One of the many great lines in Independence Day. Coincidentally, one of the best movies ever made. But it also applies to me! Sorry I’ve been MIA for so long. Sometimes life just doesn’t need to be broadcast over the world wide web, and that was me for a while. I needed to regroup and I’m better now.
But anyway. Can we just all agree that while Isaac is no She Who Shall Not Be Named, he is still a dirty SOB and he needs to go on and bother someone else? My heart breaks for the people of South Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf coast region getting destroyed by this storm.
My mom and I were talking last night and we both lamented the decline of New Orleans. My whole family is from NOLA and unless you’ve been there for any length of time you just don’t get it. It’s a whole world unto itself. The music, the arts, the culture, the people, the food, oh for the love of all things holy, THE FOOD. When I think of my childhood, almost every memory is there. The French Quarter, Cafe du Monde, Jackson Square, staying at the Mason Dupuy, parades, the Riverwalk, the Aquarium, the Cathedral, watching Saints games with my Paw-Paw, family reunions in City Park, climbing the oaks…..
Okay I’ll stop now that I have tears in my eyes. Suffice it to say that no matter what happens, a piece of my heart will always be in New Orleans.
I want to be on vacation. But I’m not. But I will be in about a month. Until then, I’m going to reminisce.
The first vacation that Jeff and I went on after we got married was to Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri. There are no words – the place is BEAUTIFUL. We read an article about it in Southern Living magazine and it seemed too good to be true. Nope – it was all that and more. I’ve wanted to go back ever since. We will get our chance next March when we go for our fourth anniversary.
There are waterfalls everywhere.
Lots of trees for shade and beautiful flowers.
Every morning Jeff and I would walk on the paths around the resort. There was one spot in particular where a family of ducks hung out. They were there every morning.
This is the view from the nature trail that winds through the woods.
Oh Big Cedar, how I’ve missed you! I think I’ll go look through my photo album now.
I think I’m having a mid life crisis. Except that it would really suck if I was already half way through my life. So I’ll just call it a crisis. Or a melodramatic episode? Tomato, Tomatoe.
Things started to look up this morning though. The highlight of my week was winning the caption contest at TheFaceBaby. Ya’ll this kid is amazing. I first “met” him over at How Sweet It Is. I swear to God I was pinching his cheeks through the computer screen. And then he goes and gets his own site.
Check him out. If he doesn’t make you smile you might be having your own crisis.
I love ice cream. If I could figure out a way to eat it every day, multiple times a day, I would. Me and Ben and Jerry have a thing. We’ve been on the outs lately though. I’ve got a beach vacation coming up next month, and I had to kick my boys to the curb. But that’s beside the point.
When I was a kid, my brother and I would spend the summers at my dad’s place. His neighborhood was right by the local elementary school and there were a lot of families there. The ice cream truck would drive through all the time. My dad’s house was at the beginning of the street so when we heard the jingle we’d inevitably find my dad or step-mom and beg for money so we could be ready when the truck would drive back through. It was hands down one of the coolest things ever. A truck that would bring you ice cream?! All you had to do was stand at the edge of the driveway and bam – sweet, sweet ice cream. Seemed totally legit.
Flash forward twenty-ish years.
When I pulled into my apartment complex this afternoon after coming home from the gym, the freaking ice cream truck was driving through the parking lot! The first thought that flashed through my head was “YES PLEASE!!!!!” Then of course the next thought was “Damn it. BEACH. BEACH. BEACH.” But then the third thought was “you know, that’s really kinda creepy.”
A guy driving around in a van luring kids with tasty treats. Isn’t that exactly what our parents told us to avoid? Maybe I’m just jaded but I’m pretty sure that if I had kids I wouldn’t let them get anything from a guy selling ice cream out the side of a van.
Baskin Robbins and their 31 flavors seems much safer, you know?
After the disaster of those stupid cinnamon roll pancakes, I decided to redeem myself in the kitchen. All weekend.
Friday afternoon, I made these oatmeal muffins.
They are wonderful, like an oatmeal cookie and cake all rolled into one. Jeff got the recipe from Cooks Illustrated. He signed up for some deal with them where he periodically gets recipes to test and we got this one a month or two ago. I’m not going to lie, they are a little tedious to make, but if you are familiar with Cooks Illustrated then you know most of their recipes are like that but are totally worth the work.
On Saturday, my brother and sister in law came over for lunch. Jeff made chicken spaghetti and they brought a salad (minus the chicken).
This morning, I made pancakes again. The cinnamon roll filling was nice and hard from being in the fridge so I softened it just enough to stir up and was able to pipe it onto the pancakes.
While the idea is great, this is just never going to work in real life. As soon as you flip the pancake the hot skillet is going to melt the filling and it oozes everywhere. Oh well. Live and learn, right?
Let me start by saying that I know this is a First World Problem. But damn it I’m pissed.
Yesterday I found a recipe for cinnamon roll pancakes. I about died. Two of my favorite foods in one? Count me in. Today’s lunch of fried rice got bumped and these babies made the cut. So I’m getting out my ingredients, bowls, measuring spoons and reading over the recipe. Now just to be clear, Jeff is the cook in our house. He loves creating in the kitchen and could be in there for hours. Me? Not so much. I can follow a recipe but I second guess things and basically just get really frustrated. There is a reason God invented take out, okay?
The filling part of the recipe called for a stick of melted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 TBLS cinnamon mixed together to the consistency of toothpaste. Right off the bat I’m thinking “A stick of butter? Melted? Really? Because that will never be the consistency of toothpaste.” But that’s what the recipe says and by God I’m going to follow the recipe.
Needless to say it was an unmitigated disaster. That stupid filling never thickened. Jeff even tried adding more sugar to help it along. Nothing. Nada. Liquid all the way. I was left with craters in my pancakes because when I flipped them over all the filling oozed out and crusted up my pan.
Now I completely understand that not everything works out the first time in cooking. I get it. But I basically wasted a stick of butter and almost an entire cup of sugar. And that sucks. At least the parts of the pancakes that didn’t have crusty burnt sugar on them were good.
Now I have half a cup of cinnamon roll liquid that I have no idea what to do with and I just can’t bring myself to throw it away. So it’s in the fridge. And will probably get thrown away next week. Oy vey.
Last year Jeff and I went to Memphis and ate at a great restaurant named Flight. Have you ever heard of wine flights? It’s where you get two to three samples of wine for about the same price as a regular glass. It’s really cool because you get to try out different flavors for one price. Well at Flight, the entire menu was like this – appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts – you could mix and match or choose one of the ready made trios. I ordered a white wine flight and the death by chocolate flight. As my meal. No joke. I know what I like – why bother with the calories from a silly entree when you can just have dessert?
Around these parts, if Jeff doesn’t specifically tell me to save him a piece of cake or a cookie or whatever kind of dessert we’ve made then he missed out. To me, a serving size is however much the recipe makes. This is probably why I gained back about half of the weight I lost after I got married. But that’s another post.
Jeff found an amazing site this afternoon, Dessert for Two. Built in portion control!! LOVE IT.