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Christmas Trivia December 11, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Joke.
16 comments

What is the most popular Christmas dinner in Japan?

A: Kentucky Fried Chicken!  To celebrate Christmas, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families treat themselves to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Some KFC locations feature Colonel Sanders dressed as Santa Claus.

What country celebrates Christmas with the Feast of the Seven Fishes?

A: Italy

What’s for dinner in Norway? 

A: If you don’t know what to expect from a typical Norwegian Christmas dinner, then you might be a bit surprised. One typical food that is a Christmas mainstay is Smalahove, a whole, steamed sheep’s head. 

(Um . . . no.  Just no.)

What country enjoys “shrimp on the barbie” for Christmas? 

A: Australia. It’s summer down under so Australians usually enjoy “shrimp on the barbie,” grilled shrimp made on the barbecue.

What’s on the Christmas menu in Greenland? 

A: Whale meat & Reindeer meat.

(Ho~Ho~Ho . . . No, No, No!)

What country celebrates with a Christmas pickle? 

A: Germany. The night before Christmas an ornament shaped like a pickle is hung in the tree secretly. On Christmas morning, the first to find it gets a special gift or surprise.

(A whole jar of pickles!)

How do Hungarians celebrate Christmas? 

A: Christmas Eve (‘Szent-este’ which means Holy Evening) is very important. People spend the evening with their family and decorate the Christmas Tree.

What’s for Christmas dessert in Denmark? 

A: Ris á la mande, Danish rice pudding, a cold rice pudding with whipped cream, vanilla, almonds, and a hot cherry sauce. Whoever finds the peeled almond hidden in the dessert bowl gets a present.

What’s for dessert in France? 

A: The biggest treat for Noel is the Bûche de Noël, the French version of a Yule Log (a rich cake often decorated with tiny treats made to look like items found in a forrest).

What are other names for Santa Claus?

A: Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Santa, Père Noël, Sinterklaas

How old is Santa Claus? 

A: (I hope you’re sitting down.)

The quick answer is Santa Claus is 1,749 years old (quite young for an elf!)

Can you name the Three Wise Men?

A: Nope, not Larry, Curly, and Moe

Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, & Gaspar of India.

Why gold, frankincense and myrrh?

A: Gold was valuable as currency. Frankincense is a valuable perfume. Myrrh is a precious ointment often used for burial rituals.

How do Scots celebrate Hogmanay? 

A: The “first footer” brings a lump of coal to place on the host’s fire, along with shortbread, a black bun and whisky to toast to a Happy New Year.  Shortbread & whisky will suffice. Showing up empty handed is not only very rude but also bad luck!

Scots + Scotch = Perfect Together!

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

It’s National Pumpkin Day? October 26, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Life Balance, Nature.
32 comments

National Pumpkin Day falls on October 26th . . . which seems about a month early to me.

Why not have it coincide with Thanksgiving?

Gobble.  Gobble.

I mean what other day of the year involves the consumption of a gazillion slices of Pumpkin Pie?

And that’s AFTER people push away from the groaning board feeling as rotund as pumpkins.

Well, as has happened before, no one consulted me . . . so it is what it is.

TODAY is National Pumpkin Day.

Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to . . .

Oh, wait!

I know what happened . . .

Linus with all his talk about The Great Pumpkin got the holiday booted from November to October to coincide with All Hallows Eve.

We can live with that, right?

Right?

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

 

 

 

19 COVID-19 Fluffernothings April 20, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Humor, Mindfulness.
23 comments

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been busy doing nothing.

What kind of nothing?

Fluffernothing ~> stuff that’s pleasant, amusing, entertaining, time-consuming without changing the trajectory of life in any significant respect.

Here’s a few (okay, 19) examples of what I mean:

1. Ken Burns documentary on Genes: An Intimate History.  Fascinating to learn that viruses (like COVID-19, but much better behaved) are useful for something, like fixing gene mutations and curing illnesses.

2. Watching Trump trumpet his displeasure at Dr. Fauci (and reporters) when they venture too close to “the truth” (while Dr. Deborah Birx rocks her scarf-of-the-day) during press briefings.

3. Jigsaw Puzzles.  We’ve done 3 (so far) ~ 24 vintage VW buses (including a Westfalia); an attic stuffed with stuff (including a vintage wedding dress); an undersea landscape featuring tropical fish and sea turtles.

4. Walking.  About an hour or so each morning.  Mostly in the hood.  Twice at the beach.  Our beaches are “closed” but walking is allowed.

5. Reading the NY Times Daily COVID-19 Briefing . . . then rewarding myself by doing the Puzzles.  My faves:  Sudoku (Easy, Medium, Hard).   Spelling Bee (like Boggle, sort of).  Set (a series of logic puzzles).

6. Blood Sugar Rising ~ a documentary on the increasing prevalence of diabetes.  Fascinating stuff.  And scary enough that I popped into my “office” to check the results of my last fasting glucose reading, breathing a sigh of relief when I saw that it was 77 (nowhere near the danger zone for diabetes).

7. ZOOM!  Two Zoom “meetings” with my siblings, siblings-in-law, nieces & nephews.  When we are all on there together, we total . . . 19!  (I seem to be seeing that number a lot.)

8. Island Papers.  We pick up 4 (or more) local papers each week to see all the things we can no longer do due to COVID-19.  Bars that are closed.  Shows that are cancelled.  Restaurants that are boarded up, subsisting (if they are lucky) on take-out and delivery.

9. Cooking and eating.  We’ve enjoyed some delicious dishes while hunkered down  at home ~ Curried Colcannon Soup, Beer Bread, Lentil Rice casserole, Banana Bread, Pesto Pasta, Roasted Veggies, Spanakopita Lasagna, Cornbread, Scalloped Potatoes, Curry with homemade Pineapple Chutney, Sweet Potato Fries, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and . . . CHOCOLATE!

10. Netflix movies.  In the last 6 weeks, we’ve seen:  The Good Liar, Dark Waters, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Red Joan, The Farewell, Breakthrough, Short Circuit (from 1986), What They Had, The White Crow, The Addams Family, Ad Astra, The Breadwinner.  We are waiting for Knives Out.  It’s been at the top of my queue for weeks.

11. Following my favorite blogs and chatting in the comments.  And writing the occasional blog post.  I see that my last post was 2 weeks ago today.  Time flies when you’re “safer at home.”

12. Reading about the differences between the Spanish flu (which killed 675,000 Americans and 50 million worldwide in 1918) and the COVID-19 coronavirus. “According to National Geographic, Spanish flu killed with deadly speed, with many reports of people who woke up sick, then died on their way to work.”  At least with COVID-19, we stand a fighting chance.

13. Biking around the hood in the afternoon to clear my head of all things COVID.

14. Grocery runs when our produce stores are depleted.  Last trip, BFF brought home Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery, Green Beans, Potatoes, Romaine, Apples, Grapes, Strawberries, Bananas.  Seeing all that glorious color on the counter made me overlook the fact that the packages might be “contaminated with COVID.”

15. Swimming in the pool.  Most of the pools in the neighborhood closed, but our association of 100 homes kept ours open for “essential” exercise and therapy, NOT for sunbathing.  Only 3 in the pool area at a time so keeping an adequate distance from others is easy.

And refreshing!

16. Following the local headlines to find out how the “Safer At Home” landscape has changed from the previous week.  Are the boat ramps open or closed?  Are the parks and dog parks open or closed?  Is the curfew (11 pm to 5 am) still in effect?  Are the schools still closed?

17. Listening to Classic Rock.  Spectrum Cable offers up 40 or 50 music stations.  Classic Rock is our favorite for Happy Hour (any hour of the day).

18. Watching the yo-yo effect of the stock market.  Up!  Down!  Up!  Down!  (I filed our 2019 taxes ~ NOT fluffernothing, but similar).

19. Accepting the “what is.”  Being adaptable to the changing landscape.  Remaining curious.

20. Staying in the moment.  Not driving past my headlights.  Maintaining optimism.

21. Meditating.  Breathing in calm.  Breathing out anxiety.  Accessing my inner peace.

Aah . . . that’s better!

So . . . how are you being?

Time To Go Grocery Shopping . . . April 6, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Joke, Less IS More.
32 comments

I’m making a list
I’m checking it twice
I’m heading for food
I’m throwing the dice

The CDC would be so proud of me

I’m wiping the cart
I’m wearing a mask
I’m all geared up
To succeed at this task

The CDC would be so proud of me

It sees me when I’m talking
It knows when I’m awake
It knows if I have washed my hands
Before picking up that cake

So you better watch out
You better not cry
You better not skimp
I’m telling you why

The CDC is looking out for you!

Aah . . . that’s better!

For Quarantines, Stock Up On Beans! March 17, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
26 comments

Medieval_kitchenIf you’re wondering which canned goods to put in your grocery cart to keep you satisfied during COVID-19 quarantines, start with beans!

They’re loaded with Fiber, Iron, B Vitamins, and Protein for a few cents a serving.

Eating beans will aid digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and regulate blood sugar (reducing the risk of diabetes).

Beans are good for your heart, great for your waistline, and they might even reduce your risk of colorectal and other cancers.

And they are so versatile ~ add them to soups, stews, or casseroles; whip up a batch of hummus; add garbanzo beans to your tossed salad; serve refried beans for Cinco de Mayo; enjoy a hearty bowl of black bean soup; etc.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Giving Starbucks A Run For The Money March 3, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor.
39 comments

Panera Bread has announced a new program in its Bakery Cafes . . . unlimited coffee for $8.99 a MONTH!

MyPanera+Coffee: Unlimited Coffee Subscription for $8.99 per month.

 

There is a bit of “fine print” involved, but not too much. ~> you must join “My Panera” . . . you can only get a fresh cup of coffee every 2 hours . . . etc.

Bottom line:  If you’re a coffee drinker who lives near a Panera, you might want to stop in and check out this bottom-less cup deal.

Especially if you look like this in the morning:

Or like this:

When you would rather look like this:

Or like this:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Garbanzo Bean Dip February 9, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
22 comments

Garbanzo Bean Dip

1 (or 2) 14 oz. cans of garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
4 oz. can Hatch green chiles, drained (Hot or Mild)
2-4 Tbsp. vegan mayo
2-3 oz. parmesan or romano, grated
1/4 c. chopped parsley (dried is OK)
2-3 cloves crushed garlic

Smash the beans in a food processor.  Dump into a bowl and stir in the other ingredients.  Adjust as needed ~ e.g., start with less and add more if needed. Sometimes less is more.

If you want a bit more “heat” ~ add crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne. Here, too, sometimes less is more.

Time permitting, refrigerate a few hours or overnight to let the flavors meld.  (But it’s delicious even when scarfed down/ served straight away.)

To serve warm, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or so).

Or microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Or serve it cold.
Or at room temperature.

Your dip/spread.  Your choice.

Serve with crackers or sturdy chips.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

The Chicken or The Egg February 3, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Joke, Less IS More.
28 comments

We’ve all heard people ponder the question:  “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

I’ve never come up with a satisfactory resolution to that inquiry.  So, let’s table that discussion for the duration of this blog post.

Instead, I’d like to know why hard-boiled eggs are ubiquitous to Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad, Ham Salad, Tuna Salad, etc., when they are clearly NOT a necessary adjunct.

They’re just there.

Like that creep in the corner of the bar keeping silent watch.

“Stop looking at me!”

Even more perplexing than the perennial presence of hard-boiled eggs in potluck offerings is the apparent absence of eggs from chicken salad.

I’ve seen chicken salad dolled up with grapes, pineapple, raisins, apples, mandarin oranges, cranberries, celery, onion, slivered almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, cashews, curry, pickles, olives, capers . . . you name it.

But I just googled “chicken salad recipes” and none of the 20 recipes at the top of the “hit list” called for hard-boiled egg.

Not that I’m complaining since I don’t eat chicken or eggs, especially hard-boiled eggs.

But why is it that the chicken and the egg are rarely “co-stars” in chicken salad?  Don’t people realize that eggs and chicken are about as closely related as two foods can get?

They’re NOT first cousins, twice removed, like ham and eggs or green eggs & ham.  They’re from the same nuclear family ~ think parent and child or siblings at different stages of development.

Green Eggs and HamSo why aren’t they considered suitable company for each other in chicken salad?

Oh, wait.

I get it.

It might seem incestuous.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Mama Juana! January 4, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink.
26 comments

We “finished Christmas” today by getting together with my sister’s family (upon their return from a week’s stay in the Dominican Republic to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 60th Birthday).

The most interesting gift I received was a bottle of Mama Juana ~ the official beverage of the Dominican Republic.

From Trip Advisor:

Mamajuana is the indigenous drink of the Dominican Republic. It is a brew of twigs and bark and herbs, with rum and red wine and honey. Some love it, some hate it! Some claim that it is an aphrodisiac for men, but also that it cures all of what ails you, purifying organs and acting as a medicinal supplement.

More intel:

Today’s Mamajuana combines rum, red wine, honey and various tree barks, herbs and other assorted sticks, roots and leaves to create a powerfully-pungent flavor experience best left to the fearless. Lots of other ingredients can be added, and usually are based on old family traditions, whims and experimentation.

To read more and see a telling photo of the tincture:  Mamajuana, The Taste of Adventure

Game for a bit of adventure, we opened the bottle, poured shots all around, and toasted the island.

Check out the twigs in the bottle!

Of the 10 adults present, no one spit it out . . . but more than a few grimaces were observed.

It might be an acquired taste.  After all, it’s been around for 800 years!

Aah . . . that’s Mama Juana!

Tired Of Turkey? November 29, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Vegetarian Recipes.
20 comments

Carrot Dogs

For the carrot dogs:

6 medium-large carrots (hot dog bun length), peeled
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

For serving:

6 hot dog buns
Pushcart Onions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until just fork tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic and smoked paprika. Transfer mixture & carrots to a sealable gallon-sized plastic bag. Mix to coat, then marinate in the refrigerator overnight (or up to 24 hours), keeping the carrots in a single layer.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat for several minutes. Place the carrots on the hot grill, after shaking off excess marinade.  Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, rotating the carrots once or twice. Remove to a plate.  Garnish & Serve.

Read more at Oh My Veggies

Aah . . . that’s simple!