Thursday, April 24, 2014

Run Vern Run

Right now I am trying to eat healthy for three weeks until the Riverbank Run. It seems like this mimi goal should be super easy, but it isnt.  My first day of my self-imposed healthy eating campaign, I had a donut for breakfast so I am not sure how successful this new endeavor will be.  You see, I tend to eat extremely unhealthy foods (yet sinfully delicious) for breakfast most days.

I rationalize this habit by claiming that I then have all day to burn it off.  Plus I tend to run in the morning so my metabolism gets a boost shortly after I consume my junk food, junkie breakfast.  But realistically I know this habit is not ideal, quite the contrary, it's actually pretty bad so I am trying to focus on having a healthy breakfast and avoiding sweets as much as possible until I run the Riverbank Run on May 10th.  But I have a confession...I have a serious sweet tooth.  I think it's hereditary because my grandpa and father share my love for home-baked goods.  Anyhow, the point to this is I am not worrying too much about the shopping challenge while I pursue this healthy eating goal.  If I need healthy options available I am going to buy them.  But I am also not going all gang busters (or to Sams Club) during this time period. 

I dont have any pics from 5th 3rd but this is post Grand Rapids Marathon 2011~

My goal is simple beat my time from last year so I have to be under 2 hours and 14 minutes!  Tomorrow I will eat steel cut oats, not a donut!

Vern Out

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Legend of the Flaming Turds

  The following is the fairytale story of the Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABT)...

 Once upon a time there was a running club. A super cool running club that consisted of tons of super cool runners who liked to drink beer occasionally and eat interesting foods.  And within that club there was a somewhat crazy gal whom I shall call Vee in order to protect her true identity who loved to cook almost as much as she loved to run which worked out okay because the running helped to burn off the calories she consumed as a result of her culinary explorations.  She had to raise a crapload of money for a fundraiser running event that she was participating in so a fundraiser party was held and for that party she created home-made stuffed jalapenos and they were extremely HOT.   

Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot

Only the bravest and toughest runners at the party were able to consume the jalapenos without crying out in complete anguish.  And those who were tough enough to eat the fiery treats decided that more of these needed to be cooked for the Boston Marathon Party later in the year and so Vee had to make another batch in order to please her fellow runners and maintain her reputation within the club.

 When jalapenos are frozen whole with seeds inside them,
the heat index of the Jalapenos is multiplied exponentially
Author's Note:  Vee may have stolen these out of my freezer. I sure hope so! 
 Just a happy little jalapeno maker showing off her hot jalapenos!
 Atomic Buffalo Turds! Hot enough to take the paint off your car!
 An extreme close-up...wipe the drool off your face!
 Vee claims that soaking jalapenos in milk overnight helps reduce the heat index.
 I have not completed any scientific research on the matter so I can not endorse this practice.
And they lived happily ever after...except for the jalapenos they were devoured at the Boston Send-off Party.

Vern Out

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Name that casserole!

I didn't end up creating a new recipe Monday night. Instead, I saved my culinary creative genius for Tuesday.  This shift in the weekly menu universe was made because when I opened the fridge at about 4PM Monday afternoon and realized we had just enough leftovers to feed the masses baked spaghetti for a third time and I recognized this fact as the gift that it was. This discovery made when I was desperately seeking a meal to serve my family, was an incredibly valuable one.  Kind of like winning the lottery: Only I dont have tons of money and I wasn't inconvenienced by a trip to a local convenience store to buy a lotto ticket. Yes, Monday we ate  have leftover baked spaghetti for the third time in a week.  However, I think some people preferred the leftover spaghetti to what I cooked up Tuesday.

Tuesday night, I removed the rest of the chicken carcass from the fridge (see photos below). I had roasted a chicken from my brother's farm last week and there was still quite a bit of good meat left on the carcass so I shredded it.  Then I added one can of cream of chicken soup, a cup of brown rice and a dash of salt and pepper and I mixed them all together.  Then for health purposes, and to add some green to the casserole, I added a bunch of frozen peas.   Feeling like a Fairy Godmother, I waved my magic wand and presto dinner was served!

The cage free, antibiotic free and hormone free carcass!

I used up the last of the brown rice!
We are getting closer to an empty pantry!

My family had differing opinions on the end result.  Kara thought it was AWESOME and the best thing I had ever made.  However, she says this about all my made up recipes so I am not sure how valuable this opinion is.  I think the girl just likes to eat! Like mother like daugher, I suppose.  AJ thought it was horrible and possibly the worst thing I had ever cooked. Although he says this at most meals unless the meal is pizza or hotdogs. Like father, like son I guess.  But AJ choked it down to earn his dessert. Hazel ate it slowly and with some amount of complaining, whining and delaying.  She really dragged it out as she does with most meals.  In the end she ate just enough to earn a small amount of dessert.  Jeff ate it and said very little which is pretty typical for him.  Over dinner we discussed names for the new dish.  Pea Casserole, Chicken and Pea Casserole, Chicken, Pea and Rice Casserole were all nominations.  I am looking for a more original name so we have not settled on a formal name for this yet.  To be completely honest I doubt I will ever make it again because this challenge is getting old and I am getting busier.  Our challenge days are numbered.

Is it Pea Casserole? Or Chicken and Pea Casserole?...

No,No I think its Pea, Chicken and Rice casserole.

Actually I think I shall call it "Whatever is Fucking Leftover in your fridge casserole" because that is a better name.

Don't Worry, the Buffalo Turd Story is formulating in my messed up mind so it will be posted some time in the next week or so.

Vern Out

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oink Oink

So back at the ranch (and back at normal life with school, lunches, show and tells, homework, unending laundry and meals to feed my family) I am getting ready for my first week of real cooking in awhile...

And by real cooking I mean I will be thawing something from our freezer cooking it and feeding it to my family once I have added various items out of our pantry and possibly some spices.  It will not require an actual recipe because it will be made up and it will not require more than a half an hour prep time because that is all the time I have allowed myself to fix it.  Stay tuned because this will get interesting.

On a somewhat related note, I will also be preparing the second bag of jalapenos using an actual recipe for the Atomic Buffalo Jalapeno Turds for my running club's  Boston Marathon Send Off party later this week. In order to make this recipe I had to buy cream cheese and turds (AKA mini smoky links)... and while I was at Meijer buying these two necessary items to make the infamous Atomic Buffalo Turds, I also found two pork tenderloins who were sad and extremely lonely and on super-sale and I just had to bring them home because they were so darn cute and lonely.  Oh yeah and some bacon too because it was also on sale and I fear that pork prices are about to jump through the roof due to PED (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea)   which if you haven't already heard is killing thousands of piglets across America.  It really is sad even if you don't love bacon like I do.  There is about to be a critical pork shortage people! And I for one will not find myself without bacon during such a serious crisis.  So I cheated a mini cheat in the name of pork, but if prices rise as much as they are predicting, we won't be able to afford pork by the time the freezer is empty and you know how I feel about bacon. 

That is all.

Oh except in the interest of being completely honest because that's the kind of gal I am, a brutally honest one; I went to Sam's Club this weekend (with 4 kids BTW which I wouldn't recommend) because we were out of butter.  And whilst butter is not technically included in the original terms of the deal as an acceptable item to purchase, I was not about to start churning milk in order to get me some butter when milk was on the list of items allowed and butter is made from milk.  So $192.00  later we now have butter and more importantly my arms are not sore from cranking a churn all weekend. Oh and we also have lunchmeat and yogurt and chocolate chips, potato chips and some cereal and wine.

PS I also bought some produce items and bread, but those were not illegal so I figured they are not as exciting to write about... but for the record I did not spend the entire $192 on illegal supplies just a majority of it like maybe 185 and some change or something like that.

OK that really is all now.
I am spent.

Vern Out

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No, we are not dead

Okay so it is slightly embarrassing how long it has been since I updated everyone on my mission:  If you've not been on here before, I am attempting to empty our two freezers and walk-in pantry before I shop for anything more substantial than milk and bread.  But all embarrasments aside, I have no excuse, or at least not a good one.

I have just been really busy. And it is spring break.

Anyhow, do you have any idea how much happens in two weeks?  A lot.  And this is just an overview of the stuff I actually remember so there was actually more I just can't remember it!  First off, I worked about 22 hours at my new job and I love it!  LOVE IT!  I experienced another episode of Premature PMS ( also known as PPMS Syndrome.  I am trying to get this recognized as a real diagnosis but I am meeting a lot of resistance...), I traveled to Washington D.C. (and back) during the PPMS outbreak, I have run 28 miles, cared for three children, scrubbed the tile floors in our house (yes on hands and knees like I used to do at SNAP. I still say it the only way to get them clean) and washed more loads of laundry than I like to admit.  All this and I haven't even touched on the topic of food preparation or consumption. And I was trying to keep this short so no one falls asleep while reading it! 

This is a serious FAILURE!

Oh and I was spoiled rotten in the food department by my sister during the D.C. trip.  Much like Vegas, what happens in D.C. stays in D.C., just kidding I am going to tell you all about it! In D.C. there was no mission to get rid of old stuff, so we ate like kings. Yes I was completely spoiled by my sister who is basically a culinary genius. Seriously, she could teach classes at those fancy culinary institutes and make the "head chefs" look like idiots.  I swear she could cook up an old sneaker and make it taste equisite.  All my life I thought scallops were disgusting...turns out they are just disgusting if they are not cooked properly.  When my sister cooks them, they are AWESOME!  Oh the things you learn when you leave Nunica!  Check it out!

The seafood feast: 
Scallops and Shrimp and Mussels Oh My!

 Lincoln Memorial.  Enough said.

Lincoln did a ton of cool stuff,
but I bet he never had to try to empty a chest freezer!

Anyhow going into the vacation, I thought my vacation was about having a break from mothering responsibilities like wiping my kid's butts, attempting to be patient and helpful at all times and helping to clean up the kid's messes with a smile on my face.  At the end of the trip, I realized it was actually a vacation from eating expired, or otherwise disgusting, food items and eating really amazing food for four days.  I am pretty sure I gained at least five pounds during my vacation and I even ran 11 miles of hills in my sister's neighborhood.

A few days before the vacation departure in an attempt to get rid of leftovers, I introduced our kids to a dish my mother used to feed us kids when we were kids.  Back in the day, my mom called it "stir fry" and we all hated it.  Fast forward a couple decades and you will find me giving "stir fry" a makeover and renaming it -Breakfast Bonanza Scramble.  Whatever you call it, you can't dress it up...

This dish requires that you combine all leftovers from your refrigerator into a frying pan, cook them up and add scrambled eggs over the top.  FYI my mom once added jellied cranberries to this dish.  It was epic. A legend.  We still talk about this at family gatherings.  The Constantine's maiden voyage on the Breakfast Bonanza Scramble Ship consisted of leftover roast, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and onions and for added flare I put some shredded cheese on top.  I could be wrong, but I don't think my mom ever did that!  This addition was made based on a theory that I am testing out The Cheese (or Chocolate) Addition Theory.  I  believe that if you add chocolate or cheese to the top of an otherwise undesireable food item, people will eat it; it is kind of like the theory that beer has been helping ugly people get laid.  Well cheese is helping gross food to be eaten.

Well everyone liked it (at least with the cheese added) which is great because we have a lot of eggs these days.  The chickens must have come to an agreement with the Union.  I think the settlement had something to do with the glorious spring like weather we have had the past few days!

Vern Out