Friday, July 27, 2012

Water Bugging?

In the South we call roaches, "water bugs"mostly because they seem to show up in your house when there's a lack of rain and we think they are searching for water. This is just a polite term that I'm convinced that some Southern woman came up with as to not offend her neighbor. You know it can be rather rude when your host opens up a cabinet to reach for a glass and one of them big ole' "water bugs"crawls out and you scream roach. You only call them roaches when they are present due to poor housekeeping.

Lately, Seka has spent more time with all four feet up in the air lately than I think she ever has.  Who can blame her? With 100 degree temperatures daily everyone moves at a snail's pace. And since she is a Southern dog, I prefer to refer to her position as "water bugging" instead of that nasty creature, the roach. Maybe we'll start a trend - at least for those greyhounds below the Mason Dixon line.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Tub Safety
It has been well documented that Roxy is a thunder-phobe. When we are at home, she hunkers down in our bathroom floor, face on the air conditioning vent, thinking good thoughts until the storm clears. I break out the soothing storm music and aroma therapy on exceptionally rowdy storms for added "protection." And for afternoons where the storms just keep coming without a break - as they sometimes do here in the south - we have drugs to help her get through it. On those afternoons, I wish I had drugs to get through it too, but that's another story.

We have that home routine down cold, but when we travel Roxy has to decide where she feels safest. Anywhere dark and cold is her usual go-to location. While staying in our mountain house during the week of July 4th, weather dog Roxy struggled to find just the right place to feel safe during the regular afternoon boomers.

Seka could care less about the storm.
Bonus, she gets all the Kongs!
Thunder in the mountains is exceptionally loud. Even small rumbles often feel like they are right on top of you. Add that to the redneck fireworks display each evening and Roxy looked like she needed a drink. Finally, she decided that the actual bathtub with the shower curtain pulled most of the way shut was the best place to be. Every afternoon around 3p, whether the weather was stormy or not, she would retreat to the bathtub hidey-hole and take cover until we went to bed, only coming out for a brief dinner and a potty.

I tried to make her come out, but the more I fussed with her, the more upset she got, so I just let her spend time in the tub if that's what she wanted to do. I was afraid that this psycho behavior would carry over when we got home, but so far she's been pretty normal - whatever that is for Roxy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pie in the Sky

I've got a few recipes up my sleeve that make me look like a genius in the kitchen. In no particular order: 
1. my mother-in-law's meatballs
2. my sister's crock pot chicken & dumplings
3. my mother's lasagna

No shock, all three recipes actually belong to someone else and I just borrow their awesomeness. No one will ever say - "Heather's Crap Baked in the Oven makes me look like I should be on Top Chef." I can be certain of that.

This week, I've been having fun with two of my favorite aunts and my mom in the mountains of North Carolina. Days are spent visiting old folks who are still hanging around Boone. Evenings are spent cooking, drinking wine and laughing at just about everything. Tonight was no exception.

While I was looking like a genius in the kitchen, preparing my mother-in-law's meatballs and sauce, my aunt started talking about a pie her mother made that used Ritz crackers, but tasted like apple pie. I called B.S. on this. A Google consultation proved that there is indeed an apple phenomenon created by a whole bunch of sugar, a pie crust and some buttery crackers.

Well, it just so happened that I had a box of Ritz crackers (the secret ingredient in the meatballs) just waiting to be used up. Someone grabbed their car keys and scooted off to the grocery and came back with a pie crust. You know what happened next...

When it went into the oven it looked like a pie - not an apple pie, but some sort of pie.

When it came out of the oven, it smelled like a freaking apple pie. But that's just the smell of the cinnamon, right?

When we sliced it, it looked like an apple pie. No lie.

When you taste it - Holy Shit! It's Apple Pie.

We know that this dessert has been called a few different things since the mid-19th century when it was first published by the early American pioneers. I think my profanity-laden exclamation after my first taste prompted a discussion of what someone might have said when they first took a bite throughout the years...

1950s - Oh, my! That's apple pie
1960s - Dude, that's apple pie
1970s - What have you been smokin', that's apple pie
1980s - Like, that's totally apple pie-like.
1990s - Well, I guess it depends on how you define apples... pie
2000s - E-mail me that recipe for apple pie
2012s - Holy Shit! It's apple pie (my personal favorite because it is exactly what you'll be thinking when you taste it)

Give it a try. If it makes you look like a Food Network star, all the better.

Mock Apple Pie (a.k.a. Heather's Holy Shit, It's Apple Pie!)
2 cups of sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 3/4 cups water
2 tbsp lemon juice and zest from that lemon
1 package of ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts)
36 RITZ Crackers, coarsely broken
2 tbsp butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix sugar and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to boil on high heat.  Then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to 1.5 cups. Stir in zest and juice; cool for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Roll out one of the pie crusts and place in 9-inch pie plate. Put cracker crumbs in the crust. Pour sugar syrup over crumbs and top with butter and cinnamon.

Roll out the remaining crust and place over the pie. Seal and flue the edges. Cut several slits in the top of the crust to permit steam to escape.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before serving.