Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

uber comfort food

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen on March 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

Not to name any names, but SOMEONE posted a pic on Facebook a few weeks ago of a the lunch he had just made up for himself — a spaghetti and meatball grilled cheese sandwich. My kids saw the picture, and having been reminded of the idea that SOMEONE ELSE (again, not naming any names) had planted in their heads months before of the same sandwich, they wanted that sandwich. And look mom, we just happen to have leftover spaghetti and meatballs in the fridge.

How convenient.

I know, I know, pasta on bread. Carbs on carbs. Crazy isn’t it? Crazy good, I say.

This is not the kind of meal one should have every day, or every week, or even every month. But oh my, what a cozy comfort on a plate.


Spaghetti and Meatball Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices sandwich bread (no high fiber, 800-grain stuff here, we’re talking white bread, ’nuff said)

mayonnaise (and not Miracle Whip — what the hell is that, anyway?)

leftover spaghetti and meatballs, roughly chopped, and warmed up

one slice cheese (provolone, mozzarella, havarti all work well)


Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread mayonnaise on one slice of bread, place bread mayo-side down in the skillet. Carefully spoon spaghetti mixture onto the bread in the skillet. Place cheese slice on top of spaghetti. Spread mayonnaise on other slice of bread. Carefully place bread on top of cheese, mayo-side up. Once bottom slice has browned nicely (peek by lifting an edge with your spatula), flip the sandwich and cook until the other side is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve with a healthy dose of veggies to assuage any feelings of remorse.


*Note: Some of the spaghetti will fall into the skillet, perhaps with a bit of melty cheese attached. That’s okay. That’s a cook’s treat. And if you don’t know what that means, you need to cook more.


a brownie rant

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen, On My Mind on January 11, 2011 at 9:01 pm

As I sit in my living room, exhausted from dealing with boatloads of children after a 12:40pm early dismissal in anticipation of snow that is just now beginning to fall at 8:30pm, I have a burning question.

Who the hell are these people who wait for a pan of brownies to be completely cool before slicing into them so they can get nice tidy lines?

I mean really. They are brownies, people.


They’re the kind of dessert that some people (not me, of course, never me) might put cannabinoid substances into. They’re not meant to be fussy. They are meant to be eaten straight out of the pan when they are just cool enough so you don’t scorch the roof of your mouth. They do not need a plate. They do not even need a napkin. Sleek straight lines? Save ’em for foo foo French pastries.

You know, you people with your straight edge brownies, whoever you are, I’m just not so sure I trust you. Are you just uptight, or are trying to hide something?

You’re probably skinny too.

Which means I really don’t trust you.

I’ll take my chocolatey gooey goodness with messy crumbly edges. You straight edge people, you just move along. Nothing to see here but a nearly empty pan of brownies.


The Santa Claus Conspiracy

In Family, friends, On My Mind on November 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I’m kind of a Grinch when it comes to all this Santa Claus business. I have never brought my children to take pictures on Santa’s lap because I think it is mostly cruel — all those toddlers crying on the laps of men in red faux-velvet. I mean, I’m surprised that any of my friends would even bother asking me if I want to bring my kids to a breakfast with Santa, which is exactly what happened today.

Barf. Kill me now. (Sorry Ana, I love you anyway.)

Here’s the thing. I HATE lying to kids. I hated when I was lied to as a kid, and I guess that stuck. Whenever a kid asks me a question, I want to give an honest answer. This is proving less and less comfortable a position as my daughter draws ever closer to puberty and has already asked quite pointed questions about how her baby brother got in my belly, but still.

Santa Claus? Really? It’s not even one little lie. Cuz once you get started, you just get more and more entrenched in falsehoods. Kids are curious. They want to know things like: Does Santa take a vacation? How did Santa get so fat? Does Santa bring gifts to Jewish kids? But we don’t have a fireplace. How is Santa going to get in the house?

This last question is the one I’m waiting to come up. Last year, we lived in a house with a fireplace. The house we moved into this year? Nope. No fireplace. Not even a decorative one with resin logs and little blue propane flames. I suppose we could tell them he’ll get in through the furnace chimney, but I don’t really want to hang stockings on the oil tank in our basement.

When I was little I had a book about Silver Spurs, the tiniest elf, who could fit into key holes of homes with no chimneys. It even came with a little 45 (that’s a disc-shaped musical recording that was played on something called a turntable for any of  you out there who don’t recognize such an anachronistic term) with Silver Spurs’ theme song.

Lies. All lies. No wonder my life is so wretched.

Now we’ve got The Polar Express and the cult logic of “you only hear the bell ringing if you really believe in Santa Claus”. Right.

I try to tell my kids that Santa Claus is about magic. That Santa Claus is about being generous. That Santa Claus is a legend to remind us that even in the bleakest darkest night there is still hope to be found. And that part is the truth. That is a lesson I want my kids to learn. So if I have to pretend that there’s some guy in the Arctic circle making toys to be delivered in a manic rush on Christmas Eve to teach that lesson, I guess I’m okay with that.


let’s see if this will work

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen, In Other Words, On My Mind, Writing on November 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

I love how my friends can ask me these simple little questions and suddenly I can think more clearly.

“Well, what do you want?” says friend.

“Hunh,” says I.

I write a list, because I’m a list maker. What do I want? What do I want to do? What do I actually want to accomplish in any given week? See, I hadn’t actually given that question much thought in the last year or so. Here’s the list.

-1-2 blog entries

-3 hours writing fiction/poetry

-8-12 hours working (for money!)

-workout 3-4 times

Not a huge list, but I have not been protecting my time to do these things I want to do. It seems doable, even with all the stuff I don’t really want to do but must do (mountains and mountains and mountains of laundry come to mind), and all the stuff I want to do and must do (cooking, loving on the babies). Ok, let’s give this a go.

tending the wild woman

In friends, In Other Words, Writing on November 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm

My friend Heather recently made a remark that reminded me of a book I read in college, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I had came across the book in my work study job, cataloging the entire library collection of the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women. The title intrigued me. Even the author’s name was interesting.

I was a biology major working in the home of the women’s studies department. I never took a women’s studies class. I had only a cursory knowledge of the history of feminism. But I read this book. Devoured it really. It served as a pivotal text for me, giving me a primal understanding of the wildness I saw in myself. It put into perspective the Wild Women’s place in the world and my life.

The Wild Woman part of me has faded since then. She’s been packed away with marriage and kids and mortgages and jobs (nothing like working in Washington, DC to shush the Wild Woman). But she’s been there, and she’s ready for a little more attention.

I see the Wild Woman in all of my girlfriends. That’s probably why I love them so fiercely. I don’t see her in all women. Some women are so meek I don’t seem to have much patience with them, and that may be why.

Heather is good at reminding me to embrace the wildness. She’d been running with coyotes — literally — in the trails of Park City, Utah, and wondered aloud why women are often compared to wild things like coyotes in a derogatory way. I recommended she read Estes. Her husband Chris got a little worried when he saw the book on her nightstand. But our husbands already know that we are not to be tamed. And whether they admit it or not, they are completely smitten with our wildness and wouldn’t have us any other way.

I started reading the book again myself, and I’ve been thinking about wildness and womanliness and what it is I want to do with this life of mine, including this here little blog. It’s a work in progress of course, but one thing I know I want to do is honor the Wild Woman. I want to protect her from the demands of soccer momness. I want to give her space and freedom to write and create without worrying about critical eyes and clucking tongues.

So you’ll see some changes around here — a new look, a streamlined list of links, some wild words. Stick around if you dare.

girlie food for one or more

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen, On My Mind on October 10, 2010 at 9:11 am

Last weekend my friend made a lovely potato florentine soup with cheddar thyme biscotti. Both of our hubbies were out of town, and we were having a moms-and-kids weekend. We decided we deserved some girlie food*. Friday night there was more girlie food and girlfriends, smoked salmon with chive cream cheese on crackers, and apple cinnamon cheddar quiche.

Ever since the temperatures have dropped and I picked up an early crop butternut squash, I’ve been wanting to make another dish on the girlie side. It’s great for a side for roasted pork or poultry, but I like it as an entree, preferably served on top of quinoa or brown rice and next to sauteed greens. I made it last night while I had the oven going for cornbread. I gave everyone a taste (and told the big kids they couldn’t watch a movie unless they tried it), but the rest will be mine all mine for my solo girlie lunch later in the week.

*If hard-pressed to define, I’d say girlie food is less meat-centric and more on the snacky-appetizery side of what our hubbies prefer to eat, even though they’d certainly agree the girlie victuals were delish.


Lentils with Butternut Squash and Walnuts

(from Gourmet January 1999 via epicurious.com)

1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup lentils
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
fresh lime juice to taste (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°F.Halve, peel, and seed squash and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Finely chop shallot and in a shallow baking pan toss with squash, oil, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste until combined well. Bake squash mixture in middle of oven until almost tender, about 15 minutes.Chop walnuts and sprinkle over squash. Bake squash mixture 10 minutes more, or until walnuts are lightly toasted and squash is tender.While squash is baking, in a saucepan of boiling water cook lentils until just tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils in a sieve and transfer to a bowl.To lentils add squash mixture, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste and toss until combined well.
Note: I think I’ve followed this recipe faithfully only once. I’ve subbed sweet potato for the squash, pecans for the walnuts, and chives for the cilantro. I’m sure another bean instead of the lentils would be good too.

In Family, friends, On My Mind on September 29, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Outside it’s dreary and wet, and I’m glad to stay in, alone with my baby and his propensity for show-stopping diaper changes.

Staying home in the rain is good for soul searching. Staying home in the rain is good for pondering this mixed bag that is life.

And a mixed bag it’s certainly been this year. I keep repeating to myself and anyone who will listen, “I had a baby. We moved. My dad died,” as if this mantra will help me make sense of emotional upheaval. Such simple little words with so much wrapped up into them. “I had a baby. We moved. My dad died.”

It’s bittersweet, this mixed bag. And I keep thinking there must be some lesson it. There’s got to be a lesson it, right?

This I know is true. I keep going. Slowly, perhaps. In a haze, often. Some days it’s treacherous and heartbreaking. Others it’s golden and euphoric. And most days it just is.

goofy dance

In Family, friends, On My Mind on September 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Lately I’ve had this feeling. It’s a good kind of feeling to be sure. I suppose it’s coming because I’m getting more rest now than I have for the better part of a year, or because I’m feeling more like an interesting person and less like a food source, or because I feel my post-partum bod getting stronger, or because cooler weather means I get to hang out on my fabulous deck, or because there are so many awesome people in my life I want to spend time with that I’m having trouble fitting them all on my calendar, or because it was a rough summer and I’m ready to plan some fun.

This feeling that I get when Madeleine lunges after a soccer ball protecting her team’s goal, or when Dax sits with a paper and pen intent on writing letters correctly, or when Richard gets a picture hung on the wall without me asking him to get it done, or when Jean-Paul shoots me a slobbery grin, or when I think about making gumbo soon — it’s like I need to do a happy dance.

I really do feel like dancing sometimes. Just because it feels good. Just because I’m happy.

I haven’t actually started dancing when this feeling comes on, but next time I think I will. I know, I’m goofy. But if you’re one of those awesome people I’m getting onto the calendar, you know I’m a goof. And I think you love me anyway. Or maybe you love me because I’m a goof.

So if you see me dancing around like the goof that I am, you’ll know why. And maybe you’ll even join me.


In Family, friends, On My Mind on June 24, 2010 at 9:22 pm

It’s been a little crazy here this week. We are finally moving into our new home tomorrow.

Thanks to our wild and wacky dear friends for turning over a lovely home to our care before heading out to the wild and wacky West. I will try not to hold it against you that we don’t get to keep the cat.

And you better come back and see us.

things to look forward to:

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen, In Other Words, On My Mind, Uncategorized, Writing on June 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

-new home

-being done with packing!

-being done with unpacking!

-smiles and new antics from Mr. Chunky Thighs

-date night with hubby (dare to dream)

-a vacation? maybe?

-poolside dinners with fabulous friends

-visiting J and her chickens

-visiting H and her mountains

-reading a book (woeful, woeful state of affairs currently)

-a summer free of soccer practice and dance class

-making cheese

-digging in the dirt

-getting over this ridiculous cold

-catching fireflies with M and D



-new blogging adventures…stay tuned!