How do you describe the art of craziness at its highest and truest form?
But what could I possibly know about craziness?
I work in an odd profession that has no time clock.
If news happens, guess what, I got to go! Phone calls with details of drug busts, missing people, accidents and house fires have interrupted sleep, breakfast, dinner, house cleaning, conversation and all other types of events at all hours of the day.
I am part of a strange family unit.
I share a living space with my two kids and all their friends who stop by for a visit, a couple of rowdy cats that never know when to stop running, my father, who recently moved in while recovering from an illness, and an extremely quiet housemate.
When we all sit down to reminisce at the dinner table to eat a meal, sharing the stories of our lives can get a little wild.
"You are all completely crazy," he says, usually trying hard to keep food in his mouth while laughing at some outrageous family story.
Considering the bedlam of my life, I think I have figured out how to deal with some of the craziness. The thing to remember about life, is that it's always evolving.
The idea is not to only create success in life, but to create simple memories with the people you love.
What, you might wonder, are the rewards?
Actually, sitting across the table from your loved ones, laughing, talking and connecting with each other over a cup of coffee or a cold brew, enjoy a quick snack or enjoy a hearty meal is the ultimate reward.
With that in mind, I decided to provide three recipes I love to make for when my family and friends decide to gather around my dinner table and shoot the bull for a few hours.
As for a drink recipe, a tall glass of iced green tea, whether brewed in the sun or by a machine, with a slice of lemon/lime/orange is a refreshing drink for all ages. My family really enjoys "mixed berry blend" flavored green tea because it's sweet without any extra sugar.
But for the adults, adding an ounce of Southern Comfort whisky gives it a southern kick or an ounce of white rum makes tea with a Jamaican flair.
A bag of tortilla chips and some homemade Pan Fried Artichoke Dip is a quick snack.
Pour a bag of tortilla chips on a cookie sheet and place inside a preheated 325-degree oven for 20 minutes.
While the chips warm up, drain, pat dry with a paper towel and then chop the artichokes from two 14 oz. cans (packed in water, not oil). Pour two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add one tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of fresh crushed garlic in a skillet. Lightly brown the artichokes in the skillet; it will take about 5-10 minutes.
Microwave two cups of freshly grated Parmesan cheese with one cup of mayonnaise for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the artichokes to the sauce with a dash of lemon and salt and pepper to taste. (We like to add a tablespoon of sour cream to the sauce.) Eat with the warm chips.
For something hearty to eat, but quick to make, make your guests some tangy Blue Cheese, Garlic and Bacon Hamburgers on toasted garlic buns.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can make the burgers in advance and freeze them for later or you can get your guests involved in making them. Who says you can't communicate while you cook?
At the grocery store, purchase the smallest hamburger buns you can find, two pounds of 80-90 percent lean ground beef, a package of real bacon bits, a package of fresh blue cheese crumbles and a jar of chopped/minced garlic.
Make basic garlic butter by mixing three tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of garlic powder. Spread this on the inside of the buns and bake in a 350-degree oven until lightly brown, or toast in a skillet on medium heat.
While the buns are being baked or toasted (This is a good time to put people to work for you), mix the ground beef, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, one tablespoon of the chopped/minced garlic, two tablespoons of the bacon bits, a quarter-cup of the blue cheese crumbles and one teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Form into patties about an inch bigger than the bun size.
Grill over hot coals, broil about 4-inches from the oven heating element or cook in a skillet with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of butter until desired doneness.
Divide the remaining blue cheese and the bacon bits on top of the burgers, letting the cheese melt before placing the burgers on the buns.
If you want a dipping sauce for the burgers, pour some blue cheese salad dressing in a bowl and let people dip away.