31 December 2009

Fun Cartoon Review: Happy New Year!

From Denny: As we send off the end of our calendar year, exchanging for the New Year, here are a few fun cartoons to give you a grin...

*** Update: Check out the latest 2010 funny New Years cartoons where the embed codes are active :)

Best New Years Cartoons 2010

New Years: Funny Quotes, Resolutions Tips, Poems

*** THANKS for visiting and have a safe and Happy New Year! Our full moon hanging low over our Louisiana rooftop in a clear night sky, the first blue moon in 20 years on New Years Eve, is both beautiful and spectacular tonight... and then the clouds covered the sky an hour later...

30 December 2009

Funny New Years Quotes

From Denny: Here's a fun sampling of the funny quotes and more I posted about New Year's. For the full post, check out The Social Poets blog: Funny New Years Quotes, Smarter New Years Resolution Tips - Cheeky Quote Day! 29 Dec 2009.

*** Update: Check out the latest 2010 funny New Years cartoons where the embed codes are active :)

Best New Years Cartoons 2010

New Years: Funny Quotes, Resolutions Tips, Poems

New Years Quotes

* Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. - Bill Vaughan

* The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to. - P. J. O'Rourke

* An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. - Bill Vaughan

* May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions! - Joey Adams

* New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot! Unless, of course, those tests come back positive. - Jay Leno

New Year's Poem

Happy New Year!!

A New Years toast to love and laughter
and happily ever after

A health to you, a wealth to you,
And the best that life can give to you.

Dance as if no one were watching,
Sing as if no one were listening and
Live every day as if it were your last. - Anonymous

Funny New Year's Resolutions

* But can one still make resolutions when one is over forty? I live according to twenty-year old habits. - Andre Gide

* Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man. - Benjamin Franklin

* Your Merry Christmas may depend on what others do for you. But your Happy New Year depends on what you do for others. - Anonymous

*** For the full post, check out The Social Poets blog, Funny New Years Quotes, Smarter New Years Resolution Tips - Cheeky Quote Day! 29 Dec 2009.

*** ALSO: Rare Blue Moon Shines on New Years Eve, Origin of 6 Meanings

8 Easy Yummy New Years Recipes to Warm Your Guests

Fun Kid Recipes, Activities Keep Them Busy For Holidays

*** THANKS for visiting!

29 December 2009

8 Easy Yummy New Years Recipes to Warm Your Guests

From Denny: What can I say? I combined the best of what I found for New Years recipes that are both easy and low cost. I mean, who ever thought of making expensive pesto out of broccoli? What a clever idea!

First up are recipes from the Food Network series star, Claire Robinson, of the "5 Ingredient Fix" show. She shows us how to make memorable food and drinks with a minimum of hassle. After all, we are supposed to be ringing in the New Year! :)

Carla Hall contributes an additional four recipes great for entertaining, one of which is seafood. We love seafood appetizers in Louisiana and include them every time we throw a party!

Now that football bowl games are playing and LSU is about to play theirs soon these recipes are also a great idea for cold weather entertaining.

Featured recipes:

Mini beef Wellingtons
Rosemary Parmesan shortbread
Spiced candied cashews
Big Apple Bubbletini
Grits or polenta on a spoon with shrimp ragout
Parmesan and Walnut Cheese Crisps
Grilled broccoli pesto and cheese fingers
Tomato soup shooters with bite-size grilled cheese

For the video link since this one is not allowed for embedding, go here.

Mini beef Wellingtons

Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: 24 pieces


• 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 24 one-inch cubes
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
• 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
• 1 large shallot, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, such as Dufour, thawed


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season all sides with salt and pepper. Quickly sear the beef on two sides only until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes total; do not overcook. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Add the mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown and release liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and continue cooking until mushroom mixture dries out, is golden brown and shallots are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat to the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

On a work surface, roll one sheet of puff pastry to a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Put teaspoon-sized mounds of mushroom mixture on the pastry, evenly spacing them in 4 rows of 3. Top the mushroom mound with a piece of beef, seared side up. With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into even squares around the meat and mushrooms. Working one at a time, pull two opposite sides of pastry up over each beef piece then fold the ends over the top to make a packet. Invert and place the packets seam-side down on the baking sheet and press them lightly to seal the pastry. Repeat with the remaining beef, mushrooms and pastry.

Bake the Wellingtons until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Rosemary Parmesan shortbread

Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: About 2½ dozen


• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 teaspoon water, if needed


Put the flour, sugar, rosemary, salt and Parmesan into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse just until a soft dough forms; the dough should hold together when squeezed with your hands. If not, add the water and pulse until combined.

Spread a large sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface and transfer the dough onto it. Using the plastic wrap as a guide, form the dough into a loose log along one edge of the long side of the sheet. Roll the dough log, twisting the plastic gathered at the ends in opposite directions until the log is tight and compact, about 2½ inches in diameter. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment sheets or silicone baking mats. Slice the dough log into 1/3-inch-thick slices and place on the lined sheets, about one inch apart. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12-14 minutes.

Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store the shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.

Spiced candied cashews

Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: About 4 cups


• 2 cups raw unsalted cashews
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the nuts, sugar, water and salt into a large skillet over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until water is nearly evaporated and liquid gets syrupy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the spices together in a small bowl.

After 10 minutes, sprinkle the spices over the nuts and stir well. Continue stirring constantly while the water evaporates completely, about 5 minutes. When there is no longer any sugar syrup left in the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and stir the nuts vigorously but carefully in the pan until the sugar seizes and the nuts are evenly coated with crystallized sugar.

Turn the nuts out onto the lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Cool completely before sifting the excess sugar from the coated nuts and storing in an airtight container.

DO NOT touch the nuts at any time while cooking or just afterward. Cooked sugar is extremely hot and can burn instantly when touched.

Big Apple Bubbletini

Claire Robinson, Food Network

Yield: 8 cocktails


• 1 cup fresh apple cider
• 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
• 1/2 cup apple brandy or Calvados
• 1 bottle Prosecco or Cava, chilled
• 1 crisp apple, such as Macintosh, for garnishing


Mix the cider, pomegranate juice and apple brandy in a glass measuring cup or pitcher until combined. Chill until ready to serve.

To make a Bubbletini, pour about 1/4 cup of the cider mixture into a chilled martini glass. Top with ice-cold Prosecco. To garnish, either very thinly slice the apple crosswise on a mandolin slicer and float the wheel in the cocktail, or cut thin wedges from the apple and garnish the rim.

Grits or polenta on a spoon with shrimp ragout

Carla Hall


For grits:

• 1 cup stone-ground grits
• 11/2 cups whole milk
• 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 4 tablespoons butter

For shrimp ragout:

• 6 sliced bacon, chopped finely
• 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
• 1 cup scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• 2 dozen Chinese spoons


In a 5 quart pot, combine milk and stock. Generously season the mixture with salt. Pour grits into the cold liquid and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediate reduce heat to a simmer and continue to stir until grits are soft and creamy — at least 25 minutes. If necessary, add more stock to continue cooking grits. Stir in butter and adjust seasoning if necessary.

While the grits are simmering, prepare the shrimp ragout. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned. Remove bacon from skillet and drain well. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Cook the shrimp until it turns pink. Add lemon juice, bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes.

Spoon hot grits onto Chinese spoons and top with a teaspoon of shrimp ragout.

Parmesan and Walnut Cheese Crisps

Carla Hall


• 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
• 3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, toss Parmesan and walnuts together. Spread mixture evenly on a parchment paper lined sheetpan. Bake until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Break into random pieces.

Grilled broccoli pesto and cheese fingers

Carla Hall

Makes: 16 fingers


For cheese fingers:

• 8 slices white bread
• 6 tablespoons butter, divided
• 4 slices extra sharp Cheddar cheese

For broccoli pesto:

• 2 cups broccoli florets
• 1/2 cup fresh parsley
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 1/4 cup fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
• 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• Salt to taste


For pesto:

Blanch the broccoli florets in salted water until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately immerse the broccoli in ice-cold water to retain the bright green color.

Drain again, and transfer the broccoli to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add parsley, garlic, pine nuts and Parmigiano. Pulse 7 or 8 times until a chunky paste forms.

Pulse again while drizzling in the olive oil. When the mixture reaches the desired consistency, stop and season to taste with salt. Store pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For cheese fingers:

Spread 2 tablespoons of pesto on 1 slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheese, then another piece of bread. Repeat with pesto and remaining cheese and bread.

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet, and add a sandwich. Place a weight, like a foil-wrapped brick, on the sandwich to press it down during the grilling. When the one side is golden, add another tablespoon of butter, turn the sandwich over, and brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Let the sandwiches cool for a bit and then trim the edges. Cut the trimmed sandwiches into 4 fingers/rectangles. The sandwiches may be made a few hours ahead and reheated before serving.

Tomato soup shooters with bite-size grilled cheese

Carla Hall


For soup:

• 1(14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
• 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
• 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
• 1/2 cup sweet potato, roughly chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 2 tablespoon butter
• 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

For grilled cheese

• 4 slices Cheddar or Swiss cheese
• 4 slices of country white bread
• 4 tablespoon butter


For soup:

Strain tomatoes and reserve juices. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the strained tomatoes, season again and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Add the reserved tomato juices, broth, sweet potato, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree until silky smooth in blender.

Serve in a demitasse cup or a shot glass with grill cheese sidecar.

For grilled cheese:

Put 2 slices of cheese between 2 slices of bread.

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet, and add a sandwich. Place a weight, like a foil-wrapped brick, on the sandwich to press it down during the grilling. When the one side is golden, add another tablespoon of butter, turn the sandwich over, replace brick, and brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Let the sandwiches cool for a bit, then trim the edges. Cut the trimmed sandwiches into 2 squares. The sandwiches may be made a few hours ahead and reheated before serving.

Free Clipart

*** ALSO: Fun Kid Recipes, Activities Keep Them Busy For Holidays

*** THANKS for visiting!

26 December 2009

Funny Cartoonists 26 Dec 2009

From Denny: Here's a sampling of what is happening over at The Social Poet this Saturday, enjoy! I just love editorial cartoons; they really capture the mood of the country. It's fun to look back over the year to see what was happening politically in a society as the cartoons often speak more truth than all the news articles which are often funded by some lobby. At the very least cartoons give us the public reactions to what our politicians are doing - or claim to be doing. :) Take a look:

*** For the full post of a slew of funny cartoons, pay a visit to The Social Poets where I park them every Saturday, go here.

*** THANKS for visiting and hope you had a great holiday!

24 December 2009

Original Christmas Poem Story: The Night Before Christmas

From Denny: This fun poem has a lot of riff off imitators that make us smile too! Here in Louisiana there is the Cajun version that follows.

The Night Before Christmas

By Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Cajun Night Before Christmas

By J. B. Kling, Jr. (1973)

Twas the night before Christmas an' all t'ru de house,
Dey don't a ting pass Not even a mouse.
De chirren been nezzle good snug on de flo',
An' Mama pass de pepper t'ru de crack on de do'.

De Mama in de fireplace done roas' up de ham,
Sit up de gumbo an' make de bake yam.
Den out on de by-you dey got such a clatter,
Make soun' like old Boudreau done fall off his ladder.

I run like a rabbit to got to de do',
Trip over de dorg an' fall on de flo'.
As I look out de do'in de light o' de moon,
I t'ink, "Mahn, you crazy or got ol' too soon."

Cux dere on de by-you w'en I stretch ma'neck stiff,
Dere's eight alligator a pullin' de skiff.
An' a little fat drover wit' a long pole-ing stick,
I know r'at away got to be ole St.Nick.

Mo' fas'er an' fas'er de' gator dey came
He whistle an' holler an' call dem by name:
"Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an' Alcee'!
Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an'Renee'!

To de top o' de porch to de top o' de wall,
Make crawl, alligator, an' be sho' you don' fall."
Like Tante Flo's cat t'ru de treetop he fly,
W'en de big ole houn' dorg come a run hisse's by.

Like dat up de porch dem ole 'gator clim!
Wit' de skiff full o' toy an' St. Nicklus behin'.
Den on top de porch roof it soun' like de hail,
W'en all dem big gator, done sot down dey tail.

Den down de chimney I yell wit' a bam,
An' St.Nicklus fall an' sit on de yam.
"Sacre!" he axclaim, "Ma pant got a hole
I done sot ma'se'f on dem red hot coal."

He got on his foots an' jump like de cat
Out to de flo' where he lan' wit' a SPLAT!
He was dress in musk-rat from his head to his foot,
An' his clothes is all dirty wit' ashes an' soot.

A sack full o' playt'ing he t'row on his back,
He look like a burglar an' dass fo' a fack.
His eyes how dey shine his dimple, how merry!
Maybe he been drink de wine from de blackberry.

His cheek was like a rose his nose a cherry,
On secon' t'ought maybe he lap up de sherry.
Wit' snow-white chin whisker an' quiverin' belly,
He shook w'en he laugh like de stromberry jelly!

But a wink in his eye an' a shook o' his head,
Make my confi-dence dat I don't got to be scared.
He don' do no talkin' gone strit to hi work,
Put a playt'ing in sock an' den turn wit' a jerk.

He put bot' his han' dere on top o' his head,
Cas' an eye on de chimney an' den he done said:
"Wit' all o' dat fire an' dem burnin' hot flame,
Me I ain' goin' back by de way dat I came."

So he run out de do' an, he clim' to de roof,
He ain' no fool, him for to make one more goof.
He jump in his skiff an' crack his big whip,
De' gator move down, An don' make one slip.

An' I hear him shout loud as a splashin' he go,
"Merry Christmas to all 'til I saw you some mo'!"

*** THANKS for visiting and have a great Christmas Day!
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