Back at it

5 01 2016

I love you Blogs and Coffee (5)

Rather than make an excuse for the hiatus from my blog, I’m just going to say I’m back and I’ll try to do better. Sometimes, life comes before blogging.

 

Updates on the Homefront

Over the years, I’ve documented my hubby’s struggles with Bipolar, Depression, and Anxiety. The last couple of years have been extremely challenging as we have been actively working on his treatment. I feel like we’ve turned a major corner in the last six months, and I’m hoping he’ll remain stable for a long, long time.

 

Have you seen anyone with a semicolon tattoo? This mark represents mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention, and is a reminder that a person suffering from mental illness could have chosen to end their story, but chose not to. It’s a powerful conversation starter about an important topic. Learn more here.

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As for the kiddos — the Baby is no longer a baby. In fact, she’s now 10 and at the start of puberty, so hormone-induced hilarity is a daily occurrence. She is a straight-A student, Girl Scout, and ballerina, plus she’s hilarious and incredibly kind. The Big Kid, on the other hand, is a 17-year old high school junior. She and I are like oil and vinegar —I think her interests are weird and she thinks I’m impossibly out of touch and could never really understand her. Newsflash, kid. I was 17 once and also thought I was a misunderstood genius. Sigh.

 

Help with Your New Year’s Resolution

If you’re trying to clean up your eating habits (and you probably should), head over to Buzzfeed Life and check out their 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge. All of the recipes and instructions are there, too, which is extremely helpful.

 

On Our Plates Tonight

The Baby and I are both dealing with sinus ickiness, plus it’s 20ish degrees out, so something spicy and warming is in order. Plus, I have a ton to do tonight, so a labor-intensive dish is not going to happen.  Instead, I’m making this Quick Ramen Bowl. I may even add the egg. I’m madcap like that.

Quick Ramen Bowl 2

 





The Best of Taste of Grandview Heights

4 10 2009

Segway

Rule number one for anyone going to a festival that is focused on food is to come hungry, but not ravenous, and to pace yourself. As much as I love events like Taste of Grandview Heights, this year’s event was tough for me – all of the vendors served their normal portion sizes, rather than the usual 2-3 bite sample size, so I didn’t get to try as many items as I would have liked, but I did manage a respectable showing.

Grilled Artichoke

First off, the grilled artichoke at Third & Hollywood. I love artichokes – really, they’re one of nature’s most perfect foods, especially when they’re seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper, grilled and topped with an herb and  mayo-based sauce.

Biscuit Sandwich

Next up was this terrific sandwich, also from Third & Hollywood, combining their cheddar herb biscuit with Tennessee smoked ham, endive, and what I believe to be a pimento cheese-based spread. If the reviews of this place are accurate, I’m going back soon, high prices be damned.

Pumpkin Bisque

Gordon’s Gourmet offered up an interesting twist on pumpkin bisque. Ordinarily, pumpkin bisque is heavy, creamy, and filling, so imagine my surprise that Gordon’s did something completely different with it – they started with a chicken broth base and added pumpkin puree, then topped with chantilly cream, which I believe may have been mixed with pumpkin pie spice). It was a little on the salty side, but definitely a pleasant surprise.

Fish and Chips

The Old Bag of Nails brought out their staples – french fried chips, fried pickles, potato pancakes, carrot cake, and their signature fish and chips. At this point, I completely ran out of steam, but I did manage to talk some poor lady into letting me photograph her lunch (I’m oddly persuasive like that!). I can tell you from personal experience that the Old Bag, as I like to say, probably has the best fish and chips in the city.

Fries

Five Guys is a relative newcomer to Columbus, but I’ve been reading about them for a while on various foodie websites – apparently, celebrity chefs love this place and swear by their bacon cheeseburger. Obviously, I didn’t have room for a burger, but I did manage to choke down some of their crispy french fries. Can’t wait to go back and investigate further!

Seriously Big Chocolate Cake

Of course, I had to round out the day with a visit to Cap City Diner’s tent for a slab of their Seriously Big Chocolate Cake to go – all three layers of it. Hubs and I just polished it off and are in total chocolate bliss.

So, what’s the deal with you Segway, you ask? They offered free rides at Taste of Grandview, which is great, but, as usual, my choice of inappropriate footwear impeded my performance. Mind you that I was wearing platform sandals, which put me at an angle anyway (and basically on my toes), plus I have balance issues anyway, so put me on a Segway and I’m completely out of my element. However, the Segway tour guy took pity on me and considered me to be a special case, so he wouldn’t let me off the thing until I had it mastered. It took a while, but at least the other people in line were amused at watching the dork on a Segway.

Repeat after me…the diet starts tomorrow!





Into the Sauce

6 09 2009

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I must be mentally preparing for fall’s arrival because I keep dreaming up the comfort foods I’d like to make – stews, breads, and luscious pasta dishes. I’m in the process of unearthing the recipes I’ve been meaning to try, like cheese tortellini with pumpkin sauce, gnocchi,  and buffalo chicken chili.

So far, I’ve never attempted to make marinara sauce – no reason really, other than pure laziness. My kitchen is overrun with tomatoes, so I decided that today was just as good of a day as any to give it a shot, and off to the computer I went in search of the perfect recipe.

After reading marinara sauce recipes until I basically went cross-eyed, it occurred to me that most of the recipes are pretty much the same, given a few variations on seasoning, so I went with the tried and true source – Food Network – and selected the recipe: Tyler Florence’s marinara sauce. The guy can’t be wrong – he’s a celebrity chef and restauranteur, so how bad could his recipe be? I’m happy to say that Tyler did not let me down, but I needed to tweak his recipe a bit – there weren’t enough flavors for me, so I had to embellish the seasonings in order to get t just right, but the end result was much better that I had originally anticipated.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoons basil, dried
1 whole bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt  and pepper, to taste

Directions
Over medium heat, heat oil in a large pot until hot. Add onion and garlic, saute for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions begin to appear translucent. Add the tomatoes, stir to mingle the flavors. Add in the herbs and bay leaf. Sprinkle in sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally.

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I’m very happy to say that everyone loved the sauce, even Hubs, who I was sure would make some comment about the seasonings being off. The Big Kid was completely stuffed and, for once, couldn’t eat another bite, which is really saying something.

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On a completely different note, I have been writing for Blissfully Domestic for the past couple of years, mostly for the Blissful Home channel. This weekend, the site is going through a relaunch, so please be sure to check it out. Married, single, neat freaks, Jesus freaks, not mothers, want-to-be-mothers, and don’t-want-to-be-mothers, we are all blissfully domestic.





V-Day Countdown

11 02 2009

valentine

In case you’re living under a rock, Saturday is Valentine’s Day, which means that the preparations are underway at The Casa. I have already picked up dinner supplies – pizza and an early bedtime for the kids; fillets, twice-baked potatoes, steamed asparagus, and lava cake for us – but what I’m struggling with is a gift. I’m easy to shop for – shiny things and geeky gadgets make my little heart go pitter-pat – but I’m having a hard time figuring out what to get the Hubs. I did a little too well at picking out gifts for him at Christmas, so there’s nothing in particular that he wants or really needs. Hmmm… I may have to tkae this one to my Girls and see what they come up with.

Meanwhile, we’re bracing for another storm. We’re already under a tornado watch, so I’m really hoping that we don’t have to revisit this scenario anytime soon. And if I see the following, I’m not coming out of my basement anytime soon!





Welcome to Naked Barbieland!

24 01 2009

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I’vve discovered an odd phenomenon in my house, and maybe those of you who are the parents of girls can corroborate. It seems as though any Barbie doll who crosses our threshold is destined to be nude. It doesn’t matter what costume she is wearing, how beautiful my daughter swears the doll is, and how badly she wants it, that Barbie will soon be nude. What is that about? I’ve tried begging with her (“please, honey, leave her dress on”), threatening (“if that dress comes off, so help me, that doll is going to someone who will appreciate her”), and even negotiating (“if you leave the dress on, I’ll buy Barbie her very own Dream ‘Vette”). It makes no difference. Perhaps I should consider upping the ante?

Speaking of The Baby, I had an afternoon most parents can only dream of…NOT! Hubs has been very sick with the flu this weekend, so I offered to take her with me to the grocery store so he could enjoy a little peace (Mind you, the Big Kid was up to her elbows in chores I gave her earlier as a punishment for an early morning infraction. Grrrr!). So off The Baby and I went to the grocery store. She’s been home with an ear infection since Thursday, so she was very happy to finally be out of the house. Once we got to the store, she changed modes from quiet and bored to chatty and loud. We were going down the cereal aisle when she saw a guy with a kind face, long hair, and a beard, and shouted, “HI JESUS!” At that point, I prayed that the floor would open up and swallow me. Luckily, the guy had a good sense of humor and laughed it off. The rest of the trip was uneventful, at least until it was time to check out. She had a meltdown over the candy display (in her defense, it was a huge barrel-like-container that was on her level and full of chocolate), then she was mad that she didn’t get a sticker and that Mean Mommy wasn’t going to reward her bad behavior by hunting down an unwitting cashier and get him/her to give this screaming child a sticker. Then, she really “showed” me by refusing to hold my hand in the parking lot, screaming that she didn’t want to go home, and then standing her ground in the middle of the parking lot. I hauled her howling self to the car, much to the shocked expressions of my fellow shoppers, cringing at the knowledge that at least one of them probably assumed I was some derranged kidnapper. And she wonders why she got a looooong timeout once we got home.

Seriously, between demanding 3 year olds and a sick Hubby, I’m pretty much done for the weekend! And don’t even ask about the Big Kid! That’s a whole entry in and of itself!

Oh…and in case it ever comes up in conversation, bad, bad things come up when you Google the term “naked barbie.” Just a little tip from me to you!





Riddle Me This

13 01 2009

media_monkeys

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or LinkedIn (shame on you!), I am now an official source of knowledge. I received a call yesterday from a reporter at msnbc.com (thanks to my pal Kelby at Type-A Mom) for a story she was writing on the dangers of using Vicks Vapo Rub on little kids. For the record, I am pro-Vicks, when used correctly. Read all about it here. While I’m thrilled to have been asked, I’m a bit disturbed and perplexed. Apparently, the national media now considers me a credible source because I have a child and a blog, never mind that I could, in theory, be some random crackpot. Ah, the power I wield just by having a vagina! Now, if only I could solve that whole women-making-78-cents-to-every-dollar-a-man-makes-for-the-same-job thing!

Since I have been out of work a whopping two weeks now, I have finally had the time to think about who I want to be and the image I want to project as a professional, which, of course, screams makeover. As a marketing maven, I prefer to refer to this as “personal branding.” However, it has finally dawned on me that as a woman, I am constantly in a state of reinvention – for a new job, new man, etc. – and, perhaps I don’t know the authentic me as well as I should. Is it possible that we all renovate ourselves on such a regular basis that we lose touch with our true selves? Did I mention that I have way too much time on my hands?

Since I have all of this free time, I have been putting it to good use – and Hubs’s waistline is reaping the benefits! I’ve been cooking quite a bit and am in the midst of deciding what I want to make tomorrow for dinner. I could go relatively healthy with a white bean-chicken chili concoction or go in a more interesting direction with mini burgers. Mind you, I’d have to bake the buns myself since I have a specific bread type in mind, plus I have limited fixins, so this could be a bit of a challenge. Any thoughts?

Finally, I’m still having trouble adding pictures to my post now that WordPress has updated their interface. Maybe it’s just my craptastic computer? What I need for this blog is a sponsor – someone who will litter my beautiful little blog with their garish
logos, but give me a really sweet new laptop in exchange for the free advertising. Any takers?





Ho-Ho-Hell Yeah!

26 12 2008

This may sound very un-mommylike of me, but I’m very glad that Christmas is over. No more frenzied baking, shopping, and moments of forced gaiety. And the minute I wake up on New Year’s Day, the Christmas crap is coming down! Monday, my dog managed to surprise me by moving the Christmas tree three times in the span of two hours. Not bad for a dog whose intellectual capacity generally rivals that of a bowling ball, eh? Despite my je-ne-sais-whatever (you do know that making up words is a slight obsession of mine, right?), The Baby had a great Christmas: lots of presents and great food, if I must say so myself. For those keeping track at home, dinner consisted of sweet pepper stew, sausage stuffed pork loin, garlic mashed potatoes, salad, crusty bread, and pecan pie.

Meanwhile, the job search resumes, now that the holiday machine is getting ready to grind to a screeching halt. Wednesday is my last day at work and it’s going to be a tough day. I never wanted to leave and maybe this would be easier to accept if I had done something wrong However, it is what it is (a layoff) and I don’t have time to sit and feel sorry for myself.

On a totally random note, what is the deal with WP? All of a sudden, I can’t insert photos into my posts. Why???