Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Own Little World

That's where I lived this weekend. Charlie was in Pigeon Forge being a Ham and I didn't have the extra cash to engage in Big Shopping so I amused myself at home.
Of course, the mountain o'laundry had to be done, but that is the perpetual background music to my weekends so it just happened while other things went on. I stopped at the grocery on my way home from the office on Friday to pick up special food treats for me since otherwise I'd just eat garbage food. Got some pretty cantalope, thin-sliced proscuitto and some sashimi. The Japanese kid behind the sushi cooler at Publix and I had to have an extensive conversation involving lots of pointing and drawing of imaginary sashimi in the air before we had what I wanted settled between us.
I don't like the rice part of the whole sushi/nigiri/sashimi experience (I use all 3 dish names because the whole thing has been so bastardized) and I am particular about what I do like: raw tuna with cucumber sticks and slices of avocado topped with ground pepper, sea salt and fresh lime juice. NOM.
I set the tuna free from the eel ribbon with which it had been wrapped around the green goodness, gave all a quick chop, dressed and tossed it. I had a little of the cantalope wrapped in the ham and called myself full.
Saturday I boiled ten pounds of chicken leg quarters with onion, celery and garlic to make food for the cats and stock for us. The latter was accidental - I was boiling the leg quarters three at a time and after I put the third batch into the pot in the same liquid I noticed that the color was pretty rich - gave it a taste and decided to pay more attention to the broth-becoming-stock.
As a reward, I used my martini shaker to make a version of a Spring Flowers (ala Highlands Restaurant) martini. I used equal parts St. Germain Elderflower liquor and vodka and one jigger of Sparkling Ice pink grapefruit drink.
It was delicious!
Today Charlie came home and we lounged around, watched the cats play and napped.  I got a cute picture text from a friend based on a nickname I have - woozy- of something she saw with a version of that name.

A "woozie" is apparantly a wine koozie. Clever, eh?
Charlie is happily ensconced in his recliner with a soup mug full of chicken and dumplings and I am re-eneregized for another week out in the Big World.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Football Food!!!

I really dislike winter. I can tolerate fall, but for me, spring and summer are my seasons of existence. I must be related to Persephone, that pretty mythic princess whose mother cursed the earth with cold for the months her darling had to spend in Hell every year.
The only positive for me about cold months is the food I can create and serve that are more suited to the cool months so tonight I baked something that is a good party snack, football treat or breakfast on the run.
The chili-cheese pickup is an old favorite that I serve with malt vinegar or hot sauce or just plain 'nekkid.'

Chili Cheese Pickups

1 carton Better N Eggs plus 3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup SR flour
pint carton cottage cheese
2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 stick butter, melted
1 4 oz can green chilis, chopped
1/2 cup chopped jalapenos (more if you like hot)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray a glass 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together, give a couple of grinds of pepper and about a half tsp of salt and stir again. Be sure the eggs are well-blended with the flour etc to make a relatively smooth (except for cheese curds) mixture.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400, reduce heat to 350 and bake another 20-25 minutes.
This bakes up pretty because of the Better N Eggs. Don't use Egg Beaters or all eggs if you can avoid it - they dont produce a pleasing texture or mouthfeel. I use real butter because you are not supposed to eat this like quiche - this should be cut into two inch squares with one or two squares eaten per normal person:)
This reheats like a dream in the microwave, about 20 seconds on high per square wrapped in a paper towel.
Play with this recipe by adding more chilis or peppers, adding malt vinegar or pepper sauce before baking, even sauteeing some onion and sausage and adding that. Just be sure you've drained the grease off of the sausage thoroughly before adding to the egg mixture.

The sun is setting earlier, the air is losing its moisture and the temperatures are dropping. I am going to start my list of Reasons Winter Months Can Be Tolerated so I'll be ready when February gets here. If we can stay warm through October it won't be so bad....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The End Of The World

Tomorrow is the ten year anniversary of the end of a way of life. I remember flying, living before the attacks in September of 2001. I also remember having to fly about a week afterwards.
Reflecting on that morning and the days that followed reminded me of a belief I have always held; the world will end on a normal day. That September day fit the bill. It was a typically beautiful early fall day in north Florida and when the radio announcer said planes had flown into the World Trade Center my mind shifted into a bit of a fugue state. I saw my hands, I knew they were on the steering wheel. I also knew that my body knew the way to my office so I let my auto-pilot take over.

In March of 1993 I was barely 32 years old and on my second gig as a country radio station program director. I didn't particularly like country music, but I liked programming and understood the business and how to manage the infantile personalities most disc jockeys had. We had a contract engineer instead of one on staff which meant that when I had an equipment problem that I couldn't fix, I called him.
My station went off the air somewhere around three am that March day and my overnight girl called to let me know. I started trying to figure out why the power was out at my transmitter site some 40 miles away but the power co-op wouldn't answer. I called the engineer. His name is Charles, and he is still an engineer, but then he was a very young engineer and trying to be brave when he picked me up at my studios. It was just starting to work towards a grey dawn when we got close to the transmitter site. Driving out of Tallahassee was like playing hopscotch. We had to dodge tree limbs in the roads and highways and jittered over diet cokes as we took 90 minutes to make a 45 minute trip.
I don't think the sky got past a sickly shade of pale pear the entire day, and all of the wind that had made the night frightening had sucked away across the Gulf leaving nothing but stillness.
I knew my parents were safe, they were in Tallahassee too and we had only experienced the equivalent of a cat 1 hurricane. Rain, rain; wind, wind, power outage and some downed limbs. Other family and friends were down close to the Gulf and that was where the horror was.
When I was a kid, my dad was head Forest Ranger and we lived on a compound. There was a sweet lady who lived there, too, with her Forest Ranger husband and young children. Her name was Miss Allie Jean. Her family all lived on the corner of a canal and the Gulf in big houses on stilts that were connected to each other by walkways high off the ground. We used to go crabbing in their canal, and I remember being 6 or 7 and looking up at those three houses knitted together by wood slats and rope.
Her family woke up in the middle of that wild night to water, 12 feet high, lashing in from our normally gentle beach.They ran to be together in the house furtherest back from the water by ten feet or so and held hands to try to save themselves from the suck of the outgoing waves. The storm picked them off like sweet grapes from a stem. Allie Jean lost eleven of her brothers, sisters, neices and nephews and even her mother that night. 
That day, that dreadful pale-green sky day, was an End of the World day. That was what the Last Day should look like.
Not that sweet, soft September day ten years ago.
This is my new reality. I live close to one major airbase and less than two driving hours from two others. Paradise with a poisoned thorn - who wants to live next to the Big Red X?
Apparantly me since I moved here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lazy Weekend

I stayed home most of the weekend and it was dee-light-ful. Now, if I only had about another three weeks of that I'd get something done around here:) I need to reorganize both guest rooms, clean out my pantry and about a dozen-ty million other things nobody but me can do.
But this weekend...I got my hair cut and colored by a real hairdresser for the first time since last October. I had suspended that personal service while I paid a credit card down since it was easily $150-$200 a month between color and product purchases.

Isn't that pretty? I feel really good about it.
I have spent the summer with my hair in a bun and am ready to be pretty again. I am ready to peel off some poundage, too. I was so active all summer that I lost weight but now that I am back in my office I believe there are fat globules following me and waiting for me to sit down so that they can re-attach. I am going to start using the Sensa I bought to make myself eat less. That's the whole point of the stuff and I have three or four month's worth that I have barely made a dent in. I would not put it on things that I wanted to eat because I wanted to EAT them, not eat part of them. Well, that isn't working so time to just eat part of what it is that I want. I have a few hundred dollars worth of the stuff so I might as well give it a good try.
I am between a size 16-18 right now as a reference point and I am aiming for a size 8-10.
I have to check into the gym at work (argh) since I clearly am not going to walk around the neighborhood. I am not morbidly obese but far larger than I'd like to be. After a certain point on a short person's body extra weight can't figure out where to go and just plops itself wherever. That makes clothes shopping damn hard. Too small for Woman's World, too big for Petites and the only slacks that fit in Misses are the ones meant to be mid-calf. So I've been living in Chico's Travellers short length stuff and stretchy waisted other stuff. Time to get pretty again, though I'll never be thin I can go back to nicely curvy.
The one really useful thing I did this weekend was find the gift bag I had hidden from the cats which contained my Granddaughter's gift from Alabama. There was a store of cutesy stuff that carried Vera Bradley and the little one has decided she likes carrying a purse. Naturally I had to contaminate this innocent desire on her part with some label snobbery - low level, but there just the same. This is the GrandBeauty modelling her new purse in the Vera pattern "Happy Snails,"  purse style 'Caitlyn.'

I spent hours looking for the gift bag. I found it in the china cabinet.

Tomorrow is a chicken night with a new recipe that I will share after I've worked it through.