Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cajun Pretzels

I have to admit I was inspired to start blogging after seeing Julie and Julia, but I'm not a food blogger, and I'll never pretend to be one. This post is mostly a recipe for me to remember how to make this zesty snack food that my friend, Lori gave out as part of her Christmas gift this year.

We "javelled"(as the Little Ballerina says) the gift bag of Cajun Pretzels in a matter of minutes. They're that tasty, have a nice kick, and are thoroughly addictive. They make a great gift all packaged and pretty, but I plan to make them for our next Poker Night. I think our guests will appreciate munching on these rather than the worms I served them last time. And, the heat will go great with a frosty Corona with lime...or two or four.

Cajun Pretzels
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon ground red pepper*
1 Tablespoon Heinz 57 sauce
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
2 lbs pretzels**

*I used only about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper and they were plenty spicy for our wimpy tastes.
** Any kind will work, but we really like the thicker pretzel sticks. Not the logs, though. 

  * The Heinz 57 Sauce is not pictured. I borrowed the tablespoon from Lori.

1. Whisk all of the ingredients except the pretzels in a bowl.

2. Pour mixture into large Ziploc bag. Add 1 lb. of pretzels and shake to coat.

3. Spread pretzels out onto a baking sheet no more than 2-3 deep. Do not dump the bag onto the tray because you need the extra liquid to remain in the bag to coat the next batch.

4. Repeat steps 2-3 using the remaining liquid in the Ziploc bag.
5. Bake at 250 degrees for about 1 hour. Stir after 30 minutes.
6. Let cool. Dump into a bowl and enjoy. Or store in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No, Wait. I Have A Better Idea!

"I just saw the cutest little sewing machine at Joann's. It's was only about $40, and it's made by Singer. I think we should get it for the Big Ballerina for Christmas," I told BSD about two months ago.

"Why? She just uses yours," he replied.

"I know. And, I'm excited that she likes to sew, but she winds up jamming it, and I don't want her to ruin mine. This one is cute. I'm going to check out the reviews."

A quick Google search told me what I know already. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The reviews all reported, "It's nothing more than a toy. The thread jams and it will frustrate a beginning sewer."

Since the backup plan is to have the Big Ballerina impress Michael Kors on Project Runway if she doesn't get a ticket to Vegas on So You Think You Can Dance, I decided to listen to BSD and gave up the cheap-sewing-machine-for-Christmas idea. 


"So, BSD, what did you get today on your big shopping excursion?" I inquired.

"Just some stuff for the family. And, something for the Big Ballerina that you'll probably be mad at me about."

"Why? What did you get her?" I racked my brain trying to figure out what novel idea he could have come up with that we hadn't already thought of.

"I got her a sewing machine," he replied, his voice filled with paternal pride.

"WHAT? After that big discussion we had about two months ago? The one in which you told me to just let her use mine?"

"What are you talking about? We never talked about getting her a sewing machine."

"Yes, we did!" I exploded, smoke pouring out my ears. "OMG, don't you remember me telling you about the cute sewing machine I saw at Joann's? That it was cheap, but made by Singer, so it might be decent. Then, I told you the reviews all sucked so I decided to listen to you and not get it."

"I have no idea what you're talking about. Don't worry. It wasn't expensive," he tried.

"Oh God, where did you get it?"

"Joann's. It was only about $40."

"Nooooo!" I moaned, as he pulled it out of the bag. "You bought the same machine we decided was a piece of crap two months ago!"

"I don't know what you're talking about, but if you want to get her a different one, you better go out and get it for her or I'm giving her this one," he declared.

And with that, he walked out the door to go to work, cradling his Father-of-the-Year winning gift tenderly in his arms. Leaving me with the pleasure of wondering where the hell I'm going to find an inexpensive, DECENT sewing machine on Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Only Four Shopping Days Left

It's really just laziness on my part. If I was an organized person, I would have written a list and stuck to it weeks ago. Everything would be done by now and I would be relaxing at home with the ballerinas baking Gingerbread men, watching the Christmas specials, and sipping hot cocoa. That's not how I roll, though. Nope, just can't do it. So, here I sit with only four days left until Christmas and I have no idea what I still need.

I'm not sure why, but I can't be that organized. When I do make a list and follow it, I usually feel pretty damn proud of myself. Most of the time, if I take the time to write out a list, I wind up leaving it at home and flying by the seat of my pants anyway so that feeling of accomplishment is rare.

I guess I'm just wired differently. By the time Christmas rolls around, I will have made 23 trips to Target (22 of them in search of the same item that I kept forgetting), 9 trips to Borders, 12 trips to Michael's, and wandered aimlessly through the mall for a good 10-12 hours without a clue what I needed.

I've tried to be more efficient with my time. Instead of hitting the gym, I've been counting these excessive outings as my cardio these past few weeks. I see those people walking the malls. That's what they call it. I figured I'd give it a whirl. Guess what? It's not working. Maybe I wasn't dressed properly? In all fairness, I wasn't wearing my Easy Striders, stretchy pants and my I Love My Beagle t-shirt so I wasn't giving it a real college try. Again, just pure laziness.

So, for the next few days, I will continue running walking around the stores guessing at what I still need, freaking out on the ballerinas when they tell me for the 24th time that they can't brush their teeth because they have no toothpaste (back to Target), and praying that come Christmas morning all the presents will have been remembered, wrapped and made their way under the tree.

And, then hopefully I'll be able to get back to this blogging gig more regularly again.

What Am I Going to Be When I Grow Up?
  • professional organizer
  • fitness expert
  • thin

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The $34 Nap

BSD deserves a medal. He's been working out of town for weeks, but the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving he raced home to be with us for the holiday. That Sunday, he turned right back around and drove another eight hours back to Charleston. 

After countless sleepless nights, he arrived back home yesterday afternoon. He went back into work at midnight last night, and worked until 8 in the morning. He had enough time to eat, shower and change his clothes before hopping back in the car. This time with three excited ballerinas in tow. He drove them an hour to the theater, waited another hour for showtime, and proceeded to his seat in the audience to watch his daughter dance in the Nutcracker.

He sat through the entire performance, picked up the even more excited ballerinas backstage, drove them an hour back home, dropped each of them off at their respective houses in different directions, cooked dinner, and then at 8pm, we drove him back to work... for the next six days.

He was grumpy and irritated on the drive back to work. I knew he was exhausted, and he most certainly earned the right to be grumpy.

"I'm sorry I'm in such a bad mood," he apologized as we were driving.

"It's ok. I totally understand. You've got to be exhausted! But, you got to see the Big Ballerina dance which is what this weekend was all about. You're a hero!" I consoled him.

"How much did my ticket cost?" he asked.

"$34. How was the show, anyway?" I replied.

"I have no idea," he confessed. "I was sound asleep."

Yes, BSD definitely deserves a medal, and a long winter's nap...complete with visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing in his head.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tortillas and False Eyelashes

That's my shopping list for today. Sounds kinky, doesn't it? Wish I had some hot date night story to go along with that list, but unfortunately, neither of these items are for me. Nope, the tortillas are for the Little Ballerina's lunch. And, the false eyelashes are for the Big Ballerina's Nutcracker dress rehearsal tonight.

Yes, my nine year old has a much more exciting life than I do. She gets to float across the stage in her little angel costume, gracefully waving her arms, and batting her false eyelashes as the bright lights twinkle upon her diamonique earrings. For eight shows over the next two weeks, she is a "star," and the Little Ballerina and I are her lackeys. We get to drive her back and forth, eat on the fly, wrangle her crazy curls into a slick bun, sit for countless hours during classes and rehearsals, and, finally, we get the privilege of paying $30 plus Ticketmaster fees per ticket to see her dance.

But you know what? When I'm sitting in that overpriced seat, it's all worth it, because the smile on her face is priceless. She oozes pure joy. And I am a puddle of pride.

So, BB, when you make it big, I hope you'll remember to give a shout-out to your dear, old mom. I'll be the one in the audience, rocking a pair of your old false eyelashes, and shoving a tortilla in your little sister's mouth. Break a leg, girl!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Twas a Month Before Christmas...

'Twas a month before Christmas, as I was vacuuming the house,
Not a crumb was stirring, not even a louse.
Why am I cleaning? This just isn't fair.
Nobody's coming over. Why do I care?

You see, I have this fancy vacuum that cost more than my Mac,
"It's a Miele. It's worth it," said the salesman, after he had us smoke crack.
"It has the sucking power of one thousand whores."
"Buy it! You'll love it! You'll have sparkling floors."

But, today it is sucking, just not the right way,
The crumbs have decided that they rather stay.
I checked all the possibilities, the bag and the hose,
All clear, so instead I turn up my nose.

"I'm not going to vacuum. No way! Forget it!
This Miele is just an overpriced piece of sh--!"
I shove it in the laundry room, slamming the door,
so much for your promise of bright, shiny floors.

The morning goes by in a blur of web pages,
the animals continue to have dirty cages.
Just great! Freakin' wonderful! What could be keener?
For Christmas this year, I'll be getting a vacuum cleaner!

I grumble and complain to the laundry I'm folding,
"I'm going back to the store to give that salesman a scolding."
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but
A sassy My Little Pony flashing his rear! 

Will you forgive me, dear Miele? If I doubt you no more.
Will you forgive me, dear Miele? You really do suck like a whore.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"This is America! Everyone has a cell phone!"

That was part of the lesson I learned, the hard way, this weekend. How does the saying go? It takes one negative comment to wipe out 100 positive ones. It's something like that. Anyway...I am blogging here today as living proof that this saying is true.

I am not going to go into details. I'm just going to say that I've had the most humbling, humiliating two days of my entire life. I am fine, but in an instant, a total stranger was able to rip the rug right out from under me.

Instead I'm going to learn what I needed to from the experience. And, then I'm going to work hard to let it go. I'm going to wrap it in brown paper, bury it deep within my soul, and let it decompose so that it can grow into something beautiful like these roses that BSD sent to me after this happened. (God, I love that guy!)

Because he knows the truth. My children know the truth. And, if I can give myself a freakin' break, I will be able to see the truth again too.