September 2013 Archives

Don't Try This At Home

Like Father Like Sons

By Bob on September 30, 2013 4:27 AM | Read More

Our NY-based son (not like we have another son tucked away making the new iPhone 6 in a Chinese sweatshop) turns 27 next week and I know this birthday is going to be great.

How do I know internets? Because it HAS to be better than last year's birthday. His last birthday SUCKED.

It wasn't something I did or didn't do. Or he did or didn't do. It was beyond everyone's control.

Cole's birthday last year - the exact day mind you - was spent attending his grandfather's (my dad's) funeral. Whoaaaaaa...before you reach for the Kleenex box, lemme 'splain. This isn't one of those posts.

See? I told you it wasn't one of those posts. And just in case you were wondering, I totally ROCKED those shorts in 1989.Cole & Dad-600.jpg
Cole and I have both matured since then...well, a little anyway.

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My father, John Martin Hill, was a wonderful man. Great father. Terrific grandfather. A really great, great grandfather. He loooooved to tell stories and was never shy about telling you he loved you. It's corny I know, but we were blessed to have him in our lives.

But that wasn't the best part.



We have dinner reservations at a famous Midtown steakhouse.

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Why Weight?

5 Ways to Save Money on Medical Care

By Bob on September 25, 2013 4:43 AM | Read More

Many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) go into effect in October. Regardless of where you stand on the healthcare debate, one thing we can ALL agree on is that healthcare is expensive.

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Daily Distraction

For all you brid watchers out there

By Bob on September 24, 2013 4:08 AM | Read More

This flower pot's for you!

9-24 - Brid Sale-500.jpg

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Comfort Corner

Chicken Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

By Charlotte on September 20, 2013 1:00 AM | Read More

Bob and I grew up eating boxed macaroni and cheese. It was a much-loved favorite our working moms relied on to save time and please everyone in the family.

But I never thought about using this store-bought shortcut as a springboard to scrumptious meals until we received Kristen Kuchar's Mac N' Cheese to the Rescue cookbook (Ulysses Press, April 2013, $12.95). She's come up with 101 delectable dishes that start with a box of cheesy goodness, including this yummy Chicken Parm Mac.

This cheesy casserole uses boxed mac n' cheese as a shortcut to lucious Chicken Parmesan taste.

Mac & Cheese Serving-600.jpg

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Remotely Possible

Buckshot Wireless Speaker

By Bob on September 19, 2013 5:16 AM | Read More

I've been looking for a good rugged outdoor wireless speaker for a while. If I'm cranking up Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (you haven't lived until you've heard my Bob Dylan-Tom Petty version of Refugee) down at the ranch, I need a wireless speaker that can bounce around in a 4-wheel-drive jeep across rocks and cactus and still blast out the tunes.

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Guest Room

Simple Grilled Shrimp with Avocado Butter

By Charlotte on September 18, 2013 1:00 AM | Read More

By Kelley Cleary Coffeen, author of 200 Easy Mexican Recipes

These lightly marinated shrimp are simple but amazingly flavorful. Rich avocado butter adds a balance in texture and taste.

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Daily Distraction

Need shoes for a 3-legged race?

By Bob on September 17, 2013 4:06 AM | Read More

Here you go!

9-17 - TriPod Shoe Sale-640.jpg

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Don't Try This At Home

Game Day Bean Dip

By Bob on September 16, 2013 4:42 AM | Read More

Like most Texans, I love fall. By the time we reach the end of August, we've had about 30 days of 100+ temperatures and we're all ready for that climate-induced ass whipping to be over.

Fall also signals the start of high school, college and pro football, which as every Texan knows, is our holy season **pausing to say a brief prayer for my beleaguered Dallas Cowboys**. Amen. 

Fall football is great. The only thing better is fall football AND a really good bean dip.

Super Bowl Bean Dip Ready to Eat-600.jpg

Over the years, I've supported only one pro team, but I've experimented with dozens of different dip recipes. Some are too hot, some are too bland, some are too much work, but all had the cheesy, gotta-have-another-scoop taste that makes a good bean dip great.

All these years of bean-experimentation have paid off with this super easy, super delicious bean dip recipe. It has just the right amount of heat, a satisfying cheesy texture that hangs on to a good tortilla chip and (SPOILER ALERT) it's EASY.

Mix up a batch of this dip about 2 hours before the big game and it'll be ready by kickoff. Then sit back, relax and watch somebody other than the Cowboys **sigh** win. Maybe next year?  


Mix up a batch about 2 hours before the big game and it'll be ready by kickoff.



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In the Mirror

Bruise Control

By Charlotte on September 15, 2013 1:00 AM | Read More

The things we do for beauty! After being diagnosed with the big C and having a double mastectomy in 2009, I went through a year's worth of procedures to rebuild my breasts. It was a pain (literally) but the girls ended up somewhat larger so at least I checked something off my beauty bucket list!

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Here's the Dish

Here's the Dish: David's Delish Hatch Chile Huevos Rancheros

By Charlotte on September 13, 2013 12:50 PM | Read More

Want to spice up your morning routine? Try this Tex-Mex spin on scrambled eggs from my brother David.

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Daily Distraction

When grandma saw this baby bib...

By Bob on September 10, 2013 3:57 AM | Read More

...SHE'S the one who spit up!

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Why Weight?

6 Foods That Can Save Your Heart

By Bob on September 4, 2013 4:43 AM | Read More

The South is my home and along with a good southern upbringing I was also raised on a good Southern diet. Down here it isn't 8 glasses of water a day that keeps us healthy, it's the 8 glasses of gravy **kidding**.

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Daily Distraction

How does our dog keep getting out?

By Bob on September 3, 2013 3:54 AM | Read More

You MIGHT look at your backyard fence.

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Don't Try This At Home

How I Spent My Summer

By Bob on September 2, 2013 3:53 AM | Read More

Like most Baby Boomers, every year at this time I'd drag myself back to a school and try to forget summer. It wasn't that hard.

In my little Texas town, summer vacation meant working a job, crusin' the main drag (a verrrry short trip), swimming in the muddy Brazos River and the occasional make out session at the Brazos Drive-In (this was B.C., "Before Charlotte").

I know what you did last summer-503.jpg

On digital paper, it sounds like a cross between Happy Days and Little House on the Prairie but it wasn't nearly that idyllic.  Regardless of how the summer turned out, the first day of school was usually punctuated by a teacher asking me to condense WHAT I DID THIS SUMMER on to a piece of three-hole punch notebook paper.  

This wasn't a tough assignment.

My goal was to turn in an essay that didn't contain too many grammatical errors and changed the names of the guilty to farm animals, as in "then Pig and I stashed the beer we bought with a fake ID in the brush at the Weatherford Boat Ramp." This was sometimes a problem in Granbury, Texas, because some of my classmates actually had animal nicknames, but I used literary license to work my way around any felonies.  

The HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER essay has likely gone the way of schools without air-conditioning and the 8-Track tape. But that hasn't stopped me. I thought our reader millions of readers might like to know how Charlotte and I spent our summer. So buckle up buttercup and let's roll the highlight (and one lowlight) reel... 

How I Spent My Summer   

You can tell by the expression on her face that this show is just gonna suck. It did.Diana Krall-500.jpg

Diana Krall
Our summer started out on a sour note. This sultry songstress has been on my concert bucket list for a loooong time. That's why it was such a HUGE disappointment to see her at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas. The Boomer Babe spent 95% of the show promoting her new (and dismal) album Glad Rag Doll. One word review: Bleh (* out of 5 stars). I actually apologized to Charlotte for taking her.


 Take them to the ranch and give them all loaded weapons.

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Red Thong Strong: Girlfriends Little Secrets to Smoothing Lifes Panty Lines
Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

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By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Playing Favorites

Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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