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Friday, February 20, 2009

Reading.

I'm not sure if "read more books" was on my new years resolution list this year....it might have been. I know it has been on the list a few times in the past. Anyway, yesterday I was milling around outside at lunch and I found a nice cool shady spot that I thought would be perfect for sitting an reading a book.....if only I had a book and could actually get into reading it. I have had some trouble getting into books and staying with them. I loose interest very fast if the story isn't....uh....ineresting, I guess. I adore romance, but it is soooo overdone most of the time. All the bodice ripping, running to-and-fro in anger then in passion....ugh. It is not good reading for me. Mysteries are usually good for me because they keep you engaged.

Can anyone suggest a good book? Romance, mystery or just a generally good read?

Next, I need to get a lawn chair so I can actually go to my nice shady spot and get away from my desk for an hour at lunch. I need to start doing that.....and keep doing that. So I hope reading will do it. If that fails, I guess I can close my eyes and nap.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BEER-AND-BACON-GLAZED “ALL-MANs” (almonds)

Created by Cory Barrett, pastry chef of Michael Symon Restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio (chefs Symon and Barrett can be seen competing on Iron Chef America on the Food Network).

Makes 4 cups

Cooking Spray
1 cup brown sugar
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/3 cup beer (any type)
1 tablespoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups whole almonds
2 cups sliced almonds

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 ̊F. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil; spray foil with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place brown sugar, bacon, beer, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Boil for 10 minutes stirring often. Pour in both types of almonds and stir well to coat all of the almonds.

3. Spread almond mixture in an even layer on baking pan and bake for 15–18 minutes. Remove from oven, and spread
onto a sheet of aluminum foil while still warm (breaking apart any large clumps). Allow mixture to cool to room
temperature and store in a closed plastic container at room temperature for up to three days.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wine-Braised Chicken

This is a take on Coq au Vin which I have wanted to make ever since I saw it on Good Eats. I've never had Coq au Vin, so I won't know how this version compares.

Wine-Braised Chicken

Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alpha Out.

I finished my photo alphabet project yesterday. I'm mostly pleased with what I did...but some of the days were a challenge. The Q day turned out to be the "worst". I had it all planned and then things fell apart rapidly. Years ago I had this bowl of rocks on my coffee table in the living room....pretty rocks. I had some that I found, some that I bought and some that were given to me. One in particular, the biggest I had, was a hunk of orange quartz. I'd seen all kinds of quartz, but never orange. And it was the color or orange juice. Beautiful. So on Q day I went hunting for the bowl that had been put away for at least 5 years. I thought I knew exactly where it was....but it wasn't there. Looked a little more....no rocks. I have no idea what has become of them. I'm pretty sure I didn't get rid of them, but maybe I did? It put a real damper on Q day as I didn't have a back-up plan. I went out to make my breakfast and just told myself that Q would not happen - oh well. Then as I was waiting for my toast to pop up, I got the idea to just make a Q in peanut butter on my toast. I could have made a quesadilla, but it wasn't lunchtime and those are messy (greasy) and the thought of trying to make a quesadilla look photo worthy just wasn't something I wanted to deal with. You have no idea how long it can take to set up a photo. Sometimes it can be an hour because you have to deal with light and angle and what color background.....blah, blah, blah. Q toast was going to have to do. So that's how that happened.

All the other days went as planned for the most part. That's not to say they all came out the way I planned....two different things. I tried to keep it interesting.

So give me your top 3 picks! I curious what you all like the best :)

Alphabet Project

Monday, February 16, 2009

Liberty ~ Honor ~ Devotion ~ Freedom

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government : of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
~President Lincoln

Friday, February 13, 2009

Many people are staying in this Valentine's Day due to financial reasons. I think it's a great idea. Greg and I have done this before and it was just fine. We usually make something "fancy", but I think you should just make what you really like.....and if that happens to be mac and cheese, then eat mac and cheese :)

Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese

And here's the first of the week's recipes from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics. It's one of my all-time favorites and, in fact, has taken up residence among a coterie of of recipes taped to the back of the cabinet door nearest my stove—though, really, I've made it so often I usually don't need to reference it anymore. If prepared as detailed below, it will serve about 12 people, but I often halve the recipe if I'm not cooking for a crowd—it will still yield more than enough creamy, rich mac and cheese. And, because she says it each time I mention this recipe, the GF says it tastes even better the next day. ~Adam Kuban

- serves 12 -

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.

2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.

5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Did anyone see Joaquin Phoenix on David Letterman last night? I heard about it and found it on YouTube. I can't figure out if he is acting or if he is high or....? It's just so bad that it seems like he has to be acting, but then there are times when he does look legitimately confused at what people are laughing at. But he's an actor....so....I just can't tell.

Watch and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I think I need a vacation. Really.

I am finding myself at the end of my rope by midday these days at work. I just can't stand anyone I work with. It didn't used to be like this....there were people I tolerated. And I don't mean that to sound so harsh. I just mean that I could deal with them all day at work but by the end of the day it was good to go home and be done with them. However, now I find myself avoiding just about everyone because I can't deal with all the BS. I just really need time away from here....for like a month. Sucks. If I found that 100K in the tire today....I'm keeping it and taking a leave of absence.

Anyway....I made cookies that look like butts with icing undies....

U ~ Undies!

So I must still have my sense of humor in tact.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Did you hear the story about the highway workers who found money in a tire on the side of the road a few weeks ago? I heard about it on the radio and the people reporting were having this discussion about would they keep it or would they turn it in. I was on the fence about it. On one hand, I would want to keep it. It was 100K so that would help out a lot! On the other hand, I would be worried about getting caught. I would have no idea where it came from and who was looking for it. And I also have this "candid camera" phobia. Like there will be someone with a camera to see what people do with things they find. I'm not sure where a camera would be hiding on the side of a highway, but who knows. So the other part of me would turn it in. I asked Greg if he would keep it, and he said without hesitation....."Heck yeah!" So I'm not sure....maybe I would keep it for a few days and see if there was any story about missing money and then make a decision. Or maybe I would squirrel.....oh....15K away and have my kitchen remodeled. Course, if I kept the whole thing, I could remodel the whole house and pay the contractors in cash! And maybe a new purse. Humm. I really have been wanting to remodel.

So would you keep the money? Would you give it back?

Read the story here