Archive for March, 2009

I like dogs.  I had one until he died tragically right before my daughter was born and I miss him dearly.  I say that so you will know that I am not just one of these old curmudgeons who hates all dogs.

Tonight about dusk, I went to my back door and looked outside.  I have a fairly large back yard as I sit on a double lot and there is also a 15′ easement around two sides.  My immediate next door neighbor has a chain link fence which boasts a gate into my yard almost all the way at the back.

Where was I?  Oh yes, I went to look out my back door and I saw the boy (he’s in his mid to late 20’s) standing in my yard with his labrador on the leash taking a dump in my yard!  (The dog was taking a dump, not the guy.)

I had some dental work done today and wasn’t feeling so swell and thought, perhaps, my eyes were playing tricks on me.  So I rubbed them and looked again and sure enough.  The guy had his dog on a leash and was letting it take a dump in my yard.

He intentionally walked his dog over to my yard to shit.  What the heck kind of person does that?  I understand that sometimes dogs get loose – it’s a fact of life.  But this jerk went to all the trouble to put the dog on a leash, come through the gate at the back of the yard where he thought I wouldn’t notice, and then stand there while the dog took a dump!

When I told Meat Galore, he thought I was imagining things at first.  I was like, “Who has a wild enough imagination to dream something like that up?!”  Sure enough, there’s dog crap in my yard back there as if this has been going on for some time.

I want to pick up the dog crap and put it on the guy’s front porch with a note that reads, “I believe this belongs to you.”  Or else, put it in front of the gate so that next time the guys does it, he steps in a big pile of dog crap.  Meat Galore wants to built an electric circuit that will close with the gate is open and makes contact with a wire.

I’m pretty laid back about my yard – I let the neighborhood kids play football in my front yard all the time.  I don’t get worked up if the kid who mows the lawn misses a spot.  I shrug it off if someone’s dog gets loose and runs around.  I’m just not all that concerned about it, but this is ridiculous!  I mean seriously.  Who does that?!


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I’m just a chatty chat chatter tonight, huh?  It might have something to do with the 6 glasses of sweet tea that I’ve consumed this evening!

When I came across “baking soda” in that last recipe I was typing, I was reminded of some of my misadventures in cooking.  Now keep in mind, I was always an adventurous child in the kitchen.  Fearless Mary!  (That’s what they call me, you know.)

The one and only time I made brownies from scratch, I was probably 12 or 13.  Somehow, some elbow macaroni had fallen into the flour canister.  But I did not realize it when I measured out my flour.  Then, I accidentally got tablespoon and teaspoon mixed up.  Which probably wouldn’t have been quite the disaster that it was had not the ingredient I was measuring been baking soda!  Oh my gosh!  Those were the worst brownies on earth!  Biting into one was like biting into a box of baking soda.  And that’s if you were lucky enough not to have gotten a piece that contained dried elbow macaroni!  My sister swears that it was years before she could eat brownies again.

Around that same time, we were on vacation in Colorado and my dad had caught a bunch of trout.  Which he fried.  Later that evening, I decided to make popcorn.  Since the cabins at the YMCA out there don’t have microwaves, I was forced to resort to stove top popcorn popping.  Well, I didn’t see any reason at all to have to wash a whole other pan (the cabins don’t have dishwashers either) so I just used the pan and oil that the fish had been cooked in.  (Yes, I was a greenie recycler before it was cool.)  Okay…have you ever had burned-popcorn-encrusted-trout?  If not, you don’t know what a culinary treat you are missing!  ha!  Yes, burned-popcorn-encrusted-trout is probably the best thing ever!

Unless you have fully (or even moderately) functioning tastebuds that is …

Then there were the great perfume and playdough disasters of 6th grade.  Did you know that nail polish remover has a fairly low flash point?  And that it does not actually produce a soothing fragrance?  I didn’t either.  Until my friend across the street and I poured a bottle of lemon-scented nail polish remover into a hot sauce pan and mixed it with marigold heads.  I blame her – she’s the one who said, “Perfume is mostly alcohol, so we need to find some alcohol to put in it.”

I do come by it honestly though.  One night when I was about 6 or 7, my mom was volunteering at Children’s Mercy Hospital and my dad (who is really one of the smartest people I know) was put in charge of making us macaroni and cheese.  From a box.  He proceeded to cook it just the right amount of time – until all the water had boiled off.  Biting into that stuff was like biting into a delicious piece of Velveeta chewing gum.  Deeeeee-lish!  We told him it was gross and his response was, “It can’t be that bad, just eat it.”  Of course, his tune changed shortly after his first bite!  I was 16 years old before I ever ate macaroni and cheese again.

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New Recipes – Week 3

Okay, so far, my new weekly recipes have caused violent reactions from my fearless readers.  Apparently, Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee bring out the homicidal tendencies in many of you.  How do you feel about Campbell’s Soup and Betty Crocker?

As I said in my Vintage Thingies Thursday post, I can’t seem to get a good picture of the cookbook.  So I will save the picture for another day.  My mom got me a Campbell’s Cooking With Soup Cookbook circa 1968.  There were several recipes that looked quite delicious!  I tried Glori-Fried Chicken for this week’s recipe.


2 pounds chicken parts (I used drumsticks)
2 tablespoons shortening (don’t see that much anymore!)
1 can condensed Cheddar cheese, cream of celery, chicken, or mushroom soup (I used reduced fat cream of chicken to try to mitigate the damage from frying drumsticks in Crisco)

In skillet, brown chicken in shortening.  Pour off fat.  Stir in soup.  Cover; cook over low heat 45 minutes or until tender.  Stir now and then.  Uncover; cook until desired consistency.  4 servings.

This came out extremely moist and tender.  I also added a little bit of McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning so it wouldn’t be bland.  I think I’ll make this again – but not often as it’s awfully fatty.  One note: I did not know what consistency I was supposed to desire, so I only cooked it uncovered for a couple minutes.

Since I’m on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet kick this week (can’t you tell?), I am also bringing you a recipe that I made from www.bettycrocker.com.  (It’s a cool site, if you haven’t been there, you should go.)

I even took a picture of it and, unlike all my other food pictures, it turned out really good!


1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Spanish peanuts
1 bag M&M’s
1 package Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (I used the king size package), cut up
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled (I used milk chocolate chips)

1 bag peanut butter chips (1 2/3 cups)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Heat oven to 350.  In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, and egg.  Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Pat dough in ungreased 12″ pizza pan.

Bake pizza 10 to 12 minutes or until edge is set.  Cool at least 30 minutes.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat all peanut butter sauce ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth.  Spread over cookie pizza.  Top with peanuts and candies.  Drizzle with melted chocolate chips.

Note:  The actual recipe did not call for M&M’s and Reese’s cups by name.  Instead, the recipe described those candies.  It took me about 5 minutes to figure out what the heck it was saying, so I just called them by what they are for you.  Aren’t I sweet?  Yes.  Yes I am.

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Okay, my mom gave me a really cool cookbook for Vintage Thingies Thursdays.  I took approximately 82 pictures of it, but not a one of them wasn’t blurry.  What the heck?  I’m sure it’s the lighting.  I’ll try again next week.  However, in a later post tonight, I’ll publish a recipe that I made from it.

So on to Plan B … which does not involve trying to take a decent picture of tonight.  I’m not a Facebook addict or anything like some people I could mention (you know who you are), but I do have fun catching up with old friends on there.  One of my old Brownie friends posted this picture of us.

She was sweet enough to email it to me.  I’m the second Brownie from the right – the tall one.  haha.  This was circa 1985-ish.  I’m not positive because I’m really bad with time.  But I think that’s about right.

I love the Brownie uniforms and it makes me kind of sad that the girls don’t really wear them anymore.

For more vintage stuff, go see Colorado Lady at http://coloradolady.blogspot.com

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This current recession that we are in has effected a lot of us.  My family has certainly been effected.  To that end, I have started making some changes around my house.  No more Wasteful Wanda for me!  No, sirree!

Take, for example, a loaf of Italian bread that I recently purchased.  We ate a little more than half of it and then it started to mold.  The old me would have thrown the bread out.  The new over-stimulated-recessed me did not.  I carefully scraped the mold off and put it in an old pill bottle (which the old me would have also thrown out) to use for administering relief to my husband’s cold.  Even though he doesn’t have a cold because, as he says, “Doh I do dot hab a cold.  I always talk like dis.  [sniffle sniffle].”  Because I am being frugal (and not slovenly), I am totally prepared for the impending national health care crisis.

Oh yeah and once the mold was scraped off, that bread was still perfectly and magically delicious.

Next week in my new series “How To Survive A Liberal Take-over”, I will discuss the proper way to maintain a fall-out shelter and how to be a good fall-out hostess.

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I think my all-time favorite scene from A Christmas Story is when Ralphie comes down in the Easter Bunny outfit that his Aunt Clara sent him and his father says, “He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny.”  That’s all I could think of when my mom gave me this little marshmallow bunny the other day.

Okay, that’s not totally true.  I also thought of one of my daily affirmations from Wry and Ginger (see the link to your right under “If you want to buy me a present).

My mom thought it would be funny to traumatize small children by putting these in their Easter baskets.  (This is also the woman who would take a whole raw chicken out of the package and make it dance for us – so traumatic childhood events are all relative.)

Personally, I have a much better plan for it.  My mom broke her arm on Wednesday and will have to have surgery on Monday.  Therefore, she has some really good pain killing medications.  I mean the good stuff.  I’m thinking that, after she takes one of those pills and falls asleep, I should sneak into her room and set up this bunny so that it’s staring at her when she wakes up.  hahahahaha.  That would be so funny!  But, alas!  I’m not that mean.  Oh that I were – the fun I’d have!

Apparently, these little apparitions are even more creepy in the Wal-Mart aisle where she found them.  They are all lined up and stare at you as you walk by.

I, on the other hand, prefer for my Easter candy to be slightly less disturbing.  Not much less though.

I think the chicken on the package is flipping me the bird (I often have delusions of farm animals flipping me the bird though, so my version of the story may be a little deluded).  Of course, when you turn the package over, you will see why this poor chicken is so distraught…

Yes, my friends, that is right.  You take off his head, put bubble gum into his neck and then he poops it out while walking without even having the benefit of having gotten to eat it first!  No wonder he is once again giving us the finger.

Yes, I know, I’m a sucker.  I paid 3 bucks for the stupid thing.  But it was so worth it just to share it with you all!

On a side note, it kind of cracks me up that it says “not for children under 4 years.”  I don’t know why.


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New Recipes – Week 2

Bear with me.  I know my faithful readers come here for more than just recipes.  I know it’s been nearly a week since I blogged and I know this will be 2 recipe posts in a row.  But don’t worry; I will make it up to you!  Tonight, I plan to do 2 posts.  Just for you, my faithful readers.  Because I love you and all that stuff.

This week, I tried a main course and a dessert.  I also started my cake decorating class, so I’m going to need to increase the old exercise it looks like!

The first recipe is from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking Made Light cookbook.  I think Sandra is great.  She’s very realistic in what people will do and in the ingredients she uses.  You should really check out her new magazine; it’s awesome.  Anyway, I made Southwest Chicken Pizza and it was awesome!

Here’s a picture of the cookbook:


olive oil cooking spray
1 package (6.5 oz) pizza crust mix
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed, drained, and smashed
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup tequila and lime flavored salsa by Newman’s Own (I just used my regular salsa)
1/2 cup Mexicorn, drained (I never knew this existed before – I totally heart it!)
1/4 cup shredded fat-free Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
2 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1 cup premium chunk chicken breast, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (I left this out since my salsa has cilantro in it already)
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine pizza crust mix and beans.  Stir in hot water until mixture is well moistened.  Beat 20 times to form dough.  Cover and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Using floured fingers, press dough into a 12 inch circle on prepared baking sheet.  Spread salsa evenly over dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Top with Mexicorn, Monterey Jack cheese, Mexican cheese blend, chicken, cilantro, and onion.

Bake pizza in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

I got the dessert from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Desserts cookbook.  Because chocolate covered Macadamia nuts are one of my very favorite candies, I tried the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark.  It is super-good but also super-rich.  A little piece goes a loooooong way.


2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels (I used milk chocolate)
2 cups white vanilla milk chips (I used white chocolate)
2/3 cup Macadamia nuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Line 9×13 cookie sheet with waxed paper, allowing 2 inches of paper to hang over sides.  Melt 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate morsels in microwave on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until smooth.  Pour melted semisweet chocolate onto prepared sheet and spread to cover entire surface to form 1 even layer.

Melt 1 3/4 cups of white chips in microwave on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until smooth.  Drizzle melted white chips over semisweet chocolate layer.  Using toothpick or skewer, swirl melted chocolates together, creating a marbled effect.  Sprinkle with nuts and remaining semisweet chocolate and white chips.  Gently press toppings into melted chocolate.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm.  Remove waxed paper from chocolate.  Cut or break chocolate into bite-size pieces.

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