Monday, July 23, 2012

I just want to get my Subway on!

The other day I was reading a post by Sextant of Navigating the Finite about why you should never choose the shortest checkout line at the grocery store. You really need to go and read it cause it's hilarious!!! Go on, go read it, I'll wait...

See, told you it was hilarious right? What makes it even more hilarious is that this kind of stuff has happened to us all. I know it's happened to me, and usually when you I am in a super big rush. Which bring me to one of my pet peeves (oh...there are many).  So what is one of mine? It's people that are not working, that choose to go out to lunch during the lunch hours between noon and 2pm. Ok, I know...this is America, we can have lunch whenever we want. But c'mon people!!! Some of us only have one hour for lunch and you, for whatever reason, have the whole day!

For instance...last week on Thursday, I went to a Subway Sandwich Shop for lunch. The line is out the door, I waited about ten minutes to get close to the front of the line. There is one women ahead of me and ahead of her is a young man about 18 and dressed casually, with him is a young girl about 16 or 17 wearing super baggy boys basketball shorts and a little girl about 4 years old. Obviously they have been waiting just as long as I have and have had tons of time of peruse the menu, but they get to the front of the line and when they are asked "May I help you" they get into a huge discussion of what kind of bread they want, as that's the first decision you have to make at Subway. I mean, c'mon...are you aliens? Is this your first time on planet Earth? Is this your first visit to a Subway Sandwich Shop? Do we need Jared to stand behind you to explain the menu?

Then...they have to make the decision of what kind of bread their friend that they are taking a sandwich to wants. Then do they want it heated or not? Anyway, you get the point. These two are obviously unemployed or students, or they could be employed but obviously not working that day considering their casual dress and the baby girl. I'm sure they've been to Subway 100 times and already know the menu and even if this is their first time there, they've had at least 10 minutes to study the menu while waiting on line.

Me on the other hand...I'm tired, hot and still have 4 more hours of work to go before I can go home. I'm in a hurry, only have 1 hour for lunch and I'm hungry! I have already wasted 10 minutes in line and 10 minutes waiting for them to decide what they want to eat. There should be a line for working professionals to go through, like the merchant line at the bank! That way those who only have one hour for lunch don't have to deal with the riff-raff that is just out for a casual lunch..don't you think?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Red Bird of Paradise

Yesterday I did a post about a man that was so enchanted by my Arizona Plant that he stole a bloom from it. We've always just called it the Arizona Plant, but it actually has a name. My cousin Norrie who lives in Arizona City...and c'mon, if you are going to live in Arizona isn't Arizona City the best place to live?

So Norrie told me they have tons of those there and they are known as the Bird of Paradise. I always thought this was a Bird of Paradise...

Bird of Paradise
Turns out that the Arizona Plant I have is called "Red" Bird of Paradise or more formerly Caesalpinia pulcherrima.

So I went out this afternoon and took a few pictures of my Arizona Plant aka Red Bird of Paradise so you could see it close up.

My sister says that mine isn't blooming as well as hers because mine gets quite a bit of water when the grass gets watered, while her's is in a place at her home that hardly gets any water at all. These plants are pretty drought resistant which is probably why there are so many of them in Arizona.

Check out the colors......BEAUTIFUL right? I did a post in August of 2009 with lots of pictures on my sisters Arizona Plant. You can see them HERE. But here's a closeup picture of hers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stolen Flowers

See these flowers? A stranger gave them to me today. No...actually, a stranger stole them for me today. Aren't they pretty?

's what happened. Today after work, I was at home in my bedroom. My bedroom has a sliding glass door that faces a quiet street to the side of my house. I happened to see a small pickup truck go by. Mexican music was blasting out of this truck...very loud Mexican music. So I moved closer to the window, being nosey to see why the truck wasn't moving.

I see this man step out and walk over to my Arizona Plant, a plant that was planted by my mom and dad in the corner of the front yard. It only blooms when it's super hot as hell!

You can see the plant in this picture. (This is the view from my bedroom, don't you love it?) See the beautiful orange flowers? Well I guess this man just couldn't resist and I saw him walk over; after leaving his truck running in the middle of the street, and he took out his pocket knife and cut off one of the flowers. At that moment he looked up and saw me looking at him out of my bedroom window.

He looked at me kind of sheepishly and did a thumbs up. I took that to mean, "is it ok that I am stealing one of your beautiful Arizona flowers?"

Being totally generous of flowers that just bloom by the Grace of God, since I had nothing to do with it, I gave him the "thumbs up" right back so he would know, "Sure dude, it's all good...go ahead and steal one of my pretty little flowers!"

He then turned around and drove off and I went into the kitchen to tell my mom what had just happened.

About twenty minutes later, as I was looking out the kitchen window...I know, I know...I'm like one of those lookie-loo neighbors that never minds my own business!

But ok, I was looking out the kitchen window and I see the same little pickup truck pull up and park  in the street along side my house and I realize it is the same truck. So I tell my mom, "Uh oh...that guy that stole the Arizona Plant Flower is back!" The guy gets out of the truck and I see that he is holding some white flowers in his hand.

I immediately thought, "Stalker alert!"

So he starts walking towards the front of my house and I head back into my bedroom where he is waiting outside the sliding glass door. Now I know why no one wanted this bedroom cause it's way too accessible to the street!

I open the screen door and he hands me the flowers and he says, "I felt bad that I stole your flower and so I stole these further on down the road to pay you back." Can you believe that? I take the flowers and tell him that I understand his stealing the Arizona Plant Flower because it's so beautiful and so unusual and they don't normally grow in California. He agreed and then said, "Well, the real reason I stole it is because yesterday I buried my wife and I'm heading to the cemetery and I saw your flowers and knew she would have loved them, so I had to take one".

Is your heart breaking yet? Mine did...

I told him how sorry I was and told him that I was sure his wife would love it and that he didn't have to repay me. He said he just felt bad because I was so nice to let him take one flower and he wanted to do something nice for me and now he was going to have to go steal flowers from somewhere else to repay the person he stole my flowers from!

I bid him good bye and put my pretty flowers in the pitcher you see in the picture above and sat there thinking about the whole thing and then said to my mom who had followed me outside, "Mom, if you had just buried your wife yesterday, would you be driving on the way to the cemetery with joyful Mexican music blaring in your car?"

Hmmmm, would you? I was brought up with the tradition that when someone dies you have a suitable period of mourning or "luto" as we say in spanish. You don't watch TV or listen to music or go to dances or parties. But I know that now a days, we don't mourn but we celebrate who knows.

What say you? Does this seem odd or normal to you? Either way I had something interesting to blog about and I got to show you all my Arizona Plant and also I can brag that the beautiful pitcher and bowl that the flowers are in was made by my mom in a ceramics class she took eons ago. Isn't it pretty? I love it!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's All Peachy!

It's been so hard lately to find time to blog! I've moved into a new house and the packing and unpacking and putting stuff away and understanding the Feng Shui of the house so that I can place furniture and pictures and knick knacks takes up most of my time. Not to mention the full time job.

But today I felt like doing something therapeutic and fun. So I baked a pie...a peach pie. My dad planted a peach tree years ago and when I moved into the house everyone told me to "cut it down!". But I'm a sentimental sap and I just couldn't.

I mean just look at it! The beautiful peaches ripening in the sun. The glorious California sunshine streaming through the leaves (ok, well it's over 100 today, but the sun is still glorious, if not a tad irritating!). Could you bring yourself to cut it down?

My Dad's Peach Tree. These are White Peaches, sweet and delicious!

So my mom and I picked us a whole bowlful of these bad boys and I pulled out my dusty cookbook from years past when I was a stay at home mom and baked beautiful pies, and got to work!

Aren't these beautiful! So sweet, even when they are green.

Here I am in the thick of things putting together the pie crust and facebooking in the background. I'm such a great multi-tasker!

Love the blue bowl my daughter April gave me. It's a whole colorful set and made out of Melamine!

Pie crust is done. The secret to a flaky pie crust is to try to never touch it with your hands. Cut the shortening in with a pastry cutter. I don't know if you can see it in the picture above, but that's the do-hickey right behind the jar of Crisco Shortening that's covered with flour. Then just toss the flour gently with a fork while you add the water and then quickly gather it into a ball and chill in the fridge, like so...

I wrap this with Saran Wrap and stick in a clean bowl to chill.

Then you prepare your peaches. I actually did that before I did the crust, but it would have been better to do it while the crust chilled, but no harm done. I didn't actually take a picture of that, don't know why not, but I didn't.

After your peaches are mixed with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt you roll out your dough. This part went relatively well, I don't know why I thought it would be difficult.

Ok, do not do this. I put flour on my new granite counter tops and then realized I didn't know how I was going to pick up the crust once I had it rolled out. I usually roll out on Wax Paper. You do it the right way ok?

I roll it on Wax Paper to make it easier to lift into the pie pan.

Once my bottom crust is ready I gently lay it into the pie pan. This part can be tricky as if you are off a little (which I was) then it's really a son of a gun to move around and you can end up tearing it.

Even though I was a little off I was able to fix it when I put the top crust on.
Then you roll out the other half of the chilled pie crust and pour your sugary, cinnamony peach mixture into the first crust and then put the top crust on and crimp the edges as best you can. Don't worry about it being perfect. As you can see, mine wasn't perfect but when it baked it didn't make one bit of difference cause it's still beautiful!

Peach Pie and his Peachy Brothers. Isn't this a pretty picture? We picked way too many peaches!
Here's a close-up of the little guy before he goes into the over. I add my own little touch by mixing up some sugar and cinnamon and sprinkling the top, it's makes the crust crunchy, sugary and cinnamony.

Somehow I got one big glob of just cinnamon right in the middle!
Then you are ready to bake this baby! Here he is just ready to get that oven door shut in his face!

I hate cleaning the oven and cleaning the cookie sheet, so I place it on the cookie sheet covered with foil.

And here you go. Peach Pie in all it's Glory! And the crust was the flakiest I have ever made. It's like riding a bike, you never forget how. (And it does help to have it all written down!) This Peach Pie recipe belonged to my mother in law Marge.

Mmmmm, where's the ice cream?
That's how I spent a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Baking and sharing with friends and family on facebook and then blogging for posterity.

Oh...and I had a kitchen remake. I don't have the before pictures to share yet, but here's a sneak peak at my new kitchen. When I get a chance I'll show you all the before pictures...what a change

New back splash, new granite counter top, new painted cabinets, new cabinet hardware. I love it!
I, I know that I am going to love cooking in this kitchen for years to come!