I Just Can't Quit You

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

1. tri tip
2. panzanella
3. chimichurri
4. strawberries
5. chocolate

These are a few of my favorite things! Actually this was pretty much a perfect lunch. I'd never tried tri tip and it surely was good. My tip is that you should try it too. I swear I haven't been drinking. Panzanella panzanella - it's like soaking up the whole dish of olive oil with your bread only nobody gets mad at you. Plus cucumbers. Everyone should put cucumbers in their bread salad, but no cheese. Cheese has no business in panzanella. Admittedly the strawberries could have been sweeter and the chocolate could have been ... well more, but that's what was left from smores. Or nomores I guess I should say.


The Secret

>> Monday, July 25, 2011

1. beef
2. pasta salad
3. raspberries

This summer I am loving shrimp, pasta salad and raspberries. Two out three ... Anyway, if you don't like your pasta salad, use more dressing. That's the secret :)


Fresh & Easy Friday

>> Saturday, July 23, 2011

I usually don't bring a lunch on Friday. It used to be Taco Day, then it was Chinese Day, then 10 Dollar Sandwich Day. Lately it's been Fresh & Easy Day. Here's how it works. Grab whatever looks good as long as it's marked down. This makes it way easier to choose, and it's cheap! Feast for three, five bucks.

1. bread
2. pesto hummus
3. baby carrots
4. apricots
5. chocolate mousse


Raspberries and Cake Balls

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1. chicken salad
2. egg
3. cucumbers
4. raspberries
5. cake ball

Yeah, cake ball. Have you had these? They're everywhere! I think Bakerella started it, and now Starbucks is finishing it. I had one recently, a Starbucks one I mean, in a moment of weakness. See I was out of half & half ... anyway, it tasted like flavoring. And sweet. Know what I mean? Tiramiextract. But, they are cute. Also Zoot loves them and I think she's one of the coolest people I don't know so when it came time to menu plan for True Blood last night, (what? you don't menu plan for TV events?)I decided to make some. Strawberry cake, strawberry cream cheese frosting and milk chocolate coating. Sounds good, right?

I think my frosting was too ... thin? Or maybe I used too much? How much frosting is in a tub o' frosting? I don't know. They seemed a little wet so I didn't even attempt to put them on sticks. I can't decide if they are disgusting or genius! It might be psychological. The process of mushing up a perfectly good cake and all. Maybe I should try a batch using a plain cake mix and premade frosting so I can get a better idea of the consistency. Clearly this requires more investigation.


So I Made Cookies

>> Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1. cucumber salad
2. pita
3. hummus
4. olives

I love eating stuff like this when it's too hot to think. It seemed okay when I ate it but let me tell you I was starving by the time I got home. So I made cookies.


Remember the Days

>> Thursday, June 16, 2011

1. spaghetti
2. bread
3. olives

Does anyone else remember when spaghetti sauce came powdered in a paper packet and had to be mixed with a big can of tomato juice to make it into sauce? Well I do. My mom had a pretty basic meal rotation and spaghetti was one of the standards. I clearly remember how it was done. I'll share!

First you had to fill the big pan with water and when it started to boil you had to take the dried spaghetti and break it up into 2 inch pieces into the water. When it was done you had to strain off the water. This wasn't as easy as it sounds because for some reason my mom pretty much refused to use a colander and when she finally did get one it was bright yellow Tupperware and creeped me out (also she called it a strainer). This meant you had to tilt the hot boiling water filled pan just so over the side of the sink and drain out the water without loosing the spaghetti. Tricky! Anyway, after that you ripped open a packet of "spaghetti sauce" and dumped the powder on top of the noodles, then punched open a big can of tomato juice and poured it on top. Then you stirred it all together with some ground beef you had browned separately while the noodles were cooking. I can't remember if she used onions or not ... no garlic though, definitely no garlic.

Now at our house I rely heavily on jarred sauce for quick meals. I also know I'm grateful to have a Fresh&Easy nearby because I really dig their pasta sauces and appreciate that they don't involve little packets of powdered stuff. And no, I'm not getting paid to say that. Unfortunately.



>> Wednesday, June 15, 2011

1. jerk chicken
2. rice and beans
3. pineapple salad

This was yesterday's jerky lunch which was better than today's asshole lunch.



>> Friday, June 10, 2011

1. couple of bbq ribs
2. pasta salad
3. banana pudding

Pasta salad. Imagine me SPITTING the words. Try again...pasta salad. I was seduced my friends. My head was turned alright. Curly rotini pasta drenched in pesto with tomatoes and tiny mozzarella balls. You know I'm a sucker for tiny mozzarella balls. And cheap. If there's one thing I like better than tiny mozzarella balls it's cheap stuff so if you combine the two...well look out Rhonda! Oh. What a disappointment. This looker was all show and no go. Big talk, slow walk. A teaser. Not a pleaser. You might have fooled me once Fresh&Easy, but I won't get fooled again!

Banana pudding. Imagine me saying it like "hello lover". Now lick your lips and go mmmmmmm. But not in a gross way. This is a family friendly blog. Now banana pudding sure doesn't look like much to write home about the second day, but could sure teach pasta salad a thing or two about satisfaction. Beauty is more than skin deep you know. Books shouldn't be judge by the cover. People shouldn't drink coffee after midnight and go on and on about their stupid lunch. Sorry. Want to know how I make it? It's awfully good and if you've only ever had pudding from a box you owe it to yourself to at least try this once. Live a little!

I like the recipe right off the Nilla Wafer box, but with a few changes. First of all - there will be no meringue. I don't care for it. Also, there will be more pudding, twice as much, so double the sugar (just one cup, the other 1/4 cup in the original recipe is for the meringue), flour, salt, vanilla and milk. 5 eggs is plenty. I just think this makes for a much nicer custard to other stuff ratio than the original recipe. Of course you'll think the same. I'm sure of it. Since I don't do a meringue it doesn't need to go in a baking dish so I just use my biggest bowl. I also don't count cookies. Counting cookies is for LOSERS, but basically you open the box and whatever doesn't get eaten while the custard cooks goes in the pudding. 5 bananas are plenty too, don't double that! I usually end up using 4. One tip though, and this is critical, make sure the bananas are plenty ripe, not banana bread ripe but after all the green is gone and they get brown speckles and start to smell like bananas. Sometimes if I'm feeling sassy I'll dump some whipped cream on top, of course I'm not a Presbyterian so I think it's okay.


Nicoise, Very Nicoise

>> Thursday, June 9, 2011

1. tuna
2. potatoes
3. green beans
4. eggs
5. tomatoes

This was a plenty good and serviceable dinner served warmed with the leftovers reassembled into a plenty good and serviceable lunch served cold. Or room temperature really. Have I ever mentioned that I don't refrigerate my lunch? Ever? You probably should. And you too. Especially you. Do as I say, not as I do and all that. Food safety! Salmonella! PLAGUE! Certain. Death. But if you don't die, there's just something awfully special that happens when hard cooked egg meets mustard vinaigrette with the snap of a green bean, the smoosh of a potato and the pop of a tomato and it isn't cold or hot but just right.

See those tiny potatoes? I've been buying those from Fresh & Easy and I love, love, love them. They are so tiny, and cute, and little, and small, and oh, you know, but they cook SUPAH fast and they're kind of sweet and there's even a purple one in the mix. I have a vague suspicion there might be some serious genetic engineering going on there but I'm gonna choose not to dwell on it. Because they are just so damn cute.

Oh, I should tell you about the dressing! I sometimes make vinaigrette in the blender but usually in a bowl with a whisk. Mainly because I don't want to have to wash the blender. You might think a lazy person like myself would just put everything in a jar and shake it and have even less to wash. You'd be wrong. Until now anyway. I'm officially a shaken vinaigrette convert so it's kind of my duty to proselytize - you might think it's the most obvious thing in the world but clearly SOMEONE failed to let me know about it so there could be others out there. People like me. People who have no idea. This is my mission. My destiny.

Mustardy Vinaigrette Dressing

30ml apple cider vinegar
120ml olive oil
1 T coarse ground mustard
1 clove of garlic smashed hard
1 lemon, squeezed
1 quick squeeze o' honey (a teaspoon tops)
big pinch of salt
bigger pinch of pepper

Pour everything into your vinaigrette making container with a tight fitting lid cleverly marked in mls on the side for your measuring convenience. You might know this by it's other name, "water bottle". Apply lid. Shake like mad. Pour over your food. Eat. Store leftover dressing in the fridge in the, wait for it, same container you used to make it in. I know, right???


I'm Going to Miss the Free Citrus

>> Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1. costco chicken with pomegranate jus
2. pureed maple carrots aka Plan B Carrots
3. lemon bar made from the last of the lemons
4. last of the kumquats

If you knew me you'd know I recently got a pressure cooker. You'd also know that was really exciting to me because you'd have heard me talking about it all the freakin' time. I pretty much love it. It's so fast you guys! Like a microwave only less creepy. So, carrots. That should take like ... 5 minutes? Apparently not. Pressure cook carrots for 5 minutes and take a peek. Looks fine right? Now try to pick one up. Psych! Remember when it used to be cool to yell Psych! Yeah, me neither.
Plan B. Scoop up the "carrots" and smoosh 'em around with some butter, salt and a drizzle of maple syrup. Realize pureed maple carrots rock! Pretend they turned out just the way you planned.


Is There a Season for Salmon?

>> Tuesday, June 7, 2011

1. grilled salmon
2. fennel and grapefruit salad
3. chunk of bread that wasn't nearly as big as it looks

Sometimes I think my enjoyment of a particular food item is inversely proportional to it's cost. But enough about expensive fish that's probably out of season or whatever - should probably just remind myself that I live in the middle of the freakin' desert. Anyway, check out those grill marks! That pan was worth every penny of the 20 bucks I paid for it. And the salad? That I could eat again and again. Crisp and cool and just different enough to feel a teeny bit exotic. You can make it too!

Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

Chop up a small red onion and a head of fennel in the smallest dice you have the patience for. Supreme out a grapefruit and hack that up too. Mix up your favorite vinaigrette*, dump it on top and stick in the fridge for an hour. Fancy fennel frond garnish is entirely optional.

I used a citrus vinegar from Trader Joe's in this and let me tell you it was lovely.


A Hopeless Romantic

>> Monday, February 21, 2011

Or maybe just a fool for meatloaf. Whatever.

1. meatloaf on mashed potatoes
2. gravy and fried onions on top
3. pink ketchup filled heart


Nothing Like the Smell of Tuna in the Morning

>> Thursday, February 17, 2011

1. tuna salad made with lemon juice, capers and roasted peppers
2. more capers
3. more roasted peppers
4. seeds held together with a little bread

Speaking of tuna; did your mom always refer to it as tunafish? Like one word? Mine either.

You know what isn't nice? Of course you do. Tuna (or tunafish) packed in water. All this time I thought I didn't like it. Then I bought some packed in olive oil. Oh. Yeah. That's better. Here's something else that isn't nice. Making tuna salad in the morning. Tuna salad prior to 9 am is not pleasant, it is not delicious, it is nasty. I don't care what it's packed in. (Unless maybe it's cocaine.) Especially if you don't wash your hands particularly well when you're finished and then get to enjoy the smell of canned fish all the way to work. I suppose you probably wouldn't compulsively sniff your hands the entire commute to see if you could still smell it. Me either.

Also? I love capers.


Forgot My Lunch

>> Monday, February 7, 2011

1. lettuce wraps from Sun Asian

Ever since watching True Grit this weekend all the voices in my head are speaking in that weird stilted contraction-less speaking pattern from the movie's dialogue. This is particularly fun right now because I'm reading The Curlew's Cry (Mildred Walker) about small town life in Montana at the turn of the century. No, really, I love it!


Kickin' Ass

>> Thursday, February 3, 2011

and takin' names!

Okay, overstatement.

But please to be noting the lush faux woodgrain awesomeness of my somewhat cleaned off desk. Yes, work was worked.

1. filet slider on a pretzel bun
2. cole slaw
3. fruits


A Working Lunch

>> Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Literally. Flame added to protect the (not so) innocent.

1. teryaki salmon
2. pan roasted teeny potatoes
3. garlicy green beans

I started trying to read a contender for worst book o' the year (Persuading Annie : Melissa Nathan) but gave it up for some Big Love. Next on the pile is The Truth About Forever, teen fiction for the win!

Speaking of Teeny I'm -very- disappointed that the Hendrickson's keep misplacing their second oldest daughter. That child can not be at camp this whole time. Hope Hollis Green didn't get her.

Speaking of Big Love, I'm so sad that it's the last season. Hopefully HBO is working on a new Sunday night series featuring Jewish nuns running a boarding school. That would be sweet!


Old School Taco Salad

>> Monday, January 31, 2011

1. taco salad
2. tangelo

When I was growing up there was some fast food place in the next town over, can't remember anything else about it but I do remember the taco salad. I also remember loving that taco salad. They served it in a rectangular shaped aluminum foil container. After much trial and error I think I've come up with a pretty close copycat recipe.

Layer the following items in a bowl or foil dish.

Corn chips
Chopped onion
Jalapeno slices on the side

Eat with a plastic spork.

OMG, I almost forgot to tell you what I've been reading!

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright
Seven pages in the wife dies in bed of a heart attack and by page eight the terminally ill husband gives it up and dies next to her. It was downhill from there. No, actually it's kind of a cute book. The husband wrote a letter to the wife every Wednesday the entire 40 some-odd years they were married. Their adult children find the letters after their death and through them find ... redemption? At least that's what you're led to believe from the -letter- pasted in the back of the book from one of them. I don't know, it was Cute. Capital C. I'm over it.

Clearing the Aisle
by Karen Schwartz
Classic chick lit but I loved it. Know why? It was a Jewish wedding with lots of juicy little Jewish wedding details. I love that shit. There's always those certain things that continue to fascinate. Judaism, polygamy, nuns and boarding school are mine.

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger
Not her best effort.


Over That Too

>> Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well people, I think I'm souped out. I've explored the full range of ready to eat soups that Fresh & Easy has to offer as well as some traditional open can and plop it out soups not to mention a few homemade varieties. Luckily I still have the world of crackers to conquer.

1. seeded cracker
2. goat cheese
3. peppadew

Tune in tomorrow for Chicken in a Biscuit and Nutella!

Also over? YA serial fiction.

I finished the first two books of the Hunger Games series and finally read the last of the Twilight series. Maybe in a another year or two I'll be ready for Mockinjay, but for now? Pretty much done.

The best book of the year so far is a tiny little thing called Prayer for the Dying. The entire thing is written in second voice which would normally annoy the hell out me but it really works for this book. I think it helps to create a sort of barrier from the horror of what's happening to the characters allowing you to love the experience of reading the story. It's just beautifully written; lyrical, languid, almost poetic assuming of course you can get past the macabre theme.

The reviews are definitely mixed.


Something Different!

>> Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Decided to try something a little different for lunch today. Soup!

1. corn chowder
2. bread and buttah
3. apple with unpleasantly tough skin

I also finished Nineteen Minutes (Jodi Picoult) today. Weird timing. Here's the story.

The girl child has been asking to volunteer at our county's animal shelter. I finally gave in, because I'm a good mom, and she scheduled herself for orientation on Saturday. It's pretty far from our house, too far to just drop her off and come back home so I decided I'd just bring a book and wait for her there. I'd just finished a silly little book about a woman that accidentally hired a prostitute. And had sex with him. And paid for it with the PTA credit card. Heavy stuff. Anyway, I was between books so I just grabbed a couple off the "to read" pile and away we went.

Well, the first book sucked, the second book was worse and nobody would talk to me on twitter. Things were dismal indeed. Then I remembered the emergency book in the trunk. Okay, I don't really keep an emergency book in the trunk but I remembered seeing one in there when I was hiding Christmas presents a while back. And there it was. Nineteen Minutes. A shooter story. Some kid goes wack and guns up his high school. On the very same day that some kid went wack in Tucson and gunned up the congresswoman's event. Weird right? Then on the way home we pass a restaurant named "King Wah" which was also the name of the psychiatrist's character in the book. Creepy.

And then it got worse. Now honestly it wasn't a good book. The plot went here and there and back and forth and nothing was satisfying and it was exhausting to read (like this post) and the back story seemed contrived and the ending, well the ending was just dumb and by the time I got to it I pretty much hated them all and just didn't care too much what happened to any of them. But here's the thing. The book focused a lot on the kid's parents. His mom in particular. Lacy. The author took great pains to show her as just a regular mom. A regular mom that made a few mistakes but did her best and loved without question and still failed. The ultimate failure of parenting I think because really, what is worse? If there is such a thing I'm grateful for the inability to imagine it.

And now I keep thinking about the Tucson shooter's parents. His mom in particular, I believe her name is Amy, and I wonder. I wonder how she's surviving this? How she's managing to pull in that next breath, and then the one after that. Knowing what she knows, my mind mixing her with the fictional mom I came to know. But I don't let myself wonder too much, I don't examine too closely or for too long before I pull back and look away. It's too horrific. Too real. Too imaginable.


If It Ain't In A Bowl

>> Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm on a soup kick. Clearly.

1. Tomato Mostly Soup

Today I'm reading Secrets of a Shoe Addict which so far is completely lacking in emotional wallop. And I'm okay with that.


An Old Wet Hen

>> Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Know what makes me madder than an old wet hen? Well not this. This is chicken noodle soup. I make it from rotisserie chicken, cooked twice so it's less likely to kill us. We're all quite fond of it.

Notice the way my lack of spatial reasoning skills left me with such a generous serving. Luxurious, no?

1. soup
2. stale cabinet-flavored crackers
3. caramelized onion cheese
4. grapes
5. chocolate con almonds

All lovingly packed in the way that has become mine.

Oh, but I am mad. I'm mad at a book. Well, not really at the book itself, but at the people IN the book. You know, the characters. Pretty sure that makes it (The Dive From Clausen's Pier) a novel worth reading.

What would you do? What you do if the person you were engaged to marry, the person with whom you were busy falling out of love, the person whose heart you were slowly breaking became paralyzed? Whatever you decide will be wrong. And I will sit here on my big red couch and judge you. Even if you are a fictional character. You've been warned.


Well At Least It's Over

>> Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And that's about all I have to say about that.

1. Champagne chili made with roast beast leftover from Christmas past packed in my MD 20/20 lunch kit.
2 & 3. A corn muffin and a couple of hastily peeled carrots. The muffin is from Ina Garten's recipe found here.

I'll tell you now if she and Jeffrey show up for our Festivus celebration this year I'm going to have a grievance or two to air about this recipe. Yields 12 muffins my arse.

Anyway. What's new with you? Today I'm reading The Dive From Clausen's Pier

and my favorite words for the day are dichotomy and conundrum. But not paradox.



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