Saturday, April 17, 2021

Help Me Make Amends, Please

I forgot about the MiL's birthday on Thursday. Well, that's not true. I actually remembered in all the days leading up to it, and throughout the day on Thursday, but then I was actually working that day and meant to call when we were done with dinner, and then things got nuts, as they often do after dinner, and . . .

Well, these are all just excuses. The fact is, I forgot to call her or otherwise acknowledge her birthday.

So here, publicly, I will apologize to her, wish her very belated but nonetheless sincere birthday happiness, and also ask you to join me in the comments. Maybe if a bunch of people online that she has never met also wish her happy birthday two days late, it will make up for the fact that her actual family didn't.

Sorry, MiL. But happy birthday two days late!  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday Food: Man Food and Mom Food

This was a weird week, because I was in Arizona for part of it. So of course, the home crew ate different foods. I'm not entirely sure what they ate what night, but I do know that I had left a bunch of cooked rice, mashed potatoes, and peas in the refrigerator, along with a few packages of raw ground beef and steak. With these, A. made dinner. He generally combines meat, starch, and vegetable all together in one skillet, and everything is labeled as "man food." So that's what they ate, in various combinations, until Monday.

Here's what I ate, though, courtesy of my mother.


Short version: Chicken parmesan, roasted asparagus

Long version: This was pounded chicken breasts browned then baked in marinara with provolone on top. Very tasty.

My family went for a walk every morning in Arizona. And every morning, we all wore the dorkiest hats imaginable.

My sister, who took this photo, sent it to me with the label "Goobers." I can't disagree.


Short version: Grilled steak, roasted vegetables, green salad, chocolate roulade and pudding

Long version: It's really nice leaving home but getting to eat as if I were still at home. This is exactly the kind of meal I would make at home. I did, in fact, make the desserts. This was my sole contribution to all of the food served for three days.

As you can see, I didn't bother serving the roulade* beautifully. No one refused to eat it because I didn't sprinkle it artfully with sprigs of mint and fresh raspberries. (That's my dad in the background, by the way.)

I made the pudding (the same one I always make after making the roulade) because I didn't want to leave my mother with seven egg yolks sitting in her refrigerator. I figured it would get eaten eventually by someone. I mean, does pudding ever get wasted? Certainly not. About half of it was eaten this very night as a second dessert, so I don't think any of it will be thrown out.


Short version: Southwest Airlines snack mix, spiced almonds, Kit Kat

Long version: My plane landed in Albuquerque at 4 p.m. and I got right in the car to start driving home. It's a long drive and I wanted to get home before dark. So I didn't stop anywhere except a gas station, which is where I got the Kit Kat. I brought the almonds with me. And I went to bed shortly after getting home, so that was the entirety of my dinner.

I considered stopping at the grocery store in a city I passed on my way home, but I really wanted to get home before dark. So I didn't stop. Given the state of my refrigerator, that was a poor choice.

At least I have frequent opportunities to easily wipe it down.

And here's the door, just for fun.


Short version: Rinsed chicken barbecue sandwiches, leftover lamb, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: I had to work this day, and knew I would be in no mood to cook anything requiring much effort. So I took out a bag of frozen pulled chicken in barbecue sauce Miss Amelia gave us awhile ago. The chicken tasted okay, but there was way too much sauce on it. So I dumped out three quarters of the chicken into a sieve and washed off most of the sauce before putting the rinsed chicken in a saucepan with the remainder of the sauced chicken to heat up. The kids enjoyed it on bread. 

I had some of the chicken in my salad with some leftover peas.

A. had the very last of the Easter lamb. Yes, it was a week old. It was still fine. I had eaten some in my lunch at work, so I knew it was okay.


Short version: Chicken legs, mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans with onions, tiny carrots, brownie cookies

Long version: Big, cheap chicken legs with my Special Spice Blend--salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika--browned, then baked in the oven until done.

The tiny carrots were the ones I dug up a couple of months ago and forgot about in the refrigerator. The ones I missed digging up are the ones that re-sprouted and are growing again. I don't know if they'll make an edible carrot that way, but I guess we'll find out.

While I was gone, Cubby took it upon himself to ensure that there was dessert every night. One of the things he made was brownies, except he followed the recipe I hurriedly wrote out from this one, which, since I already know how to make it, is pretty terse. And doesn't specify the pan size. 

It's supposed to be made in an 8x8 pan. He used a 13x9 Pyrex, which resulted in extremely thin and crispy brownies. They're good, actually, like the cookie part of an Oreo, and there has certainly been no lack of willing volunteers to consume them.

This girl included, here modeling the rad shades I got her in Arizona.


Short version: Shepherd's pie

Long version: I took out the frozen shepherd's pie filling from the giant batch I made last week and topped it with the rest of the mashed potatoes on Tuesday. So when I got home from work, all I had to do was bake it.

As Jack noted, it was a smaller shepherd's pie than the 13x9 Pyrex that I usually make, but it was just enough for everyone.


Short version: Breakfast sausage patties, bread and butter, frozen green peas

Long version: A good way to close out a long week.

Incidentally, I hope everyone noted that we ate pretty well even when it looked in the refrigerator photos like we had "no food." Behold, the power of chest freezers, stocked pantries, and planning ahead. If I have no other purpose on this Earth, I feel like my life serves as a good example that "running to the store" is definitely not necessary.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

* I discovered the recipe is online, not just in my cookbook. You can find it right here if you want to try making it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

T. T. : Cultivate Your Crazy

I have returned from my not-too-distant travels to the neighboring state.

And here I am at my parents' house, wearing my grandfather's fire helmet. Because why not.

The first thing I did upon my return to our rural outpost was enjoy my family's obvious happiness at my being home. The next thing I did was go to bed. The next thing I did was go to work. But then the next thing I did was go outside to visit my baby plants.

I realize this might not be high on the list of priorities for most people after an absence, but I have a history of doing it.

It's so fun to see how much they've grown since I left, and there are always some surprises.

Surprises like . . .

A very cheery row of daffodils.

Sprouting broccoli is finally sprouting. (This is a fall-planted variety that is supposed to overwinter and then grow little florets in the spring.)



And some carrots I apparently missed digging up that are starting to re-grow.

Okay, so I mostly just wanted to share photos of my precious plants without waiting until Sunday, but also, there is a tip in here somewhere. And that tip is this: Find what makes you happy and do it*, even if it seems weird to other people. 

For me, that's visiting my plants and gazing at them like an adoring parent for minutes at a time. What is it for you?

* Within reason, that is. If it's destructive to you, or harmful to other people, obviously don't do it.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Snapshots: Homeward Bound

 I should be on my way home from Arizona when you're reading this, but I made sure to schedule this so you wouldn't be deprived of your weekly snapshots.

You're welcome.

First up: Easter Things

Early morning egg hunt.

Thanks for the work gloves, Grandma!

Investigating baskets.

And eating chocolate for breakfast. A fine Easter tradition.

Let's see what other random things we might have been up to . . .

You've heard of cowboys. These are the sheepboys.

A. spent a full morning wheelbarrowing the waste hay from the rabbit casita over to the garden for mulch. It also had quite a bit of rabbit poop and pee in it, which caused A. to dub it "ferti-mulch." So clever with words, that A.

O give me a home, where the chickens roam . . .

And there you have it! My life, snapshotted.