Friday, February 26, 2010

Every year around spring The Wizard of Oz is shown on tv. It has been for as long as I can remember.

What a time. Back then, (here I go again on my "I'm so old and the world just isn't the same" rant) when a program was on tv, it was a pretty big deal to make sure you were available to sit and watch the whole thing. There was no pausing for bathroom breaks or getting up to grab a salty snack unless it was a commercial. It was important to see as much of the show as possible because it wasn't going to be seen again for a whole year.
With my picture perfect short term memory, I'm curious how I retained any of these annual program events.

But they stuck. From the "I didn't know you were gonna kill it!" in the opening scene of The Great Pumpkin to the scariest scene (to me) from Oz, where the petrified lion runs crying down the hallway and jumps out the window, some scenes really stuck with me.

This is my childhood neighbor and (still) good friend Leah and me at our annual viewing of The Wizard of Oz together.

Like our matching jammies and my toes?

It must be the window scene.

Speaking of rainbows, I made these yesterday after being inspired (or copying rather) a recipe in a magazine. I just wanted to know if it would work because in my experience, nothing made at home from a magazine ever looks as good as it does in the picture.

Though time consuming, they came out ok I think.

I used an angel food cake mix instead of white because that was all I had.

I love cake batter. Yellow, chocolate, it's so yummy and sweet.

Don't eat the raw batter of angel food cake. I continued to be the perfect role model for my kids as I spit my taste out into the sink while they immediately followed, vowing not to even sniff the lovely finished product.

Except Katie. She loved the batter and the cake.

She's my Toto.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ok, this is going to be quick because I'm a wee bit wigged out right now.

One, because I just spent the last hour watching Ghost Hunters. A show that doesn't usually give me the heebie jeebies, but for some reason tonight it did. Like the kind where I feel cold and can't seem to stop shivering no matter how much I bundle up because you've heard that ghosts equal cold right? So being in this cold spooky basement right now is not good for the baby I'm sure. Yeah, that's it. Don't want to upset the little'un.
Also, things like hearing my son scream "Come here mommy! It's in here!" and me having to run dutifully upstairs to see what's (hopefully) not really there doesn't help my scaredy-cat situation. Even now as I sit here, listening to the furnace, I keep thinking I hear noises upstairs and I'm having visions of the kids all crazy in a fit of shock from the boogie man. Oh, he's real all right. This moment I'm sure of it. I wonder if I should rent "Paranormal Activity"? Probably not a good idea. But I really want to see it.

But I'm also startled because during commercial breaks I switched the channel to American Idol. Now what's wrong with me? That's a guilty pleasure I thought I was long over but apparently not and now I'm afraid I might be obliged to watch next time to see which male singer got voted off.

Stupid reality tv.

I made Rib-Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce today. And I served it with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies. Excellent. But I didn't use whiskey because I didn't have any. In fact we hardly used the sauce at all because it ended up a tad salty. I'm running close to the end of the "sounds good to me" list from PW's book and so I may soon have to defer some recipes to my more well rounded sister, Maureen, who is much more willing than I to make daring concoctions like Burgundy Mushrooms and Sangria. And Blackberry Cobbler. But I think at least my appetite might be coming back because I don't feel the "morning sickness" at night as strongly anymore and even as I sit here, I want to unbutton my pants (only I'm wearing jammies) which is hopefully due to a baby bump and not my renewed interest in butter and cheese. As evidenced by my dinner tonight: a turkey and gruyere cheese panini cooked in oil.

Oooh, I could eat another one right now. Maybe eating has the same effect on being scared as it does on being nervous. Ever heard of that? "They" say that it's impossible to be nervous and hungry at the same time so the logic is, if you eat something, your jitters will go away.

Sounds good to me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

After loads of time spent on really important things like scrubbing the baseboards on my hands and knees and cleaning the blinds individually by hand and dusting the filth from each and every ceiling fan in the house, (we have exactly 37 in our home) I decided to make another of PW's recipes for lunch today.

OK, of course I didn't do all that stuff, but I did cook... a little.

Potato skins are something I've never made before so I gave it a try. Except I was only feeding myself so I only made one.

And I didn't have any chives.

And I couldn't bear to throw away the mashed innards so I threw 'em back into the skins and turned them into twice-baked potatoes.

And I still have yet to master the art of scooping out the pulp without destroying the skin. How is that accomplished? Everyone else seems to be able to do it. When I try, I end up smashing it all together in a fit of frustration and calling it a garbage plate.

Despite all that stuff which pretty much adds up to me not following a recipe at all and just making my own thing, it tasted pretty good.

Is it wrong of me to be so excited for school to be back in session? I almost missed my girls when they slept over at Grandma's for two nights this past week, but then I came to my senses and enjoyed the silence while I caught up on my beauty rest.
So much for all the big plans to clean the girl's room and finish painting the hallway or even the kitchen or wash the dog or clean my andirons when I don't even have a fireplace. Not that you would know this. (actually I do have a fireplace, but I don't know what the heck an andiron is)
Sorry, I got carried away with the movie reference thing. (anyone other than Teresa know it?)

I spent a very productive week visiting the back of my eyelids and I suggest you all do the same. It'll make this world a happier place.

P.S. Happy belated Birthday to my one and only (should I still say favorite?) brother! No age jokes, I promise. Except how old are you again? I lost track after 40...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Did you know that bowling was first invented by the Maya people?

It's true. During rituals designed to appease the gods, only the important religious leaders were allowed to collect the skulls left from their animal sacrifices and throw them great distances to
smash the remains of their enemies. The disintegration of the bones meant a long and prosperous life granted by the gods.
Not really.
I don't know where bowling originated from, but I'm glad we have it.
I don't think I went bowling until I was 12 or so. It was a friend's birthday party and I was so nervous. Like so many other activities, I had no idea what I was doing when everyone else seemed to be an expert.
And at first, it's a stressful sport for someone who doesn't remember to let go of the ball and ends up thrusting it magnificently backwards to her fearful teammates who quickly learn to hide when Mary's up because you never know, you may lose your foot or even your head.
The pressure of everyone you know AND strangers next to you all watching (because I was sure each and every one of them was looking at me) while I made a fool of myself helped create my patented walk of shame as I turn around after releasing the ball with a look of "So what? I suck, but I don't care." while walking back to my seat with my insides on fire.

I've recovered from my pre-teen social dilemmas, but tonight when we decided to go bowling as a family for the first time, I was skeptical of Daniel's behavior.
I fully expected him to shut down and sit on the cold plastic molded chair with his arms wrapped tightly around his chest and a permanent frown glued to his mug.
And he almost did just that. He started to say things very firmly under his breath like "I'm NOT putting those shoes on." and "HUMPH" and "What's for dinner?"
But we ignored that and he soon discovered that it was much more fun to sidle up to the lane and swing the ball back and forth a few times before throwing it practically into the next lane while our neighbors shouted "DUCK!"
Eventually he stopped running and swinging and settled down.
And he beat me. (that's not saying much though. I think none of us scored more than 100)
And I'm hopeful stuff like this will help build his confidence so he isn't so self conscious in school.
Because that's one facet of my life where I don't want history to repeat itself.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Since I can't get my act together and I turn into a total mushpile whenever I think about anything that has to do with delivering this baby, I'm pleading temporary insanity in my own defense regarding the general neglect of this blog.

Because I still cannot put thoughts together properly and I have been known to have minor fits of porky pig's stuttering syndrome lately, I will just mention a few random things in my brain.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is (in my humble but correct opinion) the best movie ever made. And I don't care if it's appropriate or not for a 3-year-old. She needs to know the beauty and perfection that is Indiana Jones.
(it's also the best soundtrack)

I don't know (or care about) anything that has to do with football. But when that guy kicked what, an onside pass? after halftime, I got really excited. Also one of those later touchdowns was pretty thrilling.

My doctor asked me today how far along I was.
Should I be more worried that he had to ask? Or that I couldn't answer him with any sort of certainty?

This is the freshly made snowman my kids (who have known snow their entire lives) have created.
When I encouraged them to maybe make it bigger, they took a good long look at it and decided it was absolutely finished.
It's about a whopping foot and a half tall. (including the hat)

Chocolate pop tarts are the world's best food.

There are 62 recipes in Pioneer Woman's cookbook. I have made 34 of them.
(I forgot to mention the spicy pulled pork I made on Superbowl Sunday. Not so spicy really. But I made it in the crockpot. Someday I'll get a dutch oven)

Right now all smells are bad. Anything that has a scent at all is too much. If I catch even a trace of perfume on someone, I want to yack.

Finally, I think this baby is a girl. (but I reserve the right to change my mind about that)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I watched "Breakfast at Tiffany's" last night.

I've been itching to see it since it's supposedly such an iconic American film.

I used to think if I ever made it to NYC, I'd have to go eat at this Tiffany's place. It must be really good if there's been a movie about it, not to mention all the famous images of Audrey Hepburn looking so classy and sophisticated.
The fact that "breakfast at tiffany's" is only Audrey eating a croissant in front of the snazzy jewelry store after "a hard night's work" is about the most intelligent aspect of the movie.

What a let down. I don't know which was worse; the irreverent (and not even funny) politically incorrect Asian landlord portrayed by Mickey Rooney, or the mediocre acting, especially by the interesting-as-cardboard George Peppard.

I thought Audry's character was going to be this beautiful intelligent high society kind of gal. No no, she's a ditsy hooker. Though that's not really made as obvious as the gigolo that Peppard's character is. I guess she's supposed to be a lady or something.

Bottom line, I may have enjoyed it if I cared about it at all. But I felt nothing except pity for the wet cat in the end and a longing to see Patricia Neal's character some more.

What's so great about this movie anyway? Was America so obsessed with Audrey Hepburn that this floppy flick has weaseled it's place as a permanent and beloved symbol of American pop culture?

*witty segue somehow connecting the downfall of American cinema with cooking would go here, but I'm just not that smart or motivated*

With my tastebud torture temporarily lifted today, I felt like cooking.

Nothing outrageous or risky, just maybe some comfort food. So I did PW's lasagna. (very modified) and her crispy oatmeal cookies. (also modified)

With all this changing of her recipes, I'm not sure if it really follows the rules. But what the heck, they're my rules so I say it still counts as completing a recipe from her book.

I skipped the cottage cheese and egg mixture in the lasagna, replacing it with cheddar, parmesan and FRESH mozzarella. I could have eaten that whole blob of mozz. by itself it was so good.

I liked PW's version okay, but I found it to be a bit saucy. I think I'm still happy using canned sauce. Also, her way of assembling was weird. She put the cheese layer on before the meat. Though with the really wet cheese mixture in her recipe, that might work. Again, my version was a lot different than hers.

The cookies were delicious. I substituted chocolate chips for the pecans which turned out to be a dandy decision. Yummy. I did skip the step about rolling a log and refrigerating it before baking.
Why wait?

Time to go watch something reliable like "When Harry Met Sally" and make a dish like tacos. You can't go wrong with tacos.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Meet our very own Punxsutawney Phil.

My kids know all about Groundhog Day. It's almost as exciting as, well I won't say Christmas, but Easter at least for them, thanks to school.

When I was a kid, (now you know you're getting old when you find yourself starting lots of stories with that phrase. As I have been. Lots.) I didn't really know much about Feb. 2 let alone the tradition of a poor fat rodent dragged out of his peaceful slumber to be faced with brazen band music and numerous humans cheering and stuffing their faces.

No wonder he runs away.

Does that mean he's seen his shadow? And does that mean six more weeks of winter or is it the opposite? It seems to me that if he sees his shadow, the sun must be out and therefore spring is on it's way.

But I think it's the other way around. Oh, what difference does it make? We all know no matter what that chunky rat does we're doomed for at least 3 more months of snow.

Let the poor thing sleep. But count me in on one of those famous Punxsutawney sandwiches they serve up for the occasion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I think I'll take a short hiatus from my PW recipe challenge, at least till I'm through the first trimester.

You see, I'm not at all myself. I haven't been to horseback in two weeks, (though not due to pregnancy, just coincidence) I'm laying around all the time, (ok, more than usual) I have zero interest in the computer, (basement is too cold and inconvenient) and nothing tastes the same. I don't want to eat, but I want to taste.
I bought Whoppers to alleviate some of this craving for sweets and was very disappointed.
They tasted burnt.
I may as well just crawl under the covers and hibernate.

I'm not even nibbling on my chocolate bar, and when I have a bowl of ice cream, it just doesn't bring me any joy.

So cooking is not an activity I'm really motivated to do lately. We've had sandwiches for lunch almost every day. With pickles. It's the reason to have the sandwich.

So I'm sorry for this temporary setback, but I do plan to finish what I started.
But not till I get my tastebuds back.
Hopefully by Valentine's Day.
I've always wanted one of those heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate.