‘Slap Yo Mama’ Cornbread

I worked on this recipe with the Mrs. over and over until we got it exactly how we wanted it and I think we crushed it, but I’ll let you be the judge. The kids made the muffins in the pic above over the 4th and they were a smash hit.

If anything ever made you get so excited you might slap yo mama, this is it, but resist as that kind of stuff cannot be condoned. Anyhow, here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Cornmeal
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbspn Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Tspn Salt
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt (I use Non Fat Greek…guess it makes me feel better!)
  • 4 oz. Apple Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Butter
  • 1 Ear Fresh Corn
  • Optional: Want to change it up a bit, try mixing in some minced jalapeno or shredded coconut (I dust the top with coconut as well, before putting it in the oven)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Remove kernels from ear of corn and set aside. Cold whip the butter. Combine butter with other ingredients including corn kernels into a batter. Grease a pan w/ a little butter (for this I like to use either tiny muffin cups or a square cast iron pan but do what you like) and sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal in each cup or on the bottom. Pour batter in cups and bake approximately 22-25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in it and it should come out clean so you know it’s done.

Let it cool down just a bit and get after it…goes amazing with this Shrimp Creole by the way. Enjoy!

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Friends…Choose Wisely

“A friend is one to whom you can pour out the content of your heart, chaff and grain alike, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away”

Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. If as the saying goes, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, who are those 5 and are they the ones you know they should be?

As my beautifully wise Mom told me at one point when I was a boy, true friends you can probably only count on one hand… the kind that will drop everything just to help you regardless of what is going on in their own life. Regularly tell these people you are grateful for them…they are nearly impossible to replicate.

If you’re married, consider that your significant other is probably your best friend… do you treat them that way? If not, time for you to do better.

To make more friends, ask yourself at the end of the day…”who did I help today?”… you have to take a risk to be somebody’s friend… put yourself out there. See your relationships as the place you go to give, not a place to take.  Friendships of convenience in the moment usually end poorly…look for long term potential.

Always be elevating your associations…not for more money but for people that will challenge you. Really good friends will help push you out of your comfort zone… associate with people that will do you this kindness.

Could it be possible that some person whom you consider to be a friend is in reality your worst enemy because of his negative influence on your mind? Sometimes the truest friends come in disguise. You may not recognize their true beauty at first. The same is true in reverse. Choose wisely!

“It doesn’t matter how many friends you can count, but how many you can count on. It is more about quality than breadth… go deep” -Jason Gaignard

Texas Style Smoked Brisket

Nothing reminds me of my early years growing up in Texas than a beautifully smoked brisket. This one is lovely…

Ingredients:

  • 10 lb brisket

Rub:

  • 2 parts brown sugar
  • 2 parts sea salt
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part paprika

Directions:

  • I have a small Weber smoker (and I love it for its portability), so I have to cut my brisket in ½ beforehand (love me or hate me for it, it doesn’t fit otherwise)
  • Rinse brisket and blot dry
  • Score it in a cross hatch on the fatty side
  • Generously apply rub all over
  • Wrap in plastic wrap overnight
  • Fire up the smoker to 225F and put brisket on fatty side up and let it go for about 3 hours (I used hickory for this one, but love some mesquite and Texans swear by it)
  • Remove brisket and double wrap it in tin foil and put it back on for 3 hours…baste in it’s own juices about halfway
  • Check temperature…done should be about 190F
  • Remove it and let it rest for an hour. Cut it across the grain and see how you did…it should be beautifully moist and tender with a nice smoke ring

At this point, you can slice it or chop it, and apply your favorite BBQ sauce as desired…my favorite is a slider with a little coleslaw on a Hawaiian roll…heaven!

And, if you want something nice to wash it down with, this Grand Marnier Gold Margarita works fabulously!

My 5 (6…just found a new one) Favorite Apps

Here are some of the apps on my phone that get the most use that some of you may not use or may not have known you even had a need for:

My Fitness Pal: I think of myself as a pretty good eater, but this app really forces you to see what you are putting in your body and think about the portions…Baby Back Ribs = 1360 calories + 2 IPA’s = 500 calories = a full day’s worth of calories for me. Now I’m not a food freak, but that’s a day’s worth of other food I could be eating…I love my ribs and micro brews, but I could do a steak for 200-300 calories, a nitro stout for 120 (or my new favorite a Deep Eddy Ruby Vodka on the rocks for 70) and still have lots more eating time to spare…blam! This one helped me lose 15 pounds in 4 weeks…and I’m still going.

YELP: Yes, I’m a Yelper. I love food, eating out, and sharing the good stuff with others who enjoy the same. Here’s one of my posts on eats in North County San Diego and here’s my space on Yelp (T-Money M.)

Headspace: When my mind is running a million miles an hour or I’m freaking out about whatever is making me freak out for the day, this quick 10-15 minute meditation app is legit…yeah, yeah, yeah, I know…freaky California boy, but try it and you’ll see how good a job it does of clearing your mind…just do it!

Duolingo: Fantastic, free language app. I suck at languages and not even saying this has helped me improve as I have to put the time in, but when I do have time and can put a little in, this is a fun way to learn it

Stitcher: When I’m killing time in the car and I’ve already run through all my music for the 2,000th time, I love digging in to some podcasts. There are a million out there, I can start and stop as I like and actually learn something on the go. Here are some of my favorites:

Blinkist: Just ran across this one recently. I have a massive backlog of books I want to read and no time. This is basically Cliff Notes on steroids (text or audio)…great book summaries I can digest in a fraction of the time…love it! 25 books done in just a couple of weeks part time.

Any suggestions back, please leave a comment. ‘Preciate ya!

Beer Butt Chicken

You’ve probably all done a beer can chicken at some point…if not, it is a glorious thing to behold. I’ve done a few myself, but found this fantastic recipe on All Recipes…really moist (as usual), but makes a really nice sweet crispy skin. I cook a few up, tear them apart, eat what I want and freeze down for later…they freeze great although the skin doesn’t stay as nice and crisp. I’ve changed it up slightly by adding just a bit of cayenne to add a little heat, but absolutely nothing wrong with the original, here it goes…

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I reduced the sugar a little from the original and replaced with a little heat below)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 (12 fluid ounce) can beer…I like a Tecate…keeps moist and doesn’t change the flavor up too much
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (this is my slight change as I like to add a bit of heat)
  • 1 whole chicken

Directions:

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, about 375 degrees F. Mix all ingredients except beer in a small bowl. Place the half-full can of beer in the center of a plate.
  2. Wash chicken off and discard any giblets and neck from inside of chicken; drain and pat dry. Fit whole chicken over the can of beer with the legs on the bottom; keep upright. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mix into the top cavity of the chicken. Rub the remaining seasoning mix over the entire surface of the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken, on the can, directly on the grill. Close the lid and grill the chicken about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Use a thermometer and get it to about 180 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the grill and discard the beer can. Let it rest about 10 minutes and dig in!

Grand Marnier Gold Margarita

I was a bartender for 3 years in college and have enjoyed making cocktails ever since. My favorite is a Grand Marnier Margarita (call it a Cadillac, call it top shelf, whatever, Grand Marnier makes all the difference!). There are lots of arguments about what is the best tequila to use. My favorite is Jose Cuervo Gold (this isn’t my favorite sipping tequila…that may go to a Don Julio 70 or a Maestro Dobel Diamante…thanks to some of my friends down in Guadalajara, but it is my favorite for this margarita). So, here goes:

  • 2 cups Tequila
  • 1/2 cup Triple sec
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or GrandMa (as my college bartender friends affectionately called it)
  • 1 1/2 cup Water (or just ice to cool it all down)
  • 1/2 cup lime/lemon juice…my preference here is Meyer Lemons (or swap out a little for Orange Juice for a little orangier flavor)
  • 1/4 cup Sugar (or sub in an infused simple syrup…Jalapeno is my favorite here)

Mix it up, chill, salt a rim if you like (or switch it up and put a little Tajin on the rim for a little more spice), and pour over ice. Put your feet up and watch the day go by!

Infused Simple Syrup

Here is a very simple recipe to help you make some really nice flavored simple syrups that you can use to make your favorite cocktails or just a nice flavored lemonade, etc. The nice thing with them is you can make them up, stick them in a mason jar, pop them in the refrigerator and just break them out whenever you want to infuse some nice flavors into your next drink. The process is really simple:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • AND, whatever you want to infuse…Jalapeno, Rosemary, Mint, etc.

Bring the water to a boil, add the sugar to the boiling water and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add your flavoring of choice and boil for about a minute. Remove it from the heat and let it steep for about 1/2 an hour. Depending on what you are working with, pour the cooled off syrup through a strainer into a mason jar, put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator.

Now just add as a sweetener to anything you are making to just enhance the flavor…lemonade, margaritas, etc….heavenly!

Secret Formula to Getting What You Want: Give, Give, and Give Some More

“I shall pass this way but once. Therefore any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again” –Stephen Grellet

Wow, this is a hard one: ever feel like your giving is a one way street? You can’t do anything about the other side, except keep giving. After giving enough, you have every right to ask, but don’t count on it being favorable. Here are some thoughts on giving:

  • Pay it forward… give first
  • Give, give, give, give, give, then ask if you must
  • Do the unexpected or no one will ever remember you. Tell a good story of why you do things this way

If there is already an exchange of giving:

  • Focus your life on appreciation, not expectations…let gratitude fill your soul
  • Always give a little more than you promise… under promise and over deliver

If you give without thoughts of receiving, whatever it is will grow…isn’t that the idea anyway? Be grateful and be wary of desire… things in excess tend to become their opposite.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” -Albert Einstein

Mama’s Boracho Beans

This is a recipe that I have morphed over time. My mama gave me the starter on it (thanks Mama) and I’ve kind of added and changed it up from time to time (added bacon, added spicy sausage, added or taken away more heat). Here go some of my favorite beans that go groovy with just about any Mexican dish and could even be a main dish on its own. These also freeze extremely well, so I’ll double the batch and have more for later. Enjoy:

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 32oz. package dry pinto beans (soak overnight)
  • 4 garlic pods, minced
  • 1/2 large purple onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno (adjust as you like for heat)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro
  • 2 – 15oz cans of chicken broth
  • 1 – 10oz can of Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
  • 3 cans beer (hence the “Boracho”)…I like tecate, but change it up as you like to add more flavor if you like
  • 2 tbsp Tony Chaucer’s or seasoned salt (or to taste)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Add spicy italian bulk sausage (Sprout’s has a great one) or bacon if you like

 

Directions:

Cook sausage or bacon and set aside. In a large pot, add a bit of olive oil and cook onions and  garlic for about 5 minutes. Add all ingredients to the pot except cilantro and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until beans are soft, add cilantro, cook a few more minutes and you are done.

Also, this goes extremely well with either this Steak from Hell Salsa (I make the beans mild for the kids and add this to add heat) or this Creamy Chipotle Sauce (love to drizzle this over the top).

Enjoy!

 

 

 

10 Ideas a Day

I got this idea from James Altucher’s Choose Yourself book. If you haven’t read it or listened to his podcast, give it a whirl…I thoroughly still enjoy both (yes, I read the same books more than once…or at least my own notes…over and over…I know, dork squared!).

Anyway, the idea is that to keep yourself fresh and relevant, you should work every day to come up with 10 new ideas. This may sound daunting, but we aren’t talking about setting the world on fire, all that is required is to pick a topic and just start freewheeling. “I can’t do that” you say. Well, I beg to differ…it really doesn’t take that long and it is fabulous for getting your mind stimulated and even invigorating your outlook. Here are some starting points:

  • Childhood passions
  • Hobbies
  • Things that could be improved
  • Things that you’d really like to buy that don’t exist
  • Things that would make your day easier
  • Things that could be fixed at your place of work
  • Things that could be fixed at your kids school
  • 10 people you should introduce to each other
  • Things that your favorite business could do to be better
  • Ideas for songs, movies, books, blogs, etc.
  • Things your favorite team could do to improve their season
  • On and on

It really doesn’t matter…the idea is to get your “idea muscle” working. At first, no doubt it will be hard, but trust me after a few goes at it, you will get better and better and really enjoy the exercise. You don’t even have to keep the 10 ideas…throw them away, give them to a friend or business, whatever. The idea is just to start exercising your brain.

Well, what if I come up with a doozy that I want to execute on. Well, start working on the next steps…what are the 10 things you need to do to push this forward and get started today. Remember this…the ideas are worthless in and of themselves, execution is everything, so don’t worry that someone is going to run off with your ideas either.

If you do this for a whole year consider that you will have almost 4000 ideas! Want to have some more fun, do as James Altucher suggests and start having “Idea Sex”…marry one idea to another and see what comes of it. I have a friend that once suggested just looking up patents and marrying them to each other and then filing for a patent on the combo…you aren’t having to do the hard labor of creating something new, just marrying what already exists.

Here’s his detailed Idea Machine post on the topic. Have fun with it!