Wednesday, December 31, 2008
So, I've never been to a beermaker's haven before. It was interesting and it smelled delightful, kind of like root beer! There were bags of powders for making beer, wine, and soda. Boxes of bottles, jugs, kits, books, etc. were stacked up so neatly. Everything was in its place and clean to boot. Well, except for a bit of dust on the trophies and award ribbons on display.
All in all, it was a fun outing. What am I going to do with a dozen bottles, you ask? Well... A. and I made Coquito. It's a yummy drink made of eggnog, Coco Lopez, and rum. You would not believe how delish this is. Mix a 1/2 gallon jug of eggnog with 1 can of Coco Lopez. Throw in plenty of rum, vanilla, and cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon. Not nutmeg. Cinnamon has wonderful properties and makes this a healthy drink, good for your heart. Or so I told myself as I helped to polish off about a gallon and a half of this over the past week!!
Anyhow, the Coquito was bottled up and passed out to friends and coworkers. I tied on little penguin tags from Tricia Rennea's blog with strips of white polar fleece. Very cute. The polar fleece looked nice and fluffy. It reminded me of snow. You'd like the full effect, but of course, I'm not posting pictures since I still need a good digital camera. :) Okay, okay. I'll go and find cables and a battery for my hubby's old camera. That should do the trick. In the meantime, here's a link for the tags. These are so cute!! Since they don't say anything Christmassy, they can be used anytime when it's cold out. Or year-round if you live on Antarctica.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Regardless, with gusto (Spanish gusto, not English gusto) I am happy to finally tell you about Thanksgiving dinner. Tell you about it this time, instead of complaining that it wasn’t perfect.
Anyhow, A. and I put up yellow/orange/brown paper chains. So cute & elementary-schoolish. We put chandelier beads on the light fixture in the dining area. For the tablecloth, we used yellow cloth and a brown cloth with cute little turkeys. We had turkey salt and pepper shakers. There was even a yellow-candle centerpiece. It was two candles stuck in a canning jar with rock salt. The jar was tied with yellow and brown ribbons. Very simple and kind of cute. We had white disposable plates, real silverware, and glass goblets. Oh, yeah. We also had brown paper napkins. All very convenient. It made for easy cleanup.
We were also going to do toilet paper pumpkins for the bathrooms. I found the cute idea on Ramblings of a Crazy Woman, but A. & I didn’t have time to get to it. We should have done it as a take-home activity instead. Oh, well. Maybe next year. A. & I did get to them a few days later. We used orange cloth, green wired ribbon for the stem, and curly green chenille for the vines. Also, by using extra toilet paper wrapped around the circumference of the toilet paper rolls we ended up getting a rounder pumpkin. So far, we still have two pumpkins that remain unused. They’re on the living room coffee table. I figure we’ll go through them bit by bit as we run out of toilet paper.
As for the grub on Turkey Day, we had Adobo Turkey with Red-Chile Gravy. I found Lillian Chou’s recipe at Epicurious.com. Here’s my version. It’s pretty much the same, only with tweaked amounts adjusted to the size of our turkey.
Adobo Turkey with Red-Chile Gravy
6 dried guajillo chiles, wiped clean
4 dried ancho chiles, wiped clean
1 t. ground cumin
1 ½” piece cinnamon stick, smashed
3 whole allspice
¼ t. ground cloves
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 ¼ t. dried oregano
2 ¼ t. dried thyme
½ c. cider vinegar
4 ½ T. water
3 T. oil
For turkey and gravy:
1 21-lb. turkey (okay, that’s the size we had, but I’m sure you can adjust to your personal turkey size)
1 ½ c. water, divided
1 ½ T. oil
To make adobo:
Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a large heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles, opening them flat, turning and pressing, until they’re pliable and have changed a bit in color. This takes about 30 seconds.
Transfer to a bowl and cover chiles with boiling water and soak until softened, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix cumin, cinnamon, crushed allspice and cloves together. I put them into a food processor, but it didn’t do the best job. Using a molcajete would probably be best.
Drain chiles, discard liquid, and puree in a blender with the spices, garlic, herbs, vinegar, water, oil, and 3 t. salt until very smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside ¾ c. adobo for gravy.
To marinate the turkey:
Rinse the turkey inside and out. Pat it dry. Sprinkle 3 t. salt evenly in turkey cavities and all over the skin. Rub the remaining adobo all over the turkey, including the cavities. Fold the neck skin under body, then tuck the wing tips under the breast. Transfer to a roasting pan and marinate, covered with plastic wrap and chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 24. (We put it in the fridge to set overnight.)
Let it stand, covered, at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F with the rack in the lower third part of the oven.
Add 1 ½ c. water to the pan and roast the turkey for 1 hour.
Brush turkey with oil and add the remaining cup of water. Then tent it loosely with foil and rotate the pan. Roast until a little popout thermometer pops out. It was three more hours in our case.
Carefully tit the turkey so juices from inside the large cavity run into pan. CAREFULLY transfer the turkey to a platter and let it stand, uncovered, 30 minutes.
Make gravy while turkey stands:
We found that this method of cooking the turkey produce a LOT of turkey juice/drippings. The Epicurious recipe has a precise method of doing the gravy. What we did instead is we got a bunch of juice/water. We skimmed off as much of the grease as possible. Then we heated it up with the reserved adobo. Add flour to thicken. Whisk as much as possible. Then, when you still end up getting flour lumps, just strain it. Yes, I know that cornstarch is better than flour for thickening. But someone made off with it in the middle of the night because we couldn’t find it on turkey day!!
We ended up making a ton of the gravy. That’s a good thing, too. This stuff is delish. We made so much that my gorgeous hubby ended up using some of it a few days later. He made short ribs, I guess they’re called. Then he served them in the gravy. So yummy.
Ms. Chou’s note: The adobo can be made 1 week ahead and chilled in an airtight container. Well, that would be convenient, wouldn’t it? Okay, next time, I’ll plan ahead and do it her way!
Makes a lot of servings, maybe about 12?
Yes, I know the descriptions are lacking a bit. Pictures would be nice. Maybe Santa will bring me a nice digital camera that can take (and hold) a picture. Instead of the camera that I currently have. It goes through batteries amazingly quickly. Sometimes it will even eat the pictures, even when the batteries are charged up. When it doesn't, the pictures are pretty low-quality and they all have a strange blue cast. It would be funny if it wasn't so frustrating. Then again, maybe I'll just hit the after-Christmas sales and get one on my own. :)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Today is the last day for biology class. Yay!! Normally I’d be running around looking for the books for the next semester. At this time of year that would be the Decembermester. Yes, that’s a word. At least it is where I go to school. Anyhow, a few months ago I told my hubby dear that I’d take a semester off. Can you imagine free evenings? Sigh. Bliss.
Well, I didn’t tell him that I am still going to take a class. Just one, mind you. That’s down from the three or four I usually take. I figure it’ll be so easy that I can do it all at work- with him none the wiser. Hm. Sociology? Spanish? Developmental math? It’s got to be something easy so that it won’t be too time-consuming and L. doesn’t find out!! That's not really lying, is it? I mean, I *am* skipping Decembermester.
Friday, December 5, 2008
“One kind word can warm three winter months.” – A Japanese proverb
Yesterday, I was doing some online flipping through Craigslist & I found a gorgeous mare, in foal. For only $950. So pretty and muscley. So, last night I showed it to my dear hubby. He was impressed but said that we don’t have the money for another mare right now.
Well, actually, we do have the money, but it’s being saved up for a short trip to a family wedding in just a few weeks. However, there’s no guarantee that we can take the trip, since my lovely husband's work is slow at this time of year and I haven’t even asked for the time off yet! And who knows what can befall us from now until then. So, it’s still up in the air.
Anyhow, since I’m so metiche (another word for busybody or someone who goes on and does something that she really doesn’t need to be doing), I called and asked about the mare. She’s from 8 to 10 years old. And yes, she’s registered. Not as a quarter horse, as we’d suspected. Nope. She’s a registered Pony of America. That means that although she’s pretty, she’s a shorty. We already have one of those, thank you, very much. Surely this is a horse deal that wasn’t meant to be.
Maybe it’s a good thing that I never have any money. As soon as I do I start looking for ways to spend it! :)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
If the blind fell in the middle of the night shouldn't my husband have been asleep? That means that there's no way he would have seen what really happened. I think it's a setup. Obviously hubby dear was goofing off in the middle of the night, knocked the blinds down and now he's blaming it on Loca. Sweet, innocent Loca.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
This Thanksgiving went well. Despite my dear hubby telling me that the stuffing tasted like bread and chorizo. Despite me not making cranberry sauce and my dad noticing and mentioning it while chowing down. Despite the fact that I forgot the topping for my absolutely delish sweet potato casserole. Yes, despite all this!
Then, too, my aunt was lecturing me that my family is pretty much going to fall apart because I work too much and am going to school, too. Although I quite vociferously told her that my second job is only going to be for a month or two longer and I’m also going to take a break from school in the spring. Sigh. Elders.
However, my uncle was an angel. He swept into the kitchen (no white horse) with a huge bowl of mashed potatoes. He finished making the red chile gravy (from an epicurious recipe, I’ll post it tomorrow), and buttered up the rolls. He put the turkey on the platter and delicately gave advice on how to pretty up the platter. We, okay- I, decided on alternating scoops of mashed potatoes and stuffing. Not only did my uncle offer kitchen assistance, when he arrived he brought in disposable plates, napkins, and a few cases of soda. Which reminds me… he also brought me some chocolate. Yahooo! Guess that’s going to get cracked open tonight. :)
All in all, it was a good Thanksgiving. Sadly I was too busy in the kitchen to hang out with my folks, my sister, and her son. Oh, well. Maybe Christmas??
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Here’s the recipe for the chicken:
Country Baked Chicken
3 T. margarine spread
2 ½ t. salt
2 t. cumin
1 ½ t. dried oregano, crushed
1 ½ t. garlic powder
¾ t. pepper
8 lb. chicken quarters
2 large eggs
6 c. corn flakes, crushed
Heat oven to 350F. Since I was making so much chicken I had to use two 13x9x2 pans. So put half the spread in each pan. Place in oven until melted. Tilt the pans until the spread covers the bottom, more or less. Mix the spices in a bowl. Then, in assembly-line fashion, dip the chicken pieces into the egg, sprinkle with the spices, then coat with crushed corn flakes. It’s a bit messy, but it’s a quick process.
Arrange the chicken in baking pans. So that they fit in there nicely. Then bake. After one hour, turn the oven up to 425 and bake for 15 more minutes or until done. Watch out or the crust will brown too much!!
One pan of chicken is plenty for one night’s dinner for a family of four. We had it with oven-roasted potatoes. Yum!
The second pan of chicken is perfect for use in tacos, enchiladas, etc. In fact, I plan on making my top-secret Applebee’s enchiladas with the second pan. That is, unless my dear hubby gets to it first! :)
BTW, there are no pictures, since the camera's batteries took too long to charge. Cold chicken somehow isn't as attractive as hot.
Monday, November 17, 2008
It’s hard to walk the line between turning a profit and sending out ugly, used-looking packages. Luckily, Lisa at lisaclarke.net came up with the perfect solution. She created printable labels to stick on packages. It’s the perfect idea. Instead of being cheap, I am now being environmentally considerate. Woohoo! I’m going to start sticking these labels on all of my reused package shipments. :)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Where is your mobile phone? pocket
Where is your significant other? work
Your hair colour? multi
Your mother? crazy
Your father? loving
Your favourite thing? discovering
Your dream last night? forgot
Your dream goal? unknown
The room you're in? office
Your hobby? movies
Your fear? poverty
Where do you want to be in 6 years? elsewhere
Where were you last night? home
What you're not? selfless
One of your wish-list items? bookshelves
Where you grew up? Texas
The last thing you did? study
What are you wearing? sweater
Your TV? dusty
Your pets? numerous
Your computer? laptop
Your mood? tired
Missing someone? husband
Your car? diry
Something you're not wearing? mascara
Favourite shop? Mexican
Your summer? busy
Love someone? passionately
Your favourite colour? many
When is the last time you laughed? night
When is the last time you cried? months
It's hard to try and convey so much with just one word!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Right now I’m taking a few college courses online. One of them, a writing class, requires group participation. My group members and I need to work together on several projects. Well, there are about five-six members in my group. This means that I need to interact with each member every time we have to collaborate.
For our most recent project only one other member and I are participating. I wonder what happened to our other group members. Are they just skipping this assignment? And the one prior? Has life gotten in the way of taking this class? Are they going to drop the class?
I should feel badly for them and miss their participation. But I don’t. In fact, I feel relieved. Since now it’s just down to two of us, this last assignment has been a breeze. It’s shaved off an evening or two of work from a class that is time-consuming enough as it is. Yes, I’m bad. Cold-hearted and uncaring. And well-rested from not having to stay up late last night working on this assignment!!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Seeing as how 8.4 ounces of Victoria's Secret Exhilarating Body Wash is $8.50 and 15 ounces of Alberto V05's Silky Experiences Moisturizing Shampoo is only about a dollar, I decided to give V05 a shot as a body wash and maybe even as bubble bath! It costs so much less that of course I don't expect it to be the same quality as Victoria's Secret. However, it is a moisturizing formula. Luckily it doesn't seem to be drying as a bodywash. Woohoo!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Have you ever seen Pieces of April? It’s a terrific movie about a young woman, April, who throws Thanksgiving dinner for her family. They travel into the big, bad city. Yet her mom and her sister have their doubts and on the drive over they seem to make it known every chance they get. Okay, I thought they were completely mean to poor April.
No, I’m not comparing myself to her. Actually, April reminds me a lot of my little sister. Little Sister has a lot of potential, but she hasn’t seemed to make up her mind yet to live up to it. When she does, she’s going to be amazing. But, I digress. Anyway, the whole point of this is to say that I’ve decided to decorate the same way April does. To give her family a terrific turkey welcome, April decorates her apartment, and even the stairwell, with autumn-colored streamers and balloons. It’s all very festive and cheerful. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
I’ve even enlisted my daughter, A., in the preparations. It’s her job to make wonderfully handcrafted turkey invitations. You know, like the kind that little kids do when they’re in kindergarten. Made out of construction paper, with lots of glitter, maybe even feathers and googly eyes. :) So, who cares if she doesn’t really want to make them because she’s a bit past fingerpainting age. They’re going to be cute!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Doesn't he realize that we need the money? My current FT job doesn't pay much and my bills are consistently paid late. That's not good. Now, with this PT gig I'll be able to afford the occasional soda. Oh, yeah. Big money!
It's going to be hard to work PT on top of everything else, but it's doable. Please, God, let me be doing the right thing.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Okay, so this morning, I stepped on the scale to see how the battle of the plentiful curvas is going. So far, four pounds down! It’s been about a week and a half, so it’s pretty reasonable. Or do you think that’s too much to lose too soon? Hm. Okay, I’ll have lunch with the office today.
Our neighborhood burger place faxed over not one but two menus today. They have the best burgers. They’re so fresh, hot and greasy. Not to mention their chili cheese fries. One order will take up a whole takeout container. So, I’m getting the junior bacon cheeseburger (only ¼ pounds). Not to mention the fries, chili cheese fries, onion rings, and jalapeno poppers that we’ll all be sharing. Oh, yeah. There’s dessert, too. Maybe this is overdoing it a tad, but I’m so hungry for something that’s good and bad at the same time. This is it. I wish I could share this terrific lunch with you so you could see how delicious it is. On better thought, no. I don’t share!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Thinking all this, I happily pulled out of the drive this morning. Then guess what I saw. A sofa… and a TV. On the curb. My curb. Well, we don't actually have a curb, but if we did, that's where it would be. Right under the sofa and TV that I hadn't seen before in my life until this morning. Apparently our charming neighbors decided that we would want their trash in front of our house so they kindly brought it over in the middle of the night.
No wonder our dog was barking and barking last night. Too bad I didn’t go out and investigate. We would have caught the neighbors con las manos en la masa, so to speak.
Now, what do I do? I could easily freecycle it, but what if someone came to pick up the stuff when we’re not home? My husband would freak. Sigh. I’ll probably go and speak to the neighbors and ask them to please get their living room discards and go put them in front of their house instead. It’s only Wednesday and who knows when the bulk trash people will come out. We can set out our own trash, thank you very much. We don’t need donations!
These are the same people who crashed my daughter's birthday party several months ago. They showed up at 11 p.m. and didn't leave until about 2 a.m. Why, oh why, can't we have normal neighbors who come over early and leave when everybody else does? It would serve them right if we put their stuff in front of their house tonight! LOL
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Well, when we went to the combination rodeo/concert, we had my hubby’s niece with us. Since N. and my daughter, A., just love the music and wanted to get close up, I took them down to the main floor and left my hubby high up in the stands. And he didn't care. He was not protective of me in the least. The girls and I were totally surrounded by guys. Testosterone on all sides. Some even asked me to dance! (It was a distraction tactic I’m sure. They were just trying to lure this mama hen away from her chicks, but still!!!) Isn’t that sad? There was a time when he wouldn't dare let me five feet away from him.
So, I've decided... to go on a diet! Okay, the concert took place months ago, but the import of the moment just hit me. Yes, I go on diets all the time, every couple of months or so. But this time it’s different. (Isn’t it always?) So far it’s been two days and so far I’ve said no to chocolate-covered cream-filled donuts, Jack-in-the-Box, and Boston Market. Yes, I’m on the way!
Now, for your listening and viewing enjoyment...
Monday, September 29, 2008
Very Good Taste's Omnivore's 100
Here’s what to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison (Pretty good stuff.)
2. Nettle tea (I’ve considered doing this with dandelions. My old house always had a ton of these. It’s a shame they’re considered a weed, they’re so nice and cheerful.)
3. Huevos rancheros
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (Koi are carp, right? It would be like eating giant goldfish!!)
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari (Quite tasty when they’re fried and served with a nice marinara sauce, once you get over the adorable spider shape.)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart (Not a hot dog. Do hamburgers count?)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
24. Rice and beans
27. Dulce de leche
29. Baklava (Overrated.)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float (Ice cream floats with orange soda are the best!)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
51. Prickly pear (These are plentiful in Zacatecas, Mex. I haven’t had the actual fruit yet, but prickly pear, aka tuna, jam is delish.)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (Eaten in menudo, under duress.)
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (I haven't, but I'd consider it if it was a deer that I'd inadvertently hit!)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano (I’ve got a great recipe for this. I’ll post it as soon as it turns up. It’s around here somewhere…)
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta (What’s the big deal with this? It wasn’t all that.)
Okay, that's 25 I've eaten and 18 I wouldn't touch unless in a life-or-death situation. Yes, I know. I'm not a very adventurous eater! But what I lack in adventurousness I make up for with gusto.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Who am I? My name is Michelle. I live and work (and go to school) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Don't let that school thing fool you though. I'm no kid. Unless you're 50+, that is! Seriously, I'm early 30s, so that's not too bad. Anyhow, if you came across this site by accident, please don't back out the door, red-faced and shy. You're welcome here. :) Make yourself at home. Sit a spell. Take your shoes off.