Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two Yummies For Y'all

There is something y’all should know about me:

I HEART COCONUT.

Like in a may-jor way.  I love coconut lotions, coconut candles, coconut soaps, coconut shampoos, sunscreens that smell like coconuts and I love love love baking with coconut.  So much so that I have deemed chocolate and coconut only the best pair since Sonny and Cher and tequila and limes and sand and sea.  You get the drift.  Coconut and chocolate – a match made in Heaven.

Aunt Robbie shared this most delicious recipe with me the weekend of our Water For Elephants soiree.   It screams Summer.  I wish I would have taken a picture of these magnificent little morsels when I baked them, but, alas, they were devoured before I could even remember to grab my Nikon.  Just trust me.  Would I ever lead you astray?  These would be oh-so-fun for a 4th of July picnic extravaganza this weekend.

Aunt Robbie’s Chewy Mounds Bars

Ingredients:
1 (19.8 oz) Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownie Mix
3 T. veggie oil
1 tsp. vanilla (for good measure)
1 c. sweetened condensed milk (I believe Eagle Brand comes in 14 oz. cans – feel free to spoon whatever is left of that sweet nectar of the gods right into your mouth)
14 miniature (aka:  “fun size”) dark chocolate Mounds bars
¾ c. chopped natural almonds – toasted for extra yumminess

Directions:
Prepare brownie mix according to package directions, but reduce the veggie oil to 3 tablespoons and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Pour batter into a lightly greased 13x9 inch pan.  (Believe you me—these won’t last long – use an aluminum pan.  No one will be looking at your dish after all.  Their eyes will be honed in on these bars.)

Pour Eagle Brand over the batter.

Sprinkle with chopped Mounds and almonds.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 38 minutes.  Cool completely in a pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  And remember:  sharing is caring.  Try not to piggy them all.

NOW, another little tidbit about TLC:

I HATE MILK.

Well, I hate drinking it.  I gag.  I pour it over my cereal.  But drain it out of the spoon.  (I never said I was normal.)  While many of you might enjoy washing these delightful little treats down with a nice, cold glass of leche – I’m opting to go a completely different, yet 100% refreshing, route:

SUN TEA!

Who remembers sun tea?  I think it was popular when I was younger – right, ELC?  In fact, we had a special “sun tea jar.”  It actually had the words “sun tea” painted on it.  Mom used to make this quite often.  I remember she would set it outside next to our garage.  It tastes bright and light and happy – just like the sun!  I had completely forgotten about it until ELC mentioned making it one afternoon a couple of months ago.  We have since set out to find the perfect “jar.”  We think we must have sold the original in a garage sale.  Or perhaps it’s still packed away in a box in the Barn.  ELC, if you ever comes across it, fair warning:  I’m stealing it.  Right now we’re both using Mason-type jars Mom found at her local Wally World.  It’s important that it has a lid that screws on so it can “hold” the tea bag strings.  I hate when the tea bags sink to the bottom.  Don’t you?

Here’s our recipe:

ELC and TLC’s FABULOUS Sun Tea

1 ½ quarts water
4 large tea bags (we’re currently using Luzianne  Decaf “ for iced tea” – not that it matters)
1 lemon cut into about 5 slices (the sun almost “bakes” the lemon)
5 bags of Splenda (you could use sugar – but our wacky diet is tres fun {NOT!} and doesn’t allow the real thing)

Add the water, tea bags, and lemons to a jar.  Set out in the sun for roughly an hour (you can increase/decrease the time based on your “strength” preference).  Once it’s been “sunned,” bring inside and pour into a pretty pitcher.  Add the Splenda and stir.

Four words:  OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Happy early 4th, Y’all!  GO AMERICA!


image via ELC

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TLC's Tete-a-Tetes

It’s my turn!

I LOVE lunch.  I love lunch dates.  I love lunch breaks.  I love Ladies Who Lunch.  Lunch, for moi, tends to be a bit casual and spontaneous. I’d love it to be more “girlie.”  So, in keeping with a feminine “theme,” I’d invite the following women over to my casa for a well-planned, perfectly lovely lunch:

Reese Witherspoon.  My all-time, most favorite actress.  She’s cute.  She’s sweet.  She’s classy.  She’s Southern.  All adds up to wonderful!  I’d enjoy listening to her talk about her adorable children, new hubby and the details of her very chic wedding.  We’d probably discuss monogrammed towels, peonies, and ruffles.  And I would definitely ask her to give me the scoop on what kind of kisser my dear Rob Pattinson is—surely he must be splendid. I actually think I might serve more of a brunch-y menu.  I heart brunch.  I’d serve poinsettias—even if it’s not Christmas-time—(they’re champagne and cranberry juice), homemade orange rolls, a big bowl of seasonal fruit, and a simple quiche.  Perhaps my favorite:  Quiche Florentine.  Yummy.

Taylor Swift.  A truly All-American kind of gal.  One of my favorite singers.  I’d request that she bring along her guitar.  Like Mom and Garth, I want to sing a duet!  I’m thinking her new song about that hunky Taylor Lautner might be fun.  I practice singing it in my car quite frequently.  I’d want to know what it’s like to travel all over the world.  And what she was thinking when she dated one of those silly Jonas brothers.  I didn’t get that at all.  I’m certain I’d be star-struck.  I covet her gorgeous hair, pretty voice, and tiny figure.  I think I might serve good ol’ cheeseburgers and tater tots (I’d name them “Taylor Tots!” Ha!).  Very Americana.  For dessert?  An apple cobbler. I’d just modify my peach cobbler recipe I shared a couple of weeks ago.

Ellen DeGeneres.  One of the funniest peeps, ever, right?  Our lunch would be filled with laughter.  I might even agree to play one of those silly games they play on her show.  I’d make certain I had fun music in the background, in case she felt compelled to get up and dance.  She can sure boogie with the best of ‘em.  Our lunch just might turn into a dance party!  I do think she’s a vegan, though.  Which might be a challenge for my menu.  Can vegans eat rice?  If so, I’d serve a modified version of LuLu’s Chicken Salad, leaving out the chicken.  Dessert could be a dilemma.  I can’t let her leave my house without it (even though I apparently let that happen to Reese—oops!).  Maybe Sprinkles makes a vegan cupcake I could pick up.  I, of course, would make certain I had one of their scrumptious coconut cupcakes for myself.

Paula Deen.  My cooking/chef idol.  She’s sassy.  She’s entertaining.  She appreciates the importance of big hair and butter.  My kind of gal.  I accompanied ELC and Dad on a trip to Savannah about five years ago.  One morning, Mom and I did the “Paula Deen Tour.”  It was too fun.  We visited some of Paula’s favorite places and even had lunch at her brother’s restaurant:  Uncle Bubba’s.  Cooking for Paula would be tres intimidating. Without a doubt!  I’d be super nervous preparing her meal.  I think shrimp and grits might be nice.  Fairly easy.  Maybe a pretty green salad with lots o’ brightly colored veggies, some feta or goat cheese crumbles, and walnuts and/or sunflower seeds, tossed with one of our favorite dressings—Marie’s Santa Fe Blend.  For dessert, I’d serve my Crack Brownies, since it’s basically her recipe I slightly modified. It’d be a la mode—using Blue Bell Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  Okay—and let’s toss a few Heath toffee bits on top—for good measure. Why not? DELISH.

Princess Kate.  She is living the dream, isn’t she?  She’s married to a handsome and kind (well, he appears to be) Prince.  She can live in a castle.  She gets to wear fabulous clothes.  She had a televised wedding in which she wore an incredible tiara.  She spends much of her time focusing on philanthropies.  And she honeymooned in the Seychelles.  WOWZER.  I’m sure she would help me practice my wave.   (I’d be dying to get the buzz on what she thinks of Camilla!) Kate could bring her fabulous sister, Pippa. Doesn’t Pippa have a delightfully charming/memorable name?  I adore it.  I’d serve English tea – in pretty tea cups.  Salmon canapés.  Perhaps cucumber sandwiches and a lemon tart or soufflé (Oh—and BTW—I’ll have to learn how to make both of those!).  Is that all too cliché?

Here’s a grand idea, ELC:

Let’s make it a Dinner Party—have Dad cater it (i.e.—do all the work while we bask in lots of glory)—and ask each of our guests to invite a spouse/mate/friend/family member/the Paparrazi. We’ll all eat, sing and dance—but you and I can have our own individual duets with Garth and Taylor. Everyone will clap loudly for us, giving us a standing ovation, and ask each other why I haven’t won American Idol and you haven’t won America’s Got Talent. We’ll end the evening with you singing The Star Spangled Banner.

Got to scoot—time to look up soufflé techniques!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Out To Lunch

I’ve had fun fixin’ lunch for some dear friends lately. Lunch doesn’t overwhelm me. Dinner parties? Another story. Hubby has to help me. I get too caught up in the details—and the fact that I’m not a fabulous cook. I’m adequate, at best. He, on the other hand, is AMAZING. He’s always liked to grill, but once he started watching The Food Network—I guess from its beginnings (I swear he’d leave me for Paula Deen—well, I’d leave him for Tom Selleck—so we’re even)—he’s really “turned up the heat” (cackle/giggle) and has become quite The At-Home Chef. He’s expanded his talents to include baking (breads, biscuits, fantastic desserts), Dutch oven cooking—outside naturally—and “presentation.”

Autumn and our long-time friend, Ginny, came last Friday for a semi-healthy and, hopefully, delish mid-day meal. There was lots o’ laughter—these two ladies are hysterical. Autumn is: beautiful, smart/clever (as y’all can see from her many funny comments over the past months), and quite the creative and talented artiste. We’ve known each other for over 24 years. Her son and TLC grew up at church and in school together. Autumn and I used to be dedicated to walking—at least three days a week—for years. We solved problems people didn’t even know they had. We were sure we could fix this cRaZy World. I miss those (yep—younger) times. She and her hubby moved thirty miles away several years ago—making our “in person” get-togethers too few and far between.

image via moi
just keepin' it simple...
how can you ever go wrong with lemon poppy cupcakes
from Ultimate Cupcake in Hudson Oaks, Texas?

So, I have challenged TLC to a “Lunch Bunch” game. We’d each think of five people for whom we’d like to fix lunch. These are my RULES:

  1. It can only be one (two MAX—if absolutely necessary) person (and one of hers canNOT be the Pattinson Fellow—that’s just not right);
  2. They have to be living (or appear to be alive);
  3. It can’t be anyone we currently know.
My “guest” choices would be (in no particular order)... drumroll...

Robin Roberts. She is a class act—makes my early weekday mornings tres better. I turn on GMA and she immediately makes me LOL. She’s warm, smart and has tons o’ spunk. She seems positively fearless to me. When she battled breast cancer, I was inspired. She is truly my new Idol. Being tall and svelte, she could probably have dessert without experiencing my chronic shame and guilt. I’d forgive her, though.

Garth Brooks. I suppose he might have to bring Trish. Except she’s clearly a great cook and that could intimidate me. I became a Garth fan when I heard his first hit (TLC was five going on six years old—she’ll have to tell you the story of her encounter with Garth sometime soon): Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old. Then If Tomorrow Never Comes. I’ve seen him twice in concert. Marketing fascinates me—and Garth is clearly brilliant at marketing. Okay, I confess. I’d like to sing The Dance with him. (I’d have suggested that he bring his guitar.) A duet—unless Trish needs to horn in. Whatever.

Lily Tomlin. I have adored her from the second I saw her on Laugh-In fortyish years ago. She has got to be one of the most talented women in comedy EVER. Her characters are amazing. About twenty years ago, Hubby was in San Francisco for a convention. I couldn’t go. It was back when you had to communicate on a landline phone (The Stone Age), so I waited with excitement each night, waiting for him to call, to hear about his day. The third night I remember becoming worried as it started getting late and I hadn’t heard from him. I’d tried his room a couple of times—The Worrier—hoping TLC would not catch on to my fear. The phone (FINALLY) rang about 10ish. I might have been a wee bit sharp to him. But there was unmistakable excitement in his voice.

“Guess who I just literally ran into?” Seriously? Where would I begin? “No idea,” I said with sweetness.

“Lily Tomlin,” he practically screamed. “Wwwhhhhaaaaatttttt?” I screamed back.

“She’s got her show at a theater near my hotel and I’ve walked by it for two nights. Tonight, after dinner, I was there at the exact minute a limo pulled up. I walked right into her! She’s really small. As I looked down at her, I stumbled and fumbled and said: ‘It’s…it’s… it’s YOU!’”

She immediately answered: “Yes, it is! It’s me!” He said her eyes were beautifully expressive and happy—literally twinkling.

Then a bodyguard swooped her away into the theater. Hubby said he stood there—in a daze. We both love her. Okay, fine. I may have to stretch my rule, again, and say Hubby can come to lunch. Geez.

Bob Harper. You know him—the trainer on The Biggest Loser. Isn’t he the dearest, most awesome man? I can thank TLC and her Hubby for getting me addicted to The Biggest Loser. I think of them every single last time I cry buckets of tears—which is every night I watch it. I have come to adore Bob. I bought his book just to have his picture on my nightstand. (Shhh… Hubby hasn’t noticed yet.) I didn’t really want to read all of it—he seemed serious about eating right and exercising. Sheesh. I want him to come to my house—sit down for a visit—and encourage me, motivate me, inspire me.  (Maybe I’ll get to meet him soon, because apparently I’m subconsciously trying to get big enough to be a contestant on the show. The mindless eating of sugar and white flour is STOPPING. Tomorrow.)

Meg Ryan. Maybe an odd choice, although I think TLC would get it. Some of my all-time favorite movies star Meg. When Harry Met SallySleepless in SeattleYou’ve Got Mail (all fantastic—but You’ve Got Mail is the best.) She’s the cutest thing and has aged well (although there were a few seconds when some possible work done was not quite what I would have thought she expected—seems fine now, though—whew). I’d love to look like her—be skinny like her—have her fashionista style—her unusual-but-they-ALWAYS-work haircuts. She seems exceptionally private, doesn’t she? She’d by my challenge guest. It’d be fun to see if I could coax her into spillin’ it. All of it. Okay, she can bring Billy Crystal and Tom Hanks, too. I HEART BOTH OF THEM.

SO, there you have it.

TLC—you’re up next, Sista Friend. Can’t wait!!! (Remember the rules, please.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

me and dad strolling on the beach
circa 1985

I'd like to dedicate this post to my father. I am blessed because God hand-picked him to be mine. How was I so lucky?

My Dad is a strong man. He's made our family feel safe. He’s kept our family safe. He's the sturdy foundation we all depend on. He's a provider, a protector and a giver. And such a loving GrandPa-Dad, too.

My Dad is a kind and caring man. He never left Mom's side as she valiantly battled breast cancer. Even at ten years old, I remember watching with such trust as he held Mom's hand through the very scary times. I think part of the reason I didn’t worry was because I knew Dad would take care of her.

My Dad can fix anything. From a broken necklace to a broken heart. Dad will forever be the first man I loved and adored.

My Dad is funny. Hilarious – actually. He keeps us all in stitches. His humor truly has healing powers. When I'm down, he lifts me up with his silliness.

My Dad is smart. I swear there's nothing that man doesn't know. He's taught me to never quit learning. To continue to read and watch and listen and absorb as much knowledge as possible. I know, without a doubt, he is the BEST at everything he does.

For those of you that don't know, I have four older brothers. They're all fathers now. Such good fathers, too. I believe it's because of our Dad and the incredible example he's set.

Today, Daddy, I want to thank you. For all that you've done. You taught me how to ride my first bike. You patiently helped me with my homework. You taught me how to cook and the importance of financial responsibility.  Through your actions you showed me how to forgive. You were always there – at my school plays, at my basketball games, at my drill team competitions and at my high school and college graduations. You helped me be strong when I didn't think I could be. You moved me into three different apartments in only eighteen short months. All of them on the third floor. (I’m sorry! It was good exercise???) You never once complained.

We have so many memories I hold close. One of my most treasured and cherished is you walking me down the aisle to my sweet Husband – a man who shares many of the same wonderful qualities you have. You held me up that day and kept me steady as I was beyond nervous I might trip on my own feet. You were there by my side – reminding me to keep breathing and smiling and savoring every last second as I began a new chapter in all of our lives.

I love you, Dad. I always will.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and Dads-To-Be.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

She's Got Your Number, Babe-y!

About nine months ago (already you’re wondering where I’m going with this), I was headed, on a hot, Texas, September Thursday afternoon, to TLC’s hacienda. I was in traffic in Arlington when I heard her—Glynis McCants. I was flipping around on my satellite radio and had landed on Oprah’s station. It was Dr. Laura Berman’s talk show and she had Glynis on the line. Glynis was going over the doctor’s “numbers." And so began a new interest, okay, obsession, for me. Like I needed another one. They talked about her book, Glynis Has Your Number--Discover What Life Has in Store for You Through the Power of Numerology.  For almost an hour, I listened with a concentration so powerful I breezed through Traffic Hell with unusual calm. Before I could blink, I was at TLC’s front door with a story to tell.

TLC, Lauren and I were headed to Austin early the next day—for a two-day shopping trip. We were staying at a new Westin hotel near the Domain—an outside mall (it has fantastically fun stores with some high-end retail shops like Tiffany’s and Neiman’s—it’s a fresh, tres chic area—very Texas hill-country-ish). When we arrived, we knew we were going to have a memorable time. It was awesome! The hotel service we loved the most (we'd gotten a great deal on a weekend “package”) was being able to have a bellman/valet peep run us over to the shops in a golf cart! It helped save our energy for important walking and exertion. Priorities.

As we waited for a table that Friday night at Gloria’s (a yummo Mexican restaurant), I stepped into Borders to find Glynis’ book. BINGO. For the rest of the weekend I apparently drove TLC and Lauren cRaZy. I couldn’t put the book down. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, I awoke at my usual ungodly early hour. I quietly read my new book—and took notes—to share with my girls as soon as they woke up. Evidently I got a tad obnoxious, because I was banned from bringing Numerology up the entire trip back home.

I’ll admit: I’m intrigued by ancient philosophies and wisdom. Astrology? Love it. Especially Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. I’ve owned that for thirty-five years. If you’ve never read it, you should. Although I’ve not had acupuncture, I’ve had many friends who have and I’ve often considered trying it. Reflexology? Fascinating.

Glynis tells us Numerology goes back to Pythagorus’ Number System. That was 2500 years ago, folks! She has studied and researched Numerology for twenty five years. She believes you can take control of your life through the power of your numbers—by learning to recognize your strengths, overcome weaknesses, and change your life for the better.

She focuses on our five Primary Numbers—plus a sixth “Attitude Number.” The numbers are derived from your name and your date of birth. The Primary Numbers are your Soul Number, Personality Number, Power Name Number, Birth Day Number, and Life Path Number (she says this is the “most significant vibration… and is the number you must act upon in order to be truly happy”).

Here are some examples of some of my friends’ and family members’ Life Path Numbers:

I’m a “6” Life Path. This is The Nurturer. Hubby is a “4” Life Path—he is The Teacher. We have “compatible” numbers. Luckily. Taylor is also a 4. Her Hubby is a “2”—The Mediator. They are a “match”—which is super-duper good! TLC and Hubby are both “5” Life Paths—The Adventurer. They are also a “match.” I’m certain her Hubby was relieved to learn this. Sunny is a “3”—The Communicator. Jackie is also a “5.”

When you read about your Life Path Number, I think you’ll be amazed. Not everything about that number will totally fit you, but Glynis explains that could be because of your other five numbers and their interaction/correlation with your Life Path number.

Glynis has been on many television shows, has her own radio show, and has a wonderful website—www.numberslady.com. For Christmas, I got TLC and myself one of her Numerology Calendars for 2011. It’s specific to our Life Path numbers and lets us know what should be our best days—and what could be our “challenge” days.

This is how I feel (for what it’s worth): I see the advantage of combining and inter-relating all areas of philosophy and sciences into my Christian background and faith and my core belief system. I find interest and value in different thoughts and ideas. What I try to do is allow myself to be open to all possibilities out there in our World. I constantly seek help to cope, accept, and change. God and Jesus Christ come first in my life. Everything else is like added spices and flavors, making my understanding and experiences deeper, richer, more fulfilling—and, yes, positive and fun.

I think Glynis ROCKS. Check her out. I have a feeling you’ll be intrigued, too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Mystical Monday!

On this MAGNIFICENT MONDAY, after the Dallas MAVERICKS made their MASSIVE MARK during a MARATHON full of MAGIC, TLC and ELC CONGRATULATE all of the MAVS for their MAJOR MARCH to win the MAJORITY of games in the NBA Fnals!

MAYBE The Heat would like to take back some of their MALARKEY? Their attempts to MANEUVER and MANIPULATE the MAGNETIC MAVS? Useless, in the end. These MAVS’ MEN, who MASTERED their MATURE MANNERS in a MACHO and MAJESTIC way, became a MACHINE. The Dallas MAVERICKS MAINTAINED the MALEVOLENT and MALICIOUS Heat—attempting to stay out of their MANURE—and succeeding.

Perhaps The Heat should consider a long vacation in MANCHURIA—where they can get MANICURES—or they could learn how to MACRAME. They could work on their MELODRAMATIC MANIFESTOS. And MAINTAIN their MADCAP and MARGINAL MARTYRDOM. Maybe they shouldn’t have MOCKED or MISBEHAVED in such a MISCHIEVOUS MANNER. Now they have time to MOPE while they play MONOPOLY and sleep off their MIGRAINES. So certain they’d be at the top of the MOUNTAIN, they are faced with their MELTDOWN and MISJUDGMENT and the MIRACLE of the MAVS' METICULOUS MISSION. We’re certain they are MORTIFIED.

Let’s have a MAGNUM of MARGARITAS while we toast the MANAGEMENT, Coach Rick and MARK Cuban (who is so full of MACHISMO)!!! It’s a MADHOUSE in Dallas—and all of Texas—as preparations are being MADE to honor the MAVS with a parade (The Miami Peeps should have learned from Dallas’ past MISTAKE of planning a parade before a win!) full of MEGA MERRIMENT for the MULTIPLE and MONUMENTAL MEDALLIONS the MAVS won! For their MIDAS touch! Get your MEGAPHONES ready!

The MAGNITUDE of the MAVS victory MAY be one of the MOST MOTIVATED and MARVELOUS EVER!!! Have MERCY!!!

{We dedicate this post to TLC’S Hubby—who has been a MAVS’  fan for years and years—and never lost faith!!!}


image via CBS News
look at cute Mr. Carter (the Mavs first owner) in his cowboy hat!

GO MAVS!!! TRUE CHAMPIONS!!! Thanks for the MEMORIES!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Truly YUMMY Yummy For Y'all

HUGE Mavs game tonight! Hubby is beyond excited. I think a smidge nervous, too. They're SO close. Fingers crossed for a victory.

I headed south yesterday morning for what I knew would be a lovely weekend at home with ELC and Dad. We spent the afternoon shoppin' around my hometown (found a fantastic little top at the JCP store!) and eatin' refreshing sno-cones. I had strawberry cheesecake with cream. Mom had red velvet with cream. Both were equally delightful! We wanted to make sure we crammed as much sugar into our Saturday as we could, because we started a new diet today. Eek! We're twelve hours in. So far... So good. We'll give y'all a little update/rundown in a few weeks. We're gonna ROCK this. And get super skinny/healthier. Yippee!

In honor of our diet, I thought I would share a perfect summer brunch/lunch recipe. This is from another one of ELC’s fabulous and dear friends. Yes. I know you remember I'm on a recipe kick lately. Although ELC and I won't be able to enjoy this Blue-Ribbon winner for awhile (apparently:  rice=carbs=bad), I couldn't resist sharing this with y'all. It's tres perfect for baby/wedding showers, a ladies lunch, or even to just devour it all by yourself. Trust me. It's SO yummy you won't want to share. AND it's almost as good the second day as it is the first. (Dad is THRILLED when ELC makes this up for him. My Hubby likes it, too. It's one of those dishes that transcends gender and lots o' age groups!)

LuLu’s Chicken and Rice Salad 

1 (6 oz.) box of Uncle Ben’s Original Wild Rice

1 cup chopped fresh spinach (I just use a whole package)

8 oz. sliced, fresh mushrooms (I use one box—even if I double the chicken, rice and spinach for larger crowds)

4 to 5 green onions, chopped (including some of the stems and – actually – I use about 5 when I double this recipe)

3 to 4 cups of white meat chicken (you can use all white meat in the cans – using 3 cans – but you can use your deli chickens, too – or even grilled – it’s completely flexible)

10 halved cherry tomatoes

Cook rice according to the directions on the box. Refrigerate until fully cooled (about an hour). Cook and/or cut up the chicken. Make sure it’s cool before you put this together. Add all ingredients to the rice. Refrigerate (with marinade below) for several hours (at least two) before serving.

Marinade:

1/3 c. oil (I’d use a light vegetable oil or EVOO, as Rachael Ray says)
1/4 c. vinegar (apple cidar, for sure)
1 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

GO MAVS!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Crankyville

Confession: I’m kind of cranky as I type this. “Out of sorts,” as my Nana would say. Sunny and Peggy (that’s her husband—it’s not really his name, but what I now call him—that story shall follow soon) are about to head to California to see their youngest son (a handsome young man and fantastic golfer). I’m in envy. Sunny is such a cutie-patootie: gorgeous, smart and tres funny. Very much a “Beach Girl.” Wears pretty, fun, stylish and colorful clothes—and super cute shoes. She’s a great Mom, Grandmom and awesome friend. We do everything in our power to lunch once a week. Hubby and I will be heading off on an adventure when they return, so I won’t get to whine to her for a while. Shoot.

In order to try to cheer myself up, I got to thinkin’ about one of my most favorite things:

Neosporin.

Yes. Seriously. Remember in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (one of the all-time most fabulous movies EVER) when Gus, the Dad, squirts Windex on everything and everyone because he believes it’s a cure-all for bad and evil stuff? (Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to convince my Hubby, since he watched the movie, that this is not factual—he tries it out constantly. I have to really be on guard or he’ll squirt Windex in my bowl of Shredded Wheat.)  I can totally relate to Gus. Only for me—it’s Neosporin.

You younguns don’t know about Mercurochrome, but my more “senior” friends remember how our Moms and the School Nurse thought it would cure EVERYTHING wrong with us. For any and all injuries, big or small, out came the Mercurochrome. It must have been purchased for homes and schools by the galloons. When it was applied, it was orange-y red and difficult to get off—in fact, it basically had to fade with time. At some point, long about maybe eleven years old, when I realized that staining antiseptic was going to be on me for days and weeks to come, I wised up. I’d just wash the blood off and move on. It simply wasn’t worth it.

However, Neosporin so IS! I discovered it a couple of years after marrying Hubby—with his four boys we used it—a lot. A pharmacist friend recommended it and there I went: TO THE PLACE OF ALL HEALINGNeosporinland.

TLC was four years old when she looked up at me one day—those big brown eyes sparkling with… ummm… mischief—and asked if I would call Kit, my hairstylist (who I’ve now gone to for 25 years). TLC couldn’t reach the kitchen phone. “Why?” I asked. “Because I need to talk to her,” she innocently answered. Hmmm. Interesting, I thought. I dialed Kit up and handed the phone to TLC. “Kit, would you pierce my ears?” After I pulled myself up off the floor, I grabbed the phone and told Kit we’d call her back. TLC begged and begged. I lectured and lectured. I told her if she didn’t take care of her ears and they got infected, they’d fall off her head. She said she understood. I let Kit and her Mom (they each grabbed an ear and pulled the trigger of those “guns” at the exact same moment—they had quickly learned if they tried to do one ear and then the other, many kids would go berserk and bail out of the chair before the job was done) pierce TLC’s ears a few days later. I then dealt with several of TLC's friends’ Moms who were FURIOUS with both of us—Toddler and Mom Peer Pressure, you know. I became an even greater supporter of Neosporin and, as is my job, have succeeded in making TLC cherish it, also.

I cannot stand to be without Neosporin. I have it everywhere. In all the bathrooms. In my car. In my purse. In my cosmetic bag that is ready for a trip at a moment’s notice. I diligently check the expiration dates on all of these tubes.

So here’s what I wish:

I wish Neosporin could heal the World. I wish God could open up the biggest tube ever made and spread it everywhere. I wish it could heal hatred, violence, war, poverty, addictions (especially Diet Dew and sugar), worry, fear, impatience, low self-esteem, laziness (my own, especially) and mean people. I wish it could fix my left, 100% deaf ear (that story, too, will be coming your way) and my chubbiness.

If only . . .

Thank you to whoever invented this Miracle Cream. Thank you from the bottom of my grateful heart.

Attention Neosporin Officials: You have my permission to halt production of the ointment anytime you want. I positively despise it. Yuck. Too greasy. (If any of you Peeps happen to like it, please, oh please, explain.) When I make a mistake and buy it, and I sometimes do, it’s tragic for moi. I’m tres upset. I try to pass it off to Hubby. He hasn’t fallen for that yet, however.

I feel much less cranky now… thank you!

Gotta scoot… just remembered I have an Expiration Date Inspection due...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Super Secret Family Recipe

First:

GO MAVS!

My dear husband is a Mavs fan through and through. We're talkin' DIE-HARD. Oh, how he loves them so. Maybe even more than he loves moi – since they don’t ask him to fold the laundry or water the plants or unload the dishwasher. JK. I hope.

In honor of tonight's HUGE game, I wanted to make Hubby something special. A little treat he could enjoy at halftime. I was flipping through my recipe binder earlier today when it hit me: My Family's Top Secret Peach Cobbler. Bingo. That would do the trick.

It originally came from a friend of Mom's about twenty-five years ago. (Thank you, DP!) We don't generally reveal this recipe because of the complexity and secret-ness. (That’s totally a word). BUT, alas, I have decided that I must. Because y'all have to make this scrumptious and perfect halftime-of-the-basketball-game dessert ASAP. (Or to just eat for breakfast. It has fruit. I won't judge.) It's extra crust-y. For us, that's the best part.

Please don't be intimated by this.  I promise: YOU CAN DO IT.

The C's World Famous Peach Cobbler Delight
(Yes, it actually has a couple of names! It’s “kind of a big deal.”)

Ingredients:

1 Frozen Peach Pie
Cinnamon (to taste)
Sugar (to taste)
1/2 stick of butter (sliced into small pieces)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (That’s what the pie box says.)

2. Grease bottom of baking dish with "Butter Flavored" cooking spray.

3. Chop frozen pie into chunks.

4. Place half of the pie in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half of the butter and some of the cinnamon and sugar on top.

image via my iPhone

5. Top with the rest of the chopped pie and butter. Sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. You might want to start checking it at about 30 minutes. And it may actually need an hour. It will all depend on your oven.

image via my iPhone

7. Put a BIG scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream on top – letting it melt into divine deliciousness!

YUM. I know. It may seem daunting, but every bite is SO worth it. LOL.

Tip: Of course you can do this same recipe with any frozen fruit pie you find: cherry, blackberry, blueberry. It's fabulous with a frozen pecan pie, too.

Bon appetit!

I hope y'all have had a wonderful weekend. And for good measure and luck:

GO MAVS!
(again)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Two Crazy Cats, a Snowman, and a Pink Foam Crown

ELC and I seem to take lots o' pictures with our cellphones. In fact, I think my iPhone takes fantastic photos. I have several fun apps to quickly "edit" them. ELC will be getting an iPhone in November. Until then she has a cheapy that still takes better pics than my Dad's Blackberry! Seriously. Blackberry needs to upgrade their camera. Stat. Last night, I found myself scrolling through some old pictures on my phone. I couldn't resist sharing. Of course they're completely random. I hope you don't mind obliging me.


This was taken on a "Girls' Only Float Trip" to Gruene three summers ago. My aunt made this lovely, pink, bedazzled “foam crown” for moi. Y'all know I aspire to be Princess of the USA. Of course this prompted many (sloshed/drunky/tooted) river floaters to ask if it was my birthday. It wasn't. But I totally went with it. It was, after all, basically my 1/2 birthday. Now that I think about it, I should probably celebrate that every year. No? Shouldn't we all? What a great excuse for cupcakes!


It's already HOT in Texas. Not a sassy "hott." More like a sticky, humid, gross hot. Summer and I just don't jive. I don't like to perspire. This cute little snowdude made me smile. Oh! How I long for the days of winter! (We, BTW, don't tend to get a lot of ice or snow around these here parts, so when it happens, it's quite exciting.) Hubby, ELC and I built him two Christmases ago. Notice the peppermint Hershey Kisses we used for his mouth. We may or may not have consumed them after this photo was taken. Actually, upon closer examination, a Kiss is totally missing from his (albeit creepy) smile. Honestly, now I think he’s pretty sCaRy lookin’. Yowza. I hope y’all don’t have nightmares.


This past Christmas, Hubs and I went with Lauren and her Hubby to the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. The theme was "Charlie Brown." It was a blast! You had to wear big parkas to walk through it. And they had a ginormous ice slide. I was pumped! I waited patiently in line only for them to tell me I couldn't go down because of my high-heeled boots. (I might suggest that next year they make a sign letting peeps know this pertinent info before they make the trek up.)  I was forced to take the "walk of shame" back down a gazillion steps while Hubby had all the fun. I'll bet people thought I got frightened once I got to the top. I sooo did not. LOL.


ELC says Cobbler looks "pensive" in this photo. I had to look that one up. Not sure about that, but isn't he a cutie-patootie?


I couldn't leave Morty out of this post. He's tres sensitive. Well, no, not really. He does get jealous, though, of Cobbler. And he's WILD. Apparently he's not afraid of heights. ELC took this one with her cheapy phone. His new favorite spot to overlook his "kingdom" is at the top of Dad's pergola.


I'm wild, too. Like Morty. And adventurous. Just call me "Maverick," if you don't mind. Hubby took me on a helicopter tour of Maui when we were there for our honeymoon last year. (I guess "Top Gun Tom Cruise" was technically a jet fighter pilot. Oh, well. You can sort of appreciate where I was going with the clever reference, right?) It was incredible. That particular heli we were in had ZERO doors. I chose to withhold this info from ELC until AFTER we had landed safely. The Worrier might have had a full-blown panic attack had she known. Heck, I knew we were safe when I saw that our pilot was a woman. GIRL POWER.

This now concludes today’s installment of “Random Photos in TLC’s Phone.”  I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. Stay tuned. I’ll be back later this weekend to share a few of my new favorite recipes. Let the anticipation ensue!

Au revoir until then.