Saturday, October 19, 2013

RaceDay Recipes: Shrimp & Angel Hair Parmesan

I've said it before, I'll say it again. You don't always need to go shopping in order to make an awesome meal!  Take a good look at what's already in the pantry before deciding to spend more money. We do those stocking up trips at the grocery store for a reason!

This is a light pasta dish. If you're looking for better flavor, fresh veggies, herbs, cheese and shrimp are always better, but sometimes they are not sitting in the fridge.  I ran with what I had.

 Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves about 2


  • Angel Hair pasta 1/3 box
  • Shrimp--pre-cooked, frozen, deveined and all that goodness
  • Garlic--1 clove chopped
  • Onion--2 tblsp chopped
  • Celery--1 stalk chopped
  • Green onion--1 stalk chopped
  • Chicken stock 1 cup
  • Olive Oil--2 tblsp
  • Oregano & Basil to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese--1/2 cup or more (to taste)


  • Rinse shrimp under cold water to start thawing them
  • Set pot of water to boil
  • Chop all your veggies, heat a skillet and swirl in your oil, let warm.
  • Add garlic, onion, celery, oregano and basil.  Cook a couple minutes until onion is glassy.
  • Add chicken stock and green onion.
  • When stock starts to simmer, add shrimp.
  • Drop pasta into BOILING water.  Angel Hair is the thinnest pasta out there.  It only takes a few minutes to reach Al Dente, so don't wander off.
  • When shrimp is just thawed, start adding cheese.  Keep stirring to melt. The parmesan will melt quickly. Let sauce simmer on low while pasta finishes.
  • Test pasta for being done. Drain. 
  • Either mix pasta with a swirl of oil to prevent sticking or mix with sauce.
  • Serve!
I don't have a picture of my kitchen adventures, today. I ate it all :)  Also remember that if you don't like a particular ingredient in a dish, don't be shy about substituting your own.

Enjoy the race at Talladega tomorrow. You could probably throw this dish together during the caution for The Big One.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

RaceDay Recipes: Pork Chops & Fried Apples

Pan fried boneless pork chop and fried apples.
Seriously, it's time to stop over thinking your food.

How many times do we look in the fridge at a collection of ingredients and think there's no time make anything out of it all?  Think again.

Sometimes simple is delicious and fast!

Boneless Pork Chops and Fried Apples

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


  • One pound boneless pork chops, thick cut
  • 4 small seasonal apples...I used Paula Reds
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt, pepper, sage for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Core and chop apples into 1/2" cubes.  Don't peel them.  All the flavor leaves the apples when you do that. Granny Smiths are often recommended for fried, but that's because they are less likely to turn to mush.  Any apple will do. At this time of year, don't be afraid of the bags of fresh bargain fruit!
  2. In a 2 qt. pot heat up butter over medium heat. Drop apples into melted butter. Coat the apples. After a minute, mix in cinnamon and sugar.  Stir until apples are coated and sugar is melted. Turn heat down a bit and let apples simmer, stirring occasionally. 
  3. In 12" frying pan, heat up EVOO over medium high heat. Season pork chops and drop into hot pan.  Let brown--about four minutes or so--then turn.  Continue to cook until no pink remains.  Turn only once! When done, remove from pan and let sit for a few minutes before slicing.
  4. By now, apples should be soft, but not cooked into sauce. Remove from heat.
  5. Serve! Garnish (which I always forget to do) with fresh thyme or parsley.
Accompanied with a green salad, this is an elegant meal that requires no special ingredients or fancy cooking tricks.  During our harvest season, it is often rewarding to enjoy the flavors of fresh produce and meats without hiding them beneath overly complicated sauces.

Hope your Race Day is full of satisfying snacks :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

RaceDay Recipes: French Onion Soup

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time to the table: 15 minutes

I know. What am I thinking?  French Onion Soup is not fast and easy to make.  However, if you open a can, it's not complicated.  So, if you're heading out to the track in your RV, how can you have this light, warm, satisfying meal without sacrificing quality by eating something out of a can?

Think ahead.

My favorite recipe for making French Onion Soup is from AllRecipes. Sometime in the winter I find some free time for some great soup.  I make a double batch of the good stuff and freeze half of it. When we head out to the track, I just take the frozen treat with me.  While shopping for the week, I'm sure to add to the cart:

  • 8 oz. of Swiss Cheese (The recipe calls for Gruyere. I'm not that much of a cheese snob, and can't really tell the difference.  At $12.00/lb I'm willing to go for the cheaper swiss.)

  • 1 Baguette from the bakery.  The French bread is the right shape for making the big crouton.
At the track, leave the soup in the fridge until the day you want it, so you don't have to waste time defrosting.

Reheat the soup on the stove top.  Toast several 1" slices of the baquette in your oven. You don't need a toaster. Just toss it on the rack on your oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes until crispy and brown. If you don't toast the bread, it will soak up all the liquid in your soup AND collapse leaving an awkward presentation.

Turn the oven to Broil.

Fill individual oven-safe soup crocks with the warm soup. Leave about 1/2" at the top.
Top with toasted bread. Try to cover the entire top with the bread to provide a more even melting surface for the cheese.  Top crock with swiss cheese.  Let the cheese run over the rim--this will seal the soup into the crock.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Broil for 5 minutes--or until top is bubbly and a little brown.


Remember, you don't have to eat hamburgers and hot dogs non-stop when hanging out at the infield.

Happy Racing!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

At the Track: Things You May Not Have Known About NHMS

It often amazes me what you can learn about the inner workings of massive venues like NASCAR tracks when you arrive a few days early.  Like, did you know you can wander around the facility for free if you arrive on Monday or Tuesday?  Just stay out of the way of all the vendors getting the place ready for the 100,000 screaming fans!

See the little tether at the top of the number 1?  It's there because a few years ago the bolts on the numbers (which help the drivers count down to the entry of the corner) failed and the tin number became a piece of "debris" during the race. 

 JUST PAINTED!  The guys were finishing up as we walked up.  The start/finish line is all bright and shiny for Sunday's race!

Did you know? Every Styrofoam piece of the SAFER barrier has these numbers on them...what for? Date of manufacture. Some pieces are dated from 2010. Most of the new ones are in the corners.  Guess where we have all the wrecks at NHMS?

Unlike some other tracks (Martinsville!) the grass does not get painted green in New Hampshire. We only paint on the logos.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What is Your Car Saying to You? The Seven Lights to Listen To

Most cars these days come with those "driver information centers."  While the one in my 2006 Impala is one of the simpler versions, it really does help me keep my car going.  Perhaps you're one of those car chicks who has a couple lights appearing on your dash, but you're not really certain something should be done about it.   Here's a few of the common lights and why you really should get your car checked out when they won't go away.


1.)  Airbag:  Your vehicle runs a self-diagnostic when it starts.  If your airbag light remains on or is blinking, it needs service.  It may not deploy in case of an impact, and that's a sure way to end your day in a bad way.

2.) Battery:  Battery technology continues to improve year to year.  We no longer need to replace the battery every couple years.  6 to 8 years is not uncommon.  But when it goes, it goes.  If your battery light won't turn off, head out to get the battery system checked and be prepared to replace it.  Better to fix it with only a warning interrupting your day, rather than in the middle of the night in an empty parking lot.

3.) Change Oil:  Many cars come with self-monitoring systems for oil.  However, it isn't really checking your oil's viscosity (ability as a lubricant).  Your car is only calculating how many miles it's been since a change.  If your Change Oil light is on, it's been 7,000 miles since your last one.  Failure to change it soon can result in metal on metal grinding in your engine. It won't end your car's life now, but it will shave many years of life off of it later.  Change Your Oil!

4.) Engine:  This one can be very misleading.  That little light will come on for a wide variety of reasons.  Some of them are minor.  Some can be devastating.  "Check Your Gas Cap" is the leading reason the Engine light will appear.  The computer has detected there is a problem in the fuel/air mixture being delivered to the engine.   While it is often the gas cap, the failure of manifold intakes, solenoids, filters and cracks in the engine block may also be the culprit.  The only way to know it have your codes checked.  Take the fifteen minutes and stop at a service station.  Many places will check the code for free.  Doing this could save you thousands of dollars down the line by making a simple repair now.

5.) Brakes:  While your service station will often check your brakes for wear during an oil change, your car checks, too.  If you've been notified by the car, you really need them fixed NOW.  Worn pads and rotors lead to uneven braking, pulling to the side and even failure to stop under high speeds.  It's your life.  Listen to your car and your mechanic.

6.) Temperature:  High temps in your engine will destroy your engine.  Heat can warp the block, crack valves and melt seals.  A high temp warning means you may be lacking coolant, have a crack in the radiator or just a bad sensor.  It it's the sensor, have it replaced so when you really have a problem, you'll know.


7.)  Tire pressure:  Most of us don't have a light or warning on the dashboard for this one, but the new high-end vehicles do.  And it's about time.  When getting in your car every day, it's a good habit to walk around and make sure your tires are inflated.  If they look a little flat, or you've got the snazzy addition to your car and it says low pressure, go straight to the gas-station and inflate your tires.  You get better gas mileage, better handling and will get better tire life with a properly inflated tire. 

And that's the basics :)  No, nothing earth shattering.  Listen to your car. It's trying to tell you how to keep it running for years and years to come.    A little maintenance now means thousands of miles later.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

RaceDay Recipes: Tabasco Chili Mac

Here's another quick and easy recipe that is hearty, warm and a little spicy.  Simple to put together in time for the green flag!  The secret to a delicious, fast chili is the Tabasco Chili Starter.  They spent all the hours getting the spices already blended.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

TOTAL time: 40 minutes

Of course, most of your cook time is spent smelling the chili pot bubbling on the stove, so this one doesn't require lots of attention.


1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 large yellow onion diced
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 14 oz. can red or pink beans
1 jar of Tabasco Chili Starter (I use Spicy...they have a mild.)
8 oz. elbow macaroni
2 oz. shredded Colby Jack cheese
1/4 cup of sour cream


  • Put large pot of water to boil for your macaroni.  I don't add salt, as the chili starter and other canned goods have plenty.
  • In large dutch oven brown ground beef over medium heat.  The beef provides enough fat to sauté the onions. Add onions while the beef is cooking so they are glassy when you begin to add other ingredients.
  • When beef is completely brown add chiles, beans and Chili Starter. 
  • Add 1/2 a chili starter jar of water (or beer if so inclined) to the mix.
  • Stir.  When chili begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until beans are softened to your liking, stirring occasionally.
  • Add macaroni to boiling water and cook until al dente.  Do not overcook! Drain and add to chili. Stir. 
  • Spoon into a bowl.  Top with cheese and dollop of sour cream.
  • Enjoy!
Serves 2-4, depending on how many bowls of chili you like eating at once.

Do you have a great RaceDay Recipe?  Email me for details on being a guest at The S-Curves!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

RaceDay Ready: What's In Your Bag?

Happy RaceDay, folks! While I'm settling in for 400 miles around the Irish Hills of Michigan, I'm also planning for a quick trip to the track next week.  I'm checking my track bag for all the basics.

 For the new race fan, you might be wondering what those basics are.  If you've received your tickets in the mail, you've probably gotten the Fan Guide that has a long list of what is not allowed.  Which leaves the question, what is in all those coolers and backpacks that people bring into a NASCAR track?

 I've a few answers, all benefitting from years of experience.  Sometimes it's also knowing what you should just leave at home.

 ·         The Backpack:  Mine has a net top and a soft-sided six-pack cooler on the bottom. This meets both the 14"x14" size restriction and the see-through bag requirement.  I fit everything I need in this one bag for the day.  No little red wagon or wheels needed.

1.       The Beverages:  A six-pack is more than you need.  Me? I mix it up between soda, juice and water. You can always refill a water bottle on hot-hot days.  But beer works, too :)  Remember: Leave the hard stuff at home and NO glass bottles.

2.       Snacks:  Most tracks permit you to bring in food.  Do you really want to spend $10 on a bad burger and fries?  Since we have eggs & bacon at the trailer before we head to our seats, I pack a couple bags of chips, some fruit and maybe sandwiches.

3.       Hearing Protection: At the very least, a pair or two of ear plugs.  But if you're really going to enjoy yourself, a headset and scanner are recommended.  You can rent these at the track for about $60 or buy your own for about $200. Remember to have extra batteries in there, too.  The scanner will always die in the middle of the race.

4.       ID and cash: Leave the pocketbook at home. Keep your ID, credit card, keys and cash in a pocket.

5.       Sun protection: Sunscreen and lip balm. Hat and sunglasses.  Don't be the idiot who goes home in an ambulance because you started your liquid diet at 9AM, strips down to nothing and passes out from sunstroke.  There are no convenient trees for shade at the track. Bring your own.

6.       Rain protection: One of those $5 rain ponchos all folded up into a tiny packet.  Also, pack another large plastic bag to protect any electronics you're carrying in case of a deluge.  Leave the umbrella at home.

7.       Sharpie:  Of your favorite color!  You most likely will see some kind of racing celebrity during the day. They don't always have a marker to hand to sign your t-shirt.  Sharpies now come attached to key rings. How convenient!

8.       Camera: Many smartphones come equipped with nice little cameras. Great! One less thing to carry. But if you're a shutterbug and you can live without a massive lens/camera combo, there are many slim and small digital cameras out there that can slip into an outer pocket of your backpack. Mine is a SONY Cybershot.

9.       Towel and washcloth:  A dry towel in the top to either dry off a damp seat or to provide a little insulation from sun heated aluminum.  The wet and cold washcloth goes in the bottom with your iceback and will ease your comfort when the sun starts to cook.

10.   Medications:  If you often need an aspirin or some allergy medication in the middle of the day, tuck a small bottle in your bag.

My track bag lives in a cupboard in the RV year round.  I don't take it apart between trips, and that means at a moment's notice, I can just grab and go.  It's always reassuring to know I've got all the little things that make a day in the sun comfortable.  I just have to remember to recharge the scanner.
Always remember to check your local track's bag restrictions for specific rules and regulations. 

What's in your bag?  Maybe you've got a beach bag with similar items stowed.  Feel  free to leave suggestions in the comments below.

I'll be seeing you at the track!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

RaceDay Recipe: Quick Quesadillas

What a beautiful race day!  I'm almost happy the Nationwide Series was rained out last night, so I have Iowa keeping me entertained this morning while I wait for Pocono to fire up.

RaceDay Recipes will be recipes you can make on race day, and still have time to actually watch the race.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be the one slaving over the BBQ pit or spending hours compiling finger sandwiches.  I want something yummy to eat that can be compiled during pre-race festivities or during a lengthy debris cleanup.  Will they be super healthy?  No.  But the ingredients will represent how I enjoy my food and for my small family of two.

Quick Quesadillas.  Prep time: 5 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2


3 Whole wheat Fajita size tortillas
1 package Purdue Short Cuts Chicken (Original Roasted)
1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
1/8 Sweet slicing onion, sliced
1/8 Green Pepper, sliced
1/4 cup taco sauce (medium)
1/2 cup chunky salsa (medium)
1/4 sour cream
Cholula Sauce for seasoning


Use the grill side of your double-sided griddle.  Bring to medium heat.  Spray down with Pam.  Lay tortilla onto the griddle. On one half of the tortilla layer cheese first, chicken, onion, pepper, pour a little taco sauce and Cholula sauce to taste.  Top with more cheese. The cheese melts and serves as the glue to keep your quesadilla together.  Build all three quesadillas. Fold them in half. Flip when cheese starts to melt and tortillas are nicely toasted (approx. 2 minutes).  Toast and melt the other side.

Remove from heat. I use a pizza cutter to slice the quesadilla in quarters.  Place on plate. Top with salsa and generous dollop of sour cream.

Change up peppers and sauces to meet your desired heat level.  Mix it up with beef, hamburger, pulled pork and even crab meat. Or go veggie!

Don't forget the guacamole!

Happy Snacking while they search for Jacque DeBris.

(Also a great recipe for rain delays...just sayin')

Have a great RaceDay recipe? Send it to me! I'd love to post it here to share with other racing foodies :)


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Recall Jinx: Scrambling My Car Shopping Impulses

I want this car. 

My aging Impala passed its 100k mark this winter.  I've replaced the tires and am looking at about $2,000 of "maintenance" to keep it on the road for as long as it wants to live.  The transmission slips. The interior is looking tired.  The A/C doesn't have the oomph it used to.  In short, my daily driver is wanting to be replaced.

Buying a new car isn't an impulse.  This is an investment of time and money.  I will spend a year researching the market and available vehicles.  This year at the Boston Auto Show, I came to thoroughly appreciate the new Ford Fusion.  And driving around town, every time I come up on the new model at a light, I say to myself, "I want that thing."

But I do have a rule.  I won't put money down on a Toyota, no matter how reliable the things might be.  How many recalls have been issued on various models in the last five years?  Nope. Not touching a Camry with a five foot pole. 

Then what happened yesterday? You got it.  A freakin' recall.  On Fords. Fusions!  The fuel tank could leak.

So...don't buy a Toyota. Enough different models had faulty braking systems, I'm not playing.  Now, half a million Fords might blow up when their fuel tanks crack open. Nice. 

What's left?  Subaru. Ehhh... The last review I read on that one had the tell-tale "it drives like a Subaru" in it.  A clear indication I won't be happy with the test drive when I put my foot down. Honda Accord? Their one-price for all the extras is nice and even reasonable.'s a Honda. 

JEEP. The most horrendous thing happened this year. My co-worker bought the exact model I was swooning over at the auto show.  There goes feminine pride.  It's like wearing the same dress. Can't do it.

Last, but I'm wondering if maybe it won't be least.  The Dodge Dart.

I sat in it.  Liked the interior--didn't feel tiny, although it is a compact.  Its got nice horses under the small hood and all sorts of bells and whistles at an extremely competitive price.

But, should I finally take the Impala down for a trade-in, I will be in a good position to drive out of the dealer's lot with something I want.  And as long as the Dart remains recall free...its got a nice shot of winning me over.

Who knew?  Downsizing.  I could do this.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I'm a Car Chick! And Proud of It

Welcome to the S-Curves!  The place where women can gather and talk about cars--anything to do with them.  Beautiful, fast the Wood Bros. No. 21 above.  That's the one Trevor Bayne drove to victory lane at the Daytona 500 in 2011.  Beyond Trevor's sweet, young smile, I spend time drooling over the red & white Ford. How does that come to be? 

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I have a choice.  I can put on a skirt, nice blouse and head out for a fancy dinner or pull out a favorite t-shirt, tug on some jeans and pop a can of soda.  Why?  Because the command to start engines has been given.  I would much rather listen to the purr of race engines vs. neighborhood gossip.

I'm still a girl, don't get that wrong.  I bake, crochet the odd tacky scarf, hug my cats and dictate the exact shade of cerulean blue to be used as paint in the new living room.  I know what an impact wrench is, but prefer to find somebody else to use it.

I find the design of cars sexy, their sound thrilling and the smell of the track inebriating.

All in all, like most anybody else on the planet, I am a conglomeration of many things--none of which seem to fit into the little convenient holes society likes to place people.

So, welcome!  Bring your enthusiasm for automotive anything, favorite recipes, tricks for keeping the family happy and your random feminine squee of delight.

It's all good here.  For here we are the Car Chicks!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Coming soon!

If you love NASCAR, cars of any kind, don't happen to be a guy and enjoy chatting about...well, what makes a car sexy, tune back in soon!