Thursday, May 25, 2006

Carnival of Recipes

VW is hosting the Carnival this week.

I have a simple recipe to offer, that tastes awesome!

Stuffed Italian Chicken Breasts

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

6 TBsp olive oil

1/4 cup parmesean cheese

1/4 cup mozzerella cheese, Shredded

Small bottle of 'Wishbone' Italian Dressing
(Chosen because of it's 'squeeze' bottle and taste)

24 - 30 toothpicks

Wax paper

13 x 9 cake pan (glass if you have one)


Garlic Powder

Preheat the oven to 350.

Fill the cake pan with about 1 inch of water
and place it on the bottom rack.

*It is always a good idea to soak the chicken in
enough water to cover it with a tsp of salt added
for at least 24 hours.

Using the wax paper to cover the chicken breasts,
beat them until they are almost 1/4" to 1/2" flat.
This will make them easier to roll.

In a small mixing bowl, add the parmesean cheese,
mozzerella cheese and enough Italian dressing to
make a "paste" out of the mixture.

Using a small spoon, place one spoonful of the mixture
onto a flattened chicken breast. Spread it along
the width of the chicken. Roll the chicken like a burrito,
making sure the ends can be folded 'up'. If there is some
extra space, you can add more cheese mixture.

Use the toothpicks to 'close' the roll. Threading them
works best, similar to holding a patch on clothes prior to

Brush the chicken with olive oil, and lightly sprinkle
some basil and a little bit of garlic powder over it.

Place the chicken on the oven rack directly above the
cake pan. The cake pan will catch the drippings, and
also keep the inside of the oven moist.

Bake for at least 25 to 30 minutes.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Squirrels Gone Bad

Thanks Army Wife (AWTM) for the blog fodder...

I read this story about a year ago... I don't know it's origin, but it is funny nonetheless.

I think AWTM had a run in with this squirrel's cousin.

Please use the bathroom before reading this, I know two people who had
'accidents' from laughing so hard. Trust me. ;)


Mike never dreamed that slowly cruising on his Harley Davidson Fat-Boy motorcycle through a residential neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous!

Little did Mike suspect.

Mike was on Glenray Drive a small street in Catonsville (near Jack McNaulty's house) a very nice neighborhood with perfect lawns and slow traffic. As Mike passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of him.

It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered
the car. Mike really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid it -- it
was that close. Mike hates to run over animals, and he really hates it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to him. Mike barely had time to brace for the impact. Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels, Mike discovered, can take care of themselves!

Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing on his hind legs and facing Mike's oncoming Harley with steadfast resolve in his beady little eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible second, he screamed and leapt! Mike was pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, "Banzai!" or maybe, "Die you Guinness-sucking, heathen scum!"

The leap was nothing short of spectacular...

He shot straight up, flew over his windshield, and impacted Mike squarely in the chest. Instantly, he set upon Mike. If Mike didn't know better, Mike would have sworn he brought 20 of his little buddies along for the attack.

Snarling, hissing, and tearing at his clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As Mike was dressed only in a light T-shirt, summer riding gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This furry little tornado was doing some damage!

Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome Harley Davidson Fat-Boy, dressed in jeans, a T-shirt, and leather gloves, puttering at maybe 25 mph down a quiet residential street, and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And losing...

Mike grabbed for him with his left hand. After a few misses, Mike finally managed to snag his tail. With all his strength, Mike flung the evil rodent off to the left of the bike, almost running into the right curb as Mike recoiled from the throw.

That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there. It really should have. The squirrel could have sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and gone on about his business, and Mike could have headed home.

No one would have been the wiser. But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even an ordinary angry squirrel.


Somehow he caught his gloved finger with one of his little hands and, with the force of the throw, swung around and with a resounding thump and an amazing impact, he landed squarely on Mike's BACK and resumed his rather antisocial and extremely distracting activities. He also managed to take his left glove with him! The situation had not improved. Not improved at all.

His attacks were continuing, and now Mike could not reach him. Mike was startled, to say the least. The combination of the force of the throw, only having one hand (the throttle hand) on the handlebars, and his jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist through Mike's right hand and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Harley only has one result.


This is what Harleys are made for, and they are very, very good at it. The engine roared and the front wheel left the pavement.

The squirrel screamed in anger.

The Harley screamed in ecstasy.

Mike screamed in .. well .. he just plain screamed.

Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome Fat-Boy, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel-torn t-shirt, wearing only one leather glove and roaring at maybe 50 mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street on one wheel, with a demonic squirrel of death on his back.

Mike and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder.

With the sudden acceleration Mike was forced to put his other hand back on the handlebars and try to get control of the bike.

This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his own devices, but Mike really did not want to crash into somebody's tree, house, or parked car. Also, Mike had not yet figured out how to release the throttle... his brain was just simply overloaded. Mike did manage to mash the back brake, but it had little effect against the massive power of the big Harley Davidson Fat-Boy cruiser.

About this time the squirrel decided that Mike was not paying sufficient attention to this very serious battle (maybe he was an evil mutant NAZI attack squirrel of death), and he came around his neck and got INSIDE Mike's full-face helmet.

As the faceplate closed part way, he began hissing in Mike's face. Mike was quite sure his screaming changed intensity.

It had little effect on the squirrel, however. The RPMs on Mike's Fat-Boy maxed out (since Mike was not bothering with shifting at the moment), so the front end started to drop.

Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very raggedly torn T-shirt, wearing only one leather glove, roaring at probably 80 mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy squirrel's tail sticking out of the mostly closed full-face helmet. By now, the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.

Finally MIKE got the upper hand ... Mike managed to grab his tail again, pulled him out of his helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as he could. This time it worked ... sort-of.

Spectacularly sort-of to speak.

Picture a new scene.

You are a cop.

You and your partner have pulled off on a quiet residential street and parked with your windows down to do some paperwork.

Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome Fat-Boy Harley Davidson Motorcycle, dressed in jeans, a torn T-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing only one leather glove, moving at probably 80 mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder roars by, and with all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade directly into your police car.

Mike heard screams.

They weren't his...

Mike managed to get the big motorcycle under control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. Mike then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign of a busy cross street.

Mike would have returned to 'fess up' (and to get his glove back). Mike really would have.


Except for two things.

First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned about Mike at the moment. When Mike looked back, the doors on both sides of the patrol car were flung wide open. The cop from the passenger side was on his back, doing a crab walk into somebody's front yard, quickly moving away from the car. The cop who had been in the driver's seat was standing in the street, aiming a riot shotgun at his own police car.

So, the cops were not interested in Mike. They often insist to "let the professionals handle it" anyway.

That was one thing.

The other?

Well, Mike could clearly see shredded and flying pieces of foam and upholstery from the back seat. But Mike could also swear he saw the squirrel in the back window, shaking his little fist at him.

That is one dangerous squirrel.

And now he has a patrol car.

A somewhat shredded patrol car .. but it was all his.

Mike took a deep breath, turned on his turn-signal, made a gentle right turn off of Glenray Drive, and sedately left the neighborhood. Mike decided it was best to just buy himself a new pair of gloves. And a whole lot of Band-Aids.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Growing too fast...

Two recent pics of our little daughter...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Remembering (what's for dinner Mom?)

When I was 13, I never thought about cooking in my own kitchen for my own family. I can still remember learning the "right" way to make mashed potatoes and gravy, fried pork chops and the best green beans ever. The teacher at that point was my Great Grandmother.
I don't remember all the exact details, but I do remember how cooking was a big part of her life. My Mom's entire side of the family were all great cooks. Most guys look at me oddly when I admit that I enjoy cooking. I enjoy it because I am keeping memories alive, and I am honestly having the best time while in the kitchen. My Mom recently gave me some cooking accessories that once belonged to my Grandmother. I tell my son's (and now my daughter too... lol) everytime they are in the kitchen when I am cooking.

AWTM wrote about her Mother and angel food cakes... and even the coke bottles used to hold them up. I remember seeing these on the counter as a young boy. I can't think of a better way (at least in my family) to share and keep alive the memories of loved ones.

Just like that...

Well, I am so amazed right now. It was only Wednesday (10 May) that we put our house on the market. We have had a total of 3 couples look at it. One of those couples was looking at it for the first time as of yesterday. They must have liked what they saw. We received a phone call today with an offer of 4k under what our listing price was. We decided to wait, as it had only been on the market for less than 3 days. After rejecting the offer, 10 minutes went by, and the phone rang again. The couple offered the full listing price for our house.

God is truly amazing. My wife has just had a lot of worry lifted off of her with those two calls. Now... to find a new house in Colorado. That is the next major obstacle. Anyone know any people near Denver ?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Settling In... Moving... Life

Quick note here.

Life has thrown us another unexpected turn. We were just getting all settled in, finally finished unpacking from the move last year, and reorganizing our lives after Katrina. Then, the night before (April 25th) a 2 week business trip I could not unschedule...... BAM !!!

We find out my company wants us to move to one of three places. San Diego, Denver, or Houston. Cost of living points to Denver.

I just got back on Sunday night (7 May). I will write more when the dust settles. For now, we have to get our house ready to sell. Lots of planning to do. Life. Stress is not present. I hope it stays that way. ;)