Sunday, April 17, 2011

Let Us Discuss Lettuce

There are times when I think I'm brilliant and then there are the times when I think I've been shorted a few common cents cells.... like maybe a dollar's worth. If I had a nickel for every time I've learned something obvious, I'd be rich and you'd be watching me on the Food Network, Desperate Housewives, or CSI (Indiana) instead of reading me on the internet.

Please humor me if this is something you already know, but I only recently discovered how to keep lettuce from going bad before it should. I absolutely cannot stand opening a bag of salad, eating one salad and then finding the next day that the rest of the lettuce has turned brown. Out of frustration I quit buying ready-made bagged salad mixes and make my own at home. One thing I've learned about romaine lettuce (which is usually the kind I buy) is that I can buy a bag of three heads and it will last far past the expiration date if I leave it whole and in the bag it came in until the day I'm ready for a salad.

I then take out one head (which will be enough for two huge salads or four side salads,) tear off the stem end, rinse and drain in my colander.

Next I lay the individual lettuce leaves on a clean towel to dry further.

I even dab at them a bit with the towel to remove more moisture.

And then I bag the leaves WHOLE in a gallon baggie, squeezing out the excess air before sealing. When it comes time to make my salad I then tear the lettuce leaves into bite size pieces. The rest of the lettuce in the baggie will remain crisp and not turn brown for several more days.

Aren't you glad you didn't have to pay to read this post? Just wait until I teach you how to boil water. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll throw roses at your monitor.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Intestinal Fortitude.....A Love Poem

In the interest of proving to you that I am more than just another pretty face who can cook, I thought I'd let you know that I am also a published poet. And while I wish that I could say that I wrote this when I was a 12 year old (boy, even) I tapped this one out about ten years ago during the dregs of menopause. What do you think? Should I have kept my "talent" to myself and boosted my self-esteem through another means? Perhaps pottery? Or maybe macrame?

(Sharing stuff like this with you sometimes makes me wish I had a day job to not quit.)

Intestinal Fortitude..... by Maggie Lauer

When I itch for you and suffer so from yearning,
You're like Preparation H to soothe the burning.
As you work like Sigmund Freud on my mental hemorrhoid,
The epitome of 'shrink', I'm quickly learning!

When my mind feels so frustrated, I could shout!
You're like Ex-lax as you help me get it out.
Such a perfect remedy for my irregularity,
You so gently keep me going, there's no doubt!

When my heart is aching, gushing from the hurt,
You're like Pepto Bismol shutting off the squirt.
With this loose interpretation, I'll show my appreciation...
And give thanks for all the messes you divert!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Wedding, a Photo Booth, and a Tale of Three Sisters

First off, congratulations and a big tip of my hat to newlyweds Brian and Kendall for showing us all such a wonderful time at their wedding last weekend. Also thanks to Chuck and Deb and Steve and Jan for bringing such wonderful kids into this world. We had a blast!

I'd also like to give a shout out to Indianapolis Tent and Awning for fabricating a dress large enough for me to wear to the wedding. Job well done guys. You could hardly even see the stake holes or the tie-downs.

One of my favorite parts of the wedding was the photo booth. I guess these are becoming more and more popular at such events, but this was my first opportunity to share in the fun.

I shall give no names, therefore no one is permanently damaged and can still move on to become the president of the United States or at the very minimum, a college football coach.

As we've gotten older and have quit fighting about clothes, makeup and other such trivialities, my sisters and I have become fairly diligent about having our photos taken together whenever we're all present at a family get together. Again, I'll name no names, but one's childhood dream was to be a Catholic nun, one wanted to become a migrant worker on a tomato picking machine so she could have a fantastic tan (including tan teeth(?) and the final sister was nearly certain she was a shoe-in to be the Breck shampoo girl in the television commercials. Although not one of us reached our goals, we all became successful in our careers as circus clowns.

I'm only posting this last photo to show you how well-preserved we will be in the future (notice the date stamp?) except for sister #3 who appears to have lost both of her eyes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rustic Potato Soup

Hey.... this looks like a good place for a food blog. Think maybe I should post a recipe? (since I haven't posted one in almost a month.)

Since I've quit smoking (4 months today..YAY!) my monthly visits to the doctor have reported steady weight gains so don't assume that just because I'm not blogging about food, I'm not eating it. The doc just keeps winking at me and saying "good job," like maybe he's confused about things and he's thinking I'm pregnant. I just nod and buy a bigger pair of fat pants on my way home.

Now on to the soup. Why rustic potato soup? Because I didn't feel like peeling the potatoes, of course! Please do so if you find skins unappealing. (There's a pun in there somewhere, I just know it.) This soup could also be made with two quarts of chicken broth and a splash of cream at the end if you're not wanting to use all milk. I just happened to have a half gallon of skim milk that needed used ASAP so I went that route instead. And I would be remiss if I didn't asked for forgiveness for using a little Velveeta. You can take the girl out of the country but that won't make her any less processed-cheezy.

Rustic Potato Soup

1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, small dice
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 quarts milk (I used skim)
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled or unpeeled, small cubed
4 ounces Velveeta, cubed
sour cream and chives, optional as garnish

In a large nonstick soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, carrot and red bell pepper. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute until onions have become translucent, 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Stir in the milk, bouillon cubes, rosemary and thyme. Add the cubed potatoes and reduce heat to medium. Stirring often, bring soup to a slow boil and boil for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Place about 3 cups of soup into a blender and carefully puree. Return puree to soup and add Velveeta cubes. Stir until cheese is melted. Serve garnished with sour cream and chives, if desired.