April 30, 2010
For the past two years, the signature of Oaks day has been the Pink Out. Churchill Downs partners with Susan G. Komen for the Cure ® and Horses and Hope to host the Pink Out. They encourage everyone to incorporate pink into their Oaks outfit (very fitting for the race for the fillies). One of my parents’ friends last year sported his pink Chuck Taylors with his suit. I want to be my parents when I grow up.
Anyways, I am off to have a Bloody Mary, enjoy the weather, good friends, and some beer pong.
Talk Derby to me.
April 29, 2010
My betting strategy – Well, Paddy O’Prado is a gray horse. So there is one bet. And I have Jackson Bend in the office pool, so I’ll have to put some money on him as well. Last year, I had Mine that Bird in the office pool. Did I put a measly $2 on my office pool horse – NO! And it paid a gabazillion to win. UGH never again. So this year Jackson Bend gets $2. And Dean's Kitten. Cat in the name - must bet. And then there is Devil May Care. The filly, the girl racing against all the guys. Two years ago, the filly was Eight Belles and she placed, but broke both ankles right after crossing the finish line. The tragedy stirred talk that fillies should not be allowed to race against the males. Then there is Rachel Alexandra (heyo fav horse ever with the awesome name). She ran in the Oaks instead of the Derby last year coming off the death of Eight Belles in the previous Derby. And she killed all those measly girls. So in the Preakness, she ran against all the guys to prove her awesome-ness and won. She is the 2009 Horse of the Year and she put to rest any qualms about racing fillies in the Derby.
So make your bets people. The time is drawing near.
For additional information on contenders, you can go to the Courier-Journal, they have a huge section. And so does the Kentucky Derby website. The list of contenders came from Equestrian Life - theirs is very interactive. Never ending options. Time to do some research!
Oh and this is Haudge displaying his excitement for the Derby. He comes home tonight. He has a gambling problem.
April 28, 2010
It doesn’t matter what the weather is outside on the first Saturday in May – people are in their spring best. And it’s really all about preppy. The men wear seersucker suits, light jackets, and colorful ties. They all look so handsome. And the women. Some I’m sure spend more money on their Derby outfits than they did for their tickets, or what they will spend at the betting window that day. The women, like the men, can be found wearing the brightest colors and HATS. Oh the hats. They are, along with all other horse racing events, the must have item. But – do you buy the hat and then match your dress, or try to find a hat that matches a dress you already have???? Typical chicken and egg scenario. You will see everything from homemade beauties in the infield to high end designer hats over on the Third Floor and Millionaire’s Row. Our local paper has an entire section dedicated to hat shopping. I personally have never worn a hat because I feel silly in hats and I have never had the time or resources to dedicated to finding the perfect hat. If I was a good blogger, I would do my research and tell you the hat trends for 2010, but alas. I am just here for my own self gratification since I am obsessed with blogs.
This year, for the second year in a row, Churchill Downs is partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and Horses and Hope. Oaks Day (Friday) will be a “Pink Out” in which all attendees (infield and otherwise) are encouraged to incorporated pink into their outfit. More on that on Friday!
I am off to the track (sidenote - when Louisvillians speak of the track, they are referring to Churchill Downs. I had many people in college give me weird looks thinking I was heading to the gym to spend the day at the track - like track and field. No sir. Kentucky does not exercise!). So today I will be spending the day with my office – betting while getting paid….good day.
April 27, 2010
First you have to choose a horse. I wish I could tell you more about how to read the program, but I really pretend to know what I am doing and then choose a horse based on name and the color of the jockey’s silks. I also often bet on the gray horses. And if a horse has a cat themed name – winner. And the more absurd the name, the better. I believe Stud gave up betting against me when I won betting in one race on Precious Kitten and Sparkletime. Something like that. Below is an example of the results from a race yesterday at Churchill Downs – Purrfect Alibi – I would have totally bet on that. But there are things you can check. I like to look at the distance of the race (measured in furlongs) compared to the horses past performances at that distance. You can go across and see all the splits, but that’s too much work for me. The Daily Racing Forum has a great little interactive tutorial if you are interested in learning how to really handicap a horse.
good link to all the vocab and another one with simple instructions on how to bet. I particularly like the last step.
So the Derby is only four days away. Can’t wait!
April 26, 2010
Bourbon Balls – Now, if you are my one and only avid reader, than you know how obsessed we Kentucky folk are with our bourbon. So why not take bourbon and improve upon it the only way known to man by mixing it with chocolate (heyyyo like the name of this blog) - and the bourbon ball is born. A chocolate candy with the subtle burn of bourbon….yummmm. You can find them all over Louisville and the most popular are the ones made my Maker’s Mark. There were some in the office the other day – don’t mind if I do help myself to seven, choke on one and cause a scene in the kitchen. Totally normal. Choking on one has not deterred my love. As much as I eat them, I have never made them. Here is a pretty good looking recipe. I might try them this week to have some for Derby. I think I would like mine rolled in cocoa powder.
Chocolate Pecan Bourbon (DERBY) Pie
1c. granulated sugar
1 stick melted butter
12 oz. chocolate chips
1c. chopped pecans
2 T. Bourbon
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 375. Mix the sugar and flour. Melt the butter and allow to cool and then mix with the eggs. Add flour mixture to egg and butter mixture. Add the chocolate chips, pecans, bourbon and vanilla. Pour into a 9" pie shell and bake for 45-60 minutes. (This is where we cut up the pie crust and make the mini delicious-ness. Bake for 25 minutes)
If you would like another perspective on Derby bourbon-y foods, this was an interesting article.
April 23, 2010
When I was little, my parents would roust my brother and I with the promise of doughnuts for breakfast, pile us in the car, and take us down to the Fairgrounds to see the hot air balloons. They are all laid out in different stages of inflation and the shapes and colors were always my favorite part. And the best balloons give out candy and stickers. After that, the “hare” balloon takes off (floats off?) and flies to some spot and lands and marks the spot with an “X.” All the other balloons must follow the Hare (they are called the “Hounds”…how clever) and attempt to drop a bag of seeds from their balloon onto the X. The closest bag wins!
By the way....All these festival events have free admission with the a Pegasus Pin. I get one every year and if you get a gold one, you can turn it back in and enter a drawing for all sorts of cool prizes. Or you can hold onto the gold one and show it off to everybody and maybe sell it for thousands one day on eBay!! Right. My dad always gets the gold ones. Also going on this weekend is the Derby marathon and mini marathon. People run all over the city causing traffic. I could maybe walk a mile. Therefore, I will be getting doughnuts in honor of the Balloon Race.
April 22, 2010
April 21, 2010
Some fun traditions:
April 20, 2010
OK so I have seen a variety of recipes for a Mint Julep. But there is only one way to make it. And it only involves a few things - mint, bourbon, and simple syrup. Sounds simple...right?? But ooooh no.
First - what bourbon? I learned far too much about bourbon on my excursion for Stud's birthday along the Bourbon Trail a few summers ago. His cousins own and operate a bourbon distillery we will hereby call Wan Vinkle Bourbon (for anonymity of course) and they kindly set up an amazing behind the scenes tour at Buffalo Trace that was much more informative than the standard hour long tour. Did you know that in order to be considered bourbon, the following things must hold true?:
- It must be distilled within the United States
- It must be made of a grain mixture including at least 51% corn
- It cannot be altered in any artificial way: no coloring, flavoring, or special filtering
- It must be aged for at least two years in new charred white oak barrels
- It must be distilled to no higher than 165 proof, and introduced into the barrel at no higher than 125 proof
Try that on for size, rum and vodka...posers.The first thing you must decide is if you prefer wheat or rye bourbon. I prefer wheat - I think it has a much smoother flavor. Examples of wheat bourbons are Maker's Mark and Old Weller. Brands that use rye are Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, and most other bourbon brands. Rye bourbons have more of a spicy, peppery kick. Then, you must decide if you are a bourbon snob because there are many people in the world that refuse to mix their bourbon with anything - not even ice. I am not one of those people. Stud can be, depending on the glass.
Second - OK so you have your bourbon. Now you need a mint julep cup. This is not just a cup. A true mint julep cup is a sterling silver cup - truly frat-tastic. If you want to go all out, then you need to get your julep cups at Wakefield-Scearce in Shelbyville, KY. Their julep cups are modeled after the original which was made in Kentucky around 1795. They have signature decorative beading and each one is dated by stamping the initials of the current president on the bottom. In Louisville, they are popular gifts for births, weddings, graduations, and birthdays. Some people judge you on the amount of julep cups you own. I am not one of those people. Stud can be, depending on the person. Kidding, of course. (Sidenote - If you have a party and you catch somebody looking at the bottom of your julep cups to see if it is a Wakefield-Scearce, it is socially acceptable to kick them in the shin and tell them to go stand in the corner and think about what they've done.) Anyhoo - When an icy cold mint julep is in a silver julep cup, the frosting on the outside along with the spring of mint from the top - a truly beautiful sight. Shivers...down my spine. Gulp.
Third and final - how to make a mint julep. Some people add club soda - NO. Some people use granulated or powdered sugar in the bottom of the glass - NO. Some people drink the pre-mixed cocktail - NO - part of the fun is making it! Some people add weird things like fruit and other stupid stuff ABSOLUTELY NOOOOO. OK so here's what you do. You take a 1:1 ratio of water and sugar in a saucepan and boil it until the sugar is dissolved and now you have a simple syrup. If you are making a ton, like me this Derby, do about 3c. water and 3c. sugar. Maybe more. Then take a spring of fresh mint and some ice and crush them together at the bottom of a julep cup. Gotta release those minty juices. Fill the glass the rest of the way with ice, and add bourbon until the glass is about 3/4 full. Then top off with the cooled simple syrup, give it a stir, add a spring of mint, and enjoy. The bourbon to simple syrup ratio is a personal preference, but a julep is really all about the bourbon. And......enjoy. Drooling thinking about it. Candy in my mouth. Please, feel free to try this at home.
April 19, 2010
The day started with Bloody Mary's, delicious food, cornhole and friends. It ended with fireworks, four square and maybe a little power nap before we went to the bars. I don't remember the last time I laughed as hard and as much as I did this weekend.
April 16, 2010
Tomorrow is Thunder over Louisville. It is the day long kick off to the Derby Festival and one of my favorite events. And for more than a decade, it has remained the largest annual pyrotechnic in North America. Didn't know that little ole' Louisville was so cool did you??
It all starts around 3:00 with the airshow which I get to hear practice today as the jets zoooom by my office building. But the stunts they do are amazing. The little kid in me always loves watching the airshows, the jets, and the aerobatics. Another fun fact - did you know that the Thunder Air Show is ranked as one of the top five in the nation??? Pretty cool. Then around 9:30, the fireworks begin. When I was little, Thunder was always a day long event that involved trekking down to my mom's office building. She (luckily) had a corner office that faced the Ohio River and was a great (and air conditioned) place to watch all the days activities. I could watch the planes cut through the buildings downtown and then watch all the fireworks from her 14th floor vantage point. We would also venture down to the Chow Wagon on the Belvedere to stuff our bellies with Snow Cones, Funnel Cakes, and my personal fav, Frater Taters. How can you not love that??
These days, my mom no longer has her amazing office. But last year, two of my good friends moved into a house with a perfect vantage point. So an adult appreciation of Thunder has come on. Now, I get to their house around 3 to see the start of the airshow, and spend the afternoon drinking and eating while appreciating it all far from the body to body crowd that is down by the River. And tomorrow starts even earlier with a little engagement party they are throwing for me and Stud. They will have tons of Bloody Mary's. And Stud's Best Men are coming in from out of town to celebrate with us this weekend. Going to be a great/epic weekend.
April 13, 2010
Glee is by far my favorite show on television. It has the ability to put a smile on my face no matter the day I've had. And it's been on break for months, and tonight, it finally comes back. If you have never watched it, you should. And then you should go and download the songs from iTunes. One of my many favs:
Tune in tonight at 9:28 on Fox.
April 9, 2010
April 8, 2010
cant handle their liquor
ruining everybodys fun
Stud: i laughed at the "frontloading" part
Stud: fucking author is a loser
never heard of pregaming
Stud: no wonder he was picked for that article, he had no friends in college
Anyways, below is an abbreviated list of the rules of four square. I feel like it is significantly more complicated than it was when I was six.
Around The World: Any player in possession of the ball may call Around the World regardless of rank at any moment. If it is called, the calling player can hit it to an adjacent square, and that person must hit it to the remaining adjacent square until it reaches the player who called it, at which point the game returns to normal. A "permanent" version may be called, in which case the sequence must continue until a player gets out, even if it reaches the caller.
Backboards (Treetops, Double tap): Hitting the ball upwards into the air one time before hitting it into another player's square, often used to give a player a better aim.
Baubling (Bubbles, Double Touches, Popcorn, Juggling, etc.): A way to get around holding the ball, one bounces it lightly between their hands before hitting it to another square.
Black Magic: King says “black magic” while twirling a ball in hands before throwing it at another player. When they throw it, they yell “dare!” If the player does not catch it, they must perform a dare of the Kings designation.
Catching between one’s legs (The Annihilator): If this is called, and a player catches the ball between his or her legs (typically between the knees), all players except for the person to catch the ball are out. The person completing the play then moves to the serving position.
Dodge Ball: If a player is able to catch the ball before it bounces in any square or out of bounds, the game play shifts to Dodge Ball, wherein all players must abide by the standard rules for the game Dodge Ball. This entails the player with the ball not taking more than three steps, and attempting to throw another player out by striking them with the ball (recommended only with soft large rubber balls). If the target player catches the ball or the ball misses all players the player who threw the ball is out.
Fairy Bomb: When a player catches the ball they may jump in the air as if about to throw a cherry bomb but instead softly say, "Fairy bomb," and lightly drop the ball in another player's square.
Midget World: The King may call "Midget World" before they serve and all players must play in squatting position for the match.
Passback: If a player calls Passback during a game, the next person must hit it back to that player.
Sharking (Skunk, Sting, etc.): Aiming directly for any part of an opponent's body rather than playing it normally. If the sharker hits the opponent, the opponent is out. If the opponent dodges the ball, the sharker is usually out (because the ball did not bounce in his or her own square).
Spinning ((Texas) Twisters, Screwballs, Peppermint Sticks, etc): Hitting the ball, usually with both hands, in such a way that a spin is imparted on it, causing it to bounce unusually.
Typewriter: A rule in which a player grabs or baubles the ball, moves close to an adjacent square, and bounces the ball in that square a predetermined number of times. The usual variant is to spell out the opponent's name, one letter per bounce. If the player successfully completes the move, the opponent is out. If the opponent hits the ball to disrupt the spelling, the person who initiated the typewriter is out.
The complete list of cooool rules can be found here. The site even has a map of four square locations. Sadly, most are centered around Boston (the four square mecca) and no where near Louisville. Last time we played, we only had four players (after we kicked the kiddos to the curb - cheaters) and need more. Come play. Drink some beer. It's more fun than you think!
April 7, 2010
April 6, 2010
My momma's herb chicken salad
Roast chickens and remove meat from bone. Mix with:
White wine vinegar
With her measurement-less recipes, I usually start with small amounts and keep adding until it tastes amazing. Because it will. So I will probably be making some of this in the near future.
April 5, 2010
THEN HE KEELS OVER. Limp, face in his food. Out cold. I am shaking him and my parents still think Stud is some sort of freak. I get up, my parents realize that he has passed out and all we can think is that he is choking on some delish chicken salad. He falls out of his chair and in my super human strength, I keep him from injuring himself as I lower him to the ground. My dad then tries to give the Heimlich since we still think he is dying and I notice that his eyes are starting to refocus. He is alive. Whew. But still not speaking. A few more seconds and he speaks. He had no idea what had happened. But as a future doctor, as he gathers the details, he immediately begins self diagnosing. And as of this morning, he needed a heart transplant. But he has moved on from that and he has...(I am copying and pasting this from him)
A typical neurocardiological episode of syncope (medical jargon for passing out). There are a lot of triggers for it to occur, like giving blood, seeing blood, getting into a hot shower, etc etc- one really rare trigger is called swallowing syncope. There are two types 1) drinking a cold carbonated beverage (Stud was enjoying a delicious cold Bud Light) 2) swallowing a big mouthful of food, called the vaso-bagel response. The swallowing being a trigger is really rare (he is a medical freak), the episode itself isn't serious unless it happens a lot. It typically happens to young healthy people who happen to have a trigger.
So Stud will survive. Whew. I thought he was a goner for a while as he lay unconscious on my parents kitchen floor.
PS the chicken salad was really good. Made fresh by the mother. I'll get the receipe and maybe, if I'm kind, I will share it with you, my few and far between blog stalkers.