Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kate Upton's Carl's Jr. commercial

     Over this past weekend, hubby Steve showed me Kate Upton’s commercial on the Southwest Patty Melt for the fast food joint Carl’s Jr.
     Wow! Talk about sexy.
     A classic patty melt not only got a whole lot hotter, but a WHOLE LOT sexier.
     Steve’s response after seeing the commercial: “I LIKE IT.” And, “I WANT ONE.”
     “The girl or the burger”?I asked.
      “The burger, of course,” he said.
     “Yeah, right,” I responded.
     Yesterday,  Steve calls me at work.
     “I told my brother about the Carl’s Jr. commercial,” he said. “And he watched it.”
     “And, what was his response?” I asked
     He wants to drive to Vancouver and get one, Steve said.
     Vancouver is about 45 minutes away from where we live.
     Obviously, the commercial worked. J
     So, Steve, his brother and sister-in-law head to the nearest Carl’s Jr.
     And the verdict?
     The patty melt is not quite as sizzling as the commercial.
     Steve said it was good … and different, but he prefers his standard Burger King Whopper.
     In the meantime, he brought one of the patty melts home to me.
     And my verdict?
     One bite and the next thing I knew, I was mimicking Kate Upton.
     Just kidding!
     Oh … I found the burger to be rather dry. It needed more “melt.” And the jalapenos were mighty hot.
     For those of you who haven’t seen the commercial, here it is.
     Enjoy!
           

Words that make me think of songs


Is it just me or do songs play in your head when you hear certain words?

The other night I woke up to the rain tapping on the skylight and suddenly “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbit was in my mind, specifically the chorus:
“Well I love a rainy night
It’s such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
Taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadow.”

The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, the Hot Country Singles and the Adult Contemporary Singles charts in 1981.
Impressive!
So much so that I did a little research on Edward Thomas Rabbit who was born Nov. 27, 1941, and died May 7, 1998, from lung cancer.
He grew up in New Jersey and moved to Nashville in the late 1960s.   He started his career as a songwriter and moved on to a recording career after penning hits such as “Kentucky Rain” – love that song – for Elvis Presley in 1969 or 1970 and “Pure Love” for Ronnie Milsap in 1974. Rabbit  wrote that one while eating Cap’n Crunch cereal!  And that was the song that led to a contract offer from Elektra Records.
Later that decade, he helped develop the crossover-influenced sound of country music prevalent in the 1980s with hits such as “Suspicions” and “Every Which Way But Loose.”
The duet “Friends and Lovers” with Juice Newton became the theme song for the super-couple Shane Donovan and Kimberly Brady on the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
I didn’t watch that show, but many people did and I’m sure remember them very well.
Shane was portrayed by Charles Shaughnessy - I do remember him and thought he was so cute - and Kimberly was portrayed by Patsy Pease.
The duet “You and I” with Crystal Gayle was the wedding theme song for Natalie Marlowe and Trevor Dillon on "All My Children." Natalie was played by Kate Collins from 1985 to 1992 and by Melody Anderson from 1992 to 1993. David Jordan played Trevor in 1989 and James Kibberd played him from 1989 to 2000.
I watched “All My Children,” but I don’t remember Natalie and Trevor. My bad!
Back to Eddie Rabbit … seems I’m getting a bit carried away here.
His first single under the Elektra label, “You Get To Me,” made the top 40 in 1975. In 1978, “Forgive and Forget” and “I Should Have Married You” nearly made the Top 10.
After his infant son died in 1985, he put his career on hold. He returned to the music scene in 1988. In 1997, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and after a round of chemotherapy, he released the album “Beating’ the Odds.” In 1998, he released his final studio album, “Songs from Rabbitland.” He described it as “17 songs, jokes and stories I wrote for my kids as they were growing up.”
Throughout his career, Eddie Rabbit wound up having 26 number one country hits and eight Top 40 pop hits.
He also won numerous awards including the Academy of Country Music Top New Male Vocalist in 1977, the Music City News Country Songwriter of the Year in 1979, the BMI Song of the Year for “Suspicion” in 1980, the BMI Two Million-Air Award for “Kentucky Rain” in 1994, and the BMI Three Million-Air Award for “I Love a Rainy Night” in 1996.

My friend Deanna and I saw Eddie Rabbit in Reno with Charo (cuchi-cuchi) back around 1978, if memory serves me right.  It was a great performance and we had a wonderful few days of vacation. My first real vacation without my parents. We even spent some time at Lake Tahoe. I remember the water being so very crystal clear.

Anyway ... back to the songs popping into my head. 
When I  blogged about it being wet, cold and windy, guess what song came to mind? Yep, that’s right. It was “Windy” by the Association.
“And Windy has stormy eyes
That flash at the sound of lies
And Windy has wings to fly
Above the clouds (above the clouds)”

And then, awhile back, we had a light dusting of snow overnight. The roads had been wet and, naturally, froze, so when I pulled out of the driveway, I felt the slipperyness - is that even a word? - on the road and the next thing I knew the Paul Simon song "Slip Sliding Away" was going through my head.
The parking lot at work was a sheet of ice. Too bad I didn’t have a rig I could’ve "cut some cookies" in and had a little fun. J
            I know the words to the song don’t have anything to do with sliding on the road, but … it still popped into my head.

   “Slip sliding away, slip sliding away … You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away.”
            Well, I guess I could say the nearer I got to work going down the hill, the more slip sliding I did, which was kinda true. Who cares? Doesn’t matter. The words pop in and the words pop out for no reasonable explanation!
            I could go on and on and on, but ... enough is enough.
            Have a great day!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Wet, windy and cold


My drive to work this a.m.  was wet, windy and cold – 39 degrees worth of cold. Thank goodness I was in my toasty car and not walking. I was nearly blown over when I got out of the car and trekked across the parking lot into the building where I work.
            The howling wind woke us several times during the night. A quick check of the forecast  by Steve this morning showed the winds were 24 miles per hour. I think they were higher, but that’s just me.
A friend posted on her Facebook page that on their way home from the gym a tree was down on their road. They had to drag all the branches and the tree out of the driveway just to make it back to the house.

Outside the Heathman Lodge

This nasty weather makes me wish I were at The Heathman Lodge, one of our favorite places to stay. The fabulous lodge is only 45 minutes away. It is next to a freeway and a shopping mall, but surrounded by trees, so when the leaves have fully come out, you don’t see the freeway or hear the noise of cars barreling down it.
The lodge was built from woods of the Northwest forests and basalt from the ancient volcanic flows of the Columbia River Gorge. It was designed to express the “beauty and spirit of the Pacific Northwest,” bringing the splendor of the outdoors to the city, according to its website.
 And it’s true!
One step into the lobby and you feel as if you’ve been transported  to a ski lodge on a mountain top. The ambience is fabulous! The paintings, carvings, textiles and sculptures are gorgeous.

Whenever we can afford to, we like to spend a night or two at the lodge and enjoy the amenities. Well, most of them, that is. We say we will slip into the pool and spa or check out the health and fitness center, but because the room is so comfortable, we wind up in the room for hours at a time listening to music, reading, sitting on the private deck, enjoying the jetted tub and the electric fireplace, ordering room service.

One of the suites

We certainly enjoy drinks by the fireplace with soft piano music in the background or when it’s sunny and warm, sitting by the outdoor koi pond.
Of course there is world-class dining in the Hudson’s  Bar and Grill. Award-winning chef Ray Delgado designed the menu chock full of Northwest cuisine.
Close your eyes and imagine eating a Pepper Crusted New York Steak with red potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a brandy cream sauce. Or  the Angel Hair Pasta and Prawns cooked in garlic, red chilies, fennel, white wine, butter and lemon. Or the Hudson’s Meatloaf with forest mushrooms, horseradish mashed potatoes and charred carrots. Oh, and I can’t forget the Northwest Seafood Stew with salmon, clams, mussels, prawns and scallops in a tomato fennel broth. Oh my!
Breads and pastries are baked fresh daily in the open kitchen so the aromas permeate your nose and make your mouth water.

Fireplace in the lobby

Check out the website at www.heathmanlodge.com for complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menus along with the Hudson’s Hour special menu from 4 to 6 p.m. daily which includes Sauteed Mussels and a Tillamook White Cheddar Burger among other offerings. And don’t forget to try one of the microbrews, wines or cocktails.
Whether you just stop in for a bite to eat, a cold beverage or spend the night, you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

     While cruising through the Pinterest boards, I came across a photo for a Peanut Butter Sheet Cake that looked quite yummy. Wound up going to the website where the recipe was posted - The Girl Who Ate Everything at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/
     Christy, the blog's author, received the recipe from Nina Jones, who sent it to her after reading Christy's post about her sister and hubby having a tough time getting pregnant and whose doctors told her to eat a lot of calories during the early stages of embryo implanting. 
     Apparently, she ate a jar of peanut butter a week just by consuming it on a spoon! Christy writes: "The secret, in my opinion, was in the peanut butter." Her sister gave birth to a girl.
     Nina's recipe is below. 
     Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the number of calories and amount of fat in this recipe. LOL 


Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
     Mix in a pan and bring to a boil:
     1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
     1 cup water
     1/2 cup butter
     Mix together and add to ingredients in pan:
     1 cup sugar
     1 cup brown sugar
     2 cups flour
     1 teaspoon salt
     1 teaspoon baking soda
     Mix well and add to ingredients in the pan:
     2 eggs
     1/2 cup buttermilk
     1/2 teaspoon vanilla
     Stir everything in the pan well and pour into a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet pan (jelly roll pan). Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
     For the frosting, mix in a pan and bring to a boil:
     3/4 cup butter
     6 Tablespoons buttermilk
     1/2 cup peanut butter
     Take off the stove and add:
     3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
     1 Tablespoon vanilla.
     Pour mixture over warm cake.

Rambling on a Sunday

             Ahh. It's Sunday – the day of rest and one of my favorite days of the week. And what day is my favorite, you ask? Honestly, I like them all.
 Of course, I look forward to Friday because then the weekend starts. Woo! Hoo!
On Saturday, we can sleep in if we want. And, sometimes, I want … but I seem to wake up between 4 and 5 a.m. because that’s when I start my days during the work week. It’s OK, though … I doze back off and leisurely rise around 6:30 or 7 a.m.
I like Wednesday because it's "Hump Day." Thursday means one more day until Friday. Monday is the first day of the work week and usually a really busy day and Tuesday means Monday is over. :-)
But hey, I’m getting carried away here. Back to Sunday.
Hubby and I enjoy a leisurely morning sipping coffee before we embark on one of our favorite pastimes this time of year, watching NASCAR racing on TV. When we win the lottery, we are going to buy a fancy-shmancy motor home and hit the NASCAR racing circuit … figure out what races we really like and then go to them every year.
Anyway … this morning is no exception. We enjoyed our coffee, a French Roast from Trader Joe’s (more about that store later). The canister says it’s a “dark roast – strong and rich.”
Trader Joe's French Roast
The back reads: “Sitting in a sidewalk café in Paris, taking in the views of the Seine, the Champs Elysees or perhaps the Louvre. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?”
Well, yes indeed.
“We’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s not Paris, it’s the coffee. Trader Joe’s French Roast Coffee brings the beauty and wonder of the City of Light to your cup, in the form of a dark, rich brew with full strong flavors. A long, slow roast brings out the natural oils in the beans, giving them their intense color and glistening visage.”
Are you convinced? I am. But there’s more.
“Whether you’re searching for a less expensive alternative to a trip across the Atlantic or simply a great cup of coffee, our French Roast Coffee will make your dreams come true. Oui oui!”
            Hmmm. Make my dreams come true? That’s stretching it a bit.
            Bottom line: The coffee is great, whether you drink it black, with a little sugar and cream or with your favorite flavoring. Mine happens to be cinnamon and vanilla.

            So, now on to Trader Joe’s.  Oh, how I love thee. Let me count the ways – the products, the prices, the atmosphere.
            The company has a lot of history dating back to 1958 when Joe Coulombe founded the first store as the Greater Los Angeles area chain of Pronto Market convenience stores.
 It’s been reported that Joe developed the idea of the Trader Joe South Seas motif while on vacation in the Caribbean. At the time, Americans were traveling and returning home wanting the food and wine they ate and drank while on their trips.
And, thank goodness, Joe decided he could satisfy those customers and opened his first Trader Joe’s in 1967 in South Pasadena, Calif. That store is still in operation!
The rest, as is said, is history.
Trader Joe’s was ranked the second-best supermarket chain in the nation in the May 2009 issue of Consumer Reports. What’s the first, you ask? Some chain called Wegmans. Personally, I’ve never heard of it, probably because the stores are on the East Coast and I’m on the West Coast.
Trader Joe's facade
The Trader Joe's company describes itself as “your neighborhood grocery store.” Gourmet foods, organic foods, vegetarian foods, unusual frozen foods and imported foods are sold along with domestic and imported wine and beer; and staples such as bread, cereal, eggs, coffee, produce and dairy products.
You can buy personal hygiene products, vitamins, flowers and cleaning products; along with juices and canned goods.
I love their little cans of smoked trout. Steve love’s the Trader Joe vanilla crème filled cookies. And the pastas, yum. My faves are the Spinach and Chive Linguine, the Lemon Pepper Pappardelle and the Organic Vegetable Radiatore.
The Spinach and Chive is great with sun-dried tomatoes.

We don’t have a Trader Joe’s in the city where I live, but there is one about 45 minutes away. We make a day trip of it when we can go. We treat ourselves to Starbucks coffee – White Chocolate Mocha for Steve and a Caramel Macchiato for me – before we head down the freeway. We plug Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons  “Caribbean Breeze” CD into the CD player, buckle up and enjoy the ride.
If we’re really ambitious and have the cash, we stop at Costco. The final stop before heading home is Barnes and Noble.
What a great way to spend the day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Essential Oils

    Check out these links to a series of articles on essential oils I wrote for the newspaper where I work. 
     One is titled "Fragrances can transport us back into time."           
     One is on my top 10 favorite essential oils.
     And the last one is on the history of essential oils.
     If you are interested in essential oils, they are worth reading. 





Lovely

    I couldn't resist sharing this lovely photo of petals. Someone spent quite a bit of time creating this little beauty. Love the colors. They remind me of spring, which is on its way.