We don't really update this site often. You're supposed to be reading our BLOGS, silly. Hit the sidebar links, please.

There will be things posted here occasionally, though, so scroll down.

That is all. ;)

THe Carnival of Christmas, 2009, is UP!

Go on over to CatHouse Chat to enjoy all the Christmas goodies - and may you and yours have a blessed, joyous Christmas, as well as a safe and happy New Year!

Cotillion Members Nominated For The 2010 Grande Conservative Blogress Diva Award

It has come to my attention that Gay Patriot is taking nominations for his annual "Grand Conservative Blogress Diva" award, and it appears that several of the Cotillion ladies are in the running for the crown:

This year, our readers have already submitted the names of blogress divas new to the contest, including, we believe, only the second lesbian ever nominated, Cynthia Yockey, aka a Conservative Lesbian. Will she perhaps replace that other dyke divaTammy Bruce by capturing this year’s Endora and reigning a Conservative Blogress Diva Regent or will she join Sondra K and Pamela Geller as only the third woman to becomethe Grande Conservative Blogress Diva?
Other names drawn to my attention this year include Cassandra of Villainous Company,Nic Deb, Megan McArdle, Phyllis Chesler and Karin Quade (of anti-anti-Americanism.com).
Also contention are reigning divas Pamela Geller, Tammy Bruce and neoneocon as well as Amy Alkon, The Anchoress, Ann Althouse, Little Miss Attila, Dymphna of Gates of Vienna, immediate past Grande Conservative Blogress Diva Sondra K of Knowledge is Power, Mary Katharine Ham of The Weekly Standard, Rachel Lucas, Michelle Malkin,Camille Paglia, Virginia Postrel of The Dynamist, Jennifer Rubin of Commentary’s Contentions, Sister Toldjah, Debbie Schlussel, and Fausta Wertz.
Please submit your nominations (or seconds) in the comments section below or via e-mail. Bruce and I will review the submissions and choose this year’s roster, posting a poll as soon as this coming Friday with balloting continuing for at least a week.
Of that formidable group, Sondra K of Knowledge is Power , Cassandra of Villainous Company, Nic(e) Deb, The Anchoress, Little Miss Attila, Mary Katharine Ham of The Weekly Standard, and Fausta Wertz are all Cotillion members, some more active in the group than others. It is of course a testament to our fierce blogging skills that so many of us got nominated.

Gay Patriot is taking nominations until Wed, Dec. 16. Which of course means it's not too late for a few more Cotillion members to be included as more than a few eminently qualified blogresses have somehow been passed over. We can rectify that intolerable situation via e-mail.

Which one of us will add the crown to her tiara?

May the best diva win!

The Great Christmas Question

It's the first weekend of December and boxes of decorations, tangled lights and extension cords are being pulled out among the scattered shrieks as spiders and earwigs scurry away.

And the debate will begin anew each season as neighbors risk limb and dignity climbing ladders or wrapping bushes and trees with lights ...

White or Color?

giving thanks

turkey. football. mashed potatoes. football. gramma jenna's homemade pecan pie. flag football in the rain. homemade stuffing with sausage. drawing names for christmas. the best homemade rolls...

...and giving thanks to god for our many blessings; for our great land; and our military serving in far away places.

and lest you think i am simply a vapid blogging princess, here is my own recipe for chocolate zucchini cake:

kate's chocolate zucchini cake


½ c. margarine
2½ c. flour
½ c. oil
4 T. cocoa
1¾ c. sugar
½ t. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
½ c. buttermilk
1 t. baking powder
2 c. grated zucchini


combine margarine, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. stir flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, soda, and baking powder together; add to creamed mixture. stir in zucchini. pour batter into greased 9” X 13” pan.

now, sprinkle ¾ c. of each of the following on top: chocolate chips, brown sugar, and chopped nuts. preheat your oven to 350 F. and bake for 40-45 minutes.

on this day, we as americans, set aside our differences. i hope your thanksgiving is filled with much joy and gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s what I’ve created for Thanksgiving (which will be at my sister’s) so far.

Sadly, my pumpkin muffins all got eaten. My son, just home from college for the holiday had some friends over last night…I should have hid them like I hid the chex mix.

I’ll also be making cole slaw, the veggie tray, and meh-be truffles, if I get ambitious later tonight.

Actually, the turkeys are something my nine year old, and I made together. She already gave one away to her teacher. The other two will be given away, tomorrow:

I’d give you directions, but boy…it’s pretty self explanatory isn’t it? We used the miniature pots because that’s what we had on hand, and we glued fun foam feathers on the back, (you could use real feathers, too), fun foam for the head, too…we would have used googly eyes, but didn’t have any, so we made ours out of paper. You can make some feet out of fun foam, too…it looks like Maggie’s fell off, whoops. We filled some tissue paper with holiday M&M’s and wrapped it up with curly ribbon, and voila. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.

This chex mix is special. It’s a damn sight better than the garden variety chex mix you buy at the store. I’ve had the recipe for over 20 years, and I always use it at holiday time. Here’s the recipe:

1 pkg Rice Chex 4 T BBQ sauce

1/2 pkg Wheat Chex 4 T Worchester

1/3 pkg Cheerios 2 t celery salt

1/2 pkg stick pretzels 3t onion salt

1 can of mixed nuts 2 t garlic salt

1/2 can cashews 1 cup salad oil

1/2 can of almonds 1 cup butter

(I don’t use quite as much seasoning as the recipe calls for myself…I don’t like it that salty…play around with it).

Heat oil and butter. Dissolve seasonings in oil. Spoon over nuts and cereal mixure. Mix well. Put in shallow pans and heat at 200° for 2 hours.

I’ve started making my own cranberry sauce from scratch. It’s so much better than the canned stuff:


12 oz bag fresh cranberries

3/4 cup orange juice

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

Optional: 2 oz gold rum


Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on medium-high for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced – stirring occasional. You’ll hear the cranberries popping – don’t worry, that’s what you want them to do. Remove from heat and serve. Cranberry sauce can be made days ahead and brought to room temperature or slightly heated before serving.

Cross-posted at Nice Deb

Carnival of the Turkeys

Well, I have written and abandoned two posts now. Despite a surfeit of celtic blood, I hate being maudlin. So I will leave you with a recipe - one I'm not making this year, but which is probably the only constant (other than turkey and stuffing) at Thanksgiving dinners at Villa Cassandranita for over 25 years now.

Squash Casserole.

Even folks who hate squash like this recipe. I like a mix of flavors at a holiday meal. I've always thought that the Seven Sweets and Seven Sours was a great idea. Must be my German blood tempering the Celtic/English love of bland food.

Not me... I like to experience the full gamut of flavors! This recipe satisfies my love of spicy/hot dishes.

3-4 lbs mixed yellow and green (zuccini) squash
2 Med. onions, minced
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh parsley (freeze dried works well too)
1/2 t. thyme
6 T. butter
6 T. flour
3 C. milk
Generous dash salt
1 T. seasoned salt. I like Morton's Nature's Seasons. McCormacks has too much paprika in it.
Several dashes ground nutmeg. I like to grate fresh.
Dash Worcestershire sauce.
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/3 C shredded Swiss cheese (I use way more, but this is what the recipe says). I treat recipes as suggestions, not dictats.
Cayenne pepper
Buttered breadcrumbs (Question for the ages: how in the heck does one butter a breadcrumb??? Good grief: just use the Italian seasoned ones from the can and forget about the butter)

Cut squash into 1/3" slices. Halve each. Place in large saucepan with minced onion, bay leaves, parsley, thyme. Cover with boiling salted water and cook until just barely tender. Drain, remove parsley and bay leaves. Set aside for a moment.

Celebrate by pouring the cook a glass of wine.

While the squash was cooking, you were *supposed* to be making the cream sauce. Of course it's too late now. Maybe next time you'll read the entire recipe first instead of loafing around the kitchen drinking Liebfraumilch. In a 1 qt. saucepan, heat 6 T. butter, whisk in 6T flour, gradually add 3 C. milk and a dash of salt.

Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it thick b/c the squash will release a lot of water in the oven and that will thin the sauce down.

Celebrate w/another glass of wine.

To the white sauce, add seasoned salt, nutmeg, and Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat. Gradually blend in the beaten egg yolks (What? You mean you hadn't beaten the egg yolks either? Maybe you should put the wine away.)


Gradually blend in the *beaten* egg yolks by adding a small amount of the hot cream sauce to the beaten yolks in a small bowl. Whisk well, then add a bit more hot cream sauce and whisk thoroughly, then a bit more.

Have another glass of wine and pile the dishes in the sink for your spouse to do once everyone has left. When you have blended enough of the hot mixture in with the eggs, return all to saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Stir in 1 C. of Swiss cheese and add cayenne pepper to taste. I like a fair amount (two generous dashes) but taste and adjust.

Place layer of cooked squash in a large (9x12 is fine) buttered baking dish. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over and sprinkle with regular or seasoned salt. Alternate layers of squash and sauce until casserole is full. Don't stir too much - you want the squash slices to be intact. Mix remaining cheese with equal or greater amount of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over top. Add salt/pepper if desired or more grated Swiss. I like to top it all off with a scant layer of Parmesan or Asiago.

Bake at 350 degrees until top is bubbly and slightly browned. Even better the 2nd day - you may want to mix ingredients the day before and refrigerate until ready to cook. If you do this, increase cooking time slightly to adjust for dish being cold when it goes into the oven.

Get ready for Thanksgiving!!

Let me be the first of the Girls with Pearls set to kick off our Thanksgiving 2009 postings.

My family gathers for festivities at my parents' home. I was there yesterday helping mom move furniture and set up tables since my dad is still on the mend from his quad-bypass at the end of August.

Dessert is what I usually contribute - pumpkin pie plus any new or specially requested thing. This year, with weather predicted to be in the low 80's (it's Southern California, sue me) I'm going to make refreshingly tart Lemon Bars to go along with the traditional pies. Recipe:

2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled butter, cubed

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or mix by hand in a large blow the flour, powdered sugar and butter until they come together to form a dough.

Press the dough into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake the crust until golden-brown, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Reduce oven temp to 300 degress to bake the bars.

8 eggs
3 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups lemon juice
1/2 cup (2.1 ounces) flour

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice and flour. Pour the filling into the prepared crust

Place dish into the center of the oven and bake at 300 degrees until the custard is set (about 40 minutes). Cool to room temp, then dust with a light coating of powdered sugar before serving.

Note: the first time I made these I chilled them in the refrigerator in order to serve them the next day. I had a devil of a time cutting through the chilled crust without destroying the first square. You may either want to precut the roomtemp bars before refrigeration or allow it to come up to room temp to cut before serving.

and take my word for it, these are very rich bars. Small servings (i.e. 3x3) are quite adequate!


Greta here - I'm the domestic disabled one in the bunch. I have been trying to file for government assistance for this problem, but have not received it as of yet. Regardless, I'm usually willing to take one for the team and cook something up. I've been blessed with a teenager who cooks too! You do not want any of my recipes, but I promise you, the dysfunctional Perry Thanksgiving is always a joy as I am blessed with 3 beautiful and healthy children, a loving husband and a house full of 4 legged critters. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday!