Friday, August 17, 2012

Just For Fun: Oxymorons

As most of you know, an oxymoron is a word or phrase that contains an inherent contradiction. Often, these are phrases that people use, but that contain words that don’t really go together when you think about it. So, just for fun, here are some oxymorons I’ve collected. Feel free to comment and tell me which ones are your favorites or share your own.

Act naturally

Found missing

Resident alien

Genuine imitation

Airline food

Good grief

Same difference

Almost exactly

Government organization

Sanitary landfill

Alone together

Silent scream

Living dead

Small crowd

Business ethics

Soft rock

New classic

Sweet sorrow

Childproof (you mothers can relate to this one!)

"Now, then ..."

Synthetic natural gas

Government aid

Passive aggression

Taped live

Clearly misunderstood

Peace force

Extinct life

Temporary tax increase

Computer jock

Plastic glasses

Terribly pleased

Political science

Microsoft Works

Tight slacks

Definite maybe

Pretty ugly

Twelve-ounce pound cake

Diet ice cream

Working vacation

Exact estimate

Common sense

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beef and Cheese Enchiladas

This recipe is quick and easy and really tasty. You can have delicious enchiladas for your homemade Mexican meal in less than half an hour. And they’re kid-friendly too.

1.5 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup water
Chili powder and/or taco seasoning
2-3 cups shredded cheese
8-10 corn tortillas
1 small can of enchilada sauce 

Brown the ground beef, stirring it and breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Drain the meat and add about 1/4 cup water to the pan with the meat. Add about 4 or 5 tablespoons of seasoning and mix thoroughly to coat the meat. I usually add about half chili powder and half taco seasoning (it usually comes in little packets), but you can vary it according to your preference.

Lay a tortilla on a plate and put a little shredded cheese in a line down the middle. I usually use a “fiesta blend” or “Mexican blend” shredded cheese, but you can use different blends of shredded cheese or shred your own. I don’t recommend just sharp cheddar as it tends to be too strong, but colby or colby-jack works fine as does mild cheddar or a mix of sharp cheddar and milder cheeses.

Place a spoonful or two of meat on top of the cheese.

Roll up the sides of the tortilla.

Pick up the rolled tortilla and place in a baking pan, turning it as you do to put the overlapping edges downward. This is the tricky part. Don’t let the meat and cheese fall out or you’ll make a mess. It’s advisable to have the pan right next to the plate where you’re putting the enchiladas together so that it’s a short trip between them. Repeat until you have filled the baking pan.

I most often use an 8x8 inch square baking pan, but it also works to use an 11x7 pan (you just have less sauce per enchilada). You can also double the recipe and use a 9x13 pan. In this case, I fit 7-1/2 rolled tortillas in an 8x8 pan.

Once the pan is full of rolled tortillas, pour the enchilada sauce over them and spread it to cover the tops of all the tortillas. I like the Kroger brand red enchilada sauce.

Cover the top with shredded cheese.

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until heated through. Enjoy!

These enchiladas can be served with Mexican rice and beans or with other Mexican items like burritos, tacos or tostadas. In the meal below, I served them with tostadas. I just layer a crunchy corn tostada shell with refried beans, seasoned ground beef (the same as I used for the enchiladas), shredded cheese, sour cream, and shredded lettuce. They’re a little messy, but really good.

Linked up with NOBH, Warrior Wives, and WLWW.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Good Thing About Guns

After every deadly shooting there are calls for more gun regulations. “Guns kill people,” they say. “Get rid of guns.” Those who disagree quote the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms. While it is certainly true that we have the right to bear arms (and I’m totally in favor of protecting our Second Amendment rights), there is also another argument that we need to be making: Guns are good.

How so? 

Consider a world without any guns at all. There will always be those who try to take from others and hurt them. In a world without guns, whoever has more physical strength will win in any confrontation. Women, children, the elderly – all are at risk and need someone strong to protect them. If you aren't physically strong, you are vulnerable. If a confrontation occurs, you had better hope there is someone on your side who has some serious muscle or you could get hurt or killed. 

On the other hand, in a world with guns, a young woman or an elderly man or a teenager with a gun can protect themselves. The good thing about guns is that they level the playing field so that brute force can't always win. 

You see, there will always be something that can be used to hurt or kill others. Knives, chains, baseball bats, even bare hands can be weapons. The advantage that a gun gives is the ability to kill at a distance rather than needing to use brute force up close. No physical strength is needed to kill with a gun.  

Does this give an advantage to criminals? Yes, it can in some cases. But it gives the same abilities to those in danger. A 250 lb. man vs. a 100 lb. teen girl is a really uneven match without guns, but give guns to both and the man's advantage disappears. The girl now has a fighting chance where she would not have without a gun. She is now just as able to come out on top as he is. Thus, guns protect those without superior strength from being always vulnerable to those who would harm them. 

Obviously, there are differences in how well people can use guns, but this is simply a matter of mastering a simple skill, not an inherent difference in capability. When a potential victim has a gun and knows how to use it properly, they can become the physical equal of their attacker. In some cases, they may have superior force (either due to superior firepower or superior skill). Thus, those who were once vulnerable to those stronger than themselves are now empowered to protect themselves and those they love – all due to being armed. 

The problem isn’t that we have too many guns. The problem is that there are too few in the hands of good people. If only the criminals have guns, then they can run wild at will knowing that no one can stop them. They know their intended targets cannot fight back. In a place where guns are carried by many of the citizens, a criminal must think long and hard before trying to harm someone. And if he tries anything, there will likely be someone there to stop him.  

Most (if not all) of the deadly shooting sprees in the last several years bear this out – they occurred in gun-free zones. Schools, colleges, a theater – all places where the criminals know no one will be armed. Making it against the law to have guns in those places didn’t prevent violence. It invited it. The people inside gun-free zones are like sitting ducks. They might as well label such gun-free zones as “kill zones.” All it takes is one crazy with a gun to cause horrific violence and loss of life in such places because unarmed people are vulnerable to superior force. 

The answer to violence isn't to get rid of guns. If we could push a button and make all guns and the ability to manufacture them magically disappear from the planet, it would be a bad idea. That would just return us to the Dark Ages when any strong man could take whatever he wanted from the weak. The real answer is to train good people to use guns properly. Then, they can defend themselves and those who are threatened.

The world is a better place with guns...IF good people will wield them properly.

Linked up with WLWW and NOBH.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

This is my mom’s recipe and it’s the best chicken alfredo I’ve ever had…and it’s SO easy to make. Just cook the meat in the crock-pot, boil the noodles, heat the sauce, and serve. I’m also including a recipe for easy microwaved carrots that go really well with this meal.

For the chicken you need:

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 slice of bacon (2 if thin sliced) 

Simply cut the bacon strip into short pieces of about 1 inch long and place them in the bottom of a crock-pot.  

Chop the raw chicken breasts into small chunks (roughly 1 inch square) and place them over the bacon in the crock-pot. 

Turn the crock-pot on and cook until the chicken is very tender. You don’t need to add any liquid at all. Once the chicken is cooked on the outside, you may want to break it up and stir it once so that the little pieces don’t all stick together and to mix the bacon in with the chicken. But don’t stir too often or it will take longer to cook. Taking off the lid makes the crock-pot lose a lot of heat. If you don’t stir it during cooking, you can stir it at the end just as well. 

The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the crock-pot and how full it is. My crock-pot is a 4-quart and it wasn’t very full. I cooked three chicken breasts on high for an hour and half and then turned it down to low for another two and a half hours for a total of four hours of cooking time. You will need longer if you have more chicken or a smaller crock-pot. The good thing about using the crock-pot is that you can turn it on and leave it on all day (such as while you’re at work or church) and it’s ready when you want to eat. 

When the chicken is nearly done, you can boil the fettuccine noodles. Just follow the package instructions. You also want to heat the alfredo sauce at this time. I used a canned Ragu Classic Alfredo sauce, but use whatever alfredo sauce is your favorite. 

Once the noodles are boiling and the sauce is heating, make the carrots.  This is a really easy way to make a nice side for this meal. Simply place a small amount of water in the bottom of a microwaveable bowl or casserole dish. You want just enough to cover the bottom. Place one to three layers of baby carrots (or cleaned carrot sections) in the bottom of the bowl. Put small pats of butter on top of the carrots and sprinkle lightly with salt (if desired). Cover the bowl with a lid or with plastic wrap.

Microwave until the carrots are just tender, but not too mushy. Mine were done in less than 5 minutes. 

When the chicken is tender, stir it and partially flake it with a fork.

Place the chicken over the noodles on a plate and top with alfredo sauce. Serve with the carrots (or a salad). Enjoy!

Linked up with NOBH, Warrior Wives, and WLWW.