Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Reading Program 2014

I finished the five books that I needed to read/listen to in order to complete the Winter Reading Program. I handed in my book list and received the much coveted coffee mug.

I think I'm getting a nice collection together. I was too late to get last year's coffee mug (I submitted my list at the last possible moment), but I think I've done well for the last several years.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tonya's Bridal Shower

Today, I went to Tonya's Bridal Shower. It was kind of awkward, since there was only one other person I knew there, but it was nice to do something different, and show Tonya my support.
After some refreshments, gifts were opened (I brought a blender), then a couple games were played. The first was "He Said, She Said" where we had to guess who made which statement. I got 7 out of 10 correct, the winner got 8 right. Not bad since I haven't seen Tonya in several years. In the second, and final, game, everyone stood in a circle and passed a prize around. Whenever the words "right" or "left" were mentioned in the prepared story, the gift was passed in that direction. Fun!


Pretzel Sticks

For me, the absolute best part was the Chocolate Éclair Cake! And what's great was that part of the shower was to bring a favorite recipe for Tonya's recipe box, so I was able to get the recipe. I can't wait to try it out - since it was so yummy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cole Slaw

I made cole slaw dressing tonight.
Cole Slaw Dressing
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/4 t prepared mustard
  • 1 1/8 t prepared horseradish
  • 3 1/2 T sugar
  • 1/8 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 t white pepper
  • 1 T celery seed
  • 3 c mayonnaise
Mix it all together and add the desired quantity to your shredded cabbage/carrot mixture. It just depends how saucy you like your slaw!
It turned out well, almost as good as the Tidewater's!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Last Time They Met

I finished reading another book for the Winter Reading Program. "The Last Time They Met," by Anita Shreve was quite unexpected.

The story was told in three parts, each at a different age in the couple's lives, going backwards. In the first part, the book drove me crazy! The way it was told, I was so confused. Names and scenarios were mentioned without introduction, but would be explained in the next chapter. For instance, a person's name would be mentioned, but who were they? Later you'd find out that person's relationship to the characters. In the second part, some of those questions were answered, and the book started to make sense. In the third part, you learn how they met and started to date each other, and the ending was such a surprise that I had to think about it for a few minutes, then I dropped my jaw on the floor! The writing was super-descriptive, and has inspired me to write. I think I'll try my hand at a few poems.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Band Awards

Our last band practice of the season consisted of a band photo, pizza party and award ceremony. The photo took a long time to complete, and after changing out of our uniforms, we ate pizza. It felt so forbidden, because normally, we're not allowed to have food or drinks in the practice facility. Afterwards, there was a short meeting describing some changes for next year, and a cute little award ceremony. There were awards for perfect attendance, and then the distinguished service awards. Five, ten (I got one of those), fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five year service awards were presented. Everyone also got gifts from the Ravens, the past two seasons of ticket strips (we used to buy them for a buck a strip) and a Ravens SuperBowl Champion baseball cap. I wasn't expecting all of that, but it was very nice of them.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Reggie's Vet Visit

We took Reggie to the vet today.

The poor baby has been leaving spots of blood on the floor when he sits, so we wanted to get that checked out, as well as something on his eye that resembles a stye. The vet isn't worried about the stye, and the bleeding near the bum area was from a cyst, and there was no way to tell if it's benign or malignant, so we're supposed to monitor it. He's okay for now.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dijon Mustard

Tonight, I wanted to make Chicken with Tarragon Cream Sauce, and half way through the process, I realized I was out of dijon mustard!
Dijon Mustard

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (or 1/2 white wine, 1/2 white vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 pinch sugar
  1. Mix all ingredients.
For a quick substitution, I think it work out really well!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Band Get-Together

Tonight, like last year at the end of the season, a bunch of bandies got together at the Teppanyaki Grill for dinner.

Tom and I rode up with Jeff and Helen, and it was a good time with my fellow band-mates. It was BYOB, and David brought a liquor from his native Lithuania, Trejos Devynerios, for everyone to try. I really liked it!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Christmas Promise

A couple of days ago, I joined the Winter Reading Program, and the first book I finished for it was "A Christmas Promise," by Mary Balogh.

I liked it, but what's new, I like most of Mary Balogh's books that I read. It was about a titled man with no fortune, and a common woman with lots of money. The woman's dying father contracted a marriage between the two, and part of his dying wish was for his daughter not to mourn him that Christmas, but to celebrate. She invites her entire family to the country manor, and through trials and tribulations, they eventually fall in love with each other. A good story with a happy ending, that made me cry and was romantic enough for me.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fried Chicken

One of the reasons why I wanted to get myself a deep fryer, was so I could make fried chicken! I started out looking for a clone for Popeye's fried chicken, but instead found a seasoning blend for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
KFC’s Secret Herbs and Spices

- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons Accent (an MSG-based seasoning)
Then I looked for a fried chicken recipe that utilized pork rinds for the crunchy coating.
Fried Chicken to Die For
Makes 4-8 servings.
  • 4-8 Pieces of Chicken
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 eggs' whites (no yokes)
  • 1-2 T. Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 - 1 bag of crushed pork-rinds
  • Oil or Lard (lard preferred)
Instructions: Heat oil to about 370 degrees. You can fry this chicken in a pan, but I prefer a deep fryer. Thaw and pat dry chicken with paper towel. Rub salt and pepper into chicken. In bowl, mix or whisk heavy whipping cream, egg whites, and Tabasco sauce. In second dish, finely crush pork rinds. Dip chicken into liquid mixture then into the pork rinds. You may have to pat or press the pork rinds a bit to insure they stick to the chicken. Next, place in oil and cook for 9 or 10 minutes. If pan frying, turn chicken half way through. If you are using a small deep fryer, don't overfill, cook 2 or 3 pieces at a time. Enjoy!
Instead of rubbing the chicken with salt and pepper, I used the KFC clone blend, and I omitted the Tabasco sauce, for Tom's benefit. For half of the chicken, I used Panko as the coating, since Tom doesn't like pork rinds. Unfortunately, the Panko got too brown with this cooking time, but didn't cook through enough for Tom's liking. My half, the half with the pork rinds, turned out well enough for me. It was crunchy, and had good flavor.