Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dickie's is open and one-pot goes diabetes friendly

Dickie’s is open!
         You can smell Dickey’s Barbecue Pit from pretty far away, so it’s pretty crazy once you’re inside. Despite the satisfying brisket, chicken and cheddar sausage I had sampled, I had another favorite.
         When Jeff at the door asked how everything was, I told him I liked the onions best. For a moment he thought I was talking about the raw, white onion rings barbecue lovers can help themselves to with their pick of three sauces. I told him I did appreciate access to these rings, a very necessary accoutrement to this genre of dining. I had brought some of my own in my purse, just in case.
         I was actually referring to the paper bag of fried onion tangles I’d ordered as a side dish with fried okra. Great picks for me, although Jenni at the register boasted of the mac and cheese.
         I’ve already got plan for next time: Polish sausage on a big baked potato.
         Just in case you have missed all the talk on the new Dickie’s, I’ll tell you it’s at 1629 South U.S. 69 in the mall that features The Schooner Resaurant near by, and across from Central Mall. Dickie’s is a Dallas-based company and has a franchise in Lumberton, I learned at their ribbon cutting where they were welcomed into the Nederland and Port Arthur chambers of commerce.

Just one pot
         If you remember one-pot meals as a mash-up of brown, soupy meats and limp veggies, let Linda Gassenheimer enlighten you. After her tips on shopping smart and healthy and food prep, jump into her ideas for quick and diabetes-friendly meals that will get any gourmet’s attention.
         Listen to these ideas: Pork and Caraway Scented Red Cabbage, Saag Gosht (Indian Lamb Stew) Garlic Steak and Rice, Mu Shu Pork Wrap with Bok Choy and Orange Apricot Chicken.
          I love that the one-pot idea has gone international. Even some “regulars” get spiced up here. Buffalo Sloppy Joes really calls for buffalo meat, and Tuna Casserole has Parmesan cheese, tarragon and other suprises.
         These are easy in concept and big on flavor. Get the family involved as you make something like Red Flannel Hash, which gets its color from beets. I’ve learned some tricks on a topic I already love: seeking out more healthy options and trying new flavors. Thanks, Linda.
         Oh, and the American Diabetes Association is also impressed. Their seal is on the cover.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cosmic bowling, Clifton Steamboat Museum and Indian romance

Dress up and bowl.
I had a memorable time judging this past year’s Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Cosmic Costumed bowling tournament and now’s my chance to gather up a team and have your own blast. Companies worked together for themes that blew me away, like the Beverly Hillbillies. It’s a fundraiser that will bowl you over and the silent auction will be fabulous. To register your team for this event, Oct. 27 at MaxBowl, call Paige Snyder at 409-963-1107.

The Clifton Steamboat Museum (8727 Fannett Road, Beaumont, TX 77705) is hosting book reading and signing of Evangeline and the Mysterious Strangers, a new book by Phoebe Hambright Dishman, on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 6-8 p.m., in the Audubon Gallery of the Clifton Steamboat Museum. Evangeline and the Mysterious Strangers will be available for purchase at this event.

About the Author
Phoebe Hambright Dishman of Beaumont, Texas, is an avid birder and observer of natural life. She is also an essayist, poet, and certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church. The cover of the book features a red-shouldered hawk, a photograph she took on Christmas Day, 2009.

About the Book
Who are the mysterious strangers that regularly visit this quiet and unassuming street in Southeast Texas? Careful now. Things may not be as they appear. And the world you live in may be more mysterious than you think. In this collection of essays, the author expresses her amusement and enchantment with the enigmatic creatures in her own back yard on Evangeline Lane. For more information contact: or (409) 842-3162.

Contact: Sarah Wells at or (409) 842-3162.

 “The Accidental Wife”
Dal, kheer and paneer are words I already knew from “The Accidental Wife,” an Indian romance novel from Simi K. Rao. It’s no wonder, these words have to do with food: dal is a lentil I like made into a stew; kheer is a sweet rice pudding; and paneer is a cheese that melts in your mouth to calm fiery spices.
In this book a handsome, skilled and rich doctor feels family pressure to marry and arranges a wedding, but not the surprise he finds after nuptials. This book is so desi. That means means Indian, I learn from the glossary. This wife is chaloo, or very sly.
Action takes place in New York City, India and the suburban home of the doctor’s very involved family. It’s funny and very romantic. Here’s part of the promotional blurb:
“According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his ‘requirements’. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead?”

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tenors and dressing for the Pecan Festival.

Lend Me A Tenor

Days later I’m still laughing from the Orange Community Players’ production of “Lend Me a Tenor,” one of those hide-in-the-closet, identity switch, slam-the-door classics that I’d heard about but never seen.
OCP’s cast was all-around great, but I’ll take a moment to brag on Jacob McMullin as the bellhop. Don’t let the fact that my daughter is related by marriage get in the way that he was hilarious as one of the characters willing to do anything just to meet the famous opera singer who has come to town.
In one scene a gaggle of people are being chased around a couch so that we forget who is circling who. The bellboy stops to take a photo of those behind (or was it in front of) him, and they vainly pose for a moment before resuming their antics.
Call (409)882-9137 for information regarding the Sunday, Aug. 23 matinee. 

How do pecan lovers dress?
Fashions in a Nutshell may have some boho chic looks for fall. Norma Jordan and Linda Foster of the Gulf Coast Sertoma Club say they’ve noted the look is trending as they’ve rounded up looks for this annual show. The club will present the Groves Pecan Festival’s fall style show at a new luncheon time. Get your $15 tickets from The Courtyard Café in Groves or call 963-8786. The show is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Café, 4321 Lincoln Ave., Groves.
Fashions will be by Hannah Bay’s, Shoogz, Oliver Maxwell’s and Dressin’ Up. Proceeds help the club offer scholarships and lend support to the Capland Center and Fetter’s Center. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Get into "girltrunks"

I wonder what actual percentage of the American female population actually enjoys shopping for and wearing swimsuits. Okay, let’s narrow the search to those over 25.
But hey, it’s summer in Southeast Texas and we have stuff to do. Sure there’s the resort pool, but there’s Sea Rim State Park and kayaking in Village Creek and boating up to the Neches River Wheelhouse. We have to look good!
Now women can get liberated with “girltrunks” that are lined like men’s trunks. Get out, I mean it. Get over to www.girltruks.comand see how simple a stylish, colorful suit can get. We deserve this. The shorts in different lengths snap shut, dry quickly and allow all sorts of modest movement. Girls just want to have fun, and these printed tops in great cuts pair with the basic black shorts. This brand gets women out and into the water (or deck chair or jet ski or sandy beach).

Leftover paint?
Have you ever heard of the Paint Quality Institute? It’s a real thing, and News reporter Mary Meaux tipped me off that readers of this quirky column might like the institute’s ideas for fun uses of leftover paint. I think she’s right. Let’s go with these:

*  Colorize some flowerpots.  Paint them one solid color, or embellish them with pattern for more panache.

* Dress up a dresser.  Have an old dresser that’s tired-looking? Spice it up with paint.  Use different colors on different parts for added visual interest.  Do the same with an old stool, table, or cabinet.

*  Rejuvenate “junk” furniture.  Check out your attic or your neighbors’ discards.  You might find hidden treasure in the form of a unique piece just pining for a fresh coat of paint.

* Put a stamp on your walls.  Add pizzazz to painted walls with a handcrafted patterned border.  Fashion a “stamp” out of an old sponge in the pattern of your choice, then dip it in the leftover paint and dab new color onto the walls.  Voila!  Custom design.

*  Speak with an accent.  Express your home’s individuality by adding accent color to a door, doorway, or an entire wall.  The unexpected color will make your interior something special.

*  Stencil something.  Using a homemade or commercial stencil, apply paint to just about anything – a piece of furniture, a wall, or even the floor.  It can render the ordinary, extraordinary.

* Make like an artist.  Why buy art supplies, when you already have a handpicked palette of colors you like?  Use them as is, or mix them as needed to create murals or fine art.
* Frame your artwork.  Repaint the frames on your prints, paintings, and drawings to give them a fresh appearance.  Or, paint a simulated “frame” right on the wall to draw attention to favorite objects or sculpture.

Most of these projects take just a small amount of paint, but they can make a big difference in your home décor. For how-to information on these and other paint projects, visit the Paint Quality Institute blog at

Monday, August 3, 2015

How to Feed a Flock of Seagulls

How to feed the seagulls 101
         I was so sad when I heard people in Houston don’t ride the ferry to Galveston. I just didn’t know.
         As a kid, that ferry ride was at least as much fun as the island. Feeding the birds was the tops. Going with my family was fun because Grandma would be so funny about holding her hand just so in case anything decided to jump off of her into the water.
         Later I went with my high school friends and it was always fun to toss your bread so that maybe a seagull would try to eat it from the top of their head. Now that’s free fun, folks.
         This is a memory of seagulls all along our beautiful Texas Coast. I ran into some in the Bolivar area who followed me down the block, from the highway to the water. The thing is, I didn’t want to feed them in front of someone’s cabin driveway if that was not considered kosher. Maybe people who live there don’t find a flock of seagulls as much fun as I do. So, I tried to coax them a little at a time. It worked.
         When I felt I could feed freely, I pulled out my secret weapon. A bag of tortilla chips my mom sent with me from her Mexican take-out. Here’s the lesson, if you didn’t know:
         Tortilla chips can sail with the wind for amazing catches.
         Also, you can crumple them up to make one chip become dozens of chip dust that will send those birds into a frenzy. Fun!
         If you haven’t been to the beach yet this summer, may I suggest Sea Rim State Park. While you’re at it, vote for it as your favorite state park on the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation site.