My online journal.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuna SaladMix all together:- 2 small cans chunk light tuna (drained)- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded- 1/4 of a large onion, finely chopped- 1/2 - 3/4 c. light mayonnaise- a big squirt of mustard (I used "Mustard Girl'''s "Stoneground Deli" mustard, which is absolutely fabulous mustard and could be eaten with a spoon; it's that good.- scant 1/4 c. diced mild jalapeno peppers or pepperoncini (optional, but they give it a very small, very nice kick). Or finely diced green pepper, or pickle relish.I served it on toast with spinach lining. Yum!
Monday, March 24, 2008
I saw Jeff's uncle Don, and my eyes caught a glint of light off his plate.
Which was clean.
Not just food-all-finished-with-the-expected-remaining-crumbs-of-breading-and-bits-of-meat-gristle-and-blobs-of-Jell-o-that-you-just-can't-pick-up-with-your-fork clean. CLEAN-clean. Licked-clean clean. Bizarrely clean.
I looked at his wife's plate. Same thing.
I looked at my own plate; at the Jell-o clumps and the fatty part of the ham that I refuse to eat because A. I can quite easily cut it off with my fork and knife, and because B. IT'S FAT and therefore GROSS and NOT FOOD. I looked at the smear of sweet potato that I didn't finish because I got kinda full and because I'd already nibbled off all the coconutty-marshmallowy part and I really wasn't interested in the rest of it.
I tried REALLY hard to get the rest of the Jell-o off my plate, but there wasn't much I could do about it. Embarrassed, I sorta stared at my plate, feeling them all JUDGING me for my not-clean plate.
So I brought it up to Joel later, because it was REALLY BUGGING me. How did their plates get so ridiculously CLEAN??!? I asked. It's not NORMAL!! I said to Joel. Short of LICKING the plate, there is no way they used the provided utensils to squeegee their plates. HOW DID THEY DO IT I MUST KNOW!!
Well Joel was quick to point out that rolls had been passed and perhaps they used part of a roll to sop up EVERYTHING on their plates?
To which I said, ohhhh, of course that's what they did, I'm an idiot. I'm sure they're real proud of their ability to consume every molecule of food product that they helped themselves to.
Eeeeeek, though, it's so WRONG and goes against every fiber of my being. I mean, A) Jell-o is not good on bread. B) Neither are sweet potatoes. C) NEITHER IS HAM-GRISTLE. I just can't fathom eating ham-gristle.
Dinner tonight was Joelly-style, Meggo-inspired scrambled eggs with spinach and diced ham, wrapped in whole-wheat tortillas with cheddar. Mmmmm, they were soooo good, and not just because I didn't have to cook them myself. Well, maybe a lot because of that.
My sister Ellen asked for the White Bean Chicken Chili recipe from last week, so here it is:
White Bean Chicken Chili
Cook in a large pot, then remove:
4-5 slices thick bacon (I used turkey bacon this time; not
Add to pot of grease (siphon off some of the grease if you wish) and
cook about 10 minutes:
4 cloves minced garlic
2 med. onions, chopped
1-2 green peppers, chopped
Meantime, poach 5-6 chicken breasts in 6-8 cups
chicken stock (I always just use boullion) until breasts are cooked
through. Remove (reserving broth) and shred chicken.
Drain and rinse (I usually never actually rinse), then add to cooked
4 cans Great Northern beans (I used half white kidney
beans this time).
1 can diced green chilies
2 tsp. cumin
reserved cooked chicken
2 c. Monterey Jack cheese
reserved crumbled bacon
It didn't turn out that great this time. I feel like in the past it's been heaven -- I don't know what I did wrong, besides not really cook the veggies long enough. The turkey bacon didn't help, either -- although often I completely omit the bacon, so maybe that's what I ought to have done.
Tomorrow night we're ordering pizza. Sorry, gang.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
But it's gonna be a good night
The Champale's sparklin'
And the music's just right
It's gonna be a good night...
Judging from my internet searches, I'm the only person on this planet who remembers this jingle. I just had to get it out.
Tuesday night, after a Watson playdate that morning, Lucy was in the bathroom when Joel had to tinkle. Joel, I think, asked for some privacy, and Lucy answered "I like penises!"
Today during dinner, I was trying to get Lucy to taste her pork (recipe to follow) even though she was happily digging into her peas and leftover mac n cheese.
"Mommy," she starts, in her exasperated tone, "I like peas and macaroni and cheese and peadabutter and jellies and grapes and I fink that's enough foods."
Pork Helmets (Mom, is this the recipe called Nipples?)
Heat in a 12" skillet over medium heat:
1 Tb. dark sesame oil
Add to pan:
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 clove minced garlic
Saute 30 seconds, until garlic is fragrant.
1 lb. thinly sliced pork tenderloin (if yours is thicker, you'll just have
to cook it a couple minutes longer per side)
Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Avoid the temptation
to overcook! It's really easy to see when the pork is done; take a kitchen
shears and slice into the thickest part to check, if you're unsure. Remember
that the white-meat pieces will cook (and hence dry out) faster than the darker
(Sorry, I know this is Cooking 101 for many of you; I'm writing to the
lowest common Jeanometer.)
Anyway! Take the cooked pork out of the pan and keep it warm.
Add to the pan:
3 Tb. water
3 Tb. dry sherry
3 Tb. hoisin sauce (it's like Asian barbecue sauce; it's yummy!)
1.5 Tb. dried cilantro (I think dried cilantro is pretty worthless; I
omitted it this time and subbed about 4 chopped green onions. Some fresh
cilantro might be nice! Or parsley, if you like parsley?)
Cook the sauce over medium heat until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.
Spoon the sauce over the meat -- as Eddie would say, "Ummmm! Meat! A-ricious!"
The thermometer on my gazebo says 54. Fifty-four! We might have to eat dinner outside tonight.
I pulled a muscle in my neck/back while shampooing this morning and I am really suffering. Advil didn't even make a dent in the pain. Thanks Mom for my new Dr. Beans neck-roll! I have been reheating it all morning and it's making my life bearable.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! to Alison and Dan on the birth of their new baby girl, Penelope! I had phoned Alison (and I NEVER phone Alison) after ECFE today to see how she was doing now that she's past her due date (and also to ask for her midwife's info for a friend of a friend), and lo and behold her husband answered and he sounded a little harried and assumed I'd somehow cosmically heard that they'd had a baby! I didn't ask for any details but it sounded like everyone was doing well. They had planned a homebirth VBAC and it sure sounded like that's what had occurred -- I'm sure they'll post as soon as they're able.
Jane (and Nicole) Watson's Pot Roast recipe
A couple modifications I made: I used a whole package of the onion soup mix (actually, the equivalent thereof -- I homemake onion soup mix in bulk), and I also added maybe 3/4 tsp ground black pepper to the mix.
Jessica Seinfeld's Mac and Cheese 1 recipe
(from Deceptively Delicious)
(I doubled it)
1.5 cups uncooked elbow macaroni -- cook to make about 3 cups.
1 Tb olive oil
1 Tb flour
1/2 c. skim milk
1/2 c. butternut squash or cauliflower puree
1.5 c. shredded cheddar cheese (It calls for low-fat cheese but I am morally opposed to low-fat cheese)
4 oz. reduced-fat or nonfat cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. paprika (I used cayenne pepper instead)
1/8 tsp. pepper
Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned (1-2 minutes).
Add the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, cheddar, cream cheese, and seasonings, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.
I have tried SEVERAL mac and cheese recipes and I'm telling you, making the roux at the beginning is the secret to success. The Barefoot Contessa recipe I have (and adore) does the same thing (except with butter, which is why Ina Garten is a goddess).
Monday, March 17, 2008
Here's the haircut.
So for dinner tonight I made Nicole Watson's Pot Roast and Jessica Seinfeld's Mac & Cheese. Both were phenomenally tasty and as soon as I get permission from the former I will post both recipes! (Jessica Seinfeld never returns my calls anymore.) :) :) :)
I forgot to mention earlier that the other morning Joel was leaving for work and just as he walked out the door, Ed shouted: "A careful! A ice!"
Lucy has become obsessively protective about her toys. We had some firemen in the house this evening (our CO2 detector was beeping during dinner, and it says to call 911 so I did! For the first time ever! I was super nervous! And they sent a GIANT fire truck with four completely unattractive fire fighters! And the kids got to sit up in the truck for about half an hour and it was the coolest thing ever! And Ed keeps saying "A fire truck! A fire ENgine!") and the fireman spent the better part of 30 minutes waving his little hand-held CO2 detector around the various levels of our house. When he left, Lucy saw his little detector in his hand and the instant he was out the door, she cried "HE STOLE MY TOY! HE TOOK OUR TOY!!!" And Joel and I quickly calmed her down, reassuring her that it was the fireman's own toy, but she remained suspicious because, as a rule, grownups do not carry small toys around in their hands, Eddie-style, except for cell phones and keys and wallets and iPods and tape measures and really, I can't figure out why she was so confused.
I'm feeling like I'm going to be crashing hard from creative-outlet withdrawal, now that my show's essentially over. I was reading Shauna Niequist's book Cold Tangerines last night -- a really lovely book; I highly recommend it -- and I came across a passage that I swear I have written (not word-for-word or anything, but the concept was identical) in this very blog. It was about how when you work for a living, people occasionally give you compliments and pats on the back, but how when you stay home with the kids, they don't ever thank you for wiping their butts. WAIT! I didn't write it here -- I wrote it as a comment on Michelle's blog. I can't believe I remembered that. Anyway, reading a published author with my same thoughts made me feel very impotent and pathetic because I CRAVE to be an Actual Writer but to do that I would actually have to Write something (or at least, that's what I'm told) and, like, I can't even barely put together a decent household to-do list.
And with nothing to choreograph on the horizon... no dance classes to take, no show to be in... well I guess I'm desperately hoping that two hours of softball a week will fill the void. Maybe.
The scones were great, and they are soooo easy to make. Not healthy, mind you.
Mix in a bowl:
2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Now take one stick of frozen butter. Grate it, using the large holes of a grater, into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix (lightly; toss, don't mash) this all up with your hands until it looks like very coarse cornmeal.
Stir in 1/2 c. raisins or craisins.
In a small, bowl, whisk together:
1/2 c. sour cream (I use light; it seems to make no difference)
1 large egg
And dump that into the bigger bowl. With a fork, stir everything together until large clumps form. Press the mixture against the sides of the bowl until it's kind of one large ball. Place the ball on a lightly-floured surface and pat into an 8" disc. Sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar on top. Cut the disc into eight triangles. Arrange the triangles about 1" apart on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are barely goldenish.
They were a hit, but I might mention that we did NOT have an easier time getting to the car today. I have no idea what I did wrong. Jean was there to witness; I gave them warnings, I gave Lucy choices, I didn't scream or hit them. It was terrible and embarrassing. *sigh*
I think I aftergott to post Ed's first complete sentence. I asked him what a seal says, and he thought for a second, and said, very slowly:
"A seal says... oooourp oooourp oooourp."
He's not Shakespeare, but he's mine!
Oh, speaking of Ed, he was under the kitchen table this afternoon while Will was eating lunch, and all of a sudden Will started screaming. I couldn't figure out why until I looked down and saw a nice neat row of tooth marks on Will's bare left foot. And Ed, with a big "I'm-a-stinker" smile on his face. Ed had taken a giant bite of Will's foot. My stars and garters! What on EARTH made Ed think that was a good idea!?!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I hope I'll be able to audition for a show sometime before I get too ancient to dance anymore. So much about musical theatre just makes my heart sing. But softball season starts soon, plus I'm going to be nursing butt-bone-bruises from biking next to Jean as she trains for Grandma's on June 21.
We had spaghetti (well, technically rotini -- the kids have an easier time picking rotini up and eating it) for dinner tonight. But here's what I did:
Cooked up 1 lb. italian sausage, along with about a cup of chopped onions and some chopped green pepper.
Drained the meat on paper towels.
Put the meat back in the pot, along with a jar of ready-to-go pasta sauce (I always pick a kind without sugar), a can of diced tomatoes, and a few gobs of dried basil, oregano, bay leaf, garlic, and I even used some rosemary this time.
See, adding in the extra tomatoes makes a bigger batch so I can freeze some of the sauce for later. And it makes it extra vegetably and it feels less processed. I think my mom always makes sauce from scratch and I even think it's really easy, but I tend to have to fret over it more if I go all the way to scratch. When I do it with the jarred sauce, I feel like I'm less likely to goof it up somehow.
I should have had a salad on the side or some garlic bread, but we just chanked on some leftover cut-up fruit, mostly because I forgot to buy lettuce. I really hate lettuce, even though the kids kind of dig on it. We're still trying to eat our way out of the ginormous bags of carrots-celery-broccoli-cauliflower from Ed's birthday last weeked, so that's going to have to step in for salad this week. Joel and I did each get a skimpy glass of Three-Buck Shiraz, so that made it a perfect meal.
Joel's watching August Rush and I decided I couldn't stomach Robin Williams on a Sunday night. Actually, this coming week ought to be cake for me -- it's spring break for Mahtomedi schools so I have no afterschool theatre class and no show choir. What on earth will I do with my time?
I did get a new hair cut last week, but I can't get a photo of myself to save my life. It's real short.
I guess I'm going to bed now. Happy Holy Week!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
And Jean says to herself (or to me, if I'm around): This is never not the best food ever.
And Joel, Lucy and Ed don't say anything because they are too busy gorging themselves.
It's so easy. And surprisingly tasty. Try it for yourself and see!
YUMMY YELLOW GOODNESS
- Take 1 cup uncooked rice (I use brown, but any rice will be lovely) and cook it however you would normally cook rice, omitting all salt and fat but adding 1/4 tsp turmeric. It is worth it to buy turmeric just for this recipe; I do.
While the rice is cooking:
Brown 1 lb. italian sausage (you could use turkey sausage); remove from pan and dump on top of a couple paper towels, to absorb excess fat.
Add 4 cups frozen corn and 2 cloves minced garlic to the pan (which should still be "dirty" from cooking the sausage) -- cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
a couple dashes of salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I have used "fresh grated" as well as the canned stuff and honestly, it's amazing either way)
Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, another minute or two until thoroughly heated. Garnish with minced fresh cilantro if desired (I almost always skip that).
And here's my menu for the coming week:
- Ham roast (I'm not sure what, exactly, this is -- Joel's sister Julie gave us a "fresh ham roast" wrapped in butcher paper and I'm just going to cook it and eat it with some mac & cheese and jubbs on the side.)
- Italian Rice Stir Fry (another Jean-proof recipe that's usually a hit with the whole fam)
- Nicole Watson's Pot Roast (I haven't ever made this yet but I have heard great things!)
- White Bean & Chicken Chili (because winter ain't over yet!)
Sunday, March 09, 2008
So now, I give you: Friday, March 7, 2008 -- a photojourney.
My recently-abandoned breakfast table. Joel made pancakes for the kids so I could sleep in a bit -- I was at the show last night until 1:30 AM.
Cocktail hour on the couch
Auntie Jean goofing with the birthday boy
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
- Leftover pork (it's like a week old. Grody.)
- Leftover chili (also ancient).
- Leftover bbq chicken (not old!)
- Leftover homemade pizza (from this afternoon only! It was lunch! The catch being, there's like, one slice left.)
There are about three different kinds of soups in the freezer too -- I suppose JG could reheat one of 'em. Ugh, what a sorry state of affairs.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Also because it might be a source of some comedy. We'll see.
A little pre-PS: I thought I had posted this and then I went and read the Madwoman's blog and thought, Oh good -- other people are jumping on the bandwagon! And then I went and found that I hadn't actually posted THIS yet, so... it turns out that I'm the bandwagon-jumper.
Last night I knew I was going to be gone from 3-10 PM, so I threw the following into my crockpot at about 10:00 AM:
- 1 sliced onion
- 3ish chicken "leg parts" (bought because they were on some crazy, 49-cents-per-pound deal -- I had to pull the skin off myself, but I like legs for their dark meat, and the bones give them extra flavor. The "leg parts" were drumsticks-attached-to-thighs, or what I would normally call "two pieces of chicken" apiece)
- 1 package onion soup mix (I cheated and had homemade some of this previously, for use in a meatball recipe. I blogged about it.)
- The leftover remains of all the barbecuey-flavored sauce that was taking up space in my fridge: it equaled about 1/2 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's; about 1/2 cup of Famous Dave's Apricot Glaze; and a few tablespoons of Hoisin sauce.
I turned the crockpot on Low and let it sit about eight hours. I haven't actually eaten it yet, but Joel said it was decent.
On the side, Joel cut up some potatoes, mixed them with Parmesan, butter, and salt, and baked them in the oven. He also steamed up some frozen corn.
Sooo... the meal was a little starch-heavy but what are you going to do.
Tonight... more starches! Drat! We're doing breakfast-for-dinner as sort of a Hump Day treat. Also I can't really afford more groceries until a week from Friday and oops, I'm supposed to be throwing Ed a birthday party on Saturday.
Lu: "Momma, I'm going to be Eddie's mommy."
Me: "Hey wait! *I'm* Eddie's mommy!"
Lu: "No, I'm going to be his mommy when you die."
Lu: "Who's going to be MY mommy when you die? Who's going to take care of me!?!?"
I don't think my response is necessarily worth noting, but just in case you were curious: I told Lucy that most likely I wouldn't die for a long, long time. But in case I did, Daddy could still take care of her and I would still *be* her momma even if I died. YIKES!!!
And yesterday, Lucy was running around, naked, at the Watson's house. Nicole and I had kinda thought about it and realized there was no reason the kids couldn't run around naked together, since they REALLY wanted to, and hers were already half-stripped.
Lu and one of the boys (sorry Nicole -- which was it?) disappeared around the corner and we overhead:
Watson Boy: Lucy, where's your peenie?
Lu: No, I don't have a peenie, I'm a girl.
Watson Boy: Ohhh. You have a China?
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
Lucy: Momma, I have to tell you something. MOMMA!
(I finally turn from my handwashing to look at her.)
Lu: He is BOTHERING me.
Lu: HE! (She holds up a carrot)
Me: That carrot is bothering you?
Lu: No! That carrot is bothering HER!
Lu: HER!! (She holds up a different carrot)
Me: That carrot is bothering that other carrot?
Most conversations in our house (that don't involve Lucy, but also some that do) these days are held in Eddie-speak. Example:
Me: A daddy! A home!
(Look, kids, Daddy is home)
Joel: A daddy! A home!
(Hey everybody, I'm Daddy and I'm home)
Me: A daddy -- a dinner? A eat?
(Are you hungry for dinner now, Joel?)
Joel: A no, no eat!
(No thanks, I had lunch late; we can wait a while.)
Me: A clock! A wall! A up?
(Well, in that case, could you hang that new clock up on the wall now maybe please?)
Joel: A screwdriver! A gone?
(Dang it, where did I put my screwdriver?)
Just to make you all jealous... Lucy and I just made THESE little nuggets of heaven. Ohhhhhhmmm. A good!
THE TANK IS CLEAN!
So, I'm thinking the meals is from whence my funk has been coming. I've been eating garbage: Takeout... sweets... cereal-for-dinner at 11 PM. And sugar cereal at that. No jubbaloes. SODA. And I've been feeling ROTTEN.
And I was doing so well! For months! And then, with all my activities, I got less-than-diligent about packing myself a dinner for my double-rehearsal nights. I bought the stupid sugar cereals that only cause a Serious Riot in the house when I try to eat them because the kids want to eat them too, only I really don't want them to eat them, and did I mention I'm not a morning person? And I'm not kidding I was eating some Caramel Crunch cereal on Saturday and I almost gagged, it was disgustingly sweet. And I have a giant sweet tooth.
So I'm going to start working a little more on planning what I eat. I think it's better for me, and I think it's going to make me feel better. Or that's the theory for the day.
This kind of made my day. How do I post an actual video? Gaaaah!
Sunday, March 02, 2008
So I squeezed some toilet-cleaner into the toiley and scrubbed like mad, checked the clock, and strode confidently into the kitchen, determined to handwash the five or twelve must-be-handwashed items that are ALWAYS sitting in the sink, now that we don't have to handwash everything anymore. I go to plug the drain, and... wiggle. Huh? Umm... Joel? Can you come here for a second? Is the drain supposed to have come entirely unglued from the sink and be bopping around in there? Foiled again.
I swear, I am feeling like we just can't catch a break. Sure, it's 40 degrees out and as I retrieved the paper from the sidewalk this morning because the Pioneer Press's "front step guarantee!" is a load of hogwash, I thought, YES! maybe we can actually take the kids on a walk this afternoon! -- but it's actually raining. And the snow has melted just enough for Lake Gronau (the giant 3" deep puddle spanning the sidewalk which happens to be the only way to get to our garage from the house) to form, as it does every spring. And of course when the temp dips below freezing, Lake Gronau becomes Ice Sheet Gronau, and then I get to choose between walking through the snow and getting wet feet, and taking my chances on the ice sheet -- extra-sketchy, since I'm typically carrying at least one child and twelve bags every time I go out.
And I have a large mirror living on my stairs because I can't hang it on the wall because we tried to stop by Home Depot to get a couple hanging-brackets and both kids completely freaked out and were screaming in the store and this was after Eddie had stuck his hand in a totally disgusting puddle of some mysterious milky substance on the shopping cart.
And Joel's cell phone has gone missing again. Like, seriously? Did I tell you about this? First I lost my phone (and purse). Got it all back within an hour or so... but in the process, I lost Joel's phone. Got that back about three weeks later... but then he couldn't find his charger for another month or so. He just found the charger last week.
And promptly lost the cell phone again today.
And, like, we had to go buy new cordless phones... and even our kitchen clock chose this week to give up the ghost. And my computer keeps shutting down at random, with no warning.
And did I mention I'm in a FUNK!?!?