Thursday, January 29, 2009

I may be running this in the ground, but....

The other Bama Santa has appeared! Mama went to a meeting in Thomasville this morning with other bank employees from several different branches. While she was there, one of the ladies from the Butler branch, who Mama had been talking with about the Santa mystery, asked her if she every found it. She said no, and they were talking about what could have happened to it and how strange it was that the thing just disappeared. A lady from another Thomasville branch overheard them, and she told Mama that there was a package just like that sitting at her bank. So Mama left that bank and went and picked it up.

So I now have 2 Tree Top Bama Santas, a new Butlerfest T-shirt, and a new Butlerfest apron! Who could ask for anything more.......

Friday, January 23, 2009

Santa has been found!!!

Heather cornered me when I came in the door Wednesday night. It seems that she was still on the Santa hunt, and when she googled "Tree Top Santa," the first thing that came up was my blog. She said, "You've told everybody about this whole fiasco!" I merely explained that I was enlisting the help of my readers in the search to find the non-existent 2008 Santa. But I realized that she was still looking hard for one, although I had given up hope.

The one I got in Butler never turned up. We know it made it to the bank in Gilbertown, but from there it has disappeared. So maybe somebody else thought they needed it more than we did. But the girls at Butler City Hall had turned it into a care package for me, and I just hate that I have lost my Butlerfest apron and t-shirt.

Anway, yesterday, Heather goes down to visit her parents in Demopolis. Before she left, she got on the company's website looking for dealers in Demop or anywhere close by. Frank's Drug Store in Greensboro was listed, and when Heather phoned them, they had 2 left! So she made a detour through Greensboro and got one of them. She said the lady at Frank's was beside herself that she was able to help. We will definately be shopping with them in the future, and I really don't know why we had not checked in Greensboro before now.

When Heather came in last night, she handed me the bag with the box in it. Wow, was I surprised! I had decided that we were just going to be missing a year. We are both extremely pleased, and I commend her for a job well done! We phoned Mama and let her know that Heather had found one. "Hallelujah, and Praise the Lord!" was her response.

Ho ho ho!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Slow days, but a good potroast!

I haven't posted in the last several days because I haven't had a whole lot to write about.

We did go to a birthday dinner for our friend, Camilla Huxford, last Friday night at Kozy's. We always love to go to Kozy's because, besides having some of the absolute BEST food in Tuscaloosa, the atmosphere is like none other. It's a dark restaurant, with dim lighting and black walls. But covering those walls, are dozens and dozens of old pictures of movie stars and old movie posters! If there isn't somebody playing jazz on the piano, then there will be great old 40's and 50's era jazz music coming through the speakers. I had one of the specials, grouper stuffed with shrimp and artichoke, and I substituted the gouda macaroni for asparagus in an effort to stick to the low-carb diet. Then I blew it by eating a HUGE piece of birthday cake. But it was every bit worth it!

Saturday I headed down to my friend Adam's house in Greensboro. His wife, Katie, writes Serenade Handmade Soap,, and we have all been great friends for years. Well, Katie was out of town all weekend at her mom's, and Heather was working at the hospital all weekend, so the guys were unsupervised! So I went down to Greensboro and we cooked on the grill and played Wii all afternoon and night. I stayed over down there Saturday night, and came back home Sunday morning. It was great! I have got to have me one of those Wii's!

That was really about it for the long weekend. The City was closed on Monday, but I went in to the office for a bit during the morning to catch up on a few things. Then I was basically lazy the rest of the day.

I did stop at Publix Monday and pick up a roast. I'd been having a craving. Now, I'm not a pot roast expert, but I've made pot roast in the Crockpot enough times to have some opinions about how it should be done. There are three things I think are important. First, be sure to brown the meat well before you put it in the Crockpot. I think the browning creates flavor. Second, don't use too much liquid for any crockpot cooking, but especially for pot roast. Third, be sure there is plenty of flavor in the liquids you're adding. All day cooking can make foods bland if there isn't a flavorful liquid. This was a first time trying this recipe, and it was a hit! So good! So I'm gonna share.

Here's whatcha do.....

Balsamic and Onion Pot Roast in the Crockpot
(about 6 servings)

3-4 pound boneless chuck roast
1-2 T steak rub
Black pepper to taste
1-2 T olive oil (depends on your pan)
1/4 cup water to deglaze pan
2-3 large onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1 cup beef stock, reduced to 1/2 cup
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well.

Trim as much fat as you can from roast, and cut if necessary to fit into Crockpot. Rub meat well with steak seasoning and black pepper. Heat heavy pan with small amount of olive oil and brown roast well on both sides. This will take a few minutes; don't rush the browning step.

While roast browns put 1 cup beef stock in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, then let cool slightly and mix in balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. Peel onions and cut into thick slices. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup water and add to sauce mixture.

Place onions in bottom of Crockpot. Put meat on top of onions and pour beef stock mixture over. Set Crockpot to low and cook 6-8 hours, until beef is tender. The meat might be partly submerged in liquid after this much time.

My roast was almost falling apart. It was so good, and was still moist the next day. Ya'll give it a try and let me know whatcha think.

I guess that's about it for now. If anything exciting happens, you'll be the first to know.....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Missing.... Tree Top Santa!

Ok so here's the story. Eleven years ago, Mama started buying me the Alabama Santas for Christmas. That was the first year of the series. Every year since, I have opened the Santa on Christmas morning. Except for this year.

Heather was going to pick up the Santa for Mama this year. She went to one of our local stores, Anna Kate to get it. The lady there showed her a Santa whose name was "Workshop Santa" and told her that it was the one for 2008. So Heather, not being familiar with which Santa went with which year, bought it and wrapped it up to give to Mama to give to me. When we got down to Mama's at Christmas, she realized the mistake. It was last year's. So that one went back to the store, to the displeasure of the Anna Kate saleslady. Too bad.

In the meantime, we get on the phones and online and try to find the 2008 Santa, which is called "Tree Top Santa." There are none left. But luckily, I finally found one at Mr. Discount Drug in Butler, AL. I was so pleased. I used to work on the audit for the Town of Butler so I called the City Hall down there, and had one of the ladies go over and pick it up for me. I called the drug store back, put it on my card, and told them that someone would pick it up. Amy, from City Hall went and got it, bagged it up with a Butlerfest T-shirt and apron, and included a note about Alabama losing the Sugar Bowl (she's an Auburn fan) and took it to the bank. Sounds like a happy ending, huh? Well hang on...

Mama works at a local bank back home and the bank has branches in Butler and Gilbertown. Everything is processed in Grove Hill at the main bank, and the other branches send paperwork, etc. to that bank a couple of times a week. So Mama says to have the City Hall ladies take it to the bank in Butler, and have it sent to her along with their work. Amy took it to the bank. The Butler branch sent it last week to Gilbertown where the work would be picked up. And that's the last anybody has seen of my package. It has disappeared. Mama was there today and nobody knows anything about it.

So who knows what happened to it. Maybe it will turn up. In the meantime, I still don't have the 2008 Santa, and they appear to be sold out everywhere. So I need help. If any of you see one anywhere, please let me know. Mama was very upset that I ended up not getting one, since that is "her thing" to give me for Christmas each year. We thought we had the problem solved, but who knows.... So if you see one, please let me know.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Making Changes...

I have got to do something about our washer and dryer. For some reason, they are shrinking the waistband in my pants! At least that's the explanation I am telling myself. Regardless, something has to be done to solve this problem because I am running out of things to wear to work! If the weather would stay cold, I could wear a sweater and people wouldn't see how tight my pants are, but since it seems like Tuscaloosa is going to remain tropical this year, I gotta make some changes.

So I started back to the gym yesterday. When I got there, I was comforted by the fact that it was much more crowded than it was the last time I was there 2 months ago. I assumed that meant that I was not the only one in this situation. Evidently there is a rash of washer problems all over town.

I have found that working out before work just doesn't get it for me. I may go a couple of times, but I fall off the wagon fairly quickly. After work, I just want to go home. So I don't go then either. But if I can go at lunch, then I can stick with it long enough to get into the habit. I got up and got to the office early, and about noon I headed over to the Y. Today I did the same. So far so good....

We also started back on the diets yesterday. At least I did. Heather had told me that we would diet together, and I actually believed her. We've done the low-carb thing before, and it has worked very well. So that's what we decided to do again. All day long, I stuck to the diet, and last night I decided to fix us some pork chops and asparagus. About the time for Heather to leave the hospital, I thought I'd call to see if she got away on time. The lady that carpools with her answered the phone. Then she shared a bit of information with me that I just could not wife decided to have fajitas and an apple dumpling for lunch! So much for her low-carbing. Cheater.....

Right now I think I could eat 4 apple dumplings. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sugar Bowl Day!

It's Sugar Bowl Day!!!

Roll Tide!!!