Corn Dogs and Funnel Cakes … Oh My!

Nathan played a gig this weekend in El Reno at the Canadian County Fair. There were corn dogs at this fair. There was also a vendor there selling lamps. I found that odd for some reason.

There were also funnel cakes. I haven’t had a funnel cake in years and years. Luckily, I can still say that today. I can’t say the same about a corn dog and neither can Nathan.

This guy was selling some pressed sandwiches and brownie sundaes — for the more upscale fair diner. It was tempting, but we stuck with the corn dog.

Having once had a career in rodeo, I’ve been to my fair share (no pun intended) of carnivals and county fairs through the years. I was pretty impressed with the Patriot at the fair last night. It’s the big ride in the background of the top photo of this post. Here is a photo of some brave souls hanging upside down on this ride. It stops and hovers straight up and down for a good minute or so and then it starts swinging again.

I begged Nathan all night long to ride this ride with me, but he was a chicken! I tugged his arm again and again to go wait in line, but he kept saying no. I finally came to grips that I would not be riding the Patriot – all because of Nathan. Right about now is where all my friends and family are saying, “yeah, right.” In reality, I can’t believe anyone would get on this thing! I’m not a fan of carnival rides — just looking at this made my stomach do flip-flops.

The carousel is more my speed, but then again, these horses looked pretty scary too!

When I’m at a carnival, I always think of my best friend Lisa who hatched a life plan for us one hot July when we were in Tennessee working a rodeo. We were going to sell Lemon Chills at county fairs and rodeos for a living! We were probably around age 23 and we had big dreams, man. Lisa’s mother quickly shut our plan down. She pointed out that we had both recently graduated from college and selling Lemon Chills was not a career path. She was right. We should have based our plan around Indian Tacos anyway. They have a much wider appeal and sales are not driven by hot temperatures.

Regretfully, Lisa and I will never know if we could have built the Lemon Chill empire of our dreams.

Now, back to the music at the Canadian County Fair.

Look closely and you can see the Patriot in the background.

It was a lovely night for a fair in Oklahoma.

The band sounded great. The crowd was full of friendly folks and there was a nice cool breeze blowing.

After Camille’s band played, her parents took the stage.

The Harps play lots of songs I grew up listening to like Rainy Day Woman by Waylon Jennings and Black Coffee by Lacy J. Dalton.

Nathan and I walked around the fair with his dad, Steve, and then sat in the bleachers and listened to the last set.

Sadly, there were no Lemon Chills to be found.

August is Hot

Each day that passes I feel a little bit guiltier that I haven’t been posting anything here. I hate to let down all three of my regular readers. However, I’ve been at work non-stop for weeks. The first day of school was this past Thursday. The work won’t let up, but the pressure will be a little less intense.

The truth is though, we haven’t really cooked anything substantial lately. We have been too busy with company and work and play that we haven’t hardly had a moment to breathe. I thought today I would do a little recap of the month of August.

First, August has been super hot this year. I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems to me that Oklahoma has been hotter than the surface of the sun most days. Nathan played an outdoor gig with Camille Harp in Bricktown. It was hot, but tolerable. It was tolerable because there was a Sonic right by the stage. Angee, Matthew and their boys came out for this show and it ended up being a really fun night.

A few days later was my birthday. It was still hot. The only thing I wanted to do for my birthday was nothing. So, I got my wish. It was very relaxing and we stayed home. The next day, Duy brought over the biggest steak I have ever seen in my life. It was roughly the size of Texas. I know that you won’t believe me and I’m disappointed that the photo doesn’t really show just how big it really was — it really doesn’t. It was the perfect light meal for a hot day… not. Trust me when I say that I am officially frightened when I hear the word porterhouse.

Then, Brent and Tina came for a visit. It was hot on this day too. Brent arrived just in time to jump in the car with us and head to Norman for a show at The Deli. Hello Tina, glad you could come and stay at our house while we kidnap your husband and keep him out half the night. Tina stayed home with their son Rip and she’s expecting again, so a smoky bar wasn’t a good idea. We toasted a few Red Cups and visited with some old friends.

When we got home from The Deli at 2:30 a.m., Brent and I decided to pretend we were in our early 20’s and stay up until sunrise. It was a bad idea all the way around. I even missed the monthly girls brunch the next morning, which looked like a smashing success over at Angee’s blog.

Brent and Tina brought me a sweet birthday present. A bottle of wine with Sadie’s photo on it.

As I write this, it is Sunday before the last week of August. We spent Saturday at Chris and Elesha’s house where the boys had an impromptu jam session. They moved the furniture out of the living room, set up drums and amps and played some tunes. I was the only girl for several hours. I think I was making them nervous. They kept playing and then looking at me with eyes that were apologetic. They know I love folk music. They didn’t play any folk music.

Chris made chili and this colossal chicken burrito. It had shredded chicken, rice and feta cheese and it was yummy.

Hopefully, he will share the recipe soon.

That’s my ever-so-exciting recap of August.  It was hot. We ate a big steak. It was still hot. We ate a big burrito. It was even hotter. Nathan played guitar. It was even more hot. I’m another year older. It was terribly hot!

Meatballs from Heaven (Guest Recipe from Chris)

It has been a little over a year since I started this blog. When I started it, I didn’t know if I would keep it going for a month, a few months or forever. I have commitment issues. However, both Nathan and I have enjoyed posting recipes for our families and friends. We’ve even made a few new friends through this site.

If you know us very well, you know that we often work long hours during the week and sometimes we work on the weekends too.  To spend an afternoon writing, making the recipe and then taking photos of the final result can be challenging when we barely have time to buy groceries or take care of basic things in life like … say … laundry. I hate laundry.

We started out posting a recipe each week. Now, that has become more sporadic and you are more likely to see me waxing philosophical about homegrown tomatoes than developing a recipe for tamales. I mean, c’mon, tamales take all day! I don’t have all day! I don’t have ten minutes!

So, Nathan and I started talking about who cooks great food that we know. Whose arm could we twist to share a few of their best recipes? With that in mind, we asked one of our culinary-skilled friends to help us out. Enter, Chris. He’s got skills. He’s one heck-uv-a drummer and an amazing cook in the kitchen. The best thing about having Chris bring a recipe to this site is that we get to hangout with great friends, laugh and then eat great food! We spent Sunday with Chris and his wife Elesha laughing, chopping onions and listening to music. We hope this is the first of many Chris recipes on dirtshoe.

Here are a few random things about Chris and Elesha that I thought everyone might find interesting.

  • Chris makes the best chicken enchiladas in the whole wide world.
  • Elesha and I feel very blessed to have husbands who love to cook.
  • Nathan and Chris were in a band about ten years ago called Honeywagon. I was a devoted fan. I mean seriously, I thought I might die when this band broke up. It like totally killed my social life.
  • Chris and Nathan currently both play with Camille Harp. Poor girl has to put up with both of them picking on her.
  • Chris taught me to love beer. We used to have beer history lessons every weekend. We approached beer like it was fine wine. Those were good times.
  • Chris and Elesha like to attend the Bigfoot Festival in Southeastern Oklahoma every year.
  • I broke my foot one time and had to wear a huge air cast. Chris constructed and wore a sympathy cast to make me feel better. This all happened a few days before we went Bigfoot hunting in Fouke, Arkansas. We didn’t find Bigfoot, in case you were wondering, but my mom did make us a Bigfoot cake that was delicious.
  • Nathan and Chris can talk about Carp fishing for hours and hours and hours.
  • I believe that Chris has more shoes (boots) than I do.
  • Elesha collects cats the way Chris and I collect shoes.
  • Nathan used to live with Chris and Elesha. He’s allergic to cats. The very cats that used to sleep on his head when he lived with them.

I hope you enjoy this meatball recipe from Chris. It’s almost as good as hanging out with great friends.



1 pound ground chuck

1 pound ground Spicy Italian Sausage

10 ounces dried bread crumbs

8 large eggs

8 ounces whole milk

12 ounces grated Romano

6 ounces grated Spanish onion finely chopped

5 ounces finely diced fresh garlic

4 ounces finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

4 ounces finely chopped fresh basil leaves

1 finely chopped bell pepper

Red pepper flake to taste

Marinara Sauce

1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste

2 — 8 ounce cans tomato sauce

2 – 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes crushed with hands

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 cup of medium dry red wine

½ cup finely minced red onion

2 teaspoons minced basil

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil


Meatballs: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. I suggest wrapping the pan with aluminum foil, but that’s because I hate dishes.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in large bowl with your hands – it’s imperative you use your hands. If mixture seems a little loose add more breadcrumbs.

Roll meatballs loosely (with your hands – this is an order!) about the size of a golf ball and place on baking sheet. Place into preheated oven for approximately 35 to 40 minutes or until cooked through.

Sauce: Sauté onion in olive oil until softened. Add the garlic, basil, salt, tomato paste, red wine, tomato sauce, and whole tomatoes along with all the other spices (except the sugar). Bring sauce to a low boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Allow sauce to cook for at least an hour and finish with a tablespoon of white sugar.

Serve this as a sandwich with your favorite cheese and toasted bread. Or, serve over pasta. Either way, it rocks.

Here’s a naughty Foreman secret.  Pour the pan drippings from the meatballs into the sauce. We won’t tell anyone and it’s just darn good.