Thursday, February 26, 2009


What could be almost as good as winning the lottery to an avid reader? Free BOOKS!

I just won a copy of Kitty and the Dean Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn. It's the fifth in a series introduced to me by my friend Virginia and it follows the tale of Kitty...late night radio talk show host, author, and werewolf activist. I can hardly wait!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Academy Awards

Wow! Tonight's ceremony was the best in years. I didn't mind the minor can certainly appreciate achievement in make-up and costume when Daniel Craig is presenting the award. I loved the opening number. I thoroughly enjoyed the big tribute to musicals. I even enjoyed the acceptance speeches.

Loved, loved, LOVED the five presenters. Queen Latifah's soulful singing of "I'll Be Seeing You" to the montage of the recently departed was inspired. I even enjoyed the commercials!

I thought the ladies all looked lovely. The dresses I loved most...Meryl Streep, Marissa Tomei, Amy Adams. The men looked good, too (with a couple of obvious exceptions). What was PSH thinking in that knit cap? Can the men of Hollywood not completely knot a tie? Ah, Mickey!

Anyhoo, I laughed out loud many times and can't remember the last time I had this much fun watching an awards show.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Goo Goo Cluster

Anyone who grew up in the South knows the joy of certain local treats...Moon Pie, RC Cola, SunDrop soda, and the Goo Goo Cluster, to name a few. Sweet! We down south love the sweets! The Moon Pie, marshmallow and graham crackers with a candy coating. Sweet sodas! Sweet tea! (Milo's sweet tea is the stuff of dreams.) Sweet red barbecue sauce.

And the Goo Goo Cluster.


Peanuts, marshmallow, caramel and chocolate. But the good folks as the Standard Candy Company didn't stop there. There is the Goo Goo Supreme--marshmallow, caramel, pecans and chocolate. And there is the Peanut Butter Goo Goo.

I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. I think that the Reese's Cup is perfection. But a Peanut Butter Goo Goo is almost that good. Peanut butter, peanuts, and chocolate. Zowie!

Did you know that the process of coating a candy with chocolate is called "enrobing"? I didn't until I read the book Candy Freak by Steve Almond. He visited the Standard Candy Company and watched them make Goo Goo Clusters. His descriptions were vivid and luscious.

Ethnicity sometimes escapes us in the South. I worked for a man from New Jersey once who said "Up north we say we are Polish or Italian or German or Irish. Down here you say you are Baptist or Methodists or Presbyterian."

But we certainly know how to satisfy a sweet tooth!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Praise for a Practical Product

I have been a fan of Glad Press N Seal since I bought my first roll. It keeps things fresh and is easily manageable. But I have to tell how well this product has performed for me recently.

I bought a bunch of celery the week before Christmas. I used two stalks at the time but trimmed and cleaned the rest and wrapped them in Glad Press N Seal. Since that time I've made a couple of batches of soup and stock, a little chicken salad, and that's about it.

But last night I grabbed the final two stalks out of the fridge, still wrapped in the original (though slightly ragged from use) piece of plastic. Two crisp, aromatic stalks greeted me, the leaves still perky.

So I'm singing the praise of this wonderful product which is helping me fulfill my New Year's resolution to not waste food!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yes, I'm Blond, But....

I'm currently driving a car that has been in the family. My Dad drove it for a few years, then sold it to my sister. When her teen did not want to drive a "grandma" car, my brother-in-law drove it for a year. I needed transportation and my sister had an extra set of wheels, so I got the family discount and she and my BIL delivered the car to me about three weeks ago.

Both my dad and my BIL love this car. My dad asks every time we speak about the car, and BIL has called twice to check on it.

I finally told them both that the heat doesn't work in the car. The response?

"Are you sure?"

Now, I know I'm blond, but really! I'm not imagining the cold air blowing out the vents and my teeth chattering. Next came the question...

"Do you know how to work the heat?"

Believe it or not, I can figure out red means hot and blue means cold.

Both men are convinced I don't know what I'm talking about. Never mind that I work for GM and probably know more than both of them about cars. Also, I have access to service manuals.

But, hey! I'm just a girl!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dogs and Cats

I watched the Westminster Dog show and I am a huge fan of Stump. I've rooted for him in previous shows. He's just so darn cute! I love dog shows. I'm up early on Saturday mornings watching Eukanuba dog shows (5 a.m.). I love learning about each of the breeds. I love seeing the personality of each of the dogs in the competition. I love the gracefulness of some breeds, the sleek beauty of others, the cuddly cuteness of many, and the size extremes in yet others.

But I used to ask myself, "Why don't they ever televise cat shows? I know they have them, and they are big deals. That was until I saw one on tv. Primped and prettied cats sitting on pillows, not moving, does not make for good television. I do think, however, Prissy would be perfect! She can sit still and ignore with the best of 'em.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I'm hosting one of my book groups next month and I'm experimenting with a menu. We are reading The Book Thief (nothing happier than a holocaust story) and I thought I would try my hand at German food. I've got Saurbratten marinating to (for 3 days) in the fridge. I'll probably try my hand at German Potato Salad, too. Karen served red cabbage at our group last month, so I hate to repeat. I'll have to see what I can find.

The Saurbratten recipe is one I found in a BH&G cook-book from the 70s. The marinade includes red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, onions, carrots, celery, spices, and burgundy.

My friends can tell you that I am no expert on wine and really at a loss when shopping for it. My local liquor store only seems to carry burgundy in 55 gallon drums (yes! I do exaggerate, but not by much) which seems a bit excessive for a 1/2 cup. I don't drink the stuff and I know I could freeze it, but my freezer is packed. I asked around for a substitute.

I never received a definitive answer but I opted for a dornfelder because it was German, red, and moderately priced in a bottle I could manage. We shall see if it impacts the flavor. One can't help but wonder how much the flavor of the wine will matter when surrounded by all of that vinegar.

I'll update you on the taste when I cook it Thursday.

In the mean-time, I plan on making one of my favorite dished, Chicken Lombardi, tonight.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Justine's Cookies

I first tasted these wonderful cookies many, many, many years ago at the home of my Aunt Rachel. She lost the recipe for many years and only just found it again a couple of years ago. She can't remember the origin, but she it sure she got the recipe while living in either Monroeville AL, Mobile AL, or NOLA.

I made these as part of my pantry fare for Movie night last week, then brought left-overs to work.


1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
2/3 c white sugar
2 1/2 c AP flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
1 c uncooked quick oats
1 c dates
1 c pecans
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
sugar for rolling

Blend together sugars and butter until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, salt, and soda and blend with butter/sugar mixture. Add oats, dates, and pecans and stir. Roll into 1 " balls before rolling in sugar and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Yield approx. 7 dozen cookies.

My Timing Is Completely Off

Last night I decided to go to bed early. I greased down with Ben Gay on my knees, Vicks on my chest, Avon Foot Works on my feet, hand cream, and face cream. I turned on my electric mattress pad and put Edith Piaff on the stereo before curling up with David Baldacci (The Camel Club).

The funny thing was, Prissy was fully intent on bathing, with one leg hovering up around her ear, when Edith came on. Prissy stopped and sat there, legs akimbo, thru three or four songs. Perfectly still. It was totally weird. Is she french? Or does she just have great taste in music?

Prissy--1 p.m.

Something happened this morning that never, ever, ever happens. I over-slept. I woke up this morning and kept wondering when the radio would come on. Finally, I looked at it and saw it was 5:44! That's about 50 minutes after my regular time to get up! I showered, dressed dried my hair, started the car to let it warm, fed the cat, grabbed some lunch, put on make-up, brushed my teeth and made it to work by 6:50.

Clock Pictures, Images and Photos

Now my whole day is off kilter. Nothing seems right. Did I put on my deodorant? Perfume? Underwear? What is exactly in my lunch bag? And why am I so sleepy?