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Mystery Picture Revealed

Posted by casey on July 25, 2009 in Snapshots

You were getting there…slowly on the right on track.  After Clue 1 and Clue 2, it was actually a tire to this –

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The Gator, down by the lake of the ranch. Until next time!
I have to say, Dana was the closest and by closest I mean pretty much correct, Mark was the most creative but Gloria had some great insight and theories to where it had been!

 
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Crazy Dog Lady

Posted by casey on July 25, 2009 in For Your Funny Bone, Home, Life as I Know It, Puppy Palace

I by no means want to offend anyone, or stereotype, but we all have heard of the “crazy cat lady”.  Don’t say you haven’t, because you have.  You probably even have a picture of what you think a typical “crazy cat lady” might look like.  Maybe what their home looks like….or a specific person from your childhood neighborhood perhaps?  The memories are flooding back I know it.  What I am wondering though is what is it exactly that makes them a crazy cat lady?  I mean what is the number of cats in your home that makes it one too many pushing you over the crazy cat lady border.  (I think 4.  I can totally handle 3 in one house.  At 4 I start to get creeped out a little.  I mean those glowing eyes…all of the sudden they are everywhere) I am bringing this controversial subject to light for two reasons.

1. I don’t own cats and I never will.  (Allergic….don’t want a box of poop in my house…the claws…) However I grew up with a very good friend who had cats and I loved them. Drew and Jess have a cat and she is really cool.  By cool I mean Sierra  (as seen in the picture) doesn’t do that “Oh img_6491_edited-1look your petting me and I am purring and loving it but now I think I will randomly capture your hand with my claws and bite it for no reason in the middle of my bliss and scare the crap out of you!”, thing very often. 

2. While I don’t have cats, I do have dogs, which I might have mentioned before now.  In general I understand loving and wanting all pets.  I don’t look down on you cat lovers just because I don’t own them and my dogs lovingly greet me when I am home and come when I call, well, sometimes.  Nope, don’t look down at all. I kid.  What I am really wondering is since you always here of the crazy cat ladies (Why are they never men by the way?) what is is that makes someone a crazy dog lady? 

Let me squander up some scenarios for you and then you can determine the verdict. 
These are all completely hypothetical of course.  Are you a crazy dog lady if…

- You can count the number of times your dog has French kissed you and it may or may not exceed the amount from old boyfriends.  No, yimg_2484-300x200ou didn’t let the same tongue that licks their you know what after urinating enter on purpose but they are just so damn sneaky sometimes…hypothetically.

– Your dog flies with you in his own case as a carry on because heaven forbid you board him – uh…or her.  (Man, this make-believe dog has the ideal imaginary life right?)

- When you wake up in the morning your dog or dogs, (In case in this “only for your entertainment” scenario you have more than one dog which I of course know nothing about.) have successfully dominated all of your pillows and your half of the bed. ( I mean, who lets their dogs sleep with them anyway.)

– Instead of getting angry at the dogs who have claimed your space as their own puppy palace, you snuggle up to them and rearrange dsc_0052_edited-1another pillow and your head in a contortionist like position around their sleeping fur-Highness so not to disturb them.

– At any point in time you have had to wipe poop from your dog’s rear that he just can’t seem to get rid of with his own skills.  Knowing that if you don’t willingly do it it will be drug all over your carpet, so you get after it with little complaint.

How were those for starters?  Lets say, in theory, that a dog you have has been ill, or perhaps injured.  You try all the drugs the vet so willingly prescribes your pooch and weeks later there is no progress.  So, I present to you the only so you could see what you might think the dog owner that is equivalent to a “crazy cat lady” scenario of them all…

You take your dog to a chiropractor.
A first come first serve…wait in line chiropractor.
A chiropractor that they line up for hours before he opens to get in.
A doctor who may or may not wear black converse sneakers under his slacks and lab coat, and has an assistant who may or may not have been Zac Efron

I hear the psych ward ambulance now.  What if this hypothetical chiropractor has two degrees from Texas A&M including one from their vet school, and is a professor at a chiropractic college after obtaining two degrees there and so on? What if, it is a chiropractor who have after two hours of waiting, loves on your dog so much, has more to say than the vets, adjusts your dogs neck and spine just like a human, gives you a list of vitamins and supplements that won’t reverse the damage but will offer relief and help heal the area, sets him down and I’ll be damned if your dog doesn’t shake it off and begin wagging his tail which has been absent for months.  Maybe it was the vet tech that wasZac Efron’s long lost twin brother….maybe he charmed your dog while massaging his spine.

Verdict? Crazy dog lady? Maybe. Proud to be one? Absolutely.
Hypothetically of course.

 
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Healthy Request – Sirloin Stir Fry

Posted by casey on July 24, 2009 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

During the summer as soon as I get up I start thinking about what I am going to do for dinner that particular night.  As I run my errands and get things done it is always on the back of my mind since it too will become a trip to the store and one more thing to accomplish. So, to help you to bear that “stressful” job, I thought I would give you an idea to consider this morning so hopefully you won’t have to rack your brain so hard!

Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS:

dsc_0213_edited-1* 1 ½ pound sirloin steak cut into thin strips

* Salt and fresh pepper

* ¼ cup Hoisin sauce (Asian aisle)

* 2 Tablespoons dry sherry

* 1 teaspoon chile oil

* ¼ cup peanut oil

* 1 yellow onion thinly sliced

* Vegetables – Use any or all of the below veggies

-         Asparagus cut into 1 inch diagonal pieced

-         4 large carrots sliced into thin circles

-         Fresh broccoli cut into small pieces

-         Snow peas (ends trimmed)

* 3 Garlic Cloves – minced

* ¼ to ¾ teaspoons red pepper flakes

* Steamed rice

 

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

Start cooking whatever type of rice you prefer so that it is steamed and ready.
Lightly season the strips of beef with salt and pepper.

Warm the peanut oil in a large frying pan.

Mix together the hoisin sauce, sherry, chile oil and ½ cup water  in a small bowl and set aside.

In batches add the beef and cook 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.

Transfer the beef to a plate.  Add the vegetables to the pan and cook until tender – crisp. (Approximately 2-3 minutes)

Add the garlic and red pepper (amount of spice you want) and stir fry for 30 seconds.

Return the meat and any juices to the pan

Add the hoisin mixture and stir well. (This isn’t a thick sauce, it is more for flavor)

Simmer all of the ingredients until heated through.

Serve with the steamed rice.

I adapted this from a Williams Sonoma recipe and the best part is you can really customize it to your taste with the various vegetables and red pepper flakes.  It is always a healthier meal that fills you up leaving you satisfied!

 
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Mystery Clue

Posted by casey on July 24, 2009 in Snapshots

No correct guesses so far, except for Colter’s which he so politely e-mailed to me rather than posted since he cheated.   Cheater!
So this might give it away, but here is another one!  Happy Guessing.

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Tuesday’s Test – Mystery Picture

Posted by casey on July 21, 2009 in Snapshots

About a month ago I posted a picture without telling you what it was.  You guessed, and then I gave you another clue to help you along.  It has been requested that this should be a regular game around here, so I am bringing you Monday’s Mystery Picture…on Tuesday.  Cut me some slack here I really tried to get it out yesterday.   Be specific and don’t jump to conclusions!

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A Delicious Start – Migas

Posted by casey on July 21, 2009 in In The Kitchen, Most Important Meal of the Day

As breakfast goes, I tend to burn myself out on one item or another.  Cereal is perfect for a chunk of time and then it moves on to bagels and fruit, etc.  Plus, if you are in the mood for a “real, cooked” breakfast you have either worn out your sausage egg casserole recipe or don’t feel like a meal of bread and sugar otherwise known as pancakes.  So, I am bringing you an alternative.  Actually, I am just relaying the message, because it is Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Migas

dsc_0112_edited-1For a hearty, spicier breakfast, you must get…
* 4 – 6 corn tortillas
* Vegetable oil (to fry tortillas)
* 10 to 12 large eggs (just go for all 12)
* 1/4 cup half & half (not milk people, actual 1/2 and 1/2)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
* 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
* 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
* 4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
* 1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, depending on your taste
* 1 cup grated Monterey Jack or Cotija cheese

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and half & half. Salt and pepper eggs, then set aside.

2. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat oil and fry each corn tortilla just until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop tortillas and set aside.  Let the oil in the pan cool and set aside because you will not need this pan again.  Also, if you are in a rush, it is not 100% necessary to fry the tortillas.  You can just tear them up as is and it will taste more or less the same. (Sorry Pioneer Woman)

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the olive oil with the butter. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until starting to turn brown/black, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add in diced jalapenos and stir to combine. Add tomatoes to the skillet and stir around, then add tortilla pieces, stirring gently to combine.

4. Reduce heat to low.

5. When the heat has decreased, pour egg mixture into skillet. Stir gently to cook with the peppers, folding mixture very gently as it cooks. Add in grated cheese and chopped cilantro, and stir to combine. It will take a little bit for all of the eggs to cook through so be patient!

The best part of this breakfast is that it can be served as is or paired with so much (cinnamon rolls, fruit, black beans, toast, etc)! If you are in need of a complete picture tutorial of how to make these migas or what they look like as you complete each step (not just the final product above) click on the Pioneer Woman link I attached at the top and it will take you straight to her recipe! I hope this gets your day started off right or even inspires a breakfast for dinner night. :)

 
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Not a Sandwich…A PB Cookie

Posted by casey on July 16, 2009 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

After today’s simple dinner idea recipe, I thought you might need something to satisfy your sweet tooth!  For the past few months I have been back to eating peanut butter by the spoonful kid-style so what better way than make it even worse for myself with cookies!

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Traditional PB Cookies

* 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 1 cup flour
* 3/4 tsp baking soda

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, peanut butter, and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until well combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour and baking soda together. Add to the butter mixture, and beat just to combine.
  4. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough, shape into a ball, and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, placing scoops 3 inches apart. Dip the tines of a fork in warm water; press the dough balls lightly with the back of the fork to flatten them slightly (dip the fork back in the water for each dough ball, to prevent sticking). Sprinkle with a few peanuts, if desired or sugar.
  5. Transfer to the oven, and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between the oven shelves halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

 
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Memories in a Meal – Tuna Noodle Casserole

Posted by casey on July 16, 2009 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

If you need a quick and easy dinner idea, this is the perfect one and strangely enough, was one of my mother’s favorites.  The two of us would always whip it up when Dad was out of town knowing that we loved it much more than he did and in all fairness he had probably had his fill of it in the decade before I was born.  Without further suspense, here it is…

Tuna Noodle Casserole
With Potato Chip Topping

dsc_0016_edited-1It may not be pretty to look at, but your tummy will be thrilled!!!!  You will need…
* 8 oz. medium egg noodles (1 bag)
* 2 cans tuna fish, flaked and well drained ( I used tuna in oil because it is more flavorful)
* 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
* 1/2 can cream of celery soup
* 3/4 soup can of milk
* crunched potato chips

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2 quart round casserole with Pam.

2. Boil a pot of water, and cook noodles according to package directions.

3. Put tuna into a strainer and press out the juice with the back of a spoon.

4. Pour the  soup, milk and tuna in  a bowl and stir together until they are combined.

5. Place the cooked and drained noodles in your dish and pour your liquid mixture over them.  Stir to combine.

6. Crunch potato chips with your hands and Spread potato chips on top until covered.

Bake in 350 F oven for about 45 minutes, or until bubbly and the chips have browned.

Trust me, it is just one of those plain old family classics and it is the potato chip topping that sets it apart.  Do not worry about it being fishy because I for one, don’t eat fish, or seafood and therefore should hate this, but I do not.  You will appreciate the simple flavor and the simplicity of making it alone. Dig in!

 
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Evidence of Men

Posted by casey on July 15, 2009 in For Your Funny Bone, Home

I went back  on forth on this title, ‘What a Man Eats….or Doesn’t” or “A Man’s House” were runner-ups, but they all work really.  Just as you can tell when you walk into a college dorm that a bunch of sorority chicks live there because of the excessive hair products and lettered t-shirts, (I’m aware I just supported an only partially true stereotype so no need to comment, just laugh.) you can tell that a man is running a home.  You may have to look harder for the evidence if a women once resided there, but trust me, the evidence is there. 

“But it is all decorated and clean,” you say?  Yes, but look closer. 
“There are updated pictures in the frames though.” Yes, you mailed those to that man, look closer.
“But…”, Damnit, open the fridge and tell me what you see.

dsc06387_edited-1Better yet, how about you open the fridge and tell me what you do not see.  Let me guide your eyes.  Do you see anything green and leafy resembling lettuce or something that might be used to construct a salad?  Nope, go figure.  Let me guess, he told you that was rabbit food and that real men eat meat right?  Okay fine, moving on.  Look for well ,any vegetables…carrots perhaps? Nope…same meat excuse again huh?  That’s a shame, he could at least have some more creative reasons stored up.  Fruit? Normal jelly like grape or strawberry (not blackberry pomegranate)? Juice of any kind?

Ohhhhh I get it.  There is no longer room in the fridge for any of those items because he packed it full of condimendsc06386_edited-1ts.  Of course! Four kinds of mustard and three variations of pepper jelly are definitely necessities to daily life and your refrigerator. Who could forget how often you eat hot pepper peach preserves, hot pepper raspberry preserves and your daily dose of raspberry chipotle sauce?  Have no fear, there is one beer, a jar of pickles and a bottle of Worcestershire and a carton of eggs to wash all of that down with and I hdsc06385_edited-1ave to say the carton of eggs is impressive.  If you are having a sweet tooth you are totally covered with the can of Reddi-Wip. (One fluffy shot to the mouth and you have whipped cream deliciousness right there for you.) In all fairness, he eats out.  In truth, domestication as I still call it has really come a long way, and cooking has actually occurred in the kitchen although finding any cooking materials regularly in the fridge is a “No-No”. 

I get it, I mean at risk of stating another stereoptype most men aren’t going to whip up a pie…so no need for the ingredients right?  Lets just wipe out those shelves and make ourselves feel better. Wait a minute, the paper towel holder is empty.  Crisis avoided, I will just go to the stash in the pantry or cabinet.  Interesting, not there. Of course! How could I be so silly and think that paper towels would be inside, naturally they are stored in the garage.  I love men.  When in doubt, just put it in the garage.

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The poor fridge was starving and malnourished and wishing it had something, anything to put all of those condiments on.  The pantry was just thankful that none of its nine year old cans had exploded all over its wonderful shelves and well the garage was thrilled to have something other than tools and lawn equipment stored in it.  Maybe one day fridge, maybe one day. For now, pray for a woman.

 
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The Love Shack

Posted by casey on July 13, 2009 in On My Nightstand

“Who wouldn’t be skeptical when a man claims to have spent an entire weekend with God, in a shack no less? And this was the shack.”

I try to not jump on too many bandwagons, especially when it comes to books.  However, you can only hear so much about oneimg_6377_edited-1 before you have to check it out for conversations sake.  Those of you who have already read this book (there are many of you I am sure) you can understand the title of this post and how it encompasses all meanings of love, twisted and beautiful alike.  As it was a difficult story to put into words and tell by the author alone, I am a bit taken aback on how to redo that in a review format now.  To help both of us, and to assist you in deciding if this book is for you, let me first make a couple generic statements.
– This story does have a deeply religious foundation.  Do you have to be a believer to read it and/or appreciate the story? Absolutely not. Whether you are or are not a believer might you still be a skeptic? Absolutely, yes. 
– Keep an open mind, and keep reading.  One of the most intriguing concepts of this book (to the author as well), is that it is unknown if everything really did happen.  It isn’t exactly a novel, and it isn’t a memoir because it happened to his best friend…a retelling of a story.  Storytelling at its finest.

The Reviews

“If God is all powerful  and full of love, why doesn’t He do something about the pain and evil in our world?  This book answers that age old question with startling creativity and staggering clarity.  By far one of the best books I have ever read.” Author James Ryle

The Shackis a beautiful story of how God comes to find us in the midst of our sorrows, trapped by disappointments, betrayed by our own presumptions.  He never leaves us where He finds us, unless we insist.” Wes Yoder, Ambassadors of Speakers Bureau

“I really thought that this book was just another book.  Trust me folks – IT’S NOT! When bandwagons come along I usually let them go right on by.  When it comes to The Shack, I’m not only on the bandwagon, I keep asking the driver to stop and pick up all of my friends.  I can’t remember the last time a book, let alone a work of fiction, had this much of a healing impact on my life.” Drew Marshall, radio host

The Shack by WM. Paul Young

Mack has a family most couldimg_6385_edited-1 dream for and you begin by reading about each family member and his role.  As a man whwo always considered himself to be a Christian, Mack also knows that his wife’s relationship with Him is much deeper.  A family tragedy of loss no parent should have to endure rips Mack’s world and beliefs apart, making him question everything.  As everyone is trying to heal in their own confused manner, Mack tends to isolate himself a bit more which is what leaves him alone one weekend when he receives a mysterious request.
No, Mack doesn’t immediately believe the note but a suffering parent will hold on to any miniscule sliver of hope if it might mean answers and closure…so he goes, back to The Shack.  A journey back to the very place that is the center of his nightmare, and he goes alone.  While there, he encounters the great source of his pain head on as he comes to terms with moving on or giving in.

Thought-Starter
“Memory can be a tricky companion at times…”

“There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine.  Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from  expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules.  And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience.  One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview.”img_6400_edited-1

Quote-Worthy
“Have you noticed that even though you call me Lord or King, I have never really acted in that capacity with you?  I’ve never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything, even when what you were about to do was destructive or hurtful to yourself and others.”

Yes this revie336837161w was short and sweet, but I was being deliberately vague because giving you any more details at all would take away from the book and what it could possibly mean to you.  This is an individual experience that you must decide on for yourself and how far you will take it.

Join the Club
Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

Read a great book lately?  E-mail any book finds you would like me to check out with my “trained amateur eyes” and review to lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com

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