Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

My favorite moment in all of cinematic history? Ever? When Dorothy walks out of the gray Kansas house into the brilliant, technicolor world of OZ! Oooo...I just got goosebumps thinking about it. That little 30-60 second reel of film embodies what movies are all about-- escape. Why else in a downward economy does the box office not suffer? Because, for two whole hours, we're transported to Oz (or wherever). My daughter also loves the movie. Sometimes I wonder at her bravery. I have always loved this film, but the flying monkeys still give me the shivers. Well, since she loves the movie so much, and I've been trying to find a book I could read to her without pictures (it's time for her to start reading AND using her imagination), and I just happen to have my mom's old grade-school copy--  this became our maiden voyage into the mind-bolstering power of books. We're finding subtle differences between the movie and the book: namely that the slippers were silver, not ruby, and that the Tinman was once a real man who let his work go to his head (literally) and ended up chopping himself to bits and having to be re-fitted in tin. Like my mother, I try to do all the voices of the different characters-- my daughter died laughing when I did the trilling voice of Glenda, the Witch of the North. But, the real fun started last night when I did the helium-sounding voice of the Mouse Queen (think Karen from Will and Grace). As I read, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dog's head pop up. She stared. I stopped reading. She relaxed. "Joe, watch the dog..." I read the line again. Her head sprang up. As I keep reading, she got down off the bed and climbed up in the chair with me and the kids, tilting her head back and forth. When she started batting at my mouth like, "Don't worry, Mom. Whatever's in there, I'll get it!" I had to stop. The whole family was rolling. It's times like this I can't help but be happy to have a family-- and kids who love to read.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Irish NAMS.

I consider this recipe the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow, since every year I lose it and have to find it again. I have doubled the recipe for the sauce (you're welcome) so if you're not a sauce person (you're obviously not Irish) then just cut it in half. Also, if you're one of those people who insists upon ruining dessert with fruit, then feel free to throw in a cup o' raisins.

McGuire's Irish Pub Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce

Pudding
1 loaf soda bread (or whatever-- the Irish aren't picky-- St. Patrick wasn't Irish)
4 cups milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 TB vanilla extract
3 TB melted butter

Sauce
2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whiskey (If you're a purist, get Tullamore Dew)

To make pudding, tear bread into large chunks and place in a large bowl. Pour milk over the bread and allow it to soak until the milk has completely absorbed-- about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In another bowl, combine eggs, sugar and vanilla, and beat well. Fold the egg mixture thoroughly into the soaked bread.
Grease a 9X13 baking pan with the melted butter. Pour in the bread mixture, spreading it evenly. Bake until the pudding is brown and firm, about 30 minutes. While the pudding is baking, make the sauce. Combine sugar, butter and cream in saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in whiskey and cook until some of the alcohol has cooked off and the flavors are blended-- about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. To serve, spoon pudding onto plates (or bowls, if you'd just like to drink the sauce) and top with the sauce. Serves 8.
**Note: You should make this while your corned beef and potatoes is swimming in a mixture of Guinness and beef broth in your crock pot. :) Happy St. Pat's!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Regr-Etsy: Product Reviews

So, perhaps I have "man-hands", (it could happen to anyone) but these pot holders seemed a little small to me. I bought them on Etsy.com since I'm going for a Marie Antoinette makeover in my kitchen (you know, death and sweets pair so well together). The picture didn't give away how small they were, but these are definitely not a utilitarian item. Sucks because I have a very utilitarian kitchen. My mother used to have towels and pillows, etc. you weren't allowed to really use. That's bull$hit. Potholders are supposed to keep me from burning my fingers. This seller gets 10 out of 10 for cuteness (love the little red "cherry" on top) but epic fail on the use-ability.
Recently, one of my friends posted on Facebook a question: If you could create a unique flavor of yogurt, what would it be? I immediately posted, "Black Forest Cake" because alcohol+probiotics+cake = awesomeness. No kidding...I found it. I can't tell you how excited I was to find it...and how let down I was when I tasted it. Tastes like cherry yogurt. I'm not knocking cherry yogurt-- it's my favorite-- I'm knocking that you can't bottle the same flavor as two different items, Yoplait. I'm on to your game.
DUDE! I was obsessed with having this Barbie. I saw it in the sale toy aisle and resisted, because it was over $40. Screw that. If I ever have a craving for big hair and tulle dresses in coral colors I can always visit a child's beauty pageant or an evangelical church.
I tried my best to get my husband to purchase this at Office Depot to hone his WOW abilities, but he just laughed at me. It's for your health, man! If people at the bowling alley can take themselves this seriously, I say he not only needs this ergonomic wrist band, but some rosin, too. (You can never be too careful as a competitor.)
Okay, this item was purchased out of pure rebellion. This is the one cartoon of my youth my mom restricted me from watching. I always had to turn the TV off when Dungeons and Dragons came on. Sigh... Repressed youth. So, when I saw it for $5 at WalMart yesterday, I hesitated, and then I picked it up...and then I put it back...and then I picked it back up. I had to bolster my self-confidence and everything. To an outsider, I'm sure I looked completely ridiculous. But, as I watch it, I'm thinking the name was scarier than anything else I watched. Seems the 80's were fortified with cartoons for young nerds in capes, hovelled in the basement reading Tolkien: He-man, She-ra, the Thundercats, the Smurfs, the Snorks, etc. We were a generation of fantasy imbibers and Renaissance Fair attendees. As I watch it, though, I can't help but think my children are given the shaft with their cartoons. Everything's "educational" and nothing's fun. Villains are just misunderstood. Everything's sterile and boring. Perhaps I'll watch this one with my kids?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My fellows

So, as I sat listening to one of my classmates casually discuss (though it was more of a soliloquy) on the canonical works of Emerson (one volume of which he pulled from his blazer pocket), I couldn't help think, "What would a cocktail party be like with all these people?" Let's do a hot tub party of all literati and give out prizes. First to vomit while quoting Othello-- trophy. First to die of self-inflicted boredom-- trophy. First to actually get laid-- trophy. Don't misread me. I think it's adorable the fervor my classmates have for the subject-- and I will not take on the role of disillusioning them. I much prefer them to stay in their university cocoon where they're led to believe a degree still matters and literature is a worthwhile pursuit. They're so cute there. :)