happened before, and it's still just me and Newt. Sunday was full of rest and recuperation and inventing. I threw together a quick supper. Invited another great couple over and we dined on Sam's Crazy Chicken "Enchilada" Adventure (I don't know if this will see a round two), Sam's Delish Black Beans, and Sam's Shrimp Pico on tosdadas. The later two, as demonstrated by their names, are also Sam Inventions. They also have been lucky enough to make the recipes to repeat list. For now, I'll leave you with the "How To" on the Black Beans.
For now, let's call them Sam's Delish Black Beans.

What you will need:
1 can chicken broth (use the low sodium/sodium free, just do it)
1 Tbsp or so of chopped onion (more or less if it blows your skirt up)
1 can black beans
1 can Rotel (tomatoes and green chilies, I'm not necessarily a name brand kind of gal)
Salt
Pepper

Put onion in a medium sauce pan with just a little chicken broth and cook them til tender. Drain and rinse the beans (that "juice" that comes in the can with them, no thanks, rinse it off!!). Add the beans to the onion. Drain and add the Rotel. Pour in some chicken broth. Enough to come just to the top of the beans. Toss in a little salt and a shake or two of pepper. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook until it has thickened some. It's yummy this way, or if you're living on the edge, serve topped with shredded cheddar and/or jack cheese.


Have a blessed Monday! Cheers to a great week. I have a weekend get-away planned and know that it will be nothing short of greatness (I hope).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Great Skunk Caper

Last night I spent some time outside...unloading a giant cooler of BEEF, replanting and salvaging the bovine caused destruction from last week, Miracle Growing my "garden", rearranging pots, and endangering my own health and well being by standing on a 3 step step-stool in the carport with no supervision and no one to call 9-1-1. It was a beautiful evening. My carport is one coat of paint away from being a fantastic summer lounge, minus the optional Japanese lanterns. Oh yeah, and I need to get rid of the swallows nest. Damn birds. I'm afraid to knock it down...stuff will fly down on me. Yes, I can take whatever comes out of a cow, but not a birds nest. I'm okay with that. I did, however, spray it with wasp spray while I was spraying wasps in the rafters of the carport. I really would like a BB gun to shoot them (the wasps, not the birds). That's taking it a little far...that's me turning into the crazy old lady. I'm well on my way, I've also purchased a giant sun hat complete with floppy brim! I plan to wear it on my green thumb adventures, and maybe to work on days that we are pregnancy checking cows in the Texas summer sun. Anyway, back to the birds...hanging a large fake owl from the rafters was one of the instances I shouldn't have been climbing high, but I did anyway. I have a fierce independent spirit.

After I had put my gardening toys away and showered off the soil and grime, I set out to cook one of the new steaks that I had just brought home. I love that...trying out a new steak. It was just a ribeye, but it was new to me and my freezer. (For where the steak comes from on the critter, click on the word ribeye above, for nutritional information and cooking tips go to http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/meatcase.aspx). It was late, I was tired, so I fixed some sweet potato fries and steam-in-bag sugar snap peas with it. Not very fancy, but very good. I used some spray butter, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, and a shake of garlic salt on the peas...very good. As always, I seasoned my steak with only Cavender's Greek Seasoning.Sometimes, I'll use coarse ground pepper with the Greek seasoning, but not last night. I grilled the steak outside to perfect medium rare.

Here's where the Skunk Caper begins...and ends quickly. I had stepped out to turn the steak (once...put the steak on and turn it only once), and I had stepped outside of the carport to take a look around, check out the clouds (hoping for rain) when I saw him...the skunk. There was a fluffy lil skunk not 30 yards from where I was standing, just beyond my far yard fence. I ordered Newt (my trusty blue heeler dog and sidekick) into the house. Once in the house I ran around frantically looking for the gun. Yes, I own a gun (3 in fact). Dad gave me a .22 rifle for my birthday this spring. It's been very windy when I've had time for practice, and I haven't fired it yet. The 410 shotgun needs cleaned. All of that mess left me with a .22 pistol. I found it, where it always is, and could not find the ammo. I don't have kids, I can keep the gun with the bullets...really, I can. Apparently, I don't. I grabbed the gun and the ammo and off I went, leaving Newt inside. Please understand that I'm a crappy shot, so the odds that I was actually going to shoot this varmint and have to figure out how to haul it off were very, very slim. I didn't have a clean shot from the front of the carport. The fence, the tree swing, maybe the tree were all possible obstacles. I could have went around the front of the house on foot, but what if he chased me??! I jumped in the pick up and drove around the front of the house. This is where it is re-affirmed...I couldn't sneak up on a corpse. The skunk is running away, I'm fumbling to load the gun, and I'm thinking about how my steak may end up over done all to do with this damn skunk that I'll never get shot because I'm more like Elmer (Elmira) Fudd than Annie Oakley!