Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cornmeal-Cherry Upside Down Cake

Around these parts there have been sale-priced cherries a'plenty. If you have a cherry pitter (this is important) and want the most delectable fruit/cake combo in existence, I highly recommend you make this Cherry Cornmeal Upside-down Cake I found at smittenkitchen. Let me emphasize at this juncture that if it is your intent to buy a can of cherries rather than use fresh for this recipe, save yourself some time and just buy a box cake. Canned cherries would completely ruin this recipe. If you try it I am sure fines and punishment (other than enduring subpar cake) will ensue. I'm just sayin'.

Much to my chagrin, a cherry pitter was not be had in this town so I halved my cherries and picked the pits out by hand. My fingertips and nails looked lovely for days. Must find cherry pitter. The recipe was not difficult, but time consuming. I confess that mid-way through the process I wondered if it was really worth it, but the first bite convinced me that it was indeed. Remember Scooby Doo's reaction when he finally obtained his coveted scooby-snack? How he would close his eyes and make the "ummm, ummmm" sounds while floating in the air, then sink into a satisfied heap on the ground? That's what happened to me when I placed that first forkful in my mouth. It also happened a couple of times after the first forkful.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Great Aquatic Adventure

Last week the girls and I picked up Grandma Sue and embarked upon day trip to Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. It was thoroughly enjoyable for all involved and I took a truckload of pictures, so get ready.

We arrived about 15 minutes before opening so we had time to take this picture at the entrance. We also had time for the girls to engage the employees out front in a very involved conversation that included such diverse topics as the release date of the newest Little Mermaid movie, one staff member's trip to Sea World, and the twins lost teeth.

Above are the hermit crab, various types of coral, scorpion fish (?), and seahorses.

Does anyone have any clarified garlic butter? This guy was HUGE incidentally.

Mommy look! It's Marlin, Nemo, and Dory! It's Marlin, Nemo, and Dory! Look, Mommy, look!

Psychedelic Moon Jellies

Lion Fish. Unfortunately, this fish always reminds me of the movie Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo. What makes it unfortunate is that I have actually seen that movie.

The touch tank was the highlight of the day for the girls. Here they are petting a horseshoe crab who turned out to be quite friendly. He actually followed E. around the tank and would try to climb up the sides looking for her to pet him. He would hold very still while she stroked his shell and as soon as she stopped would start trying to climb the tank again. It was rather bizarre.

Grandma holding a pencil urchin. It was very cool. You could feel it's spines(?) legs(?) moving against your skin.

The only way to get out is through the gift shop, clever people. Here is N. posing with a new friend.

E. is a bit more...adventurous. Here she is under attack by rubber snake, but she recovers nicely and totally dominates that gator. Note how she holds his mouth shut so he can't bite, just like a pro.

And here is my baby A. all made of sugar and loving on her all-time favorite animal, the manatee.
She is so sweet you just wouldn't believe it if I told ya.

We wrapped up our visit at the turtle and manatee area. If you have never seen these animals up close and personal I highly recommend that you do. Their enormity is impossible to convey through words and 2-dimensional imagery. It is awe-inspiring to be so close to them.

Thus concludes the longest blog entry in existence. Hope you enjoyed the pics. What is your favorite ocean animal and/or aquarium? Inquiring minds want to know, at least my inquiring mind wants to know.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Polymethyl Methacrylate

Poly-wha...? I have had the word polymethyl methacrylate stuck in my head since we covered dental materials in dental assisting school in 1999. While in school it was floating in my brain constantly. I would wake myself up at night saying it out loud. I would be thinking it while having everyday conversations. Now I only think of it a couple times a month most generally. Oh, I've had more annoying things stuck in my head for longer periods of time like "Ice, Ice Baby" by one Vanilla Ice. Whenever (and I do mean every. single. time.) somebody says "stop", I immediately complete the thought with,
"collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Then I flow like a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop? yo -- I dont know
Turn off the lights and Ill glow
To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal
Light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle."

I hear the phrase "straight to the point" much less often but I inevitably follow it with,
"Quick to the point, to the point no faking. I'm cooking mcs like a pound of bacon." Clearly I have issues. I never even liked the song. I would like to note at this point that my husband uses these phrases just to torment me. Anyhoo, I mention all this because I have a new word that has been plaguing me day and night since I started my medical transcription coursework. That word is epicondyle. I dream about it. Chances are good that if you are having a conversation with me, I am repeating silently to myself the entire time. Epicondyle, epicondyle, epicondyle. On occasion it is temporarily replaced by mesentery, but not for long. Have I mentioned I have issues? Does anyone else share this affliction with me? What words and/or songs get trapped in your head? Please share. We might as well be in this together.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Arroz con Pollo

This picture does not even begin to convey just how delicioso this arroz con pollo (chicken and rice for my non-Spanish speaking friends out there) tasted. This is Ingrid Hoffman's recipe from Simply Delicioso on Food Network (click on the word "delicioso" in the previous sentence to go to the recipe)(Yes, I steadfastly hold to my right to intersperse parenthetical phrases throughout my writing with reckless abandon. I'm trying to get my commas under control, so cut me some slack already.). Despite the fact that she is about as Miami South Beach as you can get I can't help but like her and think she is a pretty cool chica. Now,you may look at this recipe and think that you don't have time to make this, or the ingredients don't scream "life-altering chicken and rice yumminess on plate!" to you. I, however, am here to tell you that you must make time to make this because it is, in fact, life-altering chicken and rice yumminess on a plate(!). Sorry, I had to get all stern and use the mom voice on you, but it's for your own good. You'll thank me for it later.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Nature and I Kiss and Make Up

If you read my most recent post or my diatribe on fire ants, you may have the impression that I am a total hater of the world of nature . Not so! Let me take this moment to share with you nature that I actually enjoy (primarily because it doesn't viciously attack me without provocation).

My cactus has been a very happy camper this year. This is the first time we have had these lovely little blooms. It has also been prodigiously sprouting new paddles like prickly little tumors.

My girls have dubbed this guy "Slowy" because he's a turtle, and he's slow. I thought he looked very exotic amongst the sand and tiny yellow flowers. These photos were not taken at the beach, by the way, this is across the street from my house. It's what we have instead of dirt.

Last, but certainly not least, is my areca palm. I have this planted just outside my bedroom window as a privacy screen. Having it there really creates a tropical ambiance.

Oh, there are other flora, fauna, and critters in the natural world for which I have a fondness, such as raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens (name that tune), but, for now, I hope you have enjoyed our little photographic stroll through the more benign features of my yard.