I Was Doing it Wrong!

Who knew all this time I was weighing myself the wrong way! Apparently, I only weight 17 lbs. For cripessakes I am practically anorexic! I need chocolate and ice cream immediately – it’s a matter of life and death. I guess the big fat ass is an optical illusion. It’s all a matter of perspective, doncha think? 😆

WC

Twinkies, Anyone?

When I was a kid, I loved Twinkies. In fact, I still do. There is no other highly processed, prepackaged lump of sugar and starch that I love more. In fact, as processed, prepackaged lumps of sugar and starch go, Hostess just can’t be beaten. They are the king of the heap in this department.

Now as time wore on, after my childhood Twinkies became evil things – things that would make you kill another human being, for example. Hence the Twinkie Defense. Of course it could only have happened in California and San Francisco, as the rest of the world just isn’t that stupid.

Also the word Twinkie is sometimes used as a term to objectify women who are overly sexual and not too bright. Like we need another one of those.

But despite all the abuse the poor Twinkie has gotten over the years, it is still one of America’s favorite junk foods. So imagine my awe and surprise when I discovered that there are many things one can do with a Twinkie to make really cool deserts. There is actually a twinkie desert recipe page. Can you believe it? Below is my favorite recipe – but you can find many more here .

So enjoy your weekend and make a delicious Twinkie desert for your family which you can enjoy while watching a Sunday night video. Cheers!

Twinkie-misu
By Larry Coons

Items Needed:

Box Hostess Twinkies
1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled & sweetened
1/4 cup Kahlua (optional)
1/2 gallon coffee or coffee & chocolate ice cream
Chocolate shavings or sprinkles

DIRECTIONS: Slice Twinkies in half lengthwise. Spray 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray. Put five Twinkie halves, cream side up, side by side in pan. Mix coffee and Kahlua (optional); with pastry brush, apply liberally to cut side of Twinkies. Spoon about a 1/2 inch layer of softened ice cream over Twinkies. Repeat until you have used enough Twinkies & ice cream to fill the loaf pan. Cover tightly with foil and freeze several hours or overnight. This can be served from the pan in slices or unmolded, garnished with the chocolate and served. Serves about 10.

That Cat!

Okay, she looks like my cat – and has the appetite of my cat – but my cat can’t do that! It would come it very handy in the morning and at night, let me tell you. Nothing more annoying than a whiney, bitchy cat who wants to eat.

WC

Ole! Soup, Anyone?

(HT to Gerry for this recipe – rumor has it that it is yummy and comes from his sister. WC )


TACO SOUP
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 package ranch-style dressing mix
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 cup water
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans
1 15-ounce can black beans
1 15-ounce can cream-style corn
Brown beef with onions in a medium-size soup pot.  Drain excess grease.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes before serving.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
I’d add that you could serve it with fresh taco chips or TJ’s blue corn tortilla chips, a crisp green salad and a nice cold Dos Equis. Oh yeah!

How to Tell if Your Christmas Eve Bash is a Success

christmas-tree

I’m not really one of those people who throws holiday parties. I’ll definitely do the dinners and cook up a storm, but when it drifts over to the party category I defer to ones better than I at such things. Happily, I have friends (Zelda) who do parties and I’ve been able to get a real observer’s station at same and feel I can pass along a few tips:

Your Christmas Eve bash is a success if:

1. Your guests don’t use the deserts as an ashtray.

2. The gag gifts you pass around don’t actually gag anyone.

3. You have no one by the name of Skip, Muffy or Biff on the guest list.

4. None of your guests notice the wee paw prints left by your several pets in the dip.

5. The groans you hear whilst guests are munching is because of the deliciousness of the food, not because they have broken a tooth.

6. Your choice of music does not prompt your guests to ask why you are playing funeral dirges.

7. The Christmas movie you make especially for the occasion is coherent and possibly causes your guests to chortle with laughter.

8. Guest do not refuse to take home leftover food and deserts when offered.

9. You do not require a first aid kit to have a fun time.

10. You do not invite people who discuss their recent operations around the fondue pot.

11. Your guests are too drunk to notice you have broken out the cheap wine.

12. You remember everyone’s name through-out the entire evening. Or they don’t hear you when you call them buddy.

13. No one shows up in surfer shorts and asks why all the old people are there.

14. The pets do not break through the barricade you have spent the last three days building.

15. You manage to delete and/or photoshop all the pictures of you before they are viewed.

16. You get through the evening without losing a pet or a guest.

17. Everyone leaves before you fall asleep in the family room.

18. The following morning you wake up to discover Santa’s elves have cleaned up the entire mess and you can go back to sleep.

There may be more and perhaps you can add a few – but in the meantime…

cookies

 

New Friends for Christmas – 12 days of xmas #11

The year I lost my mind and decided to move from California to Florida was pretty weird to say the least. If you have any doubts, go back and read my post called Road Trip. To say it was manic was really putting it mildly and giving me way too much credit.I don’t know if some ancient LSD crystal popped loose or just the usual screws, nuts and bolts that live between my ears – but by God I was moving to Florida. So I did.By the time I unpacked the car and locked the front door I knew I had made a terrible mistake. But see I have this problem – I am really fricking stubborn. I kept telling myself I had moved to Florida for a reason. That it was the right thing to do. That there was something there for me.Well maybe there was. A new friend. Someone I’d never have known if not for the momentary flash of insanity – that crazy drive and much of the misery I experienced while there.Lana was an instant friend. I met her first when I showed up at my first day of work for a firm that – come to think of it I’m really not sure what they did or even why they hired me – but I digress. I walked into the office and there was this lovely, lithe woman with hair down to her waist and kind green eyes. “Oh, are you Annie?” she asked.“No, I’m Myrna,” I answered. I have no idea why I said that, but I really did.

She did one of those exagerated double takes and I started laughing and told her I was indeed Annie. Then she started laughing. And pretty much from there on we were best buds.

Now the job…oy my aching head. Let’s put it this way – the woman who hired me wanted me to take over her job so she could move on to a better position within the company. However, I was not allowed to ask any questions nor ask for supplies or pretty talk to her unless she wanted me to talk to her. She wanted me to devine whatever it was she wanted me to do. And she had this insane obsession with a tasking program. So every morning I was to write tasks and send them to her and that way she’d know what I was doing. And then of course she got to send me tasks and I would get these prompts and weird things that were almost as annoying as that dancing paperclip that Billy Gates invented. Long story short within a couple of weeks I felt like I was going insane.

I would constantly check with Lana to see if I really was insane or if this boss lady really was working hard to make me miserable and to feel absolutely and utterly incompetent. Sadly, Lana confirmed my suspicions. Not too surprisingly, I was gainfully unemployed shortly thereafter. Oh boy was I screwed. The job had paid well and when I hit the job market in general it really sucked. The wages being offered were frighteningly low. I took a job with a real nutjob of an orthodontist (he actually believed his work was greatly helping mankind by providing prettier smiles – I shit you not). But at least I had Lana.

We did everything together. It was fun to have a great fun girlfriend again and it made me even sort of like Florida. She invited me for Thanksgiving dinner and there I met her wonderful husband and adorable little boys. We had a great time – but it was more than that – it was like being home for the holidays. Like being among family. I marveled at this because I had really barely met them, yet it seemed I knew them for a million years. I love it when that happens, don’t you?

Since Thanksgiving was such a hit and Lana and I became closer and closer friends, Christmas was a natural. We had all eaten tons of turkey on Thanksgiving so we decided on a different menu. Lana’s brother was in town and he volunteered to make a roast. I made a vat of homemade applesauce, brought a bag of presents and whipped up some mashed potatoes once I got there.

We exchanged gifts and it was fun. It really didn’t matter what they were – we were just happy to be hanging out. It was one of those Christmasses where nothing in particular happened – no special activities or hilarious accidents – just a bunch of people who really enjoyed one another’s company and yakked their heads off. Lana even bought a present for my doggie – a santa suit. Which I put on her as soon as I got home and took pictures.

So the evening was just that. An evening. A great one. And one that brings back warm memories of friendship and love. As I drove home that night, I knew at least a small handful of people in Florida were actually glad I came. And I guess because of them, I was glad too.

Julia Child’s Turkey Christmas – 12 days of xmas #6

New house, new man (with two sons…why do they come in two’s?) and yet another memorable Christmas. Still cooking. In this case, cooking up a veritible storm. It started out pretty simple me, Tom and the boys with a few friends…but then I started getting these phone calls. There was a bevy of Christmas orphans that year with nowhere to go and could they come to my house? Sure, the more the merrier!

As each day inched nearer to Christmas, more phone calls, more unexpected guests to feed. I’d never made a really big turkey but this was the year to do it. The house was small so there was no way we were all going to sit down, so a buffet it was.

It’s a rather odd and surreal experience (even to a Christmas nut like me) to have a houseful of guests for Christmas dinner when you’ve never met half of them. Sort of like stumbling into a big frat party. But I loving to cook and have guests the way I do decided to just roll with it.

I got up early (can you say 5 am?) and Tom just had to get this shot of me in search of my first cup of coffee. Oh how I love to have my picture taken in my jammies with no makeup and a dumb expression on my face.

But I digress.

So, out came the 30lb turkey to sit on the counter while I drank coffee and made the stuffing. Now I’m a kind of organic cook – I generally abhor recipes and I honestly can’t follow one completely as I always add things or change things. So instead of taking the easy way out and following Mrs. Cubbitson’s recipe that was quite conveniently on the back of the box, I set to chopping up apples, nuts and onions, sauteed all that in some butter and threw in a few handful of raisens – I happened to have some cranberries too so in they went. Once the vat of dressing was made and the turkey stuffed to the gills and the remaining dressing in a sheet pan, we set to making the basting sauce. Butter, chicken broth, orange juice and white wine, a little sugar for good measure and we were ready to roll. Into the oven it went.

The next hour was spent peeling potatoes because of course home made mashed potatoes were a must and I had a lot of guests and they were going to want those darn potatoes. Ooops, one of the kids just shot a toy soldier into the potato pot. No harm done, the soldier was barely injured. On the back burner with those. Next sweet potatoes, peeling, dicing, glazing with butter, cinnamon, pineapple juice and brown sugar. My gawd how glad was I that I made the pumpkin pies the night before? Very, I must say.

As an afterthought, I grabbed a couple of bags of frozen peas since no one really likes vegetables with their Christmas dinner, do they? Unheard of, really , absolutely scandalous!

And between the basting and trying to find enough dishes and the the parade of guests and little gift giving, before I knew it, it was time to pull it all out of the oven. Of course by that time I was ready for a nap but i had an army to feed and they were getting restless with Ruffles and beer being their only appetisers (I know, shame on me – but I just couldn’t clone myself to make nibblies).

The turkey needed to rest before we could carve him up – so I put on my best Julia Childs impression and entertained the guests while extolling the many virtues of the giant perfectly browned bird.

Then came the rue for the gravy and separating the fat from the drippings – oh my where was that little bit of coffee I saved for the gravy? Is that bowl big enough for the potatoes? Why on earth don’t I have an electric mixer? Do you know how hard it is to mash and whip 10 pounds of mashed potatoes? My biceps were quite impressive that day. At least Tom opened the cranberry sauce and carved the turkey.

Finally we ate and ate and then we ate some more. We played Trivial Pursuit, got drunk and finished the leftovers. I think I finally had to kick everyone out around midnight. Since my orphans had cleaned up after me when dinner was over, I had a clean kitchen and just enough to share a turkey sandwich with Tom before we crawled into bed for a long winter’s nap. Of course I swore I’d never do that again. And yet I did, the next year and the next year and the year after that. 😉

WC

Christmas on the Boulevard – 12 days of xmas #5

 

Cooking is something I love and coincidentally one of the things I do best. For that reason (and many others) when time and space allow I can usually be counted on to cook up a storm on Christmas. This particular year though I opted out.

It was my first Christmas after Mike and I broke up and something about doing the big dinner just didn’t sit right with me. Instead I put together a co-op Christmas Brunch. Which really turned out to be great. I made the eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh-squeezed juice, Maxine brought breads and muffins, Libby brought fruit, somebody brought deserts, and yet another brought cheeses and other nibblies. We all lazed around in my tiny livingroom, after feeding heavily from the buffet I set up in the kitchen. It was a wonderful 80 degrees outside and it was more like a pool party than Christmas.

One by one my guests bid their goodbyes, having dinner plans elsewhere and I made sure that each took away some of the leftovers, lest they pass my lips and end up on my thighs. A brilliant plan I thought….at the time.

Libby, my somewhat eccentric friend had no plans so she stayed and we yakked and laughed and smoked for hours. We were having such a good time in our chat we decided to keep it going and thought what fun it would be to just go out for Christmas dinner. Nothing fancy mind you, especially since Libby was attired in her usual denim overalls and sneakers, but surely Denny’s would be open or someplace like that.

So, we decided to walk down to the boulevard. That’s Hollywood speak for Hollywood Boulevard. You know that famous little strip of land that you hear about and read about out there in the real world? Where every step you take lands you on the star and name of somebody famous. Where drag queens, hookers, tourists, wannabes and regular folk alike stroll and take in the sights.

A good plan, right? I mean how could something go wrong? Who woulda thunk that not one shop, store or restaurant would be open? Ah…us! Yep, that’s right. We walked and looked and walked and looked and walked some more. But, ah…no….didn’t we realize it was Christmas day? Didn’t we have family or friends who could feed us? I mean…didn’t we?

Of course we weren’t having any of it. We knew if we just kept walking that we were sure to find someplace. Just as we reached Grelman’s Chinese Theatre (you know the one with all the handprints and footprints of movie stars?) we spotted a lovely pink neon sign that said ‘open.’

“See,” Libby crowed, “I knew we’d find someplace.”

So we crossed the street and pulled open the door to Frank’s Diner. (Yep, that is really what it was called.)

Oh good, I thought – some good greasy spoon Christmas dinner was going to hit the spot.

The waitress who was a mere 150 years old shuffled over to us as we sat at the counter. “What’ll ya have?”

“Turkey dinner, of course,” we said.

She screwed up her face in a sour puss. “We don’t got no turkey dinner.”

“Really?” our eyes were wide and hearts very sad.

“What’ll ya have?” she asked again completely unphased by our charms.

“Menu?” Libby chirped.

Two xeroxed sheets of paper were plunked down in front of us. “Coffee?”

‘Ah, sure.”

We studied the menu and looked for anything that could possibly approximate Christmas dinner. We both decided on the hot turkey sandwich. It was almost like Christmas and we’d have pumpkin pie for desert. We ordered.

The coffee came and our spoons stood straight up in it. We went through two cream pictures in an effort to make it drinkable but the color never really changed from the muddy brown hue it came with.

At last the hot turkey samiches arrived and our eyes sparkled until Myra (we named all old waitress Myra) slapped them down in front of us. Okay, ready? Wonder bread with turkey loaf, instant mashed potatoes and BROWN gravy all over everything – even the peas and carrots. To say it was fucking awful is to pay it too high a compliment. But we were starved so down it went. And we laughed like a couple of giddy cokeheads. For some reason it was hilarious to us that this was our Christmas dinner.

When finally we gave up on the brown gooey mess we asked for pumpkin pie. “We’re out,” she said and gave us our check.

Of course they were.

We paid our check and walked arm in arm back down the boulevard toward home. On the way back we spotted a Falaphel stand and ordered a couple. Hey, at least it was edible and the big tanker of diet coke helped it go down nice and easy.

By the time we got back to my place it was late and Libby decided to go home. I plopped down on the couch and turned on the tv – what luck – White Christmas had just started and it was the perfect end to a perfect day.

WC

Happy Birthday Pinky!

I saw Zelda for dinner the other night and she informed me my presence was requested for Pinky’s big day – his 39th birthday (well not really 39 but after a while you find an age you like and settle there).

The gang was going to be there. The gang being me, Zelda, Margarita (who makes killer magaritas), PG, Chief (a king among chefs), Skip (Margarita’s significant other and a killer griller) and The Kid ( Pinky’s son at least in spirit). While we hang with other friends as well, we seem to be the core group. The main herd. The alpha majors and minors.

So, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m thinking some cheese and crackers a little sparkling water, possibly margaritas because Margarita can’t not make them and a cute little cake. Then home we go.

So we all arrive on time (a historical happening to be sure) which flustered Margarita and grabbed the cocktail parphenalia. Cheese and crackers appeared, sparkling water appeared, much hustle and bustle went on in the kitchen. And though we all offered to help we ended up sitting around the livingroom, munching crackers and chewing the fat.

We talked about PG’s dad, politics and the future plans for the ‘christmas movie’ (now a tradition) that we would be participating in for Zelda’s mom. (That’s a whole other post.)

Soon enough the incredible scent of amazing food began to waft through the air. Skip and Margarita’s beagles started a sniff fest and we humans did a poor imitation of same. Next thing we knew we were seated at the art deco table on the patio and eyeing steaks the size of Omaha.

We oohed and ahed and Skip beamed. Margarita excitedly explained about a couple of wines they’d discovered and they were good.

We ate and ate and then we ate some more. Thick steaks, grilled to perfection, secretly amazing string beans with herbs, grilled potatoes that melted in your mouth…it was poetry in motion.

As most of us were screaming uncle and pushing our plates aside (with ample scraps for the beagles) The Kid was scarfing up to beat the band. I’m not sure but there may not have even been a bone left on the plate. He passed on the green beans but went crazy on the potatoes and steak and I think I even saw him eyeing Chief’s steak since there was plenty left and a doggie bag in his future.

Then the conversation modules began. Zelda started talking about the nifty new back-fixing equipment she had bought. Stretching and squeezing and traction things. Ultra sound, no sound, nice sound – it was all greek to me.

Pinky, happy with a full belly took a nap with his eyes open. Yes, Pinky does have that special talent. You see, we rib him about napping at all our soires so now he can do it sitting upright with his eyes open. No lie. The Kid just kept eating and eating and eating.

Birthday cake, ice cream and espresso magically appeared, seeming to appear out of nowhere. Perfect. More oohs and ahs.

At my end of the table, me, PG and Chief talked blogging, writing, politics, conspiracy theories, movies and masterpieces. Now, I suppose this is probably boring you by now because nothing really remarkable happened nor did any major catastrophe befall us. It was just a bunch of friends eating really good food, celebrating the birthday of a friend, having really good conversation.

I can’t remember the last time I had such a good time and such good talk. It was fun, interesting and entertaining. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about my friends and it was just one of those precious times when everything and everyone jelled. Truly a kind of magic moment among friends. A truly satisfying get together that makes you thankful for having such people in your life and having a life that includes them.

Since it was a school night, the evening ended all too soon. And before I knew it, I was back in Zelda’s big fricking truck (she calls him Chomp) being the ‘bobble’ passenger and we were headed home.

It was the best day I’ve had in recent memory – not for any particularly earth shattering reason – but for the simple pleasure of spending an evening with friends.

I would wish that everyone would have such evenings in their lives. Where the worry and trouble of the world doesn’t interfere, where the day to day grind never enters your mind and where you go home whistling.

WC