Instead of writing a long boring summary of the holidays, the following are the 10 thoughts I had. For flare, I’ve added pictures of the Denver Zoo’s Zoo Lights.

I was double-downed. Get it – wearing two down jackets? Har har.

1. “Yay, I finished one fingerless mitten” – Is there a point in making another?
2. “I need to stop drinking.” – When my dad beat us all at cards, winning two games and $8.
Our tree topper. I know you’re jealous!

3. “Snowshoes!!!!! And they aren’t girly colors, yipee!” – Thanks Mom and Dad.
4. To Gas Monkey – “C’mon. Let me open just one.” – Happy day.
5.”Wii is the Devil!” – I quickly learned that throwing the “baseball” like a real baseball gets you nowhere but the couch, in pain. Stretch first!
6. “Oh my goodness! These are the best short ribs I’ve ever had” – When eating out for Christmas Dinner.
7. “That is a lot of smoked turkey.” – While staring at the few pounds of smoked turkey Gas Monkey’s mom brought.
Gas Monkey, his mom and brother.

8. “CORIN – what is wrong with you?!” – Talking to my cat, the compulsive eater, who consumed more than 5 cookies, ripped a bag of pistachios and a bag of rolls, but ignored the crab and turkey offered him.
9. “Crud – I need to start writing down my resolutions. There are so many.”

10. “Ugh – work tomorrow?!” – Busy busy.
Gas Monkey with another gassy monkey.

Hope y’all enjoyed your holidays! Here is an Old Fashioned for your enjoyment.
Old Fashioned
Dash of water
Angostura bitters
Orange peels (or slice)
2 oz. Maker’s Mark (or any kind of whisky – preferably good whisky)
1. In a cocktail glass, add water, sugarcube, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, orange peel and cherry. Smash until well mixed.
2. Add ice and Maker’s. Stir a few times.
3. Serve with a cherry and orange slice for a garnish.
4. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays – I’m Out

Hey guys. The holidays are rapidly approaching and therefore I’m taking a “siesta.” Life is going to be too busy over the next week to worry about blogging and photographing everything. Hope you enjoy the end of the month and I’ll see you in 2011!

P.S. My cat ate a lot of Christmas cookies this morning. Green powder everywhere. I hope he has a stomachache.

Happy Birthday Gas Monkey! You’ve had a big, busy year again. As always you’ve made me proud and I hope your day is special. Thanks for keeping me warm at night and always making breakfast on the weekends. Love you!

I hated, HATED sloppy joes as a kid. That is probably because they were made with a McCormik powdered seasoning mix – gross. To be fair, I think my mother only made them once every couple of years, to spice things up. Then, about a year ago I found this recipe and used turkey instead of beef. I love them! Although they never get quite as “shloppy” as on Billy Madison. They make great leftovers.

(Not so Sloppy) Turkey Sloppy Joes
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 cup ketchup
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (or more if you’d like)
2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt to Taste
4 Buns
  1. In a saucepan, cook turkey, drain.
  2. Sit in the remaining ingredients (minus the buns, of course)
  3. Heat to a boil
  4. Reduce heat
  5. Cover, simmer 20-40 minutes, or until it reaches your desired degree of sloppiness.
  6. Shlop on bun and enjoy!

Daddy-daughter dates are awesome. I highly recommend them, regardless of whether you are 5 or 25. I got pretty darn lucky in the dad department, because he is quite a badass in his ripe old age. (He is not that old, but soon he will be delving into the age where he’s done ripening and about to start rotting. Thank goodness I still have 30 years before I have to change his diapers.) He’s athletic, Cultured (that’s right, with a capital C), funny, easy-going, and young at heart. We can talk about the environment, books, movies, sometimes music, and politics, which makes sense since he was the one who brainwashed me from an early age.

About once every month or two, we go on a date. We usually do things that Gas Monkey is not so interested in, such as going to the theatre. The other day we went to the traveling “King Tut” exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. It was fun, although rather small. As a retired amateur Egyptologist (I studied Egypt religiously for about 9 years, read over 40 books, created 8 notebooks on different subjects including, religion, monuments and cities, pharaohs, daily life, and writings – my experience in a nutshell), I found the exhibit somewhat boring. But I took pride in my dusty knowledge, walking through with my nose held high. I can be quite the knowledge snob unfortunately. Poor dad didn’t get to listen to Harrison Ford’s narrated audio tour, because he had me instead.

Eggplant Parmesan. What to say? It was about how I expected it – ok. Except next time I will peel the skin first. What is the etiquette with that? Skin or no skin? I found more recipes quite vague on the subject.

Merut’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium sized eggplant, sliced into 1 inch slices
2 eggs
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 tsp sage
1 tbsp basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp powder
1 tsp onion pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
3 cups spaghetti/marinara sauce – use your favorite (homemade or store-bought)
Mozzarella (couple of handfuls)

  1. Slice the eggplant into 1 inch slices.
  2. In a bowl, stir eggs.
  3. In a bowl, mix panko crumbs, parmesan, sage, basil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Prepare a casserole dish. Apply nonstick, and then spread a slight layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Make sure you reserve 2/3 of your sauce.
  5. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg, then cover with the dry mixture. Place the slices in one layer in the pan.
  6. Spray oil over eggplant slices.
  7. Top with remaining sauce and top with mozzarella. Cover dish with foil.
  8. Place pan in an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Cool slightly and serve over pasta or as a side.
and the people who watch them. That’s right folks, I’m posting South Park on my blog. I am from the South Park generation after all. Anyways, while the rest of this episode is way too inappropriate for my blog, I thought it was hilarious. Here is just a tease. I’m sure we all know people like Randy (or are people like Randy). I’ve seen my dad salivating over food porn (while watching “Travels in Europe” – weird). Obviously he is where I got it from.

I especially like the “I cooked so you guys clean up part.”

Woo hoo. You can like it here (and receive updates through facebook).

I need to explain myself to Grandma. She was not “in the know.” First of all, I have never been a hugger. All the girls in school who hugged as a greeting were (and still are) a mystery to me.

First is the arm dilemma. I have seriously lost sleep over this. Do my arms go over yours? Do they both go under yours? How about half and half? But then which arm goes up and which one goes under? I am a stumbling mess, which usually involves injury or embarrassment. Then there is the trauma I suffer from. I either hug from the side or I stick my butt out. I have been doing this since I was about 12. While my aunt treats the butt-out hug like a secret handshake, my grandma took it as a personal offense. Grandma went in for the hug and I stuck my butt out.

Blame my mother. When I was 12, uncomfortably budding in my youth, my mother would hug me tight (so as to prevent escape) and say, “Booby to booby, honey. Booby to booby.” Like that is a form of female bonding! Gross! Is that why all women love to hug? As a subconcious demonstration of the bosom buddy? To this day I cannot hug another woman without that disturbing image in my head. Especially because now I know what my mom thinks when she hugs me (she still says it). It is just wrong. I don’t want my boobs touching another’s, thank you very much. So for now, I will maintain the side-hug or butt-out position. Until my boobs work their way down to my belly – then I will improvise.

Back to a different kind of breast. This is one of my best creations to date. The chicken cooked perfectly – not dry or undercooked. And the addition of the balsamic vinegar reduction was just right. Gas Monkey even said he could see himself ordering it at a restaurant (the liar).

Mediterranean-Inspired Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Sauce

4 Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
2 cups balsamic vinegar

1. Pound the chicken breasts as thin as possible without breaking them. I, being clever, wrapped a rolling pin with syran wrap, and let out my aggression.

2. Season the outside of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Flip so the inside is facing up.

3. In a bowl mix all of the feta, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers. Spread the mixture on the inside of the chicken breasts.

4. Carefully roll the chicken breast, trying to keep as much of the filling in the breast. Pin the roll closed using toothpicks.

5. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a casserole dish, spray with nonstick. Place the rolls in the dish and cover with foil.

6. Meanwhile, in a saucepan pour the balsamic vinegar. If you’d like, add 1-2 tbsp of butter. Slowly reduce the vinegar until only half is remaining (or less if you prefer).

7. Cook for 1 hour. Once the hour is up, turn the oven to broil, remove the foil, and heat for 10 more minutes. Remove from pan and top with just enough reduced balsamic vinegar (a little goes a long way). Serve!