Who wants a hot date?

Something has been weighing on me for days. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to resolve it. I’ve taken a variety of approaches in dealing with it, but nothing seems to be working. I need help.

Behold, my albatross:

I bought these on Sunday. I thought they would be a good addition to my kids’ lunch boxes. They looked kind of like candy and were sweet, but since they’re only made of dates and coconut, they’re healthy too. I mean, they’re called “delights.” In the words of Ina Garten, “How bad could that be?”

I was so excited to pack them up the next day and I announced to my kids that I had bought something “very special” for their lunches. They came running into the kitchen with huge smiles on their faces. Then they looked at the container and read the label.

My friends, it was on that night that I saw the face of unadulterated despair (actually two faces), and it is burned into my brain forevermore. Nevertheless, I told my kids to give the Natural Delights a chance and taste them because they were really, really good and like candy. Kid #1 fell for it. Kid #2 would only allow it if I sliced off a minuscule piece from the whole. They popped them into their mouths.

Me: “See, they’re good!” (I have never in my life tried a Natural Delight and don’t care for dates, but my kids didn’t need to know that.)

Kid #1: “Um, no, they’re actually terrible.”

Kid #2: (turning green) “Yuck.” (I don’t think he actually ingested any part of the minuscule piece, but I can’t prove anything. Kid #2 is really crafty.)

Me: “Oh come on, they can’t be that bad.” (Then, to my husband) “Come over here and try one of these. They’re delicious!”

My husband: “No way. I’m not eating that.”

So, fine. Nobody wanted to eat them. I couldn’t eat them myself because of my aversion to dates. Over the next few days, the container sat and sat and sat. I tried to convince my kids to try them again, but it was a no go.

Yesterday I asked my husband to bring them into work. He refused. I think his exact words were, “No one’s going to eat those. Gross.”

I asked my kids this morning if they could bring them to school and put the entire container on the “share table” at lunch. They said no because the package was already open and things for the share table need to be sealed. Well played.

I had no idea what to do with my Natural Delights. I CANNOT throw them into the garbage. First, they were expensive, and second, I’m not throwing perfectly good food away. I was at my wit’s end.

But then I realized something: I have a blog! And through that blog I can reach people! People who like date rolls! So if you live near me and would like this container of Natural Delights, it is all yours. It deserves a good home with people who don’t berate it on a daily basis.

My waffle house of nightmares

I never thought I’d experience a bigger cooking disaster than the chicken-fried steak incident of ’01. I’m not going to get into details because you’d probably vomit, so I’ll just say it was the only time The Joy of Cooking steered me wrong.

Last night, though. LAST NIGHT. I tried to make breakfast for dinner, featuring the humble waffle. I found a new recipe that I was super excited about trying. It can be difficult to find a good waffle recipe because it needs to be gluten free and dairy free for me. I thought I had found a good one. It turns out I did not.

Now, I should have known something was fishy when the recipe required me to use three cups of almond flour and one cup of coconut flour. I’ve been doing the gluten-free thing for over a year, and I have learned through experience that I do not like things made exclusively out of almond and/or coconut flour. They taste blech. But for some reason I went temporarily insane and thought it wouldn’t matter and everything would be okay.

So after spending $18 on flour at the grocery store and using six eggs, I mixed everything up and plopped it onto the waffle iron. Things went further downhill when I noticed that the batter was starting to slowly ooze out the sides of the waffle iron. I tried to wipe it away, but as soon as I did, more batter started oozing out until it was a volcano of gluten-free waffle batter flowing all over my countertop and, eventually, my floor.

But I kept wiping it, over and over again, because, $18 and this was dinner. There was no backup.

When the oozing got under control and I thought the waffle was set, I lifted up the top of the waffle iron to find this abomination:

I put down the lid and told myself if I just cooked it a little longer, it would miraculously turn into an edible waffle.

It did not.

I STILL wasn’t willing to give up because THIS WAS DINNER AND $18 so I started to scrape a little off the waffle iron and taste it. I thought maybe I could feed us a pile of waffle crumbles and it would all be fine.

I tasted it and it was not good, to put it mildly. I had my kid taste it. Please know that this kid will eat anything. He has literally ordered an octopus tentacle at a restaurant and ate it up yum. But my waffle tidbits? He put a piece in his mouth and SPIT IT OUT. Wouldn’t even swallow it. He said that now he knew how sponges were made. As I write this, I can still hear him retching from the other room.

Freaking waste-of-my-time stupid gluten-free waffles. I didn’t know it was possible to hate a baked good.

Food fight

My kids are into this thing where they make up their own snack/breakfast/meal/etc. and then get somebody to judge which of their creations is better. I am usually that judge. Most of the time it’s okay. Nothing too crazy — toast sticks dipped in buffalo sauce, double stackers (honey and peanut butter sandwich on a pita, warmed up in the microwave and topped with powdered sugar), etc.

But this weekend it was different. I was forced to taste the most disgusting “food” on the face of the earth. It was so bad, I couldn’t even lie and tell them it was kind of good. I literally spit it out in the sink and screamed, “This is the most foul thing I have ever tasted in my life.”

What was it? Three words: Popcorn. Nutmeg. Cayenne pepper.

An abomination.

My other kid’s creation was called a “Uranus ball” (pronounced exactly how you think it’s pronounced). It was a ball made of rubber bands floating in a mug full of water.

I think they’re trying to poison me.

There is a such thing as a free lunch

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch. I ordered half a club sandwich with a side of greens. What I didn’t order was this:

What does this have to do with lunch? Let me tell you:

I was eating my lunch without a care in the world and finally came to the last remaining lettuce leaf of my salad. I ate it, chewing, talking, laughing, having a grand old time, when I happened to look down on my plate.

That’s when I saw it: A dead yet fully intact lady bug on my plate with salad dressing on top of it.

At first I was shocked. I thought, “This can’t be right. Maybe I’m just not reading the situation correctly? Maybe there’s some kind of explanation for this that makes everything totally normal?”

But then I realized, no, there’s is no other way to read this situation. I said aloud to my friend, “There’s a LADYBUG on my plate!!!” She looked over, saw said ladybug, and honestly, I can’t even remember what she said because I was so stunned. And nauseous.

The only thing I did remember her saying was, “Well, if I had to find a bug on my plate, I guess a ladybug would be the one to find.”

To which I replied, “Yes, I suppose it’s like finding a puppy,” which makes no sense whatsoever but at the time I was mostly concentrating on trying not to puke so being able to get words out was just a bonus. I then added, “Yeah, what if it was a centipede?” which made me even more nauseous and I decided I needed to be done speaking of this.

Needless to say, the server was shocked and very apologetic. He wouldn’t let me pay for lunch. The hostess said she hoped I would still come back. I said I would, but all I could think about was how I needed to disinfect my tongue with a Wet Wipe ASAP.

Mail order

 

angry cat

I’m getting to a point in my life where if I don’t write something down, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. Who am I kidding — I’ve reached that point as of today.

I paid some bills this morning and needed to mail them out. I had some errands to run, so there’s a mailbox near my house that I drop stuff into when I’m out and about. I grabbed the bills on my way out intending to mail them on my way to Bed, Bath & Beyond (where I had to purchase a nonstick skillet since I recently threw all mine away since they’re supposedly toxic, but then when I tried to cook anything in my new stainless steel pans everything sticks like a nightmare so I had to go buy nonstick again and have no choice but to continue to poison us all slowly through the years).

So I turn onto the street and…drive right by the mailbox without mailing my stuff.

I was annoyed.

I ran my errands, determined that on the way home I’d mail the bills. When I was finished with my last errand, I even forced myself to hold the envelopes while I was driving so that I wouldn’t forget. I mean, they were RIGHT IN MY HAND and it was annoying to drive like that and the entire time I kept thinking about how uncomfortable I was but damn it I wasn’t going to forget again.

So I’m getting closer to the mailbox. I turn onto the street. I start thinking about how I need to take a class on how to make pies. It’s hard for me to make pie dough and I start to wonder if I should make an apple pie today, even though it’s not really apple season, but who cares because who doesn’t like an apple pie ANY time of the year?

And then I drive right past the stupid mailbox. Bills in hand.

I literally scream, “What the f*%& is wrong with you?!?” to myself inside my car.

It’s ridiculous. I just need to FOCUS. And not on pies.

 

Sex ed and lasagna: It was a busy Monday

Last night I had to go to my kid’s school to learn all about an assembly he’s having next week entitled, “Growth and Development Lecture,” a.k.a. let’s talk about puberty. I literally can’t even go into it. It was that traumatizing. So instead I’ll focus on the lasagna I made for dinner.

The meeting was scheduled for 6 pm, which meant that I had to have dinner in the oven before I left. There are a few steps to actually baking the lasagna, so I decided to make a handy flow chart for my husband so he would know what to do while I was at the meeting:

flow chart

I even had him look it over while I was still at home to ensure that he knew exactly what he was doing.

So I’m sitting in this meeting learning about the appropriate time to start wearing a jock strap when I get the following text: “Made an executive decision to remove the foil at 6:35.”

I ignore it. I have made a flow chart so that HE DOES NOT HAVE TO MAKE EXECUTIVE DECISIONS.

A few minutes later I receive the text “Disaster, still not bubbling” along with a video of the lasagna actually cooking in the oven. I’m assuming he did this to prove to me that there was, in fact, no bubbling going on.

Honestly, I did not need this. I had a lot on my plate at that moment and it involved being prepared to answer questions like, “Help, I think I’m growing breasts even though I’m a boy. Is that normal?” and God help me I HAVE NO FREAKING CLUE what the answer to questions like that are.

Anyway, I got home to find that the lasagna was fine. My husband had the audacity to ask me how it tasted like HE was the one who made it when all he did was take it out of the oven. It was a very rough two hours.

 

 

 

Sowing my wild oats

Not my oatmeal.

 

I’ve had a very trying 24 hours. You see, lately I’ve had an obsession with oatmeal – cooking it, eating it, accessorizing it with fruits and sugars and all sorts of things. I found a recipe for “overnight oats” on the internet. You put oatmeal in a slow cooker with all sorts of stuff, set it to low, and in the morning you’re supposed to have hot, delicious oatmeal with zero effort.

There were only two problems:

1. You can’t overcook it — seven hours is the max, otherwise it will burn.

2. I am crazy.

These problems played out like so: I wake up around 7 am, so I’d have to put the oatmeal in the slow cooker around midnight. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen, yet I found myself at 11:30 pm running around the house like a maniac mixing up oatmeal and almond milk and diced apples and brown sugar. I literally could not go to bed until I accomplished this. I HAD to make this oatmeal.

The whole point of overnight oatmeal is to make things easier in the morning and less stressful. The opposite happened for me. I woke up probably 11 times in the middle of the night insanely worried that the slow cooker would catch on fire and burn the house to the ground. I laid there in bed debating whether the oatmeal was cooked through enough for me to run downstairs and shut off the slow cooker at 2 am. Then 3 am. Then 4:30 am. The slow cooker became my albatross.

Anyway, I ran downstairs around 7 am and turned it off to find perfectly cooked oatmeal waiting for me. I was so psyched. I showered and got ready and bragged to my kid about how amazing this breakfast was going to be. I spooned some out and he tried it. And said, “I think I’ll have something else.”

What?!? After all that work and worry?

Then I tried it. Apparently using 1-minute quick-cook oats is not the same as using regular old oats. The oatmeal I had slow cooked all night long was basically slop. With apples chunks.

It was awful. I was horrified and completely beaten down. Overnight oats, you are my nemesis. You’ve messed with me for the last time.

 

It’s the most dangerous time of the year

Halloween has come and gone. The kids are back at school. Their overflowing bags of Halloween candy are not. They are sitting here all day, with me, in the house. And that’s a dangerous combination.

This is something how it goes in my brain:

Oh! Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! My favorite! I’ll just have one. OMG, that was amazing. It can’t hurt to have one more. I mean, they’re SNACK size. And this is my snack.

(Two hours later) It’s been two whole hours and I haven’t had any more peanut butter cups. Go me! I think I’ll reward myself with another one.

(Later that night) ONE more peanut butter cup surely won’t make a difference. I’ll just grab one more teensy weeny one. (Desperately rummaging through the bag) Oh no! There are no more. Let me attack Kid #2’s bag. He’ll never know. (Finding one) Victory is mine!

(The next day) No more peanut butter cups. I guess I’ll move on to Mounds.

(Later that day) No more Mounds. I guess I’ll move onto Snickers. What the heck? Fun-size Snickers are now BITE size Snickers?!? That’s crazy. I need to eat at least three to equal the old Fun Size.

(The next day) Ugh. I guess I have no other choice but to eat a stupid Nestle Crunch. It’ll do in a pinch.

(By the end of the week) I HATE these Tootsie Rolls. But I’ve eaten everything else. Ugh. I’ll hate every bite. But I have to do it because my body needs candy. Going. Through. Withdrawal.

I think somebody needs to offer me that Switch Witch thing. I might trade all my kids’ candy for a sweater or something. Maybe.

 

 

Just desserts

I’ve been MIA lately because I’ve been traveling abroad. I went to Germany, and I could have just said that, but I prefer “traveling abroad” because it makes me feel like I’m living in a 19th century novel.

My husband and I were lucky enough to visit Munich and then Heidelberg. It was super duper fun. What stuck out to me most during our adventure? The castles? The culture? The history?

The desserts.

Germany is not fooling around when it comes to desserts. We went to a restaurant that served, get this, a pre-dessert, a dessert, and THEN A POST-DESSERT.

What?!? Yup, you heard me right. THREE desserts, all at the end of one meal. It was spectacular. Amazing. Mind blowing. I don’t have a photo of the pre-dessert because I was so flustered I just ate it without documenting it. FYI, it was sorbet with some kind of cheese and some other stuff.

But I did have enough sense to photograph my main dessert:

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That white blob is an ice-cream-like concoction that’s frozen even colder than ice cream is. And the fruit, well, I have no idea what that was, but it was good.

 

And my husband’s:

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A chocolate mousse-like-thingie with burnt caramel on top.

AND the post-dessert:

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That macaroon on the bottom has gold on it. GOLD. Unfortunately, gold is pretty much tasteless.

And on top of all that, I had BREAKFAST DESSERT and LUNCH DESSERT. How insane is that?

I love the Europeans.

A heart full of gnocchi

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary. We went to one of our favorite restaurants and literally ate the BEST thing we’ve ever eaten. THIS:

gnocchi2

More specifically, crispy potato gnocchi in a four-cheese fondue sauce with burgundy truffle. It was so utterly amazing that the following things happened:

1. My husband and I unanimously agreed that this meal needed to be blogged about.

2. Our server asked me if I liked the gnocchi and I screamed, “OMG! It’s so amazing I’m taking a picture of it!” and afterwards I felt embarrassed.

3. My husband and I both sat there in silence, eyes closed, chewing our gnocchi so as to not be distracted by our other senses.

4. We decided that the gnocchi was a study in contrasts. First, we decided it was both heavy and light. Then we agreed it was simple yet complex. Then we started throwing things out there like, “It’s pretty AND ugly! Good AND evil! IT’S EVERYTHING OPPOSITE!!”

5. We stopped talking and ate some more with our eyes closed.

It’s been 13 years, and I swear we haven’t aged a day:

A AND M