Sunday, March 29, 2009

South Wins State!
The local newspaper proclaimed the good news this morning. Yawn. Old news to us. Why, you ask? Because the Foodie Family was there to see it happen last evening. My son, daughter-in-law and daughter all went to Bloomington South High School. Last night the boys' basketball team capped off an amazing season by winning the state championship in their division. That's right: they were undefeated this season and were ranked number 2 in the nation going into the game yesterday.
But first, let us go back to the afternoon's activities.

The Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indianapolis often puts on plays. My husband needed to help play 'host', so our attendance was required yesterday. This time the play was one called Take a Number Darling. A couple of acquaintances starred in the play, as well as a couple of actresses who are new to this part of the country.

Mischief and mayhem are sure to follow...

Have I mentioned that I love this chandelier?
All right; the play is over and it's time to head down to Conseco Fieldhouse (home of the Indiana Pacers) to watch the home team play for the state championship.

What kind of nonsense is this!????!!
You have to pay to use the elevator in this parking garage???!!!!!
I think that a group such as the American Association of People with Disabilities needs to jump on the owners of this parking garage.
I apparently had gotten some chicken stock with my dinner and had an asthma attack that evening. We also ended up having to park on the sixth level of this insensitive garage (I wish I had the name of this place so I could lodge a complaint, but at that time I was just struggling to breathe). I took my rescue inhaler and was able to travel down the six flights with few problems, but the return trip up would prove to be a problem.
In the end I was able to make it up three flights before needing to rest. My husband and daughter told me to stay put and rest before they continued up to the car. A few minutes later they drove down to pick me up. I have a nice family. I still don't like the garage owners, though. Greedy people.

Well, at least we are here.

Whew, they have escalators here. After having our belongings searched, we continued up to the upper levels where our seats were located.

Isn't this nice? We even got seats in the handicapped section. That means we get padded seats, plenty of room and cup holders.

Sh, the game's about to start. After watching the thrilling end to the previous game (two overtimes!) we are psyched.

I've got the spirit.

Each team was given a certain number of tickets for the game. Since the South Panther fans ended up filling two-thirds to three-fourths of the arena, I have the feeling that we got more tickets somehow.

Oh my, after several nail-biting moments, our team finally won. Bloomington South Panthers were undefeated in this season! Go South!

The team and coaching staff take the stage.

In honor of the coach who took the team to its first state championship, the school basketball court has been officially named J. R. Holmes Court.

Well, that was exciting. I now return us to our everyday, normal life...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Off-Beat Tour of Gaylord Opryland
I thought you might like to follow me around as I wander through this large hotel and its lovely gardens.

See? We actually did make it outside once or twice while we were here. When my husband and I stayed here 20 years ago, our room overlooked this outdoor garden area. Note to self: next time spring for the atrium view room. (Maybe in another 20 years or so.)

The radio station WSM broadcasts from the hotel.

Recognize the guy in the third panel?

Shh, they're on the air.

Talk about being a fish in a fish bowl. Speakers in the hall let the passersby hear the station's broadcast.

The dear daughter insisted that I get a picture of this T-shirt. In fact, she liked it so much that she bought one before we left. You know, I do believe I saw that shirt on her today...

This stain glass inset was in the ceiling of the main lobby.

If you click on the picture, you can see more of the delightful detail of this fine sculpture.

Guess where my daughter and I spent one afternoon?

Why does this remind me of another spa?

Ooh, check it out: the "Official" car of Gaylord Opryland Resort.

This enormous chandelier is in Magnolia, the original lobby of the hotel.

Attention to detail.

On our way to the Opry Mills Outlet Mall, we passed by the Grand Ole Opry. So that's where that is...

I love this picture from behind the waterfall.

I wish I could have gotten a better picture of this large, crystal-encrusted mirror. This Swarovski mirror will only set you back $7,999. If you can believe it, the boutique worker told another customer that a similar mirror, done in multi-colored crystals, had sold the prior month. And that mirror had cost $1,000 more. I know that I am amazed.

This stain glass ceiling is in Findley's Irish Pub.

In the Magnolia section of the hotel.

The facade of the original section of the hotel.

Many people like to have their pictures taken with these statues. I should know; I took a picture for a couple of nice ladies one evening.

The Garden Conservatory at night.

The darling daughter thought that I should take this picture of an apron for her "Auntie Rosie".

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And Now for Some Real Food
After subjecting my darling daughter to the horror that is Semi-Homemade Slop, I made a nice dinner as a way to apologize.

I found a recipe for Kentucky Bourbon Skirt Steak that sounded like just the thing. Of course, I didn't really follow the recipe since I didn't have any Kentucky Bourbon or Tabasco sauce on hand and I used a flat iron steak instead of the skirt steak. At least my substitutions actually made sense.

The ingredients are:

Hot Sauce

Corn Starch

Soy Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Brown Sugar


Dijon Mustard

Flat Iron Steak

1/2 cup whiskey, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, 1/2 teaspoon Hot Sauce, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon corn starch were blended together.

Since this made a lot of sauce, I decided to only use part of the sauce for the marinade. The remainder was set aside for later.

I also don't own a vacuum marinator, so I placed the steak in a zipper-top bag and added a bit of the marinade. The bag was sealed after most of the air was removed. This then went into a container to guard against leaks while the remaining sauce was put in a storage container. The meat and sauce were placed in the refrigerator for several hours.

When it was time to cook dinner I boiled the remaining sauce in a sauce pan for five minutes while the steak seared in another pan.
If you decide to add the used marinade to the sauce, be sure to boil it for at least one minute, preferably longer. If the sauce is in danger of boiling over, carefully remove the pan from the heat until the danger is over. Remember, there is a good deal of alcohol in the sauce and spilling it on an open flame or a hot burner would be a bad thing.

The meat was allowed to rest for a few minutes before being carved for service.
Earlier I had put together a simple salad of chopped Romaine lettuce, red onion and grated fresh mozzarella cheese.
Then came the Semi-Homemade part of the meal: I opened a can of baked beans, drained off much of the sauce and added catsup, mustard and brown sugar. This is done strictly to taste and never comes out the same twice. Then chopped green onion, cooked bacon pieces and diced ham finished off the dish. I opted to cook the baked beans in the microwave this time, but they can certainly be baked in the oven (in which case it is not necessary to drain off the sauce from the can).

I think I may have redeemed myself for subjecting my poor daughter to the Smorrito earlier in the day.

Mmm, this was so good. The meat was tender and flavorful while the sauce lent a nice tangy yet slightly sweet taste. My family asked that I make this recipe again. I certainly will, although I would cut the amount of sauce in half the next time. But otherwise? I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sandra Lee's Test Kitchen
After watching the latest installment of that great Food Network sitcom, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, I was inspired to try one of the recipes shown. Now mind you, I had no hopes that this recipe would actually turn out well. In fact, I fully expected this recipe to be absolutely horrible. Sounds like a good time, huh?

In "Log Cabin Camping", Sandra Lee made Smorritos. These apparently are her answer to S'mores.

The ingredients are flour tortillas, marshmallow cream, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, caramel, graham crackers, bananas and chocolate chips. I had semi-sweet chocolate chips on hand, so I followed "chef" Lee's advice to use what ever I had in the pantry.

First I poured some caramel topping in a bowl and added a few drops of vanilla extract. As this is a Test Kitchen experiment, I was careful to use the same methods shown. Thus, the misuse of the cap to measure the extract. My daughter made sure that I had rinsed out the cap afterwards.

Then it was time to spread some marshmallow fluff on one half of the flour tortilla.

Next, one half of a banana was sliced and layered on top. I am happy to tell you that the remaining half of the banana was delicious.

I was directed to sprinkle about a tablespoon of the chocolate chips on top of that.

Then, some graham cracker was crumbled on top.

The tortilla was folded over and wrapped in foil.

The original recipe calls for the Smorrito to be cooked on a gas grill, but "chef" Lee says that I could cook this in my oven if I'd like. I'd like, so I am.

These took longer to cook than the 3 minutes on each side that "chef" Lee promised.

The 'dolled up' caramel sauce was artistically drizzled over the Smorrito.
And how did this taste?

  • The poor daughter took one bite before spitting it back out. She pronounced it to be the most disgusting thing she had ever tried to eat.

I wasn't much better, as I could only stomach the one small bite that I took.

This is where this recipe belongs.
Do yourself a favor and don't even think of making this dish.
Well, I'd say this was a successful Sandra Lee's Test Kitchen experiment.