Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just one thing tonight:

I got a new vat of this yesterday.

I forgot how magical it is.

And smelly.

In a good way, like awesome smells, and a fresh breeze.

It made my life.

Little bit.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sometimes it just works, and the why of it escapes me.

Just FYI --I never fix the spelling of songs I download,
hence "The Supreams [sic]"
There are plenty of things I've learned about running in books and running forums and from Aunties and friends who run. There are lots of things that get passed on, so I know a lot more than I did when I put on my ill-fitting shoes and set out that first day. I've learned how to make running much less painful, how to make it something I can schedule into my week, how not to get blisters on my feet, how to stay hydrated.

The thing I can't figure out (and I don't know if I ever will) is how to replicate a great run. Sometimes, like tonight, it all just clicks. The breeze blows the right way, the shade from the trees falls across my shoulders like a welcome, cooling wave, the songs on the ipod all play in perfect sync with my breathing and stride, the beauty of nature unfolds before me and I am pain free. In fact, I'm having fun, in spite of the fact that I've just downed a huge dinner of bison tri tip (but that's subject for another post).

What comes with those great runs like tonight's is the awareness of the inverse. The light to its shade, the black and white to its Oz, the yin to its yang. (Err..) You get it. Accepting the great runs means accepting the ones that are the complete opposite, the admittedly torturous jaunts where I just hang on and pray for my whole thing to be over. Frankly most of my runs are decidedly mediocre and hardly worth mentioning, they're so dull. They're rooted in the "no man's land" of boredom and too much pace-checking. Most of my runs make me wonder why I do this. But every once in a while...

Tonight was a breeze. There was a breeze. I was breezing down the path. Every single song I love in my Motown playlist hit me at just the right time. There were cheerful families on the path and long-necked geese dotting the lawn. I took a break exactly halfway through my five miles to meet up with K and walk a one mile loop, and then I was back on the road. All of it, divine. Six plus miles passed in a heartbeat.

There's no math to that kind of run. No formula. I couldn't tell you its secret and help you do it yourself. But I believe in it. I can't say it's because it was broken up because there are days where one mile or two miles on the treadmill or around my neighborhood feel more awkward than a game of spin the bottle at an eighth grade garage party. Sometimes I can't run a half mile to save my life, and here I was blasting around town tonight, singing "Ain't too proud to beg" to nobody in particular, thinking it can't get any better than this, and Stevie Wonder hits me with "For Once in My Life." Gee-min-ee, I had a good time on that run.

What a beautiful night.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Pardon me

Pardon me while I peel myself up off the floor. At the moment I own the same emotional state as a bowl of raspberry Jello. The kids and I are chilling our blazing hot-and-yet-unused-to-what-is-typical-California-summer-weather-tootsies inside our air-conditioned cave after seeing Toy Story 3 this afternoon. My heart is surprisingly heavy. Heavy in the good way, of course, but the same way that it falls into your shoes and you get goosebumps on your neck during the father/daughter dance at a wedding or the day your baby forever stops calling you "Bob" because he can suddenly pronounce "Mom."

I knew going into it that I'd love it. Pixar plus Disney equals magic, natch. I knew I'd get a little throat-lumpy over some moment as I usually do at almost any film from either of those two (remember Tarzan's "You'll be in my heart" scene, anyone? Or the wife losing the baby in Up?) but for the love of cowboys, I wasn't expecting to start crying at the animated "home movies" of Andy in the opening sequence and keep crying right through the drama of the climax and the final scene. And side note if you've seen it: before the little alien guys came through in a big way during that scene, I seriously had no idea how it was going to end. For a minute, I thought I was watching Titanic: Toy Version and everyone was going down so we could learn a lesson about letting go. Holy Sad, Batman. Holy crying quietly in my seat, surrounded by popcorn-munching children. Squoosh! Melt! Ooze! (That's my best attempt at situation-appropriate Batman-esque onomatopoeia.)

As credits rolled, Roo asked me if we could buy it. Uh, yeah. I'm buyin' it. I think I already bought it, hook line and sinker. I'm okay with that. I think I've said this before, but I'm okay with buying into something that makes people feel the way those movies do. My kids love them now and are going to watch these movies as teens and appreciate them differently. And someday they'll watch them as parents and quietly cry a little into the hair of their young children, content as I was to have their emotions so aptly depicted and moved by a children's film.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

House night.


My following of the show House is steadily building from a passing interest to a complete obsession.  As I did last summer with the show LOST, I've taken a belly flop right into a show I never watched and kind of gone a little batty about it.  But SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS.  I love this show.  Love.  I'm watching all kinds of seasons all out of order, but I think I have a handle on it (and I saw the finale of the current season, so I've got the whole House/Cuddy thing on my mind).  Oooh, baby.

We're getting ready to start thinking about our yearly vacay to Yosemite later this summer, E's family's 25th anniversary trip, and along with the food lists we're making and hot dog-BBQing plans, I've got a little sentence frame from E's aunt Sal to fill out:  My favorite memory of Yosemite is ______________.  We're all supposed to write, share, and reflect.  Not necessarily in that order.  If you know me at all, you know there's nothing I love better than an open-ended sentence that I get to fill.  Everyone in the family is going to do it.  It should be interesting to hear what people say.  You know I'm in.  If it's about something I totally adore (e.g. Yosemite), it rocks my socks right off.  I've got it stewing a bit in the ol' mind grapes.

And speaking of those mind grapes, I put them to good work this week writing jokes for a roast... I think that's why I haven't been so bloggy for a few days.  It took everything I had to write those jokes and stay on this side of appropriate.  Well, at least I hope I did.  Those who were there might beg to differ with my analysis of how it went.  It was an odd duck, though, a roast that wasn't just in front of staff members (i.e. adults), but in front of parents and graduates and even some current students.  Yeesh, huh?  It gave me serious pit-sweats thinking about getting up there in front of all those people.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to judge the audience right and not to bomb... so... yeah.  It was the stuff of nervousness.

I feel like it ended with as little embarrassment and as much laughter as possible.  Read: success.

I might have dropped an F bomb.

Maybe two.  Can't be sure.

I'd never say anything like that, though.  Not sweet little ol' PDawg.

Oh God, here come the pit sweats.

Today was one of those days where I don't really know what I did, but somehow the day passed quickly.  I had a miserable five mile run this morning in the heat and the ipod gods that were smiling on my long run last weekend must have decided to take the day off.  It was the oddest mix of classical music, Sarah McLachlan, and Monty Python skits.  Not exactly motivational or run-tastic.  But I got it done, that's what matters.  Not that you're asking, but it's been three weeks of regular running (combined with earlier efforts at mindful eating), and in that time I'm down six pounds.  Suck it, winter layer.  Runkeeper says I've logged 53 miles so far this month.  That's 53 more than last month!  Not.  Too.  Shabby.  (I can't wait to run in YoTown.)

I'm charging my Kindle tonight while I watch House... and my glance at the Home screen just a second ago reminded me that I haven't read anything in a while.  It's because I can't get past a book: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I'm sure is a great book... but I just can't fall into it the way I'd hoped.  It's feeling like a chore for me, and just the fact that I'm not done with it and it's been,  like,  forever since I downloaded it should say something.  Maybe it's the greatest thing since ever and I'm just missing it.  I don't know.  The point is there are other titles queued up and it's making me antsy.  I want to read something new I'll enjoy as much as The Help or Let the Great World Spin or (love of all loves) The Lacuna... I guess I've had a good streak of good reads this year so it was time for a flat tire.  (If you like mixed metaphors.)  So right now I'm stuck between a rock and a Catch-22 about it... (sorry... couldn't resist).  Do I keep reading this same book that I'm reading just because I haven't finished it?  (In which case it feels like I'm punishing myself over summer vacation) or do I just move on?  I'm so type A you know I can't stand to read two books at once or to abandon one without finishing it... *sigh*  (Or do I use some more parentheses?)  These are important questions, all.  This is going to take some thinking.

Of course my vacationing standards for books are like most vacationing single girls' standards for men:  lower.  I'm way more likely to like a crappy book if I'm somewhere with no TV or computer and a lazy river for my toesies.  We shall see.  Maybe I'll load up the Kindle and just do eenie-meenie.

What are you reading this summer?  Please answer.  I get so lonely here all alone when nobody says anything.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pug for a day

Or, How Hurley Scared the Crap Outta Me

"Mommy, why does Hurley look so funny?"

We're on our way to the SPCA to get the last of HDawg's shots so he can play nice with other pooches, and Roo asks me from the back seat why the dog has suddenly developed bumps all over his little 30 pound body. I have no idea, as we left the house less than ten minutes ago, but I had just been petting him under his chin and felt something like spider bites.

"I don't know, Ad. Was he acting funny when he was sitting with you?"

"No, but I just noticed... he doesn't look right, Mommy." I notice wheeze-snorts coming from his snout.

Since we're closer to the SPCA than the vet (which is in the other direction) I keep going, but I call the vet. I'm starting to freak out. His jowls are so swollen he can't close his mouth, and he starting to sound like a pug. His left eye is almost closed.

The vet immediately says it's an allergic reaction, and since I tell her where I am she says to go in and see if they can help me. Nope. What they can do is look at me and my swollen puppy like we're freaks and tell me to go see a vet asap. Thanks, jerks.

Back into the car we go and back on the road. It takes a good fifteen minutes to get to the vet because we're behind every GD taco truck in South Sac. We get there and it takes forever. Puffyface McGee has gone from bad to worse, and he has developed hives all over his body. He looks like he got in a bad boxing match and he has the chicken pox.

The kids are freaking out and I'm doing my best to pretend I'm not about to blow like Eyjafjallajokull. Tears were welling up like you wouldn't believe. I'm pretty good at pretending I'm okay now, but if I let myself think about how we lost Gus and Cal and how devastating that was to us, I can easily be in hysterics within seconds. It's still so sad and so painful. I know it makes no sense at all, but today touched on that for me. Not to go too Scarlett O'Hara on you, but as God is my witness, I will not let another dog die. Not right now, if I can help it. I can't put my kids through that again, and I saw swelling and immediately thought death. Fear is a strange beast. I know I can't prevent anything from happening, but I'm terrified of it coming too soon again.

Anyway, we finally see the vet and Hurley's fine. My ridiculous fears, ridiculous. He's got a bee sting to the face and so he needs shots of Benadryl and Cortisone. Within minutes, he's back to looking Boxer-like, rather than Pug-a-licious. He can breathe fine again. He rides home curled up on the front seat and even wags his little stumpy tail a little. As I type, he's stretched out next to me on the couch enjoying a Mr. B nap.




Pic I took so I could show E what was going on. Poor guy. His whole snout was flared out and poofed.


At the vet, waiting. Not so happy to be there. At this point I was adding up the collective balances of our savings, checking, and credit card accounts to try to figure out where the magical money is going to come from to save him from what I was sure was a mystery disease. (Side note: I might be watching too much House.)


Roo was so worried. Little Dr. Doolittle Roo. She was glad to see him okay after his shot.


At home, resting. His eye is still kinda swollen, see?

Darn pet. See that little paw right there? He's got me wrapped right around it.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Running Q from Laura:

I got this question on Facebook yesterday:

...what do you do to make yourself keep running? I know that sounds weird, but you just got back into running, yeah? And I'm having those beginning issues where you have to make yourself keep going, and it becomes a chore not a relaxation thing anymore. I was doing really great after school got out, I ran everyday and even ran a race [...]. But then I stopped [...] and couldn't run for about a week or so. So now its like stage one alllll over again.

If there's one thing I'm an expert at this year, it's quitting my run regimen when life gets crazy, only to have to start it up again. This makes means I have plenty of experience in tricking myself into resuming the routine... It would seem that I don't quite have the long term commitment thing down, but so far I've had to kick my own butt back into gear multiple times. I count this as a success, as my initial goal when I started running was just to go longer than a week. I did, therefore, I'm a runner (at least in my own mind). I have a few thoughts.

Not so long ago, before I quit for a while and before having to convince myself I'm a runner again.
Before I give you those thoughts, here are some of my previous posts on the topic:

My first day running
Why I feel like PE screwed me up and I had to re-learn how to run
What if you hate to run?

Okay, now that we've got those out of the way, here's basically what I told Laura... my top tricks for deluding myself into thinking I'm having a good time. And if I learned one thing from dance, it was that if you pretend you're having a good time for long enough, you will actually have a good time. Okay, if I learned two things, it's that plus the fact that if you smile while you're doing something that hurts (e.g. dancing, running), it isn't as bad as if you don't smile.

Tricks:

1) Look cute. I know this is ridiculous, but it works for me. Clean tennies make me run faster. Good, secure hair. Clothes that fit and breathe. A bit of makeup so I don't look like a frizzy-haired Q-tip. I'm not saying you need to pimp yourself out like those annoying girls at the gym, but I run better if I have on cute running clothes that fit well and my eyebrows are penciled. This goes back to my days of not being able to dance well unless I had makeup on... all that time in the mirror meant I just danced better if I had a little color. I hated that it was true, but once I shared it with Mrs. C, my dance teacher and she said "well you better just put some makeup on then... it seems to make you dance better." Sold. Same goes for my running--maybe not makeup, but putting some thought into running clothes that I like and that I'm not going to mess with for the entire run. Synthetic fabrics are essential. Cotton socks are the devil. (And it should go without saying that if you're not running in shoes that you were specifically fit for, you're not only making yourself miserable, you're probably doing some damage to your body. Good shoes are a must!)

2) Get some good music, for the love of Pete. I am completely 100% influenced by the music I'm listening to. I have very broad tastes in music but very specific things that I feel like coordinate with certain types of music. More leftover dancer habits, I think. I also need new music all the time. Sometimes I save new music and don't let myself listen to it until I'm running. I find when I listen harder it's easier to "lose time" on a run. The other day when I was on my 7 miler, I put my iPhone on shuffle (which is a gamble, I know) but the shuffle gods must have been smiling on me because it was the perfect blend of fast, slow, moderate, upbeat, mellow, etc. Every time I need a shift in music, the iPhone brought it. Sometimes I listen to Pandora while I run, too. My favorites for running are Motown, cheesy 90's pop, and rap, depending on the mood I'm in. It always helps if I can smile or do mental jazz hands when I'm running, and those three categories really cheer me up. I'm not kidding about the jazz hands, either. One of my best "tricks" for getting myself down the road is to pretend I'm dancing. I'm dancing in my head as I run.

3) Run slow. I always have a better time when I go out and consciously make myself slow down. I'm not a "I'll run until I get to the next stoplight/corner/block" kind of person because every time I do that, all I can think about is how I'm not there. I invariably stop and walk. But if I let myself go slow, I can keep going. What ends up happening is that I walk less and my overall time is better in the long run. I know people will think it's dumb, but I say ignore your pace. What will happen is that you'll like running more which means you'll go more, which means your time will improve over time anyway. Every single time I try to go out and get it done quickly, I hate it. Every time I say I'm not going to worry about how fast I am, I have a great run and I surprise myself with how fast it is. It's kind of the opposite of how you think it would be. I try really hard to think about feeling good where I am physically and in the moment and that means I am able to go for much longer than if I was just running hard the whole time. On my seven mile run last weekend, I was almost two minutes per mile faster than my short runs that week because I wasn't in a hurry and I was able to run at a (slow) comfortable pace. So slow down! You'll be glad.

4) Chapstick. A run without chapstick is like a day without chonies. Awkward and uncomfortable. (Not that I would know, honestly. As a total prude and constant wearer of undergarments, I'm guessing.) Just say yes to chapstick. (And undies.)

5) Enjoy nature. If you know you don't want to run that day, don't run the same route you always do and don't run someplace boring. For me, boring = repetitive looking neighborhoods and (as I learned on my half marathon) treeless levee roads. Blehhhhhhhh. If I know I'm really unmotivated, I'll run somewhere with lots of trees and water because I know I'll get distracted trying to look for bunnies/cats/birds/beavers/turtles/ducks. It makes the time go by so much faster. I've always liked to be outside, but sadly I did most of that when I was on vacation. Since I started running I realized that I actually live in a pretty nice area and there's a lot to see. I love the sun on my shoulders and I love a little breeze. The more I think about what's around me, the less I feel like crap. The treadmill is still really hard for me--I do it mostly when I don't have someone to watch the kids so I can go outside. I hate it almost the whole time, but it's better than not running. I try to open the windows and get the fan in my face to pretend I'm in nature.

There's nothing there that's (as E would say) "rocket surgery," but when I'm trying to get back into a routine, anything will help. I also know myself well enough to know I'm going to hate running for exactly two weeks every time I start again. After that two weeks, it's awesome. But it takes my lungs and legs a while to catch up to my enthusiasm. I know if I can get past that barrier, I will probably be able to hang in there longer. I'm always working from a schedule when I do well, and I've been happy with the classic, Hal Higdon. My run schedule right now is taped to the fridge under the title of "HOW TO BE AWESOME" scribbled in dark pencil. Do whatever it takes. If you (like me) like making an X on each day like a five year old, than do it. I like Higdon's website because there are so many options and I feel like I've been able to choose one that's right for my own life but still see results. I'm pretty easy on myself. If I need to walk, I walk. I try to stick pretty accurately to my mileage for the day, but I allow myself to do it at whatever pace I'm able to that day to get those miles done. You'll start to notice trends in your body as far as how you feel... for me I'm really starting to notice how what I eat affects my energy level.

And know this. Running is hard. It's not easy for me even when I like it. There are a lot of days where the thought of running makes me want to hide under a rock. I was honestly the same way with dance, and I loved it. But getting there is about 90% of the battle for me. I don't really seem to like to do most things, unless you're counting napping or sitting on the couch watching reality TV. So a lot of the struggle is before the run, for me. On those days I just try to go as early as possible so it's over and done and I can sit on the couch some more. Sometimes I get out there and I surprise myself with how good I feel... and I always feel great when I'm done. That is quite often what gets me out the door.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Things I need to remember about today:

Photobucket

How excited you were when I agreed to play trains.  That you changed your favorite just so I could be Toby this time.  Your yellow shirt with your undies poking out of too-big sweatpants.  Your imagination.  The smell of crock pot beans and yesterday's rib tips.  Sunshine on the carpet and Hurley licking the window.  Your patience when I couldn't make the track fit.  The quiet of a still house. Your bottom in the air as you searched for James' coal car.  Your explanation of how "steam makes the trains go, Mom."  You, doing voices.  You, having your trains help each other because that's what good people (and trains) do.  Your feet tucked under and your tongue poking out.  You, asking me to tell you about how you used to play trains when you were three.  A "race track around the circus."  You, having "just the thing."  You, loving to spend time with your girl.  The flutter of your eyelashes against my arm.  You, saying "you played with it, you clean up, Mom."  You, amazing me.

Tales from the Rib Cook-Off

I'm exhausted. I'm still in a rib hangover from last night. I'm about 90% sure my family should open a rib joint in town, though. I think this was our best Fathers' Day Rib Cook-Off ever. Nothing like a contest where you get to eat your way through the democratic process. It doesn't hurt anything that everyone in our family are great cooks. Man, it was good.

The trophy has been added to by the winners--it started as a recording of the winners' names, then last year Uncle Dave bedazzled the entire trophy...


and last year's winner, Bruce, decided to top it with a big fruity, glittered B that says "Bruce is the king of ribs." We're subtle in this family.


Team P's entry, E's Mustard Crusties, awaiting the judging. Yeah, I'm aware that "mustard crusties" sounds kinda gross. We thought it was funny because that's just how we roll. And they really were Mustard-encrusted Hickory-smoked St. Louis Style Spareribs, but that's too long to fit on a card.


If you read my Gpa's invitation, you know that we were all to show up by 1600 hours, and that entries must be made by 1700 hours. Only apparently nobody in my family can tell military time. Everybody called each other and two people (who shall remain nameless) arrived late. This is us sitting around trying not to get too hungry. Since I only basically ate cucumbers for lunch in anticipation of ribby extravagances, this was a little bit of a problem.









My dad and E. Two great dads on Dad's day.





Bruce had an entire display this year, replete with Papaya branches he tore off my Gpa's papaya bush just before we got started. I think that qualifies as a rule violation? I'm not sure. I'll have to consult with the family attorney. His entry was some kind of Mexi-Asian fusion with papaya BBQ sauce. You didn't hear this from me, but his sauce tasted a bit like a smoothie that Jamba Juice makes. His were sweet and gooey deliciousness.





Here they are. This is so much food. Our family is big, but not that big. There was enough food there for three families our size (and I didn't manage to get a picture of the side dish table--it was a separate thing altogether.)





Mmmm, mustardy. Team P brings it in '10. Go big or go home. We chose to go savory, and I think it was a good choice.





Unkie Dave, Bucko Bro #1.




Mmm....




Dino Bones, AKA steaks with ribs stuck in them. I forget what these were called, but they were untrimmed beef something... Giant and smokey and... giant.


Grandpa makes the same ribs every single year. No smoker, just BBQ. No seasoning or sauce, just salt and garlic salt. He instructed us yesterday that the salt in garlic salt is different than salt. So what you get from Gpa is a salty, salty rib. This year he went with lamb ribs. I'm not one for lamb so much (too many lamb dinners on E's back porch in high school while the sheep blehhhhhhed at us from their pen) but these were very good.





Auntie Anne always makes something exotic. This year it was Citrus-Rum Glazed Babybacks. Very sweet and tangy.









I always have a hard time keeping the ribs straight once I sit down to eat. I solved that problem this year with a dedicated rib plate and a sharpie. I labeled each rib so I would remember. I'm thinking of instituting labeled plates across the board next year, but I'll have to file a formal application with the International Committee. Three out of six entries (Dino Bones not pictured, as I split one with E) were sweet, so I think our decision to go savory and tangy was a good one. Plus, I completely adore the spicy mustard/Worcestershire sauce combo, so I knew it was going to be good luck.





Bruce/Anne/Dave/Gpa/E





I was going to post this pic and tell you that it was all I had to eat, since I'm trying so hard to be healthy, but I couldn't do it. PS, Mom's macaroni salad is just about the best thing I ever had, as is Auntie Anne's coleslaw. And see that cute little green salad? Yours truly made it with a lovely Garlic-Basil Vinaigrette with loads of fresh basil from the garden. Mmm, mmm, mmm.









I know, gross.




Bocce ball by the creek. Why yes, that is the same place E and I renewed our vows last year.





Blueberry tarts filled with fresh lemon curd. Heaven help me and my healthful eating.





Chocolate eclair cake. Oh lord. I couldn't fight it.

So as usual we gathered at the end of the evening and passed out ballots. The family representative from Franchise Tax Board and his co-counsel counted the secret ballots, and...





Team P wins! BOOM.





Now if we can just figure out where to put this thing.



Recipe: Mustard Crusted Spareribs with Sweet & Spicy Mustard BBQ Sauce

2010 Kynaston Family Rib Cook-Off Championship Winning Recipe


AKA E's Mustard Crusties
Adapted from Smoked Mustard Crust Spareribs

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 slabs pork spareribs
For mustard plaster:
  • 1 cup of Gulden's spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
For sweet and spicy mustard barbecue sauce:
  • 1/2 cup of Sierra Nevada Porter & Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1/3 cup of cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (dark)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoosn of Worstershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (powdered)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Remove membrane from ribs, trim spareribs into St. Louis style ribs, like this.  Reserve rib tips.

2.  Mix all ingredients for plaster together, spread on ribs.  Cover and allow to come to room temperature.

3.  Smoke at 225 degrees using hickory smoke until meat pulls away from the bone 1/4 inch at the ends and meat is 140-160 degrees. Ours took 3 1/2 hours.  (Alternately, you could grill them but they wouldn't have the smoky flavor.)

4.  Prep the barbecue sauce:  Combine all sauce ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and add ingredients as necessary (I adjusted a lot for taste when I made it.  I know I added more vinegar, honey, and Worchestershire sauce.  More cayenne would give it more heat, more brown sugar or honey will cut the vinegar taste. Add to it carefully until you're satisfied.).  Refrigerate.

5.  Cover ribs and let them rest at least a half hour before slicing.  Serve with sauce.




Recipe: Gram's Delicious Chocolate Eclair Pudding Cake

INGREDIENTS:

For cake:
1 box graham crackers
2 (3 1/4 oz) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, thawed

For frosting:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp milk
2 tsp light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Butter bottom of 13X9 inch pan. Line with graham crackers.
2. In mixer, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip.
3. Pour half pudding mixture over graham crackers.
4. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of pudding layer.
5. Pour remaining pudding mixture on top and cover with another layer of graham crackers.
6. For frosting, mix together sugar and cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy.
7. Cover top with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours.




Note:  I didn't realize until I sat down to type this recipe that it had corn syrup in it.  If you're concerned about corn syrup in your diet, you might try eliminating it from the frosting.  I think it would still be pretty good without it.  Gram uses corn syrup, and truth be told, I REALLY enjoyed it as it was prepared.  It wasn't exactly health food.  But I just wanted you to know I noted it... you can adjust as necessary.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Rib Day

What? Your family doesn't celebrate its dads with a smoked and grilled meat contest? Oh.



Team P is hard at work over here on our first ever entry into the annual Kynaston family Fathers' Day Rib Cook-off. I'm the self appointed Sauce and Spice Diva. E is working his magic on the smoker. The monkeys are helping by interrupting every five minutes to ask if they can have a glass of milk/play Wii/please have somebody help them find that missing Lego.

Just for fun, I thought I'd share my Gpa's hilarious email with you about the contest. As you'll see, this is serious business in our family. There are, like, rules and we, you know, use military time. If that doesn't say official, I don't know what does. Anyway, enjoy this email from Gpa Ed.





To whom that should be concerned,


We're pleased to announce the International Rib Burners Society has granted us permission and sanction to hold our Father's Day Rib Cook Off at "Kynaston's On The Creek," Elk Grove, CA on Sunday June 20th. Participant pre-event activities and registration will begin at 1600 hrs. Judging will begin with the close of registration by 1700 hrs. Entrants for the competition arriving after that time will be permitted to leave their food but be disqualified from grand prize competition. Additionally all participants are encouraged to bring salad or dessert entries which will also be judged (consumed), however no trophy will be awarded for those items. It is requested that entrants and spectators advise the society what they will be bringing to avoid duplication and assure adequate other foods are available. This is necessary should some of the competition entries prove to be inedible. Liquid refreshments will be provided by the host organization.


As this year's cook off has international sanction, the following new rules will be in effect:


1. No barbecued items purchased at retail stores or prepared by other than an entrant, will be allowed.


2. Rubs, sauce or condiments not prepared by an entrant (including Chris and Pitts) will be allowed.


3.Winning ribs from last years competition (frozen and reheated with new sauce or old), will not be allowed.


4. In judging each family (household) will be allowed one vote for ribs prepared by any member of their family. However, each person in a family may vote one time for an entry by a person not in their household.


Please also advise the Host if you will attend this years event either as a participant, Judge or just a consuming spectator.


Thank you and good burning,


From the Management and staff of "Kynaston's On The Creek"




Happy Father's Day and Merry Ribbing to you!