Monday, December 28, 2015

MEMOREX "Build The Resistance" Video Contest

The MEMOREX "Build the Resistance" video contest is down to its last 5 Days!!! My Brothers improve video which was shot on an IPhone (per rules) is in the Top 10 and is currently in second place! At this stage the winner is determined by the Total number of Views!!!! I'm asking that all of my friends please go to the link 3-5 times throughout the day from as many different devices that you have and watch the video at least for a total of 2 minutes each time. After viewing, click the like button to the right of the video.  Also if you don't mind repost the link to any social media that you may have and ask your friends to do the same!! This clip has my Brother Robert (Baryon Helium), the great Burton Gilliam (Blazing Saddles) and Joey Lawrence (Blossom) in it. It is a total wink and a nod to Burton Gilliam and MEMOREX loves it!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas On Holden Beach

 As we have for numerous years, we made our way over to North Carolina to the quant little seaside town called Holden Beach.  Stone, Lucy and I were thrilled as we crossed the Intracoastal Waterway that took us to the 8 mile long barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean.   We had been looking forward to doing nothing but walking on the beach, eating seafood and having lots of time for reading.  Being a fast reader, I read five books while we were here.  Three of which were written by one of my fellow DAR ladies, Author Lin Stepp.  Her latest book called The Last Snow made the New York Times best sellers list this month.  How exciting is that!!!

Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling
Lucky Leaf  Cherry Pie
Our little cottage that we rent here on Holden is perfect.  It's cozy, right on the water and has a really well stocked kitchen.  Well, maybe not so well since it doesn't have any of the necessary things to make a pie.  There wasn't a rolling pin, so I washed a can of Pam spray and used instead.  It worked really well.  Secondly, there wasn't a pie pan.  I found this stainless steel skillet that could go in the oven.  Perfect!  Lastly, there was no cooling racks.  Everyone knows if you don't place a hot pie on a cooling rack, the bottom crust could end up soggy.  No one wants a soggy bottom.  To cool the pie on I found this vegetable strainer.  Pretty creative if you ask me.

Cherry Pie

 I had been trying for weeks to decide on what dessert I was going to make for Christmas Day.  Stone asked if he had a say in this decision. I said, "why of course you do."  He informed me that Apple or Cherry Pie would be real good.  I wasn't  apposed to either, but I was wanting something entirely different.  Maybe something with chocolate in it would be good. Still undecided, I had been talking to my mama and she asked what dessert I was going to make for Christmas Day.  Before I had a chance to say what I had decided she said, "I think you should make a Cherry or Apple Pie."  Really, did Stone call her and tell her to say that. Then she followed with she would probably make the Cherry since it was red and would be more Christmassy.  So thats what I did.  
Recipe in hand, I walked into the grocery to buy the ingredients that I needed for my Cherry Pie.  Lets just say I didn't need any recipe.  There where no fresh cherries, frozen cherries, or cherries packed in water that would have worked also.   Holden Beach grocery is very limited.  I ended up with the Cherry Pie from my childhood, using canned pie filling, which is not all bad. This stuff does taste good, but my usual recipe uses frozen cherries, then adding some additional ingredients.   Lets just say this was most likely the fastest pie I have ever made.  Just open the cans and dump the filling into the pie crust.  My mama was right once again since being all red was Christmassy.  We topped it with some vanilla ice-cream and mmm,  it was good.

Christmas Dinner

I placed these lobsters in the pot before, but I just couldn't do it this year.  Stone had the honors.

Holden Beach

Simple and YUM!!!

Holden Beach

 On a recent visit to see Ms. Betty, my mother-in-law, I said, "tell me a Christmas memory from your childhood."  She said, I remember my mother would always have a large decorated tree in the living room, but in the foyer, she would place a small one that she would spray with water, then sift flour over it, making it look like snow.   Then she would decorate it with gum drops. What a cute idea, one that I recreated this year while we were here at Holden Beach.  I did add a string of lights to add sparkle.  Also Ms. Betty had recently won at bingo, winning a small wooden angle and a Merry Christmas sign that she wanted Stone and I to have.  I placed them both on top of our little sapling which was the perfect garnishment for our little beach tree.

Holden Beach

This was Lucy's first time on a beach.  She was thinking it was a very big bathtub  and she wasn't so keen on getting in it.

A layer of fog on the beach.

Sand Christmas tree drawing, decorated with seashells.

Holden Beach
Merry Christmas 
Stone, Lucy and I.

Holden Beach

Our final evening as the sun was going down, even though it spent most of the day fighting through fog.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Reading Of Antigone

The book Antigone was definitely NOT my kind of reading material.  It was bad enough I had to read it, let alone read two translations!  One by David Mulroy and the other by Anne Carson.  Its about a tragedy written in or before 441 BC.  I couldn't pronounce half the names in the book!
The book Antigone, deals with three main questions.  Whether Polynices ought to be given burial rituals.  Whether someone who buried him in defiance of state ought to be punished.  Lastly whether Creon's actions are just or thoughtless.  Antigone's love for family is shown when she buries her brother Polynices. So much death in this book.  Two brother's Eteocles and Polynices died fighting each other for the throne.  Haemon, Anitgone's cousin and fiancee, kills himself when he found out his beloved Antigone had hanged herself.  And lastly, Eurydice of Thebes, the Queen of Thebes and mother of Haemon, commits suicide when she learns of her son's death.
In the oldest version of the story, the burial of Polynices takes place during Oedipus' reign in Thebes, before Oedipus marries his mother, Jocasta.  When the truth was discovered, his wife/mother hanged herself and Oedipus gouged out his own eyes.  They had four children.   It was down right depressing!!!  What began as an all women's group turned into a couples group, which I like.  Interesting to see the different opinions when discussing the book.    The mistake was they let a man choose the book.  Some in the group, Stone in particular, couldn't make themselves get through the first book,  let alone both.   This, I understand. It was a struggle, but I was determined.

Book Club
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies-Spiral Shortbread Cookies-Ultimate Snow Capped Gingersnaps-Iced Lemon Cookies.

I was the host this month, so I decided to make an Italian Pot Roast, using The Pioneer Woman's recipe.  Since this recipe is served on top of egg noodles, I thought I would try my hand at making homemade pasta, it was so easy.  In fact, it was so fun that I made some of the bow tie pasta for my three daughters and took while on a recent visit. 

Egg Noodles
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon milk
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt.  Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter.  Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes.
Using your kitchen aide pasta maker roll out your sheets, then cut them into 2X2" squares and pinch together tightly.  
Allow to air dry before cooking.
To cook pasta, fill a large pot with water that salt has been added.  Bring to a boil, then add pasta and cook until al dente.  Homemade pasta cooks fasted than store bought!

Stone and I are ready to get this party started.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dewsweepers Christmas Party

Aah, once again it was the annual Dewsweepers Christmas party.  The Dewsweepers, a group of men, who play every Saturday morning, no women allowed according to the bylaws.  Not that any woman would want to join them.  They are up early, no thank you.  Meeting for breakfast as soon as the club opens.  Now that would be nice, except we would have to be up early, again, no thank you.  Not that anyone is asking, mind you.  It isn't that I'm not up early, because I usually am, just not so presentable.  Scary would be a better way to describe it. 
 The Dewsweepers are the first on the course to sweep the dew, making way for those that follow.  This means our men folk return home early and we have the rest of the day to do something together, which you know they want to.
But lets go back to these bylaws for just a moment, that no woman or Bob Eby has ever seen, because apparently it proclaims in the bylaws that no woman is to ever see them!   The reason Bob has never seen them is he is yet to be voted in as an official Dewsweeper, although he is always present.  Once it was attempted to nominate Bob to become a Dewsweeper, but that nomination was tabled before that vote could be made.  I don't understand that either, I'm sure that also is explain in the damn manual.   I asked once where they keep a copy of these so called manuals, the response was "it states in the bylaws that no one, other than the members is to be told where they kept."   I was surprised the women were able join them for their Christmas party each year.  Hmmm, it apparently states in the bylaws women are to be invited to the annual Christmas party.  I wonder if its because the women bring the desserts?  Nah, they wouldn't do that, would they?
These men have been together for ages, with the loss of a few and a couple of new ones added.  The camaraderie among them is amazing.  Throughout the year money is collect, and at Christmas the Dewsweepers provide gifts and food for three families.  
These men are a granfalloons, a group who affect a shared identity or purpose, but whose association is actually meaningless.  Makes one want to join these men on Saturdays doesn't it?  No such luck, again it states in the manual that they can have only have a limited number of members.  Something to do with how many tee times they can get that early.

Dewsweepers Christmas Party

The dinner was provided by the Oak Ridge Country Club.  Chef Vincent Thomas did a fabulous job, the  filets were amazing, so full of flavor.   Every year the women are asked to bring desserts.  And each year we have way to many sweets.  Not that it's a bad thing.  It gives you options on what to get.  You can choose a dessert or get a sample of all.

Dewsweepers Christmas Party
Peak season for lemons begins in November and runs through March.  I decided for this years dessert I would provide Lemon Velvet Cake.

Dewsweepers Christmas Party
I love lemon anything.  Makes your mouth water just looking at it.

Dewsweeper Christmas Party
Lemon Velvet Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup butter flavored crisco
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
zest of two small or 1 large lemon
Frosting Ingredients:
8 cups powdered sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest (optional)
approximately 4 Tablespoons milk
raspberries (optional)
Cake Instructions:
1.  Coat 3 (7" round cake pans), or 3 (8" rounds) which is what I did or 2 (9" rounds) with baking spray, that has been lined  with circles of parchment paper on the bottom.  Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar, set aside.
2.  In the bowl of and electric mixer beat together the vegetable oil, shortening, vanilla and lemon extract.  Beat well at high speed with whisk attachment until light and fluffy.
3.  Beat the eggs in one at a time.
4.  Fold in the lemon zest.
5.  Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.
6.  Add dry ingredients in three divisions and liquid ingredients in 2 divisions.  It is very important to begin and end the additions with the dry ingredients.  Do not over mix the batter.  As soon as it has no lumps in the batter, divide batter into the prepared pans.
7.  Bake at 325' for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.  I usually bake my cake about a week ahead and freeze each layer separately.
Frosting Instructions:
10.  Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon zest and butter until it becomes sort of crumbly. 
11.  Add the lemon extract and a little bit of the milk.
12. Beat until smooth and fluffy, adding only enough milk to bring the frosting to a creamy spreadable consistency.
13. Fill and frost the cake.  Top with raspberries if you choose.

 Oak Ridge Country Club

Oak Ridge Country Club
 Jim giving the opening speech and prayer.

Dewsweepers Christmas Party
 The Dewsweeper Monument

Oak Ridge Country Club
 Keys declare's Jim Anderson the 2015 winner of the Clean Sweep Award.

Oak Ridge Country Club
 Jim was presenting Hughie with a special award.  Something to do with cheating and not posting scores.   I really don't understand all that.  It's probably however explained in the manual that we all know by now I'm not allowed to view.

Oak Ridge Country Club
Jerry Williams, PGA Directory Of Golf and General Manager at ORCC speaks of the members on his staff, and the loss of Bimbo, who will forever be remembered.  

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Cousins Evening In Nashville

It had been numerous years since I had seen my cousin Debbie.  I'm embarrassed to say how many since neither one of us could remember how long.   
 It all started back in the summer when we reconnected via Facebook.  See, there are some positives regarding social media.  I immediately showed Stone her picture and he said, "she's pretty, I see the family resemblance."  And so the journey began.  We begun conversing with one another and low and behold, I found out she also lives in Tennessee.   I thought I was here is these hills all alone.   Well, actually not alone as I do have Stone and our baby girl Lucy, who's not really a baby, but a dog and will be ten on Valentine's Day.  I've never really lived close to any relatives before. 
 Over the past months, Debbie and I have texted and talked on the phone, trying to pin point a date to get together.  What better time than the holidays.  We were determined to meet up before the New Year!  Finally the chosen date had arrived. Stone and I drove to Nashville where we were to meet Debbie and her husband Lynn at Puckett's for dinner, then on to Tootie's Orchard Lounge for some music.   Nashville, as usual, was packed.  It took about an hour for a table, which was no problem, seeing that we had lots of catching up to do.   Our sweet waitress came by the table numerous times to take our order, and we hadn't looked at the menu.  Finally we focused just long enough so that we could get that done and we were back to rediscovering the past.  I mean seriously, one evening isn't long enough to catch up on all those years.   

Me and Debbie
As they say,"Texas girls living in a Tennessee world."

Hmmm, which way do we look?  Both our men were taking pictures.

Debbie and Lynn, adorable!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hanging With The Girls

Stone and I had a great visit with the girls this past Saturday.  When we arrived at Lora Beth's we were greeted by the aroma of freshly baked bread.  L.B.'s becoming the quiet the breadmaker.  For this occasion, she made Hawaiian Sweet Bread, that we used to make Martha Stewart's California Veggie Sandwiches in honor of Abby Gail moving to Los Angeles.  Actually, for Stone we had to add a layer of meat, to make what he and Michael would call a real sandwich.  
Soon Abby Gail arrived and we gathered around Lora Beth's table while Abby Gail gave us all the details on California, as we ate our lunch.  She showed us pictures of where she will be working.  Hmmm, I'm already planning our trip out to visit and she isn't even there yet.

Sisterly Ties

Lora Beth says," no Abby Gail, you can't moved to LA!"

Me-Lora Beth-Abby Gail
Piedmont Park