Tuesday, November 30, 2010

AMAZING Tortilla Soup Recipe (courtesy of Karen Marino)

. I'm a soup person. And definitely a Tortilla Soup person. Here's a wonderful recipe Karen Marino from Vollmer PR (soon to be Edelman) passed on to me last year. I made it again on Sunday to help combat the sniffles.

Tortilla Soup
Ingredients1 rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, meat picked from bones and shredded
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (depends on how hot you like it)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

Note: It’s important to put the white corn tortillas in and let it simmer. They not only flavor the soup but they thicken it just enough.

Simple, delicious. Enjoy!

Diamond K Thanksgiving

Hard to believe we were that close to a Texas Longhorn. This wasn't Betsy.

Hard to believe that this was year three of spending Thanksgiving at the Diamond K Ranch in Sisterdale, Texas (http://www.diamondkranch.com/). This year, one more night's rest. We leave on Tuesday morning to drive down. Unfortunately, I'm sick, but with Kleenex box and plenty of remedies in tow. It's a relaxing drive, but the cops were out in full force.

It's always great went you take that right turn that will leisurely lead you into the ranch. Pretty quickly we see "critters" -- deer-like things is more along the lines of what we see. Pull through the gates, head to the office to check in. Then off to the Loghouse where we're staying this time. Get settled in, pour a cocktail or two. And then sit down to pheasant enchiladas for dinner. Yum. Big fires in the firepit and the chimenea, looking for critters in the dark (unfortunately our night vision is not working). It's quiet and relaxing.

In the morning, we get up and have a big breakfast and then head out for skeet shooting. I opted out because I couldn't decide if I'd rather wipe the snot running down my face or hold a gun. Kleenex won vs. Gun. But it's nice outside. Big lunch (Axis burgers, yum!!!) then out for a drive to check things out. We have a pair of Pierre David's right around the lake at the Loghouse. We usually don't see them around, but this year they were just "hanging out." Driving around, we run into some Longhorns. Get out and before we know it, they are surrounding us, almost at arm's length. They wouldn't get close enough to touch. The next herd -- Betsy was in it -- Betsy licked me! I didn't know that girl Longhorns had horns. Yes, I'm a city girl! Another evening with cocktails, dinner in the barn this time, fires in the pits. Life is tough.

Thursday is Thanksgiving and we start out with some bird hunting. Follow it up with lunch -- Tony and I skipped it because we were still full from breakfast and wanted our fill of turkey for dinner! It was windy and the birds were flying "dog low" so the catch wasn't as good as the year before. I just love watching the dogs. No one was shot either! Hang out, watch some football, have a nice Thanksgiving meal.

Friday, breakfast and then head home with all of the crazies in traffic. But, this time, we have a "bird bag" -- a bag of frozen quail, pheasant, chuckers... and ground axis. We'll be figuring out what to cook over the holiday!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Woodbridge Takes Back the Gold Cup

OK, enough of the suspense and I'll get right down to it: Woodbridge won the Gold Cup 16 1/2 to 15 1/2 to take back the Cup! On Saturday morning, we finished Best Ball (fourball) 4&4, but had some difficulty in Alternate Shot (foursome), finishing up on Saturday with 6 1/2 points to Plantation's 9 1/2. We had our work cut out for us in singles matches on Sunday.

Saturday Best Ball Matches
Gary Foster/Ronnie "Blood" Cross vs. Randy Steinbrenner/Mike Hess
W Kelly Dills/Bill Johnson vs. JW Wright/Paul Krause
W Doug "Big Nuts" Kelly/Mark Patsy vs. Steve Jarmon/Jed Cantlay
Paul Burke/Brett Bim vs. Duncan MacLean/Blake Richardson
W Elvin "The Assasin" Sharp/Jack Thompson vs. Ron Gunia/Alan Owen
Ron "Seagull" Campbell/Brian Hackney vs. Chad Owen/Joe Hamilton
W John Smith/Greg "Cop" Neal vs. Mike Askew/Paul Miller
Tom "ProV" Warren/Pete Dickenscheid vs. Joe Curtis/JR Westmoreland

Saturday Alternate Shot Matches
AS Bim/Dills vs. Hess/Cantlay
Sharp/Thompson vs. Jarmon/Owen C.
W Warren/Campbell vs. MacLean/Terrien
W Neal/Patsy vs. Hamilton/Richardson
Dickenscheid/Kelly vs. Gunia/Miller
Hacknay/Johnson vs. Wright/Krause
Foster/Cross vs. Owen, A./Nelms
Burke/Smith vs. Curtis/Westmoreland

Sunday Singles Matches
W Askier vs. Bailey
AS Kelly vs. Gunia
W Dickenscheid vs. Owen, A.
W Bim vs. Hess
W Dills vs. Steinbrenner
Campbell vs. Wright
W Warren vs. Krause
W Patsy vs. Jarmon
W Neal vs. Askew
Cross vs. Owen, C.
W Smith vs. Hamilton
W Johnson vs. Nelms
Hackney vs. Miller
W Thompson vs. Richardson
Sharp vs. MacLean
W Foster vs. Westmoreland
W Burke vs. Curtis

Frank and I finish up our round with the Pros, grab some beers and head out to check out the action. Pete closes up his match on 18 with a win and Doug squares his match against Gunia. We hear that Woodbridge is kicking some butt in our matches. We are. But, we had some ground to cover in order to get the cup back. Frank and I are tooling around, checking out the matches. At 13 we find the last group and since their match is pretty tight, decided they didn't need an audience and we decide to follow Pete and Doug to the 16th and check out the action there. If you know Woodbridge, we have a lot of little trails that let you shortcut to different holes.

You know something's going to change this little golf adventure, don't you? Well, it does. I just told Frank to let them go ahead and we were chuckling over the two big guys in the cart ahead of us, taking up a lot of space as they raced full speed to the 16th. CRASH. Bodies flying out of carts. "You blanking blank!" coming out of Doug's mouth. Smoke coming out of the cart. Cart seat off the cart. Yes, Pete ran full force into a tree while not keeping his eyes on the "road" (and no, he wasn't drinking). Pretty much stopped golf in its tracks as matches stopped, people came running.
Good news: while Doug is going to be pretty sore and has quite a few gashes, he'll be good. And Peter will be a little sore, he'll be good except for the many, many years of stories that will come with this "incident." It sure did make for a lot of fun after we won Gold Cup and were drinking beers. And, Pete discovered that there is a "dumbass deductible" with his homeowners insurance that will cover the cost of fixing (or replacing) the golf cart -- that didn't look like it was going to be "fixable."

I say it everytime and I'll say it again. While winning the Gold Cup is excellent and an honor, and I was honored to be co-captain of the team, it's really about the teamwork, the comaraderie between Woodbridge and Plantation -- that's what makes this my favorite event of the year.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gold Cup, Part 1

I thought about waiting until the end of Gold Cup and then filling you in on the results. But then, that didn't go over well last year, because I didn't remember the details. So, the morning of our Sunday round, decided to upload the photos I took into snapfish, and drink some coffee. It's also nice that this bout of gastro stuff (they say that stomach "flu" isn't correct) is over and I feel human again.
On Friday evening, skills challenge (long drive, chipping and putting) started on on the rocky side for Woodbridge in the Long Drive category. Well, rocky is mild. Paul Burke led off with a whopping 1 point. Followed by no points by Doug Kelley, one point by Pete Dickenscheid, and no points by Brian Hackney. Plantation wasn't doing great, but you get one point just for being ANYWHERE in the fairway. Advantage Plantation. And then the chipping came and we rallied back. And then the putting came and we clobbered Plantation with some excellent feats by Dills, Sharp, Foster, Thompson, Smith and Cross. Winning the skills challenge. Announce the pairings for Saturday's rounds. I'm absent but I'll get caught up on Saturday.

Saturday, not 100% I'm going to be up for this co-captain responsibility, but at least will try and make it up there to get them off the first tee and then wait and see. I do make it and for the entire day. And even eat for the first time.

But, I think I'm just going to upload a smattering of photos (I've discovered that what looks really close to me when I take these pictures, is really not -- and while I know all of these guys, I'm sometimes having an identification issue) and post the results from Saturday and keep you in suspense.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ryder Cup, then Gold Cup

In a week, Ryder Cup will be on. The next week, Woodbridge and Plantation will be going up against each other in our Annual Gold Cup. Last year, Plantation took the cup from us. We're raring to go and take it back. I'll be sitting out this year from play, but acting as Assistant Captain. We hope this year doesn't bring the torrential rains that forced us to play all rounds at Plantation.

The Woodbridge Team:
Ronnie Cross (Woodbridge Flight One Club Champion)
Paul Burke
Elvin Sharp (the assassin)
Peter Dickenscheid
Bill Johnson
Jack Thompson
Mark Patsy
Brian Hackney
Brett Bim
Ron Campbell
Doug Kelly
Tom Warren (2009 Woodbridge Club Champion)
Greg Neal (aka the cop)
Gary Foster
Kelly Dills
John Smith

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Day 6: Lawsonia and The Farm House

We've been told that Lawsonia (http://www.lawsonia.com/) will be one of our best days of golf in Wisconsin. They have a links course that we're playing in the afternoon and a woodlands course in the morning. Supposedly the Links is the better of the two. And, after digging around researching for the trip, since Green Lakes boasts of the Heidel House, a hotel with a spa, seems to be like a Bay Harbor type of experience.

Pack up the car with all of our stuff since we're heading to the Farmhouse right after we play 36 holes. Bye-bye, Pete's Mom's Christmas Tree Farmhouse. A great place to stay during our trip. Off to a new location.

We thought we'd stop for breakfast along the way. But, like most of the trip, we're in the boonies and there isn't much on the way. Clubhouse it is! And, that was a good choice because it was one of the better breakfasts we've had on the trip (and yes, they accept American Express). Figured out what was wrong on the range (too far on my heels) and off we go to play the Woodlands. Gorgeous track. Mosquitos weren't really around either. Pretty enjoyable round since we had no one in front of us and no one behind us. Can definitely see why this is tops on people's list. This afternoon, we're playing the Links, which is supposed to be even better. Grab lunch and they get us out earlier than our 2 pm tee time. The wind has picked up -- perfect for Links (but not necessarily for scoring). Another gorgeous afternoon and course.
Before heading to the Appleton Farmhouse, we decide to see what's up with the Heidel House and Green Lake. Now this is what Michigan is like. Quaint little town, nice hotel on the Lake. We have a cocktail and then head to the Farmhouse. Call Kelly, who is going to meet us there. Her daughter is having her Softball Parade so she may be a little late.

When we pull into the Farmhouse, we know that this experience is going to be nice for our tired, golfed out bodies. It's cozy and comfortable. Each of us has a bedroom and bathroom -- there's wi fi so I can get on the internet and delete a gazillion emails. They give us goodies, including Utopia golf shirts, and steak for dinner. And it's so nice not to have to drive anywhere. We sit out on the patio (no mosquitos). Ahhhh, relaxation before our last day of golf.

Last Day of Golf: Green Bay Country Club and Oneida Country Club

After a great breakfast at the farmhouse (so nice not having to drive around to find breakfast), we head out to Green Bay Country Club (http://www.greenbaycountryclub.com/) for our morning round. Surprised us that it wasn't as "hoity toity" as we thought considering how difficult is supposed to be to get on. And surprised us even more that it wasn't the "traditional" old type of course that we envisioned it. It's awesome. And really not that old. And, did I say, awesome. Well worth the money (and they take American Express). The front nine was pretty slow with two groups of guys ahead of us who eventually sped up. They were from Amelia Island, from the looks of a couple of the guys who also had their Tour Bags like Pete.

Our intention was to grab lunch at Lambeau Field on our way to Oneida. But with only an hour between tee times, we head direct to Oneida and wave to LF on our way. Pulling into Oneida, Dave comments on us being at Bushwood Country Club. There's a pool, and a big club house. Looks a lot like it (but we know that Caddyshack was filmed in Florida). The clubhouse is all fancy, hoity toity. Nice ladies' locker room (with these little flowers you write your name on if you make a par). They do not take American Express. Grab lunch on the patio (and a beer).

And, as non-members, you can't purchase anything from the beverage cart. And the mosquitos were AWFUL. And the trees were huge (not 90% air). Do not go into the rough. Last round of golf. Not the best of our rounds. But a great course to want to take another try at some other time. But, the best part that affirmed that we were at Bushwood -- we met a muskrat (figured that's close enough to a gopher, don't you)? There were plenty of Caddyshack lines tossed around in that round. And, surprisingly for the last round of golf -- Pete didn't break any of his clubs, or throw any into a body of water.

Head back to the Farmhouse, where showers, drinks and dinner await. And sleep. Head to the airport in the morning. Golf is done for this trip. Time to pack up and head out in the morning.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Heading Home

It's morning and I'm sitting on the floor, Netbook on the floor, uploading photos from the trip onto Snapfish. And trying to get caught up on the Blogs about the trip. It's hard to recap the trip going backwards, since 12 rounds of golf is a lot of golf. And I'm not one of those who remembers what each hole on each course is like. I have a great memory, but these pretty much run together.

Deer at the Farmhouse. Tom saw 8. I saw 3. Pete saw the triplets yesterday. My golf bag is packed. My suitcase next to the car.

Working on the spreadsheets. Pretty much guessed it right on the expenses (what we do is collect money from everyone and then I pay for everything -- meals, snacks, club cleaning, golf balls, ice cream). Makes it easier than having to decide at each meal who owes what. And, it all pretty much evens out. Someone may have a bigger meal, but another may have one more icy cold beverage.

OK, spreadsheet completed. Dave and Tom are the overall winners, but only with a difference of $2 with Tom being the Grand Winner (no, you don't get another prize for that honor). I've fared better than I have in other years, but owe a bit of money to Dave. Pete, with the low handicap, is the big payer.

Breakfast at 7 am. On the road around 8 am. Head to the airport and back to Dallas. Getting in at 230 pm, the heat of the day. Not looking forward to it. But looking forward to getting home to Tony, Maggie, Kat. And no golf for a few days! And the jacuzzi to loosen my back. And maybe a massage. And a chiropractor. Hopefully with all of the mosquito bites that we don't contract Malaria, or West Nile, or some mosquito-related illness.

Stop at a Harley Davidson store on the way to the airport to get Milwaukee shirts (as opposed to the Museum shirts). Check in at the airport (no curbside check in and the poor man checking people in was about to have a fit -- he was really nice to me. Not so nice to Pete, with his overweight golf bag). We're lucky that we're all upgraded to First Class on our American Eagle flight (yes, they have added first class to some of the cabins). I'm still watching the first season of Lost and get through a couple more episodes. Matt and Max are picking me and Tom up at the airport.

So, we had a great time in Wisconsin and loved the courses and the hospitality (but not the mosquitos). Better than Michigan. No. But worth doing? Yes. According to Golf Magazine (September 2010), we just played 7 out of 15 of the best courses in Wisconsin (with Erin Hills being #35 of the Top Courses You Can Play). Not bad. Time to start thinking about next year.

Reminder to bring my Visa next time I come to Wisconsin. Because not many places accept American Express.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 5: THE WISCONSIN DELLS (Wild Rock and Trappers Turn)

Wisconsin Dells. I guess I kept hearing about waterparks and waterparks and it being a great place to bring the family. And water parks. But, in my mind, I had it a little quaint Traverse City, Petoskey. You know, a casino down the road, but cute little boutiques and art galleries, punctuated by ice cream parlors and wine bars. WRONG! As we pass the Wisconsin Dells sign and then head onto what I will call the main drag... you encounter a tourist area like none other. The biggest touristy, cheesy, Wally World (and yes, there is a Wally World) type of experience (with a lot of water parks). We drive down the main drag and pass Famous Daves (yes, that's where we'll have lunch), every kind of tee shirt, vintage photo, candy store you can imagine. I could never have imagined this as Wisconsin Dells.

Tom and I want to go to Paul Bunyans for breakfast (we have a thing for doing touristy, non chain restaurant kinds of experiences and why wouldn't you want to go to a place with a huge Paul Bunyan outside). It doesn't open until 7 am, so we drive around -- past water park after water park. The best is Rome -- it has a Trojan Horse, the Parthenon, and about as much Roman cheese as you can handle. Right next to the upside down White House (that's themed Top Secret). Discover that Pete HATES eggs scrambled, as omelets, in any way except fried. So, when we find out that Paul Bunyan is family style only, with only scrambled eggs, we bypass it and go to Dennys (no, not the chain, but the Elvis Denny's) with it's world famous cinnamon rolls). What a way to start a morning before golf. Wondering if Wild Rock is going to be themed like the Flintstones, or something wacky. Pull into Wild Rock and you can tell we'll probably have a pretty decent experience. GPS in the carts, people at the bag drop.

Well, the wheels definitely fell off this morning on Wild Rock -- and it wasn't the course. We really liked Wild Rock (yes, they accept American Express). Felt like Michigan. Farm Houses, rolling woods, carry over canyon-like things. But, I happened to have a case of the dreadful s***ks (yes, the word I can't even bring myself to type in this blog). And I couldn't seem to cure it. And I couldn't get my driver to behave. Didn't help when you're having a mental kind of morning to have someone (Pete) tell me getting up to the teebox (I see a woodie coming on this shot) with trees all of the way down the right side. Just god awful. But, decided to do the seven wood play. See how many different shots I could pull off with that club. It ended up working for me (along with drinking three beers when the beer cart came along) enough to salvage a 43 on the back (with three pars in a row). And, they have a barn that was turned into the restrooms on the course. How cool is being able to pee in a barn?

After golf, we have some time to kill and decide to head to the main drag to go to Famous Dave's for lunch (BBQ). I'm not Texan so I'm not picky about BBQ. It was pretty decent. Then, a couple of tee shirt shops on their way to find ice cream. With lots of inappropriate tee shirts. Everyone knows I haven't been party to most of the Tiger jokes circulating, but this one was pretty funny. Don't need more than a couple of hours on the strip to be maxed out. Even though, it was great people watching and pretty amusing. Off to Trappers Turn (yes, they accept American Express)-- still wondering if this is going to have some crazy theme to it. On the range, I still have my issues and realize it's just going to be that kind of day that I probably don't fix it and the next day, with new shoes, a different hat, a different ball marker, different clothes, different golf course -- that I should be fine (yes, I'll blame just about everything even if I know it's all me, not my ball marker). So, rather than donate my money to charity (Dave), I decide not to play in the game (yes, you can do that if you want). Could have picked up a whole lot of trash when I chipped in for birdie on the second hole (that'd be birdie, net eagle, chippie, skin). The mosquitos were definitely biting at Trappers Turn. Great course, but clearly need to play it a couple of times before you know where you should (or should not) be going.

Wild Rock (http://www.wildrockgolf.com/)

Day 4, University Ridge and Ice Cream

Off to Madison we go to play University Ridge, the University of Wisconsin's course (http://www.universityridge.com/). We have the afternoon off to visit the city and the university, look for co-eds, and have ice cream.

Started with stopping in Lodi for breakfast (because it's where Susie the Duck hails -- http://www.lodiwisconsin.com/). I thought the story about Susie would be more interesting, but you can read all about it if you want. Guess they needed something. Breakfast was good -- but thank goodness we weren't in any particular rush, because we were there quite a while. "Leisurely service" might be an appropriate term to use.

Keep on to University Ridge. Get there and you guessed it-- pretty well branded everywhere from the turf to the trashcans with University of Wisconsin or Badger related items. Very red and black. Since I went to Northwestern for year, Dad went to Purdue, Andrew to Ohio State, Allison to Penn State, and Tony is definitely not a Big Ten fan, don't see myself buying much in the proshop at this course. But, looks great. The front nine is a "link-ish" style course. The back nine is more "woodlands." Very true. I play great on the front (carded two birdies that were really close to eagles) and awful on the back. Felt like some of the Michigan courses. Great condition, soft greens. Only thing we didn't like was the sand -- on the front, it was pebbly and on the back, it was so soft that the sand came around my ankles. And, we had lunch provided with our green fees. And, they accepted American Express.

University Ridge opened its doors in 1991 and has received many awards, including in 2009:
#7 in “Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play” Wisconsin-Golfweek; Reader’s Choice Awards “Top 50 in country” Public category-GolfWorld; #1 Rated Course in Wisconsin-Golflink.com; #47 Top 100 United States Golf Courses-Golflink.com.

Not bad. After golf, we head downtown to go check out State Street (supposedly "the street" in Madison). Unfortunately, because of a lot of construction, we had to weave our way to State Street. Parked, found ice cream, and then visited the Capitol building (they have a Liberty Bell -- Freeport-McMoRan does need to change the sponsorship from Phelps Dodge to FCX since Phelps Dodge is no longer). State Street didn't seem to be as "wild" as we heard. But then, school hasn't started yet so may be on the quiet side.

Enough of this. Decide to head back to Pete's with a stop at Milty Wilty on the way home. You can tell that we really like Milty Wilty (W7411 State Road 21, #73, Wautoma, WI 54982). They don't have a website that I would say is their website, but you can send them your pictures with you wearing your Milty Wilty tshirt for them to post. Poor waitress was a little overwhelmed with us and managed to have some trouble with our orders. But, we're in no rush.
Another adventure tomorrow!