One Happy Camper…Old Fashioned S’mores

I recently read an article on the “Top Nine Things You Should Never Say to Your Kid.” I won’t tell you my score. But let’s just say I’m working on my parenting after reading it. While I’m doing this, might I also suggest someone (preferably an expert) address the kids’ version? Why, I even have […]

 

I recently read an article on the “Top Nine Things You Should Never Say to Your Kid.” I won’t tell you my score. But let’s just say I’m working on my parenting after reading it.

While I’m doing this, might I also suggest someone (preferably an expert) address the kids’ version? Why, I even have a title in case you need one:

“Top Ten Things Your Kid Shouldn’t Say When You Drop Her Off at Super Fun Summer Day Camp”

Let’s hope your kid scores much, much, much, higher than mine.

1. If you leave me here I’ll throw up. (9 am)
2. You must hate me if you’re dropping me here at this gymnastics place. (9:10 am)
3. I’ll never eat again if you leave me here. (9:13 am)
4. Can’t you just call the lady and have the meeting in the lobby of the gym? (9:21 am) – meeting is at 10.
5. I’ll never be annoying to my sister again if you just take me with you. (9:24 am)
6. All I’m going to do is cry so you’re wasting your money. (9:30 am)
7. If you bring me to your meeting I promise I’ll sit quietly in the chair and not ask questions. (9:40 am)
8. Camp is not fun. Camp is the worst place in the entire world. (9:45 am)
9. I’ll give you all the money in my piggy bank if I don’t have to go to camp today or ever. (9:49 am)
10. I can’t believe you are doing this to me. (9:56 am)

And you wonder why I drink? You wonder why I write this blog? These are the reasons. It looks like my ‘camper’ of a child will soon become my summer intern. Maybe I’ll have her file things. Address envelopes. Run errands (to various rooms in house). I could probably even pay her with the money I’d save.

I’m sorry. Did I miss the memo? Isn’t camp supposed to be the greatest place in the entire world? A place where kids can be kids, where there’s no homework, where you can wear what you want and where super cool counselors make lanyards and give you popsicles at 9 am?

I’m so emotionally drained from today that I can’t even think of what to make for dinner. So maybe I’ll just make these:

Because tomorrow’s only day two.

Summer is for Berries…Creamy Berry Smoothie

I love Farmer’s Markets. Good ones. Big ones. Ones that don’t have booths selling auto insurance. Ones where people walk around with straws coming out of coconuts eating mangoes on sticks. Ones where random bands play random songs, and people say hello and walk their dogs. Ones where you buy herbs you’ll never actually plant […]

I love Farmer’s Markets. Good ones. Big ones. Ones that don’t have booths selling auto insurance. Ones where people walk around with straws coming out of coconuts eating mangoes on sticks.

Ones where random bands play random songs, and people say hello and walk their dogs. Ones where you buy herbs you’ll never actually plant but that look so good in the booth and you think for a brief moment you can totally be organic and start composting and buy a hybrid and be like the laid back lady in the booth with the cool hippie skirt selling the fresh herbs.

But that never happens and you’re back in the Chick-Fil-A drive thru in no time in your oversized gas guzzling SUV.

Ones with summer berries in buckets.

As I reflect on this bounty of berries and come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never compost, I’m currently watching a meltdown ensue as a result of my daughter spilling nail polish all over my office after I repeatedly asked her to not use my office as a spa. The berry colored stain that is now sitting on a second rug in my house (someone really has something against me and my rugs lately) reminds me of better times scouting for luscious berries in Venice Beach, California.

I take myself to this place mentally when situations like ‘NailPolishGate’ occur in my house. If only I had a bottle of Prosecco and a splash of fresh orange juice I’d make mimosas and casually toss one of those plump berries at the bottom of a champagne flute. Plop!

Because it’s the official kick-off to summer this weekend, I celebrate berries. I am berry glad that school is almost over and we won’t have to fight about homework or being late or carpool snacks or bath time. Summer in our house means you are free not to bathe for eight weeks in a row and I won’t care. You can let your hair go bohemian and form dreadlocks and neither make your bed nor fold your laundry and it just doesn’t matter. Well, maybe a little. You can completely ignore your reading list for seven weeks thinking I won’t notice (I will) and still get away with it. But that’s cool because I won’t yell at you until week eight.

I will bribe you with movies and yogurt smoothies so I can work when we are all home together and I am begging for fall and asking myself “how in the hell do people home school?” In fact, I’ll bribe you with one now so you’ll clean up the five hundred towels you used for the spa set-up in the office which now proudly displays a berry colored nail polish stain that will forever remind me of why it’s important to have designated playrooms with cute plastic mats on the floor like in the Pottery Barn catalog.

Summer is for berries. Offices are for computers.


The perfect summer bribe.

If you’re feeling overly ambitious, make two batches (one with just bananas) and layer it in the cups.

 

LYLAS BFF*…Grandma’s Banana Bread

 

When we were little the number of friends we had correlated directly to our happiness. Being popular meant it was imperative to have *everybody* like you. Birthday parties were jam-packed. People would vie to sit next to you at lunch or play with you at recess. You had sixteen ‘BFFs’ on a rotating schedule. And if one pissed you off, made you mad (sorry, this is a family blog says Talia) you were mad for a day but then had another ‘BFF’ waiting in the wings. We used trinkets and bracelets and rings and tokens to mark our territories. We had friends from all walks of life to help us create our empire. Friends from school and friends from camp. Friends from ballet and friends from the neighborhood. Friends of friends and then a few more. As long as we had lots, we were happy.

Whenever I would get in a fight with a friend when I was younger, or cried because my ‘BFF du jour’ told me she wasn’t my friend anymore, my grandma would console me by reminding me that the number of friends we have really doesn’t matter at all. It wasn’t about quantity; it was about quality. I didn’t understand this. It made no sense. After all, she didn’t have a Facebook account.

But then I grew up. And now I get it.

In addition to watching my daughters go through some of the same friendship struggles I endured at a young age, I’ve recently also had the opportunity to evaluate some of my own friendships as an adult. Question relationships of friends with whom I have a history, and reflect on the lasting power of others. I’ve also grown close with new friends with whom I have no history but whom I’ve come to cherish and find we have more in common than the surface shows.

But one thing’s for sure, our time becomes more precious as we age. And making plans with friends we love becomes even more challenging from a logistical standpoint. It takes more effort than ever. Life just gets in the way. But it also means that every now and then, well, we have to trim the fat. Work to improve the quality of the friendships worth keeping and not waste energy on the quantity. So while it’s sad to think of saying goodbye to some, I guess it’s just a part of growing up, no matter how old we are. Gosh, I didn’t mean to be so melancholy…guess it’s just one of those days! Those grandmas…guess they really do know everything.

Here’s to good friends. Whether it’s ten, three or just one.

Grandma’s Banana Bread

*Caution! This one requires measurements!!

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Grease two loaf pans and preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix oil and sugar.
  3. Add eggs and bananas and beat until large lumps disappear (if only we could do this with our cellulite).
  4. Add milk and vanilla.
  5. Sift rest of ingredients and dump into mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar on top (or add some mini chocolate chips for kicks!).
  7. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until fork comes out clean.
  8. Keep one and give one to your BFF.
*in case you didn’t go to camp in the 80s…
LoveYouLikeASister BestFriendsForever

A Mother’s Day Wish…Grapefruit ‘MOM’osa

Today’s post is dedicated to Angie Reyer Kotarski, a mom worthy of every collective Mother’s Day wish in the world.

Our family met Angie ten years ago when we lived in Durham, North Carolina for my husband’s medical fellowship. We moved into the same apartment complex -right next door to each other- for a one year stint. I knew nobody and had a six-month-old baby so I was thrilled to learn that Angie also had a six-month-old. I was more than thrilled; I was elated! A neighbor with the same age baby! What could be better? Not only would we become friends and hang out and gossip and drink wine, but our kids would become friends and life would be grand.

Except that Angie had bigger issues to deal with other than drinking wine and gossiping and making playdates. Her son Myles had just been diagnosed with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), a genetic disease which knocks out your immune system to the point where it basically doesn’t exist. Myles and Angie had moved to North Carolina to be under the care of a doctor at Duke University. The day we moved in and I was stressing about where to place my couch, Myles was getting a bone marrow transplant and would have to recover in complete isolation for the next year. This meant no playground. No trips to the grocery store. No daycare. No Gymboree. No library. No nothing. No social outlets for him and no social outlets for his mom. Myles would never get to meet my daughter in person. He was the boy in the bubble.

During my year in North Carolina, I learned a lot about being a mother from Angie. I learned the true definition of unconditional love. Angie quit her job and left her family in Cincinnati to completely immerse herself in the care of her child. She spent her days finding ways to keep Myles occupied and happy, play games, and create a sense of normalcy for her son, despite the constant back and forth to the hospital, unexpected medical emergencies and operations her son had to endure. Myles was a fighter. And Angie was his Chief of Staff. But despite these restrictions, Angie always had a smile on her face. And Myles and Talia became friends anyway, they just did so with a window separating them. Some of my favorite memories of living in North Carolina are of Talia and Myles dancing and making funny faces to each other between the window. There’s nothing fun about cancer. But if Angie Reyher Kotarski was your mom and you had cancer, you can bet she’d make it fun.

Cut to nine years later and Myles is still a fighter. He has already undergone two painful bone marrow transplants and hundreds of medical procedures. Angie and her family have moved several times since our year together. Angie got married to a wonderful man and has since given birth to two more (healthy) children. She homeschools and has created an amazing life for all of them, despite all she continues to endure. While in remission for a while, unfortunately Myles was recently diagnosed with recurring B-Cell Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood. It’s going to be another long, rocky road ahead for Angie and her family.

But when you have a mom like Angie, somehow having cancer turns into an adventure. Not only did she create a crazy “shave your head” party for Myles in her backyard last weekend, but she herself shaved her own head in support. And so have dozens of Myles’ friends and family, all tweeting their pictures in support to show him that he’s not alone.

Here is a picture of Angie and her family:

How cool is this family?

 

I have no words for the strength this woman has shown throughout so much adversity.  This post is not to remind us that we should be thankful for all that we have (that would be stating the obvious), but it is a request to help Angie and her family by donating to Myles’ medical expenses. Even if it’s small, consider making a donation. It will help more than you know. You can read more about Myles here:

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/myles
If you want to make a donation please email me at adina@mykitchenchaos.com and I will send you their address. The donation portion of Caring Bridge doesn’t go directly to them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderful moms out there who work harder than you get credit for every day. Every mom deserves something special today. But Angie Reyer Kotarski, a mom who never asks for anything in return for all she gives to her family, and especially to her phenomenal son Myles whom we hope gets better very, very soon, deserves the most of all.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, Angie. Here’s to Myles’ good health. This toast is for you!

Grapefruit ‘MOM’osa

Ingredients:

  • freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • splash sparkling wine or champagne
  • garnish with orange, lemon or grapefruit wedge

 

*Read last year’s Mother’s Day Post Here!

Retail Therapy…Spinach and Cheese Nachos

I’ve definitely found my match in the form of a nine-year-old. She’s all sassy and competitive and persistent and up early and determined and relentless and god I want to kill her most of the time. And well, I guess I’m kind of the same. Minus the sassy and god people want to kill me most of the time. Hey, it’s my blog. I can characterize myself any way I want.

But man, parenting is one tough show. I remember thinking how unbelievably hard it was at that newborn stage. Kid wouldn’t stop crying. Make that screaming. Screaming like someone was out to get her. Every. Single. Waking. Minute. Of. The. Day. Not to mention the nights. They told me six months would be the turning point. That the screaming would stop. Except they were wrong. It didn’t. Sleeping through the night didn’t occur until age three. And then age three introduced new and more exciting challenges. Challenges like biting. And talking back (or fresh, if you’re stuck in the 80s). And not going to bed. And waking up at 5 am. Even on Saturday. And those are challenges I still embrace.

But now *poof* I’m in the tween stage???!!! WTF??? And because I’m relentless and persistent and competitive I don’t exactly play fair when it comes to discipline. Like I call her out on *everything* because I can’t stand to see her get away with stuff I get away with.

When she fights with her sister it SUCKS. REALLY sucks. Because she can be mean and ruthless and selfish and inconsiderate and man that’s hard to watch. Because, okay, fine, so can I. There, I said it.

So we’ve kind of been getting on each other’s nerves lately. You know, those mother/daughter relationships can get tense, right?  So I’m on her case about pretty much everything and then she calls me out about being on her case which pisses me off even more so I get on her case even more and say things that I’d never thought I’d say like “You’re lucky you have a bed to sleep in!” and “Kids in Africa wish they had what was on your plate!” and “xxx’s daughter not only makes her bed in the morning but she’s nice to her sister and she brings in the groceries…without being asked!!” That always gets her juices going…like how in the world I know that ‘xxx’s daughter’ does all those things. I don’t.

But everyone has to grow up, right? Even mommies sometimes. And so today I decided that we’d have a little shopping and lunch trip, just the two of us. Just because. No sisters; no distractions. She specifically requested that our trip be a “phone free trip” to which I obliged. Yeah, I guess I do spend a little too much time looking at that thing. Nothing a little retail therapy can’t fix, right? I tried not to be judgmental when she picked out inappropriate outfits that showed wayyy too much skin. Or the heels (when did they start making stilettos for nine-year-olds? Thanks a LOT, Miley) and instead carefully suggested some other items. She actually liked many some of my suggestions. Even tried them on! We cracked up in the dressing room when she looked ridiculous. Like two old pals. Pals that I hope one day we’ll become when I’ve earned the right to be her friend.

I know it sounds so trivial but it was probably the best day I’ve had in months. Seriously. She opened up and told me things she hasn’t told me in a while. We discussed school and friends, boys and sports, summer plans, camp, fears and then more boys.

But the best part was in our driveway, taking out the bags when she said to me: “Mom, I’m really going to try harder to be sweeter to my sister and to do more stuff on my own. Will you try not to be so tough on me?” And I said: “Yes, I really will.”

Then she gave me a hug. Something she doesn’t always do.

“Thanks for a great day mom. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Man, that’s a good day.

###

Best Food For Bonding (adapted from the famous Tavern Chips at The Tavern in Phipps Plaza in Atlanta)

Nachos with Spinach and Cheese (okay, get ready this is so easy)

Boston Market Creamed Spinach. Unreal atop nachos. Don’t tell anyone.

Ingredients

  • one plate of tortilla chips
  • one cup of Boston Market ( I love that place; it makes my life so easy because it has a drive-thru) creamed spinach
  • sprinkle of shredded Mozarella cheese

Directions

  1. Layer all on a microwave safe dish and nuke for 30 seconds.
  2. Share with your daughter while discussing the latest Selena Gomez/Bieber or Zendaya (yah, I actually know this one) gossip. Make sure to make Shirley Temples with extra cherries!

Which Came First, the Bunny, the Matzah or the Guilt?…Roasted Asparagus

Been struggling with blog materials lately (can you tell? last post was more than two weeks ago) when it dawned on me that Passover coincides with Easter this year, almost to the day. And while I’m still scouring the shelves to find flour-free products, dodging the bountiful aisles of Peeps and chocolate bunnies because I’m so darn guilt-ridden, I started thinking about religion. Religion as in “what would happen if I bagged buying the cardboard boxes full of farfel and horribly tasting cake batters and weird looking fish heads and shank bones” and just loaded up on Easter chocolates and well glazed hams with those little dots (what are those anyway?) and jelly beans? What would happen if I (gasp!) defied tradition and went with the Last Supper instead of the Seder? Wasn’t it basically the same meal?

 

Doesn’t matter how religious we are; our kids will all be in therapy one day anyway because of all our damn guilt.

 

*Disclaimer* I am a highly ecumenical person. Please do not be offended by the following. This will only instill more guilt in me than I already have.

Without getting too philosophical on this supposed light hearted blog, one may argue that organized religion is the cause of all of the world’s problems. I’ll leave it at that. But if we really break it down, isn’t it the same guilt just packaged with different food?

Let’s examine.

Passover: Jews are supposed to recount and remember that we were slaves in Egypt. Toiling over bricks and mortar. Building pyramids for Pharoah. Making innocent people get stricken with lice and hail and cattle plague and death of the first born. Wandering in the desert with bad shoes and no bread (*see previous year’s post to my thoughts on the whole Matzah thing) until arriving at Mt. Sinai only to worship a golden calf, get their laws split in two when Moses discovers the Mardi Gras type orgy and finally arriving in Israel without Moses because he dies before stepping foot into the Holy Land. Man, talk about a buzz kill.

Takeaway: We were strangers in a strange land. We were persecuted. We fled. We finally made it to Israel where we continue to fight for land with other religious groups to this very day.

And we wonder why Jews have a higher incidence of anxiety and IBS. Sheesh.

Foods we eat: Unleavened bread. Brisket (always a staple, even if you’re a freaking vegan). No legumes (again, we allegedly didn’t have time to pull them out of the ground before high tailing it out of Egypt). Lots of parsley. Horribly dry desserts.

Foods we don’t eat: Anything that tastes good.

Or, we could go with:

Easter: Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus after his death nailed to the cross. We remember that Jesus died for our sins and was punished for the wrongs of the people.

Takeaway: Jesus took the world’s trouble on himself. We messed up once. Now we have another shot. Jesus’ resurrection gives us another chance to turn our lives around and become better people. But no matter how much we rejoice, we better remember that someone died because of *me* — you piece of…I’ll stop here.  Um, guilt-ridden? Ya think?

What we eat: Chocolate bunnies (huh?). Jelly beans (huh?). Hams (Christian equivalent of brisket).

What we don’t eat: Anything that tastes good 40 days prior to celebrating Easter (for Lent).

In summary. We all screwed up. We screwed up in 500BC. We screwed up in 2012. We’ll screw up in 2040. Let’s remember this and know that it’s just part of being human. Let’s do our best to learn about each other’s customs and rituals and songs and liturgy and not judge others. But it sure would be nice to put the rest of this guilt behind us so we can partake in each other’s festive meals without all of these self-imposed restrictions. Cuz I’m really not looking forward to being constipated for ten days.

If you look closely you just may find a piece of Matzah…and some brisket…and some Peeps.

 

But for now, let’s eat. Here’s something we can both agree on. Kosher for Passover and perfect for Easter dinner.

 

Isn’t it all about compromise?

 

And now the real recipe:

Roasted Asparagus (enough to serve the whole mishpacha – if you don’t know what this means, google it. If I’m buying the kosher for passover Jelly beans to serve for Easter you can google mishpacha).

Not sure how the Jews had time to harvest this but I won’t get into that now.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 bunches fresh asparagus
  • kosher salt (no points for the word kosher, that’s just what it’s called)
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. preheat oven to 400.
  2. trim ends off asparagus and drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
  3. roast for appx. 20 minutes.

 

Fifty Shades of Skirt Steak…Marinated Skirt Steak

So I’m sitting in carpool line minding my own business reading my mom porn, Fifty Shades of Grey when someone knocks on my window to ask me a question about the PTA. Talk about a buzz kill.

Excuse me? Yeah, that’s what I said. Mom Porn. Fifty Shades of Grey. Read it yet? You know you have. Well if not, get to it because I REALLY want to talk about it to someone right now. Not because I want to book group it and discuss the inner depths of the characters or overarching academic themes (um, there aren’t any) but because I’m trying to figure out why this has become the “IT” book for suburban moms as opposed to every other trashy novel out there? Is it because the author believes we’re all pathetic and in desperate need of erotica, but have to keep that erotica within the confines of an upper middle class life? Like I haven’t done any of that stuff before. Puhleease. I could give ole Fifty a real run for his money. Don’t insult me.

Or, wait! Is it because the author wants to show us how adroit a·droit/əˈdroit/

Adjective:
Clever or skillful in using the hands or mind.
Synonyms:
deft – dexterous – clever – skillful – skilful – dextrous

 

she is with her thesaurus because she’s assuming the average eduction level of her reader is much higher than that of the average trashy novel reader? My god that woman uses wayyyy too many SAT words to try to impress. Not to mention it’s really annoying to be reminded of how poorly you did on the verbal SATS when you’re trying to get to the sex parts.

There’s even a hint of Dr. Seuss in there too. After all, they do in on a boat, they do it in a float, they do it in a copter, they do it (help me here, what rhymes with copter?). You get the point. Call me naive, but does this s#$t really go on? As they say in the South, Da-yam!

So, fess up. Fifty Shades of Grey. Who’s read it? What’d you think? Do all women really crave submission after all? My my, look how far we’ve come.

Speaking of submission, I guess I should figure out what’s for dinner. Oh! Did I just say that? Silly me! If I were in Fifty Shades of Grey I’d be ordering up oysters and some sort of beef reduction/au jus drizzled with something on my yacht while slathering sunscreen on and simultaneously holding my bubbly. But I’m in my kitchen and just stepped on three Goldfish which I’m now trying to get the dog to lick up and there’s no room service to be found for miles. How the hell am I supposed to put down Fifty Shades of Grey and just go back to cooking up turkey burgers? Might as well just grab me a moo-moo and put my hair in those big velcro curler jobs. Right?

So what to cook for your family when you’re reading erotica…man this is a hard one. Ooh, page 35…let me count how many times she uses the word salacious in one paragraph. Three. Clearly I’m not getting anywhere, except now the dang carpool line’s moving and I actually have to stop reading and drive. I know you can’t text and drive but can you read erotica and drive? With kids in the car? I won’t answer that.

So goodbye for now Fifty. Time to drop off the little cuties in the back of my car and do some homework. But I’ll be back later.

Submissive Skirt Steak (it’s the closest thing you’re gonna get so work with me)

Nothing Screams Salacious Sex Like Skirt Steak

Ingredients:

  • 1 skirt steak (or flank steak)
  • appx 1/2 cup olive oil
  • appx 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • chopped scallions (as many as you want; remember you’re in charge here)
  • couple of TBSPs of brown sugar
  • one chopped garlic clove
  • juice of one lemon or one lime
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Cut slits in skirt steak and sexily place chopped garlic in the holes (you can conjure up your own thoughts here – I’m out).
  3. Drizzle (using words like drizzle is MUCH sexier than marinate) sauce over the skirt steak.
  4. Let marinate for a few hours while you go to the spa and get a pedicure and drink a few cocktails (HA!).
  5. Put on a skirt yourself.
  6. Cut slits in your skirt like Angelina Jolie.
  7. Grill your steak in a skirt and high heels.
  8. Feed the skirt steak to your significant other.
  9. See what happens later.

 

 

 

Sayonara Stove!…Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Scallions

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve posted I almost forgot I had a blog. I think the chaos got the best of me. That happens every now and then. I sort of go into a little funk and disappear, resorting to things that can be boiled or nuked for sustenance. But then I wake up and realize that 1) that’s not very healthy 2) my kids don’t like it and 3) I do have a food blog that at least three four people are relying on for their recipes. So it’s time to step it up! How horrible would I feel if those three four people were sitting there waiting for dinner and I didn’t deliver? Sorry about that. Just know that it may happen again. Long as we’re honest with each other, right?

So this week we’ll be saying goodbye to something that clearly needs to find another home:

buh-bye!

Our circa 1968 Jenn-Air cooktop. Call it vintage, call it retro. Call it whatever you want. Just don’t call it mine. The thing should have been scrapped years ago.  Man, how long does a person have to wait for a pot of boiled water? And who’s to say what’ll emerge from that downspout when it’s pulled out. I may have to leave the room for that part.

For now, I’ll give credit where credit is due. As you have provided us with heat for our stovetop dishes, tonight’s meal is for you. And what better to cook on a slow-as-hell cooktop for its final performance than scrambled eggs with scallions, peppers and cheese? Oh how we love them. Slap a few hash browns on one burner and cook these puppies up on the other and I say you’ve got one hellava meal! Just don’t try to put anything on the other two burners cuz it just won’t fit!

So, good luck to you Jenny but mostly, good riddance. I hope you meet some nice hubcaps to play with in the junkyard.

Scrambled Eggs with Scallions

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 eggs (serves 4)
  • splash of milk
  • chopped red pepper
  • chopped scallions
  • sliced white American cheese or shredded mozzarella
  • smidge of butter
  • S&P
Directions:
The key to good scrambled eggs is LOW and SLOW!
  1. Heat your pan with a little butter (read: not Paula Deen style) and keep it low.
  2. Beat your eggs with a little milk, S&P.
  3. Saute the scallions and red pepper for a few minutes before adding the eggs.
  4. Add the eggs and scramble, trying not to get impatient because your pan is on LOW!
  5. They’ll cook up nice and fluffy, just like they do at those hotel buffets!
  6. Enjoy with hash browns and whole wheat toast.

Glass Subway Tile

How I Waste Time

I’m sitting at my second office (Panera Bread) doing what I do best — procrastinating and watching other people. It’s an extremely productive way to waste time. Here come two 30-somethings dressed in jeans and cute tops. C’mon, give me something to chew on. No, I’m not interested in hearing about your cookie exchange. Next. The men at the table across from me are going over some sort of Excel spreadsheet. Bo-ring. I think one’s a regional. That’s a big thing down South. Regionals. I don’t know what they are or what they do, but there sure are a lot of them. And, like pilots, they always seem to have hair. Ever met a bald pilot? Me neither. And I’ve never met a bald regional either. Can someone interesting please walk in here so I don’t have to do real work?

Been waiting for the coffee to brew for about twenty minutes now. Man, what does it take to get good office help around here? Oh wait, it’s not really my office.

Guess I should do what I came in here to do and update my status. No, I’m not talking Facebook. Status as in assessing the progress of each of my work projects, report to clients accordingly, and then take notes to figure out what’s next. Filling out status reports can either be an uplifting or an incredibly humbling experience depending on what actually happened during the week. Today it’s humbling. Because in addition to everything else, I pitched a new project and now I’m in the ‘waiting’ mode. I’m not good at waiting. It takes the control away from me and puts it into the hands of someone I usually don’t know (or like). But it’s part of the process. Which is why it’s good to come to Panera so I can focus on someone else’s life to divert my energy. Except nobody’s life seems very interesting today.

Here come a few newbies. Old guy with a laptop from 1980. Nope. Screaming kid with mom who’s trying to ignore him. I give her credit but I’m not liking the atmosphere right now. Tennis ladies in the full getup. Okay, I definitely need to find a new office.

That’s the thing about freelancing. You’re a little bit like a nomad. I can pack it up at any given point and find a new place to put up my family pictures. I don’t even have to give thirty days notice. I think I need a little more culture and diversity. I need to move my office out of the suburbs and into the heart of the city.

But for now I’m still stalling and trying really hard to find something worth listening to. I’ll try again with the regionals at the spreadsheet table. Can’t one of you say something incriminating? Something juicy about a torrid love affair at work? Something other than pie charts? I wonder what they’d think if they knew I was writing about them?

Since none of this is working I guess I’ll figure out what to make for dinner. Not excited about stir fry and am feeling the need for something healthy. Oh, it’s Valentine’s Day soon, isn’t it? Maybe we should do something pink. Something pink and healthy. Salmon. Yes, salmon it is. And there goes the hour.

Valentine’s Day Salmon

Ingredients:

  • One large salmon
  • One Lemon
  • Mayo
  • Brown mustard
  • Capers
  • Fresh Dill
  • White Wine
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Butter (a few slices or chunks)
Directions:
  1. Place salmon skin side down in a baking pan (spritz with cooking spray).
  2. Squeeze lemon juice onto salmon.
  3. Mix appx. one tablespoon of the mustard and one tablespoon of mayo in a little bowl and mix up.
  4. Spread over the salmon.
  5. Place pats of butter on top of the mustard/mayo mix.
  6. Sprinkle a handful of capers over the salmon.
  7. Place fresh dill (or other herbs if you don’t have) on top. Pour a little white wine (about 1/4 cup) on top.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs on top of fish.
  9. Continue cooking for another 10 or 20 minutes until fish is no longer translucent in the middle and crumbs are lightly toasted. Serve with cous-cous, baked potatoes or wild rice.
  10. *Note* Capers are very salty so there’s no need for extra salt in this one!
  11. Serve with pink mashed potatoes (use beets for coloring!) and have yourself a very happy Valentine’s Day!
xox

Totally Tubular Super Bowl Snacks

Have you seen the Ferris Bueller Super Bowl commercial yet? It’s only on everyone’s Facebook page like they’re the first to discover it…but if you haven’t, go ahead and take a look here.

Well? Whaddya think? Pretty choice, huh? I heard Jerry Seinfeld is also doing a Super Bowl commercial with the Soup Nazi. And Madonna’s performing at halftime. Do we see a theme here? Either the 80s are experiencing a major revival vis-a-vis the NFL or the fine people in the advertising biz haven’t been able to come up with anything creative since.

Oh, while we’re on the subject, can we talk about Madonna for a minute? It is just me or does she seem really bitter these days? I mean just because Lady Gaga has a better voice and has totally stolen her thunder as the “IT POP DIVA” of the decade, doesn’t mean she should throw a tantrum, right? Yeah, so what if Born This Way sounds a lot like identical to Express Yourself (we actually did a little experiment at last week’s Karaoke night where one person sang Born This Way and I sang Express Yourself right on top of it…same beat…totally worked…man, that was cool!) but so what? Whatever happened to aging gracefully? Ending on a high note? Leaving while you’re still on top? Well good luck at the halftime show, Madge. I’m sure it’ll be memorable, if nothing else.

I love the 80s. It wasn’t the most stylish decade for me personally but it’s when I was younger and cooler. When Patrick Dempsey wasn’t Dr. McDreamy. When Demi Moore wasn’t doing whippets (maybe she thinks she’s back in the 80s?). When Heather Locklear looked…exactly like she does now. When Lindsay Lohan wasn’t high. Or stealing. When Winona Ryder was. When the Olsen twins were super cute. And not goth. When Michael J. Fox was skateboarding and drinking Tabs. When Saved By the Bell seemed SO MUCH MORE TOLERABLE than Ant Farm or Fish Hooks or Victorious or the worst yet, Jessie. When I had more tolerance. Whatever.

Like I said, I love the 80s. And clearly so does the Super Bowl. So, since I still have no idea who’s actually in the game and since to me, the Super Bowl is all about the food, here are a few super easy recipes that had their heyday in the 80s. But in my opinion, they’d still taste pretty rad now, too.

Velveeta Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

  • Hunk of Velveeta
  • Jar of Salsa

Directions:

Wait for it…

  1. Pour salsa on top of Velveeta in microwave safe bowl.
  2. Nuke (such an 80s term, right?) for like (also an 80s term) 1 minute.
  3. You may have to nuke several times after it sits out.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips (duh!).

Stuffed Mushrooms

*These weren’t coined in the 80s but I’m sure people ate them in the 80s so I’m putting them here anyway.

Ingredients:

  • Box of large mushrooms
  • few diced celery stalks
  • few diced carrots
  • ½ diced onion
  • bread crumbs (appx 1/2 cup)
  • pinch or two of Kosher salt
  • Parmesan cheese (appx ¼ cup)
  • olive oil
  • several pinches oregano
  • several pinches basil
  • paprika

Directions:

  1. Pull stems off mushrooms and save caps for later.
  2. Dice vegetables with mushroom stems.
  3. Sprinkle with olive oil and kosher salt.
  4. Broil for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove veggies from broiler and mix with bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and spices.
  6. Fill each mushroom and place on baking sheet (which should still have oil on it from veggies)
  7. Drizzle more olive oil over stuffed mushroom tops and sprinkle with paprika.
  8. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.