Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dinner party

We are hosting a dinner party tonight! I am subbing in for my mother-in-law this Thursday since she is out of town.  I therefore threw caution to the wind so to speak and bought a few extra items for the occasion namely a pan of lasagna to feed everyone in the event that my planned meal (which ill-advised I am cooking for the very first time) is no good.  Some times I am a planner and in this instance I am.   Primarily because I invited a bunch of family members over to eat dinner and celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday so I kinda have to feed them and I sometimes mess up new recipes!  I also bought all the stuff I needed to make Spicy Fettuccini with Shrimp:  some shrimp and whipping cream!  We also stocked up on produce. Anyhow, if the recipe is any good I shall share it tomorrow.  Sidenote:  Orchard Markets has shrimp on sale this week so head there for your seafood needs! Also Orchard Markets has been a sponsor of Brainy Day 5K (the race the I founded and direct) since its inception so that is another great reason to shop there!  Their service is also second-to-none!

Enough with the boring housekeeping stuff, onto my running story from this morning's jaunt!  First of all, I am doing myself no favors running in weather like today I can fully admit that.   When I am so desperately trying to prove my sanity is intact, running in conditions like today probably doesn't help me out. But Mother Nature isn't exactly helping me out any either.  Seriously, it is going to snow more tonight!  Up until the chickens went on laying strike, it took me an hour and a half to take the trash out and haul wood to our home, and my incident running this morning I was enjoying winter and I didn't complain one bit!  But I got really mad about this one although I suppose had it been ninety degrees and sunny it still would have sucked just as bad.  I had to take a five minute Mommy Time Out before I could even put pen to paper. That's how mad it made me.

Here is how it all went down.  I took off setting new land speed records on my mission to reach the summit of the bridge that connects Spring Lake to Grand Haven.  I was having a jolly time of it too and made it to my turn around in forty minutes which given the weather conditions at the time (basically totally insane: 20 degrees, windchill below zero and lots of wind and blowing snow to name a few) was pretty damn good.  I was happy. 

Yes I also thought I had finally mastered the use of the neck warmer thingamajiggy (you need to turn it about a quarter turn every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent frozen in the shape of your face situations and you should take a couple minutes to breathe fresh air when you do so to avoid feelings of claustrophobia or light headedness both of which I had experienced while trying to figure out the best way to use the contraption) so I was happy, maybe even giddy as I ran along. 

Anyhow, I headed back to the aquatic center and was about a mile into my return trip when it happened.   I was just trotting along minding my own business when I saw a dark SUV slowing down considerably to pass me and I thought to myself, "Isn't that nice that they are being so careful around runners" and before the thought even left my mind, it was quickly replaced by a few choice swear words (that shall remain inside my head as I try to keep this as G rated as possible) because they totally driveby smoked me (and so soon after I joked about it too). It was a couple, dirty douche bag men, not a nasty chainsmoking whore, but the effect was the same.  I was nearly choked by the dirty, nasty, carcinogenic gases that were blown from their vehicle.  As I fought to clear my lungs of the toxic fumes that had just been rudely blown into my face, I noticed one of them throw their cigarette butt out the window which pissed me off even more.  If there is one thing I hate more than driveby smoke incidents, it's people who throw their cigarettes out the window! Ever heard of an ashtray idiot!  Had I not been so disoriented by my current state of affairs, I totally would have taken note of their license plate and reported them to the proper authorities.  Seriously they deserve some tickets.  It nearly knocked me out, as I had already been struggling to keep my breathing regular with the head wind I was experiencing and then they went and blew their skank a** air in my face. 

Once I regained my composure, I spent the next half mile or so analyzing the incident.  I imagine that they saw me running and thought something along the lines of, "man that's one crazy person out there running in this shit. Who does that? ... Aren't these cigarettes delicious? Let's share them with the runner!"  Well I might be slightly crazy, but at least I am not likely to die from lung cancer.  I doubt they can say the same.  So that is the end of the story. The rest of my run was uneventful, but if you can't tell I am still mad about this incident so if you are a smoker please don't blow your exhaust out your window as you pass runners, or bikers, or any other human being, or animal, or other lifeform because we all know "second hand smoke kills".

Vern Out

Quick, hide the rice

Okay since the fridge was so empty after my massive cleaning the other day and the cupboards are not looking so hot at this point in time either due to my very intentional pantry inventory reduction program, I had to get creative last night with supper.  The only leftover item in my refrigerator (other than milk, eggs and bread) was about a cup and a half of a rice mix that was not so popular the first time around; There were a lot of "gross" and "Yuck, I don't like this" kind of comments when I served it the first time.  So my goal for the evening's meal quickly became to hide the rice in order to trick my family into eating it a second time!   I think I did alright with the challenge.  Here's the new recipe affectionately named... 

 Hide the rice casserole
(I told the kids they were enchilladas so as not to tip them off to my sneaky ways)

1.5 cups of leftover rice that you trying to use up
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can Campbells Nacho Cheese Soup
1/2 pound of ground venison (or beef if that's what you have in your freezer) seasoned with a dash each of taco seasoning and cumin
8 wholewheat tortilla wraps (I like Santa Fe Tortilla Factory brand. You can get them on the cheap at Sam's Club)

Mix all this together and stuff it inside wholewheat tortillas.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until warm.  Serve with guacamole, sour cream and salsa  or your other favorite, non-expired, condiments and ENJOY!

Rave  reviews:  this new recipe received 5 out of a possible 5 stars from all 5 family members.  It's a keeper!  I got rid of the rice without my family becoming suspicious or having to feed it to the chickens. And most importantly, before I  had to worry about bacteria counts or if it was too old.  I count this as a HUGE victory!

I need to get Campbells and Santa Fe Tortilla Factory on board with advertising any marketing people out there know how to approach that idea!?

Vern Out

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's voting day people!

Okay so many times your vote doesn't really make a difference and voting can become frustrating and discouraging.  I have been there and I understand your feelings about voting.  I truly feel your pain...Don't even get me started on the democratic process; I could ramble on about that for hours.  But you are about to have a very empowering voting experience!  I promise.  If you vote, I guarantee you it will count! It will make a difference and it will be a cool story to tell your kids and your grandkids because I totally plan to become famous and then someday you will able to say "I voted on the name of her famous blog back when it was a no-name, second rate, production".  You will continue with something along the lines of  "Yes, kids I voted for it back before the Today's Show and Ellen even knew it exists And by the way it was a crazy blizzard out and I had to walk both ways up hill in order to vote.".  And you will feel really cool that you were involved before I got all famous. SO VOTE!  I am looking to rename this blog since "Live Simply" is pretty bland and I am anything but bland.  The choices listed below are a few I came up with, but feel free to do the write in approach as well! 

Voting Rules:  You will need to leave a comment in order to vote either on here or on facebook.  You can only vote once (although I honestly am not all that technically savvy so if you vote multiple times in a sneaky way I probably won't figure it out) and you have to vote by February 1st because I plan to annouce the winning name at half time of the Super Bowl Game (on the big stage you know) and that will give me time to manually count the hundreds of votes before game time!  Here are the options.

1.  Crazy or Not, Here I Come!

2.  What's Between My Ears

3.  Constantine's Craze

4.  The Space Between my Ears

5.  _________________________________write in ballot

Happy Voting!  I wish I could give you all the cool stickers that say "I voted" but that would get logistically difficult given my lack of knowledge about and access to modern technology and the current weather conditions outside my window wouldn't help either so you will have to make your own! Get to work!

Meanwhile on the FOOD FRONT...
We had leftovers for dinner which was fantastic because I didnt break any rules or steal a single food item in order to feed my family.   Brilliant!  And as a bonus everyone had a fairly nutritional meal and left the table with full bellies. The one uncool part of this is that now I have to figure something out to feed the family tonight and the fridge is empty, the cupboards are getting pretty bare and the freezer is getting low too.  Anyhow, after dinner I decided to keep my cleaning momentum going and I cleaned out our fridge. It was... interesting.   The disturbing part of last night's story (because there is always something disturbing or shocking going on in my life) is that I sorted through all the random bottles of opened sauces and dressings in the fridge.  I found that while the aforementioned ranch dressing was the worst violator of the traditional expiration date system (highly regarded by society as an effective means of avoiding accidental poisonings of family members or guests) there were several other bottles that were serious violators:  Italian Dressing-Expiration Date of June 2012, Ceasar Dressing Expiration date of March 2013, Poppyseed Dressing Expiration Date of February 2013 and Raspberry Syrup Expiration of February 2011 (this raspberry syrup came in a close second to the infamous ranch dressing losing out by just 1 month in the expiration day olympics!)  Now there's some cheap entertainment!

PS I found a partially used case of ramen noodles in the basement food storage area while cleaning yesterday (it is not expired either in case you were concerned) so my kids had them for lunch yesterday and Kara has them packed in her thermos for lunch today.  I think it's safe to say, there will be a lot of ramen noodle consumption in the coming days.

Anyhow, get out there and vote.  No on second thought, sit down and vote! 

Vern out

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

But wait there's more

Just when I thought I was done cheating in the words of Brittany "Oops I did it again".  I went shopping and bought a few extra things; I got some eggs, icecream and cream cheese.  Not too bad, but definitely still cheating.  I also stole. Just a couple cheese sticks from my in-law's refrigerator, but I didnt ask first so it's technically still stealing.  So I totally owe them some cheese sticks when this little challenge is over.  I will just think of it as a loan.  A two cheese stick loan!
The in-laws are in Colorado skiing so I dont think they will miss them. And it was totally worth it because I turned them into my own caprese salad.  I realize that a string cheese stick is probably the very worst quality of mozzarella cheese you can find, but when you add fresh basil and tomato to it the result is heavenly. 

The eggs were on sale for 77 cents this week at my local grocery store and while I love my chickens they are worthless during this arctic blast.  If it gets too cold, chickens totally go on egg laying strike and they've been striking for awhile now. I wish there was a chicken union and I could prevent this uprising, but alas there is none and I am stuck living without eggs or cheating.  I decided to cheat.

I bought the cream cheese to use in various recipes.  You know the ones that are just so much better with it than without and because it was on sale and this girl loves a good deal!

Explanation as to why anyone in their right mind would buy icecream amid this current weather situation will be a little more difficult to explain, but I shall try.  You see when Jeff and I got married we had a three prong approach to marriage.  Yes our marriage was built upon three simple principles; they involve television useage, icecream consumption and our sex life. We would never pay for television. Not never.  We would always have a lot of sex (and only with each other) and we would remain faithful to our share loved for icecream.  When we took our vows nearly ten years ago now, we promised to do these things for better or worse.  So I bought the icecream in order to preserve our marriage as we were nearly out of it and even if it's 30 below windchill you can bet we will be snuggled up eating icecream a couple nights a week! 

The final tidbit I must share is that my ironing lesson got rescheduled due to the bitter cold for Friday when it's supposed to be a balmy 17 so I am still ignorant with the iron. In an attempt to be a good wife and prove more convincingly that I am not trying to murder my husband, I did clean our van this afternoon because Jeff is borrowing it tomorrow to drive a bunch of his coworkes to a training conference.  The funny part of this story is that I had to wear my mad bomber hat because it was so stinking cold in our garage and I forgot I had it on until the kids said "mom why are you wearing that funny hat in the house".   I had been back inside for a couple hours at that point in time, but I had been too busy cleaning house to notice the hat atop my head.  You know since I am such a good housewife I am always busy cleaning something.  I am still looking forward to my rescheduled training session friday to help me fine tune my domestic skills.  i realize there is always room for improvement!

Vern Out

Confessions and I am not Catholic!

Okay perhaps all this cold weather is getting to me more than I realized because today I have some "beans to spill" or some "dirt to share" with everyone.  These confessionals are brought to you by Charmin and Fiber One. 

(Imagine relaxing music playing while a cute bear dances with toilet paper and a granola bar in his hands for a couple minutes) Music fades out and the screen goes black).

First of all, I actually cheated more than I originally admitted last week. I just forgot.  I know that sounds kinda crazy, but I forget things a lot.  This forgetfullness does not mean I am crazy, just absent-minded.  I blame my faulty brain, but my husband argues that I have just always been this way. (side note I had emergency brain surgery to treat hydrocephalus a chronic brain condition in 2007 so that is why I often refer to my brain as faulty.  Unfortunately, you dont get any exchange or refund for faulty brains).   Back to the story. You know it was the day I was shopping at Sam's Club to get my thyroid pills?... so I wouldn't die?  Yep that day. I cheated more that day.  I also bought Fiber One bars and some soups (cream of whatever ones) for preparing meals.  Both items were on sale at Meijer (so yes I cheated... at two stores... during my "moment" of weakness)  I guess it was more like a morning of weakness as opposed to just a moment of it.  I am sorry.  The Fiber One bars were plain and simply an attempt to eat healthier in the morning.  The soups are to help prepare recipes that call for cream of "____" soups.   In my defense, I forgot about buying these additional items (you know because of my faulty brain) until I saw the granola bars in the pantry this morning or I would have confessed this last week with the rest of my cheating ways.

Oh and now that we might be expanding our saving ways to other areas, Jeff has declared that I use too much toilet paper. WTF?  I feel like this is completely unfair.  First of all, that is a very personal area to  attack. Secondly, I have not been able to go to the bathroom in peace since we had kids nearly eight years ago...Now I have to add to my already challenging bathroom experience the worry that I might use too much paper.  I call shenanigins.  When is the last time a child followed him into the bathroom? Or pounded on the bathroom door like a bounty hunter, hot on his tail as Jeff tried to go potty? NEVER.  That's when.  And furthermore,  no one ever hollers for him to wipe their butt during meal time?  They always holler for MOMMY.  So I will use as much toilet paper as I deem necessary to wipe all of our a**es and he can kiss mine.  End of story.  This is why Charmin was a sponsor today people because of this little episode. It inspired the makers of Charmin!

Oh and I am finally getting my ironing lessons this morning from Jeff's Grandma.  (Yes I realize this has nothing to do with the shopping challenge, but I have to share).  I know it sounds all 1940s and sometimes I feel like Jeff may have been born in the wrong decade (or century) because he is so "old fashioned".  Anyhow, I grew up in a home where ironing was performed for two reasons funerals and Easter.  That was it.  Back then I was too young to operate the iron so I watched my mom perform this foreign process from a safe observation distance. And my mom was a bit overprotective in the ironing department. I guess she was convinced I was going to permanently disfigure my beautiful face by touching it or something.  She would let us kids play outside in a barnyard (that had a stream running through it mind you and all kinds of dangerous farm implements and  lots of boards with old rusty nails in them and...)You get the idea it was unsafe.  But we would play out there for hours unsupervised, but if we got within 10 feet of that iron she would put a stop to that right away.  This is my entire life's experience with ironing.  Then I went and married Jeff and he erroneously believes that all women have this inherent ability to iron sh*t.  I do not and honestly I don't think most women do nowadays.  So this morning his Grandma has agreed to try to teach me! It should be interesting.

Anyhow the other area I must confess about involves my housekeeping skills.  I fully admit I am not the best housekeeper.   But we have three young kids, a dog, a rabbit and two birds not to mention Jeff living here so all things considered I think I do okay.  Jeff and I don't really see eye-to-eye when it comes to housekeeping either.  He feels I should spend every waking hour cleaning our home and that it should always be spic 'n span (mental note pursue spic n span as a future commercial sponsor). This is especially true now that "all" I do is stay home with our three kids.  Yes I am just a good for nothing housewife.  Little does he know, the billing department has an invoice with his name on it that will be mailed at the end of this month (no I am not kidding.  It turns out I do more than he thinks I do)!  I see housecleaning as an area where I am totally willing to say "close enough" because someone is going to mess something up as soon as I finish cleaning it anways.  I think of housekeeping as a marathon and Jeff sees it as a sprint.  His Grandma has also graciously agreed to offer her housekeeping tips to me and all of this is free of charge!  WOW.

There I feel so much better after sharing all this. I guess the Catholics might be on to something here with this little confessional thing!

Anyhow we are going to the grocery store this morning after we go run at the aquatic center.  Hopefully I will stick to my list of approved items and I won't find another confessional necessary tomorrow!

Ver n Out

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Smiley face vegetable platters are the best

As promised, the photo of Kara's famous Vegetable Smiley Face Platter is finally here! 
It is a masterpiece and so is she!

Editor's Note our camera broke shortly after this photo was taken so if it's blurry, it is probably the quality of picture not your eyes!

Kara and the Happy Face Veggie Platter! It was the highlight of our meal that night...either that or the popcorn for our vegebetable. I guess it would be a tie maybe because popcorn for a vegetable is just too fun and yummy!

Last night I cooked a real meal!  I know it is unusual these days.  Jeff had to pick his jaw off the floor when he arrived home to a fresh, home-cooked meal. But I actually had everything I needed for a real, Cambell's recipe card, meal and I was in the cooking mood!  I splurged shopping too and bought Jeff a bag of chips and a box of stove top stuffing.  Wow, maybe I am crazy if that is splurging!  The chips are for his lunch as he nearly finished up the ones I gave him for Christmas and the stuffing was to make the recipe complete.  It calls for stuffing on top and I know Jeff prefers it with the stuffing although recently I have been making it without because we have been out of stuffing for months now.  More proof that I am not trying to kill him.  Would a wife trying to kill her husband, go out of the way and break the rules to make a meal "just the way he likes it?"  I think not! 
Vern Out

Friday, January 24, 2014

I am not trying to kill my husband (or any other member of my family)

My friend and I were talking the other day and she said, "I love your blog it is so funny".  I, of course, love to hear that people love to read my random thoughts and think I am funnny so I zoned out for a few minutes daydreaming of becoming the next Erma Bombeck or Jenny Lawson (If you are under 40 google Erma Bombeck, if you don't read blogs much google Jenny Lawson) 

Break for two to three minutes for googling homework assignment!

So you are with me now and smarter than you were a few minutes ago! Yeah!! Anyhow, how cool would that be to have my own column in a newspaper where my thoughts would actually be worth printing in ink!  I could maybe get a super cool travel van and paint it cool colors like GREEN and WHITE and tour around the country talking about my random thoughts.  It would be glorious!  With images of what I would do with the million dollar contract with the Detroit Free Press or the Chicago Tribune running through my mind, I suddenly realized I was missing the rest of my friend's comments. Anyhow, as I focused back into my friend's words she was saying, "that story where you tried to kill Jeff with the ranch dressing that was so FUNNY" and this made me realize that there might be people out there thinking that I am trying to off my husband and this is simply not the case.  I need to clear this misconception up before the police show up on my door step and I have a lot of explaining to do.

 I love him (with all my heart) even if I do occasionally "run" away for four or five hours at a time or accidentally poison him with spoiled food every now and then.  I really do.  So I just wanted to clarify that I am not trying to kill my husband (or any other member of my family) I am trying to save us money by using up the sh*t we have in our cupboards and freezers while keeping in mind whenever possible proper nutrition and the growth and development of our precious children.  Oh and save starving people somewhere.  You know if we waste less stuff, it might somehow save someone somewhere who would otherwise starve.  I am all kinds of a hero here, not some crazy lady trying to kill her husband.  Anywho. 

Now without going into a super long running story again,  because I dont want to be "that girl" who constantly talks about running.  Oh wait I already am.  Anyhow, I wanted to take a brief moment to share a picture from my outing this morning.  It was taken post-run and my girls are in it.  I love them too dearly.  They told me they were glad I ran outside so that I will be happier the rest of the day.  I think they understand mommy pretty well.  I suspect that comment was a direct result of our getting stuck in our driveway on our way to the work-out center...and my swearing at the van repeatedly as a result and then apologizing profusely during our drive.  Grandpa was our hero.  He helped get us unstuck. Oh and I also wanted to let people know in case their was an confusion about the neck warmer thingamajiggy, it only works well for the first 4 miles or maybe with limited winds because today it froze into a solid mold of the shape of my face.  It wasn't pretty. But I suppose it did still add some protection from frostbite and let's face it prevention of frostbite, hypothermia and other temperature related enigmas is really the goal of the neck warmer thingamajiggy so I guess it was technically successful.  Even if it was UGLY frozen in a likeness to my face.  I am frostbite free and proud to be!

Last night for dinner we ate, as we do on most Thursdays, at my in-laws.  I know, it's true, I do have the best in-laws in the entire world.  I defintely won the in-law lottery!  I love them too like a whole bunch.  So my family ended up with breaded pork chops or chicken breasts (yes they had choices), cheesy potatoes, jello, rolls and real bone-a-fide corn for their vegetable (or broccoli again they had choices).  We are blessed it's true.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa C. for the best meal this side of the freezer challenge.
 Vern Out

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Protecting snot and other bodily fluids

Okay at first glance I am sure this title is both grotesque and repulsive. On the surface, it likely seems completely unrelated to anything having to do with food consumption. It might even make those with weak stomachs nauseous or vomit (sorry if it did), but in a few moments it will make sense and maybe seem less gross.  Or maybe more gross; I guess I am not sure.  Let me know what you think by leaving a comment on here!

First, a little background information about yours truly. I do run a lot. I can own that.  And I pretty much run in all weather; it would take a serious typhoon to stop me. Or an earthquake, that might stop me too, but you get the idea.  So I run in horrible conditions, frequently enough, to have my husband label me (wrongly I might add) as crazy. Anyhow, I realize running is not for everyone.  Although honestly I don't get it when people say, "I just hate to run".  But that is another topic for another day.  The point to this is the best way I have found to stay committed to running (which is a healthy lifestyle choice not a symptom of insanity I might add) is to make plans and then follow them.  Simple. So yesterday I did.  I decided to run first thing this morning before the day got away from me. 

Of course you know what they say about the best laid plans.  When I awoke this morning our thermometer said it was 4 degrees out there, I really wanted to flush my plan down the toilet and sit by our fire and drink coffee... and eat something sinfully good.... and not run outside.  Yes 4 degrees is not exactly the most welcoming temperature I can think of, but I was committed so Hazel and I headed to the workout center as soon as we finished breakfast.

It probably goes without saying, but I will say it anyways when snot freezes inside your nose it sucks.  It is painful and annoying because it prohibits proper breathing which when you are running is kind of a downer.  It makes farmer's blows of the nose impossible (if you don't know what a farmer's blow is google it there is no sexual innuendo here it has to do with proper breathing).  The lack of farmer's blows  again leads to respiratory distress.  You really need air to keep running so frozen snot is bad.  Very, very bad.  Anyhow, as I took off on my planned run this morning, I had a serious frozen snot situation going on.  I was uncomfortable and contemplating returning to sit with the coffee by the fire when I remembered something.  A neck warmer thingamajiggy (did you know there is actually a right and wrong way to spell thingamajiggy? I had no idea) right inside my jacket wrapped around my neck.  I put the neck warmer thingamajiggy on and pulled it up allowing it to cover my nose and mouth. I have seen people running with similar attire in recent months and always thought to myself how much difference can it make.  It makes a big F*ing difference okay.  The result was instant relief!  It was amazing. Nothing hurt anymore. I enjoyed the rest of my four mile run while contemplating why I haven't been using this contraption all winter long.  The only answer I came up with for this dilemma is because I must be a moron.

This train of thought about frozen snot naturally led me to think about other bodily fluids that must be protected while running and I realized there are a couple others for sure.  Tears, saliva and urine.  I know gross! 

Anyhow the tears and or saliva can become painful too when it is so cold (even if you are not crying because you are running and hate it) sometimes tears happen naturally because of the cold air.  Or say a nasty car driving by with a chain-smoking whore behind the wheel happens to blow her evil exhaust in your face.  That might make you cry too!  So I do often times wipe tears away to prevent them from freezing on my face which I imagine would be equally uncomfortable as frozen snot. 

During the Ground Hogs Day Half Marathon last year I had serious problems with protecting my bodily fluids properly.  I had a serious snow and ice stache (snow and ice that had frozen to the little hairs surrounding my mouth thereby making me look like a cross between Albert Einstein and an old German lady with a moustache) It was really sexy! Check it out!

On this little adventure (nearly a year ago)the bodily fluids definitely got the best of me. I am committed to never allowing this to happen again because I hate being likened to Albert Einstein or an old hairy lady.

My final thoughts on the matter of protection of bodily fluid involved urine. You must keep your bladder safe people.  This is serious stuff, so quit laughing!  As luck would have it, I got to fight this battle this morning as I battled the fierce frozen-snot monster because I forgot to go potty before I left the aquatic center  Fatal error.  Now that I have had three children, I can no longer pull such stunts.  I used to urinate like 3 or 4 times a day, TOPS. Yes, before I had kids I was a different woman mainly because my bladder was much stronger back then. Now I finish peeing and think to myself five minutes later, "do I need to go pee again?" It is really quite ridiculous.  Anyhow, as I ran this morning, it was so much more than a run.  It was all out warfare! I battled snot, tears, sweat and urine and I still managed to finish just under four miles so I declare,  "I WIN" today even if I did lose to the snowstache maker last year about this time.  And I am thankful for my neck warmer thingamajiggy that was previously unappreciated. I am sorry about that and will never take you for granted again.

As far as dinner goes, in case you still care about our mission to cleanse our freezer and pantry.  Last night I had but one victory, but it was a big one!  I got rid of (and yes we actually ate it and didn't get sick (yet)) a half eaten box of rice mix that was in my cupboard.  Why would one have a half-used box of cheap rice mix on their shelves.  My answer the other half was part of a recipe I made last summer. I substituted the correct amount of the rice mix for regular old rice in a recipe when I was out of regular rice. Oh and I hate to throw stuff away and be wasteful.  Simple explanations people!!! I am not crazy!  That was our side dish.  I would not feed my family a half of a leftover box of rice mix for their meal.  That would be crazy.   For the main meal, my sister-in-law got overzealous in her cooking of dinner last night and surprised us with a  casserole!  I am pretty sure my family was extremely grateful for the reprieve from my recent dinner experimentations.

Vern out

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nuts! And I am not talking about the ones that grow in nature!

I deliberated whether to bring up crazy again so soon after my last rant about it, but after last night's dinner I really had no choice.  And this time I was the one who was probably labeled as crazy, bonkers, nuts or insane.  And I probably deserved it... this time! 

So after I signed off yesterday still uncertain as to what I could feed my family without a shopping trip being involved (and with less than a half hour to figure it all out I might add) I must admit I went a little crazy.  If looks could kill I'd be dead because Jeff gave me quite a look when he sat down to dinner!

Here's what was on the menu: Bon Appetit!

The salad was a platter that combined all fruits and vegetables found in our house cleaned and arranged nicely by my 7-year old to look like a smiley face!  Seriously she is going to be an artist or something when she grows up!  I have pictures that I will attach next time I am on-line!  Since I came to the library to get on-line today because we still generally live in the 20th Century at our house, I was ill prepared for photo sharing.  I will try to do better next time, but it was really, really good.

The appetizer was leftover pizza rolls (a friend brought them to a playdate some weeks ago and they have been taking up valuable freezer space since) so I definitely scored some points with this one.  I both created more space in the freezer and fed my family a fun food that we never buy and that has pizza in the title. Enough said.

The main course a very small serving of leftover baked spaghetti with one of the final shrimp empanadas also from our freezer and also leftover from a past party we had over the holidays.  It was a small meal, but in this instance size does not matter!

The vegetable and this one my kids LOVED the very most was popcorn (the kind that has caramel, butter and cheese popcorn all mixed together).  I don't remember what that's called, but that is what our vegetable was. It was the favorite part of the meal for sure.

All in all this was an absolute culinary nightmare, but my family ate and in some parts of the world this isn't true and people go hungry. I actually think it was a somewhat balanced meal and it was kind of fun so given the opportunity to do it over I think I would actually do it all the same even if it does make me a crazy lady!

Vern Our

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Decisions, decisions

Okay now that my writer's block seems to have gone away, here's my next little food related adventure.  Today I had three, yes count them three, 4-year old girls over to play.  Well technically we had two girls over to play which when combined with my daughter Hazel totaled 3. Two plus one equals three...basic math. I know it's an odd number so it totally shouldn't have worked at all.  Everyone knows you go with even numbers when planning play time so that everyone is paired up.  There should have been fighting and disagreements and dramatic complaints brought to me (aka the complaint resolution center) about whichever girl was feeling left out or was mad about whatever stupid toy they decided to fight over.  Oh and whining there should have been lots of whining. It really should have been a complete and utter disaster.

 Except here's the thing, it totally worked except for one thing.  Lunch.  I obviously haven't shopped much lately what with my freezer and pantry cleanse program that I am on and there was no way I was sacrificing one of the pizzas I just purchased at Sam's Club during my brief shopping moment of weakness last week for a 4-year old playdate.  Clearly the value of said pizza is priceless during this time of limited groceries. It will be utilized when I have PMS and the very thought of preparing a meal for my unappreciative family is enough to push me over the edge thereby resulting in me eating all of the candy out of the candy jar in the pantry.ALONE while my kids whine from the outside because even the pantry is not sacred ground for mothers with PMS.  I will not allow this to happen as I will be armed with a frozen pizza when we get to this point in time.

  Anyhow, the point to all of this background information is that I am out of all of the essential kid foods required for such an important playdate.  No Mac and Cheese. No PBJs available today (we need bread which we will buy tomorrow, but today we are out) So here is what I did and it's good advice that I picked up from a friend some years ago.  Krista thanks for this tidbit.  I faked it til I maked it.  I know it's bad English, but hang with me for a minute because it will all make sense soon.

  I decided to try to pawn a leftover can of spaghettios (we purchased them as camping food last summer with visions of lovingly roasting them over the rustic campfire one night with our children and enjoying them as we made priceless camping memories that would last a lifetime.)  When we purchased them we thought they would serve as a welcome reprieve from hotdogs.  Except here is the thing when it comes to camping with our kids they only want to eat two maybe three foods;  Hotdogs, pizza sandwiches and samores.  That's it.  They want nothing else although I occasionally trick them into eat a stray peice of fruit or vegetable in an effort to provide some means of nutrition.  So anyhow, this very can has been staring at me since this challenge began, taunting me, daring me to try to get the kids to eat it so today I decided was the time.  In my mind, I thought of course these three girls who have played so well together for the past few hours will LOVE spaghettios. When I was a kid I LOVED them.  All kids love them right?  WRONG.  All it took was one of them saying "YUCK. I dont like those" and that mentality spread like wildfire and I was F*C*ed" .   Anyhow, I fed them fruit, carrot sticks and cheese which in retrospect was much more nutritional than spaghettios anyways and I called it good.  They didn't complain so I count it as a victory.  And guess what? I had the spaghettios for lunch so they are no longer there taunting me. 

PS    Spaghettios are not as good as I recollected from my fond childhood memories.

PPS     I still have no idea what to serve for dinner tonight and its nearly 4:30PM.

PPPS    There is one more can of ravioli in the pantry which may become dinner unless I think of something better soon.

PPPPS   I still have not shopped other than that mishap at Sam's Club last week!

Vern Out

We are still alive!

Alright it's actually embarrasing to get on here since it has been so long since I've updated everyone on this crazy little idea of mine, but I decided to just bite the bullet and do it.  Because that's the kind of girl I am; brutally honest, overly ambitious and a little bit crazy...ok a lot bit crazy.  Here goes.

  I have had some great successes and some great failures, but all-in-all my freezer and my pantry are less crowded than they were six weeks ago so I think we are making progress!  Also I have not gained any weight.  All you ladies out there appreciate the significance of this benchmark!

Anyhow, a few of my most memorable moments of late involve nearly choking to death, rotten ranch dressing and a trip to Sam's Club... It is probably best if I explain further.

The choking incident is still fresh on my mind since it happened LAST night so I will begin there.  First of all, it's important to understand the level of love that my husband has for hunting and fishing.  It's serious.  It's committed.  It's insane.  Like for real he's crazy. Ask any shrink out there and they will agree that he has a problem.  My husband says I am crazy because I always think about running and I counter with something along the lines of "you think I am crazy for wanting to take care of my body with regular exercise?  I think you are crazy because you spend hours on end out in the frickin' freezing cold trying to kill things most of which could be purchased in a grocery store or at a restaurant"  We've agreed to disagree about our definitions of crazy (for now at least although I suspect we will revisit this topic the next time I ask to go running or he asks to go ice fishing).  Anyhow, back to the story.  So this weekend my husband finely agreed to get on board with this challenge thing which was totally exciting to me on so many levels.  He actually offered to cook fish for the family (that has been in our freezer for a very long time so I was SUPER excited to rid the freezer of this terrible burden).  Anyhow,  when Jeff does a fish fry he does it right; it requires no less than the use of 6 pans, 8 gadgets, over a gallon of oil, several spices and a partridge in a pear tree (oops wrong story).  Anyhow, it is a production of monumental proportions and while I get a break from cooking my role is to clean up the aftermath (not sure yet if the break from cooking is worth it I will let you know).  Anyhow, once this process had completed itself (with Jeff working his behind the scene magic) we said our prayers and started eating the delicious dinner.  My very first bite lodged a fairly significant sized fish bone into my throat which led to a gagging attack that lasted for at least 10 minutes.  I had to call Jeff to the bathroom to assist me because I actually thought I was dying (in true mother fashion I didnt want to alarm the kids or give them any reason to stop eating their dinner so I gently tapped Jeff on the shoulder and quietly asked him to help me in the other room).  After a thorough inspection of my throat (with the help of a maglight flashlight I might add) Jeff claimed "there is nothing in there. You are crazy".  You see where this could have taken us back to another discussion about mental health definitions, but I was actually still gagging too much to argue with his logic so I told him to leave me to die in the bathroom ALONE and go check on the kids.  I drank a large glass of water and could still feel the bone in my throat so I did the only logical thing to do in the situation and I ate a large serving of the french fries hoping they would help push the fish along its natural path (aka my esophogas).  I had to force myself to continue eating despite my natural gag reflex that kept kicking in and I had to eat a lot of french fries you know so I wouldn't die and finally I felt it give way and I was free from the gagging, near-death, fishbone experience.  Anyhow, it will be a long time before I eat fish again.

Now about that rotten ranch dressing this is how that went down.  Trying to be the well-balanced, healthy house wife does not come without a  I price I might add as you will clearly see demonstrated in this next story.  Honestly, in trying to use stuff up I may occasionally get a little out of control or overzealous.  The most recent example of this was when I tried to feed jeff pizza casserole that had gone bad. In my defense once he said it tasted funny I allowed him to feed it to our chickens because I realized it was just over two weeks old, not one like I had originally calculated.  Math never was my strong suit.  Chickens are like pigs; they will eat anything.  I do love our chickens for many reasons the least of which is not the fact that they eat all of our rotten stuff so I dont have to throw it away and feel wasteful.  Ranch dressing... stay focused on the ranch dressing, Veronica.  The incident with the ranch dressing was a straight forward make your husband a dinner salad to help improve his overall health and accidentally poison him with ranch dressing that expired in 2011 kind of incident.  There is really not much more to it than that.  I seriously had no idea it was that old until he said it tasted funny which prompted an inspection of the bottle and sure enough January 2011 was its expiration date.  Yikes!  Who knew.  And yes we threw it out it wasn't even chicken worthy!

Okay for the bit about Sam's club, I really did have a good reason for going there (I am on thyroid pills and my prescription had to be filled), but I can't really explain away the frozen pizzas and the muffins that I bought. Or the icecream and cheese.  Man, I really blew it while I was there, but had I not gone I would probably be comatose right now from thyroid imbalance so I guess you have to be willing to fail occasionally in the interest of survival!

Vern Out