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Happy New Year - Sayonara 2011!

Don't look back folks, it's a new year. Time to plan big for the future, start projects, turn over leaves etc, etc... in other words, time to get off that ass and get moving. This little video ought to inspire you, if it doesn't make you restless first. It's about three minutes of people walking and walking and walking... always away from you... leading you into the unknown. I found the journey mesmerizing. Come on and take a walk with me?

Keep On Walking from Brian Carroll on Vimeo.


Mmmm cookies - or, how to have your celebrity and eat them too.

Well, the holidays are officially coming to a close and I've gotten into a nasty habit of baking and eating cookies over the last few weeks. Seriously, if a cookie has found it's way into my path, it hasn't been allowed to linger for long. So, in an effort to change my sugar-scarfing ways, I decided to LOOK at pictures of cookies online instead of looking for cookie recipes. Imagine the crazy things I found, readers, just imagine!

There seems to be no end to how we will celebrate those famous and infamous folks we collectively admire. We write about them, chase them down in the streets and bake little treats and decorate them with their beautiful faces. That doesn't sound creepy does it? Anyhoo, upon my cookie quest I curated this cute collection of celebrity cookies that I thought you might enjoy.

I had to start with these awesome Glee cookies - they're done so well I'd hate to eat them (yeah right). Actually, they look quite a bit better than the show has looked this season. All the characters are pretty recognizable - although not sure which is Britney and which is Quinn, nor am I sure what's up with Mercedes' hair, but who cares, it's a cookie for crap's sake. Regardless, there's something for everyone in the slideshow below: a little Britney Spears, some Justin Beiber, some homemade Spice Girls and Weird Al and a dash of Willie Nelson just for fun. 

Cookie sources: • • •


An early 80's obsession - the Judy's

There once was a little band from a suburb of Houston known to those (in the know) far and wide as The Judy's. A funky little punk band that eschewed fame and fortune for fun and some of the catchiest tunes you'll ever hear. If you know them, you most likely love them - whether you're 8 or 80. My 9 year old niece has them on her ipod and so do I. She loves Milk and I love Guyana Punch, how age appropriate of us. 

David Bean, 2008 SXSWIn the late 70s, a little punkpop trio was born in Pearland, Texas and they proceeded to blow teenage minds with their infections songs. They had everything, quirky lyrics, interesting instruments, and funky beats - the makings of every successful earworm. I know I can't look at a cow without humming "Moo" or pour a glass of milk without singing "it's fortified with vitamins, it's pasteurized, I love it." (note: i don't actually love milk. blech.) 

If you grew up in the 80s in the Houston area, it is likely you developed a maniacal devotion to the Judy's. Personally, I picked up my LPs at the Vinyl Edge record store  on Steubner Airline...(I think it's even still there!) I'm pretty sure I bought the Washarama album at least three different times, probably on cassette too. Whenever I pass along their music to someone, they're incredulous that they've never heard of them. It's the kind of music that never met a stranger, it's smart and friendly and fun to be around.

The band was comprised of lead singer and main songwriter David Bean, Dane Cessac on Drums and Jeff Walton on guitar. The band was poised to be huge, but stepped back from the lure of superstar status. After opening for big bands like the GoGos and B52s, they decided to stay small and just play for their fans and have fun. They stayed together into the early 90s and stayed out of the public eye until an appearance at 2008's SXSW. How did I miss that??

Here's a short documentary on the band featuring interviews with band members, music editors and rare video footage! Check it out, I'll wait til you get back.....

In 2007, the band opened their own label Wasted Talent Records where you can currently buy their merchandise. ( Go do it immediately ) I only ever had their music on vinyl until I stumbled across it a few years ago and had to buy the super deluxe combo-one-of-everything package. No regrets, folks, none at all. If you like to taste before you try, click here to listen to some of their tunes

Here's a video of them at the Agora Ballroom in 1981 singing their Jonestown memorial classic, Guyana Punch. I wake up with song in my head every few months, craving Kool-Aid of course. Enjoy.

I've always thought the Judy's should be shared with everyone, young and old. So once you get hooked, tell a friend. Share a smile.  If you don't you'll most likely die a death from being forced to listen to the Bay City Rollers featuring Liberace and Miley Cyrus for the rest of eternity. Please & thank you.



Bellybuzz Roundup


And now for something completely different - nuns jumping on trampolines. 

I don't know about you, but every movie should have a sequence with bouncing nuns... I feel it humanizes the Catholic church. Just sayin'. This little clip from 1967's Bedazzled with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook is a personal fave. I reluctantly admit to loving the remake with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley too, for different reasons (no nuns, gasp!, but crazy sensitive Brendan crying on the beach tickles me to no end). If you haven't seen the original, do yourself a favor and give it a try... are the nuns alone not enough to convince you? Really? Then I'll throw in a lingerie clad Raquel Welch to sweeten the pot. Oh, you're watching it now? That's what I thought.


Random Facts #3 - Breakfast Cereal


1. The first ready-to-eat breakfast cereal was invented in 1863 by James C. Jackson. It consisted of whole grain flour dough baked into dry leaves, broken into chunks and baked again, and then ground into even smaller chunks.... we know it by another name today - granola.

2. One bushel of wheat will make 53 boxes of cereal... somewhere around $150-200 MSRP. That's about what we go through at our house in one year - a box each week or so.

3. Mud & Bugs is the name of a cereal tied in to the popular Lion King merchandising machine. Not sure why they thought that mud and bugs sounded like an appetizing way to start the day, unless you’re a weasel.

4. Since the Quaker Oats man became the first registered breakfast cereal trademark in 1877, they've been synonymous with characters like Tony the Tiger, the Trix Rabbit, and Post's Sugar Bear. In 1952, a graphic artist submitted Tony the Tiger to a Kellogg’s Cereal Mascot contest where he had to compete against 3 other potential finalists: Katy the Kangaroo, Elmo the Elephant, and Newt the Gnu. (A gnu, really Kelloggs?) Tony was the clear winner and later given the prestigious title of official mascot of Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes.

5. The most popular cereal in the US is Cheerios. Duh.

6. Will Keith Kellogg was the founder of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1906. In 1894, he was trying to improve the diet of hospital patients, searching for a digestible bread substitute using the process of boiling wheat. He accidentally left a pot of boiled wheat to stand and the wheat became tempered and soft. When Kellogg rolled the softened wheat and let it dry, each grain of wheat emerged as a large thin flake. The flakes turned out to be a tasty breakfast treat. Viola! Mr. Kellogg had invented corn flakes.

7. Rice Krispies Treats were invented sometime in the 1920s or 30s by Mildred Day and the staff at the Kellogg Company home economics department as a fund raiser for Camp Fire Girls. My mom has a bowl she keeps exclusively to make them in the microwave. She can whip up a batch in under 5 minutes… no joke!

8. The average preschooler sees 642 cereal ads per year just on television, almost all for cereals with the worst nutrition ratings. Hey kiddie, kiddie, wanna try some fruity, chocolate sprinkled sugar bomb-ios? 

9. Lastly, I’d like to share my favorite recipe using cereal as an ingredient, Corn Flake Green Bean Casserole. Okay, stop rolling your eyes. This is not your grandma’s dump-in-a-can-of-cream-of-mushroom-soup-casserole recipe… it’s rich, creamy and srumdillyicious. It’s the only food I even remotely care about at holiday feeding time!

  • 2 10 oz. Pkgs cut green beans (frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 pint sour cream
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1/2 lb. Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Individual serving pkgs cornflakes, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted (for topping)

INSTRUCTIONS: Cook beans as directed on package. Drain. Combine butter, flour, salt, pepper, sugar and sour cream in sauce pan. Cook and stir (add onion) until it thickens. Combine beans with sauce and our into a buttered 1 1/2 qt. Casserole dish. Cover with the grated cheeses and top with crushed cornflakes. Drizzle melted butter over entire dish. Bake 20 minutes at 400. Serves 6-8.