Kerfuffle

Does anybody else ever notice this:  you’ve never heard or seen something before, but if you encounter it once, all of a sudden, you see it everywhere?

Up until yesterday, I had never before seen or heard the word “kerfuffle,” but I was reading an article* in last month’s VF last night and encountered it for the first time.  It was literally one of the last words that I read before drifting off, which may be why (in addition to its almost onomatopoetic nature) it stuck with me.  So, this morning, I opened up my Google Reader to catch up with Serious Eats and came across this article, again invoking this strange, new (to me) word.

So, if you’re keeping track, that’s not a single time in 40 (almost 41) years, and then twice in 8 hours.  Weird.

* This article is just elevated National Enquirer-style trash, but it’s worth reading just so that you can be properly horrified by this.

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Run; do not walk.  Do not pass go; do not collect $200.  Seriously…get yourself there.  The techno-geek consensus is that you should see it in 3D, but not in 3D IMAX.  I’ll leave that up to you, but if you haven’t already been, you need to go.  If you’ve already seen it, then go again.

Some light reading to get you in the mood

Summary:  James Cameron is one weird dude, but he’s driven and he’s a genius…not really news, but these are great articles, anyway.

Vanity Fair

Playboy

Yeah, it’s Playboy…you don’t have to look at the pictures, if you don’t want to (I surely don’t), but their profiles and interviews are great.

Wired

Does bacon count?

As much as I want to support Girl in being a vegetarian, I am really struggling to come up with recipes that will suit all four of us these days. I won’t give up, but it’s definitely testing my creativity. If only bacon didn’t count. Is there such a thing as vegetarian, except bacon? Apparently, I’m not the only person to ponder this idea…
If there were such a thing (and Girl would agree to it), I could make this and this and this.
Small side note: for some reason, the search field on this blog is intermittently (and inexplicably) not working. We are attempting to get his problem rectified, but in the meantime, if you are trying to locate a recipe and are not able to find it (in the categories at right or by searching,) then try googling for “feed your kids” and the name of whatever recipe you’re looking for, for example, “feed your kids” and brussel sprouts. Like this. There I am…the fourth link down.

Baby Shower

My “little” (9 years younger, but almost a foot taller than me) brother and his wife are expecting their first child in a few weeks. Some friends recently hostessed a shower for them at our house. Here are some of the photos that I took, but I didn’t take many and took most of them before the party even started.

Brother has better photos (and even some video) on his own blog here.
This was the Shower Menu:
Iced Tea, Wine, and Pineapple Lemonade
Crudites with Dip
Mini Slider burgers
(1 Tbsp of Baby Bam and a generous sprinkle of low-sodium Montreal Steak seasoning per pound of ground beef, formed into patties with this device, served on dinner rolls)
Mini Mac and Cheese Bites
Hershey Kiss Cupcakes

This is the last lemon post, I promise…

Some of the desserts in my lemon dessert round-up specified Meyer lemons, so I wanted to briefly describe the difference between them and a regular lemon. Meyer lemons taste sweeter and fruitier than “regular” lemons. They are larger and they have edible skin. You can substitute regular lemons when Meyer lemons are called for in a recipe, but the result will be tangier and not quite as sweet. In recipes that call for a lot of Meyer lemon juice, you can substitute 3 parts regular lemon juice and one part Mandarin (clementine) orange juice. Peak Meyer lemon season is over the winter, but depending upon where you live, they can sometimes be found into the Spring. For more information and great ideas on how to use Meyer lemons (if you can get your hands on them!), check out this wonderful article from the Los Angeles Times.
And…one LAST lemon-crazy note:
If you’re in a “lemony” mood, but don’t feel like baking, this Sugar Lemon body lotion from Sephora is amazing. I can’t do it justice, but check out what Dooce has to say about it here.

Menu Planning

I don’t always plan menus a week at a time, but instead just usually have a folder of recipes that I’d like to try in the next couple of weeks and then will decide, day by day, which one to pull out and then thaw (and/or shop) accordingly, each morning.

The good news, though, is that when I see a recipe I know I’m going to try soon, I’ll grab the non-perishable ingredients that are necessary for it, so that I have them on hand. Yes, I do end up having to grocery-shop just about every day (and yes, I hate shopping, too), but I usually only have to grab two or three things each time. I usually do one “gigantic run” about every week to ten days, for non-perishable and staple-things.

I do find it nice, though, when I have the time, to actually plan out menus in advance. It gives me the ability to look ahead and see which nights will be busy and can prep some things in advance, as I’m cooking during the week, so that I can have less work to do on those busy nights. Sometimes, if I have one cooking-at-home night, but know that the next night will be insane, I’ll make a casserole that can be prepared ahead, so that it’s ready to go for the next night. Baked ziti is a great one for this. I won’t tell if you use bottled sauce – just use a good one – although I usually make my sauce in advance and have it ready to go in the freezer when I need it and it’s not that troublesome. Baked spaghetti casserole is another one that’s make-ahead friendly.

Anyway, to make a long story short, this week and actually am planning menus ahead and thought I would share them with you, in case you want to play along at home.

Yes, I know, this menu is a little heavy on soups, Italian greens, orange winter vegetables and Asian noodle salads, but, hey, that’s what I felt like…

Monday:
Smoky-Spicy Turkey Tamale Pies (double the recipe, which specifies two servings)
Fresh Orange Sorbet

Tuesday:

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole

Wednesday:
Asian Salmon and Crunchy Noodle Salad from Ina Garten’s show this morning
I may or may not make the accompanying Lemon Yogurt Cake with Blueberry sauce, depending upon how much time I have. We happen to have a lot of desserts already in the house right now (thanks, Girl Scouts!)

Thursday:
Golden Winter Soup with Gruyere toasts
(I will add a little poblano pepper, as the online reviews suggested.)
Flaky Blood Orange Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce
I already have this prepared and frozen and will bake it and make the sauce that night. I made it with Cara Cara oranges instead of the blood oranges, which I may regret. The color is not as impressive and I’m afraid that the Cara Caras will be too sweet. We’ll see.

Friday:
Grilled Chicken Thighs (with very simple seasoning, maybe just some Baby Bam, because the gnocchi are VERY rich and flavorful and I want them to be the star of the show)
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Saturday:
Garlic-Miso Pork Chops with Orange Bell Pepper and Arugula
and some sort of soba noodle salad that will likely be a combination of these:
Chilled Soba with Tofu and Sugar Snap Peas
Cold Soba Noodles with Vietnamese Pork (without the pork)
Sesame Soba Noodles with Cucumber, Bok Choy and mixed greens
Soba Salad with Soy-Wasabi Vinaigrette

Sunday:
Marinated London Broil, sliced and served atop a mixed green salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Cauliflower Soup with Pecans and Rye Croutons

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Split Sandwich

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Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Split Sandwich, a.k.a. “Dinner for a Boy who’s had a long, busy week and whose sister is away at a dance, so he’s getting his parents’ undivided attention and getting spoiled a little.”

I ran across this recipe (here) on Cooking Light’s website. It looked interesting, but I probably wouldn’t have tried to make it if the reviews didn’t look so good (just a little “weird”). I made this for Boy tonight, because he’s had a very busy week. Hubby and I will likely eat later and polish off leftovers and Girl is away at a school dance, so I wanted to serve something easy and fun for Boy, who is already is full-on relax mode, wearing his pajama pants and ready for some Mario Kart!

Boy really liked the sandwich and finished the whole thing before he even touched the accompanying chips (highly unusual). I didn’t taste it, but if you’re thinking of making this, you should read the website reviews. It sounds like it really (for an adult) can be more of a dessert or sweet snack, rather than a real “meal” type of sandwich. It definitely interesting, though, and can be made out of things that most folks usually have around the house (at least in strawberry season – I just happened to see some beautiful early-season ones at the store the other day.)