Barbeyaki

Untapped Grilling and Other Addictions

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Blessings

Are We Blessed?

Compared to What? Compared to Who? This is how most of us react when confronted with the question of

Are we Blessed?

The comparison to others is what muddles our view, clouds our vision, and keeps us from the Truth. As we enter into a New Year, a New Beginning, and what will be for some of us,  a new life, we cannot answer this question honestly unless we strip ourselves of self-pity, of selfishness, of our egos. Only at that moment of humility can you accurately answer this question.

Is This Young Man Blessed?

Is This Young Man Blessed?

You probably don’t think so. You most likely feel sorry for him. Child labor is an awful issue around the world. But I betcha if you ask him, he is truly blessed, because he has food everyday, he has a space to lay down at night, he is off the streets, and he can help his family make it to the next day.

Is this Lady Blessed?

Is this Lady Blessed?

You must be thinking………no way! Does she have cancer, did she lose a child? There is no way she could be Blessed.

Quite the contrary. She just found out after 3 rounds of chemo she is cancer free and she can attend her oldest child’s high school graduation. She feels blessed beyond your and my wildest imagination. By the way, the Teddy Bear was a gift of congratulations from her youngest child.

Is this Man Blessed

Is this Man Blessed?

He sure doesn’t look like, does he? I think he is lonely, depressed, or maybe in trouble. Have you ever felt or looked like this? Truth is, he just collapsed of relief and joy after his wife just delivered healthy twin baby girls. He is Blessed!

Is this Puppy Blessed?

Is this Puppy Blessed?

She looks so sad…so miserable. But she is not. She just arrived at her new owner’s home with her own soft bed and bowls full of food and water. See, Lulu was just adopted from the Pound. Lulu is very Blessed. And so is her new owner. Oh, and about Lulu’s expression……. she can’t help it. That’s her Happy Face!

As easy as it is for us to assume all of the above are unhappy, sad, miserable, sick, depressed, alone…………they are not. They are actually all truly Blessed. More often than not, our focus is on ourselves and not others. We pity our lives, we become blind to what is right in front of us. When we become like this we create massive amounts of stress in our lives. Stress that shouldn’t even exist. Stress that is over something that hasn’t even happened or may never happen. Stress over what others think of us and how we look. If we would only wake up each morning and count our blessings one by one before we take our first steps and mutter our first word.

A good friend of mine, Dr. Taylor Schultz from The University of California, gave me my new Motto of 2013. If you repeat this to yourself under your breath once every hour, you are going to feel Blessed, becuase you really are Blessed. And you are going to not feel stress. And you may even live to be 100!

So are you ready?????

Let’s say it all together.

Too Blessed to be Stressed

Too Blessed to be Stressed

You know it is true. We are all too blessed to be stressed. So here’s to 2013, our new appreciation of each breath we take, each sunrise and sunset we see, and each person we pass.

I am so blessed I could step in poop and come out smellin’ like baby powder!

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Christmas Joy

Christmas Joy

Now that I have told you a couple of my own personal Christmas Bummer stories, I need to share with you some of my fondest Christmas JoysFortunately, I have been blessed with many wonderful Christmas memories. One thing they almost all have in common is that they are centered around family. Two of my favorite memories are centered around my Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad

It has been several years since my Dad passed away from Spinal Cancer, but I will never forget his last Christmas. My siblings and I are spread out all over the country. We all have our own families and our own spouse’s families. But we all knew this particular Christmas would be special. It would be Dad’s last. He had fought and fought the cancer. He was growing thinner and weaker. He had completely hid any fears or sadness from us for a long time now. This Christmas we all came home with all of our our 12 kids, his grandchildren. They were too young to understand he was dying. They loved being around  him, even when he would pick them up, hug them tightly, and rub his scruffy white beard all over their little faces. I have a beautiful picture embedded on the fore-front of my brain from this particular Christmas Eve. It was my dad sitting on his couch, in front of the Christmas tree, with 120 little toes, and 120 little fingers running and climbing all over him. He had the biggest smile on his face, and an unstoppable stream of tears coming from his left eye at the same time. It was a beautiful sight to see him so happy, and so proud. His love for us and the kids was overwhelming and so unconditional. This was Christmas Joy!

Kitchen Percussion

Kitchen Percussion

My mother passed away about 3 years ago after  a very tough battle with Vascular Dementia. She was the best Grandmother any kid could have. She was called “Memaw” by her grandchildren. I can remember so vividly one Christmas when my brothers and sisters all came home again, Mom was in her tiny little kitchen preparing our Christmas Day meal. There on the floor was the same 12 little munchkins, each with a pot or pan, spoon or spatula. drumming as hard and loud as they could,  to my mothers angelic voice singing “Little Drummer Boy”. It was such a wonderful sight. Each and every one of those little children were so happy and so entertained, and yet how she did it was so simple, so down to earth, so beautiful. She was magical. Pots and Pans and another Christmas Joy!

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Two years ago those same siblings and those same now 15 to 28 year old children all decided to spend Christmas together in a ski lodge at Steamboat Springs Colorado. Oh yes, it was not all perfect, and every moment was not filled with joy. There were a couple of car accidents in the snow, a MCL tear, a concussion, and a few other mishaps. But there was no better time than all of us gathered in our dining room after dinner, with a freshly cut tree from the surrounded woods that looked like something from “Charlie Browns Christmas”. We were all busy as bumblebees making homemade ornaments, laughing and drinking hot chocolate, singing Christmas carols, and being one happy big family. Boy that was an ugly decorated tree. But it was a Christmas filled with Christmas Joy!

Ho! Ho! Ho!Merry Christmas

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Merry Christmas

One more vivid memory before you all head off to sleep this Christmas Eve. This for me was always a joyous moment for me. When my kids were little we would put them bed and beg them to go to sleep. Then we would quietly go downstairs and wait, and wait, and wait until we were pretty sure they had pooped out, and given up listening for Santa’s reindeer on the roof, and Santa himself rumbling down the chimney. Then I would go to my closet and pull out my Santa Claus outfit, put it on with a couple of pillows(now I don’t need the pillows) under my top, strap on the white beard and red stocking cap, and gently open their doors one by one and say as low as deeply as I could, “HO HO HO, Merry Christmas”. At that moment I could see those little heads pop up, try their best to focus, and smile from ear to ear, and then quickly pass out of exhaustion again “while visions of sugar plums danced through their heads”. This was Christmas Joy for me!

We all have memories of Christmas Bummers. We all have moments of anxiety, of depression, of sickness, and misery. But we are all blessed to be able to live every minute of our lives if we choose, with Joy. Because Christ died for us and gave us his holy spirit to live and breath Joy in us, even when we are down. All we have to do is seek him and our heart and souls will be instantaneously filled with Joy. It is that simple! Try it this Christmas. Happiness is wonderful……but true Joy that one can only experience through Christ is so much better.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I’m about as Joyous as a Puppy with two tails!

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Christmas Bummers

Christmas Bummers

We have all experienced them. Whether a child or an adult, some Christmases are spectacular, some are ok, and some are just flat out Bummers!

I have had my share of Christmas disappointments and I have certainly been the cause of other folks disappointments. I thought I would share a few with you.

Marshmallow Roasting

Marshmallow Roasting

We have all roasted marshmallows for Christmas over the fireplace in the past. One Christmas morning we were all sitting around the tree anxiously awaiting our Father’s permission to open our first gift. We ranged from 4 to 11 years old. Just as we were about to tear open the first package my Mother said, “Where’s Billy”(my younger brother)? Next my Father said, “I smell smoke!” We all looked up and smoke was billowing down the staircase from the bedrooms above. As we all scampered up the stairs to see what was burning, the smoke got thicker and thicker. Suddenly we could make out the silhouette of a six year-old child on the floor covered with smoke. The closer we got, we could see huge flames! My parents screamed and reached out for my little brother who was grinning like a Cheshire Cat, sitting cross-legged in front of six bricks from the yard, nicely converted into a fireplace for a very efficient fire he had built right on top of the Shag Carpet in his bedroom. He Was Roasting Marshmallows!

Needless to say this Christmas morning was a Bummer.

Race Car Set

Race Car Set

Do you remember these? When I was 9 years old I ran down the stairs on Christmas morning to see that Santa had brought me this incredible race car set. It was all set up on the dining room table ready to race. I got so excited that I had to go pee! So I took off for the bathroom and  peeed as fast as I could. Then I ran back and grab one of the controllers and squeezed the trigger as hard as I could, and watched anxiously for that Little Red Corvette to take off around the track. Instead it just sat there, wheels spinning around and around but going no where. I picked up another controller and squeezed it. Same dog-on thing. Just 4 spinning wheels. Then I noticed it…………………. all the tiny little rubber tires were missing off all of the cars. Where were they? My Father appeared all ready to race. I pointed out to him with tears running down my cheeks that my race car set was ruined! After studying the situation a little closer, my Father looked down at my 4 year old little brother and said.”Billy,where are the tires!” And then my heart sunk. Billy responded to my Dad’s firm voice and said,”I flushed them down the toilet!”

So, I never, ever, ever,ever got to race my cars! What a Bummer!

The Motorcycle Jacket

The Motorcycle Jacket

As we were growing up, my Father prohibited any of us from ever having a motorcycle. He insisted they were too dangerous and we were too irresponsible. He said, “only idiots ride motorcycles.” Of course, three days after my baby sister Sue left home for college, he went right out and bought himself a huge Harley! At that time I worked as a Merchandise Manager for a large Apparel Retailer. They allowed us to take the samples that manufacturers had given us home after the stock had gotten into the store. One day I noticed this beautiful motorcycle jacket hanging on the samples rack. I thought, what a nice Christmas present for Dad, and it didn’t cost a penny. So I snatched it up, wrapped it beautifully, and headed home for Christmas with the folks.  On Christmas morning my Father took his turn to open a gift and he grabbed mine first. I do not think I recall ever seeing such a roller coaster of emotions in my life. As Dad pulled out the beautiful motorcycle jacket he smiled from one ear to the other. He loved it! What a thoughtful son I was. Everyone was Oooing and Ahhhing over the very nice and expensive gift I had bought Dad( pulled that one off didn’t I). Suddenly he turned the jacket around to view the back. All I saw was the smile disappear and a large upset scowl start to form on his face. He turned the jacket around in front of the entire family and right square across the shoulders was Big Yellow Letters and the word, “Samplewritten in indelible ink. Guess I hadn’t checked out the “free” present very well. Ooops!

What a Bummer for Dad.

HE WAS ABOUT AS HAPPY AS A MULE WITH A MOUTHFUL OF BUMBLEBEES

Thanks for listening to my sad little stories. I had many, many, many more wonderful Christmases which I will share with you later. But how could you ever really be upset at Christmas. The greatest gift of all for all of us was born that day!

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Christmas…… And The Dreaded “F” Word

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,

was a stench like no other, and it wasn’t a Dead Mouse!

It was the dreaded Christmas “F” word…….

Fruitcake

Fruitcake-1

Growing up in Mississippi there was lots of Fruit Cake. I still don’t know where they came from, and who was baking these things. But there were tons of them floating around the Mississippi Delta.

And for some reason the only person who liked to eat them was My Father. So every two days my Dad would come home from work with another Fruit Cake. He had many ways to enjoy them:

He would eat a piece for dessert. He would put a big piece in a bowl and cover it with milk for breakfast. he would toast a slice and cover it with Peanut Butter for lunch. Why not……he had an ample supply in the freezer which could supply his love and desire for Fruit Cake twelve months out of the year.

The Gross Insides of Fruit Cake

The Gross Insides of Fruit Cake

It never failed that every Christmas, he would force each of us kids to try it again. And each year we resisted until he insisted and we took a bite and pinched our noses to keep form spitting it out or throwing up in our mouths. We could not, and still cannot stand Fruit CakeBut for my Father it was like Christmas was every day of the year, and he had all the gifts he could open, because no one else wanted the Fruit Cake.

So in honor of my wonderful Dad who passed away several years ago, I have searched high and low for a tremendous Fruit Cake recipe that normal folks can enjoy. And this is it:

The “Royal” Fruitcake

Ingredients:
1 cup water

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup Mike and Ikes      (bet you didn’t expect this)

1 cup Nestles Butterscotch Morsels

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup brown sugar

lemon juice

nuts

bottle of Makers Mark(Now we are talking)

Procedure:
Sample the Makers Mark to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Sample the Makers Mark again. To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again. Make sure the Makers Mark is still okay. Cry another cup.

Turn off the mixer. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of Mike and Ikes. Mix on the turner. If the Mike and Ikes gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the Makers Mark to check for tonsisticity.

Sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the Makers Mark.

Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whiskey again and go to bed.

And Don't forget the Pets!

And Don’t forget the Pets!

Why do fruitcakes make ideal gifts? Because the Postal Service has been unable to find a way to damage them.

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Holiday Libations (Cocktails……Yeah!!)

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Holiday Cheer to All

Holiday Cheer to All

Oh that  After-Christmas-Party- Morning !

I am sure most of us have had a couple of these over the course of our many,many Christmases. They come for one of many reasons:

1. I hate my job…and boss…and co-worker…….and my life.

2. Isn’t she or he cute looking tonight!!! I’ve got to loosen up a bit to snatch this one.

3. Ugh! The family is coming over in two days. Got to numb my anxiety.

4. These nuts are making me thirsty!

5. Nobody likes me!! Waaaaaaa!

So let’s figure out a way to not end up like this and actually stay positive, somewhat sober, and stay safe this year. Let’s have our own

Holiday Libation Cocktail Party

this year at our own place, and make it special with some very special Cocktails.

Real Eggnog

Real Eggnog

One of my favorites.

Traditional Eggnog recipe

This makes a little over two quarts.

6 eggs

    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 3/4 cup brandy
    • 1/3 cup dark rum(or bourbon)
    • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
    • 2 cups of whipping cream
    • 2 cups milk

    Refrigerate all the liquids and get them very cold before you make the drink. Beat the eggs at medium speed until they’re very frothy. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla and nutmeg as you continue beating. Now turn the mixer off and stir in the whipping cream, milk, brandy and rum. Chill it until you’re ready to serve. It’s best to keep it chilled at all times. Garnish each individual serving with the nutmeg sprinkled on top and a cinnamon stick.

    1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • 2 cups milk

Refrigerate all the liquids and get them very cold before you make the drink. Beat the eggs at medium speed until they’re very frothy. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla and nutmeg as you continue beating. Now turn the mixer off and stir in the whipping cream, milk, brandy and rum. Chill it until you’re ready to serve. It’s best to keep it chilled at all times. Garnish each individual serving with the nutmeg sprinkled on top and a cinnamon stick.

Hotty Toddy

Hotty Toddy

My favorite while a student at my SEC University….Go Rebels!

  1. 1 1/2 cups water
  2. 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
  3. 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  4. 2 cups apple brandy, preferably Calvados
  5. Eight 3-inch cinnamon sticks
  6. In small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey until dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice and apple brandy. Set a cinnamon stick in each of 8 mugs or heatproof glasses, pour in the hot liquid and serve.
Santa Sleigh Sipper

Santa’s Sleigh Sipper

You have to have three or four of these. It is a very smooth way transition from Holiday madness to Holiday Cheer.

Ingredients

  • White sugar crystals, preferably coarse
  • 2 cups store-bought eggnog, chilled
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • cinnamon sticks

Directions

Dampen the rims of 4 martini glasses and then line the rims with sugar crystals.

Combine eggnog, brandy, amaretto, nutmeg, and ice cream in a blender; process until smooth. Pour mixture into martini glasses and garnish each glass with a whole cinnamon stick.

For All of You Wine Drinkers

For All of You Wine Drinkers

  1. Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  2. Two 750-milliliter bottles cava or other sparkling dry white wine, chilled
  3. 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  1. Fill 12 flutes with cava. Add 1 teaspoon of the pomegranate juice to each flute, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.
Silent Night

Silent Night

And last but not least……The Silent Night….and I mean it!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 shots sweetened coconut milk
  • 2 shots pineapple rum
  • 2 shots coconut rum
  • 2 shots passion fruit rum
  • 1 shot cranberry juice
  • Ice

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a pitcher filled with ice and stir. Serve in martini glasses.

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And if all else fails…..pop open a can of Bud Light to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”!

Be Safe and Stay Sober!

If you don’t watch it, you’ll get so liquored up you will throw yourself to the ground and miss!

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Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts

Ho Ho Ho…….and Ho Ho Ho Some More!

I love Christmas!!!! But my sister Libby loves it so much that she thinks about it every day of the year! When the Christmas gift exchange list comes out each year, and when we randomly pick one name to give to, she gets crazy. She will never give just one person a gift no matter what the rest of the family does. She Just Can’t Stand it!

So I asked her to put together a list of simple, cheap gifts that she would give to family if she couldn’t spend big money.

So here we go! I am warning you, she is kinda of nutty!

Number One:

Bread In A Can

Bread In A Can

I love this one. A simple used tin can with your favorite Banana Bread recipe bubbling over the top with a really fancy ribbon bow wrapped around the can! So special for the recipient. I love Cans and I love Bread. Don’t you?

Number Two:

Spoons Full of Christmas

Spoons Full of Christmas

Come on! Give Libby some credit for this one! If somebody put this in front of me on Christmas day I would poop my pants!!

Number Three:

Holy Night !  I Love Tiramisu!

Holy Night ! I Love Tiramisu!

Are you kidding me????Tiramisu topped with chocolate chip bits in a glass with a twine bow! Libby is now getting a little nutty. You Go Girl! I know this sounds really gay which is fine with me, but I am a SEC Football Nut that loves Women!

Number Four:

Lemonade Without the Lemonane

Lemonade Without the Lemonade

Ok, I know this is not so Cooking or Baking oriented. But it is really cool. Where did you get this Libby??? Can you imagine someone giving you this? If you know me, Please give this to me!

Numer Five:

Eggnog Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes

I love Eggnog! Nobody else in my family really does. So I guess this is my present from Libby. I would really like to lick this bowl.

Number Six:

Honey Granola in a Jar

Honey Granola in a Jar

I should have known Libby would have a Granola gift. She is always concerned about her regularity.

Number Seven:

Man Glued to Front Door

Man Glued to Front Door

You gotta be kidding! Maybe this is what Libby wants for Christmas!

Number Eight:

Gingerbread Santas

Gingerbread Santas

Ok, these are real cute. Thank God Libby is focused again on the gifts and not that young man.

Number Nine:

Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches

Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches

Oh my! I bet my Sis had a dozen of these today.

and Number Ten:

Confession Booth

Confession Booth

That’s Libby on the left. I think she just ran out of steam with Great Christmas Gift ideas and stuck in a picture her friend took of her. But we have to hand it to her…..we could all probably use one of these.

Thanks Libby for some wonderful gift ideas. I just knew you would have some real doozies.

I Am So Hungry My Belly Thinks My Throats Been Slit

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The Desert

Dead or Alive ?

A week or so ago I ventured out to the Central Western portion of Nevada. I spent some time in the High Desert. I have never liked the desert. The bareness, monochromatic coloration, extreme temperatures have always made me think twice about returning. But for some reason I do. Maybe it is because I know there is something beautiful there that I have not allowed myself to fully appreciate. Instead I focus on all of the bigger issues like sunburn,dryness,and the blah color brown.

This all changed for me on this trip.

The Desert Road to Nowhere

It all started with that proverbial road to nowhere. Just a few tire treads and alot of nothing. At first, all I saw was ugly, old, dry,and rusted “Stuff”.

What is This?

A Child’s Rusted Out Box Spring?

Then the wind picked up, and I began to see movement. Once I saw movement, I saw color. Once I saw color, I saw texture………………..

Just as my senses were starting to crank again, and I felt exhilarated my my new found openness to The Desert, I heard something. It was thrashing around just below the top of the bottle brush. I have to admit that another sensation started to come over me……..Stinkin’ Fear!!!!

I didn’t know whether to run, hide, or scream. But I did none of the above. My curiosity got the best of me. I Peeked! And then, just like magic, a person appeared across the desert!

And just as I got enough “Weenie” courage to possibly expose myself and say “Hello”, She was gone!

That day I saw a lot. I saw things I had never noticed before. I saw all the things I did not like about The Desert, and I saw new things I had never dreamed of. Where did She go?

Probably she went to the other side…..the other side of the mountain…….only 15 minutes away from this barren land called The Desert.

Wet and Wonderful

Never Stop Exploring and Never Close Your Mind!

The Desert Is Pretty Enough To Make A Bunny Smooch A Hound Dog

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