Friday, April 30, 2010

Low to the ground at the speed of sound…sort of.

It has been brought to my attention that I show many a picture of my dog, Phoebe, in a position of repose. You know, napping. This is because she does that a lot. Nap. She’s the best napping dog I’ve ever had. If they gave out prizes, you know in the non-working group, for napping? She’d win. Paws down.

Don’t let her talent and good looks fool you, she is in fact, a very active dog. She’s so active the only time I can get a good picture of her is when she is napping. Sometimes she just moves too fast for the naked eye or the camera lens.

Case in point:

bionicbulldog

Sound effects for running sound bite

 
This is one fast moving dog, I tell ya. You remember the Bionic Woman? And that crazy sound that played when she ran? I swear you can almost hear that when Phoebe is running. She’s not much for the long distance running, she’s more about the short burst of energy. After twenty minutes of bionically running amok around the backyard, she is ready for her nap. Again. It recharges her bionic batteries.

So, for all of you who think we just lay around in the sun all day, we do  just remember the saying, “It’s best to let sleeping dogs lie”. There’s nothing worse than a bulldog who hasn’t gotten her nap out.

Photo courtesy of Paul Sulinski at Unleashed Unlimited Dog Training - the best dog trainers in Austin.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tasty Tuesday…

Over the weekend, we had an intimate dinner party. By intimate, I mean my table is small and only seats eight. So if you’re ever invited to one of my dinner parties, consider it intimate.(and yes, Scottish Woman, the next one is for you, I promise!) I love having dinner parties mostly because I love cooking, entertaining and wine. What dinner party doesn’t have wine? Anyway, our little soiree was quite fun.

For me, dinner parties are such a grown-up affair. I remember my parents hosting dinner parties. I couldn’t wait until I was grown up enough to be able to host my own. Our guests this time included a new boyfriend (do adults say that? I haven’t had a boyfriend in so long, I’m not sure) and some out of town guests visiting our friends. I decided to use place cards to strategically place the new people next to me. Well, mostly the boyfriend, because I am nothing if not totally interested in lives of everyone else. In other words, I’m nosy. Yes, I’m Gladys Kravitz.

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Obviously, the grown up part is optional at my dinner parties.

Of all the prep I do, I think making appetizers are my favorite. They’re always fun. There is one, in particular, that I wanted to share with you. It’s called Curried Chicken Salad. You’ll love it and it’s so easy to make. We like easy, right?

Let’s get our ingredients:

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That’s right, just five ingredients. Mayonnaise, cashews, mild curry paste, chicken and celery.

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Start by chopping enough celery for 1/3 of a cup. If you are BD and have a swanky new knife that your husband gave you for Christmas, you’ll be able to accomplish this in no time. I do not have a swanky, sharp knife, so I just use my handy-dandy chopper. Chopped celery, toot sweet.

 

 

 

While you have your handy-dandy chopper out (if you didn’t chop off a finger or toe with the swanky knife, use that) chop 1/4 cup of cashews.

  Into a mixing bowl, add the chopped celery, chicken, chopped cashews, 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of mild curry paste.

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(Pampered Chef, anyone?)

The rest of the jar of curry paste will keep in the fridge for a long time. Not to worry, you’ll be making this one again.

Mix well. Just before serving, take the fillo shells out of the freezer. I know, I forgot to put it in with the picture of ingredients. That’s why you’re supposed read the whole post first and then come back and make it. Here:

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Place a spoonful in each cup (about 30 cups, 2 boxes of shells) with a little sprig of parsley for color. Ta-da! All done. Wasn’t that easy?

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This chicken salad is also good on sliced cucumber or even on a bed of lettuce for lunch.

Curried Chicken Salad

1 can chopped chicken breast (drained)
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped cashews
1 tablespoon mild curry paste

Mix all together. Spoon into fillo cups, crackers or bed of lettuce.

(For those of you who noticed that I put two tablespoons curry paste and the recipe calls for one, that was my bad. I usually double this recipe, so I’m used to putting in two tablespoons. I did this time, even though I didn’t double it and it was still so good!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Every wiener is a winner…

Some of you may remember that last year, for Mother’s Day, I wanted to see Ralph, the diving pig. But Ralph had been replaced with a more educational, eco-friendly scene and it just wasn’t weird enough for me. I like the unusual, the eccentric and the downright hilarious.

Since I spend actual Mother’s Day with Wow and her sister, Auntie Narmie, we always celebrate the awesomeness that is Mom a week or two before I leave. Skater is the only offspring left in town and he works long hours on the weekends, so it was up to CGMan to make sure I was properly celebrated. He did a great job!

Knowing my penchant for all things weird (May I stop right here and wonder aloud? Why the hell is weird spelled with ei and wiener is spelled with ie?) This weekend, CGMan escorted this fabulous mom to the 13th Annual Wiener Dog Races. That’s right my friends, races for wiener dogs!!

We had such a great time! I’ve never seen so many wieners in one place. We all know wieners are kinda funny looking, but that’s nothing until you’ve seen a wiener in a costume!

dorothywiener dontwantawiener choruslinewiener swisswiener dinowiener beewieners

The guy in the bunny suit didn’t look all that excited to have a wiener. That’s too bad. I never knew having a wiener could be this much fun. It almost makes me wish I had a wiener. But I’m happy with what I have, truly. Besides, mine is prettier than a wiener.

notawiener Don’t you think so?

Before the races began, we walked around and checked out the booths. There were many for wiener rescues (You too, could have a wiener!) assorted dog beds, toys, clothes, costumes and other puppy paraphernalia.

There was even a kissing booth. Yep. I kissed a wiener and I liked it.

wienerkiss

Just off the showroom floor was hottest ride on four wheels. It was on display so all the wieners could drool over it.. What wiener doesn’t long for a sweet ride like this one? It’s a bitch magnet.

really?youhadtolook? cowboywiener

There was really a lot to see. A cook-off of some sort was going on in the background. I can only assume it was a BBQ cook-off. You know, because it’s Texas and beef is what’s for dinner. It was such a big place, and so many people around, sometimes you had to hold your wiener in your hand.

handheldwiener

After walking around checking all the fun ways to play with your wiener, if you have one, we headed to the stands for the races. We managed to squeeze in between some wieners for seats in the end zone.

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The local high school band played the national anthem, to which CGMan and I sang, inspiring a few others around us to do so as well. The band did a great job. When we heard “Gentlemen, start your wieners!”  we knew it was time to stop being silly and get down to the serious business of seeing who had the fastest wiener.

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You have to cheer your wiener on to get it to perform well. Sometimes the wieners get distracted by someone on the sidelines, and the owner has to chase it down. Other wieners are more competitive, but all in all, it looked like every wiener had a good time.

 

I have to say, this was an awesome Mother’s Day celebration. It was a beautiful, sunny, spring day and I had a blast meeting wieners from all over. There were wieners from as far away as Florida. I knew wieners were funny, but I’ve honestly never laughed so hard. I texted Skater and told him it was too bad he missed seeing all the wieners with us. He texted me back, “I’m sorry… what?!”

Oh man, all these wieners made me think maybe we should have hot dogs for dinner!

noonionsplease

Friday, April 23, 2010

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future…

Relationships are hard. It doesn’t matter if you live on the other side of the world or the other side of the house, a marriage takes work. It takes love and compassion and most of all…forgiveness.

A recent IM conversation between my office in the kitchen and his office in the front of the house:

Him: I’m sorry about hurting your feelings and I want to make it up to you.

Me:  You’re sweet….

Him: I try

Me: ….a million ought to do it

Him: only one?

Me: Yeah, I don’t want to seem greedy

Him: that’s why I love you

 

futureenlarged

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Same trip, different day…

We hadn’t given up hope of taking a day trip after our rained out fiasco over the weekend. Yesterday, according to our weather expert, was going to be a beautiful sunny day.

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   It is not raining.
       You’re welcome.

 

 

 

We gave up the job search for the day and instead went in search of wildflowers. We loaded up the co-pilots and headed into hill country.We didn’t have a destination in mind, we just drove. We meandered all through the hill country and around Lake Buchanan. It was gorgeous! We saw bluebonnets by the billions!

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The reason we had no destination was because one of the co-pilots took us down a nameless road.

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Not to worry, for this group of adventurers, the roads don’t need names. Sometimes they don’t even need asphalt, as we’ve been known to turn down a dirt road, just to see where it goes.

It was a wonderful day and we had such fun.

So don’t forget to take time out to smell the wildflowers. Life is short.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

chugalug

 

Disclaimer: The canines in this picture did not partake of any alcohol. Though not for lack of trying.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chili is not so much a food as a state of mind…

It has come to my attention that you have not looked in my soup pot in a while. We had a rainy day, so I thought a bowl of chili was in order. I know it’s spring and all, but some days need a pot of simmering goodness on the stove.

Let me protect my Texas residency by saying this is not a “proper” chili. And by proper, I mean up to Texas standards and by that I mean beef. This is a chicken chili recipe that I would never attempt to enter in a chili cook-off, lest I be laughed out of Texas. To enter a proper chili cook-off in Texas, your chili has to have beef and beer and beans and a little more beef. I do have an honorable mention recipe that I will share on another day.

This recipe was a favorite of the Marine and one of the first he asked for when he was on his own. I’m fairly certain he made it illegally in his barracks from time to time, causing many a Marine to stop, sniff and salivate. Unless you have an iron stomach, don’t make it like he does, hot, hot, hot! The Marine does love some spicy!

This is an easy recipe that can be whipped up in less than an hour. Don’t you love that?

Let’s assemble the ingredients, shall we?

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Yeah, that’s corn over there. I forgot to put it in the picture, but I did not forget to put it in the chili.

First you put a little oil in the pot, then dice up two pounds of chicken, one small onion and four cloves of garlic.
Or you can cheat like me and use garlic in a jar and frozen diced onions:
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Oh, and two medium sweet red peppers, which I didn’t have and didn’t miss all that much.

Sautee that in the pot until the chicken is no longer pink. Then add 3 tablespoons of chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/4 teaspoon (or 1/8 for not so spicy) cayenne pepper. Cook and stir one minute, to thicken.

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Add one can of diced tomatoes (I like tomatoes, so I use two cans) and two cans of chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes.

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That gives you time to open, drain and rinse two cans of kidney beans (I use black beans and sometimes one of each). After 15 minutes (or less, if time is demanding) add your beans, 1 jar (12oz) of your favorite salsa, a small package of frozen corn (or one can, drained) 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a boil.

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Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. See? less than an hour!

IMG_3602 I serve this with a little cheese sprinkled on and a dollop of sour cream, to help lessen  the heat because sometimes I’ve been known to make it a little too spicy. You can adjust the heat to your own tastes, by adjusting the cayenne (or leaving it out) and using a mild salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Fe Chicken Chili

2 lb cubed chicken breast
2 medium sweet red peppers, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 veg oil, for sautéing
3 TB chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can (or 2) diced tomatoes
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans kidney beans (or black), drained and rinsed
1 jar (12oz) chunky salsa
1 small package frozen corn (or 1 can)
1/2 tsp salt  1/2 tsp pepper

In large pot, sauté chicken, peppers, onions and garlic until chicken is no longer pink. Add chili powder, cumin and cayenne, cook and stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered for another 10-15 minutes, until chicken is tender.