Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For The Love Of Chocolate

*News Flash* from CNN:

Chocolate is good for your heart!

It is believed that the daily consumption of moderate amounts of chocolate lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is further suggested that eating a little chocolate (dark moreso than milk and not white at all), will lower high blood pressure.

This makes sense to me, because eating chocolate releases endorphins which produce a pleasureable feeling. High blood pressure has no chance of survival when immersed in absolute pleasure. That's the law.

"The good news is that chocolate is not as bad as we used to think, and may even lower the risk of heart disease and stroke," says Buijsse. "The bad news, at least for some of us, is that the amounts that are needed to benefit from these effects appear to be quite low."

That last part is bad news, but the good part is that it's important to eat chocolate to have a strong, healthy heart. I love this news. Most things are good in moderation. So please, endulge a little every day and treat your body to a real treat!

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, March 22, 2010

Therapy ~ Bring It On

We are waist deep in March Madness. I have a new theory. The name "March Madness" refers to the insanity of so many games in so little time, as well as the frustration that consumes a person as their brackets begin to resemble target practice at close proximity.

It is also my belief that the Ides of March came late this year; instead of the annual date of March 15th when a disbelieving Caesar was assassinated (stabbed to death in the senate) by 60 co-conspirators, it came during March when a disbelieving nation watched UNI beat Kansas.

I've decided to use my brackets as floor mats in my car; I'll get more use out of them.

I still have 3 teams in the final four, so we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bring It ON!

My brackets are done... I am perched at the edge of my seat... waiting...

Bring on the MADNESS!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get Your Green On ~or~ March Of The Sweet Potato Queens

St. Patrick's Day is almost upon us, and with it come many things; wearin' o' the green, parades and Irish dancing, drinkin' o' the green beer, kisses galore because people are happy to use a complete lie as a reason to plant smackers on everyone they see, corned beef and cabbage and potatoes, whiskey, fashion-questionable attire and green derby hats.

It also brings something I look forward to every year... the holiest of holy days for the Sweet Potato Queens; the Hal and Mal's St. Patrick's Day parade in Jackson, Mississippi.

You don't know about the Sweet Potato Queens? Sit a spell. I'll tell y'all about 'em.

Jill Connor Brown wrote a book called, "The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love" in 1999. It is 'split your sides laughing' funny. Her gems of wisdom are found all throughout the book, but some of my favorite chapters are:

~The True Magic Words Guaranteed to Get Any Man to Do Your Bidding
~The Five Men You Must Have in Your Life at All Times
~Men Who May Need Killing, Quite Frankly
~Be Prepared On Account Of You Just Never Know
~What to Eat When Tragedy Strikes, or Just for Entertainment
~The Best Advice Ever Given in the Entire History of the World

There are fabulous recipes for Chocolate Stuff and Fat Mama's Knock You Naked Margaritas.

I've tried the True Magic Words Guaranteed to Get Any Man to Do Your Bidding and they work. ;D

So, the book published and almost immediately, there were groups of women forming Sweet Potato Queens clubs, popping up all over the nation, followed almost immediately by several (20+) other countries in the world. Similar to the Red Hat Society; in fact, some women are in both 'ladies only' clubs. The propagation of SPQ's has given women a sisterhood; a place to find camaraderie, adventure, fun, silliness and the chance to not only let their red hair down, but let that strong, wild woman inside them out for some fresh air and shenanigans!

Back to The Parade.

Every year on St. Patricks Day, SPQ's from all over the world descend upon Jackson and take the town over. There are get~togethers, luncheons, dinners, dances, activities and of course; the march in the parade in full regalia; green dresses, crowns, wigs and sparkly things abound. I wish I could be there this year for the Bathrobe Brunch at the Hilton on Sunday morning, which closes the weekend's festivities. I've gone out to a restaurant dining room breakfast with friends, all of us in bathrobes and pajamas, but it's been a long time and none of us were queens.

Jill Connor Brown began a sweet revolution for middle aged, middle class women and it spread so much that there are no limits now. None. The men who join are either 'Spud Studs' or Queens; fair is fair, yes? This is Diva Training at it's finest and funniest. Living large and laughing a LOT.

But it's not all about big curves, huge crowns, red hair and being spoiled sweet. The SPQ's donate enormous amounts of money made from their activities towards charities; in particular, the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital. That's a worthy cause.

Even with the explosive popularity of her book and all the glitz and glamour that are part and parcel, Jill did not stop, thank the Queens. One great book deserves another and if you're lucky, a chain of them to keep your habit satisfied. If you haven't read these yet, get started, you are missing out.

~Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love (1999)
~God Save the Sweet Potato Queens (2001)
~The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner (2003)
~Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men: Every Man I Love Is Either Married, Gay, or Dead (2004)
~The Sweet Potato Queens' Wedding Planner/Divorce Guide (2005)
~The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, but Could Have, and May Yet (2007)
~The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit (2008)
~American Thighs: The Sweet Potato Queen's Guide to Preserving Your Assets (2008)

Viaggiatore and I wish you a safe and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Culinary Shangri-la

We've found it. We've been to the promised land and seen the light. Our waiter spoke the word, and the word is Ahi-tuna followed by Key Lime Pie.

Let me give you some background. I love both of these dishes, separately. En route to go see the Broadway production of Mary Poppins (which I very highly recommend!), we stopped at a little downtown Denver restaurant for dinner before the show.

It offers a relaxing and intimate atmosphere, an extensive and impressive wine list, and a waitstaff that knows no limits when it comes to kindness, service and helpful advice.
Their Reisling's are disappointing, the Pinot Grigio was sufficient, and the velvety smooth Pinot Noir that was served was one of the best I've ever enjoyed.

The sesame encrusted lightly seared Ahi tuna that was earnestly recommended to me, is just barely this~side of paradise. I'm not entirely certain that I didn't cross over in those moments of utter bliss when each bite was slowly savored in my mouth. There are no words to take you to this place of incredulity.

Believing that this zenith could not be topped, I smiled politely when we were brought the Key Lime Pie. I have been on the 'Key Lime Pie Quest' for well over a decade, and have searched high and low, the world over, for *the* Key Lime Pie. I even went to Florida for it. I had not yet found one that was deserving of the most coveted #1 top spot on my list.

And then I tasted this one, humbly offered up with little pieces of strawberry and pear on the side, and vanilla whipped cream perched politely and unassumingly atop the delicately cut ~square~ of pie.

Ladies and Gentleman, we have a winner.

I could not tell you which of these two dishes is better than the other. Is the sunrise any more beautiful than the sunset? Not at all; they are both perfect in their uniqueness.

I told our sterling waiter, Gabriel, that there were only two downsides to the event.

1. That there was a last bite to both dishes.

2. That I would never know how good everything else on the menu is, because I will always order these two things. Regularly.

If you are *ever* in Denver... ever, do not do yourself the disservice of missing the sheer ecstasy that is this experience.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baby Got Back

I was driving a girl of 14 through town one day and we were listening to the Charlie's Angel's soundtrack. Sir Mix A Lot's "Baby Got Back" came on and I immediately changed it to the next song as I believed that a 14 year old should not hear the inuendo-laden lyrics of "Baby Got Back" ( anaconda don't want none unless you got buns hon). She scoffed and said she knew every word, turned the song back on and proceeded to prove her point to me.

When the song ended, she announced resolutley that she was going to get butt implants when she turned 18.

I almost drove off the road. "Aren't you happy with what the Lord gave you?" I asked in amazement.

Her answer was a wide-eyed heavenward gaze with hands folded solemnly under her chin and in an authentic British accent she asked, "Please Sir, may I have some more?"

I wasn't able to drive after that.