Friday, August 6, 2010

I've Hit the Big Time, Baby

I'm moving on up!



Okay, well, maybe it's not as exciting as the Jeffersons moving into a penthouse apartment. But I'm kind of excited about it.

My blog, "Not So Random Thoughts" is now a member of Kindle Blogs! If you've got a Kindle and you're actually interested in my blog, you can get an e-subscription to it for only $1.99.


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Thursday, August 5, 2010

5 Foods I Am (Only Somewhat) Ashamed to Say I Love

I was reading 5@5 yesterday on CNN’s Eatocracy site when I came across this article: “5 Foods I Am (Only Somewhat) Ashamed to Say I Love” by James Oseland. “James Oseland has been the editor-in-chief of 'Saveur' magazine since 2006, and also acts as judge on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters." Now, he's ready to spill the beans and get some guilty food pleasures off his chest.” This guy is way more serious than any ordinary self-proclaimed “foodie.” And even as someone that admit she likes to eat, I am no foodie. It sounds like some uppity title someone came up with to make themselves sound less like an eater. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food.

But as so many other articles do, this one got me thinking. What are my five foods that I’m only somewhat ashamed to admit I love? Amazingly enough, I couldn't come up with the five foods all at once. It actually took me a few days.

1. Farm Fresh sushi rolls
Farm Fresh is a grocery store chain out here in Virginia. I don’t know how many states it’s in but they sell packages of nine little sushi rolls. They have Philadelphia rolls, crab rolls and a couple other kinds. Some have a variety of fish and shrimp laid atop a bed of rice, drizzled with a brown sauce and secured with a little tie of seaweed. Others use imitation crab meat and Pollack, I believe. Some have sesame seeds on the outside and some have those tiny orange fish eggs that pop in your mouth when you eat them. The package also includes a packet of soy sauce, a small pile of ginger slices and a little dollop of wasabi that looks remotely like slightly chewed gum.

I love the damn things. I like to get one in the morning and have it for breakfast while I’m driving to work every once in a while. I usually get the Philadelphia rolls because of the miniscule amount of cream cheese and the slivers of avocado. Although, I do look at the avocado before looking at the sell by date, because if the avocado is turning even the slightest tinge of brown, I won’t buy them. I like the way white rice sticks together on those rolls on the outside, because I can’t make sticky white rice. The texture of these little rolls is good and I like the combination of tastes. You almost can’t take a bite of one of these little rolls. They’re small enough to pretty much just pop right into your mouth whole.

2.The Kroger Brand of Cocoa Pebbles
I’m not much of a chocolate fan when it comes to cereal. And I don’t know how much of a “foodie” I’d ever be, considering I’m more likely to try a store brand of a product the first time. If I like it, then I stick with the store brand. If not, then I’ll try another brand.

But for some reason, I really dig the Kroger (another Virginia grocery store chain) brand of Cocoa Pebbles. They have a light crispiness to them that really doesn’t last very long. And yes, they do turn soggy in milk if you linger over your bowl too long. The chocolate taste isn’t overpowering and they even smell good. And they turn the leftover milk into very lightly flavored chocolate milk, perfect for finishing off your sugary morning meal. I’ve even discovered, thanks to Skinny Dip, a local frozen yogurt place in Virginia Beach, that Cocoa Pebbles is great as a topping for frozen yogurt and cut up berries, as a way to cut back the natural sweetness of the fruit, while adding a great little crunch. Maybe that's why comics joke about people that smoke a lot of pot always want cereal when they get the munchies. It's so versatile!

3. Wendy’s Chili
Today, I’m a full-fledged chili snob, preferring chili that’s been slow cooked all day with fresh veggies, ground beef and sausage and the right spices, in a Crock Pot, served with shredded mild Cheddar cheese, Saltines and a tiny splash of hot sauce.

For a couple years in high school and college, I worked at Wendy’s. (Hi, Tammy!!!!!) When I occasionally opened on the weekends, I’d get the chili started for the day. It wasn’t anything fancy: canned tomatoes, bags of frozen onions and peppers, a large packet of spices, and chopped hamburger patties from the day before. We’d have to mix all of that together in a giant pot on the back stove. When it was hot, transfer it to a deep pan to sit in what was pretty much a heated tub. I don’t remember this part for fact, but I’m pretty sure, speaking from common sense, we’d add in any leftover chili from the day before to this mixture, but I could be mistaken.

The grill guys would have a pan next to them all day. If a burger was left on the grill for any amount of time longer than what was allocated to sell, then it was thrown into the pan. Leftover patties at the end of the night also went into the pan. So basically, the meat for Wendy’s chili was overcooked hamburger patties. But damn, I love their chili. It sits, heated, for hours on end, giving it plenty of time for the spices and tastes to mix together perfectly.

4. Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwiches
My husband thinks this is the most disgusting thing in the world and refuses to even try a bite.

Fresh white bread, chunky peanut butter on both slices (if you're using two slices of bread, one with more on it than the other--it's the "glue" in this sandwich) and 3-4 Mt. Olive Kosher Baby Dill pickles. The brands of the bread and peanut butter aren't important. Slice those pickles lengthwise and stick them in the peanut butter.

Man, that is good stuff! Cold pickles out of the refrigerator, chunky peanut butter together. It's like cold, crunchy, sweet and salty all at the same time. Can't be beat!

5. Peanut Butter and Bacon Bit Toast
This is in pretty much the same vein as #4, and it's another item my husband won't try.

A slice of toast, smeared with chunky peanut butter with some Betty Crocker Baco's Bacon Bits sprinkled on top. Yeah, because nothing starts a day like artificial bacon bits! :) The fact that they are artificial is why my husband won't try this. The Baco's give him heartburn...more for me then!

It's another case of crunchy, sweet and salty all at once.

In looking back over my list, I'm seeing that I'm apparently very big on texture and I hadn't ever realized that before. I guess I just learned something new about myself!

Mike Tyson's Not So Tough Anymore

The title is not an insult.

I realized something today. Mike Tyson is a rehabilitated pit bull.

I read the Marquee article on CNN about Mike Tyson’s drug habit. Just so you know, the article is pretty short and doesn’t go into great deal about his drug habit. “When asked if he ever thought the comedy…was going to be such a success, Tyson responded, ‘I was doing that to supply my drug habit.’ ‘I said, ‘Wow, This is going to be really good,’ The athlete went on. ‘We’re going to sell this stuff on 42nd street on bootleg and make a lot of money.’ This is my best thinking on drugs.”’

But the article goes on to say, “Since the tragedy [the accidental death of his four-year-old daughter], Tyson has dropped 130 pounds by going vegan, and is committed to being a strong family man…“So I said...I am going to change everything I dislike about myself. I changed everything that I was as a human being...I don't smoke anymore. I wanted to give up everything. I had to change my life.”

He’s been, quite possibly, the most dangerous, unpredictable boxer in modern history (50 wins, 6 losses, 2 no contest, and 44 knockouts), even going so far to bite off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear. He was accused of abusing his former wife, actress Robin Givens. He’s done drugs. He’s screamed obscenities at people and even threatened children ("I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children."--1988). He did time in prison for sexual assault. You might not trust him to be alone with him.

Pit bulls are the reason for some breed specific legislation (which I am against). They’re dangerous (I’m not going to get into nature vs. nurture and it’s how you raise them here). They attack, sometimes without warning. They can rip a person’s face off. They can kill an adult. You might not trust one to be alone with it.

But Tyson’s gotten older and wiser. Maybe the beatings he’s taken in the ring have taken their toll on him too, both mentally and physically. He’s quit the drugs. Changed his diet. Doesn’t smoke. But would we really trust him to be alone with him? Wouldn’t it be too easy for Mike Tyson to just snap?

He has become the human embodiment of the Vicktory Dogs, taken in by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah."Many of them are suffering from serious psychological and emotional trauma, similar to what you see in children from situations of abuse and neglect. Many of them had been forced to fight to the death - like gladiators in some primitive arena...Already they're making progress: learning how to play, how to relax, how to love. Many of them will be adopted to experienced homes. Others will live out their lives in the beautiful environment of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary."

If dogs that were trained to be merciless killers, and in some cases, bait, can be rehabilitated into working dogs and become ambassadors for their breed, then there is hope for Mike Tyson. If he can keep himself on the straight and narrow, he can become an ambassador of misguided youth and rebellion, of former drug users and physical abusers. He can talk about his path to being a better person. I want to have faith in him.