Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Who do you think you are, Princess Di?"

I am a car nut.  




And this "nut" reference is the only reference in this entire post to anything edible.  So much for sugar-free food blogging. 

As for my nuttiness . . . I come by it naturally.  My dad is a total gear head and has owned more cars throughout his life than can be counted on both his and my fingers and toes.  Now that my dad is retired, he has given up accounting to tinker with cars for a living absolutely no profit whatsoever.



I clearly inherited the "must-buy-as-many-cars-as-possible" gene from my dad because every 12 months or so I get an itch to buy a car. 

Before I was even 22 years old, I had already owned my dad had already spoiled me with three cars. 



Oh, the perks of being an only child.

In fourteen years of marriage, I have owned purchased 10 cars.  I think all are represented somewhere in this post.  But, here are a few:



 
On Friday, I had two in the garage that I call my own: my mom car and this little beauty that my dad restored for me back in 2002 (before kids):





It is a 1973 MGB.  It is British, which means that it is ridiculously unreliable and rarely runs.  And, it is a two-seater, which means that, even if it ran, I rarely get to drive it because of the three little yard-apes that are always with me.

So, I've been talking all week about how I'd like to have a convertible bug.  Not to replace my "mom car" or my MGB but "just to run around with the kids on pretty afternoons and weekends."

When I say things like that to the Great and Powerful Oz, his response is always

Who do you think you are, Princess Di?

He said it eight years ago when I asked him to pony up for my first "fancy" car:  



He said it six years ago when I brought home Chanel sunglasses - that I still own and wear - thank you very much. 


And, he asked the question again last week when I told him that I wanted "a weekend Bug."  

The answer is always the same:

Yes.  Yes. I absolutely do think that I am Princess Di.
 
Usually, when he plays the Princess Di card that is the end of the conversation.  But, this time he shocked me by following up the princess di question by asking,

What color?

And, as I texted him back with "any color as long as it is convertible," I was thinking

....so you're saying there's a chance.

I researched new beetles all week, and yesterday morning he spent some time on the phone,  using his shrewd, lawyerly negotiating skills to get us just the right deal.  And, then he called out

Load up everyone. 
We are going to OKC to get your mom another car. 

And, even though he was okay with the whole thing . . . or we absolutely wouldn't be doing it . . . because no matter what he says, he really is in charge here . . .  he had to play the grumpy card all the way to OKC. 



To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if he was grumpy because I'm once again spending blowing his our money or because I had had one too many glasses of cheap wine the night before and was sleeping my way through the drive.

But, once we got to the dealership, the grump was gone, and he turned into the super hero that I know and love.



In one of the fastest car transactions ever (see, practice does make perfect), we were in and out of there in a flash . . .  Me and my yard apes on the best Saturday EVER:




We all agree.  We love it.  On the drive home, the Tiny Princess, who sits up pretty high in her booster seat, got absolutley beat to death by the wind.  But, she says, "I love the wind."  Here is her "wheeeeee" face on the way home:



We had to stop at Elizabeth's on the way home to show it to Middle Man.  And, she gave it a hug when he said that he didn't like it.  The TIny Princess was worried that the Bug's feelings were hurt.  



The Bug isn't a luxury car by any means.  It doesn't have any of the fancy gadgets that my mom car has.  And, I realize that only sixteen year old girls and gay men drive them, but I love it.  Really love it.   It might be the happiest car on the road.   And, I think that Ella might be on to something because if any car has feelings it would be the Volkwagen Bug.

Well, that and Christine.



Anyway, Elizabeth and I are driving it today to Muenster for Germanfest.  We are going to be the happiest thirty-somethings in a sixteen year old's car that you ever saw.

The Great and Powerful Oz is going to busy building us a new five-car garage . . . so that he has somewhere to park his truck . . . the same truck that I bought and drove for just 9 months.

Happy Sunday!  Happy schnitzel! 
Jmo



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Parenting . . . Willy Wonka style


For our Friday "Sidelining the Sweet Talk", we are going to (once again) discuss parenting:  Willy Wonka Style.

During our sleepover last weekend, in an attempt to get the herd of kids we had in our charge to bed, we popped in  "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."   Not the scary Johnny Depp version, the original, the classic, the one we all know and love.



We were whipping up our cookies in the kitchen which is open to where the kids were watching the movie so we caught a lot of the scenes. I loved this movie as a kid.  Shocking that I would love a movie where candy and chocolates have a starring role.

I used to think that if only I could get my hands on one of those gummi bears the size of a cocker spaniel, I could die happy.   As it turns out, I am just $149.99 (+ shipping) away from being able to realize my life long dream.

26lb gummi bear  from Vat 19
But as those bratty little kids dropped one by one and the oompa loompas came out to sing of their demise, the thought occurred to me:  Forget Dr. Spock, Dr. Phil, Dr. Pepper. . . all good parenting lessons can be learned from that crazy chocolatier and his orange midgets.




First up. . . Augustus Gloop.  He was a  gluttunous little german who couldn't keep his hand out of the streudel jar.



Lesson learned:   That McDonalds happy meal is clogging up your kids arteries just like Augustus clogging up the pipe in chocolate river.  . .  Feed 'em healthy stuff.


Violet Beauregarde.  The oompa loompas took offense to her gum smacking.  




But I think that Violet gives us two lessons for the price of one:  Don't let your kids chew on gum like a cow and NEVER EVER dress your daughter in a union suit unless they also are wearing a diaper.

Veruca Salt.  The Oompa loompas ask a very good question while singing about the wretched Ms. Salt.  "Who do you blame when your kid is a brat? Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese Cat?"  Mom and Dad, that's who. 




Lesson learned:  Don't give your kids every little thing that they want or they will end up in the incinerator.   Well, maybe not the incinerator, but they will end up unlikeable adults who are constantly disappointed by life.  
Bratty kids are like puppies who "poo poo" on the floor.  They are moderately tolerable because they are puppies.  But sadly, puppies that "poo poo" on the floor, if not properly trained, turn into dogs that "S*@!" on the floor.  

Say no to them every now and then and make them earn their keep. 

At first glance I thought that these kids were bottling wine
and I was ecstatic.  After closer inspection,
 I can't tell exactly what they are doing. 
But they are working and not complaining.  I dig it. 

Mike Teevee.   I fully recognize the irony of pointing out the evils of TV learned while plopping 7 kids down in front of a movie.  



But, TV does have it's place and can save a mother's sanity when all she wants to do is go to the bathroom by herself.  But as with all good things, there is such a thing as too much TV. 

But, Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas loved Charlie.  The old man was raising him right, and he was the epitome of a good kid. 

He speaks softly,  he's honest, he has a job, he's nice to old people.   He's perfect. 

And, what did he get for it?  A chocolate factory, that's what!  Maybe just one of my kids will turn out good enough to win me a chocolate factory. 

So, there it is. . . parenting 101 by Willy Wonka.  I think that instead of that stupid car seat video that the hospital makes you watch before you can leave with your newborn baby, they should pop this in.  The world would be a much better place if all our kids could be Charlie Buckets.  

ew










Bamboozled by Kid Food

Have you ever been bamboozled by your kid's food? 


I had a huge serving of popcorn at 4:00 as a snack.  So, I decided that I would have a sensible  salad for dinner. Maybe something like this:



But, then I made this for my kids:




And while I was making their plates, that innocent looking sandwich threw it's Mack-a-Flama-Rama on me and made my head whirl.

I knew that if I didn't make one for myself I was just going to end up eating their cold, soggy left-overs, which is nasty.  So instead of a salad, I made this for Oz-some Jeff and I:



A grown-up grilled cheese with turkey and avocado. I used butter on that bread and two slices of Kraft deluxe cheese so it's definitely not low fat. But at just 3.2 grams, it is low sugar.

And I made a side salad to make myself feel better about it.


You know what? It was totally worth the calories, and I'm going to tell myself that it's a wash since I ran today.



In retrospect, I wish I had used laughing cow cheese because everything is better with a laughing cow. 
 
Go ahead.  Make your self one.


Jenni

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bugs Need Lovin' Too and What-I-ate-Tuesday-on-Wednesday

Spring is in the air.  Its getting warmer, and everyone is complaining about their sinus problems.  

source

One thing that I have noticed is what seems to be an abundance of bugs this spring.  It seems like there are way too many dead June bugs on my porch for April.   

I can't even sit out there and have a cocktail after dark because they go on the attack.   I spill too much of my wine while swatting at the June bugs.  And, its not relaxing when I'm screaming and jumping around because they are in my hair and down my shirt.

source
The house isn't safe either.  The scorpions have been marching through.  And, a few days ago, a brown recluse decided to take up residence in my kitchen.  Bad decision for him because he's dead now.

Now, you know (The Great Oz and Elizabeth especially know) that spring has me in a state of bug loving. 



But, I'm not the only one.  Something that I have been privy to a lot lately . . .  is real bug loving:  
Everywhere I turn, there they are . . .  procreating and recreating on my windows.   Warning:  you are about to be subjected to bug porn.

front window of my car


front window of my house
And, of course, I take pictures of bug porn whenever I can find it . . . well,  because I take pictures of EVERYTHING.  I sent this picture to the Great and Powerful Oz at work, and his response was "bugs need love too."  Indeed.  Indeed, they do. 

And, in just 24 hours, we will have a maggot infestation somewhere on our property.  Three to six days after that we will have a full-on baby fly infestation.  And, just two more days later those teenage flies will be looking for some lovin' of their own.  The only good news is that 21 days later this round of flies will all be dead because that's all the time that a fly gets.  Lesson to be learned: 

If you are a fly, time is of the essence,
and you really need to make it count.  Now, you know more than you ever wanted to know about the house fly.  You're welcome.

So, let's talk about yesterday.

 
Workout:


Tuesday was a run day. We met at Jessie's house at 5:15 a.m. and ran 5 miles at an 8.5 min/mile pace. I know that is a very respectable pace, but I'm a little down on my self because that is about half a minute slower than what I have been running.

But, I just haven't been running as well since the accident. It seems that, in addition to knocking myself stupid, I also knocked the fast out of me.


Fast or not, this weekend is Germanfest in Muenster, TX, and I'm super excited about it.



But I'm a little nervous because I went ahead and registered for the 15K even though it's a hilly course and I'm not running my best. To make matters worse, the race starts at noon, which means it may be really hot. And sunny.

source
 And I'm a vampire runner.
 
source

I'm going to have to go into with the attitude that I'm just going to enjoy it and not worrying about any kind of PRing. For entering, you get into the festival for free and two beer tickets.

That right there is reason enough to run. The other reasons are Elizabeth, Jessie, and Allison who will be there too. And the Great and Powerful Oz who will be a super fan.


So, now for what I ate on Tuesday:


Breakfast:


My breakfast was pretty Ho-hum. It has been six days since I bought groceries, and we are hurting for food.



I had a four-egg white omelet with shredded colby jack and my standard half of an English muffin and cashew butter. I also found some strawberries that were still edible.

Here is what I did not eat (but suffered through the torture of making for the Tiny Princesses' class because she was snack leader at school):

Tiny blueberry muffins with cream cheese icing


Lunch:


For lunch, I had a turkey wrap on a Joseph's pita with reduced-fat colby jack, guacamole, and a little mixed greens.  The Joseph's pita is a close cousin of the Joseph's Lavash Bread that we were loving all over yesterday.



I also had some red pepper hummus and celery. Though halfway through the celery I decided that it was rotten, and I switched to 34 degrees crackers.



Oh, and I stole two slices of summer sausage from Easy-E (his pick at the store last week). I also tried this new "spicy water" that I found at Homeland.


The name Seagrams makes me feel like I was enjoying a refreshing cocktail . . .  while I worked.

Afternoon Snack:

Popcorn. As if there is anything else.



Dinner:

Was delicious. I baked a pre-marinated pork loin.  It was roasted red pepper flavored, which matches the flavoring of my hummus.  It's nice when the products in your fridge are matchy matchy. 



I also made this Butternut Squash Quinoa that I found at http://www.sarahfit.com/.



It may not look all that appetizing, but it was really good.  Cross my heart.  I knew when I read the recipe that mixing my second favorite vegetable (butternut squash) with my very favorite processed cheese (Laughing Cow Swiss) was going to be a winner.

I still needed a little something after dinner so I ate one three of these mediocre cookies that we're left over from Saturday night's experiment-gone-awry.   It's not good enough for you yet, but it's good enough for me on a Tuesday night.


And, that's all she wrote folks.  Looking at what I ate is about as exciting as looking at the bug pictures, isn't it?

Have a great Wednesday,

Jenni



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Products We Love (Part 1): L❤vash Bread

On what seemed like just an ordinary day . . . just another trip to Walmart for groceries . . . Elizabeth discovered and broughteth hometh this little miracle:

http://www.josephsbakery.com

While we are really excited to introduce you to our new friend, we are also a little nervous too.  Our fear is that our five loyal readers are going to run straight over to our local Walmart, and then we will never be able to find Lavash bread again. Because that's how our shit-bag Walmart operates.


Look at the line already forming for Lavash

The more we like an item, the less likely that our store will continue to carry it.

So, what's so special about Lavash bread?  Well . . . . you know that Elizabeth and I fully admit and take responsibility for being carb-o-holics.  However, thanks to Lavash we no longer need to seek treatment.   

A generous serving of Lavash (1/2 of a piece of flatbread) includes only 7g of carbohydrates of which 3g are dietary fiber.


And, the good news doesn't stop there because not only is Lavash Bread low carb, it is also low calorie (at only 50 calories per serving).   That means that you could eat a whole piece of Lavash (if you were so inclined) and still only be guilty for 100 calories.

But, most importantly . . . drum roll please . . . a serving of Lavash contains 0 grams of sugar, which means that we don't even have to go through the pain of determining fructos-i-city according to "the rules" that we use.

So how can we use lavash?   Let us count the ways.  


It is soft and roll-able, which makes it perfect for a wrap:

source

The Daily Dish would have you roll it around some beans and rice and make a burrito.




Baked in the oven, it crisps up, and becomes a perfect hummus delivery mechanism:




And . . . hold the phone . . . because it also makes a great pizza crust.


www.josephsbakery.com


I made a pizza using Lavash just last week.  So, here's how to do it Crazy-as-a-Mother style.



Chicken and Veggie Pizza on Lavash



 
Ingredients:
chicken breast (diced)
spinach
zuchinni
yellow and red peppers
any other desired veggies
olive oil
dried sweet basil
parmesan
feta
Directions:
1.  Bake your lavash on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Just until it gets a little browner and crisp.


 2.  In some form or fashion, cook up some chicken.  I cut some serious corners here and threw some fully cooked canned chicken into a skillet and warmed/browned it. 




The Great and Powerful Oz will have a heart-attack reading this because he thinks that chicken in a can is "objectively disgusting". 

 


But, he did, in fact, unknowingly eat chicken from a can for this meal.


3.  Wilt some spinach by sauting it in some Pam on medium.  Hint:  It takes a lot of spinach to cover a pizza.

Before
After

 
4. In another pan (or in the same if you are lazy or short pans), saute your veggies to soften them a little.



5.  While your veggies are cooking, mix up some home made pesto.  Or just get out a jar of it.  That will work too. 



If you don't have a jar, pesto is easy:  2 T olive oil, sprinkle of dried or fresh sweet basil and parsley, salt, garlic powder, and a touch of parmesan.


6.  Take your crispy lavash out of the oven.  Evenly spread out your veggies and wilted spinach.  Evenly distribute the chicken on top of the veggies.



7.  Sprinkle Feta and parmesan over the pizza toppings and bake in the oven for 10 more minutes. 




8.   Cut into strips and enjoy.




Now that we've filled you in on our little Lavash secret, we have to run right over to Walmart and stock up before you beat us to it.  

Bon Appetit,

Jenni and Elizabeth