Friday, December 31, 2010

(This image found here.)

Happy New Year, Everybody!

I hope this year holds many wonderful events and great surprises for all!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Progress" in Advertising

(This image found here.)

(may not be work-appropriate)

Remember the day when a tampon commercial was a bit shocking?

Well, those were the good old days!  A time of innocence that has ceased to exist. 

Presenting a new era in television "soap-selling!"

And if that wasn't enough, how about this one?

Oh, for the days when we were only dealing with those annoying male enhancement ads hawked by that creepy guy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Believe it or not, I'm not cooking today!  Weird, huh!

Gobble, gobble!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I've Got Some Catching Up To Do!

I have been running around like a chicken with her head on fire.  I'm getting ready to go see my kids, and to meet my new grand-daughter!  Yay!

I thought that I'd try to wedge in another food post before I head south, so here goes!

(BTW; I blame Philip for starting me on this mad quest!)       ;)

I've been craving KFC, but I decided long ago I wouldn't set foot in their establishment again after 4 or 5 very disappointing meals there in a row.  That and the fact that they charge way too much mu-la for their "product!"  Besides, home-made is so much better!  So I started to research and experiment.  I knew that I could easily figure out most of the seasonings, since I do that sort of thing by smell, so I wasn't too wadded up about that.  I just had to figure out the method.  Google is my friend!

Here are a few helpful sites on this subject:
At  Always a good place to start!
At  I really liked this site overall.  I'll be back for more ideas.  *
At Beachloverkitchen.  This was actually the most helpful, but all of the sites held very helpful hints.

Any-hoo; be very careful to follow all instructions from your pressure cooker manufacturer should you decide to do this at home!

I begin by soaking a whole cut up fryer and six extra thighs in three cups of buttermilk.  If you don't have buttermilk, you can use whole milk and add one teaspoon of white vinegar for every cup of milk.  Just let it rest for at least ten minutes before you add the chicken.  Marinate it overnight and until you want to start it for the evening meal.

Next, remove the chicken to a tray or platter.  Beat one large egg and add it to the buttermilk mixture, whisking it to blend. 

Set aside.  In a plastic bin with a tight lid, or a large paper bag add two or three cups of self rising flour, a tablespoon of herbs de provence, 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon of bouquet garni, 1 teaspoon of onion powder and garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  I always add a little pinch of nutmeg or allspice to this.  It gives it that something extra! 

(Shh! It's a secret!)    ;)

After that is ready, sift about 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1/4 cup of potato flour in a sheet cake pan. 

Do a preliminary coating of the chicken. Don't be afraid to really press that flour into the skin.  Trust me:  it makes the egg and subsequent flour dip and dredging stick to the chicken so much better.  Isn't that why we want fried chicken anyway?  For the batter!  Right!

This is how it should look before you dip it in the egg and buttermilk mixture.

Once you've coated the chicken well, set aside on a rack, whisk the egg/milk once again for good measure.  Dip the pieces into the mixture and add them to the bin or bag--what ever method you feel most comfortable with. Shake them up very well, making sure to secure the top tightly so as not to have a mess of flour and stuff clouding your cucina!  I know this from experience.  You might want to just do a few at a time in order to not crowd them.  That would result in inefficient coating and crappy batter syndrome!*  We can't have that!  Place the coated pieces on a baking rack until all are shrouded in a wonderful dusting.

Now it's time for the frying!  This is when everyone in the house gets impatient!  (It smells good.)

Place your pressure cooker on the stove and turn on the heat to medium high.  Add your frying agent(s).  I like a blend of canola oil, olive oil, a half stick of butter, and 3-4 tablespoons of lard.  We're not talkin' health food here, folks!  It's FRIED CHICKEN  for Cripe's sake!  Now that we've established that, let's get a move on.  I'm hungry!  ;)

Once the frying mixture has reached the proper temperature, which can be determined by sprinkling a bit of flour into the oil.  If it sizzles; it's ready!  (I love this tip from Beachloverkitchen!)

Now you can begin frying your pieces 2-3 at a time, again avoiding over-crowding.  Brown them pretty well on all sides, and alternate to the baking rack and continue on until all of the chicken has been browned to your heart's desire!

After all the chicken is browned nice and crispy, and transferred to the rack, take up the grease (because by now it truly looks disgusting!) and discard by pouring it into an old large cottage cheese container or some such thing.  Let it cool overnight before tossing it into the bin so it doesn't wreak havoc on your trash bag.  Not a pretty picture!  Wipe out the pressure cooker with a few paper-towels.  Next add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 of an onion, rough chopped.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Place the rack for the pressure cooker into the
bottom of the pan.  Bring the broth to a boil  Add the basket to the pot on top of the rack, to keep the chicken out of the broth.  Layer the chicken into the basket.

Position the lid of the pressure cooker on to the pot, making sure the seal is successful.  Bring up to the proper pressure and cook for about 11 to 13 minutes, depending on your altitude. 

The results are very good.  I need to tweak it a bit, but all in all;  it tasted great!  If you prefer a crunchier crust, just place in a sheet pan on a baking rack in a 385 degree F. oven for a few minutes until the desired crispiness has been achieved.  Just baby-sit it closely because it won't take long!

There!  That's my easy pressure fried chicken in 50 easy steps!  :)  I really need to get a life!

I served them up with a nice salad and some scalloped potatoes with bacon.

Recipe for that at some future date.  The only thing missing is some wonderful biscuits!

I know, I know!  Vikki, meet  the elliptical!  Remember to blame Philip!  ;}

*(crappy batter syndrome is a horrifying event wherein your batter does not stick to your fish, poultry, or steak-fingers in a consistent manner.  oooh:  steak-fingers!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In Memory Of...

Been a bit marny today.  One year ago, I lost my beloved Joe.  He was one of the most intuitive pets I had ever owned.  We had him from the time Karl and I got together, so adjusting to life without him has been odd.  I have vivid dreams that make me feel his presence is so real that I awake as I reach out to touch him.  I know that this sounds somewhat looney, but it has happened SO many times that I really have a hard time discounting it.  I miss him dearly.

I'm thankful to have my other little loves in my life, but he was and always shall be extremely special to me.

Sorry to use the same pic of him, but I lost most of the photos that I had of Joey when I hadn't backed up my files.  Don't make that mistake; it sucks! 

Anyway, if you have that wonderful pet in your life, give them a big hug in honor of Mr. Joseph.  For  me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Now Present Edith Miriam Baber!

Mom and Grandpa were there too, as well as Dad, and a host of others!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Random Bits: It's What's For Dinner!

Came across this little nugget while perusing my reader today.  You can too, if you go to NPR's First Listen.
I find it exciting that two of my favorite producer/performer/musician/songwriters are collaborating on this one, due out at the end of the month.  Thanks to NPR, Neil Young, and Daniel Lanois for allowing us the opportunity to have a sneak-peek, so to speak!  (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

In other news, still no grand baby!  I'm sure that no-one is more anxious than Michele and Jason, and Judy, as well.  She is embracing the idea of being a big sister.  I can't wait to see them all!  Here is a favorite shot of her that will just have to tide me over 'til then.

She has grown so much since this was taken, but I still think that she looks adorable!

I had a craving for butter beans all week-end and finally got around to making a huge pot of them today.  You know me, I can only seem to cook for an army!  Thank goodness we have a chest freezer.  I baked some cornbread sticks and mini-muffins to accompany them.  To quote one of my favorite blog friends Ralph, "T'was guuud!"

***Warning:  Gratuitous food pic follows!***

  Ooooh:  and lest we forget!  Here's one of Mr. Gibb!  Happy Tuesday, everybody!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Help 'Em Out

Here's a cause that's close to my heart.  I used to work for a veterinarian, and later for an animal humane association.  I've seen many pets that could use a hand-up, and many shelters can certainly benefit from having a consistant food supply.  Most of the animals that have joined my family have been rescues, and they brought much love into my life. 

This project is fairly simple, and all it cost is a bit of time on the innertubes; something that we're all doing anyway.  Right ?  Right!

 For every blog that posts about the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive through September 19th, PEDIGREE® will donate a bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide.

Thursday, September 16 through Sunday, September 19,  the Pedigree BlogPaws bloggers will host a Blog Hop, to help raise awareness for the “Write a post, help a dog” effort.  So easy, even I can do it!

Just go here and follow the instructions.  Be sure to link back to Life With Dogs, because that's how it works.  Okay?  Okay!

Besides, it's free!  We all like free!

There is a FaceBook page here that if you click on like, a free bowl of food is donated to the cause as well. 

So head out and help.  I just found out about this today, and today is the deadline, so hurry!  I know, I know!  I'm always late to the party; but better late than never.

Do it for guys like Joe.  Or for the little loves in your life.  You won't regret it! 

Have a great Sunday!

Sunday Serenade

Time once again for the semi-bi-monthly-once-in-awhile-when-I-remember Sunday Serenade.  David Baerwald is absolutely brilliant with "Stranger."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Looniness

How do you like to spend a long week-end?

I'd say most folks like to indulge in a bit of recreation, perhaps catch up on some movies, maybe get the garden ready for next year, go clubbing with some little white balls, possibly bask in the sun's waning warmth as it kisses Summer adieu. Not me! No sir!

I pass the hours doing an uber-clean on our (hopefully not-defunct) fridge! "Gasp! you say. Does the adventure never end at Vikki's house?!!" Oh no, my friends. I'm living on the edge!

Evidently, I left the refrigerator door ajar the night before.   (your door is a jar? NO!  it was cracked open! Can you tell I'm off my meds? Yes? I thought so!) 

Anyhoo; yesterday A.M. we discovered my slip-up. After looking up solutions on-line, and tossing much food stuff, we unplugged Ol' Bessie and transferred what seemed okay to the beer mini fridge down stairs.

That's when the craziness commenced. I had been dreading the task of doing my bi-yearly super-swab on the darned thing, so it was pretty grimy, I hate to admit. The ever-so-lovely design of our less than one butt cucina means that you must pull out the whole contraption in order to remove the shelves and drawers from inside; as you have to be able to swing the doors all the way on the hinges to facilitate this action. I rationalized my procrastination because I couldn't extract the ice box from its' cubby hole.

Man; there were some major UFO's inside!  (unidentified fuzzy objects)

So, today I attacked that baby with gusto!  I scrubbed and wiped and cleaned and shined and polished!  She looks brand spankin' new!

We just plugged her back in and trekked down to the Wal*Mark to purchase a thermometer.  The freezer side is working like gang-busters.  The other side; not so much.

Why work so hard on something that may not work?  Well, anyone who knows me knows the answer to that one!  If we have to have someone repair it, or toss it; I can't have anyone thinking I would ever let anything in my house get to that stage of ickiness!  It was also an exercise in futility hope.

Here's the finished product, for what it's worth.

                                                                Isn't it gorgeous?
                                                        Happy refrigeration, people!

Friday, August 27, 2010

So; just to let you know. I'm okay and doing well after revealing one of my worst secrets. I feel a sense of release. I know that shedding light on a subject, and some examination is always good.

Does keeping that secret make one suseptible to certain calamities and afflictions?

I was cohearsed that revealing this truth would result in the death of loved ones or myself. Classic abuser mentality.

I am taking charge of my future. He will not continue to keep me silent. I'm no longer willing to let him keep me in the shadows. I thought that my anger and disgust towards him would subside if he was to ever pass; but I just felt like I had picked off the scab.

Time to allow the wound to close again.

I have no intention of letting him win again.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

How To Put A Name To This?

(This image found here.)

One of my earliest memories involves meeting my mother's older brother when I was about four years old. He was in his thirties, and for some unknown reason, he was very interested in me. Next to the dishwasher; by my grandmother's kitchen window on Kiowa Street. Warm sun rays streaming in the window. I remember the hair on the back of my neck standing up straight, and a tightening in the pit of my stomach.

A gut feeling; if you will.

Forty five years ago.

Several encounters in between.

Fragmented bits of recollection.

Flash forward to now. I am forty-nine. I drink too much. I can't shut my mind off at bedtime. I have closed off most of my wants and desires and my confidence is non-existent. I used to be able to bury this crap. I thought I was "dealing" with it. Getting over it. Moving on somehow. But this stuff keeps foaming to the surface.

It doesn't help that my father worked on the road. *Or that my mother felt that I must have done something to provoke illicit desires on her brother's part. I was just too irresistible. At four years of age. I know logically that is not possible, but in my child-heart; it's my fault.

To make matters worse, when we talk now of what I endured; my mother insists that I should have told of all the times he came into my room under the guise of a restroom break while they were all playing cards: the music up loud.

Selective memory on her part. I told her more than once.*

Then after several tries, I just gave up on the notion of anyone ever believing me. Or helping me. Why bother. I wasn't worth the effort, obviously.

I did tell her, but never my dad. I was too ashamed. I waited many years to tell her, because he had said that they would never believe me. That he would kill them or me--what ever suited his frigging mindset at the time. Totally textbook for a pedophile. I was too horrified to think otherwise.

Last winter, she called to inform me that he had passed away. Of liver cancer. Like I was supposed to feel some kind of something for the son-of-a-bitch. And her for her "loss." My thought was, "I'm supposed to feel what?"

What sucks is a part of me has guilt for feeling nothing of the passing of another human being. It goes against everything that I believe in. Liver cancer is a terrible way to die. I would normally feel awful for anyone suffering this sort of anguish. Not this time. I have a bit of trouble reconciling that with myself.

There was so much more between my first encounter with this bastard; and my last.

I know that forgiveness is freedom, but how do you reach that pinnacle?

I can't seem to quash the shame, the self-hatred.

Can I ever get over wondering of "What did I do to warrant this treatment?"

It still influences every day of my life!

How many bad choices have I made due to this history? Can I get a grip, and do better, instead of trying to numb the feeling of inadequacy?

I hope so. I'm not sure how a person sorts through something like this; but I must find a way.

If and when I do; I vow to help others who have been through similar situations.

I'd better get to work.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Native American Tacos

I was goofing off on Face book the other day, and someone mentioned Navajo Tacos. We all know what happens when a craving is planted around here. I had to make some!

They're quite easy to make. You just need a few items.

1-2 16oz. cans of Ranch style beans. I usually make my own version from a recipe that Sis taught me years ago; but for the sake of ease, this will do.

1/2-1 chopped white onion.

1/2-1 tsp. chopped garlic.

1-2 lbs. ground beef seasoned for tacos.

1-2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated.

1-2 cups shredded ice burg lettuce.

1 large red tomato, diced.

4-8 pieces of fry bread.*

Break up the ground beef into a large cast iron skillet heated to medium high heat, stirring and breaking into crumbles as you go. Add the onions and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in your favorite seasonings for tacos. At this point; I add my favorite green chile, and about 2 table spoons of good salsa. Reduce the heat to simmer. Place the beans into a small sauce pan, heating them up on a medium setting. Let these two pans simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until nice and warm. Turn off the heat and set into a warm oven until you finish with the bread.

*Recipe for fry bread found here. I tweaked it a little by rounding up the baking powder rather than leveling it off to puff the bread up a bit more. This one tastes like the fry bread I remember from home.

Have everything ready before you start the bread so you can assemble plates right after the fry bread is done.

I just sprinkle a bit of grated cheese over the bread, and spoon a layer of beans, then a layer of meat. Add another healthy handful of cheese, and distribute lettuce and diced tomatoes on top. Serve with a good dollop of sour cream and a nice side of salsa.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday Snack and Sunday Serenade

This is by far the best sandwich I have ever had the pleasure of eating! Thanks to Dave and Sarah for introducing us to it.

Such an easy thing to make, and simple ingredients! I'm sure it can become one of your go-to's as well.

Fry up a mess of wonderful applewood smoked bacon. Be generous! You can never have TOO much bacon! Trust me on this! ;) Next, you'll need a good wedge of brie. Let it soften a bit and slice it in rather thick portions. Then, peel and slice thin a Granny Smith apple.
Now, divide and slice open a nice baguette. Brush with a light layer of unsalted butter or olive oil. Toast in the broiler or on the grill, just slightly.

Spread the brie slices on the toasted bread and add the bacon and apple slices. Add a smear of your favorite apricot preserves, and viola!


And now, a bit of nostalgia.

(This image found here.)

Happy What's Left of Sunday!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rainy Days and Sundays.

(This image found here.)

It's hard to believe, but another week has sped past me; again. I don't know what's gotten to the clock these days. As far as I'm concerned, time can just give it a rest!

The rain could stand a vacation as well. All of my plants are so soggy and water-logged, they may just give up the ghost for the summer. Send a little sunshine my way, if you have any to spare! Wished it worked like that. ;)

To make up for the lack of heat in these parts, I made green chile cheese burgers and calabacitas with a poached egg for brunch. I love this and I should have taken a picture, but we scarfed it before I thought to do so.

Found this pic here at Fork Fingers Chopsticks by Andrea. She has a great site with printer friendly recipes and wonderful photos to get you going!

I use a different method than pictured here for my calabacitas, but the core ingredeints are similar. Sliced zuccinis, chopped Hatch green chiles, onion, red bell pepper and garlic, a handful of frozen white corn, and shredded sharp cheddar. Start by drizzling olive oil in a hot cast iron skillet, and brush a light coating on the top side of the squash. Place them in a single layer in the skillet, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow them to brown nicely. Reduce the heat to medium, then turn and brown other side. You want the out side lightly crisp; the inside tender.

In another skillet, melt a teaspoon of butter with a teaspoon of olive oil. Saute remaining ingredients (except the cheese--save that for later, but hide it from K.-- he'll eat it before you know it's gone!) and add a bit more salt and pepper. Put a bit of a crisp on this mixture, and remove from heat.

Place the zuccini slices on a serving platter and distribute the saute mixture over top. Sprinkle the cheese generously, and melt under a broiler or in the microwave just slightly, taking care not to cook the squash any further: tender=good, mushy not so much!

(Image found here) at GetTheWheatOut from Bess. She has some great ideas for wheat free cuisine.

Serve that up with a nice juicy green chile cheese burger, and who needs a bun?

Hat tip to Greg over at Black Iron Blog. He gave me the inspiration for teh burger!

And now for the serenade.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Murphy's Law and The Sunday Serenade

(This image found here.)
Don't you just hate it when Murphy comes to visit?

I had a busy day yesterday with errands and cooking and stuff (i.e. catching a cat-nap since I can't seem to sleep past 3:00 A.M. anymore!)

Anyhoo; I needed to put a few extra miles on the Jeep in order to get IM'd after the battery was disconnected in replacing a burned out "check engine" light. As if pulling the dash to replace said bulb wasn't enough torture! (Okay, okay! Torture for K. He is my Superman!) ;) FYI; disconnecting the battery resets the computer that the IM guys hook-up their little diagnostic thingy to your ve-hic-le in order to exhort--I mean complete the procedure that allows you to register a current license with the DMV. The IM program has been repealed here in Alaska, but does not take effect for 18 months. Many bureaucratic hoops must be navigated to satisfy the gov'ment to ensure that they can milk this program as long as possible; even though EPA Air Quality Standards have been surpassed for the Anchorage Bowl. I am all for being a custodian of the environment, but friggin' red tape: not so much!

Sorry to rant, but I had been to that little Kwik*Lube place three times, and it was wearing a bit thin! ;)

On to The Monsters Of Folk.

(That one found at this site.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Serenade

(This image found here.)

I haven't heard this one in a while. The video is chilling and beautiful at the same time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Post Va-Ca Post!

My Dear Inner-Webs;

Please forgive me for being away so long! We had a glorious week with Sarah and her honey-bunch David!!!

I can't believe how much activity we packed into one week. It's amazing! It's incredible! (Inside joke that reminded me of this skit.)

We ferried to Valdez and sent them kayaking to Columbia Glacier; then drove back to Anchorage to take in a few sites. Of course, I left my camera at home for this leg of their trip. What a dumb-a**! K. has some good pics from that time, so I will nag--I mean encourage him to put some up at his place.

We also went to Seward. It was wonderful! Saw this guy as we were fueling up.

You know how you always intend to visit local attractions on your own, without guests;but never do? The Alaska Sea life Center at Seward is one of those special places. Had we not had company, I wonder if we would actually do any of those things! We splurged for the "Behind The Scenes Tour," and it was so worth it! I used to think I should become a marine biologist, and I love animals of all sorts. I was in hog heaven, if you will! We lucked out and were able to view a baby otter, as well as seeing all of the facilities and labs and met some of the staff. They do excellent work there. That would be my dream job, but they have this silly requirement about a degree and all. Go figure!

That is Woody. He's a 27 year old Stellar Sea Lion with the googly eyes! All the better to see you! Very stately and he loved to "work" for food; if you know what I mean! Here's another.

I forgot to mention that we saw a momma moose and her twin moosen!

The Botanical Gardens in Anchorage are very foresty and mysterious. It's like walking through the deep woods with little pocket gardens popping up here and there.

We then made the drive through Turnagain Arm

and stopped in Indian at the Forget-Me-Not Nursery. I'm not sure if she still has it up for sale, but if I had a million dollars or so...

All in all, in the famous words of Diane; I'm tired!

I guess it's time to get back to our boring little lives! :(

And now for the gratuitous puppy up-date shot!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Like a fine wine...

I'm getting older. One year older, in fact.

What do I have to show for it, you ask?

This big rock!

Which was attatched to this!

AAAnd resulted in this!

Sucks gettin' old! ;)

Now for the Sunday Serenade!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sunday Serenade

This pic found here.

A fun one for a (hopefully) sunny day.

Sorry that I've been so scarce around the inner-tubes lately. We're trying to spruce up the yard and house before guests later this month. :)