Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What are you reading?

One of my best friends, Jodi Meadows, asked the following on her blog:

1. What are you reading and what do you think of it so far?
2. What is your plan for the week?
3. What's your favorite shape of pasta?

Since I wrote up a huge comment, I thought I might as well post it here. As you can see ... I have trouble finishing books. There are just too many shiny ones to buy! and when they come in the mail, I get so excited, I have to start reading it RIGHT AWAY! that is, until another one comes in the mail!

1. I am currently reading ... (yes, all at the same time ...)

AS YOU WISH: this book *feels* more MG than YA to me.

CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY (2nd in the Gallagher Girls series): James Bond meets Baby-sitters Club without the babysitting. The girls are strong, the adults are interesting, and the spy twist is super fun!

BLUE MOON (2nd in the Immortals series): I *liked* the first one so I decided to continue ...

BOY TOY: Not too dark. More like gray. Still, it's a hard book to read. Definitely not a light, summer-y book I bring to the pool ...

THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER: I bring this one to the pool with me, but am not far enough into it to make an opinion. I think it's a summer romance ...

FRAGILE ETERNITY: Really love Marr's dark take on faeries. This 3rd book is fae-court-politics heavy.

HUSH, HUSH: I have to admit, I bought it because of the cover.

GOING BOVINE: Genius. I'm only a few chapters in ...

THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE: repeat after self: *you will not watch the movie until you finish the book* ... my best friend loved it, her fiance loved it, everyone loves it ... thus, I'm reading it.

IF I STAY: One of my favorite 2009 books! I have about 1/3rd left ...

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES: Really diggin' it so far. The setting is sultry and a character in itself. After reading so many YA novels from a female POV, Ethan's voice is refreshing.

EI: *swoon* The incredible, incredible, unique, incredible premise, the world-building, the relationships, Sam ... I could go on and on ... *squee*

EA: *falls* An exciting sequel!! It features one of my favorite characters of the series!! I want to say more, but I don't want to accidentally spoil anything.

2. This week, I am working toward my 4th of July vacation! Then, I plan on eating chicken wings and watching the World Cup, having Jodi+writing time, watching LIE TO ME (my new television addiction), going to see ECLIPSE with my girl friends, lying by the pool, and drinking champagne!

3. I like spaghetti noodles and shells - yes!

P.S. If you don't mind, I'd love to hear what you have to say in MY comments :-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Midnight Surprise Beer-Butt Chicken Attack!

Yes. It's midnight and I have nothing better to do than to share some beer-butt chicken with you.

Warning: if you're a vegetarian, you may want to look away. Contains nude pictures of chickens.

The first time I made beer-butt chicken, we were in the middle of nowhere Colorado, in a rented cabin with no running water. If you try to make beer-butt chicken with no running water, it's difficult because of the whole salmonella thing. BUT if you make beer-butt chicken in a kitchen that has running water, you will have no problems at all. It's easy! and fun! and tasty!

P.S. If you are allergic to beer (gosh forbid) or do not like beer, you can also make this with cola.

Stuff you will need*:

1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs)
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of dried sage or rosemary or thyme (whatever you have on hand)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
a lemon
a few cloves of garlic - peeled and cut into slices
a small piece of ginger
a can of beer or cola

* Really, all you need is the chicken and a can of beer or cola. You can use whatever spices you have a hankering for. I've made this recipe about a dozen times now and it's always different. When my rosemary is thriving, I use rosemary. Lately, I've been on a brown sugar + cayenne kick. What I do is rub the bird with olive oil and lots and lots of garlic (powdered or fresh minced). Then I do about a 1/2c of brown sugar and 1T or 2 of cayenne (cayenne is spicy, so beware). You know what is also fun to do? Brush the bird with honey near the end.


Remove the chicken from its package and give him a rinse under cold water. Don't forget to clean inside his cavities. Pat him dry with paper towels (and no, I don't know why I'm calling my chicken a him).

Mix the oregano, garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, ground black pepper, and dried sage, rosemary, or thyme together.

Cut the lemon in half and lightly rub it on the chicken - make sure to get under the skin, too (use your knife to help loosen the skin from the meat). Then, rub your mix of spices on the outside of the chicken, the inside of the chicken, and under the skin. Add more fresh ground pepper if you like that sort of thing.

Using a knife, carefully poke a couple slits in the chicken's breast, thighs, and drumsticks. Insert the slices of garlic into the slits. Wash your hands.

Open up the can of beer or cola and drink 1/4 of it. Cut a couple slices of ginger and garlic and put it in the can. Carefully stick the can up the chicken's butt. He should sit up on it easily, like this:

If you're having trouble balancing him, use his legs! While you're doing all this, get your beau, best friend, mom, grandpa, etc. to help you heat up the grill. When the grill is ready, carefully place him over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird). Cook the chicken with the grill cover on, for about an hour to an hour and a half. Check him at the hour mark. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F in the thigh (juice should run clear when stabbed with a sharp knife). Really, really carefully remove him from the grill. Let him rest for 10 minutes before carving. Don't forget to remove the can before cutting - and be careful! The can will be super hot.

I've also done this in the OVEN! But you'll need a meat thermometer. 350 degrees until the temperature reads 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh (about 1 hr to 1 hr 30 mins). Make sure to put the chicken in a roasting pan to catch the juices (tip: pour a can of baked beans around the beer or soda can [i.e. under the chicken, in the roasting pan]. chicken juices will drip down as everything cooks. makes a tasty (albeit greasy) side dish)

Okay. Good night.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A conference! and tomatoes!


It's an idea so great, you wonder why it hasn't been done before. Well, it hasn't. But it will. Get READY! Get EXCITED! (and get your butt over to http://writeoncon.com/ to thank the genius ladies who are putting it all together!)

WriteOnCon!! The very first online writing conference!!

The WriteOnCon team is celebrating the launch with a bunch of contests on their individual blogs. Here's one from Shannon Whitney: http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com/2010/06/secret-project-revealed.html


Yes. Tomatoes. Heirloom to be exact. One of the top reasons (in my book) why summer is just so awesome.

The double-whammy: heirloom tomato soup + poppy-seed bagel with cream cheese n' chives n' tomatoes (two-toned!)

Recipe for the perfect summer heirloom tomato salad:

+ green leaf lettuce
+ sliced strawberries
+ shucked white corn
+ sliced red & green peppers
+ balsamic dressing
+ thinly sliced prosciutto
+ heirloom tomatoes