The Family Of Foodies

When our kids come home from college for a visit, suddenly our kitchen is bursting with the smell of my freshly baked banana bread with raisins and chocolate chips, soon afterwards dark chocolate brownies are left to cool waiting for me to slather on the thick, creamy dark chocolate frosting.

Their dad and I have both gone to the supermarket to stock up on their favorite foods, they could stay four weeks, even though they are only here for four days or is it one day? It doesn’t matter. We pack the leftovers so the kids can take them to share with their friends.

 

I stood in the freezer section getting frost bite while choosing six quarts of ice cream, all different flavors.  We have Ben and Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee Buzz, Graeter’s Black Cherry Chip,

 

Graeter's

Graeter’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Black Raspberry Chip, and Chocolate, Chocolate Chip. We also have Mango Sorbet, Blood Orange Sorbet and Haagen Daas’ Pistachio ice cream (which to me, is a great disappointment, vanilla with a couple of shelled pistachio nuts in it. I won’t buy it again.) Any suggestions of another brand of pistachio ice cream?

 

 

 

 

 

We have rainbow cookies, molasses cookies.

 

 

amaretto cookies, and of course, Double Stuffed “Oreos.”(Thank you, Nabisco)

 

We don’t live like this all the time, believe me, we only stock up when our college kids come home to visit. Our daughter’s description of the ideal break is: “watching, (streaming episodes) of her favorite television shows on her computer and eating her home-cooked favorite foods and I quote.” Isn’t that what coming home is all about?”

My husband made a delicious eggplant parmegian/ parmesan, I made guacamole, and a tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, basil salad, we had

 

English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

 

chips, pizza, huge salads, creative salads with lettuce and arugula, cranberries, goat cheese, string beans, grapes, and cucumbers (and anything else I found) with no meat (for our daughter “the vegetarian.”) Yes, she DOES get plenty of protein, she never liked meat and never ate it as a baby. I’m anticipating the questions that will follow…

BOTH of my grown-up children came home a day early as a surprise and I consider myself deeply blessed. I am truly grateful to be able to have one night together with my whole family, where we eat will be up to them, with our approval, and bound by price range and affordability.

Tonight, we will eat leftovers with no complaints and if there are complaints, that’s okay, the only other option is…no other option. I do regret how lenient we were with our children when they were small. I felt like a short order cook, a grilled cheese for one, spaghetti with meatballs for the other….the things you learn in hindsight.


We all make mistakes as parents but if that’s the worst mistake we made then I think we did pretty well. We have super nice, polite kind, kids, independent, loving, street smart and compassionate. What more could a mother and a father want? NOTHING.

Are they perfect?  No.  Are we? Heck no. Do we wish they would change certain things?  Sometimes. No, I am NOT going to argue with you about this!! (you- know -who) I know that they wish the same for us. We’re a family, we all need to work together. Every single one of us needs to learn how to compromise and accept not always being right. Accepting someone’s difference is harder than deciding to disagree. Respect another person’s position without judgment. Try.

What would you rather be, a very old friend asked me thirty years ago, right or at peace?

My answer thirty years ago was” right,” I changed my answer in the years to come. The kids will learn that, in time. Or, they won’t. That is entirely up to them. It took me a long time to see it, peace wins for me now, every single time.

We all grow-up, we make mistakes, we fall down, we get up and we fall down again. Children, like adults, learn, from their mistakes. Let them make them.

When our kids went back to school a few days ago my husband and I went right back to eating very simple meals. Scrambled eggs with cheese and toast, pasta with meat sauce, home-made pea soup, chunky with carrots, ham, spices and a salad and french bread. A roasted chicken, rice and freshly cut vegetables with a yogurt dill sauce. After dinner, we often go upstairs, lie on our bed, watch our television set with a small (ok, medium) bowl of ice cream in our hands (with rainbow-colored sprinkles for me) to watch the Jimmy Fallon show from the night before. A simpler life, quieter, we accept what we have, what we can’t change and that’s okay. Love what you have today, understand and accept that you will see your children less, yesterday is gone and we don’t know what the future will bring.

Enjoy the moment. Be Thankful. Breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For Just A Night

 

Never before have I gotten so emotionally involved in the world’s problems as I have been these past few months. Sometimes, I read The New York Times, other times I watch the news on television. Now, I panic.

I used to live with my head buried in the sand, not knowing what was going on in the world and that was a delightfully safe place; an artificial place but a comfortable one. On the other hand I have worked myself into such a frenzy now that all I imagine and see are horrible images and bombs and in my mind I’m questioning “but what if….?” That is not healthy for me either.

Thank heavens for The Food Network Channel, my go to place when I need to unwind or if I have watched too much news and can’t settle down. The cheery shows on The

English: Logo for Food Network

English: Logo for Food Network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cooking channel as well bring me entertainment, not that I have learned to cook from either one of them. The only show I refuse to watch is Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown and its element of nastiness and unmasked sarcasm. (See my blog “Cutthroat Kitchen” for that review.)

Today, I am starting off with a smile. I know what is happening in the world, I know there is sadness everywhere but I am trying to focus on my tiny corner of space. My daughter is home, safe from Spain, where she had a wonderful time. My husband is as happy as he can be without being employed but he is healthy and so am I. Tonight, our son is coming home so our family will be together for a few nights.

I really can’t ask for more than that. I appreciate it and I am grateful for it. It happens less and less these days as they are both in their early twenties. It was hard to get used to but even I, mother hen, have grown accustomed to the separation, they know I cry whenever somebody leaves. I have always cried when somebody leaves me. It’s who I am.

Tonight, at dinner, I will watch my family and try to soak up every detail, every single exchange in our own tiny part of the world, for every second it lasts.

For that, I am deeply grateful. I can’t ask for more.


 

Jacquelyn: Were You At “The Taste 2” Finale?

English: Jean Claude Szurdak and Jacques Pepin...

English: Jean Claude Szurdak and Jacques Pepin (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest judge: Chef Jacques Pepin. In the finals, Marina, Lee and Louise.

The season of “The Taste” is over. As I’ve stated in earlier posts my highpoint of the show was when Jacquelyn exited mid-show, literally walking off stage. She is my Norma Rae. Nigella seriously needs to learn to play with others.

The first test was to make something for the poor and for the rich. It was so uninteresting it really didn’t matter what they made. Basically for the “rich” they added a lot more butter, truffles and caviar. For the “poor,” they all made a stew or soup.

Many past contestants in the audience: I see Cassie and Sarah, Shellie and Don, Audrey and Jay, among others; I am not making this up or exaggerating, I swear, I didn’t know who Audrey was because she didn’t mention “her fans” and she wasn’t complaining.The one person I wanted to see but DIDN’T was Jacquelyn. What, no invite? You people have NO sense of humor.

Final challenge: “Basic cooking: Make me breakfast, lunch and dinner bites that showcase your most dazzling skills.”

They tried. They did TRY.  I didn’t really think anyone made anything over the top that the judges actually swooned over. We’ve all seen good before, the last few episodes missed “stunning and amazing.”The finale did not break the “just ok” pattern. Shame.

Lee: Breakfast: Parmesan flan with bacon quail egg. He forgot that he left his parmesan flan in the oven but remembered at the last second. He saved his behind and put them in the cooler (not his behind, the flan) with bacon, eggs. Pure luck. Lunch: crab cake (he wastes a lot of time trying to get the crabs out of the shell) with avocado. Dinner: strip steak, cauliflower purée..” He was absolutely frazzled,or should I say fried?   Lee plates too soon doesn’t listen to Chef Jacques Pepin who advises him to plate later. Lee is acting cocky, doesn’t listen to the guest Chef.  Poor judgment. Dinner: Strip steak, parmesan tulle, mustard demi glace. Even with his fan favorite girlfriend Cassie giggling (did anyone else notice that rapid fire laugh) nothing could stop him or slow him down.

Marina:  (Chef Pepin looked a little befuddled around her) Marina starts with an (English muffin,?) quail egg, onion, fig and bacon. (“well executed”) :Lunch: Fried spring roll, oyster and pork, deemed (“not that successful.”) Dinner: short ribs, rice, kale, port wine.  She forgets to taste her own food, a definite no-no. Marina won’t take advice from anyone,she listens to no one, she prides herself on that. Marina used chicken testicles and pork blood. She certainly is imaginative. Have you cooked with chicken testicles and pork blood? Me either.

Louise: Breakfast: Fried quail egg with tomato sauce, (similar to Chef Pepin’s model that he displayed.) Lunch: fried oyster po’ boy sandwich, Dinner: steak with red wine sauce (which Chef Pepin salvaged)  potatoes, makes food look beautiful (she is also a food stylist.) She touches the steak and isn’t sure it is ready, Chef Pepin touches it and says 5 more minutes, in it goes. She is more needy and ready to listen to Jacques Pepin and believe me it shows. Her sauce breaks, she can’t use it. Chef Pepin helps her find a teaspoon of meat drippings again. Lousie feels like the underdog (again) and complains about something, was it brioche again? Much to everyone’s surprise, including Louise, she won “The Taste.”  As if she was in “Survivior” Louise flew under the radar, bothered no one, smiled a lot and portrayed herself as the victim.

3rd place LEE, 2nd place Marina, First place Louise

Congratulations? I mean, Congratulations.

The show is over. I’m done. We are all grateful. Would I watch it again? Probably.

*any error of description of food was unintentional and due to extreme fibromyalgia tiredness. I still am annoyed at the amount of alcohol on TV, just sayin’ sponsors?

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2013: Quinoa and Kale (Food Pop)

Quinoa

Quinoa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2013 The Year Of Quinoa and Kale

I know, I’m not in the majority, (I generally never am) but if I hear the words “quinoa” and “kale” way into 2014 I’m going to be sick. I heard way too much of it in 2013. Believe me, I’m not saying I ate a lot of it. I tried kale a few times and I dutifully ate it, albeit begrudgingly, but that was quite enough, thank you very much. Every person I know was talking about the different ways they used kale and the more they talked about it, the less interested I got. What was this, the flavor of the month club? Apparently.

Actually, if it had only lasted a month I would have been quite happy but the kale craze continued (sigh and it’s still going.)  Tied with Kale was Quinoa, something that took months for me to pronounce much less spell and eat. I made it once (it turned out like a cross between cement and glue) but bought it prepared other times. It’s a  grain, YAY. Since then I’ve heard quinoa salads with kale countless times. More than enough for me.

We eat fresh fruit and vegetables and red meat once in a while. Not often but sometimes we get a craving for a delicious juicy hamburger and instead of denying that hamburger we will go out and eat one. We will thoroughly enjoy it and some of those fries (extra crispy, please) and we will be completely satisfied and happy. We eat red meat about once a month or so, not usually more than that.

Now, coming from two different sets of European parents, (don’t ask) both my husband and I will not, cannot give up our sweet tooth (teeth?) I wouldn’t give up my sweet tooth voluntarily unless I had a severe case of Diabetes which I always pray I don’t get. With a Viennese father and a German mother (who has pre-Diabetes) I’m walking a very thin line. It’s worth it. The need for dessert is not just a desire, it is a full-fledged NECESSITY.

Why can’t 2014 be the year of the jelly doughnut?  I miss the good old days. How about a really delicious European pastry (such a lack of patisseries everywhere) just serving café and kuchen? (cake) in the afternoon like they do all over Europe. Maybe everyone is just too much in a rush here. My parents being European always had friends over for coffee and cake. Shouldn’t everyone? Can you honestly replace cake and coffee with a tall glass of green juice? I once added a shot of wheat grass to my apple-carrot juice and it took every ounce of self-control not to vomit all over Mrs. Greens. A true story.

The day is long, the nights are spent with family, a time to eat together and talk. What’s wrong with a warm baguette, some flavored olive oil, a block of cheese and some sweet purple grapes, my favorite dinner? Add a salad or some homemade vegetable soup, that’s plenty. But, please don’t add kale chips or quinoa that’s just so last year, at least for me.

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Something Was Wrong, It Was Me

High Anxiety

High Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It arrived every evening like a suspicious stranger, its presence like black fog slipping under the door. It was deceiving at first, mist, started slowly and then it changed in a split second and attacked me. I felt like I was being stabbed with an ice pick, repeatedly, the chill of cold anxiety running up and down my spine. The goal apparently was to shock me and knock me totally off-balance. It won, I didn’t stand a chance.  I don’t know why it came. I certainly didn’t invite it nor could I prevent it and its malicious presence only showed itself to me after dark.

I don’t know why it happened and I never completely understood it but the displeasure was here, every single night. I tried every trick I knew: deep breathing and meditation, but I did not stand a chance, it felt like I had been swept up by a tornado. Actually, I  lived in the eye of that tornado, I felt helpless, yes, out of control, out of control, out of control…

In past years during this same time period I felt sad, weepy. In the past eleven years I have known grief and a feeling of longing but not anxiety. Major life events happened, I felt loss , my dad was deceased but fear? This year without the regular Thanksgiving plans, control escaped me and anxiety with its octopus legs strapped me in and squeezed me so tight I could not breathe properly. Maybe Thanksgiving, without check lists and red lines crossed off made me feel undone. Would it be five people or nine? Last minute? I used to be so flexible, what happened to me? I missed feeling in charge, in control. I was alone in the world, it put me off-center, dizzy with fright.

I had trouble sleeping and eating and with my chronic pain disorder, Fibromyalgia, I questioned if this could have been a flare-up? Very possibly but I don’t know. The physical pain is the same but the IBS and the anxiety are on over drive.  Anxiety rolls in my stomach like one of those slippery aqua blue water park slides that I hate, wet,  flying down way too fast. I went on one of those once when my children were little and pleaded me to go on one of the rides with them. Trying to be a good mother and show them that fear should not stand in one’s way I relented, seeing their shiny little faces. Big mistake. I laid on my back and flew down the twisting spiral of hell screaming all the way down only to see them at the bottom, laughing. “Why did you lie on your back, Mom, didn’t you know that is the fastest way to go down?” OF COURSE NOT!!!

I felt like I have been on that water slide for at least two weeks except in my head and my body. I’m in my own zone of panic. Nothing worked, nothing helped, my last resort was to try to listen to music which has helped in the past. No luck. Maybe I’m just so excited that tomorrow I will be seeing my children, home for the holiday? Maybe I am feeling out of control not knowing if we will be five or nine people? Or maybe the last four, stressful weeks have finally caught up to me: my husband got laid off, I had to have painful uterine biopsies and on the way to my doctor’s appointment I had a flat tire. I found out my friend and her husband both needed surgery, I took on my friend’s problems too.

Maybe I’m anxious now because I couldn’t allow myself to be anxious before. The food lists are really not important, there will be plenty of food, no matter who comes. My friends will be fine. My husband will eventually find a job and we are not living out on the streets. My tests results came out perfectly. AAA apologized for dropping my call, twice and they paid for the private road side assistance. I’m taking a deep breath, it feels good. All of a sudden, I feel like listening to music and I’m getting a little tired. That’s got to be a good sign. I hope.

Plinky Prompt: Did You Say Lie? Oh…I Thought You Said Bye…

  • What was the last lie you told? Why did you tell it?
    English: Golden Rice grain compared to white r...

    English: Golden Rice grain compared to white rice grain in screenhouse of Golden Rice plants. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


    See all answers

  • Pants on fire
  • You say lie, I say exaggerate. It’s all really a matter of
    perspective. I wouldn’t say I lie, exactly, because there is always a
    grain of truth in what I say. I will admit to exaggerating that grain
    into a pile of rice. Why? Only to make someone feel better. Is that
    wrong? I don’t think so. Not if it started with the truth (let’s say two
    people told you something) and the number increased in your brain,
    processed it and somewhere, somehow it came out of your lips as “six.”

    I don’t like LIARS, truly, if I find out that someone lied to me, I
    get crazy, so from now on, I will look at my own little white lies, even
    if it is to make someone feel better, and just tell the truth.

    As my kids would say “My bad.”

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Extra Poop With Your Turkey Burger?

Deutsch: Veganer Burger mit Pommes vom Restaur...

Deutsch: Veganer Burger mit Pommes vom Restaurant “Kopfeck” in München (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh wait. What? You are not actually asking me, if I want more poop in my burger? There already IS poop or “fecal matter”or disease causing germs like “salmonella” or “staph” IN my turkey burger? Funny, I didn’t see those items listed on the ingredients, did you?  Well, I certainly don’t feel guilty munching on my cheddar cheese all beef burger with carmelized onions now. Of all things you had to find in turkey burgers, you found poop? I’m sorry but that is downright disgusting.

I don’t know what to eat anymore. I thought I was being heart healthy by ordering a lower fat turkey burger but turkey burger with “fecal matter” no thank you. Just mention a turkey burger now and I start retching. Will I ever eat a turkey burger again? I really can’t say besides how did this actually happen?  More importantly, how long has it been going on and why wasn’t it inspected properly?

My beef cheeseburger was served with delicious, well done,well seasoned thin french fries. I ate about three or four of them, I’m not much of a french fry girl. If I had to pick food that most people enjoy but that I could easily live without? My pick would be french fries. (Dessert is another matter altogether. I could not give up dessert.)In front of me are a pound of rainbow cookies, (Rainbow cookies have thin layers of marzipan, cake and jelly ) that I bought for my husband’s birthday.) I also bought him a brownie topped with chocolate ganache  that he “forgot” to eat. Okay buddy, that sucker is going to get stale if I don’t remind you; I’m just doing you a service, always happy to help out, hon.

Tricolor cookies

Tricolor cookies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I get stuck on something (not that I am stubborn or anything) I just can’t go back that easily. There was a dead bee in my Greek salad years ago and I couldn’t return to that restaurant  for years. What is safe? I guess veggie burgers are still approved… Here’s the thing, what once was considered “safe”,  before becomes questionable, how soon can we trust that it’s truly safe this time? My solution? I can always eat rainbow cookies, they may have a little food coloring in them but I can’t imagine there’s any fecal matter. When will I be able to trust that there is no poop in my turkey burger? I have no idea, maybe I’ll wait and see and eat rainbow cookies until I am very, very, sure.

Yellow Magic Madness #4 Lemons

Lemons, perfect for drinks, to squeeze on foods, for a
marinade or my favorite, a simple, elegant centerpiece.

Meyer Lemon Study #2: A Bowl of Lemons

Meyer Lemon Study #2: A Bowl of Lemons (Photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife)

Mellow Yellow Monday

Noodle Kugel

Noodle Kugel (Photo credit: ShellyS)

My goal is to try new things so I decided to bake a “Noodle Kugel” which is made with yellow egg noodles

milk, sour cream, eggs, cottage cheese, sugar (brown and white) cinnamon and raisins. It’s a very warm and comforting

dish; my sister has always made them before. While not perfect, for the first time, it came out very good, indeed. I

actually made it because my son, 20, loves it so much; needless to say he wasn’t “hungry” last night!

Noodle Kugel

Noodle Kugel (Photo credit: cjbakker)

Mellow Yellow Monday

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would show you what my son, 20, whipped up at the last minute. He called it Corn Bread Pudding. The photo below is the closest I could come to it but his did not have jalapenos in it, instead he had diced red peppers. It was the first time my kids and my nephew contributed to the meal and it was very, very special. Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was sweet.

goin' coastal - jalapeño corn bread pudding

goin’ coastal – jalapeño corn bread pudding (Photo credit: Foodie Buddha)