No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Yummy, Yummy, Tofu Tacos & WWC Raw & Finished

As promised, here's my guide to Yummy Yummy Tofu Tacos. Sure to satisfy even the pickiest of carnivores. Just ask Wifey. But don't call her "Wifey" when you ask, she hates that name. Let me tell a little story to highlight just how much Wifey hates being called Wifey.
Friday, on the way home from work, we actually had this conversation:
Wifey: " You've got to get a new name for me on your blog"
me : "Why? You don't like "Wifey" now?"
Wifey: "No! It's too...too...I just don't LIKE it!"
me: "well, you didn't like me using your real name, and you didn't like me calling you "wifey-pooh" and you get mad if I say you're my girlfriend, since we did get married..."
Wifey: "I know, I know, just find a better name for me"
me : "How about "Miss. Picky Pants" how's that work for yah?"
Wifey: "Nooooooo!"
me: inaudible laughter, on to the feature... I'm using my recipe to illustrate going from Raw to Finished for this week's WWC, hosted by the ever fabulous Tink, of Pickled Beef.
Tofu Tacos
*1lb extra firm tofu
*diced onion
*shredded cheese (I like cheddar and Monterrey)
*salsa of your choice
*olive oil
shredded lettuce (optional)
*sour cream (optional)
*2 pkts of you favorite taco seasoning mix
*corn tortillias
*red wine of your choice
*wine glass
*1 minced garlic clove
*crushed red pepper
* 1 tsp cumin
*1 tbsp red chili powder
*non stick cooking spray

start by draining your tofu, and squeeze the excess water out. Crumble the tofu in a mixing bowl and add all dry seasonings and 1 taco packet.
(Raw tofu, crumbled)
set that aside in the bowl. Be sure to Spray your skillet with non stick cooking spray, or half the tofu will be left in the pan when it's done.
next, let the pan heat over medium-high heat, then add extra virgin olive oil. when oil heats, add diced onion, if you like, add diced peppers of your choice red, green, yellow are all good here. sweat onion and peppers, adding the minced garlic. as the onion turns translucent, add the tofu.
It will look somewhat like scrambled eggs at first, don't worry. Keep stirring it, preferably with a wooden spoon, crumbling it more and more as you stir. Feel free to add whatever seasonings you like at this point. Remember that the majority of your flavor will come from your taco seasoning packet. I like to add pepper, crushed red pepper, and garlic. The cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning packet will suffice. Keep cooking, until it browns like this:

this is a good time to pour your self a glass of that wine...

for those of you who'd rather make your own seasoning mix, here's my favorite taco seasoning combo.
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
mix all these together, add to the mixture, and cook away. You can adjust it to your taste. Add more or less of what you like or don't like.
but meanwhile, keep stirring with the other hand...

Now it's ready for the second taco seasoning packet. I know, I know, your going what? Two? Well, tofu has no flavor, so what you cook with it, it absorbs. Which means that those flavors tend to get a bit lost in there, it takes a bit more to season tofu, first you were just trying to make it taste like meat, now, you want to make that meat have the taco sauciness. Get it? Good. I knew you would.(*tip: the more you chop up the tofu as it cooks, the less eggy and more meaty it will look later) So after you follow the directions on the taco packet, your tofu will look like this ( Tofu and seasonings when finished cooking)
keep cooking it till it thickens, just like you do with ground beef or ground turkey...
then turn burner down to low, heat your corn tortillas by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and placing them in the microwave for 45 seconds. Spoon filling into the tortillas and fold over, you can add cheese now, if you like melty tacos, or later it's all up to you! Wifey, Miss Picky Pants, likes hers melty, so I like to use our little handy grill for these too. There's no need to fry these, or add any oil to the grill, if you wish, you can bake them at 450 for 10 min or so, until they are golden, you'll have a crunchier taco shell. We like the crispiness, yet tenderness when they are grilled.

and serve with your choice of condiments, I like peach salsa, shredded lettuce, and a dollop of sour cream, how about you? what's you taco sides?
...and FINISHED!

Remember, go see Tink if you wanna join the photo-fun, and stop by the WWC Flickr group to see more great photos!

Enough Already!

Will someone please tell me why the ass-hats who insist on shooting fireworks until well past midnight every god damned night of the week for the past two weeks can't have the common decency to pick up the garbage they create? Saturday, I was weeding my flowerbeds, and pulled god knows how many firecrackers out. Bottle rockets, twirley noisey thingys, you name it, they've landed in my yard. I don't even shoot fireworks, so it's particularly annoying to me. I remind you, am the gal who campaigned to start a litter pick up crew in my neighborhood, so leaving trash in my yard is hardly a way to make friends. In the first place, fireworks are for the Fourth of July, which has yet to arrive. Secondly, They are meant to be enjoyed in a setting in which trained professionals produce a grand showing, not where people such as myself are unable to walk into their own front yards to water flowers because stray, exploding projectiles are being launched at one's head. And finally, there is a courtesy issue here. Many people actually work for a living. Paying mortgages, utilities, taxes, you know, being responsible adults. Of this section of the population, a great big percentage of us have to get up EARLY in the mornings. We don't necessarily like it either. We do it because we have to. We do it because it pays the bills. We do it so that we can live the lifestyle that we want to live. I'm just asking for some peace and quiet after, let's say 10 pm on weeknights and Sunday nights. That's not too much to ask, is it? Really, am I being unreasonable here?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tofu "Chicken" Patties

I decided a pictorial guide was needed for this recipe, so pardon the repeat.

Tofu "Chicken" Patties
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu ( firm will work too I'm sure) drained
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped veggies ( your choice, I used carrots, celery, onion, garlic, chives)
  • 1 packet of Goya chicken bouillon(I used Goya brand, but to keep it meatless use vegetatian "chicken" bouillon)
  • tarragon, garlic powder, rosemary, and almost every other "chickeny" spice from my cabinet (use any spice you like on chicken)
  • 2 large seeded & chopped jalapeƱos (Thanks Gary!)
  • 2 handfuls of flour so maybe 1/2 - 3/4 cup? until mixture is firm and holds form
  • 1 1/2 handful of Italian bread crumbs
  • olive oil
  • a large mixing bowl
Mash tofu with in the mixing bowl with hands or potato masher until crumbly.

Add all ingredients except oil and some of the bread crumbs.

Let the mixture sit in bowl, covered, for a couple of hours in the fridge(the longer it sits the more it absorbs the flavors) The mixture should be firm and you should be able to form patties easily without it being slimy or too gooey.

If it is, add more flour until it is the right texture. Roll the patties in remaining bread crumbs.

Heat olive oil over med heat and fry until golden brown on each side (about 5 min) let stand for a few min(5-10) to let the flavors set in and patties to firm up. * Alternate cooking method, pictured here, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle your favorite seasoning over each patty,

and cook on George Foreman Grill 6 - 9 min. until golden brown.

goes great with wine...
Can be eaten as is or on buns.

Stay tuned, next time I'll show yah how I cook tofu tacos!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Randomness and Beginings

photo from

Randomness, in a nutshell

Wifey is more convinced than ever that the government is out to "get" me... now saying that NASA will drop a satellite on our house after yesterday's post.

When you look like an average, white, American girl, people feel free to make the most audacious, racist remarks to you; Unbeknownst to them they are making an ass of themselves and outing their own inner prejudice.

Wifey is committed to asking me if nuts are in every single dish I serve her, even enchiladas, tacos, or salmon... just because I made that one zucchini bread that almost killed her.

The sewage treatment plant should be named after G.W., it's quite appropriate, and fitting, I think.

My blog name came from the fact that once upon a time, back when I was a misguided, drug addicted, rebellious youth...ah...the good ole days(NOT), I used to refuel myself at the Chinese restaurants, frequently. There were several reasons for this: #1. It was inexpensive, - there was a 4.95 all you can eat buffet - WOO HOO! Now THATS what I'm talkin' about! which worked into my budget perfectly for the basic necessities, you know, alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, and xanax...Or, on those days that I just couldn't muster up the umph to get dressed and get out, delivery was always available.
#2. Chinese food goes a long way...A"5.95 lunch special" from the take out menu would feed me for two sometimes 3 meals.
#3. Back then, my fortune cookies ALWAYS seemed to be empty. I used to joke that one day, when I wrote my autobiography, I would call it, "My Fortune Cookie Was Empty". Since it seemed to say so much about me, my life and my station in it. But then something amazing happened. I met Wifey, and things changed for me. My fortune cookies started to ALWAYS have fortunes. So, since I feel that the fortune cookie itself is in a way representative of me, and that I, like my crispy, future telling counterpart, am no longer empty, the name evolved.

And there you have it...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I spy...NASA??

So I was casually checking my blog's traffic report, you know, what IP's have been frequenting and when and how did they arrive...I can't help it, it's intriguing to me that someone would google "mulching lawn mower" or "evangelical ministers" or "bone marrow babies"and land at my humble little blog. I also like to check em out to see who they may be, when possible. Recently I've noticed a return visitor that is quite interesting. I don't know if I should hide or laugh or turn into a conspiracy theorist. Someone from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Laurel, MD, just outside of Washington, D.C. has been stopping by...iiiiiiiinteresting, very interesting indeeeeeeeeed! Since NASA has been snooping around my blog, I thought I'd snoop around their site. I found that they are hiring for some positions, no doubt they need to replace all of those 3rd floor employees over at Cleveland's Glenn Research Center that suddenly and mysteriously developed one form of cancer or another during the past 3 or 4 years. Hmmmmm...Maybe I don't want that high paying job at NASA afterall. Not that I'd ever pass their interview process...I've got way to many skeletons in my closet. No security clearance for an ex party girl like myself, no matter how smart and geeky and tech savvy I may turn out to be. IQ-schmyque when it comes to government jobs, after all. I mean, look at our current administration. Georgie boy can't form complete sentences and his entire cabinet falls into formation spewing back rehersed malarkey. Repeating lies and garbage like parrots on a perch, that's no thought process, just a small step above a head nod in agreeance with everything. No such thing as global warming, gays are undermining the social fabric of our country, let the poor die without insurance, WMD's are in Iraq, puh-lease!
Ah, but I digress.
What is so interesting about my site that NASA is visiting? And returning on multiple occasions? And staying for several minutes, hoping around, from entry to entry to, what I can only assume, read different posts I've written. I'd like to think I'm such a wonderfully captivating writer, photographer and artist that the brightest minds of our country over there at NASA couldn't help but be interested in my little corner of the blogosphere here, with all of my wisdom and insight into the physiology of the cosmos. But I've not yet become that delusional nor that senile. I AM just a little bit paranoid though. I did, after all, buy those Cat Stevens CD's, AFTER he was banned from the USA, which Wifey swears put me on the FBI-watch list too...hmmmm...maybe she IS onto something ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Front & Back

Tuesday is upon us, which means WWC time is here again. Brought to us by the lovely and talented Tink, of Pickled Beef, our challenge this week is to interpret Front & Back. Here's my take.
on the first dayof our vacation(front) this beauty landed on our car, welcoming us to Oglebay
The front of the gardens housed a greenhouse with these orchads

I wanna go BACK so I can see more of those sunsets!
That's it for this week's installmemt, remember, if you want to join the fun, go see Tink, and remember, there's also a flickr group for the WWC! Hope to see your photos there!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stuff and More Stuff.

I heard it on my way to work this morning and knew suddenly that comedy will never again be the same. One of my all time favorite comedians, George Carlin, has died, I'm sure you've heard. I was deeply saddened. I wish I could have had the opportunity to have seen him perform live before he passed. I'd of loved to have sat, one on one with him and had a conversation about politics, religion, life. I found George Carlin to be brilliantly insightful and unabashedly honest. I was just listening to his bit on suff, and how houses are just a place to put all your stuff, remembering all the George Carlin stuff I've enjoyed over the years and feeling deeply pained that we'll never again hear the brilliance of his comedic genius when I read over at Tink's blog, about a video about stuff. A firm believer in synchronicity, and always following parallels when I come across them, I skipped on over there to watch it. I decided it was worth posting a link here. Thanks Tink!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The good, the bad and the yummy

As wifey and I reminisced about vacation, we found ourselves saying such silliness as " Ahhh...remember that night we were drunk and ____ picked your nose? Remember that?" and "Oh, remember when ____ spilled the beans and told your mom that secret that mom didn't remember the next day? Remember that?" and " What about your cousin getting blasted and calling you Ellen Degeneres, what was that about?"( I told her just to be glad he didn't call her Rosie!)

"Remember how I almost got into a fight with the old man at the business center at the lodge over using the computers?" Friggin' old ass golf playing smart ass business types! Oh, and there was the bar tender who called me "Miss Picky" and told wifey "You drink that, you can't puke! You puke, you clean it up! No one pukes at my bar!" He'll forevermore be known as "the bar nazi".

One frantic day, I cooked for about 20 people. That's the largest crowd I've ever cooked for all by myself. I made paella and enchiladas. I made the enchiladas beforehand and froze them to keep the day-of preparations to a minimum. I'm glad I had that foresight. I devoted the majority of the day to the paella and it came out like a divine treat from the gods. Since the enchiladas were done, all I had to do was place them in the oven while my paella was cooking and reheat them. They reheated fine and everyone was immensely impressed that a white looking girl like myself can throw down some Spanish food like that. My Latina shines through when I cook, that's for sure. I guess standing around the kitchen while all my aunties and some uncles cooked the feasts paid off. I learned a lot about Mexican and Spanish cooking from them. I had a couple of people ask me if I cooked professionally for a living. I'll take that as a compliment, especially considering one of them is a restaurant owner! I was a bit disappointed, though, because the local grocery store didn't have clams. They did give me the number to a local fish market, who did have clams. We got directions to that store and headed out, couldn't find it, asked directions from another person, headed out again, the way they said to go, still missed it, finally gave up and made clam-less paella. It was still really good. I just added extra shrimp. We had lobster, chicken, shrimp, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, saffron, all kinds of yummy goodness in that paella! I'm getting hungry just talking about it.

Another surprise about vacation was that I totally panicked and bailed on my obligation to the bride and groom to read the reading in their wedding. Wifey bailed me out and read for me, but I feel bad. We pulled up in front of that church and I totally panicked. And that was just the rehearsal. Who am I kidding? I flipped out the minute I met the priest. It's the priests that freak me out. I can't help it, and add to that I was going into a catholic church for the first time in about 15 years, and wow. I totally reverted to being an 11 year old who was just too scared to move, to breathe, to speak. I suppose I still have some very deeply seeded issues with catholicism and priests and the whole bit. Who wouldn't? I see the white collar and my palms get sweaty and I just want to puke or run and I don't know which one will happen first. My leg was thumping faster than it's normal pace for the duration of the ceremony, only relaxing momentarily, when wifey placed her hand on it to ease me of my discomfort. I truly wanted to be able to go in there and do this thing, face my enemy, conquer my fears...sigh, I guess I need to schedule some more time on the sofa with the therapist to work that mess out.

So that about sums it all up, the good, the bad, and the yummy of our week in paradise. What did yall do last week?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The best vacation EVER!


Upon returning from vacation, wifey and I found that we longed to be back in the mountains, nestled in our cottage, drinking too much alcohol and laughing at the silliness of her drunken cousins and our seemingly daily trips to the local grocery store for one thing or another. We wished we were being beckoned to come to this cabin, no this one, no no, you must come by here for a game of cards and some more drinks...and don't forget grandma needs some quality time. That's what vacations are for, after all, aren't they?
We spent the most fabulous week at the most fabulous resort watching deer cross our paths and visiting with family that we usually don't get to see. We got to know some that we haven't previously spent any real time with and learned a little more about the dynamics of both her family as well as her brother's new wife's family. Those Irish sure do party...

We took a day for ourselves and went to visit Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house, in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. It was a 2 hour ride from Ogelbay, but well worth the trip.
I will tell you, if you take a trip to Fallingwater, do yourself a favor and schedule the tour that includes permission to photograph from inside the home. It would be worth the extra cash. We took this trip almost as an afterthought and only took the regular tour, the inside photography tours are booked out months in advance. It began storming heavily while we were on the tour, so our outside photos were very limited.

Restrictions aside, all in all, it was a great tour. Our guide was a bit quirkey, but hey, what do you expect?

Likewise, let me tell you, if you should ever have opportunity to stay at Ogelbay, go for a cottage, and seek one with a balcony. Wifey's dad had the best cottage of our bunch. It overlooked the most beautiful vistas and each night had the best view of the most glorious sunsets. I'm going back with easel and paints in tow!

Oh yeah, I went to prision while we were on vacation!We went to the MOUNDSVILLE PENITENTIARY, which is where Charles Manson's mom, among many others, was locked up for years. It's supposedly haunted, but we didn't see any ghosts, dammit.

I've not yet had time to finish uploading all of the vacation photos, but here's the link to the few I've started on, and here's my wife's flickr page with the photos she took.
Please stop by and check 'em out!

It's always good to go on vacation, and it's always good to be home again. Now I need about a week to rest up from the vacation!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I'm Baaaaaaaack

No black hole, no abandonment. I've been on VACATION :) Woo Hoo! A full week at Ogelbay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia. I am so exhausted no way to fill you in right now, but photos and details of a fabulous time and beautiful vacation to come. Thanks for the many inquires and concern.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Just Checking In

Hey ya'll! I'm good, just wanted to let you know, I'll fill you in with all the juicy details in a few days . Thanks for all of the concern!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Billy Ray called, he want's his do back

I made an amazing discovery this morning on the way to work: The MULLET is alive and well in 2008! Who knew?
I casually glanced over at the car next to us at the traffic light and, my oh my! There was a woman(?) talking on her(?) cell phone, which is a whole other issue by the way, sporting the full on Billy Ray Cyrus-do! Complete with Curly perm in the back!! I wanted to jump out of the car and run over to her(?) to stage an on the spot follicular- intervention, but the internet and my big comfy chair work awaited my arrival and I had calls to make this morning, TPS EOP reports to run and a boss waiting for me. Oh well, next time.
What did you see on your way to work this morning?

Monday, June 2, 2008

WWC - Heavy & Light

The time has come again for the Weekly Words Challenge, brought to us by Tink, of Pickled Beef.
She slyly challenged us to interpret, with the aid of our boxes o light, the words Heavy & Light. Now, to be honest, I wanted to take some photos of some big assed drag queens and some crack headed looking ones and post that, I was, after all, at Gay Pride Day on Sunday. But on further thought, those queens like to sue, and I don't have time to deal with it. So instead, here's my milder interpretation of


Meet the Parents

Saturday was my Dad's birthday. My parents invited Wifey and I over for a cookout and some of Dad's splendid homemade banana pudding, but considering that my brother would be there and that we already had plans for Saturday, I declined that invitation. Instead I offered to take my parents out to dinner on Friday, and low and behold, they accepted! I suppose we acutally are making progress in this arena. This is a huge relief to me. It was just last month that they declined my invites to get togethe on my mom's birthday and Mother's Day citing church events as their outs. Happy to have a date with my parents, Wifey and I met them at the restaurant of their choice, which oddly enough was a Mexican restaurant (I mean, mom can make that at home better than any local place, right?) but hey, it's your day, Dad, so whatevs! It was a little more relaxed than previous visits with them have been since our reunion. For you new readers,( or those, like me, who forget things) my family and I are just now beginning to rekindle our relationship, after a nearly 6 year hiatus, in which there was no contact at all. It's been painstakingly slow and somewhat slippery to navigate this path of finding a happy medium with my family. I say my family, but I only mean a small section of it. My parents. I learned more about my father this past Friday night, which in turn taught me more about me. I found out that my OCD like behavior of counting how many words were just spoken in the last sentence, how many letters in that word, how many syllables...probably came from him. I found out that my high school algebra experience of being completely unable to grasp the concept and unable to transfer out of the class mirrored his experience. The only difference was he received zeros because he simply turned in papers with his name on them and my teacher was kind enough to give me 50s for at least placing an answer on the paper. My papers were usually turned in with all of my answers being x = 3.14 just because I was particularly fond of the way pi looked, and enjoyed drawing it. It really wasn't until college that my dad, who is now an engineer, picked up his mad math skills, and likewise, for me. I suppose you have to be in the right mindset, and have the right kind of teacher teaching in the right way to learn something like algebra and trigonometry. Once it clicked,though, it clicked. We attributed our math skills to all of our practice at counting everything in our heads all of the time. The old apple really doesn't fall so far from the tree, does it? Scary. After dinner, once we were in the safety of our car, Wifey said to me, "Honey, your dad's leg was bouncing as fast as yours does! And he was fidgeting with his napkin worse than you do! You guys have some serious anxiety issues."
I laughed. Not a full hearted, ha ha that's funny laugh, but a nervous, Yeah, I know what you mean, kind of laugh. Wifey has such clear perspective sometimes, it's frightening.