Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicken parmesan

I'm reasonably certain I made this up. Although it's not that original once you understand the basic concept of chicken parmesan.

Retroactive ingredient list:
12-16 cups water
1 pound uncooked pasta
2 eggs
1 cup Italian bread crumbs or 1 cup plain breadcrumbs and 1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 pounds raw chicken
3 cans (24 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic power
4-8 oz. mozzarella cheese

1. Put a pot of water on to boil (for pasta).

2. If you are lucky enough to have "chicken tenders" instead of "chicken breasts", skip this step. Otherwise: Slice chicken breasts into 2-3 strips apiece. You can also pound them to make them flatter, but this is loud and messy and not actually necessary, as it turns out.

(P.S. In order to complete step 2, you will have needed to thaw out your frozen chicken. I was lucky tonight that I had chicken tenders, 'cause I definitely didn't thaw anything.)

3. Crack 2 eggs onto a shallow dish of some sort (a standard dinner plate works fine for me). Put some Italian bread crumbs (maybe 1 cup?) onto another dish. If you don't have Italian bread crumbs, use regular bread crumbs and a few good shakes of Italian seasoning.

4. Coat a piece of chicken in the raw egg, then in the bread crumbs. Place on greased cookie sheet or in a greased baking dish or any other greased oven-safe food receptacle of your choice.

Repeat Step 4 until you have 8-10 breaded chicken tenders.

5. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. (Probably less if your tenders are not frozen.)

6. Right after you put the chicken in the oven, add together the following items in a small saucepan:

3 cans (24 oz.) tomato sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic power

7. Put over low to medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.

8. When your water boils (you did remember to turn the burner on, right?) put in your pasta. Spaghetti is a good choice, but linguine or fettuccine or other such things also work. Cook for 8-10 minutes or according to package directions or until the noodles are a desired consistency.

9. If you did it right, your pasta should be done around the time your chicken needs to come out of the oven. Drain the pasta and take the chicken out, or take the chicken out and drain the pasta. The order of those two steps depend on your precise timing.

10. If you're feeling fancy, drizzle a little of the sauce and some mozzarella cheese onto the chicken and put it back in the oven for maybe 2 minutes. If you're feeling hungry, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. (In a microwave-safe food receptacle, needless to say.) The idea is for the cheese to melt a little.

11. Take about 2 pieces of chicken and a nice helping of spaghetti. Put sauce on the spaghetti. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One of the many reasons I love being us

Because I can look up from Catching Fire (which finally came in at the library, yay!) and say, "You know when not to use 'which begs the question', right?" and Scott not only says "Yes" but engages in a detailed discussion of the topic which leads me to a fuller understanding of the actual meaning of the phrase. (I can easily identify when it's being used incorrectly, but there aren't many everyday contexts in which it can be used correctly so I'm not as familiar with that usage, sadly.)

For anyone who has no clue what I'm talking about: Professor Wikipedia will teach you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Filed under: Things that warm my cold little heart

Sometimes, you are having a rather exhausting and frustrating day. And then you are making dinner and realize you don't have any cream of mushroom soup, which is an essential component in stroganoff. And you grudingly schlep your way to the nearest Aldi, make a beeline for the soup, and then head for the checkout, only to realize that there is only one cash register open and it is being used by two young guys who have about five zillion groceries piled onto the conveyor belt.

Just as you are resigning yourself to the Worst Evening Ever, they make it clear despite their heavily accented English that they want you to go on ahead of them. So you scoot past their cart and gratefully pay your 59 cents. As you are putting your change back in your wallet, you notice that the young gentlemen with the five zillion groceries have allowed another person to go ahead of them in line.

Perhaps not the Worst Evening Ever after all.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In which the plants survive a fair bit of benign neglect

This is what my sugar snap peas look like this week. I almost forgot about them, the poor dears. (I was gone last week, so I couldn't take a picture at all then.) I didn't take a picture of how tall they are because, as you can see, they're all tangled up together. I really ought to get them some stakes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Seven Quick Takes mostly about how much I dislike city driving

--- 1 ---
First thing I dislike: Blogger's new layout/settings/what-have-you. I am a creature of habit. I just had to deal with Daylight Savings, and now my beloved Gmail and Blogger accounts are all messed up? WHY, GOOGLE, WHY?
--- 2 ---
Scott had a job interview this morning. It seems to have gone very well. I'll be more excited if he actually gets a job one of these days instead of just getting encouraging feedback about how awesome he is. (Then again, as I told him earlier, the very fact that he's getting encouraging feedback from his various interviews is a sign that he's on the right track.)
--- 3 ---
In order to get to the interview, we had to go Downtown. I give it capital letters because Downtown is totally a whole different world. YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR PARKING THERE. It's awful.

On the other hand, I can cross "knowing how to pay for parking with the little machine in the corner of the lot" off my Things That Make Me A Real Grown-Up list.
--- 4 ---
Scott's interview was originally scheduled for Wednesday, so on Wednesday morning I went and plotted everything out. I would drop Scott off at his interview, I'd go park at the library, and he'd come find me.

Almost as soon as this plan was formulated, he got a call asking if he could reschedule for Friday morning. So we rescheduled and it never occurred to me to recheck the library website. So instead of spending 8-9:15 happily ensconced in the library, I spent 8-9 sitting on the retaining wall outside the library vaguely paying attention to everybody else who was doing the same thing (Nobody talked to me except for when I first walked up and one of them said, "Doesn't open until 9." I like these terse downtown people.), and I spend 9-9:15 actually inside the library.

The other flaw with my plan was that the library does not have free parking; I ended up parking about halfway between Scott's interview location and the library and then walking to the library. (The entire area in question is about 5 blocks long, so it's not like I had to walk any great distance.)

The other other flaw in my plan was that that library was extremely large. I am trying to think of things to compare it to and coming up blank. It had a GIFT SHOP. What kind of library has a gift shop? Anyway, at about 9:15 I was looking at the map and trying to think like Scott. Because when he came to find me he'd not be able to see me browsing the books, so maybe he'd have the sense to look at the map and figure out where I was most likely to be...and then while I was contemplating the map he walked in, so I didn't have to worry about him finding me after all.

(We only have one cell phone between us, and I had it, so he couldn't have called me. There was a bank of pay phones, but he hardly ever carries cash so he wouldn't have been able to use those either.)
--- 5 ---
Oh, right. These are supposed to be quick takes. I'm out of practice.

Some random things I have learned about city driving:

1. Right turn on red is not an option, it's a requirement. I have been honked at more in the last 5 months than in the rest of my driving career combined.

2. You sometimes have to speed up in order to successfully merge onto the highway. Back in the middle of nowhere, where I come from, there are these nice long quarter-mile gaps between cars going down the highway. So if one of them happens to be anywhere in your general vicinity, you can just slow down and let him get ahead and then pop onto the highway behind him. (All cars are "him." Don't argue.)

That doesn't work in the city. For one thing, that two-car-length gap you see right there might be the only gap there is for ages. For another, you've got a stack of cars behind you that are all already going 65 miles per hour, so no way can you just hang out at the end of the on-ramp waiting for a space. (Note: I don't park there or anything. But I used to slow down rather a lot if it was a busy day and there were, you know, two cars on the highway instead of just one.)

3. If somebody is "letting" you change lanes, they will indicate this by...doing nothing. Again, back in the boonies on the rare occasions when you wanted to change lanes and somebody was there, one of two things would happen: 1. They'd speed up to pass you so you could get on behind them. 2. They'd slow down so you'd have a nice big open space to get on ahead of them.

CITY DRIVERS DO NOT DO THIS. It took me probably two or three months to get up the nerve to just pop on over into that itty-bitty space and have faith that the other car was not going to gun it and run me over.
--- 6 ---
I could complain more about city driving, but I don't feel like it. How about a happy thing: My ex-roommate/bridesmaid/household sister/awesome friend is coming to visit in a week! Nominally, she's coming for Liza Jane's wedding, but we all know she likes me better. ;) And she's staying here! In my apartment! SO EXCITED!
--- 7 ---
All of the frosting that I made for our Mardi Gras cupcakes is gone now. It was vanilla. Most of the chocolate cupcakes are gone, so I'm thinking of making chocolate frosting now. Chocolate frosting on vanilla cupcakes is awesome. For that matter, chocolate frosting on chocolate cupcakes is awesome. (I didn't make chocolate frosting before because Scott protests if I make things "too chocolatey." He is a very silly boy.)
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Crescent Rolls

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups milk
7 cups flour
2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter

Melt 1/2 cup butter. Heat milk until warm but not hot. Combine.

Mix 4 cups of the flour and all of the yeast, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl.

Add milk and butter mixture and stir.

Add remaining flour and the eggs. Mix well but do not knead.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.


Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.

Divide into 6 roughly equal balls.

Lightly flour counter or tabletop. Roll each ball into circles. (One by one, if your counter is small like mine.)

Spread remaining 1/2 cup butter on each circle (as if you're putting tomato sauce on a pizza).

Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut each circle into 8 roughly equal wedges.

Roll up the rolls, starting at the large end and moving toward the small end. Then bend the completed roll into a crescent.


If cooking later, put the rolls on a cookie sheet or something similar and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Store in baggies in the freezer until the day you want to use them. If you want to cook them immediately, skip this step.

Put the rolls on a cookie sheet and let rise in a warm place until doubled. This will take longer if they are frozen (perhaps 2-4 hours).

Once they have doubled, bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Serve hot with butter. (Why not? There's half a pound of butter in them already, a little more won't hurt you.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A long and much overdue Easter recap

After lunch, I started making custard. It was actually pretty easy. The recipe says to stir constantly, but you don't actually need to stir constantly. You just can't go into the next room and play Sims while it's on the stove. So I started chopping strawberries into itty bitty pieces.

Chopping strawberries into itty bitty pieces is very boring, so that took me the rest of the afternoon, with frequent breaks. Then I made stroganoff for dinner.

Tablespoons of butter used today: Six

I made 48 homemade crescent rolls. I will have to post the recipe next week. You have to freeze them on trays and then trasfer them to baggies, and the only tray I had that would fit into my freezer was the little one from the toaster oven. So I had to freeze them 8 at a time. I put the last trayful in right before getting dressed for Holy Thursday Mass.

Then we went to Mass. There was no footwashing, male or female, which was kind of disappointing. It was a very pretty Mass, though.

Tablespoons of butter used today: About 16. (There's a whole stick of butter inside the crescent rolls, and then you slather them with more before you roll them up.)

We went to the Good Friday liturgy. It was good, but my inner four-year-old was misbehaving so I didn't enjoy it as much as I probably ought to have. (This is why real four-year-olds at Mass don't bother me. I'm keeping my inner four-year-old in line; I don't care about your kid coloring on the pews.) The coolest part was the Dominican novices singing. (If you know what city I live in, you now know what parish I go to and can murder me on my way out of Mass someday, because that is what creepy internet stalkers do. You're welcome.)

In the evening, I boiled two dozen eggs.

Tablespoons of butter used today: About zero. Maybe somebody had toast or something.

After lunch, Scott and I settled down to color eggs. This took pretty much the entire afternoon, though we were hardly working like sweatshop children. We wandered off to do other stuff periodically.

egg dyeing supplies

pretty colors

Oh, and also at some point I put chicken in the oven to bake. Then at the appropriate time I made chicken alfredo. I forgot to buy rotini (a fact which I realized sometime on Friday), which is what we usually eat with alfredo, but we had a pound of macaroni just sitting around being not assigned to a meal, so we used that. Yay resourcefulness!

The Easter Vigil started at 9:00. I said we were going to leave at 7:30. We left at 7:45 and got there about 8:10, at which point the church was still practically deserted. There was an adorable toddler who randomly waved hello. The overwhelming cuteness caused my logic circuits to short out and I said "HI!" in that high-pitched, breathless voice I reserve for children under the age of about two. The toddler's dad gave me a weird look; I'm hoping it was just a "Do I know you?" look rather than a "Stop ogling my child, pervert" look.

The first thing we all did was go out and watch a Dominican light a huge pile of wood on fire. It was awesome. I was worried about losing our seats (which I'd claimed with hymnals because I'm definitely not leaving my purse or sweater behind when I don't know if I'll ever see that seat again). Then I decided that I should just enjoy myself, so I did. Fire is awesome.

And we got our seats back. They only did three of the Old Testament readings, which was kind of disappointing but I recovered since it meant I got to go to sleep that much sooner. And the music was awesome and I just about cried during the baptisms and it was just an all-around amazing experience.

When we got back to our pew, a somewhat older couple had been sitting next to us and the lady whispered "Hi!" with a big smile. I said hi back, but was vaguely off-put because I didn't know who she was. Then the lady's husband greeted Scott by name during the sign of peace, so I started scanning my mental list of "People I last met after Christmas Midnight Mass when I was on the brink of crying from too much tiredness." It's a surprisingly long list.

Scott wanted to go to the reception in the parish hall afterward, so we went. On the way, I asked him, "Do we know those people we were sitting next to?" And he explained who they were and I remembered that I had in fact met them after Christmas Midnight Mass. Then they came up and chatted with us while we were drinking punch in the parish hall and I was able to act semi-intelligent.

Then we drove home. I think we ate candy when we got home too. I don't really remember, because I was tired.


Tablespoons of butter used today: About eight.


I woke up at about 9 a.m. because I am weird like that. I ate a couple of boiled eggs and then photographed every last one, most from multiple angles, because I am weird like that. I also ate candy.

I put all my eggs in one basket.

Scott immediately guessed what these eggs were. Can you?

I don't remember what I did after that; probably surfed the internet. I think I may have unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. Scott woke up around 11, but I didn't get around to making the stuffed French toast until about noon and we didn't eat until something like 12:45. You can find a recipe and some pictures here. More pictures:

French toast cooking station

French toast serving station

Om nom nom!

After that it was just about time to start dinner. I called my mom and asked for advice on a couple of things. I put a dozen of the crescent rolls on a pan in the oven but didn't turn it on because I didn't want to kill the yeast and they needed to fluff. I hacked up the ham and stuffed it into our crockpot. (It didn't fit in the crockpot in one piece.) I put whole red potatoes in a pot to boil.

I did not do those all at the same time, of course. I had a really nice afternoon doing the cooking in gradual stages and playing on my computer the rest of the time. Scott played video games and occasionally helped out in the kitchen. (He gave up video games for Lent.)

I didn't hit my Wall o' Tired until about 6:30, when I was completely overwhelmed by the prospect of mashing the potatoes. (And I've been mashing potatoes since I was old enough to see over the counter.) So Scott did the bulk of the finishing touches and we managed to sit down to dinner at a reasonable hour and everything was hot at the same time and it all tasted delicious.

It looked pretty too:

my plate

Scott's plate

the whole table

After dinner we watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and ate candy and lounged around and then went to sleep. The end.

Tablespoons of butter used today: About 16

So, that was my Easter. It was awesome, don't you think?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Random update

On Thursday Scott and I drove up to my hometown. Early Friday morning, my mom had surgery. (She's doing about as well as can be expected, but prayers are always appreciated.) On Saturday Mom came home and I took Teresa to soccer practice. On Sunday everybody but Mom went to Mass and then Scott and I drove home. Today Scott and I finished our local taxes and dropped them off. Now he's at Schola and I'm supposed to be doing laundry or dishes or something, but blogging instead. And not even adding pictures to the big long Easter update I've been writing for the last five days. Nope.

Some random snippets:

Matthew seems to have accepted that Scott and I are his people. Last time we visited, I had to talk to him for a while before he'd smile; this past weekend he often smiled when I walked into the room. (No, you may not point out that maybe he's smiling more often for everybody. I AM SPESHUL!) Meanwhile, he continues to like Scott singing to him, except when Scott uses his real singing voice. (He tried to sing I think Ave Maria to Matthew, and Matthew burst into tears. Scott: "Sorry, I don't know the soprano part!") Scott's falsetto is a little grating; I kind of hope our future babies all burst into tears when he sings like that and like his real voice.

Matthew is five months old and has gray eyes. I am calling this a win for Team Blue.

(My dad has gold/turquoise eyes. My mom has light brown eyes. Andrea has dark brown eyes. I have gold/gray-blue eyes. My sister and I spent many years of our childhood asserting the superiority of our respective eye colors. Then Teresa came along with her dark gray-green/light brown eyes, and though I love her dearly I was saddened that Team Brown outnumbered Team Blue. However, light gray totally counts and now we're even again. Yay!)

(I should start a Team Heterochromia for we awesome people who have gold or green mixed into our primary eye color. Then Teresa can be on my team for once.)

Feeding baby food to babies is tedious. I announced to Scott that all our children will just nurse till they're five. (This is slightly hyberbolic.)

Bottles are also tedious. I wondered aloud several times how nursing could possibly be harder. (Dear Fate: Please don't answer that.)

Scott and I slept in the spare room, which has only one twin bed. Scott slept on the floor, because he is manly. Teresa climbed in bed with me every morning for about an hour before we went downstairs. I let her because I don't see her very often and she needs the snuggles, I think.

Scott quote: "Self-Cleaning Baby: Shoves his bib in his face after he's eaten!"

At one point, Teresa wanted help with a computer game and I was busy. This conversation ensued:
"Mommy could help, but she's not here!"
Me: "Maybe Mommy can help when she gets home."
T: "No! She's going to sit in the brown chair and we're going to bring her food!"
Me: "Oh, okay."
T: "And we'll make her tea if she gets thirsty."

Teresa had a new swingset installed last week. I actually like swings. Especially when I don't have to leave the house to get to them. I prefer to minimize leaving the house. (I think this is a side effect of being an introvert, but of course it could just mean I'm crazy.)

That is all I can think of. Now to see about that laundry...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stuffed French Toast

Part 1: Custard

6 cups milk
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
Dash of salt
6 Tbsp of butter
1 Tbsp vanilla

In a large saucepan or stock pot combine milk, cornstarch, sugar, eggs, and salt. (The original recipe says to put in everything but the milk and then stir the milk in gradually. This would probably help it be less lumpy.) Set your burner to "medium" and heat the custard until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. When I made this there was a very sudden, marked difference in texture at the end. I think you'll know it when you see it.

Take the pan off the heat. Stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour into a dish (I have metal tins with lids; I used one of those) and put in the fridge at least overnight.

Part 2: Strawberries

I cut 2 pounds of strawberries into itty-bitty pieces and added maybe a tablespoon of sugar (or two tablespoons; I don't remember). Then I stirred it all up, put a lid on the container, and left it in the fridge for four days. It's worked out fine so far.

Part 3: French Toast

I used this recipe. If you use it yourself, a note: Contrary to what the recipe says, it's okay for the butter to smoke. Exhibit A:

The piece of French toast at bottom center was cooked with non-smoky butter. The two at the top were cooked with smoky butter. The first piece was DELICIOUS and everything, but it just doesn't LOOK right. French toast should get a little brown, if you ask me.

Oh: And check the sides of your toast for bits of raw egg. This happened to one of my pieces, so I stood it on its side in the hot pan for about 30 seconds and the little dribble of raw egg cooked right through. (You can actually see it in the picture above. See the white patch on the side of the top left piece?)

Once you've made all three of these things, put them together:

And enjoy! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Holy Saturday Plants

This is what the plants looked like at 3 weeks old. If you compare this with the last couple updates, you'll notice that I rearrange the plants. This is so they all get roughly equal sun.

The tallest plants roughly doubled in height over the course of the week.

While retrieving these pictures from my camera, I noticed that I had 79 pictures from Easter Sunday. I will not post the approximately 50 pictures of individual colored eggs, but there should still be a good 20 pictures in my Easter recap post, which I should get up on Thursday or Friday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My sister is awesome

I want to update you all on the plants (I took pictures Saturday but didn't post them, obviously) and tell you about Easter and stuff, but first some awesomeness via Facebook status update:

Rebecca [Lastname]
March 30
Teresa is reading her bible story book to Matthew. She can't read so she's going by the pictures. "Adam was looking for a girlfriend, so God made a special woman named Eve."

Rebecca [Lastname]
April 5
TJ quote of the day: I love my baby brother, I didn' t want a baby sister after all, Matthew is way more cuter!

Rebecca [Lastname]
13 hours ago
Funny thing today: David [Lastname] hid the eggs for Teresa in the family room again this year. Well he's going to have to do something much harder next year. Teresa remembered the common hiding places and found 11 of her 12 eggs in under 1 minute.

Rebecca [Lastname]
11 hours ago
Teresa just did the funniest and most unique trying to delay bedtime and leave her room after being tucked in tactic ever. She was lugging her laundry basket down the steps, declaring she forgot to do her laundry and needed to do it immediately. There was maybe 4 pieces of clothing in the bottom of it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Random blast from the past

I've been going through my old emails lately, sorting and culling and such. I found an exchange from November of 2007 in which my mother refers to herself as "Mum" for some reason, and I reply "Mum? Are we British today?" and she replies "Yes British The weather is a bit frightful and dreary today. Maybe I should have a spot of tea."

I just thought that was funny.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

I have no idea where I got this recipe either. My husband would happily eat this at least once a week.

2-3 tablespoons butter
1 onion or 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2-3 stalks celery
3-4 carrots
8 cups chicken broth (8 cups water + 8 bouillon cubes or 8 teaspoons bouillon)
2-3 cups chicken
2 tablespoons parsley
12 ounces uncooked egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

1. At least three hours before you actually want to eat, put the chicken in the crockpot on high or in the oven at 300 degrees for about two hours. When it is done, give it a minute to cool and then chop it up into little pieces. Set aside.
2. Chop up onion (if you're using a fresh onion) and celery. Peel and chop carrots. Set aside.
3. In a large pot (~8 quarts) melt the butter. Add onion (if using a fresh onion) and celery. Brown for approximately 10 minutes.
4. Add all the other ingredients except noodles. (Including the dried minced onion, if you're not using a fresh onion.) At this point, the parsley will all float to the top and look like WAY too much parsley. Do not be alarmed. Cook at medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
5. Add egg noodles. (If you have 10 ounces or 14 ounces or whatever, don't freak out. I just use 12 ounces because that's what size the bag at Aldi is.) Cook for 8-10 minutes or until noodles are soft.
6. Eat. Eat two or three bowls; this stuff is pretty low-calorie.

My mother will make this with dumplings or riffles instead of noodles sometimes. Someday I want to try making it with rice instead of noodles. It's soup, you're supposed to use random bits of whatever you happen to have on hand.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lo, I am a mighty hunter

Yesterday I did a massive stocking-up-for-Easter shopping trip. After I managed to cram everything into my tiny kitchen, I felt very accomplished and prosperous, so I decided to write a blog post about it.

Behold, my mighty Picasa captioning skills:
This is my "pantry." Really it is just a cabinet next to the fridge. I kinda wish I had a real pantry so I could hoard food for the apocalypse or something.

Top shelf commentary: There is normally a repurposed ice cream bucket full of hot cocoa mix next to the marshmallows. When I was taking this picture, it was on the counter so that I wouldn't forget to refill it. The vitamins are Wal-Mart brand children's chewables with extra iron, because I can't tolerate the taste/texture of any other vitamin. (Well, I can do Flinstones too, but those are more expensive.) I figure it's better to take somewhat inadequate vitamins than to take none at all. The cornmeal is in a bag because it was leaking. There is a 1/3 full bag of flour hiding behind the cornmeal which really should be in its own bag, but I'm making rolls for Easter soon and then there will be room in the flour canister.

Middle shelf commentary: Shortly after taking this picture, I went through and organized the spices into neat little rows instead of a chaotic jumble. The cream of mushroom soup is for stroganoff, which I am making tomorrow. The almost-empty containers of honey and cornmeal were from my mother so I could make cornbread without having to buy a big bag of cornmeal and a whole jar of honey. As you can see, I have remedied those deficits now.

Bottom shelf commentary: The orange box that I forgot to label is cornstarch. (Not to be confused with cornmeal.) I also forgot to label the baking powder, which says "baking powder" on it already anyway, and the baking soda, which is hiding behind the peanut butter. Scott brought those almonds into our marriage but then they seemed to aggravate his stomach problems so he hasn't been eating them. I like almonds, but not that much, so there are still a lot left.

This is the top of the fridge, where I store everything that's too tall to fit in the "pantry." The instant nonfat dry milk is for making cocoa mix.

This is my freezer, which is considerably less precarious than it was after *I* stuffed all the meat in there, because Scott went back and rearranged it all.

We bought a 10-pound roll of beef yesterday because it was $2.19 a pound if we bought it in the aformentioned 10-pound roll. (For 80/20 beef, if you're curious.) I made Scott cut it up into 1-pound increments before we put it in the freezer. Handling raw meat is a manly chore.

Somewhere underneath the pile o' meat are two bags of homemade cupcakes and a bowl of homemade frosting. I made those all on Mardi Gras and they've been waiting patiently since. I've been waiting less patiently for our reunion, let me tell you.

Also somewhere in there are 4 slices of homemade cheese pizza wrapped in tinfoil. That's Friday's dinner.

There are several other containers of the pumpkin puree, which I made myself from last year's Halloween pumpkins and which my mother allowed me to take with me when I moved out.

This is pretty self-explanatory. We got the ice from Scott's parents because the landlord recommended running some ice down the sink back when we didn't know why water was backing up into our dishwasher. It didn't work, of course, but Scott's parents also gave us an ice cube tray (hiding underneath the bag of ice) so now we will have ice of our very own forevermore.

This picture is pretty self-explanatory. I had gotten the hang of labeling by then.

The thick bread is for stuffed french toast, which I'm making for Easter brunch. So are the strawberries. The sparkling cider and red potatoes are going to be part of dinner. The candy is going to be for 1 a.m. on Easter Sunday. ;) (None of those are things we usually have on hand, which is why I point them out. Though I do snag strawberries whenever they're $1/lb, not just when they're $1/lb and it's a week till Easter. The rest of the things are pretty standard, except for the lunchmeat, which is an experiment because Scott asked for it and I'm sick of feeding him all the time so I don't care if lunchmeat is unhealthy. We'll see if it satisfies his desire for meaty lunches.)

We don't drink directly out of the water bottles; we pour their contents into cups. This way we get cold water without getting our germy mouths all over the bottles. Scott puts the lime juice into his water because he doesn't like plain water. It's 99 cents and lasts for months, so I'm happy that he's happy.

The bottom shelf is supposed to be for raw meat ONLY, so no icky disgusting juices get on anything else. As soon as I took this picture I put the mayonnaise on top of the sour cream instead.

Am I a mighty hunter or what?

Monday, April 2, 2012

In which my dishwasher does weird stuff and I come to deeply appreciate my landlord

On Friday morning, I went to load the dishwasher and noticed about 2 inches of standing water in the bottom.

I instinctively recognized this as a Bad Thing. Consulting Facebook confirmed my impression. So when Scott woke up I told him to call the landlord.

He called the landlord that afternoon. The landlord said he'd come by either that evening or the next day. He didn't come in the evening. He didn't come in the morning of the next day. He didn't come in the early afternoon of the next day. I started to become very concerned.

Finally at about 4 p.m. the landlord arrived. He fiddled around under the kitchen sink for a little while and then explained that the hose that connected the dishwasher to the pipe was hanging down so water from the sink was going into the dishwasher instead of down the pipes as it should.

(The tragic part: The fact that I handwashed all the dishes probably made the problem WORSE. I should have run them through the dishwasher and stopped using the SINK.)

He went down to his office or something (I didn't watch, I just know he left the apartment for several minutes) to get some zip ties, came back, somehow attached the hose in question to the underside of the sink, and then wished us a nice evening and went on his merry way.

I had no idea how this worked, so after he left I fiddled around under the sink myself until I understood what was going on. Then I drew a diagram.

It's not the best diagram for several reasons, but I think it gives you a general idea of the problem. If not, well, I had fun drawing it anyway.

I've used the dishwasher once since then and that does indeed seem to have resolved the problem. So, my landlord wins the awesome landlord award.