Friday, November 14, 2008

Butt Burners -- Eating them is only HALF the fun!

Ready to try my Butt Burners? I'm not sayin' they're great for you. But they are great!

Fair disclosure -- my SIL, an amateur triathlon jock, laid the foundation for this idea when she served up homemade jalapeno poppers at her house one family get-together. Her fabulous version is wrapped in a big honkin' piece of bacon and dripping with cheese. They were decadent and I ate more than my fair share as the wheels were turning in my head.

My recipe resembles hers, with the added bonus that you don't have to mess with raw bacon. In fact, (and don't you love taking advertising at face value...) the package of bacon bits claims that eating "bits" cuts the fat of bacon in half. Money!

And did you know that jalapenos have more vitamin C than oranges? Or so I was told last Friday. Eat a dozen of these babies and you've got yourself a balanced meal, Houston-style, which at last check was a contender for "Fattest City" again.

Cream Cheese
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (preferably sharp)
Real Bacon Bits

Cut the jalapenos in half. Scoop out the seeds and most of the veins (this is where most of the heat comes from.) If you're a bad-ass, leave some veins in. If you're from up north, drop the jalapeno shells in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds and continue from there.

Spoon Cream cheese to the top of the jalapeno shells.

Get out two small bowls. Pour bacon bits in one and cheddar in the other.

One by one, turn the jalapenos face down into the bacon bits making sure a generous amount sticks to the cream cheese. Then turn the jalapenos over into the cheddar or sprinkle the cheddar on top of each jalapeno. Squish the cheese on by hand a little so it doesn't fall off before it melts on.

Bake them at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Medium-sized jalapenos are ready at 12 minutes.

Come back and tell me what a rock star I am for posting this recipe.

Helpful Hints: don't bother to make less than 12 jalapenos because they are really good cold the next day. If you wear contacts, wear a plastic bag over your hand. Ask me how I know?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"It's Friday! Field Trip Day! Its Fun People, Fun Time!"

If you have kids, you've seen the blithe and spirited Madagascar and you know what I'm talkin' about. When we start quoting scenes from that one, its closing in on the weekend and Fridays at our place are infamously merry.

I've always loved the idea of happy hour. I'm all about finger foods, festive cocktails, and a smidge of debauchery. So, to me, HH is an excuse for a weekly-party!

After we moved to Pearland, where the HH scene is flousy, we started a tradition -- Friday night cocktails at home. MMA occasionally took in a cigar, the drinks flowed, munchies maybe...By the time we made it to dinner, the nice families were clearing out and it was perfect for us.

That was our thing for a couple of years. We modified it to mock-tails while I was pregnant and then started up again after the baby was finally sleeping through the night. But as a baby gets older, you may know, dining out becomes a chore; therein, we evolved again.

Now we break out the beverages no later than 6. Even kids get to have a pretty drink with a cherry or an umbrella. Dinner is melange of finger foods like Buffalo Chicken tenders, chips and salsa, stuffed mushrooms, mini corn dogs, egg rolls, and my signature "Butt Burners."

Some of it's frozen and some is home made. But it's 100% magically-delicious. We don't worry about eating at the table or getting our veggies in because "Its Fun People Fun Time!"

If you drive by my cul-de-sac on a Friday night, you will see a whole mess-a-kids running around playing and the adults enjoying a cold one, because Superstar's Cocktail Hour has caught on! (I called it, so I'm taking credit.)

I can't wait to share my Butt Burner recipe with you tomorrow. This is the frat-house-lil'-sis of appetizers: they are cheap and easy and everyone loves 'em!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All about me, again, today. And why didn't I start blogging sooner?

I'm so humbled to be given a nod by Chacha who is a full member of a circle of bloggers that I admire. She is the author of the funny and sarcastic Chasing Imperfection. If you want to lose yourself in someone else's remodeling headaches, head on over!

This means I'm at least a fringe to real bloggers. Just two short months ago, I was nothing in the blogging world, and look at me now! Here's the award:

The rules:

1. List 5 things I love

2. Tag 5 other bloggers

3.Link back to me

Here goes:

I love my boys and my family. I love my girlfriends who are all so different and beautiful. I love the holidays and can't wait to have some festive pretties around the house. I love our great country. I love food and wine. I love God. That's more than five and I could go on and on.

My blogosphere is pretty limited, but here are a few I like to read:

1. Kellie at La Vida Dulce who is on a self-imposed time out.

2. Megan at Saving Our Cents is the real deal when it comes to frugal tricks.

3. Christie at These are a Few of my Favorite Things has a great outlook on life and loves to make fun of herself for our enjoyment.

It would be fun to meet these people. I bet I would like them just as much in real life...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Who's up for Simple-Living?

For everyone out there who loves to design and
snazzy-up the home, check out Queen of My Trailer. Its proof-positive that with a little elbow grease and imagination, you can make anything pretty and comfortable.

Who'd a thunk it?

So I want to ask, would you trade your current digs for debt-free living in a cute trailer like this?

What if you could park that trailer on the edge of Lake Travis or in Vail, Colorado and work part-time as a park ranger -- or something else fun and impractical that pays in lifestyle-benefits?

I've been reading my brother's blog in earnest. He and his wife are in the Peace Corp stationed in Kyrgyzstan (which is roughly between Afghanistan and China.) The living conditions are "deadening", the cold is brutal, there is no hot water for showers, in fact, he's worried about having enough water to drink. The outhouse at home is on unstable ground and could collapse, he fears.

They were gifted a free night at the Hyatt in the nearest big city last weekend. Well, it recharged them body and soul to keep up the important work they were sent to do.

I think this cozy, humble little trailer would look like a 4 star palace to them. Wait, I am thinkin' it looks pretty sweet to me, here in suburbia.

Who's with me?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rite of Passage

Only Child is on a three-step program to lose the binkie.

Now that he can articulate all the reasons why he needs and loves it, he's probably old enough to understand that it's bad for his teeth. Right?

This has been a source of disagreement between MMA & Superstar for, ohhhhh, about 18 months now. MMA thinks he'll drop the binkie when he's good and ready and "what does it hurt to allow him a simple pleasure." He's also mentioned that Only Child looks so darn cute in his jammies with his blanket and binkie...clearly daddy's got a soft spot.

Until now, my efforts have been half-hearted. But I was given friendly, professional permission to get rid of it by any means necessary. Only Child is ready. He is happy and well-adjusted. Its not like we're getting rid of Lightening McQueen, by God. The real question is, am I ready?

So today, despite the nasty drizzle and dropping temperatures we went to the park near our house to throw the binkies in the lake. We made up a cute story about how he didn't need them anymore because he's getting so big, but the baby alligators in the water did need them.

We kept just one binkie, and later, with encouragement, he will give that one to the alligators, too. Then we're going straight to HEB, his favorite store, to get some homemade tortillas and pick out a big boy surprise from the toy department.

Only Child was hesitant when we got to the lake. He asked me more than once if his binkies could stay in the car while we played.

"No, sweetie, if we get out of the car, we're throwing the binkies in the lake."

"But, if you'd rather wait (it was so ugly and I just flat-ironed my hair) we can come back tomorrow." I'll admit to sentimental second thoughts.

I made sure he understood what is a hard lesson for anyone, especially a three year old. That is, if you throw "it" in the lake, you can't get it back. But maybe you'll get something even better because you were brave.

So in the end, he made the decision to go for it. He gave them each a little kiss, said good-bye and tossed them in. He was not dispirited at all. We watched them float for a little bit and then he ran around in the rain with furious energy. If there was a heavy heart, it was mine.

By the time we got home he was shivering and asked me to make him feel better. So I wrapped my baby boy in blankets and gave him hot chocolate with marshmallows and we called daddy to tell him the good news.

Dreary-almost-winter days are a perfect excuse to put the house work on hold and cuddle over hot chocolate with your best little guy who still needs you.

So the rite of passage I wanted to tell you about is not "baby loses binkie." It's "mom accepts another bittersweet milestone of watching baby grow into a man."