Friday, December 31, 2010

Peace, Love and Bacon Grease

My name is Kathryn Joanne Wenzel Sullivan-Howard and I am a big fat hypocrite.  Whew, I feel much much better now. 

Why?  Because I don't eat pork for many stupid and made up reasons.  Jesus didn't eat pork.  Yeah and he didn't eat shrimp either bitch and you wolf those down like a whore at a oyster shooter contest - oh and speaking of . . . . .   OK OK I love shrimp and oysters and lobster!  YES!  guilty.  I just don't like pig.  I just don't.  I HATE HATE HATE HATE (did I say hate?) ham.  I will eat it if my life is in jeopardy OR a family member fixes it and I have nothing else to eat except bread which I also can't eat.  I just hate ham.  and . . . . . and . . . .. wait for it. . . . bacon.  yeah.  I personally don't like bacon.  I'M SORRY!  I know that's like the next cool OMG cover it in chocolate and everyone will order it or wait deep fry it and serve it with a side of gravy - oh it's the next greatest thing.  . . . . sorry  - I don't like bacon sam I am - I just don't like pig. 

I don't like pig ribs don't like ham don't like deep fried chitlins.  . ,. . I just really wish Jesus had sent ever last freakin one of them over the cliff . . . sorry . . . . I don't like pigs.     BUT but but but! .  . . . .  wait for it . . . BACON GREASE is the nector of the gods for cooking.  And I use it with wild abandon!  I LOVE BACON GREASE!

Wow I feel so releaved to be unburdened of that.  I use every last bit of bacon grease that my children hungrily consume.  I am so fine with making bacon for my family - hell yeah - I get what's left.  I actually made 3 lbs one Sunday just to see how very much could be eaten in one sitting.  Yes - it went!!!  3lbs  - 3 kids!  Now I am well aware that three pounds of bacon does not equal three pounds of eating - but the grease alone kept me cooking for weeks.  I am such a guilty girl.  I confess.  Nothing rivals bacon grease for savory cooking.  There just isn't anything.  I eat bone marrow on a regular basis so I know from yummy fatty goodness and I'm sorry - bacon grease is the shit!  It just is.

SO here we go - hash browns in bacon grease.

This is so much easier if you actually MADE bacon - like five minutes ago so the pan is still - like hot - and full of - like bacon grease - (sorry - was just talking to like - my daughter!)

so if you Were NOT just doing the bacon = you need a f' ton of grease = I mean a lot - in a BIG skillet - heat it up - if it's not already and put in your shredded hashbrowns - and then cover.  and turn it to low.  and cook for 10 minutes then totally flip and do like 5 more minutes.  Give to Trinity and watch her smile :D

Beef Roast with beer - braised in BACON GREASE
Tonight' dinner started in BG.  I started the bottom round roast (3.5lbs) in a lot (okay a ton) of BG and then set in the 250 oven for 6 YES 6 hours with 2 beers - 1 lb of baby carrots, an onion - 1 lb of mushrooms and a few stalks of celery.    Mom marveled at the tenderness of the roast.  I told her it was the pure sweetness of the cook :D - but we all know it was the bacon grease.  I may just render it into perfume.  hmmmmmmmmmmm.  I do have a book coming out - hmmmmmm  tell me I don't have a best seller with the bacon grease essence - what have women said for years?  Men are . . . .?  finish my sentence with three letters that start with P and end with G . . . . Right.  Nuff said.  Rub bacon behind your ears and they will follow you home.  Unless you are Kosher and then well . . . . oye  - I can't help you.  :D

Happy New Year Ya'll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mud pie

I have discovered that I write in mud.  I deign to imagine that I write with the cunning and care of a diamond cutter - a master sculptor - cutting away what should not be there - preserving only the smallest - the very essence of what I am trying to impart.  I would love to think that I am immensely eloquent and that every phrase and turn of my words is simple and precise - like a haiku.

Spy a winter tree
with just the few leaves clinging
for their own sad life

I am neither that haiku (though I think is nice :D) nor that tree!

No, I am a freakin Mardi Gras parade!  Too loud - too weird (at times) and over the top pretty much most of the time!  I write with the mud theory - if I throw enough - some has got to stick.  If I just keep writing - (just keep swimming) - just keep writing something somewhere in the cosmos will notice and all will be well with my soul.  I talk too much - usually OVER people and I really really do try not to do that- since it IS so very rude - it's just that if we are having a really great conversation I am so excited that you are talking to me and I want you to keep talking to me so I try to jump in and keep it going.  I do try to regulate the talking out of turn since I am SO much more mature now that I am 41 rather than just 40!  Really.  

But I just have so much to say and it's in crazy staccato bursts of excitement.  I really need to say what I need to say so fast because my ADHD (okay I'm just HD) brain fires on 6 million cylinders!  It's a good thing I type fast since most of this would be lost!  But I do wish I could be a more spare - reserved - mysterious person.  I'm just not.  I'm out there - want to know something private?  Just ask.  I'll share.  My book is WAY WAY open.  Not sure that's the way it's "supposed" to be (my therapist sister says I have Boundary issues - ya think?) but that's me.  Don't think it's going to change since it really doesn't bother me much.  But I say when you are bugging me now and really don't care what EVERYONE thinks about me anymore so I'd say PROGRESS in that area! 

Back on topic now - see - too many thoughts - really need to be more focused - now, where were we? . . . . .  MUD right then, MUD!

Mud for me is such an amazing thing.  It's a medium - it's a substance - it's creation.  God made Adam from it.  I certainly won't stand in those shoes - but if you grow things out of it - you get it.  It's everything and nothing  - it's dirt.  It's perfect and filthy.  It's what we came from and where we go in our physical form.  It makes perfect sense I would use it as a metaphor!  What I have to say is so basic on myriad levels yet the sum of the parts isn't always so easy.  OR clean.  Life is messy and dirty.

So I guess the mystery for me is what I am going to do next.  I'm pretty sure my husband never knows what it's going to be  - but he loves me and is along for the messy ride. 

Though I may write with mud - I try to be more clear - but there is nothing quite like the classic mud pie! 

A bucket of dirt
pie pan
one child that will need a good dipping after!

Put water into the bucket of dirt slowly - don't add too much - no one likes a too wet mud pie (DUH)
when it's the consistency of a mud pie - put into the pie pan and let it bake in the sun.  Lay on the grass and watch the clouds.  Decide which one you like best and watch it blow across the sky.  Do it again.  Watch the cloud shapes change as they move.  Close your eyes and imagine floating up into the clouds.  Open them and see if your pie is dry.  If so, great.  If not, great.  See if you can get a younger sibling to eat it.  Get hosed off in the yard.  Get the sticks out of your hair.  Chase the dog around the yard.  Come in the house and decide to take a hot bath with bubbles.  Smile.  Well done.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

wow life is weird

so - if you know me personally - sorry :D  you know I am writing A book not just a book but a BOOK a book of ME!  Smarmy and crafty and all things goodness and Katie and Light.  Okay that's not true since there will be bondage wear.  BUT well,, it's going to be full of good food, craft and much mayhem.  Watch for it.  I promise if I have met you and broken bread we will be having fun in the future!  I am counting (ok that's a stretch) on being somewhere near you to promote this!!  I am going to be doing the whirlwind tour but If I know you I will do my bestest!  If there's some crazy craft you want out there I will totally give you credit for - bring it folks I have my 30 so I am ready for this folks but looking for an add on :D

Friday, December 17, 2010

When life gives you beer . . .

make a beef roast.  Okay so "life" per say did not technically GIVE me beer - I purchased it.  But Roger wanted to have some friends over (okay so Roger did not technically WANT friends over - I hounded him like a whore from hell until he relented to have a party.)  AND from said party we not only had some gorgeous valances that yours truly sewed  (:D)  but some kick ass Sam Addams Winter Lager just freakin sitting on my kitchen floor (in a bottle in a box - not actually ON the floor - cuz well that would be gross right?) So in a fit of "I need to use this beer" moment I made probably the best beef roast on the planet that has been served in my house.  Yeah there's a qualifier for you!!!!!!!

So when life or a party gives you beer - make this. 

3+ lbs bottom round (don't we just like our bottoms round :D)  I know I do - love you Roger!!!  :D
Okay so if you got a bigger roast you may want a bigger quantity of beer.  up to you so go with me here we have fluid cooking action - no real rules in my kitchen except I am PRINCESS (THE mom is the Queen mother AND that's another post ALL the hell together!)

2 bottles (yeah 12 oz each) a lager - dark - Guinness is fine (yeah it is fine! brilliant even!) I had Sam Addams Winter Lager and it was yummy good.

16 oz chopped mushrooms
1 green zucchini smallish
1 package of baby carrots
1 head of garlic
1 bunch of green onions or 1 med onion
 half a stalk of celery (or as much as you want to put into something)

here's what I did.

Take a good roasting pan and turn it up high and put a small amount of olive oil in the bottom and get yer meat ready (I love saying that) brown it on one side and for goodness sakes don't poke it - just brown it.  both sides really good.  we are looking for the maillard effect  - probably spelled wrong - like I care? - it works.  PUT browned meat into a 350 oven COVERED all ALONE for 30 minutes (or more whatever here - I was putting henna on my hair - much more important :D) so from here we want to deglaze the pan that the meat is currently in - MOVE THE MEAT (again fun to say) to another resting pan BUT DO NOT STAB YOUR MEAT :D - tongs are much nicer -  we don't want to have yummy goodness spilling onto the world and not where were we ultimately want it!

SO put the beer into the roasting pan and stir like hell - add at least 16 oz or more of water to help and get all of that stuck goodness off the bottom - add part of the other stuff and then the meat and then the rest of the veg and then put the cover back on and stick it back in the oven for at least another hour. 

LET IT REST for 15 minutes before taking the cover off.  then have some fun

I made baked potatoes for the R and the Queen and cubed steamed sweet potatoes for ME and creepy  okra and yellow squash only for the Queen.

This is amazing for so many cheap cuts of meat that can be made into "butta" if you cook them right.  You need to just do the low and slow method but adding an alcohol component takes care of the flavor element as well - don't be scared - just try it.  I used a super cheap roast so it wasn't like a $50 tenderloin I was messing with - this was a $3 a lb bottom round!  Experiment - but use some knowledge so you don't mess it totally up!  Have some fun folks!

And for those who don't know how to make a perfect baked potato - here ya go - 450 for an hour and DON'T poke it or cover it in anything - trust me.  It will be milky smooth in the middle!  Go for it!

Smile and the world wonders what the hell you are up to . . .  right :D

Friday, December 10, 2010

Can you say Fight Club?

I made Christmas Soup for Family tonight.  The Kids of course rejected it sight unseen because I said they "had to!"  Really?  so the mommy pulled rank and said, "fine, then you go hungry!"  Yes I expect social services to call since that is technically child endangerment - what with the carrots and celery and sirloin OH and the onion.  The stock that has been slow cooking for 2 days with the marrow is just too much I know - these kids really?  anyone? - if you think you want them and would be killing them less than me - call me - we can maybe work something out . . . .

Well,  I can't speak for past relation (hey Tim!) - I just know that it tasted really really good to me this year. The fact that I jacked it with an amazing marrow bone I roasted and then put in the stock and the 3 lbs of really good beef roast.. I am a super picky carnivore who really hates to eat out since someone else is touching something I am consuming. That takes a lot of trust. Have you seen FIGHT CLUB? Don't stick your stuff in my soup!

I have had friends and family jack me up because I really hate to eat out - okay yeah I'm cheap - but it's for multiple reasons - I love to cook - It really really really really is not a bother for me to make you XYZ - really - unless I'm on death's door? - hungover? (not really an issue) or sick ?(again not an issue) or pms "ing"(yeah you might want to just burger king the day sorry this is real) it's good - I got this.  BUT I really don't like restaurants.  I love chefs.  I do.  But food and I have issues.  I am allergic to most of it.  Does that mean I don't like it?  HELL NO!  BUT I also know food gets jacked up at the nicest of places - I have seen it happen - Yeah - I worked the food world - I was just the BarTender but did I see the stuff go in the stuff - YES - Yes I did.  Yes. It does happen. 
It happens more than we want to think. I hate restaurants. a lot. I trust me. Short of pulling an Uncle Ted and only eating what I kill . . . ( I would so do that if I had a million plus bucks and a lot of time - hey TED - call me!) but since I have less than an acre and "dog" really isn't my meat of choice - it's the store as my "range" but sorry I really really really truly sincerely LOVE TO F"N cook! I do - not kidding - love it! I don't do it for a living so maybe that's why I pull it off - but hey whatev!

Anyway - I enjoy cooking-  prep - searing - smelling - tasting the whole process from the store = smelling the stuff to the actual finished product that feeds the ones I love - it's FUN! I even get up extra early to watch Good Eats (Alton - you know you want me - you know you do  though I liked you with a little more meat on you!) and figure out what I am making for the up-coming holiday - party - whatever event!
I love cooking - eating is not so much the thing for me - it's kind of secondary.  I like to cook for those that can enjoy.  I can taste but not eat most of what I make.  I'm like the kid at the peanut allergy table - I hate to dis everyone for my issue - but really I can't - but hey - you can.  The difference is - it won't kill me!!!  Nice difference I think!
So for this particular evening - the jury is out.  Grown ups 3 kids 0 but Trinity was at a birthday party.  If I spin it that we (the cool people - aren't the cool people always WE?) win if she likes it!  I guarantee that YES it is good.  Okay all messing asside it really is good eats.  It just is. It is a family "it's not Christmas unless . . . . " for me and doesn't involve Chinese Food or a Movie (though I love Jews) it just is.  This is December.  It's cold here and I can put the HUGE VESSILE outside. Gotta love free storage!  Alton is in GA - doubt it's that cold there - though maybe tonight!  Sorry - WI makes Christmas great and living suck!  Just sayin. 
So to all a good night.  I have valances to sew and staple to boards because I certainly can't have people over if I haven't at the very least decorated.  I am learning the SOUTHERN way of things.  I have pretty much redecorated our entire house in 3 days because we MAY (may) may be having 5 people over from Roger's work.  Maybe.  OH MY DEAR SWEET JESUS!  AAAAAAAAAAA!  
So let's just say I haven't slept in 3 days and my nerves are raw.  But there will be good eats at the Howard home and there will be pretty curtains and valances. 
I will be posting soon about my recent discovery on fitness.  It will - okay maybe - be interesting.  stay tuned.  I have ideas and issues.  (yeah really I know you are thinking it!)  I am nothing if not a lab rat with red hair.  I do it for you because i care :D ttnf!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

memory - (or smells like family spirit!)

okay so a lot of folks have given me crap about the Christmas Soup post.  YEAH it tastes like a memory to me and crap to everyone who doesn't remember it as "familiar."  Thought I was clear on that.  I posted it to, well, post it.  It was a memory.  Like um okay - can you tell me how much better a hot dog that your dad bought you from the ball park that one game he took you to that you caught that fly ball and . . . . okay.  really?  it's a hot dog.  in a bun.  from someone at a hot dog stand at a ball park. BUT IT TASTED BETTER because it was a memory.  My Christmas Soup is the same damn thing.  If you were not part of the family circa 1985 forget it.  My ex wouldn't touch it if his life was on the line.  And it wasn't.  Frankly I hated this shit as a kid.  It was the part between the sorta cool night church stuff and the morning of presents.  It was like the purgatory of foods.  And I know that I will have some sort of heinous thing to go through for saying that, but it's true.  I hated that crap.  BUT.  and here's where the grown up in me stands up and says "who we are as adults is based on what we choose from our childhood to move on with" I choose Christmas Soup.  Me. alone.  No other sibling from my family chooses to make this for her (his) family as a tradition. It really truly dies with me.  A family tradition decades old - dies with me.  If I don't pass it.  Now really - whatever?  really? who cares if it does.  Well.  Here's something for you.  I lost this recipe.  I actually lost (if you read me (yeah right) about 2500 recipes.  This being the one that made me physically sick.  My mom scanned it - but not BEFOE I SCANNED THE INTERNET for this.  Surely we could not have the patent on this . . ... . yeah.  We do.  It's a Katie Korn origional.  And ends here if I don't share.  So turn up your nose if you will and I know you will unless you do as I do and make it rock with marrow bones and good yummy sirloin and such.  Okay so this is my torch.  And carry it I will but you all know that you had gma's with goodness that until today you maybe took for granted.

sorry - feeling all "pretty in pink" nostalgic - (watch it again) family is important.  okay vital.  no matter what.  sometimes they are all you have - or in my case all you don't have.

it's outside resting from my stove.  Christmas Soup.  I need it for it to be Christmas.  Jesus wasn't born in December.  Sorry.  It's a fact.  But we celebrate nonetheless.  Santa doesn't come down chimneys and I never once lied to my kids - but the things I know to be true . . . Jesus was a real person and He did what HE said He did.  And what I say I mean.  I don't lie.  Family.  It's all we've got.  Be real. Say sorry if you mean it and feed your people well.  Be nice on purpose! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Persimmon in the Cold

It's cold here.  Now.  I mean just NOW.  It was freakin 65 degrees until I went home to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.  I could bitch and complain (like they are different?) but secretly - in a place I don't really honestly talk about - it should be cooler (okay cold) at Christmas.  There I said it.  My name is Katie and it should be cold at Christmas.  Gah, what the hell am I saying?  I should be lying on a beach in Australia where it's stupid hot  - drinking a mai tai  - for Christmas, but unless that was a once in a life time Christmas extravaganza - That is NOT Christmas!  Christmas TO ME - is - wait for it . .  . . Cold.  It just is.  SO that said - some secret part of me is satisfied.  I can nest and cook (wait, I do that every damn day!) and decorate.  I am - for now - at peace.

BUT - it gets better.  There will be guests.  At my house.  YES!!!!  Roger invited his co-workers for a brunch appetizer party!!!!  True - there may actually have to be football involved - but I can deal with that since I get to ENTERTAIN.  GROWNUPS!!!  For the first time ever in this house there will be adult beverages served to people I am not married to, am, or technically related to.  Peeing myself in happy anticipation I am!! 

So - because I actually don't want to scare these nice people who don't know me (and do know Roger - and are still coming! Sorry lol) BUT - I do want to cook my little heart out so I am thinking.  And will probably be sewing curtains in the next day or so.  Sorry.  It's what I do.  Hmmmm Theme.  Menu.  Beef Heart and Marrow bones . . . . . Shhhhh Don't tell Roger.  I'll be nice.  I promise. 

So that brings me to Persimmons.  Show of hands - who's had one?  Yeah - the dork in the back.  Thought so.  They are so yummy and delicate. Like a sweet tomato without the seeds.  I put them in my salad with tomato and onion to balance the sweet savory yin and yang.  No one but me knows but anyone who's had a salad from me just gets that sweetness and thinks it's good.  PLUS the other name for Persimmon - the Asian name - is FUYU.  My daughter and I just burst out in "FUYU"  when we want to make the other laugh.  Say it like the Samurai Chef.  It's funny.

Persimmons are tricky fruit.  I say that because I've had a bad one and it was like licking every bad dry wine concentrated essence!  Persimmons have tannin.  If they are not ripe they suck.  BUT the nice part is they ripen nicely and are still yummy even if after the fact.

Honestly - I hate to say this but here's my recipe since it's so stupid easy - but just put a ripe AND THE KEY IS RIPE persimmon in your green salad.  You won't be sorry.  It just adds that thing that you have been missing.

I will have other persimmon recipes to follow but they are way more complicated and I want you to already love the creature before I make you jump through hoops to do something lovely with it. 

You will have to trust me on this one.  They really are lovely.  You won't go wrong.  Try new foods.  There are so many really amazing things that you just need to open your mind and step out of your comfort zone and try.  I mean - gosh - what's the worst that can happen?  You don't like it?  Or you just might.  New is good sometimes - well, actually - a lot! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Soup and other lost things

So, I lost a recipe book.  No big deal right?  Okay so this particular recipe book had my Grandma's recipe for Christmas Soup.  In her handwriting.  Stained recipe card and all.  Okay so it was actually a binder that contained about 2,500 recipes I had amassed over my 41 years of life.  gone.  I was sick.  Then pissed.  Then on a mission to find it.  Now just sad.  Cycles of grief and all.  I won't be great.  But my mom scanned the one recipe that I know my life would not be good with if I missed.  Okay - Christmas Soup.  I'm pretty sure when my book gets published (click click - there's no place like home etc.) okay f'n wishful thinking this will be clear but  - Okay so I WAS NAMED AFTER THIS PARTICULAR LADY!  This is Grandma Katie's Christmas Soup.  I had Glad's (her fav flower) at my first wedding!  YES this is a big deal! 

My family is a freaking messed up crazy sandwich of love and goodness but Christmas brings out what it does in most of lower middle class America - all the nuts in the fruitcake!

My family had 3 traditions.  Church on Christmas Eve and Day, Santa, And Christmas SOUP on Christmas Eve before Church at my Grandma Andersen's house.  Now WHEN I say this was not something at the time I looked forward to I am not exaggerating.  We (kids) hated Christmas Soup.  It was icky and had dumplings that had WHITE RAISINS in them  and no meat and CELERY!  EWWWWWWWWWWW  but the up side was olives that fit on all our fingers and a white table cloth and Heck - it was Christmas so no matter how bad this was it was CHRISTMAS and there was a pooping doll in our future!!!!  For sure!

So for this memory you have to add in - it's the late 70's (yeah hot fashion scene!) early 80's - bad decorating all around.  It's Winneconne Wisconsin - mecca of all things Wall-eye and not so clean!  I can't say as a very educated woman I can actually make sense of this - but it's a memory for me no matter the reason or source. 

So here's what I have - The Soup of Christmas in the house of Andersen from Winneconne WI originally from Denmark though I doubt it since this recipe is NO WHERE on the Werld Wyde Webb (yeah I looked) so my guess is it's a Katie orginal.  I somehow embrace that.  I make shit up as I go along as well.  Yeah, It's mine.  And those that follow.  I choose to believe that some day kids - folks - people who knew my people will be looking up my Caribbean Chicken cuz that shit rocks . . . . just sayin.  Good is good folks - Christmas or not. 

Christmas Soup in the house of Andersen

2 10oz cans of bread crumbs (plain)
8 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 package of white raisins (in the name of all things holy leave them the hell out!) just sayin
some salt (lol - a pinch) my gma was funny too!

okay so you actually know what a hazelnut is?  didn't think so!  LOL okay so roll into tablespoon portions.
This makes a F! ton!

Soup.  Now here's where the creative part comes in.  My mom (Lord love her - I am So SOUTHERN!)  adds way more beef and good stuff - I remember my G'ma's being just a clear broth with a few carrot whispers and maybe a hit of celery and you were really a big winner if you got a smattering of beef in your bowl!!!  Memory is a fickle bitch.  Maybe I'm over simplifying - maybe.  Doubt it.  I am making it with 5 f'n # of Sirloin.  A # of marrow bones and more good stock than anyone should have in a soup.  I'm making it Katie style.  Me style.  This came from Grandma Katie.  And I'm Jacking it up a bit.  Or so.  I'm on it and makin it good.  I'm having my girls roll the dumplings (WITHOUT THE FREAKING RAISINS!) not just cuz I can't eat them but ewww? Helping cuz? - helping equals ownership.  I'm all about it.  If they help they may just try it.  maybe. 1 onion, 1 lb of carrots chopped 1 lb of celery and a bit of garlic (yea that's me) in a HUGE POT OF WATER!  When all the soup cooks add the dumplings and cook the hell out of them.  This soup took my family a few days to make.  I think they just let it all sit out.  I prefer to not kill anyone with bacteria so I do it all with refrigeration and stuff but well, there's that.

 I have a complicated family life.  Duh? who doesn't - life is messing bring tissue - but mine?  all levels are messy.  I tread lightly often - Christmas this year is especially messy since I'm not at home for the first time in 41yrs and my kids are away from their dad.  It's painful and weird. 

I embrace painful and weird with as much familiar as I can.  Soup.  What is more familiar than soup?  Especially when you are named after her?  And don't put dates in your chocolate chip cookies?  (love you mom!) (Okay so read my book to get that reference!) Sorry.  I love Wisconsin (and the people) People from Illinois (hate the state - and Sandy! -sorry, I mean I pray for her!) VA all around I love it but it's windy and cold this last week.  Trying conditions (MOM!) and stuff make it hard.  I need love and warmth and friends and family.  I have none.  But I have voices and soup.  I hate to be all trite here.  It really is hard being away at this time of year.  Traditions are all we have.  I have found myself wanting to go back to the WELS church for it's traditions - that's how bad I am missing people!  So try the soup - use a ton of water (that's significant as well) with the marrow bones.  Boil the dumpings in the soup - and tell me what you think.  You won't remember what I remember but maybe you'll think of me.  Or create something of  your own.  It's okay traditions are fluid if you keep doing them. Someone has to start them somewhere. 

So enjoy this soup if you are so inclinded.  It's kind of like the SNL episode where the Pawn Shop gave sentimental value to items.  It's so good - because - it's my Christmas Soup and I'm named after Grandma Katie.  Duh!?!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

old vs antique

There are things I have noticed spending time with my newly acquired MIL who will soon be 94 years old that there are very very profound differences in preference.  I hate Jello.  I do.  My kids would eat the finger jello I made for them only if I spent 8 hours making it in 6 different rainbow flavors and it stood up to 150 lbs per sq inch!  If you put walnuts and celery and mayonaise in it - I would need to be 40 days starving in the desert before it would cross my mind that that was food - and even then I would choose the crickets.  Live.  Sorry.  Preference.  I hate that shit.  She is completely baffled why it is not the first food I want to rub my face in every morning!  It sits - as she slowly eats a tablespoon a day of the 45 gallon tub she made awaiting my return from our Thanksgiving vacation home to my parents.  BAFFLED she is that I don't want to bathe in it!  UGH - There are walnuts.  And celery.  Now I like celery - Not so much the walnuts.  BUT it's jello.  UGH!

But it's really not about the Jello.  It's about acceptance.  It's about who we are - in time - and who we want to be with and be connected to.  I won't lie.  She's hard.  She was a spoiled brat.  And still is.  At 94 (almost) she's a spoiled brat.   I really don't mean disrespect - it's just a fact.  She expects to have her ass kissed and her stuff taken care of.  If she helps with the slightest thing she wants full on THANKS.  I wasn't raised that way.  If you helped - you were lucky you had someone to help.  I remember being hungry.  Not just as a kid.  I remember being poor.  Shit, it was yesterday!  That stuff stays with you.  I was never a member of a country club (not that I would mind you - but just saying)  She's had a pampered life.  Good for her.  That I don't have a problem with - it's the carry over - the entitlement that frankly pisses me off. 

I have a nephew from my first marriage that was born with a silver entitlement in his mouth.  He lived his entire life (and still probably will beyond that) expecting the universe to give him something he did not earn - work for - or enter into - but just was his because he DREW BREATH!  I never ever got that.  He was a pretty much waste of O2 as far as I could see.  DID freaking nothing for his mom - did nothing to earn  a dollar or help in any way - but HE WAS OWED THIS HUGE DEBT FROM THE WORLD AT LARGE!   I was like "huh?"

I went to college on almost 95% me.  Yes my parents paid $3000 for me to go to a private college.  And I am so thankful for that.  BUT the other 37,0000 came from my hard work and effort.  My husband's kids walk around with their hands out like dad is a wallet.   Sorry.  My dad was (is) a great guy always offered a spare $20 when he had it  - which was every time I saw him - but I never ever saw him as my ticket to ride.  Not so much Roger's lazy POS's!  They are more like their mom than him. SHOCKING I know.  So - I'll let this end here before I totally piss off the universe with my tirade.  Let it just be said.  Parts are parts and people are people and there are brats that are 94 and good people who are 6.  It's who you are and who raised you. 

Finger jello that takes too f'n long to make but my kids will eat!  Take a small quart container and do a smidge at a time of each color


do a package of each with only half of the boiling water and none of the other water
mix in a separate container and then add an hour or two at a crack

the longer it takes you to do this the better!

pudding in between is cool too!  looks like layers between the colors :D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You get what you . . . .

Finish that statement and I get who you are more than you know.  Pay for?  or give?  I'd say either on any given day depending on my mood.  They say the faster your mind does those crazy optical illusions the smarter you are.  I choose to believe that since mine flip faster than your average DC politician (that's fast folks!)   SO that said.  I have to ask.  What will you or won't you pay for?  I'm so cheap I won't pay my good earned (or bad for that matter :D) money for pretty much anything EXCEPT as I have been thinking outside the box (hello? last post) I rethink everything I do lately.

I give a lot.  Personally - professionally - spiritually - I like to give.  BUT I like most of all to feed.  Egos - spirits - souls - tummies.  I like to feed you.  I am a feeder.  Some (hey Kristen) would call me Co-dependent. And she would be correct.  Not just because she has a masters degree in Psychology, but because she's my sister.  And knows of which she speaks.  BUT really - this is WHO I am - broken stuff and all - I like to feed.  I have that whole hospitality thing.  I love it.  It makes me happy and warm.  I like feeling warm.  :D

So - what would you PAY for?  I clearly would never ever - pull my teeth out and even then I couldn't - pay someone to clean my house.  I don't hate cleaning - but it certainly isn't one of my passions.  My house is clean (yes sanitary) could you eat off the floor? sure there may be enough for a small appetizer . . . . (sorry family joke) BUT do I love to clean - absolutely and I love having my teeth cleaned too ..... HELL NO!  I hate cleaning but I do it because life is lived here by people and animals.  Cleaning is necessary to life or it gets complicated and frankly I already HAVE complicated.  Clean makes it easier.  I like bleach and such things.  So I clean - a lot.  BUT paying for that?  No way.  I am too proud to have Margalitta cleaning my toilet.  Or Lolita - you pick - either way NO WAY!  I'd rather die.  Even if I won the lottery in 6 states NO WAY. 

Okay so what WILL I Pay for?  Good underwear is one.  NO not La Perla.  I am Katie Wenzel Sullivan-Howard for God sakes not "Mrs. Married to Seal" (oh wait that would be vickies). But a good Victoria Secret bra - that fits me just right OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have boobs!  Oh wait? - you just think I do!  Excellent!  Yep.  That is one.

Scent.  What I smell like.  Yes I will pay dearly for that.  Smell to me is huge.  I have huge olfactory issues.  If you smell bad to me and I mean to ME  - not smell bad to the human race - JUST ME - it's big.  I know people I can't sit by or be close to because to ME they smell off - odd or just bad.  It's me.  BUT then - my ex (hey Tim) hated the oil I LOVED to wear.  HATED IT.  I loved it - love it and wear it daily - Roger loved it on me the day we met.  CHA -CHING - you're IN!  Sorry but smell is huge.  It dictates who we mate with who we do business with etc . . . If you are with someone that you hate how they smell . . . run.  Don't walk . . . IT WON'T end well.  JUST SAYING. . . . ..

And food.  I will - I will pay for good ingredients.  I will pay 8 bucks for a tiny - miniscule - jar of saffron threads.  Because I LOVE SAFFRON RICE!!!!!!!!!!  I will pay for good seafood.  I will pay for good jasmine rice.  I will pay for ingredients.  BECAUSE I LOVE TO COOK!!!!!!!!!!!  I hate restaurants.  WHEW - got that off my chest.  I hate paying for someone else to touch my stuff.  Food I mean.  I like - love - live to cook.  I live to feed.  I hate to be fed other peoples stuff.  WOW does that make me a hypocrite?  I hope not.  I just love to feed you if you need something.  Dinner? a compliment if it makes sense for ya - really is that so bad?  Who doesn't like to hear that their hair is falling right today and compliments their eyes?  or that they look nice in that top - it fits them just right.  Or here - you hungry - have this - I just made some for us - enjoy.  I am an epicurean.  I am a lover of the senses.  And I embrace that.  I like how things sound and feel and taste.  Thank you.  And THANK YOU!


1 container of jasmine rice (like a coffee cup) rinse it once
take that same container and put one measure of light coconut milk and one container of pineapple juice
bring to a boil and add 1 T of curry powder
reduce heat and stir once.  lid this
add at the last second some of the pineapple some flaked coconut.

Yum.  Good with Indian food or just food.  Good.  Enjoy :D :D

Sunday, November 14, 2010

shaving - discuss . . . . .

So this is not technically a cooking post - though if you are nice I may share my kick ass WHITE CHICKEN CHILI - though it has absolutely nothing to do with my random thoughts.   so.  Shaving.  It's so dumb.  Who started the body shaving thing other than the unclean who had lice and various other body vermin hiding in their body hair? 

Okay so as an American female raised in the MTV era - I was so traumatized by Nena's 99 Luft Balloons video (hello European pits!) that shaving my armpits became a daily obsession.  (yeah TMI I know - but you know me already if you are reading this and TMI is my middle name so shut it.)  But really  = who said it was imperative to have women shave soup to nuts (so to speak :D) and men not so much. 

I'm not talking about the latest "manscaping" trend to make their "deck" look bigger.  Yeah I watch comedy central too - but come on!  Men don't typically shave their bodies - just their faces.  AND maybe their heads (my ex did that and yes it was sexy as hell - but a HUGE pain!) but WE "have" to shave Pits and Parts AND legs !!!!  HUH?  SO they (aka - men) according to modern AMERICAN convention shave faces everyday but EVERYTHING else is hairy.  We - girls everything else but the head (unless we are Sinead O'Connor and we know how well her career has gone of late) - WHO PICKS THIS CRAP? 

Okay - I pick again.  In winter - unless going to a party in a short skirt American girls don't shave their legs - Thank you.  WHAT? you say.  Okay then you (boys) shave your pits and parts bare and we'll talk.  When it starts to grow back and it itches like an SOB yeah.  we'll talk.  I'm baffled by the stupid things we do because "conventional culture" says so.  Shaving is not Biblical - but rather cultural.  Rebekah had a NOSE RING for gosh sakes!  look it up.  She did.  Hahahaha!!!  I'm tight with my sista here!!!!  SO anyway - this rambling is just a huh?  why do we do the dumb things we do?  Leg hair is not offensive unless we "think" it is. 

I love long hair on my head - but it's heavy and hot.  Straight up - it is.  But I love it.  For me.  Would I ever in a million years demand you to do it like me?  HECK NO - but it works for me personally. 

Just saying - BOX?  think outside it for a day and you will be blow away by the things you "do" because you just do. 

You were good.  Here you go.

White Chicken Chili - Hot Katie style!!!

3 lbs Boneless skinless THIGHS - yeah cuz they rock.  Chunked into small cubes
2 qts water or broth.  Really doesn't matter here since  we jack it up.
1/2 jar of Mrs Renfros Green Sauce Salsa (walmart carries it) if not 2 small cans of green chili's &2 T sugar
3 T Cumin
3 cans white navy or butter beans with juice (don't drain)
1 onion chopped
1 t salt
bacon grease or olive oil

brown onion in grease or oil - add chicken - brown - add cumin - add salsa and then QUICKLY add water or broth or your nose will scorch.  Yeah.  Personally.  I know.  add beans add salt.  Boil.  Reduce heat.  Reduce to your desired thickness after about an hour or two.  Serve with sour cream - and more salsa.  Freakin rocks.  I love it.  :D  Now go shave something.  :D

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I like freaky food - yes I do - I like freaky food - how bout you?

sorry that wasn't necessary - just my inner cheerleader poking out at the craziest times.   Okay so I am  suspect of people (adults) who won't try something that other adults around the world eat and enjoy.  Now, I'm not talking about something that will hurt you if you have an allergy or something really nasty like hot dogs or manufactured pickle relish - I mean really this is fun stuff people at least take the "no thank you" bite. 

I get that people don't like things.  I hate.  No, I HATE okra. I make a mean gumbo WITHOUT freakin okra.  It's slimey.  IT'S ICKY - IT'S OKRA!  Ewwwww!  okay so you get what I mean.  We all have things that hell or high water we just won't eat.  But to my defense I HAVE actually tried it.  Multiple times.  In multiple locations.  All positions.  Yes I am still talking about food.  I hate it.  There are actually several things I don't enjoy but I am always game to try.  If you've made it and enjoy it, I will ABSOLUTELY try it.  Yes.  I have so many allergies.  BUT I am learning how to deal.  Massive doses of BEANO can give me a few precious moments of wheat.  I use it sparingly but yes I do when I want to.  I love my Lactaid.  I don't abuse.  But yes I am Katie and I like Ice Cream.  It's been 5 days since I last had a cone. 

But I'm sorry.  I push the envelope with my family.  I love my people but they are boring.  Boring foodies that is.  My only hope was Connor who sadly left us in August for a whole year.  But he was fun.  If we cooked it together he would eat it.  How fun is that?  I love to try things that are weird and exciting.  I like chicken liver.  Risotto and chicken liver.  You have to stir it for 15 minutes or it dies.  It was amazing.  I know that because I ate it.  No one else would touch it.  They had tacos.

This recipe is kind of complicated because I used bone marrow.  When I die - please bury me with a marrow bone.  I think there is nothing on earth so amazing as sex and bone marrow.  Sex would be hard to bury.  So have some for me and then just put a bone in my coffin (besides me that is!)  Thanks. 

Risotto with chicken liver

I cooked up a marrow bone and then extracted the 2 T of marrow for the pot.  If you don't enjoy this - olive oil will do.  melt it in the pot - sweat a chopped onion and garlic.  add 2 cups arborio rice and wait until it's slightly translucent.  add 2/3 cup white wine and reduce a bit.  then add 4-5 cups good chicken broth.  Yes your own.  really?  A pinch of saffron threads.  some salt and pepper and then stir for 15 minutes.  Don't cover.  just stir.  it's a pain in the ass but good.  Get a kid to stir - really it's not rocket science. 

for the livers -
take some olive oil or better yet chicken fat from the chicken you used to make the broth (aka schmaltz) and sweat another chopped onion and garlic - then jack the heat and get 1 pound of good fresh chicken livers (frozen are okay) dice. a lot.  Like tiny chunks.  Brown the living hell out of them.  Add 1/2 cup of broth to them and when you would eat them then - add them to the rice.  shred in 1/2 cup fresh parm.  Yum.  And I can say yum because it rocked.  I get that beef liver can be scary because it's usually cooked into shoe leather but really this is different.  TRY IT - if not and you just hate liver for some stupid reason - get the hell over it.  Try it and enjoy.  Remember the first time you heard about sex?  It sounded yucky and gross.  Right?  yeah.  right.  again.  I say.  Grow up!  :D

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's what's inside that counts

Sometimes a hamburger is just a hamburger - your basic weeknight meal from ground meat seared to your personal preference of doneness placed on a bun and served with sides.  And that's pretty much what I served for last night's meal.  Sort of.  I'd like to say that the meat was something more exotic than that of the bovine variety in the 85/15 fat range (any more and it's greasy any less and the burgers are dry IMHO) but it was indeed cow.  I wanted to try something a little fun though so after adding some seasoned salt I took half of one patty and made it flat and took a slice of cheese and folded it into a small pillow and stuck it in the middle and then from the other half of the ball of meat I made another flat patty for a top - basically sandwiching the cheese inside and then smooshed the edges down so the cheese wouldn't ooze out.  I know this is certainly not a novel idea, but it was pretty cool for the kids to see.  One point I'd make is that pan frying seemed to work better at keeping the cheese inside rather than the George Foreman (it oozed). 

I made Pretzel Buns to serve it on

NOW one point on this - they are a major PITA!  Lot's of fussing and futzing but hey, they were really good (so I heard - again the no wheat thing!)

I have a great breadmaker so I used it for the dough part most of the way. 
1 1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 T of warm milk
4 cups of flour
1 package of yeast

let the machine work for at least 30 minutes set to dough cycle

cut your blob into 12 equal balls and roll out onto about 2 oiled cookie sheets then oil up some plastic to cover and then cover with a towel.  Let them rise again in a warm place.  About 30 minutes or a little more.    Heat up a big pot with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil with 1/2 cup baking soda.  Take the buns - only a couple at a time and boil for about a minute - turning them with a slotted spoon.  When they are all done and well drained - REGREASE your cookie sheet and put them on this pan and salt with kosher or sea salt and bake at 350 until they look done (about 8-10 minutes but your mileage may vary).  DO not over bake them - they aren't as good.

I made baked homemade potato chips (thinly slice potatoes on a mandolin -  soak in water  - drain and bake at 400 until crisp)

Salad and you are set to eat!  I ate my stuffed avocado burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf and as per normal made a huge slippery mess of it - but it was worth it!  Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And God said let there be . . . .

Okay so I don't even remotely connect myself with the big YHWH but there is just something in creating out of seeming nothing that is so so satisfying.  Making dinner.  Something yummy and belly filling and salivation inducing out of mere ingredients that makes me feel superhuman at times.  AND MOM SAID LET THERE BE DINNER AND IT WAS GOOD!!!! 

okay down off the cloud now.  but really it's like that at times.  Only with LOUD music, wine and YES blood, sweat and sometimes tears.  Dinner doesn't just pop out of my ass (though nights I really would like that - okay maybe not the ass part unless it lifted and liposuction and de-stretch marked a bit) it's work folks!  Thank YHWH that I'm not a 40 hrs plus a week mom!  Okay so my work is sporadic and only nights and weekends, but feeding is feeding.  It's gotta happen unless you are pulling the super lazy night and doing the frozen pizza deal.  So tonight was CREATION!!!  I started with a bit of an inspiration and did the improvisational JAZZ all over it. 

Tonight's menu was as follows:
Jazz casserole - that's lame how about Miles Meat? -

1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped onion
1 bulb garlic chopped (ie 10 cloves - yeah a lot)
1 huge splash of evoo
brown that all nicely and remove
1lb ground turkey or beef (I did turkey)
brown in the pan that had the veg
remove to a casserole dish where you put half the meat and half the veg
make a roux in the pan with 1/2 stick butter (you could do evoo) a sprinkle of flour whisk like mad and 1 cup HOT milk.  when this thickens - add on top of the meat and veg casserole dish. 
Add some cheese
then other half of meat and other half of veg and then top with cheese.  Nuke for 3 minutes to melt cheese.

Crazy zucchini and chili sauce

take a green zucchini and veggie peeler and make peeling strips into a pan - do the whole freakin thing.  Chop some mushrooms, celery, onion peppers - whatever you have into this pan with a bit of oil.  steam, cook fry away - when it's about 10 minutes into it dump sweet spring roll chili sauce (about a cup) into the pan and cook for at least 10 more minutes.  Serve with casserole above!  It really was good.

Stuffed acorn squash

8 oz mushrooms chopped
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped tomato
3 smashed garlic cloves
1 cup celery
dash of salt and pepper
fry up in a bit of evoo (extra virgin olive oil)

1/2 cup of white rice (cook in a cup of water if you don't have any already cooked)

in the mean time take an acorn squash and stab it with a knife - yes cruel but necessary.  Nuke for at least 6 minutes.
when mushrooms are done split squash and scoop seeds out.  mix up mushrooms mix and rice and 1 cup parm.  Put half squash into casserole dish and fill with mix - NO IT WON"T FIT - so let it spill out and over.  Top with red pepper flakes and more parm and Nuke for about 5 minutes. 

Enjoy.  This is one meal that uses the microwave a lot.  While I don't really like it - it allows me to do dishes before dinner - thus saving the after math.  Just try it - experiment - though mere men can't taste the nectar of the gods you never know what you can do!  Maybe the stars will align and it will all be good.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Epic Fail? or not.

For me, cooking is more than just a full belly.  More than just happy faces on the family and friends.  And food is also a HUGE can of worms and they may or may not taste good.  I love to cook for people - any people who will indulge my experiments.  My ex was not so big on those experiements.  Today, I'm a different girlie and a very very different chef.  I actually know a thing or two after all my trial and errors - and just learning to trust my gut was the biggest!  But honestly tell me how many times it took to make the light bulb?  It's in the 1000's that dear Edison experimented!  For me it's not the light bulb - it's FRIED CHICKEN

Okay so I'm in the South.  The Northern South but it's still THE South.  I Live here.  They have accents and all.  It's the south!!!  I'm in heaven.  Cheap chicken to experiment with.  One batch was soaked in buttermilk ALL DAMN NIGHT and another batch in pineapple, cilantro & coconut milk.  Okay so I won't share nasty details of the not pretty pot + oil okay a lot of oil + heat thing (let alone the grease smell that I swear won't ever come out of my HAIR) ..  Let's just say I need a better ventilation system and cast iron.  That's all there is.  End of story - Sadly I have no recipe to share but no one died of salmonella poisoning either.  I am nothing if not responsible.  Undercooked chicken is not cool!  No one ate bad chicken but I'm not satisfied enough with the recipe to share AGAIN.

It did end up working okay, but not to my liking.  It wasn't "hmmmm, I'd totally do this again," but more like -  "Dear LORD in Heaven this sucked and I wouldn't do this again if a Popeye's was in driving range."  BUT my dear Hubby assures me it was good fried chicken. Again the getting laid bias - but well I actually tried it (minus the skin) and it was actually pretty good.  So I can make grits and fried chicken.  Holy hell - I'm almost Southern!!!!  Um well, I think we actually always knew I was a closet case.  Just never knew which closet.  Now we know.

I will actually share a recipe when I know it's easy.  And I can explain it.  In English.  Though my Spanish is getting better. Como no?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some like it HOT!!!

Okay I am a girl at times (other times I am a WOOO - man!) AND WHEN a girl -  I tease.  Calamari and shrimp are for another day and another budget.  I promise :D  TO-day and today's dollars are on chicken.

Can I just jump in here and say my freakin fingers are burning?  Yes - actually burning.  Because I am a dumb ass.  I know all the rules I know how to handle hot peppers - but do I listen?  Apparently not.  OMG my hands are on fire.  There's a reason capsasian is a controlled substance.  It will hurt you.  I am glad I'm not a guy and have to touch parts to pee.  It wouldn't be pretty.

OKAY now.  So tonight we are having "Chicken with 40 garlic cloves shoved up it's private parts" - yeah I cleaned it up for the internet.  And pineapple salsa that will "burn your freakin hands off if you are dumb!" 

So the drill is to find a decent chicken.  This really requires a good free range or good quality chicken in the 4 - 6 lb range.  I'm not usually a chicken prude but when you are doing something that highlights the chicken more than the ingredients you need something that lived a fairly clean life.  Preheat the oven to 400.  Take said carcass and wash it - okay DUH should be understood but please.  WAAAAASSSHH the heck out of it.  and then do as follows.  IF you have a beer can chicken cooker get it out.  IF not.  Get out the center of your angel food cake pan or springform pan or if none of them are in your house get a can - soda, beer, SOUP CAN - WHATEVER and empty it.  I put my chicken on a spring form cake pan center.  IN a roaster.  I put a soup can up the center.  I really hope I'm not confusing the hell out of you - if so ping me and I'll fix it in person.  But in the soup can I put 2 cups of white wine and 20 cloves of garlic (okay so 2 cups of wine don"t actually fit but the rest just became sauce.  In the roaster around the chicken that is standing on it's butt upright - looking all - "hey, I'm tough" I added mushrooms, more garlic (like 2 full bulbs - about 20 cloves), chopped celery, onions, zucchini,  carrots, and some water.  I salted and olive oiled the standing bird a bit and then stuck it in the oven.  Peek occasionally but 1 and a half hours were enough for this bad bird. 

for the pineapple salsa - I served this with rice and torilla chips
1/2 onion
1/2 can chopped pineapple - chopped finer
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers chopped fine (gloves are amazing for the intelligent cook)
1 chopped tomato
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 t salt
let this brew sit a bit and then enjoy.

when the chicken is done take it from it's perch and rest a bit.  Don't ever cut into hot meat right away.  Resting will ensure good flavor and juiciness.  But what's happy in the roaster can be turned into gravy.  Get the veg out carefully and then set the roaster on the stove and just put a tad of corn starch into it and wisk and then add some water - more than you think - still wisking away.  it WILL thicken.  after about 3 minutes it should be lovely thick brown and yummy.  turn off the heat and have some dinner.  I made instant mashed potatoes and fresh snapped green beans to augment the chicken.  Enjoy.  The salsa was hot.  is hot.  my hands are hot.  hmmmm.  Roger . . . .  . . .

Friday, September 24, 2010

kiss my *&%$

Okay that actually was GRITS.  Remember Mel's Diner of the 80's TV fame.  Flo, saying "Kiss my Grits!"  In that high pitched Texan Drawl.  That - to me was the E - PIT- ome of the SOUTH!  Well now, I had me some grits.  Me, a northern girl.  Me.   And they came from my own personal hand (or pan as it were).

I lived with a real live southern lady (I won't call her a belle cuz she'd punch me :D) for a number of years and studied her profusely - so I think I had the SOUTHERN thing in hand.  But Grits, they eluded me.  Until I moved here.  Virginia that is. Wisconsin - via (illannoying) to Virginia.  and suddenly - I CAN make me some grits!  No capitol letters needed.  I can make them.  Now, maybe baby don't have much back - but she can cook!!!  umhmmm!  (sorry I work with some sweet sistas who love me up some.) 

Okay really it's another language.  here.  it is.  ifs yous in - yous in.  I did learned how to speak efficiently and properly to THE BACK OF THE F"N ROOM!  ask anyone in my way  - I got some lungs - but here there is a protocol and form and it's respected.  I get respect.  Finally - I get earned respect.  But it took the south to teach me. 

It's complicated here.  You want to understand our f'd up country? Come live here.  Come here with an open mind and open to issues.  You will be rocked.  You think politics is cut and dried? just a little "he said/he said?"  Live here.  You think cultural differences are easy? - again live where YOU are the minority in your own freakin country!!!  It will blow your mind!  We are not living in Mexico, or Korea but most folks here speak both Korean or some level of both Spanish and Mandarin or Korean dialect.  Do you?.  YES ENGISH should be the first language spoken here.  But IT"S NOT!!!  Reality -  all you Hispanic haters.  They out number us and shocker here - THEY ARE BILINGUAL!!!  Are you?  didn't think so!

Sorry didn't mean to bust your cool.  It's good.  That is really how the south rolls.  They are cool (except when today it was 103 - yup it's Sept. 24)  I like it here because my nature is here.  I feel I was meant to be here.  I never felt that way ever before.  I was born in WI - loved Texas and Key West but VA makes me feel good.  VA feels more "home" than Wisconsin ever did.  Oh Maybe a move to Hawaii is in order . . . . okay kidding - no one would ever visit then . .. . oh wait? it's HI we'd never get them to LEAVE!  Okay SORRY back on task.

The cooking - so I made this Coconut dessert that frankly underwhelmed me.  I need to play and tweek more.  Roger (he'd eat a boot if I said it was tasty) can't be my guinea pig.  It was gluten free but not lactose.  Thank God for Lactaid.  I will try again tomorrow.  I hate sharing my failures but it can't all be good (heck even Mel burnt things now and then!)   I experiment because I love it.  Tomorrow will be better.  And it will involve calamari and shrimp.  Yes it will by goodness.  Yes it will.  No grits though.  They were good.  But not that good.  I'm northern by birth and grits are - well, southern.  and corn is one thing I eat on the cob. peace out.

So can a Northern Girl make Grits? Hell yah.  It's all in the attitude.  And butter and stirring.  Tell me it's not ALL in the butter and stirring!!!!  cuz it is.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's all about SEX!

Yes, yes it is.  Okay before you shield your innocent - or in the case of anyone named Richard - not so innocent eyes - it is all about sex.  I have been clearly watching too many House reruns cuz "golly did you notice that slight misdirect as I lured you in" as Hugh would have said.  Tonight it was all about sex.  Female.  I worked tonight at the Community Center and if you really believe that the world was just some billion year old random chance experiment by monkeys and a typewriter you really are an idiot and deserve to endure a life in perpetual blindness and bitterness (oh sounds like someone I am related to) "don't worry I'm praying for your sorry butt!" but the collision of estrogen, God and a very very misguided 24 yr old was NOT my dear friends random chance.  It was in fact . . . wait for it . . . . GOD.  Who created sex and there we have it - back to the beginning.  Where there actually was a garden and two perfect people before it literally all went to hell.  okay you get it.   So tonight at work was something amazing.  Women of faith (I do really hate that cliche but it fits here okay) giving life experience of the best kind (you know the dirt on what really goes on when you hit the ripe old age of 40 and have some junk to account for) telling her straight on.  It's going to be a hard road for her and she already has two children.  God is good and that may be all the time but stupid is as . . . . and we all know life is hard but it's harder when you are - that's right.  stupid.  Her choices.  I got to share some stuff.  And it meant something.  My experiences meant something.  AND here's where it gets deep.  My sharing was not to change her because she's going to make her own choices.  I shared because I can.  And really I like this girl.  Misguided - seriously seriously misguided.  But again WAIT FOR IT . . . not my personal problem.  She's on my prayer list - but I don't own her.  WHEW!  Hey Kristen - maybe there's hope for my Boundary Issues after all. 

So where's the food?
Um well, since I worked tonight dinner was crap.  Frozen pizza and canned mini ravioli for the kids (yup I rock the Super MOM thing) I experimented and sadly it was crap too so really I won't share the garlic/red pepper/tofu SUPRISE with you since I could barely choke it down and I was starving.  I also thought about a "better than sex cake " since well I did sort of tease you with sex (course don't all women do that - you know - tease thing?) And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. . . . .  

did I just end with a Beatles quote?  yes - yes I did.  go figure.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Build your own or why Rachel Ray sucks!

Okay - I know that I tend toward the misogynist men in life.  My favorite TV  shows are House - and vintage CSI - LV only for Gill Grissom ( okay so Nick was eye candy but hey shoot me) so clearly I love men who hate women or at least some women.  Tony Bourdain hates RR.  I never really wanted to just because he did - until I actually watched her suck on TV and actually made some of her suckage (yes that is a noun). 

Mis en plaz

Money is tight in the Howard/Sullivan house so though I wanted to make good quality burgers on the grill I knew that I would not be able to afford the big ticket crazy sirloin and even then I could only do enough to feed everyone but me.  SO here I am the "thinking outside the box girl" ohhh RR said that chickpeas made great veggie burgers.  I'm in!  I love hummus - I love garlic - I freakin love pretty much every mediterranian (yeah I flunked spelling) thing on the earth but her burgers were HORRIBLE.  Horrible.  horrible.  INEDIBLE HORRIBLE.

Now dear reader don't dispair we had a back up plan - I am no one if not a girl with a plan and PLAN B -   so I ate the kosher hotdogs that Dear MIL had forgotten about and were about to perish (not a happy death I might add) and salad.  CERTAINLY I did not starve and if worse came to worse there was really good dinner from last night. 

But my kidsand family got really great burgers with all the fixings (pickle, onion, tomato, lettuce, garlic, mushrooms and about 45 kinds of mustard! etc) and if you think they used any of it you are smokin crack!!! LOL!  These are the kids who eat to live not vice versa.  I'm okay with that.

But suddenly MOM decided tonight DESPITE MONTHS OF THE CONTRARY that she doesn't like burgers though ever other time we have made them she's HOOVERED them like nothing.  I have decided that cyanide may fix me so that I don't have to be 93 and mess with people but not today.  Though I've heard it tastes of almond.  And that is good.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Almond eyes

What can I say about the almond that has not already been WIKI'd to death .  . .  All I know is there is a smell that puts me over the edge and almond is that smell.  When I had a hunch that Roger was going to ask me to marry him in Vegas on May 2, 2008 I knew that I needed a special dress that only I could sew and a scent that only Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab from California could produce.  It was called Eden and smelled of almond and vanilla and was heavenly and intoxicating.  Sugar and spice - okay you get it.  so almond is the thing to catch the conscience . . . well, king or not it's a great smell and taste.  Almonds are really diverse in recipes as far as they can be additives or the full on deal.  Roast them whole (cheaply) then dip in dark chocolate and they rock (um hello Kisses with almonds!) or put them in the classic green bean almondine they are so clique it hurts me.  But since my former sister in law was once all about the Amaretto (cheap crap not even DiSarrono) apparently it's a popular flavor. 

Tonight I made a smattering of dishes to please my 93 yr old Mother in Law.  She finally got that I was fixing several things at once because I could heat one oven and make 3 nights worth of dinners with the same chicken.  Don't know if garnered any respect but really I am not trying to earn respect from her since I don't deserve it from her.  She and I have not had the day to day for the number of years for me to get that and frankly I don't know if I even want that.  My former MIL is an incredible woman and I love her forever and always will.  When I die and/or Jesus blasts the earth with HIS awesomeness  I will get to sit in the courtyard and chit chat she will be one of the first folks I look up.  BUT my current MIL is someone on my prayer list since she and Jesus are not so tight.  I gave her a Bible and she pretty much chucked it back at me.  So anyone who reads this and likes to pray - add Mary Pabst.  She's not going to heaven as I and my Bible see it.  I'm glad I'm not the reader of hearts but Jesus is not her Savior nor Lord so you do the math. 

BUT that said - she's in my house for today and I'm praying for her old soul.  and other 40 yr old souls that fathered children I might know.  and other's named shall we say Rick who's with a lady named Sherri . . . oh Lord I pray for a lot of people :D

Chicken Casserole that's been changed since this recipe is from the freakin 40's
3c cooked chopped chicken breast
2 c thinly sliced celery (super thin - aka oblivion chop)
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds.  Toast them yourself when you preheat the oven - thank me for the smell later!)
2 T grated Onions
1 c mayo NOT MIRACLE WHIP trust me later
touch of lemon juice
1 chopped can of water chestnuts

mix this mess into a casserole
add into the top before adding to a 450 oven
1 cup cheddar cheese and 1 cup smooshed potato chips
have fun cuz it rocks
so bad for you but as a dinner it could be worse...  enjoy

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dessert - kicken it old school

Now I'm a simple girl - okay that's crap - I'm screwy as hell, but dessert has always perplexed me a bit.  I either completely overdo it and make something that could give all of Texas diabetes, or it's boring,  staid and frankly a bit plain.   So in the next few weeks I vow both to myself and others to find something that can excite the senses or just reawaken those we haven't paid much heed to lately.  But that's not what I'm doing today so there . .   

Nope today is my MIL Mary's "coffee cake"  This a vintage recipe filled with fat, fat -  oh and fat, but probably pretty tasty if I could try it.  I like the addition of cinnamon to the basic recipe.  I did not do the nuts because - well, I don't have any and my kids are not wild about them.

Oven to 350.

1 white cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sour cream

mix this like mad and pour HALF of the batter into a greased pan - personally I used a bundt pan.  Top this half with 1/4 sugar and 1 t cinnamon.  Spread this around a bit.  Pour the other half on top and add another 1/4 sugar and 1 t cinnamon.  bake until a cake tester (aka wooden skewer) comes clean - about 40 minutes.  Cool and either flip onto a nice cake plate or just grab a spoon and tuck in!!! 


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Ooooh and since I felt the drive to cook for something like 3 hours this evening - Yeah I'm a freak - It's a gift.  I also made this tapenade that reminded me of this little restaurant that my first husband and I frequented in Eagle, WI.  They served this amazing bread with this "stuff" on it that was a revelation to the uninitiated.  It was basically an olive "paste" and I use all these quotes because I don't actually have that recipe but I do have the stuff that I made tonight that frankly I would lick out of an old shoe (okay if the former owner had no fungus issues) if it was on the menu.  I kind of made it up from a taste memory - I'm working on memories right now - so here it is:

Tapenade Ala Memorio
3/4 a can of black olives - pits removed (the other 1/4 needs to be wrestled from the gapping maw of my daughter Trinity before she gets sick)
1/2 cup green olives with pimento ( I hate pimento unless finely chopped so feel free to get onion stuffed)
2 T of capers
2 T dijon mustard (feel free to drive up to any fancy car and ask for it)
2 big cloves of garlic
now - use that fancy slap chop that some jerk told you to buy - okay I use mine every freakin day - it's fantastic and no knuckles busted in the process.
That my friends is it - can be served on crusty bread (how I miss thee oh gluten) or just shoveled in via a celery stick - enjoy.  Really good with a warmed sandwich on sourdough - served on a hubcap is awesome!!!

Pears - of the Orient

If you never tried an Asian Pear or Apple Pear as some know them by - you are missing out on a yummy little number!  My dad has an Asian Pear tree in his yard in Wisconsin and on his last visit her to VA he blessed me with a bag full of not quite ripe pears!!!  Well - they are now ripe and ready for action.  I have plans to can the vast majority of them since I personally can't eat them fast enough and I hate to waste them on my kids except in small doses until I know they like them and won't just chuck them into the school's garbage can!!  Tonight though I am going to do a little something special for desert and see what it gets me :D 

Asian Pears in Cinnamon Honey sauce

I peeled and sliced fairly thickly 4 pears
These brown so fast once peeled so if you want to do this ahead you need to have an acid (lemon juice) or fruit fresh

The dip is yogurt about a cup (greek or regular plain yogurt you drained in cheesecloth overnight to remove the water)
1/4 honey
1 t good quality cinnamon
a dash of vanilla
mix like mad
before serving add a sprinkle of chopped almonds
dip away.  If the pears are wet the dip won't stick so dry slightly with papertowel.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

protect the young!!

Yeah - you might want to.  Okay - when don't you want to protect those less tainted by the stink of life?  really?  If you don't want to shield those lessor then yourself - seriously - get out of my air space because I have no use for you.  I don't limit this to age - intellect also factors in - but certainly on a very very sliding scale.  I am in the process of completely reinventing myself.  Not because I "don't know who I am" or any such complete whoo ha!  I am completely in touch with Miss K and know who and what she wants to be a happy healthy girl - and yes it involves sex and wine and rock and roll !!! oh and motorcycles are nice too :D muscles cars make me happy as well.  but really truly this is about doing our due diligence about our young.  I am truly sorry on this one folks - it's not sassy nor smarmy nor snarky - just really honest.  I was abused by a trusted family member and it really made a crazy train wreck of my life.  I went on and such but am a bit of a train wreck?  ummm yeah.  Did it make a big mess?  YUP - but do we move on - ??? hell yeah!  we move on and have kids and are way the hell smarter because of it.  There are creepy pedophiles around every damn bush and they look and act like normal joes because they are - but as someone who survived - they are not.  And I am so glad I am not God because there would be burning hot pokers that I could just throw at random.  Oh well - I know who did this to me and would never ever trust my child to anyone - even family.  Sad.  But.  I am the sadder but wiser girl.  to quote a show tune.  How apropos. of nothing. not a show tune.  but true.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I have a Dream . . . .

Okay in light of Saturday's aura I just couldn't resist but really I do actually have a dream.  And I drive by it often.  It's a location.  A store.  Or really it wants to be a store.  My store.  My place of awesomeness unleashed.  My books, chocolate, coffee, music, sex, tanning, wine, yarn shop.  Yeah, it's a stretch.  But then so am I.  It's what I want so bad I can taste it - but have no freakin idea how to make it happen.  I can see it - I can see me in it - I can see it doing so well that my kids are working it because they get great tips - but I don't know how to get there.  Ya know?  How does the dream become the real?  I don't know the first thing about owning something like this - running something like this - but I know it could work because I've seen it - you know - working.  The location could not be better - um train station to yuppie ville DC - um hello - coffee - train - a.m. hot barristas (boy and girl) how can this not work?  Again - afternoon - hello - wine - hot sommelier ( boy and girl)  Did I mention amazing brand new condos above me?  How can this NOT work?  But that's how it won't work because it won't jump out of my head and create itself.  Unlike this blog it doesn't just jump from my fingers onto a page and make itself real.  Or at least something other than a FOR LEASE sign.  I know the one I want too.  It's a corner store.  I'd look at the fountain - probably have to pee a lot but it's gorgeous.  I just need my friend B to help me.  She'd probably have to quit her job and move to my house and we would start this store together and she could bring her dog and live in my daughter's room because Trinity would happily move in with her sister because then she would have a job and make lots of money after school . . . . hey I said I have a dream.  And it could happen.  Some dreams are lofty and involve peace and love and little children getting along.  Some dreams involve excellent music, coffee, chocolate, wine, yarn and books (not in alpha order or tanning or sex)  but that doesn't make them less valid - I'm just scared.  But there have been lesser cliffs I have stood on and shied from and bigger and happily plunged to the depths.  So it's not the cliff - it's the jumper here that is the difference.  "Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference." I have a dream.  And me - being me - will go at it sideways and unconventional.  But then - stranger things have happened. :D

Friday, August 20, 2010

Girl on Grill

Sorry - I couldn't resist.  I have never thought I could grill.  At all.  Little did I know it was only beef that eluded me.  I can't grill a burger to save my sorry life.  Not gas, charcoal nor even the crazy - can't mess this up - George Foreman - I suck on the grilling of the beef.  SO I assumed I was sadly lacking the Grilling Gene.  UNTIL I wanted to make Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce.  Okay so I am a Thai ho.  I admit it completely.  I da ho!  Totally!  First thing you do is get on your bike wearing a backpack and ride to Sky Mart here in Manassas Park, VA and then buy way too much to carry home on your sad almost flat rear tire!  Oh wait that's just me - normal people DRIVE to the grocery store. 

So here's what you do - and I kid you not this is yummy times a million and really the first thing I've grilled that doesn't taste like shoe leather (not that I've really tried that but a few burgers I've made had to have been close!)
Thai Chicken Satay

2 lbs of Boneless skinless chicken THIGHS yes thighs - not breast not tenders THIGHs you will be sorry if you don't - yes more fat but remember folks fat is flavor - not kidding here! Take them and cut off most of the crazy fat and tendon if there's any left and chunk them to go on sticks.

Coconut milk (NOT CREME - we are not making Pina Coladas)  1 can  - you only need half so we will make coconut rice with the other half

1 chunk of fresh ginger peeled and then grated finely about 1 Tb - you will need to grate more for the peanut sauce to follow so just do it all about 3 Tbs total

1/3 cup molassas

1 Tb good fish sauce (like I would know if it was BAD fish sauce lol!)

A freaking ton of minced garlic (that's just me)

Marinate the chicken chunks in this for at least 4 hours.

I did not soak my skewers and they actually did burn up but it didn't matter too much to me - your mileage may vary so soak if you want.

Peanut sauce
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 can coconut milk
1T fish sauce
1 ton of garlic minced (you get the trend here)
1 and 1/2 T of minced fresh ginger
3 T of Dark Brown Sugar (like there is another kind?)
1 stalk of LemonGrass (now the question is does this matter if you can't find it? I love it and can find it so easy so that's not a question for me - you? if it's a PITA and you won't make this without it - no it doesn't matter- if you can get it cut off the bottom 4 inches and mince it finely - if not a squirt of lemon and a touch of peel  and you are golden :D)
a 1/4 cup of really hot water to make this more sauce than solid

I would have added a serrano pepper (or 3) here but I am feeding an old woman as well as myself so I did not want cardiac arrest at the table - me - would have loved it :D

Now comes the grilling AND to add craziness to this I actually decided to grill crazy HUGE clams as well!  So stoke up your grill - and just grill the hell out of the chicken I'll post for the clams at a later date but let's just say I pretty much lapped those bad boys up the second they hit the garlic lemon sauce!!!

I just watched them and let them get "grilled" looking.  Aka slightly burned but done looking - sorry you really can't mess this up if you DID not crowd them on the skewers.  NOW just get them off the skewers and dip in the sauce and you will be good to go.  If you want to marinate longer it's better (so I've been told) but really according to Alton Brown longer is not better so you decide.  Alton rocks and that's all I can say on this matter.  Geeky Sciencey Red HEADs  with facial hair just do me in (hello Mythbusters :D! oh and HI Roger )
Any questions on technique I will happily answer but understand I was just faking it on the grilling part.  The charcoal and years of watching other more experienced grillers was all I did.  This really was a yummy yummy meal!

Oh the rice :D
Take one part rice (you decide the part) rinse it like mad in cold water (like 4 times) add in your 2 parts coconut milk and water.  So if you do 1 cup rice you will need 2 cups of coconut milk and water mix.  If you can't figure this out call me or email me but most likely I will make you feel like a dumb ass so I guess just don't LOL! Bring to a boil and then cover and lower heat to almost nothing and DON'T FREAKING LOOK AT IT!!!! for about 15 min.  Turn off  and eat with Gusto.  Or Tony - or whoever you want to eat this with :D Enjoy is all I say :D

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't piss in your own bathwater

Ya know there just things I've heard or heard others say that just make me smile or laugh or go "WTF" but really it's the things that hit me mid-stream of thought that make me stop and go - "GD that was profound.  I need to write that shit down!"  And then I don't and it's gone. BUT, tonight, getting into my bath after "a day" and if you're caring for a 93 yr old MIL (not even my own momma sort of person) and 3 children - two of which girls and one of which is a boy who I actually tried to freakin fix his XBOX - you know that at the end of the day a bath is really all that will satisfy - and a bottle or two of wine!  So getting in I thought hmmmm - "Don't piss in your own bathwater!" Not because I wanted to - heck I had just peed - in toilet - but sort of in a profound - huh - that's what I need to NOT do sort of way. 

Now I am a huge fan of Moonstruck the Movie - Hell - if I thought Olympia Dukakis was gonna be playing my momma I'd do any stupid movie they threw my way. . . . and really Cher and I are like twins.  Yeah, twins only separated by the details of different egg and sperm!  But I digress (okay when don't I?) But Olympia/Rose offers that wisest of advise to her wanna be sex partner who's way too young for her and is sleeping with his college students and she knows who she is -but says "Don't shit where you eat!"  I really really like that saying - don't get me wrong - but it's different.  Don't shit where you eat is so in your face and yucky and well - it's eating shit.  Don't piss in your own bathwater - is well - subtle - THE B in subtle actually.  You CAN actually Piss in your own bathwater and no one will know - or care - and you won't even get sick.  But it's subtle.  It's nasty - to YOU.  It's not loving to you.  I'm not a huge - OH, give yourself a hug cuz you are so so special - sort of girl, but I am a "you matter so don't screw it up!" sort! 

We all matter. I matter.  I have 3 little people who really depend on me for more than just lunch.  I'm shaping the next HR managers (okay so I'm shooting for architect, actress, vet/actress but hey! kill me for dreaming!) but really we all matter even if it's to feed the cat across the street who needs it!  Pay attention.  Don't skimp on yourself if skimping is what you do - to you!  If you feed your own fat ass so much that you can't move well then this post isn't for you and my next post on MOVING that fat ass is!  I can also help that fat ass - since MOVE is kind of my mantra - and I'll do it in love and won't even charge you - That is how I roll - but anyway this Chautauqua is on being good so you live to the next day and can do more than just make lunch. 

Anyway - don't piss in your own bathwater.  It's true.  Just.  Don't and as the good book says The truth will set you free - even if it's 2+2 =4.  You feel free?  Good.

Friday, August 13, 2010

oh and tonight

It's stuffed Trader Joes Burgers!  Olives/pickles/onions/balsamic vinegar/pink salt mixed into TJ's sweet meat. And for those not wheat intolerant their whole grain buns.  For me lettuce wrap.  I love TJ's they are my sweet place of fun and happiness!

oh and tonight

It's stuffed Trader Joes Burgers!  Olives/pickles/onions/balsamic vinegar/pink salt mixed into TJ's sweet meat. And for those not wheat intolerant their whole grain buns.  For me lettuce wrap.  I love TJ's they are my sweet place of fun and happiness!

Zen and the art of cooking

So I'm reading the 1974 classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which has been "on my list" for the longest darn time so I just finally trucked my butt to McKay's Used Books since my sort of strapped local Library doesn't have it.  I swear to you if I win any large amount of money after I have plastic surgery and my nails done - my library is getting a chunk since they need it very very badly!  So okay - I'm was already blown away by the first 13 pages.

Have you ever read anything that was so "right now" for you it's clearly not coincidence?  I've read things before that were just "okay - whatever" and then years or circumstances later I've reread it and was thinking "OMG" that was the best thing ever!  For me - Zen is just working.  Eat Pray Love was like that too.  I'm actually really upset about the movie since I'm sure it will suck compared to the book.  Maybe not.  But probably. 

So Cooking is my motorcycle maintenance I've discovered.  I've toyed with the idea of going to school to learn it right but honestly I would only want to cook for people I love or at least like.  I don't want to get paid to do this, I just want to do this.  Getting paid would change the dynamic for me completely.  We need to eat to live - (just ask the parent of an anorexic) so this is a need thing.  A basic - primal - 3 or at least 2 times a day thing.  It has to happen.  It's just the what that changes.  It can be BK.  It can be Ivy in LA.  It can be PB&J for goodness sakes but it's got to be something.  So cooking for me has turned into a bit of the Zen - actually it's really just dinner.  Breakfast can be weird - Lunch can be an afterthought leftover - but DINNER - dinner is the Buffet - it's the MEAT I've just discovered.  It's the NEW weird food I've found at my crazy Korean/Hispanic grocery produce market (they rock btw).  Dinner is my conscious passionate barbaric YAWP!  Maybe not to the rooftops but at least to the universe via the stomachs of those who consume it.  And parties - oh - I miss the parties.  I miss entertaining those who want to know, spend time and laugh with me.  So until there are more of those - it's just the dinner.  But it is my on purpose creativity that nourishes my family and in return feeds my soul.  Who could ask for more from a chickpea turned into hummus?  Really.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

June bugs and Tidal waves

okay it's just a cool name and flows man.  snap snap.  daddy oh. 
really I'm not that lame but watching an old CSI while jump roping this afternoon made me all nostalgic for old Las Vegas okay old anything and LV is cool no matter when.  And I mean cool in a Neil Diamond, pug, Gerard Depardu sort of way.  Cheezy and quirky but if you get it - man - you get it.  smooth. 
Now that I am the caretaker of my MIL who is 93 and very very - oh so very f'n trying - but sweet and interesting and cool in her own right - I'm doing all this talking about days and times that frankly don't have George Michael or even gasp Miami Vice in the forefront.  We are talking the 30's, 40's and 50's and it's amazingly interesting!  I could listen to her stories (and yes I know at the 14th telling of the same story it may get old) forever.  She is still new to me and me to her.  We are getting to know each other.  I am the second wife and she is the second mother in law and though I loved (and still do) my first MIL we have to get to know the buttons and what to push and not to.

It's a dance she and I.  I serve and she dictates.  She is sad and afraid and in pain and unsure.  Me too.  She doesn't know what is going to happen to her.  Neither do I.  She is a bother and trouble and irritating to deal with.  Me too.  The difference is - I am 40 and my joints and bones and parts do what I tell them to do the millisecond that I say - her's don't.  She can't.  So she doesn't or she does and it's pain or she falls or she makes a mess and then this girl she really doesn't know (me) has to take care of it and she's embarrassed.  Because she can't.  She told me today that she used to be as strong as me when she was young.  And I believe it.  She was a Nebraska farm girl.  And then served with her husband in Hiroshima.  History is a bitch.  And cool as hell.  My life is surreal now but I wouldn't change it for anything because I get to know her.  And yeah she's a tough sell and demanding - but if I didn't get to know her I'd miss it.  I'd miss this person who I get to serve who tells me things I didn't know about the man I married that he doesn't know.  History would be lost.  Memories - real or imagined would be lost. 

Who are we if that dies?  You can't embalm a memory or an experience.  It either gets shared or it vaporizes into the tree that fell that no one heard.  I am listening.  I'm not the Lorax, just a daughter in law who misses her own grandma and has a bit of a do over.  I can hear now because my head is sort of out of my ass - and I actually care.  It's the hardest thing I have ever done.  Birth, death, divorce, P90X, - frankly she's hard.  But here - in my life.  Today.  It's for her and my people that I live.  She was bugged when I said I don't live for things (travel light you never know when you gotta) but for people.  I could get on a plane with one suitcase and live for the rest of my life.  It's stuff.  People are eternal.  So few people get that.  And even fewer that I love.  Move with the eternal and let go of the physical.  Okay that sounded so creepy.  Just live I guess is what I'd say. today.  because tomorrow, well you know.  It's cloudy with a chance of?