Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gluttony

A picture is worth a thousand words.



And that's just the leftovers.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Thoughts

So - I was all set to write about the Stuffing Wars, but apparently, I wrote about it last year.

I was also going to share my cranberry recipe - but apparently I did that last year as well. Does this make me some kind of hack blogger that I am inclined to recycle last year's posts (and speaking of recycling, my efforts to be more green continue - it takes a few extra minutes at the Dump but I feel so much better about my small role in helping the environment. Ditto when I remember to bring my reusable shopping bag to the grocery store.)?

Anyways - back to Thanksgiving. Having covered stuffing and cranberry, I suppose I will share a recipe for a light & fluffy spiced pumpkin pie I came up with last year. Even Marty liked it and he's not a fan of pumpkin pie. Anyways, it's super simple to make for even the most challenged of bakers. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
Sarah’s Pumpkin Pie

Adapted from Food & Wine’s Spicy Pumpkin Pie recipe

1 15-oz. can of pumpkin
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
Pinch salt
Extra ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 pack Pet-Ritz pie crusts

Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, egg yolks, spices, salt and milk.

Whip the egg whites until stiff and fold into pumpkin mixture.

Pour into 2 crusts and bake ~ 30 – 35 minutes (until set) at 425.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In Honor of My Uncle Icky

My Uncle Icky passed away on Friday. Ninety years old, he had lead a rich and wonderful life and touched thousands of souls in the process. He was an amazing man - thoughtful, compassionate, positive in his outlook - an unstoppable force who brought joy and love to all who knew him.

I wrote about Uncle Icky last year on Veteran's Day and it's worth reading (or re-reading) the post to get to know a fraction of this incredible man.

I am also going to share some photos from his 90th birthday in May of this year. It was held at Belmont Stakes (to say that Icky liked to play the ponies is an understatement) and in my mind, that day was the greatest tribute we could have given him.


Me and My Uncle Icky


Uncle Icky and the Bugler (or is it Trumpeter?)


Uncle Icky in the Winner's Circle


Uncle Icky with His "Kids"


Uncle Icky - Everyone's Hero

This ain't country - this is a legend.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Who Knew?

So - as it turns out, I live in a pretty cool county. I mean, who knew that in Lincoln County we manufacture everything from Gatorade and licorice to auto parts and a special bulletproof material that can be woven into suits and is sold exclusively to the government and the armed forces? Who knew that we have companies from Germany, Australia, Israel, Singapore and Brazil (to name a few) headquartered in our county - creating jobs and producing such a wide array of goods? Who knew, that despite recent closings of several factories and plants, over the last 5 years the Lincoln Economic Development Association (LEDA) has seen more than 20 expansions of industry totaling more than $242 million and resulting in the creation of more than 1,400 jobs in the county?

So where did I learn all of these interesting facts? On Thursday I attended the Chamber's monthly Business After Hours meeting which was co-hosted by LEDA and the Lincolnton Downtown Development Association (DDA) - a group for which I already volunteer. The event was held at LEDA's new headquarters and in talking to LEDA Executive Director Barry Matherly, I began to discover some pretty cool things about the county (and town) I live in.

Even cooler - the theme for the evening was "Racing" and on hand was drag racer Doug Herbert (who lives and runs his shop in the county); Jan Crawford - a former racer who along with her husband Max runs several businesses that manufacture parts and cars for the racing industry (seriously - she is this tiny little lady from New Zealand and she looked so proper in her black suit and pearls but she is a serious heavyweight in this industry); and Ray Evernham. You may have heard of Ray or his NASCAR team, Gillett Evernham Motorsports which is home to NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, Patrick Carpentier, and Elliot Sadler (among others). Ray was on hand to announce that his is leaving NASCAR and buying the East Lincoln Speedway - a fairly significant announcement I thought for a local Business After Hours event.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Madness Has Begun

The madness has begun...

Truth be told, I could have written this post several weeks ago because I saw the first signs when I was in Home Depot in Hickory back on October 17th. It was abundantly clear when I went to Wal-Mart last weekend and the Garden Center had been 90% converted. But I felt like it was critical to get through Halloween - to have some respect for autumn before announcing that............
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CHRISTMAS IS OFFICIALLY HERE!!!!

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your jolly...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

22 Pounds of Candy in Less Than 3 Hours

So here's the thing: I don't think that in 33 years I have ever really participated in trick or treating from the giving end. Certainly I went trick or treating as a child (although growing up in NYC going door-to-door involved elevators and stairwells rather than sidewalks) but once I outgrew trick or treating, I never lived anywhere where we had a steady stream of children knocking on the door, asking for candy.

So when we were having dinner a few weeks ago with our friends Bob and Sara, and Sara said that she had tons of trick or treaters every year, I said: what time do I show up?

We arrived at Sara's house, located in a prime trick or treating neighborhood in downtown Lincolnton, at around 6:30pm. There were 3 large bowls on her coffee table - all filled with candy. As it turns out, it was roughly 22 lbs of candy, but I didn't know it at the time. I just got to work giving it out every time the doorbell rang.

At first, I was conservative. I would hand out 1 piece - or let the kids pick 1 out themselves. But then it was suggested that maybe I was being a wee bit stingy given how much candy we had, so I started handing out 2 pieces per child and then letting them pick a third. Of course, I should clarify that with 22 lbs of candy - there was a wide assortment: Tootsie Rolls of varying shapes, sizes and flavors; Butterfingers; Snickers; Milky Ways; Hershey Bars; M&Ms; Skittles; Tootsie Pops; Double Bubble; Dum Dums; Whoppers; Dots; Starburst; Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; chocolate pumpkins - the list goes one. So it wasn't enough for me to simply grab 2 or 3 pieces - I had to think it through. They had to get a mix - something chocolatey, something fruity or not chocolately - and if they got something big, like the mini bags of Skittles or M&Ms, that had to be countered with something small, like a Tootsie Roll midgie. Also, if they got something we didn't have a lot of, say a Snickers, it had to be balanced by something we had in abundance, like the Dum Dums.

To say I took my candy distribution duties seriously is an understatement. Of course, as the stream of kids picked up, I could no longer afford the time for them to choose what they wanted. So I took over handing out, still trying to make sure that whatever I gave out was "balanced." And somewhere in there, I went from 2 or 3 pieces to 4 or 5. In fact, we went through so much candy, that at around 8:00pm, we were down to the bottom of the barrel. So I had to cut back to 2 pieces per kid - of course we only had small items: the midgies, Double Bubble and Dum Dums so I felt really bad. What can I say, I blew my wad early. But we did manage to conserve enough to get through til 9pm when the trick or treating finally died down.

Anyways, handing out candy was a total blast and definitely the highlight of my Halloween. It may have also helped that for the first time in I don't know how many years, I was in costume:









And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...