Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brenden's 7th and My 57th...

Or the cake is gone...my birthday must be over.

Had a wonderful time with Brenden (and everyone) in Terre Haute at Bogeys for Brenden's Earth Worm Jim Party!

What's not to love. Pizza and soft drinks. Private party room (where THEY handle the clean up). Go Carts. Game Room. Bounce Room. Spinning Bumper Cars. Miniature Golf. Batting Cages. Trampoline Bungee. It was pretty amazing! Something for EVERYONE.

Finished my early month-long celebration and cake a few hours ago. The 57th has somehow turned out to be my "Good Food and Cake" birthday, it seems...Starting with Greek early in the month...onward to The Cheesecake Factory...Steak yesterday with a mini chocolate cake from Chuck and Shirley...beginning the day with a candle lit eclair...and Loretta, Sharon Judy and I celebrating with a Brunch and yet more cake this afternoon. Loretta hosted it to celebrate both Judy's (the 22nd) and My (the 24th) Birthdays!

Walked in to the smell of Roasting Turkey, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Green Bean Casserole and Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Icing and Sprinkles. Smelled like Thanksgiving!!!

And good things always come in boxes, too.

The Shelby Cat (earlier this month)

Good Handmade Chocolates.

And still more chocolates.

A giftcard!

 Coffee Pods.

And Cake.

"Idgy's Box" which included this vintage suitcase affair filled with some of my favorite things...a Vineyard Yankee Candle, A large polished geode with some beautiful crystals, a hand-carved wooden dipping spoon, oh....and more chocolate!!!

Feeling very SPOILED (and chocolate filled) today!

Also got a great surprise from Lennon yesterday; who is going to be taking vacation days soon and coming up for a week!


And he is right about this shit being creepy

When you log-in on your  birthday and both Facebook and Google send regards and your Twitter page is dropping multicoloured balloons...yes...kind of creepy.

Anyway...57 rocks!

              1957 Thunderbird...proof that I am not OLD. I am CLASSIC.

Have to admit, I faced 57 with a bit of trepidation. Silly really. Superstitious. I have believed for years that we travel through this life more or less in the same circles (of people)  Having lost 4 close friends at the age of 57...most recently Pam, also at 57...well...let's just say it gave me a momentary pause. 

But this is 57...and it is Grand.

The Daily US News...er...maybe not so much.

We have managed to piss off Russia...Iran...Syria...Afghanistan...North Korea and China in less than 100 days.

If you aren't very nervous...well, you aren't paying attention.

Suddenly 4 years feel like forever.

Democrats...get a clue. Forget about Russia and Border Walls and whatever else you are kvetching about and get yourselves focused on one very very very important thing...grooming a Viable Candidate for  2020. You  have 4 years, okay. Don't SCREW this up. Because if you don't we could have 8 years of THIS. And do NOT dust off Hillary and trot her out again or you DESERVE four more years.

And a sad footnote...as my Tucker-Kitty took a turn for the worse on Sunday. By Monday he had collapsed, and was in obvious distress. Nicole helped me get him to the Vet that afternoon for euthanasia. It was April and he had just turned 14. The vet said we had made the right decision as he would decline further, and be in more pain.

14 years was STILL not enough.

Missing my fuzz-buddy and little shedding Zen-Master who taught me his final life lesson yesterday:

Sometimes no matter how badly we want to keep somebody...there are times we have to love them enough to let them go.



 More Anon...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kalua Pork and Roast Pineapple

And what would Hawaii Cuisine be without Roast Pork and Pineapple, really?

(...okay...Poi would have made this meal more authentic...but I had an Island Brownie left...so it's all good...)

The Pineapple: roasted at 350 and drizzled with brown sugar glaze until done.

The Pork- Kalua Roast Pork

Kalua Pork

This can be made in a slow cooker with good  results, however, I used my oven.

Pork Butt or Loin  (3 pounds)

2 cups water

1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavouring

1/4 cup sea salt

Cook in slow cooker all day or in deep roaster in 350 degree oven for 3 hours. 
Shred meat and add roast pineapple and/or roast bell peppers at this point.

Smells and tastes delicious. Re-Heats easily and very little clean up!


Coming soon :  Hapula:Coconut Pudding and Hawaiian Fried Rice

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sprouted Coconut Palms...Coconuts...and Island Brownies!

Yes...one of these has been on my Life List since Cuba!  I have one (now) winging its way, my way!

Sprouted Coconut Palms.

Hawaii is full of them!

Going from green and full of coconut water.


Nearly ripe and yellowish brown.


Brown, ripe and difficult to split...even with a hammer or hatchet.Also extremely buoyant in water...some coconuts float on ocean waves for miles before landing on a beach...where they sprout. You will appreciate your local grocery more, now.
The round hairy ball (nut) is inside the fibrous jacket.

And at last...opening the nut to find sweet delicious coconut meat (after draining the "milk" off by puncturing one of the soft eyes).

Coconut milk (the liquid inside the coconut)

And the meat

And since we have now explored Pineapple, Macadamia Nuts and Coconut...it is time to combine the three and make Island Brownies!

Island Brownies

1 box chocolate brownie mix  (I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate)

Substitute Pineapple Juice for the amount of water...and only use one egg. Otherwise prepare just like it says on the box.

Mix in a cup of shredded or flaked coconut.

Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple.

Add 1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts.

Mix well.

Pour into 8x8 baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Remove and let cool before cutting.

As it bakes your house will smell amazing...and they taste even better!

Moist and chocolatey...and filled with coconut, Macadamias and bits of real pineapple. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cuisine...Facial...Drink Container...Potted Plant: The Versatile Pineapple

Hawaiian Rum Punch served out of a pineapple shell!

But wait...it is so much more than a delectable fresh fruit, or a drink container.

By cutting off the green top with about an inch of the fruit...you can pot it and grow another pineapple plant (maybe even small fruit)

Pineapple plant from crown to small pineapple


And the enzyme in the inside (when you peel the pineapple) works wonders to slough off dead skin cells and it amazing for a facial or entire body treatment leaving skin silky smooth. This works especially well in combination with a luffa sponge.

It is also great raw....mixed in salads...as an accompaniment for ham or roast pork...brown sugar baked...in a variety of recipes...baked into brownies...dipped in chocolate or dried for a portable snack. 

 Baked Whole


The fibers from the tough leaves are used to produce cloth, clothing and furniture. 

Dress made from Pineapple Leaf Fibers

And a bench made from those same fibers

Truly a versatile plant.

 Known for its pineapple fields, Hawaii has acres and acres planted in them and they are a major island export.

Dole is headquartered here.




And harvesting


 Originating in Brazil and introduced to Hawaii in the early 1900's. DelMonte and Dole both operate and have headquarters on the islands now.

More anon...

Novel-The Plan: Detective Brinks and The Cabin

The General (as he prefers to be called) and I laid our plans for Easter Day.

I obtained the necessary paperwork to search Troy's property the week before, and Davis provided the opportunity by having the doctor over with his ex-son-in law and children for Easter Dinner.

There was no entry problem. Well off the main road and very secluded, the door was unlocked and we walked right in.

The house seemed in order with nothing unusual. I was beginning to think my former chief was right. Hunches were...well...just that.

Then we found Tracy's car...hidden at the back of the heavily wooded property behind an outbuilding. It was storage shed type building about half the size of the cabin. Inside the shed were a collection of cast off items. Most broken and useless. A work bench. An old Norton motorcycle in pieces. A basket case, my dad would have called it. My father was known to buy crates of old Harley parts and reassemble them in the winter. By late spring he would always have a running bike.

In the far corner, behind all the broken crap, was an unused rust-streaked old latch type deep freeze.

When we opened the creaky lid we smelled her long before we removed the bundled tarp from the chest.

Scrambling tiny black bugs had discovered her long before we had.

There was no sign of violence or any entry/exit wounds. No blunt trauma. An autopsy and post-mortem would give us a better explanation of how and when she died. He had closed her eyes.

We had the bastard.

Sometimes a hunch is all you need.

I accompanied the homicide team as we converged on The General's place for the arrest.

He got away with it the first time.
He wasn't going to be given the chance again.

I was also naming him as a person-of-suspicion in her husband, Jerry Black's untimely death as well. Maybe it wasn't as open and closed suicide as I had first thought.

Given what The General had told me about Doctor Troy's romantic unwanted attraction to his daughter it made sense he would have gotten her husband out of the way first. 

Establishing a possible motive.

He had also been the last person to see Jerry Black alive. When I had questioned him at his office he has seemed unduly tense, nervous. Out-of-sorts.

Nothing would give me more pleasure than cuffing the son-of-a-bitch.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Virtual Hawaii: Macadamia Nuts

Omg...where have THESE been all my life!

(...sitting right there on the shelf at Kroger...)

Decided to start with something I have always known existed...but never tried.

Macadamia Nuts

A rich Cashew-buttery soft nut with a hint of the flavor of Brazil Nuts and maybe Hazelnut.  
Very nice. 

At 5.00 for a little over 4 ounces they run about $20. a pound, here. And worth every penny of it. 

Found a recipe for Brownies using these, fresh pineapple tidbits and coconut that I must try soon.

Not to worry....I'll share.

Well,  the recipe anyway....

The genus Macadamia originated in Australia. A bush-like evergreen that grows between 7 and 40 feet tall.

Now they are grown in several countries...but primarily in the USA. Hawaii is the largest exporter of Macadamia Nuts.  California and Florida also grow them.

They can be green-housed as well.

Interested in growing your own? You can get a gallon start here


with all the instructions for its care.

The nuts begin as flowers.

When pollinated they become hard green strands of balls.

When they are ready to harvest they dry and turn brown. The brown skin splits to reveal the nut (also  brown)

Which you crack open to find the soft butter-coloured round meat.

Harvesting Macadamia Nuts in Hawaii


I can certainly see how this nut would work well both in savory, spicy dishes, and with chocolates, fudges or candies.

If you have never tried them...grab a can.  
Dry roasted and lightly sea salted they are a real (Hawaiian) treat.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Outstanding Week...and Easter!

Full of Morels

Mostly grays. my favorite. The yellows are starting though...and with all the rain they are ginormous!

Fixed them sautéed, and battered, and in sauces, and even to top pizza.

Nearly the size of my hand!

And a Wednesday Mall-Ratting in Terre Haute with Loretta...and brunch at Cracker Barrel (where I found these Island Dishes)

Also a Lilac Bouquet

 It has the whole house smelling good compliments of my driver (...who usually engages in this horticultural larceny with me...but this year just knocked on my door with a bunch!)  Saving both of us from a life of crime.

And a perfectly lovely day with John (...my old friend and almost bank robber buddy from back in the day...we were nearly notorious..) a long drive through the countryside and catch up/chat...Greek (Saganaki...Tiropita...Avegolemano Soup...Spiced Lamb with Tzaziki Sauce...and Bakalava) A special Early Birthday treat for  me...and expanding his culinary experiences at the same time...having never tried Greek before!


Oh, and THIS

A box of handmade chocolates filled with fruit and a variety of nuts!

Quite possibly some of the BEST chocolate I have ever tried    
Thanks, John!

A Thursday Visit with Pizza...James and Hannah, and a Drive-by Grand-Puppying with Chris. Bennie LOVES pepperoni, by-the-way! Got to spoil the grand-puppy, too!

Yeah, I'm feeling very spoiled today! 

And 57 is still 9 days away...

A great week despite the news.  And is there ANYONE who doesn't open their newsfeed without saying

Oh Dear Christ...WHAT have they DONE now?

85 days into his Presidency, Trump, who has bombed Syria and Afghanistan.

"What does THIS button do?"

And how the hell do you launch 54 Tomahawk Missiles into an Airfield and it remain OPERATIONAL????   Seriously!

Also managing to piss off China, North Korea and Russia.

United Airlines who has pretty much bombed their own business and profits.

and spawned a number of hashtag sites on Twitter..the best being #BoycottUnitedAirlines with some of the best mottos around.

Seriously though, after the Doctor's beating and unseating and the bad PR...this may solve their over-booking problem.

 Just saying!

Loved the new statue that Greenpeace delivered to Coca-Cola as a commentary on their use of disposable plastics.  A brilliant piece showing a family on picnic at a beach with a seagull nearby regurgitating a pile of plastic.

Looking forward to Easter tomorrow with James,Nicole and The Grands. Although with the rain it might be snorkeling for Easter Eggs.

And Aiden caught his first ever FISH this week!

Chuck and Shirley celebrating his (Chuck's) 76th birthday in Key West for the next 3 days!

Tina and Chris off to Comic Con today!

Where they can meet Val Kilmer and Nichelle Nichols (among others)

(...a bit of background...Bill grew up smitten by Nichelle Nichols but never was able to meet her...)

a while ago I got  a quick e-mail from Chris saying I got you something." with this picture.

Autographed to Bill

Just because...

How wonderful!

Going to mat and frame it with a nice photo of Bill set into it!

 I will be catching up with Lennon on Easter.

Shelby has settled in and taken over the house. And given John her "Houseguest Seal of Approval" after a long head-and-ear scratching session.

Tucker is improving daily. Eating more now, and I am making him cheese sauces and a dish of heavy cream to try and get his weight back on.  He lost so much weight while sick.

I have a new antibiotic ophthalmic gel that he hates...but seems to be improving his eyes (that were both infected when the abscess opened) .


It has been a long long three and a half months...but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

And he made it. 
Back to purring and eating and running the household.

That is what is important!

I am practicing a lot with my wheelchair.  May need to set up a concourse with soccer cones...lol My nickname is CRASH..I think. My steering still leaves a lot to be desired.   
On the bright side it makes life a lot easier!

Wishing Everyone a Happy Easter.

I LOVE the Deadpool Egg!


Caught up with Lennon who was having a very Italian (DeVenuto) Easter Dinner of  Home-made Lasagne! But, much like Chris and Tina, had to work later that evening.

Also James hunted THESE...much better than Easter Eggs to accompany Easter Dinner

Easter Morels!

The yellows are getting huge already.

And showed me a new way to fix them I had never tried.
Quite delicious, I might add.

Sliced into quarters lengthwise...not battered...but fried in hot olive oil very quickly until crisp then sprinkled with seasoned salt.

Kind of like Morel Chips.

Very good!

Nicole outdid herself with a HUGE ham, green bean casserole,mashed potatoes, and corn. It was all fabulous!

We even got to play in the gardens a little.

The Grands had a ball! Chocolate, hidden eggs, meeting Emma's not-my-boyfriend...er...boyfriend...lol

And a colorful Glow Stick Easter Hunt!

More Anon...