Friday, April 25, 2008

Perfect Pair-Hot & Sweet Grilled Chicken and Bush's Bourbon & Brown Sugar Baked Beans

What can I say?

Beans, beans, they're good for your heart...

The more you eat 'em, the more you-

get everyone on Earth to vote for you so you can pass GO, collect $5000, redo your backyard courtesy of Bush's Baked Beans :) and throw 1 heck of a Barbie-Q.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fabulous Model Poses with Old Timey Car

Some pics from Cleveland, SC.

Have hips, will travel- I mean shimmy.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I can dance too. Where does my talent end? Right now it's with a head shimmy and some lotus hands, then a transition to temple hands and a little traveling. Am I speaking Greek? No, It's a blend of Egyptian and Amercian Cabaret Belly Dance vacab that I picked up in my 1st belly dance class hosted by Cassidy Switzer at the Springdale Rec Center in Lancaster, SC.

1st impression- the class ages had a broad range
Result- an enthusiastic group of women eager to learn and quick to cut up

This was the most fun I have had with a group of women since my cheerleader days at RNHS. It was so much fun, I hated to see the class end.

We will have recital. Date and location TBD.

Korean Filets, Kimchee, Rice and Stirfry

Awsome meal. This recipe has me hooked on sririchi sauce.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cinco de Mayo- Mexican Rice & Spinach Enchiladas

I'll write it up later- but this meal rocked.
If you fix this, take my suggestion and put the enchiladas on top of the rice and let the cheese melt into the rice too. Left overs taste 10 better the next day as a lunch dish.
5000 stars

Monday, April 14, 2008

Expressions in Art- Jenny Hartley

Just when you think you know someone...

These paintings are done by Jenny Hartley, someone I have known for several years, but I was oblivious to her talent. Of the few peices I have seen, her macaw is my personal favorite. It takes me to a tropical place where I am sipping a pina colada and someone is playing steel drums in the background.

She is currently working on a Zodiac series and does pet portaits by commision.

Winemaking: Australian Chardonay Day 9

Somewhere around day 5-7 I should have racked the wine, but if you keep up with this blog, you know I had a busy weekend.
Sterilize 2nd fermentor, air lock, wine theif and stopper. Place primary fermentor up on table or counter. Prime wine theif and begin pumping into secondary fermentor. Apply stooper and air lock. Wine will continue to ferment here for another 10 days.

Kitty Litter Cake-Wikihow is Awesome!

Sometimes- you just can't make this stuff up. Wikihow is awesome!
This is a completely edible and realistic kitty litter cake- perfect for any cat lover (or hater).
I'm not sure what kind of parasite your cat's ever had, but mine never had the big brown slugs- Thank GOD for the small stuff-

How to Make Kitty Litter Cake
If you want to make a real cake for a cat lover, with a good sense of humor, this will do the trick. Not only does it look frighteningly realistic (without any actual litter or litter box contents, of course), it also tastes wonderful.

[edit] Ingredients
1 spice or German chocolate cake mix
1 white cake mix
1 large pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
1 pkg vanilla sandwich cookies
Green food coloring
12 small Tootsie Rolls
New, cleaned litter box
New, cleaned litter scooper

[edit] Steps
Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box. Use any size pan. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature.
Prepare the pudding mix and put it in the refrigerator for now.
Crumble the white sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor (scrape often to get every little piece) or by hand. Set aside all but about 1/4 cup.
Measure 1/4 cup of cookie crumbs and add a few drops of green food coloring to it. Mix with a fork or shake everything in a jar.
Crumble the room temperature cake into a large bowl. Toss it gently with half of the remaining white cookie crumbs and enough chilled pudding to moisten (not soak) the crumbs.
Put the cookie crumbs and pudding mixture into a brand new, clean litter box.
Heat three unwrapped Tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and until they're soft and pliable. Pinch the ends so they are no longer blunt--you want them to look convincingly like what cats put in the litter box, right? Repeat this process with as many Tootsie rolls as you'd like to add, microwaving them in batches of three.
Bury the shaped Tootsie rolls in mixture and sprinkle them with the other half of the cookie crumbs.
Scatter the green cookie crumbs lightly over the top. This will mimic real litter, where many of the grains are often blue or green.
Shape 3 more Tootsie rolls and scrape them on top of the cake. One can hang over the side of the litter box. Sprinkle them lightly with cookie crumbs.
Place the box on a newspaper and sprinkle a few of the cookie crumbs around. Serve with a brand new, cleaned litter scooper for that extra touch!

[edit] Tips
Stir the batter well! Although you may find clumps in a litter box, clumps in delicious cake aren't very good.
If you decide to skip the green food colouring, drip a few drops of yellow colour onto one spot of the cookie "litter" to make it look like the litter box had been used recently!

[edit] Warnings
Keep your cat/dog away from the cake. They might try to eat it and could get sick from the Tootsie rolls. They probably won't mistake it for a real litter box, but it's better to be safe than sorry in this case!
Make sure that the litter pan and scoop are NEW and most certainly are NOT USED. Also, do NOT bake the cake in the litter pan. Bake in a similar sized cake pan and then flip the cake, when cooled, into the litter pan.
If you want to preserve the look of using a real litter box, but are worried about the plastic, it couldn't hurt to line the inside of the litter box with plastic wrap, and just lean the scoop against the side as a decoration.
For safety reasons, (i.e.toxic plastic) rather than use the real litter box, you may want to use an aluminum baking pan, which you could place into the kitty litter pan. It has the same gross effect.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Recipe: Steak Fajitas

Another recipe on your journey to the ultimate Cinco de Mayo celebration-steak fajitas.

This dish was invented when the ranch owners would give the skirt steak- very tought to the field hands to eat in appreciation for their hard work.

2 lbs thin beef round steaks- trim fat and slice into thin strips
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tbls crushed garlic
3 tbls chopped cilantro
2 tbls olive oil
3 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 onion- thinly sliced
1 tbl crushed garlic
lime wedges
flour or wheat tortillas
optional, sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce, tomatoes, etc

Mix Steak and 1st 11 ingrediants together. Marinate overnight in a zip lock bag in the fridge. No time to marinate? Mix together and get ready to cook.

Heat frying pan over high heat, add contents of bag. Stir until meat is cooked through. Add bell peppers, onions and garlic. Cook most liquid is gone and everything gets a caramel glaze.

Heat tortillas in microwave according to package directions and serve.

Recipe: Seven Layer Dip

Cinco de Mayo is coming- so I'm gonna prep you over the next few weeks so your party can be fab.

1 lb. Chorizo- Mexican sausage
1 tbl garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1-16 oz can fat free refired beans
1-16 oz fat free sour cream
1-16 oz jar salsa-hot
1 bunch chopped grren onions
1 pkg shredded lettuce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips or scoops

Peel casing off of chorizo, crumble sausage and cook over medium heat. Add garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes. Drain fat- if any.

Layer dip as follows in clear glass dish- refried beans, sour cream, salsa, green onions, lettuce, chorizo, cheddar cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tip- as you sprad each layer- wipe glass down with a paper towel.

1st Annual Kickstand Foundation Bike Rally

This was 4-12-08, the 1st Annual Kickstand Foundation Bike Rally in Lancaster, SC. The rain held off for the most part and everyone had a blast. Drinks, food, music and friends-all together to raise money for a good cause. The quilt my father-in-law made for the auction went for $290!

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Recipe: Strawberry Guava Glitter Cake

Take any basic cake to new, unchartered territory with some elegant, yet simple improvements.
1 yellow cake mix- cook to box directons
1 can strawberry frosting
1/4 guava jelly
large sugar crystals- I got these at Michael's

Instead of doing your basic, boring 2 layer cake- I baked 3 thin layers. While they were still warm, I spread guava jelly between the layers as I stacked them. The warm cake kinda melts the jelly. Then frost it as usual and top with sprinkles.
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Trend- My consumer tip of the day

If all the doomsday economists are right and we are headed into a depression, please familiarize yourself with this brand of detergent. It is the broke man's detergent, and works quite well. If you don't recognize this brand, please stop acting like you ever had it rough growing up, because you obviously didn't. Anyways, once you feel the economy's pinch and can't afford your $14 Tide anymore, take comfort in knowing boxes on $2 Trend are sold all across the country and contrarty to popular belief, poor people do not stink. Can't you read the box? They have a fresh clean scent.

I don't think this is OSHA approved...

When we went to the opera, ever restaurant had a 2 hour wait due to one of the final four b-ball games being played. Since we didn't have that kind of time to spare- we ate at Fuel Pizza and it was delicious. The price was @$6/ person and the pizza came in huge slices. If you have never been here- it is decorated like a mechanic shop, complete with the typical chainsaw suspended from the warehouse-like ceiling. This was directly over the table next to us, exactly over one of the ladies heads. She didn't even know it was there.

Opera for Dummies

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. With this in mind- I plan on doing a dizzying myriad of unconnected and bizarre things in 2008. Here is a prime example.
Opera for Dummies- I got this book on tape at the library so I wouldn't be totally ignorant. After listening to it while driving, I decided opera was worth trying. Once I looked it up- Don Giovanni- the greatest lover of all time was playing the next weekend. My kind of opera- full of sex, lies and murder.
If you have never been to the opera, I suggest you try it once, but pick something juicy like this. The opera was completly in Italian, but they project the tranlations in English over the stage in super titles (like sub titles- only on top).

Winemaking: Australian Chardonay-Day 1

This is winemaking 101. The secret is to follow the directions. Don't have any directions? Visit and they can put you on the right path. This particular kit cost @ $150 for the equipment, bottles and corker. The individual concentrate kits cost anywhere from $50-100 and make @24 bottles of wine in 45 days, keep @ 6 months before drinking. We get 3 year corks- after that the wine goes bad- curiously- we've never kept a bottle that long, so I can't vouch for the theory.

Day1- Clean and sanitize all equipment. Add benzoate to 1 gallon water. Pour wine concentrate in primary fermentor. Rinse bag with 1 gallon water-add to fermentor. Fill fermentor up to 6 gallon mark. Add oak chips and stir vigorously for 30 seconds. Sprinkle yeast on top of must (liquid in fermentor). Cap primary fermentor and install airlock. Fermentation will begin- let sit for 5-7 days.

The 1st pic is of me and my helper. Second pic is very rare- me being bossy.

How do you know when you're famous?

This is an artist's rendition of my portrait. That's when you know you have made the big time, your fans start creating art in your image. This particular peice is done on a clay tile by Crystal Knight.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Recipe-Strawberry Shortcakes

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2 cup butter or margarine-room temperature

1/4 cup Eggbeaters or 1 egg

1 pint strawberries

whip cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1-Using an electric mixer, mix cake mix, butter and Eggbeaters until blended.

2-Place rounded spoonfull 2 inches apart on ungrased cookie sheet

3-Bake for 9-15 minutes, depending on whether you like chewy or crunchy "shortcake".

4-Rinse and slice strawberries.

5-Arrange shortcakes- cookies topped with sliced strawberries and whip cream on top.

Recipe: Semi-Homemade Southwest Bacon Chicken Wraps

Semi-Homemade Video Tip

1 pkg. Southwest steak seasoning (where sauce mixes are)
1 cup Ranch dressing
3 tbls. olive oil
2 pks. frozen grilled chicken strips
2 pks. microwave bacon
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese- shredded
1 pkg. shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes- diced
(optional) 1 can black beans
1 pkg. 8-10 large wheat tortilla wraps

Semi-Homemade Tip: You can easily make a signature dressing by combining steak marinade dry seasoning and bottled salad dressing. This recipe makes my spicy “Southwest Sauce”, Southwest seasoning +ranch. It’s perfect on these chicken wraps, or as a vegetable dip. You can also experiment at home and make up your own combinations like taco seasoning + ranch, chili seasoning + ranch, spicy Caribbean + catalina or my new favorite, sweet & sour + Catalina for an exotic flavor.

1- Mix ranch dressing and Southwest seasoning in small decorative bowl. You control how spicy this dressing gets by how much seasoning you use. I use the whole package.
2- Heat a olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the frozen chicken strips and turn up the heat to high. Keep stirring until chicken is heated through @ 15-20 minutes. I like my chicken a little crisp too.
3- Meanwhile, cook both packs of bacon in microwave according to directions. Since you can only microwave @ 4 slices at a time- this takes a couple of minutes.
4- Dice tomatoes. (Optional-open can of black beans and drain).
5- Heat tortillas according to package directions.

Assemble your wraps as follows: chicken, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes (and black beans), dressing. Roll up like a burrito and enjoy!