Monday, August 27, 2012

800th post

Ta da!!  My  800th post! And today, we are talking about prostitution.  Why, you ask?

Because I once wrote this post.  Go ahead and click on it... I will wait till you get back.  January 2012, I said I'd write about it--and now here it is:  I blink my eyes and  7 months have passed before I got back to it.

Okay,  are you back?  WHAT?  You didn't even go there?
Well, here is an excerpt:

I do work at the Visitors Center...where sometimes people ask about the Brothels, and it is my job to "point them in the right direction." (laughing)

Seriously tho, someone will ask about them once every other year or so.

No one is EVER honest --they make excuses, such as: I have to make a delivery and I can't find the address. I told my wife I'd drive by and take a picture. We just want to see what they look like, we're not going to go in or anything.

I did have one older Italian couple come in once and he wanted to know about the billboards and why it said "girls, girls, girls." I told him it was a brothel. But he didn't quite get that word. I kept on trying to explain it in non-emotional way, and he just couldn't figure it out.

All of the sudden his wife said It's a WHOREHOUSE! Then he laughed and said, Oh "WHOREHOUSE". They thought that was the most amusing thing ever.

I got a kick out of them.

So that was from my January post.  Let me say right off the bat that I am not stating my opinion on the brothels one way or another.   Not a word from me if they are evil or good.  I will not tell  you if I think they are demeaning to women or it's the oldest profession in the world and it's never going away, and it's better and safer than walking the streets, and women have a choice to be what they want.  You can form your own opinion on that subject. (but please don't form a negative opinion of Nevada just because we have legal brothels )They are what they are, and right now they are a legal business in the state of Nevada.
BUT--that too, also differs from county to county.  Brothels are illegal in Las Vegas and Reno, so you tend to have really famous brothels right over the county lines from these two big cities--like the famous Mustang Ranch outside of Reno or The Bunny Ranch outside of Vegas.   In small rural towns where it is legal,  the brothels aren't nearly so fancy.

But back to me!  I work in a Visitors Center--I have to help people find businesses etc.  So if they want to go to Simone's, well,  I can help with that.  It's mostly funny to me.  AND, honestly some of the women are really nice.   I don't see them often and none of them are my friends, but once in awhile you just know...and it's okay.  They are nice.  Just trying to make a legal living.

One time, about 25 years ago, when the Handyman worked for a retail store, the store was having a big sale one day, and Inez, a  madame, wanted in a bit early to shop.  The Handyman let her in the back door  (geez---that doesn't sound good) and Inez told him  he was  "a mighty fine man."
He's always been proud of that---reminds me that it was an endorsement from a professional 'madame.'

And I have to live with that.  (laughing)

Anyway,  it is what it is.

Let me show you what it is like to drive to Reno from here:
(Not your average road signs)

  Wild Horse Saloon is where they  have the World Famous  Mustang Ranch Museum!  I made the Handyman take me there!   We just drove up to it.  On our way home from Reno. maybe couples really do just want to see what a brothel looks like when they come into my office and giggle and say they just want a picture. That's EXACTLY what I did.  
  LOOK--you can even eat there!  Who knew? (, never mind)  

We had to drive thru a gate!  It's a gated community.  (I am finding myself amusing today)  They don't want any undesirables in there!

  Our home town signs are kind of sad looking---not that these are fancy by any means.   
  Just for the record,  I love where I live and it's like the old saying "I can make fun of it, but I'll get really mad if you do."  (okay,not really---I mean, it is kind of easy to make fun of this.  Just do it kindly)   Also, the whole freeway is not littered with these road signs---it is one small section about a mile long is all--I am just exaggerating and exploiting it for this post. And,  legal prostitution is so small now days---just a teeny weeny part of the really big  ( HAVE YOU LOOKED AT  MAP LATELY?!) picture of Nevada.   We are a great state!!    Let me leave you with one story about Simone's. It is a brothel (of course.  You saw the photo above).  One where you can use your Visa or MasterCard at.  Maybe even American Express.  We are talking businesses here.  Hunting is a big business here as well---hunting season is a busy time for the brothels. have to remember that they are also just a bar.  Anyone can go in and have a drink. YOU CAN.  Once quite a few years ago, a woman called and wanted to come to town and surprise her husband, who had come hunting here for a few years in a row and he always had dinner at a place called Simone's.  It was on their Visa statement and she thought she's surprise him with dinner.   Oops.   That's it.  My  800th post.  Whew.... now I can post my snicker doodles!  (I almost did it by mistake earlier)

Musing Monday

This is my  799th post.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring.... well, besides the  800th post.  I KNOW that, but what the heck will I post about?  Food?  Books?  Random thoughts on life?   Even I don't know at this point.

But for now...

MUSING MONDAYS is a weekly event where MizB from Should Be Reading,  will ask a book/reading-related question, and you answer with your own thoughts on the topic.

and this week's question is:  
What is the weirdest/strangest/craziest book you’ve read?

This is easy---I have a tie, tho.  Both books have been for one of my bookclubs,  The Lit Wits.
On Friday night we met to discuss

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.
It was---really strange.  It's hard to describe a strange book.  I can't find the words. So let me just give you what Goodreads says:
Jitterbug Perfume

is an epic.

Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time).

It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle.

The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god.

If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left

I will say again, that  although, this was tied for one of the strangest books I've ever read,  it was also interesting, and kept me reading to the  very end.  I was not about to put it down, because I had to figure out what the hell was going on.
Also, I'm sure smarter people than me  'got' this book and 'loved' it.  I feel stupid now.
I think everyone in my book club felt a bit stupid too.  It made for great discussion tho.  I mean it covered,   The god Pan, perfume and the reasons why perfume was used/invented,  present day Seattle, Paris and New Orleans, as well as ancient death rituals. Oh yeah, and kissing hadn't been discovered at the beginning of them book, but sex? Oh man sex had been discovered!  And there was lots of it in this book.
It's really a hard book to describe.    (sigh)
We had a great time at book club tho--we always do!
(these kinds of books are the ones we will talk about for months to come)

The second book which tied for the strangest is:

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

and again, Goodreads says:

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and pater familias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset.

As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.

  I couldn't say it better myself.

We Lit Wits consider this book our  signature book, because we were both horrified and intrigued at the same time.  We all finished it.  And we give it to any newcomer to the group.

So those two are the strangest books I've ever read in my life.
What about you?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Cooking


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.
This weekly meme is hosted by BethFish Reads.

This weekend I am going to show pictures of my old kitchen cabinets and my new kitchen cabinets, because finally, it's done. Hooray!!   And I love it.  My three friends who read this blog  (okay, maybe 5.  and my mom. ) might remember that we had invited   our friends Mitzi and Larry over for dinner and Larry was admiring the Handyman's tile job, and then he said  "you really need to do something with these cupboards"
I said,  "I know. We're going to paint them"
He said, "Don't do that---I'm build you some.  I'm bored this winter"
so I said,  "how much?"
he said,  "just materials.  I'm bored."
I said,  "I love you Larry!!"
He said,  "I know."

We've had the "I love you"  "I know" conversation quite a few times over the past 6 months.
(because I do love him and appreciate him!!  So does the Handyman)

Larry built the house they live in, so I knew what he could do.
Here goes:

Old cabinets:

New cabinets:  (finished EXCEPT all the new appliances,  (dishwasher and fridge) but they're coming soon)

Old cabinets:

New cabinets:  (is isn't as messy as it looks in that corner.   ~grins~ )

Old cabinets:

New cabinets:

all my cookbooks in one place!!

This is what I wanted to share--my kitchen cookbook case!
Every.  Single.  Cookbook.  At. My. Fingertips.  In order.   LOVE IT!!
(I'm never going to buy another one as long as I live.  Unless I see a really nice one. Pretty one.  One I just HAVE TO have. )

AND....hand stamped too!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

I was taking a picture of the birds the other day...about  5 of them were fighting over a small amount of water in my bird bath.  When I looked at this picture on the computer tho, I thought "hey, the bodies are coming out of the ground!  The Handyman didn't bury them deep enough."

~smiles~   the tree root (or bush root) that is appearing in my rock garden looks like a skeleton hand to me.
Seriously, we don't have bodies buried in our  yard.  Really.  That grouchy  neighbor who used to live in the abandoned house next door,   just moved away one day and never came back.  Trust me.  It's true.

Saturday Snapshot is  hosted by Alyce of  At Home With Books.

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post.  Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

White Lasagna Roll Ups

I've been organizing my cookbooks on my new kitchen cookbook shelf and this weekend came across a Hometown Cooking magazine from 2001.  YES, 2001!  In it, I found this recipe for Lasagna Blanca,  which was an Iowa State Fair prize winner, courtesy  of  Luanna Evans  who entered and won with this tasty pasta thank you Luanna, wherever you are! 

It's not that I have tons of magazines just laying around, stacked on tables and chairs and all over the floor   (they were in a tub in the garage) but the ones I did have, I spent the better part of the weekend going thru and tearing out one or two recipes from each and tossing the remaining magazine away.
That's a story for another time when I show you pictures of my finished kitchen, for now, I am going to share these great lasagna rolls.

The only part I'd do different next time would be to make more sauce. I might even double it next time.  The Handyman and I love some cheesy, creamy, sauce, and we think more is better.  We loved the spicy filling in these.  This is definitely a crowd please, no matter how much sauce you like. It would be a great dish for a potluck or when you have to bring " a dish to pass" as my Minnesotan friend Mitzi says.

Which brings me to this:  (I am veering off the subject now--which is a habit I have) My friend Theresa is starting a  neighborhood  'dinner share' group. She didn't ask me to participate, but I had to decline anyway.
She says she needs just the right people--and she really does.
She's starting slow with just one neighbor now, and they will see how it goes and then invite up to 2 more (just not poor me)
You want to know how it works? On Monday, she made dinner for two households, for her family and the neighbor on Wednesday the neighbor then reciprocated and brought them a complete meal. 
As I said, if it works out well for them, they will add someone to Tues and Thu, that way they all only have to cook one night a week.
It's a cool idea and  THESE LASAGNA ROLLS would be a great dish to make.
Too bad no one invited me to take part...

I am  just teasing, because since we no longer have kids at home, we sometimes just eat sandwiches, or go out on a moment's notice, or work in our garden thru dinner time.  I can't be held accountable to cook or eat on a regular basis, but I LOVE this idea.  It would have been so great when I had teenagers with busy sports shedules!

Okay now go make these lasagna rolls!!

White Lasagna Roll Ups 
(I changed the name from Lasagna Blanca)

1 lb spicy bulk pork sausage  (I used hot Italian sausage in bulk)
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese  (I used low fat ricotta)
4 oz cream cheese 
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterrey Jack  Cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1 17oz pkg frozen no-boil lasagna noodles, thawed  (I couldn't find, so I just boiled myself some regular lasagna noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs all purpose flour
1/8 tsp dried tarragon, crushed
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup milk

In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion until sausage is cooked through; drain well.  Stir in 1/4 tsp garlic powder and  1/8 tsp pepper. Set aside.
For the filling, combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the cheddar or Jack cheese,  1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp pepper.  Set aside.
Grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside.
Place noodles on a clean surface. Spread cheese filling evenly over noodles.  Sprinkle sausage mixture  and mushrooms on top.   Roll up each noodle into a spiral. Place lasagna rolls, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour, tarragon and 1/8 tsp pepper. Add milk and cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of the cheddar or jack cheese.  Pour sauce over the lasagna rolls.
Cover and bake in a  350 degree F oven for  25 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake about  10 minutes more or until heated through.

Makes 12 lasagna rolls.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rained out

A few weeks ago,  I made the comment that the word  drizzle was on it's way out---I never hear it anymore.
Then I had to recant my statement.   Let me just say that I wasn't thinking of cooking  and EVOO, but rather the weather.  You have to remember that I live in the high desert---it really and truly does not drizzle.  EVER.  It might rain sometimes----really, really hard, like a cloud burst,  which will last for 15min to 2 hours, then the sun comes out again,  and it might sprinkle once in a while, but you kind of have to run around and try to catch those sprinkle drops, because they are few and far between. They do get your car dirty tho.
But drizzle?  No. We never have a steady light rain: drizzle.

So, my friends in the Pacific Northwest, specifically,  gave me a  bunch of crap!! 
I guess it drizzles in Portland and Seattle all the time.
I should have known that.  I know better.  But I get used to the desert,  the sun beating down, the higher than usual temperatures as of late, the drought!!    I forgot about the PNW (but they are dry this summer too, the darn drought hits all over).

Now come back with me to the present:  My friend April planned her "Movie Night"  for this year....and we were all very excited.   It's just a really fun evening.   They grill, we all bring a side dish to share.
She's done it for the past  3 years and it's always tons of fun.  We see people we don't usually see and it's fun to catch up. We eat good food, we drink good drinks  (we have to bring our own), and then we get to watch a movie.
The movie isn't the most important part---it's the idea of the movie night.   They pick a family friendly movie and once it gets dark, they bring out the popcorn, we all make jokes--yelling  down in front, to someone who is walking by,  some of us throw popcorn at our friends, some of us talk too loud---it's just a fun evening.

Unless,  You happen to get rained out!  Yes,  here in the desert, we had a downpour---but no one saw it coming.  We came, we visited, we laughed, we hugged, we ate, we drank,  we settled down to watch the movie.  It was dark, no one saw the clouds roll in--but all of the sudden,  we felt a sprinkle, then a few minutes later another sprinkle, then rain, more rain,  CLOUD BURST!

They had to take the computer/movie projector inside and ---well, 75 of their closest friends whom they  had in their back  yard, went running for cover--to their cars!!  They were deserters!!   What's a little cloudburst?  A little water never hurt anyone!
(one friend said it rained like a race horse peeing on  a flat rock---if you need a visual, that is.)

I was a talker so I was sitting in the back under the trees, so didn't really feel the downpour, just some drops thru the trees--we talkers just got up and walked into her house and finished our evening there....glasses of wine in hand.

It was an adventure and it was fun ---I mean the whole evening-- and people will be talking about it until  next year....when we do it again.

Thanks  April and Doug for such a nice evening.  You know  'being rained out' means it will just add to the excitement and anticipation for next year!!

Here are some pics from the fun:

I took a couple of the people who started to arrive---there was a big long line of them.  It just struck me as funny, because, the kept coming and coming.

And  I told you people were hugging old friends.
There are two huggers in this picture.

This is what their backyard looked like before the movie began...

But before it got dark, we ate, ate and ate some more:

And these?  The back row  people!!  (we talk more than we should, we still enjoy the movie, but you know, there are always those people---BUT, we didn't get rained on) 

I think April is telling the Handyman he cannot talk so loud during the movie this year!  ~smiles~

It was a great evening!  It always is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate Kiss Mousse

If you like chocolate mousse, you must try this simple delicious version.  This recipe made 5 of these little parfait glasses full, and they were gone the same day as I made them....almost immediately.   The Handyman and I shared one while I was taking pictures and then we each had one for dessert that son and his girlfriend ate the other two.
It was so good.  Light and fluffy and great.
It's a MUST TRY!

As I said, this was really easy, the biggest problem I had was unwrapping  36 chocolate kisses.  It seems that somehow we could figure out how many chocolate bars to use instead of the kisses.  I mean, it's all Hershey, right?  Milk chocolate.
Honestly unwrapping 36 (or 41 since a few went into my mouth) was not that big of a deal.  I sat with a bowl in my lap and watched the Cooking Channel.  It was all good.

I found this recipe in an old JCPenney employee cookbook, called "Cause for Celebration".  It is one of those compilations of recipes from employees.  Or Associates, as they are called at JCPenneys.    It's actually in a Valentine Day chapter, and in the original recipe it calls for the whipping cream to be colored red, which I didn't do. I'm sure it would be very pretty tho.

Although this looks like a lot of steps, it is really very simple and  only takes an hour from start to finish--if even that long.

Chocolate Kiss Mousse

1 1/2 cup miniature or  15 regular marshmallows (I used regular)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
6 drops of red food coloring  (I didn't  use)
36 milk chocolate Hershey kisses, unwrapped
1 cup heavy cream
4 kisses for garnish

Combine the marshmallows and milk in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.   Remove from heat.  Pour  1/3 cup of the mixture into a medium bowl; blend in almond extract and food coloring if you use it.  Set aside.
Add 36 chocolate kisses to remaining marshmallow mixture. Return to low heat; stir well until kisses are melted.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. 
Whip cream in mixer bowl until stiff. Fold 1 cup into the chocolate mixture.  Fold in remaining whipping cream gradually into the almond mixture.  Fill parfait glasses about  3/4 full with chocolate mixture.  Top with almond cream.
Chill for 3 to 4 hours or until set.
Garnish with a kiss.
Serves 4

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Monday (what are you reading?)

I love Monday book memes--the only trouble is--I don't start them on Sunday night, I start them on Monday morning. At work. Which, as anyone knows is going to be hard--hard with a capital H. HARD TO DO, while trying to do Monday work stuff.
So, I don't always get to them...sometimes a week or two will go by without any Monday Memes from me.  But today, is another story, because here I am--in  your face--before noon too!  (Pacific Standard time, that is)

First, let me answer this question from Miz B at  Should be Reading:
(It's the Musing Monday question)

Do you snack while you read? If so, what is your favorite reading snack? I snack while I'm reading?   'They' say you shouldn't snack while you are reading.  So, I try hard not to, but once in a while I catch myself with a cookie.
What I do is eat breakfast while reading.  Almost every morning.  I'm all alone--the Handyman is gone to work,  and I'll eat a bowl of cereal  or oatmeal at the breakfast bar with my book held open with one of those leather/heavy book holder opener thingies.  It makes for a nice morning.  So far, I haven't dripped any milk/oatmeal on a book while reading and eating.  My chest, yes, but the books, no.
And of course, a good homemade cookie with a book ANYTIME is a nice thing.

I love to join Sheila at Book Journey for  "It's Monday, what are you reading?" on Mondays.

I don't know why anyone cares what I am reading--it's not like they get a good review, but I will give you my quick and fast opinion of the book.
Okay?   Are you ready?

Here we go.

Last week I finished:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
The quick and fast opinion?  YES, you should read this book!!  It's great.  A face paced mystery, psychological  thriller with a twist I didn't see coming.
The only negative thing I can think about was a character whose nickname was "Go".  (her name was Margo) but the use of Go distracted me terribly--at first.  (Come here Go.  What do you mean Go?) But then I got accustomed to it.
Other than that (and that's a personal thing--nothing to do with the story, or writing) IT'S A GREAT BOOK!

In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes.
Quick and fast opinion?   This isn't a MUST READ, but it's a good book.  It's about America in Saudi Arabia and the oil companies--specifically  Aramco,  in the  1960's.  Corporate Colonization and all that.  When we thought we were better than everyone else and tried to tell them what to do and how to do it.  (I don't know that things have changed that much)  Plus, a young woman and her relationship with her husband and trying to find a way to live a life in an American Compound in Saudi Arabia.  There is a little bit of a mystery and some great history.
I'm glad I read it.
It had a couple of great when describing 'rich' people in any county..
The princes fatten at the banquet while we beg for scraps at their feet.
The victor will write the history, but the truth we may never know.
A riot is the language of the unheard  (MLK)

Maybe it was a 'must read'...those quotes are some really thought provoking mini-themes.

And right now I'm reading:

City of Women by David R. Gillham.
I am on page  108 of  385.  And now it's really getting good!!  In fact, all I want to do is go home and read.  Lock the doors at work and sit here and read.  Stop the clocks, hide the 'to do' list and read.  I can't wait to finish it.
so far this is a YES YOU SHOULD READ IT book.  (I can't see that changing, but I'll let you know at the end of the book)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekend Cooking

open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Well, I went back in time this week---to an oldie, but a goodie.  Just your classic Shrimp and Cream Cheese dip.
I know it's still popular, and everyone has done it, made it, tasted it, but sometimes the simplest recipes are the ones we forget to post about.
We were invited to some friends for a 'get together' this weekend and it was my job to take the appetizer, so I made this easy, classic dip/spread that everyone loves. 
I've seen a few different takes on this basic cream cheese, cocktail sauce and shrimp spread.  I've seen it with chives or green onions.  Or black olives.  That all sounds great, but I just went with the classic this time. (for the most part)

the most basic recipe I can find online calls for just
cream cheese
cocktail sauce
canned shrimp

and it's great that won't see me turning any of that down....

....but this is how I did it this time:

Cream Cheese and Shrimp Dip

1 oz block of cream cheese
1/4 cup of Miracle Whip
a smidgen of garlic powder

mix that together and spread on a serving dish

1 jar of cocktail sauce  (your favorite)
spread over the cream cheese mixture

Top with canned or fresh shrimp.  I used fresh as we like it better.
Squeeze the juice of a half a fresh lime over the top.

Serve with crackers.

(there was none left to bring home from the party for me the next day!)

And then....just to show you how I scored this week---a picture of two little cookbooks I picked up at World Market.  I'm so excited to make something from each of them.  I've sat down with a glass of iced tea and gone over them from cover to cover (they are filled with gorgeous photos) and marked a few recipes from each.   I've not done, or even eaten much of,  Indian or Moroccan cooking, so as I said,  I'm kind of excited. 
The Handyman?   Not so much.   He's a simple man--give him a steak, a baked potato and a green salad drowning in blue cheese dressing and he's a happy man.
I feel it is my duty to broaden his horizons.
He's a lucky man.

Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...