9 things that totally gross me out

It’s Thursday and I’m feeling a little quirky, okay a lot quirky.  I was looking for new blog ideas and found this gem ‘write a blog about 9 things that totally gross you out’.   I honestly can’t decide if I’m getting grossed out or cracking myself up.

Things that totally gross me out
1. being touched by someones feet
2. runny egg yolks
3. someone dipping toast in runny egg yolks
4. the slobby licking sound the dog makes when she cleans her own butt
5. tuna fish salad
6. when grandma sucks her ‘teeth’
7. olives
8. boiled peanuts, especially when the juice gets flung onto my face
9.  the crunchy sound spiders make when squished 

So imagine what my worst nightmare would be like.  Someone touching me with their feet trying to get me to eat tuna fish salad, with olives topped with boiled peanuts and a soft boiled egg, all while grandma sucks her teeth and the dog licks her butt.  Then suddenly a big juicy spider runs out, the room falls to silence and someone steps on it.

And yes I said boiled peanuts are gross.  So indulge me; what is your grossy gross list?

How I meal plan.

I wish everyone could find the same joy in cooking and planing meals for their family as I do.  I love it, I think I’m just a happy planner and that’s all there is to it.  So This is my meal planning post and it is in no way suppose to be the end all best way to get things done, it’s just my approach.  I cook for two, which can honestly be great and it can be difficult at the same time.  

First I look in the pantry/fridge to see what I have or what might be near death needing used up.  Well no actually first I panic that there is nothing to cook or I have no idea what to make, then I look in the pantry.  Anyway – moving on; Nothing is worse than tossing something because I find it weeks later and think – oh I didn’t know I had this I could have used it – so I check my resources. Incidentally forgetting to do this is how I ended up with lots of onions this week – weird.  Anyway that’s where I start.

Then I move onto the weekly grocery store add(s).  Sometimes I find inspiration there, plan meals around what is on sale or see that toilet paper is on special an remember we are nearly out.

Last before making a grocery list I poke through my cookbooks or any book marked recipes, picking meals. Some friendly advice; for every 3-4 meals I plan to fix, I pick one new recipe to try and keep the rest tried and true.   I think limiting the experiments keeps my husband from wondering about dinner, and I still get to make an adventure meal here and there. Happy home am I right?

Anyway then I head off to the store, come home with my bounty and cheer myself on for planning a great menu.

One other thing that helps when planning meals – keep your pantry stocked.  I’ve seen countless lists and recommendations for what’s best to stock –  just do what feels right, and don’t get all crazy.  (Unless crazy feels right of course.) I’ve seen ‘saffron threads’ on a list as a staple – what no – I don’t buy that diamond and platinum priced spice unless I need it!   Think simple, you know your family this will be easy. For example, we really like a particular microwave rice packet, so I keep a few around.  

Point being, do what feels right and have fun.  If you are satisfied with the outcome, that is what matters.  If you’re not – well take your miserable butt back in the kitchen and fix it already.

Be Still

I know the best way for me to refuel and get guidance, whether it’s physically, spiritually or emotionally is to just be still.  I struggle with seeing that through, always feeling like there is something that needs my attention or like I have to find a way to keep busy when I’m not.    I have to make a pointed focused effort to be still, and the best way for me to accomplish this is what I call an analog day.

 

What’s an analog day?  It’s  day where all the digital stuff in my life get’s put on hold.  It’s not an anti social hide from the world day toss responsibilities to the curb experience, but a slow your roll kind of day.

What can an analog day look like?
– listen to records (the evolution of our record collection is a whole different blog)
– go chat with  a neighbor or a friend instead of texting
– read a real book, you know paper glue spine
– skip the online recipes and go for a cookbook, or better yet one of my Gram’s hand scrawled recipes
– send a piece of snail mail, enclose an extra  stamp
– anything that slows the pace, like a cup of tea

If I find myself having a hard time putting down the “busy” sometimes I’ll go where my phone doesn’t get a signal, like the belly of the aquarium.

Just a short list, what do you like to do to slow down?  I would love to hear!

DragonCon 2017, from a newbie

DragonCon, it’s every type of convention rolled into one.

DragonCon, my uncle calls it Nerd Fest,  it is a nerd fest.

DragonCon,  Labor Day weekend in Atlanta –  just go!

Now that I have persuaded you to attend let me tell you what to expect (I would love to say let me prepare you, but there really is no way to prepare.)

There will be Star Wars, Star Trek, SciFi, live action roll play, anime, Harry Potter, epic heroes and villains, celebrities, wackos, geeks, nerds and anything else your mind can conjure.  I guarantee  a huge crowd no matter where you look. Just envision 82 thousand people dressed up as their favorite fictional characters,  that’s what it looks like.   To many activities to pick from, there will be celebrity panels, workshops, photo/autograph sessions, a parade and the most magnificent people watching.  As a newbie I was overwhelmed.

So what did my husband and I end up doing? We saw panels with cast members from Firefly, Battle Star Galactica, Dr Who and ST Next Gen to name a few.  Went to the parade, which people started lining up to see two hours before it started.  By the time the parade got going the route was five people deep on the sidewalks.  Huge shout out to the Atlanta police by the way.  We went to costume night at the Atlanta aquarium dressed as Kaylee and Jayne from Firefly, used  it as an opportunity to catch up with a local friend, she even came dressed as River.

I think my favorite thing was the people watching – it really was monumental.

 

Current obsession number 5 million or something….

Late spring I took a trip up the coast to New Bern with my mom.  We visited Tryon Palace, checked out the firefighter museum and ate some amazing seafood (shout out to MJ’s and their crabby fries).  It goes with out saying that we did a little (okay a lot) of shopping.  There were little art galleries tucked into buildings, backed with charming court yards, specialty shops for furry friends and a gourmet shop called Midtown Olive Oil.   Let’s just say I fell in love with so many tasty things, here are a few that stood out and how they’ve been utilized in my kitchen arsenal.

Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic – This mess is like a secret weapon of mass flavor proportions,  total ker-pow .  White vinegar is always a favorite for me because its usually subtly sweet and fruity, making it easy to think – hey I’m going to add some of this *splash splash*.  Mostly I use it in marinades for grilled chicken and shrimp, but splashed on a green salad makes me just as happy.  Not crazy about lemon, their cranberry pear is fantastic too.

Basil Olive Oil – So if the lemon balsamic is the ker-pow weapon, this is the low rumble aftershock.  Peppery basil, fruity olives done – finished.  Again works well in a marinade or splashed on a salad.  We also love it to dip a hunk of soft bread in.

Salt Sisters, Mediterranean Blend – I’ve run out of arsenal analogies but this stuff is da’bomb (oh wait no I didn’t hehe).  At the risk of making it sound over simplified; salt, basic dried herbs and then dehydrated vinegar to give it this zip.  Rub it on stuff, sprinkle it on stuff, mix it in stuff;   Chicken, summer veggies, grilled fish, garlic bread, creamy pasta…. whatever can’t go wrong.

So the only complaint is the Midtown Olive web site, although very through with their own selection didn’t carry the same Salt Sister products I saw when I visited the store.  What is a girl to do – oh yea head over to the Salt Sister site and check out what else they have.  BBQ rub, Tuscan Farm house salt, hickory smoked salt….. I would say bring it but I already had it broughten.

In closing, visit New Bern its pretty quaint and hospitable.  Stop by Midtown Olive to sample what they have in house and hopefully you can come away with a new favorite for your kitchen.  Oh and check out a few pics I snapped.

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A total eclipse of the sun.

Talk about something you don’t see everyday, well every 20 some years or so, a total solar eclipse.  Although at 97% we weren’t in the path of totality we definitely had the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular site.   Here are a few photos form that day and if you are interested when the next total american eclipse is due check out this neat graphic.

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Top left, terrible photo through the glasses
Top right, getting accidentally photo bombed by mom – I call it angry thumbs up.
Bottom, the marina and that ‘log’ is an alligator

 

I tried better than take out and here is what happened….

I love some me some take out, but I thought there was no way I could make something better than the real thing.  I was wrong this sheet pan chicken fried rice from Creme de la Crumb was awesome, so awesome in fact I forgot to take a picture.  (okay confession I took one photo of it going into the oven but it’s blurry)   It even heated up well in the microwave.

Where I deviated
– I went the cheat route with the 2 cup heat in the bag Jasmine rice
– I used fresh shredded carrots (mixed with frozen thawed peas) because that is what I had left over from a project (see fireworks photo)
– I used about 2.5 Tablespoons of the oil

Next time
– I will stick with the microwave rice, and whatever veggies I have on hand
– I’ll reduce the oil a little more
– add bite size pineapple pieces when the rice and veggies are added

Low Budget Find, enamel cast iron skillet

I’m always on the look out for more bang for my buck, who isn’t.  My current obsession is this cast iron skillet from the Target Threshold line.  Yes I know I could probably get a bigger one for the same price but I love the crisp white enamel, it’s easy to clean and won’t scratch my stove, and at 10″ is the perfect size for the two of us.  I’ve done steaks,  stuffed mushrooms,  cheat chicken Parmesan and a myriad of other dishes that have gone from stove top to oven.   What is your current low budget obsession?

Gishwhes 2017

Well, it has been nearly a week since we finished our ‘hunt’ for 2017.  So you might have taken a look at the title and wondered what is Gishwhes , or might know all to well and feel that little twitch only brought on by sleep deprivation and hot glue fumes.  Either way welcome.

So the Greatest International Scavnger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, or GISHWHES is a charity driven scavenger hunt that will have participants saying some of the strangest things.
“Hey can you take a picture of yourself doing yoga with a random animal, but not a goat that’s been done”
Yep actually said that to my friends sister, never got a response either but I also didn’t get any visits from men in white coats, so win?  Anyway –
It was a great personal experience to be part of my team Gishy Rascals! Hunt week bonus; not only was there lots of personal excitement we saved acres of rain forest, changed lives and just had a great time worldwide.  I would say sign me up for next year but, sadly this was the last year.  So here are a few of my pictures from my first and last Gish.

Being goofy for our group collage.

Fireworks made out of veggies and spaghetti, yea it took forever to glue individual pieces of spaghetti onto my cityscape.

Bringing class to the old west with a tea and saucer holster.  

I have yet to cut into the Marx Mellon. 

Planting a tree in my neighbors yard.  

Want to see other teams submissions, may be event the chance to see a school bus get shredded?  Check the Gishwhes  page!

Best Summer ‘Tater Salad

It’s the south , it’s hot, lets eat shrimp and drink beer.  Just this past weekend we went to a shrimp boil and I was asked to bring potato salad.   Usually my go to tater salad is this tex mex wonder land of  bacon, black beans, cilantro and spicy mayo – lots of mayo.  As delightful as it sounds, and believe me it is awesome, the mayo isn’t very hot day friendly so I set out to find something more suitable.

In one of her first cookbooks Ina Garten penned a recipe for her French Potato Salad.  With a vinegar and oil dressing it’s intended to be served warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for a warm summer cookout. The hint if white wine infused into the potatoes makes it a tad sophisticated feeling, and the generous amount of fresh herbs says it’s all about summer.  Cheers to my new favorite summer side.

Lucky for me in blog land it’s on the Food Network site, Find it here along with a video!