Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hybrids --- My Way

As a person concerned about the environment, I have followed the various automobile hybrids -- the Prius, the new Lexus -- with great interest. I created my new breed of hybrid today. I make these egg-white cups (using Eggology brand, of course.) The recipe is modified from the South Beach diet, using a muffin tin, filled with olives, and other treats. Recently I started making muffin cups, for a breakfast of muffin-egg sandwich, an updated form of the "Egg McMuffin." These are really excellent travel breakfasts as they can easily be eaten on the move. Today, my hybrid emerged accidentally, as with all great inventions (Post It Notes, chocolate chip cookies, for example). I had an extra glob of muffin that was too small to bake alone. I poured in some egg whites, and the new hybrid was born. It was a natural combo that worked perfectly and will travel extremely well. All part of conservation in that I could not bear to have all the muffin cups filled when using my convection oven.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Chicken Stock and Big Knives at Outback

We ventured to an Outback Steak House tonight -- our first such outing to satisfy my daughter's craving for ribs after a movie. She loved her meal, and ours were ok. I was struck by the large amount of meat, fried potatoes and heavy people in the restaurant. Our vegetarian "Outbacker" revealed that most everything is cooked in chicken stock. What was weirder - a vegetarian server in a steak house or chicken stock on everything? Also, there were really large knives on the table, like those mentioned in "Crocodile Dundee" ("That's not a knife; this is a knife", as Mick waves a huge knife at the would-be muggers). We had read that the bloomin' onion was the highest fat and carb menu item available in any restaurant and I saw many being served.
I worry about what people eat, how much they eat and the ultimate cost of caring for them in the healthcare system. I guess once hospital administrator, always hospital administrator. Sure would have preferred seeing healthier food, but then, I was at Outback. My thought is that it is highly unlikely we will be making a return visit. Next, she wants to try ribs at Applebee's. Our parade of unhealthy food will be continuing.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Your Son is in the Majors!

Because my husband is a baseball "junkie", I end up at games in all sorts of different settings. I don't really pay attention to the play, but the people, food, press, scouts, etc. Don't ask me who pitched as it is unlikely that I would know, unless it is Houston Street, my pick as the "New Eck" --- my favorite player. Our most recent outing was to a Giants Rookie League game in Scottsdale. The last two times, I have hung out in the shade, and it has led me to meet some of the moms of the team prospects. I am totally in awe of the effort these parents have made to get their sons to their dreams of MLB. Both of these moms were from Vancouver, B.C. area; both sons were pitchers; both braved temperatures over 100 to watch the games. Ryan McGovern's mom came down for his 21st birthday and to see him play as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery. Morgan Brinson's mom was there to see his first major league pitch today, which was great as she is leaving tomorrow. While here, she prepared her 18-year old son some meals, in her motel room, of course. In her years of helping him work towards his goal, she has developed a specialty of cooking meals in the room, using a mini-fridge, coffeepot and hot plate. Her son requested her signature Chicken Caesar. Last night, with aid of a small barbecue grill that one of the players had, she made steaks with sauteed mushrooms and onions -- at the request of one of the players who was celebrating a birthday and turned down a dinner out for her "home" cooking. I admire the huge sacrifice of time, money and hours of driving these moms, and others, make to allow their athletes' dreams to come true. No wonder the first thing these kids buy with their new contract money is a house or car for the parents who kept them sane, focused and on track.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Stanley Steemer Wins Our Vote!

We became fans of Stanley Steemer in California when all our neighbors used them -- I called the company to ask why all my neighbors were using them. I found out it was a steam extraction method using natural products (based on oranges) -- so there were no chemicals or odors remaining -- a plus in an allergy/asthma house. We have used them ever since and recommended them whenever possible.
Now, they have exceeded our customer service expectations. The Tempe-based Stanley Steemer did a great job on our carpets two months ago. The cleaners showed us that they had inadvertently broken a bobblehead collectible. They offered to take it with them to see if it could be repaired. I learned a lesson in that I should have put everything away, but they were very honorable in telling us about it and trying to move the piece of furniture where it was located. We were busy, had no word from them and had chalked it up to experience as we realized it was not something we could replace.
Today, Mr. John Ojeda, the manager, called and said it was repaired. He brought it up personally and we all marveled at the repair job done by Legacy Art Restorations ( You cannot even see that it was ever broken!
It is so unusual to find a business that would follow up with such excellent customer service. That is rare these days. Hats off to Stanley Steemer.

A New Fan of Anna Nalick

Anna Nalick opened the show for "The Wallflowers" last week at The Borgata and won me over as a new fan. She is adorable, writes all her music and had a great band. The audience was a mix of a few people that knew of her and others that just discovered her. She just turned 21 and commented about her first time gambling in a casino. The songs were personal, mostly written in her bedroom.
Her first song, according to her website, was written in 5th grade Math while thinking of a "Green Day" song. People waited in line to get her autograph on anything they had (CD, ticket, hat, shirt) as she always goes into the lobby following her set to meet her fans.
I think she is on the road to a big career -- since last week, she has been featured on Yahoo. I hope that her genuine, casual style stays with her as her career blossoms. She was finishing up this road tour and heading home to see her cat and visit the local Starbuck's before she went out on the road again.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Patch of Shade

It is very hot here, resulting in death of some homeless people, which is not difficult to imagine -- when the door opens, it is like opening the door of a hot oven. Feeding the birds in my yard is one of my simple pleasures, and I particularly like to have food out for the quail families that pass through daily. Today, one family is resting in a patch of shade in one corner of our yard and drinking out of the pool fountain. I am glad to help out in a small way; the larger homeless issue is harder to address, though the local radio station KOOL 94.5 is collecting funds for food and supplies to help those on our really hot streets. If it was only as simple as a patch of shade...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Flip-flops in the White House?

I don't get it either, wearing flip-flops to the White House, or anywhere that proper dress would be expected. I have the argument with my daughter frequently, and make her change shoes, if you can call flip-flops shoes, that is. I know everyone wears them whenever, but I remember them as beach thongs or zories. I called them "thongs" once to my daughter and she thought I had lost my mind. We are all accustomed to GWB doing flip-flops, but then his daughter wore them to court for her DWI hearing.