Friday’s Hot Tip: Savory Chicken Crescent Squares

This week’s hot tip is actually a recipe that I’ve had for many years. It was a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner back in the ’70s – Momcat used to make it occasionally for me and Pops, but used a vegetarian chicken substitute instead (still very tasty). Out of all the dishes I’ve cooked for Joe in the 6 months we’ve been together, this is his favorite.

Savory Chicken Crescent Squares

3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T margarine, melted
2 C chicken, cooked and cubed
1/4 tsp salt or Season-All
1/8 tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp milk*
1 T chopped onion or chives
1 T chopped pimiento
8 oz can Pillsbury crescent rolls
3/4 C seasoned bread crumbs OR crushed seasoned croutons
1 T margarine, melted (optional)

Combine cream cheese, 2 T margarine, chicken, salt, pepper, onion, pimiento, and milk. Mix well. Separate can of crescent rolls into 4 rectangles, sealing perforations, on a cookie sheet or flat baking pan. Spoon 1/4 to ½ cup of chicken mixture onto each rectangle. Pull corners to center and seal, or fold sides over to make a small square. Brush tops of squares with 1 T melted margarine and sprinkle bread crumbs/croutons on top.

Oven Temp = 350°
Baking Time = 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown
Serves = 4

*You can eliminate the milk all together, as it makes the mixture very runny.


  • Use real cream cheese–lowfat or fat-free cream cheese will make the mixture too watery.
  • The bread crumbs or crushed croutons can be brushed on without using any additional margarine.
  • To make this vegetarian, use 1 can Worthington Fri-Chik instead of chicken. You can also try chickpeas (I haven’t done this yet but I bet it would be really good), seitan, or seasoned tofu.
  • Try different fillings! Possibilities include chili with cheddar cheese, spinach with ricotta or feta cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms with mozzarella…man, now I’m hungry.

Friday’s Hot Tip: White Vinegar for Cleaning

This week’s Hot Tip involves everyone’s favorite pasttime, cleaning. I have yet to master the nose-wiggle used to great effect by Samantha Stevens in completing all sorts of chores, especially housecleaning. If any of you have mastered that spell, please contact me. However, I have found a very inexpensive cleaning agent that has made housekeeping a lot more pleasant. It’s called white vinegar.

Many of you are probably already familiar with white vinegar and some of its uses. It does a nice job of cleaning a coffeemaker, for example. But white vinegar can also be used as a fabric softener, furniture cleaner, flower freshener, and ant deterrent. When I typed “white vinegar uses” into Google, I got more than a million hits.

One main reason why I started using white vinegar was because I really hated the smell of the harsh chemicals in many cleaning products. I also didn’t want anything toxic around Mossimo and Angel, as I had noticed that Angel seemed to sneeze a lot more after I was done cleaning the bathroom or kitchen. Now I keep a spray bottle full of white vinegar and use it as needed. Here are some of my favorite uses:

Cat box cleaning: When it’s time to give the litter box a good scrubbing, I remove all the litter and then spray the box with white vinegar, using a cleaning brush to get off all the gunk. I rinse it off with water, dry the box, and then refill it with litter.
Mirrors & windows: I spray white vinegar on the surface, then wipe it off with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. This works great on eyeglasses, too.
Rangetop: When I want to get all the food splatter and other gunk off my gas stove, I sprinkle baking soda all over the top, being careful not to get it on the burners. Then I spray the soda with white vinegar and watch it bubble and sizzle, which for some reason makes me so happy. I clean it with a slighly abrasive sponge. If the rangetop is filthy, I have to add more elbow grease in order to get everything clean, but it is so worth it.
Bathtub & shower: I spray white vinegar all over the shower & tub, let it sit a few minutes, then wipe it off with an abrasive sponge. Works great at getting everything clean, eliminating mildew, and there’s no intense fumes.
Kitchen counters and table: Again, I spray the surfaces with white vinegar and wipe them up with a sponge.

My favorite uses barely cover all the possibilities, however. The Vinegar Institute has a good list of uses, broken down into categories such as laundry, garden, and health. There are a bunch of other websites as well – the following sites look very promising:

You can get a jug of white vinegar for a few bucks at the supermarket or discount store. I like to get mine at the 99 Cents Only store, since the price is right and the jug lasts for several months. The store sell spray bottles there, too, so it’s one-stop shopping and I am a big fan of getting everything I need in one place.

Try it out and see what you think. If you’ve got a favorite use for white vinegar, please share it in the comments.

Declaring My Independence

For the last 7-plus years, I declare my personal independence from something on July 4. One year it was “being defined by my job”; in 2003 it was “seeing myself as anything but beautiful, sexy, intelligent and worthy of prosperity and abundance in all aspects of my life” and “situations and people I have released” [had to look that one up in an old journal]. Since I haven’t always been very diligent about writing down my declarations, this year I decided to blog my independence. I’ve paraphrased the actual text from the Declaration of Independence, which I got from this site.

Sometimes, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the bonds that tie them down and keep them small and unfulfilled. In an attempt to pay a decent respect to the opinions of others, a person should declare the reasons why they need to break these ties.

Some truths are self-evident: everyone is created equal, and everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some truths, however, are not so obvious. It is these unconscious truths that tend to limit one’s capacity to connect with others effectively.

Now, whenever attempts to suppress personal truths becomes self-destructive, it is the right of the individual to bring those truths to light. Common sense dictates that one shouldn’t make other people responsible for these personal truths, forcing them to carry a burden that really isn’t theirs.

Such has been the long-suffering of me, Moxie, and such is now the necessity which requires me to change my way of communicating with the world. My personal history shows that I have been holding back some key truths. To prove this, here are the facts I submit to an open, receptive audience:

  • I was fired in early December 2006. Since that time, I haven’t been “working from home” as I kept telling people I was doing. I have been sitting on my ass, doing nothing except collecting unemployment, surfing the Internet, eating, sleeping, and going out occasionally.
  • I am grieving over the loss of my job. While I hated it for a long time (I was there for close to 3 years), I am ashamed and embarrassed that I let my relationship with my boss get so bad that it could not be repaired. I am ashamed that I let the quality of my work deteriorate.
  • I don’t want to work in an office again. I hate the idea of having to be someplace 40 hours or more a week. But I’m scared that freelancing, which I’ve started doing, will not be enough to pay the bills.
  • I am living with my boyfriend. He moved in soon after we started seeing each other. I’m embarrassed to admit this to my family because I am afraid of them judging me, saying that I’ve moved too fast.
  • I am struggling to accept the fact that my boyfriend is an ex-con who will be off parole in a month. I finally admitted this truth to my mom 2 days ago, and she handled it fairly well. But I am still not completely at peace with it.
  • I am struggling to accept that my boyfriend is an addictive personality. He has a history of using illegal drugs and has gotten rip-roaring drunk in my presence on several occasions. He’s not abusive to me in any way, and he holds down a good job, so it’s hard for me to be clear with my boundaries regarding his behavior. My fear is that I am an enabler.
  • I am afraid of bringing my A-game, whether it’s as a writer/editor, a girlfriend, a daughter, a friend, a human being.

Therefore, I, Moxie, solemnly publish and declare, that I am, and of right ought to be, living a life of truth and integrity. I am absolved from all allegiance to being unexpressed and unfulfilled. As a free and independent woman, I have full power to express my truth, love and be loved, set my boundaries, establish myself as a prosperous and abundant writer of humor, opinion, and other things that amuse me, and to do anything else I damn well please as long as I don’t hurt myself or anyone else.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge to myself and my loved ones and readers my commitment to the truth in all things.



*Oh, and for those who don’t already know, my real name is Corinne.

Pre-Oscar Buzz

I’ve been working on the details for an Oscar party. Nah, nothing like the Governor’s Ball or Vanity Fair’s big blowout at Morton’s. But it’s a pretty big deal for those of us that have been planning it for the last few months. We have a private room in a local restaurant, and tons of prizes we’re raffling off throughout the Academy Awards. Now all we need is the people to show up, so say a little prayer for us, will ya? Thanks.

This year’s Oscar races are quite interesting. With a lot of very strong performances, it’s hard to predict who will win. What makes this year even more interesting is that Mercury is retrograde.

As we already know, Mercury is a trickster. He loves to play jokes and quite frequently, his sense of humor is not that funny, especially to those people who have their cars break down on the freeway. (Yep, Mercury rules automobile trips.)

Mercury was retrograde during last year’s Oscars as well, and look what happened: everyone thought Brokeback Mountain was a lock for Best Picture, and instead Crash won. And remember how many plot points in Crash were focused on cars? Good one, Merc, you had us all fooled. We should have known better.

So based on this, I’m going to predict the following wins: Babel for Best Picture, since it’s all about being able to communicate (and Mercury rules communication), and Cars for Best Animated Feature, for obvious reasons. In a few hours, we’ll see if I’m right.

Isn’t It Romantical: Moxie’s Top 10 V.D. Movie Picks

Let me preface this list by saying that I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day, which is why I refer to it as V.D. It is similar to a social disease in that the feeling of “Oh crap, I gotta get something for my girlfriend/wife,” reaches pandemic proportions in the days before February 14. No one should ever feel pressured to be romantic or sentimental, if only because the gifts and platitudes born of guilt are never that satisfying to give, nor to receive. Love is a perennial verb, not a one-day-a-year emotion.

That being said, at this time of year I can’t help but think of some of my favorite romantic scenes from movies. Happy V.D., lovers.

10. Moulin Rouge – I don’t need to talk about how I obsessed over this movie for a very long time. What I do need to talk about is the scene near the end, where Satine (Nicole Kidman) starts singing the song “Come What May” as Christian (Ewan MacGregor) is walking away from the stage. Written as a way for the secret lovers to communicate with each other, the song and Satine’s pleading delivery stops Christian in his tracks and he rushes back to the stage, singing the entire time. A hot man singing to you? Lord have mercy.

9. 10 Things I Hate About You – We already know how I feel about a good-looking man that can sing, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that my favorite scene in this movie is when Patrick (Heath Ledger) gets on the PA system and sings “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” to Kat (Julia Stiles). It gets even better once the school marching band kicks in after the first verse. It totally won her over and it did for me, too.

8. Bridget Jones’ Diary – It’s the final scene where Darcy (Colin Firth) leaves Bridget’s (Renee Zellweger) apartment that gets me. Why? Because he’s gone to buy her a new diary. I love office supplies, so any scene that involves a man buying paper goods for his beloved is bound to make me weep with joy.

7. Say Anything – Yes, the scene where Lloyd (John Cusack) holds up the boom box playing their song “In Your Eyes” is very romantical. But I always remember the scene where his best girl buddy Corey (Lili Taylor) tells him, “The world is full of guys. Be a man.” Telling someone you care about to step up to the plate is a very loving thing to do.

6. The Wedding Singer – Again, my favorite scene involves a man singing. This is the one where Robbie (Adam Sandler) is singing “Grow Old with You” to Julia (Drew Barrymore) on the plane, with the help of Billy Idol and a couple flight attendants. Sing to me about your feelings for me and I’ll even forgive you for having bad 80’s hair.

5. Notting Hill – The scene where Anna (Julia Roberts) admits the depth of her feelings to William (Hugh Grant) is very real to me. Saying to someone, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her,” as she did, takes a lot of courage.

4. Monsoon Wedding – While the main story is about the arranged marriage, it’s the love story between the hired help, P.K. Dubey (Vijay Raaz) and Alice (Tilotama Shome), that is the most compelling and beautiful. My favorite scene is Dubey going to see Alice after he is embarrassed by his colleagues in front of her. He goes to her door, lingers a moment, then walks away. She comes outside and finds him kneeling on the grass with candles lit behind him and holding a heart made of marigolds, a traditional Indian wedding decoration. Makes me cry every time.

3. The Full Monty – Great film that shows that even men struggle with self-acceptance and body image issues. My favorite romantic scene is when Dave (Mark Addy) , the token fat guy, tells his wife Jean (Lesley Sharp) that he’s been working on a striptease routine with his mates. “Who would want to see someone like me strip?” he says, his voice full of pain. “Me, Dave,” she says. “I would.” That’s love, man.

2. When Harry Met Sally – Another all-time Moxie favorite. The most romantic is the scene where Harry (Billy Crystal) tracks down Sally (Meg Ryan) at a New Year’s Eve party and tells her he loves her: “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

1. Like Water for Chocolate – This is, by far, my all-time favorite romantic film. (I love the book, too.) As such, I can’t pick one scene. The heroine, Tita (Lumi Cavazos), can barely contain her love for Pedro (Marco Leonardi), but because he’s been forced to marry her older sister, she can only show her feelings through her cooking. Seeing the effects of her culinary masterpieces on her family and friends is humorous and fascinating. And the chemistry between Tita and Pedro is so intense, the screen just sizzles. Read the book, watch the movie, then go eat something fantastic with someone you love.

The Name is Moxie…The Girl with Moxie

I’m not quite sure when my love of James Bond films started. When I was in junior high, I remember going to C.’s house and she was watching the end of Thunderball. I was fascinated by the fact that James Bond was dangling in midair and was holding on to an attractive girl, who looked rather happy with the situation. I would hope so, considering the alternatives. Add to this the fact that I was a big fan of the New Wave band Duran Duran, who styled many of their videos after Bond films. That peaked my interest more. I watched Octopussy at my friend A.’s birthday party and argued with her over which girl was married to bassist John Taylor.

I have yet to buy any Bond DVDs, and I still haven’t seen all the films. But every time there’s a Bondathon on SpikeTV or TNT, I am glued to the TV, watching Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Moonraker. It doesn’t matter how bad the plot is, how terrible the acting – if it’s a Bond movie, I will watch it, over and over again. I love the gadgets, the girls, the ridiculous action sequences. I love Bond’s witticisms. And I love the way he always triumphs in the end with 7 seconds to spare.

And the villains, lord, the villains. They are the most fun. Goldfinger, Scaramanga, Dr. No, Blofeld: the more psychotic they are, the better. When there’s a James Bond marathon, I have a game I play with my black longhair cat, Mossimo. I tell him, “Look, kitty, Blofeld is on! Time to play Evil Genius and His Cat!” And Mossimo gets on my lap and purrs while I pet him and say things like, “This laser is so powerful that it will cut you in two, Mr. Bond,” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”, and “Very soon, SPECTRE will take over the world!” Mossimo loves this game.

When all this talk started about finding a new actor to replace Pierce Brosnan as Bond, I was confused. Pierce was great as Bond: he was sexy and fierce and funny. He seemed to really enjoy himself. But the idea of having Clive Owen or Hugh Jackman in the role, dressed in a snazzy tux and tossing back martinis, got me all ferhoodled. As the ZZTop song says, every girl’s crazy about a sharp-dressed man, and your girl Moxie is no exception.

When the producers gave Daniel Craig the role, I was disappointed that my favorite hotties didn’t make the cut, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Because when I really think about what I love about James Bond films, I realize it’s the franchise I love. Each movie is a slice of James Bond’s life – aside from recurring characters, none of the films share a connective thread. Each movie asks you to suspend your disbelief for a couple hours and join Bond on a fantastic adventure. And I like adventures, especially when it means I don’t have to wear a sports bra in order to participate.

Last weekend, as you may have already guessed, I went and saw Casino Royale. I’d been following the film’s production via entertainment magazines and gossip blogs, so I was eager to see how Craig was in the role. Would Craig, and the film itself, pass Moxie’s muster?

Yes, yes, and yes. In that order. The plot was engaging and the film was very good, although it could have been edited a bit more in the middle, and I felt like a vital scene was missing. Not only does this film ask you to suspend your disbelief, it also asks you to drop all of your stories about who James Bond is and what makes him tick. We find out how the shaken martini got its start, how Bond got double-0 status, and a suggestion as to why he doesn’t have any Bond Girl babymamas running around. (Think about it: he’s bagged a lot of babes and yet there isn’t even one child? Apparently he’s not a sharpshooter in the sack.)

More importantly, Daniel Craig is excellent as Bond. He didn’t imitate anyone, and he didn’t contort himself. He captured the essence of Bond, loaded it into his Walther PPK, and shot it all over the screen. All I can say is, Ohhh, James.

The Guy from Ladder 21

I’d like to introduce you to someone. His name is Benjamin Suarez, but his friends and family call him Benny.

I don’t know that much about Benny, to be honest. He was on the track team at his high school in Brooklyn. He was married, with 3 kids. And on September 11, 2001, he was working as a firefighter for the Ladder 21 Company in Manhattan.

I don’t know what was going through Benny’s head as he rushed to help people at the World Trade Center. My best guess is that he kept his mind focused on the task at hand. He would have been trained how to stay calm under pressure, and how to work with people who are in shock as the result of a life-threatening situation. The global magnitude of what was happening was probably not a major concern. Politics, religious fervor, and the aftermath of such an event would not be on his mind. According to his wife, there was only one thing he was thinking: he had to help the people.

Thank you, Benny, for your dedication and your courage. It’s people like you that remind us what’s really important: compassion for our fellow man.

The 2,996 Project features more than 3,000 bloggers posting tributes to those who died on September 11. Click the link in the right-hand column for more information, including a list of participating bloggers.

Mocha Madness

Several months ago I blogged about coffee and how I was looking for new options at Starbucks. This has definitely been a lesson in “be careful what you wish for”, because now I am addicted to mochas.

Backstory: in December I went to see my stylist for a haircut. She told me that she loved Starbucks’ eggnog latte but that morning had settled for an eggnog-flavored latte from the bagel shop next door to the salon. When she was finished with my hair, I decided to go down to Starbucks and get her a latte – it was Christmas time, after all, and she is a kick-ass stylist. While I was waiting in line, the barista put out some samples of peppermint mocha. One sip and I was suddenly all about the mocha.

Since then, I’ve moved on to marble mocha macchiatos. It’s something about the chocolate with the coffee that makes me so freakin’ happy. Or it could be the crack they put in with the beans when they grind them. They must put some mind-altering drug in there, because mochas have become my new comfort food. Seriously. There was one week when I think I was in Starbucks every day. Sad, very sad. And expensive, too.

I was jonesing for a mocha this morning – I started to go through the drive-thru Starbucks near my apartment but the line was too long, so I headed to the office. The entire drive to work I was lusting for a marble mocha and its mocha-y goodness.

Once I got to my desk, I debated over walking to the corner Starbucks, but just wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I went to our lunchroom and came up with a ghetto mocha (shout-out to my girl T., who invented the ghetto latte). The ingredients, in order of appearance, are:

  • A little bit of hot chocolate (we have a 7-11–style machine that dispenses chai, cappuccino, and hot chocolate)
  • French vanilla coffee brewed into the cup (from another machine – yeah, we have some fancy-ass machines in our office)
  • A little more hot chocolate
  • 1 Coffeemate nondairy creamer
  • 1 Coffeemate French vanilla creamer
  • 1 packet Sugar in the Raw

The result is pretty tasty but now I have a slight headache from all the sugar and caffeine. I don’t really want to keep drinking it, but dammit, it tastes good.

Coffee Talk

Lately I’ve been thinking about drinking coffee. I’ve never been a coffee drinker. I like the smell and the theory behind it, especially behind the flavored coffee beverages that aren’t true coffee and are crafted for non-coffee aficionados. It’s the side effects of coffee that bother me.

I tried drinking coffee once. My last experience with java was in 1999 at Seattle’s Best Coffee. I ordered a Raspberry Kiss, which featured raspberry syrup and white chocolate flavoring. After the first sip I realized that it was an espresso-based drink, and instantly my stomach seized up in terror. But I forced myself to drink at least ¼ of it – hey, that stuff is expensive, don’t want to waste it. Big mistake. The espresso gave me such bad diarrhea, I was afraid to be less than 15 feet from a toilet. Coupled with the gastrointestinal distress was severe hyperactivity and restlessness. Not a pleasant combination.

But maybe if I start off with the low-octane stuff, like a café latte, I could teach my body to tolerate it. Then I could gradually move up to the harder stuff, like cappuccino.

Oh hell, let’s face it. I just want more beverage options at Starbucks. I’m burned out on their chai and herbal tea. Plus I checked Starbucks’ website for nutritional info, and most of the coffee drinks have fewer calories than chai. Not the frappy frapness though. That stuff is lethal. All the frappy fraps look incredibly tasty, but have nutritional values that are almost as bad as a Big Mac. Yikes.

And So It Begins…

Who would have thought it would come to this? Me, a blogger? It does make sense, though. I love to write and this could serve as a forum for some of the essays I’ve written yet haven’t published. A blog could serve to propel me toward my professional and personal goals…or it could just be another means of procrastinating about actually going through the process of getting my writing published.

In any event, I’ll post some writings here, possibly a link to my website, and see what comes of it.

Onward and upward!