Posts filed under 'Food follies!'

Winter Winds

So yesterday, I found myself Googling “baby Lunchables” after Cherie mentioned there was such a thing on Twitter, and I thought, really? Lunchables for infants? Now, I’m not really an anti-Lunchables person the way some are (hashtag alert!), I just don’t find them particularly appealing. I also find their convenience dubious at best, because how hard can it be to throw a few crackers in a baggie along with some sliced ham and cheese from the deli, anyway? It’s not even like it comes in a cute package! It’s just gross, gelatinous “meat and cheese,” scare quotes intended, with crackers in a cheap plastic tin.

So anyway, I’m Googling, and I find myself on a (oh my God) teen pregnancy message board, which is the last place I anticipated arriving when Googling “Lunchables for babies,” but there I am, all sucked into the lives of these pregnant teens (Like Teen Mom, but … without all the fanfare), and before you know it, I realize that these women girls are consuming Lunchables by the truckload and stressing about the deli meat’s impact on their unborn baby. Oh, why, do you ask? Not because they’re just paranoid, but because they’ve had MULTIPLE MISCARRIAGES, because they have been TRYING TO HAVE A BABY FOR A LONG TIME.

SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLDS.

Oh, Google. What seedy underbelly of sadness hath you unearthed? HONESTLY.

Look, I have friends — good friends — who were teen moms, and are excellent, accomplished people today. And God knows if Sam should find herself in a teenage pickle, I will support her, stand by her and help her no matter what she chooses to do. But I think we can all agree that going down the TTC route while in one’s teenage years is not exactly the goal of most people, right? And not something you … want for your children or yourself? HOLY MERDE.

On a more practical note, they’re craving … Lunchables? While pregnant? I don’t know about you guys, but when I was pregnant with Sam, I couldn’t even DEAL with meat that was in any way FOUL or JELLYLIKE or ENCASED IN PLASTIC. GAH, JELLIED MEAT, GAH.

It all reminds me of some of the old cookbooks I collect, wherein it was chic to encase meat products in aspic (which is, I think, a meat product in itself), and God, I’m not sure how anyone attended a single dinner party in the 1960s, because man, if the cookbooks are any indication, the menu choices must have been interminably foul.

In other news, Nick Jr. is out to terrify the shit out of me with their constant reminders to use flameless candles, water my tree and avoid anything that could IGNITE INTO FLAMES! FLAMES! FLAAAAAMES! Christmas is the season of HOUSE FIRES!

Adam asked me the other day if I was watering the tree, and I’m like, DUDE, YOU ARE MARRIED TO MRS. SAFETY. I water that thing DAILY. SOMETIMES TWICE DAILY.

I also bought a second fire extinguisher today. Just in case.

FLAAAAAAAAMES.

*Mumford & Sons. WINTER WINNNNNDS WILL START A FIIIIIIIRRRREEEE.

30 comments December 15th, 2010

Teenage Dream

First of all, we had a real heart-stopping moment when Alert Reader Sabrina mentioned that she hasn’t been able to find Take 5 candy bars anywhere for like, AN ENTIRE YEAR, which sent me into such a tailspin that I not only checked Hershey’s website, but I stupidly CALLED THEM, just to make sure, and lo, they are, it just turns out they aren’t a Reese’s-branded product and ergo, would not be in any Reese’s variety packs. This is stupid, because it CONTAINS peanut butter, and for the love of Jebus, does Hershey’s make anything with peanut butter that isn’t Reese’s branded? What is this shit?

Related: Growing up in PA, I often went to Hershey Park. Yes, the town really does smell like chocolate. You should go there. Also, stop by the pretzel factory and make your own pretzels. I think there’s one in Intercourse. Or maybe Hanover. Obviously I’m very specific with my memories here.

Secondly, this isn’t really a post, since I’m over at Jennie’s today (Thursday) for her Real Marriages series, talking about how I sometimes pick a fight about stuff I don’t care about because someone else said I should care. There are Rocky quotes.

Separately, but not, it’s funny, Jennie and Mike have a great relationship, and that’s completely obvious when you hang out with them, so her Real Marriages series kind of makes me laugh in a way, because she could write the whole thing and it would say, “It’s great. We fight, but we love. We are normal and happy. The end.” There are some people, I think, who you just GET why their spouse loves them so, and why turning their head would be nearly impossible. Jennie is one of those people. She’s warm and funny and a little quirky in the best, most endearing way, and she just stands out in a way that someone like Gisele Bundchen and her preachy, bland personality never will, and it’s just like, well, yeah. Good luck, ladies, getting Mike to look away from that one, because she’s super-special. Not that anyone is trying or that Mike would or anything, and oh dear, what started as a compliment has taken A VERY WRONG TURN, but hey! I’m in too deep! MAYDAY!

(Separately: I love Mike, too. A lot. Hi, Mike!)

And finally, did I tell you guys that the new Smart Pop Glee book is out? Well, it is. Filled with Glee! I actually think it’s one of my favorite Smart Pop titles as a whole, so I hope you get it, read it and enjoy it. Just in time for this bizarre second season, am I right? (WILL SCHUESTER, YOU SUCK) My essay is the free one on Smart Pop this week, and Maria Melee has an essay in there, too, and she is basically formed of awesome. I’m giving away two (2) copies to two readers, so leave me a comment saying “Glee me!” if you want in. If you want to comment, but don’t, just don’t say “GLEE ME!”

I’ve also been asked to contribute to an upcoming book on what is perhaps my all-time favorite show on television (yes, even more than True Blood), on a topic I cannot believe I’ve been trusted with, and I’ll tell you more later, but for now, let me just say: OMG and also HOLY CRAP and a little, NERVOUS TUMMY up in here.

Happy Thursday!

*Katy Perry, and the only part of this week’s Glee that I enjoyed, sadly. The rest was a lot of screaming at the TV. Screaming! LOUDLY.

61 comments November 10th, 2010

Shame and Fortune

Oh let’s kick it old-school with some bullet points that have nothing to do with one another, so holla!

– Because we were out trick or treating for far longer than we anticipated, and hell if either of us was going to miss taking Sam, we missed the hosting part of trick or treating and received approximately five kids over the course of the remaining hour. This is fine, although my sister warned me in a dire tone that this is generally bad form and we will eventually pay for it with, I don’t know, teenagers with eggs or angry parents or something that involves toilet paper. I don’t know. What is not fine is the amount of Twix, Snickers and miscellaneous Reese’s products I have in my possession, and is why, for the last two three days, my lunch has consisted of two mini Twix, a Snickers and a small bowl of canned beets (for fiber and vitamins and … I don’t know).

Speaking of Twix, there is only one way to eat it, which is to gnaw of the caramel, then eat the cookie separately, and I will not be told otherwise. What I will NOT tolerate, however, is the Reese’s Fast Break, which is seriously lacking in crunchy texture (WHY SO MUCH NOUGAT?), and I am terribly disappointed, for I got them mixed up with the Take 5, featuring delightfully crunchy, salty pretzels and you know what, Reese’s? I call bullshit on your variety bag, for there were no Take 5 bars. Bull. Shit.

I will also say that Adam worked from home today, and around 3 p.m., very gently asked how much candy, exactly, I was consuming, because it sure seemed like he heard the crinkle of a wrapper approximately every five minutes. Which: busted. It’s not really lunch if it lasts all day and involves nothing more than chocolate and beets.

– In the vein of Stuff No One Told Me About Birthing A Child, I’ll tell you that since having Samantha, I’ve had zero menstrual cramps. NOT A ONE. Okay, fine maybe half a one, but it wasn’t even worth getting off my duff to get some Tylenol, much less anything with punch. This is a tremendous contrast to the backbreaking, debilitating cramps I experienced before getting pregnant, and that includes after my thyroid levels were regulated (hypothyroidism can cause HORRID menstrual cramps) and I tell you this only because I’m constantly regaling you with tales of horror about THE VAGINA THAT ATE MANHATTAN, but really, there are upsides, for some of us, from this whole birthing kids thing. Besides the actual kid, I mean.

– The new TV fall lineup is truly wretched. Nothing new has piqued my interest. NOTHING. I’ve got three episodes of The Event on my DVR, and I’ve had ZERO motivation to watch any of them, and it just … well, it makes me sad.

– Did I tell you guys I live ten minutes from Shaq? And that in an effort to show Jennie and Mike his house, we ended up FULLY IN HIS DRIVEWAY, which is not something you expect when arriving to spy at a celebrity’s house?

– Did I tell you guys Jennie and I (and a bunch of kickass writers) are now doing Food Lush? Well, if I didn’t, I failed. It’s great, and is designed to be recipes and food-related stuff for normal people who don’t feel like making bastilla from scratch and sure as SHIT don’t have the budget or time to agonize over every little thing. I will say with a mixture of pride and bitterness that this post from Sarah is the reason why I spent the majority of naptime wrestling with an eleven-pound PORK LOIN purchased for $18 a BJ’s, but let me tell you, I got four big tenderloin cuts, four thick pork chops and a giant pile of bits to use for the Crock Pot, and it all works out to less than $1 per serving, including lunches and leftovers and holy cow, you guys, I RIPPED THE SHIT OUT OF THAT PORK LIKE I THOUGHT I WAS ON TOP CHEF OR SOMETHING.

That’s all I got. Pork, chocolate and menstruation.

Happy Thursday!

*Yeah Yeah Yeahs

35 comments November 3rd, 2010

Past in Present

So, many years ago, I had to fire someone. In retrospect, this is ridiculous, because I swear to you, I was MAYBE 25, had zero experience doing such things, and was counseled to do so in a way that was as close to asking for a lawsuit as one can get without filing the paperwork and suing yourself. Granted, this person should not have retained her job — she was terrible, unreliable, sometimes willfully defiant and yet (YET!) consistently asked for a promotion. It was a lethal combination, as you can imagine, and after first counseling her to look for another job through the power of gentle suggestion (she didn’t get it, or refused — not sure which), I had to fire her.

It was hideous. Hideous! She bawled! She was shocked! I was frozen, basically reading off of a piece of paper like an idiot so that we WOULDN’T get sued, when all I wanted to do was hug her. And again, why the eff HR wasn’t doing this was beyond me, but there I was, a totally incompetent 25-year-old manager who had no business managing, firing someone under the guise of a one-person layoff.

It was one of the worst things I’d ever had to do.

A few hours after she’d left, her mom called me to yell at me. Her mother called me! HER MOTHER. And she called me a dumb low-life and all kinds of things that were probably true at the time (seriously, I was only a manager because I brought in a piece of business that was a lot of money, end of story). Now, her mom and I had tangled previously, when Marla (yes, let’s call her that), called in sick, but didn’t leave information where some VERY IMPORTANT MISSION-CRITICAL documents that had been due the previous day were kept, so I had to call her at home and … well, she wasn’t home, she was in NYC visiting her boyfriend and THAT was awkward and awful, and yes, her mother yelled at me for invading her privacy, when … well, it was Marla who blew off the deadline AND was busy porking on a futon in the Upper West Side, so who’s really at fault here?

Fast forward to Saturday, and I’m in line at Gourmet India at the mall food court, because that’s what you DO when you have a kid who hates sitting still at a restaurant and you have no food in the house and you just want to EAT without it being a HUGE PRODUCTION, and dear Jesus, people, SHE WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

GAH GAH GAH. I kept silent and just sort of quietly panicked at the memory, and my only consolation is that she looked fabulous and didn’t bear any visible scars from the horrid, no-good awful faux layoff I inflicted upon her in my youth.

And whatever, don’t mock me for my food court Indian selection, because while I know it’s kind of gross, seeing as not only are you in a FOOD COURT, but everything meat-like is draped in some kind of heavy sauce that could be masking the remains of Max and Ruby’s doubtlessly deceased parents up in there, let me tell you something: I lived without decent Indian for FIVE YEARS. The last Indian place near us in Vermont featured a very old Indian matriarch, all wizened-like, who sat behind the hostess desk and SHAVED THE SKIN OFF HER FEET WITH A RAZOR THE ENTIRE MEAL.

I can handle Gourmet India, is what I’m saying. And besides, I would very likely eat the asshole of any animal anywhere (I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country! I ate scrapple!), provided it was done with the right sauce and plenty of cilantro. I’ve always wanted to be Indian, if only so I could learn to cook their food. Not to denigrate my own cultural heritage — I’m Hungarian and Italian, which, while no gastronomic slouches, have cuisines I like to sum up as follows:

Hungarians: Throw some paprika and sour cream on it. Extra points if there’s cabbage. You think I’m kidding, but if you’ve ever had eastern European haluski, you know that I’m not.

Italians: Do we have tomatoes and basil? Excellent. Here’s dinner.

And of course, there’s the Pennsylvania Dutch: Can we pickle it? What if we throw some hard-boiled eggs in there? Excellent! What if we fry up a pig’s stomach to go along with it? EVEN EFFING BETTER.

(Side note: pickled beets and eggs is one of my favorite things, ever, and my dad made some DELICIOUS ones last week)

(Side side note: Shoo fly pie is just SILLINESS in a pie crust and yet people go BONKERS for it. Basically it’s molasses and crumbs. BARF.)

But Indians! Such spices! Beans! Cilantro! Coriander seed! (Same thing, different form) THINGS THAT HAVE FLAVOR. AND LACK ENTRAILS, MAYBE.

Well, this went to a place I wasn’t planning. Sorry about that. A few housekeeping tidbits, yes?

– I’m reviving the Book Lushes after a summer hiatus. Stay tuned!

– Speaking of books, I’ve started reading Alexa’s, (yes, this Alexa) and cannot stop. I can’t stop. I’m not one to blow smoke in this area, so when I tell you that this is exceptional — that SHE is exceptional, both as a person and as a writer — you must believe me. And you must go out and get it for yourself, and then report back to me how big of a genius you think she is, because you will. She is. It’s SO GOOD, you guys. It’s like, LAUGH OUT LOUD good, and funny and poignant and heartbreaking … IT IS SO GOOD. IT IS SO GOOD. SO GOOD. SHE IS SO GOOD.

She is also a friend, and I am really proud to say that, and proud of her. But that does not mean she hasn’t earned my respect as a hugely talented writer with the first chapter alone. Holyshit.

– While an odd segue, I wrote a few things other places on the internet, both kind of pulled from my ass and thrown on the table like a lump of something unpleasant, yet strangely … compelling? Or maybe just unpleasant and confusing. One at Polite Fictions, the other is a recap of this past week’s True Blood for my bosses at Smart Pop. (And a reminder that you can buy my essay for less than a buck AND the entire book is still available!) To those recappers who do this on a regular basis, I salute you. It was great fun, but it was also so much freakin’ work, and hours and hours of rewinding and pausing and note-taking and DING DONG, I HAD A CRAMP, that I have no idea how you do it on a regular basis.

Happy Wednesday!

*Feist

25 comments August 17th, 2010

New World in my View

Kibbles and bits, per usual, but this time with a giveaway! Of a book that I contributed to! Go team! Well, not really on the team part. But on the dinner part? Yes, GO TEAM!

1) The other day, I tasted Sam’s (white) grape juice and thought it tasted a little off. I wrote it off initially, because my allergies are HORRENDOUS right now, and this plus a recent cold means I’ve been stuffy/sickly for weeks on end. No, literally: WEEKS. Anyway, I gave it another taste this morning and, um, no. It was actually teetering towards flat-out rotten, and I’m fairly shocked she hasn’t been wasted, because that shit HAD to be well on its way to wine.

2) The June book for The Book Lushes is The Red Tent, and I’ve literally put off reading this bad boy for TEN YEARS. It’s … interesting. I’m enjoying, but not loving, it. Mostly, and you best believe I’ll be discussing this in the forums, I’m irritated by the writing style, but I can’t put my finger on why.

Also irritating? The fact that Diamant has to remind us somewhere in the range of every ten seconds that men and boys used to get it on with sheep and goats in the fields. Yes, Anita, we get it. I was shocked the first time, annoyed the second, and FULL-ON ROLLING MY EYES by the third. What a shame Christianity has already been sent up too many times, otherwise you’d have the next Satanic Verses on your hands! Or not.

The real point of this is that if you aren’t a member, you should be. Honestly, all the books we’ve picked have been good, if not great, and I’m really, really glad I read them, even if I didn’t like them. It made for a richer experience, too, to know that dozens, if not hundreds, of others were reading it at the same time. You can join and discuss at any time — although it is well into June, I haven’t fully formed my opinion on Olive yet, so that discussion is still happening.

(For those not playing along, the books thus far have been The Help, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Year of Magical Thinking, Olive Kitteridge and now, The Red Tent)

3) Dinner. OH DINNER. You guys! YOU GUYS. SUCCESS. We’re on Day Three of awesome fast dinners — the sausage pasta was a huge hit, as I mentioned, and since then, I’ve done two more meals that rocked and were fast and easy.

First, I made a Mexican rice mish-mash with lean ground meat of your choice (I used beef, but I would totally use ground turkey, chicken or buffalo), browned and then mixed with veggies of your choice (I used TJ’s fire-roasted corn and bell pepper mix, both frozen) and then mixed with rice (um, again, TJ’s chimichurri frozen rice mix — SO GOOD). I threw some taco seasoning on top of it all (cumin, chili powder, coriander, etc. or you can use a pre-mix) and stirred some low-fat cheese and salsa in and VOILA! Mexican mix! We ate this in either taco or burrito shells with light sour cream and jalapenos. So good. So fast — like, ten minutes, TOPS.

Tuesday, we had Greek cous cous and also, DELICIOUS. I used nap time to roast some veggies (onions and red peppers at 425 for 20 minutes), then boiled up some Israeli cous cous and mixed with the veggies and some pre-cooked grilled chicken (I love you, Trader Joe’s!). I made a quick Greek dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, lots of oregano, salt, pepper and feta and threw it on top, plus a little extra crumbled feta on each serving and again, dude, VOILA. I finished it all in a half-hour, and just heated it up a bit at dinnertime. The whole shebang was over and done with by 7 p.m. (Adam got home super-early.)

I feel like I’m winning some kind of BATTLE up in here. For the record, Sam ate the cous cous, but not the Mexican rice. Again, I made it a little too spicy for her delicate little tongue. Adam loved it, but requested that next time I make it with the tiny regular cous cous, as the Israeli version reminded him of spider eggs. However, he’s still gnawing on some leftovers as I type this, so whatever. Awesome.

4) This won’t make sense to many people, but longtime reader Suki? I owe you a thank you. For Kate, you know. And congratulations on your pregnancy! I think about you all the time! (See? This is how I draw you out.)

5) Speaking of books, here we go! A Taste of True Blood is coming out on June 21 and I’ve got two copies to give away. Honestly, my chapter aside, there’s some crazy-ass analysis up in this thing, and it includes pieces by writers who are much smarter and more thoughtful than me. (My chapter is about how Bill Compton used to be hot, but now he’s … well, not. I never said I was an intellectual, okay?)

So! I’ll pick a winner at random, but I realize that some of you might not be into this, so if you want to comment AND you want to be entered, just write BOOK ME! somewhere in the comment, and I’ll include you in the, um, drawing. Which will happen electronically using one of those random generator things, which means that no one of the younger generations will even know what a drawing is.

I’ll be closing comments Thursday at 5 p.m. EST, and announcing a winner sometime Friday. Woot.

(Sadly, residents of the United States and Canada are the only ones who are eligible. Sorry, international friends!)

Happy trails! Happy Wednesday!

*KIng Britt and Sister Gertrude Morgan, from the True Blood soundtrack.

56 comments June 8th, 2010

Pieces of What

Let’s see, let’s see … let’s do quick takes, shall we? Because it’s all just bouncing around my head up in here, and there are so! many! things! I want to talk about, none of which are particularly interesting or post-worthy. How’s that for a fun set up?

1) I can’t believe I’m the mom who takes her 15-month-old to, um, gym class, but there you go. The truth is, I do kind of hate myself when I’m sitting in a circle singing some inane song about CIRCLE TIME! WITH FRIENDS! but dude, it’s with Megan & Lila (love!), it’s out of the house at the PERFECT time of the morning, and it’s cheaper than spending my life savings on cheap jewelry I’ll never wear at Target. And she’s faceplant-caliber exhausted after class (HA HA CLASS, like they learn anything), which is worth every penny right there, although honest to God, I feel SO RIDICULOUS when I’m cheering as my wee child is careening down a makeshift zipline in a plastic swing. Yes, that’s right, a zipline. I don’t know, either.

(A ZIPLINE)

(It was kind of awesome.)

2) At said gym, the one thing that makes me NUTSO is that they never refer to the moms by their names, nor do they even ASK WHAT OUR NAMES ARE. There’s this singsongy introduction, and we all share our kids’ names, but since the age group only goes to 22 months, aren’t … well, aren’t the moms more important? For God’s sake, this is really about US, let’s be honest. It’s OUR sanity on the line here, not the babies’.

We had some shifting of our gym days, and when they called to confirm, they were sure to point out to me that “Lila’s mom” agreed to the other day as well. And though obviously I know Lila’s mom, I was like, WHO? WHO IS THAT? And when they told Lila’s mom that they were switching, they said they were going to talk to “Samantha’s mom,” too, and I’m like, GYM LADIES. MEGAN AND I HAVE NAMES. OR SHOULD I JUST CALL YOU GYM LADY?

3) I do believe that I have finally, and for real this time, given up on Grey’s Anatomy. I didn’t see the season finale, nor did I TiVo it, and after hearing of the horror of horrors and what a totally stressful scene it was, I’m just like, really? Really, Shonda? I’m done. I don’t care about Mer, Der, Christina, Owen, Teddy or whoever the eff the next stupidly-named doctor who joins the scene is. I don’t care. I’m finished with you! FINISHED! FINISHED.

4) I am also all set with bathing my child. ALL SET, PLEASE. AND THANK YOU. We’re going through what is very clearly A Phase, but it is an UNPLEASANT phase, one that involves a refusal to have any water on top of her head, which means I can just barely wash it, but conditioning and combing it out? OH PLEASE. At this point, the back of her hair very clearly resembles a NEST of some sort, and isn’t that something we say to be funny? My hair looks like a rat’s nest? HA HA. Hers actually does. The back of it is all tangled and screwy and like, STUFF GETS STUCK IN IT back there. I pull lint out of it on an hourly basis, and I am not kidding, this morning I had a very frustrating moment removing the Velcro arm of a very tiny monkey. There are MONKEYS in my kid’s hair, for crying out loud. MONKEYS.

5) GUESS WHAT STARTS ON SUNDAY? Oh that’s right. TRUE BLOOD. Guess what comes out shortly? MY TRUE BLOOD BOOK. I’m giving away copies this week, so stay tuned! WHOO. Also, I’ll be writing updates throughout the season on Smart Pop’s site, so keep your eyes peeled this season. For my part, I hear that Eric has a new love interest, and while the prospect of more Naked Eric is very appealing, I am strangely possessive over Naked Eric (what?) and am really only interested in Naked Eric with Naked Sookie, even though I don’t even LIKE Sookie that much. How do you even explain this? You don’t.

I also hope Bill is eaten by wolves. Which, given the trajectory of the novels, is not entirely outside of the realm of possibility. (Oh stop, that’s not a spoiler. I only WISH he was EATEN by them.)

6) OH YOU GUYS, WITH THE DINNER SUGGESTIONS. I want to hug and kiss and love on each and every one of you. I have taken them all to deep, deep culinary heart, and have implemented a few of your ideas already. And, in fact, this week is Ground Zero for testing, and I’ll update you as we go. I should also add that explaining the many nuances of Adam’s culinary tolerances is sort of impossible, but that “saucy” does not apply to things that are supposed to have sauce, like pasta.

Ergo, tonight’s meal was pasta with sausage, peppers and onions and it was DELICIOUS, if I do say so. I picked up two links of hot Italian chicken sausage at Whole Foods, chopped it up and sauteed it with some onions and red/yellow peppers, topped off with Trader Joe’s puttanesca sauce in a jar, served over whole wheat rotini. SO GOOD. I sauteed the sausage/veggies during naptime, threw the sauce over it, and just left it on low until dinner, when I boiled the pasta and baked a take n’ bake loaf from TJ’s as accompaniment.

Not that you need any tips from me, much less the Food Douche kind, as YOU are the culinary geniuses, but I almost never make my own tomato sauce anymore, since every blasted can of tomatoes has BPA in it, and I’m also kind of freakish about which jarred sauces I’ll use, because an alarming number of sauces have HFCS in them, which, I’m sorry, what? Tomato sauce and corn syrup, what? GROSS. And also, WHY? Plus Trader Joe’s sauces are almost always delicious and superinexpensive and … oh yum. It was great, and we all ate together at 5:30. Only downside: It was a bit too spicy for Sam, as a lot of our meals are, so she had rotini with butter and cheese, plus fruit.

And yet: highly recommend. Also? Leftovers out the ying yang. WIN.

Happy Monday, y’all!

*MGMT

107 comments June 6th, 2010

99 Problems

I’m having some food problems up in here, and though they are not exciting to read about, I can’t imagine I’m the only one staring down the barrel of having no idea what the eff to make for my family, night after night, right?

Help me help you! Or rather, help me and I will TRY to help you in the comments, maybe?

1) Dinner. Oh, dinner. Dinner is a problem, and it didn’t used to be. When Adam worked close to home, he came home around, say … 6? I think? Sometimes earlier. Early enough, though that he would hang with Sam while I prepared and/or finalized dinner, after which, depending on the time, we would all eat together, or put Sam to bed and then the two of us would eat.

Now? Oh now. I don’t even know what changed, but now I’m on my own until Adam gets home — usually around 7, at the earliest — and I don’t know what it is, I CANNOT PREPARE DINNER WITH THE CHILD UP IN MY GRILL. It’s the witching hour, and she eats her dinner at 5:30, after which I get maybe fifteen minutes of calm time before she’s starting to fade and then, OH THEN, there is the full meltdown mode and she needs my FULL ATTENTION. Also, she seems to never be wearing pants at this time, I don’t know why. So there is pantsless yelling, and the dog needs to go out and then it’s bathtime and then bedtime and then, BAM! It’s 7:30, and I haven’t even started dinner yet, and by the time I finish it and we eat, it’s EIGHT THIRTY and then there’s clean-up and the whole evening is gone and … yeah, it’s 9:30, and our big accomplishment is eating dinner. That’s not really enjoyable for either of us.

This is also why I am behind on television, the internet, and my email and general correspondence with non-playdate human beings (although Jesus MJ, thank GOD for them). I miss my friends. I miss my Kate. My Meredith. For God’s sake, I haven’t even TALKED to Meg since I’ve BEEN HERE. And my mother! I don’t even want to tell you the last time I’ve talked to my MOTHER! I’ve been too busy … making dinner? EH?

So … what do I do? I really work to eat healthy in the evenings, so make-ahead casseroles aren’t really my thing on a regular basis. Adam hates pulled meat of any kind, not to mention anything “saucy” (hold me, he’s picky), so most Crock-Pot recipes are out. Usually we eat a grilled meat of some sort, roasted veggies and a salad or other easy side dish. But grilled meats aren’t that awesome reheated, so making them ahead kind of sucks and OH I AM JUST TALKING MYSELF INTO A CORNER HERE. Can anyone help me? What do you do for dinner? AUGH.

Because I tell you, what we’re doing now, isn’t working. At all. We’re exhausted, and up to our arms in dishpan hands by 9 p.m. and looking at each other going, really? This is what we’re doing with our nights? DINNER? THAT’S IT?

2) Dinner for the tiny terror. I am FRESH OUT OF TODDLER DINNER IDEAS. Uncured organic hot dogs! Whole wheat macaroni with melted cheese! Berries! Steamed carrots! Peas! Zucchini! Grilled cheese! Spaghetti with tomato sauce! Cubed cheese! THIS IS MY REPERTOIRE. And she’s so sick of it. I don’t blame her. Mind you, she eats EVERYTHING (well, except for quesadillas, which, WHO DOESN’T LIKE QUESADILLAS, KID?) so it’s not an issue of what she’ll eat/won’t eat. It’s a matter of ease and convenience and total lack of planning

Can anyone help? ANYONE, OH MY LANDS. WE’RE STARVING.

70 comments June 3rd, 2010

Never Ending Math Equation

One of the fun facts I neglected to mention about the Bitter Days of Fluedom was that in addition to waking up barfing my face off, there was yeast. YEAST! You guys, my doughy boobs returned with a vengeance and so, in addition to fever, puking and general desire to off myself as quickly as possible, my boobs! My boobs! MY BOOBS WERE ON FYAH!

Anyway, honestly, in the grand scheme of things, I had bigger issues, so I barely noticed. But to close the yeasty loop, in the event that this will help someone else with the Endless Pattern of Thrush, I’ll tell you, we kicked it without a second dose of Diflucan OR Nystatin, neither of which were very pleasant to deal with. The Nystatin because it made Sam gag, hork and cry, and the Diflucan because it made her tummy so upset she was screaming for two hours every time she took a dose. So …

Probiotics, y’all! I SWEAR. How crazy hippie is that shit? I hit up the natural foods store, and loaded up on this stuff for me, and the Baby Jarro-Dophilus for Sam. Plus, um, kefir and yogurt, for good measure, like, three times a day, BARELY sweetened with agave only if absolutely necessary, and THE YEAST IS GONE. POOF. IN LIKE 24 HOURS. Die, yeast! DIE!

***

I’m a budgeting wizard — no, seriously, I can squeeze the shit out of any budget and maximize savings like nobody’s business. Honestly, I am SUPER financially responsible, and get a total kick about saving money and … well. It’s a nerdy hobby, but very effective. It’s also a bit consuming, because there are so many opportunities to go overboard, when really, sometimes it’s just not worth it.

The other day I got myself in a totally pointless tizzy because I discovered that each of the three places I shop — or can shop — has the best price on something totally different. Ergo, for me to REALLY get the best price on everything, each grocery trip should be to three different stores, which … seriously, that’s just stupid. I have a baby, for God’s sake, and she’s usually with me. But then it’s so frustrating because sometimes it’s a swing of like THREE DOLLARS AN ITEM. The hummus at two grocery stores is $2 more than at the tiny grocery store (for half a pound), and the deli I like is $5.99 one place, but $3.99 another, and DO YOU SEE HOW THIS COULD MAKE SOMEONE CRAZY?

(Or no? Have you decided that I’m crazy? You have, haven’t you? I don’t blame you!)

Which brings me to something I just haven’t been able to do. Now, this may be shocking, but I don’t use coupons. Are they worth it, or do you find that you just end up buying things you don’t need?

***

Dude, did you guys SEE The Millionaire Matchmaker the other day? With the guy who brought a second girl on their date? And the girl who was all, he wanted to pick me, so it’s only fair that I’m here? OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. Oh, how I love that show, you guys. It’s horrible! It’s SO HORRIBLE! Everything about it is horrible, and yet, there I am, parked in front of it on Tuesdays.

However. I have a big problem with Patti Stanger siding with Jill Zarin on the Real Housewives of New York City. BIG PROBLEM. And I’ll admit, I’ve lost a little respect for Patti. And worse? I am genuinely bummed about it, as I am Team Bethenny all the way and it’s … well, it’s impacting my ability to enjoy The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Also? I want to see Kelly’s Playboy spread. Judge me if you must.

Have a great weekend, you guys.

*Modest Mouse

32 comments April 1st, 2010

Move Away

Contributing, I believe, to the general crabbiness around here — crabbiness that even I will admit has reached HILARIOUS levels, as I swear to God, sometimes I stop being pissy to just laugh at what a Crabby McCrabpants I’m being — is a head cold. A relatively minor head cold by non-pregnant standards, but I never realized what sweet relief it was to be able to pop some Dayquil and carry on with life as though nothing had happened. Sure, you might have medicine head, but it beats the pants off of dealing with unmitigated green snot and, your friend and mine, The Herp Lip.

Ah, Herp Lip. How nice of you not to forget about me during pregnancy. It’s a pleasure to be able to play host to not one, but TWO parasitic entities, one lovable, one … not.

Tomorrow, by the way, I’m taking the day off from all work-related responsibilities to attend an OB appointment, wherein I sincerely hope they can find this kid’s heartbeat, because I’m reading all about how I should be feeling kicks and whatnot down there and I DO NOT FEEL A BLESSED THING EXCEPT THE URGE TO PEE AND MAYBE THROW UP. I will also be looking at houses — five, to be specific — and am both dreading and looking forward to it.

I know this is irrational, but there’s something about renting at this stage of life that makes me feel wholly inadequate, like I’ve FAILED somewhere. This is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that a) I am a home owner, just not where I live, thanks to the wonders of the economy (with strong fundamentals!) and a pillow-soft housing market; b) Even if I WANTED to buy a second home, I wouldn’t buy one in Vermont, because while we like it here, this is not a permanent solution, so I’d be renting regardless; and c) at least the home I own is rented to someone and not in foreclosure like so many others, my God, Jonna, SHUT UP.

Anyway, in many ways, renting should make me feel like a colossal success, because I’ve been amazed at the amount of people drooling over us, simply by the fact that we’re two clean-cut, professional people with good jobs who can not only afford the rent (a novel concept), but don’t plan on throwing parties with elephants and camels on the weekends. Now, I would have assumed in this bleak housing economy where no one is buying anything that there are many people like us, but apparently I was wrong, for when I hung up with a prospective landlord this evening, the desperation of his “I SINCERELY HOPE YOU LIKE THE HOUSE” was nearly palpable, and it’s been much the same with as many others.

So we’ll, uh, see. Sunny is causing a small kink in our plans, as though we are drool-worthy tenants, we do come with an mini-beast who really does drool and occasionally sheds.

And now! Onto my latest pregnancy obsession: soup. I know! How BORING. Pie and apples have hit the road, my friends. They were wonderful while they lasted, but all good things must come to an end. And seeing as I already have the recipes for my other obsession (BROWNIES) thanks to Swistle, I find that soups and stews really are the next frontier in pregnancy foods, along with English muffins. Something about the nooks and crannies.

The problems with commercial soups are several-fold, and include: a) the meat in them is so gross even to a non-pregnant me, but add a total intolerance for anything gristly (HALP) or off-color (HOLD ME) and we have the Return of the Vomit Monster; and b) the only commercial soups that have any complexity at all and/or lack the Icky Meat factor are tomato broth-based, which OH MY GOD, NO NO. THE HEARTBURN. NO.

My favorite lately came from TwoBusy around this time last year — no, wait, oh my God, it was TWO WHOLE YEARS AGO — and I would be remiss in not paying it forward. I finished up the last in the freezer today and plan to make more tomorrow. (By the way, I usually freeze it, so I don’t use the pasta.) (Also, I know it’s got tomatoes, but there is a difference between tomato PUREE and chunks of tomatoes, you know? Or maybe you don’t.)

This is a long way of saying I welcome soup recipes that do not involve sauteed onions and peppers (GAH GAH GAH).

Happy Thursday! Wish me luck in my long, dark Day of Househunting and OB-GYNing.

*The Killers, who I love so very much still. Especially Brandon Flowers, who is rather tasty, despite the eyeliner and odd behavior.

30 comments September 24th, 2008

Must I Paint You a Picture?

Oh I love your wedding stories, and admittedly, was full of envy at some of them (Jenny, you were right! That IS my perfect wedding!), but I mean that in the most loving way possible.

I don’t mean to linger on this topic, but there was something about this weekend’s affair I wanted to mention. What are your feelings on cake smooshing? Adam and I didn’t cut the cake in front of people, mostly because I don’t get why cutting a cake is a spectator sport, and we fed each other pieces (again, why? WHY?), but there was no smooshing. NO SMOOSHING. However, there was smooshing at the wedding this weekend, and through some strange stroke of misfortune, the groom accidentally toppled the bride over with the act of smooshing. She hit the floor, taking an entire tray of plates with her, shutting down the dance floor for a full fifteen minutes while throngs of vested employees ran to clean up the floor. She was fine, but her parents were so upset that my nephew (the groom) had to apologize to them, and oh dear, it was an accident, but still. SHE FELL OVER, INTO A PILE OF CAKE AND PLATES.

In awkward transitions, I am the world’s worst grocery shopper. I can NEVER, not once, get everything I need in one trip. NEVER. It’s like I’m incapable of making a list that encompasses everything we need before I leave, and end up wandering aimlessly until I EXIT THE STORE and realize I forgot something pivotal, like chicken or toilet paper (we were thisclose to using napkins. THISCLOSE, PEOPLE) As a result of my incompetence, I went to three separate grocery stores today, and still didn’t get everything I needed. I think I need efficiency training.

And now onto the garden. I’m afraid I have a snake problem, which is hindering my ability to weed or spend any time out there at all. SNAKES. SNAAAAKES. Garter snakes, but still, they’re in there, lurking beneath the bolted lettuce plants and hiding among the beets, and every time I see a little slithering tail, I run away, and the weeds live another day.

Also, I may take photos tomorrow, but I have more than two hundred tomatoes from the thirteen plants that are out there thriving right now and … well, those are the only ones I could COUNT. TWO HUNDRED GREEN TOMATOES ON THE VINE. AND TWELVE CUCUMBERS WITH AT LEAST TWENTY MORE FLOWERS. Someone told me that August is the month that you lock your car doors, lest you come out of the video store to find a pile of unwanted zucchini in your back seat. I never once considered that I’d be the one making stealthy deposits of tomatoes. Next up: Jonna’s Roadside Organic Produce, coming to a rural highway near you.

Happy Tuesday!

*Billy Bragg

47 comments July 21st, 2008

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