Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If You Get the Chance...

...go here. It was an amazing dinner. The lamb was amazing and I don't even like lamb.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Greetings, menu seekers!

This is another week with some half-baked (ha ha) excuse for inspiration. (Of course, REAL inspiration is arriving shortly in the form of The Best Babysitter Ever--woohoo!--so I might be varying from this while she enjoys a "real" kitchen again.)

Monday: out to dinner. Our anniversary is actually Tuesday, but we have the sitter tonight, so there it is. Hubby is surprising me with the place so that should be fun.

Tuesday: Leftover stir fry. Those chicken burgers never happened; I got distracted by Don't Eat Baby's stir fry. I had extra meat (don't ask; not paying attention at the butcher's at all) so despite having the largest head of bok choy I'd ever seen, the veggies are gone and all I have left is steak. So I'm adding broccoli and snow peas to finish it off.

Wednesday: Finally, those chicken burgers. Yum. Big salad, and probably more asparagus. Might try this recipe from the freebie healthy food magazine my stores give out. (Because yes, in a fit of delusion I actually purchased red lentils for some other recipe I will never get to in a jillion years.)

Thursday: Veggie day again. Probably leftover chicken burgers but with new and different sides. For my son's sake, I'll probably make baked tomatoes. I don't know how the rest of the world makes 'em, but here, I cut a tomato in half across the equator of the tomato, squeeze out most of the seeds, and fill with the amazing homemade bread crumbs from my sister-in-law's Italian mother-in-law. (I don't think there's an easier way to explain that.) Then I pop under the broiler in my toaster oven and watch like a hawk so they don't burn. Sometimes, when I feel inpired, I drizzle or spritz with olive oil. My son will easily eat an entire tomato this way.

Friday: Pizza at the pool. Lovin' summer.

Happy week, everyone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For Those with Real Flooding Problems

My IRL and blog friend Ruth figured out a way to donate to flood relief online.

Even the minor flooding in my basement this weekend caused me angst. And it's NOTHING compared to the great folks in Iowa.

I've been lucky enough to visit these communities, meet their kids, and see their fields that are currently new lakes.

And due to other disasters, the Red Cross is actually out of money to help.

If you have $5 or more to donate, please click through Ruth's site or here. Thank you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

MPM--Welcome Summer Edition

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fabulous Father's Day. We had family over for a barbecue, which, of course, my house celebrated in the usual fashion: by breaking something and causing a flood. I am starting to think my house has a personality disorder and gets huffy on holidays. Usually it's the sewer line. Yesterday it was one of the air conditioning units. There are towels all over the basement. Gotta love it. At least we had a techie brother in law and nephew already here for dinner and they could lend mechanical assistance, moral support, and help mop. And, of course, this is NOTHING compared to what all those Iowans are going through. (Though interestingly my house also flooded during Katrina, so maybe it's a sympathy thing?) Even my minor flood is a complete pain in the patoot and I can only imagine what they are going through there.

Oh, yeah, dinner.

Monday: BBQ leftovers for me (lots of good salads, including this one, which is even better today, and this one, an old favorite, though I used vinegar instead of lemon juice) and probably sandwiches for the kids as Dad is working late.

Tuesday: the "real" BBQ leftovers (hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken) for the boys as I'm out at a goodbye party for someone I used to work with.

Wednesday: I'm out to dinner again (woohoo!) so I'll bet you now the rest of the family has noodles.

Thursday: My favorite chicken burgers. (Can't wait to try Oprah's favorite turkey burgers, but that will have to wait for some other week when I don't have the ingredients for this.)

Friday: Out for pizza, of course. I can live with this.

Have a good week, everyone. May everything and everyone you love stay safe and dry. For more inspiring menus, try here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

WFMW--Wireless Mouse & Keyboard Warning & Tech Solution

Hey, WFMW folks! I've been out of the loop for some time because my computer was on the fritz. No one could figure out what to do. My virus protection found nothing, my spyware zappers were going aces, and yet I had all these strange things happening to my computer. If I hesitated in typing at all, the cursor would slide backwards in my word or sentence, sometimes jumping back to the start of the line, paragraph, or page. And my web browser and other windows couldn't "hold" a page, and with no prompting at all, or when I tried to click on something, would instead go back to the home page, or up a folder, until I was back at "my computer." When I called for tech support, they were ready to just reload my whole computer to start over.

Then I got lucky and mentioned it to an IT guy at work. "Hmm..." he said, "The sliding cursor sounds like a keyboard issue, but that's pretty strange."

Well. Thank you IT guy. I came home, unplugged my keyboard and wireless mouse, plugged in my old keyboard (which thankfully worked) and a new wired mouse (since my old mouse's death prompted me to buy the wireless ones to begin with). And suddenly, my problem that multiple techies couldn't solve, was completely gone. The entire thing works fine and dandy again.

Now that it's working, I have been able to do some research and have found that bluetooth devices can interfere with wireless keyboard and mouse systems, causing these exact problems. But in my long (over 2 months!) search for some assistance with this, not one tech person ever asked if I had a wireless mouse &/or keyboard.

I hope this never happens to you. But if you do have these issues, try a new keyboard and mouse first. I still miss my wireless for lots of reasons, but I missed my computer more. And cheap solutions work for me! What's working for other people? Check Shannon's blog to find out!

Monday, June 9, 2008

MPM--The Too Darn Hot Edition

Too hot to think straight. Cringing at my carbon footprint with the air conditioning. Saving instead on that pesky cooking.

Monday: leftover hoagies/other sandwiches, to be gobbled at the pool before running back in

Tuesday: hot dogs in buns from the microwave. Cannot believe we didn't eat them at the shore but thrilled they are in the fridge ready to go.

Wednesday: noodles (leftover) for boys, Trader Joe's Tarte d'Alcase for me; husband going to nephew's graduation and can fend for himself. (We're going to another nephew's band concert anyway.)

Thursday: papardelle (or other funky pasta I have) with spinach and portobellos for grownups; hummus on bread for kids, plus whatever else comes in the CSA share

Friday: I think out for pizza if we can stand the heat

Saturday: BBQ at friends'--woohoo!

All will be augmented by a variety of great stuff from the shore, both good-for-you (melons, tomatoes, asparagus, salad) and not-even-a-little (pirate's booty and other snacky things that somehow came home with us too).

Happy week everyone. Want inspiration? Try here!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Shopping for Solutions

A few of you asked, in comments or emails, to be updated on the composting.

Parts of it are going well. I like using my garbage disposal less, it's encouraging to see how many veggies we are eating, and the adorable little trash can composter I got from a catalog eliminates the smell.

However, we went to the shore for a week and I forgot to take out the composting before I left. We came home to fruit fly city. It is totally disgusting and we have the fruit traps and the vinegar traps out and hopefully working.

Add to that the minor tragedy of our freezer drawer--someone, either our friends who stayed at our place while we were gone, or one of us, getting freezer packs out before we left--didn't close our freezer drawer all the way. So my entire kitchen freezer defrosted. That was a whole trash bag of food out the door. I only kept the butter from the whole batch. On the bright side, it was an excellent opportunity to clean the freezer back to the orginal white, and I have been trying to clear out my other freezer for defrosting anyway. We emptied that one almost halfway since the upstairs one now has space.

So I really do feel stuck in the Composting of the Damned. Really, how hard should it be to let my produce rot? And yet I find new ways to mess it up.

Of course, what's really messing it up (besides my laziness at not wanting to actually walk outside with veggie scraps every night--the horror) is my reliance on adorable or chic products to encourage me to compost in the first place. (For example, if the scraps had been smelly, I wouldn't have forgotten to put them out. But if they were smelly, my husband would not be on board with this composting spree. And after the fruit flies, he's off board anyway.) But I do tend to like to shop for solutions. I was thinking about this at the shore. My husband had an incredibly unfortunate crib accident culminating in an emergency room visit less than 24 hours in to our trip. He's ok, fortunately, but did bleed all over the comforter in our rental house. All week, I kept thinking, I have to get to the drugstore to get some hydrogen peroxide. I'd hate to lose my security deposit over a bed-in-a-bag. But I'd totally understand if the owners didn't think blood stains went with the decor.

So along comes the last night of the rental. I still haven't gotten to the drugstore. Desperate to avoid losing my deposit, I try the oldest, lowest-tech solution of all: cold water on a towel. And you know what? Not a speck of blood remained. All week I was so sure I needed to purchase the answer I didn't try the easy one.

That realization became easy to extrapolate. And it goes with the composting too. While I don't regret my cutesy carbon filtered composting container in the slightest, what's causing my composting issues are all the accoutrements--none of which are technically necessary at all.

That, and a slight sunburn all over my face were the takeaways from my vacation this year. Oh, and the crab soup from Avalon Seafood. That was amazing. It reminded me of my childhood. That was a purchase on a night I didn't feel like cooking for ten. See? Sometimes shopping really does provide answers.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Four Foods Friday 32--Movies!

I love these! Even though valmg's site won't accept even my actual-birth-certificate name as real, I'm having fun with these. And valmg has been kind about letting me, even with my strange-as-birdseed names!

#1. What snacks do you eat at the movies? Do you buy them there or bring your own?

Oh, how I adore movie popcorn and a coke. My mother was a junior mints kind of woman but I always found them melted on some part of my clothes later if I had them at the movies.

#2. What’s your favorite food movie, or movie that shows a lot of food?
I'm a big fan of Big Night. Like Water for Chocolate and Chocolat were good runners-up.

#3. What food or meal do you wish was available at the movies and why?

When I lived in DC there were theaters that had dinner available. That was great--one stop dating, and movies with beer for my friends who like beer. Why that hasn't caught on in a bigger way, I can't guess.

#4. What’s your most favorite way to make popcorn? Hot, cold, buttered, air, microwave, chocolate, caramel, you get it.

On the stove, with melted butter and either salt or Crazy Jane's Mixed Up Salt. Microwave just doesn't do it for me anymore.