Category Archives: epicurean delights

Carnival cherry poppage and Chinese food

So…. my series on whether executive experience makes a good president landed me on the History Carnival, which is hosted today at the American Presidents Blog.  Check it out and thanks for the linkage!

Other than that, not too much new.  The in-laws are back from the Czech Republic, we’re getting carpet installed tomorrow in our family room and spare bedroom, I have four or five of the itchiest insect bites on my ankle (hydrocortisone cream is awesome), and I’m eagerly awaiting the debate tonight.

Oh, I can babble a little bit about one thing, which is sort of lame but it has Frank nervous.  I’ve decreed that every time we order Chinese food, we have to order something new.  We perpetually get a quart of something-and-broccoli, and then either beef or chicken lo mein.  Sometimes we go a little crazy and get General Tso’s.  We get quarts because they offer a good value and we can get lunch the next day out of it.  Experimentation of this sort probably would have been wise in college, but it just didn’t happen much.  I guess we were happy to be getting our $4.50 student meal and given the states of our bank accounts, we felt little need to branch out from trusted favorites.  Well, now, we’re trying stuff out.  Chinese food last week (we tend to get it about once a week) included Hunan Chicken, which was AWESOME.  Today it was beef chow mein, which was cool because of the crispy noodles and abundant soupy-sauciness but I wasn’t a huge fan of the veggies.  Frank’s playing hockey tonight so he hasn’t partaken yet but I’m guessing he won’t be raving about it either.    I also ordered orange chicken, which is always yummy.

We live amazing, crazy lives around these parts.

Bad taste has its rewards

I went to Trader Joe’s for the first time in a few weeks this week.  I am always completely enthralled by their candy/snack section, because it’s all so cool and good and somewhat unusual.  I often buy at least one thing, usually intending that I will hide it and be the only one that eats it, but then a child or husband finds it and I rarely claim anything to be MINE in the pantry or refrigerator, so I share, and I am generally happy to do so, and the snack is gone in a day or so.  A household favorite that they sell are chocolate-and-candy-coated sunflower seeds.  Yum.

But this trip, a container of black licorice caught my eye.  A four dollar pound of licorice, all the way from Australia.  I figured, if they’re bringing it all the way from Australia, it has to be good, right?  Luckily my logic was not flawed in the least.  This licorice is decadent.  Soft and creamy and chewy and perfectly flavored.  (For anyone wondering, it is “Australia’s Darrell Lea Traditional Licorice”.)

And the lovely bonus is that nobody else in the house likes black licorice.  Frank abhors it.  Lane has sportingly tried it a couple times, but both times hasn’t gotten past an initial nibble before relinquishing her piece back to me.  So now, four days post-Trader Joe’s trip, I still have at least a third of a pound of licorice.

I’ll stop telling you how to do your job when you figure out how to do it correctly

Now, I know.  You’re like 17, and working the cash register at ShopRite is, like totally not your life’s ambition.  You’re waiting for bigger and better things to come your way, like working the cash register at Auto Zone.  I get it.  But, dude, right now, you’re a cashier at ShopRite.  So let’s get a few things straight right now.

1)  First, I apologize for not having my shopper’s club card with me.  Your system allows me to recite my phone number in substitution for the actual presence of the card.  I know swiping the card over the scanner is like way totally easier than typing in a ten-digit phone number.  I’m sorry for that.  But I really do not appreciate having to tell you my phone number FOUR TIMES because you lack the manual dexterity or attention span to type it in correctly the first three times.  And your idiocy is only funny to you.

2)  I guess, thanks, for not proofing me when I bought my six-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  Your register requires you enter my birth date to appease the UPC gods or something, so I told you my birth date by saying the month, day and year.  (Like “February 17, 1974” — though that is not REALLY my birth date, internet stalker people.)  Do you really lack the mental fortitude to convert from “February” to “02”?  Did you REALLY need to ask me what number month February is?  Because, let me tell you dude, the problems don’t get any easier as you get older.

3)  Maybe you haven’t taken biology yet.  Or maybe you spent all of it scratching your name into the lab tables.  But seriously, don’t bag my strawberries and bananas with my raw chicken.  And seriously, SERIOUSLY, don’t make me explain why doing so is A Really Bad Idea.  I guess ShopRite doesn’t do much training for you on cell biology and epidemiology and infectious diseases, but the short answer to your stunned “why?” should have been “because I don’t want to shit my ass off” instead of the kinder, gentler, “Because it’s not a good idea to bag raw meat with produce.  In fact, don’t ever bag raw meat with anything other than raw meat, ever.”  You’re lucky my kids were there.

Now please, go grow a brain.

Plum dumplings?

We had dinner at our in-laws’ tonight, because MIL was planning a plum dumpling dinner and talked about it like it was the Best Thing Ever.  I’m not sure if it’s a Czech thing specifically, or maybe a more general eastern European thing.

Has anyone ever had this?

Let me describe:

It seems you take full plums (pits included, though I suppose they aren’t requisite if you were so inclined to remove them), wrap them in some sort of pastry dough, then I’m guessing they were steamed.  You put these on your plate, top them with some sort of shredded semi-soft cheese (I didn’t ask what it was for fear it was made from something ungodly), melted butter, and either granulated or powdered sugar (your choice).

And this is dinner.

They made a modified version for my husband which had jam inside instead of whole plums, because Frank is generally loathe to eat cooked fruit.  He makes an exuberant exception for my apple pie, wise man he is.

Anyway, these people were gaga over it.  Me and the kids, not so much.  I thought it tasted decent enough, but I was sick of eating it before I’d eaten more than a snack’s worth.  We came back to our house and topped it off with dino-chicken nuggets and french fries.

Chicken, corn and rice

Lane’s fourth birthday was today.  I told her she could have whatever she wanted for dinner and she asked for chicken, corn, and rice.  The chicken and rice parts were supplied by our favorite Chinese restaurant, and the corn was supplied by Green Giant.  If she’d told me her dinner wishes before 7:00 p.m. and a day of swimming and spending Grandpa’s money in Toys R Us then maybe we could have managed homemade.

Birthdays always make me introspective, and my kids’ birthdays are no different.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the last four years with Lane, and how they have completely upended my life.  Don’t read that as a complaint – it’s not!  She’s completely awesome.  Oh sure, she has times – and they are frequent – where I feel like my head could explode because she can be so…. sensitive, contrary, irritable, overbearing…. sometimes all at once.  But as much as she can make you wish you could run away from home sometimes, she is just as equally intense in her joie de vivre, her enthusiasm, her simple happiness.  She is overwhelming, she is exhausting, and she is incredible.  She is perfect.  I love her like crazy.

I’ve solved the waffle iron dilemma

You may have recalled, our waffle iron died.

The intention was that we were going to replace it with the same make/model, but lusted after a souped-up Kitchenaid model that makes two waffles at once and is shiny brushed nickel. Honestly, Frank was much more into the idea of the Kitchenaid than I was. The man does like getting top-of-the-line stuff when it’s practical.

After some internet perusal, I found a great deal on the Kitchenaid waffle iron. And Frank’s birthday is next week. Guess what he’s getting! 🙂

Re: the waffle iron

Yes, we will naturally get a new waffle iron.

We are going to give the model that died on us another chance.  We’ll get it through Costco again. (and would have already but our store didn’t have them in stock.  Frank’s going to check the Costco by his work, and if that comes up empty we’ll buy from the website.)  And, if it dies again, at least we know we won’t have trouble returning it.

And should it die again, we’ve decided we just must be waffle iron abusers, and perhaps we need to upgrade to a sturdier, more hard-core machine.  If such measures are necessary, we’ll be trading up for this sucker.  I have a little trouble stomaching shelling out $200 for such a one-purpose appliance…. but then at the same time, we use our waffle iron more than we use many of our multi-purpose appliances, like our blender.  And this one makes two waffles at once.  Oh, the humanity!  It just doesn’t get any better than that.  At least when it comes to waffles.