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Might As Well Turn Those Easter Eggs Into Something...

It’s the day after Easter, which means you need to get two things done today: One is go buy up all the half-priced chocolate. The other is to turn those hard-boiled Easter eggs into something edible, assuming you refrigerated them after all that decorating.

I turned mine into deviled eggs, mainly because it’s very simple, and the people in my house scarf them down like eggs will no longer be available on earth at the end of the day.

Here’s how to make them: Peel them, chop them in half, and put all the yokes into a mixing bowl (a slight push on the bottom of the round part of the egg will pop it out like a lost contact lens. When  you’ve done that to all the eggs, take a fork and mash them until they look more like a powder than an egg.

I add a little minced onion to give the deviled egg some texture. Just take a small amount of onion, chop it until you think you’ve chopped it enough, then go back and chop it two more times. You want a hint of onion, not chunks like it’s chicken salad. Add an equal mixture of mustard and mayonnaise and mix it up thoroughly. I add about 3 or 4 drops of Sriracha into the mix to give it a slight hint of heat (i.e., the devil in deviled eggs) and a subtle smoky flavor. If you decide to do this, be careful. The difference between 3 drops and 5 drops can be the difference between subtle flavor and your mouth on fire. It’s in a squeeze bottle, and I have seen people in my own house give the bottle a firm squeeze and unintentionally put enough Sriracha into a recipe to burn the house down. So you’ve been warned.

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Just A Little Light Dessert After A Great Easter Meal

Usually at holidays, I post food pictures on Facebook. But I'm not on Facebook any more.

So I guess I'll just have to do it here. This is a chocolate dome cake, filled with chocolate mousse, topped by an Easter bunny face with M&Ms for eyes and a nose.

As a friend noted, the bunny seems to have fear in its eyes. And well it should :)

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Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter! Enjoy That Chocolate Bunny...

First of all, Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter!

Today is perhaps my favorite holiday of the year. If you are a person of faith as I am, it is the day of the resurrection. The day HE IS RISEN has particular significance. One of the two days just about everybody goes to church (known as the Christmas and Easter crowd, thank you very much) and a day of food, faith and family. Even if these are not your beliefs, the message of redemption, peace and a new start are cool notions all of themselves.

I judge a holiday by the memories in creates. No offense to the days off commemorating Presidents Day or Memorial Day, but I doubt you can tell me what you did on those days as a kid. Christmas and Easter dominate those memories, and Easter is particularly rich in such. From the time you were a kid hunting for Easter eggs, to the time you stayed up late, dyed a bunch of eggs as if they were going to be on display one day at the Louvre, then hid them in the front yard before turning your own children loose. All while trying to capture video of the event while your spouse played the role of the director.

Those rich memories also include Easter sunrise services, because they provided some particularly peaceful moments. But they are for the young, as I have found them to be a survival of the fittest contest. As the name suggests, the services start at sunrise, and unless you are blessed with natural beauty, this involves getting up a few hours before sunrise to get dressed and be there. In my younger days, I worked in the newspaper business where you didn’t get home until 2 AM after putting together the last edition of the Sunday paper. Since you’d be getting up at 4 AM anyway, I’d just stay up, power through everything, then after a hearty Easter meal go search for an unoccupied sofa to “meditate.”

But the greatest non-religious aspect of the Easter tradition is the chocolate Easter bunny. Back when I was a kid, there was an arms race with these bunnies, as you had to show your kid how much you thought of them by buying the biggest one there was (now you just buy them a $1,000 Iphone). There wer of course the eggs, jelly beans and other assorted items in the Easter basket, but the centerpiece was the chocolate bunny, roughly akin to the turkey on the Thanksgiving table. It had to be good.

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The Window Is Open, So Let's Enjoy It While We Can

Yesterday after the Nationals’ Opening Day win, I went to Twitter to read everyone’s takes on the game, and saw one from a friend named Jen. She’s a huge Nats fans and has raised her kids to know a slider from a curve since they were old enough to walk. Her kids were celebrating the Opening Day win, and as we all did when we were little, they were projecting the future based on this one game. In their minds, the Nats looked so good, they were going to go 162-0.

Being the realist (my daughter would say “killjoy”) I am, I pointed out that the first year they will ever be able to remember things as they grow older will be around 2012. Starting with that year, winning in general and winning on Opening Day became the norm for the Nats. Only once during the span of then to now has the team lost a game to start the season (those pesky Mets won 3-1 in 2015) and the days of 100-loss seasons were long gone. Every year since, the Nats were supposed to win the division, and many years they did.

Part of me thought “these kids are really lucky” because they’ve known nothing but winners, seen no-hitters, and have only faced disappointment when the team went to the playoffs. The other more cynical side thought “they have no idea that sometime in the future, being a fan is probably going to be tough.”

That’s because in my 50-plus years of following sports, I’ve found your favorite teams have more years when they disappoint versus winning it all. All seasons have happy endings, but they are not necessarily your happy ending, as someone has to win and someone has to lose. Odds are, if you talk to most fans outside of New England these days, it’s their team that seems to have to lose.

It’s as if some higher authority doles out the winning so that everyone has a window of happiness. I grew up in Norfolk, where in the days before cable television (and cell phones, computers, the internet, etc.) the area received the games of either Baltimore or Washington. My Dad liked the Baltimore teams, so as nature designed in the not so complicated father-son dynamic, I rebelled and pulled for Washington. It wasn’t a wise choice, as the Colts and the Orioles seemed to win all the time, while the Redskins, Senators and Bullets got me comfortable at a young age with pulling for a team that would underperform.

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In Analyzing Yesterday's News, A Few McChicken Nuggets...

There is no love lost between Virginia Tech and Michigan when it comes to football, and yesterday’s decision by Michigan to opt out of games with the Hokies in 2020 and 2021 will only add to the rancor. After all, the folks in Blacksburg have long had a nickname for the Wolverines: “McChicken”.

This all started many years ago when Virginia Tech started climbing the mountain of gaining national respect in football. Back-to-back appearances in the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl in 1995-96 certainly helped, then a quarterback by the name of Vick pushed them over the top when the Hokies played in the National Championship game.

But during that time, Virginia Tech tried to schedule bigger names, as they have (and still do to a degree) been accused of playing weak non-conference opponents. One team they tried to schedule, and according to various reports repeatedly said they weren’t interested, was Michigan. They WOULD schedule Virginia, but not Virginia Tech. Thus the “McChicken” nickname.

The animosity got worse in 2012 when the teams played in the Sugar Bowl. A late pass to Hokie WR Danny Coale that would have won the game was ruled incomplete despite just about every replay angle showing he caught it (my seats in the Superdome were right in front of the play and I thought the game was over). “Danny Coale caugh the ball” is now a rallying cry for the Hokies; I had the misfortune of flying home after the game seated next to a Michigan fan who was far from gracious, regaling me with stories of just how superior Michigan was to the world.

So Michigan is not exactly on the Virginia Tech Christmas Card list. Mine, either.

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Didn't Think I'd Like It, But "Roseanne" Made Me Laugh

Since there was so much media buzz about the reboot of “Roseanne”, I decided to watch it today via the ABC on-demand part of my cable system (you know, the area where you can watch something but can’t fast-forward through the commercials). I was surprised.

It was actually pretty funny.

I was never a Roseanne watcher when the original show was on, so when I saw a show that had been on the air decades ago was going to be done again, my expectations were low. Shows run their course and eventually go off the air because people become tired of them. To bring them back later is almost always a recipe for failure. You may have captured lightning in a bottle once, but the odds of doing it twice in a lifetime are right up there with me winning the Mega Millions Friday.

A few comments on Twitter the night it aired indicated it wasn’t that good, which sort of confirmed my suspicions. But then the next day I saw the show got huge ratings; Roseanne had said she would blend her own conservative political views into the show, and supposedly the heartland of the country really supported it. That’s a nice story, but I believe shows are popular because they are funny, well-written or interesting. I’m tired enough about one side of the left vs. right divide lecturing in shows as it is. I don’t think a show being on the other side is any better.

But last night, I heard laughter from my den and it was my wife watching the show. She also wasn’t a big Roseanne fan before, but found this version funny. And after I watched it, I understand why.

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Here's How To Make Chicken Salad Out Of, Well, Chicken

When I decided to quit being on Facebook and write my own site (I mean, if the whole world is going to see everything any way, what does it matter?) more than one friend asked “are you going to keep posting food pictures there?”

You see, my two main passions in life (besides my family) are watching sports and food. On Friday nights in the fall, I’m watching high school football. On Friday nights in the summer, I’m watching the Washington Nationals. In between those two times, on Friday night I’m watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

I like to eat, but I also like to cook. As I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered that many of the really good meals you’re going to get are the ones you make yourself. I’m also Italian, and food means tradition, and if done right, it means “home.” The ultimate compliment I can get is when my daughter comes to visit, I’ve been cooking for a few hours, and she observes “it smells like home.” It’s really garlic and onions being sautéed in olive oil, but don’t tell her.

But also as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed people don’t seem to like to cook any more. Somewhere along the last 30 or so years it’s been branded as a servant-like chore. I’ve talked to many women, from my wife, to my daughter to many who are in-between the two in age, who think wanting to cook is kind of sexist, as if you’re being a submissive doormat if you decide to cook meals in the house.

I’ve also talked to a number of guys – particularly the younger ones – who don’t think cooking is something they need to worry about. They’ll eat in restaurants, their mom will cook for them, or somebody will do it.

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Washington Nationals' Season Opener Now Moved To Friday

Usually, this only happens in Loudoun County. Someone sees a weather forecast that says there is no way the area will avoid a massive snowstorm, so they close school a full 24 hours before you really have to decide.

Then the next morning, it barely snows.

Major League baseball has taken a page from Loudoun's County's playbook, as just after lunch today, the Washington Nationals' season opener in Cincinnati against the Reds has been postponed. According to The Weather Channel, the chance of rain in Cincinnati starts at 6 AM at 80 percent, moves to 90 percent until 4 PM, then increases to 95 percent for the next three to four hours. It then drops into the 60 percent range by 9 PM and stays there until morning. By 4 PM Friday, the chance of rain is supposedly only 5 percent.

So science says it's better to wait a day. After all, weather forecasts as never wrong, right?

So if you're taking the afternoon off to see the Nats' season opener, save the vacation time. Tell the boss it's his or her lucky day and you will be there for the entire 8 hours. Whether the boss wants you to be, or not....

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Doesn't Seem Like 13 Years Ago, Brad Wilkerson Was At Bat

April 4, 2005. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. 3:07 PM. A sunny day, 59 degrees, brisk wind.

And so it began.

I will admit I am not the baseball purist some of my other friends are. They will watch baseball if it’s between two teams on the other side of the country that they have no interest in, just because it’s baseball. I am, however, a shameless homer; I grew up in Norfolk, and no matter where I lived afterward, I pulled for any team that had WASHINGTON across its jersey, as the games of DC were the ones we got in Tidewater.

My closet over the years became overflowing with jerseys for the Redskins, Wizards and Caps. Baseball was a tough one; I tried to like the Orioles, and when I moved up here in 2000, made a point of going to Camden yards several times a year. It was a nice experience, Boog’s barbecue was tasty, but it wasn’t our team. It was someone else’s.

Then after decades of Major League Baseball using Washington as leverage for every other team in the universe to get a new stadium deal, the Expos moved here and we had a team. That first game, I took a vacation day to watch it at home on television, because if you’ve waited that long to have a team to call your own, you’re NOT going to miss the first one.

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