Thursday, June 28, 2012

You can prevent forest fires but you can't prevent stupid.

For the last week I've been really enjoying my backyard...as well I should...because most every other place here in the west is dry and bursting into flame.  I'm back here now enjoying the odors of my neighbor burning grilling meat more than likely slathered in barbecue sauce.  Amazingly, my other neighbor is not blowing all her cigarette smoke out of her back door because it finally got hot enough for her to turn on her central air.  She smokes Camels.  I'm sure of it.

So, for the moment, the air is sweet and lovely, but it's still dry, and the population has been warned to not engage in activities that cause Smokey the Bear to have panic attacks.

The weather lady on my favorite news channel (the one that is on in the afternoon and not the one that I like to call Squarehead Weatherpants because she has a geometric hairdo) said that there were around 420 fires in my area and that 393 of them were caused by humans.

She did not make a note of how many of those 393 fires were an accident and which ones were caused by dumb humans.  My guess is that more than half were caused by the dumb sort and now my home town is breathing in carcinogenic levels of smoke and ash because them.



I have no tips for my readers and other hangers on about how to prevent fires except for one.  That is, don't cause really hot things to touch dry tinder-like things in the out of doors, even if you think you are the smartest and most fire responsible individual on God's less than green Earth.

Next week my family goes camping in the Nevada high desert.  It'll be dry but I promise, we will be careful.  We have to be.  There are no emergency services for 200 miles.  No cell phone reception either.  Plenty of donkeys though.  Our campfires will be small, in designated campfire receptacles, with two water filled five gallon buckets nearby at the ready.

If Northern Nevada explodes, it won't be my fault.

Blame that one on my neighbor.  The temps will go down eventually.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We grow up so fast.

I started this blog when my youngest child was only a bit over two months old.

Today he turns seven.

Time, it's flying.  This blog has seen me through spit up, blown out diapers, first steps, first words, crying it out, potty training, preschool, kindergarten and upwards to the graduation of my oldest son from high school.  You've seen me through tubal ligation, hormonal upheaval, hair growth and hair lossboredom, depression, lossfire, earthquake, crap jobssilliness, lovecrushes on funny looking celebrities, and all kinds of minutia.

Have I remembered the world outside my house?  Have I remembered politics, philosophy and pop culture? 

I hope so, I needed all three to decorate the Captain America cake my kid has requested.




Happy birthday baby. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just like Dad!

In many ways I am like my father. Like him, I'm hairy. Wait. Forget that. Like him, I am not happy unless I'm dreaming of some kind of home improvement project.

Many of my home improvement dreams have been realized. I tore up my impractical white linoleum and laid ceramic tile in my kitchen and bathrooms, all by myself.  I took my unfinished laundry room, taped and mudded the walls, painted, laid down beige linoleum, all by myself.  I've installed many light fixtures.  I've installed many shelves and closet rods.  I've gardened.  I've power drilled.  I've removed paint and repainted.

Home improvement makes my DNA giddy.

This weekend I'm refinishing my counter tops.  This project has been on my mind for a couple years and my family is putting up with not having a kitchen for a couple of days.

This is before hours of sanding and rolling on stone epoxy:


...And this is me after:


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Let them eat cake...of doom!

On my personal Facebook I post photos of the desserts I make for family celebrations.  They are not professionally decorated desserts but I do my best.  My best is that they are delicious and fattening.  As such I give the photos end of the world titles like, "The Impending Puberty 13th Birthday Tiered Cake of Doom" and "The Triple Chocolate Middle Aged Birthday Bundt of Doom".

Just recently I posted this creation, the "Blueberry Cheesecake Graduation Trifle of Doom".
 




It's God in a bowl.  Or Armageddon.  Or both.  Cognitive dissonance at the end of a meal.

Enough of you have asked for a recipe that I have condescended to post it.  

In addition to the ingredients for the cake below, you'll need 16 oz (two bricks) of cream cheese, 1 quart heavy whipping cream, two cans of blueberry pie filling, loose fresh blueberries to garnish.  Optional, unflavored gelatin.

Step 1:  bake this the day before you require dessert:

BUTTER CAKE OF DOOM:

Mix:
  1 cup water
  1 cup melted butter (or two sticks...or you could use margarine but then you could not call it butter cake.)
  (If you want chocolate cake, at this point add 4 TB cocoa and 1 tsp cinnamon)

Add to this:
  2 cups all purpose flour
  2 cups sugar
  1 tsp salt  

Allow the mixture to cool somewhat and add:
  2 eggs
  1/2 cup buttermilk
  1 tsp vanilla  (real vanilla, not that fake crap.  Almond flavoring is lovely too.)
  1 tsp baking soda
  1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix thoroughly with a hand mixer.  This is supposed to be a thin batter.

Bake in a prepared 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  (Making cupcakes?  Bake this batter for 10.)

When baked, don't EAT IT like you know you want to.  Put a towel over it and let it sit overnight.  The more it sits the more moist it gets.  You'll want to leave out your cream cheese to soften too.

Step 2:  Cheesecake filling and other required goo:

Start with:
1 quart of heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla (REAL vanilla, fake is crap, CRAP!)
Enough granulated sugar to sweeten, probably around a quarter cup.
(If it will be a while until you serve this dessert, you'll want to stabilize the whipped cream.  You can do this by adding an envelope of unflavored gelatin dissolved in a bit of warm water then add to the whipping cream as you whip. )

Whip with your hand mixer or stand mixer this until you get good stiff peaks.  Do not mix until you get vanilla flavored sweet butter.

Divide your whipped cream into two equal portions.  Leave half in your mixing bowl.  Reserve the other half.

Mix until fluffy into half the whipped cream:
16 oz of softened cream cheese or two bricks. 
(You may also add some powdered sugar if you don't find this mixture sweet enough.  Or honey. or more sugar but you have to mix until the granules dissolve.)

Step 3:  Assemble your trifle:

In a large glass straight sided bowl, layer the following:

1 can of blueberry pie filling
1/2 of the pan of butter cake, cut into thin chunks, mostly covering the pie filling
The cream cheese mixture, smoosh it into all the crevices and spread smooth
1 can of blueberry pie filling
The other half of the pan of butter cake
The reserved whipped cream on top, dollop so it looks like you care
Garnish with fresh clean dry blueberries

Then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  People will cry when they eat this.  This dessert feeds a hell of a lot of people and with the exception of the fresh berries, is not at all healthy or "lite".


Self promoting Pinterest button here:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sell the Sizzle

Now that my husband and children are home all day long in the summer, the most oft asked question every day is, "What are we eating?"

To which I answer, "What'cha cookin?"

My husband is more likely to respond to this question with an actual food based answer.  He's happy to take over many of the cooking duties since his English and history teaching ass is not in the classroom.  Cooking food that he wants to eat is fun for him.  Fun for me too.  He puts in more effort than I feel is necessary to feed a family.  Except for special occasions, I'm over it for every meal of every single day for the rest of my liifffe-fff-faaahh.

Justin has learned none of his cooking skills from me.  He's learned them from television.  He's taken the advice of Guy Fieri to heart and cooked food with plenty of smoked meats, cheeses, and spices racier than dried flaked parsley.  Cooking shows are some of his favorites.

Just today we were watching a female chef prepare a nice thin piece of butterflied marinated flank steak.  Looked good to me.  Looked good to Justin too.  Only takes moments to prepare and throw on the table.

However, it was when the flank steak was being plated that the chef pronounced the death knell on her recipe for Justin.

She said her flank steak would be great to prepare for any Dad in your life for Father's Day.

You know, because men like steak. 

Even really cheap tough steak you have to marinate the hell out of so it seems special for a holiday honoring men.  Ooh the euphemisms you could pull out of that menu!

Justin stood, raised his fist and declared that if the menu on Father's Day included meat, it should be in the royal family of great meats.  Like bacon wrapped sirloin or a standing rib roast.  Cooked low and slow.  It should not be meat that requires any chewing before swallowing. 



I told him that flank steak, at the very least, was better than a golf or a necktie themed present.  The moment you become a Dad you suddenly acquire an obsession with the lie of your ball, right?  Or shame over your neck being naked.  Or presents that are manly colors, like forest green or midnight blue.

He agreed.  Golf and tie presents suck rocks.  That still doesn't forgive flank steak.

I said it wouldn't be enough of a dinner anyway.  There must be a side dish that says you love Dad.  My suggestion was a spinach salad sprinkled with cranberries and dry roasted almonds.  Healthy because Dads need to watch their ever expanding waistlines.  Heart health is important.

Incensed about salad, Justin suggested serving flank steak with a side of prostitute.

So, no one bother me this Sunday morning. I'm going to be doing a hell of a lot of marinating.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Come home with momma now...

This is my oldest son and the one time I caught him on camera without a huge smile on his face.  This is before graduating so you couldn't call him an official adult yet but afterwards you couldn't wipe the joy off his whole body.

We've given him a laptop for his efforts.  It's the most powerful computer in my house. My son was thrilled.  If that computer could consent he'd enter into a civil union with it.  If he takes it for granted it will eventually divorce him and demand support for all the flash gaming programs he's downloaded.

Now onto the work of family transition. 

In other words, "Hey kid, go get a job."

Or in additional other words, "I still get to tell you what to do until you start paying your own bills."  This is awkward for two adults and especially so when one has given birth to the other.

I'm not at all against a graduation gap though.  He's earned that.  It's peaceful when the manchild is in his room with the door closed cuddling with his warm toasty non-judgemental laptop.  Soon enough the Navy recruiter will show up again and take him where laptops cannot go.  He might find a substitute laptop just outside of the gates of the base but I've warned him about the viruses a young sailor might get that way.

Next on the to-do list to adulthood...grabbing that driver's license.

Where we live there is no pressing need to have one.  Everywhere a manchild needs to go is a short walk or bike ride away.   If the manchild wants to get a job selling giant sodas. e-cigarettes and showers to truckers down the street though, he needs valid state issued identification.  Since we live rural, the law doesn't require driver's education classes, so they don't care who you con into teaching you how to drive as long as you pass the proper tests. 

Did I mention that I live right on the Bonneville Salt Flats?  World famous for land speed motoring type records because the flats are so damned flat!  Not a tree for over forty miles! 

I am so gonna teach that kid to gun it...gun your parent's mini-van hardcore.  Turn  KC & The Sunshine Band all the way up and get to livin' that dream.

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