Tag Archives: Cooking

A Poem for Friday Repeated

Back in 2012 I was going full-steam in seminary, pastoring a church, and had a wife that was desperately ill with fibromyalgia. It was a pretty tense time around the Baker house, to say the least. Some things change; some things remain the same.

So, you see, I was going to write a post about not being ashamed of Jesus, but I will save that for tomorrow or Sunday. In the meantime, I will just share this poem I wrote back in 2012 while I help my wife finish some tax returns, eat some oatmeal, scrounge up some gas money for later, and do a little praying before I get back on the school bus this afternoon.

The following is a complete rip-off of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song that everyone – including myself – hated. Funny thing, I still sing it to myself EVERY Friday morning!

“It’s Friday”

Eight a.m. waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go down stairs
Hot cup of tea, butter on raisin toast
Plagiarize a song by a girl with Black hair.
 
Got a mid-term that’s due tonight
Seminary’s really try’n to kick my buns.
Still gotta finish a honey-do list
Being out of work is fun, fun, fun!
 
Friday! It’s Friday! Out of work this Friday!
Studying and reading. Gettin’ ready for this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to exercise and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.
 
Wife stayed up for two days straight
Now’s she’s in bed and can’t stay awake
Gotta figure out what’s wrong with her
Don’t know if much more she can take.
 
Daughter wants to ride her bicycle
Wants me to ride mine with her, too
Maybe I should finish this poem right now.
Daddy, pastor, student’s got a lot to do!
 
Friday! It’s Friday! Mail will come this Friday!
Maybe a check’s in the mail that’ll let me tithe a lot this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to pray a lot and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.


P.S., That “Donate” button might make this Friday a wee more tolerable ūüôā

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Anthony’s Appetite #9 (from 2012)

The following post was written following my daughter Haley’s 12th birthday, and that was 4 years ago. This Friday she will be turning the big 16 while at Summit in Dayton, TN.

However, the main reason I am reposting this “Anthony’s Appetite” is because I’ve not written one in several years. I wanted you to know what one looked like, because you can bet your Twinkie I’m going to have something to write about when I get back from Zambia and Zimbabwe ūüôā

Store vs. Home

There are some things that are better bought from a store than made at home. I know saying that will make some people angry, but it’s true. I can think of a few things right off the bat…

  • Captain Crunch Cereal – I especially like Crunch Berries.
  • Peanut Butter – sure, you can make it at home, but it gets nasty after a while.
  • Crackers – has anyone ever made a cracker better than a Nabisco Saltine?
  • Nilla Wafers – another winner from Nabisco. Put peanut butter on these and it’s the closest thing to manna from heaven.
  • Instant Coffee – have you ever tried to freeze-dry your own?

Birthday Cake

Last week we celebrated the twelfth birthday of our little Kung Fu queen, Haley. For her party she wanted a cake to coincide with her selected “Ip Man” theme (Ip Man was famous for introducing Wing Chun to the world). We had her picture made on rice paper for decoration, but the best part was the icing.

Icing

When it comes to cake icing, my wife makes the best in the world. And so do I – ’cause I used her recipe. She baked the cake for the party, but I mixed the icing.

Included in the recipe is butter, shortening, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and flavoring. This time the flavoring consisted of a mixture of almond and vanilla extract.

Because the cake was fairly large, I had to make a large bowl of icing, part of which needed to be colored pink.

Home Made vs. Canned

You can buy decent cake icing from a store, but it doesn’t even come close to the flavor and quality of what can be made at home. My wife’s cream cheese icing is smoother, creamier, tastier, and moist-ier. As a matter of fact, her icing can even make a bad cake taste better, saving the baker from embarrassment.

If you’d like the recipe, just email me. I’d love to hear from you. Then, come back here to let everyone know how good it actually is.

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Anthony’s Appetite #9 (Home Made Icing)

Store vs. Home

There are some things that are better bought from a store than made at home. I know saying that will make some people angry, but it’s true. I can think of a few things right off the bat…

  • Captain Crunch Cereal – I especially like Crunch Berries.
  • Peanut Butter – sure, you can make it at home, but it gets nasty after a while.
  • Crackers – has anyone ever made a cracker better than a Nabisco Saltine?
  • Nilla Wafers – another winner from Nabisco. Put peanut butter on these and it’s the closest thing to manna from heaven.
  • Instant Coffee – have you ever tried to freeze-dry your own?

Birthday Cake

Last week we celebrated the twelfth birthday of our little Kung Fu queen, Haley. For her party she wanted a cake to coincide with her selected “Ip Man” theme (Ip Man was famous for introducing Wing Chun to the world). We had her picture made on rice paper for decoration, but the best part was the icing.

Icing

When it comes to cake icing, my wife makes the best in the world. And so do I – ’cause I used her recipe. She baked the cake for the party, but I mixed the icing.

Included in the recipe is butter, shortening, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and flavoring. This time the flavoring consisted of a mixture of almond and vanilla extract.

Because the cake was fairly large, I had to make a large bowl of icing, part of which needed to be colored pink.

Home Made vs. Canned

You can buy decent cake icing from a store, but it doesn’t even come close to the flavor and quality of what can be made at home. My wife’s cream cheese icing is smoother, creamier, tastier, and moist-ier. As a matter of fact, her icing can even make a bad cake taste better, saving the baker from embarrassment.

If you’d like the recipe, just email me. I’d love to hear from you. Then, come back here to let everyone know how good it actually is.

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A Poem for Friday

A few minutes ago, a couple of hours since the sun peeked over the mountains and began its job of drying up the dew, I stopped by A Sojourner’s Voice. There, Robin Lawrimore posted a poem about the morning. That got me to thinking. Maybe I should write one, too.

“It’s Friday”

Eight a.m. waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go down stairs
Hot cup of tea, butter on raisin toast
Plagiarize a song by a girl with Black hair.
 
Got a mid-term that’s due tonight
Seminary’s really try’n to kick my buns.
Still gotta finish a honey-do list
Being out of work is fun, fun, fun!
 
Friday! It’s Friday!¬†Out of work this Friday!
Studying and reading. Gettin’ ready for this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to exercise and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.
 
Wife stayed up for two days straight
Now’s she’s in bed and can’t stay awake
Gotta figure out what’s wrong with her
Don’t know if much more she can take.
 
Daughter wants to ride her bicycle
Wants me to ride mine with her, too
Maybe I should finish this poem right now.
Daddy, pastor, student’s got a lot to do!
 
Friday! It’s Friday! Mail will come this Friday!
Maybe a check’s in the mail that’ll let me tithe a lot this Sunday.
Friday, Friday, gettin’ down on Friday.
Need to pray a lot and take my morning multi-vitamin for men.

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Monday Monkey “The Mirror” (Episode 20)

Can you believe this is the 20th episode of Monday Monkey?!

Woo Hoo! Let’s go swing from a tree! Or a light fixture. Anyone have cake? A card with money?

Anyway, I have been under a lot of deadlines, so I apologize for no video over the last few weeks. This one was just thrown together, though. I knew I had to post something, or my fans might seek other monkeys on Monday. Wouldn’t that be a shame?

The Mirror

http://youtu.be/T_dWQGN1rEo

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Anthony’s Appetite #7 (Broad Street Grille)

A Rare Find

I can’t help but tell you guys about this place in downtown Chattanooga, right on Broad Street, in The Chattanoogan. It is called the Broad Street Grille.

If you have a desire for gourmet food around lunch time, but you don’t think your Swiss bank account has enough funds to pay the bill, don’t worry. All you need to do is go downtown to the Broad Street Grille. There you can eat like the Vanderbilts, but on a coupon-clipper budget. No joke!

Try $10 on for size!

Seriously, where can you go and have chef-prepared delicacies awaiting your company, buffet-style, in an atmosphere ten times more swanky than a steak house, all for as little as $10? Nowhere like this, I dare say.

Just Enter

You can enter the BSG from Broad Street, or by coming through the hotel. If you are not going to stay at the hotel, just park on Broad Street by the BSG’s front door, drop some change into the parking meter, and walk right in. From there all you need to do is walk up to the front desk and let one of the nice people seat you.

Once you are seated, a very professional server will take your drink order and assist you in any way needed. And when I say “professional,” I mean it. Let me just say that even though this is lunch, you will be treated with the same class as those who will pay much more for dinner.

The Food

One thing you will notice is that there will be food like you have probably never had before, or at least not often. Every day is something different. The main courses change around, so one day you may find chicken and beef, while another day it will be something else, like salmon and chicken. It just varies. But whatever the case, the way the meats are prepared will totally amaze you. We are not talking ordinary. We are talking gourmet.

If you like salad, then you are in for a treat, for sure. You can choose from salad already prepared (a couple of ways), or make your own from scratch. But this is no ordinary salad bar, mind you. This is gourmet. Seriously. Just check out the flowers!

Do you want dessert? No problem. A variety is available to either make you forget you are on a diet, or convince you you’ve died and gone to sugar heaven. There’s not just one or two things to choose from, but several. And let me tell you, their cheesecake is excellent…it’s gourmet…but you probably knew that.

There are also, along with the salad, a selection of little sandwiches, crackers, and (you guessed it) gourmet cheese. Believe it or not, unlike the typical cheddar and mozzarela you can find in bulk at other restuarants, the BSG offers cheeses SO gourmet that I won’t even eat some of them. When was the last time you were offered Brie at Ryan’s or the Golden Corral?

The Challenge

Seriously, the Broad Street Grille is a place you have to try at least twice. As a matter of fact, if you want to impress someone, just take them there for lunch and never let them see the bill. You just pick up the tab, and when it is over, they will think you spent a fortune on them. If they don’t think you were the kindest big-spender for taking them there, I’ll eat my words…on a cracker with Brie cheese.

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Anthony’s Appetite #6 (Marinated Herring)

The Place

It has been a while since my last “Appetite” post. I have eaten since then, but the problem has been finding food worthy of comment. Fortunately, the search came to an end when I went to the Epicurean Restaurant in East Ridge, Tennessee.

The last time I went to the Epicurean was back in the 80’s. Trying to impress a girlfriend, I took her to a place that had a reputation for quality food and excellent service (Frankly, I also heard it was expensive, and girlfriends like expensive). This time we went for a birthday dinner, and the prices were not as bad as I remembered.

The Clientele

They say that one mark of a good restaurant is how many cars are in the parking lot. If that is true, the Epicurean is a GREAT place to eat. When my family and I got there at 2pm on Sunday, the parking lot and dining area were packed……with seniors…..the aged….walkers & canes. ¬†How does that factor in, I wonder?

Isn’t it true that the older one gets, the fewer active taste buds? Hmmm.

The Menu

A quick look at the menu revealed that most of the food was “home-cooking” dishes typical in the South. For example, one of the Sunday specials was turkey and dressing served with two vegetables. That type of food, from what I saw on other people’s plates, looked pretty decent, but was not what I would expect from a place with such a local reputation for being above average. The home-cooking-type food I saw was no better than food at Cracker Barrel, and probably not as tasty (can I get an “amen” for Cracker Barrel turnip greens?). However, a deeper look into the menu options promised something new…something I felt obligated to try…

Marinated Herring

Every once in a while I feel the urge to try something TOTALLY new. I have even found myself eating things that were hard to identify. This dish, however, was something that was new to me on every level.

According to the experts in the culinary arts, marinated herring (aka, pickled herring, etc.) is a delicacy in Europe, and the Epicurean Restaurant IS a Greek-family-owned establishment.  I figured it was time to taste the delicacy the Europeans raved about. Did I ever say that I was NOT European?

Aside from cottage cheese, there are not many things that will cause my gag reflexes to act up.

Add to that list, “marinated herring.”

I don’t do raw fish, for the first thing. I can’t even stomach fake sushi. What on earth made me think I could eat this stuff? Well, for one thing I didn’t really understand how it was made. You see, I thought they took a fish, marinated it in some “stuff,” then cooked it. WRONG! The herring is actually rinsed, then marinated for a couple of days, then sliced up for easier human consumption. It is served cold over a bed of lettuce, with chopped onion, lemon, and dill-flavored sour cream on the side.

Let me brag about this РI ate four bites, maybe five.  The last one, however, was the hardest to get down. The strong fish taste, coupled with the flavors of dill, white wine, and onion was too much. I brought home the rest in a take-home container for the neighborhood cat that seems to have made our front porch one of his stops. That must have been the first time I saw a cat gag.

Define scary:

A large, gray cat looking at you with suspicion and contempt, his vertical pupils turning horizontal to line up with the evil squint he is giving.

Well, after a few hours went by, the lingering taste of cold, raw, meaty, oily herring finally dissipated. Some foods are definitely an aquired taste. On the other hand, some might be better left alone, especially if you don’t want your leftovers creating a Stephen King / Pet Cemetery moment right in your own yard.

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Anthony’s Appetite #3 (The Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe)

I love BBQ.  As a matter of fact, I think that when God told the Apostle Peter to eat the stuff that was on the sheet that was lowered down, BBQ sauce must have been included.  It had to come from God as a thing ordained from Heaven.  Consider the following words from Acts 10:11-13

He saw heaven opened and a certain container descending to him, like a great sheet let down by four corners on the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the sky. A voice came to him, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat!”

At first Peter was not about to do this thing, for on that sheet (I think it was the first picnic sheet) were things formerly unclean, presumably including pork. ¬†God then says to Peter,¬†“What God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.” ¬†Folks, let it be said,

“If to God you want to be true, eat everything with Barbeque.”

Alright, so I won’t get an “A” in biblical hermeneutics, but hopefully you get the point. ¬†BBQ must be ordained by God, so we must try to eat it everywhere we can to find the best to recommend. ¬†With that, here’s a suggestion.

The Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe

If you are ever at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN (right next to the Incline Railway), stop by The Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe (thepurpledaisy.com). My wife and kids and I went there last week and left pretty happy.  Let me tell you about some stuff we ate.

Q-Dog

Have you ever heard of a Q-Dog? ¬†Well, it was pretty dang good. ¬†It consisted of an all-beef, grilled¬†hot-dog, covered with¬†barbecued¬†pork and slaw, with a pickle on the side. ¬†I loved it. ¬†The slaw was good, too (if you like coleslaw on a BBQ sandwich, you’d like it on the dog). ¬†The cost ($4.50) was a little more than a regular¬†hot-dog, but i’twere the toppings that made the difference. ¬†You could eat it with a fork, but I preferred to man-handle it.

 

Now, speaking of just good-ol’ barbeque (I think it looks better spelled with a “q”), the sandwich was a lot better than the one I had not too long ago at Bones’ in East Brainerd (no offence, Bones’). ¬†The meat was tender and moist, with a good smoky flavor. ¬†My wife ordered a regular size one, and I got the last bite (for the blog’s sake).

For dessert, Valerie and I shared a banana pudding. ¬†Again, it was not like my granny in Alabama used to make, nor like the big-armed grannies at a few homecomings, but it was good. ¬†What made it a little different was that it seemed to be freshly prepared for the customer at the time of order. ¬†The reason I say this is because of how the actual pudding was at the bottom, but the vanilla wafers and whipped cream were on top. ¬†The whole thing couldn’t have been made too much earlier, because the wafers were even still crunchy. ¬†It was served cool, not warm. ¬†I prefer warm, but oh well.

Now just a couple of other things to mention.  First, let me tell you about the baked beans.  They were a dish to themselves Рreally.

Baked Beans with "Stuff"

As you can see from the picture, these weren’t your ordinary baked beans. ¬†They had “stuff” in them. ¬†A bowl of them thar’ beans and some cornbread and you’d be set, I’m tell’n ya’. ¬†How’s that for colloquial?

 

The atmosphere of The Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe was fun and unique, too.  Just take a look at the table and chairs in the corner.  There is seating inside and outside.  They serve Coke (hallelujah!). But getting in and out of their parking can be a little tricky, depending on which way you exit the lot (FYI).

Well, that’s about it for this addition of Anthony’s Appetite. ¬†Who know’s where I’ll end up next. ¬†Until then, give this little locally-owned cafe a try. ¬†The even have a neat website if you want to plan your culinary adventure beforehand.

God Bless BBQ!

P.S.  My only complaint was that there was no Brunswick stew.  But you know, nothing wrong with doing only what you do best.

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Anthony’s Appetite #2

When I envisioned a blog written by a recovering legalist, I never had “food critic” in mind.

But guess what?

Of all the things I have written so far, I have had more responses to what I thought about food than anything else! ¬†Cool, huh? ¬†I eat for other people’s reading enjoyment. ¬†What could be better?

Last night was one of those nights where everything goes according to plan, just not your own. ¬†We ended up at a restuarant all the way out in East Brainerd (that’s a part of Chattanooga, for those of you who don’t know), which is a good 30 minutes or more from our house. ¬†Long story short, we decided to go to a place called Bones’ Smokehouse (9012 E Brainerd Rd). ¬†A friend of the family, Kimberly Cobb works there as a server (so go there and ask for her, but make sure you leave a good tip).

When it comes to BBQ places, I have just a couple of things that I always ask for, 1) a simple pork sandwich,  and 2) a bowl of Brunswick stew.  Now, sometimes I also like to eat chili, so in this case I ordered all three, just for my loyal reading audience.

Let me tell you what I thought.

First, the chili was really good. ¬†Of course, I make the best chili known to man, so if ¬†there’s a quality chili anywhere I like to know about it. ¬†This chili was pretty darn good, I must say. ¬†It was full of meat, both pulled pork and beef. ¬†There was not a lot of beans, but enough to let you know they were there. ¬†The flavor was rich and not tomato-y. ¬†As a matter of fact, there was a particular spice that I sensed that characterized the chili, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was (which will drive me crazy). ¬†As a whole, it was a more peppery chili (as in black pepper), but not a hot chili. ¬†I would definitely recommend it to anyone, and wouldn’t mind having more.

 

Chili with onions and cheese, Brunswick Stew, and a pulled-pork sandwich

 

Secondly, the Brunswick stew was absolutely divine (humanly speaking, sense I am not convinced Divinity eats Brunswick stew). ¬†Just like the chili, there was nothing watery about this stuff. ¬†It was stocked full of veggies like corn, peas, green beans, celery, chunky tomatoes, and those little lima beans. ¬†The meat was good, smoked, pulled pork that was as tender as butter on a biscuit. ¬†Overall, however, it was the smoky flavor that brought it all together into a taste combination that would make you want to close your eyes and say a simple “thank you” to God for taste buds. ¬†Personally, it brought back childhood memories of cold mornings and the cozy smell of a warm fireplace. ¬†Good, good stuff.

Thirdly, there was the sandwich. Didn’t like it. ¬†Enough said. ¬†Nothing special in the flavor department and a little dry. ¬†Considering the rest of the food, maybe they were having a bad day.

For dessert, I asked for banana pudding. Frankly, it was not really up to the standards of home-made, but it was alright.  When it comes to banana pudding, unless a granny makes it, or it is part of a homecoming dinner at an old-fashioned Baptist church, you might as well forget about finding perfection at any price.

All-in-all, the best tasting food came in bowls.

Thankfully, they serve Coke! ¬†What’s even better, they use the small crunchy kind of ice you can munch on all day long. ¬†That’s good stuff, too.

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Anthony’s Appetite

OK, so here’s something different…..food…..the kind I eat.

Well, I won’t say that it is all that I eat. ¬†What I will say is that over the last week or so I have had a few culinary delights that I would like to share – not literally, of course.

If I had a seperate blog, I might just become a food critic.  That would be fun.  The only problem is that my weight would get completely out of hand, my cholesterol would go through the roof, and my bank account would be depleted.  Being Andrew Zimmer must be fun.

I love coffee. I love coffee. ¬†Did I say I love coffee? ¬†If I had the choice to just sit down and have a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze for a while, it would NOT be at Starbucks. ¬†Why? ¬†Too dang expensive and the only black coffee they ever sell (usually) is Pike’s Peak. ¬†I hate that stuff. ¬†It’s just too bold – and they say it’s medium. ¬†No, for just a good cup of coffee in a relaxed friendly atmostphere, just go to Cracker Barrel. ¬†That’s right, that over-priced, country-style tourist trap that sells pretty good home-cooked-like food. ¬†I love Cracker Barrel. ¬†Their coffee is not intense, but smooth and always predictable. ¬†Besides, you get FREE REFILLS!

Coffee at Cracker Barrel


Now, when it comes to dessert, I have a favorite to which nothing can compare. ¬†I have even driven all the way from Kentucky just to have a slice. ¬†What is it? ¬†It is the closest thing to pie perfection that could ever be created. ¬†It is LEMON ICE BOX PIE from The Country Place¬†Restaurant. ¬†Folks, don’t let anyone fool you, there is no substitute for this to-die-for dessert of the gods. ¬†As a matter of fact, the last pastor’s breakfast for Hamilton County Baptists was held at The Country Place¬†Restaurant. ¬†I did not order bacon and eggs, nor biscuits and gravy, I ordered a cup of coffee (free refills) and LEMON ICE BOX PIE! ¬†I love the creamy, heavy texture, and the graham cracker crumb crust. ¬†The topping is substantial and a perfect complement to the filling which is, I think, loaded with Eagle Brand milk. ¬†Sweet, creamy, and lemony. ¬†You HAVE to have coffee with it.

Lemon Ice Box Pie at The Country Place

If you want to go to some place a little out of the way, but different, why don’t you try Flavors of Italy. ¬†This is a neat little place in Soddy Daisy, Tn. ¬†It is family-owned and the husband, which is the main chef, is literally from Italy (they even go back there every year). ¬†Eating at this little restaurant (www.flavorsofitaly.org) is like eating at their house. ¬†They have menu, but the real menu us the one they bring and place on a stand next to your table – written on a dry-erase board. ¬†Everything is prepared fresh daily. ¬†There are things that are on the menu that you won’t get at Olive Garden or Provino’s. ¬†Valerie and I went there for lunch the other day, and man, what a dessert we had!

Italian Cream Cake at Flavors of Italy

Flavors of Italy has a wonderful Italian Cream cake that literally “takes the cake.” ¬†Drizzled with raspberry sauce and garnished with raspberries and a little sprig of some kind of of flower, the¬†presentation was lovely. ¬†This cake was tall, generous, home-made, well presented and very, very good. ¬†What’s even better, it was only about $5. ¬†Well worth it. ¬†And oh, I would seriously recommend the Italian espresso. ¬†I could have drunk several of those – no bite, smooth, rich, and wonderful without sugar. ¬†It all looked so good I couldn’t wait to eat before I took the picture.

What a Dilly


Of course, you may be thinking that all I eat is desserts. ¬†Well, both of the ones I have just mentioned are better than the “real” food that I had at the Piccadilly. ¬† I was forced by my wife to buy a “dilly meal.” ¬†Let me tell you something, the food wouldn’t have been so bad if the coffee cups had been clean (which is why I ended up getting a foam cup); if the coffee had been worth drinking; if the booth backs had not been dirty; and if the percentage of elderly to youth had been less than 95-5. ¬†I did not get a dessert, because that would have cost too much. ¬†I did get to try one of the kid’s chocolate pudding, the kind that is supposed to look like mud under the gummy worms. ¬†Fruity chocolate – yum.

I think that nothing is better than home-made cornbread.

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