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Butts in the state line graveyard

Macarons? We Don’t Need No Stinking Macarons. Biscuits Rule!

Whitney Miller

Whitney Miller, southern belle

Women in designer duds standing in line for macarons?  For cupcakes?  C’mon people, macarons and cupcakes are delicious, but it’s only food and we Americans are overfed anyway.  Now biscuits and cornbread are life essentials.  Biscuit making is an art, but I’ll share a recipe that minimizes  airborne flour and exact proportions.

Miss Whitney is a lovely young lady.  As long as I’ve known her, she has always demonstrated serenity and confidence.  And she flashes that beautiful smile, no matter how challenging the task.

I like this recipe because she clearly describes how to make the biscuits.  There are lots of recipes out there missing a few cogs, if you know what I mean.  Follow her recipe and enjoy great biscuits with any meal.  They make awesome strawberry shortcake too.  Don’t fuss with adding butter, sugar, or some other ingredient that doesn’t belong.  Stick to the basics.  When you are comfortable making biscuits using Whitney’s method, then you can try making them with a rolling pin and biscuit cutter.

Note: I have no financial interest in this book.  However, I do wish her success with her cooking endeavors.  Go to for more information.

Whitney’s biscuit recipe



Note the shaping technique, rounding.  It is the same one used for yeast rolls.

Pine Belt Flood – Ready to Scrounge?

This is a blog about food, gardening, motorcycles, cat parenting and such but sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control.  Take rain for example.  Rainfall amounts of 3-7″ over the three days will bring on the floodwaters.  For the past two days the cats and I have been confined to the house and deck.  The Mr. has canoed to the paved road, about 1/8 mile to the pavement where our vehicles are parked.  From there he drives 20 miles to work.  This is the scene about 9AM Thursday:

Concrete pad under house, 9AM

Concrete pad under house, 9AM

Water is near concrete pad level, 9AM. Creek is just visible in the background. Normally the creek is 8 feet below the concrete pad level.

Parking area in front of house, 9AM

Floodwaters are close but not over the pad below our house.  By 11AM water is nearly over the concrete pad.

Patio facing creek, 11AM

Front of house, 11AM

By 1PM, floodwaters had breached “ground level”.

Concrete pad under house, 1PM. Shop is in left corner of photo.

Looking toward front of house, 1PM.

Front drive, full flood mode, 3PM.

Concrete pad under the house, 3PM.  Photo taken from stairs.  We learned not to walk in flood water – snakes, fire ants, and other nasty things floating past you.

Concrete pad under house, looking toward creek, 3PM. Plant rack on the right is a three shelf unit. Only plants on the top shelf were left on the rack.

Mr. Mike, the cats and I are fine.  So are the motorcycles and plants.  Fortunately we are well stocked with beer, pretzels, and kitty litter.  Despite all this we love life on the creek.


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Take a break and forget all that stuff

Take a break and forget all that stuff. Beverly's, south of Austin, TX. Kinda scruffy but immaculate pool tables.

Scrounge Cat Requium

There is much to write about food, gardening, and motorcycles.  However, this is a day for remembrance.  Two of our scrounge cats have made the transition. Scrounge Cat 2 (aka Sidney) was part of the family for eight years; Scrounge Cat 4 lived with us for 10 months.

Sidney, the midnight rider

Sidney, the midnight rider

Sidney’s Song (aka Scrounge Cat 2)

He was a vocal cat.  From his first day with us, he would go into extended chorus of “woawwwww….”  I first noticed him at a rental house a block from us when we lived in Louisiana.  Sidney was left behind when the renters moved out. He sponged off neighbors for a while, but when they tired of his “woawwww”, he hit the streets (as they told me later).  Cooling down from a run one evening, he found me.  Softie that I am, he followed me home and into our hearts.  Maybe due to his starvation experience, he never missed a meal.  However, his bulk didn’t prevent him from catching a bird mid-air as he crouched below the bird feeder.  His catch was worthy of an outfielder bagging a potential three base hit at the warning track!

Sidney was a lover not a fighter.  Unlike Scrounge Cat 1, his battle wounds were on his butt.  He used about half his 9 lives.  One day he unintentionally hitched a ride with me to work.  He was under my truck bed (asleep I guess). He made the 1 mile trip in a downpour, stayed there all morning while it continued raining (typical Louisiana deluge).  He nearly made the trip home when he fell/jumped from the leaf springs, got run over by the rear wheel, then hid in the bushes outside our house where I found him.  He was stiff and sore for a few days, but no major damage.

Sidney easily made the transition to our new home 5 years ago.  He liked the deck a little too well though, one day falling 20 feet from the deck railing  to the concrete pad below, severely breaking his left hind leg.  The vet literally wired it back together.

After that last experience Sidney mellowed out.  He loved being outdoors but never strayed past the driveway.  His favorite sleeping spot was a motorcycle seat.  He went out every night but was always at the front door in the morning, ready for breakfast (and mandatory cat treats). One morning three weeks ago he didn’t show up for breakfast.  We haven’t seen him since.  He was eight years old and may have sensed his time had come.  Cats are more perceptive than humans about those things.

The remaining scrounge cats miss him and we do too.  He faithfully slept with me during my rehab/wheelchair days, though we called him my “boat anchor”! We love you Sidney, and till we meet again, may you be “forever young”.



Kitty confrontation, Scrounge Cat 4 (aka Buddy) in foreground with Scrounge Cat 1

Kitty confrontation, Scrounge Cat 4 (aka Buddy) in foreground with Scrounge Cat 1


Ode to Buddy

I can’t believe you’re gone.  I keep listening for your scratchy meow whenever I hear the bell jingle in the cat door.  I miss you so much, please come back if you can.

Buddy was the most unique cat I’ve ever lived with.  From his magnificent physique to the way he interacted with other cats, to his protective nature of us, “his” humans.  Buddy found us one cold February morning.  We thought, oh no, not another one and kept him outside, although he was very interested in the world past the front door.  After a horrific fight late one cold night we found him with a head wound, but otherwise OK.  He took out the neighborhood bully cat that night for which we are forever grateful.

It wasn’t long before he melted my heart.  I loved the way he gently butted his head against me, the way he loved my ruffling the fur on his neck, and his scratchy meow.

The other cats were not quite accepting him, yet I never heard him hiss.  He always seemed to be on guard duty on the concrete pad.  The night of November 1, Buddy went outside as was his habit.  We have not seen him since.  I know that one day we’ll meet again, either in this world or the next.  Still, come back now if you can my friend.  I love you, Buddy.

(note: I wrote Buddy’s remembrance in January 2012)


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Breakfast break post-rain in O. Springs

Breakfast break post-rain in O. Springs

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CMA Chili Cook-Off and the Scroungelady’s Return

Well, as promised, the results are in.  It took me a while to write this post because the chili recipes were mostly verbal.  The few written ones available I suspect were incomplete, in order to keep their “true” recipe secret.  So I used my own expertise to give you chili recipes judged CMA’s Cook-off best.  What does “best” mean?  The pots which emptied first, and word of mouth.  It’s all from a group of bikers from 3 states, so you can interpret their opinions as you wish.

chili cook off with scroungelady

chili cook off with scroungelady

Now if this was a gumbo cook-off, the competition would have been intense.  West of here, chili-heads take their chili seriously.  Here in the Deep South we do mix beans with meat because historically beans were a major part of the diet and beef was seldom eaten.  That doesn’t mean we don’t like spicy food.  Round these parts, spicy means well-incorporated with no one flavor prevailing – a gumbo, in other words!  Highlight the food with some dabs of hot sauce and you’re good to go.  I don’t mean the blow-torch stuff that numbs your taste buds, just a gentle burn that lets the other flavors through.  Louisiana style hot sauce does the job.  The blow-torch stuff is better suited  to the West.

CMA eatin and socializin

CMA eatin and socializin

The 2012 Chili Cook-off was particularly significant for me because it was the first time in 3 years I’ve been able to ride solo to the event.  The first year after the accident was by pickup truck and a walker.  In 2011 it was two-up on the back of Mr. Mike’s 250 Sym scooter.

CMA cookoff at PBJ St. Park

CMA cookoff at PBJ St. Park

Tailgate Chili

  • 1 pound each ground sirloin and bulk pork sausage (Jimmy Dean brand recommended)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers diced
  • 2 cups  chopped celery
  • 2      (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1      (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • Ground cumin to taste
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Cayenne  pepper to taste (recommend starting with ½ teaspoon, then add more if      needed)
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14  ½-ounce) can chili beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14  1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 package      chili seasoning mix (I like McCormick brand)
  • Sour      cream, shredded cheese, or chopped green onions, for garnish


  1. In a large skillet brown ground sirloin and sausage (season if desired), drain and      set aside.
  2. Heat a  large pot over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Add the  onion, green pepper, and celery and saute briefly.
  4. Next, stir  in the diced and whole tomatoes.
  5. Add cumin, chili powder, and cayenne to taste, and cook for about 10 minutes or until      vegetables are tender.
  6. Add the beans, browned meat, and chili seasoning.
  7. Cover and  let simmer for 2-3 hours.
  8. Serve with  Sour Cream, chopped green onions, and cheese as garnish

Serves 8-10 tailgaters

Come and get it CMA 2012

Come and get it CMA 2012

CMA Chili – Mild

Serves: 10

Cooking Time: 3 hr 5 min

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-sized onions, diced
  • 1 medium-sized green bell pepper,      diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 pounds lean ground meat
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1 (14-1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup (3-ounce bottle) chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (or to taste)
  • 6 ounces (1/2 a 12-ounce can) beer
  • 1 1/2 cups club soda or mineral water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large      pot, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute onions, green pepper, and      celery just until soft. Add garlic and meat; break up meat and cook until      it browns completely. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  2. Reduce      heat to low and cook for about 3 hours, stirring often.
  3. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Mild or spicy CMA 2012

Mild or spicy CMA 2012

CMA Chili Spicy

  • 60 ounces tomato sauce
  • 25 ounces diced, canned tomatoes
  • 1 big can of kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons sofrito paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 pounds of ground venison or ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 8oz container sliced jalapeno peppers (save juice)

Wash and rinse all vegetables. In a dutch oven, cook the 5 pieces of cut-up bacon. Remove bacon and add chopped peppers, onion and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook until tender, then add diced tomato, tomato sauce, seasonings, drained jalapeno slices and garlic. Brown venison and sausage and add with kidney beans and sofrito to the dutch oven. Let simmer for three hours. Just before serving, stir in reserved jalapeno juice.

Chili with jalapeno juice CMA 2012

Chili with jalapeno juice CMA 2012

CMA Chili Mild II

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3/4 lb beef sirloin, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can dark beer
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
  • 4 chili peppers, chopped


  1. Heat oil.
  2. Cook onions, garlic and meat until brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth.
  4. Add spices Stir in 2 cans of kidney beans and peppers.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Add 2 remaining cans of kidney beans and simmer for another 30 minutes.
More please CMA 2012

More please CMA 2012

Note some common elements: beer, coffee, sugar, cocoa.  My suggestion is to brown your meat well with any onions and garlic.  Then sprinkle with cumin and cook another minute, then proceed with the recipe directions.  Let me know which recipes you like or best combinations of ingredients.  I think you could make your own chili “base”, freeze it and then take the amount needed for your next batch of chili.

Even cops eat chili 2012

Even cops eat chili 2012

Nuff said

Nuff said

Mr. Mike not sure what it is

Mr. Mike not sure what it is

More socializin and eatin 2012

More socializin and eatin 2012

FYI – CMA is Christian Motorcycle Association.  Mr. Mike and I are not members; however the event is open to all bikers.  The large pots used to cook chil are mainly used for frying turkeys around here.  They work well for outdoor events.  We’ve had gumbo, crawfish boils and other foods cooked in the pots at various biker events.

Good to the last bite CMA 2012

Good to the last bite CMA 2012

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