It’s Not Just Peanut Butter And Jelly Anymore (Food Cop)

I’m hungry, borderline starving. I know that’s a fairly regular experience for me but tonight I am ravenous AND I have to be careful ABOUT the texture of what I eat.

     

    a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, top slice ...I’m having a flare-up of everything that could possibly hurt, especially now with my jaw, teeth, head and neck.

    Having a vicious battle with TMJ  AND a cavity that needs to be filled, I thought I would be cautious and eat soft food. Since I was not feeling well, all day, light-headed, dizzy (reason still to be determined with the dreaded TILT test) my husband was kind enough to bring me a peanut butter and jelly (extra orange marmalade on the side to be mixed in) sandwich. For a side dish there was a tiny amount of mashed potatoes, leftovers from last night yummy restaurant. Oh yes, there was sour cream and butter in those “mashlers” as my dad used to say and as part of my family still says.

    The amount of peanut butter and jelly is crucial to any perfect sandwich, bearing in mind everybody’s personal preference. For me, more jelly and less peanut butter is the way to go. My husband and our friend John in the neighborhood, put staggering amounts of peanut butter on their sandwiches (“There IS NO such thing as too much peanut butter in our house”) John said. My husband, agrees. He slathers on peanut butter and measures it in inches. I disagree. I’m a more jelly than peanut butter kind of girl.

    I was having a bite of mashed potatoes, on the side, following a bite of my sandwich (the color of the jelly and the taste is carefully matched too) when I noticed a wonderful, soothing, comfort spreading taste in my mouth and stomach. After two or three bites of the sandwich and then the mashed potatoes I was sure that a combination sandwich would definitely ease my pain.

    Wait for it, my friend, Maureen, because you KNOW it’s coming….

    Hence, the peanut butter and jelly and mashed potato sandwich was born. Don’t prejudge, it is the ultimate in comfort food. The peanut butter and jelly or jam is cold or at room temperature and the hot mashed potatoes, sans gravy, are warm, buttery and rich.

    It was love at first bite. I finished every creamy morsel and would have eaten more if I had more to eat. I have had in the past peanut butter and jelly with cheddar cheese and once I had a peanut butter and jelly combined with tuna fish sandwich but those are a little too much and way less comforting than my new, favorite combination.

    Mashed Potatoes!!!

    Mashed Potatoes!!! (Photo credit: Manuel Alarcón)

    It’s a win-win situation. How could it not be fabulous? The greatest in comfort food.

    Sure, I make a mean chicken soup, or lentil soup, those are all   eaten mostly in the Winter. But this new combination?  Adding mashed potatoes as an ingredient? A genius idea of comfort in a bite. In every single bite.

     

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    Mild Fish And Peanut Butter Ice Cream (Food Cop)

    Cupcake that tasted exactly like a Reese's Pea...

    Cupcake that tasted exactly like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Oh stop, even I wouldn’t eat those two together although a light peanut sauce may go very nicely on filet of sole.

    My point here is that I have become a different person and my husband doesn’t know what has happened to me and where I have gone. The trouble is I totally agree with him. Who am I?

    I have “hated” fish all my life, the smell was repugnant to me and I would not even try it. We all know the “forced salmon” story that I wrote about when “my friend’s mother lied and told me it was tuna fish and FORCED me to eat it” and I don’t see that changing but mild fish is now a must-have. It’s opened up a whole new world of eating experiences. So much more to choose from, it’s exciting.

    It started out with a tiny bite of my husband’s file of sole with lemon, butter and caper sauce he ordered at a restaurant. I had ordered a cheeseburger and we always exchange bites or share. I gave him my too- bloody cheeseburger. He cleverly offered me a taste of his dish. He said he liked mine more than his when he saw me eying his delicate dish, I fell for it. Love that man, loved the fish. Afterwards he grinned and laughed like a  6-year-old. Of course he said our favorite 28-year-old saying “sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” He won.

    Now, I don’t skip past the seafood section I look at it first. It feels so light in my stomach, the only disadvantage is that in two hours I’m hungry again but that’s what snacks are for. I don’t eat very much red meat at all but when I do, I want it to be small and good quality. After that, it will be back to fish, chicken, salad, eggs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with pleasure.

    Sometimes there are things in our world that just don’t make sense. Texture can play a big part. I love my hot cup of strong cup of coffee every morning but coffee ice cream or mocha, edible coffee beans? I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it. I do not like peanuts but love smooth peanut butter, chunky if I must. So when my husband’s dessert came with peanut butter ice cream instead of our beloved hazelnut, discontinued, we were not happy. My husband tried it and liked it and well, of course I had to keep him company.

    I put the spoon of ice cream in my mouth, just the tip and it wasn’t….dreadful. It was like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that I once assumed (again, another stupid assumption) that I thought I didn’t like but do. A little went a long way but I have to admit that ice cream was very, very tasty.

    Be open to new foods, textures, tastes. Even at my old, ripe age you can discover so many new things to eat and drink (still working on the drink part) but water is best for me anyway. Here’s to new great food and water with lemon, hold the ice please, and as always, definitely leave room for dessert. Every. Single. Time.

     

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    The Taste: Nigella vs. Jacquelyn

    Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing

    Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “Hey Nigella, It’s Me, Jacquelyn!” Okay, it’s not really Jacquelyn, it’s just me, a friendly blogger, but I have to say, that really was one of the most entertaining shows I have watched recently.  Jacquelyn, you go girl. I just wish you had walked off the set sooner, like in the middle of one of Nigella’s obnoxious, wishy-washy lectures, her fluttering fussiness and her anxiety driven non-direction, micro-management. Frankly, if I was in your shoes, I would have left way before you. And, unfortunately I probably would have thrown the beer (I’m assuming it was beer but it could have been water or soda) in her lap or face to get more attention.

    Jackie, I really don’t think you were treated kindly at all, Nigella did not have control of the kitchen so you, just walked off stage. Kudos!! The timing was a bit awkward, I admit, but subtlety is often quite wonderful. You kept them guessing alright, that did have a stroke of genius to it. Unfortunately, it made Nigella look like the poor, angelic victim and you a bit of the bad boy but I’m sure there are more people than just me that were rooting for you. Believe me. I would imagine the other judges and contestants were rooting for you too.( Perhaps not in front of the camera.) I don’t think Anthony Bourdain was as horrified as he was portrayed,he was practically doing a high-five with his team. I don’t blame him for one minute.

    Nigella, please calm down and learn how to talk with people not at people all the time and stop changing your mind and give your contestants some credit. No? Nigella, you need to relax, take a chill pill, ( and no, I am not going THERE) and have a few lessons with a therapist on how you come across. I’m not doubting your ability to cook, of course not. But do you really think that a show like this is showcasing your full set of positive attributes? Right, I don’t think so either. I’m not judging really, I’m a horrible cook and the only thing I can bake is banana bread. So, you definitely win in THAT category. But, relating to your team? I’ve got that by a mile.

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    “Cutthroat Kitchen” (Food Cop and TV Cop)

    English: Alton Brown speaking at the Google Ca...

    English: Alton Brown speaking at the Google Campus in Mountain View, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Since the New Year I have literally been focusing on the good in my life, trying to single out the positive and not making a big fuss of what is negative. Trying to see Life in a new light. Many of us fight with this each and every day, it is our attitude that makes us the person we are. I was doing well, checking in with myself hour to hour, truly. Bad news was coming at me but I reasoned, bad news comes to everybody, it comes, you get used to it, you adjust.

    That said, I came across a cooking show that I had never seen before and started watching it with my husband for mere entertainment. What a mistake! The name of this show is “Cutthroat Kitchen” with (ugh) Alton Brown. Sorry, that’s only my opinion. This guy shows up EVERYWHERE and I have seen too much of him. He’s sarcastic and biting and I just don’t want that in my life. His “brand” visibility is “Over-branded?” I’m sure there must be some real public relations word for it( overexposed maybe?) Not sure if that is even a word, but you get my drift. When I see his face on the television set, I don’t smile and say “Oh look it’s that cute Alton Brown!” I sigh and say, “Oh God, not him again and prepare for his sarcastic remarks.” Then I change the channel.

    The latest show he is involved with which now I have watched many episodes to give it MORE than a fair chance is some show named Cutthroat Kitchen. You would think that with this title I would have been forewarned that it was not for me but no, I gave it a chance. Not once, many times. I am a glutton for punishment. It’s just my opinion but I hated this show.You would have thought the word “Cutthroat” in the title might have clued me in but I didn’t want to be swayed, also I’m a complete, gullible idiot.

    It’s mean-spirited, nasty, underhanded and nothing I want to see promoted on television, especially with that nasty, sarcastic Alton Brown. Isn’t there enough bad stuff in the world already? Do we have to have more? Listen, I watched, as did my husband, and of course judged it. Then, I turned it off. It particularly lost its appeal when one arrogant competitor made another arrogant competitor ( if you haven’t picked up on it, they are all arrogant, like an Alton Brown characteristic demolition derby)  duck taped a potato masher to another contestant’s arm and made them cook. Believe me, I wish I was making this up, but even I could not think that creatively or maliciously.

    The objective is that each contestant is given money from Alton and they can use it to spitefully sabotage their components so that they will lose. (Nice concept, right?) The person who bought the sabotage will (YAY) most hopefully win. Ha! It doesn’t always work out that way. There are no manners in THIS game, no “sorry, man” or good luck, Bonnie” Nothing. For every aging ex-bully on the block? This show is for you, you will love it. Guaranteed.

    I paid my dues, I watched this awful show. I will NOT be watching it again. Ever. Tell Alton to retire ( or just yank him off television) somewhere with a Food Magazine and tell him, nicely, to keep his mouth shut. Have him design a handy, dandy little toaster oven or better yet, a grill. Now, how hard could that be? Have him “retire” and pay him a small amount for residuals. That’s all I ask, truly.

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    I Love Ice Cream (Food Cop)

    Thursday Night Dinner

    Thursday Night Dinner (Photo credit: AxsDeny)

    Last night I reached into our over-crowded freezer and pulled out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s” Phish Food.” It has everything I look for in an ice cream, chocolate (but not dark chocolate) a marshmallow swirl, a caramel swirl and chunks of dark chocolate fish. What more could you possibly want? It’s my go-to flavor for comfort although I have to say it was hard to resist that new coconut flavor they had in the summer. Oh my, I wonder how Phish Food would taste with some coconut in it? In my mind it reminds of a very old flavor that I used to love at Baskin Robbins when I was a kid “German Chocolate Cake” Ben and Jerry, how about it?

    If I could choose any job at all I think I would be an ice cream flavor tester. (ARE YOU HIRING BY ANY CHANCE??) For the happiness quotient alone, it makes me smile just to think about it. I’ve forgiven Ben and Jerry for selling out to a big company, let’s face it, I would have done the very same thing. They are still involved, they have every right to enjoy their wealth and scoop what they sow. I love these two guys with a vision and a dream, these are two people I can say have made the world a better place. (And I’m not sucking up because I think I’ll get free ice cream, no one does that anymore.)  I truly like these dudes and I even visited their plant many years ago in Vermont, have a cow tee-shirt to prove it.

    My husband likes “Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz,” but for me coffee is to be sipped slowly in the morning, steaming hot but not eaten with a teaspoon. I have tried his and it has a nice smooth quality but it’s not in my top ten list. See, now that I am writing about their ice cream, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even having gained three pounds, I know we will be at their store tonight, waiting in line, asking for a free sample and then ordering. My genius son introduced me to the BEST way to order, because in our family, (except for my husband) rainbow sprinkles reign supreme. You order whatever size you want, with rainbow sprinkles and *THIS IS KEY* tell them that you want the cone in a cup! That way, they are not cheap with the sprinkles (guys: you should know this) as I can tell you they are when you just order a cone. Do you just LOVE THIS?    I know, I do too. Thanks, to my boy Tim for that idea. Everybody? “Thanks, Tim.”

    I’m looking forward to dinner, it’s our daughter’s last night home before she leaves for college and she gets to select whatever she wants to eat. She has selected pizza and a cheese calzone with marinara sauce (YES!!!!!!!!) and I am really looking forward to that. Do you get the sense that we are a foodie family? We are.

    GASP!!! There’s a PEEP in that photograph, another FAVORITE of mine, (but they have to be yellow marshmallow chicks) how fortunate was I to find a photo like THAT!!  I have written entire blog posts on Peeps. Check them out!

    Okay, I’ve told you my favorite ice cream flavor. What’s yours? I’m licking my lips.

    Photograph courtesy of the photographer, no rights owned.

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    Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore: Tulips

    English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holla...

    English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holland Italiano: Coltivazioni di tulipani dell’Olanda Meridionale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “Today you have been granted the opportunity to go anywhere, do anything, meet anyone, travel in time…whatever you wish, it is yours. Now, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) When you wake up tomorrow… you will not remember any of it.Would you still choose to take the offer? Can you drink in the moment and enjoy it knowing you will have no recollection of what happened? Think about it?  How important is a memory?”

    Part 1:

    I would hop on a first class plane, sipping orange juice and amaretto on my flight to Holland. I stretch my legs and marvel at how wonderfully everybody treats you when you are sitting in first class. I have a menu in my hands and I need to pick what I want to eat for dinner. I decide on the Surf and Turf for my entrée, happy not to have to pick just one item. After the flight attendants take everyone’s order they pass around trays of appetizers: mini lobster rolls, Brie or St. André cheese and crackers, pulled pork sliders and chicken salad with chutney in phyllo dough. Loving food, as I do, my tastebuds are dancing with joy loving the different sensations in my mouth.

    I sleep for three hours and by that time the pilot announces our descent which brings me right into the airport/and waiting limousine to take me to the Tulip Festival, now in full bloom. I bask in the beautiful scenery, the rows of color: red, pink, rose, orange, green that stand in line like tiny soldiers. I drink up the sight and as fresh, cold bubbly spring water quenches my thirst, these rows of tulips fill another need. The primordial need to see beauty .  Rows upon rows of beautiful tulips, in every color, so vast that you think it is a prop from a movie. Yes, it is real and the gigantic proportions make me feel like an insect crawling on the freshly mowed grass. The scent of the grass tickles my nose and I laugh.

    I am here, at the tulip festival, a place I have always wanted to see. I am giddy, my cheeks are pink from the excitement, like the color of one of the rows of tulips, my body trembles. I sit down on one of the many benches they provide for tourists, wooden slated benches, simple, nothing overdone, they mustn’t out-do the beauty ahead of them. Looking around me there are other people, each one, staring at the beautiful scene in front of us. There is no litter here, just rows of flowers, tilting their heads to the sun. Some tourists try to take photographs but you can’t capture an entire field in a photograph. Or the smell. The smell in the air is clean, fresh, with a hint of sweetness, freshly moved grass, and sunshine.

    There is nothing else I want to do but sit back, stare and breathe, long, take long, deep breaths.  I do not want to sit on a bus like some of the other people, seeing churches  and old houses and attractions. I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I, a quiet admirer, overwhelmed by this magnificent sight. There is nothing else I want to do but stare and take in this picture of magnificence and beauty.  I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I a shy yet ardent admirer.

    ****

    Part 2:

    It’s early morning in our house. My husband, Steve, has already left to go to work by train. He has left me coffee to drink in the machine and I greedily reach for it and drink it in two or three big gulps. I go about my chores as usual. I wake up the children who need to get ready for school. Fortunately, I always make their lunches the night before so I don’t have to do it in the morning. I don’t tell the kids but I hate mornings too. I pour cereal and milk, my two kids, 8 and 11 are loud but we laugh a lot. I rush them outside to wait for the bus, get them on the bus and I wave as the bus leaves. They still wave back to me, I know it won’t last very long, they are growing up so quickly.

    I go to the grocery store with my list, a long one for four people in the family. I start checking off items on the list. Milk, bread, chicken, cheese, steak on sale, and about ten other items.  After I am done I wait on a very long line, reading a trashy Hollywood magazine that I refuse to buy but actually love to read. Finally, it is about to be my turn, I start unloading my cart. I add a pack of sugarless gum because I can’t resist those items at the end  of the aisle where their placement seems to stare at you, practically begging you to buy them.  My husband calls me”The ultimate consumer ” because I love to see new products at the store.  At the very last second, I reach over the counter to stretch and grab just one more thing. It’s something I never do, but I didn’t even think about this, it was impromptu. I reached over the counter and I bought tulips.  Pink tulips.

    Pink Tulip 2 of 3

    Pink Tulip 2 of 3 (Photo credit: krispijn.scholte)