July 27, 2012

The Lost Weekend

Last Friday, I promised more posting.  Then, I headed out for lunch and a movie with Team Chaos.  While at that movie, my grandma (89), great-uncle (93) and aunt (69) were in a high-speed car wreck (For those of you in the area, the crash was near Paola on 169, a divided highway notorious for wrecks.) Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt -- the hospital checked out their bruises, banged up ribs, missing toe nails and then sent them on their way.

Then, my grandma went home, fell in her garage and broke her femur.

(Totally Tangential: I recommend that you never, ever break your femur.  Particularly, if you are 89 years old.  Trust me on this, Gentle Reader.)

(Definitely Digressive: Broken bones freak me out.  FREAK! ME! OUT!)

So, I spent Friday and Saturday night in the hospital with my grandma.  Two of the most emotionally wrenching nights of my life.  Her surgery wasn't until Saturday, so Friday was a rough go of things (also, did I mention that broken bones FREAK ME OUT?  Every time she squirmed and writhed in bed, it FREAKED ME OUT that she was going to hurt herself even worse.)  Saturday night was hardly better because as it turns out, 89 year olds do not metabolize anesthesia very well (who knew?!) and every time she woke up, she wanted to get out of bed because she did not necessarily realize that she was in the hospital (Oh!  And just in case I have not already mentioned it, broken bones FREAK. ME. OUT.)

Fortunately for us, we have a lot of family in our family (Positively Parenthetical: Also, the Huggins  cult clan Family is sort of like the Hotel California.  You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.  Just ask my mom! She divorced my dad 30 years ago yet still comes to Thanksgiving dinner, along with several other former in-laws.)    On Saturday, many of  us descended upon the waiting room at the hospital.  I should note that our family deals with stress and crisis through inappropriate humor and as such, you are free to feel offended by the rest of the post.

Facebook Is Not Just For Friends

Old Man in Straight Jacket Repose

Much of my extended family is on Facebook.  To pass the time, my cousin Candi and I took pictures of anyone who fell asleep, then posted the snaps to Facebook for the viewing benefit of the rest of the family who were not able to show up to the party hosted in my Grandma's broken femur honor.  My Uncle Ted is not actually in a straight-jacket, but if you met many of the Huggins cult clan  Family, you would wonder why more of us are not in straight jackets.  Ahem.  (Note: No great-uncles were harmed in the taking of photographs.)

Team Chaos Steps Up To the Plate
Excuse me for a moment while I brag on my kids because they blew me away last week.  They were incredibly patient with all of the back and forth to the hospital mixed in with some staying with my aunt.  Anjali has struggled with my staying over night, but she did agreed that we should take care of our family when they are sick.  It was a lot for them to take in during such an emotional week and frankly, I am ridiculously proud of how well-behaved they have been.  I wish I could say that *I* have handled all this stress as well, so perhaps I can learn something from them?  

My favorite quote during the week was from Arun when he plaintively asked "So, did they put Grandma's body back together yet?"  Aptly put, little guy.

Inappropriate Emoticons 
While it was convenient that so many family members are on the texting bandwagon, it was unfortunate that my smiley face emoticon was right next to the period I so desperately needed to end many of the statements I was trying to text.  Hello there!  My grandma broke her femur and here is a SMILEY FACE to express how I feel about that!

Tablet Tableau
If you ever find yourself in a situation to where you might be sitting for extended periods in a waiting room, hospital or rehab center, I highly recommend that you swing by a Big Box Store on your way to said facility and grab yourself a tablet of some sorts.  I have a Kindle Fire and this thing was worthy of Olympic Gold this past week.  It carried the two books I am reading while allowing me convenient access to Words with Friends, Draw Something, Facebook, my news sites, email, etc.  I was grateful that I was able to just throw it in my purse and not have to hassle with a laptop.   The other benefit of having the trusty Fire by my side is that I was able to battle bigotry and homophobic hatred single-handedly on Facebook.  It was comforting to know that when someone was wrong on the Internet, I could be there in a jiffy to save it from itself!

However, the downside is that when I had the Kindle Fire with me, my daughter was unable to perform her daily toilet-related "ministrations".  Some people need the National Enquirer for their daily constitution, my wee girl needs the Kindle Fire.  *shrugs*

Grandmas!  They're Just Like the Stars!
The first night of rehab, I went to stay with my Grandma to help her settle in.

Me (Snickering): I can't WAIT to tell people my grandma is in rehab.  REHAB! The shame! Should I tell folks that you're in Betty Ford or Promises?  Promises sounds a bit classier, don't you think?

Grandma (Laughing): Oh, Kelli

Me: And I am totally going to blame it on the booze.  We don't want folks to know about your little problem with nose candy.

To her credit, she kept on laughing.  And may it be a long time before she stops laughing.  I know that I am fortunate to have such a close relationship with my grandma.  I also know that I am lucky to have had my grandma for this long in my life.

The problem is that when you love someone, there will never be enough time.

July 20, 2012

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
This Ain't Your Mama's Bourbon Slushie.
(Well, unless your name is Christy. )
(Then, it is definitely your Mama's Bourbon Slushie.)

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly(ish) feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I am not an expert, but I do enjoy talking about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food.  Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. After all, this is not meant to be an homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.

Recipe Index can be found here. 

Here in Kansas, we are not only in the middle of a heat wave, but also a severe drought.  Regardless, this has been one of my favorite summers yet! I have been getting things done around the house, reading like crazy and generally, just enjoying my kids.  School starts all too soon and I am already sad that August is looming and they will not be hanging out with me all day.  Anyway, I know I have not been posting much, but I am hoping to get back on board next week with something regular-like.

So, you came here for a food post, right?   Over 4th of July, we went to my friend Christy's house to celebrate.  While there, I got to sample some of her mom's famous bourbon slushie.  Christy even served it in a fancy cordial with a platinum rim.

Which almost made it classy, no?

Kokopelli and bourbon -- partners in recreational sex since God was a baby.

I am not much on hard liquor.  Oh sure, I love gin and like many Carrie Bradshaw Copycats in the late 90s, I went through a brief, passionate affair with martinis, but these days? I stick to cheap wine and expensive beer.  However, this Bourbon Slushie hits the right notes for me.  It is a sourish, sweetish concoction with an interesting aftertaste -- I think it is the tea that gives this such a nice flavor.    This slushie is absolutely perfect for a hot, sultry day and makes for a fun drink to serve at a party.  The recipe is from Christy's mother, so I have dubbed at such in her honor.

Vera's Bourbon Slushie

1 can of 6oz. orange juice concentrate
1 can of 12oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
3 tea bags in 2 cups hot water
1 – 1/3 C sugar
6 cups water
2 cups bourbon

Mix ingredients in a freezer-save bowl, then place it in the freezer overnight. To serve, scoop it into glasses and serve with a spoon.  Add bonus points if you can grab a handful of those fancy spoon-straws from a convenience store!

July 6, 2012

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
Beef, Beef and More Beef.

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly(ish) feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I am not an expert, but I do enjoy talking about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food.  Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. After all, this is not meant to be an homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.

Recipe Index can be found here. 
A few weekends ago, I went with a few friends (LuAnn, Christy, and LaurenGirl) to south central Kansas ----- Pratt County to be exact.  Christy's dad (aka LorenDad) served as our official tour guide (and chauffeur) to our beautiful, spacious vacation destination.  Specifically, we were in Pratt to hunt the elusive Sandhill Plum - a rare and beautiful creature that hides among thorny, bushy thickets laden with defensive ground swallows and deer ticks.  We armed ourselves with long-sleeved clothing, sun protection and an army of buckets for our plum picking adventure.

Why were we bothering with plums hardly bigger than a cherry and fairly sour to boot?  In short, these plums make an incredibly delicious jam and jelly that you simply cannot find in a grocery store. Christy's family has been taking advantage of access to these free wild plums for at least a few generations now.  Last year, I helped her  with the Jelly Making Part of the process but this year, I wanted to actually help pick the plums.  Next week,  I will detail our glorious whirlwind adventure in PRATT, KANSAS, but in the meantime, I would like to talk about the Eating Portion of Grand Tour.

Yes, besides plum picking, we also did a bit of eating.  In the southern bowels of Kansas.

(Cue the foreshadowing.....)

Gentle Reader, I consumed damned near my monthly allotment of beef within a 24 hour period of time. Don't misunderstand me, I LOVE me some cowmeat. However, I do try to limit my consumption and view beef as some folks view dessert. It's a treat. One to be relished.

And relish, I did....

First stop was dinner at NuWAY Burgers at the original Douglas street location in Wichita, Kansas.

Quaint location! 

Outside seating, just like The Ivy! But without the paparazzi!

Luxurious inside seating!

Frosty wasn't just a snowman!

Now THAT is what you call a Frosty Mug of Rootbeer.  So, yummy that makes me wonder if A&W means Ass & Wipe.   No, I do not consider myself a connessiour of root beer, but WOW.  Sooooooo, creamy with just slight notes of Heaven and Nirvana.  The finish was Zen-like.

Now.  The crumble burger?

So greasy, it made the packing opaque.  

Which all burgers worth their weight should do.  No problems here, Gentle Reader.

And....here we go.

This tasted like a good burger should but admittedly, the texture took some getting used to.  For a second, I thought maybe I had apparated into a nursing home since this was like eating a pre-chewed hamburger.  Hey, they are toddler-friendly!  Bonus!

Would I go back to NuWAY?  You betcha!

That morning, after a Meal of Shame in the form of "breakfast at McDonald's", we headed out for plum-snatching.  By the time we were done looting several pastures, the temps were nearing 90 and we were starving.

Woody's Bar in downtown Pratt, Kansas nicely fit the bill.

The sign says WOODY. 

Yes, I AM 12 years old.  And so are you.  Admit it.

ALL of the finest restaurants have taxidermy on their walls, no?

Woody's served a damned fine cheeseburger.  I would have taken a picture except I was so starved I forgot. Oops.  Bad food blogger.

After eating lunch, we went back to The No Bed, No Breakfast spot where we were staying so we recuperate after a morning spent in the heat before we hit the road again to go back home.

On our way out of Pratt, Christy was insistent that she get something to eat from Taco Delite.  And sheep that I am, I could not resist a sampling (have you not seen the header to his blog??)

Honestly, I have no fucking clue what information that sign is supposed to convey.  It seems you are supposed to just show up and hope for the best.

While still Hoping for the Best, I decided to play it safe and just get a simple taco.   This food blogger has been played before, y'all.

I received a nice, greasy taco filled with what I fervently hoped was cow meat.  Regardless, it was pretty tasty.  (Spoiler Alert:  I survive the experience with minimal gastrointestinal discomfort!)

And with that, we headed back to Kansas City!

During one of our stops for gas, I spied a Wall of Meat Sticks and Other Sundry ByProducts.

Folks,  do not question a Kansan's devotion to their meat.

 Like a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, my arteries hardened with lust at the site of this.

I suspect that just about EVERYTHING involved in these meat sticks were the result of a dare.

So!  That wraps up the Food Edition of our grand excursion to Pratt County, Kansas. Next week's wrap up of our trip will include water towers, windmills, sand dunes, ticks on my ass and bourbon.

Stay tuned!