Sunday, November 23, 2008

So Where do you find Fortune Cookies in Mexico?

OK, only in Mexico... or maybe it's just me.

So Shelley and I are going through a book called 101 Romantic Evenings. Yes, I need all the help I can get. My first "romantic" evening was awesome as it could possibly be. My task was to get fortune cookies and swap out the fortunes for my own creative, romantic sayings (thankfully the page for this night had lots of examples), and coordinate with my favorite local Chinese restaurant to serve the cookies I brought over earlier that day. What a nice surprise. How easy! How?

Challenge #1: One Chinese restaurant that is not worth going to.
Challenge #2: no fortune cookies to swap out the fortunes.
Challenge #3: language barrier to set up the plan.

So having been here for almost three years, I think I can overcome all these challenges. Since I like baking and cooking, I figure I can just make my own fortune cookies and well, that was the only thing that I really got right - the cookies & fortunes.

The evening started out with a stop off at an ATM machine to get some cash. As I try to be a gentleman to open Shelley's door for her. I have to unlock mine first because the lock on her side doesn't work. Well, I locked the keys in the car. Fortunately our neighbor could quickly bring us our other set of keys that were at home. Whew, I was saved from total disaster.

Dinner at Hangman's (we're on a tight budget, and we just like it)
Desert at the Club 96 restaurant in Palmilla.

So I figure at Club 96 where they cater to some of the most well-to-do who live or visit Cabo could handle the surprise delivery of the cookies. When I brought my home made cookies to them in a Tupperware and told them to serve us these cookies just before we get the check, their clear confirmation and accommodation seemed like they could do just that... serve us the cookies.

Things were going perfect. The chef had brought out two other sample treats that we didn't order... it would seem just perfectly normal to have them bring out another one. As Shelley was in the restroom, I confirmed with our server that he had everything ready. The moment of truth: Out comes the server proudly bringing on a beautiful plate... my Tupperware with the cookies inside.

There went the surprise, total flop.

Fortunately, Shelley is just awesome about rolling with things down here; and we got a good laugh.

For those of you who want to give this a try, here is the fortune cookie recipe I used:

Confucius Crunch

2 tablespoons butter (no substitution)
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
14 strips paper (3 by 1/2" each) with fortunes

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 2 small cookie sheets. [I used our toaster oven, because you only want to do two at a time, max... I ended up doing one at a time. TIP: Put wax paper on the tray that comes with the toaster oven, and a drop of vegetable oil to ensure easy removal.]

2. In 1-quart saucepan, heat butter over low heat until melted. Remove saucepan from heat. With wire whisk, beat in confectioners sugar, egg white, vanilla, and salt until blended. Beat in batter until batter is smooth.

3. Drop 1 heaping teaspoon batter on to cookie sheet. Repeat with another teaspoon batter, at least 4 inches away from first. With small metal spatula or back of spoon, spread batter evenly to form two 3-inch rounds.

4. Bake about 4 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden. [TIP: wait until the edge is golden brown about a half inch around the cookie] Loosen both cookies with metal spatula. [If you use the wax paper getting them off is just as easy as picking off the wax paper and turning them upside down] Working with 1 cookie at a time, place a fortune across center of hot cooke. Fold hot cookie in half, forming a semi-circle, and press edges together(a). Quickly fold semicircle over edge of small bowl to create fortune-cookie shape(b). Repeat with other cookie. Let shaped cookies cool completely on wire rack.

5. Repeat with remaining batter and strips of fortune paper to make 14 cookies in all [Yea right, makes 7 to 8 cookies], cooling cookie sheets in between batches, and regreasing sheets as necessary. Store cookies in container up to 2 weeks. Makes about 14 cookies.

Friday, November 14, 2008

a few pics...

A Saturday at "Shipwrecks"

Camping and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in our breezeway.

Halloween on "Gringo Hill", Owen was a rocket ship and since we couldn't get Elias to put his Rocket costume on he wore Camo and was Uncle Bill (his uncle who used to be a Navy Seal). Needless to say they LOVED all the chocolate!

Trying to get Elias in his Rocket costume.

A family dinner in the town sqare.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Socialism is Still Bad News

I thought this was just worth posting. Some people have scepticism of Chuck Missler and his views or things he has said over the years, but this rings true with me:

by Chuck Missler, K-house eNews, November 4, 2008

Most Americans might not really appreciate this, but the U.S. Constitution does not entitle anybody to health insurance.

It's true.

The Constitution does not require Congress to take money from those Americans who possess more and hand it over to those with less. It doesn’t even encourage Congress to subsidize farmers or pay for prescription medications. It just doesn't.

In Article I Section 8, the Constitution does say:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…"

It goes on to talk about securing patents for scientists and establishing postal offices and roads and supporting armies and maintaining a navy. It says nothing about feeding all the downtrodden. There were plenty of poor people back in the days of the Founders, and they did not once mention using taxes to feed 'em. Apparently, providing for the general Welfare did include maintaining roads and hiring judges and keeping the peace, and did not include buying tuna fish for single moms.

Does that mean we should let the poor starve to death? Should we leave our grandparents without support or health care? Of course not. It just was never supposed to be the federal government's job to take care of these things. Here's why:

- Congress is not an industry. It does not produce anything that can be sold. It must take money from the people in order to pay for anything.

- Governments are by nature wasteful. It's easy to overspend money when the funds come from somebody else’s hard work.

- Governments are run by imperfect humans and are therefore subject to mismanagement. For this reason, it is best to keep them small and easily managed, with very specified responsibilities.

- Governments are run by imperfect humans and are therefore subject to corruption. For this reason, it is best to keep them out of trouble by limiting their power. (Lobbyists and special interest groups could just go home were Congress kept within its constitutional limits.)

- Bigger government means more bureaucracy, more government fingers in private lives, and less liberty.

Socialism is corrupt by nature. As soon as Congress started taking money from taxpayers to give it to somebody else, the whole idea of private property was compromised. My property is not really mine if the government officials can stick me in jail for not giving some of it to them.

As George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams wrote recently:

"Whatever Congress wishes to give, it has to first take other people's money. Thus, at the root of the welfare state is the immorality of intimidation, threats and coercion backed up with the threat of violence by the agents of the U.S. Congress. In order for Congress to do what some Americans deem as good, it must first do evil. It must do that which if done privately would mean a jail sentence; namely, take the property of one American to give to another."

But...if the federal government did not take care of poverty, of health care, of the elderly, then who would do it! Who would take care of all these things that need serious attention?

We would, of course. We the people.

We are caring for people every day in communities all across this great nation without any government involvement. Unfortunately, we Americans have gotten so spoiled, we're in danger of losing the ability to properly govern ourselves. We think that "freedom" means license to do whatever we want to do. We think that "general welfare" means adding on to that massive government feeding trough. As we have stopped obeying God's Word and controlling ourselves, as we have gone lax in caring for our own families, young and old, we have found ourselves in an increasingly deep hole, surrounded by a growing number of government officials, along with red tape and high taxes, and... the poor still with us.

Let's get back to taking responsibility for ourselves, to doing what is right ourselves, and maybe we will find the federal government shrinking as a natural result.

Related Links:

 • The U.S. Constitution - National Archives
 • Destroying Liberty - Walter E Williams
 • 'What's Wrong With Socialism?' - WorldNetDaily