Tuesday, December 27

Wasting Away

Our snowman has taken a turn for the worse. Things like this have to happen in life.

He used to look like this:

Friday, December 23

The Borowitz Report

This recent "editorial" from The Borowitz Report was pretty funny (not really true, but a satire of current events):


Doppelgangers Will Return Credibility to Proceedings, Rumsfeld Says

With Saddam Hussein a no-show at his own trial, the U.S. today found an unorthodox solution to the impasse: the former dictator’s look-alikes.

The look-alikes were fixtures during the regime of the brutal madman, who used them as decoys to frustrate would-be assassins, but since the fall of Saddam they have found employment opportunities few and far between.

“In Baghdad, nobody wants to go to Starbucks and be served by a barrista who looks like Saddam Hussein,” said Saddam Hussein, 57, one of several look-alikes who have been called out of retirement to fill in for the evil defendant. “When my agent called and told me about this trial thing, I was stoked.”

Another look-alike, Saddam Hussein, 43, said that the call to fill in for Saddam at the trial came just in the nick of time: “I swear, last week I was this close to shaving off my moustache.”

At an acting studio in downtown Baghdad, the former Saddams have been rehearsing for the past few days, hoping to get their impersonations of the former dictator up to snuff.

“It’s a lot of waving your fist and looking defiant,” said Saddam Hussein, 61.

In Washington, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hailed the decision to put Saddam’s look-alikes on trial, telling reporters, “Now the Iraqi people can feel confident that Saddam Hussein, or someone who looks a lot like him, will be brought to justice.”

Elsewhere, President Bush announced a new guest worker program under which illegal immigrants will be allowed to work as scapegoats throughout the 2006 election campaign.

Tuesday, December 20

Ancho-And-Coffee-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Ancho-Mushroom Sauce

Ancho-And-Coffee-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Ancho-Mushroom Sauce
by Bobby Flay (Mesa Grill, Las Vegas)

as published by Bon Appetit Sept. 2005
4 servings

Spice Rub
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mushroom Sauce
3 dried ancho chiles
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 pounds assorted fresh wild mushrooms (such as stemmed shiitake, baby bella and oyster), thickly sliced, if large
2 cups dry red wine
cayenne pepper

4 1 1/2-2 inch thick filet mignon steaks (each about 12 oz.)
2 tbsp olive oil

6 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided

For Spice Rub:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.)

For Mushroom Sauce:
Place chiles in medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Let soak until chiles soften, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer chiles to plate (reserve 1/2 cup soaking liquid. Blend until smooth. (Puree can be made 3 days ahead, chilled.)

Boil broth in large saucepan over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 25 minutes. Set reduced broth aside.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Add mushrooms. Saute until brown and tender and almost all juices have evaporated, about 9 minutes. Add wine and boil until almost all wine had evaporated. Mix in chile puree and 1 1/2 cups reduced broth. Simmer 1 minute to blend flavors. Season sauce with cayenne, salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill sauce and remaining reduced broth separately.)

For Steaks:
Preheat oven to 375F, Sprinkle both sides of steaks generously with spice rub. Heat large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil. Add steaks and sear until brown and crusty, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Roast until cooked to desired doneness, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. (I do 11 minutes in my electric apartment oven)

Meanwhile, re-warm sauce. Mix in 4 tbsp cilantro. Thin sauce with remaining reduced broth by tablespoonfuls, if desired. Transfer steaks to plates. Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp cilantro.

Ridiculous Lawsuits

Here I have compiled links to some of the most ridiculous lawsuits I have heard of.

Man who resembles Jordan sues MJ, Nike for $832M

Daughter Who Surprised Mom With Birthday Visit Sues Parents

Monday, December 19

Dear Alicia


Dear Alicia:

I'm not sure what to do. Last weekend, my husband and I went to the movies and had to park in a parking garage. When I used the machine to pay the $3 at the end, I forgot to get the validated ticket in order to get out of the garage. I don't know why I didn't think to get it! But we got to the exit, and it occured to me that we couldn't get out. I ran back to the machine, but the ticket was not there. My husband bravely attempted to get a new ticket at the entrance from the unmanned machines with no success. What were we to do? We went back to the ticket payment center, and lo and behold, there was an answer. A $15 deliverance for those who lost their ticket. That was us.

We paid $18 for parking that really should have been $3. What would you have done?

Piddling in Pittsburgh

Dear Piddling,

I'm sorry for your experience, but you must realize that it was all your fault. Good thing you didn't try to escape under the raised gate behind another car, for your car surely would have been crushed to pieces by the lowering gate. At best, it would have hit the trunk of your car (for you would have nearly made it) and would have flipped your car into the air, landing upside down. It would have been a distaster costing much more than $18. Be happy that you had a fun evening seeing King Kong with your dear husband and friends and that you were warm and cozy in your bed that night and not stuck in the parking garage. Not so cozy.


Friday, December 16


"When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." ~ Genesis 9:16

"Look at the heavens and see; and behold the clouds--they are higher than you." ~ Job 35:5

"Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thundering of His pavilion?" ~ Job 36:29

"Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds, the wonders of One perfect in knowledge..." ~ Job 37:16

Clouds and the ocean are two things in creation (besides humans) that continually amaze me. It's always better in person, but here are some fascinating photos of mammatus clouds. These clouds are like nothing I've ever seen. I had to laugh when linking the first photo because the name of it is "tight jeans". At least it wasn't called "plumber's bum" or something like that, right?

More photos can be found here.

Other wondrous images:

I also like pictures from storm chasers, like these three from Mike Hollingshead.

But You Don't Look Sick?

Do you know someone who goes through life while managing health issues such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia or Lupus? I know of at least five people who do, and a good friend sent me an article a few months ago that described what one person's daily life is like with fatigue. It explained it really well. It painted a picture for me to catch a glimpse into their lives and the fatigue they struggle through.

Because I had mono this past summer, I have a very faint inkling of what it's like to have fatigue for more than a couple of days. But only faint. I was over mono within three weeks, but I know people who deal with this every day, year after year. And I believe them when they say it gets old. With mono, I knew it would eventually go away. That is not so for those described by this illustration.

Please read this essay about the spoon theory. Hopefully consideration of this perspective may be useful in how you serve others now and in the future and to stir thankfulness for the energy you have. I've had my full strength back for several months now, and I am still grateful for my overabundance of spoons in life. It's easy to forget though, and this article reminded me of this sometimes veiled blessing.

Charlotte Church vs. Me

I've been enjoying this album today, Prelude...The Best Of Charlotte Church. Sample it here at amazon.com. I think she and I are opposites when it comes to singing, at least in the vocal aspect. As for singing and making melody in our hearts, I can't see hers :-). Singing is a talent I do not have. Just ask my husband (he'll be nice though, as he should). Singing the Psalms has helped a fair amount, for which I am thankful!

Sing to the LORD, you saints of His; praise His holy name. ~ Psalm 30:4

Thursday, December 15

Previously Posted Recipes

Below is a collection of the posts containing recipes about which I have written on my blog. There is some overlap as the recipes below which are from Cooking Light will also be found in their respective category in the other recipes links to the left. The most recent recipes are listed first.

Main Dishes
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo
Some Sort of Hash
Sleepin' In Omelette
Mexican Pot Roast Tacos
Thai Burgers (Build a Burger Winner)

Asian Barbeque Chicken
Ancho-Lime Marinated BBQ Chicken
Grilled Vegetables with Chickpeas and Couscous, served with Onion Raita
Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup
Venetian Panino
Chicken, Sausage, and Rice Soup
Ancho-And-Coffee-Rubbed Filet Mignon with Ancho-Mushroom Sauce
All-American Chili
Orzo Salad and Jerk Chicken
Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Crunchy Shrimp with Toasted Couscous and Ginger-Orange Sauce

Coconut Macaroons
Chocolate Cheesecake
Mocha Marbled Coffee Cake
Double Chocolate Torte
Texas Sheet Cake
German Chocolate Cake
Best Carrot Cake
Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs
Individual Chocolate Melting Cakes
Lemon Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake

Simple Salsa by Tyler Florence
Smitten's Chocolate Pudding

The Best Potato Salad
Bourbon BBQ Beans
Grilled Zucchini with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Couscous Salad with Vinaigrette
Shoestring Zucchini Fries
Tortilla Soup
Asparagus-Apple Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Island Rice
Breakfast Coffee Cake
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Pancakes
Arugula, Roasted Tomato, and Goat Cheese Salad
New Hummus
Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing
Chipotle Sweet Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

My Aim

What a nice looking map. It's early in the day, so it looks like it'll be a fun trip home after work tonight.

Happy Birthday to our dear nephew who is 2 today.

My family has return from Oregon, and it's nice to have them back. They were over for dinner last night (I made this new dish, and it turned out very well). I was playing with Micah after dinner and threw a toy for him to fetch. It happened to graze an ornament just right so that the ornament shattered! It was pretty funny and odd how I have poor, but "good" aim.

Tuesday, December 13

Silent Commercial

I'm kind of over-posting today. I guess I'm excited about my new blog. I wanted to post a link to this short video clip (one minute in length). It is very moving and appropriate.

4,000 Text Messages in ONE Month?!?!

I was at a training seminar yesterday on payroll taxes and ate lunch with some fellow attendees, mostly women who were mothers. It was interesting and not surprising to hear them talk about their kids' cell phones and other techno gadgets. One woman even said that she got her daughter unlimited text messaging because in one month, the girl sent over 4,000 text messages. Woah there, Bessie! It's unnecessary in the first place for a teenager to have a cell phone for social reasons. But to send 4,000 in one month and for the mother to then purchase an unlimited plan to allow the trend to continue? She talked as though she disapproved of her daughter's phone activity, but her very act of changing the service plan to accomodate her is an indication of consent.

He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray." ~ Proverbs 5:23

Ahh....the Grand Tetons

Thanks to EJ Photo, I can enjoy amazing photos of the Grand Tetons until I can see these beauties myself.

Sunday, December 11

Mexican & Border Cooking

I have been enjoying a cookbook from the library called The Border Cookbook (full title: The Border Cookbook : Authentic Home Cooking of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico). The glossary in the front is helpful for learning about ingredients unique to this variety of cooking, such as piloncillo (unrefined dark sugar) and chihuahua (semisoft cheese like meunster). I have a great interest in making some authentic Mexican and border foods, and I already love ingredients such as cheese, onions, black beans, cilantro, lime, avocado and tomatoes. Quiero aprender a cocinar a mexicano más auténtico y alimento contiguo. (some spanish talk, courtesy www.freetranslation.com). Reverse translation indicates I said, "I want to learn to cook Mexican more authentic and adjacent food."

Just for fun, translate this for me back into English: Su madre era un hámster, y su padre funden de bayas de saúco.

Anyway, if you happened to be so, ahem, privileged, to be in our home someday, I'll cook you something.

Translation answer: Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.

Moved over from Xanga.com

I started this blog a while back, but I was never able to figure out how to get the link into my profile. As a result, I am trying again. I also used to use xanga, but like blogger better. So here I am.

Thursday, December 1

Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake

Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake
2 cups finely crushed Oreos (about 20 cookies)
2 T butter, melted
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (11.5 oz package) semisweet chocolate chunks, divided
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped Oreos (about 14 cookies)
1/3 cup whipping cream or heavy cream

STIR together 2 cups cookie crumbs and butter; press mixture into bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan
BEAT softened cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract, 1 cup chocolate chunks, and 1 1/2 cups coarsly crushed cookies. Pour into prepared crust.
BAKE at 325 for 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stand in oven, with door partially opened, for 20 minutes.
REMOVE cheesecake from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Chill cheesecake, uncovered. Once chilled, release sides of pan, cover and keep chilled.
MICROWAVE remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chunks and whipping cream in a glass bowl at High for 1 minute; stir until chocolate melts. Chill 30 minutes. Pour and spread over cheesecake to edges.