Thursday, July 31, 2008

From My Childhood...

This morning I was driving down the road on my way to Walmart to pick up some items for my new 6th grade class and had on the 70's radio station. I heard this song and immediately was transported back to my childhood. I used to know every word to this song...not that I knew what many of them meant at that time (ie. chartreuse)...

Enjoy...and sing along if you can!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beer in the Rear Chicken

Let me start this post by saying this is the best chicken I have ever had in my life!

After the whole FN thing I thought I'd try one of the beer-can chicken recipes that Adam did on the final episode of The Next Food Network Star. I was unable to find his recipe so I used Paula Deen's. It is excellent! To the right you see a picture of my bird before cooking. One of the things I discovered at the grocery store is that you cannot purchase small cans of beer, only this big honkin one. And since I don't drink beer I couldn't justify buying a 6 pack for the smaller cans. And another note, you cannot taste the beer once this has been cooked...which is good for me because as I mentioned, I don't like beer.

Here is the recipe I used...seriously, you NEED to try this! And, you also need 3 hands at the end to remove the beer can from the chicken...or you could just dump it over on its side and quickly remove the beer can and let the chicken drain (that's what I did). Oh, and I used the whole batch of dry rub on my chicken.

Oh, and as another note...Adam on the FNS said he used 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar for his dry rub. That would have put folks into sugar shock! Seriously, don't use 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar!!

Beer in the Rear Chicken

5 pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
Dry rub, recipe follows
1 (12-ounce) can light beer

Dry Rub:
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
Cayenne pepper, pinch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Set up your indoor/oven "beer can chicken" roaster according to manufacturer's instructions. Rub the chicken all over with the dry rub making sure to get some around the cavity opening as well. Put the rubbed chicken in place over the beer can, on top of a roasting pan. Place the chicken in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Lower the oven to 325 degrees F and roast for 90 minutes basting with the chicken drippings until very, very tender. Carefully remove the chicken from the roaster and let rest 10 minutes before carving. Remove beer can from chicken.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Seriously, the Outcome was Predetermined!

I'll be the first to admit it...I'm a cooking show junkie. It's like crack to my system! It should be no surprise then that last night I stayed up to watch the finale of The Next Food Network Star. I'm displeased with the outcome of the show but I'll also say that I'm not surprised. Let me say first off that Aaron (far right in the picture above) was chosen as the winner. My issue with him winning is that he was NOT the best candidate for the position. I'll tell you why....

So last week the show ended with 3 finalists instead of the normal 2. I couldn't understand why! When it came to the cooking Lisa was by far the best candidate! Her meals were spectacular. Overall she was the favorite with the judges who constantly raved about her food. Her flaw - she seemed unreal. She looks like she could step into a Star Trek episode with no makeup! She didn't connect with the camera as well as she could have. She seems uppity! But, even with all of that, this girl should have won! After the 4 1/2 minute episode she taped last night you could see that she was intelligent and could warm to the camera given a situation where she wasn't under the gun.

The next candidate, Adam, was a mess the whole time the show ran. Twice his food was not fully cooked. I'd have puked on my plate if I'd gotten some of the raw eggs (AKA liquid chickens) he served to the judges. But, during the Vegas week he blew the judges away with his smoked fare. The judges had "hoped" to get rid of him and leave the finale to Lisa and Aaron but Adam scored too high with the judges and the other chefs, performers, etc. in Vegas to be let go...hence the reason there were 3 in the finale. The judges simply couldn't justify letting him go.

Now Aaron, on the other hand, cooked crap food for that week in Vegas. He made three completely uninspired, pedantic pasta dishes! Good lord, even I can cook 3 pasta dishes and get them out on a buffet in 6 hours. His cooking history on the show was spotty. He simply wasn't a very good cook. And, there are issues with his speech and grammar. In my opinion, he's uneducated. When I'm watching the TV I want good food AND I want to be able to understand what you're talking about without having to decipher it. I am not a fan of slang. He SHOULD have gone home during the Vegas week and if the judging had been fair he would have. But...

The Food Network already had their sights set on Aaron as the winner. I think they are trying to bring in a new demographic. Look at two of the new shows...Down Home with the Neely's (I absolutely adore them!), and Sunny Anderson (who drives me nuts). Aaron fit the bew demographic...and I'll say it...he is black...and that's the new audience they are trying to hit up. Will I watch his show? Probably because his food seems accessible. But was he the best candidate for this position? Absolutely freeking NOT!

As much as I hate to admit it (because she grates on my nerves) Lisa SHOULD HAVE WON. Hands down. I watched her exit interview this morning. My heart broke for her. How she was able to maintain her composure is beyond me. I give her big kudos for that.

I had thought it might be fun to enter the contest at some point because I love to cook. But this season has really opened my eyes to see that it's not really who is the best but who the network wants on their channel. It's not a fair fight and my big ole plump self probably wouldn't fit their demographic (they already have Ina and Paula).

Sorry, but the Food Network really screwed this one up!! And the bigger issue is that I think it's totally transparent and folks will recognize this immediately.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm Saddened...

Randy Pausch, the man behind the infamous Last Lecture, passed on this morning. From the website...

At Carnegie Mellon, he was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, and was recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research. On campus, he became known for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called "The Last Lecture," where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. The name of the lecture series was changed to "Journeys" before Pausch spoke, something he joked about in his lecture.

"I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it," he said.
He told the packed auditorium he fulfilled almost all his childhood dreams — being in zero gravity, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia and working with the Walt Disney Co.

The one that eluded him? Playing in the National Football League.

Full text of the article can be found at:

If you haven't watched The Last Lecture you simply must! I saw this on Oprah and it was amazing!

Rest in Peace Dr. Pausch and know that you have moved many a person...

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Hello all my scrappy friends! Carolyn, owner of the "Taking the Chipboard Journey" blog is giving away a bunch of products from Making Memories on July 31st! Seriously, how can you not LOVE the name of her blog!!


Working, Playing, 'n Stuff

Sorry I haven't been around. I've been working on my proposal for my dissertation. It's amazing how much work goes into these things. I find that I lack motivation most days. I'd rather be doing other things...*sigh*

I just finished a book called "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson. One night while reading in bed I came across a part in the book where I started to laugh hysterically! Tears were streaming down my face and I could barely breathe. This guy is too funny! I also recommend his book "A Walk in the Woods." It's about hiking the Appalachian Trail. I'm now reading a book called "Good in Bed." These books, by the way, are compliments of Casey. She's such an avid reader!

I've also been spending some time with Honor and taking her to the dog park to exercise. There's a really great group of people that are always there. I've enjoyed getting to know them. We only go every other day because it's a bit of a drive. We tried to go yesterday but when we got there it was pouring down rain! Oddly enough there was no indication of rain on my side of town.

Lastly, if you haven't seen this video of the lion you need will bring you to tears so have tissue handy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

By Maya Angelou

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a youth she's content to leave behind....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... one friend who always makes her laugh.. and one who lets her cry...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE... a feeling of control over her destiny..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to fall in love without losing herself..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without; ruining the friendship...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.... how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table.. or a charming Inn in the woods.... when her soul needs soothing....

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... What she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


My lovely friend, Rhiannon, posted a list of books printed by The Big Read. In 2003 the BBC asked people what their favorite books were. The top 100 are shown here. The average adult has read only 6 of these books. I have read more than 6 but I am ashamed at how few I have read. I'm going to start checking these out from my library one by one. How many have you read?

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith,
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Seriously, I am alive...

René and Honor Pookie

I'm sure you've been wondering where in the heck I am. Honestly, been wondering the same thing myself! Life has thrown me some crazy busy loops lately and there are no signs of stopping yet. I'm not sure why I've been so busy this summer though...but I have.

This morning I taught a 2 hour class on Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources for an Excellence in Teaching forum that is being given by UT. This class had 15 high school teachers from the area all learning how to do activities with their students. In addition to talking about the resources I gave them two labs to do. One involved using popsicle sticks to simulate deforestation. The other had them "mining" chocolate chip cookies for the precious "chocolate." It was fun and I'd love to be asked to do it again. I love community outreach!!

Tomorrow I'm heading out for 5 days in Cincinnati to work on some research. I'll be there with my advisor and looking at some really cool rocks/fossils. The day after I return I'll be attending a 5 day GK-12 Workshop that will eat up my time.

The photo in this post was taken by my good friend, Judy! She and her husband, Ernie, visited me for a day on their way back through Tennessee to Wilmington. We had a great time and got to visit Cade's Cove. Such nice people!!
Alright, must go pack...I might type from the road if time permits....