Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pour Some Corn Syrup on Me

As a mom, I constantly think about what food my child eats.  I want her to grow up to be healthy and happy, not be plagued by obesity or diabetes.  Do I want her to eat a balanced diet?  Yes.  Do I want to keep fatty foods at a minimum?  Yes.  Do I fret about it and cause myself to have an embolism?  No.

I get so sick of the fear that many groups spread to the general public.  Don't eat this, it will cause cancer!  Don't eat that, it will make you fat!  Don't even think about touching this, it will cause you to break out in oozing blisters and make your toes fall off!  Oh dear!

The latest installment of fear has come in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  Hunts ketchup and Sierra Mist are only two of the products that have stopped using it in the name of "health".  Why, you ask?  A consumer poll recently showed that many consumers believe HFCS to be higher in fructose than cane sugar, making them not want to purchase anything with HFCS in it.  This isn't the truth.  Since the name is misleading people, the Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to allow manufacturers the option of using the term "corn sugar" instead of HFCS, with the hope that this will eliminate any further confusion.

An uproar of gigantic proportions has come about because of said petition.  There is even a website devoted to stopping the name change by "demanding a more transparent and healthier food chain".   Before becoming a lemming, do the research folks.  A sugar is a sugar.  Studies show that HFCS and cane sugar are basically the same. They contain the same calories, they are metabolized the same, and they are nutrionally the same.  They are both still sugars though.  And no one ever said that sugar is good for you!  In fact, there isn't even a recommended daily allowance for it.  If you consume 10 cans of Mountain Dew a day, or 10 cans of the Mountain Dew Throwback version, you are still consuming massive amounts of sugar, neither of which is good for you.

Basically, what I'm jabbering on about here is that a sugar is a sugar.  If you limit your intake you are better off in the long run.  But if you enjoy a little sugary snack every now and again, it's not going to kill you.  Doesn't matter if it's made from cane sugar, corn sugar, or beet sugar.

I'm going to step off my soapbox now but if you would like a little more information, I suggest checking out these websites:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Just a cruisin'!

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Toon Tuesday

I usually try to veer away from anything too crazy political on here, but this one is worth sharing.  It made me chuckle, hopefully it will make you at least smile as well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sickening, Isn't It?

I attended a Right to Carry Town Hall meeting Tuesday night in McLean County.  I was thrilled to see the room full of citizens concerned about their rights.  There were over 300 people that came together to listen to numerous speakers talk about concealed carry.  Illinois is the ONLY state that does not allow its residents the option to carry firearms in public.  How can this be right? 

I'm fairly certain I've shared before what the Illinois State Police recommends women do to defend themselves in the event that they are attacked.  But I think it's relevant to SHOW you this time.  This is what we call a Tactical Tongue Depressor.

And this is what they suggest you do to ward off an attacker.

Yeah, that's not a joke.  They actually say to gag yourself as a last resort.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'd much rather not rely on vomit to keep me from being raped and/or murdered.  Now, I also understand it's not the Illinois State Police's fault that we do not have concealed carry in our state and they are just trying to help all of the defenseless women as much as they can.  But, really?  Why are Illinois women any less capable than Iowa, Mississippi or Florida women?  Doesn't make any sense to me.

For more coverage on the meeting, click on the links below.

The Pantagraph

McLean County Pundit

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sweet Dreams are Made of These

It was a dark and stormy night.  Last night, that is.  Thunder clapped and lightning flashed through the sky.  I was slumbering peacefully in my bed when...


I was awakened by the sound of shattering glass.  My eyes flew open and a hundred thoughts at once rushed through my head.  Did I just dream that?  Did a limb fall through a window?  Is someone breaking in?  What room are they in?

I sat up and saw my husband of 4 wonderful years sitting up in bed as well, facing the window above our bed.  I asked him what the noise was.  He looked at me dreamily and said, "Ababbbagrrrrr."

Oh boy.  I realize he is still asleep.  If there is an intruder in the house, I've got to deal with it myself.  No problem, I've been trained.  I've got this.

I feel a cool breeze brush across my face.  The glass that shattered was the window right above our bed.  If someone was trying to get in they'd have a hard go of it.  But of course, I don't go rushing for the pistol by the bed.  I may not know exactly what happened, but I do know it wasn't from anyone's doing from the outside.

I let out a sigh, a little bit of relief and a little bit of oh geeze, not again.  I give JC a fairly violent slight nudge and get him to wake up.  Once he's fully coherent, I ask what in the world he did.  He of course has no memory.  But his hands and arms are bloody and there is glass everywhere.  Looks like he punched through the two panes of glass as well as the screen.

Why, you ask?  Well, if I haven't shared this little tid bit of information with you before, I will now.  I'm married to a sleep walker.  Not only a sleep walker, but one who does some rather unusual things while asleep.  Like dream about being Spartacus and knocking windows out.

I don't really know if he was dreaming of being Spartacus.  He normally doesn't remember his dreams, but we guess it was something along those lines considering he watched the movie Troy right before bed.

I am implementing a new rule in our house.  No more Kung Foo or Greek war movies before bed.

And if anyone out there would like to run a sleep study on JC, I would gladly let you borrow him.      

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spicy Chicken Strips

What You'll Need:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons Chipotle Tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
What You Do:

Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Combine milk and Tabasco sauce in a bowl.  Add chicken and let sit for 30 minutes.

Combine bread crumbs and dry seasonings in a bowl.  Bread chicken and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. 

Bake chicken for 30-45 minutes, or until browned and crispy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Baler Rolls

It's National Farm Safety Week!  I could share many farm safety tips with you, but I'm sure you've heard them time and time again and what fun is there in repeating them?  (If you haven't heard them a hundred times then please click on the link above and read a few for yourself!)

Instead, I want to share a new song.  It's by Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy Farm.  I liken him to the country version of Weird Al Yankovic, only better looking. 

It takes me back to many summers spent in the hayfields.  Guaranteed to be a smash hit!

For more of Will's off-key farming melodies, visit his YouTube channel.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Prepare to be Amazed

While in Tennessee we visited Mountain Valley Winery, where I picked up a few bottles of tasty wine.  It was also there that my life was changed forever.

I was introduced to Lt. Blender's Wine Freezers.

I gasped.  I swooned. And I became light-headed.  Then I put the glass down and ordered two cases.

Seriously this stuff is so good!  And couldn't be any easier to prepare, unless someone does it for you, like at the winery.

All you do is take a wine freezer bag (my favorite was the margarita, which ironically I don't like real margaritas.  Of course that could be blamed on the tequila.  I have an immense dislike for tequila.):

And add wine to the wine fill line (Gewurztraminer is perfect):

Then add water as directed, freeze for 4-6 hours and bask in the deliciousness of it.  You won't regret it.

Unless you drink a little too much and wake up with a hangover.  Then you might have some regrets.  

*Neither Mountain Valley Winery nor Lt. Blender's have a clue as to who I am.  This is not a paid advertisement.  If they would like to pay me to advertise, I would gladly accept payment in the form of copious amounts of bottles of wine and freezer bags.  Thank you. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Childhood Favorites

I recently received a package in the mail from a wonderful aunt of mine.  Knowing my love of the written word, she sent me this shirt:

It got me thinking about the books I loved as a kid.  The ones that I think EVERY child should read.  And I wanted to share my list with you (in no particular order). 

1. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls - There are very few books that I will read more than once (besides Dr. Seuss or various other books Monkey wants to read 100 times in one night).  This book I have read dozens of times and could read it again tomorrow and still love it.

3. White Fang by Jack London

4. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

5. The BFG by Roald Dahl

6. The Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary

7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak - of course!

8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

9. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

10. Matilda by Roald Dahl - Okay... pretty much any book by Roald Dahl.

11. Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

Did you read these books when you were a kid?  What was your favorite? 

I'm sure many of you loved some literary classics that I failed to include, like The Secret Garden, or The Hobbitt.  But for whatever reason it was, those books never grabbed me.  I will freely admit, I loved any and all R.L. Stine books.  He's famously known as "the Stephen King of the children's literature", so maybe that explains my love of Stephen King and other out-there authors now.

Oh and thank you Aunt Jill, you're the best!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

We attended two weddings this past weekend.  The first was held at my uncle's farm.  As you can see in this picture Monkey had no interest in anything except the airplanes, lawn mower and tractors. 

That was until the dj started and she was able to boogey down.

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Winner...

And with a whopping two entries into the 200th blog post giveaway the winner is....

Entrant number 2, Bonnie Jo!  Congratulations and I hope you love the book!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pleased to Meat You, Gaga

From what I hear, Lady Gaga has taken over the world.  If you don't know who I'm talking about you must live under a rock. 

I am not a fan of hers and really only listen to country music, but even I still know who she is.  She has become a huge sensation and makes headlines almost everyday.  I don't normally pay attention to the news of what she's up to, but she recently caught my eye.  And I must admit, in a good way. 

Last night, at the MTV Video Music Awards, Gaga went gaga for meat.  She donned a dress made entirely of raw meat! 

This wasn't the first time she had PETA all aflutter either.  She appeared on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan in a meat bikini.

She explains her reasoning to vegan Ellen DeGeneres as:

 "If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a piece of meat."

While I may not care for Lady Gaga's music, I can certainly appreciate a woman who is willing to stand up for our rights.  And that, I can applaud.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Onion Rings

Onion rings.  For some crazy reason, they seem to be one of the few dishes that elude me.  Every time I try making them, they just don't turn out right.  They are either soggy or the breading itself isn't that great.  I had resigned myself to giving up on them and only eating them at my favorite tavern.  That was until I saw this recipe.  The chips intrigued me, surely they wouldn't get soggy, right?  Right!  They were perfect.  This will be the go-to recipe for onion rings in the future.  And the best part about it is that they are baked, not fried, so they aren't that terrible for you!

What You'll Need:
  • Onion, cut into 1/2 inch rings
  • 1/2 cup flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1-1/2 cup crushed potato chips
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
What You Do:

Prehat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine 1/4 cup flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, and 1/4 cup flour.  Whisk until a smooth batter is formed.

Place crushed chips into another bowl.

Set up assembly line starting with seasoned flour, then the batter, and finish with the crushed chips.

Dip an onion slice into each bowl consecutively.  Repeat with all rings.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil then pop it into the hot oven for a few minutes. 

Remove from oven and quickly place the onion rings on the baking sheet, then return to the oven.  Bake for 8 minutes then flip each ring and bake for another 8 minutes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

We spent the holiday weekend in Tennessee for JC's baby sister's wedding.  I'll have more to share after I play catch up at work, but here is one photo from the trip... what gorgeous scenery!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Merry-Go-Round: 1, Becky: 0

What is it about getting older that sucks the fun right out of life?  I used to love amusement parks and county fair rides; The Screaming Eagle, Kamikaze, Octopus, Sizzler, Tilt-a-Whirl, Zipper... you name it, I loved it.  I could ride any ride for hours on end and never get tired of it.

Now that I'm thirty, I can't handle it.  What is wrong with this world?  What is wrong with our bodies that as we age we physically can't do the same fun things that we always did? 

A few years ago, I rode the spinning apple ride with a few of my friends' kids.  As we got off, the rest of the adults got quite a kick out of how white my face was.  At the time, I blamed it on being hungover.  I now know that wasn't the case.  I proved it by taking a few spins on a merry-go-round and having a sick feeling with a nice side of headache for the rest of the day.  All from a freaking merry-go-round, people!  Something is not right here.

I'm telling myself it is only the spinning that I can't take.  I can't give up rollercoasters.  I refuse to give up on something as fun as the thrill a rollercoaster gives you.  I have no idea when I'll get to Six Flags or any other amusement park again, but I WILL ride a rollercoaster and I WILL love it.  I'm determined.  Or in denial.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thank You. Thank You Very Much.

This post right here, this post is my 200th!  I can hardly believe it.  When I first started this blog, I didn't know if I would write for a month and get tired of it or how it would work out for me.  And to be completely honest, I still don't know if I'll get tired of it tomorrow, or the day after that, or even the week after that.  I may decide one day to just give up on it altogether.  I don't think I really have all that many readers, but I do cherish each and every one of the few readers that I do have.

To show you just how much I appreciate you, to celebrate this mileston post, and to mainly say THANK YOU for sticking with me through my random thoughts, I want to share a great book with you.  Not only share it, but one lucky reader can have it to display on your coffee table, bookshelf, or pass along to someone else.  Whatever your heart desires!

The book I'm going to giveaway is a special one, On The Edge by Howard G. Buffett.  It not only has amazing pictures in it, it also highlights something I'm passionate about; agriculture.

To enter, just leave a comment.  Tell me where you would display the book, how you feel about agriculture, what you had for breakfast, who your highschool crush was... anything.  Just leave one comment before noon on Monday, September 13th and you'll be entered! 
Oh and again, thank you for bearing with my craziness and sticking with me!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Flashback Friday: One Year Later

We went to a family reunion last weekend for my Dad's side of the family.  Right across the street from the Community Building where we meet is a nice little park.  JC and Monkey went for a little ride on the merry-go-round last summer and again this summer.  I can't believe how much Monkey has grown up!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

For today's Wordless Wednesday photo, I have a group shot of the participants from the recent Appleseed.  I had such a good time at it, that I'm planning on doing another one in a couple of months.  Want to join me? 

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here!