Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just Try It: Pork Chili Soup

I am gearing up for a chili cookoff-showdown at work on February 8th. Problem is, I don't really like least the beans.

Nonetheless, Jim and I are planning a strategy to overtake KY3 and KSPR with our awesome chili. We want the glory, man.

We've been testing out some of the most award-winningest chilis ever put on the Interweb...because that's the best place to go for something original and truly homemade, duh!

The following recipe is not a chili-cookoff-winner. However, it does taste good, almost like a tortilla soup. I took it to KSPR today because it went perfectly with the cold weather...and as you can see, the bowl was emp-tay! It looks gross because it's burnt inside the crockpot, but it promises to be delicious (especially on day two!)

The faces of future chili cookoff winners

Pork Chile Chili (or soup)

3 lbs. pork shoulder (or a lean cut of pork), cubed
2 cans stewed tomatoes
3 cups water
2 16 oz. cans of whole green chiles
1/2 t oregano
3 T bacon grease
1/3 c flour
3 onions, chopped
6 garlic gloves, minced

**Melt bacon grease** (you can opt for a light oil!). **Put flour in a gallon-size ziplock bag and add half the pork.** Shake well to coat and cook in skillet. Put aside in a dutch oven. Coat the other half of the pork and add to skillet. Remove meat and place in dutch oven. Add onions and garlic. Add to dutch oven. Stir in remaining ingredients, lower heat and simmer 45 minutes.

1. You do not have to use bacon grease. Olive oil, canola oil, or no oil will do
2. You definitely do not have to bread and fry up your meat! I would, however, use just a little bit of flour to thicken the chili.
3. My thoughts: add lots of black pepper and garlic powder to your meat. I have a feeling chicken would do well if you don't like pork.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I was a ganglion

My cyst and I had become very close during the last 12 years...

I attempted to get rid of it by having it drained and getting cotisone shots,
but my cyst thought I was just kidding about our break-up.

Well, now my wrist-cyst and I are no longer one...
thanks to Dr. Grillot at the Orthopaedic Specialists of Springfield.
I miss you dear pal,
you were my excuse for not doing push-ups.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Thuy ("Twee"), from Bambu, will be celebrating the Lunar New Year on February 7-9. Every customer can pick a red envelope from their money tree (that has Bambu "lucky money" in it.)

They'll also be giving away food samples with your meal, and Thuy's little brother will be doing the dragon dance in the dining room throughout the day. Thuy will even give you a tarot card reading!

By the way, Bambu also has Wii Nites on's free!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Best of 417 Winners...

Whitaker Publishing is giving us a sneak peak of the Best of 417 Awards. The party is so much fun. I went to it last year and saw a lot of, ate at nearly every restaurant in Springfield! At least, it felt that way.

Anyway, here's a sneak peak at the list! Congratulations! You can see the full list in February's magazine which should be out next week. Also, you can go on Friday.

Thanks to Matt Lemmon (417 web editor/GO editor) for the inside scoop!

Top 5 Local Restaurants
1. Ocean Zen
“The It Restaurant of All 417-land.”
Audible oohs and aahs can be heard near its glass-and-metal wine cave near the restaurant’s entrance. As food goes, the Asian/ Western mix is consistently wonderful and inventive.

2. Flame Steakhouse & Wine Bar

3. Bijan’s Sea & Grille

4. Haruno

5. Metropolitan Grill

Best Personal Trainer
Mark Milsap, CoxHeath

Best Bartender
Jeff Busby, Icon Nightclub

Best Live Music Venue
Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre

Best Customer Service
Town & County
Did you know Town & County celebrated its 50th anniversary in October? That kind of staying power can be traced back to one source: customer service. Town & County is filled with long-term salespeople.

Best Steaks
Doe’s Eat Place
Home of the 4.5-pound sirloin. Yow.

Blunt Out of Public Office?

I went to Jeff City today for Blunt's press conference. First of all, it was long. We were in there for about an hour, and I really thought it would take 30 tops. I wonder if a consultant said, "Look, you've just dropped a bomb. You must speak as long as reporters ask questions."??

Anyway, no offense to my fellow journalists, but there are so many pretentious political reporters. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that people are asking questions, but reporters kept asking the same questions over and over and over again... and Blunt kept saying the same things over and over and over again. I thought I was taking crazy pills. It was really annoying, especially when you have 3 tapes to log in the car on the way back.

I looked at my friend Dave and said, "I know these people (reporters) are smart enough to know that they're asking the same questions over again..." I understand that if you push someone, they might eventually say something that might be more of what you want to hear. However, the governor was just not going to say, "Yes! I'm getting a job with Mitt!! That's the reason I'm quitting!" or "Yes! I thought I was going to get creamed by Jay Nixon in the campaign--you're right, I really do believe that I failed at a lot of my policies, like Medicaid!"

Anyway, Blunt says as of now, he has no plans to seek a federal or state job. He says he also has no plans to endorse another Republican.

Blunt says that it's a sad commentary for American politics that people can't just accept the fact that he wants to quit. If he's really telling the truth about "just quitting", I think it will make him more endearing to people...but as the cliche goes--only time will tell!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Try Hazing: MSU's Tri Sigma Does

As many people know, Sigma Sigma Sigma at MSU has been disbanded by its national council for hazing. What an amazing shock to the young women who pledged and were looking forward to spending four years of sisterly love under one roof, bleh.

The chapter got in trouble for apparently playing drinking games, leaving blindfolded women in a cemetery, and forcing a woman to get an application from a strip club, as the News-Leader reports.

It just so happens that I have my own Springfield Tri-Sigma story.

My best friend from kindergarten to high school pledged Sigma Sigma Sigma at Southwest Missouri State. She loved the sorority so much--it was like, the ultimate. I mean she bled purple, y'all! And P.S., I hope she never reads this.

Anyway, she told me so many stories about what she did as a new member of that house. She said that one time the older girls invited the new pledge class over to the house. When they arrived, the older girls came down the stairs in really skimpy lingerie (sounds like a movie, right?!) Then the older girls got in each of the pledge's faces and started yelling things like "whore!" "slut!" for a few minutes to get a reaction from them. WTF? I never got that since the girls who were yelling were the ones dressed like skanks, but oh well.

Other stories included lots of drinking. "Drink bi*&^!!!" and stuff like that...

And when I asked her, "Don't you think that's degrading?" She said "NO! I can't wait to do it to the little bi%^&es next year!" Seriously?

Whatever. To each their own, right? At least that's what I thought at 19, afterall, this was my BFF. So one weekend I drove from Lawrence to Springfield to visit. We went out, did things that stupid college kids do, and then went back to her dorm. The next morning, all of her sorority sisters met in the bathroom to talk about their previous night (they went to a cool Sig Ep party...while we were losers and hung out with some of our other high school friends.) Anyway, I remember one of her stupid friends saying, "God, I'm so hungover right now...I mean look at me! I have Chinese eyes!" (and she made that awesome squinty-face while saying it.) I was just walking out of the stall, and kept walking. I may not have even washed my hands, which, if you know me, means ALOT.

My best friend of, um, oh, 14 years, laughed it off and joked about it...said nothing in my defense...or ever mentioned it again.

I packed my bags and left. I'm usually pretty cool about stupid stuff like that, but I had just had it with all of her uber sorority-ness.

So, my personal feelings are that Tri-Sigma, in a sense, changed my dear friend. So much, that we stopped being friends. Believe it or not, for a few years I had dreams about us making up and being friends again. It sounds cheesy, but it's true.

Another thing that bothers that this is still the perception that many people have of fraternities and sororities. There are good, no great, sororities out there with very intelligent women who would not subject their new members to this kind of treatment.

I don't publicize it, but I was in a sorority at KU, and it was a great experience. As new members, we would get gifts from the older girls who wanted to welcome us into the home. We were expected to get good grades, and we were expected to be involved on campus. We were told the rules and were expected to follow them. Did we break some of them? Sure, but nothing that bad. And man, no one would have ever called me stupid or slutty...I think most of my friends would've walked out of a house like that and turned them in to Panhellenic. Who calls other women names like that...just for fun? And better yet, who would allow themselves to be called that?

I could go on and on about women dumbing themselves's a real shame. So even though I do feel bad for the women in that house who were abiding by the rules, I don't feel an ounce for the women who were mistreating their "sisters". I hope they have learned a lesson--and not just the one about getting caught.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Watch out World

My maid of honor just got a pretty cool job, and I wanted to wish her congratulations! Lucy McShane is now an Assistant Attorney General in Washington, D.C. Yep, she's prosecuting people. Watch out!! I'm very proud of her. Few women are like LGM. I miss her in MO!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Huck Takes Iowa Via Chuck

Pretty dang funny, regardless of you who like.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

#1 Story on for 2007: Strawberry Meth

Even though I no longer work at KY3, a story I wrote turned out to be the most clicked on story on for 2007...and by a long shot. It's a story about strawberry meth, and so I think it's worth discussing.
Strawberry meth was #1 with 295,000 page views; the second most clicked on story was about a Christmas tree controversy at Missouri State with 97,000 page views.

The story was very interesting because I remember getting a lot of emails about it from across the country. I remember one teacher emailing me from North Dakota or Wyoming (can't remember), asking me if she could put the story in her school newsletter. I think I remember strawberry meth supposedly making its way quickly to the area, and that's why people were so interested.

Strawberry meth is apparently flavored to taste like strawberries... the Community Partnership of the Ozarks was concerned about we did the story... but I can't help but wonder if strawberry meth is real or if it is an urban legend. I've heard both. The argument has been that some meth is colored, but rarely is it flavored. I wish I knew, but I haven't done meth for a few years now, so I don't know the latest trend.
but the sad thing is that a lot of kids do meth, with or without the so-called strawberry flavoring. When I was in high school, I remember people doing "crank"...and a lot of "good" kids who turned out to be good adults. I can honestly say I never did it. I remember our biology teacher's wife getting busted for crank at her accounting office, though. How crazy. But the funny thing is that I had no idea that "crank" or "crystal" was meth until I landed my first reporting job in North Carolina. It freaked me out to know that so many of my friends had done meth. And now that I think about it, that explains a lot of their actions... So, I believe if kids were doing it when I was in high school, I'm sure they're doing it now. Actually, I hear that cocaine is more popular these days, but that's only through stories I do at work...

Anyway, here's the story I did back in March at KY3--I can't tell you that it's true that strawberry meth exists, but it is true that our local officials, at one point in time, believed it existed:

WILLARD, Mo. -- A new twist to an old drug may make it more appealing to children. It's called strawberry quick -- strawberry flavoring added to methamphetamine to make it taste more like candy -- and it's already made its appearance in the Ozarks.

The first sighting of strawberry quick was in Willard, not too far from the town's debris dumpsite. It's strawberry flavored and it could be the first of a new trend. It's causing a major buzz with law officers and community groups.

It looks like rock candy, the kind someone might buy as a treat, but there's nothing sweet about these crystals.

"It has a more user-friendly appearance, if you will,” said Capt. Randy Gibson of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.

Strawberry quick is basically meth with pink coloring and strawberry flavoring to remove the bitter taste of just plain meth. It showed up on the west coast in mid-February and, in almost no time, wound up here.

“It was almost overnight,” said Gibson.

Greene County officers recently pulled over a car for a traffic violation and found about two grams of it in a seat. So far, detectives think it’s the only case in this area but that doesn't stop community leaders from worrying about the drug's impact on kids.

"When it's put in that kind of format, people often think it's less hazardous,” said Melissa Haddow, executive director of Community Partnership of the Ozarks. "This may appeal to kids that meth or crystal would not appeal to.”

Haddow compares it to how kids think of alcohol. Many see hard liquor, like gin, as dangerous but, at the same time, see drinks like wine coolers as safe.

"I don't know if it's deliberately targeted to kids but certainly it's going to be more palatable for kids,” said Gibson.

"I don't think it is huge right now in the Ozarks at all,” said Haddow, “but we don't want to glamorize it, that's for sure."

The Community Partnership is sending out surveys to area schools to get an idea of how bad meth is among students and to see how much they know, if anything, about strawberry quick.