Phooey on You!

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That’s something my BFF’s Nanny used to say.  And I’ve adopted it because, well, it’s fabulous.

Alright, so…I have to admit to being slightly [read: VERY] disappointed no one even bothered to enter my silly little competition and I may have been [read: WAS] pouting a bit [read: A LOT].  Perhaps it’s because you don’t have a penchant for silly little things.  Perhaps you hate me and are just here stalking me.  Perhaps you, like friends I asked why they didn’t enter, thought it didn’t apply to you.

IT APPLIED TO YOU. I don’t care if you’re my BFF, my MC, my MOM, my DAD or my XZYJKLMNOP–enter!  I am now forced to go on a day trip and buy something silly for myself.  The TRAVESTY!

Alright, brattiness aside, I’ve also spent several days celebrating my birthday.  I had a wonderful weekend; got some amazing gifts and ate some amazing food–which will be featured here, such as introducing the very lovely Lucille, a Kitchen Aid mixer given very generously by the incredible and magnanimous April (yes, of Pics by April!), aka The Nice Wanderlust Twin (I being the evil one of course!).

But I was also asked to make a few resolutions.  One of them is to spend some time focusing on this blog.  So I’d like to hear from you.  ASIDE from more posts, what would you like to see?  Anything…from style to formatting to suggestions about what to write or perhaps suggestions about background or font or wanting to see more reposting other blogs.  Just throw it out there!

And, hey, if you want to send me to study & write about the cabana boys in Aruba–I’m your girl!  :- )

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Just One More Day…

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Day Trips contest ends tomorrow!  So this is your last chance to enter!  Do it today!  You’ve had a whooooooole week to contemplate about it.  I know the people faithfully reading this–you all have strong opinions, so spill it!

One day road trips…GO!

FYI: In Case You've Never Driven in a Correctional Facility Area...

FYI: In Case You’ve Never Driven in a Correctional Facility Area… http://www.pinterest.com/shez27/lol/

 

Plumberry sponge cake with a Plummy accent

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Looking for something to do with those last–of-the-season juicy berries and delicious plums calling out to you from the farmers market stalls? This post is the perfect “imperfect confection for a now wet and windy afternoon, rather than prissy act of perfection.” And, of course, the photos are mouth-wateringly delicious! It was simply too fabulous not to share…enjoy!

ice cream magazine

Plumberry sponge

A visiting virtuosi Grandchild is gifting us all with a rendition of Vivaldi’s Autumn, rasping and scraping with all the tenacity and musicality of a chain saw.  Bob and I avowed to return post Adagio Molto. The glissando (sliding between 2 notes) and polytonality combination of two or more notes being played at the same time – the child is already a master of the musicale known as:-  all the right notes but in the wrong order, so Bob and I hop’d it.

Bob About is my, ever-so-slightly, tamer-than-tame Robin, he prefers his tiffin from a particular terracotta tile which stands on a slice of a tree that fell foul to Honey fungus, whence he was born. His home sweet home but in another guise. He has many God parents, Walter Pigeon, Christopher and Jenny (Wren) and the Woodpecker family Cider and Rosie yet none dare to attend…

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Day Trips!

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Now that Autumn is in full swing and the temperatures are starting to slowly creep down, there is a briskness in the air and a bit more pep in everyone’s step.

Apples & pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere and the leaves on the trees are starting to change.  It is a colorful reminder that I now live somewhere that has an official Autumn season, and, in my humble opinion, it’s the best and most beautiful time of the year!

a gorgeous walk through the park with the pupcicle!

a gorgeous walk through the park with the pupcicle!

Sadly, I have not even been to the most beautiful parts of the Northeast where Autumn reigns supreme.  Since I have a bit more free time on my hands these days, this is something I hope to remedy with day trips out and about.

Because I’m a Texan, to me it’s nothing to travel 3 or 4 hours each way for a day trip destination.  Of course, up here, that easily translates into crossing several state lines.

So…my question to you is:  how far are you willing to travel for a day trip and what do you like to do or see?  Like museums, beaches, parks, historical sights, etc.  And let’s just make it interesting by turning it into a competition.  If you respond with your opinions, you will be entered into a drawing for a cool prize from my first day trip.  Now, don’t spend 73 hours typing a 4 page missive.  It will be something small and easily mailable–like a magnet or something cool I find while roaming the streets of…

How to enter?  Comment on this post with how far you’re willing to travel (one way) and what sightseeing you like to do.

Winner will be selected randomly.  You have one week (that’s Wednesday October 23rd for clarification purposes!)

Ready.  Set. TRAVEL!

Technologically Unadvanced…

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Nothing like realizing the posts you thought were automatically scheduled weren’t actually posting.  DOH!  I’m happy to report it’s an easy fix.  Which, of course, leaves me feeling a bit like slapping myself in the forehead with my laptop.  eh, well….live & learn and hopefully don’t do that again.

At times like this, I do have to remind myself that I’ve lived in a time of rotary phones and I was in college when I got my first email account.  COLLEGE (hello, remember Lycos?!?!?!).  Things have rapidly progressed from the days of typing on a black screen in green font DOS to cellphones that run your life.  And yes, I’m the first to admit that my cell phone–Alfred–does run my life (along with the darling pupcicle).  I was reminded of this last weekend when Alfred died in a very epic fashion that was equivalent to throwing him in the Hudson.    The other thing I was reminded about is also how many social media channels there are in the world (and how many password combinations I conveniently forgotten because they were saved on Alfred!).  Personally, I ascribe to the Big 4 (at least in my opinion–I’m sure the teenagers in my life would vehemently disagree with me…and then tell all their friends about it on SnapChat or whatever it is):  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Since I have them for my personal life as well as my EpicuriousTexan life, I feel it’s more than enough.  But if you’re interested in branching out social media-ly, I find this little chart sums it up nicely (although at this point is probably 7 other sites now exist and are THE it thing to have).

Clear as…coffee sludge?

Alright…carry on about your day–just don’t forget to tweet about it!!

Chicken Soup for the Soul…and The Sick

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I have been under the weather now for a few days–nothing major, mind you, but everyone here reminds me that “well, something is going around.”  ‘Tis the season, I suppose.  Personally, I’m THE WORST sick person on the planet.  Not whiney or mopey so much as well, bitchy and very picky.  So most everyone I know avoids me like the plague when I’m sick [ha ha–pun intended].  What I love to make when I’m feeling sick is chicken noodle soup (because nothing says your sick like sweating over a hot stove in your jammies with a box of kleenex next to your cookbook!).

Oh sure, we all had the canned stuff as a kid.  Some of us (by us, I mean ya’ll) still eat it out of a can.  I’m not judging.  All I’m saying is give my recipe below a try.  It’s pretty simple and who knows maybe standing over a steaming pot will help you sweat it out.  Regardless, the soup is full of vitamins and minerals and before you ix-ney on the garlic or cilantro, know that they both have antiseptic properties and may be the most important ingredients of all.  Originally, I created it for a friend who was really sick and craving chicken noodle soup.  I thought the fresh veggies and cilantro would be a lot healthier and nutrient-providing than the canned stuff.  Turns out, it tastes a lot fresher and more wholesome (I know, I know….duh!).

Of course if you’re a vegetarian, leave out the chicken.  If you’re not eating gluten you can leave out the noodles or find gluten-free noodles, this time in solidarity for a friend going gluten-free, I grabbed rice noodles to use.  Play around with it.  Add more veggies if you’d like–the more, the merrier, and more antioxidant-ier.

Sherry’s Chicken Noodle Soup

HA HA HA...My Kinda Soup!  For the Real Recipe, Keep Reading!

HA HA HA…Kidding…Just Kidding…ish

  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, chunked
  • 4 stalks of celery, chunked
  • 2 chicken breasts cubed
  • 1-2 cups of egg noodles
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 10-12 cups of water
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large stock pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until translucent.  Add chicken and continue sautéing for about 5 minutes.  Add celery and carrots and sauté for 5 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper (freshly ground of both makes the most amazing difference!) and add water.  I suggested 10-12 cups because it depends on how much broth you want.  Obviously if you want to make a lot of soup and want it brothy–add more water.  If not, add less.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for about 10 minutes and then add the noodles.  Like the water, use more or less depending on your noodle ratio preference.  I love noodles so I tend to add way too many, but it’s your soup–do what you want!  Continue boiling for about 6-7 minutes, until noodles are al dente, as you don’t want them to get too soggy.  Turn off the heat and add the cilantro.  Let the soup rest about 5 minutes and viola!  Done. I told you it was simple. Now, serve it in a bowl or cup and get back in bed!

But before you go, there’s one last thing:  they [not sure who they are, but…] say laughter is the best medicine, so I leave you with this.  If you decide to forego my recipe and opt for the canned, please make sure you read the instructions carefully!

Follow Carefully!

Follow Carefully!

Btw, before you think you’ve done lost your mind or taken too many Cold & Flu tablets, I got that from Pinterest. :- P

Fishy Friday

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When I was younger, I used to tell everyone that I hated seafood, except for shrimp, lobster, crab, oysters and mussels.  One day, Momma asked “So, you like seafood, you just don’t like fish.”  Oh. Right.  Yeah.  I don’t like fish.  Actually, no.  I hate fish.

Don’t write in and tell me how unhealthy that is for me.  I’ve actually branched out (in large part) to sushi and eat it a couple of times a week, but I digress…

My family loved to have fish fries.  And by that I don’t mean fries made of fish (a la fish sticks, which, I will eat only with an insane amount of ketchup, you know, so that I don’t taste the fish.  STOP JUDGING.  oh, what the hell–judge away!).  What I mean is a fish fry.  But plural, because we had them a lot.  What was served at our fish fry?  Catfish (usually caught by my mother, who LOOOOOOOOVES to fish), fries, coleslaw, and hushpuppies.  What would I eat?  Hush puppies and coleslaw (I wasn’t a big fan of fries either.  I was a weird child).  Once we only had fish and fries and I ate NOTHING.  It was traumatic.

Needless to say (but I’m going to anyway), as I got older I started appreciating fish more and after living in Australia for 3 years, I developed a fondness for fish & chips!

After what was (at the very least) a monthly protest of “eating” fried fish, you can imagine my mother’s shock when on a trip home, I requested it.  There’s a place in town called Catfish Haven.  And it’s pretty darn tasty.  Aside from the fish, they also have fried okra, which is something you CANNOT get here in NYC.  I never look at the menu, except to keep me occupied while waiting for the waitress.  I always, always get the 3-piece, extra crispy, with a baked potato and all the toppings.  Yes, I said extra crispy.  I need to feel that crunch when I bite into it.

Extra Crispy, Extra Delicious!

Extra Crispy, Extra Delicious!

Honestly, the best part of the lunch is going with The Girls:  Momma and her two best friends (and cousins) Jeanie Bel and Carole.  In addition to good food, there’s a lot of laughter, which provides something every great fish fry has to have: a sense of family and of home.

The Girls: Jeanie, Momma, and Carole

The Girls: Jeanie, Momma, and Carole

Lions and Bears and Hiking…Oh My!

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So, it’s been fun this week with all my birthday posts.  I hope that you’ve been enjoying them.  When it came to picking topics, some were easy–the topics that is, not the people ;- ) others were a bit more challenging and in those cases, I emailed or texted the birthday people to see if they had any suggestions.  Most didn’t or were vague.  Emily, however, had a whole list and when I was reading her email, it made me laugh out loud and immediately relive some of my most memorable moments in college (Go Buffs!).  Here are some of the suggestions that Em suggested:

Funny story, let’s see.  There’s:

why not to take Sherry to the grocery when she’s on pain pills, why not to drink Mescal at a goat roast, why Sherry SHOULD NEVER (yes, she put that in caps!) be allowed to give up caffeine for Lent, the fire that wouldn’t die in Palo Duro Canyon and (can’t believe it was the same night) the hillbillies with axes cutting down the trees, a sad story about our Kansas trip for a wedding when John-John died, the many late nights studying at IHOP, drinking too much at Hummers and then going to IHOP (two totally different experiences: IHOP to study and IHOP b/c of drunkenness).

This, of course, got me to thinking about the capture of Fredtu (and what happened to FredOne), Akiko & Fredtu, Scary Movie night (and no, I don’t mean Scary Movie…I mean The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Amityville Horror, and everything by Stephen King, namely It, Pet Cemetery, and The Shining), but I started thinking about all of camping trips and the story that I’m wrapping birthday week up with takes place in Big Bend National Park.

I was a member of the WTAMU Geology Club.  Did I ever take a Geology class?  No.  I lived with Emily, who was a Geology major and El Presidente of the Geology Club.  So I was told I was joining and somehow I ended up as an officer.  One weekend we packed our things and the Geology Club took a short 7 hour drive over 420 miles from Canyon to Bend.

The first day we essentially set up camp so that we could have a full day of exploring the next day.  Exploring is right!  We did a significant amount of hiking through canyons, observing/discovering/learning about the geographic formations and how a river can significant alter the landscape (hello! just look at The Grand Canyon!), truly amazing, given that there were parts of the Rio Grande that were so shallow and narrow, crossing into Mexico wouldn’t have even gotten our knees wet!  As the afternoon wore on, our professor asked if we wanted to watch the sunset through The Window.

What’s The Window?  The Window, he explained, was a spot where two mountains converged and the sun set directly in the gap between them.  It’s magical, he said.  It’ll be fun, he said.

Here’s the description from of The Window Viewing Trail The National Parks Big Bend website:

Difficulty: Easy; 0.3 mile round trip.  This easy, paved wheelchair accessible trail circles a low hill with excellent views of the mountain peaks surrounding the Chisos Basin, and a view through the window. Benches along the trail offer a place to sit and enjoy a classic Big Bend sunset.

We drive to a parking spot nearby and there are two signs: one pointing the direction for the handicap accessible area.  The other read The Window Trail with another arrow.  What the handicapped accessible sign neglected to mention is that it was the viewing area to watch the sunset in The Window.

So where were we headed, you ask?  To. THE. WINDOW.  I would like to interject here, kids, that questioning is a good thing.  Why?  Because our entire group of college students just blindly followed our professor down, down, down a steep, rocky, winding trail.  Okay.  Fine.  We can handle this.  Down, down, down we walk.  The sun is now starting to descend and we can tell that this is going to be grea—WAIT A MINUTE!  Are we heading to The Window?  No, no, the professor insists, he’s sure the viewing area is around here somewhere.  A little further down, down, down.  Soon (and by soon I mean like an hour into our walk) we realize that we are, in fact, heading to The Window itself.  Even better view, he said.  Front row seats, he said.

Here’s the The Window Trail description:

Difficulty: Moderate; Distance:, 5.6 miles round trip.  This trail descends through Oak Creek Canyon to the Window pour-off which frames panoramic desert vistas. During wetter periods Oak Creek may be flowing, and must be crossed several times. Use caution on this trail: the top of the Window pour-off is slickrock with no railings, and the return hike is uphill.

Moderate…if you’re a hiker!  Path is narrowing and getting steeper and twilight is now descending upon us.  Did I mention the signs warning of bears and mountain lions?

hahahaha...we're all gonna be eaten...

hahahaha…we’re all gonna be eaten…

Oh yeah.  Like every 50 feet.  Serving as a reminder that we are getting further and further away from safety and further and further into the wild.  At this point, there’s a bit of grumbling and a bit of questioning.  But we push on further and further down and…now…we’re moving at a quicker pace.  Hurry or we’ll miss it, he said.  Almost there, he said.

The Sun is Almost In Place..

The Sun is Almost In Place..

We didn’t make it all the way to the bottom before the sun sank.  But we did find a great little ledge where we could all watch.  We were probably as close as we could get without climbing gear.  It was spectacular and serene and awe-inspiring to just soak it all in.  It was…dark.

DARK.  Oh yeah, that’s what happens when the sun sets.  IT GETS DARK.  So now here we are.  Standing in the dark…realizing that the only way back was up.  Up. Back up the trail we had spent the last 75 minutes hiking down.  Sigh.  ARE YOU @&%$*#)&$ KIDDING ME??? Back through the mountain lions and bears, who undoubtedly would be hungry and hunting at twilight.  I don’t care what anyone says, EVERYONE jumped every time we heard a twig snap or a bird flutter by.  Of course, we were all out of shape and trust me when I say that there were frequent stops on the way back up, up, up, up to the van.  Of course, a twig off in the darkness would snap and urge us to suck it up and keep moving.  After what seemed an eternity, (but was closer to 90 minutes) we were back a very familiar and welcomed sight: the van.

Since we were camping, I’m quite sure dinner included s’mores, but believe me when I tell you that we earned every. single. bite.

NOT a Big Bend S'more...but no matter where you have 'em, they're a campsite MUST!

NOT a Big Bend S’more…but no matter where you have ’em, they’re a camping/open fire MUST HAVE!

This s’more’s for you Em!  Happy birthday!