There is absolutely nothing holiday-ish about this photo. Still, when I saw him, I knew my fellow MANhandlers would appreciate his…ball. It’s clearly the focus of the photo, yes? I’m suddenly nostalgic for my days in the soccer keep. I was quite good, you know–recruited for the Miss Budweiser Ladies’ Traveling Team. But that’s another tale for another time. Ogle away while I get the recipe you need for the holidays.
So, every year we have this tradition that we do a predictable holiday meal for Christmas, but for New Year’s Eve, we do a huge Mexican food feast. It was easier to pull this off when we lived in New Mexico (the South simply doesn’t understand tamales or green chili that is not a bell pepper). We are a diligent and resourceful lot, though, and we make it work. The recipe below is ridonkulously simple, clearly unhealthy and guaranteed to taste good. We lean on the latter and ignore the middle altogether for this one night every year.
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 clove of garlic, minced (more if you’re fending off the undead)
1 white onion, chopped (less if you intend to kiss your sweetheart)
1 can chopped green chilies (use two if you’re a chili addict and don’t forget to pick out the skins)
1 large bag sharp cheddar (large means the BIG bag)
2 packages eggroll wrappers
1 bag frozen potatoes OPTIONAL (like O’Brien potatoes but without the peppers–trust me on this)
Small bowl of water
Oil for frying
Heat the oil.
Brown ground beef with garlic, onion and green chilies in a deep pan. (I add the green chilies when the meat’s almost done and use the spoon to spread it around and pick out the skins.) Drain grease off meat and put back in the pan.
Fry potatoes. Drain them well and pat excess grease off with paper towels. (Seems pointless, but trust me. Too much grease is just too much grease.) Keep grease hot.
Add the bag of cheese to the meat and turn the heat on low. Stir it in and make sure it melts well. The meat should stick together really well.
Add the potatoes and mix in.
With on corner of the eggroll wrapper facing you, add a small spoonful of the meat mix. Dip your fingers in the water and trace the edges of the wrapper. Fold the nearest point over the meat, fold the outside corners in and roll. (It’s very important to make sure you get the seams sealed, but don’t mash them. Eggroll wrappers are temperamental and tend to tear out of spite. It’s true. I swear.) Set aside. Repeat the process until you’re out of wrappers, meat or alcohol.
Fry your eggrolls until they’re golden brown. (Usually takes a minute or so.) Remove and drain on a paper towel.
Suggestion: Have someone fry while you roll. It makes things much, much easier because the eggroll wrappers tend to stick to the counter as you set them aside.
Serve with salsa and enjoy! (Really, though? They don’t need it.)
There you have it, my faithful readers — a Tompkins tradition since 1948. Okay, that’s a lie. We started this around 1995. But traditions sound better if they’re older. You’re going to thank me. Your hips will curse my name, but the belleh will be happeh.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, happy holiday season and prosperous New Year full of wonderful new reads. And Mexican Eggrolls.
Guest Blog: A. M. Griffin
Looking for the perfect dangerously good sweet to eat while reading Dangerously Mine?
In honor of my debut Ellora’s Cave release Dangerously Mine (available December 14th) I want to share my favorite sinfully dangerous sweets in the world, Rich Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars.
Some years back I bought Hershey’s Classic Recipes. It’s a sweet cookbook that should be burned with the rest of the books that the world has deemed a threat to mankind.
The particular threat that I’m referencing to is on page 14. If you like to skirt the edge of wiggly-jiggly thighs then I invite you to try this sinfully dangerous sweet.
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups (12-ounce package) Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (can be deleted if needed)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 ¾ cups (10-ounce package) SKOR English Toffee Bits, divided
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking pan.
- Stir together flour and brown sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg; mix well. Stir in 1 ½ cups chocolate chips and nuts. Reserve 1 ½ cups mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake 10 minutes. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over hot crust. Top with 1 ½ cups toffee bits. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture and remaining ½ cup chips over top.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ toffee bits. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Makes about 30 bars
Dangerously Mine Blurb:
After aliens invade and conquer Earth, Eva is transported to a distant slave trading planet. Escape and freedom are her only priority, but none of her martial arts training prepared her for what she faces. She finds herself enslaved to the warrior King Taio. Eva’s drawn to this sexy alien male who ignites her heart and body.
Taio is disgusted with the idea of owning a slave—until now. From the moment he sees her, he knows Eva is his for the taking. Torn between lust and duty, Taio knows nothing will stop him from protecting his little warrior.
Eva pressed her face against the rectangular window in the training room, watching the lights of unknown origin whiz by. She stood in one of the training rooms Ship had sequestered for her. After lunch, she felt more than a little stir-crazy. She needed to work off some of the tension that coiled around her muscles. It took all her strength not to get up and leave the dining hall while Taio’s gaze bored through her back. Did he really have to keep sending those smoldering looks her way?
His lavender eyes locked on her whenever she entered a room. The intensity of his gaze made her body respond in a way that she didn’t want it to. No one would ever consider her to be a coward. But there was something about the way he looked at her that had her frightened.
And that tattoo on his face. Sometimes it intrigued her and other times it made her scared. Who would allow such an intricate drawing to be completed? The pain alone would have been enough to deter any sane person from getting it, alien or not.
His body was a whole different story. It was downright criminal to have a body like his. The man had a body that would make a nun want to sin. He was tall, unbelievably so, but he was all rippling muscle.
This vessel was full of men and the only one who would give her a second glance was Taio. The thought should have given her some type of comfort. Instead of beating off twenty men, there was only one she would have to worry about. There was no mistaking his intentions. Every time he looked her way, it was as if he were willing her clothes to fall from her body. Her only counterattack so far was to stay away from him.
But she did have to agree with Ship, being under the care of Taio was for the best right now. She was fed, the dining hall was open around the clock, which was a plus. Oftentimes she found herself standing in front of the computer, requesting the buro flank with nitlick soup after everyone else was fast asleep. These were the closest thing to Earth food she could find. They had the same taste as chicken and tomato soup.
She was finally clean. Although she would have loved to feel the caress of running water on her skin again, the ionized shower hit the spot. She had clothes, which, although they were tight, were at least clean. And most of all, she didn’t feel her safety was in any type of jeopardy, not at the moment.
She wanted to find Ally, but she had to face the hard facts.
She was far away from home.
In an alien world.
No money whatsoever.
Nowhere to go.
Finally, pulling herself away from the window, she pulled a training bag from the corner to start her workout. Hand-to-hand combat always made her feel primal, the main reason she loved it so much.
Within minutes, her training suit clung to her body, the lightweight material not constricting her movements at all. Perspiration covered her from head to toe, her once tied-back hair hanging wet and loose around her. Her muscles thrived under the workout, coming alive once again.
Heavy breathing behind her caught her off guard. She flipped away, landing in a fighting stance facing the intruder.
Taio stood in the doorway, watching. He gave a curt nod her way, the acknowledgement doing nothing to make her feel relaxed.
“You have good skills, Eva.” He hooked his thumbs in the waist of his pants and leaned on the doorway.
Her name never sounded better.
“Thank you.” She relaxed and straightened, her eyes still watching him. This was his first time speaking to her since their ill-fated first encounter.
She didn’t dare move closer, especially since she still didn’t know his intentions. She didn’t move away either, fearing he would view that as a sign of weakness. So she stood her ground, her body betraying her in the worst way. Her heart sped up a little and her breathing became more labored. Now she found her nipples hardening as her name rolled off his tongue.
I know trouble when I see it.
Eva willed her body to fight against whatever “mojo” he was throwing at her.
Taio walked into the room and took a sword off a rack on the wall. He began flexing it, testing its weight. The gesture caused his arm and chest muscles to ripple with each movement.
“Who taught you fighting moves?” he asked.
“My sensei, he lived back home.”
“Earth,” he said as a statement, rather than a question.
“Yes, Earth. Ann Arbor, Michigan, more specifically.”
She eyed the weapons on the wall. She was trained to use various fighting weapons—sais, kamas, knives, nunchakus, bo staffs and swords. She could show him a thing a two.
She walked over to the rack and took another sword off the wall.
It weighed a ton! No wonder he smirked when she picked it up. Even though she strained to hold it in both hands, she made sure not to let him know. She would give anything to smack that look right off his face. Instead, she concentrated hard on not dropping the sword. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. She dared not try to maneuver it as he had.
“A male taught you?” He sounded surprised.
“Yes. Thirteen Earth years of training.” Taio laughed and shook his head in disbelief. “It’s not unusual on my planet,” she said. “A male can teach a female how to fight or even a female can teach a male.”
He laughed harder and shook his head. “There could never be such a thing on my world.”
She turned away. “I earned a black belt, first Dan in Kyokushin Karate. On Earth I’m considered to be a great fighter.”
“Your people did not fare well in the war against the Loconuist. The fighting techniques of your species mean nothing to me.”
If the sword in her hands wasn’t so heavy, she would have swung it at him.
“We didn’t know how to fight them. We’d never encountered aliens before.”
“Then it is good that I will take care of you from now on.”
Her head snapped around. “I don’t need you to take care of me.”
“You were captured by the Loconuist and the Tresdonians almost killed you.”
She shrugged. “But they didn’t.”
He smirked. “Because I saved you.”
“Thanks, but I can take care of myself.”
“It doesn’t matter. You are my responsibility now. You are my slave.”
Her eyes, squinting and cold, fixed on his. “Ship told me those assholes on that planet gave me to you. I think you got cheated. I’m not a slave. Not yours or anyone else’s.”
“If this arrangement does not suit you, I could turn the vessel around and give you back to the Tresdonians.” He turned from her and put the heavy sword back on the wall rack.
Her heart began pounding in her chest. He wouldn’t… “No. I’m not going back there.” She held her sword tightly in her grasp.
“Then you are my slave.” He stalked slowly toward her. His eyes locked on hers.
“No.” She backed away from him.
This cannot happen.
“You are mine.” He took another step toward her. “You will need to get used to the idea.”
He stopped his advancement. They stood facing each other. Her breathing came out in deep and heavy breaths. Her heart thumped in her chest.
Abruptly, he turned and walked from the room. She blinked at the empty doorway. The cold surface of the wall was against her back. She held the sword close to her chest, shielding her body. She stayed there until her arms shook from the sword’s weight.
She was no one’s slave.
A.M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.
Now available from Ellora’s Cave – http://www.jasminejade.com/p-10561-dangerously-mine.aspx
You can find out what else I’m working on by visiting: http://www.amgriffinbooks.com
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As a child of the Seventy’s, I grew up watching Doctor Who. I loved it; this story of a man with two hearts, who stole a time ship and ran away, who could regenerate into a new body, who chose human companions and showed them the universe. It was a television show that defied the boundaries of time and space and possibility. It was also a show that could be (and still is) very dark at times.
My earliest memory, aside from hiding from Cyberman, is the episode Genesis of the Daleks. Daleks were once humans but adapted for war by Davros, becoming a xenophobic race that wanted to exterminate every other species in existence in a purge of “impurity” that would put Hitler to shame.
When the Doctor finds himself back at the point of their creation, he’s faced with a moral dilemma – allow the most destructive race in the history of the universe to come into being, or become the very thing he wants to stop.
Eventually he decides to walk away, but it was interesting as a child to be presented with that decision and think, for a moment, that the Doctor would kill hundreds to save thousands more. That was the episode that I realised that for all the wonder of the universe, there were still evil things and hard decisions.
When Russell T Davies brought Doctor Who back in 2005, he recreated the Doctor as the survivor of a long and bitter battle – the Time War – which had seen the rest of the Time Lords die. Now the last of his kind, the new Doctor was a harder, angrier hero and his scars ran deep. In episode The End of the World, he brings back the murderous Cassandra and issues his own form of justice – allowing her to dry out and die. This is the regeneration who would, quite possibly, have put those two wires together and wiped out the Daleks.
Things got no better with his next regeneration.
In The Christmas Invasion, the Tenth Doctor’s very first appearance, he battles the Sycorax and, when the leader tries to stab him in the back, he dispatches him with “No second chances. I’m that sort of a man.” Gone is the Doctor with infinite patience, though companion Rose manages to mellow him a little. But when Rose is trapped in an alternative universe, the Doctor – aware that his time is growing short – becomes something else entirely. Breaking the rules for which he’s always stood, he interferes in a “fixed point in time” and saves the first manned mission to Mars (The Waters of Mars), recreating himself as The Time Lord Victorious. After saving three and returning them to Earth, he faces leader Adelaide Brooke and boasts at how good he is, which leads to this exchange
Adelaide: Is there nothing you can’t do?
the Doctor: Not any more.
This defiance only lasts as long as it takes for Adelaide to take control, killing herself and restoring the time line, after which the Doctor realises that he’s gone too far. But Mars is his darkest hour, when he becomes more than a hero. He is the Lonely God, capable of tweaking time itself as he sees fit. When Adelaide shoots herself, he lets go of that terrifying persona, but that darker side is already revealed.
The Tenth Doctor has regenerated again, but the Eleventh, while initially seeming a lighter Doctor, has already suffered a loss. In the recently aired Children In Need special he claims to have “retired” and point blank refuses to help. And in the promotional photos of upcoming Christmas episode, The Snowmen, he appears very much as a Scrooge-like character, lonely and bitter. It’ll be interesting to see if he can be redeemed once more.
Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.
Happy Holidays, everyone! Whether you celebrate or not, I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful end of the year. Today I am Christmas shopping with my husband. We’ve both been busy, and this is the first chance we’ve had to shop. All I can say is…wish me well. 🙂
Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by planning to celebrate after Christmas. This works for us. Of course, his birthday is the day after Christmas, and we’re having a big party with both of my brothers in law because their birthdays are close together. So, we’ll celebrate our anniversary after that. Maybe in February.
I love the holidays. I come from a large family, as does my husband, so we have many people to celebrate with and are so fortunate. I married an Italian, but my family is mainly Irish. So, as I head off to brave shopping with my stubborn Italian, I leave with you a blessing that strikes a chord with me, not only because I’m Irish, but that I (and several of our authors here) visit a dark, paranormal world often in our thoughts.