Archive for January, 2011

Yummy Breakfast Stuff

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I learned a recipe from a friend’s mother, eons ago, for a breakfast casserole.  I took the recipe home with me from college, like a special little jewel, and after one shot, it became our Christmas tradition.  It’s a thing of beauty, which can be whipped up the night before, and easily varied to accomodate anyone’s (and everyone’s) particular likes and dislikes.

Christmas breakfast, again this year, was breakfast casserole.  With only three of us, though….we decided to freeze the rest after a day or two.  Mom has been feasting, after having cut it up into individual portion sized pieces, storing in a sandwich bag.  So she ran out.  I decided having this stuff on hand was a Good Thing, Martha.  So I made one today, which will be summarily chopped into individual serving portions and frozen.  Mom says 2 1/2 minutes in the nuclear cooking device is ideal.

Breakfast Casserole

As I said, the beauty of it is you can customize to your own taste.  Basic recipe:

1 loaf thin sliced white bread (Pepperidge Farms), crusts removed

1 1/2 pounds shredded cheese (I prefer Costco White Aged Cheddar), but yellow cheddar, or any yummy melting cheese (or combination thereof)…whatever your preference is will do nicely

8 Eggs

6 Cups Whole Milk

Optional  Fillings (about 1 1/2 cups per layer, 2 layers worth, 3 cups all together…whatever combination floats your boat):  Ground cooked sausage, chopped cooked spinach, brocolli, mushrooms, fried peppers and/or onions, cooked crumbled bacon, smoked flaked salmon, cubed ham….anything you’d put in an omelet.  Use cooked ingredients, unless you are a fan of raw (brocolli, etc.)

Trim the breadcrusts (I save mine, freeze, and eventually process for home made bread crumbs).  In a 9 x 15″ casserole, arrange 1/2 the bread to cover the bottom.  Cover with half of your filling (the one in the pic had sausage and spinach), spreading to the edges, and top with 1/2 of the grated cheese.  Add the second layer of bread, and repeat.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs and whole milk, season well with salt & pepper, and beat until well incorporated.  Pour over the casserole, and press down so that the bread is soaked through.  Let sit for at least an hour, but you can leave it overnight in the fridge, uncovered.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 30 – 40 minutes, until set (my oven is twitchy…watch it so it doesn’t burn, I kind of go by the color of the cheese browning).  Remove from oven, and let sit for 20 – 30 minutes.  If you’re going to cut into freezer portions, refrigerate first.  To reheat, nuke for about 2 1/2 minutes, with a loose covering (mom uses the leftover freezer baggie).

Something yummy, quick & substantial for breakfast.

Bon appetit!

~ Blonde Gator

More Drug Violence in Mexico

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I weep for poor Mexico.  Yet another innocent was murdered in the out-of-control Drug War this week, in an attempted carjacking of a “preferred drug vehicle”.   The Mexican government is at war with the Drug Lords, and the Drug Lords are not sitting down.  I’ve read accounts of at least one hundred U.S. trained Mexican special forces troops going rogue….money is the motivating factor. 

The couple who were assaulted were on the same stretch of road we drove on our last day in-country, on our way home (point B on the map).  San Fernando is close to a big lake.  It’s a beautiful, flat stretch of land, where there were miles upon miles of rich farmland.   The article didn’t say whether this couple was travelling at night, but I’d imagine not, as they were “old hands” in Mexico.

The violence in that area of Mexico, and through the other “drug corridors” is spiraling dangerously out of control.  At this point in time, I’m not sure I’d repeat our trip…the violence has now become totally random and unpredictable. 

It’s terribly sad for Mexico and her people, who are the most gracious people I’ve ever met.  But we in the United States need to get serious about a couple of things.  Get the bloody border sealed up.  We have got to stop the flow of illegal drugs and human trafficking.   Furthermore, we need to get serious about stopping the export of this drug violence on our side of the border.  This administration pays lip service yet does nothing.   A big part of this effort should be to infiltrate and crush totally the distribution networks here in the United States.  Don’t fool yourselves, we in the United States are a big part of the problem, without consumers, there would be no impetus to smuggle the drugs.

And finally, we’re going to have to come up with a way to work with the Mexican government to assist them in conquering their criminal elements.  This is not going to be easy, and I seriously doubt whether this Administration is capable of it.   The Mexicans are a proud people, and SecState Hillary Clinton, along with the so-called foreign policy “expert” Joe Biden are as ham-handed a pair as I can think of.  I believe it’s going to take a more rational approach, and leadership….from our border governors to provide a solution.  Those of us in non-border states shouldn’t sit back and relax, though, it’s our problem, too…and we need to pressure our own representatives in Congress to work and support the border states. 

It’s time to get serious, people.

~ Blonde Gator

<edit> Iguana Man insists that this occured much closer to the border, and was not on the road we were on.  Just thought I’d add that in.

Say Hello to Mooch

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Well, today I’ve decided it’s official.  I am now an owner of TWO cats.

This little beauty arrived late Christmas night, crying outside of my front door in the near freezing cold.  I brought him in, and fed him (and boy! did he eat).  He had a collar, so I figured he belonged to my new neighbor, and would take him home in the morning.  However, my new neighbor, Bethany, disavowed all knowledge of said kitten.

My What Big Blue Eyes You Have

The little fellow, who I figured was maybe four or five months old, was very well mannered, used to being handled, clean, and as I said, had a flea collar.  Perhaps he was lost?  So, I continued to let him come in for a bite, and some warmth, hoping whoever he belonged to would get tired of his ever increasingly long time away from his “real” home, and prevent him from roaming.

Mom and I decided we had to call him something.  Of course, the Iguana Man, after noticing the quantities of food this kitten slurped, decided he was a “Mooch”.  And alas, since then, “Mooch” stuck.

It’s been three weeks, and Mooch is now here virtually 24/7.  The Empress has only hissed and fussed a bit at him, which is unusual….she usually tries to kill anything and everything on four legs, regardless of size (she once tried to destroy the old neighbors’ 140 lb. mastiff).  Although I suspect she may have chomped Mooch’s back leg, as he’s been limping a bit and I found a small wound today.  But he’s on the mend.

We’ve been checking the Lost & Found, and asking the neighbors….no one seems to know where this little fellow came from.  I suspect he was an unwanted Christmas gift, summarily dumped in a “nice” neighborhood.  Where he had the good sense to cry at my doorstep.  And win me over.

It’s Relaxing at my New Home

“Little” Mooch has grown like a weed.  He was rather smallish three weeks ago, but he has a fat little belly and is almost as long (when stretched out) as the Empress is.

So.  I’m going to call the vet tomorrow and make an appointment to get him his shots and have him fixed.

I had been thinking of getting a dog, but now that we’re once again a two-cat family, I don’t think so.  Funny how Santa fixes that, isn’t it?  I couldn’t have found a sweeter nor more adorable little kitten (and I’m not a fan of baby kittens…this one is just right, not too young, and not too old).  Just right.

~ Blonde Gator

Update:  Mooch went to the Vet today…he weighs 5 lbs. 14 oz.  The doctor said he thought Mooch to be approximately six months old, and felt that he is a purebred Snoe Shoe Siamese cat (known for their white paws), of the long haired variety.  All of the staff went crazy over Mooch, he had his foot fixed (it was an abscess) was neutered, microchipped, and had the works as far as shots, blood tests, flea treatment, etc.  So he’s resting peacefully, if not a little groggily, and we have the medicinal flush for his foot wound.

<Edit2>  After doing a bit of research, I joined catforum.com, and posted (as is required) an introductory thread…where several members pointed out that Mooch is probably not a Snow Shoe Siamese, rather, he appeared to be a purebred Ragdoll Cat.  Of course, it doesn’t matter one iota, he is only one thing…precious to me.