Friday, July 11, 2014

Songs of Summer Bloghop

Today is the Songs of Summer Bloghop

We all have a "Songs of Summer" list in our heads, songs that evoke blissful thoughts of sunshine, blue skies, sandwiches eaten at the beach with grains of sand stuck in them, coconutty sunscreen. When I happen to stumble across one of these songs on the radio in the bleak, blue cold of winter I can shake off the stinging snowflakes and know that summer will indeed return. 

Number 5
'What Time Is It?' from the soundtrack to High School Musical 2, 2007

It's been a long time since the kids were into the 'High School Musical' movies. Nevertheless as the last day of school before summer vacation approaches, this song gets stuck in my head. "Finally summer's here! Good to be chillin' out!" And I almost recreate this dancing-on-the-desks scene at my own school. Go on, give it a listen. It's as catchy as all get-out.

Like a dork, I play it for both kids when they get home on that last day! (They barely tolerate me.)

Number 4
'Magic' by The Cars, 1984

Hard not to dream about summer when a song belts out at its beginning, "Summer! It turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer... it's like a merry-go-round" Summer felt like this back in 1984 and feels that way today as well.

Number 3:
'Summer Lovin' from the soundtrack to Grease, 1978

A bit of a predictable choice, but this movie always aired on t.v. in the summer when we were kids. The whole movie and every song bring back that kid-in-the-summertime feeling.

Number 2:
'Tha Good Life' by Cisco Adler, 2012

Our daughter introduced this song to us. Ever since she first played it - while we were driving around with the windows down, wind in our hair - it has been a favorite. It features one of her favorite musicians, Mod Sun. The song has a laid back, sunshiney feel to it. 

Number 1:
'Green Onions' by Booker T & the M.G.'s from the soundtrack to American Graffiti, 1973

A groovy, timeless, drivin' around song from another movie set in the summertime. I "borrowed" my dad's VHS copy of the movie for about a decade and later found a copy of the double-album LP at a record store in Maine. The whole soundtrack is amazing: Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, The Platters, Bill Haley & The Comets, Chuck Berry - songs that bring to mind classic summer scenes at drive-in movies and drive-in restaurants with roller-skating waitresses! 

The first video clip is the drag race scene from the movie that opens with 'Green Onions' and the next is the song on its own.

Honorable Mention
'Home on the Range' as performed by the Mr. Ding-A-Ling ice cream truck...

... as it relentlessly roams our neighborhood pedaling its frozen dairy treats! (Actually, I still get excited when I hear it approaching and am the first to run out with a fistful of quarters.)
Many thanks to our evenly-tanned hosts: Armchair Squid,  Cygnus at Servitor Ludi and Suze at Subliminal Coffee! Check out their selections, as well as the selections by these folks! 

1.The Armchair Squid2.Subliminal Coffee
3.My Creatively Random Life4.Alex J. Cavanaugh
5.L.G. Smith Bards and Prophets6.I Think; Therefore, I Yam
7.Servitor Ludi8.Stephanie Faris, Author
9.WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME10.Cherdo on the Flipside
11.Nicki Elson's Not-so-deep-thoughts12.Trisha @ WORD STUFF
13.Hungry Enough To Eat Six14.V's Reads
15.Life Before the Hereafter16.The ToiBox of Words
17.StratPlayer's Creative Output18.DiscConnected
19.Aristotle's Mistake20.Deniz Bevan at The Girdle of Melian
21.Words Incorporated22.Madeline Jane
23.Arlee Birds Tossing It Out

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tex Mex Potato and Chicken Salad

Here finally is a third salad, long overdue from when I first started planning for them this spring. (Salad #1 was the Green Goddess Buttermilk Potato Salad and #2 was the Bacon, Tomato and Basil Rice Salad.) In this one roasted potatoes are tossed with shredded chicken, taco seasoning, chiles and cheese. It comes together as a spicy, creamy potato salad. 

I added the chicken so that this salad would have enough heft to serve as a meal, but it can easily be omitted if just straight-up potato salad is preferred. 

And here's my tagline: ¡Una ensalada picante y deliciosa para su próxima fiesta de verano!

Tex Mex Potato and Chicken Salad

1-1/2 lbs. potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
2 TB vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2  tsp. pepper
1 envelope taco seasoning
1/4 c. water
8 oz. cooked chicken breast, cut into small pieces or shredded
1/3 c. sour cream
1/4 c. taco sauce
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 c. black beans (optional)
1/2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place the cut potatoes in an 8" x 8" oven-proof dish. Add the vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper and toss to coat the potatoes. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, just until the potatoes are tender and beginning to brown on the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, In a medium bowl combine the taco seasoning and water. Add in the chicken and stir to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the salad: to the chicken-taco seasoning mixture add in the sour cream and taco sauce. Stir until the sauce is smooth and combined. Place the cooled, roasted potatoes in a large bowl. Add in the diced green chilies and black beans (if using.) Pour in the chicken and taco sauce and stir until well mixed. 

Can be served immediately or chilled. Garnish individual portions of the salad with the shredded Mexican cheese.   

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Strawberry Lime Smoothie with Bits o' Chocolate

This smoothie has been Logan's and my breakfast these past couple of days! So yummy. It's not hard to throw together a great smoothie, but since we are really digging on this combination I thought I'd share it!

One of the ingredients is chocolate chips, thrown into the blender to be dashed about and chopped up in the smoothie. Don't feel bad about adding chocolate to your smoothie... you're already way ahead by making the healthy choice of having this fruit and yogurt concoction for breakfast! The chocolate is just a teeny, tiny little reward for that.

Strawberry Lime Smoothie 
with Bits o' Chocolate

1 5-oz. container strawberry Greek yogurt (we used Yoplait)
1 5-oz.  container key lime Greek yogurt (Yoplait again)
8-10 ice cubes
6 medium strawberries, hulled
1 TB semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until all the ingredients are incorporated and mixture is smooth (add a little water or fruit juice if necessary to get things whirling.)
Serve immediately. Makes two 12-oz. servings.

Nutritionals per serving
Calories: 146, Total fat: 2g; Total carbs: 21g, Sugars: 14.9g, Dietary fiber: .8g, Protein: 10.2g

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: "Joy in the Morning" by P.G. Wodehouse

My favorite read this month was "Joy in the Morning", a Jeeves and Wooster story by P.G. Wodehouse. I found it in a collection titled "Just Enough Jeeves." 

I have only read one other Jeeves and Wooster story, "The Code of the Woosters" but I loved it and I don't quite know why I hadn't returned to some of these stories before now!

The pairing of Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves is brilliant, and "Joy in the Morning" was so funny. In this story Bertie Wooster is roped into going to the dreaded home of his frightening Aunt Agatha and Uncle Percy. While there he inadvertently becomes re-engaged to his ex-fiancee, has to dodge her jilted ex-fiance who is a local policeman, must fight for the love of his two friends, avoid the "helpful" boy scout Edwin, attend a costume ball in a stolen uniform... and it just goes on and on. And through it all he relies on Jeeves to sort out the tangled messes of schemes, plans, engagements, boy scout kickings and potting shed rendezvous. The antics are rapid-fire. The wit and humor in the writing are the best part of these stories by far!

"Boko looked at me, and raised his eyebrows. I looked at Boko, and raised my eyebrows. Nobby looked at us both, and raised her eyebrows. Then we all looked at Stilton, and all raised our eyebrows. It was one of those big eyebrow-raising mornings." 

"...and that he had with him his daughter Florence and his son Edwin, the latter as pestilential a stripling as ever wore khaki shorts and went spooring or whatever it is that these Boy Scouts do."

"Love's silken bonds are not broken just because the female half of the sketch takes umbrage at the loony behavior of the male partner and slips it across him in a series of impassioned speeches. However devoutly a girl may worship the man of her choice, there always comes a time when she feels an irresistible urge to haul off and let him have it in the neck."

I found this attractively illustrated website about P.G. WodeHouse and his works that I recommend checking out:

 Has anyone ever watched the tv series, Jeeves and Wooster from the early '90s? (Starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.) I think it might be available on Hulu and I'm looking forward to seeing if it's as funny as the stories!


What is The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, you ask? Brilliant and well-dressed is the host The Armchair Squid who describes it thusly:

"The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers."

Visit The Armchair Squid and see what everyone's reading!