Archive for January, 2010

Snowed in Hot Toddy
January 31, 2010

I love a good hot toddy.  I created this one a couple weeks ago, but it made a reappearance during the snowed-in experience.  The key is the caramel and the sugar rimmed mug!

Apple Cider Hot Toddy

Spiced Cider (I prefer Trader Joe’s)
Caramel
Turbinado Sugar
Whiskey (preferably Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey!)

Heat the cider.

Rim a mug with caramel.

Dip the caramel rimmed mug in turbinado sugar.

Add a dollop of caramel to the bottom of the mug.

Pour the heated cider in the mug.

Top off with whiskey.  (I prefer Gentleman Jack, but I only had black label and was too snowed in to hit the liquor store.)

Enjoy! Rinse and repeat!

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Snowed in recipe
January 30, 2010

Three weeks ago I hinted that we would avoid certain winter disaster, only to truly be hit with it later. Call me Madame Soothsayer.  We are snowed in this weekend!  One of the worst winter storms in our history.  We ventured out today for some sledding.  Turns out the hill behind my house is awesome!  Then it was time for dinner.  I call this:

Snowed In Lemon Pepper Seafood Pasta

Pasta
Olive oil
Minced Garlic
Garlic pepper
Lemon pepper
Italian seasoning
Juice of 1/2 Lemon, plus zest of lemon
White wine
Mixed frozen seafood
Grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta.

Heat olive oil, garlic, lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic pepper in large frying pan.  Add lemon zest to taste, some wine, lemon juice.  Then add the frozen seafood and cook according to packaging, making sure to cook down some of the wine.

Toss seafood mix with pasta.  Top with cheese, if desired.

Conversion Pie
January 25, 2010

I have a few “comfort foods” that I love to make for myself that I ate as a kid.  Mac N Cheese with tomatoes (only the shells kind with the creamy cheese packet), Broccoli/Cheese/Rice casserole, and Shepherd’s Pie to name a few.  However, I was always sad I could not recreate the latter from my early childhood memory because I don’t eat ground beef and haven’t in years.  I thought about making it without the meat, but that’s really just veggies and mashed potatoes…not really the same.

Then, a few years ago I discovered veggie crumbles.  You’ve seen the veggie burgers; this is the veggie ground beef substitute.  I wasn’t sure how good it would be, but I liked it.  I pretty much could recreate a comfort food by converting the recipe from meat to the crumbles.  Yet, I never wanted to try it out on a true meat-lover for fear they would (even if only out of meat-snobbery or anti-veggie tendencies) turn their nose up at it and chastise me for attempting such blasphemy.  Recently, I got really brave and attempted such a feat with results.  I have converted a carnivore to my meatless Shepherd’s Pie.  And from what I can tell they weren’t just being nice about it, they genuinely liked it.* Therefore, I call this my:

(Conversion) Shepherd’s Pie

1 packet of frozen meatless/veggie crumbles (enough for equivalent of 1lb of ground beef)
1 12-14oz of frozen mixed vegetables (must be mix of: peas, green beans, corn, diced carrots)
minced garlic
olive oil
soy sauce or Worcestershire Sauce to taste
mashed potatoes (I prefer the container of already made mashed potatoes that you microwave, but you can make your own or use a mix)
cheese (optional)
margarine

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil and garlic in frying pan.  Cook veggies and crumbles in pan.  (Usually I cook the veggies first, then add the crumbles, but I have also cooked the crumbles in the pan and the veggies in the microwave and mixed them together at the end).  Once both veggies and crumbles are in the pan and no longer frozen, add soy sauce to taste and “brown it up” some more.  You can also add Worcestershire Sauce too, but it gives it a sweeter taste.

Cook mashed potatoes separately.  (I like to use margarine in the cooking process to give it a buttery flavor.)

Grease a casserole dish (about 1.5 – 2.5 qt dish will be fine, or a 8×8 or 9×9 dish will work in a pinch) with any kind of baking spray or your favorite method.

Add the veggies/crumbles mixture to the bottom of the pan.  Then you can add a layer of cheese.  (Here I really prefer velveeta or nothing at all, because it’s so creamy and doesn’t change the flavors too much. Just a couple slices here and there will do.)  Then top with the mashed potatoes, smoothing out over the mixture and covering to the edges.  I like to add a few pats of margarine to the top so they melt into the potatoes.

Bake on 350 for about 25-30 minutes and serve.

* Sure they may like it more with real meat, but they don’t hate the meatless crumbles either.

Ad-renaline
January 22, 2010

In my recent Ad-renaline post, I forgot to mention another overwhelmingly predominant ad this time of year.

Taxes, taxes, taxes
The average Joe’s fiscal year is up and it’s time to account to the government.  But the average Joe needs help with his taxes.  Enter the tax prep ads galore!  Even the federal government has ads for their e-filing service.  Everyone’s on the tax band wagon.  So, when I heard a rumor that this ad was floating around on the airwaves in my town, I was skeptical because I believe the company (and the ad) is based out of a much more ghetto-tastic town.  Until last night.

OK, Go (watch some video)
January 20, 2010

Ever wonder just how record labels and online video posting and bands interact?   It’s a sticky situation full of all kinds of difficulties from a dying business model called the music industry.   This is a wonderful letter from a very creative band (well known for their treadmill video).  It’s definitely worth the read to learn about it, but also to find out just how I posted a link to this video online.  (unfortunately it is not showing the video in the post, perhaps due to WordPress restrictions and my lack of programming knowledge)

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

eyes & ears
January 18, 2010

What I’m currently watching…

“Dexter”
I got interested in this show a couple years ago when one of the non-cable networks threatened to start showing it (fully edited) for about a minute, and I noticed that Michael C. Hall (as seen on my beloved “Six Feet Under”) was the lead character.  So, a couple years later, I started receiving the show on DVD from my mail-order-entertainment-service, and I discovered they also have it on a instant streaming capability too.  So, I’ve been getting my fix of blood, serial killers, and more blood lately.  Already started the second season and it’s hard to not watch several episodes at once when I should be doing other things.  Even harder is I’m watching it with someone, so I have to resist the urge to watch more episodes when I’m home alone!

My favorite thing
January 13, 2010

I definitely have one thing that is wonderful about this time of year.  It comes from a seemingly unlikely place.  Imagine if you will, a cantankerous, aloof, snooty cat with more attitude to spare than the biggest queen backstage at a drag show.  And then couple it with bitterly cold weather.  It would seem like a cold, sad, lonely existence for Sally right?  But every year I’m reminded that Diva Kitty loves warmth.  So, when the mercury dips, she opts to snuggle up next to me and even sit in my lap on occasion.  We have a sort of secret that she does this, and neither one of us acknowledges it, but I think we both actually like it.  I know Diva Kitty would never admit she does this, and certainly would never let anyone know.  It personally is one of my favorite times of year.  (even if my left leg is falling asleep and I’m afraid to move and wake her or worse yet, lose a finger)

Ad-renaline
January 11, 2010

So, the holidays are over and there are two predominant ads floating around the airwaves lately.

Jewelry
These guys just don’t give up.  Take off the pressure to present overpriced necklaces, watches, rings, and the ever-present tennis bracelet under the misletoe (sidebar…who in the hell plays tennis in jewelry–Williams sisters aside–much less a bracelet covered in diamonds?!), and redirect that pressure to give her a heart shaped locket, charm bracelet, or (groan say it with me) that big deal diamond ring for that holiday that beats all other days of commercialism (and guys wallets) that’s filled with hearts, roses, cupids, and candy.  (Oh, but no lie, I love the day after when all the candy goes on sale.  Now that’s a holiday!)  My thoughts on it; if you love him/her, you tell or show them that all the time, not just one day of the year because the card companies and florists say you should.

Cruises
I never really thought about it before, but just after the start of the new year all of the cruiseliners start filling in the breaks of the new seasons of our favorite couch past time.  “Wow, look everyone’s having fun.  Ooh, I bet it’s warm where they are.  What?!  A giant slide…and putt putt?!”  Two things fuel this fun bombarding my snack break to the kitchen.  It’s not their peak season, so they need money (but hey that means it’s cheap for you), but it’s also when families might, even subconsciously, start thinking about their summer vacations.  So the bright spot is that you can go now while it may be cheap, but a summer cruise…not so sure about that one.

eyes & ears
January 7, 2010

What I’m currently reading…

The Runner’s Rule Book (by Mark Remy)
Many thanks to Barbie for this wonderful little gem!  This book is a must-have for any level runner.  And it is also pretty useful for friends and loved ones of runners, including those confused by the whole “running insanity.”  Ever heard a runner talk about a “snot rocket?”  Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Or wonder how runners deal with “doing business” over long endurance runs?  In addition to the funny (weird and ha-ha) stuff that runners do, it also has some great tips for things like safety, etiquette, and thanking race volunteers.  I laughed throughout, but also learned some great information.

Winter Wonderland
January 6, 2010

Ok, so not yet, but apparently all the meteorolog-talking heads are predicting the snowpocalypse of 2010 here in the next 24 hours.  They’ve been saying this for the past 48+ hours.  You know what that means right?  We will get absolutely nothing.  Nada.  Snow in Nashville is kind of like a surprise birthday party.  You have to let it sneak up on you completely unsuspecting for it to be fully effective.

Yes, it has been wicked cold the past few days.  But it was warmer today, the supposed day of snow reckoning.  Yes, we even saw a couple flakes here and there last weekend and earlier this week.  It was also colder then too.  So, I predict we get just that.  Cold weather,  a couple flakes, maybe enough snow or wetness to make the roads appear to be messy, but nothing like the inside of a snow globe.  What I also predict? That next week, when we have no warning of snow, we’ll get 6 inches all at once and the entire city will shut down.  It’s happened before, many times, and it’ll happen again.  Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

That being said, I am trying a new tradition.  In the summer, I love to run early in the morning.  While it is part a necessity, because it’s still hot as Hades at 6am, I like getting it done before I start my day.  In the winter, it’s another story.  It’s too cold and too dark before work.  After work is also too dark and too cold, plus I start losing motivation to work out after about 3pm, and the likelihood after 6pm is next to nil.  So I am trying out running during my lunch hour.  That way I can watch the hourly weather, determine the optimal time for temperature and wind, and get in my run before I lose steam.  So far it’s been pretty good.  Even during the coldest 2 weeks of the season.  But believe me, once the time change happens and it warms up, I’ll be back to my 6am runs.  If nothing else, I get a much more thorough shower at home after those.