Saturday, June 27, 2009


What a week, huh? Starting with the sad, but not unexpected, announcement of Jon and Kate's breakup. Then the passing of first Ed, and then Farrah and Michael, and on the same day no less. I have to say that the coverage of Michael Jackson's passing has become somewhat redundant, don't you think? I mean, so much for Iran and the citizen's fight for democracy. Do I care that Michael is $4 million in debt? No. Do I really care about the custody fight that all the major cable news sites are insisting is going to happen? No. Do I really care what he died from? Isn't it kind of obvious? Do I really want to listen to everyone and their cousin's opinion on the who, where, why, and what of Michael? No. And don't even get me started on how all the sites just shoved Farrah aside, especially Larry King who, I would have thought, would have had more integrity.

Such a brave soul, Farrah. And she was so worried her life wouldn't have a purpose. I think her special had a profound effect on many, many people. And my heart goes out to her dad and family, and Ryan, Redmond, and Alana.

Now for my confession:

I am a reality show junkie. There, I've said it. It started with "Survivor", but I only watched the first 2 seasons. Then I got kind of busy with work so I wasn't watching much of anything. But then, I got a TV in my room . . . and that, as they say, was the start of it all. It started with "Deadliest Catch", which I watched with the Ol' Salt. That is about as real as a show gets. And I know that from experience - I was a commercial fisherman (yep, women are called fishermen right along with the men) fishing for grouper and tile fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Not exactly the bad ass waters of the Bering Sea for sure, but there were a couple of hairy moments with some rough weather. We watched that show each week in amazement - of the height of the waves crashing over the bow, to the amount of ice build-up over everything. Brrrrrr!!! There was a big contrast between the "fake" reality show (Survivor) and the "real" reality show (Deadliest Catch).

Then, when I got my own TV, and it was downhill from there. I was still respectible when I started watching the cooking contests - "Top Chef" and the Food Network's "Next Food Network Star". Even though on both shows the food was mostly out of my little box. I did learn what a meuniére, tapenade, duglere, and lyonnaise meant (look them up, you'll remember them better!). Then I caught up in Jon and Kate, and a great show "Little People, Big World". What amazing people Matt and Amy are. And I always get a kick out of seeing how messy her house is - now that's reality. But it slowly started spiraling downward from there.

I now find myself watching - prepare yourselves - Kendra and Denise. Not the Kardasians though . . . I haven't gotten that low, yet. All the music/talent shows are holding some kind of attraction for me. "Can You Duet", "America's Got Talent" (sometimes, and besides, where else could you see a man turn his feet around 180 degrees and walk around I ask you), and even "American Idol" (but with the sound down real low so no one can hear but me)! Thank goodness the Ol' Salt is going deaf!! Oh, yes, and the Tyra Banks "America's Next Top Model", but just the reruns of past seasons (as if that makes my addiction any less humiliating).

Oh, oh, and the new one just starting tonight - "Dance Your Ass Off" - I'm so excited!! Help me, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Although, I do get alot of knitting done!

This is what Dixie thinks of the shows I watch!

Take care. K (aka Mad Beach Woman)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Heaven, I'm in heaven...

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!! This is Dixie Belle's very favorite place in the world! Ft. DeSoto Park in St. Petersburg is one of the only doggie paw parks in this area that has a beach just for canines and their humans. We try to get there early, before the mobs come so she can acclimate herself. As you can see from the above picture that there were others of like mind! This was about 9:30 in the morning. There are dogs and multi-colored umbrellas as far as the eye can see...

There were little dogs...

and big dogs...

and dry dogs...

and salty dogs...hahaha!

and tall dogs...

okay, this is not Ft. DeSoto, this is really Dixie's BFF Ellie and she is standing in a beautiful, cool lake in Maine. Ellie and Dixie used to party together and took many fun trips to Ft. DeSoto. She is a Borzoi and could run the pants off any dog that dared to challenge.

For all the times we have been at Ft. DeSoto I have never seen a serious dog fight. It is quite amazing considering that at times there have been more than 100 dogs there at one time. Kind of like a canine Woodstock.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Things I have learned

If you look right in the middle of the above picture you will see a tomato plant surrounded by some very healthy parsley. It's a Big Boy and is doing quite well just outside my kitchen door. I was thinking about moving it out to the front where it would get more sun, but right now it is cooler in the back and although it is mostly shade, the tomato does get alot of afternoon sun. For now, I will leave well enough alone and see how it goes.

I want to send along a big thank you to Kate & Crew at Gardening Without Skills for a mention on her site for the Annie's Granny at Granny's Kitchen Garden Kreativ Blogger award. I cannot convey how thrilled that makes me. Especially since, compared with other bloggers, I'm a true greenhorn (that is Ol' Salt speak for newbie). It really is an honor. Thanks, Kate. It certainly is an incentive to devote more time to writing more often and to improve.
Now, on to the garden - or what's left of it. In this Florida heat (heat index was 107 degrees on my ride home Friday) most everything that is in direct sun is baked. But I do consider this small attempt to grow my own as a huge success!
I got several very nice and tastey tomatoes (at least the ones I could rescue from the black birds who took a liking to them - just the ripe ones though, not the green ones). I'm thinking mosquitoe netting next time. There are still a couple of hanger-ons even though the plants themselves are spent.
The carrots, even though I need to take a much heavier hand at thinning (either that or figure out how to sow fewer seeds in a row!) are excellent. Very sweet with a kind of spicey underflavor. I've added them to everything I can think of from pasta salad to cupcakes and meatloaf.

The pole beans also got a thumbs up from everyone. There just weren't enough plants to sustain us for the summer - we ate everything I picked pretty much as soon as I picked them. Definitely need more pots of them in the second planting.
I did learn a lesson from the summer squash and zucchini, however. One is not to plant them together. Each needs their own space. And that's second, much more space. I did find some long,
Rubbermaid containers that would be perfect.
Hmmm, this might just work out after all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I always say. Okay, I don't ALWAYS say that but I do sometimes.
I am always searching the blogs I visit for new recipes. One that I haven't found yet is:

Stuffed Meatloaf.

How does one stuff a meatloaf you ask?

Just like this:

Most everyone has their own favorite meatloaf recipe. Mine usually consists of 2 lbs. of ground beef plus a pound of ground pork, 2 good handfulls of bread crumbs, one egg, a diced Vadalia onion, a cup or so of barbeque sauce, salt and pepper.

If I'm not going to stuff it I will add 1 shredded carrot, 1/2 a diced red pepper, diced celery, and some minced garlic.

I like to use Panko breadcrumbs. But if I don't have those, I have also used homemade crumbs from my own bread.

Two good handfulls of bread crumbs is enough. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Next, you want to flatten the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap or parshment paper.

If I am using broccoli, I usually par boil it until almost soft and let it cool some before spreading it evenly on top of the meatloaf mixture.

Then cover the broccoli with the cheese. I used sharp cheddar on this one, but I have also used Provolone and mozzerella too.
You can also use spinach or green beans inside too. You are only limited by your imagination here.

The next step is rolling the thing up. It's very much like rolling up a jelly roll. Starting at one of the narrow ends roll it up, pressing the veggie/cheese as you go, and put in pan with seam side down.
I smear more barbeque sauce over the top, then cover with bacon.
You can tell this isn't exactly a Weight Watcher's recipe, huh!
Then bake it in a 350 degree oven for 1 hr.
I usually put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp up the bacon. Looks pretty yummy doesn't it!
Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. (I know this one doesn't have gravy on it because that is the one ingredient I usually forget so we end up just putting butter on the potatoes). This makes enough for dinner, plus lunch or leftovers for the next day.
And that is how you stuff a meatloaf!
Tomorrow we're off to our favorite spot, Ft. DeSoto. It is a beautiful state park that has the only beach in the area just for dogs. We like to go there because we (Me, the Ol' Salt, and Dixie Belle) can all go swimming together. Will come back with pictures!
Til then, take care. K (aka Mad Beach Maven)