A Few Random Things That DON’T Piss Me Off

Continuing with the getting-to-know Dr. Pretzel theme this week, since yesterday was all about a few things that I don’t like, I figured today would be a little more lighthearted.

The melody to “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” just popped into my

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...."

head.  I hope you, too are now sufficiently song-bombed.

You do know what a song-bomb is, right?

Okay then.

Tidbit #1.  I love Italian food. And Greek food, and Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Irish, American, German, Mexican, French….

I really love food.  All of it.

Now I’m not talking about just stuffing my face with whatever I come across.  I really appreciate cuisine.  I love to make little snacks or picnics of artisan bread with cheeses and sliced meats and veggies.  I love to prepare fantastic meals for friends and family.

I refuse to wait another year for this...I might do it again in May. Because I can.

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  I cook, everyone eats and showers me with compliments; what’s not to love?

This love for food has allowed me to become a very good cook.  I’m thinking I might share with you one of my favorite family-tested recipes each week.  We might as well start now.

Let’s see, what would people like to eat after gorging themselves over the holidays?  How about something that will last all week?

Calico Beans.

So delicious and perfect for a chilly night!

This is a sweet and savory dish.  I made it last year and won 2nd place in a chili competition, but it’s not “traditional” chili in any way.  It’s awesome stuff on a cool day.  I prefer to serve it with Fritos to dip with, but have had cornbread go over successfully as well.

In a big dutch-oven style pot put:

  • 1lb of cooked bacon, broken up into pieces.  I’ve used the “Real Bacon” in a bag from Sam’s Club.  Use more if it makes you happy…it is bacon, after all.
  • 1lb cooked and crumbled ground beef (I tend to use more because…I like meat)
  • 1 large can of Busch’s beans, Maple flavored
  • 1-15oz cans lima or butter beans
  • 1-15oz can of black beans
  • 1-15 oz can of kidney beans
  • 1-15oz can of Navy/white beans
  • 1/2C Ketchup
  • 1C packed brown sugar
  • 1C chopped onion (yellow is best)
  • 3T White wine vinegar (I usually go up to 1/2C because this really gives the beans the unique flavor that I love)
  • 2t mustard powder
  • 1/2C chopped celery (optional…I usually omit this)

Big pot o'bean yumminess

So just put this on the stove on medium-low and let all the flavors mingle and get to know one another.  Once it’s simmering, adjust the heat a bit lower and stir occasionally so the beans don’t stick on the bottom.  Should heat for about an hour total, but a bit more won’t hurt.  Break out the Fritos and enjoy!

If you’re looking for a baked bean recipe, drain the kidney beans and lima beans, put the whole mess into a covered baking dish, and bake at 350’F for an hour.

Either way, it will be yummy.  And there will be lots left over.  This recipe serves about 10.

Dang…now I want to make some.

Tidbit #2.  Kitties.  I like them. I know that some people like them and others hate

Purry kitten adorableness

them.  To each their own.  This is my blog and today we’re talking about me.  Besides, I’ve never really understood the need to choose one way or another.  I’m not a “dog person,” but I don’t hate them.  They’re just…not cats.

I’m currently the proud slave of two feline masters.  Hopefully, if I serve them satisfactorily, I’ll be granted the gift of being allowed to come back as a cat in my next life.

I like cats because I live like one.  No, I don’t lie around all day, I mean mentally.  I have kitty thought processes.

Well, maybe a bit more complex.

I’m an introvert in the truest sense.  I like others and choose to socialize on my own terms.  I am unconcerned with what others think I ought to be or do.  I don’t need to be spoiled or petted or fed, but if someone wants to do so…well, I’m not going to complain.  I might even show appreciation for their efforts.

Like a kitty, I can be a little self-centered.  I can become a little over-passionate about the things I care about, and a bit callous about the things I don’t.  But I like who I am, and some others seem to be appreciative of my “me-ness,” so I’ll continue on with being me.

"Hello. You're fuzzy too!"

There are other, less self-centered things I like about kitties.  Paws.  Purring.  Kitty chats (when they meow or “prrrt” while you’re talking as if they know exactly what you’re saying).  But I won’t bore you with the details.  I like the fuzzy little guys.

You don’t have to be a cat person, but I tend to avoid people who say that they hate cats or hate dogs.  Animals recognize not-so-nice people, even if they act nice for others, and react accordingly.  If you want to know whether or not someone is good at heart, introduce them to a pet and see what happens (with the exception of those with allergies, of course).

Tidbit #3.  I like to read. No, scratch that.  I love to read.  I am a bibliophile.  I am also

Don't leave home without it!

a Kindle owner.  I love my Kindle and take it everywhere I go.

If you don’t know what a Kindle is, I’m going to pretend I don’t know you until you figure it out.

I’ve had a love affair with the written word for as long as I can remember.  My grandmother read to me when I did not know how, but as soon as I learned to read, I read everything I could get my hands on.  Like an addict, if I couldn’t find an actual book or newspaper to read, I’d read anything. Cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, instructions, junk mail.  It didn’t matter, as long as I could read it and process the words in my brain.

Words make me happy.  Especially when they hang out with other words and make sentences and paragraphs.

I have just about this many...which is why I bought the Kindle. I don't have anymore room!

These days, I tend to read multiple books concurrently.  I switch back and forth, depending upon my mood.  Here’s what I’m reading now:

Making it more than halfway through a book means that I like it.  I’ve done so with all of these except for Gifts, which I only began reading yesterday morning.  I like it so far and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Brene’s TED Talk on vulnerability.

I’m always on the search for a good book and I would love to know about your very favorite book of all time.  Mine is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  It is a huge, somewhat daunting book in size, but I can say from experience that it’s an significant emotional event once you get to the end.  I’ve spent so much time enjoying it that I’ve actually felt a little lost upon completion!  Am I the only one who feels this way about books?

So, I think I’ve shared quite a bit today.  Sharing is a big deal for an introvert like me.  I hope to hear from all of you soon!  Books, favorite recipes and foods, pets…share it all!


About DrPretzel

Student of philosophy and medicine, mother of 2 Creatures of Mass Destruction (a.k.a. "boys"), Soldier, sister, daughter, friend, cat person, social inept, INTJ, blah, blah, blah...are you even reading this?
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17 Responses to A Few Random Things That DON’T Piss Me Off

  1. The DA says:

    I know that I can ship bottles of wine through UPS now and you can usually have the winery ship for you also. 😀

    Grandma’s Crazy Cake: (come to find out, this is aka War time cake.)

    3 C. Flour
    1/2 C. Cocoa (I use dutch cocoa usually)
    1 tsp. Salt
    2 tsp. Vanilla
    2 1/2 C Cold Water
    2 C Sugar
    2 tsp. Baking Soda
    3/4 C Oil
    2 Tbs. Vinegar

    Mix thoroughly. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Bake at 350 degrees in a 13 x 9 pan for 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center.

    Here is another cake that Grandma used to make.

    Mayonnaise Cake

    2 C. Flour
    2 – 4 Tbs Cocoa (pends on how much chocolate you like and I use Dutch cocoa)
    1/4 tsp. Salt
    1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
    1 C. Sugar
    1 C. Mayonnaise
    1 C. Water
    1 tsp. Vanilla

    Blend ingredients in order listed. Pour into 9 x 13 pan or 2 square pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    Both of these cakes are SUPER moist and to die for with a cream cheese frosting if you like your cakes frosted.


    • drpretzel says:

      Thank you, Auntie J! I’m going to put these both in my recipe box. I’m always looking for a good, moist chocolate cake (the best thing about cake is that you can FREEZE that mo-fo for later!). I like doing them in big muffin tins and then freezing them.

      • The DA says:

        Glad I could be of help. lol

        I have never tried to freeze either of them. That’s a great idea, make having a treat every now and then much easier!


  2. Brian Gillum says:

    I knew I was in lust with you for good reasons beyond just your brains and beauty.

    • drpretzel says:

      😉 It’s because I like cats, isn’t it?

      • Brian Gillum says:

        Well the Katz, the reading, the chef/gourmand. The whole package.

        I am still after 30 years since I first read them, enamored with the Lord of the Rings. But Alas, Babylon was great. I really enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird. I haven’t read Hunger Games yet. Its on order. Looking forward to it.

  3. Riley Carson says:

    You and my husband are both kindle fans! I like it, I’m just not ready to give up the feel of a book yet. I know that I’ll be converted to the dark side soon, particularly since it is so god damn convenient!

    • drpretzel says:

      I was exactly the same way. I love books and still own and buy many. There’s just something about the smell of a book! But for reading novels, philosophy, or something I probably wouldn’t keep in hardcopy, the Kindle rocks! Plus you can get LOADS of books for free. All the classics, and even some new stuff when an author wants to promote something. I get at least 10 new titles per month for free, so I never lack in having something to read.

  4. The DA says:

    You ladies could come to the PNW and have some wonderful OR wine! I live less than a mile from 3 wine tasting places and right in the middle of several grape orchards that are used for making wine here. lol And to think, I don’t care for wine that much and I really dislike red wines! Pinot or White Zif for me please, the sweeter the better! LOL

  5. Charisse says:

    🙂 Awesome! I REALLY need to get back to reading! I miss it SO much!
    You loved Enders Game! 🙂 I knew there was a reason we got along! -Did you read Speaker, ect? I love that series SO much! But the shadow books, not so much.

  6. Charisse says:

    Oh, and on the book thing. We have a rather large collection of books here, but I haven’t had much time to read for a long while. I’m pretty picky, and love science fiction and fantasy. (I read a lot of others, just not consistently.)
    I found Orson Scott Card (and Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead.. ect) when I was in Jr. High and fell in love with his books-
    DA, I’d HIGHLY suggest his ‘Alvin Maker’ Series:

    -but other than that, it’s been pretty hit and miss and for a long while I just gave up on reading anything else seriously. I read a few of Ryan’s (The Walking Drum, most notably) and tried to read some of his philosophy books before I had even gone back to school The Prince was very dry, but rather enjoyed Plato’s Republic. Then I found some of his classics, ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ are SO good.
    I now have a small list growing, the top of which is Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series.
    The Mists of Avalon sounds VERY interesting, I’ll be adding that (do you have a copy I could borrow, by chance?)

    • drpretzel says:

      Yes, I do have a copy you can borrow! I’d love to lend it to you.

      I adored Ender’s Game. If you liked that, you both might enjoy “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. Also, the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman, starting with “The Golden Compass.” I read them all one after another because I couldn’t put them down.

      An excellent series if you enjoy Sci-fi/fantasy is Peirs Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series. There are 8 books total, starting with one about “Death” called “On a Pale Horse.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarnations_of_Immortality

      There are so many I could suggest!

      Oddly enough, I just recently reread 1984 and Animal Farm.

      I could go on and on about books, but darn it…I have to actually do some cleaning around the house today! Sigh!

  7. Charisse says:

    mmm… I love calico bean soup. 🙂 I am sooo going to use that recipe, thanks!
    And cats. I don’t mind dogs, but I like them when they are calm and just want to be loved on. Books and food, of course! As much as I read when I was younger, I don’t read nearly as much now. Articles on the web (blogs!) and news, but that’s about it outside of studying. 😦

    My favs? Outside cats and books and food? 😉 lol
    Charisse’s Material Loves List
    1. Movies, especially at a Theater. Contact, specifically.
    2. Popcorn. Maybe its from my native roots, or just a family tradition. But it is my favorite snack. Sweet snack: dried mango and pineapple.
    3. Technology. Computers, cell phones, ipod, gps, dvr… ect. I really want to get a web enabled blue-ray player for my bday! I’d love a Kindle, but I don’t think I could afford to buy enough books to make it worth it. Instant Netflix is the best thing ever.
    4. Wine. I love exploring different flavors. I love it like other people love chocolate. And I’d drink it even if it wasn’t alcoholic, more of it actually! 😉 Red and dry with hints of berry flavors, please!
    5. Science. Okay, I’m a nerd. That’s why I have to separate this from the tech category. Specifically astronomy/astrophysics, but not only. I love science news and shows.

    Netflix me a good Scifi thriller, with some popcorn and a glass of wine and I am as happy as a clam!

    • drpretzel says:

      Oh, yes! POPCORN! I love, love, love popcorn. Have you tried the PopSecret Homestyle with real butter and table salt? It is WONDERFUL!

      Now I want some.

      I just got an iPhone for Christmas. I put the Kindle app on it too. And Netflix!

      I love wine too and joined the Zagat wine club to get more variety. We should visit some wineries! Have you been to the Adam Puchta winery outside of Hermann? They have wonderful wines! I also love Native Stone (and they have a great restaurant).

      Did you crawl into my noggin and pull out some of my other favorite things? :O

      Add music and singing to the list. Sitting around with a guitar and a few friends is also a favorite thing to do. Perhaps right before the movie, popcorn and wine!

  8. The DA says:

    I love to read as well, when I get the free time to do so and when I’m not so tired that I fall asleep after only half a page! lol

    The Mists of Avalon is also one of my favorite books. I have also read the other two books (can’t recall the names right now) in that series.

    I enjoy Catherine Coulter and Nora Roberts (NOT as JD Robb). Catherine Coulter is an author I became delighted with after reading a series set in the medieval times. Nora Roberts writes more of a romance style of book which I occasionally enjoy. I believe that her Three Sisters series and her Pagan Stone series are my most favorite though. I believe that is due to them leaning towards topics that originate for more medieval times, witches and paganism, (the “old” religion as it’s called). (I’m NOT trying to start some religious debate with anyone so please don’t flame me for my choices in reading! lol)

    I have fallen in love with cooking over the last 6 or 7 years. I enjoy good food but I am a picky eater also. I dislike the taste of fish so I don’t eat it unless it is so mild that there really is no flavor or I can hide it with tarter sauce. I do like shrimp (even though it makes me swell if I have more than a little), crab (if not fishy tasting….told ya I’m picky! LOL), lobster is one of my favorites. A good steak can never be passed up as well as my homemade spaghetti sauce, ham-hocks and beans and my homemade baked cheesecake. (oh and I can’t forget my grandmothers “Crazy Cake”!) I think I love to bake more so than cook but they are both passions of mine when I can stand long enough to do them.

    I myself am more of a dog person. I like cats but I’m allergic to their dander and their scratches if they catch me somehow. I like the independence of a cat and love the companionship of a dog. My “dream dog” is a German Shepherd. Some day I will live in a place that will allow me to have a dog! (current landlords said “No” even though I had a Rx from my primary care doctor.)

    I think I covered everything, lol. If there is a recipe you would like to have, just let me know. 🙂 Thanks for sharing yours!!

    • drpretzel says:

      I’ve read all of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series as well. None quite measure up to the original though.

      I like Nora Roberts on occasion, though it’s been a while since I read anything by her. She’s consistently good, but also pretty consistently predictable. Sometimes a little predictability is just what I need in a book…and that’s when I’ll pick up one of her books.

      As I’ve trod the path from one religion to another, I have nothing negative to say of the “old religions.” I actually feel quite an affinity for them. No flaming from me. If I had to say, I’d describe my own beliefs as being found somewhere among Deist, Baha’i, Hindu, Buddhist, and Tao. I don’t judge the beliefs of others as long as they respect that everyone can and ought to follow their own path.

      I’d like the crazy cake recipe. I have one written down and would like to see if it is the same one. I’ll trade ya for it 🙂 Just let me know what you’re hungry for because I’ve devised recipes for lots of yummy stuff!

      How do you get a script for a dog? I was allergic to cats, but constant interaction with them caused my allergies to eventually go away. I’m still allergic to outdoor cats, but am just fine with my indoor kitties. I think it has to do with the higher amounts of sweat and dander on an outdoor cat. I also feed them some really great food which has caused their shedding to decrease exponentially. So no allergies.

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