All A-Twitter? WHY?

I consider myself fairly hip for my age; I can hold a discussion with my grown kid’s friends without sounding like too much of an ass, although (of course) they’re more than a little amazed that I’ve not only heard of but participated in some activities that kids just don’t see their parents doing. For some reason, my kids – Darling Daughter, in particular – seems to think I lived my life under a rock before they were born.

That being said, I also live the life of a 45-year-old woman with a husband, three kids, two stepkids, a dog and a business (and trying to build a second business). So I have a little trouble understanding the whole “Twitter” phenomenon. For those of you who might have been living under a rock (and don’t I wish I could join you!), here is Wikipedia’s definition of Twitter:

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send ‘updates’ (or ‘tweets’; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service (e.g. on a cell phone), instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific or Facebook.”

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping up with my macro-blog and already spend way too much time reading other macro-blogs – I’d go nuts reading periodic updates from the twenty-odd bloggers I visit on a regular, in not daily, basis. Furthermore, Beloved, who views the internet as primarily informational and educational and does NOT understand my obsession viewpoint that it is non-stop entertainment, would have a cow if I started getting text messages umpteen times a day informing me of the activities of people I’ve never laid eyes on.

And good gawd, I hope they’d be more exciting than anything I could post. I can just see you all now, whipping out your cellphones or waiting anxiously for the IM box to pop up on your screen, only to be greeted with:

“I’m opening a diet grape Faygo!”

or:

“I’m at the pottery store, painting a utensil holder!”

or, for some real edge-of-your-seat stuff:

“OMG – round steak is half price and they’ve got kumquats at the grocery store!”

Life in the fast lane, baby.

Chiles Stuffed with Scrambled Eggs and Cheese Sauce, and Zucchini Blini

Sunday BrunchI’ve noticed that lots of people have themed posts for certain days of the week, so I thought I’d do a “Sunday Brunch” spotlight sort of thing. Since it’s a regular occurrence at our house and all.

Anyhoo, today I made Poblano peppers stuffed with scrambled eggs and covered with a nice cheese sauce and zucchini pancakes. Oh, and bacon. I’m a tad peeved with myself because I forgot to take pictures but I was too intent on actually eating it. This is good stuff, and neither dish is difficult to make.

Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Scrambled Eggs and Covered with Cheese Sauce

Serves 2

2 medium Poblano chiles, roasted

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

3/4 cup packed shredded Chihuahua cheese (Mozzarella can be substituted)

Bring cream to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; whisk in cheese. Boil sauce until reduced to about 1/2 cup, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast and peel the peppers, leaving the stems intact. Cut a slit down the side of each and remove the veins and seeds.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat until it foams. Whisk the eggs and scramble in the butter until softly set. Spoon into the chiles, plate and cover with cheese sauce. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Blini

2 – 3 medium zucchini

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil

Shred the zucchini; place it in a paper towel lined colander and press out as much moisture as you can.

Mix the zucchini with the rest of the ingredients – except the vegetable oil – in a large mixing bowl. Heat a large skillet over high heat until it nearly smokes; add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Drop the zucchini mixture into the hot skillet by heaping spoonfuls, flattening them slightly with the back of the spoon; they should be about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Fry them until brown, about 3 minutes per side, using care when flipping them. Drain briefly on paper towels, then serve immediately.

Makes 6 – 7 blini.

Smells Like Teen Armpits

Spring has arrived and so has our mulch, which Beloved has been enthusiastically spreading for the past several days. The first day he performed this yearly chore, the kids went outside to be dragged around by walk the dog and stopped dead in their tracks.

“It smells like ass out here,” Darling Daughter declared. We’d have asked her how she knows what ass smells like, but since she has her head stuck so far up her own it really wasn’t necessary. (You have to understand I love this kid to death, but if she doesn’t get her shit together soon I’m going to have to kill her.)

However, she isn’t that far off – the stuff is fragrant. And the simile has stuck; while running our errands this morning, we stopped by the discount store and picked up 10 more bags of what The Young One now refers to as “Ass Mulch.” Now none of us can stop calling it that – our grandchildren are probably going to refer to Spring as “Ass Mulch Season” and we’ll all end up explaining ourselves to a school psychologist some day.

Of course, the entire town smells like ass these days (since it is that time of year) and that made me think about those people who are of a green and/or money saving disposition and make their own compost and mulch. The “why” part of that is understandable, but I have a real problem with the “how??” Where do you put it while it’s getting all, well, ripe? I can’t see keeping it in the house or garage, so do you just, like, keep a big pile of slowly decomposing crap in the back yard? Wouldn’t that cause your neighbors to complain and lower your property values? How would you keep the dog from jumping in it and rolling around every time you let him out to do his part in the lawn fertilization process?

Do you fence it off and post large “Beware of Mulch” signs? Go all Martha Stewart and construct a camouflaging-yet-decorative container out of old, flowered-patterned sheets and wire coat hangers? I suppose you could pack it away neatly in some of those 30-gallon plastic leaf bags, but it seems to me that would hinder the decomposition and render the attempt to be “green” rather pointless. Not to mention that once it was bagged, your teenage son would probably take the whole kit-and-kaboodle to the curb on trash day for the first – and only – time in his life without being asked.

You see, these are the kinds of things that keep us city-raised-but-moved-to-a-small-town-girls up at night.

Killer Brownies

When Oldest Son read in an earlier post that I was going to post a recipe for “Killer Brownies,” he said that it sounded interesting but wanted to know, “Why, when you hear about a really decadent dessert, does it have some name like ‘Chocolate Homicide’ or ‘This Cookie Could Kill You?'”

It’s a fair question – and one for which I have no answer. I mean, I have yet to be killed – or even bruised – by a chocolate dessert. But it does sound cool. At any rate, here is the recipe for Killer Brownies. It is adapted from a recipe in Great Cookies by Carole Walter, who is the High Priestess of Bad Ass Cookies. Make them, grab an icy-cold glass of milk, and commit fudgey hari-kari.

Killer Brownies

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate

4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 – 2 cups coarsely chopped nuts – walnuts are great, but we like cashews

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish very well.

In a the top of a double boiler, or a bowl placed over (not in) simmering (not boiling) water, melt the two sticks of butter. When they’re about halfway melted, add the chocolate (if you’re using Baker’s chocolate, break the squares in half). Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs well and add the sugar in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the warm chocolate mixture – gently stir in about 1/4 cup, then add the rest, taking care not to aerate the mixture. Add the salt.

Sift the flour in a couple of tablespoons at a time, folding it in gently after each addition. Carefully fold in the nuts with a large spatula. Immediately pour the batter into the buttered pan and spread evenly with the spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out slightly moist – you want a few particles of brownie to stick to the toothpick. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack, and try to wait the 4 hours recommended by Ms. Walter (you won’t be able to, but they do taste better the next day). The brownies keep up to 5 days, wrapped tightly in foil or layered in an airtight container, with sheets of waxed paper between.

Brownie

Shorter of Breath, One Day Closer to Death

There’s a lot I like about being middle aged – I know who I am, I know what I want, I know my mind. The kids are almost all grown. While our debt could be less, I don’t live paycheck to paycheck like I did when I was younger. I have time to indulge my hobbies (at least some of the time). And I’ve finally decided I like me…a whole lot.

However, being middle aged brings about a new state of being: paranoia. You begin to worry about things like the state of your heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys. You spend ridiculous amounts of time researching canola oil, because you can’t seem to find a definitive answer on whether it’s actually good for you or not. You find yourself having very serious discussions about the state of your eliminatory functions – sometimes with complete strangers. You avoid McDonald’s like the plague, not only because Big Mac’s are no longer palatable, but you can’t eat one without visions of your arteries clogging and finally exploding like Michael Ironside’s head in Scanners.

My paranoia is compounded by the fact that my mother died at a young age – 51 – and that it could have been prevented if she’d taken better care of herself. So, I’ve decided to go on a di….di…DIET. Blech. I know, I know – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. However, knowing my problems with follow-through, I’d best stick with a diet for now.

In the past, all of my diets consisted of head-long, all-or-nothing excursions into extremity and often entailed giving up entire food groups and radical exercise programs, while I weighed myself 12 times a day and obsessed over every ounce consumed (or not consumed) and every pound lost (or not lost). Have I mentioned I never stay on a diet very long? This time, though, I think I’m going to take a more moderate approach, since one of the many benefits of being my age is that I can now recognize and exercise moderation, a little something I’ve had problems with in the past. So I think I’ll eat what I want, in reasonable amounts, and exercise on a regular basis, but in reasonable amounts.

Hmmm, maybe I haven’t left the radical approach behind after all. I’ll keep you updated.