Archives for July 2009

La Comida Del Raton

When Melanie and I see each other, we consider it our personal mission to seek out the most mediocre Mexican food we can possibly find. Now granted, we didn’t start out with that goal – we started out looking for Mexican food that was actually delicious – but after about five consecutive trips to Mexican restaurants where the definition of what constituted “cheese” was apparently up for grabs, we sort of embraced our ability to find food that is nothing more than absolutely adequate and in some cases completely inedible.

We have a gift, really.

So last night we were hanging out with our friend Annie, and we decided to go in search of some Mexican food here in Charlotte because 1) we value tradition and 2) we really wanted some chips and salsa. We didn’t know what Mexican restaurants were in our area since, you know, we don’t live here, so we relied on Annie’s GPS to direct us to the nearest restaurante.

The first two places we found were closed. Not closed because it was after business hours. Closed FOREVER. And just for the record, I believe that’s what you might call FORESHADOWING.

Fifteen minutes and several miles of unfamiliar roads later, we found another Mexican restaurant. There was an illustration of a small-ish rat with a tire on the sign, so we knew that it must be just the place for us.

(A quick FYI: unless you’re opening a restaurant that’s geared toward small children and features people dancing in animal costumes while distributing platters of mediocre pizza, I’m not so sure that I’d go with a RAT as my eating establishment’s mascot.)

(But what do I know? DIsney made a fortune off of a movie about a rat who happened to be a deeply gifted chef. So just scratch everything I said in the previous paragraph and feel free to launch as many rat-themed culinary ventures as you like.)

Anyway, after we sat down at the restaurant our sweet waitress brought us some chips and three (THREE!) different kinds of salsa. I was immediately beside myself with excitement because one of the salsas was green, and for just a moment I thought maybe it was going to be something along the lines of the green sauce from Ninfa’s, which is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.

Case in point: if I had to choose between green sauce and cream cheese, I would choose green sauce.

I KNOW. Those are some strong words, aren’t they?

Anyway, I got all excited about the maybe-green sauce, so I scooped up a whole bunch of it with a chip, popped the chip in my mouth, and y’all, I cannot explain what happened next in complete sentences because it was far too traumatic for me to think in anything other than short bursts, so here is what ran through my head over the course of the next four to five minutes while my taste buds got the smackdown of my life:

– hot
– oh, really hot
– suuuuuuuuuper hot
– thousand fiery suns
– thousand fiery suns in my mouth
– thousand fiery suns just exploded
– need water
– not enough water
– would speak but tongue would fall off
– tongue perhaps on fire
– more water
– definitely not green sauce
– possibly hottest food on planet earth
– entire mouth ablaze
– forget water need ice block

Apparently it was jalapeno sauce, not green sauce. And I can say without hesitation that if I ever eat jalapeno sauce again, I will not scoop it up enthusiastically. Oh no ma’am. Instead, I will apply it to a chip with an eye dropper. And then I will eat that chip very slowly over the span of approximately two to two and a half months, just as the good Lord intended.

Lesson learned, mis amigas.

A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That

– Y’all provided SUCH great feedback on yesterday’s post. You’ve given me all sorts of helpful info to use in my little presentation thingy with Lysa, and I am so grateful. I would give every single one of you a big bag of sweet potatoes, a pound of thick-sliced bacon and a carton of Land O Lakes butter if I could. THANK YOU.

– Several of y’all have emailed and commented to ask why I quit writing about The Bachelorette. There’s definitely a long-version answer, but here’s the short version: it was just too much. Y’all know I love me some reality television, but writing about The Bachelorette was increasingly problematic because there were some ongoing situations on the show that were really uncomfortable for me to address here on the blawg. And the bottom line is that I just got really convicted that I needed to stop blogging about it.

I haven’t LIKED not blogging about it – after all, it’s one of the most fun things to write about ever in the history of all topics in the entire universe. I’ve really MISSED blogging about it, in fact. But this season totally fed my snarky, judge-y side, and it totally fed a discussion of topics that weren’t entirely appropriate for my little family-friendly interweb netsite, and I was feeling so conflicted every single time I posted a recap that I would regret the post for the next couple of days.

I don’t know what I’ll do down the road because I can tell you right now that it will require supernatural restraint to keep my hands off the keyboard if Reid is the next bachelor. But I think not writing about the last half of Jillian’s season was the right thing to do. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it was what I needed to do. If that makes any sense at all.

(Don’t you love how my “short version” explanation was three paragraphs long?)

(I am nothing if not wordy.)

– Are any of y’all going to Deeper Still in Greensboro this weekend? I’m driving over from Charlotte with a couple of friends Friday night – then driving back to Charlotte afterwards (and by the way, Beth Moore has written a great post about DS over at AllAccess). I’d love to meet some bloggy friends who are there!

– All righty. My flight to Charlotte is finally here (this post was the product of an hour-long flight delay). Hope y’all have a great Thursday!

I’m Very Research-y

This morning I’ve been working on / pondering / trying not to panic about my session with Lysa at SheSpeaks this weekend, and I have three questions for you, internets:

1) When you read a blog, are you looking for a super-professional presentation (design, photography, writing, etc.), or are you looking for something that might not look as professional but feels really relational? Or some combination of the two?

2) Do you tend to think of bloggers as friends? I mean, not your closest friends or anything – but do you feel like you have a little bit of a relationship with the bloggers you read?

3) Do you use Twitter or Facebook?

That is all.

Thank you ever so much for your wisdom.

The Opposite Of Tasty

I like to think of myself as someone who’s pretty handy in the kitchen. I love to cook. I’d rather cook with a recipe in front of me, mind you, but when push comes to shove I can wing it. I can make do. If need be, I can fly by the seat of my culinary britches.

But every once in awhile there’s a misfire.

And last night. Oh, last night. Last night was one of my worst misfires ever.

My intentions were good. I was making Melanie’s chicken cakes (a favorite at our house), and I was scrambling around trying to figure out a side dish. I didn’t go to the grocery store yesterday because, well, I decided that staying in my pajamas was infinitely preferable, so I rifled through the pantry and decided I would make some homemade macaroni and cheese.

My mother-in-law makes her mac and cheese with a cheese sauce – which is a little bit different than my recipe – and since Alex loves her version so much, I thought I’d try to replicate it with some bowtie pasta since I was fresh out of macaroni. I was in a little bit of a hurry, so instead of dragging out another pot I just poured off most of the butter that was left in the bottom of the pan I’d used for the chicken cakes. Then I put the pan back on the stove and threw in a little flour. Stirred it all together. Added some milk and cheese.

Now I know what you’re thinking at this point: I should have banished that chicken cake pan to the henhouse before I started making my cheese sauce. But OH NO, I had to be Little Miss Convenience. Little Miss Don’t-Want-To-Wash-An-Extra-Pan.

Anyway, the sauce thickened up beautifully, but once I added the pasta, I noticed that the color was off a little bit. I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong, but as I re-traced my cooking steps, I realized that OH SWEET MERCY, I SHOULDN’T HAVE USED THE CHICKEN CAKES PAN BECAUSE THIS ISN’T CHEESE SAUCE AT ALL.

And then: OH SWEET MERCY, THIS IS CHEESE GRAVY.

And I think we all know how cheese gravies are sweeping the country by storm. They’re right up there with fish cornbread.

However, I held on to hope. I thought that maybe the concoction wouldn’t taste as bad as it looked and if it might turn out to be a happy cooking accident. I mean, it didn’t look like much, but food doesn’t have to be pretty to be delicious. Right?

Then I tasted it.

Y’all. It was so far past dreadful that it teetered on the edge of Official Side Dish Tragedy. If I had to give this dish – and please understand that I use that term loosely – a name, I’d call it Chicken Fried Cheese Gravy Pasta With Charred Bits Of Chicken Cakes.

Sort of makes your stomach rumble just thinking about it, doesn’t it?

But here’s the kicker. When it was time for supper, I warned my husband about the bowties. I told him how they didn’t turn out anything like I planned. How they tasted like chicken fried cheese gravy. How it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if he didn’t eat them because I was sort of embarrassed to serve them.

And y’all, he took one bite, looked up at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hmmmm. Gravy! What’s not to love?”

Be sure to let me know if you’d like a copy of the recipe.

Back To The Here And Now

Well, we’re home now, and I don’t know whether I’m happy or sad to report that I didn’t see a single person at the pool in Gulf Shores who was wearing pantyhose. I mean, seeing one person in hose this summer is an anomaly. But if I’d seen two, I would’ve alerted InStyle magazine that we have us an Official Summertime Trend.

Anyway, now it’s time to play catch-up on all the business of real life: turning in forms for school, unpacking suitcases, buying groceries, wondering where all the pretty sand is, etc. and so on and so forth amen. I also have to get back in the habit of wearing clothes that button and zip, but I can’t talk about that right now because quite frankly after spending the better part of two and a half weeks in either a) a swimsuit / cover-up combo or b) pajamas, fitted clothes are clearly my nemesis. Last night I wore some pants that button AND zip to church, and you’d have thought I was in a straightjacket. The non-elastic waistband frightens and confuses me.

And now I would like to bore you with some pictures from the beach.

This is the third big slide at the place where we stayed. By my very rough estimation, we spent approximately 42 hours at this slide over the course of seven days. In fact, when we got ready to head home yesterday morning, Alex said, “Mama, I’m a little sad about leaving because I really love that slide and would really love to live here all the time.”

He and that slide forged quite the lasting bond.

He and his goggles also forged a lasting bond, as evidenced by the fact that he opted to wear them ON THE BEACH. WHILE HE PLAYED IN THE SAND.

Alex and his cousin J. spent lots of late-afternoon time on the balcony. Saturday I found them sitting in these chairs, looking out at the water and shooting the breeze like a couple of papaws. So sweet.

They’re good buddies.

And finally.

Yeah. I have no idea.

It was a great trip – as was our trip to Florida with Janie and the boys a couple of weeks ago – and we are so grateful for sweet family members who invite us to join them when they plan something fun. We’ve made some incredible memories this summer, and we are thankful.

We are also Deeply Overloaded on snack foods, which may explain my current disdain for fitted waistbands, but still. Good times.

Happy Monday, y’all.

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 07.27.09

Last night our pastor finished a sermon series on the book of Ruth that has crawled all up in my head and my heart and pretty much left me in a fresh state of awe and wonder.

Except that I’m going to have to listen to yesterday’s sermon again because I spent the better part of last night’s service dealing with a six year-old who would not stop 1) looking at the clock on the back wall 2) using his flip-flops as action figures 3) leaning over to me and whispering, “THIS IS THE BORING-EST THING I EVER HEARD!”

The parenting, it is humbling. I’m just sayin’.

So anyway. The series.

Love Story

I hope you get to watch or listen – these messages will bless your heart.

Hope y’all are having a great Monday!