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Archive for the ‘Rants. Raves. Hysteria.’ Category

There’s a glut of food blogs on the ‘net, have you noticed? I’ve been trolling for some new inspiration, awesome lurk-worthy sites that are an instant source of excitement, chock full of recipes that I can’t wait to make.

I found myself gasping at what was in front of me; I was a bit taken aback, like thinking I fell into another era. The posts talked about mac and cheese, baked potatoes covered with canned soup, casseroles with frozen vegetables and potatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches with perfect squares of fake cheese…..and please excuse me for sounding snobbish as I certainly know I do right about now…. but this is the food that Jamie and I joke and laugh about, the stuff we were forced to eat coming of age in the 1970’s from mothers who only knew about Betty Crocker and The Joy of Cooking.  This is not, in all our 2009 understanding about our food, our health, the way we can nurture and protect ourselves from the plate up; this is not food. I’m sorry. Forgive the mini-rant, it’s done now.

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It gets better….I promise-  read on…….

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It’s National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day. Talk about ridiculous. Call it Pop, call it Soda or simply just call it what it is- garbage disguised as sugary, calorie laden liquid. I can’t even imagine anything worse to put in your body.

*taking a deep breath* Ok, now would you like to know how I really feel about it? Sorry for the rant.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that I have never been much of a pop-a-holic. Sure it’s OK once in a while- I mean, nothing tastes quite like a Diet Coke over ice that has been liberally doused with fresh squeezed lime juice and when I was first pregnant with the Little Carnivore, and mind you had not drank a soda in like a million and one years, I craved Coca Cola over ice to a near fatal extent and was at a point where I wanted to literally gnaw my arm off in exchange for one. I tell you, those pregnancy cravings are something else. And that first sip, ever, of that first Coke over ice made that little zygote residing deep inside me so darn happy, quelling the intense craving and I was saved, thank God. At least for a while, you know….until I had to have the next one.

No wonder my now 14yo teenager has such a sweet tooth.

ANYWAY……gosh, could I get any further off track? That soda craving never took hold once my son joined the world and although I indulge here and there, especially enjoying a Diet Cherry Coke now and then, I simply don’t get the current craze of Rockstar, Red Bull, Bawls (what the…??) Envigo or the really intense hair-pulling I think of when I see bottled water with caffeine. And what’s worse is that these beverages are ridiculously popular. Coffee consumption has spiked to new highs in our society, leaving no other conclusion than the fact that we, as Americans, are absolutely and ridiculously addicted to caffeine.

Now I am a coffee drinker, and I am sipping on a delightful mug of java as I write this, so I am not one to point a finger at another’s addiction. I’m all there on it too. But in coffee, not carbonation. I’ve tried several of the new-fangled “energy” drinks and found them disgustingly sweet and yucky. I think Red Bull tastes like liquid Sweet Tarts, which I never liked anyway, and Rockstar is no better. But there is a market for these, and given the sheer number of people I see clutching an “energy” drink in their tight fists, apparently it’s not going away any time soon. It makes me wonder though- do people really like the stuff, or are they conforming to something popular? I can recall watching a group of teenage girls one day, each one gripping a can of Red Bull, and noticing that none of them ever took a sip of the drink. They just carried it like some badge of honor. It leads me to wonder; is caffeine trendy?

Shouldn’t we be more careful of the potential side effects of too much caffeine????

What ever your poison, enjoy the day. It’s a holiday after all and count me in as one of the addicted. I love my coffee and have indulged in it daily since I was a teenager. I’ll never quit drinking it.

nablopomo21

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If I even begin to think, talk or silently debate about doing one of these next year, somebody smack me and duct tape my arms down until I come to my senses.

But, that being said and with the fresh memory of just exactly how long this whole procedure took, the end result couldn’t help but charm the smile right out of me. It’s pretty darn cute.

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Today, in the food-centric month of November, it’s National Gingerbread House Day. It’s also National Vanilla Cupcake Day and I had every intention of making a delicious batch of cupcakes to celebrate but then this house took over my life and squeezed all the motivation out of me over, oh….about six and a half hours. I tried to be sour about the effort and time, but then something happened…….

I couldn’t help but smile at the snowball fight antics of the gummy bears, those mischevious little things.

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Or appreciate the snow covered Christmas tree in the front yard.

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The bears have done such a wonderful job hanging lights and garlands around the house.

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And the fence was so pretty and festive…..they were just finishing it up too.

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And Santa Gummy Bear was lurking on the chimney!

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So I tried to be all Grinchy about the effort, the time and the frustration involved in trying to piece together lopsided pre-formed gingerbread pieces with angles that were all off-center and not straight, but really, like childbirth, the final effort was worth all the agony. It is really, really darn cute.

It wasn’t until I started in on the pieces of the ‘ready to decorate’ kit- a colossal lie if I ever read one- that I recalled reading far too much about them on other blog sites last year (and the year before if I really want to admit it) that said these kits were extremely difficult to work with. The intentions are good, absolutely, but it just doesn’t have the ease that one is lead to believe. In my kit, the two side pieces were warped, and no amount of shaping could save them. This meant that every piece that was supposed to attach to them wouldn’t fit either. Maybe they aren’t all as bad as this one; I could hope anyway. While I have a large perfectionist streak that led me to work probably way too long on this to be successful, I think someone with less patience would have given up at first sight. Once I was done with the forming of the house, the last thing I wanted to do was futz with any decorations, in fact, all I wanted was a stiff drink. The only thought that kept me from chucking the lopsided thing in the trash was the recurring mantra ‘It will definitely look better once I decorate it!!!’ and so I sat down with ‘NCIS’ because Mark Harmon can cure any ill-will with those blue eyes, even at his advanced age, and also with my knitting- the finest brain silencer I have ever known- and well, by the time ‘Numb3rs’ came on, the ‘house from hell’ was nearly forgotten.

So FAIR WARNINGskip the kits and find a decent recipe and guide to make a house from scratch, that is, if you truly want to do this. It also works to use graham crackers. I had my cake decorating skills from culinary school to support me, and the tools to make it all work, like piping bags and decorating tips. Even given all that, this may be the only gingerbread house I ever make. Thank goodness I have no plans to eat it so it can sit around and be admired until after Christmas when I can stand 10 feet from the open trash can and launch it inside, ceremoniously and with glee.

nablopomo21

Anybody got a cupcake????

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Strawberry Banana Bread

3 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

¼ c. oil

¾ c. unsweetened applesauce

¼ c. vanilla yogurt

3 eggs, beaten

2 c. mashed strawberries

2 mashed ripe bananas

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix oil and eggs until blended slightly, add to dry and stir together until blended. Stir in fruit. Bake in two standard greased loaf pans at 350° for approximately one hour. Cool in pans, then on cooling rack.

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