Recipe: Thufferin’ Thuccotash

Friday, September 16th, 2011 by Rachel

When I saw Emily de Vorsay’s entry over at The Sexy Divorcee Cooks For One, I was immediately intrigued. Though I don’t know anything about succotash and I know even less about lima beans, something about this dish (maybe the corn, maybe the tomatoes) stuck out. Because grocery shopping in Milledgeville can be difficult and I wasn’t able to find all of the ingredients, I had to replace some of her ingredients. I also reduced the bacon, because we only had four pieces of bacon in the fridge. Though I made ingredient modifications, I kept Emily’s directions below with only a few adjustments. In reality, the meal took me a little longer to cook because I wasn’t able to thaw the lima beans or corn in time for dinner, but Emily’s instructions (and occasional taste testing) were enough of a guideline to keep me on track.


I served the succotash as a side with veggie burgers and steak fries. The cilantro and lime flavors really worked together. Since we only used the succotash as a side, we have tons leftover, and I imagine we’ll be eating more with both lunch and dinner tomorrow.


Thufferin’ Thuccotash
(or Rachel’s version of Emily’s Summer Succotash)


10 oz bag frozen lima beans, thawed
10 oz bag frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, diced
¼ tsp. garlic powder
4 slices bacon
Juice of one lime
1 tsp. sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
2 dashes pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped


Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove and cook the lima beans until just tender (think “al dente”), about five minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water and set aside.


Meanwhile, combine the lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper and let sit. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and set aside to drain on a paper towel. Keep the bacon grease in the pan. Cook the onion in the bacon grease until it starts to soften, about a minute. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the corn, tomatoes, and lime-juice mixture. Cook just until the tomatoes begin to lose their firmness. Crumble half the bacon and toss it with the lima beans, and add both to the skillet. Cook until just warmed through and remove from the heat.


Toss with the fresh cilantro and sprinkle the remaining bacon on top.

Prison Writing

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 by Rachel

The following is taken from an email that I just sent to my grandmother in Arizona. About a month ago, she mailed me Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer by Richard Shelton. I enjoyed this book and definitely think it’s worth reading.


I’ve been familiar with prison writing for some time now, but this book brought me an extensive glance into the prison world. I had some colleagues at NAU who taught classes at the local prison. Here at Georgia College, as part of our Arts & Letters journal staff, I read submissions and I received several from inmates in prison. Though I’ve heard several of my colleagues make offhand remarks about the writing and I never received anything that I deemed worthy of passing up to the Poetry editor, I always made sure to return the original poems (usually handwritten on notebook paper) in the included self-addressed stamp envelope along with the rejection notification. It broke my heart that people would send off their only copy of poems. I’m sure many prisoners don’t receive their work back.


I tried to enroll in the PEN Mentoring Program, serving as an anonymous mentor who corresponds with a prisoner through mail, but they have “enough” volunteers for 2011, and they “may” need more help in 2012. I don’t see how you can ever have too many volunteers, when it seems as though there are many, many prisoners out there who want to write and have others see/critique their writing, but for some reason they’ve got a cap on it.


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Nothing But Trouble: Movie Review

Sunday, September 11th, 2011 by Rachel

Last night, we watched Nothing But Trouble, a movie that I’d never heard of but Derrick remembered watching as a kid. In Dan Aykroyd’s directorial debut from 1991, Nothing But Trouble stars Chevy Chase, John Candy, Demi Moore, and (of course) Dan Aykroyd, so how could this movie do any wrong? The numbers give the majority’s opinion here. The movie, with an estimated $40 million dollar budget, was a mega-flop, with a gross of only $8 million.


Here is the premise: When city slickers Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, and two friends decide to drive to Atlantic City, one of their pushy tagalongs, played by Taylor Negron (by the way, have you checked out this list???), insists on taking the scenic route. Chevy Chase accidentally rolls through a stop sign, and that is enough of a reason for law enforcement to arrest (or kidnap, really) the group and take them to see the Judge, who imprisons them in his strange home. As the out-of-towners try to escape, they realize that they are caught in a very very twisted web.


Nothing But Trouble is my new favorite movie—seriously, it might even need to be purchased and added to our Halloween line-up this year. But I am the first to admit that this is a movie that didn’t know what it wanted to be. Is it comedy? Is it horror? I think it’s pretty obvious that Aykroyd was a fan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, a legendary genre bender. For me, Chevy Chase and John Candy are enough to tip the scales over to comedy land, but there are some scenes—especially those with Demi Moore crying towards the end—which are pretty intense. This movie is lewd and crude in both its humor and murders. The chemistry between the actors is fantastic, and the delivery of lines always amuses and catches the viewer off guard.


In one of my favorite moments, Chase and Moore are running down a hallway, checking doors to see if they can find an escape route. Chase opens one to see a room crammed to the brim with creepy broken baby doll heads. He says, “This must be the nursery,” and immediately continues down the hall without skipping a beat. Of course, it’s the nursery. Awesome.

Recipe: Mexican Bratwurst Frittata

Friday, September 9th, 2011 by Rachel

I know this meal might sound a little ridiculous (Brats are German, not Mexican!), but I used what we had. Ultimately, the bratwurst added a nice flavor to the frittata dish. We ate this with a side of Uncle Ben’s “Santa Fe” Whole Grain Rice Medley mixed with some corn, leftover from yesterday.


Mexican Bratwurst Frittata


1 leftover beer brat
½ large onion, sliced and diced
2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced and diced
Fajita Seasoning blend
Handful Kraft Mexican 4 cheese Mix
4 eggs
½ cup Smart Balance milk
Olive oil
Smart Balance Cooking Spray


Heat olive oil in medium skillet. While it’s preheating, chop up onion and tomatoes. Put them in the skillet and season (I used the fajitas seasoning mix –again, thanks to Ms. Debra & Mr. Stewart—but any Mexican seasonings, like cumin, oregano and parsley, would do). Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 7 minutes.


Meanwhile, chop up bratwurst. Also, mix eggs in milk in a small bowl. Spray square casserole pan (my little Fiesta-ware one is about 9 inches) with Smart Balance Cooking Spray


Preheat oven to 350. Put bratwurst in bottom of casserole pan. Pour tomato/onion/seasoning mix on top. Then pour egg/milk mixture on top of that. Sprinkle cheese on top, and put in oven. Bake until the egg is set and the top is golden. For us, that took about 35 minutes, but begin checking at 20.

Bamango Strawberry Smoothie

Thursday, September 8th, 2011 by Rachel

3 ice cubes
1 banana
1 1/2 cups strawberries
1 cup Santa Cruz Organic Mango Lemonade


Put ingredients in blender, and blend! Makes 2 servings.

Bamango Peach Smoothie

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 by Rachel

3 ice cubes
1 cup sliced peaches
2 bananas
1 cup Santa Cruz Organic Mango Lemonade


Put ingredients in blender, and blend! Makes 2 servings.

Department Newsletter

Friday, September 2nd, 2011 by Rachel

This might be a nerdy thing to advertise, but I am proud of it, so I am going to share it. For the first time, I have been featured in a department newsletter because of my recent publications. Here is the link:


The Doer: The Department of English & Rhetoric Newsletter
Issue 13: 1 September 2011


I hope that I have more publication news to report soon. Right now, I am proud to share that I have received three personalized rejection letters in the past two weeks. It’s so good to hear that many of my poems are close to being accepted! I am staying optimistic and re-submitting to different magazines immediately after hearing results. It’s just about finding the right market and home for these poems.

Sicko Movies

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 by Rachel

I’m sick and haven’t done much the last few days except for watch movies. Here are the movies and my little mini-reviews.


Super High Me – A documentary about a comedian who stops smoking marijuana for a month and then smokes nonstop for a month. I was much more interested in the comedian stuff (I love comedian-related documentaries like Heckler) than the marijuana stuff, but I’d definitely recommend this for those who are interested in both.


Pitch Black – Radha Mitchell (from The Crazies) and Vin Diesel rock this weird sci-fi movie where the movie is ½ bright and ½ darkness. Fun for a one time watch. I didn’t love the monster look.


Fall Down Dead – Udo Kier is the Picasso Killer. Do not watch this movie unless you are Udo Kier’s number one fan, because the movie has a lot of things wrong with it in terms of script, pacing, performance, etc. Oh, and David Carradine is in it, in quite possibly the worst acting job of his career. You’d think it was his first movie and not his hundredth.


Body of Evidence – An erotic thriller starring Willem Dafoe and Madonna. So so . Too much focus on the erotica and not enough on the courtroom scenes.


Foxy Brown – One of my new favorite movies. I seriously need to get into watching a lot of blaxploitation movies. I think I enjoyed Foxy Brown more than Shaft. Awesome.


Kalifornia – Brad Pitt is a serial killer. He and his girlfriend (Juliette Lewis) decide to go on a ride-along across the country with David Duchovny, who is writing a book on serial killers. Brad Pitt is disgusting and horrible. Don’t watch this movie if you want him to be a good guy. He’ll only get worse.


Married to the Mob – A movie from my childhood. Fun, cheesy, and campy. Two thumbs up.


Her Alibi – Tom Selleck begins this movie with a beard. Thankfully, he shaves it within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Also, Tom Selleck is the worst clown I’ve ever seen.


Dragnet – Pretty funny stuff. I could’ve used more celebrity cameos though, and I wish that Hugh Hefner had played the magazine tycoon.


Earth Girls Are Easy – Very strange. Is it a musical or not? Is it a comedy, or is it a romance? Will the aliens ever return to their muppet looks? I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answers, but everyone should see this at least once.


Extreme Measures – An okay medical drama. It’s been done before (I’ve seen this same plot in a Millenium episode and I think I’ve read a book with this premise) , but Hugh Grant’s performance was believable and memorable.

Rachel’s Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes

Saturday, August 27th, 2011 by Rachel

I bought a bunch of bananas yesterday for smoothies this weekend, but I woke up worried that we wouldn’t be able to use them all. Thinking about a new Saturday morning recipe, I googled peanut butter and banana pancakes. I found this recipe over on, but, since I was missing some of the ingredients and a lot of the user comments were critical, I used it as a baseline to create my own peanut butter and banana pancakes recipe. I also surprised Derrick with one of these, topped with butter and syrup, as breakfast in bed.


Rachel’s Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes


1 cup flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 heaping spoonfuls of chunky Smart Balance peanut butter
1 ¼ cup Smart Balance skim milk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 small banana, peeled and chopped into itty bitty pieces
Smart Balance cooking spray.


Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix in peanut butter as well as you can. I just waited until it wasn’t clumpy anymore and it was broken up. Add milk and vanilla; stir just until blended. Stir in banana pieces.


Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spray it so your pancakes don’t stick in between pancakes. Spoon batter onto skillet using a ladle. Cook until pancakes are done, whether you like them gooey on the inside or burnt to a crisp. They’ll turn a nice brown thanks to the peanut butter.

Fright Night

Friday, August 26th, 2011 by Rachel

One week ago, Halloween season began when we drove to our favorite theatre in Greensboro, GA to watch Fright Night in 3D. My apologies for taking so long to write up a review. Honestly, I haven’t known what to write about, because I didn’t want to spoil a single thing about this movie. Fright Night is the best movie I’ve seen all year, including both theatre watches (Scream 4, Horrible Bosses) and movie rentals at home (Pirahna, The Social Network, and many many others—you know how many movies I watch). No sarcasm here. I am completely serious. Fright Night is a movie that I came out of surprised, excited, and elated. I could’ve gone back into the theatre and watched it again immediately.


Here is your brief summary of both the original and remake of Fright Night: A boy realizes that his next door neighbor is a vampire. Pretty basic premise, right? I watched the original Fright Night, starring Chris Sarandon (who many of you know as Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride), one or two Halloweens ago. I’m not sure if I had seen it on TV sometime before then, but it does feel like one of those “familiar’ movies like I must’ve seen it before. This isn’t a horror classic that we own in our collection. Derrick isn’t too fond of it (or 80s vampire movies in general), and I thought that much of the movie was forgettable. Fright Night’s main redeeming quality is that is has one of the greatest final battle scenes out of any scary movie I’ve ever seen, when it breaks out of the scary movie genre and becomes an action movie.


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