Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ravens vs. Panthers

The Ravens played the Carolina Panthers today. The Ravens played really well, and defeated then Panthers 38-10.
For halftime, there was another Ring of Honor induction - this time for Todd Heap.

You can find me at the bottom of the 6, on the 30 of the 30-yard line.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Flight 93 Memorial

Tom and I drove up to PA yesterday to visit with Mom and Dad for the day, and pick up trees from the Laurel Nursery in Latrobe. On the way home, we stopped at the Flight 93 memorial near Shanksville, PA.

It was very moving. There was a lot of construction going on, and I think the memorial will be beautiful when it's finished.

Nature's Blessings Journal Pages

I finally finished my pages for the Nature's Blessings Journal Swap. They aren't hugely pfoofed up, but I really like how they turned out.

Most of them had a special surprise.

And one had a second special item.

Tom looked at my pages this morning and wanted me to contact the swap hostess and tell her that I couldn't send in my pages - he liked them that much. He said that the quotes I used really spoke to him and everything that he stands for. Can you believe he wanted to keep them?

Friday, September 19, 2014


Donnie noticed that Cirque du Soleil was back in town, so after some discussion, we decided to get together to see the show.

I thought that the costumes were awesome, and the music and make-up were great, too. The set was pretty cool, with it's graphic elements and colors.

The acts were neat, my favorites being the lady balancing sticks to extend about ten feet from her, and the aerial straps act with the three Valkyries.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Candied Pecans

I've had the idea of making candied pecans for a while, but I finally tried it out tonight. I used a recipe for Burnt Sugar Almonds, and substituted pecans.

  • 12 oz. raw, whole almonds, about 1 3/4 cups
  • 1/3 cup sugar plus 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. First, scrape the inside of the vanilla bean and add it to the 1/3 cup sugar. I put mine through a sieve with the sugar to break up the sticky seeds and mix it well. Set aside.
    Instead of throwing it away, you can always put the rest of the vanilla bean in with your vanilla sugar to boost its aroma.
  2. Add the 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the heavy saucepan and set it over medium heat. Stir to mix, then bring it to a boil before adding the almonds.
  3. Add the almonds to the pan after the sugar water comes to a boil. Stir over high heat, to boil the water away.
  4. The sugar will finally dry out and the almonds will take on a grey-brown tinge. Keep stirring, so that the almonds do not burn on the bottom of the pan.
    Turn the heat under the pan to medium or medium-low, to keep the sugar from browning too fast and burning.
  5. Turn burner to medium-low.
    At this stage, the sugar heats up and starts to melt. It is already brown from the cinnamon, so it is hard to see the color change. Just keep stirring, so that the almonds become evenly browned and about half of the sugar is melted and gives the almonds a shiny coat.
  6. A second coating of sugar is added at this point.
    Pour the reserved 1/3 cup sugar over the almonds and stir. Keep stirring, watching the sugar melt and coat the almonds.
    Fresh almonds will start crackling or popping about now. This is residual water in the water expanding or escaping. If the almonds are older, there will not be as much noise.
    Keep stirring until the almonds are fairly shiny, but still a bit lumpy. They will stick together but you will separate them later. When they are shiny, but not burnt (this takes careful watching and decisiveness) remove from heat.
  7. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet. They are very hot, so only use a spoon. You may also use buttered foil or a buttered cookie sheet, but here I used a non-stick cookie sheet.
    While they are cooling, keep breaking them apart. When they are cool enough, continue breaking them apart with your fingers until they are all separated.
  8. The burnt sugar almonds can be eaten warm, but when they are fully cooled, the candy coating hardens to a nice crunch. Store them in a dry, closed container. They keep for several weeks, if you can refrain from eating them, but almonds will eventually go rancid, so do not keep them too long.
Another substitution I made was making my own vanilla sugar, so instead of using the 1/3 cup sugar with vanilla bean scraped into it, I added 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to 1/2 cup sugar. The nuts were delicious. I had a slight problem with some of the nuts sticking to the wax paper, I should have transferred the nuts straight to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, but instead I used a pan lined with wax paper.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chicken with Honey Citrus Glaze

Brigette, a co-worker from the Tidewater, told me about a recipe that she tried that was "so good." I did a Google search on the ingredients that she remembered using, and found this one.

Barefoot Pinot Grigio Chicken with Honey Citrus Glaze


For marinade:
  • ½ cup Barefoot Pinot Grigio
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice of ½ orange
For chicken:
  • 1/3 cup Barefoot Pinot Grigio
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • juice of ½ orange
  • juice of ½ lime
  • sprinkle of sea salt and pepper
  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large shallow dish. Add the chicken breasts, cover and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
  2. After the chicken has marinated, remove from the fridge. Heat up the oil in a grill pan {or cast iron skillet} over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken
  3. Cook the chicken for about six to eight minutes per side, until cooked through.
  4. During the final stages of the chicken cooking, make the glaze: combine the Barefoot Pinot Grigio, honey, juice from the other half of your orange and lime juice in a small pot. Bring to a simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  5. When your chicken has finished cooking, turn off the heat and pour the glaze over the chicken breasts. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
I hate that it doesn't look pretty, but it tasted good - not too sweet. Tom enjoyed it, and thought that the glaze was probably the best part - we dipped the chicken in it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ravens vs Steelers

The Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers met once again, and the ultimate victor was the Ravens! We beat the Steelers 26-6, in a game that was exciting and disappointing at the same time. It was exciting to see the Ravens perform so well, but disappointing to see the Steelers perform so poorly. I expect so much more from them.


For halftime, the band performed a Van Halen Medley. It featured our new and improved rhythm section, and since we were in a hurry to get the show on the field, it consisted of very few moves and extremely simple forms (we only learned the show at practice last night).


Regardless, we sounded great, and the Ravens looked pretty good, too.

Nutmeg's Big Day

Nutmeg had a big day, today! First, she had her first vet appointment since being spayed back in January or February of 1998.

Tom had noticed some clear discharge coming from one of her eyes, and it wasn't opening as wide as the other one. She seems to have a little infection, which we'll treat with an ointment. It should clear up in about a week.
Then I took her to work with me.

Tom had errands to run after the vet appointment, and I had to finish up a few tests before leaving work for the day (for the game this evening), so she sat on my desk for about 45 minutes while I finished them up.
She had quite an adventurous day!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ravens vs Bengals

My, my, my - for a regular season opener, the Ravens didn't look much better this year than last. Unfortunately, we lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, 16-23. For one brief, shining moment in the second half, where we were finally in the lead, all was right with the world. Then, an interception was thrown, and the battle began anew. When there were only two minutes left in the game, we had the ball, and came close to scoring, but two sacks later, the game was over :-( Of course, the highlight of the game was halftime. The Ravens had erected a statue of Ray Lewis outside the stadium, and he gave a speech during halftime. The band put a well-executed "52" on the field (Ray's number).

Can you find me? I'm at the bottom of the two, in front of the drum majors (wearing capes).

Friday, September 5, 2014

Purple Friday

It's the first Purple Friday of the 2014 season!

We had a lot of the same stops that we normally do - Raven's corporate sponsors (Smyth jewelers, Verizon stores, M&T Bank locations, Giant supermarkets) - in addition to a new stop (Merritt Athletic Club), and some schools. My favorite stops are the schools. The first school was a complete surprise to the students. They were in a Safety Assembly when the band marched in, followed by the cheerleaders, and finally Poe and Rise and Conquer! I love their excitement! Here are some pics of the band:

Merritt Athletic Club

Giant supermarket

You can also see some news reports on WBFF Fox 45 (Ravens Fans Across Baltimore Celebrate 1st Purple Friday - WBFF Fox Baltimore - Top Stories), WJZ 13 (Ravens Fans Psyched For 1st Purple Friday Of The 2014 Season « CBS Baltimore) and WBAL (Purple Friday Sept. 5 caravan events schedule | Sports - WBAL Home). I noticed that I got plenty of air-time :-)

Monday, September 1, 2014

BLT - the New Way

After seeing the idea of weaving bacon and cooking it on Pinterest, I decided to give it a try. It worked fabulously! I took three slices of bacon, sliced them in half, and wove them together. Then, I cooked them.



They fit on the sandwiches perfectly, and when eating our BLT's, there were no little pieces of bacon falling out of the sandwich. It was great!