Monday, August 31, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

Happy Monday! Here's another Okie recipe....

Ranch Biscuits

4 1/2 c. white flour

4 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. shortening

1 t. baking soda

1 pkg. dry yeast, dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water

2 c. buttermilk

Mix it all together. Put on board and knead in some flour to where you can easily handle it. It doesn't have to rise, just punch down and pinch off biscuits when needed. Store remainder in the fridge, covered. Bake at 400 degrees until brown.

My grandmother made biscuits at every meal. They were terrific!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Top 5 Things To Do In Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is an experience that you shouldn't miss if you have the opportunity to visit. The Big Friendly is a sprawling, smiling city on a river that pretty much guarantees you will leave with a satisfied grin on your face. Here are some places you should definitely visit in OKC.

  1. Bricktown.....There are some places in Bricktown that make this list as well, but Bricktown is so terrific that it deserves a spot all its own. Bricktown in an old area of the city where the buildings were mostly red brick and so old that they were abandoned. Some forward-thinking leaders about 20 years or so ago decided to see if they could transform this abandoned area into a family-friendly place by day, and a trendy hotspot by night. The rest is history. Whether you need a place to take the family this afternoon or are looking for a place to go clubbing tonight, look no further. If you are traveling down I-40 Bricktown is visable from the Interstate. Look for the big Bass Pro Shops or Toby Keith's restaurant and you will know you are passing by Bricktown. Hop off and check it out.
  2. The Oklahoma City Memorial...Cities usually build memorials or statues for monied politicians or city fathers who made great contributions to the town's progress. The Big Friendly builds its monuments and memorials to the everyday joe - people like you and me that get up every day and take off for another day of work. Which brings us to the Oklahoma City Memorial. On a beautiful April morning in 1995, a twisted and warped individual (now dead) made his way to downtown Oklahoma City and set off a bomb in a rented moving truck in front of a busy Federal building, the Murrah Building, which had a day care located on the first floor. He had assistance from another twisted and warped individual who is spending the rest of his miserable life in Federal prison. 168 innocent people were killed and 680 were injured. 324 of Oklahoma City's buildings were destroyed or damaged in a 16 block area. Oklahoma City lost some of its innocence that day. The Oklahoma City Memorial is located on hallowed ground - the actual site of the Murrah Building. Each lost life is represented by an empty chair in the spot where he/she died. The Memorial is one of the best I've seen, it's really indescribable to people who haven't experienced it. Admission is free. Don't miss the Survivor Tree and its story, and be sure and walk down the chain link fence where people from all over the world leave a part of themselves. If you want more, the Memorial Museum is located next to the grounds and is well worth the cost of admission.
  3. The Oklahoma City Thunder professional basketball or The Oklahoma City Redhawks professional baseball.....During basketball season you should definitely check out a game. Located on the edge of Bricktown, the Ford Center is a nice venue for sports and, even if you're not a basketball fan, the Thunder works to make every game a really fun family experience. If you are visiting The Big Friendly during the summer, take in a Redhawks game. The AAA team from the Texas Rangers, the Redhawks are always a competitive team, and they play in the heart of bricktown at a beautiful stadium affectionately known as The Brick. No matter what game you are attending, it's a snap to park at Bricktown, take in the sights, stroll over to the Oklahoma City Memorial, eat at one of the terrific Bricktown restaurants, then walk to the game. Just a terrific day!
  4. Toby Keith"s I Love This Bar & Grill...This is a nice place to eat in Bricktown, and has become a "must destination" for every visitor. Part of the attraction is the atmosphere and the eye-popping decor, but the food is great! There is a good variety on the menu, something for everyone. Portions are huge, so watch out. (If you are a meat-eater, you'll love the ribs.)
  5. The Oklahoma City Zoo....More specifically, The Oklahoma City Zoologicial Park, but we all know it as just "The Zoo". There is a good reason why this is considered one of the top zoos in the United States. They seem to be always adding big, new exhibits such as Oklahoma Trails and The Great EscAPE. Don't miss this.
Since I've limited myself to five, I'm stuck with it, but there are LOTS of terrific places to visit in OKC. Maybe I'll add a few more in a later post. What about you? What do you find interesting in this town? Feel free to post and let us know!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

This dog is a neighbor of mine....Tons of personality. Her favorite sport.....Boxing!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Jay Leno Experiment

Is this really going to work? Do people want to see Jay in prime time every week night? Well, maybe. He was definitely popular at 10:30 (cst), but there may be a very different audience at 9:00.

Now, I like Leno. At least I liked his monologue and his skits like Jay Walking, Found On EBay, and Dollar Store Bargains. Loved headlines every Monday. Ask the audience - No. Does this impress Ed Asner? Nope. But for the most part, his stuff was pretty good.

I turned off the tv once he got to the guests, unless he was having a really intriguing guest. And he could definitely lose the musical guests as far as I was concerned.

He says that his show will be heavy on the skits and light on talk and music. That's good. He might actually keep his audience, which is the whole point, since he has promised to deliver big numbers to the evening news waiting in the wings each night.

I saw him on the Bill Maher show last week, and he has grown out his hair. Really long. Not bad, though, I kind of liked it. Makes him look a little edgy. We'll see if he keeps it for his show, which begins in mid-September. Maybe he thinks it will attract a younger crowd, and it probably can't hurt. This may be his achilles heel - if an audience believes that he is a comic for a certain demographic and therefore not cool, the ones not in the club will most likely turn somewhere else for their 9:00 entertainment.

This has never been tried before, so far as I know. NBC is putting its eggs in one guy's basket, and he had better deliver or they'll probably pull the plug pretty quickly. At least they should. I'm torn and not sure what I will do. I'm pretty much a Law and Order devotee, and I have become accustomed to seeing L&O, then watching the evening news. Not having L&O at 9:00 will throw me for a loop. I'll give Leno a chance, though. He seems like a nice enough guy and if he can deliver the goods on a consistent basis, he might just make it.

I give his chance of succeeding more than one season....60/40.

What do you think? Will you give him a shot or are you over Leno? What do you think his chances are of succeeding? Please comment and let us know.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

If it's Monday, it must be a recipe. Every Monday I will do my best to post an honest to goodness Okie recipe (well, they may not all have originated from here, but I'm absolutely sure that they have all been eaten in Oklahoma at some point). If you have a favorite recipe to share, even if it has never touched the Sooner State, please e-mail it to me at

Apple Fritters

1 beaten egg
1/2 c. milk
1 T. cooking oil
1 c. white flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1 c. apples, thinly sliced

Combine the egg, milk and oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir only enough to moisten. Stir in the apples. Drop from a spoon into deep hot oil (350 degrees) and cook until brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and eat while hot.

***There was once a restaurant in OKC called Applewoods, and waitresses (we called them Fritter Fairies) would come around every 10 minutes or so with a basket of these hot fritters and put a few more on our plates. Wow.

As We Do Life

This is a really nice website that you should check out. On people across the country are posting stories of comfort, encouragement and perseverance. The website was started by an Edmond, Oklahoma couple as a way to celebrate acts of kindness, and there are some truly inspiring stories.

A major goal of the site is to share the numerous ways that regular humans have overcome their challenges and struggles. There are many organizations that exist simply to help others, and many times they are overlooked. This site helps to point them out.

Visitors to the site can simply read the inspiring stories, or they are welcome to add their own. The website strives to compel readers to perform simple acts of kindness or even to become volunteers in their own communities.

The authors and their great stories drive this site. At once inspiring and motivational, AsWeDoLife is well worth your time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How About Donating Your Locks???

Locks Of Love is a great not for profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged kids in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

Most of the little ones helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The fee charged to the families is based on a sliding scale, meaning that they pay only what they can afford, many paying nothing at all. The organization depends upon the efforts and generosity of everyday people who grow their hair, then cut it and send it to Locks Of Love for use in the hairpieces.

Its mission is to provide self-confidence and a sense of normalcy to these kids. Surprisingly, over 80% of the Locks Of Love hair donations are made by children who want to help other children.

This is a wonderful way to teach kids how they can give something of themselves to those less fortunate. Locks Of Love needs donations from everyone, regardless of age and race. Growing your hair out is free and painless, so please consider helping these kids out.

Here are the steps, taken from my article:

Step 1
Grow your hair out. Colored or permed hair is fine, but they cannot accept bleached or highlighted hair until the bleached portion is completed grown out and gone.

Step 2
You will need a ponytail or braid that measures at least 10 inches tip to tip. Hair swept off the floor after cutting cannot be used because it was not bundled into a ponytail or braid first.Layered hair may be divided into several braids.Curly hair can be pulled straight to measure the 10 inches.Gray hair will be sold and the proceeds used to offset the costs of production of the childrens' hairpieces.

Step 3
Wash and completely dry your hair, then braid it or fasten it into a ponytail of at least 10 inches.

Step 4
Snip off that braid! Put the braid/ponytail into a zip lock bag, then put that bag into a padded mailing envelope. You can print off the donation form from and include that in the envelope, or you can print your name and address on a sheet of paper and include that. Either choice is fine, and will get you a nice thank you note from Locks of Love.

Step 5
Mail the hair to:
Locks of Love
234 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33405

How easy is that???

No matter our age or income, we can always find ways to help others who are not as fortunate.
Good luck and get growing!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Another silly dog picture....This is what my dog does best - napping with her best friend, Bunny. It's.....Sleeping Schnauzer!!!!
Do you have a dog that would like to be featured on the Friday Dog Blog? Please e-mail the pic with any accompanying information to

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is Your Nest Empty?

Lots of people are experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome right now. This is why the last chick flies the coop, heading for college, first apartment, backpacking across Europe, getting married, whatever. Everyone is gone and the house is empty.

While there are a lot of jokes about Mom and Dad being thrilled to finally have Jr. out of the home, the truth is that this is usually not a happy event. In fact, it can lead to serious depression if a parent does not take steps to combat the boredom, loneliness, realization of mortality and downright sadness.

If a mom has made staying home and caring for children her life and career, she may be in a rougher situation than parents who have a 9 to 5 job to worry about and keep their thoughts occupied. Stay at home mothers have to take action immediately. But what action?

First of all, you have to decide what you will be when you grow up. What are your talents? Find them and capitalize on them. Learn a new skill. If you are reading this, you have a familiarity with the Internet, so you have a whole world at your feet.

Can you write? Look at opportunities for writers - there are lots of them. Start a blog - check out some books from your local library and learn how. If I'm doing it, it can't be difficult!

Write a book. Really. Read up on it, take some writing classes at your vo-tech. You have plenty of time, take what you need to get yourself ready.

Do you have artistic abilities. I'm so jealous of these people - I have always dreamed of being able to sit down and paint something beautiful. My artistic talents end at crooked stick figures, but lots of people are born with whatever that thing is (genetic?) that gives them these terrific abilities. If you have it, don't waste it! Again, get yourself to some classes and get going.

Visit the numerous craft fairs that spring up during the holiday season. Take a look at the tables - what interests you? Jewelry making? Wood working? Leather crafts? Jelly making? Dive into it, and be one of those table-holders at next year's craft fairs.

Plan a garden for next spring.

Learn to sew.

There are so many possibilities - and now that the kids are out of house, you have the time and space to explore them. Go for it, and banish those empty nest thoughts!

Did you conquer Empty Nest Syndrome? Please comment and let us know how you did it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do You Know EHow?

If you're already familiar with, then you probably don't need to read on. If you aren't, you should check it out. This is a great site that is driven by readers who write short articles on how to do almost everything. Really. Need to know how to shave your legs? Find out here. How to wire a lamp? How to make a memory quilt? How to put up a tent? This site provides directions for just about everything you can think of.

Another nice feature is the paid writers program. If you can write, be sure and sign up for this. You can publish articles till the cows come home and won't get paid a cent until you sign up for the paid program. They charge something like a buck a year if you don't write enough to get paid $10.00 or more. Ehow only pays through Paypal, so you will need a free Paypal account, but doesn't everyone have one of those anyway?

If you don't write much, you shouldn't be intimidated. Ehow's template pretty much sets everything out for you. Their articles are in steps (they prefer 4-6), with an introductory paragraph and a closing paragraph, if you need them. Adding pictures is great, and will generally get you some money faster, but it's not required. You can also add some video if you're so inclined.

You can check your account to see if people are reading your articles, and readers can rate your articles with stars.

And the best part, given enough time, you can learn how to do everything!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Sometimes I don't discover great books for a year or so after they're published. Too busy with life and other things. This is the case with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I always thought of her as a novelist. Not normally a fan of novels, I lean toward nonfiction, particularly history, and usually listen to my books with an Ipod Touch while driving. I'm a library rat, and my public library has a terrific selection of books to download for IPods, other mp3 players, ebook readers and computers.

When I ran across Kingsolver's book, I was immediately attracted to the library's description of their adventure in Appalachia. Best of all, this was definitely not a novel. I'll read anything about the Appalachian Mountains, which I dearly love, and I decided to download the book. Wow. Truly. It's just a pleasure to fire up the Ipod every morning and listen to this account of a family moving to a farm and embarking on a grand experiment to eat only what they raise or what is grown locally. Listening to Kingsolver's descriptions of their lucious black cherries, apples, lettuces, it just puts you in a good frame of mind. She even makes asparagus sound appetizing.

Now, would it make me feel as good if I were reading it, rather than listening to the author's soft, gentle descriptions of the family adventures? I assume so.

If you're looking for a good book, try this one out. Here is its website: You can pick a softcover up on for $10-12.00, or check it out at your local library. I think you'll like it.

Here's a partial review from Publishers Weekly:
Reviewed by Nina Planck.

Novelist Kingsolver recounts a year spent eating home-grown food and, if not that, local. Accomplished gardeners, the Kingsolver clan grow a large garden in southern Appalachia and spend summers "putting food by," as the classic kitchen title goes. They make pickles, chutney and mozzarella; they jar tomatoes, braid garlic and stuff turkey sausage.

Nine-year-old Lily runs a heritage poultry business, selling eggs and meat. What they don't raise (lamb, beef, apples) comes from local farms. Come winter, they feast on root crops and canned goods, menus slouching toward asparagus. Along the way, the Kingsolver family, having given up industrial meat years before, abandons its vegetarian ways and discovers the pleasures of conscientious carnivory.

Kingsolver takes the genre to a new literary level; a well-paced narrative and the apparent ease of the beautiful prose makes the pages fly. Her tale is both classy and disarming, substantive and entertaining, earnest and funny.

(Kingsolver)makes short, neat work of complex topics: what's risky about the vegan diet, why animals belong on ecologically sound farms, why bitterness in lettuce is good. Kingsolver's clue to help greenhorns remember what's in season is the best I've seen. You trace the harvest by botanical development, from buds to fruits to roots. Kingsolver is not the first to note our national "eating disorder" and the injuries industrial agriculture wreaks, yet this practical vision of how we might eat instead is as fresh as just-picked sweet corn.

The narrative is peppered with useful sidebars on industrial agriculture and ecology (by husband Steven Hopp) and recipes (by daughter Camille), as if to show that local food—in the growing, buying, cooking, eating and the telling—demands teamwork.

Nina Planck is the author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why (Bloomsbury USA, 2006). Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Fridays are Dog Blog days - When I post on a Friday, it will just be a silly picture of a dog - This one happens to be mine. It's.....Super Schnauzer!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Town Hall Meetings - Why Can't We Be Civil To Each Other?

What is happening to us? Can we not sit and listen to another person's viewpoints without feeling the need to shout that person down? Do people not feel ashamed of their behavior anymore?

I've just finished reading a story in The Daily Oklahoman about a town hall meeting in my own little city, along with the obligatory picture of red-faced people screaming and waving signs urging rebellion against Nazis. What???

Politeness has gone the way of 8 track tapes and rotary phones, evidently, at least for some. One distressed young mother was interviewed by the Oklahoman. She had driven an hour or so with her children, hoping to teach them the importance of getting involved and listening to different views, only to have them witness a sideshow of angry, screaming adults with little or no self-control. "I was appalled by the way people were conducting themselves in there", she said, "It just breaks my heart to see how people are treating each other in there." Good for you, young mother! More people need to call these bullies out.

Maybe talk radio has emboldened those of us with anger issues and has made it seemingly ok to intimidate and bully other human beings. Some will say that the state of the economy has driven people to clench their fists and want to fight anyone with an opposing view, but I don't think I buy it. We've faced adversity before (ever hear of the problems stared down by the Greatest Generation - The Great Depression, World War II?), and we persevered without turning on each other. And does the Depression and a terrible world war even remotely compare to a proposal for health care?

We have plenty to get ruffled about, and that will never change. But for now, I'm on the side of the appalled young mother. It breaks my heart to see how people are treating each other.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is Happiness Genetic or a Learned Behavior?

There are some that put forth the idea that we are born happy or sad, and without some recognition and steps to change ourselves, this will be our lot in life. That could be. I consider myself content and happy almost all of the time, and even my baby pictures show me laughing or smiling in nearly every snapshot. I don't remember an extended period of sadness or depression in any part of my history.

But is this genetic, or the result of an outrageously idealic and happy childhood? I think I will lay my positive outlook at the feet of my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and almost everyone else I came into contact with. Growing up in terrific circumstances with great people has to count for something, right? Maybe it counts for everything.

What about you? Did you grow up in challenging circumstances, yet kept your sunny outlook on life? Did you have a wonderful childhood, only to walk around with a cloud over your head and a scowl on your face? Can you shed some light on this question?