IN A PINCH

  SHE2016©

SHE2016©

There are bad pinches and there are good pinches.  It is much like salt.  Too much of it can ruin a dish.  But I happen to know that just a pinch of salt can make the flavor of something pop.

A pinch doesn’t always make one feel warm and fuzzy, though.  

As a little girl, there were two different kinds of pinches I remember: the kind that was wonderful, like the kind my grandfather would gently give me right on the tip of my nose after he would kiss me hello.  And then there was the one that would leave a sting on the back of my arm or hi-nee from my parent when I would misbehave in public.

Some pinches can hit ya right in the feels.  Like the moments that pinch your heart.  

I can remember the very second each of my children were born.  I can remember how my heart felt like it would explode because I was overwhelmed with joy as they took their first breath of life (and screamed their bloody heads off).  I could literally feel a lovely wrench in my chest.  It is the kind of pinch I will never forget and always hold with me.

Then there was the moment someone I loved passed away.  The pinch I felt in my heart was there, but much different from that of the joy I knew from life being given.  I distinctly remember standing where I was for what seemed like forever, thinking how much I was going to miss them; how I thought the terrible, achy pinch in my heart would never go away.  And I must say, though it has eased up some, the scar from that particular pinch is still there.

I’ve been in many a precarious position in my life.  Sometimes I put myself there, and sometimes it was merely the circumstances.  But either way, I wound up in a pinch.  

When I was a teenager, I made the conscious decision to go into a store with someone I knew was going to shoplift.  I didn’t take anything.  Well actually, I was GOING TO.  But at the last second I chickened out.  I was questioned when she got caught because I was with her.  Luckily the cameras showed I had not taken anything but simply because I was with her I found myself in quite a pinch!  (For the benefit of the reader needing an ending to that particular story, I did NOT end up in the slammer.)

Back when I was a young, single mom of two small children, my tire blew out on the highway. I had never changed a tire before, let alone on a busy road.  (I sure did learn FAST!!)  Even though that was something out of my control, I was most DEFINITELY in a pinch!  (No worries, Folks.  As you can see that one turned out all right, for I am writing this many years later.)

I used to always wonder what a pinch-hitter was when I heard the term used in baseball, until someone explained to me it was a substitute batter – someone to replace the batter when the team is in a pinch.  

I married my Pinch Hitter.  He is definitely my substitute batter when I find myself in a pinch.  Example:  the other day I had a catering gig that called for – wait for it……SIX-HUNDRED cake ball truffles.  Now these beauts cannot be stacked on top of one another or their gorgeous candy coatings and lovely decorations will crack and break.  I was going to have to make several trips back and forth in order to get the beloved cake ball truffles to their destination with no harm to befall them!  But my Pinch Hitter got me out of the pinch in the coolest way possible.

It’s too hard for my non-engineer-way-of-thinking brain to explain, but essentially, he took some cardboard and wine bottles we use for projects (not the hardest part of my job, emptying those bottles......wink!) from the garage, and did this:

  SHE2016©

SHE2016©

Hence, it took one trip, and all the truffles were unscathed.

Think about the pinches – the bad ones and the good ones.  Some of them hurt and can leave a sting or even a scar.  Some of them are wonderful and make you remember the joy life can bring.  Think of the pinch hitters in your life that have helped you make it through something unscathed.  Or perhaps you were that pinch hitter a time or two.  Either way, with every pinch comes growth in our lives – like the pinch of salt that can make the flavor of something pop.  

 

(Oil) Pull My Finger

 Photo Source: Fat Girl Kitchen via educatedhomemaker.com

Photo Source: Fat Girl Kitchen via educatedhomemaker.com

In this great and intricate world, it never ceases to amaze me how things work down to every single detail.  

Recently, there has been a bandwagon that a lot of people are jumping on for oil pulling.  Oil pulling is when you take organic oil - typically coconut for its anti-microbial properties - and swish it around in your mouth for between five-to-twenty minutes and it magically cleans your mouth, heals gum disease, detoxes your body, and whitens your teeth.  Oil.  In your mouth.  OIL......AND IT WORKS.  We were oil pulling in my household before oil pulling was cool.  (IS it cool?)  It cured - yes, CURED - two cavities I had.  Truly a healthy pull.

I've discovered there are a LOT of things that have the 'pull' factor.  Let's take thyme, for example.  (Ain't nobody got THYME fo' dat!) Yes, the herb.  Most people take it from the bottom and pull it from there to get that fragrant lemony and woodsy flavor into their food.  That's already a good pull factor.  Did you know if you hold it from the top and pull, the part of the stick that you can still use and cook will automatically come off?  So this is a win-win pull!

What about pork?  We don't eat a lot of it in my home, so when we do, it's a real treat.  And pork (especially BACON!) is just GOOD.  So what could possibly make pork taste even more delicious?  PULLED pork, of course!  That's a porky pull!

One of my favorite pulls?  Wine cork from the bottle.  Funny how that works.  Now, there has been a time or two when I have had to push that sucker INTO the bottle, but it sure isn't as good.  I had to struggle to get the wine to pour because the cork kept getting in the way, not to mention the tiny bits and pieces of cork I kept sipping into my mouth.  Bleh.  But when pulled, it makes a slight pop-sound (music to my ears), and the aroma of the wine can even be breathed in from the cork itself.  Pure delight of a pull!

Another one of life's great pulls is to pull someone's leg......but only when it's all in good fun and you keep your hands to yourself.  Yankin' yer chain pull.  

If you're among the lucky ones, you can pull strings.  Pulling strings has been done since the dawn of time, and can most definitely be a help in times of need.  This pull means you've actually got "pull"!

But above all pulls, I love and appreciate the finger pull.  I happen to have two boys, a son-in-law, AND The Hubster.  (And not only boys do the finger pull.  The Daughts has been known to make this request a time or two in her younger years!)  I've been asked to pull more fingers than I can shake a stick at.  But whether I ever follow through on the request or not, it's the funny kind of pull that brings a smile to my face, regardless of the end, uh - RESULT.  And that smile is a good thing!  Especially if you participate in the oil pulling - those smiling teeth are bright and shiny!

What kind of pull keeps your mind, body, and spirit in balance in your life?  Whether it’s the kind of pull that helps keep your body healthy, or one that brings a smile to your face for emotional well-being, or perhaps a spiritual pull that you can't (or shouldn't) ignore, life is chocked full of the kind of intricate pulls that won't be pushed around.

Button Up!

 Photo Source: http://www.public-domain-image.com/free-images/objects/sewing-buttons/attachment/sewing-buttons

Photo Source: http://www.public-domain-image.com/free-images/objects/sewing-buttons/attachment/sewing-buttons

I have a ton of jewelry.  Some of it is antique or vintage, but most of it is costume, eccentric, and / or tacky.  That’s just how I like it; in fact, that’s who I am – vintage, eccentric, and / or tacky.  I’m 42 and still working on getting better.   

I found myself somewhat frustrated some time ago, because I am a bit obsessive-compulsive and was finding it hard to keep up with all my jewelry pieces, and I like to take care of them. 

At first, The Hubster (we’ll call him Adrian since that’s actually his name), lent a hand.  He, too, is OCD and for his own empathy’s sake wanted to see it organized.  (He ain’t just purty)  He took a piece of his fishing tackle box and cut it down to fit my stand-up jewelry box that didn’t have dividers – just deep drawers.  I put all my earrings in the compartments.  I hung all my necklaces up with adorable hooks and got quirky baskets for all my rings and bracelets, but felt pretty cool about how he had engineered earring compartments. 

But I still found myself hunting and rifling through the partitions he had put together for me.  I could always find one earring and would have to hunt the rest of the compartments for the other because they would somehow split up when I would put them away.  It is like when I am certain I put two socks in the washer, but somehow only one comes out of the dryer!

I always hook my loops together.  My jy-normous earrings I don’t ever have to worry about because I don’t tend to lose them as often – because they’re jy-normous.  But the ones that are posts, or dangly ones without loops to hook one another to…… I had no idea what to do with them.  So I started to clean the jewelry box out in hopes of coming up with an idea as I organized.  At the bottom of the jewelry box, I found a button.  I remember getting an adorable jacket at Goodwill (read back on the post: Goodwill Toward Men) and found an extra button in the pocket.  I remember putting it in the jewelry box thinking I had to find a place for the extra buttons I had, too.  And then……it came to me.  The idea that would take care of stray earrings AND extra buttons!

I took different-sized buttons out of my sewing kit – some people still sew!  I took extra buttons out of Cameron’s room.  I searched the house high and low for anywhere I thought I would find extra buttons.  I had buttons of all sizes, shapes and colors.  It was a button-fest!  The only extra button not being used was my belly button!  And here’s what I did:

  These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

So remember: when you think there is no place for something, before you toss it aside, think about what other uses it may hold.  If you feel out-of-sorts and unorganized and find yourself rifling through the day, just stop – compartmentalize, and think about the things that are important; about the ways you can display the friendships of the people in your life so that those relationships can become vintage and well-cared for.  Search high and low for the love you have in your life of all different shapes, sizes, and colors.  And how do you keep them warm in your heart?  Just be sure to BUTTON UP!

Finger Prints on My Heart

 Photo Source: http://4vector.com/free-vector/heart-fingerprint-132936

Photo Source: http://4vector.com/free-vector/heart-fingerprint-132936

Fingerprints are unique.  There are no two sets of fingerprints alike.  It’s amazing to me how precise they are, too.  Sometimes I forget how intricate God is.  That’s how I feel about fingerprints in a spiritual way.

Then there’s the practical, everyday way I feel about fingerprints.  They stick in my craw.  They also stick to everything in the house!  From windows to a stainless steel refrigerator, I spend much of my time trying to remove fingerprints from surfaces in an effort to clean my home. 

I have a 19-year-old young man still living at home.  Though I don’t really see him that often, I know he’s been there – ESPECIALLY in the fridge.  Fingerprints all over it.  I’m not mad at the fingerprints I find on the fridge; in fact, I feel a little lump rise in my throat because I know he will be leaving soon and I will not get to see those fingerprints as often.  But what’s baffling to me is it almost seems as though he doesn’t even BOTHER to use the handle that is connected to the refrigerator…it’s as though he paws at it with both hands until it opens.

It’s no secret I try not to use chemicals for cleaning.  But my trusty vinegar, lemon, and water just doesn’t cut it when it comes to the fridge fingerprints.  It leaves streaks and makes the stainless steel pretty dull.

So I did my research.  You will never guess what I found!!  Extra virgin olive oil!  (Talk about “elbow grease’!)  It removes the fingerprints AND shines it up for quite some time!  I know this sounds strange and almost opposite to the point, but I now swear by it because it truly works! 

So here’s what ya do:

Paper towel or soft cloth in one hand.  Extra virgin olive oil in the other.  Pour a small amount (maybe a quarter size at a time – remember: you can always add, but it’s much harder to take (rub) away) in small, circular motions, start from the top (in case you happen to have too much on the cloth and it drips, it drips downward for you to rub it in!)  and massage oil in, working your way down the door of the fridge, rubbing the oil in fully.  If you put too much oil, it can turn rancid and start to stink…found THAT out the hard way!   Then use other side or cleaner, drier side of towel or cloth and work your way back up the door of the fridge.  BAM!!  Clean, shiny and au naturale! 

before
  These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

What do the fingerprints you find around your house remind you of?  Don’t take them for granted as you clean them away……know they are unique and fleeting.  Allow them to massage your heart with the oil of their reminiscence and as you rub them away from the surface, make sure to keep them locked away in your memories.   They’re intricate and the person they came from is VERY special......especially if they’re yours.

Fire in the Hole

 free download:  Video Game    /    Prime World     Wallpaper - submitted by torinoGT - ID 326501

free download:Video Game / Prime World Wallpaper - submitted by torinoGT - ID 326501

This is the time of year I watch my roses bloom bigger than my FACE, I smell my gigantic honeysuckle every time I step out my back door, and I get to plant all my seasonal veggies from seed.  

So a few weeks ago I went out to the garden to till and get those seeds planted.  I noticed a TON of fire ants along the entire line of the above ground garden Adrian built for me last year.  They were in between the soil and the wood that surrounds the garden itself...and they were just about as 'happy' to see me as I was to see them.  As I was crouched down trying to assess the damage, I felt a far-too familiar burn on the top of my foot.  I looked down and saw three ants curled up and chowing down.  OUCH!!  So then I end up standing there (five feet away) for ten minutes scratching the spots that were stinging, rubbing the top of my foot on the back of the opposite leg, smacking the whelps, and cursing the ants straight to the fiery pits from whence they came.

Of course, I wanted to run straight to the garage and grab the chemical-ridden ant killer that Adrian purchased last Spring.  As I stood there scratching, I started to day dream about coming out of the garage in the style of the movie 300 - in slow motion, of course - wielding and waving the open bag of fire ant killer over my head, it spilling all over the place, and every ant coughing, gasping for their last breath, falling on their backs and dramatically dying.  I then drop the empty bag to the ground - still in slow motion because that's awesome - put my hands on my (much smaller) hips (it's MY day dream, I can have little hips if I want!), and let out a scream of honor and satisfaction, knowing I had saved my garden - and the world, obviously - from the diabolical evil of the Fire Ant Kingdom.

Back home on earth, I came to and realized I had to do something ELSE.  I pride myself on a total organic garden; that includes soil, seeds...everything.  I peruse every soil I buy, checking for metals, chemicals, or anything that doesn't match the organic label.  (Yes, believe it or not, America, the FDA allows the label even if it's not completely and entirely organic...GASP!)  The last thing I wanted to do was sprinkle chemical ant killer on the plants and seeds, and then feed them to my family or ingest them myself!  So what the heck was I supposed to do??

(You guessed it.  I put it in the "Googla") I Googled for a while, really wanting to compare notes, websites, and suggestions.  "Kill the ants in my garden naturally."   I decided to try a few of them out.  So I put another ant mound I found out back to the test.  On it, I put sugar.  (I used organic, of course, for testing-purposes).  This was supposed to kill them AND make your fruits and vegetables sweeter as they grew.  Sounded like a fine side effect to me.  They ATTACKED the sugar.  Oh, yes, My Pretties...eat, EAT!!  This was to take three days.  I patiently checked every day, fully expecting the mound to be inactive.  It was three times bigger by the third day.  Apparently, organic sugar is like steroids for those little boogers.  

Next - grits.  This was supposed to be carried by the ants down below (to the evil lair that holds the wicked queen) and then literally blow them up because the grits cannot be digested.  Sounds like another day dream waiting to happen.  So I searched for organic grits.  If I purchased regular and any of the grits were left on the soil, then it would be processed yuk growing into my cherished organics.  Finally, I found some.  Way too expensive to purchase just to sprinkle on ants.  So even though I wanted to hang out and watch them blow up, I couldn't justify the pricey purchase.

 

Third time's a charm!  COFFEE GROUNDS.  This is the easiest, best, and least expensive way to get rid of those vile creatures - especially if you already drink coffee!  I buy the store-brand organic coffee for us to drink so as soon as was done making coffee (we don't have a fancy-schmancy kuerig coffee maker), I let the grounds cool and took them out to the garden.  I sprinkled them around the entire perimeter of the garden and then throughout with whatever was left.  It didn't even take a lot.  Not only did it kill the fire ants (death by caffeine, perhaps?) it acted as a natural growth agent for the veggies!  (New compost item!!)  

When you have something biting you over and over again - slowly destroying the things that nurture you, and you're tired of the pain and heartache, you must ask yourself what its worth to you.  If quick fixes are only addressing the symptoms, it could be poison.  Stay at it - naturally, organically.  In the end, you'll overcome...and the best part is, you will see the growth in you because of it.

Spring Break

   Angie from Sawara, Chiba-ken, Japan  -   CC BY 2.0  File:Mattress Springs.jpg  Uploaded by FlickrLickr  Created: April 27, 2005

Angie from Sawara, Chiba-ken, Japan - CC BY 2.0 File:Mattress Springs.jpg Uploaded by FlickrLickr Created: April 27, 2005

Spring is a time most people consider to be the 'clean-up-clean-out-clean-all' time of year, and I completely agree.  I love any opportunity to organize and clean, and Spring is a perfect one!

I do the typical Spring cleaning, of course, where windows, cupboards, and closets get completely overhauled, but I also like to get down to the nitty-gritty as well.  One of the things I noticed during our OCD Festival, as we like to call it, was our couch and chair in the living room......the usual vacuuming under and beating the dust from the cushions wasn't giving the fresh appearance it was supposed to.  I realized it was because the cushions were 'sinking' some from wear, tear, and age......and some of the springs were broken.  Well, we certainly are in no position to buy an entire new room of furniture so we had to figure something out.

First thought: slip covers.  The more I thought about it, though, the more I didn't like the idea.  It would freshen up the look of course, but the cushions would still be a little saggy and I also happen to like the design of our living room furniture and didn't want to cover it up.

I stood in my living room, sizing up the couch and chair, one hand on my hip, the other scratching my chin in deep thought for quite some time.  It was driving me crazy trying to figure out how to give this furniture a lift......A-HA!  That was it!  Give the cushions a LIFT!

I marched into the garage (Adrian was in there working on all the other Spring cleaning projects I had given him, poor thing!) and asked if we had any plywood.  The look on his face was priceless.  Adrian prides himself on being a member of the Handyman Club (He insists there is a secret handshake) and said, "Of COURSE, Woman!  Why?"  (Picture this as he says it: sleeves-cut-off-t-shirt, khaki carpenter shorts, tool belt on, sweat beads over the brow, hands on the hips and stance in the way of Superman......there MAY have even been a slight breeze blowing through his cape)

So I inform him of my idea.  I asked how long it would take to cut the plywood to fit both the couch and the chair and place it under the cushions.  "Pshhh!"  was his reply.  Well, within fifteen minutes, 'Handy-Man' had measured, cut, and fitted the plywood to fit under the cushions!  I wrapped them in old neutral-colored sheets I had in my blanket box, replaced the cushions, fluffed the throw pillows and it looked AWESOME!  

I suppose a little sagging and drooping is to be expected as we age and each Spring comes and goes.  That doesn't mean we're ready to be disposed of or replaced!  When you're feeling a little down and broken, or like you need to be refreshed, take the time to appreciate your design and do something to give yourself a little lift......it could make the difference in where you sit in life.

Prom Night, and So We Did

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

In past blog posts, I've described the wide range of friends we are blessed enough to have.  We don't discriminate when it comes to friendships......it is quite an eclectic variety; however, we are very particular about WHAT we do, and with WHOM.  

For example, there is a couple in particular - we'll call them Mark and Jenny Meirtschin......mostly because that's their name.  They are pretty accepting when it comes to the Garcia Crazy Antics.  Thank goodness.

When I had my 40th birthday party (a story for a future blog post!), it was a 70s theme.  Some of the costumes were amazing, but Mark and Jenny ROCKED it.  They didn't do the regular afro or go-go boots...they came as Prom King & Queen 1970!  The blue-ruffled tuxedo and the polyester dress were fabulous, and at the end of the night, they presented Adrian and I with the sashes they had they made for their costumes.  But that show of kindness would come back to haunt them.  

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

A few months back, we all decided we were long-overdue to get together. Adrian and I really wanted to bless Mark and Jenny and somehow let them know how much it meant to us, as we had taken those sashes and hung them in our closet where we could see them every day to remind us of that special time.  What does one do with leftover fake prom king and queen sashes??  Well, they take the people who gave them such gifts to prom, of course!

And so we did.

We sent an invitation, letting them know the dress-code, but didn't tell them why.  We really wanted this to be as authentic as possible, so we decked out Adrian's truck like a limo inside.  Adrian put up white Christmas lights, there was an ice bucket containing various drinks, and we hung a dark curtain between the front seat and the back seat.  It looked pretty legit.

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Adrian and I dressed for prom - mostly from our own prom era, which is scary - put on the sashes accompanied by the fake-but-beautiful corsage Jenny had also given me from that night, and then headed out to pick them up.  When we showed up at the door in our garb and sashes, welcoming them to Prom Night, I thought Jenny was going to drop.  We stood at her front door, laughing so hard and so long until tears were streaming down our faces before a word had even been spoken.  They weren't surprised though......she even said, "I somehow knew those sashes would surface again one day!!"  We had Dollar Store crowns and a fake-and-tacky corsage and boutonniere we had made for each of them, which they willingly put on, and well, it's not a prom unless you stand by the fireplace with your dates and pose in awkward and ridiculous poses...and so we did.

fireplaceprompose
  These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Next, Adrian ran outside, put on his limo-cap and held up the Meirtschin / Garcia Prom sign (he played the dual-role of the limo driver, too) and opened the doors for them to enter.  

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

As we pulled up to our next prom destination - a cliché steak house, of course - they began to remove their crowns.  Oh, no they di'in't!  "It's prom night.  Those crowns stay on."  They looked at each other, remembered who they were dealing with, and obliged without (much) protest.

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

In we walked, heads held high, 30-and-40-something-year-olds dressed for prom...and OWNING IT.  We delighted in prom food fare, splitting every dish, laughing and loving it until we were just about sick.  Next destination?  Dancing, of course!  And so we did.  

Luckily, we had done our homework ahead of time and we found a place within walking distance.  And we danced our prom night away.  (Side note on that:  Mark has got some of the best and smoothest dancing moves you've ever seen in your LIFE!).  We drove home, feet hurting, hearts warm and full, with a life-long lasting memory of a wonderful Prom Night.

And so we did.

Make the most of every single moment you're given, and take advantage of every opportunity.  NEVER think you're too cool or be so embarrassed that you miss out on the things that might be considered unusual......and never let a prom night pass you by - so that you, too, can have life-long lasting memories that will make your hearts feel warm and full.

She-ca-go Style

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.   Photo credit to Adrian Garcia.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.  Photo credit to Adrian Garcia.

I don't get it.  I don't get it at ALL.  My husband, Adrian, was born here in Texas.  He lives here in Texas.  He pays taxes here in Texas.  And yet - this man LOVES Chicago...not just loves it - THAT would be fine.  Heck, I love Chicago.  He is ALL Chicago, ALL the time.  He is a Cubs fan before he is an Astros fan.  The Bears run neck-and-neck with the Texans.  Heck, our youngest, Jordan, is named after Michael Jordan from the Chicago Bulls because he was born on the date of his number, 23!  He says it's because of a television station he would watch after school as he was growing up - WGN.  Apparently, it's all they showed and how he grew to love it.

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

We have a friend, Joe Pinzon, who loves Chicago, too.  (He is actually FROM there).  He and Adrian have an affinity for the city AND its teams together.  Cody, Joe's wife, and I - being the loving wives we are - PUT UP WITH IT. :-)

With that being said, Adrian and I decided to host a Chicago Day for Joe & Cody a few months back.  (It gave me an opportunity to create a new menu!)  It was a pretty awesome day, I must admit.  We took Adrian's poster from back in the prehistoric days of yore with some of the past superstars of Chicago on the tablescape, along with a beautiful black and white picture we have of Wrigley Field that was a gift from our friends, Tim & Amanda Pickard.  (Adrian's been to Wrigley several times, but believe me - those are stories for a different post!)  We put out different items to make for Chicago date-day ambiance.  But the best part was yet to come!

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

I made Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and I put out some popcorn in a special bowl to really give a stadium feel. This kind of food is very special, as regional food is a very particular kind of food......you can't mess with it.  That'd be like saying the best Tex-Mex food is in California!  (It's called TEX-Mex for a reason!)

  This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

For the Chicago-Style Hot Dogs:

All-Beef Frankfurters - the key here is that they MUST BE STEAMED!!  (I used Applegate Farms Organic, because they were good bun-sized hot dogs)

Poppy-Seed Buns (I couldn't find any ANYWHERE so I made my own: I used whole wheat buns and sprayed them with organic olive oil cooking spray, and rolled them in poppy-seeds and then put in a warm oven for five minutes so they kept their soft texture)

Top the dogs with finely chopped white onions, yellow mustard, Piccadilly relish (I couldn't find that, either, so I used sweet pickle relish with some finely chopped mint, which is essential to the "Chicago" flavor, and put a little bit of neon green food coloring in it for effect), a dill pickle spear - but not just ANY dill pickle spear...it has to be FRESH - I used Vlasic refrigerated spears, tomato slices, pickled sports peppers and a dash (or two) of celery salt.

shedogs
 These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.   

These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.  

For the Chicago-Style Pizza

Prepared pizza dough (I use the one I typed up in a previous post, "I Heart Leftovers")

Can Chopped Tomatoes

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Pizza Fixins of Your Choice (I made one cheese, one pepperoni, and one supreme)

Medium-Sized Cast Iron Frying Pan

Place pizza dough in cast iron frying pan and mold along the bottom and up the sides.  Fill the inside with your pizza fixins, top with mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle the diced canned tomatoes over the top.  Bake at 425 for approximately 25 minutes.  Let sit and cool for five minutes to set.  Take two large spoons or spatulas, dig around and underneath the pizza pie, and pick up to put on desired presentation plate.

shepizza
 These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

These images are © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used. 

Everything was so delicious.  We topped it off with some Budweiser, some home-made lemonade (not together!), and a few odds and ends that made it complete.  We always have such a good time with the Pinzons, but as I recall, this was definitely one of the very best!  We celebrated Cody's birthday that day with some German chocolate cake (it's her favorite) and had the Bears game on TV (of course).

I tease Adrian quite often about his love affair with Chicago...but it's only in fun and because of my love affair with him.  Take the time to make these kind of special days happen.  Life is SO short - make decisions to have your days be as charmed as they can be......you're building the legacy of the memories you keep - and leave behind.