31 October 2006

My afternoon diversion

No officer, nothing to see. Just head on through. I'm not learning nefarious ways to subvert the TSA or anything here.


Quick Bread Pudding

Serves 2 hungry troublemakers

3 cups bread crumbs, cubed and loosely packed

¼ cup dried cherries

1 tsp fresh orange zest

½ cup sugar

1 cup milk

½ tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

Make custard: mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and milk with a whisk. Add dried cherries. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Pour custard over bread and mix until bread crumbs are saturated.

Split mixture into 2 microwave containers and microwave on medium for 12-14 minutes, turning twice until the bread pudding domes from the container. (Depends on the power of the microwave)

Allow to cool and serve. Drizzle with orange yogurt sauce.

Orange Yogurt Sauce

1 6-oz. orange flavored yogurt

1 tbsp honey

½ tsp vanilla

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Mix in a small bowl. Drizzle over bread pudding.

26 October 2006

Detroit marathon-for a good cause

Hi all, one of the gals is running the Detroit marathon to raise money for ASHA. In her words:

"I am thrilled to let you all know that i will be running the Detroit half marathon this
Sunday. I must have told you all that i am running this marathon for ASHA, an active
group that aims to see a socio-economic change in India through the education of
underprivileged children.While running for a cause like this gave me enough motivation to
begin, the marathon training has been a challenge - mentally and physically. Long
distance running wasn't easy for someone like me who has never been an athlete before.
With lots of ups and downs, trial and error, pride and pain, i have come a long way. I
have done 10 miles multiple times during my training and 13.1miles seems very achievable
on the race day."

While I am not running for a cause or to raise money, I very much respect those who do. It's not easy running long distance and Aruna's dedication is apparent. And so for the first time on this blog, I'm asking my few readers to stop by Aruna's site and donate a bit of change.

On related news, the carbo loading is going swimmingly. I think that, by now, I've eaten the volume equivalent of a small island of pasta.

:) LJS

When I rule the seas

I will have a law prohibiting the construction of new art museums at the expense of 200 year old trees.

I will have free coffee in the mornings and free beer in the evenings for all me mateys

I will make Rush Limbaugh walk the plank

I will make shoes quiet, and hardwood floors sound proof

I will give at least 10 new people a hug every day, and they will return the hug instead of looking at me as if I were crazy

I will woo my orchids into producing beautiful flowers with my piano playing

I will not have my sunshine separated from me by 1000 km

I will be finished with my Ph.D.

25 October 2006

Arse of the Week Award

If beer if proof that God exists and loves us, then this man is direct proof of Satan (for this reason and many others).
Can't you see the little horns? It matches the regatta jacket very nicely.

23 October 2006

Good night, lil veggie

The Monkey Barn has not one, but TWO Halloween stories for all you good folks!

The Celery Stalks at Midnight -started off by the lovely and talented Sea Hag

Nighty Nightmare - part one by yours truly.

Enjoy! :D LJS

"Surely, men love darkness rather than light" -H.D. Thoreau

On my way through the campus this morning, I noticed a couple of very large, very old trees were missing and *they* were moving some of the smaller ones. Why?
Because *they* are expanding the art gallery. {sigh} I was really sad to see that tree getting uprooted and moved, and I felt so badly for the large trees that were killed off. I think it's ironic that we destroy natural beauty in order to make an artifical shrine to artifical beauty. If one cannot see beauty in trees and stars and sky then there is a shallowness that cannot be cured by a piece of canvas.

20 October 2006

Lady Jane's Chili Paste

As a way of showing my gratitude to Sparky and Mrs. Duck for sharing their yummy Apple Cake recipe, I thought I'd share my recipe for homemade chili paste.

This is a great GREAT alternative to the chili powder, any recipe that calls for chili powder, use this instead! It is hotter than chili powder, but the flavor is more complex and I promise that you'll make the best chili or red sauce with this paste.
Semantics: The paste keeps frozen well for ~ 6 months. I make a double batch, because there is a fair amount of work that goes into making the paste. You can order all of these chiles online at: http://www.loschileros.com/ But if you do, please make up the chili paste ASAP, as the dried chiles get "icky" rather quickly.

Warning! Please use gloves when handling the chiles. There's alot of capsasin flying about!

Lady Jane's Scorchin' Chili Paste
(makes about 2 cups)

~3 oz New Mexico or California red chili pods (~12 chiles)
3 cups of water
~ 2 oz Ancho chiles (~2-3 large chiles)
~ 1 oz guarillo chiles (~6 chiles)
2 pasilla chiles (~ 2 oz. Pasilla chiles are also known as Chile Negro)
2-4 tbsp Adobo from canned chipotles

1. Remove the stems from the chiles and tear into ~1/2 inch pieces. Place into large, heatproof bowl.

2. Bring the water to a boil. Pour the water over the chiles, stir well and cover. This, I call the chili sauna. Let them hang out there for 2-3 hours, stirring occassionally.

3. Drain the chiles, reserving the liquid. In small batches, puree the solids in a food processor until smooth.

4. Press the puree through a fine-mesh food mill (some folks use a sieve, but the food mill makes it easy!) to remove any unprocessed bits or tough skin parts. Stir in the reserved soaking liquid and Adobo sauce.

5. Cover and refridgerate or freeze until use!

Next Friday, I'll serve up a recipe for red sauce.

Mildly yours, LJS

18 October 2006

I am a bad "Feeder #1"

Howie Katt would like me to point out that I completely missed celebrating October 15th as All Cats Day. And now I must propiciate the fuzzy feline with a tribute to cats. So, today I have gone all out here- a "Kitty Haiku", a top 10 list of cat attributes, a few awesome links and Howie Katt's photo.

Kitty Haiku-by Feeder #1

Graceful and smooth fur
Perched by the couch side, waiting
Pounce! The fur does fly!

Top 10 favorite cats of all time

10. Tigger
9. Si and Am from "Lady and the Tramp" (We are Siamese if you most please..meow!)
8. Battlecat
7. Mean Kitty (all bow before Mean Kitty!)
6. Morris the cat
5. Puss...in Boots (the bestest Shrek sidekick ever)
4. Bill the Cat (no other cat can cough up furballs like Bill)
3. Bucky Katt (If I had another cat, it would have to be like Bucky)
2. Hobbes
1. Howie!

Some purr-fect links!
And onward to the carnival of the cat, or perhaps to some adorable kitten pictures? If you want some sarcastic cat, head on over to visit Mean Kitty. And there are some cute cats, adorned, for our persual at stuff on my cat. Best of all, since cats are our beloved pets, please treat them nicely and they will give you many years of love in return. Consider offering a loving home to a lonely kitten or cat, there are many clinics and shelters that have adoption programs. Sometimes, though, feral cats are best left alone (thanks for the reminder Mad Sweeney!).

(At this point, Howie Katt is reminding me to tell you that I adopted him when I found him in my garage...lost, scared, emaciated, and lonely. I instantly fell in love. He was and still is the sweetest cat ever, and I'm happy he's my companion!)

And, don't forget to make you and your loved ones the kitty litter cake to celebrate!

:) LJS and first cat-Howie Katt

(The author does not condone regular donation of Doritoes to the feline, but Howie digs having a treat every now and then)

And, a shout out to Watts-my favorite "Third White Stripe" kitty

15 October 2006

The smells of fall

I love the fall season.
What fall lacks for warmth, it makes up for in wonderful smells. Both indoors and outdoors.
Outdoors, the lovely smell of burning leaves and fresh crisp air.

Indoors, my orchids are blooming. In a couple of short weeks, my beautiful Stanhopea Oculata will grace chez Scarlett with the bewitching aroma a vanilla and chocolate. I look forward to this bloom all year-the flowers only last a few days. They are both uniquely beautiful (the blooms grow out of the bottom of the plant!) and intoxicatingly delicious to smell. Here's a pic from last year's bloom. I wish I could make the picture "scratch and smell" because I think that if everyone could smell these flowers, it'd remind them how beautiful this world is and we'd have world peace.

I also have four cattleya's that are coming into bloom. Photos are coming soon, because they take a few days for their blooms to fully "ripen". I'm waiting for my paphs to start spiking, but it looks like my phals won't be blooming this year. Pity too, because their blooms last for months.

:) LJS

10 October 2006

Another Birfday!!!

Happy Birthday Mom, I love you.


On a completely random note, I had cow last night for dinner. Not a cow, just "cow"(I refuse...REFUSE...to call it "beef") Said cow was sauteed in some weird Korean BBQ sauce and served up with a side of spicy pickled cabbage. I usually don't nosh on bovine, and now my pirate tummy is swashbuckling around....like a good pirate tummy should.
And, I can't believe I just wrote about my tummy growling at me. This is beyond mundane.
:) LJS

Bear Market

This post is to solicit ideas from the Monkey Barners about giving our new Bearverlord a proper (and warm) welcome back to the Monkey Barn. For those Barners who don't visit my den (a thousand whip lashings and a walk on the plank for you!) er...I'll be finding them and letting them know my evil plan.
Some of my ideas are: Top 10 lists, a "Bear" day on the Barn, Bear recipes, an ASKHAT perhaps devoted to figuring out why grown men are still attached to their teddy bears or team mascots, cute and fuzzy pictures of teddy bears. Or...maybe this adorable little critter?

After a few weeks of being away, I am back! Blogger beware! Muhahahaha!
:) LJS

06 October 2006

Revving up Spunky Dick and Kinky Jane

In three weeks, I'll be running the Detroit half-marathon. Now, I know that I swore I'd do the full marathon. But it's so not encouraging to finish 2.5 hours of running and know that you're only halfway finished. And, it's more fun to run with someone and I had two choices:
1. Suffer through the full marathon alone
2. Run a great half marathon with someone and train to run a faster pace than last year

I chose to run the half. It's going to be lots of fun! Instead of dyeing my hair bright red, I'm going to get Spock ears. Heh. If anyone has any suggestions for race-time "flair", please share!

So expect some updates as I wind down my training. The drama of preparing, the insanity of pre-race expos, the awesome fun of carbo-loading...

I am getting sleeepppyyyy...but I wanted to share that I've updated my "photos" with some Disney stuff. Isn't Francis adorable?
:) LJS