Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free At Last!

Yay! Birthday time has ended! My mom's birthday was last night, thus bringing to an end the carnival of crazy. (In case you didn't know, my mom, both kids and I were born in the first two weeks of July. ..different years.) I'm so happy to not be making a cake today!!

Random things:

1. I had my first ever real martini on Sunday. (Clarification - I've had a BLT-ini, made with bacon vodka, and a lemon fizz martini, which I loved until the bartender sent a fresh one to me with the message "Sorry! The server grabbed it away before I put the gin in...")

Guess what? Martinis stink! (To me, anyway.) But it is true what Video Bob said - by the second half of the drink it tastes better.

2. You would not BELIEVE how big the marshmallows are these days. These are super gigante marshmallows from the Mexican supermarket. Dang O'Dell - that's large!

3. I heard an eight-year-old scream "Fire in the hole!" whilst rearing back a pitch containing said gigante marshmallows. Sigh. And when is your dad coming to pick you up from this play date, young lad?

Alright, Lone Reader, I must work. I have three grants due this week. Sigh. Keep your eyes on the prize and a marshmallow in each fist.

Love, Velma

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Best Bacon EVER & Other Food Notes

If you find yourself anywhere near the Saint Paul Farmer's Market, get yourself some Chase Brook Natural Farm bacon. DANG! It's some serious good bacon - almost like tiny little bacon steaks. Everyone in the house loved it. Plus you can feel better about it because it's a small family-run farm that practices humane, low stress farming and does rotational grazing. (See? I read my Michael Pollan books!) One cooking note: Because the bacon is thick and pretty lean, it does take a little more time and a little lower temp to cook to perfection.

The gluten-free Devil's food cake mix from Betty Crocker was good! It is a smidge sweeter than a regular cake, so I made a cream cheese frosting with a little less sugar and a tablespoon of buttermilk added. Buy two boxes if you're making a layer cake - each box makes a pretty tall 9" layer. I also lined the bottom of the pans with parchment circles, just 'cause I didn't want to take the chance of a crumbly cake for a party of 12. As mentioned before, the flavor improves the second day, so make it in advance. I layered them with raspberries and it was dang tasty and not noted by anyone to be gluten-free.

Costco has organic strawberries!! Yay!

The Lund's by my work has the most remarkable selection of salads and sandwiches. One really has to restrain oneself. (By looking at the price tags...)

On the list of things I'm loving right now: quinoa, fennel, Surly Furious and you, Lone Reader!

Birthday Mania, Part 26

Today I am making the lego-filled Lego piƱata. Tomorrow, the Lego cake. This, Lone Reader, is the last year of the home parties. The kids are getting too cool for this home-spun fun. Today I'm sad about that, but ask me on Saturday afternoon and I'll be delighted.

He's Drivin' That Big Weinermobile in the Sky...

On Monday, Oscar Mayer died. He was 95. Whatever is in the hot dogs can't be THAT bad for you...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

OMG! It's my birthday!

In honor of the anniversary of my birth, I am again going to start the bacon vodka. Tonight, I cook 1/2 lb. of bacon and add to an insanely large container of Svedka vodka obtained from the font of all things large, Costco.

If you play your cards right, Lone Reader, I'll ask you over for a beautiful BLT-ini in three weeks. Yum. I think it'll be even better than last time, if only because I'm gonna throw some peppercorns in the vodka as well. Plus, tomatoes are in season, which will make the tomato water that much better. (I must add a note of caution here: the tomato water was the most onerous part of this project.)

Luv Ya, Lone Reader!

No More Regal Beagle for You.

Joyce DeWitt (of Three's Company and the following two decades of bitterness) was arrested on the Fourth of July for a DUI. Was she driven over the edge by the death of Michael Jackson? Was it perhaps the news that the latest Suzanne Somers cruise is filling up fast? Or perhaps a little too much celebrating about the latest Senator from MN? We may never know.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Birthday Marathon continues...

Well, Lone Reader, I’m getting ready for my daughter’s friend party. We’re going to Vertical Endeavors, a huge indoor rock climbing place. It’s hard to have a birthday so close to the Fourth of July…there are inevitably a lot of cancellations and missing RSVPs due to travel, etc. I’m paying for eight 11-year-old girls to climb and I think only 4 will be there. Sigh…it’s just money, right?

Yesterday we had a lovely Fourth with all the traditional accoutrements…Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest on ESPN, followed by a cookout and then fireworks and frivolity at my sister’s house. Joey Chesnut not only kept the title and the Mustard Belt by beating Takeru Kobayashi, but he also broke the world record by eating 68 dogs in the 10-minute regulation time. Afterwards he said he thought he could've hit 70 (the Holy Grail of competitive doggery) but the buns weren't going down easily. Haven't we all been there, my friend.

I DIDN’T go see Elvis Costello at Taste of MN last night. Sad. I know he was counting on me. Perhaps he’ll show up at the rock climbing today. If he does, he's free. (Diana Krall can pay.)

This coming week I have three parties to host and four grants to write. Dang O’Dell, the first two weeks of July kick my fanny. On the plus side, our new dog is a delight. His name is Emmett and he is too fine. Now if I can teach him to make birthday cakes or write grants, we’ll be golden.

In the interest of playing cupid, I post this from the Twin Cities’ craiglist ‘Missed Encounters’:

Judas Priest on Friday - m4w - 41 (Shoreview)
You: Black halter, Levi shorts, long black curls, 23 years old. Enjoying your very first Priest show with lots of Photos.
Me: Older concert-veteran with the Danzig shirt, goofy beard and the set-list on my phone.

Really had a great time seeing you enjoy the show so much. Your excitement and enthusiasm were catchy, and I felt 20-years younger. Thanks! You told me the name of a band to check out their Priest cover, and I've forgotten it...

Sir, if you’re 41 and a 23-year-old speaks to you, consider that your date.

Off to make a chocolate buttercream frosting…I'll NOT be making the cake pictured above.

Keep hope alive! Joey Chestnut rules, Kobayashi drools!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

UPMC (Update after a Pomegranate Mojito and Cake)

Well, I've survived birthday number one, Lone Reader. My daughter's actual birthday was today. Her friend party is on Sunday. The family party is on Monday, my birthday is on Wednesday, my son's birthday is on Friday next week and his friend party on Saturday. Holy diabetic coma.

I tested a gluten-free cake mix today - I was in Byerly's and saw a Betty Crocker devil's food cake mix. I want to make a gluten-free cake for the family party because I have a niece with gluten intolerance, and wouldn't it be nice to not have to have her bring a separate dessert? Anyway, I made the cake and it was okay. I don't really like chocolate cake or cake mix cakes, so I guess, given that, it was fine. I'm gonna doctor it up with fresh raspberries, buttermilk and cream cheese frosting.

I'm also going to begin a new batch of bacon vodka. The BLT-inis shall be fine - this is a better time of year for the tomato water.

I'm not going to see Elvis Costello this weekend at the Taste of Minnesota. Here's the deal: I'm a little leary of seeing someone whose music I love in a festival setting. Ya know - a sea of drunks, none of whom give a bleep about anything except a drug-induced stupor and their crazy loud friends. (You'd think she'd be used to be used to this from her upbringing. - Ed.) It makes me sad to miss my beloved Elvis, but we'll always have that special moment behind Memorial Hall. Sigh. And again, I'm legal now, Mr. Costello.

Missing you, Lone Reader...why don't you call anymore? Is it the many bizarre texts I've sent? I'm back on my meds, so no worries. In the words of one of my internet stalkers, "If you send me a picture for my cell phone, I promise I'll leave you alone."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Let Us Eat Cake!

It's funny how fast the backpedal begins - during November's election, we heard the chant of "60! 60!" as the magic number needed in the Senate. Now that we've got it (thank you Big Al!) the spin goes the other way. A story in the Huffington Post quotes an anonymous Democratic operative as saying, "Sixty is an imaginary number." Dude! We just got our Senator after 8 months of handwringing, vote-counting agony. Let us have our glory for more than a few hours!

Here's a link to Steve Martin dressing like Michael Jackson, dancing to 'Billy Jean'. Way weird.

One of the WORST songs to have stuck in your head? WIlson Phillips "Hold On for One More Day" Sweet Jesus, help me.

Antiques Roadshow just had its first $1 million discovery. "For 13 years, we've been hoping to feature a million-dollar appraisal on 'Antiques Roadshow;' it's been our 'Great White Whale,'" executive producer Marsha Bemko said. This is exhibit A. why it didn't work out for me in public television.

Birthday month is commencing here at the Shack deWhack. Both of my kids, my mother and I were all born in the first two weeks of July. Apparently October is a good month for gettin' busy in my family.

Let the wild rumpus begin, Lone Reader!